Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stack it and Whack it!




  About 5 years ago, I started my first stack and whack quilt.  I decided to do a four patch stack.  I was scared to do a six patch because of the triangle shapes and the bias edges.  I chose a beautiful oriental print from Blank and took a class at the Quilters Cottage in Kearney, NE to learn the technique.  It was so much fun!
  In order to do the four patch stack, you need 4 repeats of your fabric. The size of your repeat determines the ultimate size of your quilt.  My fabric had a small repeat of around 12 inches, so I ended up with fairly small blocks.  I think they finished somewhere around 5 inches.  I added a little black frame and sashing to extend the size to a nice lap quilt.  Each block had four options as I turned the pieces round and round to decide on the look that I liked the best.  Again...FUN!  I sewed all my blocks together pretty quickly because that was the fun part.  Slowly, I added my frames, sashes, and borders.  Once the top was done, it sat in the closet unfinished for a couple of years.  This year, I am on a mission to finish, quilt, and bind a bunch of my quilts before I give a couple of talks/trunk shows next February.  This stack and whack was on my "to finish" list.  I am binding it by hand so that I can take it to the state fair next year.  It will probably take me that long to get the binding done!!!
  On my recent trip to Paducah, I purchased fabric to do a six patch stack--it is crazy fabric with all kinds of brightly colored lizards and tree frogs!  I can't wait to start sewing those awesome blocks together.  It's not on my "to finish" list before February but it will definitely be on my list for 2015!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My First Block Exchange Inspired by Liz Porter

Neapolitan by Liz Porter 
   On July 14th, I saw an episode of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting that inspired me to try something I had never tried before...a block exchange. Yikes!  Liz Porter's directions from the website made it much simpler than if I would have had to figure out all the details by myself.  I absolutely loved the pink and brown quilts from the program that were made from the 100 little
4 1/2 inch churn dash blocks.  Liz had a group of 10 people who each made 10 sets of 10 blocks.  I decided to shoot for that number.
  To start, I issued an invitation to over 200 people in one simple post on a facebook group that includes quilters from all over, but mostly from Nebraska and Iowa.  From that invitation, I got an "I'm in" from 8 ladies.  I then asked a couple of my good friends from my guild, and got two more.  That made a happy little group of 11 ladies.  I decided that 100 was still a good number of blocks, so we will each make 11 sets of 9 plus one extra little block for ourselves.
  The final question was...what is a reasonable amount of time for people to make 100 little churn dash blocks?  We decided on 4 months, which makes it 25 per month.  So, our blocks are due on December 1.  So far, I have made 43 of my blocks.  They are soooo cute!  I am trying very hard to make sure that my blocks are consistent in size and have 1/4 inch allowance for the points on the corners.  They aren't perfect, but so far (thanks mostly to Triangles on a Roll!) they are all 5 inches, and, with a little encouragement, should be pretty easy to work with on the points.  At this point, I am still excited about the project and am trying to finish all of my block by the end of October, as I know from past experience that my longarm business really picks up in October and November for people who need Christmas gifts finished.  Hopefully, no later than this time next year, I will have a finished quilt to show you all.  I plan to set mine just like Liz Porter did hers because I absolutely love it!
  If you think this sounds like fun, just go to fonsandporter.com and search for the 2400 series and the show called Neapolitan.  All the information is there for you.  Find some willing friends, and create your own fun little exchange!
 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

On the Road, Again...

 Ahhh, the open road.  What is better than taking a trip, and stopping at every quilt shop you find along the way?  I will tell you...a trip to the National Quilt Museum (stopping at every quilt shop along the way)!  I must tell you all that my husband is a wonderful man.  He is quite long-suffering when it comes to my quilting habit:) Last week he drove me 1600 miles to see the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  As we drove there and back, he also stopped at 7 (yes, I said 7!) quilt shops without complaining or even rolling his eyes!  After 28 years of marriage, I am more than sure that he is a keeper!
  They don't allow photos in the galleries at the quilt museum, so if you want to catch a glimpse of the wonders that I saw, you will have to click on the link and check out their website.  Suffice it to say that it was impressive and insane and inspiring all at once:)  You MUST go there!!!
  I do, however have pics from the many quilt shops that I visited along the way, and thought I would share some of them with you all. (ya'll to you southerners out there! As a side note, just a few days down south and I was saying ya'll--it is quite contagious!)  First stop...Missouri Star Quilt Co. in Hamilton Missouri where I went to four different building on main street, each housing a theme.  One had all reproductions and Kansas Troubles.  One had all seasonal fabrics.  One was for novelties, brights, and batiks.  One was for solids, blenders, and polka dots.  I was told that when they are through renovating the downtown of this little 1500 people village, they will have TEN buildings!  It was one of the craziest, and coolest things I have ever seen!  I can't wait to go back!

Hamilton, MO was the original home of JC Penneys--now converted to Missouri Star Quilt Co.

This building contained all the solids, blenders, and polka dots and had awesome, modern quilts samples hanging everywhere!

Next stop, Hickory Stick Quilts in Hannibal, MO (hometown of Mark Twain).  This shop filled three downtown buildings.  It was a great shop with lots of samples and handwork.  There was so much to see, I could have spent hours in there!  Great shop!

Along our route, I was collecting rows for my Row by Row Experience quilt.  I HAD to pick up a row featuring the St. Louis Arch in O'Fallon, MO at Suzy Q's Quilting.  The owner was a lovely woman who visited with me and openly shared some ideas that go over well in her shop.  It was to nice of her to be that open with business information when I told her my mom owned a shop and that I was a fellow longarm quilter.  I loved her!  If you are in the St. Louis area, you must stop in there!   I didn't get a picture at Suzy's but the above row by row is from Jackman's Fabrics in Fairview Heights, IL.  It was one of the Quilt Sampler's Top 10 Shops this past spring.  What a huge place!  Their row was cute, and it was the only shop in Illinois on our way to Paducah that had a row, so I had to stop there!

Quilt in a Day shop in Paducah---good prices.  They have batiks for $8.00 per yard.

Inside the Quilt in a Day shop...sadly, no Eleanor Burns :(

Hancock's of Paducah (not the same as the Hancock's Fabrics chain stores!) is a legit quilt shop with TONS of fabric.  I think the only shop I have ever been too with more fabric was the one billed as "the biggest in the country" in Portland, OR last fall.  This picture shows one part of the wideback section...a longarmers's dream!  There were literally rows and rows of fabrics, some for as little as $5.99 per yard.  I bought a Timeless Treasure fabric for a stack and whack for $5.99 that I can't wait to get whacking!!!


On our way home, we did stop at a shop called Prairie Point Quilt and Fabric Shop in Shawnee, KS to pick up another row by row.  By then, I was pretty much out of money, but I got my row of Kansas sunflowers and picked up some cute farmy kid print to complete a baby quilt that I need to make this fall.  All in all, it was a trip to remember, and I didn't even mention the non-quilty things we did!  For the sake of my poor husband, I do plan several non-quilt related activities for his benefit.  He always has a good time on our trips, and there is no other chauffeur I would rather have! 



Monday, August 4, 2014

Merrily we "row" along...

  This summer, I am taking part in a national row by row collecting spree!  It has been so much fun...and the summer isn't over yet!  We signed up at the Quilters Cottage back in the spring to be a part of the Row by Row Experience.  This year's theme is Sewing the Seasons, and each shop was to pick a season for the theme for their row.  Rows were to be exactly 36 1/2" long and between 6 1/2" and 9 1/2" tall.  Well, we had just received some fun winter and Christmas fabrics at the shop---hence our row was born.  Each state coordinator was to create a Facebook page where the participating shops could show off their rows and, ultimately, the winners could be posted.
  Well, as I started looking at the rows on Facebook, I couldn't help being pulled in and found myself wanting to collect some myself!  A friend and I took a little "Row Hop" up to the northeastern part of Nebraska to collect rows.  In one day we hit shops in Columbus, Norfolk, Wayne, Wakefield, West Point, and Fremont.  This past weekend, I picked up rows from Cozad and North Platte.  I hit the York shop one day while taking my grandkids home after a short visit.  Next on the list...my hubby is taking me to Paducah to the National Quilt Museum...I will be collecting more rows all the way!  I can't wait!
 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UFO's and P.I.G.S.

    Ahhh, the UFO (Unfinished Objects), or the slightly lesser known P.I.G.S. (Projects in Grocery Sacks). We all have them.  It's a love/hate thing.  We used to love them...but, as is the case with many of our material goods (or company that has stayed too long!), we have fallen into a state of indifference, annoyance, or downright hate.  Yet, we feel obligated to finish...at some point:)
    Here's the thing.  The longer you wait to finish it, the better the chances are that you won't like it when you finally do.  Now, we all have those challenging projects that we pursue off and on over the course of a few years because it is just too many little pieces, or too much work, to finish it all at once.  When those projects are finally done, I tend to be excited, proud, and a bit relieved.  I still feel some affection for those projects.  I am not talking about those...I am talking about simple little kits, table runners, small lap quilts, etc. that we just keeping putting off.  I am talking about that queen size quilt we started to go with the new paint job in our bedrooms seven years ago (and the bedroom has been painted twice since then) that we no longer even have a reason to finish.
   Now, I don't subscribe to the start one project and finish it before I start a new one!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  My A.D.D. would never allow that!  However, I encourage you all to make a plan to finish some of your unfinished projects.  I have mentioned it before, but I will say it again...I LOVE my facebook group!  We numbered 12 projects at the start of the year, and each month, we work on/make progress/ and yes, even finish whichever project number has been drawn for the month.  This single approach has done more to help me finish UFO's than anything ever has.  I highly recommend this method for anyone who wants a little bit of external motivation to get stuff done!  Challenge your quilt guild to number and get started!  There are still 5 months left...pick 5 projects and get going!  To motivate you, here is a picture of my number for this month...a birthday gift that I started for a friend somewhere between 5 and 7 years ago!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pre-Cut Magic


  Life can be hectic...but, we want to make quilts that look cute and don't take a lot of time.  What to do? Start out with fabrics that are already cut for you:)  Now, I am not a HUGE pre-cut fan for one simple reason, and that is, they are not always consistent in size.  You would think that with the technology available the pre-cuts would be exactly right, but they almost never are.  With that warning, I will still tell you why I like them:
1.  whttp://quiltingtutorials.com/  The Missouri Star Quilt Company (missouriquiltco.com)tutorials are wonderful!  If you haven't yet discovered Jenny Doan and her very good tutorials, search youtube or google for them.  The Love Letters quilt that I finished this month comes directly from her.  Also, be sure to check out their quarterly magazine called "Block" because it is a beautiful publication with tons of great patterns that focus on "easy" and on pre-cuts.
2.  There are tons of patterns and books out there specifically designed for Jelly Rolls, Snaps, Charms, Layer Cakes, etc.  Companies such as Timeless Treasures (one of my favorites), and a host of others, offer free download patterns on their websites for their pre-cuts.
3.  You get up to 40 different fabrics in small quantities which are perfect for making scrappy projects. It is so nice not to have to ask the employees at a quilt shop to cut you a small amount of a ton of different fabrics in order to get a wide variety.  The 10 inch squares, especially, can go a long way for a scrappy pattern that just needs several small pieces to make flying geese, 1/2 square triangles, etc.
4.  Jelly Roll Race!
5.  Everything matches, and you don't have to even think about it:)
6.  They make great gifts!
7.  You can dip your toes into a pool of fabrics that you don't normally buy and don't have in your stash without a huge financial commitment.  For example, I have been craving a quilt made from Edyta Sitar's fabrics.  I don't have a single one in my stash.  All I had to do was purchase a layer cake, a jelly roll, and border fabric and tada!  I have everything I need for a quilt without adding a bunch of fabric that won't match anything else in my stash.
8.  Pinked edges allow you to "stack" and applique blocks for a fun, raggy-ish effect.  Find lots of fun ideas and patterns for these types of uses for charms and layer cakes in Loose Change by Lynn Hagmeier, of Kansas Troubles.
Quilt pattern found in Lynn Hagmeier's book, Loose Change.
My only piece of advice for working with pre-cuts is to choose patterns that are forgiving of the slight variations in size, or patterns that require you to square up your patchwork so that you can be sure of an accurate finished product.  Other than that, pick up a pattern and some wonderfully pre-cut fabric and finish a quilt top in a weekend!  You will be amazed at the time saved when you don't have to cut everything yourself!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Butterflies...and more Butterflies



  One of the most popular classes at the shop in Kearney has been this butterfly quilt from the book, Quilts Without Corners by Cheryl Phillips.  The book itself comes with a mini wedge ruler which is used to make the body of the butterfly, and then you must purchase a long 10 degree wedge ruler to make the wings.  The finished quilt on the front of the book is actually a circle, but there are directions in the book for making it a square.  It is a beautiful quilt.
  At this point, I have quilted at least 7 of these quilts!  Each one has been very different, and all of them have been beautiful, so I started thinking...maybe I should make one of these:)  Now, understand this about me...I am a pretty lazy quilter.  By that, I mean to say I tend to make things that are relatively easy and quick to finish because I have the attention span of a small child:)  However, I have lately been asked by a couple of fairly large quilt guilds to speak and give a trunk show for them next February.  I began to make a mental list of all my quilts and what I would like to show, and I thought that I really should start making a few quilts that are more difficult and have a little more "wow" factor.  To that end...I signed up to take the butterfly class in July!  Yikes!  I chose my fabrics-bright batiks, of course- and have done all my strip sewing and cutting in preparation for the class.  All that remains is to take the class and start putting my own butterfly together.  I am psyched!  Stay tuned for progress reports and pics toward the end of July!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

And the Winners Are...

Today is the big day!  The winner of the free fat quarter bundle of 8 fat quarters of AMB solids is Diann who left the following lovely comment:
DiannJune 12, 2014 at 7:19 AM
My niece ended up marrying a man from Nebraska, so we went to their wedding in Lincoln. I liked it very much. As you said, it's a city with a small town feel. I think it's the perfect size.
The winner of the Nebraska Shop Hop fabrics from the Quilters Cottage in Kearney, NE is:  
I love Nebraska, my Mom's home state :) I am thrilled to learn there is an awesome quilt shop in Kearney, as we often stop at the Cabelas there :) Next trip through I will try and stop in!!! Your block is a wonderful representation of Nebraska!!
Congrats to both winners, and thank you so much to everyone who viewed and commented on my license plate.  It was so much fun creating it, and even more fun hearing from all around the country!