My New Longarm Quilter! Meet Collis Country Quilting

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I am an avid quilter. Well, I suppose it might be accurate to call me a ‘quilt piecer’, as I have really only actually done “quilting” on a single quilt. When my daughter-in-law was pregnant with her first baby – a girl – I made her a quilt. I found out that she was pregnant and that they were decorating their baby girl’s nursery in red and white. I pieced the top in a weekend and then furiously spent the next six months hand quilting it. I got it done just in time for Elisabeth’s birth. After that, I knew I wasn’t cut out for being a hand quilter.

Funny thing is, I had attempted to do quilting using my sewing machine a few times, but never could make it go the way I wanted. And then I have to sit and carefully pluck the stitches out and then find someone else to quilt it for me. I did tie a couple of quilts, even went so far as to “tie” a quilt and stitch beads into each section, but knew that the beads would soon be lost during use. Then I saw the ad in the back of a quilt magazine.

I “met” Gloria through that ad. And a virtual relationship started. Gloria has quilted so many quilts for me, that I couldn’t keep track. I am guessing somewhere in the three- to four hundred range. If memory serves, she had just gotten her long arm and wanted to try out some new patterns. In all of those quilts, maybe – maybe – I specified a pattern or thread color a half a dozen times. Otherwise, I let her experiment to her heart’s content. I would box up ten to fifteen quilts and send them off and two to three at a time they would come back. She has always done above excellent work for me. There literally has NEVER been a quilt that she completed for me that I didn’t outright LOVE.

I remember that when I moved from California to Missouri, I shipped her an extra large box of quilts… why drag them to Missouri just to send them to her? And then they came back to me done.

About a year or so ago, I managed to break her machine. I take full responsibility for it too. She had quilted a couple of denim quilts – recycled jeans, seams and all – but I recall her tell me just how difficult that it was to quilt. I recalled those quilts being hard on my own sewing machine, sometimes you get two or more seams stacked up and the needle just doesn’t want to go through it. Bam! Broken needle. Or broken throat plate. And it would throw the machine out of whack.

Well, it seems that one of my denim quilts really did a number on her machine. So much so, that she decided it was time to hang up her quilting needle for good. It was heartbreaking to lose her expertise and the quality she gave me in finishing my quilts for me. We’ve become Facebook buddies and share comments and a small part of our lives with each other. She did a great job getting a friend of hers to finish the remainder of the quilts that I had sent – sans the denim quilts. I had hoped to find someone more ‘local’ though, do you have any idea what a large quilt costs to mail? And multiply that many times over and it would seem that I am supporting USPS more than I should!

Recently, I wrote a blog about uncovering unquilted tops. Counted 53 that still need to be finished. And with my steady work to complete all started projects before I start anything else, I have added another eight plus six denim quilts.

Which brings me to Collis Country Quilting. When I wrote about all of my unfinished quilts, she made a comment to me about getting them done. Seems that she is in the vicinity of Kansas City, but still a little ways south. She is relatively new to her long arm, and after a year of practice of her own and family members… she was ready to take on more customers.

I picked out two quilts and shipped them off to Becky. She is great about communicating, she let me know that she had received them. And she sent me updates as she worked on them. This was sent when the quilt was on the frame:

01e3684c08dfadb21006aac0c79acd2e76cc634943Next was the photo of the quilt finished. There is just some magical about the transformation of a quilt once the quilting is done.IMG_0049Yesterday, I finally got to completing the binding. It came together easily. Finished in about an hour or so, and considering just how big this quilt is, that’s quick!

It was returned and then rested for a while on the guest bedroom bed. You can get a glimpse of the quilting pattern here:

2015-04-06 14.55.36I’m guessing about a full sized quilt, albeit an extra long one. It is a simple quilt, just plain ol’ pinwheels around a larger pinwheel medallion in the center.2015-04-06 14.55.08So, a few more shots of the quilt and its quilting:

2015-04-07 13.38.032015-04-07 13.39.16Here you can see the quilting on the center medallion: 2015-04-06 14.55.44I used the same material in the medallion as well as the edge setting triangles and the backing. I love the way this quilt turned out!

2015-04-07 13.39.25If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com.

I have one more to get done and then I am caught up. At least in the quilts department! I’ve have a few things in the garage that are calling for attention, though.

julie

Putting Final Touches on a Bunch of Quilts

Since the new year, I’ve been staying out of the garage and working in my sewing room. I am drawn to doing work in the garage, but the temperatures have been hovering just above the freezing point and kerosene heater or no, it is too damned cold to be working outside. And not just for me, but for painting and staining.

I am an avid quilter. Rather, I make a lot of the quilt tops and send them off to be quilted and then returned to me and then I bind them (the outer edge). I’ve been quilting for over almost 15 years, started just before 2000 and I am betting in the time I have made at least a five hundred (or more!) quilts. In the last couple of months, I received two big boxes of quilted tops from my friend Gloria and I’ve slowly been working through them. Doing the binding, that is.

So here’s what I finished today:

DSCN3025I’ve created some of these quilt tops months – even as long as years – ago. I have almost forgotten that I’ve done some of these. This was a work in green… not much to say about it really, just a nice fun pattern that I will give to someone who likes green.

DSCN3026This was inspired by a fun little duck print. Wouldn’t this be grand for some little one? The yellows are so cheery. And the quilting pattern is little ducks too!

Did I mention that one thing I had always loved about my friend Gloria who does the quilting, she makes most of the decisions about pattern and thread color? I like to work with her, it is a real creative collaboration. It started out with her wanting to try new patterns and me wanting to not have to choose! And it has worked out well for the last decade and a half.

DSCN3029I love bold, strong colors. As a result, I also end up with a lot of great scraps (see below). Sometimes I just like to sit and cut pieces while watching old movies on DVDs (I have the complete set of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies) and then sit and sew them together. Sometimes they turn out absolutely great and sometimes they turn out ok. Once in a great while I get a dud or two, to which those are donated to the local no-kill animal shelter for the dogs to use. That way, it gets used and the puppies probably don’t care what it looks like!

DSCN3031This is a piece that I have been working on and off for years! These are strips of white cotton are cut across the width of the fabric and six inches wide. Then the strips and scraps are sewed onto them. I had 16 strips completed, so I then sewed them together. The back is just white cotton and I am debating about whether or not to layer it and quilt it or just leave it as is. I have it hanging over the landing railing, so every time I walk down the hall, I see it. And then I think about it.

And to give credit where credit is due, here is my helper, usually hidden behind the quilts. And the one who runs up and down the stairs for sodas and makes lunch for me and who helps me move the massive amount of fabric around as I bind them. And I just love him like crazy 🙂

DSCN3032The guest bedroom bed has about another nine or ten quilts waiting to be bound. And of course I have projects that I’ve started that need to be completed. And I found another box of quilt tops that I need to send off to be quilted. But Gloria has decided to hang it all up and retire and now I have to find someone new.

This is gonna be difficult!

julie

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