Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Festival, Quilting, and Backings, OH MY!

Whew!  It’s been a busy couple of months!  Festival, starting a new business, quilting, and new threads and backings!  I’ll try not to overload you with too many pictures or words, and keep things short-ish and sweet. 

First, in my last post, I toward the end, I posted a picture of my grey and white prairie star block for Corey Pearson.  I did end up taking it apart and reworking it so that the points match up better.  And, it’s still 6” square.  Imagine that!  My friend, Cynthia, also finished her grey and white block.  I must say they complement each other rather nicely.  We delivered them to Corey while he has working the Gammill booth at Festival.  I can’t wait to see what he does with all of these blocks!!!

My redone Prairie Star.  Much better!

My star and Cynthia's star together.  So pretty!

Next, I decided a few months ago to go ahead and get a new business name registered and started up for my own longarm quilting services business.  I don’t plan to make it a full time job or anything even close since I still want time to work on my own projects, time to do my regular job, and time to spend with family and friends.  BUT, I did think it was a good idea to get it set up and ready for when someone asks me to quilt a top for them.  I have a fun logo all done, but no website yet (or maybe ever).  Ready, set, quilt!

I did manage to start and finish a quilt top during a 2-day bee in October.  It’s a Joyce Lundrigan All-In-One club pattern called Bezels.  I’ve NEVER started and finished a quilt that quickly, and I just love this one!  It’s definitely not my normal style with such bright colors and modern style, but I enjoyed making it and branching out to expand my repertoire.  It’s currently loaded on the machine, so next month I should have pictures of the completed quilting.  It’ll be absolutely gorgeous!

Bezels quilt top.  Hopefully, you'll get to see it quilted next month!
As far as actual quilting, I got four quilts done in the last couple of months.  First was one by my friend Becky, who finished a top for Omigosh, one of Mom’s patterns.  I was so terrified of messing it up that it sat for probably six months before I got up the courage to load it and take the first stitch.  I mean… all those tiny pieces… all that time and effort… and one of Mom’s designs!  What if I picked bad patterns or bad thread colors?  What if Becky hates it and I have to take out all of the stitches?  I seriously had nightmares until it was done.  And, I was obviously being silly.  It turned out beautifully!  I think my favorite part is the Baptist Fan-ish outer border.  Love it!

Becky's Omigosh quilt, all quilted, but not bound yet.

Closeup of the corner and that wonderful border.

Closeup of the blocks.

I also quilted a community service quilt for my friend, Jerrianne, which she put together using the Mother Goose fabrics that Mom designed years ago.  I used AnitaShackelford’s Modern Curves quilt pattern, which really gives a lot of movement to the quilt.  It will definitely make some child happy when they receive it.

Mother Goose community service quilt, made by Jerrianne.

Closeup of a corner.

Next up, I finally dove in to work on the Dream Big panel that my son picked out for himself.  He picked the absolutely brightest colored version, and brightest colored variegated thread for me to use on it.  I used Nancy Haacke’s pattern set that she released for it in November, and it turned out so cool looking!  Even the back of the quilt looks fantastic.  Since I used a solid white fabric for the backing, that bright variegated thread really shows up!  Now, I just need to figure out what color binding to put on… maybe a solid black to frame it… or a solid purple to blend in with the outside of the print.

My son's Dream Big quilt.  It's BRIGHT!

Closeup view at an angle.

View of the back of the quilt.

The last quilted quilt for this post is one that I’m calling Snowballs and Dogs, which I quilted for another friend of mine, Georgann.  I knew I was quilting a top of snowballs, which I love, particularly done scrappy like she did this one.  What I didn’t know was that she basically made a second quilt for the backing using several different dog print fabrics, and some positive word fabric.  It turned out so cute!

Snowball quilt made by Georgann.

Closeup of the quilt top.

The dog-themed backside of the snowball quilt.  So cute!

Closeup of the center panel.

Now, how could I forget Festival???  Of course, I didn’t.  I spent several days living up in downtown Houston, taking classes, shopping, browsing, and viewing some seriously spectacular quilts!  Of course, there were three or four quilts that were hanging, based on Mom’s designs.  I think, though, that I’ll keep this part short and just post a few pictures of some of my favorites from the show.  By the way, I did not win a ribbon for Baby Bear, but the other quilts in that category were simply phenomenal!  I’m just proud to have be juried in, and the judge’s remarks that I got back were all great!

A fabulous antique hexi quilt, made by "unknown."

A closeup of the hexi quilt with fingers for size reference.  No, we weren't touching it!

Circular Infinity by Susan Michael

Deuxmillehuitcenthuit by Ewa Guerin.  It's hand pieced and hand quilted.  Note that the center HST of each 9-patch is cheddar!

Over the Waves by Setsuko Matsushima.  Hand quilting, piecing, applique, and embroidery.  Winner of the Founders' Award.

Kora by Carol Morrissey

Streak of Lightning by Amy Pabst.  Talk about Omigosh!  These pieces are so tiny!!!

Me and Baby Bear.  :)

Reminiscence by Mariko Takeda.  Hand quilting, piecing, and applique.  Winner of the Robert S. Cohan Master Award for Traditional Artistry

Hope by Ximo Navarro Sierra.  Winner of the Pfaff Master Award for Machine Artistry.

Lastly, I hate piecing backings!  So, I picked up three bolts of 108" quilt backings, all very pretty ones, and put them on the Come Quilt website for sale.  Of course, I’ll use some of them myself, but I wouldn't feel right not sharing with other quilters who hate piecing backs as much as I do.  LOL!  I've also ordered some Aurifil 80 weight threads that we'll start carrying on the website.  It's absolute heaven for applique.  If you want a color that you don't see (once I get them posted), let me know and I'll get it for you!
Moda 108" Quilt Back, Fresh Cut Flowers, 11140-11

Moda 108" Quilt Back, Holly Woods, 11145-11

Moda 108" Quilt Back, Snowberry Prints, 11126-11

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’ll be back next month, and back on track (hopefully) for monthly posts!  Everyone have a happy holiday filled with warmth, love, and family… and quilting.

Keep on quilting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Better Late than Never!

I can't believe we're already more than a week into October!  And, I know, I know... I neglected to post a blog entry for September.  I think I got a little overwhelmed with the end of summer, school starting for my brand new 6th grader son, and just overall busy times.  So, here I am trying to play catch up.  Quilt-life-wise, let's talk about what's been going on in my world. 

Did I mention before that I entered a couple of my miniature quilts into the juried show at the Houston International Quilt Festival?  Well, I did!  I entered Baby Bear and Rings of Love, and Baby Bear made it through the jury and will be hanging in the show.  So exciting!  I didn't win a ribbon for her, but I'm still very proud that I am a finalist and will have a quilt hanging in "the big show" here in Houston.

My miniature Baby Bear quilt.
We also had the exhibit of Mom's quilts going on all summer at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas.  Mary and I, along with a group of quilting friends, went out there (finally!) to see the exhibit in mid-September.  I have to say, it was absolutely fantastic.  The building has a wonderful history, and it provides a perfect backdrop for the quilts.  The curator told us that it was one of the most popular exhibits that they've had, especially where the two main galleries were taken up by only one artist.  She said that she called Mom the Picasso of quilting because, similar to Picasso, her talents went through a variety of phases and periods, and touched on all different facets of the art form of quilting.  While we were there, we got to do a "walkabout tour" with the museum guests, where we toured them through the quilts and talked about our memories and knowledge of the different ones that were hanging there.  So fun!

And what have I worked on and/or finished since August?  Not as much as I'd have liked.  That's for sure!  I caught up (again) on the next couple of months of the Antebellum Album BOM that I'm doing through Barbara Brackman's website.  Month 8 was a very simple and very quick Southern Cross.  And, month 9 was a bit more complicated Lexington Belle block.  I'm really liking the way the whole quilt is turning out... and I'm tempted to go to Barbara's Etsy page and buy the patterns for the last couple of months so I don't have to wait!!!

Month 8 - Southern Cross

Month 9 - Lexington Belle

On the design wall and coming together quite nicely!

I also finished a block to send to Corey Pearson of Linda'sElectric Quilters.  He asked a group of women, all of whom attend an annual Statler retreat, to each send him a 6" (finished) block of their favorite pattern, made of all grey and white fabrics.  It's a surprise whatever he is planning to do with all of them.  I picked a variation on a Lone Star block, called a Prairie Star.  Why did I pick a block with so many y-seams?  I have NO IDEA!!!  I always have trouble with them, and I have trouble making the seams in the pieced points matching up.  You can see in the photo below that it's definitely not perfect.  I'm pretty sure I'll be taking it apart, at least parts of it, to do a little rework before I send it to Corey.

My 6" (finished) Prairie Star block... forgive the mismatched points!!!
Last thing to mention this month... I finished quilting a beauty last week.  It's one of Joyce Lundrigan's All-in-One patterns called Stars Encompassed.  I think it's absolutely beautiful!  Now, I will say that my Statler was giving me absolute FITS throughout the process, which slowed me down a lot.  It wasn't stitching smooth lines, so the curves weren't smooth and the lines weren't always straight.  I did all kinds of troubleshooting, and am now down to checking on my quilt loading skills, testing particular patterns, and playing around with all of the different variables (thread types, needle sizes, tension adjustments, etc.).  I need to get moving on getting some quilt tops quilted and finished!

Still on the machine being quilted...

Unloaded and being turned to finish the outside borders.

Overall quilting... it's a beautiful design!

A little closer view of the quilting... oops, my toes are in there!
That's all I've got for now!  Besides, I've only got a couple of weeks until November.  OH!  Which reminds me... I think we can all count on my post being late in November so I can post plenty of pics from Festival!!!

Keep on quilting,

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Heat Wave!

Wow, it's hot out there!  I'm not sure what the weather is doing in other parts of the country (and world), but it's been steady around 100F down here in Houston, with wicked humidity and a ridiculously large mosquito population.  All the more reason to stay inside and work on some quilts!!!  This month I have some finished projects, some in-work projects, and some lessons learned to share.

First, finished projects.  And, I have to clarify that by "finished" I mean I've finished quilting them, not that I've necessarily put the binding on!  Hehe.  The first quilt that I finished this month is that red, black, and white quilt that's going into the Lakeview Quilters Guild annual auction in a few weeks.  I had so much fun with this one!  I picked an edge-to-edge feather pattern, a new one that I had just gotten from Wildflower Quilting's July club called New Bountiful.  And, I used variegated black and white thread.  I just love how it turned out!

Corner of the quilt, showing the variegated feathers.

Back of the quilt, which is actually black and not grey.

Overall view of the quilt.

I finished a second quilt for the auction just Monday night, after picking it up Monday evening.  Talk about a busy night!  This one is a really pretty rail fence pattern with bright pastels (if that makes sense) and a buttery background color.  I used my very favorite E2E pattern, which I've used several times now, called Spiral Pano 001 by Kimberlee Diamond.

Close up view of the quilting.
Overall view of the quilt.  I love it!
There really will be some gorgeous quilts up for bid at the auction.  If you're in the area, make some time to come visit!  Let's see... I also finished quilting both of Sheila's quilts that I shared last month.  She's super happy with them, which means I'm super happy with them!

Close up of Myrtle's Broken Dishes with bubble quilt pattern.
Overall view of Myrtle's Broken Dishes.
Close up of Toile de Jouy, still on the machine being quilted.
Close up of Toile de Jouy.
Overall view of Toile de Jouy (kind of).  Beautiful!
The last quilt that I finished this month was actually started this month also... start to finish, design to quilted... a baby quilt for some very dear friends of mine who were finally blessed with a baby boy through adoption.  I'm so very happy for them, and happy with this quilt for their new son.  They both work at NASA, like me, so I picked some space themed fabrics to use, and Dad is from Ohio, so I added in some bright colored Ohio Stars.  I think they'll love it!  If you can see it in the pictures, the quilting pattern is even space themed with rockets, stars, and planets.

Close up of baby space quilt.
Overall view of baby space quilt.
The other project that I worked on this month is my Barbara Brackman Antebellum Album BOM.  I caught up on the monthly blocks, including even the July block!  And, I got ahead (at least in my opinion) by making all of the setting blocks as well.  Thank goodness for two day sewing bees where I sit and sew to my heart's content!

My version of Barbara Brackman's Antebellum Album Quilt BOM.
And, last but not least, I had several lessons learned this month.  Some were quite a bit more painful than others, but all were taken in stride!  At one point this month, I was sewing along on one of Sheila's quilts and Carol Ann (my Gammill's name) started screeching!  And I mean SCREECHING!  Every time she stitched, she screamed at me.  I'd post the video, but I don't want to scare any of you!  It scared me half to death, so I posted in a Statler group on Facebook and got multiple responses in minutes.  Apparently, this is a normal occurrence in SOME Statler machines, where grease gets into the oil lines and blocks them up, causing the machine to act like it's not getting oil.  There's a very easy fix, which I was able to take care of in a few minutes.  Now, I just need to remember to do it every 6 to 12 months.  Whew!

Next up, stitching on that same quilt of Sheila's, I rolled it and saw a HUGE rats nest of thread on the backside.   EEEEKKKK!  I'd never had that happen before.  Luckily, it was easy to clip out all of the threads from the back since they were so nested up, and I got some good practice in with restitching and matching up the pattern points.  From what I can tell, it got toward the end of the bobbin and went crazy on me, so maybe the end wasn't wound properly.  At least I was able to correct it before I unloaded it!

A crazy rats nest on the back of a quilt!
Next lesson learned was on that lovely red, black, and white quilt.  I forgot to baste down the sides of the quilt one time after I rolled it.  Trust me when I say that I will NEVER forget to baste the sides of a quilt down again.  And, I will probably never start my machine and walk away again.  Do you know how hard it is to pick stitches out of batting?!!!  HARD!  LOL!

Never forget to baste down the sides of your quilts before quilting.

Last lesson learned for the month (geez, there were a lot of lessons this month!) was on the beautiful baby quilt.  The stitches just weren't stitching out smoothly!  I wasn't too concerned since it's a baby quilt, but I knew I needed to fix it before I quilted an auction quilt or something that would be in a show.  I cleaned the heck out of Carol Ann, oiled her up, changed the needle, played with tension (the pic has really bad tension), played with the canting of the needle... everything I could think of.  Eventually, I posted on that Facebook group, which is really a lifesaver for me.  I called Statler support and learned how to tighten my belts.  Whew!  That seems to have fixed the issue, thank goodness.  I do think there were also some issues with the white "painted" fabric, and probably those printed space fabrics, too, that could have caused some of the non-smooth stitch lines.

Non smooth stitch line, and bad stitch tension, all in one shot!
That's all I've got for this month.  Stay cool, and enjoy the last few weeks of summer before the kiddos get back to school.  My baby is starting middle school!  Hard to believe!

See y'all next month.  Keep on quilting!