Loading up the frame


Last summer I spent a lot of time piecing and no time on the longarm, which means I have a backlog of tops in need of finishing in my sewing room closet.

So I’ve resumed my monthly trips to Quilting By You in Bettendorf, Iowa, where I can rent time on a longarm machine and finish the quilts myself. It’s not cheap, but it is less expensive than paying someone else to finish my quilts. Plus, I have the satisfaction of knowing I made the quilt from start to finish.

One of the more fun tops to quilt was one my mom and grandma put together. My mom is a new quilter. She says she only wants to make table runners, but lap quilt kits are already starting to catch her eye and I think it’s only a matter of time before she moves on to bigger projects.

Last winter, shortly after I taught my mom to make her first table runner from a  charm pack, my mom, grandma, sister and I made a trip to the local fabric shop to pick out fabrics for the my sister’s baby quilt. I should mention that neither my sister or grandma sew, so I’m sure we were quite entertaining to watch.

Duck quilting panel

As we picked out colors and prints, my mom spotted a panel of ducks flying in a winter scene and remarked that my grandpa would love that. My grandmother agreed. Then my mom said, very loudly, “Is that a panel like the quilt we made last weekend?”

I shot my mom a stop talking right now glare as my sister cocked her head, knowing we were up to something. We of course were working on a secret quilt for her baby that I helped my mom and cousin piece, but my sister wasn’t supposed to know that.

I told my mom that yes, she could make a wall hanging from the panel and add some borders. That night instead of working on finishing her table runner, I helped her cut out the borders for her brand new project, a duck wall hanging for my grandpa.

I live about three hours from my family, and the arrival of my new nephew last summer took up all the family visit time. So it wasn’t until our family vacation over the summer that we finally got around to putting the borders on. We even got my grandma involved. She pinned and pressed and my mom sewed.

Duck quilting panel
Then it was my turn to quilt it. I have a tendency to go a little overboard with free motion quilting, but I really wanted to keep this quilt simple. I quilted a wood grain design in the border, stitched in the ditch around the frame edges to help stabilize the quilt for hanging and then outlined the elements of the panel.

I’m a big fan of outline quilting for panels. It really helps make the designs pop and transform it from a boring panel, into a beautiful design you’re proud to display. I did add some subtle wavy lines in the water because it was a big space that needed something extra. But I left the sky between the trees free of quilting for now. Since the quilt will be a wall hanging, it will never need to be washed, so the batting should hold up, and if it starts to sag, then I’ll bring it back to the machine and fill in where needed.

Next up the quilt goes back to my mom for binding and quilt sleeve, not that she knows what a quilt sleeve it, but we’ll work on that. 🙂

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