Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quiliting Lessons I've Learned Along the Way

Two years ago, I got a quilting frame for my machine to work on large quilts.  It was scary at first, trying to figure out all the ins and outs and loading a quilt took me hours to try and figure out.  Kind of makes me smile today when I think back on those days.  Now, I can load a quilt in about half an hour and start quilting right away.  I will admit I have learned a few tricks along the way that help and so I thought for anyone else who might be starting quilting on a frame I'd share a few of my thoughts. 

Remember, you like to sew and quilting makes you happy.  This is important to remember because as little things come up it's easy to lose site of the good stuff.

Don't start with a king size.... be real that's a lot of quilt for anyone even the best so find something smaller that you can handle. 

Always buy extra thread no matter what.  You'd be surprised how many mistakes you will make getting tension right and have to start over and that thread that you knew would be enough will be gone and it will be 10pm and you know you can't get to the store until morning. 

Wind two extra bobbins from what you think you will need.  Never fails. I've gotten down to the last two passes and I have to stop and wind a bobbin maybe even two and it drives me crazy.  I would rather have a bit extra on a bobbin that I can use up in the future then have to stop one more time. 

Take the time to bring up the bottom thread when you have to load a new bobbin or the thread breaks.  It makes it so much nicer looking in the end.  Keep at least two pair of sharp trimming scissors near by. You will be surprised how often you will have to look for them.  Locking tweezers for helping to pull up the bobbin thread when you are start can't be beat. 

Floating your quilt top is by far the easiest way to quilt hands down in my opinion.  You can find loads of tutorials all over the internet to show you how. 

Invest in the large zippers that help you put load a quilt on your frame.  Again, tons of tutorials to help you work it out, in the end you will be so glad you invested the time to set up your frame with the zippers. 

Don't forget to keep oil around for your machine.  Quilting takes a lot out of your machine and you need to keep her happy

When the string breaks a hundred and one times, walk away.  Take a break, go walk around your garden for a bit and breath the fresh air.   It will clear your head of the cob webs that are starting to take hold in your brain and when you go back to the machine, rethread from top to bottom... almost always works. 

Don't be afraid to play with the tension it's the only way to really understand it and you will have to adjust according to the type of thread you will be using  Even the bobbin tension and yes, I know, Mom told us never to touch.  Touch it you might need to to get everything just right.

Invest in good coffee it really does make a difference as you take a moment to look over your work and enjoy a break. 

So when all is said and done the most important thing in the world to me is to stay positive and send all the love and good wishes you can into your quilt. Your quilt will be a gift for someone you love or will be on your own personal bed and you don't want to look at it and remember all the broken threads.  But remember, you just made a quilt.  All those ripped out seams or broken threads were worth it and pat yourself on the back and get back out there.  So much fabric, so little time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Custom Designed Men's Shirts

A customer needed shirts, custom designed, for her 6'4'' husband and all in all think they turned out nice. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Inspires You?

Every person has that one person in their life that inspired them to try something new. After sewing for 40 years my dear friend convinced me to try quilting.  A few fumbles and sketchy efforts later,  I fell in love with it and haven't looked back.   Just look at me now, maker of things that go bump in the night. Day of the Dead, skeletons an skulls, wicked dead things and pagan beauty, All in all, not a bad life.
Thanks dear friend for all your love and support. For always being there to encourage me through all, not only quilting, but life.  It's a journey I would never have imagined and yet one that brings me endless joy and a world of possibilities. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Ideas

  It's a great one in Vancouver Wa the Recycled Fair and your products have to be made using upcycled items.  For me, this means: Day of the Dead Potholders, Scrappy Quilts with lots of the leftovers from other quilts and bits and pieces of batting tucked together to make a small quilt.  I also take my little Sewphies, all scraps and the cute little booties from woolen end bits and pieces.  This year I will be adding a new item, Men's dress shirts with appliqu├ęd skulls and Day of the Dead images on the back or sides.  It should be great fun to see all the different options and I will be using dress shirts I picked up at Goodwill as the base.  All of this, because a customer asked me to doll up a coat for her.   I found it refreshing and fun to work on and inspiring. 

Another customer asked me to help him create a wall hanging for his office.  He is a Dr. of nutrition for kids and it's a veggie face and it's been such a joy working on this silly face.  My spirits can't help but be lifted up.  It got me to thinking that I want to try and have more wall hangings for fair.  I love the detailed quilting and using all the amazing threads out there.  I also appreciate that they are smaller and easier to complete.

So, this year for fair I am trying to work smarter not harder and have fun new items for my customers.  Seems like a win win to me.