For months this summer I couldn't quilt because of the injury that I did to my arm in May so my friend, Marcy, helped me catch up on the backlog of quilts. We also have some new longarm quilters in Country School that help out a lot. We never have much of a backlog anymore. In fact, since September, I've only had to 2 do and this week was the perfect time to get them done.
The quilter who made these made either 3 or 4 in the same pattern. I expect them to be very popular with our patients at the VA hospital. I quilted this one with a stipple. Withe everything going on in the fabric it only needed simple quilting. One of our other quilters quilted the others.
The center of each star has a quotation patch. I didn't want to quilt over that so I did a little SID around the block.
My Mom made this quilt and it started about a year ago. When she had her first cataract surgery it did not go well at all. She had so much trouble with her vision for months after that. She couldn't do any sewing or fine work so on one of her visits here I set her up with the Go! Cutter, several dies and a big stack of scrap hand dyed fabric. She spent several days cutting fabric. One of the shapes she cut was the applecore. Fast forward to a couple of months ago and she was looking for a project and I "gifted" her the applecore blocks. We both love the quilt but she has declared this her last applecore quilt. She will trim it down so that she can do a straight binding.
Ruler work has been the most troublesome for my arm so I decided to do ruler work on this quilt to test my arm and warm up. I am now ready to get back to Lost My Marbles! I've missed quilting the Spirograph blocks. I've even ordered Bethanne Nemesh's Lily Lines rulers just so I have more shapes for my marble.
First, though, I need to do some basic maintenance on the machine like replacing the check spring and adjusting the hopping foot and a deep, deep cleaning. That will be work for next week because tomorrow I head to Blacksburg to watch my Hokies.
I'm officially caught up...until tomorrow. I know I'll get more tops at the meeting tomorrow night but I won't worry about those until September. Here are the last two for now.
This one was made by Estelle. I love the leafy focus fabric. She's been working really hard to make veterans quilts from her stash but I was in her studio last week and, like the rest of us, you can't tell that there's any fabric missing!
Peg also makes most of her quilts from stash. But this one has an added twist. A few years ago Country School Quilters were gifted a lot of fabric to use to make veteran's quilts. We made well over 50 quilts with all that fabric. At the end there were a lot of browns left over. Becky cut a bunch of 1 or 2 yard lengths and handed them out as a challenge to use them with other fabric for veterans quilts. Peg dug into her stash of green and tan scraps for this quilt. The brown really makes the greens sparkle and, honestly, it doesn't look like a scrap quilt anymore.
I love seeing how people use scraps to make stunning quilts. I quilted it with the same Burning Bush pantograph that I used last week.
Our quilters don't make a lot of red and black quilts so I've had this one, that Betsy made, for a long time. It had to wait for another one in a similar palette so I could pair them on the same backing.
Eventually this one came in and they were meant to be together. I decided on red thread which, for me, was a bold step on this quilt. But I thought it might be nice to bring red into the middle of the quilt to tie the border in better.
I think it was a good decision because I like the effect a lot!
You can't see the quilting on the first one at all but that was going to be the case no matter what I decided to do.
But the red also looks great on this hand dyed gray backing fabric. I hope that both piecers will be happy.
Only 2 more to finish before Tuesday. But today is ice dyeing day so there will be no quilting today!
If I'm talking about quilting efficiency you know for sure that I'm talking abut veterans quilts. Because when it comes to my own quilts I seem to prefer a more agonized, time-consuming approach. But, my goal with veterans quilts is "volume with quality". I want to get as many done as possible in the shortest time possible. I don't do them sloppy. The tension is good and I do consider the pattern for each quilt. But there are things I can do to be as efficient as possible.
I have 4 that I want to get done by Tuesday and that will get me caught up. I'm sure I'll get more tops at the meeting but, for now, I have only 4.
I finally remembered to take a photo with quilts loaded on the frame to show how I quilt them 2 at a time. The quilts are 48" x 60". We buy wide backing fabric and I cut it in about 70" widths. By loading the quilts along the long (60") edge I can stack 2 on one wide quilt back. In this photo you can see where the first quilt ends and the next begins. It may seem counter productive to bast the quilts but basting really does save a ton of time in the long run. I've tested it so I know.
Our quilt club buys the backing and batting and since I'm the one buying the backing I now only buy white so I can dye the colors I need as I need them. I also get to have a good use for "expired" dyes. The dyes aren't technically expired, but they aren't full strength either so I can't use them for my business. By using them for quilt backs I cut down on waste. I know someone will ask, I get the wide backing fabric at Marshall Dry Goods. It's called Dream Cotton.
I pair the quilts so that I have 2 to go with each backing and I try to use the same color of thread on both quilts.
The second quilt in this set is mostly gray and white but has a red border and I decided to carry the red into the center of the quilt with thread. The red also looks great on the back of the quilt.
I'm using the Burning Bush pantograph and with the quilts being loaded so close together I won't have to break up the last row of the first quilt. I'm going to quilt both as if it's one big quilt. Plus this is a very wide pantograph so there's fewer times to advance and align the quilt.
So, 2 quilts on one back, same thread on both quilts and same wide pantograph on both quilts.
The other reason I picked that particular pantograph is that it will work great on the next 2 quilts too! I think I might get these knocked out by Monday.
Today I'm setting up for another epic ice dyeing session Thursday! It's the prep work that takes the longest.
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.
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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