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Archive for the ‘colors’ Category

Can you believe that this lovely wall hanging was done by Celia on her new APQS free motion, sit-down Longarm machine, George? Celia and George only came together in March and she immediately put him to work on this interesting and creative piece she made for her bird-loving brother in law. 

  
  
I was particularly drawn to the hummingbird feeder depiction.  Maybe it’s because I am rarely able to attract any of those beautiful creatures to my own feeders or maybe it’s because Celia was able to make them come alive through her inventive yet simple quilting. 

  
 
One more favorite panel is this one of the ingenious squirrel who seems to think that a bird feeder is solely put there for his dining pleasure! 

  
Come into the Studio to test out our George. 

Susan

  

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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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Terri's Horse Ribbon Quilt

Terri brought us a very packed box of ribbons she and her horse had won over the years and asked that we create a quilted wall hanging from them.  She had already done some research on Pinterest looking for a design but when she walked into our studio and saw a wall hanging we had created a few years ago, she knew she had her design choice.

Each ribbon had to be disassembled from its rosette, cutting through the wires and cardboard that held the winning ribbon together. Using the simple flip and sew method on a foundation of muslin, we set about using as many ribbons as possible in each block.  The challenge came in the ironing; these ribbons are made of acetate and therefore, melt pretty quickly under a hot iron.Center Rosette

Once the quilt top was completed and a simple meander done using our APQS Millennium, we tackled the rosettes. Choosing the biggest one for the center position, we added others to the block intersections and carefully spaced some more in the borders.

Voila, a lovely, colorful, vibrant wall hanging filled with memories of decades of horse competitions. Unfortunately, since Terri had ribbons in her box from 1976, we had to send her home with lots of  leftovers.   She was a very accomplished horse-woman! Maybe there will be another quilt creating challenge in our future.  She surely loved the one we made for her!

Susan

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Lot of excess fabric right where the points come together Lots of excess fabric right where the points come together

What do you do when you are asked to quilt a top that is filled with 30 blocks, each of which creates a C-cup’s worth of extra fabric?   Return it to the customer undone?   Quilted with lots of pleats?   resew each block before quilting in order to make them lay flat?    Or attack them in a brute force way with TOOLS??   We chose the latter.

Un-ironed and unevenly sewn points Un-ironed and unevenly sewn points

The cause of the problem is the lack of ironing of the seams and intersections and well as just a general unevenness of seam construction.  By the way, this is an old ‘found’ quilt, resurrected from an abandoned family truck.   The fabrics are probably from the 1950’s or 1960s.

Mallet, spray starch and iron Mallet, spray starch and iron

Although we tried ironing the entire quilt top, hoping it would eventually lay flat, we had to resort to the heavy hitters of tools and techniques.  Out came to rubber headed mallet, a full bottle of spray starch and the hottest iron possible.   Working from the wrong side, we opened the seams, swirled the points as much as possible, beat the intersection into submission with the mallet, and starched and ironed the heck out of it on the from and back.

A lessened C-cup.  Maybe now barely an A? A lessened C-cup. Maybe now barely an AA?

All that hammering and ironing paid off!   The excess fabric was tamed into submission and now the probability of introducing pleats into the quilting was lessened.    We have not yet quilted the top so I can’t tell you the whole story but we know it will be easier than before we used the tools.

 

Update:  These tools made a difference and we were able to create a really useable quilt with a minimum of lumps and bumps.

Susan

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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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A quilt is not always ‘just a ‘quilt. Sometimes, it can be a way of bringing joy and peace to someone who is suffering with a difficult illness.  Sometimes, it can provide a way for the quilt maker to show the depth of her or his love for someone.  And sometimes, it is all of these.

Carla brought us this quilt and wanted a simple, all over pattern.  No problem.   When we asked to know a bit more about the recipient, as we always do, she told us this was for her mother-in-law who was in a nursing facility, battling a serious illness.  Carla commented that she knew the quilt would bring a great deal of joy to Dolores, who loved the colors of the quilt, all oranges and reds and blues.  After hearing more of their story, we knew we had to get this quilt done as soon as possible.

Carla was thrilled with the quilt and with the extra effort we had taken to get it back to her. She told us that her mother in law was over the moon about it and thoroughly enjoys it and said ‘Mom’s getting lots of compliments on it and she’s really enjoying the attention’.

There are lots of lessons in this little story.   We believe it is very important to know something about the quilt maker and quilt receiver.  That allows us to really personalize the quilting.   Carla came to us through the recommendation of one of our local quilt stores, Honey Bee Quilt Store .  It is important to support your local businesses, be it a quilt store or a longarm quilter.  Lastly, it is through the flawlessly reliable  performance of our longarm machine, an APQS Millennium, that we knew we could push it and ourselves to get this quilt done as quickly as we did.

Susan

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Colors…..they can bring you joy, submerge you into sadness or catapult you into excitement.

Quilters, artists and all who are creative know the power of color, but little did I realize the power of making color!

Recently I had the opportunity to gather with my 90 year old mother, my two lovely sisters and my 13 year old daughter to create gorgeous fabrics.     We took a typical Texas June day, sunny and HOT and headed to the backyard.    We pulled out buckets, hoses, gloves, dyes and fabric. We looked at the directions, ok glanced at it and dove right in!     We really didn’t have a clue on how to proceed but with both feet and all hands we began.

We mixed color, we tied fabric, we laid things on and in and then we immersed ourselves and the rich fabric deep into the dye.

It was a mystery what would be the outcome.     How rich was that red?    How deep will the blue be, will the yellow sparkle or fall flat?    We were three generations, all impatient, to see the results.    We laid the fabrics out on the deep green grass and let the hot sun dry the colors.    The juxtaposition of the brilliant colors on the green grass with the reflection of the blue sky actually brought tears to my eyes.

The joy of creating with the women of my life and seeing the beauty that was produced was priceless. We fingered our fabrics hanging them on the trees and dreamed of how they will be used.

Not all of us are quilters so our ideas were all very different.    Mom will use some in her tiny fiber art pieces, one sister will use some for her art journals, my daughter dyed her t-shirt and unusual materials and finally Susan and my thoughts turned to great quilts.

The colors as they flow in the trees have etched that beauty in my mind.    As I sit here today I reach back to the memory of that day and it brings profound joy to recall that time spent and to know that the result of our collaborative effort will be cherished for years to come.

Our hands and feet were stained with the Technicolor and our hearts will be etched with a memory of a lifetime.

Chris  

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