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Sisters cropped rectangleWhat a busy two weeks! First the grand opening of our new APQS longarm studio in Cedar Park, Texas for all of our Central Texas clients. Now Quiltcon at the Austin Convention Center – Thursday, February 19th through Sunday February 21st.

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QuiltconPlease come visit us at booth 211. We like to see you and hear your experiences using longarms in unusual ways, from assembling quilts, quilting quilts, to creating quilted fabrics for so many uses. And having fun doing it. We’d love to hear what you think we should be doing, now that we’ve expanded our services for you. Chris and Susan will be there along with a number of experts from the APQS family.

We’ll have 3 APQS longarm machines for you to see and experience.

We were mentioned in the Austin American Statesman article on Quiltcon and modern quilting. We think that’s pretty cool!

See you at Quiltcon?! We hope so!

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One of the benefits to buying an APQS Longarm machine is the free  5 hour class included with every purchase.    Last week, we had three new longarm-ers, two Millennium owners and one who owns a new Lenni.    Gail, Clara and Susan have owned their machines from over 1 year (Susan) to just a few weeks (Gail).

We ask our new owners to spend some time playing with their machines, discovering all the benefits and features.   They come armed with the excitement of new owners as well as with all sorts of questions.   This class was particularly fun because we had two art quilters among us who use their longarm machines quite intensively.

The class is mostly lecture with some demo thrown in for good measure.  As teachers, we follow a class outline provided by APQS which helps to ensure that all members of the APQS family get the same training.   The class was developed by award winning Dawn Cavanaugh who has also been recognized as a longarm Teacher of the Year in 2009.

The best part of the class in my opinion, is the free flow of hints, tips and shared information.  Chris and I, as experienced longarmers, share all our ‘secrets’ with the students and they in turn, tells us what special techniques they have developed.  And of course, we share our favorite tools – this time, Clara even invented a new one on the fly!

Our new longarm-ers really impressed us with their skills.   Gail recently won a ribbon for her quilt, Transformation, at this year’s Dallas Quilt Celebration.   She is quite a proficient artist in general and now she is translating that talent to her quilts. From a business perspective, Gail intends to create and sell custom quilts as well as teach her specialized techniques from her lovely studio housing her new Lenni.      Clara is also an impressive artist who has had her quilts accepted into the prestigious juried International Quilt Festival show in Houston TX.   Do check out Clara’s work at claralawrenceart.com and just imagine what she will be doing on her new Millennium!!    All the rest of us, including Susan who is still in charity-quilt-practice-mode, really enjoyed the day together and the fun of being APQS Longarm machine owners!

Consider purchasing an APQS machine from us just so you can take our free class.  We look forward to getting together soon!

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When the phone rang and this sweet female voice asked if we made quilts of course we said YES!   As the conversation moved along she asked if we could make a panties pillow case.    Panties Pillow Case,  I said to myself??   What in the world??   So like any red-blooded girl,  I said yes to the challenge (not really knowing what I was getting into!)   The lovely voice said she would come by the studio and explain it all.   In comes this beautiful tall drink of water girl with arms full of bags and a big pillow.   At this point my curiosity was getting the better of me and I couldn’t wait to get into this project!

Christine was her name and she wanted something very special for a very special person.   She wanted these most incredibly beautiful panties to be sewn onto a pillowcase.   As we removed the panties from the bags they were not your usual ‘granny panties’, oh no,  these were beautiful colors, intricate lace and might I say TINY!

Well after the initial sense of “…..what in the world….” we got down to it and after many tries we settled on a design.   Christine did not want to cut the panties; she wanted them whole.   She also had great ideas for some of them – one we used as the pillow wide border, the string from another was the piping and the bow that adorns the back was now a focal point at the edge.

All our designing was on a white pillowcase and it just didn’t have a warm and intimate feel.   We tried  a light gray case and again it was not the right shade.   We tried swatches of different fabrics and each time we came up short.   I then looked at Christine said to her that the shade of her t-shirt would be perfect and WHAMMO she took it off and we laid the panties on it and the perfect match was made!  She then began the hunt for finding the right shade of pillow case, closely matching her T-shirt. When she finally found the right shade and the right size Susan and I began this challenge – new to both of us!

We used technology;   we took a photo of the layout, printed it and began recreating the design onto the case.    We knew we needed to stabilize these itsy bitsy articles but we didn’t want to use our general fusible.   We remembered that Mom in her art quilts uses Misty Fuse, a lightweight yet durable fusible that will not show.   We then satin stitched the edges down so that in washing there would be no chance they would fall off.   We had undid the inside seam so that we had a more flexible surface so after we were done, we got the chance to use our new serger to serge those inside seams back together.

From the initial conversation to the final reveal it was a great chance to challenge our skills both physically and mentally.   Having the opportunity to work on so many types of varied projects for each individual regardless of what their purpose is has truly been a blessing.   We love the chance to have people realize their vision or give them joy or peace or closure.   Each project allows us to give back more than we ever could receive!    And we hope the final recipient of the Panties Pillow Case enjoys it too.

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I wanted to share this wonderfully intricate, eye catching and mind filling quilt with you.    It is quite large – 96″ by 112″ and was a real challenge to appropriately quilt.   We really wanted to enhance the design elements without taking anything away from the piecing.    The center element was trapunto’d since that was the most important part of the design.  

The challenge of the quilt came in many forms -artistic as well as business.   We pride ourselves in really listening to the desires of the client and understanding the person for whom the quilt is intended.    In this case, Susie was making it for her sailing husband, and she originally wanted us to quilt it with a sailing motif.
We struggled long and hard, trying to satisfy those needs without compromising the overall beauty of the top.  Finally, our artistic sense could not be denied and we met with Susie and her husband to discuss our thoughts.    They agreed with us and we delivered our combined vision of the finished quilt to them today.
I guess this conflict over wanting to meet the client’s needs and the need for artistic purity has been around forever.   Think about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel versus his patron, Pope Julius II.   They had major battles over the design and in the end, ‘art’ won out.    Now, I am in no way comparing our talents with that of the great Renaissance artist, but in some sense, we fought the same battle and won.
Do you think we did the right thing with this quilt? 

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