Saturday, March 14, 2015

Almost finished!

 I awoke today revived and refreshed and ready to sew! The block parts were just as I left them on my sewing table, so I set to work.

The quilt looked pretty easy in the book, but I still managed to nip some corners when joining them together. It's a utility quilt, so I won't let it bother me. Next time, I will add a scosh more to the setting triangles in the blocks. Otherwise, I think the finished block is cute!

When they were all done, I put them on my handy dandy design wall and moved them around until The arrangement was pleasing to me. Here is the final arrangement.

Once I had them sewn together, I figured the quilt was a bit small, so I added a little border. I like it. I hope to get it quilted tomorrow and do the binding in the evening while relaxing to TV noise.

Oh yes! I remembered to upload the photos of the giant ASAP quilt, too. The maker told me when I called her that it has 5324 pieces in it. I don't count my pieces...I hate math.

When I got back from it, I could see it looked like a wedding ring quilt!

While quilting, it just looked like a load of pieces!!

I love the color combination! The quilt is for a young adult girl, so I used a modern design for the quilting.The lime green thread is subtle, and looks great.

Mr Wazoo spent the day painting doors again. The weather was warm, if overcast, and he was able to work on the outside of the bedroom french doors. Yesterday, he quilted this one for my sister. Don't you think the big floral is perfect here? Another beautiful quilt from Texas. Yee hah!
He also tried our new bear claw panto on a flannel quilt for another customer.

My sister's quilt.
Love big print flowers!
Donna's soduko flannel bear quilt
The bear foot prints show up really well on the back!

It felt nice to sew for a while and I think once a week I will do just that! Someday I will retire and sew all the time, but for now, I will work on customer projects, give talks, teach classes and enjoy meeting more quilting buddies here in Georgia. Yup, life is good.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Gloomy outside, happy inside!

Last night we had such a wind storm. I think there is such a thing as a wind storm...if there is, we had one! Poor Molly roamed all over the bed, trembling and periodically yipping when the house would creak or the doors jiggle. Not much sleep for anyone. (Except Mr Wazoo, who is pretty deaf and sleeps through everything) It is still windy, but not so loud, so I hope tonight we all get a good snooze.
Once in the studio, the mail carrier brought the quilt I was waiting for that had to be done ASAP for a Florida customer. This was at 10:30a.m.. By 1:30, I had finished the quilting (edge to edge), Tim boxed it up and it was on the way back to Florida! I did remember to take a picture, but the camera is in the studio, and I am too tired to go get it. Tomorrow, I will post the pictures. The quilt is 104 x 104!
Yesterday, I worked a quilt for another friend and customer. Linda makes beautiful and interesting quilts, and this one was no exception.
Linda's pretty oriental quilt

I love the 'ghost' cranes in the sky and in the dark mountain part, too

She even oriented the bamboo correctly to grow bottom to top.

a peek at the back

Well, this has been a rambling post at best. I am pooped and need to turn in. Tomorrow, I will work on a quilt I started today after work. Everybody needs a day off sometime! Saturday will be mine.
Good night!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quiet studio

I have been trying to get some paperwork done in preparation for doing the taxes. Yuck. Meanwhile, Mr Wazoo has been moving on with his quilting projects, finishing two in the last two days. What a guy!
 I don't know if you can see them, but there are ladies' faces on the focal fabric. The whole quilt is very feminine and lovely

Tim used a flowing feathery pantograph for the quilting

This is my friend Terri's Garden Delight quilt. Love the polka dot fabrics!
Tim used a dotty panto called Bubbles to finish the look. Very modern looking.

Dotty back, too!

I added the background pieces to one of the lone star quilts and have decided it needs a border. Time for a trip to the fabric store!! Yippee! I am going there as soon as I post this so I can get home and finish the top. Love to sew...really love to shop for fabric!

Monday, March 9, 2015

A little about longarm quilting, and fun on a Sunday

Today, I read on a blog I follow, a lengthy article on what the longarmer did that wasn't right. It was very interesting to me and included photos of the things that irritated the customer, as well as many comments from other readers with their own horror stories about longarmers. Well, I felt I had to defend longarm quilting in general, but agreed with a few of her complaints, too. Here is the skinny on what to expect from a longarm quilter, in my opinion.

1. You should expect to either discuss in person with your quilter what your vision for the quilting is, or have a written 'wish list' for her to follow. Is this going to be a utility quilt, a family heirloom, or a show quilt? This will help determine what kind of quilting you need and how much it will cost. Simple meandering, pantograph (edge to edge pattern) or custom quilting to enhance the piecing or applique. I have hundreds of patterns and threads to choose from, so I am  always able to find something pleasing to my customers.

2. What color thread do you see? Light will always look good on all values of fabrics, but dark thread generally looks bad and shows every wobble and hesitation in the stitching. This is really evident on the back. I know, because I just spent a week picking out a massive amount of dark thread from a light back, and re-quilting it.
If you have a mixed value quilt top and use a light backing, you should expect to see light thread both front and back. Some people want one color on the front and another on the back. Don't do this! There will surely be places where the tiny dots of the opposing color will show. This is distracting and just doesn't look good.
Predominantly red on the top, But I chose a creamy colored thread

Red thread on the back would not have looked as nice as the cream color does.

3. Don't expect the quilter to be able to fix your piecing mistakes. If your quilt top doesn't lie flat for you, it won't be easy to keep flat or square for the quilter, either. We can work in some of the fullness, but we are not miracle workers."It will quilt out" is not what you should be thinking. Be as accurate as possible. 1.8 inch off on each seam adds an inch off over just eight seams! Multiply that over a 100 x 100 inch quilt, and you have a big discrepancy when you go to square up the quilt.
I try to keep the quilt as straight and square as possible as I go along, and there have been some challenges! Measure the quilt before you add the borders, and cut your borders to fit. Wavy borders are the most common problem for longarm quilters. It takes longer to ease in all that fullness without getting a tuck or pleat. A necessary skill the longarm quilter learns early on.

Part of the seam wasn't sewn shut!
Border wasn't the same length as the center, creating excess bulk in the quilt. A tuck waiting to happen!
Extra fabric pinned and ready to ease in

I stopped quilting and hand sewed this applique down, too.

In the end, it was a beautiful, flat, square quilt without tucks or open seams...but it also took a week to custom quilt!
4. Give us enough backing to mount the quilt to the leaders and to be able to use our clamps on the sides. I require at least 3 inches on all four sides to do this. The batting, also, has to be at least an inch bigger on all sides, preferably more, to allow for the quilting pulling in the fabric a bit to give you the lovely definition you look for in a quilt. The puffier the batting, the more the quilt shrinks during the quilting process. The backing should be straight and square, too.
Quilt with ample backing and batting for the machine quilting

5. Some quilters don't trim the quilt after quilting. My standard trim is 1/2 inch. I will do more, or none, if the customer asks for it. It is your job to get the quilt squared up after quilting. I leave the 1/2 inch in case you need to block the quilt or leave some batting to fill a wider binding. I sew my binding lined up with the edge of the quilt top and leave a scant quarter inch of batt to be folded into the binding with the hand sewing. If you are using a 2 1/2 inch binding, you may want to leave the 1/2 inch trim to fill your binding. I never cut anything off the quilt top. I figure that is how you want it to look, so I leave it.
finished quilting with the 1/2 inch trim

6. Please try to trim off all those errant threads that are stuck in the seams and poking out the front of the top. I go over each row of quilting area, trimming and lint rolling to get the top as neat as possible. Dawn Cavanaugh (one of my quilting icons) said once in a class I was taking, that she stopped doing this for her customers. She figures they must want those threads there, or they would have trimmed them before the quilt came to her. Wow! After 8 years of quilting, I am starting to see why she said that. Sending a quilt that is covered with threads or pet pet hair, that is all wrinkly from being stuffed in a bag is a downer for your quilter. I have started charging $5 to press quilt tops and back for this reason: time is money! My time is worth just as much as your time, so keep that in mind when preparing your quilt for the quilter. I want your quilt to look wonderful when I am done.

Okay, I have ranted enough. I hope you aren't offended and maybe see how it is from the longarmer's perspective. I love my customers and I want them to be pleased with my work. It is a stressful job to quilt your projects after you have worked on them forever . When I have a problem, it weighs on me heavily and I will do anything to make it right. Some quilters may be less than honest or caring, and that makes it harder for those of us doing our best to please you. Keep in mind, if you were able to do the quilting like we do, you would. You have given us your quilt top for a reason, and it is up to us to make your dream a reality.

Meanwhile, Mr Wazoo and I took an afternoon off (gasp!) and drove up to McCaysville to a nursery there, recommended by a quilting friend. What a find it was! Mr Wazoo was like a kid in a candy store looking at all the shrubs and plants, and talking gardening with the owner. We ended up getting some composted mushroom and two rhododrendrons to start his garden adventure here in Georgia.
Mr Wazoo mesmerized by mulch and compost

shrub Shangri-La

I dunno...just like the look of these.

More eye candy
After the nursery, we stopped at a local attraction called Merciers and checked out the merchandise. They have a huge market during the season, as well as pick-it-yourself strawberries and apples. We will be back, for sure! Thanks, Darlene, for the tip!
I bet this is beautiful in the spring! There are huge orchards all arond the place.

the entrance


Yum, yum!

ha ha ha, doesn't everyone need Apocalyptic hot sauce to repel zombies?

I prefer blue cheese stuffed olives, but these looked good, too.

We bought some pear-cinnamon jam and some peach-raspberry butter . I had the butter on my english muffin today, and it was divine! Now, its time to go to work!