Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A little down

Just so you think I haven't dropped off the face of the earth ...  Been a little under the weather the last few days ... Resting and trying to get well as big stuff is happening at work this weekend and I am working the next 3 days.  Check out this post to see what the excitement is ...

A couple of quick pics to show what I was working on the last few days before I left my sewing machine for the couch!

Back to resting ....


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mad quilting

Been trying to take care of some of the backlog of quilts I have ... since last Tuesday I have quilted four quilts, and I'm in the middle of number five!  That is a lot for me ...  Here's a couple

First up is a lovely quilt from one of my friends ... this one has been on my shelves since March (yes, I have several that are that old!  yikes!!!!) ... this is a small quilt out of mostly French General fabric by Moda ... so cute!  
Quilted a small, tight swirl with Glide thread in top and bobbin.

This next quilt was quite large ... approximately queen size.  This is my pattern called Nick's Quilt and is made up of big blocks; it was screaming for a custom something, but I didn't have any great ideas, and I knew my customer wanted it quickly.  
I also knew it was for a man (no feathers or swirly, girly things!), and a bed quilt, so it was going to get a lot of wear.  I went back to my old standby ... the swirl.  
I used a 40 wt. cotton thread, with Bottom Line in the bobbin.  

Something I consider when quilting, is how many hours I will put into a project.  Although most people don't give me a $$ idea of what they would like, most of my customers want reasonably priced quilting, so I do consider that when I am deciding what kind of a design to do.

If you don't know this about me, I've said it plenty ... I am not a "custom" quilter.  I don't mean to sell myself short as I think I do excellent work.  But I am not going to take your quilt and turn it into a thread masterpiece with lots of intricate work and feathering, scrolls, doo dads here and there.  That is not my style.  I appreciate the artistry of that kind of quilting and there are many quilters that are out there for someone that wants that kind of quilting.  I prefer simple quilting, just something to keep the quilt together, accentuate the beauty of the piecing, but something understated.  True these are not my quilts, but almost everyone I quilt for says "just do what you think is best."  Those are the most wonderful words ... my least favorite words ... "I would like, this, this, this and this" or "please make it look like the quilt in this book."  I am discovering that it is plenty okay to say "no, I don't quilt like that."  I have my own style and it looks like my own style ... I can show you samples and I am happy to do something that you would like, but it is not going to look like that picture in the book.  

I quilt not to make big bucks ... it is something I enjoy doing, and I am grateful to be able to provide a service for good friends and new friends.  When it starts to become a chore, then I know that it is time to slow down or stop ... I don't make enough money at this for it to be something that stresses me out.  Something my husband said to me a couple years ago when I was going to buy my longarm was "is this a hobby or a business?"  You have to decide that ... I hate it when he is right!  He was right ... it is important to know.  I started quilting to help pay for my machine, but never really had enough information to know whether it was something I was going to want to continue to do until the machine is paid for.  I had a three year plan ... I'm at a little over 2 years, and the 3 year plan probably is going to take longer.  In March when my granddaughter was born, our entire family went through a life change ... it had actually been manifesting since about July of 2012 ... quilting helped me get through some stressful patches and for that I am grateful.  However, my quilting business also started to become a chore and I was absolutely overwhelmed by it and life.  I gave myself permission to take a break for several months, and in that time did some heavy soul searching.  I realized that I quilt because I love to, but when it is too much work, then it does not become something joyful, but just one more thing to do.  If it takes me another 2 years to pay my machine off, then it just will.  The money I will spend in interest (and I got a really low interest rate), is worth having a calm, sane existence.  I am in a place in my life where I don't need to stress about making money and I wish to do things that make me happy, not things that give me gray hair!!

One of my greatest blessings is this sweet little person ... 7 1/2 months old and trying to crawl!

Monday Stash Report

Tuesday again!  Wow ... I'll be back later because I have lots to tell as I have been a busy bee this week with the longarming.  For now, here's my stash report:

Yardage out - 3 1/3 yds. - three yards for a backing on my French Turkey quilt, which was one of my list of thirteen to be finished by the end of the year; 1/3 yard for the binding 

Yardage in - the fabric buying continues ... got a little excited over some sale fabric I found online at Bunny Hill ... it was such a deal!  6 1/2 yds.

Net used this year (remember my year totals just started last week!) - 6 yds out.  I better get some real sewing going, as my yardage out numbers are dwindling!  Be back later ...
A sneak peak of what I've been working on ...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday totals - Stash Report

Well weekly totals on Tuesday ... Monday got away from me!  I was busy trying to finish a huge quilt for a customer and I had some self-created snafus with my machine!  I was trying to clean where the bobbin was running and wound up jamming the whole thing with a big piece of batting.  It threw the timing off ... Ask any longarmer what the thing is they dread the most about maintaining their machine and they will say timing.  The hook of the mechanism has to hit the scarf of the needle at the right spot, the needle has to be close enough to the hook, and the "basket" has to be forward enough in it's place, but not too far forward.  It took me 2 hours to get it right ... Ridiculous!  I have retimed my machine no less than 8 times in the last 2 years.  That is abnormal, and I will just say that most of that was user error/misinformation!  You would think I would be better at it after so much experience ... NOT!!!

Anyway ...
Yardage out - 1/2 yard for binding.  Longarming  this week and not much sewing, 
Yardage in - the fabric buying continues ... Some backing fabric because it was 40% off ... 5 yds
Net used this year (remember my year totals just started last week!) - 9.1 used.  Still going in the right direction!  Yay ...

Would love to hear from you, your totals!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Look

Happy Sunday ... I was irritated with my blog that some of the boxes were blurring into the pictures ... so I decided to make a change.  I thought it would be fun to see less of the blah, blah, blah and more pictures/posts.  I am trying to limit what is on the page to just three entries, but can't get blogger to change it!  It says it's working, but ... I am not a computer person nor do I want to be!  I just want to do what it tells me to do, and then get it to work!  So far after 45 min of monkeying around, it is still not accepting the limit of blog posts.  So I'll leave it as it is and you all can let me know whether you like, dislike or just plain hate the new look!  The good thing about life ... nothing is permanent, it can all be changed!  Have a great Sunday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Unfinished project number 1

Okay as promised, I am blogging about each of my unfinished projects as they are finished.  Here is project #1 ...
This quilt is probably at least 7 years old. It was a class by my favorite teacher, Donna Yackey.  Friendship stars and windmill blocks ... I used fabric that people had given me and was outside of my fabric comfort zone.  I didn't have enough of the blue border fabric to finish the borders, so I was stuck.  Then I couldn't figure out an outside border, so I put it all away in a box.  That many years ago I was still a pretty new quilter and not comfortable at all messing with color.  Now I realize that "finished" is better than perfect, and that there isn't one "perfect" color selection ... Meaning stop being so rigid ... Try different combinations and see what I think looks best ... I'm the only one that has to love it.
One of my rules for these unfinished projects is to use fabric I already have whenever possible.  I had this light blue flower fabric, so the left and top border  balance the other blue.  The purple was the only piece I had big enough to use for an outside border.  It is perfect!  Don't know what the original pattern looked like because I couldn't find it, but who cares .. This is how it is supposed to look!
Being quilted
Trying out a pantograph I have ... Clam shell revised ... Don't really love the design, but I'm glad I tried it.
Done ... White king tut thread on top, Glide in the bobbin.
I bound it last night in a blue plaid-ish Hometown fabric by Sweetwater for Moda.  That line is a couple years old, but I have lots of fat quarters.  It looks like a great baby quilt, but I don't have an intention for it right now, so it will get folded and put away.  One crossed off the list!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Winner is ...

Hi everyone ... thanks so much for all the comments on the projects that you all are planning on finishing.  Without details, I will just tell you that I finished 5!!!!! over the weekend, and will blog about them one at a time.  The winner of the contest by random pick (using my daughter to pick the number!), is

Potpourri ... she said:  "I really have to finish two baby quilts before years end.
I just have to bite the bullet."  Congratulations!  I will send out the pumpkin kit to you ... it is so cute.  Please send me your name and address via email ... my email is  That was so much fun that I will definitely do that more!  Have a great day.

Stash report

I read several blogs that do a stash report regularly, and I really like the idea ... fabric in, fabric out, yardage to date in, yardage to date out, etc., etc.  I decided that would be a great way to see really how much of my "stash" I am using.  Would you like to join in the fun?  My plan is to report in on Monday's ... here's my report for the last couple weeks, but from here on out, I'll report weekly.

Yardage out: 22.5 yards; that is approximately three quilts over the last couple weeks, including some backing
Yardage in: 8 7/8 ... after being great at ONLY using my stash for a couple of months, the fabric bug has bitten again!  I purchased several precuts of the new line Route 15 by Sweetwater ... thank goodness we didn't get the entire line, or I would have bought more.  I also bought about 3 yards of this great cream background with a gray dot ... I think it will go with almost anything; and then several yards of sale fabric to be used for backing.
Net yardage:  13.6 yds out!!!  Even though I bought several yards, it still means I am using up more than I'm buying ... I'm moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Managing fabric

Okay, let's just put this out there at the beginning ... If you quilt, you have a fabric obsession, and probably a fabric overload and storage challenge.  You've seen my fabric stash sorted by color, and occasionally by collection.
This is the collection section.
And by color.  

Most of my stuff is in the cottage -- where I sew and longarm.  Before I moved over here, my sewing room was our guest bedroom upstairs in our house.  Some of my stuff remains still in that room, including plastic boxes full of unfinished projects.  I will not show you that picture today!  Haha

So yesterday I was looking for a kit I know I have, and started going through those bins.  I grabbed a lot of projects that I keep passing over ... I also pulled out two blocks of the month I have been pushing around for about 8 years.  Here is what I asked myself:

1.  Am I EVER going to finish this project?  Really????
2.  Do I LOVE it enough to finish?
3.  Will it make me happy to finish it, or is it something that I can let go of and pass along?
4.  Is it so old and out of date that anyone would really want it??

In answering these questions, here is what happened ... Two blocks of the month were disassembled.  The patterns were tossed and I sorted and folded the fabric, adding it to my stash.  Wow ... That was easy to do and I have a lot of useable fabric now that was sitting in a kit.
There were a lot of pieces that were larger than a strip, but an odd size to add to a stash if fabric.  So I decided to make several stacks of squares:  7 1/2", 6 1/2" and 5" (charm pack size).  From there I had strips left over, so I trimmed those down to file away in my strip baskets:
Before I did the fabric reorganizing, I took out the projects that I thought I wanted to keep; decided what they needed; put them in individual bags with only the fabric that was absolutely necessary to finish, and then wrote them all down on a list.
That is a group of 12 --- yes 12! --- projects that I am going to finish by the end of the year.  I am so excited.  
Here's part of the list .. In no particular order.  They range in age between 11 years old and 1 month old.  So excited to start getting the rest of my sewing projects under control.  I will blog about them as I finish them.

Now here's my challenge to you ... Pick one thing you are going to finish before the end of the year, and leave me a comment.  I've never done a giveaway before, but that is what I'm gonna do!!  I'll have a random drawing and the winner will get a kit for Scaredy Cat by Little Bits by Joan
A wool appliqué project that fits in a 14"  x 7" frame.  The kit will include the wool, and pattern.  Please leave your comments by Monday, October 7.  I'll pick a winner on Tuesday.
Good luck and dig out those projects!