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Quilting progress

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I’ve had some issues to deal with this week.  The most urgent was my mother and her disappearing clothing.  I received one too many phone calls saying she needed clothes so I took charge and dealt with it.  I won’t repeat all the details here because you can read more about that on my pinching pennies blog. I still have a couple of other issues to deal with but those can wait a few days.

I don’t want my few readers to think I’ve abandoned my quilting.  I have worked on this quilt everyday. Making a little progress but not nearly as fast as I’d like.  I would rather be good than fast so I’m working for the details instead of just getting it done.  Here I’ve created some “ghost images” in the quilting.  That would be an image you are not quite sure is there until you take a closer look.  Just like seeing a ghost image in a photo.

Quilts - Gordon 003I wanted to do a diagonal design on this one.  Diagonals are difficult for me to do.  My machine does not want to cooperate going at a diagonal.  Instead of a square design I chose a diamond shaped cross hatching design.

Quilts - Gordon 005I’m working on it, slowly, but still at it.  I’m seriously hoping the customer is not too anxious for me to return his quilt. I believe it will be worth the wait.

Quilts - Gordon 007I’ve also been playing around with designs for another quilt to be done.  Sometimes I play with designs long before actually starting the quilting.  Other times I can’t think of a design until the quilt is actually on the machine.  I don’t have a way to put a photo of the quilt in a computer to draw designs so I use wax paper and markers instead.  I sure wish I did though.

Quilts - Sheila 2015So, now I’m off the computer and headed for the quilting machine.  I believe I have a half day free to do nothing but quilt before I go check on my mother.  Just in case I haven’t said it before….. I’m so happy to be quilting again!  I can usually work for at least 3 hours before my arm starts hurting or I feel tired.  A day of rest and I can quilt more.  I feel as if I get stronger each day.

Working on the first quilt

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I have only three quilts on my waiting list right now.  I’m planning something special for all three to celebrate returning to quilting.  I started with the smallest one because it should help me get into the routine of working again without too much strain on my arm or effecting my health.   I am doing a faux trapunto on this one.   I’m using two battings.  One is wool and one is bamboo.  I stabilized the top to the backing. I did a couple of feathers on the border.  DANG!  Why did I not remember the feathers are supposed to be puffy, not flat.  These are just too flat.  Have to do some frog stitching.

Quilting 2015 020

So the frog stitching is done.  I do what is called skinning a quilt for the frog stitching.  By the way, do you know the best way to remove the tiny threads that result from skinning a quilt.  Ok, let me explain that skinning a quilt is when you clip the stitching threads between the backing and batting instead of from the top.  This prevents damage to the top. Skinning is done while the quilt remains attached to the quilting machine.  Skinning creates tiny thread bits which are a pain to remove.

Quilting 2015 023

I used to use tweezers and lint rollers to get those threads but then I found a better way.  These days I erase the thread bits.  Yup, erase.

Quilting 2015 024

I bought one of those really big, hand size, erasers.  I simply rub and the threads ball up to be removed. Isn’t that neat?  Well with that done I started doing the feathers over again only this time I left the centers of the plums puffy.

Quilting 2015 027

I’ll be going back to flatten the background behind the feathers after some of the quilting is done in the center area.  Its always best to quilt evenly over the quilt if possible.  This helps prevent tucks.  I’m very glad the customers are allowing me to work at a slower pace.  I really like working for quality instead of quantity.

This is Thunder over Louisville weekend.  Tonight is the big GIANT fireworks that kicks off two weeks of Kentucky Derby celebrations.  I’m watching it on tv.  It will be too crowded this year with a major part of the watching area under flood water.

Finally working and then not

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I have the quilt tops and backs prepped and ready to quilt.  I dusted off and oiled the machine.

Quilting 2015 004

I played around with designs to go on the quilts.  I’m getting myself back into practice while I wait for a batting order.

Quilting 2015 003

I made templates and marked chalk lines on the smallest quilt of the three I have here waiting.  I plan to do it first to be sure things go smoothly before starting the larger ones.  I’m out of practice which means there could possibly be some frog stitching.  I believe it would be better to have a smaller one to unpick than a really large one if anything must be done over.  I really do believe things will go smoothly; though one never really knows for sure.

Quilting 2015 001

The batting order finally arrives.  I never realized it took so long to get batting because  I knew the batting my customers preferred and always had extra packages here to use while waiting for an order to arrive.  I  simply didn’t pay attention to the waiting part.    As soon as I earn a little money I’ll order a few extra again.

I’m anxious to try a technique I read about a few years ago.  It requires the use of two battings to create a faux trapunto effect.  This is the first chance I’ve had to actually play with the technique.  Which is why I chose the smallest quilt to start with.  If it doesn’t look right I’ll be frog stitching it.

When the batting arrives I attach the two battings to the backing.  I then attach the top that’s chalk marked and has paper place holders attached.  I’ve chosen a thread and filled a bobbin.  I’m all ready to go.  The quilt is ready too.

Quilting 2015 017Then I hear “craaaaaccccckkk”  and “kaaabbboooommm” then the lights go out.  A storm had come upon us when I wasn’t looking.  I had heard on the news we were expecting storms and more flooding but I was so involved in getting the first quilt started that I hadn’t noticed it getting dark outside.  So it was back to waiting again.  Thankfully the lights were out for only about an hour.  I’m happily working on a quilt once more.

I have a waiting list again

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A few days ago I didn’t have any customer quilts at all and now I have five on my waiting list.  Three tops are already here and two will be delivered later. I worried about getting customers for nothing.  I should not have stressed over it.

Quilts - My own 2015 001

I had to get some 2015 intake sheets printed before the first tops arrived.  Running a business always means paperwork which means I’ll need to get that ready too.  I better check my needle supply and do a thread inventory.

I ordered batting and I have to wait for it to arrive before I can actually start any quilting.  In the meantime I’m working on a design for the three tops already here.  I’m way out of practice.  I suppose, in a way, that’s a good thing because now I’m like a kid with a brand new box of crayons and a new tablet.  All kinds of ideas can be just waiting to be created.  These three quilts will get special quilting on them as a celebration of being able to quilt again.


I want one!

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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a morning cutting fabric with two really nice ladies. One of them had a GO cutter which we used to cut some of my scrap fabrics.

Organizing 2015 017I had never used one before so I asked her to work with me.  I was terrified I would break it or something and have to replace it, which I couldn’t afford.  I loved it.  I really wish I could afford one but I can’t.  $250 for the go cutter and then the cost of the individual dies at about $100 each is way beyond my budget.  I like the industrial one best but it is $500.

I will continue to cut my fabric the old fashioned way.

My quilts 2015 030Umm…. not that far back.  A little more modern than that.

My quilts 2015 031

Yeah, that’s better.  A little easier than the early days and not quite the present ease of modern appliances.  Oh my, what would our ancestors think of the way our quilts are made these days.  Quilting is no longer the simple act of being very frugal.  Today making quilts is almost all commercialism of the craft. Sort of like the way holidays have become all about the money instead of the original reason.

Ok, I best get off the computer before this post becomes a rant against commercialism.


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