I'm so excited to have a finish for August and it was an easy one! I made this top several years ago when I hosted the Crossing the Drunkard's Path quilt-along. I've just been waiting for the right baby to come along to finish it.
Baby Innes will be here in 2019 and baby's parents love the wedding quilt I made for them so they absolutely deserve a baby quilt. This one will be big enough for a floor quilt for baby and guard dogs. I will not tell them that the block is called Drunkard's Path!
These fabrics are from the first time that I ever dyed fabric. This was back when I thought hand dyed fabric was stupid but Anne forced me to do it during one of our craft weeks. It was while dyeing these tone-on-tone fabrics that I learned the joy of mixing colors and got hooked on fabric dyeing.
That light background fabric was difficult. I seem to be physically unable to dye light colors.
I quilted it with the new Innovatech thread and, I have to say, I love this thread. I think as I use up So Fine colors that I will replace it with Innovatech.
The back is also hand dyed. It's quilted with the Happy Times pantograph. It was the first time I used this one. It was fast and easy and worked out great for this baby quilt.
I still have to make a label but I have MONTHS until the baby arrives.
Well that didn't take long! It's going to be a baby quilt so it gets a pantograph. I had one called Happy Times that I've never used before and decided to try it out on this one. It's a great beginner pantograph and I love the texture effect.
Now to get on with binding but no this weekend. I'm off to NYC tomorrow with friends. We are celebrating my friend's 50th birthday. When I told my college roommate where I was going and why her response was "You hang out with a young crowd!"
I'm happy to say that these weeks of dyeing 100 yards of fabric are almost at an end. I have possibly one more in August and that's it. It's good because it's exhausting. On the positive side, I now have a routine for dyeing high volume, I've gotten some great exercise and I've listened to a lot of good books while ironing. The down side is that I've done virtually no sewing or quilting. Part of that is because of healing my arm but mostly because there's just no time or energy left.
It was good to finally be able to quilt and to get Starts At Sea done but last night I was too tired to work on the binding. Instead I wandered around the quilt storage areas to see what I wanted to quilt next.
This is a oldie from the time when I hosted the Crossing the Drunkard's Path quilt along. I never had a plan for this quilt I just wanted to use up those hand dyed fabrics. They are some of the first fabrics that I dyed and they are white-on-white and it was the first time I played around with mixing my own colors. Anyway, the daughter of a friend is having a baby soon and this would be a good play quilt so I might do a quick panto on it. I have the backing fabric ready for this one.
I also have 4 veterans quilts. (I really have 5 but they get quilted in pairs.) I didn't have backs for these so they have been waiting for a while.
But ordered more backing fabric last week and got these dyed Sunday so I'm ready to go.
I think I'll quilt the baby quilt first and then get started on the veterans quilts. I wonder if it's possible to get these done before vacation......probably not, but it's a worthy goal.
Before Mom moved to Richmond she was apparently very busy piecing tops. She had a ton of time to herself when she lived with her sister. So when she moved here she had 3 quilt tops and another QAYG (quilt as you go) quilt underway. Now she has 3 quilts that need binding!
This log cabin is the third of the quilts that Marcy and I quilted for her this summer. I'm pretty sure that this was the oldest of her UFO projects. I think she wasn't sure that she liked it but once I spread it out to see the full quilt I actually like it a lot. I think it will be beautiful on a bed.
As time goes on I'm doing more and more with my arm. So for this quilt I decided on a pantograph with some diagonal movement but short strokes. The Loose Leaf panto worked great and also looks really good on the quilt. If you are a new longarmer this is a great beginner pantograph that also looks wonderful on quilts.
I like that the center of all of her blocks start with this fussy cut motif. I think this will also be the binding fabric.
Next up for me is my Stars At Sea quilt. It's intended to be a booth sample for the AQS show in October so I need to get it done!
I spent my Saturday ironing all of this! I spent Sunday with an equally large pile all in blues. I'm making great progress toward the inventory for my booth at AQS in October. My goal is to have 90% of it together before we leave for vacation in mid-August.
So far, so good.
Meanwhile Marcy is enjoying having access to FloMo!
This weekend she quilted this monster quilt for my Mom. I know that Mom thought she was using every scrap fabric that she had but based on what we moved I think she has plenty left for more quilts.
Close up it's hard to see any sort of pattern.
But with a little bit of distance the pattern emerges. Those turquoise borders really help a lot too. Someone is going to love having this quilt. I didn't measure it but it's darned close to queen size.
Mom and I went to a sale a couple of weeks ago and she found this fabric for the back at 32% off. Marcy quilted it with a pantograph and used the new Innovatech thread. The thread worked great. She picked a pantograph that was a little more complex that the last one just to keep working on her skills. You can't see the stitching in the front at all.
This week I'm on for another 100 yards of fabric dyeing....and ironing with some applique in the evenings!
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 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.
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.
I shared this with you yesterday. I still remember the first time this happened to me and the level of panic that ensued. Fortunately, at the time, I was a member of an online quilting board and someone walked me through the basic steps to fix a short backing....without having to remove the quilt from teh machine.
When it happened again earlier this week I decided to document the process and put together a tutorial so that anyone can find it whenever it's needed.
You can find the tutorial here.
I'm now done with veterans quilts for a while so I'm going to load a quilt of my own and work on some new postcards this weekend. What are your plans?
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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