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It is done

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I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day.  I finally finished the quilt I had on the machine.  All the photos should be clickable for a closer view of the stitching.  Sorry but my table is only large enough to photo half a quilt.

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These are the thread colors I choose.  Chicory Blue and Jean Gold.  On the cone the color is very intense but on the quilt its subtle.  The thread color is just enough to show the design without overwhelming the fabric.

Quilts - Gordon 2015 049I knew I wanted to do a complicated design with ghost images for this quilt.  I chose to do a version of cross hatching that forms a diamond shape instead of a square.  Actually I’ve wanted to do this type pattern for quite awhile now.  So, I went searching the internet for quilting with diamond shapes.  I came across  this diamond post on Kathleen quilts.  Her style is very much like Krista Withers, Jenny Pedigo, Judy Madsen, Angela Walters, and a couple of others. Anyway that is the design I chose to do on this quilt.

Quilts - Gordon 2015 042All the quilters (the ones I’ve seen) who do ghost imaging in their designs use two battings.  Usually one batting is flat to keep the quilt stable and one is puffy for the faux trapunto.  This quilt I used Quilters Dream bamboo for the flat and wool for the puffy.  I’ve been wondering if two batting are really necessary?  I’m thinking I could get almost the same look with only the wool batting.  I’ll have to give that a try.   Do you see the dragonfly ghost image?

Quilts - Gordon 2015 041You may remember I had to frog stitch the first feathers because they were too flat.  Well this is how they are supposed to look.  I wanted the feathers to appear to be coming from behind the quilt to the front which is why the bottom ends are along the outside edge.

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Here is another photo of the ghost image and the diamond pattern.  I know its hard to see the stitching so just click on the picture.

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After I got started with the quilting, I immediately regretted choosing this design.  I even ranted to Kathleen how much I regretted using it.  I kept asking myself “What in the world was I thinking when I chose such a complicated design?”  Then, after a couple of days away from the machine, I had to laugh at myself because I really love the design.  I chose it for the challenge so why was I getting upset?  My problem was actually my straight line ruler.  It is just a simple piece of plastic that I found a few years ago.  I’m not sure what its original purpose was.

Anyway, after ordering a brand new (expensive) piece of plastic the whole design worked much better. I bought the “Janet Lee’s favorite” from The Gadget Girls.  Anytime I do a pattern for the first time it can be frustrating.  With practice it becomes easier.  I had forgotten the first rule of machine quilting…… practice practice practice.

Quilts - Gordon 2015 036My design is similar to Kathleen’s but just slightly different.  She can do the design in one continuous line and I cannot.  I could do only 1/2 a diamond at a time, turn the quilt, do the other half, start a new 1/2 diamond, turn the quilt, etc.  I chose to leave the center one blank instead of using a background fill.  Here is a look at the back but it really doesn’t show up much.

Quilts - Gordon 2015 046Many of my customers choose to use plain fabric backing so the quilt becomes reversible.  The back becomes a whole cloth quilt.  Other customers prefer a busy fabric which is fine too.  So.  Would I want to do this design again?  Absolutely.  I believe this design would work better on a solid color rather than a busy fabric.  It is definitely a “modern” pattern.

Making some progress

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I’m still working on the same quilt.  Dealing with other issues has put me behind schedule but I believe the design is perfect for this one and worth the wait.  I hope the customer feels the same way.  This is definitely not a design for quilting in a hurry or for quilts that will see lots of abuse.

I finished the feathers around the border and the background behind them.  The feathers are now slightly puffy.

Quilts - Gordon 2015 021I’m still working on the diagonal design.  This is much more time consuming than I had originally thought.

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I do love a challenge quilt and this one certainly has done that!  The design is a diamond, inside a diamond, inside a diamond, inside a diamond design.  I can do only half a diamond, stop, cut the thread, and then do the other half, stop, cut the thread, start the next diamond.  Lots of stops and starts on this one.  I’m not quite sure how many diamonds will end up in the finished design.  I will write more about my process once the quilt is done.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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