Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Looking back can sometimes be depressing, but I choose to be encouraged instead. The reason my blog has been idle for the last three months is because we have a new granddaughter and I've devoted most of my time to finishing customer quilts so I can spend time with the family during the holidays. I will post several pictures of the latest quilts I've done and sometime next week will add the details. Enjoy the pictures and thank you for looking.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Innovative and Entirely Possible

Here is the first rough draft. Lots to learn, with lots of dos and don'ts. Looks promising, huh? By the way, these wall hangings are approximately 24 inches by 18 inches each. The cupcake is a little shorter and wider.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Innovative Ideas Brewing

Think of stitching a template, building a quilt on the machine, and finishing with raw edges embellished with ric rac, buttons and such...more to come...

Monday, September 27, 2010

How much does it cost?

How's this for a price list? These prices are approximate, based on a simple overall meander, and will depend on density of quilting. Additional charges for thread, batting, piecing backing, repairing and preparing top, custom designs, multiple and complex choices for designs...

Minimum charge for quilting is $50. My base rate is $22 per square yard for a very simple medium density overall meander.

Approximate estimates for theses sizes
Crib 36x46 -- $50
Lap 54x75 -- $68
Twin 69x90 -- $105
Queen 90x95 --$145
King 108x96 -- $176
Larger than 8 square yards requires an extra $25.
Super King 122x122 -- $253+25 = $278

Prices subject to change without notice.

Thank you for looking...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quilt on a barn...

I've always wanted to make a Golden Glow quilt, but I never thought I would actually paint one! This has been a fun project. Thanks to my friend CA for helping and finishing it for me. I'm not giving up the idea of making one in fabric; it's so beautiful. I found it in a book by Edy McGinnis, Sister Blocks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Playing with eggs....

I'm drawing again, and I'm having fun. . .soon will be on a quilt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Schnibbles---great way to use scraps!

Carrie Nelson is the author of a book called "Schnibbles times two". The book gives two versions of each quilt, a large and a small. This quilt is named "Short Story" and it is the small quilt. It measures 33 inches square finished. My daughter Becky did all the cutting and I pieced it together. I have to admit it was a challenge because I knew I had to be precise or else the intersections would never come together. It was easier than I thought.

Now on to quilting. . .

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A comfort quilt that shines. . .

This is another one of those quick quilts . It is for a friend who just had surgery and needed the comfort of a bright and cheery lap quilt. Done in three days amongst the other projects on the slate. It measures approx 63x74 before quilting and washing. I prefer to not prewash my fabrics so that after that first wash, they "blossom" into lovely cozy shrinkles. The sun face center is my own design but the rest of the motifs are called Sun Spirit by Kim Diamond at Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio. For the sun face I stitched the design four times with red, orange, variegated yellows, and neon yellow. That made the face "shine" above the rest of the quilting. I could have used the multiple thread method, but this way it stitched off track and made a wider path.

I began with a grid of nine-inch squares, six across and seven down. I wanted the sun to shine in the center so the middle column is a bit different than the checkerboard in the two outer columns. Since it was a rush project, I finished the binding on my DSM with a loopy stitch that took forever but really nailed down the binding. It's much more durable than a hand finished binding too.

More pictures in my Picasa album. Thanks for looking.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carlton Walk in the Park Raffle Quilt

This will be a raffle quilt at Carlton's Walk in the Park the last weekend in July. It measures 66x67 with Quilter's Dream cotton batting. The quilting is done and now it goes to the binder to finish. It will be at the quilt booth at the entrance to the Walk. Tickets are available at Ken Wright Cellars in Carlton even though the quilt isn't there yet. The tickets are $10 and the proceeds go to assist several local organizations including Carlton police, fire, YC school, food bank, and more. Check out the website for more information about the whole weekend. I will have other quilts for sale in the exhibit if you're interested. Thank you for looking.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rule Number ONE: Keep blade covered at all times

Keep that blade covered when you are not cutting with it. It should become a reflex action that when you are done cutting, the thumb pushes the cover closed. There are many cutters on the market, some that have a squeeze handle that exposes the blade and retracts when not in use.

Here is the link to my Picasa album with new pictures of Quilts for KIDS.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Children and Rotary Cutting

Let's have a frank discussion about the appropriate age to teach a child to use a rotary cutter. Observe: a rotary cutter is a razor blade with a handle. My opinion is that NO child should ever be allowed to be near a rotary cutter. Period, end of discussion.

But how do you begin teaching a child to quilt without the rotary lesson? YOU do the cutting and let them watch----until they are 40 years old! No kidding. There are plenty of other tasks to be learned in the quilt world besides the risks of a razor blade in the hand of a child. Running with scissors comes close, but that's another lesson.

I will begin by cutting 3 1/2 inch squares, and 9 1/2 inch squares. We'll see that in the next post.

Happy trails to you. . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coming Soon. . .beginning quilting for children

I'm hoping to begin a short tutorial lesson on how to teach children to quilt. I've had a couple of requests and would like to try out a few things on my blog. Be patient and check back in a couple of weeks. . .Meanwhile, browse the books in previous posts. The list will ebb and flow as more books are listed and sold.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 2, 2010


I've been cleaning out my quilting library and getting rid of books I no longer use. Actually, most of these are UFO ideas and I know I will never get to them in my lifetime. I'm glad to share them with anyone willing to pay the price---cheap---and $5 for shipping anywhere in the states; if international, whatever the shipping rate. These books are in very good condition, no marks, no torn pages, and most are like-new. I am selling at 50% off retail price. If you're interested, please email me at Be patient and I'll work things out with you. I can take payment by PayPal, or send a check and wait for it to clear my bank. The only other way would be if we met in person or through a middle man. First, let me know if you are interested and which one(s).

Singer, The Quilting Bible, 0865732000, $11
Wells, Through the Garden Gate, 1571200657, $12sold
Wells, Stitch 'n Flip, 1571201114, $12sold
Gaudynski, Quilt Savvy, 1574329006, $11
Jensen, Oh Sew Cozy Flannel Quilts, 1932533044, $12.50sold
Leone, The New Sampler Quilt, 1571200118, $9.00
Alexander, Stack the Deck, 1564774341, $12.50sold
Nickels, Machine Quilting, 1574328301, $12.50
Thelen, Professional Machine Quilting, 1564775097, $11.50
Thelen, Long-Arm Machine Quilting, 1564774333, $14.00
Taylor, The Ultimate Guide to LA Machine Quilting, 157120184X, $15.00
Hornung, Traditional Japanese Stencil Designs, 0486247910, $6.50sold
Hargrave, The Art of Classic Quiltmaking, 1571200703, $17.50
Leisure Arts, Encyclopedia of Classic Quilt Patterns, 0848724747, $12.50
Durbin, Mosaic Picture Quilts, 9781564777355, $12.50
Collins, Mastering Precision Piecing, 9781571203632, $15.00

I listed the authors/publishers name, the title, ISBN number and price. You should be able to Google using that information to find a picture of the book and maybe even a look inside on some websites.

Happy Hunting. . .

Thursday, July 1, 2010

S.U.G.A.R. Statler Users Group and Representatives

I just returned from S.U.G.A.R., a conference for Statler owners and representatives. I spent a total of 18 hours in classes learning many different things such as how to adjust tension on my Gammill, a bit of history about Amish and Welsh quilts, ergonomic quilting, the latest and greatest features of Creative Studio 3 and some new things to come, a new gadget that allows us to quilt with multiple threads, some new tricks with Auto Sketch, and more or less fine tuning my knowledge of Creative Studio and the Gammill head it operates. I will be posting some pictures and little stories of my new knowledge and hope you enjoy the show.

Ron Parker gave us a great class in how to adjust tension. With a hands-on demonstration of the "tug of war" between top and bottom threads, it became easier to understand the correct look and feel of tension. I've been wanting to use the trilobal polyester slick and shiney threads out but I've failed at adjusting my machine to handle it. I tried all the tricks, needle size, acrobatics with thread path, adding batting and tape to hang on to the slippery threads, and to no avail. Just look at the pictures to see that finally, I conquered the beast! Finally, beautiful stitching and just look at the colors! How would these look on your next quilt?

Penny Roberts taught us how to pull thread from the top to make couching thread, and then stitch with the longarm around appliques and other applications. This is just a sample I did to help me remember the process. I used a neon yellow in the bobbin and pulled it up to include with the Rainbow thread on top. Couching around the applique helps hide the starts and stops of the background stitching. More to come from this author/teacher. . .

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Reaching Higher" - a challenge quilt

As a Statler owner, I took the challenge to design and quilt a whole cloth batik project for Machine Quilters Showcase in Overland Park, Kansas this year. The rules were simple. Using a pre-purchased yardage of SewBatik fabric, create a whole cloth that measures 48 inches square, with a 36 inch center square and a small 1 1/2 inch inner border. No piecing and minimal embellishments. Quilting was to be solely computer guided, allowing for very little hand guiding only when necessary. We were free to choose batting, backing, thread, and designs.

I made my decision when I received the batik fabric after the first of the year. It is a beautiful blue batik with subtle shading and hints of lime green and lavender. My first impression was underwater ocean. However, I quickly switched directions and thought of a starry night sky. Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night came to mind, and a quote that I have over my desk that says, "When you overcome resistance, you create the power to continually reach higher." I began to plan the quilting to look like Van Gogh's painting, with swirls and spirals for stars and clouds, some curvy texture for trees, hills, and dales, and a few buildings to give the impression of a village below. I have a fascination with the night sky, stars, and constellations and for a long time have admired the Orion constellation. There is a nebula within this constellation that is simply beautiful in photos from Hubble. All the time I was imagining that nebula in the center of the sky with Swarovsky crystals dotting the Orion constellation. I wanted to create the nebula as beautiful as the pictures and found some angelina fibers that could possibly do the job. The sparkle and iridescence was perfect! That is, until I applied heat and tried to bond them to the fabric. There is a critical point if too much heat is applied, the angelina fibers lose all their sparkle and iridescence and turn to a simple plain boring base color. If not enough heat is applied, the bonding granules fail to bond and look like sand behind the fibers.

Are you getting the picture yet? Behind a project such as this not everyone sees the details of planning, agonizing, frustration, stress, pure joy, successes, failures, tears, mistakes, do-overs, throw-aways, cover-ups, and more than you'll ever want to hear. As I was digitizing the Van Gogh painting, I was considering what to do in the borders to frame the painting. I remembered a quote I had seen at an Art Festival a few years ago and decided to put script, handwriting, or just plain words in the borders for texture. I didn't intend for the script to be visible and legible and actually read. It took hours of searching fonts to find something that I could quickly connect into a continuous line and actually give it the look of cursive handwriting. Since the quilting had to be computer guided, it had to be a continuous line. I gave up and designed my own font---YES, my OWN font. I draw and digitize my designs using AutoSketch, and found that it was easy after creating my own alphabet from my own handwriting. All I had to do was make little lines that I could grab and connect to adjacent letters in the words and between words. To make a long story short---it worked! I wrote out the quote, joined the words, divided into four lines to fit in the outer border, mitered the corners, reversed it for the bottom border, and divided it in half for the side borders. Then I created another font and wrote the "reaching higher" quote to fit in the smaller inner border in a contrasting thread color.

I could write a lot more about this creation. But it's late and I'm done for the day. I will attach a couple of pictures and the link to my Picasa album where you will find the rest of the pictures. The pictures here are of the whole quilt from a distance and the label I created for the back. None of my pictures do the quilt justice. Yes, the thread blends very well with the fabric. No, the crystals do not show in the pictures. Yes, I'm disappointed in the final project. Yes, I did send it in to be exhibited---not judged. Yes, I do consider it a success because I planned it, executed it, and finished it. I met my deadline and reached the goal. I hope you enjoy the story and the pictures and maybe even get to see it at MQS and S.U.G.A.R. I hope it inspires you to overcome the resistance in your life and create the power to reach higher!

The quote by Edith Wharton, from A Backward Glance, is another special piece of inspiration. How many people do you know who, upon receiving a diagnosis of terminal illness, quit living and give up to die early? This quote is so encouraging to me, I just had to use it in my "textured" border. If no one ever reads it, I will know it is there and the inspiration it gives me to not be afraid of change, to be intellectually curious, to be interested in big things and happy in small ways.

By the way, the fabric I chose for the backing reminds me of Van Gogh's Sunflower painting--just a small detail.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Food Great Medicine

How about this for a diversion? Last year I was introduced to a new cookbook and have fallen in love with the concept. If you are the least bit conscientious about your health and eating habits, I encourage you to go to their website and meet the Hassells.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jump N Jumper

This pattern is called Jump N Jumper. I lengthened the two older girls' pattern for modesty. They are reversible, have elastic in the shoulder straps so the child can dress herself and it doesn't matter which side is out. I made three others and used the same fabric for all three but switched one so that they could have a little variety. The jumpers in this picture are all different and I did not put pockets on the lining side. They could be worn reversible, but the lining is rather plain. As you can see in the picture, the girls are all happy with their new jumpers. I caught them in the act of saying, "Thank you".

New Dresses

How is this for a cutie pie? Pattern by Simplicity, 4056. Kaufman mini-corduroy with a coordinating lining. More to come. . .

Friday, January 15, 2010

What's Happening?

I'm away from the studio. . .teaching skiing at Mt. Hood Meadows for a couple of months. I'm quilting donation quilts in my spare time. . .and I'm building a website. I'm also sewing dresses for my granddaughters, aprons for my daughters, and I have plans for some garments of my own. I just decided to stop and smell the roses and do some of those projects that have been haunting me for the past five years. I am still passionate about my longarm business, and have a small clientele who keep me busy. My waiting list is growing and my turn around time isn't as quick as it used to be. However, the quality is better than ever and I'm getting excited about the future of Gammill and Statler. Plans are in the making for a conference in June where I will attend classes and learn new and exciting features for my machine. I read an article that discussed "robotic quilting". I have never thought of what I do as "robotic", but I guess you could look at it that way. I think I don't like that term, because it sounds so cold. I put so much of my heart and soul into everything I do, that no ROBOT could come close to copying the results.

I thought I would post this just to tease you into keeping up with me. You never know what will turn up next. Photos? Lots of them, but, alas, no time to download and upload. Don't despair, it will come when you least expect it.

Thank you for reading.
I am Bonnie Russell, owner and quilter, and my business is making beautiful quilts and making quilts beautiful. NABQC came about as a partnership between the love of sewing and hazelnut farming. That's how the name was chosen. My husband, Fred, is the nut farmer, and I do the sewing using many bolts of fabulous fabric. My studio is located in Dundee, Oregon, the beautiful Willamette Valley, in the center of a hazelnut orchard. Experience came with 42 years of dress making, 40 years of marriage to my wonderful, loving, supportive husband (34 years of nut farming), 25 years of raising three daughters, and now we have seven grandchildren to mentor in Future Quilters of America!

With a Statler Stitcher and Gammill Optimum Plus longarm quilting machine, a 14 foot table, and the drawing program AutoSketch, no project is too big or too small. Anything from hand guided meandering to custom digitized designs can be applied to a project to complete that labor of love.

This blog is to temporarily serve as a source of information until a website is produced. It contains pricing, products, helpful hints, pictures, inspirations, and who knows what else will show up. Thank you for reading and I hope you will find it helpful.

Tale of a Dog