Flaming Star

If you follow me on Instagram (@monkeyneedle), you may recall last summer and early fall when I was working on a ‘secret’ project.  Well, I am so EXCITED that I FINALLY get to share it with you. I HAVE JUST BEEN PUBLISHED IN A MAJOR QUILTING MAGAZINE!  My quilt is in the March/April issue of Quiltmaker magazine by Fons and Porter.  EEEEEKK!!!

Introducing FLAMING STAR.


It is amazing how long it takes to get through all the steps: design, submission, acceptance, making the quilt, quilting the quilt, mailing it to the magazine so they can take pictures, write the article, and then make it part of an upcoming issue.  Whew!

I designed this quilt about 15 months ago.  It took me about 3 months to get up the nerve to submit the quilt design to a publishing company.  And then it took about 6 months for them to say they wanted to use it.  Things moved faster after that.  I spent about 6 weeks piecing the quilt, and then sent it off to the quilter who had it about 4 weeks before she was able to get to it.  Then in the mail it went, and about 3 months later it was returned to me.

THE FABULOUS LONG-ARM QUILTING on this quilt is by Andrea Walker at Walker Quilt Co.  Her work is just AMAZING!!  Go check her out.


I really wish I could have taken a few more pictures.  We had a snow storm moving in and it was extremely windy.  Right after I snapped the picture below, the wind ripped the quilt from the XL binder clips holding it and it went flying through the air.  I caught it on my head.  It was quite funny!  Getting it clipped up in another location for more pictures was also not working.  So, maybe another day.


It’s all about color placement!  The quilt is designed using just two simple blocks.  Each block is 14″ square. It looks more complicated than it really is.  The color placement gives it the striking look.  I’m usually not big on borders, but in this case I added a 3 1/2″ border (1/4 the block size) and carried the design into the border in certain areas.  I then faced the quilt, rather than binding it.  I have been doing that for many of my quilts lately if I don’t want a ‘frame’ around the finished look of the quilt.

Pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stores today.  My quilt got a small inset on the front cover (top right corner), the full quilt just inside the front cover, and a whole layout with directions on how to make you own version on pages 30-35.

Fabrics: All Kona Cotton Solids in white, shadow, steel, Jamaica,  Bahama blue, robin egg, baby blue, and coral.

Measures: 77″ x 77″.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and  Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Butterflies Soar

This past year our quilt guild did what has become known as the Denyse Schmidt paper bag challenge. For this challenge, you draw a solid and a print fabric from a bag (no peeking) and the challenge is to make something using those two fabrics.  You can add any other solids in the same color line as the solid you drew, and a neutral (white, cream, grey, black).  But no other colors and no other prints.  These are the two fabrics that I picked.


Our reveal was last fall sometime, but I finished mine just this week.  Hey, better late than never!  I had also been working on designing a pattern, so I decided to use it for this challenge.  I think it turned out really good, but I think the butterflies would have looked much more dramatic on a plain white background.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but all the butterflies are a form of purple.  It finishes at 45″ x 45″.


This is also the first quilt I quilted on my home machine since I used the long arm that I talked about here.  And, honestly, I hated every minute of it.  Just once on the long arm, and I am so spoiled now!


I also finished my name tag for wearing to guild meetings.  My son drew it for me, and I digitized and embroidered it.  It was my honeyman’s idea to put the bamboo frame around it.  So I sent him and his friend on a scavenger hunt to the country club neighborhood down the road to find me a few branches.  I thought I had seen some when I was out walking one day. It wasn’t the easiest thing to make, but it certainly gives it some personality.  I guess you could say that making this name tag was a family affair.


Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Long Arm Heaven

I’ve been trying to write this post for about 2 weeks now.  Actually, that’s better than I thought… I thought I was 3 weeks behind, so being only 2 weeks behind makes me feel somewhat better.

I had the opportunity to use a long arm right before Christmas, and… I FELL IN LOVE!  IMMEDIATELY!  How did this happen?


I made my parents a queen size quilt for Christmas, and there was no way I was going to be able to quilt it on my home machine with it’s 7″ throat.  Quilting a lap quilt is hard enough… there is no way I was going to be able to quilt a queen.  And seeing as how I was still piecing it together 4 days before Christmas, I wasn’t going to be able to hire someone to quilt it for me either.  (No, I don’t wait until the last minute!  What ever gave you that idea???)  So, I had to come up with another plan…

One of my local quilt shops has classes for long arms, and once you take their class you are able to rent their long-arm by the hour.  So my plan was to take the class and free-motion the quilt all the week before Christmas.  As if getting ready for the holidays isn’t stressful enough…

So, 8 days before Christmas I take the long arm class and have about an hour to practice, 4 days before Christmas I’m still piecing and pinning, 3 days before Christmas & Christmas Eve daytime I’m on the long-arm, Christmas Eve evening I’m putting the binding on, and… Walla!  The quilt is done! (I made that sound so easy, didn’t I?)


But, what did I LOVE about the long arm?  I loved three things about it…

  1. I love how it gives you such a large area to work with.  Instead of having a small 8″ x 8″ or so area that I could quilt before having to ‘rearrange’ a huge pile of fabric on my lap and desk, I had a huge approx. 24″ x 96″ area to quilt.  And then to move to a new section — just undo a couple of gears and ROLL the quilt up a few feet.  It’s so easy!
  2. I love how it keeps all layers of the quilt taut and together, WITHOUT pins!  Oh my gosh — NO PINS!  I didn’t have to stop and remove a pin every 30 seconds, or try to scooch past it and end up hitting it anyway.  And even though the top and bottom edges of the quilt have to be pinned to the machine (this quilt shop uses zippers to attach it to the machine), pinning the quilt to the machine is somewhat faster than pinning a quilt all-over.
  3. I love how it’s so much easier and smoother to free motion quilt.  Free motion quilting on my home machine is like trying to write while holding the pencil still and moving the paper underneath.  How is that even doable?  But quilting on the long is similar to writing — you move the pencil (machine) over the paper (quilt), so it’s a more natural movement.


These 3 things add up to HUGE time savings.  I quilted a queen size quilt in less than 5 hours!  (not includng pinning)  Can you believe it?  Granted, the quilting isn’t dense, and I didn’t do any fancy designs.  I did an overall meandering loop-d-loop design.  But it would have taken me probably 3 times that long on my home machine.  It seriously took me less than 5 minutes to realize that a long arm is the way to go.  As if I didn’t want one already, I want one even more now.  And I didn’t even get a chance to use the Phaff with all the built-in designs… I can only imagine that that one is even more fun! 


And, my parents loved it!

DSC_0410Mom with the quilt.

Up to now, I have made mostly baby and lap quilts.  But now that I have experienced the long-arm, I see more large quilts in my future.  Oh, I can’t wait.  But no more half-square triangles… NEVER AGAIN!

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.