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!

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