Ask the Longarmer….

When I’m working on a quilt, I often have lots of time to think. Sometimes I wonder if my clients question why I do some of the things I do, or have certain requirements for them to follow. (“Really?!?!? She wants me to do WHAT????”) 😉

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I’ve been longarm quilting for over 10 years now, so most of what I do is second nature to me. But I realize what is commonplace to me may be very foreign to someone who has not worked on a longarm – or maybe even seen one in person. I’m starting a new feature here on my blog called “Ask the Longarmer”. I’ll offer tips and hints and insight into why I ask you for some of the things I do. There really ARE logical reasons for my requests, and the end result will be a quilt we can both be proud of.

I’d also like to answer questions from you if there is something in the process that is confusing or does not make sense. Please email your questions to me at andi@andicraftsquilting.com. I’ll keep copies of these posts all together on the “Ask the Longarmer” page – you can find that on a tab way up on the top of my blog. So you can always return to that page if you need a refresher on something. And if you subscribe to my blog (over on the left side) you’ll be sure to never miss a post.

So let’s get started. Here is something you might be wondering about:

What is the stitching around the edges of the quilt, and why is the thread color sometimes different than the main quilting design?

When I load your quilt on the frame, I baste the edges of your top to the batting and backing as I work my way down the quilt. This ensures that the quilt will stay square and straight. Not all LAers do this, as it takes more time, but it’s important to me to have your quilt look it’s best when it’s finished. The thread is sometimes different colors as this is how I use up partial bobbins ;-) . You may remove this stitching if you wish, but most clients tell me they like it as it makes it easier to apply their binding.

So now it’s your turn – what would YOU like to know? You can post as a comment below, or email me and I’ll try to answer in an upcoming post.

Christmas Trees and Snowballs Quilt

I haven’t posted any quilts lately, so I thought I would show you one that I finished recently. My customer Liz created the top by combining two patterns from Natalia Bonner’s blog/website (piecenquilt). Liz always does wonderful work and it’s a pleasure to work on her tops. She suggested wind or clouds in the blue,  a feeling of snow drifts in the white, and perhaps snowflakes in the snowball blocks. The picture below doesn’t show all of the quilt, I think there were actually five rows of blocks below the tree panel.

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I did freehand work for the sky and the snow.

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The sashing work was also handguided, using a ruler for the straight lines. Time consuming, with lots of stops and starts, but I really like how it looks. And yes, the four white ‘points’ were all hand appliqued!

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My IntelliQuilter stitched out the snowflakes in the snowball blocks. I alternated between 8 different snowflake designs. Here are just two of them:

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What a fun quilt for Liz to have on her bed for the winter!  I hope this is the ONLY kind of snow I have to endure this winter 😉

2013 Quilt Show

The Magic Needlers Quilt Guild 2013 Quilt Festival was held Oct. 5 & 6. I was honored to be chosen as the Featured Quilter this year. Look at what I saw the day before the show opened on the big electronic billboard in our town!

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Here are a few photos of my display. It’s kind of fun to see all of your work hanging at once.

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One of the categories guild members could exhibit in was ‘Antique/Heirloom Quilts’. I like how they displayed these items on old wooden ironing boards:

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There was a beautiful old Log Cabin quilt, as well as a pretty red & green basket quilt:

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Our show is not judged, but we do invite the public to vote for their favorite quilt. This year’s Viewer’s Choice went to my customer Cindy’s beautiful Chinoiserie quilt. Congratulations, Cindy, and thanks for trusting me to quilt your special quilt!

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Cindy wanted an overall design on her quilt, so we chose Elegant Swirls as the pattern mimicked the design in some of her fabric. The ‘petals’ were to be appliqued onto the quilt top. She wisely left these off so I didn’t have to quilt around or over them, and once the overall design was complete I secured them down with one of the motifs I split out from the overall design.

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I also presented a trunk show on Sunday. I thought it would be fun to see the same quilt pattern made up in different fabrics. We chose some quilts that were my original patterns or I had taught in some of my classes. Thanks to my wonderful customers and students for loaning me their quilts, we had a really nice variety to show off!

This was a Mystery Quilt the guild did a few years ago:

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Here are some Day & Night quilts from the class I did using Eleanor Burn’s book of the same name:

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Twirling Tulips‘ is one of my original patterns. You can see several versions of it below:

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Annie’s Star‘ is another original pattern. Here are four customer/student’s quilts, plus my original:

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Look at how different these two ‘Twinkle‘ quilts are! Changing the fabric really can change the look of a pattern.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of our show. If you’d like to know more about AndiCrafts Quilting Studio’s original patterns, please visit my website. I’ll be adding more patterns in the weeks to come, so check back often to see what’s new.

Another Winner!

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the second way you could win a FREE wide quilt back – by purchasing a back during March either online or in the Studio. I drew a name out yesterday from all the entries, and the winner is……someone who purchased this lovely batik backing. Like how I keep you in suspense??? Those of you who bought this piece are wondering, is it me? IS IT ME?????? Well, to find out, just scroll down below the photo……

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Kathy G. of SD! Kathy will be getting a check for the full purchase price of $56.70! Congratulations, Kathy! (And I only had one Kathy G. from SD participate, a local customer, so yes, it is YOU!)

Edge-to-Edge or Custom Quilting – Part 4 – Questions, Anyone?

So I was going to post photos of some of the quilts I’ve done, and tell you why I chose the design I did. I find I learn a lot just by looking at photos of quilts, or quilts at shows. I analyze what I like and what I don’t like about a particular type of quilting, and try to remember that when I’m choosing quilting designs. And if I can explain to you why I chose what I did, maybe that will help you too.

BUT, it is taking me SOOO much time to find photos, clean them up, resize them, then write a description, etc. So instead, I thought what if I answered some of your questions on anything I’ve discussed up to now, or on quilts you may be working on? If someone has a top that they are puzzled on how to quilt, email me a photo, and I will try to give you suggestions.

In the meantime, you can view some of my recent customer quilts on my Flickr account, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about why I chose the patterns I did.

We Have a Winner!

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Thank you to everyone who entered my blog contest by answering the question “Why Do You Quilt?”. It was really fun hearing all the different answers. There were several recurring themes….being creative; giving gifts from the heart; challenging yourself yet having fun & relaxing; being therapeutic or relieving stress; nourishing the soul, an ego booster and the friends and community found within the quilting world. Wow – I wonder how many other hobbies can offer us all of those things?? Aren’t we lucky!

Speaking of lucky, I used a random number generator and came up with our winner………Julie Thomsen!! Julie gets her choice of any of my cotton wide backings (not flannel or batiks, sorry). I’ve sent you an email, Julie, please reply with your choice of fabric and your mailing address and I’ll get your prize out to you.

And don’t forget, if you didn’t win this time, there is a 2nd way you can win. (See rules here next to the #2 symbol.) Purchase any of my wide backs during March and you will be entered into the second drawing. At the end of the month I will choose one ticket and refund the amount of that backing to the customer. Click here to shop my wide selection of quilt backings.

If you are on Facebook and have not ‘Liked’ my AndiCrafts Quilting Studio page yet, be sure and do so. You don’t want to miss out on the quilt photos, funny links, and Facebook only specials.

Edge-to-Edge or Custom Quilting? Part 3

So now we know what is meant by Edge-to-Edge (or Overall) Quilting and Custom Quilting, but how do we decide which one is right for a quilt? I usually consider 3 things :

#1 How will the quilt will be used? Is it for a child or college student – meant to be loved, dragged around, washed often? (Choose E2E).

Edge-to-Edge Daisy pattern on baby girl's quilt

Edge-to-Edge Daisy pattern on baby girl’s quilt

Or is it to be brought out only on special occasions, or maybe hung on a wall – an heirloom to be passed down through the generations? (Choose custom or heirloom).

#2 Will the design of the top allow fancy quilting to show? For example, an appliqued quilt top will almost always be enhanced with a custom quilting job, as will a Lone Star or other pattern with large areas of plainer fabric.

The plain background of the Lone Star quilt lets custom quilting designs stand out.

The plain background of the Lone Star quilt lets custom quilting designs stand out.

Whereas scrap quilts with lots of small pieces, or quilts with busy fabrics, often will not show any kind of fancy quilting designs so an overall pattern is more suitable.

A strippy quilt with no defined blocks is the perfect place for an edge-to-edge design.

A strippy quilt with no defined blocks is the perfect place for an edge-to-edge design.

#3 What is the customer’s budget? (Or if you are quilting your own, how much time do you want to put into the quilting?)

After asking yourself these questions, you should have a better idea of whether E2E or Custom is the right choice.

Let’s say you decide on E2e. Now, what pattern to choose? The other considerations are the age and sex of the recipient – I wouldn’t put hearts or flowers on a 19-year-old boy’s quilt, nor would I put basketballs on a 6-year-old girl’s quilt (unless she really happens to be into basketball!). I often choose based on the recipient’s interests, or some motif in the fabric. Sometimes the quilt will tell me how it wants to be quilted. Now that may sound weird – but with some quilts, as soon as they come in the door, an idea will pop in my head of how to quilt it.

Softball T-Shirts made into a quilt just screamed for an overall softball quilting pattern.

Softball T-Shirts made into a quilt just screamed for an overall softball quilting pattern, featuring bats, balls and gloves.

Whereas others may take me a LOOOOONG time to decide. That is called the “Stand and Stare” factor. Because I do exactly that – I stand there, staring at the quilt for many days, trying to decide what’s right. This usually happens with custom or heirloom quilts, which is another reason why they cost more. I often have to go searching for or spend time designing just the right pattern to fit a particular space.

I plan on showing you some more examples, but it may take me a while to find them. I’m VERY good about taking photos of every quilt before it leaves my Studio. I USED to be very good about filing those photos into the customer’s folder as I took them. I’m NO LONGER good at the filing thing. I now have 12,500 – YES TWELVE-THOUSAND-FIVE-HUNDRED photos on my laptop!!!! Okay, not all of them are of customer quilts. I’m guestimating 1000 photos are of my quilts and quilts I’ve taken at quilt shows, and 500 are personal photos of my house, and yard, and dogs, and family, etc. That leaves ONLY 11,000 photos that I need to organize!!! I should be able to get that done in a couple of hours, don’t you think????? So as soon as I get that done, maybe I can post some examples of what I chose to quilt on a top and why…….

In the meantime, don’t forget to visit the website to see the large selection of wide quilt backs I now carry. Purchase one (or more) during March to be entered to win that back for free! And if you feel the information I’m presenting here would be valuable to other quilters, please feel free to share my blog with your friends, on your online groups, Facebook, Pinterest……wherever.

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As for me, it’s back to sorting photos……

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