Friday, April 26, 2013

Something to share! A beautiful quilt story...

Lynette contacted me about a year ago to have one of her quilts finished by me. I am always honored to work on customer quilts and this one was no different.  It's funny, someone left a comment on my sneak peek of this quilt and mentioned that Kay was quilting this exact same quilt.  I couldn't believe it!! At first I was a little nervous about that thought. It is always heart wrenching to think that two quilting jobs could be compared to each other, especially when it is the same quilt.  But, then I realized that each quilter has his or her own style and how awesome it would be to own two of the same quilts, but quilted completely different. So, I asked Lynette to tell me the story of her quilts and I had to share her thoughts with you.  It really is a beautiful quilt story - please read it.  Then, you can look at the pictures!  So, I give you Dragonfly - Party 1. 


Here's what Lynette said -  
"Dragonfly Party 1 comes from a special private block-of-the-month quilt project that
my cousin and I started doing together. Kelly was 3 years older than I, and we
reconnected with each other around 2007 when we both got on Facebook. She lived in
Orem, Utah, and I was in Florida. We became daily companions, each with our
computers staying online throughout the workday (she was an at-home mother with her
youngest a teen, I was working at home) so we could interact easily. We both loved
quilting and came up with the scheme in 2009 to do a twins-quilts BOM project
through the mail with each other. The intention was that we'd each decide on a
project and do it in double, keeping one block and mailing the other. At the end of
the year, we'd each have two twin quilts with each other - one of our choice and one
of the other's choice. 

Kelly chose the Joseph Smith tribute BOM by Nancy Nielson and Joylyn Rigy, which I
later found out she'd been super nervous about because I'm not LDS like her, and I'm
not nearly as much of a Thimbleberries type. I was looking for something with upbeat
colors and a mix of traditional and modern blocks. So I cobbled together 12 blocks
that I loved or had meaning (like the Johnny-'Round-the-Corner block, as my husband
was almost finished with a long deployment to Afghanistan and would be home that
month in our program). Some of the blocks are tried and true standby patterns,
others came from the Quilter's Cache blog ( I designed
the setting in EQ6, wanting large alternate blocks for quilting potential. I'm not
sure what possessed me to include 1/4" sashing, but it called to me, so I put it in
there. The name came from the fun dragonfly fabric I found to use for the outer
border and focal pieces in many of the blocks. The color scheme was pulled from
stash and fat quarters to play off that fabric. It wasn't intentionally created to
call to mind Mardigras, but living on the Florida panhandle at that time, that's
what most folks who saw the project thought of. lol!

We were maybe 6 months into our game with each other when Kelly passed away. Way too
young! I think she was 46 at the time. But she'd been having problems due to her
cardiomyopathy, and fell to a series of strokes caused by complications. I was
devastated. It was like losing a beloved sister. When I went out for her funeral, I
rescued every project I could find in her sewing room and stash and have slowly been
working on those. I found her storage bins and fabrics for her Joseph Smith BOM, and
the blocks of Dragonfly Party that I'd sent out to her. 

I couldn't touch any of it until I decided to use the skills of master-longarmers to
nudge me into finishing my Dragonfly tops. So I got on your Green Fairy wait list
and started working my way through those. I finished them last summer after our move
to Colorado. They were nice, poignant companions in our interim apartment while we
looked for a real home to buy. I decided I wanted to keep both of the tops, and that
it might be nice to have the work of two longarmers to be a set together. So I put
Dragonfly Party 2 on Kay's Borderline Quilter wait list - another longarmer whose
work I had long admired, had absolute faith in giving cart blanch, and would more
likely than not look terrific as a set with your quilting. Neither one of you let me
down. They both take my breath away even before I have them back in my hands! 

The funny thing is that I placed these tops at very different times on two separate
wait lists with very different rates of moving and two quilters in very different
life stages affecting their available working hours. And yet, with no attempt at
coordinating, you each finished quilting the tops within a work week of each other! 
Blog friend Em would call that a God Wink, for sure!  And with these two quilts so
amazingly quilted, it takes all the sting out of the time I spend working on Kelly's
Joseph Smith blocks to finish those quilts for her, so that it's only a nice stroll
through memories of her and a labor of love for her family."

 Okay, me again -
Oh my word, I can not read through her story without crying.  I think what I love most about quilting is the beautiful stories of love and friendship that develop and our hobbies become more than just a hobby.  So beautiful!  So, on to the quilting story - my part.  I was a little stumped at first.  The big yellow empty spaces are always a challenge to design first, so I started on the borders.  This small four patch pictured above was the result of a little playing around and it ended up being the inspiration for my whole quilting job.  I kept thinking about this being a tile that could fit in all the yellow background squares.

As I quilted I realized that I should make this quilting tile a progressive size.  So, the first yellow spaces - top and bottom of the quilt are 2 inch squares.  Yes, there was a ton of marking on this quilt.

The borders are awesome, this was a result of the square I quilted at first that gave me inspirations for the tile blocks.  The diamond shape is also used throughout the quilt.

Each block is quilted differently, I used a gold thread for the colors in the blocks, a white thread for all the white areas and a golden yellow for the solid yellow blocks. 

I so love this quilt block.  It turned out awesome. 

Lynette's piecing ability is amazing, AMAZING!  Seriously, I could not quilt this straight without a straight quilt, I am so impressed with her piecing skills. 

All the quilting designs within the blocks are a result of just playing around with my marker and straight ruler.

A favorite!  Love this one.

And this one too, it's so hard to pick which ones to share!

So, this yellow block is the center row of the quilt and I quilted 4 inch squares and here is where the diamond design from the border is pulled into the quilt.

This is the second and fourth rows with 3 inch squares and a smaller diamond.  I love the progressive size design on the quilt.  This was my first time trying that design method. I love how it turned out.

The fabric in the borders have dragonflies in them, so it is only appropriate that I put in a couple of dragonflies.  I planned on quilting more than two dragonflies, but in the end decided that 2 were enough for the quilt.  Not knowing the story of this quilt before made it more neat because I think of the two dragonflies as Kelly and Lynette.

The back!  Love!

I never tire of quilt texture.

 Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoyed this quilt story as well as the pictures of my quilting.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013


After Lili's baptism and several weeks of family in town I had a few days to finish up two quilt projects.  The goal was to finish them and blog about them before I took off on a trip to Mexico with Clint.  Well, I am happy to say the quilts got finished, but the blogging didn't happen.  I was trying to blog 20 minutes before I had to leave to catch a plane.  So, I gave up and realized that I will have plenty to blog about when I get home. We have spent the last week in Mexico - my first trip here - and it has been amazing.  We were lucky to be able to get away from the busy city of Cancun and make a couple trips out into small towns with amazing structures from the Mayan culture.  The one behind us is in Coba - we climbed that huge pyramid.  It was scary going up because it's much steeper than it appears, but even worse coming down. But it was incredible!  
 While in Coba we got a bicycle taxi ride from some of the locals.  It was awesome, I felt bad for our driver though having to petal us around when it was so hot and humid.  He told us he has done this for 5 years, incredible! The bikes totally reminded me of Nacho Libre - one of my all-time favorite movies.  

 This is in Chichen Itza - this was awesome!  Our tour guide was amazing and knew so much about this culture.  I can't believe how many buildings are around this area and most of them have not been uncovered. We had the chance to see Tulum and swim in a cenote as well.  It really was an action packed high adventure vacation and I loved every minute of it.
The last full day we were able to take a boat out to a coral reef and snorkel.  We saw sea turtles, a stingray, and tons of colorful fish.  It was so cool - the only downside was me getting sea sick and throwing up in the ocean ;-( I have always known that I am a land person, but the chance to see these creatures in their own habitat was so worth it.  

So, reality is back and in full force and I will be blogging soon about the quilts I have finished, so stay tuned! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A big day.

Photo Courtesy Amber Wallis
So, I know I haven't posted forever.  I am sorry about that.  We have literally had 5 family visitors (in the form of families with lots of kids) in as many weeks and needless to say it is a madhouse around here.  But, I wanted to share with you that today is my daughter Lili's baptism day.  It's a big day for us, and with her being the oldest she is setting a great example for her younger brothers.  It is hard to believe that she is 8 years old.  I get teary eyed just thinking of it.  Next time she wears a white dress she'll be getting married.  Aggh!  They grow up too fast. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A couple things...

Sneak Peak 
So, this is what is on the frames right now and this design has been really fun! But, for some reason yellow thread is my enemy at this point.  The first triangle I quilted at the top of the quilt (not shown) was quilted in what I thought was yellow Magnifico thread, but holy cow - it turned neon green on the fabric.  Needless to say, I have to unpick and start fresh.  Then, my other matching thread is giving me a headache - it keeps shredding and skipping.  I think I have it figured out though - looks like a nick in the needle plate. So, I am heading to Lowe's for a needle sanding thingy - great description right? ;-)  Wish me luck that it works!

In other news, I use a purple disappearing marker that we carry in the shop for marking my quilts - yes, I love it and I don't have any issues with it.  Sometimes the markings come back, but then I just spray another round of water and rub it out with an extra piece of batting. 

And, the ruler in my tutorial.....I received it when I purchased my A-1 long arm. I am looking at getting them in our shop and I will be sure to let you know when I have them in.  It really is an amazing straight ruler.

Okay, last thing - thanks so much for your comments on my last post!  I know what I am going to do.  I love that a lot of you reminded me that I need to do what I want - it's true, but I am easily influenced to change my mind when I second guess myself.  So, I will quilt the way I want and I will save the quilts for a book - who knows how long that will be, right?  It has taken two long years to get my first book in the works, but we are closer to a release date, but still Fall 2013 sometime!  Yay!! - So, here's to sticking to my own style and making quilting and designing fun!  Have a fabulous day!