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 28, 2016

Best of 2016 Quilty Thoughts

Me...on the path to turning "50"!

  As one year ends and a new one begins, out thoughts often turn to  reflecting on the past and dreaming of the future.  In order help us do that, Meadow Mist Designs has once again posted a link up party for those that want to share.

Meeting Angela Walters:  #1 for me was my final post of the year in which I shared that I had the chance to meet Angela Walters on a recent trip to Kansas City!  As a fellow longarm quilter, she is such an inspiration to me!

What a Difference Color Choice Can Make is #2:  As an employee in my mom's quilt shop, one of the things that I do the most is help people choose fabrics for their quilts.  When I speak and do trunk shows for guilds, they most often choose to hear my thoughts on color choice.  I had purchased fabric to make a stack and whack One Block Wonder.  Rather than make one huge queen-sized quilt, I decided to explore what the blocks might look like set the same way, but with very different fabric choices.  Heads and Tails #1 and #2 were the result.  Which is your favorite and why?

Bonnie Hunter Quilt Retreat was another favorite, and makes it into the #3 spot.  Several good friends and I had a fabulous time meeting Bonnie in Sioux City, IA at a retreat there, and I got a chance to share pics of my friends and of the projects that we worked on for two days with lots of fun ladies.  Quilters seriously are the BEST people!  Just realized that two of my top five involve meeting my quilting "idols"...:)

Crazy, Quilty June hits #4.  I was so busy with quilting fun in June that the month went by in a blur!  I started the month with a quilt retreat in Creston, IA and was barely able to catch my breath before I loaded up all my best quilts and headed to Aurora, NE where I was the featured quilter in their annual guild quilt show.  The post includes tons of pics of some of my favorite people, and lots of my favorite quilts!

Which Type of Quilter Are You?  is my pick for #5.  As I thought about all the quilters that I know and the ones that I read about in magazines, watch on tv, and follow on Facebook, Twitter, etc., I started to really ponder why each of us makes quilts, and what we choose to do with them.  What I ended up with was one of my favorite posts of the year because in the end, it doesn't matter why we quilt or what we do with the quilts we make.  What matters is the community we have while we do it!  Each to his or her own!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Meeting Angela Walters!

December is a crazy month for me!  I am finishing up customer quilts in time for them to be bound and given away for Christmas gifts for the first couple of weeks.  I try to be finished by the 15th so that I can prepare for the holidays with family and work on my own projects for at least a week or two before I have to get back to working on customer quilts.
  This year, my lovely hubby decided to take me to Kansas City to see the lights, something that I have wanted to do for many years.  It was awesome!  The weather was great, and we hit the hot spots:  IKEA, Union Station, Country Club Plaza, Joe's KC BBQ, and, or course a few quilt shops!
  When I found out that we were going to Kansas City, I had one thing on my mind...going to Angela Walters' quilt shop and meeting her!  She has inspired me as a longarm quilter so much, and I was super excited to get a chance to meet her.  I even Facebooked her to see if there was any chance that she might be at her shop in Liberty, MO during the time that I would be in town.  She is a very busy woman, and I could only cross my fingers!  Believe it or not, that sweetheart actually responded to my message and told me when she would be in the shop!  My plans were set!
  On the morning of my trip to visit Angela's shop, Quilting is My Therapy
we made our way from downtown Kansas City
to Liberty and were there right when the shop was set to open.   Angela wasn't there yet, so I had a great little visit with her friend that was working.  She was such a friendly gal!  We got to talking about running a quilt shop, something with which I am quite familiar since I have been around and helping my mom at her shop for over 15 years:  The Quilters Cottage.  I was even able to share some helpful tips and ideas with her while we waited for Angela to arrive.  While we visited, I looked around the shop.
  The quilt shop is on the historic downtown square in Liberty, MO.  The building is everything that I love in a quilt shop.  Beautiful 15 foot ceilings, brick walls, historic light fixtures...just a wonderful feel.  The fabrics in the shop are bright and colorful.  They include not only Angela's latest lines, but also her good friend Tula Pink's fabrics are represented.  In addition, lots of other fun, modern fabrics are available.  The usual notions, patterns, and kits line the walls.
Most exciting for me, the walls were also lined with wonderful samples covered with Angela's signature quilting!  I have all of her books, and have taken most of her classes on Craftsy. While I don't generally choose to quilt as heavily as Angela does, mainly because most customers do not want to pay for that type of custom work, I do use ideas from her books all of the time!When Angela arrived, it was like a breath of fresh air blew into the room!  She is so cheerful and approachable that I felt like I was visiting an old friend.  I was just so excited to actually meet her, and she was really sweet.  We talked, took a photo, and she kindly signed her latest book for me.  When I told her that I had brought the book she and Tula Pink did together for her to sign, and then forgot it in the hotel room, she surprised me with a peel and stick label to add to my book signed by both her and Tula!!! I was thrilled!  I asked if I could use the photos and write about the visit on my blog and she gladly gave her blessing, so here we are!
  If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend stopping by the town of Liberty.  The downtown has several really cute shops including a fun coffee shop and a very lovely flower shop.  It is easy to find and in a picturesque little community.  The people were friendly and very welcoming to both my husband and I.
  Angela's shop is on the Row by Row, and she still had license plates, so I snagged one of those, along with a kit for a quilt hanging on the wall that I just had to have.  I bought her latest book which tells her story and is filled with great photos of her work.  I walked away with a memorable experience and some fun mementos, and enough quilty inspiration to last me for quite awhile!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mystery Quilts and Control Issues

  There are two categories of quilters.  Those who will take a chance on making a mystery quilt, and those who won't.  I have always been of the first group.  The problem is that lack of control is quite scary for me.  I want to know that the time, effort, and money that I am spending on this project are going to be worth it.  Adding to my aversion to mystery quilts was that several times I had customers bring me quilts with the following statement: "This was a mystery quilt.  If I had only known what it would look like, I would never have placed fabric X in that spot."  They weren't totally happy with their quilt, and I was thinking, "Why would anyone ever do a mystery quilt?"
  Enter Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville.com.  I was invited to attend a Bonnie Hunter workshop with some friends last spring.  It sounded like a lot of fun, so I signed up.  Then, I went online and started researching the woman and her style of quilting.  I discovered stunning photos of her past mystery quilts. I met others who had made lots of her mystery quilts and loved them. At the same time, I had signed up to do my first mystery quilt, mainly to support my friends in my Central City guild, and had recently discovered that it was, what else, a former Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt called "Double Delight" found free on her blog.  I also noticed that my all time favorite Bonnie Hunter pattern, Celtic Solstice had been a mystery quilt.  I made a "Pineapple Blossom" and saw how easy and user friendly Bonnie's patterns were.  I bought several of her books.  I watched last year's mystery quilt, "Allietare" pass me by.  Cue this year's mystery quilt:  "En Provence",
  So, here I am, a tentative mystery quilt convert.  I am planning to start on this year's mystery quilt this coming weekend.  The clues come out on Fridays, and the information can all be found on Bonnie's website.  In order to do this, I had to trust Bonnie.  (It helps that I have met her, and she is a fabulous person, as well as a great quilter.)  It also helps that I didn't have to purchase anything to do the quilt.  I went into my stash and gleaned all the yardage that I will need to make the blocks for the 87 x 87 quilt.  I did decide to sub in turquoise for the yellow in the quilt. I love purple, pink, and turquoise together, so how can I go wrong?  I can't wait to see how this quilt turns out.  Sometimes a little mystery is just what we need to step outside the comfort zone and be inspired!  Thanks, Bonnie!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

What a Difference Color Choice Can Make!

Heads N Tails #1

Heads N Tails #2


  Color.  The choices made when picking colors for a quilt 
can truly "make" or "break" your end result.  As a teacher and lecturer, I am frequently asked to speak about color.   As an employee at a quilt shop, I am often asked to assist customers in choosing fabrics that will look good together and will create a pleasing finished product.  It seems that color can be a real stumbling block for some quilters.  Some don't feel that they have an "eye" for color and need assurance that what they have chosen is "right."   The truth is that, while some choices are really not great, there is no "right" when it comes to color choices.  Some choices are not the best use of color, and some choices are definitely better.  However, if you love it...it's "right"!  
  My most recently finished quilt tops were specifically designed to illustrate the difference color can make in a quilt. Both quilts began with a crazy Timeless Treasures fabric that I found on a vacation to Paducah, KY with my hubby.  I bought parts and pieces of several ends of bolts in order to get the six repeats that I needed for my blocks.   Believe me, there wasn't a lot left after I cut my repeats for my hexies.  I did, however, have a LOT of hexies made.  Rather than making one huge quilt, I decided to break up the stack into two piles.  One would be set with a cool color, and the other with a warm color.  My goal was to create samples for my trunk shows that show that neither choice is "right" but one quilt will appeal to some, while the other quilt appeals to others.  Personally, I like both, and can't pick a favorite!
  The difference between the two quilts is pretty striking.  The one set with the aqua/teal is calm.  It makes me feel relaxed.  It's fairly low contrast.  Nothing about it jumps out at me, which is a good thing for some people.  The quilt set with the bright yellow/orange is exciting!  It's bright.  There's a huge amount of contrast between the hexies that jump off the top and the background stars.  The borders add an additional element of brightness and a sense of fun to the quilt.  Again, some will love that bright, exciting feel.  Some won't.  
  My first choice was the aqua.  I loved the pretty, soft color with the bright fabric that I used for my blocks,  It seemed to calm the wild pinks, yellows, and reds of the hexies themselves.  It made me think of a tropical vacation.  After I chose the aqua, I auditioned TONS of other fabrics with the remaining hexies.  I tried bright red.  I tried orange.  I tried hot pink, purple, greens of various shades. Nothing seemed right.  Finally, as a last resort, I put a few hexies on top of the yellow.  Zing!!! I had a winner!  Sometimes, this is the perfect way to decide on a color for lattice, or for borders.  Make your blocks, and then audition fabrics for the setting.  This can save a lot of time and money because you will know for sure that what you bought is what you like with your blocks.  The key is to choose what you like.  It's your quilt!  Bring a friend for a second opinion, or ask the quilt shop employee to give you their thoughts, but the choice is yours!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Which Type of Quilter are You?

Gigi enjoys a good snuggle up next to a quilt!
A built in houses quilts rather than books
The entry way is the perfect place to showcase wall quilts.
Table runners can herald the season anywhere.

 Do you ever think about how people use their quilts?   Some people give away everything they make.  Some people save everything they make for family to fight over after they pass out of this life. Some use their quilts in their everyday lives, and some, like me, do a little bit of all three!

One of the ways that many people use their quilts is to bring joy to others.  Some quiltmakers are so unselfish that they literally give away everything they make as quickly as they make it.  They are the kind souls who give generously to as many charities as they possibly can.  Others, thinking that they are being helpful, give these precious quilters their "scraps" and the fabric that they found in grandma's basement.  Sometimes, these "gifts" simply feed the need to quilt non-stop for others in a desire that nothing go to waste.  Bless their hearts!   I am not one of those lovely people!

Yet a second type of quilter saves everything they make because it is too special to be used.  This quilter believes that every quilt they make is an heirloom, and, after being carefully shown to others, the quilts are packed away in a chest or in the back of a closet only to be taken out and refolded once a year so that permanent creases do not develop.  The idea behind this type of quilting is nice, I guess. The thinking is that our relatives, once we are no longer with them, will love and cherish these quilts as much as we do.  The reality...many of these "heirlooms" end up on garage sales, at Goodwill, or worse, being fought over at a family auction because no one can decide who should get grandma's quilts.  Again, this is not me.

The third type of quilter never makes a "magnum opus" in their quilting.  Every quilt is a "wham, bam, thank ya ma'am" quilt.  I am talking about Turning Twenties, Jelly Roll races, etc.  These quilts require nothing more than some fabric, a bit of time, and voila...instant gratification.  Because these quilts don't take a lot of time to create, they become ordinary, everyday objects.  They don't require custom quilting...any old pantograph will do.  They grace the beds of every room in the house.  They are used as table cloths, couch covers, and picnic blankets.  No worries.  If they wear out, we simply make another to replace it.  Me?  No way!

I am definitely a combination of all three types of quilters (as I assume a lot of us are!).  When I can, I donate to charity.  This means that a few small quilts per year are given to a charity of my choice.  I make a doll quilt or two for Christmas Of Sharing.  Toys for Tots has received a few of my quilts.  I give a quilt when I hear that someone has had a fire.  I may pull out a quilt for a friend who has a child in the hospital.  These are items that I give when I feel led to give, not out of obligation or some sense that I "have to" because I have been asked.  My time is valuable, and I don't choose to use it sewing for charity all the time.  I want to give back, but I also want to make things for myself and my family.

The main things that I do with my quilts are decorate my home and share them with others!  I display them whenever and wherever I can.  I do trunk shows and lectures so that I can share my work.  I enter them in quilt shows, the state fair, and hang them at the quilt shop.  My home decor reflects the seasons, and quilts, table toppers, runners, and wall quilts are a big part of that.  I give quilts to my kids, their spouses, and my three lovely grandchildren.  Most projects that I begin are simply for my own enjoyment of the creative process.  If I need a quilt for charity, I can usually scare one up from my stash.  If I feel like looking at a purple and teal pineapple on my bed, I have one!
Pineapple Retreat is one of my newest "favorites"
If I want to enjoy a reproduction 1930's quilt on my bed?  I have one...
What a handsome quilt hanger:)
The point of all this rambling...I gotta be me.  Each of us comes at the art of quilting with different goals and reasons for pursuing this quilting life.  My quilts are too special to ever be used as a table cloth, but not too special to ever use at all!  What kind of quilter are you?  I would love to hear from you how you like to use your quilts!