Fire Breathing Dragon

You know how it is when you pause long enough to reminisce; you think back over the moments that have passed and realize those moments have turned into days, weeks, months and even years. When that happens you realize that far more time has passed than you care to admit.

It’s been a year and eight months since I had the privilege of working with this quilt. Back in 2013 my husband and I were volunteering our time as master gardeners. We met Deb through the Master Gardener Volunteer Program. My friend Deb has the talent for creating quilts with unique designs. After finishing her latest masterpiece Deb asked me if I would be interested in quilting it. My answer, of course, was Yes! Being asked to quilt a fellow quilters project is truly an honor. It takes a leap of faith to entrust someone else with your work of art.

After finishing a morning of pulling weeds and digging in the soil we met at our planned rendezvous to transfer the quilt from her possession to mine. Before parting company Deb unfolded her quilt top and backing to show off her new project. The quilt was assembled using a varied pallet of squares and rectangles cut from red, orange, blue and white fabrics. The back was a pre-printed panel of a very colorful, large dragon.

When I’m hired to quilt a project I’m always thrilled when I’m told I can quilt it however I want. Being given free-rein makes the project all that much more enjoyable. Deb gave me permission to choose the quilt stitch pattern for her Dragon Quilt. One look at the quilt design instantly brought to mind one of my favorite quilting motifs. I’m not quite sure what other people refer to it as but I call it square stippling. I first used this pattern here. The square stippling was done in blue.

Here’s the finished Dragon Quilt.

IMG_0171 IMG_0111 IMG_0094 IMG_0198Thank you Deb for trusting me with your creation.

Vital Statistics:

  • Size: 59 1/4 x 70 1/2
  • Amount of time it took to quilt: 3 1/2 hours
  • # of Stitches: 104,282
  • Thread: Perma Core Blue

Step Five: Zig Zag or Straight

We’ve come a long way in this quilt transformation. The list of things left to complete has grown much, much shorter. Time now to add some decorations.

The very first thing we need to do is secure the quilt sandwich with stitching/quilting. For very small projects, like this one, I prefer to do the quilting on my Pfaff sewing machine. My conventional sewing machine has 100’s of decorative stitches. Adjusting stitch width and/or length as well as thread color provides oodles of possibilities. My imagination would be my only limitation.

To minimize the shifting of the three layers (quilt top, batting and backing) I carefully placed pins in strategic locations. Once those were in place it was time to let my creativity run wild. Line by line, section by section stitches were added. Some were zigzag, some were straight while others showed way more imagination. I used nine different stitch patterns.

Here’s how the Blue House wall hanging looked after some of the stitching was finished.

IMG_6981Once the quilting is finished it’s on to embellishments. See you next time!

Murphy Square on Point

Creating a quilt, from start to finish, takes a lot of time and effort. So much thought goes into choosing the pattern, selecting just the right combination of fabrics, pressing, cutting and finally sewing the quilt together. This quilt, the one I will call Square On Point showed all the signs of top-notch quality work. Much care went into it’s construction.

IMG_4806As per our conversation a natural colored thread and Baptist Fan quilt pattern were chosen. The Baptist Fan was a design I was very familiar with yet had never used before. All of my stitches are applied through free-motion, which means I don’t have a computer that uniformly applies the stitches. Every single stitch is one I create.

IMG_5944When I discussed the Baptist Fan with the customer I explained that I had never done it but I felt confident I could manage it. Stitching half circle free-hand is very difficult if not near impossible. To assist me with accuracy I used a set of acrylic circles made specifically for long-arm quilt machines.

IMG_0054The final outcome, if I might say so, turned out quite nicely.

IMG_5961 IMG_5962Square On Point Details:

  • Quilt Size – 77 1/2″ x 66 1/4″
  • Thread Used – Omni Antique Gold
  • Quilt Stitch – Baptist Fan
  • Quilting Time – 6 hours
  • # of Stitches – 80,975
  • Quilt Seamstress – Pat Murphy


Step Four: Transforming an Ugly Duckling

A quilt is not a quilt until I say so! When we last chatted about this never-ending Blue House renovation I absolutely didn’t like what I saw. It was no more beautiful, in my eyes, than the original version. In fact, I almost would say I disliked it even more. But, let’s not go that far.

IMG_6700I had a bad case of Deja vu. The author of the book create your own free-form quilts, Rayna would tell me to keep slicing, keep adding fabric until you like it. So out came the seam ripper and the rotary cutter. The borders were removed first and cut into smaller segments. The center panel was subjected to slice after slice, after slice. After each slice a new strip of fabric was added.IMG_6951No two strips were identical in size, color or shape. By the time I was finished, what once was an easily identifiable Blue House had turned into tiny remnants. Anyone not familiar with the quilt’s origin would not be able to tell it had once been an ugly Blue House.

My new creation was unlike anything I had ever made before. I had tiptoed into new waters and survived to tell about it. This quilt was by no means finished. I had borders and embellishments to add as well as quilting, a label, a quilt sleeve and a binding. Better leave that until next time. Note: If you would like to read about the journey this quilt has taken so far you may read about it here, here, and here.


Surprise Table Runner

Just because my long-arm quilt machine is set up to work on bed-sized quilts that doesn’t mean I can’t work on something smaller. The smallest item I have quilted so far was the Surprise Table Runner for a friend’s birthday present.

While vacationing in Door County in June of 2013 I received an email from Cindy. Cindy had made a table runner for her dear friend Pat. She heard, via the grapevine, that I had a long-arm quilting business. While enjoying my time away Cindy and I traded emails. Plans were setup for her to bring the table runner to my home later that month.

IMG_5833 IMG_5835When Cindy delivered her table runner we discussed her desires for thread color and quilting pattern. Cindy chose a simple all-over meander stitch and a medium grey thread. The beautiful runner measured 64 x 16. Both the top and bottom edges had angles that prevented the runner from being properly attached to my machine. The runner was also narrower than needed so extra fabric was added to all four sides.

Given the small size of the Surprise Table Runner the quilting took relatively little time which made it easy to meet the relatively short turn-around time. Both Cindy and I were very pleased with the outcome. What do you think?

IMG_5827 IMG_5808 IMG_5798 IMG_5797 IMG_5785 Surprise Table Runner Details:

  • Quilt Size – 64″ x 16″
  • Thread Used – Omni Medium Grey
  • Quilt Stitch – Meander
  • Quilting Time – 2 hours 23 minutes
  • # of Quilt Stitches – 37,682
  • Quilt Seamstress – Cindy Curtis