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J-Quilts blog

Custom quilting

Myras gorgeous quilt - custom quilting

This is a lovely quilt made by my customer Myra from some gorgeous japanese taupes.  I have custom freehand quilted it for her with feather motifs, feather borders, and some modern fill ins.  The Hobbs wool wadding has made it light and the feathers puff up  while the closer quilting recedes back, I love the contrast in dimension that this creates.    I used a circular ruler to hand guide my machine for the curved lines and to keep the feather centre motifs consistent, and the rest is freehand.

Myra made an excellent job of piecing this quilt, which makes custom quilting so much easier for stitching in the ditch particularly, as all seams were very well pressed.  This makes a big difference for pretty stitching in the ditch.

The last photo shows the back of the quilt..  I love the backs as much as the fronts.


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Norahs star quilt

This quilt was a gorgeous quilt, made by Norah, which I custom quilted freehand for her.  I really enjoyed quilting this gorgeous quilt top.  The colours that Norah chose to make this quilt were lovely.  We discussed the features of freehand custom quilting that she liked and disliked, and I came up with a plan incorporating these features... feathers, pebbles, curves, and a feathered border.  All of the quilting is completely freehand, with the exception of the curved lines which I used a curved ruler to hand guide my machine along.

I am so pleased with the results of this quilt.  In fact I would go as far as to say I love this quilt.  I believe it is a pattern from one of the Jelly Roll books by Nicky and Pam Lintott.


Anns wonky houses...

This is a fun wonky house quilt, made by my customer Ann on a retreat with Katherine Guerrier last year.  She asked me to have a little freehand fun with it, so I quilted it freehand, and basically doodled my way over the quilt, quilting fun swirls, pebbles, curves and stars over the quilt.  Quilting to fit the blocks.

I was really pleased with how it turned out, and Ann loved it too.  She chose such fun colours in her quilt, and I love how those reds, blacks, whites, pinks and oranges all work together.  It was such a fun quilt to quilt...  


Happy 2014 !! and ps a Happy Christmas too...

Happy New Year to all of my customers and readers of my blog...  I have been having a lovely break over the Christmas holidays with my family, after a very busy November/December trying to keep up with customer quilts and Christmas deadlines.  I admit I had rather overstretched myself with quilts this last couple of months and should have drawn the line a little earlier when promising Christmas finishes.  A couple of customers I had warned that it would be right up on the deadline, and it was...  the last pick up on Christmas Eve morning...  and as I am a glutton for punishment, I then quickly quilted a small gift quilt, which I gave to my Step Mother in Law for Christmas, made from Moda Vin du Jour fabric,  and I managed to squeeze in a small Christmas table runner with some seriously fast freehand quilting, although this was only 18" wide and didn't take long plus it was not bound until boxing day.

 I didn't manage to fit in the christmas stockings I had been hoping to make from a christmas fabric panel that I had managed to buy earlier in the year...  as part of a fat quarter bundle...  lol, but then there is always next year !  (along with the other two christmas themed quilts one I made last December, and one a couple of months ago !)

So, as far as my own quilting goes, it has all sat on the back burner, and I admit to have had a very lazy family Christmas holiday which just flew by and now we are all back to normal working.... I expect I will find time for it all eventually...  but for now I have lots of customer quilts for January to quilt and get back to their owners.

And after downloading my camera and ipod to my laptop, I now have tonnes of photographs to be shared on my blog very soon....

Here's to a happy and successful 2014 to us all....  so off I plod to my studio ....  hi ho, hi ho, its off to work I go !!!   





Hugs and kisses quilt

This quilt is one of my own that I pieced last June...  it has just taken me this long to quilt it...  I quilted it last Saturday ...  Ian and the boys were off at a bike show if I remember rightly,  so off I trekked to my studio and finished my quilt.

 I did a talk for the womens institute last Wednesday, and I felt I needed another quilt to show (I didn't actually as I had four full large bags - its amazing how many I have once you bag them all up from home and studio!!!)  Oh well - at least it is nice and quilted now..  This is a quilt by Jaybird quilts, and I made it from a layer cake called "Tradewinds" by Kate Spain and some white solid fabric.

It is entirely quilted freehand...  no rulers - no patterns, even the centre circles of the flowers are completely freehand...  although I did roughly draw the flowers with chalk before stitching them.   I am never using that brand of chalk again though as it would not come out with just water and I had to wash my quilt e machine.  Lucky for me I love that wrinkled effect, but I would have liked to see the new look for a while longer...  I used a cotton wadding, and that has wrinkled beautifully...   I used a yellow leafy backing fabric which seemed like a good idea at the time, seeing the quilting though now, I wish I had used a solid colour to really show off those feathers and pebbles...



Hexagon quilts

I recently hosted a workshop for some quilting friends, teaching the methods of how to make this hexagon quilt based upon the equilateral triangle.

My sample quilt is made from a very bright Moda jelly roll called Simply colour, by V&Co and some neutral marble moda in the setting triangles and sashings.

I custom quilted this a while back now in a weekend soon after buying Lucey, so I was using my quilt as a test piece to really fine tune the level of my table.  I freehand quilted simple swirls in the centres, and some simple freehand back and forths in the middle section of each hexagon.  The most time consuming part was the ruler work creating the circular movement around the hexagons, and of course the pebbling which is always a time consuming yet worth it task...  Although an allover quilting design would have looked very nice too, I just felt like custom would look good with the hexagons..  I love the back too, which gives a tiled circular movement.

I seem to be making hexagon themed quilts at the moment...  I recently finished piecing a Christmas themed one, with hexagons and triangles...  lets see if I get it quilted before Christmas though, as my last years Christmas quilt is still hanging on my rail of quilts to be quilted....  not complaining, just had a very busy year with customers quilts.  Maybe I will quilt some of mine over the xmas holidays...  I think I now have about 10 of my own to be quilted.  Not to mention the unfinished piecing projects..




Tilda fabric addiction...


Well things have been a bit hectic of late... with one thing or another...  mainly busy with customer quilting, but I lost a few days having some nerves in my facet joints in my back burned a couple of weeks ago now ... which was the most excruciatingly painful procedure ever...  they certainly didn't warn me it would be that severe..  but it is easing up a bit...  although as I have been in pain for over three years now, it is not much different at the moment, but it should take a couple of months to give relief (if it works...  )  but enough of my aches and pains...  lucky for me quilting really eases the pain and keeps me moving... its the sitting that I find so hard to deal with...

Well I really have to stop myself buying some more of this gorgeous Tilda fabric (mainly because of the cost !!) but it is the softest fabric ever and I can't help stroking it, and although I didn't want to cut into it, I decided that at least if I could look at it made up in my studio as a sewing machine cover then I would enjoy the view... and it was excellent freehand practice as small pieces don't take too long and you can get them finished on a weekend... 

The thing is once I used my fabric I really felt the need to go buy some more ....

Of course I couldn't just stop at one ...  I do have a sewing machine at home too which needed a cover...  and the leftovers make great cases too.

Just four fat quarters in each cover...  I covered them in swirls, pebbles and feathers...





Custom kaleidescopes

This lovely quilt was made by my customer Elaine, using diamonds to produce the star kaleidescopes.  It was excellently pieced and the centres lined up perfectly so I enhanced the centres with a continuous curve design to create a flower design.  I freehand quilted swirl feathers in the lilac borders,  freehand wavy lines in the inner borders, freehand swirlies in the sashings, and freehand pebbles in the pink background.   In the green squares, I quilted a freehand flower/swirl.   I had a lot of fun...  and was really pleased with my efforts.

Pastels are very difficult to photograph, but here are my best attempts..... 




and of course I love the back too...  the solid pastel blue backing fabric creates a lovely "wholecloth" effect on the reverse...


Scolloped edges and chevrons

This gorgeous quilt is another of Lynne Edwards students completing the project with beautiful results..  Judy made this quilt in green, red and grey which is a striking combination.

I quilted the inner section with an allover "santa ana" pantograph design, and custom quilted the inner sashing with a simple straight line, and the outer scolloped edges with custom freehand feathers and chevrons.

I think it has turned out lovely.  All of the feathers are completely freeform, and I had the assistance of my straight rulers to stitch the straight lines.

Judy and I chose a very fine grey thread (bottomline by superior threads) which adds a subtleness to the high contrast of colours in the quilt, whilst blending in and creating stunning texture in the quilt.

Thanks Judy for letting me quilt your quilt. 



As you can see it is a rather large quilt measuring almost 100" square...  I would really love to have a bed at my studio for photographic reasons, but just can't spare the space...  especially as I have some very exciting news to share very soon....

A gorgeous Irish chain

This fantastic Irish chain quilt has been designed by Lynne Edwards and made by one of her students Dawna.  She chose to have it custom quilted because she feels that this is her best work to date and wanted it to have some special treatment.  I agree with her as it was fabulously pieced, and was a pleasure to work with.  

So I tried to compliment this quilt with the quilting designs that I chose to use on the quilt.   Dawna agreed that she liked feathers and that they would suit the quilt, so I started with feathers, swirls and curved crosshatching in the borders.  Followed by feathers curving around the main blocks in a feathered wreath effect, thereby enhancing the circular movement naturally present in the quilt blocks, and I quilted freehand flowers in the white square blocks and continuous curves in the white and purple "chains" surrounding the blocks.

This is all completely freehand quilted with the curved lines of the feather spines and the curved crosshatching being aided with the use of curved and circular rulers and my machine hand guided against them.   Ruler work is hard on the fingers though ....   so I am glad I don't use them everyday ! 

And as I often say....  I just wish I could take a decent photograph !










Kaitlins cosy quilt.....

This lovely quilt was made by a young new quilter Kaitlin who is only 18...  it was perfectly square and she made a perfect job on her first quilt.  This was made with her old clothes including dresses and pajamas and she had left some pockets from various dresses in place too...

She wanted a very simple large loopy meander which I quilted freehand so that I could avoid the pockets and not stitch them down so that they can still be used...  I stitched around the pockets just to define them better.

She also chose a pale grey backing fabric from my stock and it matches great.    I attached a lime green binding too ready for her to stitch down on the reverse..  I bet she is nice and warm sleeping under her quilt now too....

Well done Kaitlin and I hope that your brothers quilt is coming along nicely too.



Custom pebbles and curved crosshatching

This lovely quilt includes one of my favourite colours - teal blue, and was made by my customer Elizabeth.  She asked me to custom quilt it for her and with teh contrasts in colours this worked better than an allover on this occasion I feel.

She wanted it to have a fairly modern feel to it, so no feathers for this one...  so after some discussion with Elizabeth and her husband, I have quilted it with pebbles, curved crosshatching, and back and forth lines in the star blocks...  and some bead board in the outer borders, and also some straight line quilting in the sashings filled in with pebbles in a channel...  I think it has turned out great...  I love the back too and as I use the same colours in the bobbin as when I change out the colours in the top, the back has a multi coloured effect.


Marys 3 dimensional flower quilt

This gorgeous quilt is a lovely folded patchwork piece with dresden plates making up the big flower blocks.

An allover design was not really a good choice for this quilt mainly due to the 3 dimensional centres of each flower, and Mary decided that she didn't want the flowers to be heavily quilted on.  Therefore I have simply outlined the flowers and the centre folded patchwork with a barely visible thread (light tan) which makes the centres more defined by stitching back the background slightly.  The centre of each flower has a simple "terry twist" quilted freehand which again brings up the 3D elements of the flowers.

The areas between the flowers was an odd shape to come up with something to fill, and as the feel of the quilting was quite open I quilted a largeish flower motif.  I used a tiny circle ruler to guide me with quilting the circle (there is no way I can freehand a perfect circle !!!)  and freehand quilted the petals and stems of each pansy style flower.

The feather swirl borders were also completely freehand (no marking) and again keeping it fairly large and open.  The pattern of the fabric and the choice of thread colour keeps it a subtle result and very textural.

I was really pleased with the overall result and Mary was too.... 

Thanks Mary for letting me work on your lovely quilt.  It was alot of fun to quilt.




Custom quilting

This absolutely perfectly pieced and appliqued quilt was made by my customer Linda, and it was a joy to quilt.  Even stitching in the ditch was easy with those perfectly pressed seams.  It does make such a difference for custom quilting jobs that the pressing is well done.  For all over quilting, it is not as important. 
 
I custom quilted this quilt freehand.  I alternated between pebbling and stippling in the backgrounds of each block, not only to add some variety, but to try to keep within budget timewise.  Stippling takes much less time than pebbling.  Pebbling takes quite a long time to quilt...  especially in those tight spaces and corners....  but it does give a lovely effect once done.  I love this style of quilting. 
 
I used circle and curved shaped rulers to outline the pattern in the outer border fabric which has created a lovely design around the border of which is more apparant on the back of the quilt.  I also used a couple of sizes of circle rulers to create the design in the inner sashings too.  The border and sashings are more busy fabrics, so not much really shows, so I kept it pretty simple.
 
(I apologise that my photographs are not centred, but for some reason my blog is not letting me centre them..... )
 

Dazzle mini

After a very busy week quilting customer quilts, as I took a large quilt off the frame on Friday,  I decided to sneek in Saturday and quilt up my hexagon quilt...  I decided not to make it too big as I decided it was too busy fabrics and would have benefited from some white solid fabric thrown in somewhere.

It wasn't until I was choosing the design to be quilted over this one, that I realised just how hard it is for my customers to choose their designs.  There are so many that would have looked equally as nice on this quilt.  Being busy fabrics, not much is really going to show up in certain lights, so I decided on a textural design, and one I have not yet quilted up.  I thought that this design was going to be one that I never got to actually quilt out, being so small, most customers are put off as most people like a fairly open design, plus some of these smaller designs are slightly more expensive to get quilted, as they generally take longer to quilt.

However, this one was not too bad and flowed quite nicely over my small quilt.

Again, on choosing my thread colour, I was reminded how difficult the choice is sometimes when there are so many colours which would have looked equally as good.  I settled on "buttercup" in the end, being a yellow/gold colour which worked out well.  I couldn't decide between the yellow and a couple of shades of duck egg blue....  decisions decisions....  that being said though, I do like the finished result.

I had hoped to bind it today, but too many other things take over on a Sunday....

I chose a lovely pink backing fabric which I have just received into my stock, it is a leafy vine design, pink on pink.  I am also stocking it in lilac, navy blue, apple green, burgundy, and it is available to order in many other colours too including grey, black, yellow.  It is 108" wide width and costs £15 a metre.

Isn't the texture great?  I love it, and it is destined for my studio, a sample, and a cover for my sofa too.





I had a little backing fabric left at the end of the quilt, and I had a small piece of patchwork which I hand pieced on a holiday a few years back now...  LOL  so I decided to practice a bit of freehand swirly feathers over it, and it is going to be made up into a little case for makeup or gadgets of some kind...  it literally took 10 minutes to quilt it, it is tiny... and when I get around to binding it, it might make a great glasses case actually...


Pebbles and swirls.... modern quilting

Most longarm quilters will agree that finding the time to fit in your own projects is tricky, but I managed to make some time for my own quilting over the holiday period, and quilted my sticks and bricks quilt (designed by Amy Walsh) that has been hanging in my studio waiting to be quilted for quite a few months now. 
 
After seeing many quilts in magazines and books lately quilted with random sized circles / pebbles over, which I really liked the look of, I originally wanted to quilt circles all over it, but thought it may be a bit too much and take way too long to quilt, so I separated it with wavy lines between the blocks and quilted pebbles and swirls alternating down the quilt. 
 
After quilting the first row of pebbles, I thought "Oh my God I am going to ruin my quilt..."  but started to relax a little after the second row.  After talking to a longarming friend (Hi Kay) she convinced me it was OK and I would love it when I took it off the frame which is often what happens - she was right and I absolutely love it.  Although if you are not a fan of dense quilting - look away now .....   LOL but it is my quilt and I think it looks great on our bed...
 
Even Ian my hubby likes it - previously he has always said "You just do the squiggly bit " meaning the quilting, he has now updated this to be well your quilt is "repaired fabric with squiggly bits on top "  husbands  really don't get our need to cut all the fabric into pieces only to sew it all back together again do they???
 
I used a 100% flat cotton wadding in this with the hope that when I wash it that it wrinkles up just how I like my quilt to wrinkle...  this is the first time I have used this particular wadding from Hantex, and it was lovely to quilt on and even though a fairly flat wadding, the quilt definition is great.  This is the back of my quilt and the solid grey fabric showcases the quilting even more.
 
So in the "modern quilting style" which seems to be all the rage at the moment, and taking inspiration particularly from Angela Walters I am very pleased with my resulting quilt. 
 
 

Custom Ferns and feathers

This lovely quilt was made by my customer Ann.  This quilt was an ideal candidate for some custom quilting, and I am glad that Ann agreed with me, as I would have struggled choosing thread and design for an allover on this beauty.

Ann requested a fern border, and ferns under the tree, and after seeing a quilt hanging in my studio, also requested some wavy crosshatching too.   The rest being left to my imagination ... but after some discussion with Ann if she liked the ideas.

It is all freehand quilting except for some ruler guided wavy crosshatching.



I quilted a fern border

Some swirls in the maple leaf block


Some feathers - this was the most time consuming block and there were four of them too !

The little square at each corner of this block is less than an inch and I fitted an entire feather form into it...  very carefully


I quilted back and forth looping lines in the background fabric as not much was going to show on this dark textured batik.  I love the effect it has given it though.  I used the same effect on the leaves of the tree in the light blue areas lifting up the darker areas.  It would have more effect with a puffier wadding, but Ann preffered to use warm and natural which is a fairly flat wadding.  

My interpretation of ferns on each side under the tree

and tree bark too:


A swirly ferny block

A basket block

And wavy crosshatching


Stipple and crosshatching

This gorgeous wedding memory quilt was made by my customer Liza, and was one of the largest quilts that I have quilted, measuring 100" x 130".  Liza requested a freehand stipple meander in the coloured areas of the quilt in a blue thread, and I suggested curved crosshatching in the cream memory blocks in a blending cream thread.  This has kept the blocks very neutral so that the drawings and personal messages can still be seen and read.  I quilted this quite a few weeks back now, I am only just getting around to blogging about it.   I love the jewel tones of the quilt, and it was lovely reading the messages as I was quilting them. 

I just wish I had a lovely king size bed to have been able to photograph it in full.




Pollys day .....

This lovely quilt was designed and made by my customer Jane, who has designed a series of quilts with the sweet characters "Polly" and "Pete" and this quilt is Polly throughout her day from waking in the morning to going to sleep at night.  It is all fusible raw edge appliqued.  There must have been quite a number of hours to make this top.    My customer just wanted a light custom basic stipple meander around the most part of the quilt and to quilt around the applique, I chose a light weight cream thread which worked out great.    I added a few little flourishes throughout the quilt though to anchor down some of the larger applique, and of course I couldn't resist quilting Pollys quilt as she lay sweetly in her bed.... LOL....


Custom quilting - pink pansies

This gorgeous quilt was made by my customer Mary.  She embroidered the flowers with her embroidery machine, and pieced the tiny sashing squares together which measure almost an inch across.  She knew what quilting she wanted from ideas from the magazine pattern - a simple outline around each flower, some loopy swirls in the square surrounding, and feathers across the three borders and she specifically did not want me to quilt on the flowers.  She was not quite sure what to quilt in the sashings, so I suggested a curved diamond effect, which I created using a circular ruler as my guide, and has worked out just beautifully.  The back of the quilt also looks great.  For stitching in the ditch I have used a straight ruler to keep a straight line in the ditch.  A longarm machine has no feed dogs like a regular sewing machine, so sewing in a completely straight line requires a little guidance sometimes. 

Everything else (outlining the flowers, loopy swirls, and feathers) are completely freehand quilted.  I did however mark the spine of the feathers with an air erasable pen, which completely disappears in a couple of days.  I kept the feathers a fairly open design, making it flow across and around the quilt top.


Feathers with a twist.....

This lovely modern quilt was made by my good customer Elaine, and was beautifully pieced, and was lovely to work with.  Elaine wanted something a little different than an allover design, so I had some fun custom quilting some lovely feathers with stems,  twirls, and scallops, which I am now affectionately calling "faux ric rac" up the outsides of the hexagon blocks..
 
The feathers are freehand, as are the twirls,  I used a small circle ruler  as a guide to create the "faux ric rac", and also I stitched a 1/4 inch out from the sashings using a straight ruler, and I stitched in the ditch separating the hexagons, just to hold the quilt nice and flat at this point otherwise it would have puffed up a little.
 
Elaine was thrilled with the results which was lovely to hear, and makes my job so enjoyable.   It is such a fun quilt and certainly inspiration to make another hexagon quilt (I went through a phase a while back making a few hexagon quilts before I was a longarm quilter....)
 

Swirling Leaves

I have quilted this design three times now, and forgot to take photographs of the first two quilts that I quilted this design on.  So I am really pleased to have taken some photographs of this gorgeous quilt which was made with some stunning hand dyed fabrics.  Delia chose a Jade green thread which looks great. 
 

Wedding quilt

This quilt is only the second quilt that my customer has ever made...  can you believe it?  She really has a skill with machine applique.  I haven't actually met her yet but her Mum Vanessa is also a customer and friend.
 
What a stunning wedding quilt gift this will be. 
 
I lightly custom quilted it with circular movement in the sashings around each block using a curved ruler for guidance, freehand flowers in the cornerstones, freehand loops in the borders, and freehand leaves and loops in the coloured borders.
 
I really thought my photos were better than this though...  they really do not reflect the beauty of this quilt.  I thoroughly enjoyed working on it.
 
I also outlined the applique in each block very close to the edge, and quilted freehand smaller loopy background fill in the background of each block.
 
I used a light gold thread which really shows on the navy backing fabric.
 
 

Circles and pansies....

If you have ever wondered how I can quilt circles without having a computerised system, then this photo should explain how...  I have a gadget called a "circle lord" which has the ability to quilt perfect circles with the use of a stylus being placed into holes of different spacing,  which create different sized circles on the quilt.
 
 
 
This quilt is my quilt, and finally got around to quilting it between jobs.  It has taken some time to get done, as I hadn't used my circle lord in a while, and had to refresh my memory how to use it !!!
 
 
 
I made this quilt a while back, using a pattern in McCalls Quilting magazine I think, the centre part of the quilt was designed by Geri Robinson, I felt it needed borders for my own taste, so I then added the white spot border, and the outer blue border.  I nearly quilted a pantograph allover on it which would have looked great too, but eventually decided on piano key borders (using a straight ruler), freehand swirls in the inner border, freehand pansies, freehand leaves and swirls in the pinwheel sections, and of course the circles surrounding each pansy motif.  I used the piecing in the quilt for the spacing of the petals.
 
 
I am really pleased with the overall results, and took the opportunity being my own quilt to try out the frixion marking pens which disappear with the iron, and although they are pretty magic and do disappear with ease as I blew it away with my hairdryer, (I really must get another one to leave at the studio, as I forgot it one day and had to make do with my hair the next morning - LOL)  however, on certain fabrics there is a slight mark left visible in certain lights.  I will always make sure to test a fabric before using them again.  It is OK if you quilt on the markings though, as you can't see this slight left over mark once quilted over.  I will keep an eye on the quilt to see if they re appear in time.  I know that they reappear in very cold temperatures.
 
And of course I love the back too.... 
 
 
 

Going loopy ......

This quilt was one that I received in the post a few weeks back now, and I had quoted for an allover price to my customer Mal, it wasn't until it arrived that the "ruffles" became apparant and that an allover quilting design was not the best way to go with the quilting.  I could have either removed the ruffles and reattached them after quilting an allover, or I could quilt around the ruffles with light custom quilting.  After discussing it with Mal, she left it up to me to quilt however I felt right for the quilt.  She is not a quilter herself, and had bought the top from ebay because she loved it so much.
 
The outer borders were a little full, and the gingham fabric was a little floppy, so I quilted it in diamonds which dealt with some of the fullness, I did this using a ruler as a guideline to achieve the straight lines.  I freehand quilted a loopy meander around the cats and flower applique, and I freehand quilted hearts and loops in the sashings between the panels.
 
 
 

More wholecloth designs

I have lost some time this week with my ongoing back and neck issues which were possibly made worse for driving to Lincolnshire and back again for a family funeral earlier in the week.  Driving any distance is enough to drive the pain up even further so I am dosed up on more painkillers.  I will be so glad when all of these issues are gone for good.  I keep being told that it is only temporary, although it has nearly been two years since my car was hit from behind which caused all of these issues.
 
Not to dwell on the negatives of the week though as I try not to go on too much about my back (although my family would probably disagree with me with that comment) honestly I am fed up too with moaning about my back.
 
As mentioned last week I have been doing an online evening course on tablet design, although this week I have not been as actively involved due to my back and neck because PC work doesn't help at all either.   So today (Saturday) I sat for a little while and got caught up on some classes and have attempted a couple of wholecloth designs that I drew directly in photoshop, and this is what I came upwith ..... maybe one day one of them will end up as a quilting project for me.    These are drawn using the bamboo tablet and stylus drawn directly into photoshop, I have only just started using the tablet and  at the moment I have greater control of drawing the old fashioned way with a pencil and paper, but I suppose that computers are the way to go so I should persevere.. 
 
 
 
 
 

Tablet design

I have been busy not only with customer quilting this last couple of weeks, but also I have been attending an online course in the evenings by Carla Barrett known for her "quilt whispering" techniques, which teaches the use of photoshop elements software and tablet design where you can draw and doodle on photographs of quilt tops on your computer for seeing possible quilting choices before actually quilting your quilt.  I have learned alot of new skills with regard to cropping and editing photographs along with a whole host of new ideas for custom quilting design.
 
So this original photograph of my quilt top on my large design wall  in my studio gets some photoshop editing including skewing and cropping, and drawing on for my intended quilting layout.    Of course this is only an idea, how I decide to quilt my quilt in the end will depend on how I feel at the time I quilt it.  I may decide on a pantograph design too.
 

OK, so I couldn't wait ....

Just a couple hours more...... and its quilted.....
 
All freehand work (including the straight lines) no rulers or computers used here..... 
 
This is my original design, drawn from scratch on paper, mirrored, and enlarged on a photcopier, marked onto cotton silk fabric and then freehand quilted. 
 

Wholecloth in progress...

Here is just a snippet of the centre of my wholecloth which I have been working on yesterday.  Just 6 hours of quilting, which is alot less time than I expected it to take, I should probably be working a little slower at it for better results, and I am thinking this could be a prototype and hope for a better result further down the line as I know that a few areas could be so much better and I had a few blips with my carriage not running smoothly which needed adjustments - however, for my first attempt at quilting a wholecloth I am pretty pleased so far.   It has not been without hiccups though as most of my markings were so faint I was  guessing some of the time where the feathers were.  So lesson learned, next time I will mark with a longer lasting pen.  I used the blue washout fine line pen, and thought that they lasted a long time.  I certainly won't be winning any awards with it, but then again, that is not the reason why I quilt.
 
It will be off the frame ready for customer quilts to be loaded and quilted next week,  and maybe back on in the next few weeks when I get some more weekend freetime.  Maybe another 6 hours and it will be ready for binding.  This is when I wish my machine was at home with me rather than at my studio so that I could quilt until midnight!!!
 
 

Background fills

Recently, I upgraded my carriage that my machine rides along my frame on.  This updated carriage has "edgerider" wheels which are supposed to give a smoother ride with better bearings in them, and whilst there was nothing "wrong"  with my previous carriage for allover designs, I always felt that there was something missing when controlling the finer detail of freehand quilting.
 
Well after reading how other fellow longarm quilters in the states have raved about the wheels and carriage, I decided that if I wanted to progress more with my freehand quilting I definitely needed some finer control of my machine and being the gadget kind of girl that I am, I ordered one. 
 
Well to cut a long story short and after some initial teething problems and adjustments, I feel that I now have more refined control of the movement of my machine.
 
On a longarm machine, the slightest change in the level of the table can dramatically affect the control of the machine, so I have to check that my table is level on a regular basis, changes in temperature can affect the movement of the table, as it is made of steel and of course metal contracts and expands. 
 
Anway this story is getting rather long, but thought I would share some of my practice background fills which were freehand kind of quilt whatever comes kind of practice.  It was a cot panel so I didn't piece it and just wanted something quick and easy to practice on. No rulers were used, so all of the straight lines are actually freehand.  I would normally use a ruler for accuracey on a customer quilt.  The outlining of the animals and letters was also achieved without rulers.  Not perfect, but I was not looking for perfection that day - just practice and tweaking my carriage for a better feel.
 
 

Custom quilting

I have been busy custom quilting a very clever customers quilt which she has very intricately appliqued some tiny flowers with embellished beading, into a sampler style quilt top.  This is a special quilt for a special birthday, which kind of made me a little nervous to quilt.  Luckily it all worked out just fine.
 
First I stabilised the blocks by stitching in the ditch in the blocks and sashings, this is harder to achieve with a longarm than with a regular sewing machine and requires the use of a straight ruler to keep a straight line and to keep in the ditch.  
 
I background quilted with a small freehand loopy meander in every block.  All of the applique is outlined, and the hawaiian style blocks were indeed the hardest to quilt around given the intricate shape.
 
I curve crosshatched the star blocks and quilted a continuous curve in the tumbler blocks which gave the illusion of circles. 
 
The borders have a leafy vine and the sashings have freehand swirls.
 
I am very pleased to say that my customer was very happy with the results, and has kindly given permission for me to share some photographs of her quilt.  I apolosise to her that my photography skills don't truly reflect the beauty of her quilt. 
 
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CUPCAKE QUILT !!!

A while ago, I posted pictures of this quilt which I pieced over the Christmas holidays - where has that last 4 months gone???
 
After finishing a custom job with lots of ruler work for a customers gorgeous New York Beauty quilt top, I thought I would squeeze my quilt in so I can "call it done!" before I load another customer quilt (which is another stunner).
 
All I had to do to finish it was to quilt in the red stars and bind it, so it didn't take too long on Sunday to finish off.  I spent so much time trying to decide what to quilt in the red stars, and unpicked a couple of times before finally deciding on simple crosshatching.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I love it, it is such a happy, fun quilt - I quilted the cupcakes freehand, although the stippling around them was supposed to make the cupcakes puff up like trapunto, however either the wadding was not quite lofty enough, or I didn't stipple close enough to flatten down the background,  but.... I am very happy with the final result as any closer stippling would have resulted in a too stiff border and would not have matched the balance of quilting in the rest of the quilt.
 
I really enjoyed the curved piecing in the blocks and after a while,  love the bold red stars.  The rest of the quilting was very basic ruler work in straight lines in the sashings, stitching in the ditches around the stars, and then using a curved ruler in the main blocks.  It has a lovely texture and was alot of fun !!!  If you are wondering where the cupcake inspiration comes from, there are some cupcake fabrics in the blocks.
 
No two cupcakes are the same in size, but that adds to the uniqueness of my quilt which I made up as I went along !!!
 

Something a little different !!!

Just thought I would share something I was working on last weekend. I had initially intended to quilt this alot more than I have to showcase the quilting, but as it progressed, I really liked the puffy texture that had been created by the dense pebbling in the on point squares so I decided to leave the background unquilted except for the outlining of each circle.  I am very pleased with the results and it was alot of fun to quilt !!!!  
 
I pieced this last summer so not all of the piece work was completed in a weekend, it took considerably longer than that to strip piece the striped squares, and to cut out all of the circles from the blocks, which then resulted in a big hole to be covered by a larger circle which I then machine appliqued.  I don't like to waste my fabrics, by covering them up and having two layers, especially batiks !!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 I apologise for my photography though -  I really could do with taking a photography course especially regarding lighting !!!!  

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WASH MAKES !!!

Following on from my previous post, I washed my tumbler block quilt to make it less stiff, and to my delight I finally have a wrinkled antiqued looking quilt (well except for the modern fabrics !!! LOL) and it is so much softer now.
 
I actually used a 50/50 cotton/polyester wadding, which I had chosen as I did not want to put much expense into this quilt such as cotton/bamboo which I had used on my previous quilt.  I have to say though that I am very pleased with the overall effect.  I think it is the wadding that gave this effect.  I only washed at 30 degress, of course the fabrics could have some effect on it too, as I never pre wash anything.  I like to work with new fabrics and have never had any bad effects as yet.  
 
What do you think??  I think you either love or hate the effect.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am not sure if the photographs really show what I mean, but the difference between pre washed and washed on this particular quilt shows a definite difference when you see it up close.  I am not sure I would want this to happen to all of my quilts, and probably would not be able to achieve it on purpose.  I think it is also the close quilting which creates this result. 
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