Quilt with a Word

A client came to me recently wondering if I could quilt the word “Mwah” all over a quilt top that she made for a friend. Apparently, this friend always ends her email with the word “Mwah” which is a way of sending a kiss through the air. (At least that is what it said when I goggled it.)  I agreed to take on the task and a close-up of the result is pictured below:


Instead of free hand quilting Mwah all over the quilt top, I created an edge-to-edge digital quilting design with the word Mwah.  I used a software program called “Art n Stitch” which is a vector based drawing program specifically designed to create quilting patterns that can be imported into computer robotics attached to some long arm quilting machines. I have an ABM Innova long arm with the Navigator.  It worked great! So, if any of you want to have a word or a phrase quilted on your quilt top or yardage, I’m ready to go.

Edge to Edge Quilting is a Great Choice for Bed and Lap Quilts

I've had a change of heart. For a long time I've been a free motion custom quilting enthusiast all the way. However, after years of long arm quilting, I've found that edge to edge all over quilting patterns can look beautiful and will better stand the test of time, especially with repeated washing and snuggling.  Free motion custom quilting is absolutely beautiful and continues to be my first choice for many quilt tops.  But for quilts that will be heavily used, an all over quilt design is often the best choice. Pictured here are a few quilts with edge to edge designs. 


Garden Path for Robert Kaufman

Here's a quilt called "Garden Path" that I quilted for Robert Kaufman. This pattern was designed by one of their very talented staff members, Nichole Ramirez. The quilt is made up of RK Fusions Garden Collection fabrics. It's a BEAUTIFUL collection of fabrics and an easy pattern to follow. There's are a ton of HST, but the end product is well worth the effort. You can download the pattern "Garden Path" for free from the Robert Kaufman website.

My approach for quilting this top was to use a simple background quilting pattern that would allow all the beautiful fabrics colors to pop out from the top. This quilt is all about color and that is what I wanted people to experience when setting eyes on it. I chose straight vertical lines on the grey background color and very minimal curved lines in bear paws. I changed thread colors to best match the fabrics.

Below is a picture of the Robert Kaufman Quilt Market Booth that featured this quilt and line of fabrics.

I'm in Generation Q Magazine!

A little while back the folks at Generation Q Magazine asked a number of us quilter types to quilt their logo in whatever way we felt inspired. The photo in this post was my choice for quilting up their fun logo. Here's what I said in the magazine - "It has been a great honor and lots of fun to participate in the project of quilting the Generation “Q” logo. I selected Quilter’s Dream Puff polyester batting because the loft is incredibly effective at illuminating the quilting design and texture. For the quilting thread, I color matched the background with “Cool Grey” Glide 40w Advanced Trilobal Polyester. Glide is one of my favorite threads due to the stitch quality, the huge color variety and the way it sits so beautifully on and almost disappears into the fabric. When it came to the background negative space quilting design, my intuition viewed it as a star floating in space. For me, the universe, like life, is mysterious and unpredictable, full of organic intersections and separations. I chose angular straight lines shooting off the star, coupled with a wavy pattern to create a floating effect for the star and straight line quilting. I left the star essentially “quilt free” so that the Generation “Q” logo would appear to “pop” out of the rest of the quilt."

Quilt for Robert Kaufman Highlighting London Calling Prints

Here's a piece I recently quilted for Robert Kaufman Fabrics highlighting their London Calling combed cotton line. There was a lot of negative space on this quilt top, so I used the structure of the boxes on point for the quilting design to mimic the colored boxes, and tie the overall look of the project together. 

Not only is this fabric beautiful, it is also incredibly soft to touch and behaves like a cotton voile. I'm already wondering what I could make with some of these fabrics. The fabric softness would be ideal for a baby quilt.

Dog Days of Summer

Yes, it's late in the summer and I haven't posted since May! It has been an eventul and transitional three months with my twin boys graduating high school, and the flurry of activities that goes with that, to getting those boys ready for college, and sending them off for college next few week. I also have a teenage daughter still in high school. Meanwhile, I continue to work on client quilts amongst it all.

As someone who quilts, I have a lot of scraps. And as longarm quilter, even more scraps with the trimmings of quilts and batting. I have a quilting friend who can't stand the thought of those scraps being thrown into landfills, so she collects my scraps, combines them with her own, and uses those scraps as filling to make dog beds for the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter. It's a win win for all. She's a recycler and I'm an animal person, and the pooches at the shelter get some comfort.

My friend recently stopped by to show off the dog beds before dropping them off at the shelter. My dog Barney got in on the action and graciously modeled one of the beds.

Mom's Quilt

Here’s my mom’s quilt that’s now all quilted and ready to bind.  I used a quilting design that looks like a bouquet of flowers flowing out of each square center which is the vintage floral fabric, the only print I used.  For the narrow 1/2 inch sashing between the blocks, I used simple long arm pearls to set each block apart.  On the back, I used the slate color of the radiance fabric from Robert Kaufman because I love the way it looks and feels.   It’s a cotton silk blend that is soooo yummy.  

Mom wanted it bigger.

This quilt was originally a gift to my mother for Christmas, but she told me she wanted it bigger so that it could be a comforter for her queen size bed. I guess it’s a good thing she told me she wanted it bigger before I quilted it.

I do not normally use huge borders, but that was the most expeditious way to enlarge this quilt top.  Expeditious when it came to sewing, but not finishing. The delay was caused by the matching fabric being on back order at my local quilt shop, Sew Modern. Now it’s become a late Christmas/Mother’s Day gift. This quilt is a mix of a vintage floral fabric and two solids. The border is Moda’s Cross Weave Woven Blue Blue, and there’s also hint of a Kona solid gold color. The Cross Weave looks more like a turquoise than a blue, but whatever you call it, it’s my mom’s favorite color.

Now the quilt is on my long arm, swiftly on its way to a (delayed) expeditious finish!

Digital Floral Pattern

My life as a quilter is evolving! I've mentioned that I have a new Navigator, a computerized-guided addition to my ABM Innova long arm quilting machine that allows me to do edge-to-edge all over digital designs. The great thing about this is that it offers another option for my clients, and best of all, I'm able to get back to the basics of being a quilter and do more quilt piecing!

Below is my latest, a quick thank you gift for a family that has been very helpful to me.  I pieced it with just two Alexander Henry fabrics, a brown Heath print and a turquoise Cameillia, and a brown-hued solid Kona for the back.  I used 3/4 inch strips pieced inbetween each block.  This created 1/4 inch sashing with the Cameillia fabic making the brown blocks look they're floating.

I usually custom quilt my own quilts. Yet with the addition of the Navigator, I've come to know that not every quilt needs a custom job. And sometimes an all-over quilting design is a great option, as with this quilt.  And now that the quilt has been washed, the simple digital pattern has allowed the batting to crinkle up the quilt in that perfect way that makes it a cozy, functional quilt.

I picked an all-over flower with swirls and leaves. I used this pattern because it worked perfectly with the Camellia flower print without fighting it. The Navigator also allows me to change the scale of the pattern. In this case, I made it large to go with the large print.

Soon I'll be posting a library of my digital patterns to show along with my custom work that's on my site.

Thanks for checking out my blog.

Curls and Feathers

I recently finished Karen's quilt.  With this being a traditional sampler-style quilt, the challenge was how to create differentiation between the blocks, yet find unity so it all belnds together in a singular piece. In this case, I mostly used feathers and several different curl patterns, among a few others. I especially liked how the border came out, with lines radiating out to the edges with curly cues on each side.

In the full size pic below, one can see how the feathers and curls worked together. The center panel also has curls. Yet within the center, I used two different curls, one being more dense than the other. This provided further differentiation within the block itself.

I really like when customer jobs like this come in. The opportunity presented by a creative puzzle is not only challenging, but extremely satisfying when the puzzle is solved and completed.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Who's the winner? It's me!

I was excited to find out this morning that I was awarded two ribbons for my quilting on Peggie's Little Monsters quilt at the South Bay Quilters Guild 2013 Quilt Show.

I was awarded 3rd Place overall for machine quilting, and 1st Place for machine quilting on an applique quilt. I hope this means I get to take the rest of the day off, and be treated like a queen by my husband and teenage children. Nah, that's probably not happening. But I'm thrilled with the recognition. Thanks Peggie for the opportunity!

Abstract Sea Creatures Whole Cloth Quilt

The concept of this small quilt entered my mind when I took a class with Linda Taylor last January at Road to California.  She taught us this twisty thing that really captured my attention...something about all the movement created by the shapes.  I’ve been wanting to incorporate aspects of it into a small whole cloth quilt ever since.  This is my first attempt, and after finishing it, the colors and shapes remind me of sea creatures.  

Baby Stripes Squared

I pieced this top using Chez Moi Coquette Watercolor Stripes fabric that I purchased from Sew Modern.  I quilted it with a digital panto design called Whole Lotta Bubbles from Urban Elementz.  You can see this beautiful striped fabric in the first photo which is the back of the quilt.   This particular striped fabric is perfect for making squares because the stripes vary thoughout the fabric so that each square is a little bit different depending on the section used to construct the square.  

I recently added a computer guided contraption to my ABM Innova long arm quilting machince called the NAVIGATOR.  This magical addition runs my machine on its own with whatever pattern and scale of design I choose to use on a particular quilt.  I felt the Whole Lotta Bubbles design was a perfect contrast to this square- based baby quilt.   If you use computer guided or paper pantos, I urge you to check out Urban Elementz because they have loads of patterns I have not seen elsewhere.

Of course, I still LOVE doing my own custom hand guided quilting, but some quilts really call for an all over pattern rather than a super custom design.   Also, I can charge much less for an all over Navigator operated quilting pattern than I charge for my custom work.  

Garden Rainbow Quilt for Shannon and Bob

Shannon and Bob pieced this quilt top using a Kaffe Fassett pattern from his Country Garden Quilts book.  This pattern is called Garden Rainbow Quilt.  They searched far and wide for his exact fabrics designs for this project, but some of the fabrics were no longer available so they had to make a few replacements.   I love their choices and enjoyed quilting this project for them.  I used a meandering feather design in all the floral areas and a zig-zag straight line pattern in the more solid sections.  

Pin Your Borders, or Not All Shortcuts Work

This week, I'm off at Road to California Quilter's Conference and Showcase in Ontario, CA. I go to this annual event every year, taking several all-day long arm quilting classes. For me, this is my yearly continuing education. It's a great opportunity for me to meet and learn from some of the rock stars of the quilting world. I'll do a post about this event later in the week. Also, Road to California means long arm technicians are in the So Cal area, and that means a new piece of machinery for my own long arm which I can hardly wait to share with you later.

In the meantime, my friend Lisa Redmond is going to do a guest blog post. Take it away Lisa....

Hi everyone in blogland. Tanya has written about me before in her blog, most recently about the Harley Quilt we did together. I'm very flattered by the nice and wonderful things she says about me and my quilts, yet I recently made a big gigantic boo boo that I'd like to share.

I just took up sewing and quilting 23 months ago. I'm self taught, with most thanks going to the YouTube Channel tutorials of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. However, Tanya did teach me how to use a rotary cutter! While I was learning, I felt it was important to learn how to do sewing/quilting methods the proper way. As I've become more confident in my skills, I've learned where I can take shortcuts for time and labor savings. BUT, not all shortcuts work.

I recently agreed to help a friend visiting from Mexico finish sewing a quilt. My friend's quilt only needed the borders attached before we could take it to Tanya for long arm quilting. So I just grabbed the borders and quickly sewed them on, without measuring or pinning, just thinking that if I leave a little extra at the top and bottom, we can just trim to square up. My friend even mentioned, "I notice you're not pinning your borders." I confidently said it would be fine. Boy was I wrong!

When we brought the quilt top to Tanya for her to do her magic to it, she said to me, "It's all good? No floppy borders?" She had never said that to me before, so my natural response to her was "Huh?" She explained borders that are not measured to size and properly pinned have a tendency to get wavy or floppy as she quilts out to the edges of the quilt. I had to sheepishly admit that Yep, I did not measure or pin and that was a distinct possibility. OOPS. I had just been schooled.

A few hours later, she emailed me this picture with the subject "Floppy Borders":

She hadn't even started quilting yet and the floppy borders were very obvious. Lesson learned. This is one shortcut that cannot be made! I recently noticed that Tanya does have a Quilt Preparation page on her site with a nice list of ways to ensure your quilt top is ready for her to quilt. I know from experience the better the quilt top is made ready for her, the better job she can do.

So quilters of the world, MEASURE TO FIT AND PIN YOUR BORDERS!!!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt

QuiltCon, the first national gathering of The Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) is happening next month in Austin, TX. One of the many challenges and events happening around QuiltCon is the QuiltCon Block Challenge. Essentially, guild members were able to submit a block using the QuiltCon colors that were going to be pieced together by Elizabeth Hartman for a fundraiser quilt, the tickets being sold at QuiltCon. Yet only one quilt could be made for that drawing and many more blocks were received than could be made into one quilt. So the MQG decided to divide and send out the blocks to individual guilds, have them piece those blocks into a quilt, and donate all those quilts, 46 total (one for each bed), to the Austin Children's Shelter.

The Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild is making two of those quilts. Guild members have stepped up to piece, quilt, bind and make sleeves for the quilts. I voluteered to long arm quilt one of the quilts, and here it is.

My challenge with this quilt was the large amount of negative space (the yellow background). I decided to use a straght line chevron pattern. This is an often used design within the modern quilting movement, and I enhanced the pattern for added dimension by varying the spaces between the lines. I used a large feather pattern for the dark gray borders around the colorful blocks for unity. The curviness of that large feather is a nice contrast to the stark lines of the background. And finally, I created a unique quilting design to match the personality of each individual block.

Due to the quickly approaching QuiltCon, and the time needed for others to bind and make sleeves for the quilt, I had to squeeze this in and get it done asap in between my customer quilts. I'm glad I was able to participate in the making of this quilt, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Even better, I know it is going to make a needing child very happy to have this new colorful quilt on their bed.

Peggie's Little Monsters

Peggie made this quilt for an auction benefiting the Haight Ashbury Community Nursery School. I quilted pebbles behind all the monsters creating a background texture from which the creatures could POP. There were certainly plenty of popping monster eyeballs looking up at me while I was quilting this adorable quilt top. I used white Omni Superior thread on all the white portions of the quilt, blue Glide thread on the inner border and yellow Magnifico Superior thread on the colorful triangles on the outer border.  

The Harley Quilt

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a great start to the new year. For me, it's been back to work and busy since January 2. I want to share a quilt that was completed and delivered to the customer at the end of last month. 

I received a call from Jim wanting a quilt made from his Harley Davidson t-shirts. As a Harley rider, each shirt holds a special memory for him of road trips and friendships. I had no time to piece a quilt, in addition to the quilting, with three active teenagers at home, including the twins who are getting ready to go to college. So I called Lisa Redmond (who I've blog-mentioned here, here and here) to partner with me on this quilt. I think Lisa is an extremely talented quilter and I've enjoyed partnering with her on projects. She constantly amazes me with the ideas she comes up with for quilts.

We used fabric from Tula Pink's Halloween-themed Nightshade line, more specifically the Spider Blossom and Raven Lace patterns. Even better, it was post-Halloween on sale at Sew Modern. The Nightshade fabrics were an ideal choice for the themed quilt. The dark grays and muted lavendar of the Eveningshade colorway, and the pattern designs with subtle skulls and crossbones, lightning bolts and cobwebs were perfect for a masculine Harley quilt, yet not over the top like a giant tattoo. We also included a Michael Miller print, Tiny Houndstooth in grey. The houndstooth gave the quilt a little retro Route 66 feeling. And the last fabric we used was from Aneela Hoey's "a walk in the woods" collection for Moda. It is a coral-colored near solid with little dashed white circles. This fabric picked up, and was nearly the same, as the Harley orange.

Lisa used every part of the shirt, from sleeve graphics to pockets. She even loved the woven labels and appliqued them to the front of the shirts. The difficulty Lisa ran into when piecing the quilt is the art/designs for Harley t-shirts are large and take up a lot of landscape opposed to other t-shirts. So in order for Lisa to get the amount of blocks/shirts in the quilt and maintain the promised queen-size for the customer, little room was left for sashing, and abosolutly no room left for borders. Although Lisa is a modern quilter and prefers no borders, her concern was that the quilt felt like it needed at least a little something to frame it more than just the binding. Lisa solved the problem by using the bias binding foot on her sewing maching and adding a little binding edge to her binding. I think it is fantastic!

I custom quilted each block based on the graphic found in each shirt. In some areas, I went around individual letters allowing them to pop in almost a trapunto-type of fashion. I used a wavy loop pattern for all the sashing. I had to be careful not to go into some of the actual graphics due the heavy layer of silk screening as I was afraid it would be like quilting into a thick rubber ball. Polyester batting was used because of the weight from the jersey fabric of the t-shirts.

One last picture... the happy customer with his Harley quilt on his Harley!


Repurposing an Old Barkcloth Curtain

I have an obsession with vintage fabrics, curtains and tablecloths (as previously discussed here), and my stash runeth over. At last, I've finally finished the quilt I started from an old, and rather beat up, mid-century barkcloth curtain. I fussy cut the images from the not-so-damaged parts of the curtain, bordered each image in a coordinating fabric and then set them afloat in a sea of rust. I quilted the background with blue and green thread to create an additional layer of texture in all that rust. The border is made up of all the fabrics I used in the quilt plus a couple of others.

I actually haven't completely finished it because I still need to attach the binding, but for the most part it is done. I'm excited to really finish it and see it put to use. My first intention was for our home bed, but I am beginning to think that the rustic feel of the quilt makes it better suited for our cabin in Idyllwild. Wherever it lands, I'm happy that it is done since I so rarely make quilts for myself, and that I was able to use some of my beloved vintage fabric!