Free quilt pattern: Happy Trails

January 18, 2022


How about starting the year out with an easy but great-looking project you know you can get done quickly? APQS Dealer Connie Keller has just such a quilt with her “Happy Trails” design.

“This project lends itself very nicely to florals or any kind of fabric that has a pattern that needs to be showcased in a simple and easy way. I like simple and easy,” said Connie. Strip piecing makes quick work of the blocks as well as the pieced middle border. Connie is the owner of the APQS Texas Studio, located inside of a quilt shop called Quilt Country in Lewisville, Texas. It is a full-service quilting studio where APQS Longarm Quilting machines are sold, rented and serviced.

We used Connie’s “Happy Trails” pattern to make two different quilts. The two quilts shown were pieced by Hen & Chicks Studio and quilted by Stephanie Unruh and Liz Meimann at A Quilted Memory.

The first is an aqua, white, and green version quilted with the “Mod Box Diagonal” design by Angela Clark that comes with Quilt Path software. When selecting a quilting pattern, consider looking at the fabric design as a guide. In this particular focal print, there are lots of straight lines. By selecting a quilting pattern that featured diagonal lines, the end result created a modern look of juxtaposed lines.

The second quilt made from Connie’s “Happy Trails” pattern uses brights as well as black-and-whites for a stairstep kids quilt.

As you’ll see, this pattern is a great opportunity to get inspired for the quilting design. We asked Connie how she selects designs for her quilts.

“I LOVE swirls. I think they are gender neutral; however, I am always looking to the design on the fabric to make the quilt look beautiful. I also want to be careful not to over quilt a project and make my quilting more special than what the quilter has created. I am also keenly aware of the intended use of the quilt. What does it actually need? What is it being used for? Will there be added value in the quilt if it has more quilting, etc.”

The second version of Happy Trails is quilted with the “E2 Lace Loops” design by Jessica Schick that comes with Quilt Path software. Anticipating that the final use of this quilt would be as a baby quilt, we chose a simple design that would add a bit of whimsy to the finished quilt. The loopy pattern could almost imitate a child running from here to there and back again.

Connie uses a variety of APQS machines in her studio, but her favorite is the Millie. “I am very partial to all the features on the Millie, but what I really like is the weight of the machine. The push and the pull of the machine is so nice for making beautiful curves.”

Connie opened her studio in 2004 and often works with quilters who are new to longarm quilting.

“My tips for beginners are to doodle and Zentangle and to find a long arm and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. And practice one thing until you feel it. Then adding new things will be easy!”

Connie teaches quilting classes to newbies and more-advanced quilters. Here she is teaching machine quilting at University of North Texas. “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else,” she said. “You do you, and let them do them!”

Like many other quilters, Connie’s favorite thing about quilting is the community she’s been able to build over the years.

“I get to love on a lot of sweet, beautiful people. I get to be part of both happy and sad. I get to hug and pray for those who hurt, and I get to be part of a lot of celebrations. I get to teach others how to do something that I absolutely love!”