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This wonderful color gradation quilt with all it’s curves and points, presented a variety of quilting design challenges. With Betsy’s counsel, we decided on free floating circles of all sizes and intersections. This design followed the modern quilt feel of the piecing and was a true departure from other quilts we had done for Betsy.

But making free hand perfect circles was beyond our skill, that’s for sure! APQS’ Quilt Path to the rescue!!! Once we learned that a circle is no more than a many sided polygon, we programmed that into Quilt Path and the rest was super easy.

The creativity and excitement came with the varied placement of the circles, how they could change in size and connect. It was fun to dance across the quilt, enhancing the flow of the design with celestial orbs completing the theme of flow and movement

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Susan and Chris

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That was the reaction from Lisa when she saw the memory quilt celebrating the early years of her daughter Bella. It was also accompanied by her literally jumping up and down with joy. Nothing could have been more fun and satisfying for us.

The creation of this quilt was not an easy journey. We first met with Lisa in 2011 with a full year hiatus before we have enough direction to continue. However, each visit with Lisa was such fun that we didn’t mind the extended design sessions at all. Lisa always kept us entertained with tales of Bella’s early childhood. She told us of the first time she held Bella as her adopted Mom. About the clothes she first wore home. About the ballet sessions. About the dance recitals. About the family dinners (Lisa even brought us a container of her delicious ‘gravy’ or sauce since she is from the northeast like ourselves).

Like so many trips in our lives it’s not about the destination but about the journey and this trip was filled with much laughter, tears, communication and friendship. This quilt, like so many of them that come to our studio are filled with stories that make the quilt not just filled with fabric, thread and batting, but with love and friendship.

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Take a moment to read this song verse which perfectly describes Lisa’s love for her Bella.

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Susan

A WOW of a quilt

20130915-075308.jpgJean is a long time client of ours who has thrilled us time after time with her intricately designed pictorial quilts. She is an aficionado of McKenna Ryan’s work, among others. We have quilted many 3 dimensional pieces, including an elephant with big floppy ears, fishing scenes and historical items of note about Texas and California. So when Jean brought us this purely graphic design, we were both surprised and thrilled to see her expanded skills.

Her instructions to us, as always, was to ‘make it sing’ which is both a thrilling and scary statement. Chris took up the challenge and did just that!

Look at Jean’s precise points and excellent use of color. Look at Chris’ fun quilting designs, both enhancing and softening the dramatic points. Note the varied interpretation of fills she used across the quilt face.

We are all pretty proud of this one. And proud of Jean’s growth and proud to be a part of the visual success of this beauty.

Susan
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Things have been very quiet here on our blog for the past few months.   Chris and I have been inundated with quilts to be built and quilted in time for many celebrations.  And then finally, when summer came, we were able to have Chris’ daughter Kya, help us out.   And she sure did that!

Not only did Kya help with cutting and fusing, she sewed blocks together for our projects, she carried heavy loads and assembled machines for a local quilt show and she even longarm quilted one of our personal pieces.   She learned a lot and was a big help.

The OTT-ers!Kya helping assemble our APQS table for the Temple TX Quilt ShowBut we learned even more.  While the family escaped to beautiful New Hampshire, we explored the different aspects of blogging and other media.   Kya, as an almost 17 year old, really taught us about the power of social media and about the most effective way to use it.     Thanks to Kya’s tutelage, we are now quite active on our Facebook page (Over The Top Quilting Studio),  Instagram (overthetopquilting), Twitter (@OverTheTopQuilt) and Pinterest (ottquilting/quilts-we-love ).    For all her help, we have now promoted Kya to the Director of Social Media Marketing for Over The Top Quilting Studio!

We’d love to have you LIKE us on Facebook,  FOLLOW US on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest too.   We urge you to engage in conversation with us and share our links with your friends too.

See you in the new world!

Susan

IMG_0345Here in Austin TX, Willie Nelson is a big deal, a hometown boy. So very well loved and respected. And today is his 80th birthday!

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So, when Tommy asked us to make a quilt from his T-shirts and so many of them featured Willie, we were immediately hooked. Tommy told us he was a member of Willie’s ‘family’ and being from NY, we had little understanding of what that meant. Boy, did we quickly learn! Tommy has been associated with Willie Nelson since the mid-1970s and has the T-shirts and many backstage passes to prove it. Once we explained that a quilt could be made of almost anything, including photos, Tommy came back with dozens of ephemera and memorabilia. With each item came a story or two and we were regaled with tales of the adventures of Tommy, Poodie, Willie, Delbert, Kris, Jimmy, Darrell, Ed, Clint and Waylon, among others. He even added photos of his Mom, Dad and beloved dog.

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This quilt proved to be a construction challenge. The ending piece had to be precisely 108″ wide by 72″ tall, to fit the wall in Tommy’s kitchen set aside for it. This necessitated lots of crawling around on our design ‘floor’, measuring and re- measuring before the pieces could be cut and sewn. After that, the quilting itself was easy! This was the first quilt we quilted using our newest APQS Longarm Machine, with the new front panel touch controls and the new features. It was a breeze.

Take a look at some of the rest of the quilt and enjoy Tommy’s march back through time.

Might you have drawers full of memories that you’d like to preserve?

Willie Nelsons Family memory quilt

Willie Nelson’s Family memory quilt

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20120618-215414.jpgAlthough today is officially Earth Day, at Over The Top Quilting Studio, we seem to be in Earth Year!     That’s because so many of our projects involve the recycling of T-Shirts into graduation/special occasion quilts.   This is a wonderful way to clean out your drawers and closets while still preserving the memories associated with the shirt.     Our clients bring us bags and bags of shirts and walk away with a wonderful, soft quilt.     A perfect combination of memory and practicality.IMG_2231

20120509-184500.jpgAnd then there are the memory quilts which frequently are a composition of clothing from a loved one.   We are privileged to be able to use old clothes which would likely wind up in a landfill somewhere and reconfigure the pieces into a useable quilt.   This allows  the receiver to wrap themselves with the feel of their loved one or have a wall hanging to preserve the thoughts forever.

Marie Z 2We have lots of fun with the clothing quilts where a Mom wants to preserve the memories of her child’s younger years.    These types of quilts really let creativity to flow, trying to figure out ways to highlight some of the more interesting aspects of a piece of clothing.

IMG_2368Our message to you on this Earth Day is – clean out those drawers and closets and make a quilt!

 

Susan

 

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We ran into Audie, one of our favorite male quilters, awhile ago. He asked if we were able to get one of his quilts done in a quick fashion because it was to be auctioned off to support the school where he teaches. We are suckers for anything related to fund-raising for the school system, so we promised we would squeeze it in as long as he got it to us by a certain day. Poor Audie! he made the date but had to stay up almost the whole previous night to get it finished in time. But oh what a great job he (and his students) did! We did the quilting for him, maintaining a minimalistic design so as not to overshadow the piecing. And then it was time for the auction. When he told us that the quilt had gone for $1950, we almost fainted.
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Here is more about the quilt and about Austin Montessori School in Audie’s own words… “Terra’s project this year is a scrap quilt made almost entirely from pieces of fabric donated by Terra families, staff, and others in the AMS community. A playful print of musical instruments was also selected and used to accent the quilt with the letters “AMS” as part of the design. The large inner portion of the quilt top was made solely out of 765 identically-sized rectangular pieces, which the children cut from the various fabrics and then laid out together in rows, using light and dark contrasting fabrics to create interest. This is a warm keepsake ‘AMS’ item that is as practical as it is beautiful! Enjoy!” Some additional details: My classroom at Austin Montessori School is known as the Terra community. The children are 9 to 12 years old — 4th thru 6th graders, essentially. They did virtually all of the cutting and the “layout”; I did the stitching together of the pieces. The design was adopted from one in the book Successful Scrap Quilts, by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe.

We would love to hear about the quilts that you have made or participated in that were intended for a charity or important cause. Send us your link so we can support these efforts!

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