Saturday, December 26, 2015

What a Week

Hey Everyone!!!

I pray all is well in your world!!  I had a very good holiday, no craziness, just some good ole fashioned music, fun, memories and food.

I was super excited about this week, just about having a couple of days off from work.  I felt, as if many suspected, to be super emotional and boy oh boy I was.  I think I was the entire month, hence not shopping for anyone until 2-5 am Christmas Eve.  Once I was out and about I was good, but we sat down to eat at IHOP and here came the rest of the emotions.  We got home around 5:30, I took a good nap and was ready for round two around 10am finally finishing up at 1:30!  Came home to wrap all the goodies and finish preparing for #BDSI.

This week I delivered Nona's quilt, in her words, "It is beautiful.  So much better than I would've done lol and better than imagined."

                                             

Now, until my next customer, I can work on a couple of my own projects.  Stay tuned for tweets, IG and FB pics on my next couple of projects for the #BDSI

Well, as soon as I finished getting my pedi, off to quilting I go.  Yes, SI can't start without one, lol.  They don't call me the Quilt Diva for nothing! πŸ˜‰
       


Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Work In Process

Hey Everyone!!!

This past week has been jammed packed full of festive activities, shopping, working, and of course some quilting.  I have put in many long and late hours working both my full time job and Nona's quilt.

I knew I would have some dilemmas with this quilt, so I will not harbor on anything negative.  I can testify as to what I stated last week - I AM TRULY WORKING OUTSIDE OF MY NORM and it's ALL GOOD!!!  I am having to think differently and figure things out as best as I can to make this quilt everything I had envisioned.

From this pile:


                                               
 
I created this layout:

                                               
    
Bottom section completed:

                                                    
                                                       
     
I had to rework the top half of the quilt, and in my opinion, it's coming out beautifully.  Tonight is a church night, so I will not be able to do anything this evening.  I plan to have it loaded on Ava by Friday bedtime.  This way I can quilt it Saturday and start the binding process Sunday and have her ready for delivery on Dec. 23rd.  A picture of the completed quilt will shared next week.

I placed a couple of orders for rulers and some retired pantographs so I will be able to share those with you next week!

Well, this is it for today ---

Nona's T-Shirt Quilt

Hey Everyone!!!


I pray that you all are well and have had a wonderful quilty past week.


I have been working on Christmas quilt #2.  This quilt is due for delivery the week of Christmas.  This quilt reminds me of the quote, "When life hands you scraps, make a quilt!"  Not saying that it's bad, I'm just saying that it is way different than what I am used to receiving.


I met Nona in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.  She was super nice, I gave her my card and was hopeful to hear from her again.  Several months later, she sent me a text and I was super elated. I met with her at the assigned drop off and pick up point close to my home.  I usually take the time to get a good glance of everything prior to accepting a quilt top or t-shirts.  She had given me a huge tote bag and she pulled out several items from the bag.  I noticed that some of T's have already been cut and even stabilized in a manner that My eyes have never seen, but heard of.  She stabilized the tops with a fusible interfacing and another cotton fabric (I just back the T-shirt with my favorite Pellon stabilizer).  She then explained that her intended was to create the top herself and have it quilted, but life had flipped on her.  I shook my head, because you know I know what that feels like!  She then stated that the rest of the T's were in the bag.  She was in a bit of a hurry and I was too sorta, we were painting and getting my quilt studio together.


So this weekend, I was ready to work on this quilt.  I pulled everything from the bag and noticed there were NO whole T-shirts,  everything has been cut and cut in different sizes.  This is what I meant by the quote above.  I was thrown for a loop because - I know how I cut T's and how to watch out for logo placements.  I had very little wiggle room to resize these blocks and on some, I will definitely be cutting into the logos.  I blame myself solely, because I didn't take the time to look thru the whole bag.  In a way I was handed scraps, so now I had to make a quilt!   I also realize that this is a perfect way for me to prepare for things outside of my norm, so it's a good thing!!! 😊


Here is a pic of some of the blocks on my design wall. 

                                                   
       

I have to mark a throw size template on our living room floor so that I can figure out the exact placement of each block and add the necessary fillers.  In my next post I will be sure to show more pics of this beauty.


Well, off to quilting I go.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Black Friday and Wanda's Quilt

Hey everyone!!!  We survived our first Thanksgiving without our Jordan.  Tears of joy and happiness were shed, food was ate, and I got plumb-er!!! 😊

On Black Friday, I had to work.  The only shopping I did on this day was for myself, ONLINE!  I stocked up on batting. There are two batting brands that I absolutely love, Quilters Dream and Pellon.  I already have several packages of Quilters Dream batting, but needed more of the Pellon.  So I purchased (2) 9 yard bolts of batting from Walmart, one being Pellon Natural Cotton, 100% Cotton and the other Pellon Natural Blend 80/20.

In my last post I told you that I would be working on my friend, Wanda's quilt for #BFSI.  Tension issues struck again, so I thought.  For the longest time, I thought I was having problems with the tension, but I really wasn't.  On the back of the quilt were tiny white dots.  These dots were from my top thread peeking thru.  No matter how I adjusted the top thread or bobbin thread it would always pull to either the top of the quilt or bottom of the quilt. It got so bad that when I tested it on my tester fabric, everything looked beautiful.  When I started on the quilt, this is when I would see the dots.  I consulted my expert quilter friends (Twilters and IG'ers) and found that it was ALWAYS best to use only one thread color for both the top and bobbin.  This would save me many hours from picking out stitches to me keeping my sanity.  Sooo, it wasn't really a tension issue afterall, it was my lack of knowledge about using thread two different thread colors.  I did get lucky tho, If you follow me on Twitter and IG, I showed a pic of one spot on the quilt that the bobbin color came to the top. I was warring if I should pick it out or leave it be.  My family members could not see it, only when I pointed it out to them and when I took the picture.  Once I took the quilt off the frame and allowed the quilt to relax, I couldn't find the spot again.  In retrospect, the only thing I really had the most difficulty with was picking out the pantograph.  I can easily pick for myself, but to do it for someone else is nerve wrecking (It's almost just as bad as having tension issues!) Wanda did leave it to my discretion as to which quilt design to choose.  I knew the recipient of the quilt was a female, the quilt had bold orange chevrons against a white on white print fabric.  I didn't want to choose a design that would take away from the chevrons.  The white fabric had printed swirls and flowers. I didn't want anything floral because it would compete with the bold chevrons, so it had to be more swirls than anything.  I used the closest pantograph I had that would deliver femininity and swirls.  Again, I went with Breath of the Gods from Urban Elementz.  This quilt came out beautiful and I am super happy with it!!!  Now, I happen to run into her husband on yesterday and showed him the quilt, he said, "Dang Stephanie, this is beautiful.  Wanda is going to love this!"  This, coming from a man who has sewn clothing and has sewn/mended orthotics and prosthetic accessories for the past 20+ years.  So, this truly meant a lot to me to hear his compliment.  Here is Wanda's orange and white quilt:


                           
 
 
                                             
 
This is all I did for #BFSI, what did you do?
 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quilted

HIP, HIP HOORAY!!!  I finished quilting my king sized quilt, my first, in 11 months!!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

Overall, I found it exhilarating!!!  I'm very proud of myself and look forward to the many more I will quilt in the future.  Once I got my tension issues straightened out (I will explain later in the post), I was good to go.  I believe it had everything to do with me using 2 different threads and a flannel backing.  For the bobbin thread, I used Bobbin Line by Fil-Tec:

                                          
    

For the top thread, I used Glide by Fil-Tec:

                                           

I realized that I didn't give myself proper spacing behind my quilting frame.  I had to stand a little to the left of my machine in order for me to quilt each pass.  This was because the machine head would not extend all the way to the back.  What a bummer!!!πŸ˜” I also noticed in certain places my machine did a shimmy dance, it got worse with each pass.  We tried tightening and loosening the tracks, but to no avail.  In order for me to have peace of mind, my dealer will have to come and make the necessary adjustments.  (After the holidays of course!) πŸ˜‰ 
As expected, tension, Tension, TENSION was an issue.  On my first quilt back, I should have never started out with two different thread weights and a flannel backing.  I did practice on my scrap fabric for about 30-40 minutes before I achieved an exceptable tension.  I got started with a previously used wound bobbin, no trouble at with tension.  Once it ran out, replaced with a new bobbin, I started going, snap went my thread.  I looked at the stitches and they were all way loose.  After another 30-40 minutes, I finally got it.  Half way down the quilt, snap.  What now?!?  Some how my threads shredded and tangled up.  I fixed the problem and went to bed.  Next day not one problem.  I think Ava was sleepy too!  Then when this bobbin was empty, I changed the bobbin (Of course) and guess what, no tension issues!!!😊

The starter pass felt awkward, but that's like that for me every time I start a quilt.  After my second full pass, I started to feel more comfortable with the pantograph.  I was able to speed up just a little bit.  I found wearing earbuds and really comfy clothes relaxing.  I listened to a Pandora gospel station and jammed all the way.  My next goal is to download Christian books so I can listen to them as well.

Below is the finished top, I have yet to bind it.                                            
   
                                           

Sandy, from http://quiltingfortherestofus.com, mentioned that the #BFSI is a go!  I refuse to go shopping, tomorrow for anything Christmas related.  Unfortunately, I do have to go to Walmart first thing in the morning to get a booster seat for my daughter (Hers was destroyed in the car accident) so we can travel to my God-Mothers house to celebrate Thanksgiving.  On Black Friday, I have to work half a day.  I plan on going to Joann/Hancock to get batting and Pellon stabilizer and that's it!  Then, home I go to start on my first 2015 commissioned quilt.  Recently, Wanda, my friend just started quilting and she choose me to be her long arm quilter.  Isn't this orange and white twin size quilt a cutie:                                                   
                                                    
                                                    
  
Well, I guess I better hit the sack.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so from my family to yours, have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Getting Ready To Quilt Again

Many say, "It's just like riding a bicycle, once you start peddling, it'll come back to you!"

Well, I wonder how true this is.  It has been 11 months since I've worked on a quilt.  I have several commission quilts that I must quilt before Christmas.  Before I start them, I need to work on something of my own to build up my confidence.  Before I let myself loose on someone else's quilt, I need to feel one with Ava again.  This calls for something big, something like the quilt I started way, way, way back in November of 2013 when Jordan was first hospitalized.  Just in case you don't remember it, here is a pic to remind you:


I finished the quilt top quite some time ago, but it was way too big for my frame.  I had high hopes of going to my friends house to quilt it, but she had developed cancer (Kicked it's butt) and instead of her taking it easy, her cancer was like pure adrenaline for her.  She went on a quilting frenzy and has not looked back since!!!  Now, that I have my frame completely up, I can quilt it at home, at my pace and on my own schedule, yippee!!!  This will be my first bed quilt I made for myself.  It is now freshly pressed and ready for a quick, nice and easy panto!  I'm waiting for the panto I purchased from Urban Elementz called Breathe of Gods, pictured below.

 


In the meantime, I will be cutting, piecing, and pressing my binding strips and my flannel backing.

Well, that's all I got for ya today, what are you working on?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Moved In

Hey Everyone!

EEK, my studio is almost done!!!  I still have work to do, but I wanted to share with you what I have done so far.   I'm smiling from ear to ear because of our progress.  Please know I am not bragging in any way, shape or form - I just wanted to share something I've been wanting and working toward for quite some time.  ☺️

The first thing we did prior to anything being moved in was pray.  My husband and I walked over ever inch of this room and prayed.  Praying brings me balance and peace.  In my studio, I spend quite a bit of my time talking with God while using the gift He has blessed me with.  

The new studio space is a little shy of 200 square feet, yes it's quite petite for a quilting space with a longarm.  So I had to be creative in the things that I purchased for my new space, reused from my old space and the items we repurposed.

First, we brought in all of wall hangings.  After everything was up, I felt something was still missing.  I decided to get some shelves to go above my sewing table.  This way, I can bring in more color to balance against the buff  colored walls.

Next we brought in Ava, my Handi Quilter Avante.  My husband and I tossed the buck back and forth as to who would put her back together.  We assembled her ourselves the first time, not really that hard to do.  I remember, It took us a LONG time getting her leveled and balanced.  In fact, I'm still not sure we got it right because in the middle of the frame I felt tension and then a push.  While quilting, I tried to adjust my speed when approaching this area, but it would ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS mess up the quilting some in that area.   We tried many remedies to get rid of this "Tension push," but all to no avail.  I didn't want this to happen this time around.  I called to see what the charge would be to come the almost 2 hours to set Ava up and to make sure she is running on the frame properly and functioning as she should be - $300.00 😱!!!  Not bad, I guess.  I'm just not wanting to give up my play money to do it.  My husband assured me that he had faith in us and that we were capable of doing it.  He also said, that if by chance we couldn't, he would gladly pay ☺️ for our dealer to come out and level and balance her.  It was much easier putting her up this time around and we had no real problems balancing and leveling her.  I had to reorder black tracks for the track support.  Because originally I had cut them to fit the 8'ft frame.  Black tracks must be one continuous piece, therefore the ones I used before will not work on the 12'ft frame.  I also had to purchase leaders, I splurged for the super leaders.  The original leaders (That come with the machine) were all the same size.  When it came to pinning my backing to the top back pole, I would always end up having a really bad back ache.  I hope to alleviate some of this pain with the super leader.  The back leader is twice the width of the other two leaders which keeps me from bending over as much in an uncomfortable position while pinning. 

Next we put up 8" ft fluorescent daylights, it is super bright, just the way I like it!!!  We took down the ceiling fan, I hope I don't regret making this decision.  I guess if push comes to shove, I will bring in an oscillating floor fan to help keep me cool.  I still might have to get a bendable light for my sewing machine area, but I'm not sure as of this writing.  Once I sit down to sew, I can get a better gauge if one is needed.

Then we brought in the side kick to my sewing table, the Linnmon/Adils by IKEA.  Nothing special, just needed a table to help support quilt tops as I make them.

 I plan on not putting a tv back in my studio.  This is a big distraction for me.  For now, I will settle with my iPad for music and to listen to podcast.  The white cabinet which my tv sat upon in my old studio, I repurposed as a small 20" X 24" ironing station.  I am so pleased with how well it turned out.  Larger strips and yards of fabric will have to be ironed on our home ironing board.

I changed my mind about getting the Gidget II, I chose the Ingo table from IKEA instead.  I got more table for much less, even though I had to create the floating shelf myself.  I gave my husband and my friend David the instructions if found here on Pinterest. It was a fun project not only to watch, but to also lend a hand every now and then.  Actually, David's wife just started quilting and she and I disappeared to talk quilty, she even asked me to be her longarm quilter! 😊 I can honestly say, I think this was my favorite DIY project to date.

My closet contained the same contents as my other closet, so nothing exciting to tell about that.

I still have to get 3 small cabinets that will fit under my frame and 1 to go next to my sewing table.  My current ones were damaged when they were moved to storage, so I don't want to keep moving them and risk my stuff falling out everywhere or worse, getting damaged from falling.  So, I will bring this stuff in from storage as I acquire the cabinets.

Well, I think that's about it, and I kept you all from quilting long enough.  I hope you all enjoy my studio tour pics below: 


  



 
Now, I can slowly gain my footing and get back to doing what my I was born to do - Quilt!!!
 
 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Long Time Coming

Hey Everyone!!!  It has been over a year since my last post, wow!!!  Time really does fly, but I wasn't having much fun.  Before I get into anything quilty, I want to say thank you to all of my Twilter family.  This past year has been very hard and the past 6 months even harder.  I can't express to each of you how much it has meant to me that when my life was upside down you were there to spin me back around!!!  Your prayers, thoughts, tweets, private messages, cards and the quilt will never be forgotten. 

Jordan would have loved your quilt.  Everyone loved it, especially me!!!  We were away from home the day the box arrived.  A'jay (My son) brought the box in from the porch with much excitement.  He and Cameron had been receiving all kinds of packages from friends and family.  So, he naturally assumed it was for them, but addressed to me.  When I saw the return address I started crying and I wouldn't let him open it.  He was concerned and confused, but still anxious about wanting to open the box.  I got myself together and finally let him open it.  Our jaws hit the floor!  He immediately wrapped himself in it, and claimed it for himself 😐.  I gave him about five minutes with it, and then had to go and confiscate it from him.  As I reached for the quilt, our eyes glanced down at the same time and saw the label.  He kept screaming, "OMG mama, OMG!"  He looked at me and I thought I was about to start talking, but instead I started with the "Ugly cry!"  I absolutely love this quilt and haven't slept from under it since I've gotten it!  For those of you who haven't seen it or those who want to see it again, isn't it beautiful?

                               
                                      
                                              

I haven't done much of anything in my studio lately.  About a month ago, I attempted to make a wallet:

                            

I have yet to sew on the snap and use this cutie.  Ms. Lottie/Madquiltlady from Twitter and I worked virtually on this wallet.  It wasn't the easiest pattern to follow, but with her help, Twilters and Joann employees I managed to get it done!

My husband and I recently decided that we are staying in our home.  We were both wanting to move, but now I have mixed feelings about this, even though in my heart this what I really wanted.  I would love to move to a bigger home out in the country so that I could have my quilt studio above the garage, in the garage or in a detached workshop.  I rather stay for now because of the vivid memories I have of our daughter Jordan in this house.  With staying here I opted out of putting a barn/shed out back for my studio.  I don't have the clientele to support the expense of having one.  Nor, did I want to give up my monthly "play money" - I HAVE MY PRIORITIES! ☺️ So, I did the next best thing - I kicked my son out of his room. Yep, I sure did!  This way I could put up my entire 12' frame for my HQ Avante.  I will still be cramped, but at least more spread out.  My son will be getting what was the girls room with a private 1/2 bathroom. So, no need to feel sorry for him.  We will paint his room the same color as our bedroom, Valspar Palliside Blue.  Cameron will be moving into my current quilt studio, we have yet to decide what color her room will be. This was the color (Can't recall name) of my son's room:

                                                   
    

This is the room now, painted Valspar Homestead Resort Buff:

                                                    

I hope this color will not distort the fabric colors as did the orange walls I had originally in my studio.  My studio will also be getting new doors, lights and blinds after we are finished with the floors.  The floors (Thru out our home) will be sanded, stained (A warmer color) and polyurethaned this coming week.  Meaning we will be displaced for a whole week 😭.  And the last of the changes will be new sewing furniture.  It was very hard to sew on my old setup, not quilter friendly at all.  I was constantly getting shoulder pain and fatigued when I sewed.  After much research, I purchased this table from IKEA:

                                             
    

It's the Linnmon/Adils table.  It will be slightly taller than my new quilting table:

                                          
    

the Arrow, Gidget II.  Due to my small space, I had to be creative in selecting furniture.  I think these tables would work quite well together.  I'm sure the 7/8" difference is not enough to cause any problems for the "L" shaped design I'm envisioning.
   
Eventually, I will be replacing the 3 plastic bins under my longarm with 2 - 3 of these Alex drawers by IKEA:

                                       
It will look more pleasing to my eye to have these instead of the broken plastic bins I currently have.  

Well, I think this is all I have to share on my first post back.  I look forward to keeping you guys posted in the near future of my new studio and quilty adventures.

Until then, be blessed and quilt!