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Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

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

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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.

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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).

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

Susan

 

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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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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

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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

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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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A quilt made from  a wedding dress?!?  Sure.    We can do that.

That’s what we said to Dana when she brought us her almost 25 year old wedding dress, still in the box from the dry cleaners from all those many years ago.  But her request was a little different;  she wanted a wall hanging completely made from the fabric in her gown.  She also wanted a very minimalist design, making the fabric itself the star of the quilt by using as much of the uncut skirt fabric to define the size limits.  We also decided that the flowers needed to be three dimensional. 

Since this was to be a Memory Quilt, she wanted to evoke the colors of the entire wedding, including her flowers. And she wanted us to find a way of including the calla lilies she carried on that special day.  One more requirement:  use only very muted colors.   We were able to meet all these requests, especially the beautifully perfect straight background lines, using the channel lock feature of our APQS Millennium longarm machine.

This wall hanging is the result and we are happy to say that it exceeded Dana’s expectations!  Lots of tears and hugs were shared when we recently presented the final product to her.

But there’s more to the story.  When we first met Dana, we were able to share

 the excitement of freeing her wedding dress from it’s box in our Studio. That of course led to many stories of Dana, her dress (all hand made with beautiful lace and beads) and her current life.   We noticed a very unusual  and colorful tattoo on her leg – it  was of a chef holding a salt shaker with salt drops coming of it in 3D!   We then discovered that Dana has been trained as a chef and in particular as a baker.   In fact, she is developing many creative and intriguing recipes for brownies and expects to be publishing a cookbook with these recipes very soon.  To get a preview of her delicious treats, sign up for her blog at http://cookingwithintensity.blogspot.com.

The technical definition of quilting is the joining together of three layers of fabric with stitches.   We at Over The Top Quilting Studio continue to discover how rich that world can be – rich in the joy of the end product, rich in the ‘discovery’ of new people, and in this case, rich in the tastes of succulent baked brownies!

Susan

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