Since I'm too sick to post anything of a creative sort, I want to share an example of repurposing metallic thread. Several spools of very pretty Kaleidoscope metallics by YLI were headed for the thrift shop, until my great-niece arrived last weekend.
And she knew just what to do with all that shiny thread...
So even though my Gammill Classic Plus did not like these threads, they kept a 13-year old happy for hours.
Today is a working sick day. I'm still plugging away on this beautiful purple and pink quilt with a very enjoyable pantograph. It's very dense, I've discovered, so I'll be taking naps in between rows!
Thankfully, today my quilting student is out of town and we won't be doing our Log Cabin class. I will miss her enthusiasm for piecing today. But my swollen throat will thank me later for not having to talk so much.
Last week she finished her 2nd Light and 2nd Dark. I, however, was only able to get half of my 2nd Light finished and no 2nd Dark at all. It was a sacrifice I was ready to make so that she could use my wonderfully smooth Husqvarna 545 Lily sewing machine instead of her noisy, jumpy Brother sewing machine from Walmart. The look on her face was pure joy as she pulled her strips through my machine like butter. Her quarter-inch seam improved, and all was right with the world.
Since I couldn't sew I had to do something constructive. So I helped her with trimming and pressing her blocks after each strip was attached, making sure I saved enough for her to do so she could learn good habits. And, I took the opportunity of introducing her to another necessary rite of quilting: watching sappy romantic comedies that you've already seen dozens of times. She chose "Did You Hear About The Morgans?", which was hilarious because of where we live. Our town is actually smaller and more remote than the "small" town depicted in the movie. We could relate to the pick-up truck stereotypes.
To make a long story short, I didn't get pictures of my student's block progress from last week but here is a picture of what I was able to accomplish with my own blocks:
I love the fabrics. They've been sitting on my fabric shelves for years now. Before my student comes next Tuesday, I want to have my blocks completed.
That way, she can use my $1400 sewing machine. And I can watch a another movie...
This is a close-up shot of how King Tut's #994 "Karnak" variegated cotton thread moved across all of the colors in yesterday's quilt. I loved the turquoise and brown combination in the fabric and in the thread!
Today's job is a dense pantograph on a very pretty purple and pink quilt. The backing is pale pink dotty flannel. My customer's only request was that the quilting design be "girly". So I chose "Rainbow Flight" by Miki & Diane Designs. It's 13 inches of girly feathers and rainbows that undulate across the quilt top.
I'm using Rainbows variegated poly thread #818 "Wedding Bells", which is a subtle mix of pinks and lavenders. In the bobbin I'm using Aurifil 40 wt. cotton in color #2515 which is a perfect match.
Since the quilting design is dense, I'm using a nice, flat 100% cotton batting to make sure this quilt doesn't become too stiff.
It's a large quilt, which means it won't be finished today. But it's worth having it on the machine for a few days to see the design take shape.
Today I'm working on this refreshingly fun quilt that's small enough to finish in one day! I like to schedule these quick jobs in-between custom jobs. It's sort of like wiping my slate clean for the next big job, and reminding me of just how fun longarm machine quilting is.
The panto I'm using today is called "Jacobean" from Willow Leaf Studio. It's leafy and curly, and it's evenly spaced. The thread is King Tut's #994 "Karnak, an amazingly perfect color combination of turquoise and brown variegated cotton which mimics the fabric colors exactly.
When the quilt is finished I want to show how different the thread looks running across dark fabrics and light fabrics.
Teaching a young woman to quilt has been more fun than I expected. Last week on Day 1 of our Log Cabin class we managed to cut out and organize all of our strips, and complete the piecing of our Center and 1st Light fabric.
My student certainly has an eye for fabric selection. Here are her strips lined up in their proper order:
I'm making the same quilt right alongside of her. I guess that's because since she's my only student, it gives me something to do while she's cutting, piecing and pressing. Also, it helps her see the different ways that different colors behave together.
For instance, all 7 fabrics for my version were chosen solely from my stash. And this is how my Center and 1st Light looked after last week's class:
And here are my strips sets, lined up and ready for action:
Yesterday, Day 2 of our Log Cabin class, consisted of adding the 1st Dark and the 2nd Light to our blocks. How exciting it was to watch her stitching and pressing each new fabric and watching the colors come together! After the 1st dark, her block began to give a hint of its personality:
And then she stitched and pressed her 2nd Light into place:
My 1st Dark was stitched and pressed and revealed to be quite wild:
For quite awhile now I've wanted to make a turquoise and orange quilt. I just couldn't seem to get inspired in the quilt shops when it came time to buy fabric.
As fate would have it, the fabrics were found in my own years-old stash...
When this quilt top arrived, I had all of the quilting designs figured out in a matter of minutes.
And none of them ended up on this quilt. Instead, the quilting designs figured themselves out in spite of me.
As previously mentioned, my customer decided on a Custom Lite treatment and the pantograph in the center was chosen (and edited) to reflect the leafy focus fabric.
After making the edits to the main pantograph, I set out to edit the edges so the design would fit inside the center of the quilt and not extend into the border. Here is the re-draw for the bottom and right edge:
And here it is stitched out:
When it came time for me to quilt the burgundy border, I wanted to mimic some of the curly shapes and grape leaves in the focus fabric. However, after practicing my designs on paper over and over I realized I didn't like my shapes at all and decided to find a leafy pantograph border that would mimic some of the shapes instead.
What I discovered is a wonderful resource for machine quilters! Digi-Tech designs not only carries hundreds of computerized and paper designs you can buy, but they are all available in PDF for immediate printing right from your home printer. Instantly! When I realized this, my mind quickly reflected on all of the time I have wasted waiting for pantographs to arrive in the mail. Not anymore! Not only can you instantly download any pattern your heart desires, but you can also resize your pattern once you own it.
That is how I came to choose this leafy pantograph border called "Phoenix" by Intelligent Quilting. I resized it to fit into the burgundy border, and this is how it looked after I printed it out, taped it together and connected some lines:
Unfortunately, it was impossible to edit and redraw the leaf designs to fit into these pieced insets throughout the burgundy borders:
So, I opted for a freehand flowing leafy vine that could accommodate the pieced insets instead. First I chalked a faint double vein using a feather stencil. This is my favorite stencil for doing this kind of vein:
Then, brushing off the excess chalk before stitching, I quilted the vein:
Starting from the centers of the borders and working out to the corners, I stitched the leaves freehand so I could work around the piecing insets:
Originally, this quilt was supposed to have one quilted border, the burgundy border. And the small 2-inch white border was going to be left open. But since the design in the burgundy border ended up being quite dense I realized the white border needed just a touch of ribbon-quilting. So I used my Gadget Girls acrylic ruler to make the curves:
And this is how the corners came together:
And finally, here is the back of the quilt:
Tomorrow my brilliant quilting student will be here for her second day of class. Last week she learned to cut all of her strips for the Log Cabin quilt she's making. She picked up quickly all of the techniques for pressing, folding and rotary cutting her strips to perfection. With her fabric strips all cut and laid out correctly, she took a moment to give me a sweet smile...
Getting right to work, she pieced the center and the first light fabrics together, while getting more familiar with her sewing machine:
Tomorrow we will add the first dark and second light fabrics as we work our way around the center block of our Log Cabin quilts.
And hopefully tomorrow I'll get more pictures of our progress! It's all about the fabric!
Editing pantographs is probably one of the most wonderful things the new computerized quilting machines can do.
But since I don't have a computerized quilting machine, editing them myself is the next best thing. This "Gothic Vine" pantograph, above, is perfect for my customer's quilt. But there were 3 open spaces that were bothering me. So, I edited it.
First, I used a blue dry erase marker to make some changes to the design while the pantograph was under the plastic film on my machine:
I made a photocopy of the section I wanted to edit, and I drew the new lines onto the photocopy using Anita Shackleford's dotted-line method so that the curves would be smoother.
I trimmed down the original sheet and made 5 photocopies of just the area I wanted:
And then the edits were added to the original paper pantograph, with a bit of finessing and some scotch tape:
Now it's ready to go!
Today I'll be making this pantograph fit into the center of a quilt, with one separate border surrounding it. I'll be redrawing the right and left edges for that, and hopefully the end result will be beautiful.
On this gorgeous Fall day, with perfect temperatures and singing birds, I have finished this October table runner for my customer. The picture above is how it looked with the sun shining in the window through the stitching.
I used a pantograph called "Sunny Leaves" by Deb Geissler. I chose Rainbows poly variegated thread #829 All Spice, teamed up with Aurifil 40 wt. cotton in a matching gold color in the bobbin. The top tension seemed a little tight, so I soaked the spool of Rainbows with silicone thread lubricant. It behaved just fine after that and so I've ordered a 2000 yd. spool of All Spice for future quilts, since I only have a small 500 yd. spool on hand.
This pantograph seemed to be the perfect fit for this Fall runner. The backing was not showing the quilting detail like I had hoped, so I've used some sunlight and some studio light to bring out the leaves on the front:
Tomorrow will be spent in Klamath Falls with my quilting student. We are finally going to choose fabrics for her first quilt project: a Log Cabin lap quilt. We're using Eleanor Burns' book, which is the book I used for my very first quilt class back in October of 2001.
I'm going to make the same quilt along with her because for some reason that makes sense to me. Maybe a few lessons down the road I'll feel differently. But since I only have one student it seems like we should both be sewing, doesn't it?
Next up in the queue is this beautiful quilt which has a Tuscan feel to it:
My customer has requested Custom Lite. This level includes one all-over design in the center, SID to accentuate the small white border, and a separate border treatment for the outer burgundy border. I had intended to start it today, but after looking at the focus fabric again, I decided to order a special pantograph design for the center of the quilt. Here is the focus fabric with its graceful swirls and leaves:
And here is the pantograph I chose. It's called "Gothic Vine" by Willow Leaf Studio:
The border idea is still in my head, but I'm leaning towards mimicking the curvy designs in the panto as well as the spikey grape leaves in the focus fabric. Since I must wait for the panto to arrive, I decided to order a cone of Rainbows #839 School Daze thread for the border. But I like to leave my options open for thread. I have to see it in person before I can commit.