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.


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!


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!


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.


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


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!




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.
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!

What do you use for lighting in your Longarm studio? You can resort to this.


Or you and your work can ‘shine’ under the beautifully designed APQS overhead lighting system.


Remember the days when you would hear that word as advertising repeated over and over, trying to get your attention? Well, this time it’s true!

We are excited to announce three new things.

We have completely redone our website – overthetopquilting.com, making it cleaner, easier to read and navigate and featuring a slew of new quilts to feast your eyes on.Maria 5


Here we are as proud owners of the newest APQS Millie longarm machine, with overhead lighting and the computerized system Quilt Path, all wrapped up in a new owners lovely red bow!

This is Chris assembling the new table with Millie with touch pad controls.   We even got Matt to help us finish up the construction.IMGP8005

 IMGP8024APQS machine, Millie, has gone to a new home and we have replaced her with one of the newest generation APQS machines. She’s all white, she loves to be caressed using her touch control panel, she shines under her new overhead lighting, and she is a completely independent woman on the days she allows the new computerized system, Quilt Path, to guide her. In keeping with our machine update and to make your visit to our studio more pleasant, we have repainted the walls, moved around some quilts and added some more design space.

And speaking of the new generation of APQS machines, you must check them out. Both the Millennium (now named Millie) and the Freedom (Freddie) have replaced the hand controls with a slick, smooth, technologically improved flat panel touch pad. Both have a new low bobbin indicator and top thread break indicators. Best of all, they now come with a LIFETIME WARRANTY, as does the new Lucey, Lenni and George models. Go to apqs.com/new-generation-machines for more details.

Please come visit us – go to our website, come to the studio to see the new machine and stop by the APQS website.



Did I whet your appetite enough to make the NEW! NEW! NEW! worthwhile??




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