Monday, March 31, 2014

Latest Baby Quilt

I've been keeping quite busy with my competition quilt for MQS this week.  I'm working on a post about the craziness that was the competition quilt.  But in the meantime I wanted to share the quilt I just pulled off the machine. 
My sister-in-law keeps me practicing with baby quilts. The latest one she brought me is cute little farm animals.  I decided instead of using a pantogram I was instead going to use some custom designs I learned to do over spring break. Over spring break I took the class that came with my new longarm.  It was a great one day class that covered all the basics and free motion quilting designs.  Since up to that point I'd only used pantograms through my Pantovision I was very excited to take the class.  I was even more stoked after the class was over and I had 7 more new designs I could do free motion.  
With the quilt my sister-in-law brought me I immediately keyed into the fact that the animals alternated whether their fur was with a curly motif or a lined one.  I decided that I would use the curls I learned in my class in the background of the animals that had curly hair.  I went to work and was quite pleased with the way the background turned out.  I then out lined the animals.  
My curly block.
For the animals with the lined background I decided to get out my ruler and put diagonal lines in the background to fill it.  I easily filled in the background then outlined the animal.  
The lined background.  
Instead of filling in the sashings with designs I decided I wouldn't push my luck and instead just chose to stitch in the ditch along the lines of the printed quilt.  But for the border I got a little bit daring and put the curly motif into the border to frame in the quilt.  Note to self: It's best to continue to go around the quilt in the same direction the entire way.  In the future I think I will just go one direction around the quilt and deal with having to unroll my quilt after I've finished all the other designs than trying to have to work backwards and go the opposite direction with my curls.  I really enjoyed doing this quilt because it's really the first quilt I've worked on that I have had the opportunity to approach it with a mindset beyond a regular repeated pattern.  I was in charge of the design elements, simple as they were, I still kept the quilt flowing while highlighting some pattern elements from the quilt. 
The finished product!

 Hopefully my sister-in-law likes the quilt as much as I do and is forgiving of the directional mistakes in the border.  
I can tell I'm becoming a quilter because I like looking at the back as much as I like the front!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Working Girl

I didn't have to teach today because we had parent-teacher conferences all week so today was our comp day for that.  I had decided I was going to treat it like a working girl day for my quilting business.  I worked on my competition quilt and finished piecing it this morning. I then went to our local quilt shop, All About Quilts, and purchased the backing for it. They have delightful and abundant extra wide backings for those large quilts you make.
After I finished up at the local quilt shop I went and visited the insurance man.  (See more in the next paragraph.)  After I got home I went to work on loading my latest Quilt of Valor (QOV) quilt onto the machine.  It definitely called for that pesky star pattern I've been working on mastering for what seems years now. OK just several months but it's definitely more challenging that I would have imagined when I started out. I worked all afternoon and a little bit this evening but I got it finished.
A star on the back.  I don't have a ton of thread in stock but today what I did have matched up perfectly!
This QOV had a nice embroidered Welcome Home block. I had to improve as I quilted around it.
A close up of the quilting on the front.
Today I took the plunge and took this little hobby from pleasure to business.  When I first bought my machine my insurance man, Brian, told me as long as I was using my machine for a hobby it was covered under our home owners insurance. But as soon as I started taking money for my quilting it would not be covered and if something happened to my machine I was going to be suffering a loss of a lot of cash.  Lots of tears.  So up to this point I'd only being doing my QOV quilts and quilts for friends, for experience not cash.  The past couple of weeks I've had several people contact me about quilting their quilts.  I didn't even know some of them.  So after thinking it over I decided I was ready.  I called Brian, sent him a few photos of my machine and paid him the money to insure my longarm machine for business purposes.
This evening I had my first customer come over and drop off her quilt.  She'd heard of me through a gal who took my quilting class (piecing) a few weeks ago.  It's a small baby quilt she made for her daughter.  On her way out she recognized our wedding picture of us riding our bicycle from our wedding.  She had worked as a manager at Varsity Donuts (I LOVE Varsity Donuts!!!) and had seen our picture from there.  Small world.
I learned several important things about working for myself today.  Yes it's nice to be your own boss and set your own hours. However, if you start working late (say 9AM) you end up working later (say 7PM).  So the lesson of the day was yes it's nice to set your own hours but the work still has to be finished either way.  Hummm...Lesson learned.
So my day of being an independent working girl went really well.  I got my work done.  I was able to do several different tasks and still accomplish them all.  I don't think I would have done it much differently.  I know things won't always be so smooth but it was nice to have a smooth start.  So if you have any quilts lying around that need to be quilted, I'm open for business!

One last photo of the QOV I worked on today.