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 😉

Memorex in the Round

I was not going to do a custom quilt using IQ until after the holidays……no time to figure it out……I knew in the beginning it would take longer………I should just keep pumping out those overalls…….uh, huh…..I have no willpower 😉

This top was a perfect candidate for Memorexing (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go here.)

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It’s a very cool lone star/mariner’s compass done on QuiltSmart foundations. My customer wanted to make it round and had marked the outer edge for me. Now it was up to me to decide how to quilt it.

You may be able to see some light lines on the green background areas. When I’m auditioning designs, I often use white school chalk. It allows me to play, but brushes off easily if I want to try something else. I decided to create some triangle shapes with straight lines, and fill those areas in with feathers. 

IQ can stitch straight lines easily for you, you just move your machine to the beginning and ending points of the line, ‘clicking’ at each endpoint, then press ‘go’ and voila, a beautiful straight line. Then, I wanted my feather motifs to be symmetrical. So, I turned on the record feature, and stitched half of my design. Then I was able to copy it, flip it, take out a few ‘blips’, and connect it to the first half. Now when I needed to repeat that motif eleventy-gazillion times, I showed IQ the boundary of the triangle, and it stitched the design over and over for me – with all of my handguided imperfections that were in the first motif! Here is the first one I handguided:

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I also created a second motif for the triangles that were going the other way around the circle:

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The whole thing:

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And some shots of the center, which was handguided. I figured IQ deserved a rest after all the work it did for me in the borders!

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I did do an overall after this. I had another lone star and we decided on baptist fans.

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Baptist fans isn’t the easiest overall to do – in order to get it to overlap correctly, I really needed to monitor it the whole time it was stitching. But overall I was very pleased with how it came out. And the customer seemed to really like it too, which is really what matters, isn’t it???

Learning the IQ

The IntelliQuilter is a tablet computer mounted on top of the machine, with motors that drive the machine head around the table. Here it is at work on my first customer quilt:

It’s quite easy to use, I started a customer quilt the day after I got it! But there is still much to learn about the system, and I need to train this old brain of mine the right steps to take. So right now I’m only doing overall designs with it, until I can do those without thinking about it so much. Here are a few of the ones I did this week:

Those two are done with a pattern called Oh My Feathers from Intelligent Quilting that came with the IQ. It’s a beautiful pattern and stitches out well. I also did one with A Rose is a Rose, but I guess I didn’t get a picture of that one. But I had a sample on muslin, and two customers that dropped off quilts this week chose that pattern.

I played with one of the geometric patterns, and think this would be a fun overall design on the right quilt. But I also think just the one row would make an awesome border! I can’t wait until I let myself learn how to do borders!! 

I did give myself one challenge this week. I had a T-shirt quilt to do, and one of the shirts had a pocket on it. I thought it would be fun to leave the pocket unquilted. I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I asked on the IQ List. I had several answers on different ways to accomplish the task. The one I chose was to watch the IQ when it approached the pocket, stop it at the edge, and use the ‘Restart’ feature to start stitching again at the other side of the pocket. Since I had just one pocket to avoid, it worked great.

And the way the pattern came out, it looks like there is a hanky sticking out of the pocket LOL! (Am I showing my age? who uses hankies anymore anyway???). Here is the rest of the quilt:

You can see the pattern the best on the back:

I call it Wonky Square Spirals, I played with the Square Spiral panto in the system and purposely made it off kilter.

I am SOOOOO lovin’ my IQ!!

Catching Up

It’s been a busy few weeks since I last posted. We had our local quilt show the first weekend in Oct. I was in charge of the Silent Auction and the Quilts of Valor booth, we are trying to get a group started here in our area so we were talking up the program and handing out block kits that people can take home to sew and return.

On Sunday morning of the quilt show, my IntelliQuilter was delivered! This is a robotic quilting system that will ‘drive’ the longarm for me after I set up the design. I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time, so much so that I bought the second longarm to put it on! After several hours in the morning while Tony installed the machine and Helen trained me on it, it was back to the quilt show in the afternoon.

I only had 2 days to play with the IQ, then it was off to Des Moines, IA to attend the first AQS show held there. They put on the big show in Paducah, KY every year, but I’ve never been to that one since it is so far. Des Moines was only a 7 hour drive, so how could I not go? I went with Jeri, who is in my little art quilting group, and the last night there we compared the photos that we took. Funny, we both took pics of many of the same quilts, and they were all the artsy ones!

We decided to play a joke on Jeri’s DH – she was kidding him one time about buying a longarm quilting machine. We walked past a booth at the show and there was a SOLD sign on a HandiQuilter. So I got her picture with the machine and we emailed it to Johnny that evening with a note that he needed to send more money!

A nice bonus was the Des Moines Area Quilter’s Guild was having their show at the same time in the same venue for the same admission price. So we got to see 2 shows in one! There were some wonderful quilts in that show as well, and I was very impressed with how they hung their show. In each of the little ‘cubicles’ that are formed by the pipe and drape, the quilts were related in some way – they might all be oriental-themed, or all blue-and-white quilts, or all 30’s prints, etc. It really made for an exceptionally nice showing.

And this week it was back to reality, I actually worked all 5 days, all day! It’s about time, huh??? LOL

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