Christmas in June?

Seems a little off to me, but maybe that’s just me.  I guess, when your customer owns this Christmas quilting website (Quilted Christmas), your mind is never far from the 25th of December.  And, so goes this next quilt.  This was a digital panel that my customer brought to me, hoping that I could make this panel look like a quilt in time for the launch of this new Moda pattern.

She requested a double layer of batting and a quilting job that would render this as much of a pieced quilt look as possible.  So, we brought out two layers of batting:  Quilters Dream Blend for the base and Quilters Dream Wool for the top layer.

My customer has many years in the quilting business and knew exactly how she’d like this quilted, so I took her inputs and worked them up in my style of longarming.  As you learn longarming, you’ll learn that you have your own unique style, much  like your own handwriting, and while you can vary the look of things, they begin to take on a very identifiable trademark of sorts.  I guess I am no different and I am beginning to see that!

This digital panel from Moda, called Sugar Plum Christmas, needed a lot of stitch in the ditch in order to pop each “piece” as though it were appliqué and not remain in the “printed” look it started life as.  Ditchwork is tedious and tiring and often requires rulers.  When it’s a digital print like this one, there is no ditch to guide yourself along in, so it’s even slower and more tedious.  We plodded along…

You would think, by now, that I would remember to take a picture of the quilt top BEFORE it is quilted, but I seem to be lacking a few extra brain cells with which to record something like that.  So, let us all just skip ahead a bit and give the reveal!

Without further adieu, here is:

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

This was fully free motion custom quilted, as I do not have a computer on my longarm.  Glide thread was used throughout and there were just 2 colors used–red and white.  The border spine was pre-marked with a Bohin chalk pencil and that was it.  Let’s look at the details a bit closer up:

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

 

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

And here are some even closer images:

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

 

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

I placed a freemotion holly and curl spine in the red borders and it added such a cute touch. I also echoed the stars to help pop the out a bit more.

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

 

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

 

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

 

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Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for www.quiltedchristmas.com

 

Well, that does it for this installment of “What Came Off My Longarm”.  Until next time, I hope that you get the chance to be creative!

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AQS Spring Paducah 2017 Eye Candy!

What a trip that was.  My sister and I traveled 5.5 hours to Paducah, Kentucky to take in the AQS Spring Paducah Quilt Week and what a week it was.  Back in December, 2016, on a whim, I entered the first quilt that ever came off my longarm (or domesic or mid arm, for that matter), and lo and behold, it somehow made it into this juried show.  We were in route to see it hang and this prestigious event!

The weather looked to be spots of rain and cooler temperatures, but that didn’t deter us.  We had plans!  We light out early Tuesday morning for the hotel.  If you’re ever in Paducah, look up Auburn Place.  This is a charming hotel that sits nearly across the street from the famed Hancocks of Paducah.  Auburn Place, so nicely manicured inside and out, always looks brand new with each passing year.  Friendly staff great you with each arrival and if you’re parched, so does fresh lemon water.  If you have a sweet tooth, all you have to do is find yourself busy until the early evening and then head downstairs for fresh cookies and milk.  Every.  Night.  No.  Kidding.

We checked in and then immediately high-tailed it to Hancock’s of Paducah before we drove downtown and parked at the event center.  We stopped just long enough to record this moment in time, snapping a picture of the locomotive parked by the famous Paducah floodwall:IMG_1539

We made our way through the door and helped ourselves to some hors d’oeuvres, realizing, when the food line led to a number of empty serving trays, that the 4:30 start time listed on the tickets really meant more like 3:30.  Lesson learned!

We got to take in the awards presentation and when AQS dropped the top class winners, from the ceiling of the theatre, fully illuminated, we were thoroughly mesmerized.

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AQS Spring Paducah 2017 Winners

When the awards were done, we trapsed across downtown Paducah by foot to the convention center, where we were able to speak to the Best of Show winner, Janet Stone.  That was humbling!  Janet took the show with her “Ewe Are My Sunshine” and promptly decided to take the money and run.  I believe she was awarded $20,000 by giving up her rights to her masterpiece and turning it over to the care of AQS for future display and full ownership.

My sister and I made our way over to my entry, “Digging In The Dirt”.  It was so cool to see it hanging there.  My sister Shari Heinrich snapped this picture for posterity.

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Photo by Shari Heinrich, “Digging In The Dirt”, Patricia H. Hechler

Off we went to take in the sites of over 400 quilts from 47 states and 15 countries!  What an honor to be recognized with just my first quilt off the longarm.  I have a LONG way to go to ever consider my work capable of netting a ribbon at Paducah, but I have my eye on a prize!  I’ll explain more of that in a bit.

Shari and I went back to our hotel, exhausted from the day, several miles of walking, five and half hours of driving and hundreds of quilts seen.  There would be more time to see more things, buy more items, and build more memories.  First, there was this thing called sleep.

Each morning, Shari and I would take in the free breakfast at Auburn Place, helping ourselves to a little bit of biscuits and gravy and some yogurt.  Then, every morning, we drove downtown, parked the van, and heading straight to Kirchoff’s Bakery and Etcetera Coffee.  I honestly don’t know of any better bakery OR coffeehouse in the United States.  It was that good.

I would head to the Convention Center, and sometimes my sister came with me.  Other times, she stood her ground downtown and hung out by the river, spending her time writing her next literary piece.  She’s got a novel written and she’s currently searching out a publisher.  I’m hoping that 2017 is the year she lands a publishing contract!  If you’d like to see her blog, here it is.  You can even sign up to follow her if you like!

Onto quilts, I say!  We have officially made it to the “Eye Candy” part of this blog post!  Bring on those stunning quilts!

This one, entitled, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy” was made by Susan K. Cleveland of Minnesota.  The solid colors were just so eye-catching and it won first in it’s class.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy”, Susan K. Cleveland

 

 

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy”, Susan K. Cleveland

 

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy”, Susan K. Cleveland

Next up is my personal favorite from the show, and one of the big winners.  It must be the Registered Landscape Architect in me, but I just adored the entire quilt.  From fabric choices, to design, to quilting, this one really took my heart.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally

 

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally

Talk about composition and movement.  This quilt had it all.  I felt that the piecing was going to drip onto the floor at some point.  It was stunning!

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “A Spring Twist”, Karlyn Bue Lohrenz
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “A Spring Twist”, Karlyn Bue Lohrenz

I just kept going back to this next quilt each day, to study it a little more and to take in all that color.  The gradation on this quilt was something else.  If you needed cheering up, this was the quilt for you.  It didn’t ribbon, but it was certainly a show-stopper in my book.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Rainbow In The Round”, Pam Biswas
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Rainbow In The Round”, Pam Biswas

And, here was the winner in our class, Large Bed Quilt, First Entry into AQS Paducah.  We had around 36 quilts in our class, which I believe was one of the biggest classes in the show.  Congratulations to Ben for winning a huge class.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Imperial Star”, Ben Darby
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Imperial Star”, Ben Darby

Viewer’s Choice went to this lovely horse.  The amount of quilting on this one was absolutely fantastic and the horse’s mane looked like it was flowing off of the quilt.  Talk about effective quilting and fabric painting!  I was so happy to see this one ribbon!

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair

This was such a stunning quilt with an emmense amount of quilting done on it.  I just kept going back to examine all the work put into this quilt.  It’s hard for me to imagine why this one didn’t ribbon, but there is just so much hard work accomplished in these pieces that the award often is just making it into this show.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Waiting For Mr. Fraser”, Laurie Tigner
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Waiting For Mr. Fraser”, Laurie Tigner
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Waiting For Mr. Fraser”, Laurie Tigner

This next one was in the Modern Category and while that category isn’t my cup of tea, I did really find this one impressive.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Spinning Stars”, Mel Beach
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Spinning Stars”, Mel Beach

Taking it’s class for Group Quilts was this impressive red and white quilt.  It’s hard to believe that a guild put this one together, due to it’s complete uniformity and precision on every single stinking block!  I have to say, there are some incredibly talented guilds out there.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Red, White, and Stars”, Austin Area Quilt Guild, Austin, TX
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Red, White, and Stars”, Austin Area Quilt Guild, Austin, TX

This last quilt was one of my favorites as well and has won numerous ribbons throughout the AQS Quilt Show season.  Talk about precision in quilting.  The gemstones were a perfect touch.

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Wickedly Green”, Deborah Poole

 

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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Wickedly Green”, Deborah Poole
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Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Wickedly Green”, Deborah Poole

I got to take a few classes with national teachers and find a few things I was in need of.  My sister and I had a great time having some great food and meeting some great people (though we were completely remiss in continuing our training for our upcoming half marathon).  I can safely say that the half marathon, the Cincinnati Flying Pig, went off with only a few hitches and we both completed it in great spirits!

Even with me stating that I was not going to make another show quilt, I got the bug to think about my next show quilt and I promptly grabbed up fabric for it!  I can honestly say that I think I have everything needed for my next attempt to make it into and AQS show!  Give me a few years!

On top of that, after days of mulling things over and test driving, with my sister egging me on the whole time, I have decided to trade in my A1 Platinum longarm and move over to Innova.  In just over a month’s time, I will become an “Innovian”, working with a larger 26″ throat on a 12′ frame with lightening stitch.  I’m very excited.  There is no computer just yet, but that may come in the future.  The A1 that I used will be up for sale at Accomplish Quilting, and I will blog their page and the particulars when it is on the market.  It’s a great machine with many newer upgrades, including the awesome Platinum stitch regulator, Beautiful orange locking wheels installed by me, custom deck graphics designed by me and 0-center leaders installed by me.

(UPDATE:  My A1 longarm was purchased prior to it making it’s way to Accomplish Quilting’ store. It is already in its new home and my new Innova is under roof!)

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I hope you all have a fantasic day and you get to spend a part of it being creative.

 

What a Block of the Month Masterpiece!

I was up at my local quilt shop last week to pick up a quilt from one customer and low and behold, I had something that’s never happened before…suddenly happen!  Four different people momentarily pulled me aside to say, “I have quilt for you to quilt”.  I nearly started looking around, for surely they could not all mean ME.  Really.  I was rather shocked, thinking that I’m not at that stage of the game just yet to be searched out and requested as a longarmer.  I wasn’t one to turn this cool thing down, however.

I met up with one of these new customers at the local guild, where I gave a lecture on longarm quilting (another very cool and surprising thing to get the chance to do, I might add).  We went over a few small things and scheduled a meeting with me to dial this quilt in.  A pantograph was picked after lining up a few and quoting prices and thread colors were chosen.  Quilters Dream 70/30 blend was chosen and once the frame was free, the quilt got loaded.

This was excellently pieced by my wonderful customer and loading went great.  I wish I had a “before” picture, as it was lovely, but what was about to happen would make it even more lovely.  This quilt had a beautiful  flannel backing that was just so luxurious.  I was in love with this.  Here is a picture of it on frame with some advancing already taking place.  You can see the wonderful flannel backing:

img_0978This pattern is from Urban Elementz and is called “echo blossom”.  It was stiched at 10 stitches per inch (to show more of the thread) with Glide thread for both the upper and bobbin thread.  A slightly darker color was used on the backing so that it’s wasn’t so bold.

img_0979This was a block of the month quilt kit offered by The Little Shop of Stitches in Miamisburg, Ohio.  You can find them at:

www.thelittleshopofstitches.com

Here’s a view of several blocks of this quilt:

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Here is the full quilt.  What a gorgeous block of the month quilt this was.  The fabrics were gorgeous:

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Have a wonderful day!