My friend, Marcy, has bee so busy quilting and I'm so grateful for her help. Here are 4 more veterans quilts that she quilted this week.
She quilted both of these with the Knotty pantograph. She's just like I was when I started quilting in 2005. I loved pantographs and used them a lot for many years. I think they are a great way to get comfortable with the quilting process while quilting some pretty, and more advanced, designs.
I don't know who made the first 2 quilts but I know that these were made by Margaret. I've explained before that we quilt these 2 at a time. We buy wide backing and by turning the quilts sideways we can get 2 on one back. Because of that I keep the tops until I have 2 that match a back. When Margaret gave me the first quilt I told her that it might be a while before it gets quilted until I got a second one to match with it. She went right home and made a second quilt and brought it to me the next month so I would have 2 to quilt together.
For these we upgraded Marcy to the Burning Bush pantograph because it's a little more difficult. We are working her up to one that's kind of complex that she wants for a special quilt that she made.
We were excited to have 8 quilts to deliver back to people at the meeting this week!
I occasionally teach a new longarm owners class at Virginia Longarm, my local Innova dealer. The class has 2 goals. First is to get everyone over any apprehension by getting them on the machines quilting. The second goal is to get their mind-set right about what it takes to become proficient at longarming. Just because someone can quilt free-motion on a domestic machine doesn't mean that they will be able to immediately quilt beautiful feathers on the longarm. It's a very different technique and, like with anything new, it takes practice.
The analogy I like to use is driving a car. When we first learned to drive a car we didn't expect to race at NASCAR in the first week......or even the first year. So why do we get frustrated with quilting if we can't create a ribbon-worthy quilt in the first month? We get frustrated because we have set unreasonable expectations. It takes hundreds of hours of practice to be able to quilt a Best of Show quilt.
That brings me to my friend, Marcy. Marcy loves longarm quilting but doesn't get to do it all that often because she rents time to longarm. When I injured my arm I knew that longarming was out of the question for weeks so I asked Marcy if she might want some practice. We struck a deal. She could get practice if she would practice on some of the backlog of veterans quilts and then she could quilt a couple of her own quilts.
I picked Marcy because she's had the Innova renters class and has some experience under her belt. She needed a little help at the beginning but she's totally independent now. I simply didn't have time to teach a totally new longarmer so this worked out perfect.
As I mentioned, Marcy has some experience quilting but when you go months between quilts there's a big learning curve every time you start to quilt. This time she has access to the machine for about 4 weeks so she can get a lot of hours in. She wanted to focus on learning to quilt with pantographs which, luckily, are perfect for veterans quilts. Let's see how she did.
This photo is the first corner that she quilted using the Popcorn pantograph. Like any new quilter, she struggled with getting smooth curves.
But just after one quilt you can already see marked improvement! No more flat line curves and more even spacing.....just in one small quilt! We load 2 veterans quilts at once time so the first 2 were done with Popcorn.
eFor the second 2 quilts we switched to that Burning Bush pantograph and by the end of her 4th quilt she had the pantograph nailed! Also by this point she had everything else about longarming nailed: winding bobbins, threading the machine, tension, aligning the pantograph....everything. She didn't need any more help after that. She's now on her own and having a blast quilting.
Here are the first 4 quilts that she quilted.
The first 2 quilts were made by my blog friend, Patty.
The quilt on the left was made by our member who lives near Seattle and the one in the right was made by a local member. That one is going to give us another lesson! We discovered that it has a major tension issue in one area and we didn't see it until after the quilt was trimmed. DOH!
But we are going to get that fixed next week.
I'm really grateful to Marcy for helping me catch up on veterans quilts and she seems happy to have the practice time. She's proving that you can take dozens of classes but if you don't take the time to practice you will never get better.
I even took lots of photos to document my progress. I just didn't have time to edit them before I left for my annual festival of mammogram this morning. But I can report that I got the Maine quilt finished, a bunch of new fabric for the shop ironed and these 4 veterans quilts quilted. Then I allowed myself to start cutting out a new project. Hurray! I love a new project.
For now, though, I only have the veterans quilts to share.
I picked up all of these (and more) at the Country School Quilter's meeting Tuesday and wanted to get 4 of them done so I don't get too far behind. I don't remember who gave me this one but she apologized over and over for poor piecing. While it had a little fullness here and there it was really easy to tame with a wavy crosshatch and I think she will be pleased with how it turned out.
This one and the next 2 are from Karen. She's one of our most prolific piecers. She shows up every month with 3 or more completed quilts or tops. This time she had 5 veterans tops and 2 kids tops made since last month! Almost every quilt she makes is donated to either the veterans or to a local hospital pediatric ward.
Karen said that this month she was trying to empty a bin of reproduction fabrics but that after she got the 5 tops together she found another bin of the same fabrics! Who knows what she'll show up with next month.
Here are the 2 backing fabrics that I used on these 4 quilts. Now I can get back to my "Lost My Marbles" quilt.
Apparently my Mom's scrap bin is OUT OF CONTROL because she's been on a mission lately to use them up. So much of a mission that she made 3 of these quilts for our CSQ veterans project. I picked the tops up from her Christmas Eve and wanted to have then quilted before she comes here tomorrow (so she can bind them while she visits). I decided to have a little fun and quilt each one differently.
With all of these quilts I had to have them simple and fast. That's how I roll with charity quilts and my favorite method is to travel the block in some fashion. For this quilt I did 2 passes on each row and it started like this.
From the lower left corner stitch a curved line to the right side of the block somewhere in the middle.
Stitch another curved line to the middle of the bottom of the block.
Finish the first pass with a curved line to the top right corner.
Work across the row with this motif along the diagonal strip of fabric in each block. The work back across the block doing the other side of the block.
This is a great beginner motif to practice making and meeting points.
The gift with this motif is the fantastic secondary pattern that results.
For the second quilt I did a motif that only required one pass for each row of blocks. Stitch a curved line from a corner to the center. At the center stitch some sort of motif on each side of the block. I used a ribbon curl and a spike. Then a curve in the opposite direction to the other corner.
This one took a little bit of concentration to make sure the curved lines in the sashing and the ribbon curls all went in the right direction but it didn't take long to get in the right groove.
You know I love my wavy crosshatching so I had to do a modified wavy crosshatch for the last one. I started with a gentle wave diagonally perpendicular to the center sashing.
Then I waved both sides of the sashing piece. This requires a little bit of thinking. In this pass I waved the left side of the sashing and I crossed over the sashing at each end to get to the next block.
This what the row looks like after all 3 passes. Can you see what's going to happen where the sashing from 4 blocks meet?
Beginners can do a lot of skill building with this by working to meet the stitching on each row at the corners.
Taking the time to meet those corners provides a big payoff on the back.
I have one more veterans quilt here to quilt before the end of 2017 and I will get that one done tomorrow.
I hope everyone had a great holiday (or weekend) as we did. We went to Chesapeake to surprise my brother at his Christmas Eve party. Almost all of my family was there and we had a great time. We finished off things with our annual prime rib dinner with friends last night. Now it's time to get back to some semblance of routine.
I wasn't totally unproductive last week though. I am on a mission to finish the binding on the pink mandala and quilt some veterans quilts before December 31. Here are 2 veterans quilts that I got done last week.
This is another of the quilts that was made with the "Ugly fabric challenge". Becky gave willing participants a yard of an ugly dark fabric. The person who made this quilt paired the ugly with the brightest fabrics she could find. I think the balance is perfect.
I quilted it with a wavy corsshatch and used a variegated thread in bright oranges and golds. It helped break up the expanses of dark.
This quilt was made by Becky. It may look like a lot of piecing but most of those gradient strips are just one piece. She got these at one of our trash-to-treasure sales. It was just a bundle of narrow strips and she worked magic with them.
I quilted this one very simply with black wavy lines. I think it was just the right amount of quilting.
I have to quilt a few more to meet my goals for the year so that's probably what you are going to see the rest of this week.
This quilt is the result of leftovers of a King Sized Fractured quilt and it's leftovers quilt, Fractured Fragments. I took those leftovers and made some crumb blocks. The original intention was to make a baby quilt but then I had a big piece of purple fabric and this large lap quilt was born. I'm going to donate this one to Hanover Safe Place. One of my quit club friends donates lots of things there and this seemed like a good size quilt for them.
There was a vast field of purple with this one and I couldn't see just doing my usual overall type of quilting. I felt it needed something else and came up with this diamond motif to quilt between the blocks.
I used a variegated King Tut thread mostly because I'm trying to use up app of the variegated KT threads on my charity quilts. But that turned out to be a great move because there are a couple of places where I wobbled off of the ruler but you can't tell with the variegated thread. Bonus!
In the block spaces I used Masterpiece which is thin and barely shows. I know that Masterpiece isn't exactly intended for the longarm but it was the best purple match.
I didn't have enough purple for the binding and I'm glad. I think the yellow was a much better choice even though it really wasn't a choice at all. I used one of the Country School Quilters labels and found this fun ladybug fabric in my stash for the back.
Washed, dried and ready for it's new home! With Hobbs 80/20 batting it's really snuggly.
My friend, Lisa, is a relative new longarmer and recently bought her own Innova and has started quilting professionally! She's really built up a lot of proficiency very quickly but there are things that she still want to learn and practice. Recently it was learning pantographs. She came over and I taught her the basics. She took 2 vets quilts and borrowed a couple of pantographs and went at it.
She used the Feathered Curls pantograph on this one.
This one is a Hunter's Star. I really love this pattern and really need to make one for myself. I love them two-toned like this one and scrappy. They are all good!
For this quilt she did a simple wavy cross-hatch; my favorite go-to quilting method for charity quilts. I really like this quilt a lot. I think Becky made it. She used a dark "ugly" fabric and made it look awesome with scraps of plaid fabrics. It makes me want to go find the ugliest fabric in my and see if I can turn it into something really cool. If you wanted to make one for yourself Becky posted instructions here.
I won't count these quilts in my tally of vets quilts for the year and it's OK if I don't meet my goal of 40. With Tina and Marcy's help we've gotten at least 10 more done! I'm grateful for their help.
Even though I'm starting my 6th week of laryngitis I know that I'm recovered from that miserable cold because I made a to-do list Sunday with 15 items on it. As of this morning it's down to 6. I plan to get all 6 of those things done tomorrow so that I can enjoy 2 fun days of sewing with Country School Quilters Friday and Saturday. I finally get to work on my Maine quilt.
Yesterday afternoon was a play day with my friend, Marcy. She rents longarm time at Virginia Longarm so she's had training and experience on the Innova longarms at the shop. She wants more practice and she's willing to do it on the veterans quilts. That's a win-win for me!
This quilt is one that she made. Another member, Becky, had a lot of pieces of really dark and somber fabrics that were donated to us. She cut them into 1 yard lengths, handed them out to willing volunteers and challenged them to brighten them up with other fabrics. Marcy made this quilt with her dark brown challenge fabric. She improved that dark brown immensely!
I load 2 quilts on one wide quilt back (not side by side, but one after the other) and this was the second one for today. Marcy had never quilted a pantograph so that was the lesson/practice for today and she did great. I got my much neglected glass workbench cleared off while she quilted.
We used one of my favorite quick and easy pantographs, Looseleaf by Willow Leaf Studios. It's perfect for beginners but it's also just a wonderful all-over texture for just about any quilt.
We used a cone of Superior Lava thread that I had bought several years ago. It gave us fits and I found a couple of spots that I'm going to need to fix on my Juki machine tomorrow. That shouldn't take too long but I've never had to do this on a quilt before with my Innova so I think it was the thread....or maybe the needle. I'll experiment a little before I use it again.
After Tina left from her quilting session I decided to continue on with a couple more quilts. These are the last 2 that I have for now, except for 2 that are set aside for Marcy. I'm sure I'll get re-stocked at the November meeting! But until then, I'm free!
I taught Tina how to do a pantograph and since I hadn't done one in a long time I decided I'd do one on these 2 quilts.
The pantograph looked really nice on both quilts.
This one is called Star Swirl and I like it because it's very wide so you get a lot quilted in one pass.
I wasn't surprised when I was basting that I ran short of backing. I knew that the top quilt was about 6" bigger on all sides. Tomorrow I'll share a tutorial for how I was able to add more backing without taking the quilts off the longarm!
I know the extra is blue is not brown but there was no way I was going to "match" that hand dyed back. I'm OK with the blue strip on the edge and I think the quilter will be fine with it too.
You will see from my posts that the past week has been almost completely focused on catching up on veterans quilts and I'm grateful for the help of 2 new quilters.
I showed you Marcy's quilts last week. Today I'm sharing Tina's. Tina is a new Innova owner and has taken a couple of my classes so I was happy to help her out with a few practice session for some new things she wanted to learn.
Because I load 2 quilts to quilt at a time on one wide quilt back, many of our piecers will quilt 2 of the same quilt and that's what we had with both quilts today. It looks like Tina quilted 2 quilts but she actually quilted 4!
The first thing she wanted to learn was stitch-in-the-ditch. We picked a blending thread and I showed her the basics and then she was off and running. The key to learning SID is to simply do it. This quilt was perfect because the fabrics are prints and it's almost impossible to see any mistakes. I wouldn't let her rip out mistakes. For the second quilt she wanted to practice spirals. I think she's doing a great job quilting circles.
I had 2 of these quilts too! I do love scrappy batik quilts. The quilting doesn't show so we could do anything that she wanted on them.
For the one on the right I taught her how to do pantographs and for the one on the left we decided to meander giant spirals. It takes a lot of muscle training to get big, smooth circles and she was really happy with how much better she got just quilting this one quilt.
You can take all of the classes in the world but you never learn until you practice. Charity quilts are a great way to practice.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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