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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finishing Well with Free Motion Quilting

  When it comes to quilting, there seems to be an idea that "finished is good enough."  Some quilters enjoy making the quilt top so much that when that is over, they don't really want to put more time and effort into the actual quilting.  They are ready to make their next top.  That's where people like me come into play!
  My business relies on my ability to "finish well."  I believe that each quilt deserves to be unique, or at least have thought and time put into making it special.  Now, some quilts are made from such busy fabric that custom quilting just doesn't make any sense.  You would never see it, and it would be a waste of money to pay for it.  Even so, those quilts should have a free motion edge to edge designs that takes a cue from the fabric, a thread color that enhances the top, and quilting that takes pains to bring out the best in the piecing (and camouflage the worst),
  Take the two quilts above for example.  The bright BOM quilt is a perfect example of a quilt that is "too busy" to bother with custom quilting.  I named it "Taking Flight" because it includes Laurel Burch fabrics with dragonflies, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  In my choice for machine quilting, I wanted to expand on that theme, so I used an all over pattern of flowers and dragonflies.  The rainbow variegated thread goes with the bright fabrics and lends a sense of fun to the quilting.  I made an effort to place my flowers in blocks where they would be seen (a feat that cannot be accomplished by standing at the back of a quilting machine and using a panto-graph pattern) and if I had points that weren't as perfect as they should have been, I deliberately ran a line of quilting over the points to cover that little imperfection.  I love the end result, and I believe it is "finished well."
  Now, the "Wonky Log Cabin" quilt...I have had that quilt top finished for several months.  I didn't put it on the frame because I knew that it would take some extra time for custom quilting.  Granted, I could have thrown it on the frame and ran an edge to edge pattern on this quilt.  It would have been quick and easy.  It would have been finished.  However, I believed this quilt deserved to be more special than that.  I created a design to enhance the secondary stars pattern between the blocks.  I used a swirling feather in those blocks.  The thread blends and shows up on both the dark sections and the light sections of the block.  In the borders, I quilted a flower and vine that mirrors the tiny burgundy flowers in the fabric itself.  These are design choices.  Someone else would make different choices. That is what makes free motion quilting so special.  Each quilt speaks to the person quilting it and, therefore, becomes unique.
  I have dozens of quilts, and I can honestly say that no two are quilted in exactly the same way. They may have similar elements.  They may use the same thread color.  But, each is a little bit different simply because I quilted it from the front of the machine as the mood struck me.  I could never achieve that type of result from simply quilting a panto from the back of my machine.  For me, the thrill of quilting is in the design, the choices, and the actual guidance of the machine over the quilt top.  "Finished" is just not good enough for my quilts...they must be "finished well."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Frosty" Weather has Returned...

 Do you ever notice that fall weather here in central Nebraska is extremely unpredictable?  One day it is a lovely, frosty, 40 degrees and the next, it is a balmy 70 degrees.  I am not ashamed to say that I prefer the 40 degree weather!  For one thing, it makes me think of Christmas, which is far and away my favorite holiday.  For another, I get the urge to bake yummy things and make tasty soups!  Finally, I love to cuddle up on the couch in a cozy sweater with a favorite quilt, a stack of magazines, and a steamy, hot cup of coffee.  Is there anything more wonderful?
  Well, there is one thing...the return of all out, no distractions, "quilting season."  No more gardening, no more yard work.  No hot, sweaty weather that makes us want to stay away from our warm, toasty quilts:)  To celebrate the return of "frosty" weather, I decided to make a very easy, very fun little SOB (slap on borders) out of this cute, cute, cute Frosty the Snowman panel that I purchased while Hubby and I traveled this summer.  To make him nice and fluffy, I used two layers of hand-quilt poly batting (it also made him hang just a bit wonky, but Oh, well!)  He is now happily hanging in my otherwise all decorated for fall entryway.  Every time I look at him, I smile and have visions of snowflakes dancing in my head...bring on the white stuff, I am ready :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mountains of Quilts

  Lately, I have been noticing that the quilts are starting to pile up...my grandson called this to my attention last week when he and his sister were staying for a few days.  I had a bunch of quilts, most of which I have finished in the past year or two, piled up in a chair because I had been making sure they all had labels.
  My friend Margaret and I started a running joke a few years ago that we were making all these quilts for our "trunk show."  At the time, I had no intentions of doing any trunk shows.  Well, evidently I can predict the future because I have been asked to do two trunk shows in February of this next year! I am both excited and nervous to do an official trunk show.  Now, don't get me wrong...I am not afraid to talk!  Anyone that knows me, knows that :)  I have taught lots of classes and have shared in quilt guild lots of times.  However a "trunk show" would indicate that I have a "trunk" full of quilts.
  Hence, the mountain.  I have been much more prolific in the past year.  Knowing that I have a deadline and lots of ladies waiting to see my work, has really inspired me to get crackin' on projects that have been sitting around in a state of progress for quite awhile.  I have also continued to take classes and finish projects from those classes.
  My husband recently said, "What are you going to do with all of these quilts?"  and I said, "I will continue making them until I can't make them anymore!  After I am gone, the kids can take whatever they want, and you can donate the rest to charity."  I just love making them.  I do give them away for baby gifts, graduations, etc. but for the most part, for now, I will continue to compile my "mountain" and my grandkids will continue to climb when they come to visit their "Grammy."
Just a sneak peak at my next project...in progress!