Quilt, Quilt, Quilt

I have been busy in my studio since we came home from our holiday in Alaska this fall. I have quilted 9 quilts for customers and 4 quilts for myself (Fall Warm Wishes, Daffodil BQ2, Rooster Strip Twist, and Dryer Sheet Diamond String).

Most long arm quilters would not feel that quilting 13 quilts in 3 months is that big an achievement, but keep in mind I have a full time day job on top of my quilting.

These are pictures of the customer quilts.

All quilts except one were quilted using Circle Lord’s templates.

The squares on this quilt were quilted in the ditch using my Bernina dsm.

I still have some customer quilts to finish, but thankfully, everything that was required to be completed prior to Christmas is now finished! I am now working on deadlines for after New Year’s.

Moving Projects Forward

I have had a couple of fabrics lately that have decided that they do not want to keep all their dye. One of the fabrics was a deep blue batik and the second was a red cotton. Both fabrics can be bad for bleeding, but really, after 6 washes? I tried vinegar and salt and had to luck. Finally, I found a source for Retayne locally. After one wash with Retayne, the fabrics stopped bleeding. I could not believe it. I did a test wash with Color Catchers after the Retayne treatment and the Color Catchers came out of the wash as white as they went it. I will be using this product a lot more often now that I know how well it works! Friday, I spent my time making a Mother’s Day present for my Mom. This is the table runner that I made for her.

Today, we started the day with breakfast out at a local restaurant–my DH, DS, Mom, Dad, and myself. After presenting my Mom with her table runner, she took it home and put it on her coffee table and took this picture for me. I was worried that I had not made it long enough, but it looks like it works on her coffee table.

Saturday, I finished putting the last of the sashing bits on this quilt top and then added the inner and outer borders. The outer border fabric is suns on a black background. I loved this fabric. I had enough backing fabric and batting in my stash so by the end of the evening Saturday, I had this quilt loaded on the long arm and had started the quilting.

This afternoon, I was able to finish the quilting on this one.

I used a new to me batting on this one — Soft and Bright by the Warm Company. This batting is 100% polyester. It is needled to hold the batting together without glue, resin, or hard coatings. This batting has a bit of loft to it which shows off the quilting perfectly. Because the fibers are needled, they stay in place and the batting doesn’t shift or go thin in some places like other polyester battings do. My long arm did not object to this batting at all and unlike other polyester battings, this one did not slip or shift. Because this quilt top was heavy from the weight of all the seams in the string blocks, I really did not want to add more weight to the top by using a cotton batting. I also have intended this to be a utility quilt so I expect it to be used and washed frequently. I am hoping the polyester holds up to the frequent use I expect the quilt to receive.
This last picture shows the gold thread i used to highlight the Wave quilting design.

My plans are to bind this one in black. The binding will have to wait for another day though as I am short of black fabric in my stash. Running out of stash fabric is a good thing though–it means that I am using up what I have on hand!

Work, Work, Work

Although I have not been posting that frequently lately, I have been quilting. I have been quilting, but not for me……only for others. I have been so busy with quilting for others that my life has slipped out of balance. My hobby–quilting–has been lost. Even my quilt tester, Joey, is starting to wonder if there is ever going to be a requirement for his quilt testing services in the future–he is not allowed to test customer quilts only my quilts. As you can see by this picture, he is currently considering employment in other fields–bird watching being one.
These are some of the quilt tops that have occupied my free time of late. (All of these quilts belong to customers.)

Stay tuned for changes. Recent events have caused me to re-examine my role as a long arm machine quilter and have caused me to assess how much of my time in the future that I am prepared to devote to quilting for others at the expense of producing quilts for my own enjoyment.
I am currently developing guidelines to assist quilt top piecers with determining if their piecing will best be complimented by my quilting style. I realize that just like there are many different styles of painters, potters, and other artists; there are also many different styles of long arm quilters.
I specialize in the use of Circle Lord templates. I do not use pantographs or quilt freehand. The use of the Circle Lord products allows me to produce very precise designs providing consistent results equivalent to what the computerized machines are able to produce – but at a fraction of the price.
The following guidelines are necessary for the preparation of quilt tops for long arm quilting. Following these guidelines will ensure that the piecer and the long arm quilter avoid disappointment and are both happy with the finished quilted results.
– Must be 4″ longer and wider than the quilt top on all sides.
– Must be pressed.
– Pieced backs should have 1/2″ seams which are pressed open, selvages should be removed, and the backing overall should be squared up.
– Even backings which are not pieced need to be square on all sides which includes straight edges on all sides.
– All seams need to be pressed flat.
– No wavy borders or borders with extra fullness. Quilt tops pieced with wavy borders will result in a wrinkled quilt after quilting.
– The same size as the backing which is 4″ longer and wider than the quilt top on all sides.
Thank you to all piecers who have entrusted your quilt tops to me in the past. I have appreciated the opportunity to work on your quilts. I have enjoyed the stories of the quilt’s origin whether it be the testing of a new pattern, piecing a special quilt for a relative or friend, acknowledgement of a milestone such as a new baby, wedding, significant birthday, or graduation. I have particularly enjoyed working on the quilt tops that have been left to the recipient as part of an estate which in turn have been entrusted to me to complete. Some of us will continue to work together in the future producing fabulous quilts and some of us will realize that there is a better fit out there somewhere between piecer and quilter.
To all of you, I say thank you!

Move It Forward

I spent Good Friday on line with Linda – Moving it Forward.

We have decided that once a month we will take at least one day and move some projects that have stalled or aged as UFOs far too long forward to the next stage. That may mean getting a top to the flimsy stage, moving a top from a flimsy to a quilt, or completing some binding. What Move it Forward is not is a day to start something new. It is all about making progress on something we have already started previously.

Before I could work on anything, I needed to clear my work surface from the project that I was working on the night before. In between passes of the long arm on customer quilts, I piece string blocks onto used Color Catchers (that is the white rectangle you see in the upper left hand corner of the picture). I had 11 blocks partially finished – they needed a strip or two and they would be finished. So before working on anything else, I finished off those 11 blocks. On the previous weekend, I took some of the blocks I have made previously and pieced them together into this colourful scrap top. This top needs the sashing finished off on the right hand side and bottom, then it will be ready for borders.

The next project I had to finish was a customer quilt that had already been loaded onto the long arm the night before. There was only about 1/2 hour of quilting left.

This is the finished customer quilt. It is a Nine Patch Pizzazz quilted with the Wave.

The next project was my Bento Box. It had stalled at the borders. I typically stall at this point so this was a great project for Move It Forward day! Also, I had the expertise of my good friend Linda to assist in deciding on which colour to use in the inner border……….green….

….or red?

After discussing options back and forth, the red was chosen. And this is the finished flimsy. This one is for me so I am really excited about getting this top to this stage. I now need to go on the hunt for just the right backing.

The next project up needed binding. This is the fabric that was picked for binding.

I made 1/2″ wide binding for this quilt. An extra wide binding serves dual purpose as an additional border and binding. Strips of binding for a 1/2″ wide binding are cut 3 1/4″ wide.
Binding was machine sewn to the quilt after supper. This top is now waiting for a quiet evening or two of hand sewing in front of the TV.

The day was busy and my quilt inspector/supervisor played out.

After the flash picture, he did open an eye to let me know that he did not want to be bugged further!

I know that both Linda and I made great progress today so we will be looking forward to the next Move It Forward Day to move yet more projects to the next stage.


Last night I took the last of the machine quilting stitches in my Scrappy Bargello quilt. This quit was started during Superbowl Sunday on Feb, 3, 2008 as part of Bargellobowl.
Bargellobowl was an group of quilters organized through the Internet who would rather quilt than watch the Superbowl. The pattern is Scrappy Bargello and is from Bonnie Hunter’s website. My version of this quilt is made from scraps of Christmas fabrics. This quilt was quilted with the Circle Lord Baptist Fan template.
It is rare lately for me to take the time to quilt one of my own flimsies. I have a stack of customer quilts to work on, but I thought I would warm up the machine on one of my own quilts first. Today, will be spent working on quilts for others.