Vintage style

Do you love vintage fabrics?  Do you collect anything endearing from the past eras? I tend to stay away from fabrics that look dated, and prefer more modern colors and anything that looks fresh.  Let’s just say I LOVE bright colors!!!!

This little gem recently found its way to my studio.  I am not usually a fan of vintage looking fabrics, but I wanted to share this cute project.  I love it when clients tell me to quilt it however I would like.  I know that the “quilt as desired” note at the end of a pattern strikes terror in the heart of many a quilter when it comes to finishing a quilt project, but I thrive on it!  I generally start formulating ideas while making my tops.

My client gave me only 3 requests for this top: outline the little girls, something other than meandering as a fill and white thread (my client dislikes the puzzle piece look of meandering).  This client loves girly quilting and feathers, so of course I had to use feathers and curls.  The girls just seem to pop off the quilt.  Quilting for others involves taking risks and sometimes I find myself using the dreaded Jack the Ripper, but most times if I just remember to quilt it as I would if it were my own there is great satisfaction in the finished product.

My client was really pleased when this was picked up yesterday.  On to the next……….

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Quilters Without Covers

The vast majority of quilts I make are given away.  It’s pure joy to see someone receive a quilt that understands the love, and time commitment that went into making a gift of this kind.  I have seen grown men cry and drop to their knees when receiving them.  I have presented Quilts of Valor and memory quilts to folks who appreciate the effort that went into this gift.  Quilts are not just blankets, they are keepsakes, memories, snuggly, and  cold weather curl up to sit by the fireside warmers.  It’s very rewarding.

Have you heard about the plumbers who can’t seem to fix their own plumbing, or the mechanics that don’t have time to fix the family car?  How about the carpenter whose job list is so long he or she cannot get the honey do list done?  It occurred to me lately that having made in the ballpark of 30 + quilts in the last few years that our bed is pretty much un-decorated (is that even a word?) with a quilt that fits it.  I entered the one on our bed into a show, have 2 that are nearly ready for a show, and only had one other to put on the bed that is a bit too small.  If my husband or I hog the covers the other will get left in the cold!  I am striving to correct that error with the BOM I am involved with.  I fear winter will be over by the time I finish it!!  I guess I could pull my sewing studio quilt over us if I have to, but I’m not sure my better half will appreciate the comical quilt ladies on our bed.  It belongs in my happy room, my studio, where I curl up in it when doing handwork.  Oh how I love the colors but they may keep us awake and then my studio will be without………. oh well, I’m working on it!!!!!

 

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October 17, 2017 BOM

The second month’s BOM, unlike the first month that had 8 identical flying geese blocks,  took a different turn and presented me with 3 different blocks.  This definitely makes it more interesting.

I know you’re not supposed to play favorites, but that Four Corners Star block has my vote!

The London Roads block took me on a different path so to speak.  I pieced the block I was sent and then chose to make my batik block with one teal color that I didn’t like when finished.  It just didn’t seem to fit with the other batiks in the block.  I began froggin’ (you know, rip-it, rip-it…..), not my favorite task but oh so much better when the outcome was done.

I am itchin’ to be stitchin’!  I think I hear my studio calling my name……

Western Star block

Four Corners Star block

London Roads block

Cake

So today marks the beginning of feeling fall-ish.  The air is cooler and my kitchen begged me to come and bake that from scratch carrot cake that always marks the autumn near the time of Bill’s birthday.  I make one every year since he passed on to glory and smile remembering that was his favorite cake, remembering how my father-in-law enjoyed the cinnamon smell, the cream cheese frosting that is so creamy on the top.

I pushed off going to my sewing studio for this project because those ingredients beckoned me to come put this together, another project that takes construction and produces sweet outcomes.

Sew happy!

Choosing a “Partner” to Quilt

     My enjoyment of the fabric arts has been with me a very long time. I began sewing in 1963 at age 10. As the years went by I began I constructed several bride’s dresses, veils,  bridesmaid dresses, (14 for one wedding), men’s suits, and made most of my children’s clothing for many years. 

          I have enjoyed sewing for clients since 1972, and have been longarm quilting for clients since 2013. Also enjoying the embroidery arts, I machine embroider for clients, though doing embroidery by hand is one of my favorite downtime relaxations. I have been to quilting conferences and taken classes. My quilts have  featured by companies such as Craftsy, 24 Blocks, Embroidery Library, and American Professional Quilting Systems on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram pages, and published in the magazine Machine Quilting Unlimited.  My quilt, “Fandango Transformation” will be exhibit in October/November 2017 at the International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, TX. I quilt totally by using free motion, without the use of any computer software on my machine. I like sharing information by teaching longarm quilting classes and quilt making.

          When thinking about hiring the services of your partner longarm quilter try to keep several things in mind.  Making your hobby affordable is not the professional’s concern.  There is a reason quilting services charge you what may appear to be high amounts of money for their work.  What is your budget?   Let the longarmer know up front what your budget will allow. Usually there are 2 or 3 ways and price points a quilt can be finished, and the longarmer needs to know what you are thinking.  How much time do you expect the longarmer to spend on your project? Consider this: If you go to a quilt shop and want to piece a top that would be a knockout in high-end batiks, but your budget only allows you to buy close-out, discounted calico, does the shop owner give you more expensive fabric for the cheaper price because it would make the project look better? Does the butcher shop give a customer prime rib at the same price as hamburger because it would be nicer for your dinner party? Are you asking a longarmer to quilt your masterpiece for very little cost? Federal minimum wage is around $7.25 an hour for entry-level unskilled positions with no experience (Wal-Mart or McDonald’s). Would you want someone with no skill working on your masterpiece that took hours to complete? King sized custom quilts can take 20 hours to more than 40 hours to complete. For example, 20 hours at the rate of $15 per hour amounts to $300 in labor alone before figuring cost of the batting and thread used). Customized work tends to take 2-5 times longer than edge to edge. Stitching in the ditch is much more difficult on a longarm than a domestic sewing machine as it requires a ruler and slower stitching for accuracy. Custom quilting is not heirloom work, though heirloom quilting IS customized.          

          Longarm quilters are skilled professionals. Equipment can run from about $5000 for an entry-level bare bones machine to over $30,000. Learning to use the machine can takes a long time to become comfortable doing simple quilting. Custom quilting takes expertise. Longarm quilters earn an average of one half of their charges as take-home pay, have overhead expenses, and are self-employed therefore are responsible for costs beyond quilting. (here are some examples: insurance, advertising, computers, internet, machine and website maintenance, utilities, self-employment tax rates of 15%).  Realize that if you desire a drop-dead show-stopping quilt and are unable to quilt it yourself, you need to be willing to pay for labor expenses and not expect the longarmer to donate time spent. When considering whether or not to shop locally remember that yes, you can send out a quilt to a longarmer in another area of the country for what may seem like a very reasonable price, but those cheaper prices usually reflect computerized quilting of an edge-to-edge pattern or pantograph. Consider also that you wisely insure that package to be mailed back with the cost of the quilting + materials and labor so that if the quilt is lost in the mail you will be compensated for it. By sending out your quilt to a longarmer you do not know, rapport is more difficult than with a quilter who personally meets with you, knows you, and collaborates together with you to understand your preferences and get that personal touch. 

October 13, 2017 The Joy of Creativity

I got to thinking about what it is that appeals to me about sewing and quilting.  When I began to sew as a young girl the pull was making my own clothing.  I grew up in a home where thrift was the norm.  My mother taught me this well.  Mom was involved with home extension club activities and this was a good way to keep me busy with productive activities.   Mom gave me opportunity and encouraged me to learn how to sew by getting me involved with a county 4-H club that dealt mainly with sewing, cooking, and other projects that were helpful for kids to develop skills to be used all their lives.

The bonus of these activities was the competitions I enjoyed.  At the county 4-H level the winners would take their projects to the state fair.  Most years I entered something baked, sewn, or photographed and came home with many ribbons at the state level.  This was encouragement to continue.  A love for sewing and a thirst for competition had begun.

As my sewing skills advanced she told me she was done sewing my clothes because, as she put it, “You sew better than I do, do it yourself.”  I do remember her throwing sewing projects in a corner that she had no patience to finish!  That aside, I remember that she was a whiz at altering patterns and whenever I felt I needed help she was just a question away.  My grandmother was also a wonderful seamstress and never needed a pattern at all to make my mother’s clothing.

I believe thrift was the driving force behind Mom’s gentle persuasion and encouragement, but our family just could not afford to buy the lovely items I dreamed of wearing or using.  Making these items was much less expensive!  Upon getting married and having 2 girls I discovered that my sewing skills were a necessary part of being able to afford to clothe them affordably.  I loved making them beautiful things to wear and, yes, I’ll admit putting together outfits that were fashionable was pure joy for me.  I could put together an outfit for them in as little as a few hours and save an extreme amount of money.  As they became older I taught them both how to sew.  One daughter very much enjoyed the process and the other daughter decided it was not her cup of tea.  We are, after all, individuals with different goals in life.

These days when I wander into a business that sells fabric all those old bells and whistles go off in my head and I cannot resist coming up with ideas to create something beautiful.  The colors of today’s fabrics sing to me and I get to play with the textures and the threads as I construct yet another project.  Perhaps this is the draw of quilting.   I am still today making beauty with the work of my hands, creating something from my vision, and using those skills learned over a period of many years.  My sewing studio is indeed my happy place.  I cannot resist getting lost with freedom to create.

 

October 12, 2017 BOM

I’m working on a BOM, block of the month, right now that has my creativity stoked.  I generally drift to batik fabric when quilting as I like the vibrancy of the colors and the fact that once a batik is gone, it’s usually gone forever since it is so unique.  I am using the dotted fabrics from Urban Basix BOM for the quilt and then basing a second quilt on my own color scheme using the batiks.  I’m enjoying the way the batiks pop off the grey fabric I’ve chosen.  Here is the first month’s block.  There were 8 of these to put together for each color way.  I had not done flying geese in this method before so it was a fun learning adventure.  Hardest part is making the points be the point!

June Block IMG_3411editedJune block IMG_3411 (Edited)

Greetings!

01ffe22100756c940cf8463138d1871c2d05e43693Welcome to my blog.  I hope you enjoy my musings and indulge my thinking.  I have enjoyed fabric and the feel of it since I was 10 years old learning to sew.  It quickly became a passion.  I sewed clothing for others and my family for many years until the daughters became older.  I taught them both to sew and one continues to enjoy the art to this day, the other would rather sell clothing than make it!  It’s all okay.  Each to their own!!!  I have now enjoyed this love of fabric and thread for 54 years!!!