Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Charity is from the Heart!

I know, I talked about the call for baby quilts for Agape Women's Services back in May. But, as you know, life is what happens when you have other plans, and my work on the quilts was delayed by other things.

What I have discovered as I worked on them, is a growing compassion for the women who are taking advantage of the loving encouragement of this charity. I had felt a strong urge to make a couple of quilts from my stash, but found myself eager to make a bunch of them. I found this jelly roll of beautiful pastel fabrics from Pineapple Fabrics, and dove in. As I have time, I work on them and am eager to finish them. I plan to hand deliver them, take a tour of the facilities and hopefully, meet some of the clients and offer them my own encouragement.

So, dig in your stash and make a charity quilt for an organization in your local area. Pour your heart into it and pray for the one who receives it. You will be glad you did.

News from the Studio

Charity Baby Quilts

I have finished 2 of the baby quilts and have 4 more under way.  I selected 3 patterns that are so easy, they will make your head swim. You have seen all of these before, but there are some surprises when you determine to make as many quilts as you can from a couple of pre-cut packs.

Jacks on the Porch Baby Size

The Jacks on the Porch quilt can be made into a quilt of any size, just change the number of blocks. For a baby quilt, you will need 13 blocks made from 13, 22" strips in print and an equal number of background strips, plus some yardage. This is a super easy quilt, too. The amazing thing about this quilt, is that you can get 6 baby quilts from 1, 42-strip jelly roll!! Doing the math, 42 strips divided by 13 blocks = 3 (plus some extra strips).
But, each strip makes 2 blocks. So 2 x 3 = 6.

This pattern is available from Craftsy at Jacks on the Porch (lap size).  The pattern is for a lap size. If you purchase the pattern, email me at the address on the last page of the pattern, and I will send you the yardage for the baby size.

Pinwheel Stars

This is from a tutorial from Jenny Doan called "2 for 1 Pinwheel Stars" Each block takes 1 jelly roll strip and some background fabric. Just use 9 blocks and a border or two. You can get 4 baby quilts from one jelly roll! Very cute. I used the Smitten pantograph on both this one and the Jacks on the Porch quilt.

Jack and Jill

I have all of the blocks made using a charm pack called Rainy Day. This baby sized quilt uses 1 charm pack and 1/2 jelly roll for each baby quilt. And, oh so easy! The pattern includes details for a lap size and a crib / baby size. Find it at Jack and Jill.

Heart Song - a wall hanging

Here is Theresa's version of the Heart Song quilt. She used Kansas Troubles fabrics. The thread is from Superior Threads' Fantastico line. The pantograph we used is Pipeline.


New Panto in the Studio

I have a new pantos in the studio. You can find all of the available pantos on the Quilting Designs page.

Quilters' Day Camp

Last week the guild had our annual Quilters' Day Camp. I kinda like it better than a full blown retreat off in the woods somewhere. Drag all of your stuff to the camp location and sew, share, laugh, eat, and gab for three days! We locked the room at night and just left all of our machines, fabric, and all in the room. We just went home for the night and showed up back at camp the next day. What fun! We had thread an little dog-ears everywhere, and fabric left overs piling up in the center of the room destined to become dog beds. 
Even our beloved service guru showed up
to coax a wayward thread from its hiding place
So grab a few friends, find a lockable room at church or someplace, and enjoy each other's company for 3 days! Whoopee! Can hardly wait for next year.

2013 APQS Lenni Longarm Machine is still for sale.

My longarm is still for sale. See the information in the previous post (see below). I lowered the asking price, so it is easy to own. It is computer-ready, and easy to use. Let me know if you need more information.

Enjoy your week! Now go quilt something!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Celebrate Freedom!

Most people just refer to Independence Day as "the 4th". The 4th? Why don't we use the real name of the celebration? Think about this: What about "the 11th"? Who calls 9/11, "the 11th" (actually National Day of Service)? Any, what about 10/11? What about 11/11? If you know what those dates are, you probably refer to the holiday, rather than saying "the 11th". Just to jog your memory, Oct. 11 is Columbus Day, and Nov. 11 is Veterans' Day.

Why don't we do that with Independence Day? It is the MOST important federal holiday in our country's history. Without declaring our independence from Great Britain, we would still be a colony of theirs, and subject to the imposition of laws and regulations that we would have little or no control over. So let's join the Independence Day celebration - the celebration of our freedom, our way of life, and our sovereignty! Independence Day is a joyful time of parades, fireworks, and cookouts AND a time to rejoice and praise God for the courage of our forefathers to stand up for Freedom! Let's call the holiday what it is: our nation's Independence Day.

Note: If you have an American Flag, please fly it proudly and with great respect, this week. You may not be aware that there are protocols of respect for the flag, so here is a link to the specifics: Rules for handling the American Flag.

God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

News from the Studio


APQS Lenni Price Reduced!

As you know, I am eager to order my new APQS Millie longarm, so I have reduced the price on my 2013 APQS Lenni to $7500! If you are considering a high quality, easy to use longarm, simple to maintain, highly reliable machine, contact me to schedule a test drive. All of my contact information is at  the bottom of the flyer. Do you know Wayne Waldroup? He is our guru of sewing / quilting / serging / and industrial versions of those machines. APQS is #1 on his very short list of great longarms because, as he said to me, "they just never break down".

SABRINA'S GARDEN  Got 2nd Place!

My quilt, Sabrina's Garden took 2nd place in it's category in June's Smoky Mountain Quilters show in Knoxville. I was very surprised!

AHQ 2016-2017 Block of the Month

Didn't Barb do a wonderful job on her guild BOM! She add the embroidered "L" in the center after the quilt was quilted. I love the colors and the festive binding. It was quilted with a free-motion spiral, and the center block was custom quilted.

Words of Life

Although this quilt is not yet quilted, I wanted to show it to you. It is a gift for my dear friend Dorothy, whom many of you have met. It dawned on me a few weeks ago, that in all these years I had never made a quilt for her. I used one of the Moda Cake Mix Recipe packs (from which I got enough blocks to make a second lap quilt), and used a batik layer cake and a layer cake of cream background batik. (See below for some tips on working with batiks)

It doesn't seem to be worthy of the "Words of Life" name, but it is. Dorothy's favorite quilt that I put on her bed when she visits has words quilted into it. A digital pantograph was used by my quilter (pre-longarm days) called "Hope". It stitches out words like: hope, love, family, courage, perseverance, etc. Determined to find the digital file of it, I finally asked the quilter where she got the file. So, she sent me the file in just the right format! AND, my longarm dealer also went looking for it and found it online on a site with free digital pantos! So I'm ready to quilt! As soon as I find just the right thread, I will take to the dealer's studio and quilt it on one of her computerized machines. Can hardly wait!

Tips and Techniques


Working with batiks

Batiks, Etc. - Wytheville, VA (a small part of their stock)
Many people are afraid to use either batik yardage or pre-cuts. I don't really understand why. If I am not working on a project that must have prints, I will use batik - every time. Why? It doesn't RAVEL the way print fabric does. You just don't risk losing half your seam allowance somewhere just because you pulled on the wrong thread!

However, there is one and only one thing to be aware of with batiks - very important. Most batiks bleed! Count on it. BUT - never fear! That is a non-issue if you just learn how to wash batiks.

Ok, ready? This is how I do it.

First, YARDAGE: Yardage is easy.
  • Separate yardage by depth of color. Definitely do darks separately!
  • I use the detergent, Synthrapol. It is a special detergent that will release all of the loose, un-bonded dye molecules from the fabric and prevent them from bonding to other fabric! Do NOT use regular detergent. Small bottles of Synthrapol can be found a many quilt shops - but become cost-prohibitive if you use a lot of batiks. I buy it in quarts either from Amazon or Dharma Trading Co
  • Start filling the washing machine with HOT water. Add 1/4 C of Synthrapol for a full load, or adjust the amount and the water level to fit the amount of fabric you have. 
  • After the detergent begins to mix in with the water, add the load of fabric. Use your regular cycle. I usually do 2 rinses. Dry in the dryer on warm or hot.
Now, PRE-CUTS: They are easy too.
  • NEVER pre-wash batik pre-cuts smaller than a fat quarter.
  • Just make your quilt.
  • Done? So, NOW start filling the washing machine with HOT water. Add 1/4 C of Synthrapol for a full load. Adjust amount as needed. Do NOT use regular detergent. Make sure the quilt can be submerged in the water fully. Run your regular cycle. Rinse a couple of times if you want to. 
  • Dry as usual.
That's all there is to it. Just be willing to pre-wash batiks in the right detergent. Next time you want to go to Batiks, Etc. in Wytheville, call me!

How Batiks are Made

It is fascinating to see how batiks are made. This is the best documentary on the subject that I've seen. Enjoy.
Modern Batik Production

Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations!
Now, let's go quilt something!