Sunday, March 31, 2013

Western Bricks

What a cute way to use up strips of fabric!
My client used western fabrics.
It is quilted with an open looping pattern:.  "Sprung" by Jodi Beamish.
I always struggle to think of freehand designs for boys quilts. So, when I saw this on my shelf, it looked perfect for this little cowboy quilt.
Bumpy minky on the back.
Big open quilting and minky makes this really soft and cuddly.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Scrappy "Under the Sea"

This little quilt was made from my scrap box and fabric on my shelf.  Everything I used was fabric left over from other projects.  I have found that some of the best creations come from using what you have on hand and thinking "outside the box." 

I was asked to make an "under the sea" themed quilt for a new baby boy.  The parents had this theme for their new baby's room.   Hmm...I often order online, but didn't have time to wait for shipping.  I wasted an afternoon around town looking for a quick "sea" related panel or fabric.  Are you kidding?  JoAnn's had shark fabric with big teeth and that was all.  Good thing I didn't find any because it forced me to think in a different direction.

Here is how it evolved: I went to my scraps and made some humble little ordinary 9 patch blocks in neutrals, green, blue, orange and brown--dots and geometric fabrics.
Pieced with a light neutrals and . . . wow, look how that blue border enriches all the colors!
More dots found in my stash for the outer border and now for some "sea" applique:  a starfish . . .

. . . a turtle . . .
(I know, I know, it's not a sea turtle, but it's cute anyways!)
 . . . and my favorite, a fish with bubbles!
For the binding, I dug out just enough of this zingy little striped fabric that matches all the colors to bring it all under control. Since I wanted it to be really soft I quilted it with a large open freehand swirly design called Dwirling. (by Dawn Ramirez aka The Pajama Quilter.)  
This is my favorite part.  You see, I made the parents Wedding Quilt a couple years ago. This quilt back has a strip of the fabric from that very quilt. The minute I pulled this 6 inch wide strip from the bin, I knew I had to use it!  I love pieced backings!  I was able to use a single width of fabric, split it just off center, sew in the blue and then it was wide enough for the backing.

All boxed up, shipped out and on it's way to Arizona.
I sure am glad I didn't find any fishy fabric at the store!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Work in Progress

I have a few WIPs going on:

1) As you can see, the Crown Royal quilt is still in the infant stage (lots more completed blocks in a box).
2) Some 9 patch blocks that will be part of a fun little baby quilt (blog to come this week).
3) Finished wall hanging that I will blog about April 1
4) Um....can't remember what that star is for....I think it might just be a decoration.

Here are a few of the "up next" April customer quilts queued on this ladder.  Don't worry, I have all the intake sheets pinned to the other side of the quilt so I know who's is who's.  I often get my inspiration for a certain quilt as I walk by each day and look at all these wonderful tops!

I like to have a quilt on the frame and one that I am piecing.  This way, if I get tired of one I can switch. 

I can also say that I LOVE having my studio in my basement so I can head down anytime of day or night to work on a project. 
Door to studio in Ohio

When we lived in Idaho, my studio was in a separate building (which I absolutely loved)  I just didn't love shoveling my way back and forth all winter to get there.  I had a curfew too--couldn't be out wandering around in a blizzard at 11 o'clock at night.
Door to studio in Idaho

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Little Lassos

My client made his cute little quilt from left overs from her quilt in my February archive: Western Quilt.
It's 35 x 40, just right for a tiny newborn.

I put a barbwire "fence" around the little border blocks with lasso ropes in the center.  The lasso loops are echoed in the large quilt block center and along the outer border.
Lasso Ropes in the centers.
Dark Chocolate Minky on the back.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beach Bum!

This was super fun to quilt!
My niece made this crib quilt for her new baby boy.
She had me do the binding also.  I don't get to see the bound and finished quilt very often.
Doesn't this plaid fabric really set off this little quilt? 
She had me quilt on the raw edge appliques so they will fringe when it is washed.
Kite tails blowing willy-nilly, the ocean, the waves and the beach sand/pebbles.
Even the shark is cute~

Gray minky on the back.
This photo is a true color.  I love it!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Do I have to send it back?

Well, I am lovin' this on my studio wall tonight!
"Front Porch Posies" by Kim Diehl
Pieced and hand appliqued by Kris.
The center piecing quilted to look like flower baskets.
Lightly quilted for a nice drape. This is for her dining room table.
 . . . and a nice old fashioned unbleached muslin on the back.
This was a delight to see in my studio everyday for the past week.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Is it Minky?

So, how many of you call this stuff "Kleenex?"
I do and probably always will.
I know that "Kleenex" is a brand name for tissue, but it doesn't stop me from using it as a generic term.

Over the past few years I have quilted a lot of client's quilts with "Minky."
These photos are all clients quilts.
Minky (Minkee) is a brand name created by Versailles Home Textile.

I know that "Minky" is a brand name for this soft, luxurious, wonderfully fluffy fabric; but, it doesn't stop me from using it as a generic term.

This kind of fabric is also branded: 
"Cuddle Up" and "Snuggle Up" by Alexander Henry
"Cuddle Fabrics" by Shannon Fabrics

There are probably more, but these are the only ones I am aware of at this time.

When a customer brings me a length of this for backing I have no way of knowing that brand it is and when I blog, I tote out my "generic" term and call it "Minky."

I have several bolts of it in my studio right now and I have some "Minky" and some "Cuddle Fabrics."

I also have this great box of tissues (aka Kleenex) that my favorite son-in-law gave to me:
If someone needs one of these I always point and say, "There are Kleenex over there."

Everyone that also does this raise your hands . . .

 . . . I thought so.

Anyway, I have been asked a few times about quilting with Minky and so I thought I would do a blog devoted to just that purpose.

1) I prefer to load the minky with the selvages perpendicular to the rollers. You will find other quilters that swear by pinning the selvages on the roller.  This is my preference not a rule that needs to be followed.  I can tell you that the fabric has less stretch that way. Each time I roll, I back off the roller to make sure I am not stretching it too much because I once rolled it snugly like I do my cotton-backed quilts and when I took this little 40 x 40 inch baby quilt off the frame it rebounded just like a rubber band.  I had to unpick the whole shrunken little thing!  Looked like ruching gone bad.

For me, the exception to my rule is when I have to piece a minky backing for a large quilt.  This was a queen sized "Around the World" quilt that had 2 lengths of minky pieced together. For that large of a backing you would have to put the center seam parallel with your rollers or you are going to have a huge lump in the middle of your roller and loose and baggy left and right sides.  It takes a bit of care, but easily done as long as you don't stretch it too tight.
Queen Sized top with minky backing. 
Here is another queen sized quilt backed with minky.

Here is a customer quilt with minky borders . . . 
 . . . and a minky backing.

2) Pin a lot if you have minky top and bottom.  Here, the outer border needed to be pinned  frequently as I quilted to keep the stretch under control as the top and bottom were stretchy.
3) Have fun! I like to toss in a few minky scraps in a top for a baby quilt.  This tactile difference makes a fun pop in an otherwise flat quilt top.
Just quilt over it like any other block. 

4) There are no rules if you are piecing scraps together to make a backing.  I also use a scant 1/2 inch seam for piecing a back like this.  It's just too hard to maintain a 1/4 inch seam with minky.  When piecing--pin, pin, pin and use your walking foot.  If you don't have a walking foot, raise your presser foot so the top layer is not scooted along when you sew...and pin

I save all my scraps and then make these little quilts and bind it with fleece. Fleece binding tutorial.

5) This is "Curly Minky" and I treat it just like any other minky.  Just try to ignore the pile and quilt like you would normally do.
6) Don't be afraid of applique on a minky backed quilt.  Here is an example of a baby quilt with raw edged applique and a minky backing.

Here is another cute customer quilt with applique:
Minky back.

7) Minky top and minky back is very challenging.  I always use batting and you have to pin a lot to keep the top from moving under your hopping foot. Here, I followed the seams with a wavy zig zag and did some simple loops in the outer border.

8)Batting--always.  I prefer to use Hobbs 80/20.  I do not use a 100% cotton batting because it will tend to draw up through the top with the stitch.  Make sure what ever kind of batting you use on any quilt is right side up.  Use your manufacturers guidelines on the right and wrong side of your batting.  Usually, it's folded on the bolt or in the package with the right side out.

9) Thread.  Polyester--always.  I have learned never to use cotton thread because cotton thread likes to pull up the minky pile to the top of the quilt. I always use polyester "So Fine" by Superior thread.  I match the thread to the pieced top and use the same color on the bottom.  You could use hot pink on brown minky because it hardly shows in the pile.

This was quilted with white polyester thread top and bottom.

10)  I always use a longer stitch length. It sinks into the pile and I guarantee you don't want to have to pick out any tiny stitching with minky.  I have never broken a needle using minky.  I think I only remember breaking one needle in the 6 years I have been quilting...and it was not on minky.

11) Don't cry over minky cleanup.  Here is a tutorial detailing how I handle this dreaded fuzzy fallout.

12) Quilting with minky can give your client a great surprise on the back when the top fabrics are too busy to show the quilting details.

I hope this has answered some questions and given you some ideas about using this fabulous fabric product.    
Did I mention I only have one son-in-law?  But he is still my favorite and always will be!

Here are a few more photos of quilts with Minky.


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