Monday, August 22, 2016

2016 Stand Up Divas Longarm Challenge

Each year our longarm group holds a challenge to create a piece based on a specific pattern each year.   You can modify the pattern, create any size, or even create a garment or bag.   Possibilities are wide open.   I did not find the time to participate last year and almost did not this year but finally decided I would take 3 days to cut, sew and quilt the top.  

I opted to use just 3 blocks turned like a heart and created different fills on this.   I used part of one day just to mark some grids, then all one day to quilt.   It really saves time when grids are marked and you don't have to measure over with each row!   It is not a judged event, just a challenge to us personally.  I tried using fills with feathers flowing on top of the grids.   Also the checkerboard background I had never stitched out.   It came out rather cool!

This is Lou Ann's quilt for her granddaughter.   Hand guided panto and is executed perfectly.   That is a hard panto to hand guide from the rear of the machine.

Carol's sweet embroidery


Dena Lee's hand guided panto

Ginger played with digital designs

Norma added sashings, setting blocks and used 2 colors to create a really different looking quilt.   Hand guided.

This is mine, hand guilded.  Different fills and designs around 3 units.   I'll share more of this one later!
The pattern used was 5th Grade Quilt from the Precut Primer by Me and My Sister Designs.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Arizona Sunrise

This client quilt is one I also purchased the pattern for several years ago.   I hope mine turns out as nice as hers if I ever find my "round tuit".  There is a lot of space to quilt on this wall hanging.  Sometimes it is hard holding back and keeping the budget reasonable for avid quilters that create many beautiful quilts each year.  This one almost has as much negative space as it does pieced blocks. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Modern Hexie

This quilt was so much fun to quilt.  It sounds like it was fun to make also.
I ghosted in hexies around the sides of the quilt. 
This comparison shows the difference between Hobbs 80/20 on the left and white Quilters Dream on the right.   I used white for this quilt.
The back was a solid kona type fabric.
A little pillow top too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

WAQG Auction Flower Appliqué

Look at this lovely Baltimore Album style floral appliqué quilt that will be offered for bidding at the guild's live quilt auction held every 3 years.  The blocks were made by individuals in the guild during a workshop teaching the technique, then a group set the quilt, then I quilted, another bound, and yet another will label.  Team effort folks!
I custom quilted this with a little scalloped border breaking up the space and setting off the chain effect in the piecing.  I echoed the applique and created a stem so that I could stitch continuously around the applique without starts and stops or without the need to do tiny dense work to pebble and ditch the designs (all hours donated).  I tried to develop a plan that I could fit into a week's schedule but I still ran over.   There are 42 blocks, my first estimate planning in my mind is 1 hour per block plus a geometric border.... that's estimating 46 hours quilting time!   Plus planning, advancing, breaks etc.  Typically I have a 15 minute break for every hour of quilting.   I'm having shoulder and back issues, this job is backbreaking trying to work 30" of quilting area on your frame.  I knew I had to come up with a larger, more open design.  I think it works well!
I ran continuously around the larger units THREE times!  Once putting in the ruler work border up and down one side, then back the other direction with the fill inside the chain, and over to the next side and continuing around the quilt (3 trips up and down and up again on the chain too).   Next,  I came back and echoed the floral design around the block.   Third trip around is the fill without breaking the thread from the echo.   Whew.   BIG blocks, 22" on point if I remember correctly.   My back was screaming due to ongoing issues that I can't find time to take off to get into PT.
Completely bound, handwork complements of Sally G.   That's a ray of sunshine coming in the window creating a few shiny spots on the quilt.
Centered left over blocks on the back.   Look at all that light thread in the blocks on the back!   I love the back designs on a quilt.
Back panel insert
This is how I audition designs.  I was torn between the 2 with scallops or crosshatch frames.
Original plans were going to have scallops in border with feathers inside and beadboard outside.  But I ran out of time so did a feather design in the borders, turning the quilt so I could work all sides continuously.   I did not subtract out breaks on this quilt, just kept a rough time sheet of start and stops with lunch breaks.   44 hours quilting.   Not load, not design time but from when I started quilting to when I finished.   If I rested my back for 15 minutes or answered a phone call... I did not subtract that from my log as time sheets weren't really needed because... it was donated time.    I rather think all that should be built into the quilting schedule but I don't.  My billable schedule averages about 6 hours a day for actually quilting most days.  That really reduces the rate of pay when you figure how long your day is... and how many hours you actually get paid for.  
By the way, there is much talk about donated time.   As a professional, we do not get to write off hours worked at our professional rate as a donation on tax returns.   We can only write off products used, for example batting.   There is NO tax break for hours worked for free for charitable contributions for the longarm quilter.   I have had this quilt on my log to quilt this month for many moons.  My custom quilts are booked  months in advance and do not have wiggle room.   I recently had to do some re-arranging on my schedule due to health issues with my inlaws requiring 2 trips for my hubby and me to take off for 2 weeks to help out with the household and settling my mother in law back home from rehab hospital to a newly created bedroom on the 1st floor.   Talk about a no income month!   2 weeks off, 1 paying client (that has not picked up) and a donated quilt.   Geesh!    It's hard to pay my bills like that.   So I better get back to the quilt on the frame now....!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blue and Green Beauty

This quilt has very blended color choices and when Sally and I first talked about this one, she thought she wanted an allover design and I agreed.   Sometimes those deep, mottled colors won't show thread and detailed quilting is lost.   An allover can be prettier in most of those situations and provide more quilting that a light custom.   But when this one came up the line to it's day for quilting, those beautiful points and cornerstone designs just jumped at me begging to be played up.   So, I grabbed my acrylic panel and started doodling.

I drew out a plan that I was happy with that ran continuously with lots of detail yet allowed  me to stitch most of this without the added expense of everything needing to be stitched in the ditch.  Most of this is completely freehand with a template only used for that 8 point petal center design.  Sally agreed, we had to try this!

I was so happy that the texture did translate to the fabric!  Look at those beautiful points and all that piecing detail in this quilt that is now showcased.   Plus its not so dense that it is stiff, it is still very soft and snuggle as this is a bed quilt.  I will say that I have been disappointed a few times.  When we draw, we of course have a high contrast  marker, the line is thicker than any thread we use and it just doesn't always translate as beautifully as what is on the acrylic pad.

Plus, this fun border!    I don't think I have a picture of the backing, it was a little deeper than the outer border and blended coloring as well.   The pattern is a Debbie Caffrey or Charlotte Angotti classroom project if you are wondering what the pattern is. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sally's Beautiful Caswell Quilt

 Once again, another amazing applique quilt from Sally.   Her vision for these appliques and fabric choices are so nice, there are lots of details in this quilt.   I have included a ton of photos, I apologize.  I haven't taken the time to really analyze, but the texture looked right so I put it in!    So much to see in this big quilt.   30 blocks if my memory serves me correct.    I used Quilters Dream wool and almost all quilting was done with Aurifil cotton thread.   Yummy!   Even though the quilting is on the dense level, this quilt is still oh so soft and cuddly. 

This had a very distinctive border, I finally decided by doodling on it that I would mimic the spacing.   I placed an echoed wavy line between the 2 designs, a fat feather over the yellow and about a 1/4" grid on the outside.   My doodle also included pebbling from the wavy line to the feathers, but I really couldn't see my thread on that fabric under the needle so I opted to omit the pebbles and I think that plan was good.  

The back is a beautiful brown floral and at first I was very concerned with the tons of light Aurifil thread on the back in the pebbling and outlining.  The contrast was stark, but once you get enough on the backside it starts to look OK. and recedes to the background.  
This client did not want blue or purple markers used on this quilt as she does not intend to block or launder, at least not anytime in the near future.  I pre-marked the grid with a white Bohin type mechanical pencil over a sandpaper board trying to keep the fabric in line and not shift.   It was a daunting task, the fabric does shift, the pencil has to be marked back and forth all of which affects acuracy.  Even with that areas were faint and even more faint in appearance when I got this on the frame and that lighting.   My conclusion is, I must be able to use a high contrast marker for this type of grid quilting.  When quilting,  I come up to an area, 3 lines may intersect plus background fill, then on to the next section continuously.   I'm not trying to stitch one line in and out over the top as it cuts across the applique.  I am working and traveling across the quilt regardless which direction the lines are going, stitching what is immediately in front of the needle.
There are good products, plain old water, water with a little baking soda and a product I like called Blue Line Eraser.   Even with removing the lines as I work, I still feel like the quilt should have a soak when completed to completely wash away any traces of that marker.   I'm not sure if that is the proper conclusion, it's just the way I think.   The next issue with using any of these removal methods is surface bleeding of fabrics!   Yikes!   Most of the time any bleeding, as long as it isn't heat seat will remove when soaked.  There are oodles of articles on the web out there on that.  One good one by Vicki Welsh.   I've had my fair share of bleeders in my own quilts but they have soaked away just fine.  Sound in if you have any thoughts on the matter!