I blew it. I did not catch the misprint of our upcoming teacher Tracey Russell’s business. It’s Whirls n Swirls Quilting not Whirls n Twirls Quilting!   Tracey, please excuse me.   Everyone else, just come on and sign up for Tracey’s classes. 

Tracey Russell is coming to Central Texas in January, 2016 to teach 4 quilting classes.11056075_10153443190416233_5539174541362394557_n

Tracey Russell is an internationally renowned longarm quilter, teacher, and owner of Whirls N’ Swirls Quilting. Tracey will teach her classes here at Over The Top Quilting Studio on January 22nd and January 23rd, 2016.

This exciting and innovative teacher is an energetic, productive, and exciting personality in the longarm quilting community – an expert and innovator on APQS’ longarm machines – a creative and entertaining teacher. She just finished a personal challenge to create 100 quilt designs in 100 days and is currently writing a book describing that experience.

Tracey is coming to Texas from her home turf of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada – near Toronto. In her 4 classes, she will share her knowledge, insights, and excitement about longarm quilting. We’ll also hear her inspiring, and funny, perspectives on life, family, and quilting.

Susan and Chris

Susan and Chris

We are honored to have her at our studio where we in Central Texas can learn from, and be inspired by, this outstanding longarm quilter.

You can Register for one or more of Tracey’s classes. Class size is limited and may fill up quickly, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible. Because of Tracey’s popularity, we will maintain an overflow list.

To learn more about Tracey – and why you want to meet her – visit her on Facebook.

 The baby seems to be happy with the final result which made the math challenge worthwhile!


Finding the angle

Jeanne really challenged us with this one!  She wanted this elephant quilt wall hanging to be quited with lines indicating rain showers on the entire piece, including a very specific backing. But the lines of rain needed to be at a strict 60 degree angle. Geometry to the rescue.

IMG_5886We used the formula for a 30/60/90 triangle which helped me know the proper positioning of the quilt top on the backing/batting. It was necessary to ‘pad’ Jeanne’s quilt top with triangles which ’tilted’ the piece on our longarm machine so the 60 degree angle lines were straight-across lines,  Although it looked weird when loaded on the longarm leaders, the quilt was at the angle Jeanne wanted and gave me a perfectly straight line (using my APQS Millennium channel lock!). Thank you Euclid or Pythagoras (I don’t remember which).



Have you ever had to use geometry to get a quilt done in a unique way?



Double Wedding Ring - custom quilting

Double Wedding Ring – custom quilting

Double Wedding Ring (DWR) quilts have been around for ages. But look at this updated, more modern version using batiks and intricate machine appliqué in the borders. Isn’t it spectacular?

IMG_5780Actually, it didn’t start out that way.  The borders were very full and wavy. We added two layers of batting to both create a trapunto effect while eating up some of the excess space.IMG_5859 IMG_5858

Before this was no more than just raw fabric and a pattern, Mary asked us to bring it to life to celebrate her daughter’s wedding. With the help and guidance of our friend Brenda from Red Barn Quilting, Chris and I collaborated on this beauty. I did all the detailed center and melon work using our APQS Quilt Path computerized system while Chris did her freehand feather magic in the borders. 

A true work of love, in many senses. 



All who loves sunflowers will fall in love with this quilt! Raye designed this king size quilt herself and gave us the privilege of quilting it for her. It was a gift to her daughter. Note the intensive use of batiks throughout the top. She wanted it quilted in as elegant way as possible, with different designs in each of the separate area.s and borders, no trivial feat.



She was quite pleased with it, as were we.


Last week, we spoke about how Chris and I were able to finish some quilts and bring them to life.  This time I want to brag on some of our renters who have done wonderful work in such a short time to bring their own quilts to life!

Allison has been the most prolific, completing one of her quilts just about every week since we opened.  She has experimented with free hand designs from the front of the machine as well as pantos and she is chomping at the bit for us to teach her out to use Quilt Path, the computerized system on our APQS machines. Sadly, she is moving away but has promised to schedule a full rental day with us every few months. She will be missed. 


Cindy has really impressed us too with her rapid development.  Her first quilt was done very well with a simple yet eye appealing swirly pattern.  Over the next few quilts, she studied designs in books and online and was bound and determined to break out of her swirls mode.  Look what she did!


Just one more brag.  Look at this modern quilt quilted with irregular but contrasting circles to all the pointy triangles. And this was just her third rental session!


Don’t these rapid success stories make you want to try your hand at completing your own quilts? Come take one of our Rental Certification Classes and start doing this yourself.   Go to www.overthetopquilting.com/classes.


That is one of the sayings associated with our longarm company APQS and we’ve seen the value of it over and over again.

Right after we opened the new location for Over The Top Quilting Studio, we were enthusiastically greeted by quilters in the new neighborhood, happy to have us nearby to finish their quilts.  That first month we were inundated with (mostly) ladies who were very excited to take some of their precious but unquilted tops to us for completion.

 Among them was this one which had been laying around for quite a long time. We got to work on it as soon as we could and quickly discovered that it was severely ‘out of square’, meaning that it was quite lumpy and bumpy and suffered from the curse of longarm quilters, wavy borders. After analyzing it, we contacted the owner and warned her that even doing our best, there would be the need for the creation of pleats in the borders and imperfect areas in the interior. Her reaction:  do the best you can since anything that’s completed is better than having it lie around in a drawer, never to be used.  We could not agree more.

Right around that same time, this hand pieced Double Wedding Ring top came in with a similar request, Please make it come alive in memory of the long gone creator. Although I can’t show you the finished product, use your imagination to see how it came alive.  A single floral pattern was quilted in the centers, while a flow-y but simple design was inserted in the melons. Most of the arches were left untouched but the 4 point intersection had a lovely star-like design in them. Needless to say, the owner was very happy to have it completed in such a classy fashion. You’ll just have to take my word for it since we neglected to take a final photo.  

If you have a quilt that is begging for completion, either have us do it for you or come to the studio and learn how to do it yourself on our APQS machines.

Remember, Done is really Good!



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