Sunday, November 18, 2018

Busy Bee has a Big Dream

Oh my, I was busy with this beautiful bee quilt created by Kim,   I'm so head over heels in love with this one, I have to make one of my own.  I know you may have seen this on Facebook and Instagram.  But on the blog is where I'll go into more detail on the quilting process, how the quilting design came together, the things I loved, the things I didn't and would like to do better next time.....So with that, lets get to it! But first my most favorite picture of  this beautiful kind Bee.  I hear Kim might be doing a workshop by use, I hope so I really want to learn this process!

I really wish I had taken a before and after picture.  When I tell my friends about the business I'm starting, they always say "oh so you're making quilts and selling them, I like quilts"  Then I explain to the business plan for actually making a quilt is almost non existent.  It's nearly impossible to pay for materials, pay for your time (at a reasonable above minimum wage for a skilled worker) and sell a quilt.  I try to explain more about the quilting process, the three layers  and how hard it is to actual "quilt" , putting all those layers together.  And that is the part that I do.  That I love, that I just can't wait to get out of bed in the morning to do.  By this time I'm all wound up about the different quilting style, free motion, ruler work, fills, and I'm glowing.    Sigh, but the interest on the other side just isn't there.  Good luck Sue, you sound very passionate!  Yep, that's ok, those are the friends that don't have a quilt from me..hehehehehe.  So I started a new quilt and this time I have a before picture, sent to me by the owner.  And I'll definitely get an after.  Back to this bee......

Alright back to this quilt. That Bee did not have a single stitch in it.  It's a collage bee and it has all sorts of layers and little good things sprinkled all over it.    I knew this was going to be a hanging so no qualms at all with throwing down some thread.   On this quilt I didn't want a sheen on the thread, I wanted it to be like it was just a part of the flowers, so I used So Fine 50 Wt thread. Two layers of batting were used    ;  one 80/20 Hobbs heirloom and one Hobbs wool.  Originally I wanted to use a layer of Poly Down and Wool.  The dense quilting on the poly would make it stiffer for a wall hanging.  But with that stiffness you also get creases.  I have a panel with poly down and wool, I folded it to take to a guild meeting and the folds were still there a couple days later.  Thus the switch to 80/20.  And this is a panel which makes flatness less of a concern.  That gets the biggest questions out of the way - thread for the back ground and batting.  All that's left is the design.

Since this is a collage quilt I really wanted to have the flower petals enhance that collage look.  I also want the bee to look like it is popping off the quilt.  Originally I wanted to try Trapunto, but I've never done it and while I'm definitely willing to learn new things,  on a paying customers quilt just didn't feel like the correct learning environment :)  I knew I didn't want to have much quilting on the bee, only what it takes to make it pop.  I quilted in the ditch around the bee and then just barely inside the bee, about 1/8 in.  There is no stitching at all on this bee.  Just layers and layers of fused fabric.  as I did want to make sure it was quilted on and wasn't going to fall off.  I found other areas that I thought were interesting, like  the wings.  I quilted the segments of the wings to give them dimension and the words to draw your eye to look a little closer.  I can't tell you how nice it is to quilt something that tells you you're "Exceptional".  It really was uplifting in ways that surprised me!  I was very careful to only quilt the bare minimum on the bee to give dimension. The end result was great, it did look like trapunto!  I think the thickness of the fused layers, the wool and cotton batting and then the dense quilting around the bee, really accomplished the look I was after.   It was hard to get photos, but that little thing looks like it's just hovering right over it.  I used YLI invisible thread which worked great.  I had a bit of gunk on the needle which I used an alcohol swab to clean during the quilting and then changed the needle as soon as I was done with the bee.  Once done with the bee, it was a back ground fill party!!!

I've seen so many dream panels, wonderful ways of quilting.  Two stood out to me Margaret Solomon Gunn at Mainly Quilts of Love and Julia Quiltoff who you can find on Facebook.  Both of these artist have some mad crazy skills that I dream of aspiring to one day.  I love how they did both of there's with a different fill in each petal.  I wanted something very similar. I wanted dense fills in the center and then looser as you travel out from the center.  So the center being very compact, like it's just waiting to burst open into an amazing flower and the outside a bit softer and soothing like those first petals of a flower with all their beauty.  I got out my Fill book from Margaret  Solomon Gunn and got busy, I have my 3/4 in grids from Deloa Jones, I have my handy marking pencil, a couple of rulers to help guide and quilting is what I did.

I used 4 different shades of thread, machine run time for this quilt is 5.03 hours.  I had a couple of hours staring and thinking, marking, ripping a few stitches out.  But all in all an 8 hour job.  Total number of stitches - 90,940,000 - WOW almost 91 million stitches!!!  Now that's a whole lot o' stitching fun!

A little more about the tools of the trade.  I floated this quit , which I don't normally do on the A1.   The reason I floated this was the fusible was very stiff and I was worried how it would roll on the bar.  It was small enough quilt, I just floated it, all was good.  When I float a quilt, that's when the painters tape come in handy.  you need leave only your dominant eye open (hold a pencil up, and open one of your eyes at a time, with the dominant eye the pencil won't move)  tape the bar where the edges and any key seams you want to keep in line through out the quilt.  This keeps everything nice and straight.  My roll of painters tape is running out.  Love the green, the blue tends to come off a bit too easy for me.  Rulers you can't beat the set of curves from Quilted Pineapple.  That set is almost exclusively used by me for the bigger curves.  I used 8 on this on I think.  Deborah Pooles Rule it has become my favorite straight edge.  It has 1/8 in lines on it and it's just the right size for my hand.  I can control it better than most.   Of course the Kelly Bean from Kelly Cline is great for going around the applique.  Blue marking pencil.  I actually prefer these to the purple air erase.  They seem to come off easier.  The purple air when they are new take for ever even with a spritz of water.  And the good ol punce pad for the grid, make marking those grids so easy!!
Hopefully you've enjoyed some of the details about this quilt. If there are other areas you would me to focus on just let me know.  I love to share my process of long arm quilting with anyone that is willing to listen (or read!)  If you just want to look at the pictures (I get lazy all the time, just want to see some eye candy) I'll have that too!  Hope everyone has a great week and don't forget to check out the linky parties on the side bar, that's where most of my inspiration comes from!!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Fresh off the Frame - Sandra's Quilt

I've quilted a number of quilts for Sandra and loved every one.  She likes loose quilting on her quilts, she wants them nice and soft!  If you've seen my quilting, you now I like a lot of thread!!  But I exercised considerable restraint on this quilt (the struggle's real).  LOL quilting half as much took me twice as long!!

I wish I could applique like this.  I so love applique but I have the patience of a three year old and my hand work looks like a three year old did it!!!

I didn't stitch on any of the applique unless it was an area bigger than my fist (Margaret Solomon Gunn tip).  Then it was just a very simple line or to (like the tulips to accentuate the leaves or n the large center, a simple echo on the inside got it to be an acceptable  amount.  I really really wanted to put viens in all the leaves, but I was strong!  Thanks for letting me quilt for you Sandra!

No idea what the pattern is :(  usually she leaves the pattern with and this one is a beauty!  Her kids got the kit for her.  Great kids eh?

Details on the quilt - Hobbs 80/20 batting, So Fine thread, 2 colors on top, Bottom Line in the bobbin.  Rulers used:  Deborah Poole's Rule it (love the 1/8 in markings and it's small enough to guide with my ring finger, nudging the ruler), Kelly Cline's Kelly Bean for around the applique.  I certainly can't quilt curves without using one of Linda's curves from Quilted Pineapple.  I used the 10 curve and the long straight ruler, went from corner to corner. Quilters Rule curvy thing, perfect for continuous curve.  And of course a purple air erase marker, can't do ruler work without that.  Now how long did it take for this quilt. My machine run time was less than 7 hours.  I would add roughly two additional hours for marking and staring.  About 10 hours total to complete this.  Man I went very very slowly not sure why I come to an almost screeching halt when there's little quilting but it's just not second nature to me. I'm learning, I'm learning I can do different things.  See I don't quilt everything within an inch of it's life!!

Can't wait to show you the next quilt on the frame, this one's got a little surprise on it and there's definitely going to be more thread!!

Hope everyone has a great week. Check out the link parties on the side bar, so much inspiration out there. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Change is Gonna Come!!

That's right!!  Those of you that have followed this blog know that my passion is the long arm quilting.  My soul just blossoms when I'm quilting.  I have wanted to start a long arm business for many years now.   I've dabbled a bit and I've done a few customer quilts over the years.  But it's always been this thing I did on the side.  I now  want to change that.  I want to step out of the crazy world product development and technology and jump head first into the artistry of long arm quilting!  I want to do edge to edge (I have 2 computerized long arms - if it's digitized, I can quilt it), custom (what I LOVE the most -  feathers and ruler work), teaching and machine rental.  I want to do it ALL!!!  I have a Big dream!!

I'm down to reduce hours at work, hoping after the first of the year to reduce even more and by next birthday to have hours down to zero.  It's a big goal, I have to work really hard to make that happen, but a girl just has to give it a try and follow her dreams!!

With that, I'll share my Big Dream Panel - appropriate right?  I just needed to get my frustrations that have building up the past few months out is the form of some incredible feathers.  And feather this baby I did!!  I have a number of different feathers in this one, from formal traditional feathers, a vine-y feather with curls, a lacy curl feather and a few others.  This sweet thing has two layers of batting, one Hobbs Poly Down on the bottom and Hobbs Wool on Top.  I want to hang this and that's why I chose the poly, I also want some incredible definition in the quilting which is why I choose the wool.  The Poly gets a bit stiff with the dense quilting and the wool gives wonderful puff.  

My dream is to quilt all day!!  With the grand opening there is 25% for the rest of this year, yep that's right, the rest of this year.  So stop by and lets talk about how I can help to make your long arm quilting ideas come to life.  Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram, these are usually the first place with quick and easy updates with details followed here. 

Hope you have a great week!  Check out the linky parties on the side bar, lots of great inspiration out there.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

And that's a wrap, Hands 2 Help 2018 Grand Finale

The grand Finale!! Hands 2 Help 2018 has come to and end. These wonderful quilters created 8 beauties for some wonder causes. Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo gets 2 quilts, Little Lambs Foundation for Kids gets 2 quilts, Project Linus local to McHenry Co will get 2 quilts and Sage Cancer Center in McHenry will get 2 quilts from this year and 5 from the previous year. DorothyVeronikaLaurieLiane KoehlRobertTomDeborah - thank you for all you do! We met our goal of 8 quilts this year, and I do think they are the best quilts we've made so far!! Can't wait for Hands 2 Help 2019. Next year for our local donations are going to change it up a little. We will still make quilts for hands 2 help, but we're going to give our local quilts to the care givers of those that receive our quilts. They care for those under the worst of circumstances and comfort those in pain, in need, and in fear. I think it would be great one year to recognize some of those outstanding individuals who make a difference in this world. So if you know of anyone deserving, let us know and we'll get them on our list. Here's a few pictures of what this group of quilters accomplished this year. Thanks to Sarah for hosting Hands 2 Help for so many years, and sending the fat quarters and thread, what a surprise that was!! Cheers to another great year of Hands 2 Help
8 quilts this year, 6 on this line and 2 additional baby quilts on another

The last 5 finished and ready to go to Sage Cancer Center in McHenry
Panto - Golden Curls by Apricot Moon, Hobbs Poly Down batting, So Fine thread 

Kaffe Fasset shot cotton stripes fat quarter bundle - finally used it!

Cozy flannel on the back

Love a quilt hanging on the line
Giant Card Trick quilt - left overs from On Ringo Lake with  a little yellow added

Just hanging

Panto - Good Vibrations #1 Patricia Ritter, quilted the top, then turned the quilt and quilted again to get the good vib cross hatch, fun huh????  Hobbs Poly down batting, king tut thread on top

Cotton Sateen on the back, soooooo soft

Great Granny squares, good way to use those charm packs

Love a pieced back

looks like stained glass with the light showing through

Panto - Daisy Doodle Patricia Ritter, Hobbs Poly Down Batting, Glide Thread

Panto - Daisy Doodle Corner - Patricia Ritter, Hobbs Poly Down Batting, Glide Thread 

more cotton sateen 

Panto - Daisy Doodle Corner - Patricia Ritter, Hobbs Poly Down Batting, Glide Thread 

Cozy flannel on both of these

Panto - Cupid - Leisha Farnsworth and Patricia Ritter, Hobbs Poly Down batting, glide thread

More flannel on the back

Panto - Cupid - Leisha Farnsworth and Patricia Ritter, Hobbs Poly Down batting, glide thread

Here they are, hearts of gold I tell you!

Add caption

Check out the linky parties on the side bar, lots of inspiration out there
Cheers to another great year of Hands 2 Help!