The Shop Hop Quilt

Once upon a time, (actually 4 or 5 years ago) there was a Shop Hop.  And with that Shop Hop,  there was a quilt block that all the shops were to use to create a quilt.  Each shop had the same block and were free to use the block in what ever design we chose.


For our shop,  several of the girls worked on the quilt that Jessica had designed.  The block was constructed in various color ways and Jessica chose several  appliques from McKenna Ryan’s beautiful patterns to enhance the border.  The quilt was looking very nice.  The colors were bright and cheerful,  but the quilt  was also becoming VERY- VERY Large !  Oh, we all had good intentions.  We were planning on filling the border with tons of McKenna’s appliques but, as is always the case,  we just ran out of time.   The border was extremely wide,  and well…………it was  a little empty.   But, not to worry.   We can quilt something really fabulous to fill it up.  Right?   Wrong!!!!

Oh, no.  Now that would just be too easy!  I have to decide to go and get all creative and create hours of work for myself.   And, did I mention that it was just a few days till the opening of The Shop Hop.  Isn’t that the way it always goes.  You always get your best ideas when you’re in a crunch.    I don’t know about you, but I think I do my best work when I’m in a state of complete panick.

Now, while you are reading and looking at the pics,  (which were taken before the gift of the good camera I’m afraid,  be sure and think about the mess I made in “My Room” and all the fun I had making it.

There were quite a few appliques in the lower border,  but  just not enough to fill it up.  You can see there is a  large clam, along with fish and the sea-horse,  several  sea shells and star fish, different appliques of coral and sponge,  a few little Nemo’s and seaweed in various colors here or there.  The bottom of the quilt had the most appliques, but still it was just a little empty, and as you went up the sides of the quilt toward the top, the appliques became fewer.

It really needed a little something to connect it all together, so I put on my thinking cap  and then it hit me.  “Snippets”!  I remembered the technique called ” Snippets”.

Well, just let me tell you that the creative juices started flowing and I never looked back.  I grabbed any and all fabric scraps of anything and everything I could find.  I randomly  and with complete abandon, cut it all up into tiny little nuggets.   I threw all those pieces in a bag and went crazy adding  snips of every thread in every color I could find that would compliment the quilt.  I added metallic threads in different colors, variegated threads, solid color threads of all types and of course Ricky Tim’s Razzle Dazzle, some Halo  and anything else I could find that wasn’t already stitched to something or holding something together.  After looking at my collection  in the bag, I closed my eyes and gave it a few shakes.  I looked inside and low and behold, I had created a concoction that just might work as the ocean floor.

Now, the quilt was already loaded on the machine, wouldn’t you know it, so I just sprinkled and spread all those snippets where ever there were empty spaces, held my breath and stitched it with the longarm and some metallic thread.  I blew away the excess snippets  with compressed air, (hence the mess in “My Room” ) and continued on.

All in all,  it looked pretty good, but needed  a little height and color in places.  I cut long wavy edged strips of various lengths and colors of fabric and free form appliqued them in place with my longarm.  It still needed more, but I couldn’t quite decide what to do.

Paint!  I’m going to paint.  I had tons of paint that I had bought at a quilt show from a vendor and if I’m not mistaken, it was fabric paint.  So with paint brush in hand, and no earthly idea what I was going to do,  I started painting.  I added green sea weed with gold highlights , and random dabs of  maroon and gold metallic paint to fill in.

And then it happened.   I wanted to paint fish and sea horses  and well, I got a little carried away.  So just let me show the pictures.

Wasn’t that little puff fish applique cute?

Yep, I painted those sea horses!

Jessica wanted a fish bowl in the middle where she had applqued some adorable fish.  I had some netting, so I laid it over the fish and using my longarm, I stitched a circle.  I trimmed the excess netting close to the stitch and still using my longarm, I added a satin stitch around the edge.  Now, that took some time!   A piece of batik was added to the top and bottom in the same manner as the net.   I added different colors of stones and beads behind the net and to hold the net down, I did some wavy satin stitched lines thru all the layers.

And after all that, I finally did some quilting.

The quilt was finished the morning of the opening day of The Shop Hop, and Jessica and I had just finished hanging it when the doors opened.


Something fun and easy!

Hi Everyone.

With snow predicted in many parts of the U.S. over this coming weekend, it just might be a good time to show you a fun and easy project to fill your time.  So get out there and get some yummy coffee and snacks, and make something beautiful while you’re inside.

A few weeks ago, I took a few days for myself, and decided I wanted something to sew that wouldn’t require a lot of thought and concentration, but instead,  just be fun and easy.   This project was perfect and gave me the chance to use some of the Hoffman Balli Pops that you have seen me using for weights on my longarm.  I really didn’t put a lot of thought into the fabric choices, but at the recommendation of a friend, threw the strips in a pile and just grabbed.   It was a free spirit experience.

I found lots of patterns in this book that will give me tons of enjoyment and uses for all those 2.5 inch Batik Strips that I have collected over the past years.  I really had a wonderful time not only looking through Edyta’s book, but making the quilt top itself.  I have another top started from this book, but it may be another year before I take another break and get to it.  There are projects in this book for beginners as well as the more advanced piecer and I found it well worth the purchase.

Here’s what I came up with.  I plan on adding a wide pale blue border for some fun quilting ideas I want to try.

Heaven only knows when I will find the time to quilt this for myself, but when and if I do, I’ll share it with you.

Another fabulous thing that I want to share, is a photo of the wonderful gift my friend Sharon gave me for quilting her incredible quilt that I named “Sharon’s Lion”.

I was so surprise and  so touched by her kindness and generosity.

Sharon gave me a beautiful lead cut glass bowl that had belonged to her grandmother.  Can you imagine being given a treasured heirloom from a family member.  There are no words to express how thrilled I am that she would share this beautiful piece with me.

I absolutely love it and will cherish it always.

It is stunning!

Whenever I look at it, I feel as though I have won Best of Show!

Thank you so very much Sharon.

Sharon’s Lion is Finished!

Sharon’s Lion was finally delivered to Sharon last week, and I’m glad to say she was delighted.  I always worry about the customer’s reaction and whether my idea suited their idea for what they wanted for their quilt top.

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but Sharon is very creative and designs her quilts with out the help of patterns.  All her appliques were stitched by hand and all were highlighted with hand embroidered accents.  The eyes of the lion were painted on white fabric and then hand appliqued and lets not forget that tail of yo-yo’s.

My Thread choices for this quilts were by Superior threads.  I used So Fine in the bobbin and an assortment of colors from their Rainbow and Highlights thread collection.   I prefer to use a 3.0 or 3.5 needle whenever I have a quilt of Batik Fabric and the needle size worked fine with the threads I chose.  Wool batting was used in case the quilt was hung so the weight would be less and also because Sharon would be shipping the quilt to her daughter.  Wool batting is wonderful for shipping not just because of the lighter weight, the it doesn’t hold the folds and creases from packing.

Here a a few pics, and I am sorry to say, that I forgot my camera the day I delivered the quilt and am not able to share a photo of Sharon.

Sally’s Quilt

Sally has made a wonderful quilt for a young girl who loves purple.  I think it is delightful, don’t you?  What young lady wouldn’t love this quilt.

Look at those fabrics!  I love the flowers on the black background.

As  you can see from the picture,  there are a lot of straight lines within this quilt.   The blocks and borders create a lot of horizontal and vertical lines which makes it very important to keep this quilt straight and even during the quilting process.    The first thing I do, before attaching the quilt to the machine,  is get some measurements from the quilt top.

Half way down from the top of the quilt, measure from side to side  through the center of the quilt.

I float my quilt tops,  so that means I have one leader roller that is not being used.  That empty roller really comes in very handy.  The muslin leader on the roller actually grips and smooths the quilt top as I advance the quilt during the quilting.    I can also use it to  place markers for the width of the quilt.

Using scotch tape, (it removes easily) I place two pieces on the leader roller and mark a black line on each piece.  I then distance the marks from each other to equal the width of the quilt top.  This helps me so much.  You can see from the pic below how very handy this is.  I also use a laser level and shine the red laser line from the black mark up the sides of the quilt to help keep the quilt top straight on the sides.  When it’s time for a different quilt, I remove the scotch tape  and start fresh with new tape, marks and measurement.

To get the quilt straight across the top, I use my laser level line again.  After I have attached the quilt back and batting to the leaders, I shine my laser line using the level on the leveler to keep it straight.  I can then place the top edge of the quilt top on the laser line.

The laser level is a very handy tool not just for hanging pictures as you can see.  I purchased mine at a hardware store.  They came in all price ranges, but I didn’t need all the bells and whistles, so I went with the less expensive.

I use my laser tool to keep the quilt blocks and quilt straight throughout the quilting process.  Each time I advance the quilt, I shine the line to make sure that the block lines are still straight both horizontally and vertically.

Great tool to have if you are a longarmer.

This is the design I chose for the all over pattern on this quilt. The design was purchased from Digi-Tech Patterns/Urban Elementz.    Highlights Thread from Superior Thread Company was used both on the needle and bobbin in a deep purple color.  I think it looks very pretty and I am sure Sally will be happy with it.

Oh, and to add one more thing.  When my friend, Tom Russell, visited with me for a few days, he got a kick out of the weights I was using instead of rice bags to prevent my quilt top from vibrating or bouncing during the stitching.

Yep, those are Hoffman Bali Pops!  Now, I plan on using them in a quilt, but in the meantime they are much prettier than rice bags and I love looking at them.  Can you blame me?

Applique on the Embroidery Machine

Hi Everyone.

Just wanted to let you know that I have added a couple of pages to my blog.  One page is Embroidery Techniques and the other is Quilting Techniques.

I just finished adding some instructions with photos of the  process of Applique with the Embroidery Unit of your Machine.  These instructions can be found on the Embroidery Technique page and will  show the different steps in stitching .  I hope you find them helpful and feel free to post any questions  you may have.


Co-ordinating Sailboat Applique/copyright 2011

Sorry I haven’t posted in a bit.

I have been very busy working on a few more embroidery design CDs.  I am trying to finish some of the designs that I have created for children before I move on to my adult oriented appliques for quilts.  I am also digitizing some of the many quilt designs that I have drawn and used  on my customers quilts over the last ten years.  These designs will also be accomplished with  a home embroidery machine and will hopefully help  some UFO’s get finished.  (not that we have any of those)

I’ve almost finished the digitizing of my Puddle Duck Appliques and will be starting to make my sample quilts and a few outfits for children.  I thought you might enjoy a little of the process so I will start by showing you some images of the designs.  For each duck I have a coordinating applique to help with designing the quilt blocks for a sweet baby quilt.  I also wanted to include the same designs as a back-stitch only design.  These will look great by themselves, stitched in a solid color like redwork or blue work or my favorite,  stitch in colors and then color with a crayon.  Yes, you heard right.  Color with a crayon.  You can set the crayon into the fabric simply by ironing after coloring. I sometimes color the wrong side just for a different look if the fabric is sheer enough for the color to show.  It’s lots of fun.


Here’s a few of the designs.


I will be picking out my fabrics Saturday when I go back to Ginas to teach and  I’ll share some of my choices.     I’m thinking white pique for the appliques, with  polka dots, checks, plaids, etc for the sashings and such.  I will probably get in the shop and totally change everything.  You know how we fabric collectors are.  I think I will  stitch out a few of the  appliques and take them with me to shop for the fabrics.

I can’t wait.

I am so busy these days and have so many irons in the fire, but it feels so good to be planning new things.

I have got to get back to my quilting as well and the month of April looks pretty good so I will post pics of my customers quilts as I get them finished.