Saturday, November 28, 2015

Where is Sherlock When You Need Him?

See? No Self-threading needle
Our big adventure this week was a fruitless search for a lost needle. I had just used a self-threading needle to bury thread tails while quilting on the longarm. I had laid the needle down on the quilt in order to pick up scissors to clip the tails. When I reached for the needle to secure it in the little piece of fabric where I keep it, it was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. The DH and I searched for it on the quilt with lights and by feel. we checked every nook and cranny. You wouldn't believe all the likely and unlikely place we searched.Thankfully, since we examined the quilt thoroughly and meticulously, we are convinced it is not on or in the quilt. We are just baffled.

News from the Studio

In Tennessee, if you hold a "raffle" you could wind up in jail. It's illegal. So, how does the guild "raffle" off a gorgeous Opportunity Quilt that has been made as a guild project to make money for charity? Well, we sell kisses. No not that kind, Hershey Kisses. You buy kisses with real $$, and are rewarded with a tickets that you can enter into a drawing for the quilt. We donate 100% of the proceeds to our charities.

This week, I finished quilting the Opportunity Quilt, and today another guild member came by to pick it up so she can put the binding on. I'm hoping she has time to finish the binding in time to show it to the guild at our upcoming Christmas party.  It is a queen size. The drawing will be held at the end of the Appalachian Heritage Quilters annual Quilt Show in March.

New Pantographs Now Available

Bolero: It is the one shown on the Opportunity Quilt.

Star Dance: I mostly use this on Quilts of Valor.


Learning for the week

Duh! Don't let go of the needle until you've put it safely in it's proper place!

Now, let's go quilt something!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Marketing is not a 4 letter word

This year, I decided to participate in the Crossroads Marketplace. Each year, around this time, the Women's Ministry of my church provides an opportunity for women to sell crafts, products, and services to the general public. I went to display my work as a quilter, and talk to people about quilting, longarm quilting, and to meet people who might need my services. 

What fun! The woman at the table behind me and I had opportunities to talk and get to know each other some. We are continuing to develop a nice friendship. The greatest surprise about the experience was the significant number of people visiting my table who wanted to talk about the quilts their mothers or grandmothers used to make, and how much those quilts meant to them. What a blessing to share those stories with them. Those stories reveal the true value of quilting.

News From the Studio

Yesterday, I finished quilting a Little Charmer quilt for my customer, Malinda. (Click Little Charmer to buy the pattern.) Isn't it darling? She used a super-soft cotton flannel for a comfy backing. The quilting pattern was a free-motion paisley, top thread was Superior's Rainbows, Seashell, bobbin was Superior's Bottom Line, Natural white.

A few months ago, I quilted a Wizard of Oz quilt for Diana. She sent me pictures of it all bound and beautiful.

Remember the class I took in September from Angel Huffman in Louisville, KY? (see post dated September 29) She taught us a technique for quilting blocks that Eva Larkin's details in her book: Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy. Well, I used my own Little Charmer quilt to develop skill with this technique.

Mark your block into 8 sections (both diagonals, vertically, and horizontally) then add dots for key pivot or turning spots. What a nice, quick technique! It works well for both longarm quilting and domestic machine quilting. Give it a try.

Have a wonderful week! Now let's go quilt something.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Just Dee-Lited!

 Yesterday, the neighbors across the street came out and sat on their front porch just enjoying the unusually warm weather and the sunshine. Quick like a bunny, I put my shoes on, and went over there. I had to. I had neglected getting to know any of my neighbors beyond their first names since we've lived here. Earlier in the week, they put a for sale sign in their front yard. I was very disappointed, and deeply regretted my lack of initiative. They are retired, friendly, and delightful - and I had missed my chance to make new friends.

So, I had to go over and sit with them for a while and to wish them well on their move. Well, I was delighted to spend a good long time just chatting and getting to know them better. I was even more delighted to learn that they will not be moving far, and that they, too, are interested in continuing to develop our friendship! What a relief!

News from the Studio

 In my last post, I told you about the new Dee-Lite lighting system that my DH was installing on my longarm frame. Well, he did it! And I am so blessed! Now I have "daylight" fluorescent tubes that show the colors accurately and make it easy to see what I'm doing. The maker and seller of these lights was very helpful. We had our list of questions, and he was glad to spend time on the phone answering them. I can recommend them for any longarm machine.

 A couple of weeks ago, one of our very talented local quilters blessed our guild with a workshop. She taught us her "freezer paper piecing" method. Until the workshop, I have refused to paper piece anything. I completely dislike having to tear out the paper when I'm done! Well, that's no longer an issue! With her method, you never sew through the paper, so when you want to remove the freezer paper, it just peels off, no muss, no fuss, no bother!

Tips and Techniques 

Do you take your quilt tops to a longarmer? Have you ever noticed a dark thread, probably a ravel, showing through a lighter fabric --- after the quilting is done? The real culprit is the fabric. Most printed fabrics are a bit coarsely woven, and ravel easily, even high quality quilt store fabric.

This is the back of the guild's "opportunity quilt" (think a non-raffle, raffle quilt). See the dark threads laying on the light fabric? They will show through to the front after the quilting is done unless they are removed.

You can see my little bowl of trimmings, and I wasn't even 1/4 of the way through it.  So, do yourself and your longarmer a favor and trim the ravels and thread tails from the back of your quilt before you give it to her. Yes, it is very time consuming, but you worked hard to create a treasure, and you want it to look its very best when it is finished.

Now, have a wonderful week and go do something quilty!