Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quilting is supposed to be fun.

I always thought quilting was fun. A bit of frustration here as I practice following a line. Who knew that quilting with a longarm could be so difficult. Actually, it was probably more difficult on this piece because I used blue chalk with my new pounce pad and the chalk kept bouncing off! Now my limited experience with this tells me that if I had swiped over a stencil, I wouldn't have had that problem. But I made my own stencil from used x-ray film and stitching without a needle to mark the line with holes for the chalk. The chalk had no trouble passing through the needle holes. But it just sat on top of the fabric, so it bounced off when the hopping foot approached. Without a clear line my quilting looks like a little kid did it. So I guess I made the right choice with the batting. Or rather with drying it in the dryer. I used a scrap of cotton batting that was obviously not preshrunk. I say I made the right choice because all them puckers hide the poor stitching pretty well. ;-)

Typically I don't wash a quilt right after quilting it, but I couldn't get the blue chalk out. First I used a mini vacuum to suck out the loose chalk. ThenI took it outside to my hubbys dirty garage and used the aircompresser. Glad it was just a small practice piece. The blue was still pretty dark. No regrets here. Shrinking it was a great reminder to expect the same thing to happen if I don't preshrink my batts or if I dry the quilt in the dryer. Oh, and FYI the 36" x 46" quilt is now 33" x 42".
I'd like to hear from you about your experiences with cotton batting. Have you found one that doesn't shrink much in the dryer?
May all your quilting be beautiful. Sew long.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

challenge quilts

Hi everyone.
As a member of the Great Lakes Professional Machine Quilters Association, I participated in the guild challenge. We were pretty much all to piece the same quilt top and then quilt as desired. I tend to have difficulty leaving someone else's pattern alone so I didn't follow the rules explicitly. But I saw that I wasn't the only one that had that problem. The border was supposed to be a lighter beige and I added the flat red piping between the setting triangles and the border. I am sure glad there are no worries about doing right or wrong. When I get a good look at the other challenge quilts, I will be anxious to see how well everyone else followed directions. I actually finished this almost a month ago, so I don't know Y it has taken me this long to post it, but here it is.

I am sorry that I quilted it before I took Sally Terry's Hooked on Feather's class. But I wanted to turn it in that day. I didn't realize that it is an ongoing challenge. They hope to display them at area quilt shows to promote longarm quilting I guess. I don't intend to quilt for hire, but thought I ought to particpate for the sake of practice. Maybe more of the quilters would join in then. Many of our members do not do custom quilting and just quilt edge to edge. I think many of them haven't participated. Great that they have that option. Who needs another obligation. Overall, I don't think I did too badly considering I have only had my machine since Christmas time.

I have issued design challenges in the past at quilt shops that were actually held as mystery classes. That's how I got a bunch of samples using my Thirtysomething technique for the first book. I ought to put more challenges together for the next Thirtysomething book. Anyone interested? Well, maybe next winter? I'd love to hear how well you follow challenge "rules". Do tell.
Sew long,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hooked on Feathers

I took a great drawing class with Sally Terry. The class was on her Hooked on Feathers technique. I imagine that was the name of the class, but I am not sure. Sorry. I wasn't convinced that just cause we could draw them that we could stitch them. But I practiced a bit on paper when I got home - must have been during breakfast.Well, sure enough I could stitch them. I recognize that I need to slow down a bit so that I can stitch more detail. That is the hardest thing for me with the long arm. Or maybe it's following a line. OH, I do need the practice. And I need to practice my starts and stop - for any line of stitching as well as the feather design, obvioulsly. Anyway, this little piece was made just for practicing on the longarm, so I may not bind it. Do you think a 5 year old would like it for her dolls?

I suppose it seems silly to make a piece just for practicing the quilting. Well, for someone with over 100 quilt tops it does. Maybe I should have the attitude that if the quilting doesn't turn out I can always make another one. It's not like I am making them for competition, so I don't know why I think I need all the practice. One thing is for sure, I do my best practicing on a legitimate quilt and not just scraps of batting and muslin.
Either way its the most fun I have had quilting in a while. I hope the quilting shows up so you can see it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First Granny's Garden blocks

Does it count if I am thinking of blogging? I didn't know I could be so busy. And yet I found time to make these flowers. They sure are great portable projects. I am surprised how much I am enjoying it. It also helps to relax me while I am away from home. Otherwise I feel antsy that I am not getting to do any sewing. I try not to think about the sewing I need to get done - Like the quilting on another 8 quilts for my next book. Oh well, the quilting is definitely going faster with the longarm, so it shouldn't be a problem.
More soon. Sew long