Time to catch up! More client quilts

I’ve been terribly lax about keeping up to date and uploading photos as I finish quilts for my customers. It has been a busy month, starting with volunteering at Quilt Expo here in Madison and having a house full of guests. We have hosted a few small quilting groups both here at home and at my studio. Mom presented a trunk show at quilt guild this week. And of course I am working to make my quilting business a success. Keeping this website interesting is a part of growing my business!

So now that I’m done with excusing my procrastination, let me share some of what I’ve been working on!

Here is a cute baby quilt made by Jane Vaughan, made in (I think) 1930’s reproduction prints. And the backing.

Another quilt for Jane Vaughan. The backing is actually black with gold stars. Eventually I’ll get a decent camera and lighting setup so as not to confuse the white balance on my little camera. On the other hand, it’s easier to see the quilting lines here.

This is a big flannel quilt for Lori Seawright. The concentric squares are such a simple graphic design, and I love the colors in this one. Can I keep it?

This quilt pattern is called “Gypsy Wife” and it is made by Bonnie Janeshek. It’s such an amazing quilt. I did have to use a fair amount of spray starch to tame all the seams before I quilted it, as nothing wanted to lay flat for me. I’m really pleased with it, and Bonnie should be proud of this one! (And I need to invest in something to hold the quilts for full length photos!)Look at the texture the quilting gives this. This quilt is on my list to make someday.

Finally, an amazing quilt by Martha Sumi. Fabric by the amazing Kaffe Fassett mixed with the black and white makes this such a vibrant quilt. We went with one overall design in the center of the quilt, and a coordinating design in the border. Then look at that backing! Wow!

Can you see why I love what I do for a living now? I get to see an amazing variety of quilts made in so many styles. I get to add my touch to them and help turn these into finished projects to adorn a bed, hang on a wall, and to be given as gifts. Did I mention I’m having fun while I’m doing it too? Every day brings a new challenge, and I get to learn new techniques and polish new skills!

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Anatomy of a Quilt. Just the basics.

What is a quilt anyway? I’m writing this post for those of my friends who haven’t had the pleasure of owning, never mind making, a hand-made quilt. A quilt is not quite the same as a comforter or a duvet, and the mass produced quilts that can be purchased anywhere from Walmart to the Pottery Barn don’t have the charm and character that a one of a kind hand made quilt will have. As I continue this website and blog, I’ll be posting photos of quilts made both by me and by my clients. but here is an introduction.

In the most basic form:

  • The quilt top is the layer usually made from multi-colored pieces of fabric arranged in a pleasing fashion. This is typically a flat woven cotton. As of yet, this is not a quilt. I’ve heard that another name for a quilt top is a flimsy. Since I’m a fan of amusing terminology, here is the flimsy I was working on last week:
  • The middle layer is the batting. This is what gives the quilt its cozy and cuddly warmth. Most battings are made from cotton and polyester, though wool, bamboo, and even silk blends are readily available too.
  • The bottom layer is called the quilt backing. Usually this is made from a cotton weave, though some flannels, fleeces, and knits are used as well. A new favorite from the past several years is a product called Minky. This is a lush velvet like knit that requires extra time and attention to use, as it is very stretchy and the fuzzy fibers tend to migrate through quilting stitches.

So, my job as a long arm quilter is to take these three layers and use my machine to stitch them together. This serves the practical purpose of keeping the layers together and giving the quilt structural strength, while adding some artistic flair by using complementary designs to enhance the quilt. Here is my nearly completed quilt:You can see the lines of quilting stitches in the white background of the quilt. You can also see the fuzzy layer of batting lying on top of the quilt backing. This was my first experiment in what is called custom quilting, using specific designs for each background block, rather than an overall design usually called edge-to-edge or E2E.

And here is the finished quilt. The last big step to any quilt is to finish the edges by binding. In this case, I stitched a double-folded strip of fabric to the front of the quilt, wrapped that to the back, and hand stitched the folded edge to the back of the quilt. Now I just need to add a label and a hanging sleeve to the back of this, then it’ll be ready to enter the guild challenge at my quilt guild’s booth at Quilt Expo in Madison. More on that later…

So, how is that for a brief intro to the art of quilting? As I carry on with this new venture, what questions might you have for me? Leave a comment here, sign up to follow me, or contact me directly!

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Welcome to KitWillow Quilting!

Hello and welcome! KitWillow Quilting is a Long Arm Quilting service provider in the Madison, Wisconsin area.

Now that my studio has been open for a few weeks, I finally have a little space to wrap my head around starting a new website. I’ll be using this space to showcase some of my customer quilts, a few personal projects, and I’ll be working up some tutorials and patterns as I go along.

This site is definitely a work in progress, so please be patient and check back in as I start adding content in the upcoming weeks!

In the meantime, if you are interested in contacting me for long arm quilting services, please note that currently I am only doing E2E (edge to edge, digital pantograph style) quilting. I am not taking any custom quilts at present. You can contact me at:

  • Holly Johnson, KitWillow Quilting LLC
  • 805-479-0917
  • 7818 Big Sky Drive, #106, Madison, WI 53719 (by appointment only)