Two Days Until Christmas!

Sunset two days before Christmas

Day 23 of DecemberThe 23rd of December, two days until Christmas! Day 23 of my 31-day blog challenge…and it’s sunset already! I had planned on blogging this morning…Where did the day go!

I was going to tell you all about the number 23, how it’s my favorite number and how I smile whenever I see it. I’m known to take screenshots of my phone when it’s 7:23 – my all time favorite combo. Sometimes I take screenshots when it’s 1:23:45 or really any combo of an hour and 23 minutes. I’m just weird like that. But when you have a favorite number then you just notice it. Everywhere!

My favorite number with my favorite place! How fun is that!

Two Days Until Christmas!

The day started early and it’s been a busy day in The Quilt Rambler Studio! Finished up a customer Christmas quilt that was picked it up around lunchtime.

Someone’s son is going to be very pleased to open this on Christmas Day!

Made another quilt and finished it moments ago – but it is a gift for tomorrow so the photos will have to wait until after church.

Still more to do – always more to do, but I can’t help but be excited – It’s two days until Christmas!!!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, who totally enjoyed knowing that today was my favorite (number) day – 23!





Hit The Floor Running

Running shoes

If you are counting down to Christmas there are five days left. If you are participating in the 31-day blog writing challenge it is Day 20 ūü§Ē

If you are me, then it’s time to put on those shoes and get this day rolling!

As a follow up to yesterday’s post my elves came in all shapes and sizes! AND I got dinner out!

orange cat looking at fabric

Can’t show you the military quilt – it’s almost pieced with plans to quilt it today and customer pick it up tomorrow! Will be eager to share once she’s gifted it!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, a woman of few words today as I keep my commitments to customers and to the blog challenge! 




Me and Santa’s Elves Are Working as Fast as We Can!

Me and Santa's Elves

Oh me, oh my! It’s 6 days until Christmas! I need more of Santa’s elves!

Sewing machine humming, longarm warming up…I have to take a moment to report we’ve been making good progress!

Besides, it’s day 19 of the 31-day blog writing challenge – admit it, you’d be disappointed if I didn’t at least report in!

One Down, One More to Go

T-shirt quilts that is! Yesterday one was picked up and today another one is being cut out by my son who is anything but an elf – he’s over 6 feet tall. I’m so thankful that he will be working in the studio with me today! Yippee!

Special Commisoned Secret Sewing

I can’t wait¬†to share the quilt that I am working on today while my elf preps the t-shirt blocks for me….but alas, I can’t share much of it because it would totally spoil the surprise! Here’s just a sneak peak….

But Wait, There’s More!

After these, there is another special quilt to be quilted that was pieced by one of my customers who has been patiently waiting for her “football season” quilt to be completed. Harvey certainly goes on the naughty list, while she goes on the nice list! Better check to see how I’m stacking up on that list...

Looks like Santa understands that a creative mind messes up a perfectly good studio

Positive Reports Are Coming In

I just love it when customers share their photos with me! Do you remember this T-shirt quilt from last week? The family decided to surprise their mom early with her deceased husband’s T-shirt quilt and graciously gave me permission to share the photo with you!

The smile says it all! This is why I do what I do! I love my job!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, who had better get back to work – anyone want to bring me dinner?


In The Works

Projects In The Works

In the works I’m having so much fun with this 31-day blog writing challenge, especially finding graphics to support what day it is on the countdown! This little construction guy is just the perfect fit as there are so many things “in the works” around The Quilt Rambler Studio!

Projects in the Works

Yesterday I completed another customer T-shirt quilt that will be picked up today. I normally do a standard 15″ block with sashing but this particular commissioned work included a very large graphic that needed a little creative piecing,¬†in addition, there were a limited number of shirts to work with. I am pleased with the way it turned out and I can almost guarantee there will be tears when the recipient opens this gift – for you see, it’s a memory quilt made from her deceased husband’s T-shirt collection.

Memory T-shirt Quilt made by The Quilt Rambler

From the graphics on his shirts he must have been quite a character, I’m sure his adult children purchased most of these for him. She’s going to be so please in their thoughtfulness. Let this be a reminder to all of us to pray for those missing a family member this time of year.

Island Batik Ambassador Project in the Works

Island Batik Christmas Fabric In The WorldsI had about an hour “after work” to piece a little on my December challenge. This month is table-toppers made from scraps. I cut out the fabric over a week ago but haven’t had much “late night sewing” or “Sunday sewing” opportunities. Last night, while waiting for an evening appointment, ¬† I did manage to chain piece one background piece out of the four background pieces to my diamonds needed to make the diamond in a rectangle units. I just love the holiday batiks. ¬†Twelve days to Christmas! Stay tuned for this one!

In the Works on the Homefront

We actually have a date circled on the calendar to begin reconstruction after Hurricane Harvey!! Last night our representative from Repipe Specialist came over to access our pipes and arrange for their replacement. Our house is 47 years old and it just makes sense to replace water pipes while the walls are down. Unfortunately, this is not covered by any insurance and is a major out of pocket expense, but one we deemed as necessary, This will be our first project in the long journey of recovery and is scheduled for January 2nd! Goodbye galvanized pipes! Goodbye worries about water leaks! Hello new house!

Exposed Galvanized Water Pipes that are in the works to be replaced by Repipe Specalists

In The Works For Today

It’s another busy day balancing the studio and the homefront. Up next are T-shirt quilt blocks ready to go for the next customer Christmas quilt. A big thanks to my little elves who have worked off and on these past few weeks in my studio – my husband and youngest son have been responsible for splitting all the T-shirts, fusing on the interface, and cutting into blocks while my friend Dianne has added the fabric sashing to each block. They have worked in assembly-line fashion ahead of me – with the quilt “parts” being housed in individually labeled tote buckets waiting for the next step.

Then it’s my turn. If there are special blocks that need to be pieced (like the one above) then that’s my duty. Next, I chose the layout and piece the blocks together to form the top. Of course, after that, I quilt it on the longarm and add the binding at my sewing machine.

I still can’t believe I lost over two months of quilting due to Harvey and yet with the help of my elves will be meeting all my Christmas commitments! Truly another blessing to count!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, so blessed to have so many things in the works – never a dull moment!






Sunday Sewing – Christmas Style

Red Aurifil thread matches the fabric perfectly for hand sewing a hanging sleeve on the back of a quilt

Day 3 of the #31dayblogchallengeSundays are my day of worship. The afternoons I consider my “day off” and I generally spend it in the studio with a little Sunday sewing. As much as possible I try to do relaxing projects, usually personal vs business. That’s my plans for today…

Side note: ¬†if you follow me on social media you will recognize my hibiscus from the front yard. This is the first one I have “picked” ¬†– I thought it would look cheery in the studio!

Studio Update

Last night I finished the binding on the 2nd customer T-shirt quilt. She will be picking these up later in the week for her Christmas gift giving.

Monday morning I ¬†will work¬†on the next quilt in line. I’ve got several more to go before the holiday. ¬†It’s always fun to see what other people collect as far as t-shirt memories go….

A&M t-shirts turned into a t-shirt quilt by The Quilt Rambler
College shirts make a great Texas A & M T-shirt quilt
Rush Concert T-shirts made into a T-shirt quilt by The Quilt Rambler
A collection of concert T-shirts comes out of the bottom clothing drawer to become a nice lap quilt

 Sunday Sewing Plans:

After finishing with the customer quilts I pulled fabric for my December Island Batik Ambassador challenge. ¬†The challenge is to make a scrappy table runner. Well, scrappy is my middle name so I’ve been looking forward to this all year!

For those of you¬†new to The Quilt Rambler I invite you to scroll through some of my earlier blogs to view the other projects I’ve made with the 2017¬†Island Batik Ambassador program. I am enjoying this journey working with beautiful batiks!

I chose a Studio 180 Design pattern and can’t wait to get the parts and pieces all cut out and sewn together – the perfect small project for the afternoon and the season! Check back with me tomorrow when I report in on my progress!

Christmas Island Batik 2.5" strips will be perfect for the Refraction table runner from Studio 180 Design
Looking forward to combining my love of Island Batik fabrics with my love of Studio 180 Design tools and patterns.

What are your Sunday afternoon plans? Are you still working on Christmas or Hanukkah projects? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about your handmade items.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler keeping the blog short today so I can get a lot of sewing accomplished! See you tomorrow!


 Teaming up with for the #31dayblogchallenge





Secret Quilting – A Secret No More

Close up of hand guided quilting design element by Karen Overton

close up of hand guided quilt design element
-Sneak peak – secret quilting is about to be secret no more
If you have been following The Quilt Rambler on social media the past few weeks you have seen little snippets or sneak peaks of a “secret quilting” project I have been working on ….and now…the big reveal!

Why was it a secret you ask? Well, on occasion, as a longarm quilter I am asked to keep things secret for a time being. For example, not publishing photos of graduation t-shirt quilts before the grad receives it, or especially around Christmas time when I’m quilting customer quilts that will be Christmas gifts.

This time it was because the quilt was to be introduced to the public by the designer – in other words, it wasn’t my story to tell until after its debut and publication.

Why the Secret Quilting

Spring Market was this weekend May 19-21. For those unfamiliar with the quilting world – twice a year Quilts Inc hosts an industry tradeshow where wholesale buyers, distributors, designers and industry leaders gather for the reveal of new fabrics, new patterns, new notions and new trends in the quilting world. The Spring Market this year was in St. Louis. The Fall Market is always in Houston the weekend before the public International Quilt Show. I’ve never been to Spring Market but have attended Fall Market since 2004. Trust me, it’s better than Christmas!

unquieted Morning Glory quilt pattern by Deb Tucker
For custom quilt jobs I like to hang the quilt in my studio for several days to be inspired concerning the quilting elements
I received this beautiful quilt from Deb Tucker, Studio 180 Design right before my Arizona trip the first of the month, asking that it be quilted and returned in time for her to put on the binding so it could be displayed in the booth at Spring Market. (For the record she had made a reservation earlier so I knew to expect it). I took this photo “before” it was quilted so I could study it on the plane and come up with quilting designs. I fell in love with the design, it goes without saying how much I love LeMoyne Stars. Upon inquiring about the name of the pattern I found it very fittingly named Morning Glory.

My Observations

Before I go any further sharing the quilting designs I wanted to share what I’ve learned by osmosis.

I’ve been watching social media for all the big reveals at Spring Market – if you do a search #springmarket you will be able to get sneak peaks of upcoming goodies to our local quilt shops later this year. I was especially pleased to see photos of Studio 180 Design booth with Morning Glory hanging among such other beautiful quilts! I love all her rulers and have most of her patterns, having taught several in the past in my studio or local quilt shops. Needless to say, Morning Glory is at the top of my wish list!

Colorful tradeshow booth full of beautiful quilts made by Deb Tucker
Studio 180 Design Spring Market 2017 Booth (photo from Facebook)
Facebook page of Deb Tucker showing her beautiful quilts at Spring market 2017
Deb Tucker’s Facebook Page Banner
As you know, I’m an Island Batik Ambassador having the privilege of working with these wonderful fabrics and looking forward each year to their new fabrics and designs, eagerly awaiting their catalog….sooo….I’m looking through their  Spring Market catalog and low and behold I see a different version of Morning Glory by Deb Tucker! I’m guessing that the pattern has different size options and she made one for Island Batik’s booth and the one I quilted was for her booth. Oh, I wish I could have seen both in person at Spring Market. I snagged these photos off social media to share.

Colorful booth full of beautiful island batik fabrics taken at Spring Market 2017
Island Batik Booth photo was taken by Laura Reschke Piland, Slice of Pi, from Facebook
catalog page of island batik fabric spring 2017 offering of Morning Glory quilt pattern in their beautiful batik fabrics
Clip from Island Batik Spring Market 2016 catalog. Be sure and ask your local quilt shop to carry these fabrics as well as this pattern!

On To The Quilting

I determined that I wanted to stitch in the ditch  (SID) all the borders and the star outline, but not the individual diamonds. This would give the quilt stability and frame in all the important components. It also allowed me later to roll the quilt up and down as needed to be able to quilt all of one thread color before changing threads vs advancing the quilt and changing threads as I worked my way down the quilt.  The SID took the better part of one day but experience told me it would be well worth it.

photo shows quilting process
Stitch in the Ditch included the “spine” for the future feather quilting
Next, I would be quilting all the borders and the blazing star units within the borders. This would assure that the borders would be straight and not drawn in by the density of the interior designs had I quilted it first.  I quilted the top and bottom borders then “turned” the quilt, which means it was unpinned off the take-up leader bars of the longarm and turned 90 degrees and repinned to be able to quilt the side borders in one long pass vs advancing and breaking thread causing a lot of stops and starts. Extra time to turn, but once again, worth it!

The quilt remained in this side to side position instead of top to bottom for the remainder of the quilting.

Auditioning Design Ideas

Close up of quilting design
Making a practice run with a dry erase marker is a good way to audition design elements before actually quilting
Sometimes I will take a plexiglass and use a dry erase marker to audition design elements prior to quilting. Through the years I have found this to be useful and many times what I initially thought I would be quilting had a “design change” after drawing it out.

drawing design elements before quilting
More auditions before quilting
hand-guided longarm quilting by Karen Overton
From practice to reality
Longarm quilting designs by Karen Overton
Close up of the hand guided quilting of the border designs

Special Butterfly

close up of hand guided signature butterfly of Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler
Signature Butterfly logo of Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler
I had completed the quilt, having unpinned it from the take-up leader bars and was texting Sue Tucker to verify the shipping address when I mentioned that I was sad I couldn’t attend Spring Market but at least I could “be a butterfly on a morning glory” to which Sue responded that she had hoped I was including one of my special butterflies…Oops!  Didn’t know that!

As a side note I typically put the butterfly on personal quilts or as special requests as it is sorta my trademark signature….I was flattered by the suggestion and quickly decided this quilt just needed a butterfly!

Do you remember that old song “have it your way”….well, if you don’t, here it is to refresh your memory of singing commercials of yesteryear (or if you are too young to remember, to expose you to some of the finer things in life). I was humming this tune as I reloaded the quilt and found a place for the butterfly!

Karen Overton's signature butterfly quilted on the bottom border of Morning Glory a quilt by Deb Tucker
Hand guided longarm signature butterfly adds the finishing touch

Hot Off The Frame

And now I will slow down the ramble and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Hand guided longarm quilting by Karen Overton
Morning Glory, sideways as it came off the longarm frame
close up of longarm quilting by Karen Overton, quilt pattern Morning Glory by Deb Tucker
Another view of Morning Glory by Deb Tucker quilted by Karen Overton
Hand guided longarm quilting by Karen Overton, quilt pattern by Deb Tucker
Center medallion has lots of movement between the beautiful fabric, piecing  design, and the hand guided longarm quilting
close up of quilting around small 8 pointed stars
I fell in love with these beautiful little stars – made perfect with Deb Tucker’s Rapid Fire LeMoyne Star Ruler

Detailed view of quilting stitches can be seen best from the back of a quilt
And of course, a longarm quilter wants to see the back! That’s where the texture shows up, making all the hours worth it!

Where Can You Find This Pattern

full view of the beautiful Morning Glory quilt pattern by Deb Tucker, quilted by The Quilt Rambler
Morning Glory hanging in The Quilt Rambler studio prior to shipping off to be bound and hung at Spring Market 2017 in the Studio 180 Design booth
I know you are going to want to make this as much as I am! Check with your local quilt shop and request that they carry Studio 180 Design Patterns and Rulers. While you are there, also request that they carry Island Batik fabrics if that isn’t already in their line up. I have been a huge fan of both companies for years, having had the blessing of meeting both owners and co-workers of each. You will never find better folks than the Tuckers and the team at Island Batik. I can recommend their products to you and your local quilt shop without reservation.

Stay tuned to The Quilt Rambler as my upcoming blog will include another recent workshop using Deb Tucker’s rulers (this time the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star Ruler) as well as the progress of my May Island Batik Ambassador #ModernBatikChallenge using their beautiful fabrics.

Why not make it easy on yourself  – go ahead and subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss out on a thing!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thanking Deb Tucker for the privilege to once again quilt one of her beautiful quilts!


Are you still humming the song in your head? ….. You’re welcome! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on  how you’ve had your own secret quilting projects, or your favorite singing commercial (grin)..



What’s Up in The Quilt Rambler Studio – Weekly Review

Two palm trees at waters edge of Galveston Bay in Bacliff TX on a warm sunny February day

Sometimes a rambler just has to ramble….and what better way than a weekly review of what’s been happening professionally and personally…put your feet up with me and relax a bit as I share this week’s happenings in and around the studio.

Current Worldview:

Viewpoint of author looking at her feet while laying in a hammock
My favorite current world view – kicking back in my hammock enjoying the unseasonably warm February day

I don’t do winters well, and have been more than thankful that our area has been shattering all sorts of weather records for February. ¬†Apologies to those of you with snow, but I say “yes please” to sunny days in the high 70’s and 80’s!

So what does the weather have to do with quilting you say? Probably nothing, except I find I’m more inspired when the weather is nice. Something about relaxing for just a few minutes in my hammock helps the creativity flow….


Quilts in the Studio This Past Week

Starburst quilt pattern with three coordinating colors for a baby quilt
Lindsey pieced her first quilt for her sister’s baby shower

I love it when someone in the younger generation starts quilting. This is Lindsey’s very first quilt! She pieced it for her sister’s baby shower this weekend. I heard it was a big hit, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s gorgeous!

Quilters are so generous – Lindsey’s first quilt was certainly stitched with love and will always have a story to tell!

Not only is a new baby coming soon, but “hello world – there’s a new quilter born!” ¬†Welcome to the quilting family Lindsey! Can’t wait to see what you create next!

Wilderness applique quilt being quilted on the longarm
On the frame in The Quilt Rambler Studio – beautiful McKenna Ryan Out & About Quilt

On the opposite end of the quilting family is my 90-year-old friend Lila. She is simply amazing. I have known her a dozen years and her quilting never ceases to astound me from complex piecing to beautiful applique – we all agree that Lila is a master quilter! She is very well respected and loved in our Island Quilters Guild in Galveston…she will be our featured quilter in this summer’s quilt show so stay tuned for that!


Nothing Like a Good Quilting Challenge

Jake is sketching out a quilting design with fabric swatches next to him
Planning day for mother/son quilt challenge

A few weeks ago, my son Jake challenged me to a mother/son quilt off. Seems it’s been 10 years since we last made a quilt together. Challenge accepted.

We have set aside Monday’s to work together in the studio. Jake’s favorite number is 13 and we both thought it very fitting that Monday, Feb 13th was our first meeting of the minds.

We agreed to work with the same fabric line, Pressed Petals from Island Batik which is shipping now to a quilt shop near you! Jake is an artist and pulled his fabric choices and had a sketch done in no time.

Quilt block with high and low points to make a wonky star block
Working with scrap fabric from the studio Jake pieced a “wonky star” block

This past Monday, Feb 20 we set up the extra sewing machine for his refresher course on the basics of sewing. Kinda like riding a bike, in no time he had his practice block completed.

I look forward to working with him in the studio each week.



Cuteness Alert

playful kitten on top of hanging chair playing with Karen sitting below
Oscar loves to play atop my hanging chair under the backyard tiki hut

Jake lives next door and his kitten Oscar has in and out privileges when the studio screen door is left open so he can use the “doggie door.” Without too much detail here, Oscar was a stray that showed up a few months before our precious Pixxie passed. For those who have followed me for years on my former blog location, you know that Pixxie was my constant companion and known as my “professional quilt model”. ¬†Click here to see my Pinterest tribute or here to read about her passing.

Anyway….We are all so thankful that God sent Oscar to us. I’m not really a cat person but this little fellow has certainly warmed my heart. Here’s some photos from this past week.

Cute kitten asleep on colorful quilt
Oscar enjoys napping on the studio couch
cute kitten asleep on colorful quilts covering a couch
Oscar is at home in The Quilt Rambler studio








cute kitten in a basket on outdoor furniture
Oscar enjoys the warm spring day under the backyard tiki hut



Cute kitten covered up with a quilt
Oscar enjoys watching TV in the evenings waiting for Jake to come home from work.









What’s Up for March in The Quilt Rambler Studio?

A pile of baby clothes waiting to be made into a childhood memory quilt by The Quilt Rambler
A collection of clothing from two sisters to be made into a childhood memory quilt

Glad you asked! I am in the beginning stage of a childhood memory quilt. Seems two precious little girls were born close to each other and shared a lot of the same clothing.

Mom has saved her favorite outfits from the girls  to have made into a quilt!. What a fabulous way to hold on to those precious infant year memories!

bright fabrics chosen for a new quilt project
Fabrics chosen for a special Island Batik Ambassador Project

In addition, I will be working on my Island Batik Ambassador project for March.

I’m going to wait a few days to share just what the project theme is, but I can tell you that I chose to use my 5″ squares from the Sweet Nectar collection, which is also a current fabric now shipping to your local quilt shop.

With colors like these, every day is a sunny spring day in the studio!

colorful island batik fabrics at the sewing machine waiting to be turned into a quilt project
Coming up in March – another Island Batik Ambassador Project

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt At A Time

Please take time to leave a comment and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to receive the blog regularly through email.