The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.
I know that many of you enjoy making quilts for friends, family and donation. Below is a link to their website where you can learn about today’s activities as well as other chances to assist our Veterans throughout the year.
Their website also has a ticker showing quilts donated. As of this writing the ticker showed:
Quilt Awards Recorded
Quilts Awarded This Week:
Quilts Awarded This Month:
Total Quilts Awarded:
These are very impressive numbers!
If you haven’t done so yet, consider donating to this or a similar charity. Often, I look to my local community as well to give to those that live in my area.
No matter if you actually participate in the online event, or spend a bit of time sewing Red-White and Blue quilts, the feeling is the same. By supporting our Veterans and through them, our Country, we exhibit our pride in this great nation we live in.
2017 was a great year for Gotch Enterprises. A ton of 2017 projects were designed and completed, many customer projects were quilted and quite a few custom garments were born as well.
Because a picture is truly worth a thousand words, below are images of some of my favorite projects from 2017.
The 2017 Projects in garment design really took on forward momentum. I found that there is really nothing I cannot do, given enough time in my schedule. Now, I just have to decide what percentage of my sewing time will be spent on what!
Presently, I am working on a coat for my favorite knight to match my gold gown. I can’t wait!
Full Gown – SOLD
In-House Quilt Projects
In 2017, I created projects from many different types of inspiration including BOM’s, block manipulation and even Pinterest! Most times, my initial inspiration was one or more fabrics that were just screaming to become something beautiful. Also, I try to do at least one donation quilt for our local groups. Lastly, the cruise quilt was one created out of need – and I am so in love with it
Finished binding this donation quilt
Sometimes I get just as excited about my customers projects as they do! Each week, I get to oooo and ahhhh over the amazing quilts created by so many talented quilters. They inspire me and challenge me to make what is already a fantastic quilt into a finished project that compliments all their skill and choices.
I am so thankful for this opportunity and look forward to what will come to my door in 2018!
What projects inspired you the most in 2017 – and what excites you for the new year?
This year, I have chosen a fun new long-term project: Cruise Quilts. I will be creating quilts based on inspiration photos taken on a recent cruise. These quilts will be the cornerstone of a new Trunk Show which I hope to finish in 2018. Presently, I have two trunk shows available: From Kits to Custom and 21st Century Quilting.
It really wouldn’t be fair to just jump into the quilt elements without first sharing how much fun my daughter and I had on her very first cruise. To say it was magical, would be an understatement.
We took off on December 2, 2017 from Galveston Texas on the Carnival Valor for a 5 day cruise. Our stops: Cozumel and Progreso.
Shopping, relaxing, or enjoying the ship’s amenities, this was a vacation that will provide wonderful memories for years to come.
Cozumel Excursion – Sharks and Rays!
Off the ship, we enjoyed shopping and a really exceptional excursion. Yes, I swam with nurse sharks and rays. Akin to cats, the rays swam among us and even rubbed against our legs to get our attention. Such amazing and beautiful creatures was a fantastic experience.
You can bet there will be a quilt with a Ray and Shark on it before I am done!
The images that follow are a sample of the inspirations gathered for this project.
The first quilt I have started began with an education. Look closely at the inspiration image – I did not.
If you pay attention, you will see that the colored “blocks” are not all the same size. I was so excited about the fun quilting element and colors that I didn’t catch this the first time. Instead, I designed this quilt with same-sized blocks and sashing.
After looking closer at the image, I saw that the blocks were all different sizes, this means that sashing will not work. The new image is below.
Oh yea, the math was intense, but I am confident that the end result is going to be so much fun.
With the new year looming ahead, I am so excited about the list of projects I have to work on.
What projects will you be working on in 2018?
And don’t forget to check out other completed quilts at my Quilt Gallery.
Because I shy away from patterns as a rule, I didn’t click on the link. Instead, I saved the image and thought about how I would go about making something similar. I truly hate rules, so wanted to find the best way to make my own version in an organic sort of manner.
One of the things that drew me to this image was the way it allowed for larger prints to be showcased instead of cut up into tiny elements that were then lost.
My next job was to find suitable fabrics. I did have a cute grey with trees and cardinals already waiting for a perfect project. Next I needed something with a dark presence. A poinsettia print fit the bill.
Another print I found in my stash was a small red cross pattern in gold. Because the poinsettia print also had gold mixed in, this was a perfect choice. The last print was for background and sashing which was also in my stash, a gorgeous white with gold snowflakes.
Can you see a pattern emerging?
The last fabrics I needed were some solids to break up all these beautiful prints. I chose a green and a red – of course!
*NOTE:when I went to put it all together, the green I chose just looked dirty, so luckily the Rock House Retreat had a gorgeous sage green from Moda on hand to save the day. You can read more about Rock House and the wonderful time I had at Retreat HERE!
In looking at the inspiration image, it may at first seem that this quilt was a Jelly Roll candidate. This was not the case as a Jelly Roll is 2.5″ wide. In order to showcase the large print fabrics, I chose to utilize 6″ strips instead.
I began by cutting all the fabrics into 6″ strips. Of these, I cut the large print fabrics into random sections that were quite long. The red and green I cut into 1.5″ and 2.5″ sections.
At this point, I used the design board to begin laying this all out.
It is at this stage that it is very important to try to go for a random look. At times, I thought this looked like a DNA Fingerprint Report!
The trick was to create a random look that was pleasing to the eye. At first, when I placed the pieces on the design board, they ran up and down in uneven lengths. That was OK because once I had the look I wanted, I simply cut the ends so that everything was even.
Sashing and Borders:
As I mentioned above, the sashing and first border was created using the gold snowflake background fabric. It is so lovely and brought all the stacks of internal fabric together. For the outer border, I used the red/gold cross. The size of all these elements were 2.5″ (2″ finished). This choice lends a bit of continuity to the design and allows your eye to appreciate the larger print fabrics.
Long Arm Quilting:
I chose to quilt an edge to edge design that had lots of space so that the focus remained on the beautiful fabrics.
You can about image my excitement when I found this pattern, it is called… wait for it… Christmas Cardinal!! How could I not use this edge to edge pattern? The pantograph comes from Urban Elementz if you want to get it yourself.
Applique can be beautiful and one of the most rewarding additions to the quilting process. From art quilts to children’s wall hangings, the additional images found on applique quilts provide much depth and meaning to the work we do.
I love applique because even the most plain quilt can come alive because of it.
My First Applique Quilt – RATS!
The first time I made an applique quilt, it was not to add whimsy or depth – it was to cover a hole/mistake in the quilt. Applique can be the quilt worlds best eraser and it looks like you meant to do it!
While I do not have the quilt today or even a picture of it, I can describe my problem and how I solved it.
I use my quilts, a lot! There was a cute purple quilt that I would throw on the bed at night for added warmth and comfort. Unfortunately, it was also during this time that my Rat Terrier was doing a lot of chewing. You guessed it – she gave me a couple choice holes!
In honor of her actions that caused this quilt to be more custom than intended, I did an applique Rat over the area. It turned out so cute!
Yep, the little lady bug above is my sweet Spaz, the quilt eater!
I continued to use this quilt for warm and comfort and it continued to gain rats until I just plain wore it out. I love my dog and thankfully she eventually outgrew this stage!
What is Applique?
ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck onto a large piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns.
Applique can be the icing on the cake for a quilter. Adding cute, whimsical characters to a baby quilt or other elements to a more adult theme can really make a difference in the finished product.
Applique also allows the quilter to take a more basic design and bump it up several notches.
-OR- it can act as the ultimate eraser when a mistake is made that you don’t want others to see.
These are tools of our trade and we should never be reluctant to use them to the fullest!
Above is an example of applique that was used to validate my design choices. I wanted to use the horse fabric in such a way that it resembled looking out the window at a herd of horses. While representational, when I added the flower pot with cactus and kitty sitting on the sill, the intent became clear. Both of these elements also take the focus away from the blocks that I put together in the wrong order!
Using custom quilting that resembles wood grain helps to lend credence to the design.
Applique can be a great element to help decide on custom quilting. This is very evident on my 2016 Row by Row Quilt. Each Row offered an opportunity for custom quilting just by using the applique’d elements for a guide.
Types of Applique
While there are many types of applique for quilting, the three below are the most popular.
The most common methods are:
Fusible (raw edge)
Using fusible material, you can iron your element right on to your quilt. Then use either straight stitching (as is show here) or a blanket stitch to sew your design down. This, I feel, is the easiest and less time-consuming method.
The key to this method is using a fusible sheet to the wrong sideof the design. This serves to hold your fabric pieces in place so you can use your machine to sew them down.
This technique utilizes freezer paper as a base for your pieces which is then removed after the element has been pressed. I like the concept of being able to pre-draw an entire design. After the design is drawn to scale on the paper, each element can be cut out and utilized.
Because the individual pieces turn out so crisp, they can be either hand sewn or machine sewn to the quilt top. You can also use glues and fusible sheets to adhere them to the quilt before you sew them down.
Gigi’s Thimble has a wonderful how-to article on freezer paper applique. Check out her step by step guild for more information. She does a great job of relaying this technique through words and pictures.
This image was borrowed from Kathy K. Wylie’s website, Canadian Quilting. Kathy is very accomplished at hand applique.
Needle Turn Applique is one skill that I would love to learn. So far have shied away from. This is pretty curious, if you think about it because I love to relax at night and bind. Maybe I need to rethink this.