“A Symphony of Color”

"A Symphony of Color" for Miranda

“A Symphony of Color”
for Miranda

Here’s a picture of the quilt that I quilted on Julie Brandon’s Nolting Longarm Machine.  It was so big, the only way to get a full photo of the whole quilt was to stand on a staircase and have someone help me hold it up.

A couple years ago, I bought 2 packs of identical Kaffe Fassett fabrics with the goal of making a quilt for each of my boyfriend’s daughters.  I brought the fabrics to retreat in 2015 and started on them.  First, I had to cut the strips into squares.  Some of the squares were sewn together to make 4-pathes, while others were left whole.


The free pattern that I was using called for borders to be sewn onto each 4-patch and each whole square.  You were supposed to have 2 different color borders or a light and a dark border.  You would then alternate the placement of the blocks so you had contrasting borders next to each other.  Before I started sewing the borders onto the blocks, I wanted to see how it would look.  One of our members had taped batting to the wall to use as a desing wall and was kind enough to let anyone use it.

Since I wanted to do one quilt in a purple color way and one in a teal color way, I put 15 block centers on the wall then added the borders to see the whole thing done in purple, then in teal.  Then I decided to take this photo to see both colorways next to each other.

(In case you’re wondering, the blue strips on the outside are not part of the design.  They are the blue tape that was used to hold the batting on the wall.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric for the borders because the pattern had an error in the fabric requirements listed.  So, off to the Quilter’s Daughter quilt shop in Perry, NY I went. Of course, I couldn’t find more of the fabric that I bought somewhere else over a year before.  I bought other fabric to try to add, but ultimately, out of frustration, I put the whole thing away and moved on to something else at reatreat.

A year later, I decided it was time to get these fabrics out and just make one quilt out of them.  My boyfriend’s oldest daughter was going to be graduating high school and I knew she would love the colors.  Since I still didn’t have enough fabric to make it big enough for the Twin XL dorm bed, Plan B became an adaptation of the orginal pattern.

I didn’t have a design wall, so I created one by hanging a flannel backed tablecloth from the top of the stack of plastic drawers that hold all our fabric.  A lot of the pieces just stuck to the flannel backing.  I did use pins when I needed to, especially on the outer borders.  I was surprised by how great it worked!





















It still needed to be a little larger, so I added a Piano Keys border.  Not only does this border look great, but Jim’s daughter is going to study music in college, so it really is the perfect choice!






You can see by how valuable a design wall is when you compare it to laying a quilt out on a bed or the floor.  Having a straight on view of really makes a difference.



I really encourgage you to try playing with blocks on a design wall.  It doesn’t have to be big.  And it doesn’t have to be permanent.

Things that make me smile:

  • Fresh picked Sweet Hundreds Tomatoes
  • An all day class with Annie Unrein hosted by Patchwork Garden Quilt Shop
  • Having my mom in the same Annie Unrein class!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!


Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines – Made in the USA

Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines - Made in the USA

Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines – Made in the USA

Happy Labor Day to the Quilting Community!

My very first blog post was on Labor Day a few years ago.  I wrote about APQS Longarm Machines which are made in the USA.  Recently I got to use another longarm machine which was also made in the USA – a Nolting Longarm.


I made a quilt for my boyfriend’s daughter to take to her dorm at college, so I had a deadline.  I had less than a week to quilt and bind it.  And this was no small quilt.  The beds in the freshman dorm are Twin XL.  I found a great chart online to help me figure out what size I should make the quilt.  It ended up being approximately 82″ by 106″.

Julie Brandon, a friend that I met through our quilt guild, was kind enough to let me use her Nolting Longarm Machine.  I’ve quilted large quilts on my regular domestic sewing maching, but I never would have been able to do this one without her.

When we loaded the backing on the rack, Julie said it was the largest quilt that had been on her machine since she got it.  Normally I would lay a large quilt out on the living room floor to pin it so I could quilt it on my domestic machine, but this one was just too big.  I could have easily spent a couple hours on just pinning it.

Things that make me smile:

  • Finding more and more products Made in the USA!
  • Trying something new – in this case, using a digital design to quilt a quilt on a longarm. Check back next week to see my thoughts on computerized quitling on a longarm.
  • A wonderful visit with my sister and her husband from Texas!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

– Melanie