Only a few minutes of quilting
Mom got 2 quilts quilted while she was here and I didn't sew one stitch! I've been having a few days of allergy issues that have completely drained my energy. I did catch up on a lot of work for my shop but by yesterday evening I was having some withdrawal. But I was also tired.
This is the quilt that I was getting ready to start before Mom came. So I quickly reloaded it and in 30 minutes had half of the quilting done. It's like getting a drug. That little bit was all I needed for the day and I was ready for bed.
I'm quilting it with gigantic swirls.
I was feeling so draggy yesterday that I didn't get my dyeing done. So I'll finish that up this afternoon and tonight I should be able to finish this little quilt and load the second one that goes on the same backing fabric.
New fabrics in the shop!
But first let me share this lovely sight of 10 veteran's quilts brought to the Country School Quilters meeting last night. They are ready to be delivered to patients at the McGuire VA Hospital.
Back to fabric....Bahamas is a new Stash Pack with lots of watery turquoise and blues. Stash packs have 10 fat eights of fabric.
I've also got 3 popular gradients back in stock.
Color Wheel Cool is part of my Color Wheel Series. These fabrics are on sale every day!
Groundhog Day is part of my sky series. I see this one as a dark purplish blue winter sky.
Southwest, I think, is pretty self explanatory. It must be because it goes quickly!
Now it's time to get to work dyeing more for next week!
I love teaching the new Innova owners at The Longarm Network every other month. I get to introduce them to their new machines and my #1 goal is to make sure they leave excited, not scared, to go home and start quilting. On the first day it's all about learning the machine. We practice threading the machine, adjusting the tension, winding bobbins, all about needles and how to load and baste a quilt.
On the second day we get to quilt and I spend a lot of time managing their expectations. I remind them that they didn't learn to drive on the Interstate or at night on curvy roads. Most of us first started driving on vacant parking lots or in large fields. When we first start quilting we have to create that vacant parking lot so that we can learn the machine and build some muscle memory. You can't quilt like Margaret Gunn in your first 30 quilts. She didn't quilt like Margaret Gunn on her first 30 quilts either!
I give them a lot of simple quilting ideas and show them how they can build skills by quilting real quilts with simple motifs. Many of them you can see in my Easy Longarm section of the blog or in the Longarm Tutorials.
I practice these motifs on the veterans quilts that I quilt for my quilt club and I practice my teaching method on Mom because she's a good sport. She doesn't quilt on FloMo often and she's not interested in entering shows. She just wants her quilts quilted. When I got the Innova it was so much easier to control that I started teaching her free motion techniques to get her away from pantographs and the boring quilting from the back of the machine.
One of the motifs is this really simple zig zag quilted on straight lines. It looks like an EKG. Mom is here quilting and her first quilt is pieced in rows and we decided to use that as the guildelines. She quilted straight lines across the quilt and added some zig zags.
This is a great one to practice controlling your speed, quilting diagonally and making sharp points. My Mom quilts fast, like she thinks FloMo will expire on her. To keep her EKG from flat-lining she had to slow down a bit.
Now, as you look at this we can all agree that it's not the nicest quilting motif in the world.
But you start repeating any motif and now you've got something. Anything repeated looks good repeated.
The only way that you learned to drive was to drive. The only way you will learn to quilt is to quilt. Anything.
Every quilt does not have to be perfect. Sometimes they just need to be done.
Don't have a quilt ready to be quilted? Buy some pretty fabric and thread, pick a motif, quilt it and make some placemats or a table runner. The spaghetti that you spill on it will hide any mistakes.
Buy some panels and make some baby quilts for your local hospital or Project Linus. You get practice on real fabric and you are doing good at the same time. With every quilt you load pick a motif that will teach you a new skill and, if you want, you will eventually start making show quilts.
If you pick a motif and quilt it all over a quilt you will see how much better you get from the first stitch to the last.
When I wanted to learn feathers I quilted 2 quilts covered in feathers. The first one was a scrappy quilt with a busy back. I picked a blending thread and started quilting. The feathers started as a total mess but they got better by the time I quilted them for a several hours. I got a UFO done, my brother got a quilt for his sofa and I learned how to quilt feathers.
Then I wanted to practice a lot of different feather designs so I loaded this quilt, used red thread and quilted as many different feather designs as I could think up in a large meandering design. You can see some of them on the quilt page. Seriously, the quilting on this is as tacky as it gets but this quilt is on my bed in the winter and I can't see it in the dark. The point is that I am a better quilter for spending the time quilting this quilt.
From the time I bought my machine until this quilt 7 years elapsed. I didn't have as much time to quilt them as I do now so I could have made that leap in a much shorter time. But it shows that you only get better with practice. I believe that practice isn't fun on muslin so load a quilt, start easy and build you way up.
I was teaching the Innova new owners this past Friday and Saturday and left my computer at the shop Friday night. That's why I didn't post Saturday. I didn't post Sunday because I was tired from 2 days of teaching and I was watching football. I try to stick to my personal rule of staying off the computer for "work" on Sunday and I had no problem keeping to that rule yesterday.
After watching my Hokies lose (as expected) to Tennessee Saturday night it was fun to watch the Eagles win yesterday with a rookie QB who was only named a started this week. Of course, since they won, everyone is already placing him in the Hall of Fame and you know that means that either his performance goes down the toilet or he gets injured. The internet has really taken away ever sense of reason and patience that we might have had years ago.
Even with a nap yesterday I made good progress on my applique quilt. I've gotten half of the second border done this weekend and there's another game tonight.
Here it is pinned on the wall. Once I have the bordered added to the 9-patch center I'll applique a 5-petal bud in the corners. I'm loving it!
Now I have to get busy and iron more fabric to put in the shop this week.
Building in efficiencies
I am frequently asked "How do you get so much done?" I'm flattered that people think I get an extraordinary amount of things done it really has to be seen in perspective to the rest of my life. I don't have children, my husband does 90% of the cooking and grocery shopping, I avoid shopping like the plague (thanks to Amazon) and I would go into a deep depression if Lisa stopped cleaning my house. I try to pay her enough that I'll be the last client that she gives up.
Having severe allergies that kept me from traveling and going outside for over 25 years sent me to the sewing room. Spending time here kept me from feeling sorry for myself. It became my happy place and it still is so I do whatever I can to spend the most time as possible doing any of my hobbies.
But I also do some little things to try to save myself time in the long run. Last night I wanted to load the next pair of veteran's quilts. We buy batting for them by the bolt and I needed to cut off a new piece. While I had it out I went ahead and cut the entire roll. I do the same with backing, which we order by the bolt. Having these things ready to go means that loading the quilts takes all of 10 minutes and I'm ready to quilt.
Of course cutting that took all of the rest of my time but I'm ready to go when I get home from teaching the new Innova owners today at The Longarm Network. I love teaching these classes because I still love my Innova just as much, maybe even more, than the day it arrived here almost 2 years ago.
So you see, I haven't actually accomplished all that much the past 2 days!
One step forward, two steps back
Tuesday evening after I finished the 2 veterans quilts I loaded this pretty hand dyed backing to get ready to quilt a Quilt of Valor. Fortunately Before I loaded the batting I measured and discovered that this backing (that I specifically dyed for that QOV) is too narrow. I have no idea how I did that.
Fortunately yesterday was dyeing day so I added a quilt back to what was already a blue-themed day.
While that's processing I'll load 2 other veteran's quilts.
More veteran's quilts
before I load another of my quilts that's going to take months to quilt, I decided to clear out a few more quick quilts. Last night I finished these 2 veteran's quilts. Next week they will be on their way back to Country School for binding.
What's not to love about a string quilt, especially when it can be quickly quilted with a meander. I'm pretty sure that Karen A. made this one because I give her leftover backing pieces from the quilts that I quilt and I see some of those fabrics in this.
I have a pretty substantial stock of King Tut thread. I don't use it much in my own quilts so I'm making effort to use it exclusively on the veteran's quilts. Quilting 32 of these quilts this year has made a substantial dent in the thread stock. I might run out in 10 years if I keep up this pace.
This quilt was made by our West Coast member, Annie. She and Becky met online in one of Barbara Brackman's block programs. Annie liked out veteran's quilt program so sends us quilt tops periodically. The are always pieced perfectly.
I didn't want to take away from the structure of the houses so I quilted this one with straight lines. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
When I left on vacation I finished just enough of the pinecone postcards to mail the ones I needed. Since I got back I've been taking some 15 minute sewing breaks and almost have the rest of them finished.
Aside from paper and computer work, this is about all I got done yesterday. I did do about a hour of "gardening" in the morning. Of course for me "gardening" means spraying 3 gallons of RoundUp. We've gotten entirely too much rain this summer and the weed have been celebrating. It's time to bring the party to a stop. In a few weeks we will have the driveway and parking area graded and graveled, new drainage installed and new sidewalks built. We were lucky that the original once have held up almost 30 years. Of course the real reason for all of this is that the drainage needs to be fixed so I can mosaic the front wall of the basement.
Using Channel Locks Tutorial
It was great to be home and start to get back into my routine this weekend. FloMo and I spent some time together yesterday. I'm going to quilt a few veterans quilts before I load a quilt of my own. This quilt is made of these large house blocks with no borders. I really like the look of it and felt that wavy or curvy lines wouldn't really look great on it. I decided on straight lines.
Since I'm teaching the Innova New Owners class at The Longarm Network again this weekend it was timely to write up a tutorial on using channel locks. If you have a longarm and haven't used channel locks (installed or DIY) you might find the Channel Locks Tutorial helpful.
It's applique season!
Today "kicks" off football season with the first college game of the season and that means that it's hand sewing season for me. Last year I used football to finish the hated Cathedral Window quilt. This year I'm going to work on the inner borders for my applique quilt.
This is the first border almost done. I made a little progress while we were on vacation last week. I'll get that left stem finished today and start the second border.
This quilt is such a joy to work on compared to the Cathedral Window. It's not nearly as bulky and the blanket stitch really brings it alive.
I wasn't sold on the center dot when I planned it but I'm glad I stuck with it because I think it's really cute.
I'll probably post weekly on this project just to keep myself accountable although I'm really not having any problems staying motivated to do it.
To subscribe click the RSS Feed button and copy the URL of that page into your blog reader.
In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
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.