Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Catching up

It's true.  Like I said some weeks ago, I am on a quilting hiatus.  I am taking a break from the client work to recharge my battery and to work on some of my projects that always get swept to the far corner.  A week or so ago, I decided that I needed to get a few of the client's quilts done.  I wanted a paycheck LOL!  I had 2 edge-to-edges (yes, I actually get E2Es!) and this adorable baby quilt.

This client prefers less dense quilting, which makes me work hard.  My inclination is always to quilt more densely.  I hope she likes it; I think it's adorable. She's donating it to a NICU as a charity quilt.
 Fills are loose, and slightly varied. I let the hearts on the giraffes be the focus.
 Late last week, I loaded two more quilts, both belonging to the same client.  This star is right up my alley. It is a design I have quilted several times, and have a stock of nice designs to put in each space. As a quilter, this is the type project that causes no stresses, and is perfect for a time when I don't really want to overthink a design or reinvent wheels.

It's a throw size, quilted with a Hobbs 80/20 batting. I used Glide threads mostly, except for the striped brown border. Though the colors are somewhat Christmassy, I don't know that it is intended as such.
 Here's the pretty back...It shows the outer border when the first photo does not.
 Here is the other quilt...This one I sat on all weekend. I pondered what to do every time I walked by the quilt. There is something about all that background blank space that makes me fret!  In the end, it is cute and whimsical, and was really not stressful whatsoever.
 I needed the quilting to give the quilt movement and character. I wanted to create a faux frame too. There are ghost oak leaves quilted into the background amidst the 3 fills I used.
These appliques are fused, so I kept quilting on them to a minimum...just defining the veining of the leaves.  I used a wool batt and Glide thread.
 It's good to be quilting a little bit. I have a Lollipop Trees quilt next to be loaded, but it won't be quilted exclusively.   I am still working on a few other things simultaneously. It feels better to chip away at the jobs gradually!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Month, really?

OK, my sincere apologies for the very long delay. I have thought of writing a blog post for 2-3 weeks now, but never sat down long enough to do it. I got back from MQX 6 weeks ago, whipped out some client quilts and happily set off on my personal hiatus.

Yup, you read that right. I am on quilting vacay for a while. I have not quit taking the client quilts, but I am not quilting any but a baby quilt this month, and probably only one next month. The girl needs a little holiday shopping money!

I have been feeling the burnout for several months now. I watch my own projects get pushed to the back burner, and then when I do get to work on them I feel rushed and guilty. This is ME time to recharge my batteries, and hopefully get something into the works that I love for next year.

My first order of business was to get this quilt off the frame, finished, etc AND bound. I still have some detail work, and embroidery to finish, but for all intents and purposes, she is done. In April I will show a full shot of it :-)  We had a day without power thanks to a very windy night, and I sat for about 4 hours by a window hand-stitching the binding. After about 5 scalloped-piped bindings, I think I have finally gotten the knack of it. This one is very well done.
I also loaded a piece of peach silk that was marked in September. I first did this design on a piece of green Radiance in the summer with colored threads. I thought that it would look cool, but it takes so much patience and control to quilt with black thread on green fabric, that I really didn't think it stood a chance of becoming a show quilt. Maybe I will convert it to a fancy pillow - LOL. Rather than ditch the WC idea and design, I decided I'd go for round #2 and try a monochromatic approach. The silk is peachier than the photo shows. Also, it is wet in the picture.
This gave me an opportunity to tweak things about the design that were a PIA the first time, and modify other areas.  Much of it is the same.  I am just sick with love for this herringbone filler. It is tedious, but so worth the time.  I found that this color silk did not match any of the silk threads available. I opted to go to Wonderfil's Invisifil, a poly thread. This is such a fantastically fine thread - lesson to you, it is a royal pain to remove so make sure you like what you stitch!.
My plan is to get a binding on this before December 1, and enter the little beast in the Paducah show. It may be glued to the backside, but it will have a finished photo by then!

I have also been making a couple of fun magazine quilts on feathered wreaths and Cathedral Windows, but you will have to wait until next spring to see those.

My boxes of classroom handouts and fabrics are getting packed up to ship off to Road to California next month. OMG...what a lot of things to ship.  Teachers, if you teach for MQX, you know that we have a great deal there - they bring the batting for us.  The box of batting I am shipping is enormous (but it will save me from cutting batting in the wee hours should my flight not be on time!).

I am also getting the class things readied for my 6 classes at Mid-Atlantic in February, just a month after Road. Thankfully, this show is a wee bit closer to home. I have 2 new classes debuting there, the details for which I am still ironing out. I have 2 new class samples on Templates on my machine as I type! I love the templates classes, but what I learned from doing them in 2015 and 2016 is that one class does not fit all. For next year, I have split the material into Templates I and Creative Templates 2, to hopefully better serve the needs of more quilters.  This week, the classes open for MQX East (show in April 2018), and these will be 2 of my 6 classes offered there.

Phew...that really has been a lot of work, but let me show you something that has been a crazy bit of fun.  OK, maybe its just crazy.

A couple posts ago I showed a snippet of a design I came up with for a cathedral window, based on an ultra cool church in Barcelona. I gathered (by that I mean, I went through my stash then I bought 30 yards of new colors) batiks of all shades of the rainbow. I have not worked with batik in a long time. It is nice to sew, no raveling.

Being that batiks are notorious bleeders, I presoaked every fabric about 4 times until nothing bled.
 There was A LOT of excess dye, for every color.

Even the yellow.  

My first attempt was to free-piece sections of windows. It was just not coming out as I wanted. Seams were in odd places, sometimes bulky. It resembled the actual church windows, but not my vision of this glorious window.
On a moment of total crazy, I decided I'd try repiecing one of them using 1" squares -- about 800 of them. Here it is layed out on my cutting mat, which of course, I planned to use the next day for something. That was foolish.
 To assemble these into the 16" circle below, it only tool me about 8-9 hours. Talk about a crazy amount of time! I am fairly anal about my seams all pressing the right way (Good Lord, not open!), and about these 1/2" patches having good matches.  I just failed to recognize that 3/4 of every 1" square was going to be on the backside in the seams!  BUT...it is just the look I wanted -- one that glows more and is luminescent. The first attempt just did not satisfy this.
 I have this next section started. It has nearly 3 times the area though.
 I am trying a different approach for these.  I am partially strip-piecing them.
 These have small sections of 3 or 4 pieced units. I don't have enough prepped to know if this will be a seam nightmare, but seams can be pressed the other direction too. The prospect of spending 4000 hours to piece the 10000 squares in these windows will undoubtedly make me move on to another quilt!
Lastly, some of you probably know already, as this is old news, but my Twisted Sister quilt won a 2nd place at IQF Houston 2 weeks ago. I wish I could have gone to see it there, but part of me really needs the rest too.
Later, quilters!