Friday, September 08, 2017

Pondering, Thinking and Wondering

Hi all!

I hope that if you or your loved ones are in an area affected by all of these crazy weather systems that you are safe and okay!  Stay dry and warm.

For me?  I am machine quilting today and pondering taking in some quilts to longarm for other people.  I have been thinking about this for quite some time; but, I haven't come to any real resolution about this, for many reasons.  But, I think that I have made one conclusion - from standing here custom quilting my Curve It Up Sampler.  I don't think that I could possibly make money quilting like this for other people.

 

Let me explain a bit.  I have spent the last couple hours using rulers to fill in the bottom of these blocks (my machine doesn't have a really huge throat like the bigger longarms because, frankly, I don't have the space for one of those!) with custom machine quilting - and - enjoying it I might add!

I took a step back from the machine and thought - how the heck would anyone be willing to pay me enough to do this amount of intensive work on a quilt??!!  To make it worthwhile, a longarmer would have to charge a BIG chunk of money to quilt a quilt as intensely as I am.  However, I am sure that people are much faster at this than I am!  I've watched a lot of longarm videos and I know that people are a LOT faster than I am but it still takes a lot of time.

What if someone came up to me with an identical top and asked me to quilt it exactly the same?  I decided that I would have to charge a lot of money.

 

And I mean a LOT of money LOL! 

I think that this is why a lot of longarmers have gone to doing edge to edge computer driven panto-graphs.  It is a lot faster, consistent and affordable.  I know of several, local, longarmers that do only computer driven edge to edge and they have a steady stream of happy customers - enough to keep them busy.

So, after pondering the cost of custom quilting I started to wonder if there is demand for custom quilting?  And, if there is demand - are people willing to pay for what they want?  Hmm.

In the past I have listened to quilters complain about the cost of custom longarm quilting and how the quilter charged way to mach for her Queen sized quilt (let's say $450.00).  If you break it down and think about how many hours the longarmer ACTUALLY spent quilting that quilt, this is an extremely reasonable amount of money for the hours spent.

I found this wonderful article on just that.

 

"Why Does my Longarmer Charge So Much" is a great article that I recommend you read - either as a longarmer or a customer.   It comes down to value - value for your time, your skill and your artistry - not to mention your base costs like electricity, your machine, your training etc, etc.

So, this has been one very long ramble to say I am STILL wondering if there is demand and, frankly, I am wondering if I want to take in quilts for other people, and, if doing this would take me away from my own quilts and my life!?  

So many questions!!!  

Please let me know your thoughts!  I would absolutely love to hear them.  I would love to hear from longarmers and customers :-D

Friday, September 01, 2017

Metro Rings Top!

Hey all!

Well, I suffered through with my pins and I got the Metro Rings top all sewn together and pressed! 

Since it is a nice sunny day, I ran outside to grab a couple of pictures so I could show the quilt top off!
 

I love seeing the quilt top this way - you can't see all the woopsies!   This top is by no means perfect and I think that this was, for me, the most challenging of the Sew Kind of Wonderful patterns I have done; but, I still love it!  I love most quilts made from 1930's reproduction fabrics :-D  I think they are so cheerful!  I have plans for another Metro Rings quilt and I know the things that I, personally, have to do differently - for one - I have to sew at a true quarter inch seam and not a scant one when sewing the 2.5" strips together.  There are more; but, this is the main one.

I also used Kona white for the background and Kona solids for the corner triangles - what doesn't go with Kona

Taking pictures of this top was pretty amusing since it is a bit windy today.  The quilt was flying in and out of good lighting but it created some neat shots :-)

 
 
 

Gotta love the dappled September lighting ;-)  

Now to fold the quilt onto a hanger to await it's turn to be machine quilted!  I am pretty sure I know how I want to quilt this one; but, if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pinning, pinning, pinning - I need new pins!

Gah!

Is there are a part of piecing that you find tedious?  For me, there are a couple of parts - if I can be honest.  One of these parts is pinning the rows together.  I don't mind pinning pieces together but the rows are another thing.  Odd huh?

Why do I find it tedious?  It's because the rows can be cumbersome.  I find they need to be supported by a table to pin correctly; whereas, I can sit, in a chair, and relax, while I pin pieces together.  It's silly I know; and, I know that it is necessary to get to the end; but, wow I can procrastinate this step! 

 

So, here I am, writing a blog post about pinning instead of pinning LOL!  Why?  Because my pins are starting to dull and I need to buy some new pins.  I have been using Clover glass head silk pins.

But, I've been wondering if there are some new and better pins out there? 

Do you have some favorite pins?  Or, have you heard about a new brand or type?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Machine Quilting and Robert Frost

For a past few days I have had couple lines from a poem running through my head:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" 
I know that the original meaning of the poem absolutely does not apply to quilting; but, man,  these words have been resonating with me the last couple of days!

I try to set myself goals when I machine quilt.  Setting goals keeps me focused and accountable.  But, sometimes these goals are maybe a little too lofty! 


 

I wanted to get a section of background finished today.  A HUGE section to be honest!  I set a goal for this weekend and it was a big goal.  I wanted to get all the cross-hatch done in between the rows and I think that this may have been too lofty a goal for the weekend.  Especially since the weather is lovely today and there are other things I think I'd rather be doing - and - frankly, the quilting will still be there tomorrow!

So, although I have promises to keep, to myself, and, miles to go, I will give myself permission to stop for a bit and get outside :-D  Besides - there are still more hours in the day before I sleep ;-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Curves Progress

Lately I feel like I am obsessed with curves!  Do you do this?  Get obsessed with a technique, or a ruler, or a thread etc and that's all you want to work on??  Well, this is me with curves right now :-D  And, I am A-OK with it!

I have loaded the Curve It Up Sampler by Sew Kind of Wonderful onto my frame and started quilting it.  I decided not to give into the temptation of an all-over quilting design across this sampler quilt and do an all custom job with a theme.

 

 Each block will be quilted with pebbles, echo quilting, free-hand tight hatching and ruler hatching - ok there's a plan :-D  The hardest part is deciding what to quilt to me sometimes.  Especially on a quilt that I really like and want to push myself on ;-)


Where it all stalled was the background fill for me.  My first impulse was to cross-hatch and then do a tight fill in every second square.  That sounded like a lot of work to me so I tried to think of something else - maybe a pebble fill?  Again a lot of work!

I put off the background for as long as I could until . . . . 

 

 Oops!  I am almost out of thread!!  Time to order more FilTech Glide White!  This is my go-to thread - I love the shine, the strength and the lack of link not to mention the amazing pre-wound bobbins they offer.  Disclosure - if you use the Glide link to sign up and purchase it is a referral link so that I can get a few "Stitch Points" for future orders :-D

In the mean-time can focus on the background and use 60 weight thread to contrast with the 40 weight thread.

 


I decided to go with my first impulse and do the cross-hatching ;-)  Doing the ruler work is time-consuming but I love it!  It's so rewarding.


 

I was right - the cross-hatch fill is a lot of work but wow!  I love it! I love the way it looks :-D  You probably can't tell but the thinner thread for the background fill looks really nice.  It melts into the fabric a bit more than the 40 weight Glide Thread.

 

After doing the cross-hatching for a while I found that using my Clover Hera marker to make a pleat in the fabric to mark the spacing was much easier for me and I don't have any blue lines to wash out later.

But, again, I hit a stalling point - I need my thread order to quilt the blocks!!  It should be here tomorrow so I won't have long to wait ;-)

I was so tempted to start a new project as I have a few new patterns burning a hole in my  project binder but I decided to be a good girl instead and pull out my incomplete Metro Rings project.  I have 12 blocks finished - which is what the pattern called for; but, I had decided to make the project bigger than a lap quilt early on.

 

So, the project came out and I put a few hours into cutting more white fabric and piecing the blocks together.  It feels good to work on this again - it's a WIP (work in progress) again instead of a UFO banished to my overflowing quilt closet!  I have so many tops in there to quilt so I need to stay focused and get some projects done, especially when I really like the project, instead of jumping onto the next one!   I think that I will work on this project for a while longer.

I find that if I keep a project out on my sewing table, pieces sorted and ready to go, with the machine set up with the appropriate thread etc I will sit down and put a few minutes in here and there.  I call this my "pockets of time" as in I use little bits of free time to do some work and these "pockets" really add up to get a lot of work done!  The key is to be set-up and ready to work so that if I have 15 minutes free I get 14 minutes of productive work done.  The set-up is the work - the sewing is the fun ;-)

So, are you a quilter who works on one project at a time or multiple projects like me??  How do you decide?  I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Easy Binding Winder

This has been sooo very long in coming!

I have had my Easy Binding Winder since the company first did their Kickstarter campaign; but, well - I forgot that I hadn't published my review on it!!   I had it in my mind that I had published this but I hadn't.  So, here it is after so long!

In a nutshell, what this little machine does is keep your binding organized, neat, and easier to add to your quilt when it is time :-D  I love easy :-D


 

The cute little pink gizmo attaches to your ironing board and as you press your binding you wind it onto a spool in the machine.  I know that you can wind it around a ruler or cardboard etc but this truly is easier!  It's also affordably priced with package deals and shipping deals.

I am the type that likes to cut my borders and binding off the lengthwise grain; so, I usually cut my binding before the quilt top is finished and is quilted.  I do love having my binding cut and prepared well in advance of the final stage so this tool really helps me out.

 

After the binding is pressed it is wound onto the spool and easily removed from the machine.

 

The binding is completely organized and in a small, manageable package to save for later.  If you want you can purchase additional spool pins so you can store multiple bindings.  This is great b/c I tend to do a lot of binding with the same Kona solids like black or white so this allows me to keep adding more binding onto existing binding.

 

Or, you can pop the pin out of the binding and put it in a zip-lock for later (like I do).  Either way - your binding is neat, tidy and ready to go!  Applying the binding to the quilt when it is wrapped like this is sooo much easier!  When I wrap the binding around a ruler it seems to come unraveled when I am applying it but wrapped like the Easy Binding Winder does it stays together and manageable.

 

Because I was part of the Kickstarter campaign  my Binding Winder came signed and numbered with a cute little heart - ahh!  So cute!

So - my honest opinion???  I love this little machine!  It clamps easily to your ironing board and keeps your binding neat and tidy and tangle free.  What's not to like??  At the price-point it is it would make a great gift (for yourself) or others and it would be a great addition to have in your shop.  It is a simple machine that is well made, sturdy, and a great addition to my sewing room!

Anything that can keep my quilting process neater and easier is a keeper for me!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Pool Noodles!

My sewing room got a little addition yesterday!!

Pool Noodles!  

I first saw a great tip to store your quilts using pool noodles on the Sew Kind of Wonderful Blog quite a while ago but I had to wait for spring for pool noodles to pop into stores ;-)  

 

I got a few different colours to start in the hopes that I could sort my quilts that I use for teaching - IE blue quilts are for machine quilting (labelled 1, 2 3, etc etc), trunk shows are red etc.  And then, also, quilts for sale, and quilts to store.  I also had the idea that when I have cut a custom dowel to hang it it could be inserted into the middle of the noodle for storage.  This method would allow me to sort, store, find and transport my quilts soooooo much easier and with a lot less time involved! 

Well the other day this article popped up in my Facebook news-feed! 

Pool Noodles Are a Big Help in the Sewing Room 

What a great article with additional uses for pool noodles!  It was too good not to share!!

Now I am off to organize my new noodles :-)