As a review, I’m an Island Batik Ambassador and our May challenge was to make a Modern Batik Quilt (here’s Part 1 in case you missed it). I have totally enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone with this challenge….and the challenge continued….as it was soon time to quilt it!
You Can Never Have Too Many Rulers
I’ve been a longarm quilter since 2004 and have “collected” my share of longarm rulers – many while attending longarm classes with national teachers.
I hate to admit that many of them haven’t been used to their fullest potential. The most used ones were to make spines for feathers, or a circle to make a feathered wreath…I’m a self-proclaimed feather queen…but that’s another ramble….
Modern quilting?!!??! Something I’ve just drooled over at quilt shows, online, and in magazines…not something I’ve attempted…never had the time to experiment!
Personal Challenge – Use Those Rulers!
It’s my understanding that there are not very many rules in modern quilting, that it is very fluid, so I decided to fire the quilt police on this one. I seriously didn’t have a quilting plan….yes, I know that’s dangerous…but as Ben & Jerry’s said: “If it’s not fun, why do it!”
To those of you who are more experienced, my apologies. But it’s my first modern quilt! And here’s just a few of the rulers I used from my vast collection.
As a side note, I had ordered some of Jodi Robinson’s rulers but they arrived too late to be included in this project. I can’t wait to try them in future quilts!
It’s All in The Details
I gained the confidence to try new things as I worked my way down the quilt. It probably would have been a little different had I had a plan (grin)….but I like the way it turned out.
Modern Quilt In The Wild
It was late in the day by the time I sewed the binding on…I have plans to hand stitch the binding on this one versus machine binding….but I was losing daylight so forgive the flapping binding! Here are the outdoor photos that were taken under the tiki hut in the backyard. I’m not a professional photographer so the lighting isn’t perfect, but I think you can see the texture and my attempts at modern quilting.
It’s Not Finished Until You Put A Label on it
I thought it would be fun to make a bright hanging sleeve and cheated a bit turning this into my quilting label. I hope to finish the hand-sewn binding soon and hang this in my studio.
I have truly enjoyed the challenge on this one. The pattern has lots of personal messages to remind me that life is a journey and full of choices. There are plenty of beautiful things to see and do along the way. The verse inspires me to follow God and trust that He will guide my path. In all things that I do, I need to stay true to who I am.
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Proving That There’s Always Something New to Try In The World Of Quilting!
Do you have a defining style of quilting? Maybe you are fond of applique’ or traditional patterns. Have you tried modern quilting? I’m thinking I’d like to try this again. Leave me your thoughts and comments, especially if you have suggestions on modern quilting.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Hot Off The Frame
And now I will slow down the ramble and let the pictures speak for themselves.
Where Can You Find This Pattern
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)..
Ode To The Unknown Quilter – A Double Wedding Ring Quilt
By definition, an ODE is “a lyric poem expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion.”
I’m not a poet, I’m a rambler…but this post does have what I hope to be enthusiastic emotion.
As a longarm quilter for hire, it’s my job and joy to assist quilters in the finishing of their masterpieces. Sometimes the owner of the quilt top isn’t necessarily the one who pieced it, sometimes the top has been inherited or a special purchase from an estate sale or antique market. Sometimes I don’t even know the story, as in the case of this quilt.
Several years ago one of my faithful customers had a neighbor with a quilt top that needed to be quilted. If I was told the story I have certainly slept since then and don’t remember. All I remember is my customer telling her neighbor that she would show it to her longarm quilter and see if anything could be done with it…for you see, the top had “issues.”
I wish I had a better of a command of vocabulary because “issues” seems disrespectful, and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to the unknown quilter, but this is another one of those “bless her heart” quilts…
This particular quilt was hand pieced, and judging by the feed sacks and other recognizable fabrics, was probably pieced in the 1930’s or 1940’s when the double wedding ring pattern was prevalent.
I always love taking a photo of the actual hand piecing before it is covered up forever and ever amen. For a reason unknown to me, the piecing was done in both a black thread and occasionally a white thread – could it be that the unknown quilter was using what was available as far as thread choices were concerned? Could it be that she was a beginner and the black thread was a way for her to see where she was working, or could it be that she was a seasoned saint whose eyesight was aided by this choice of thread color? I’ve had one friend suggest that the quilter had a “waste not want not” attitude and perhaps re-used thread from worn garments as perhaps even she repurposed those garments incorporating them into her quilt.
The double wedding ring is not a pattern for the faint of heart, however, the symbolism of the design is one that will warm your heart. Double wedding rings were sometimes made in hopes of a future marriage or sometimes given as a wedding gift. Regardless, it’s a difficult pattern to piece with its small ring of colorful scraps and its odd size melon in between, not to mention the large center piece whose proper geometric name escapes me….
Yes, this quilt had some issues – for one, it didn’t want to lay flat when spread out on the floor, and as you can see in the photo above, it didn’t end on an even note. The edges looked more like ruffles potato chips with ridges than a quilt that would grace a bed ensemble.
Ah, but that’s only if you look with your eyes and not your heart!
Not knowing the quilter, the history of the quilt, or anything really except the current owner wanted it finished and was willing to accept puckers in the completed project – I was left up to my imagination as to how to quilt this particular masterpiece.
The design needed to be taken into consideration knowing there would be many pleats and puckers along the way, yet I didn’t want to just meander or stipple over the entire top. An edge to edge pantograph wouldn’t work either, number one simply because it would again be difficult to ease in the fullness and number two (which was really number one in my mind) is it just wasn’t befitting to a double wedding ring. Too much time had been invested in the piecing, it would be disrespectful to rush the finishing by just stitching any ole thing to hold in the batting and call it finished.
Somewhere in time, a lovely lady set her mind upon piecing a double wedding ring quilt. Perhaps in hopes of her own marriage, perhaps just because she liked the pattern. Could it have been her first quilt or even one of her last? After all the careful planning and choosing of the scraps for the rings and the countless hours of piecing did she grow weary and decide not to quilt it? Was she frustrated when she couldn’t make the seams obey and lay flat, or was she piecing during a difficult time and the simple motion of needle and thread working in her fingers brought her peace and the end result wasn’t the focus? Something I’ll never know – but what I do know is this unknown quilter had the tenancy to finish that which she started. Not a ring missing, not an unfinished row, a little uneven and a little full, but a complete top. Bravo!
This was a top that cried out “finish me” and to the best of my ability that was my goal. In an effort to mask some of the fullness I decided to double layer the batting, with an 80/20 cotton/poly on the back to help shape the quilt and a high loft poly on the top to soften the fullness that was inevitable.
What to stitch? What would work the best considering the obstacles and still honor the quilter’s love and attention to the completion of her top? What indeed but hearts!
When that thought hit me, the love just flowed out from one quilter to another. The shared passion and perhaps the shared imperfection. Somehow I could relate to this unknown quilter. My designs aren’t perfect, I don’t make a perfect quarter inch seam in all my quilts, sometimes my blocks are a little wonky, but the love is never less than a perfect love – love for the process, love for the journey, love for the therapy brought about by playing in fabric and thread, and love in hopes that one day this labor of love will warm someone’s heart as it warms them from the outside elements. Can the love be felt? I certainly hope so, I tried to match it stitch for stitch with the love I imagined of the unknown quilter.
So yes, it’s a little uneven, yes it’s a little puckered, and yes it still needs a binding put on to make it complete but once that is done IT IS FINISHED! I hope the new owner will savor the character added to the quilt by its age spots, creative piecing, and beautiful scraps.
And yes, I hope it is loved when it finds its way home. I hope it will be said that I completed my task of honoring the quilt maker by finishing her quilt so it can be used as intended.
Exciting things have been under wraps in my colorful quilting studio this past fall just waiting for the first of the New Year to officially announce!
Are you holding on to your computer mouse with sheer excitement eager to scroll down to the big reveal?
Drum role please…..or better yet … let me hear the rattling of quilting pins in that cute decorative bin or the clanging of bobbins in your bobbin case or to be really celebratory raise those rotary cutters and clink them in the air while imagining joining in with the cheers of your quilting buddies…..wait for it….wait for it….
Here it is!!!
After being known for 13 years in the quilting community as Quilts ‘N Kaboodle, professional longarm quilting services, I’m announcing a new name and new focus!
Okay, maybe not that new as I’ve previously had another blog with a similar tag line….(that was a huge hint in case you weren’t aware!) but new as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. And that’s about as officially new as you can get!
Are you turning on and off your Daylight Table Lamp or flicking on and off the light on your sewing machine with anticipation….come on now – join me in the news of the year!
Quilts ‘N Kaboodle has officially closed the doors and the doors are being opened wide for The Quilt Rambler!!
Yes, that’s the new me… well, it’s the same me… Karen E. Overton ( or as some know me “Karen O in TX”) …but the new me professionally.
I’m so excited! I’ve had such a difficult time keeping quiet…truth be told, I haven’t been that quiet…after all, I am a self-proclaimed rambler! Those that have known me throughout the years within the quilt community know my gift of gab when it comes to all things quilty. Did I mention I’m excited! So excited I’m chasing down so many rambling trails right now…..focus Karen, focus…
Okay…So why the name change you ask? Just to do something different. A little rebranding. An excuse for a new website and a new blog…and perhaps just because it’s easier to spell!
Actually, as hinted to earlier, I’m transitioning into a new focus with my quilting while the same time kinda staying the same…
Through the years I have been privileged to quilt some of the most beautiful quilts, all with a story to tell. I’ve celebrated with you when your quilt won a ribbon, or the best compliment of all -when you shared photos of your quilt being embraced by that special loved one you made it for. I’ve been blessed to have some of those quilts published in magazines and books or equally as important shared at guild meeting show and tells. Being a part of your quilts through longarm quilting as been pure joy. And I desire to continue to serve you in this area.
Some of my greatest joy has been in telling your story through the creation of a memory quilt or a t-shirt quilt. Nothing speaks louder of a life well lived than clothing well loved. It is so exciting for me to assist you in going through your child’s twelve years of t-shirt or sports jersey collection to make a special graduation gift. Or reliving your college days with you as you decide which treasured t-shirt should be the one to make the center of your quilt. So many of you have had wonderful collections and I have enjoyed being able to tell your story with a quilt.
Many of you have asked me to tell the story of a cherished loved one. I understand the memories of daddy’s shirts, mother’s muumuus, or a husband’s ties. Gathering these reminders and incorporating them into a quilt that can be wrapped around you to remind you of their love….well, all I can say is it just touches my heart to be able to be a small part of helping you tell your story.
So that’s the new focus – T-shirt quilts, memory quilts, quilts made from baby clothing….you name it! Making memories and telling YOUR story, one quilt at a time.
And because I love all things quilty my blog will be updated weekly with stories of your quilts, tips on being a better quilter, techniques to help you grow in your quilting, a tutorial every now and then, and reports of news-worthy products and happenings in the quilting community. I can hardly wait for this new year to begin, a new adventure, a new chapter in my quilting rambles. So join me on Facebook, and other social media (currently being developed so stay tuned!) It may only be a “name change” but its going to be the start of something wonderful!
Bring it on 2017! The Quilt Rambler is ready to ramble on!!!
Telling YOUR story, one quilt at a time! Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler!
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