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, February 23, 2014

Jumping on the Chevron Bandwagon

 Okay, I will be the first to admit that when I started seeing chevron patterns in quilts and in fabrics, I wasn't a fan.  However, the look has really grown on me over the past year.  I quilted a quilt for a 4-H girl last summer that had Dresden Plates made out of  the brights on whites chevrons from Riley Blake.  I must admit that it was a very cool quilt.  She got a Reserve Grand Champion ribbon on that quilt at the NE State Fair, and I really wish now that I had taken a picture of it!
  The quilt pictured above is a very simple chevron baby quilt made out of easy half square triangles in pinks and grays.  It was really fun and turned out so nice with the simple quilting that I put on it for my customer.  Anyone could accomplish the straight line quilting with some patience and a walking foot.  I did use a serpentine line on the seam lines to add variety and to strengthen the seams to withstand plenty of washing since it was a baby quilt.  The blocks were about 5 inches finished, but you could easily make your half squares from 5 inch charm squares, being careful to make sure that the layout had strong light rows and dark rows so that you would see the chevron pattern.  This quilt reminded me of the afghans that my mom and I used to make.  Hmmm...maybe I should dig those out of the closet.  Everything old is eventually new again!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Family Tree

As you may have guessed from these photos, I am done letting it "gel" and have done something a little different with this quilt. ( If you are confused about what I mean, read my last post.)  The quilting that I did in the center block of this quilt just did not show up like I wanted it to.  I had this idea that I would make a tree to represent my husband and I and our marriage of 28 years, a tree to represent my son and his wife's 5 years of marriage and their two wonderful children, and my daughter and son in law's 2 years of marriage.  Well, from a distance, you couldn't see any of that.  What to do???  I decided to try painting my trees.  First I tried fabric paint sticks...FAIL!  I looked all over Hobby Lobby for fabric paint, and discovered that it is all hideously ugly colors designed to make what I can only assume are "Fashion Don't" t-shirts.  Finally, I found some permanent, acid-free, archival, pigma markers.  I thought to myself..."What's the worst that can happen?"  So, I tried them.  They look pretty good.  You can still see the fabric through them, which I like.  The problem was, the trees were still lacking a little bling, bling!  So, I got out my hot-fix crystal set for the first time EVER, and went to work.  I didn't have enough of any one color of crystals, and they are expensive little suckers, so I used a variety of green, crystal, yellow, and teal.  Again...I like!  Finally, I wanted to make one focal point for the heart surrounding my husband and my initials.  I chose the least offensive pink fabric paint that I could find.  It definitely stands out.  Overall, as an experimental piece, I will give it a "B" (that's the former high school teacher in me coming out!)  I LIKE it, but I don't LOVE it.  Oh well, it will hang in my upstairs family room, and it does what I wanted it to do...honors our marriages and creates a Family Tree worth hanging:)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Every Quilt Deserves to be Special!

  This is my latest little project.  I started it at 10am and finished the top at around 4pm.  I quilted it a couple of days later.  The tree fabric was so cute and whimsical that I just couldn't see cutting it up in to small pieces, so I looked for awhile until I found a pattern that would allow me to keep big chunks of it intact.
    So, let me start out by saying that I am a longarm quilter.  I don't have to pay to have my tops quilted, and I do understand the ramifications of paying someone else more money to custom quilt your work.  Having said that, I really believe that almost every quilt top deserves to be quilted in a way that makes it truly special.     Granted, there are quilts made from super busy fabrics that wouldn't show the custom work.  There are kids quilts that will be used, abused, and eventually thrown out.  These quilts are fine to have an edge to edge design.  But,  so many of our quilts could be truly special if they just had that extra "something" added with the quilting.
    This quilt could have been done with an edge to edge design.  The fabrics don't have a lot of variation in value; the pattern isn't anything special or difficult, and it is just a small little lap quilt.  What did I do to make it special?  Well, I did custom work in certain areas.  I used a ruler to make straight lines in the striped areas. I used rulers to create crossed lines in the pieced work.  The extra special touch was that I quilted trees into the center panel in the same style as the fabric print using darker thread.  I made one large tree, and two smaller trees.  In the trunk of the large tree, I quilted a heart and place my husband and my initials in the heart.  In the two slightly small trees, I quilted hearts with my son and his wife's initials on one tree, and my daughter and her husband's initials in the other.  Under my son's tree, I quilted two smaller trees and added my grandson's first initial on one and my granddaughter's first initial on the other.  Finally, I McTavished all around the trees to make them stand out.  Now, this quilt is truly special!  I may still add some paint or crystals or other embellishments, but I am letting it "gel" for awhile before I add anything else.
     As a longarmer, so often I have customers who simply want "the least expensive" quilting on their quilt.  I do what they ask, but I am often thinking, "What a shame.  This quilt could have been something special, but now it will just be utilitarian."  We spend money and time to create beautiful quilt tops, why not go the extra mile (and expense) to make them truly beautiful?