Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Go Cats!

This past weekend I spent working on my husband's aunt Lisa's K-State Wildcat quilt.  Since Lisa is getting the auntie discount I felt a little more brave to try out my free-motion/custom stuff on her.  I've been in love with these bubble inside of bubbles I'd been seeing and decided why not just go for it?  While I had not practiced the bubble design on an actual piece of material I had doodled it a lot in my free time (or faculty meetings).  In all honesty I do believe my doodling habit has led to my longarming career.  Who knew countless hours of drawing meaningless doodles in my planner and calendar would lead to actual paying jobs as a longarmer?  
An example of my prolific doodling from an agenda from our church's deacons meeting last night.
So I went to work filling in each purple background with purple colored bubbles. 
The bubble pattern from the front.
The bubble pattern from the back.
For the borders and sashings I decided I wanted something to balance out the free flowing motion of the bubble pattern and chose to do some ruler work.  I made 45 degree angles 1/2 inch apart all the the way around the quilt and all the sashings.  I then added a design and traced the middle diamond and called it good!
The sashings & borders which I used a ruler to make.
The finished quilt spread out on my longarm frame.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Little of This & That

I've been keeping busy here at the hacienda.  I finished up my time at MQS (Machine Quilter's Showcase) by volunteering Saturday to help take down quilts.  It was a very intense process.  Volunteers were assigned to teams to work to take down quilts. My job, since I was young and tall was to get on the ladder and take the top post off the top rails to take the quilt off.
While waiting for our crew to catch up I had the lady assisting me take this photo of me pretending to take down the quilt.  I don't have gloves on because I wasn't actually allowed to touch the quilts just the poles.  Funny thing was right before this picture was taken I about tipped off the ladder.  I'm sure that's covered under the show's insurance, crazy blogger girl staging a photo accident!
After all the quilts were down I picked up my quilt and headed home.  While I was waiting for time to take down quilts I stopped by and visited the Quilts of Valor (QOV) booth and dropped off a quilt I had finished for them and picked up a couple more to quilt.  I found out while I was there that they had awarded one of the quilts I had quilted at the MQS show to a woman who was a Marine during the Vietnam War.
This is the quilt that was awarded at MQS.  I loved the colors and designs on this one.
My first quilt after MQS was another QOV quilt.  (Seriously, knew that quilting would have as many acronyms as teaching!?!)  It was a beauty made with batiks.  It was my first time quilting batiks and I'm happy to report that everything went fine.
The finished quilt.
Up close of the quilting on the latest QOV.  I used a leaf pattern to accentuate all the leaf designs in the fabric.
I then got this beautiful baby quilt finished.  I love the colors on it!
I just love the colors she picked for this quilt she made for her baby.  
Next up was a customer quilt. It's a large flannel quilt.  I appreciate the opportunity to be trusted with others quilts and I really enjoyed working on this one.  I loved the colors and block arrangements which gave me ideas for some quilts I have in the works myself.
The flannel quilt on the frame ready to go.
Close up of the quilting on the back.
Close up of the quilting on the front border.  I used variegated thread.
Then last Monday I went to my local quilt guild meeting.  I had a blast!  I showed my competition quilt at show & tell time.  Our speaker, Deanna Hodson, was outstanding.  I was so enthralled I forgot to take any pictures until she held up her last quilt.  Her program was called Everything Old is New Again.  Many of her quilts are made out of old lady hankies, table cloths and lace doilies.  She does amazing things with them and her quilts are just amazing.  It doesn't hurt that she uses a lot of pink and I happen to love pink. You can visit her website here:
The photo of the last quilt Deanna showed us.  She was amazing!
Last week I also listened to an online quilt webinar with Angela Walters.  It was on the business of machine quilting.  It was a great webinar and she talked about not only working in your business but on your business. So many great take away tips and all for free!  If you haven't discovered this great resource I highly reccommend you vist the Handiquilters webinar page.  All the webinars are posted for your listening enjoyment and I've found that many of them are not brand specific to the type of machine you have.  A great resource:
I have several quilts waiting for me in my studio.  So I better get going!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


***If you'd like feel free to skip my analysis of my classes and go straight to the pictures of my quilt hanging at the show.  They are at the end of the post.***
I spent today at MQS (Machine Quilters Showcase).  It's a national quilt show for longarm quilters.  Along with the quilt show they have classes and a trade show going at the same time.  After securing time off from work I picked two classes that I thought I would gain the most from attending.  Last night I set my alarm clock for o'dark thirty and when it went off this morning I hopped out of bed like I was a kid on Christmas morning.  It should be noted I am NOT a morning person nor have I ever been a morning person so this was a rare occurrence in deed.  I got ready and on the road to Wichita a few minutes past 6 with what I thought would be plenty of time to spare.  It was not.  Ten miles after I left Manhattan I ran into dense fog.  I was taking the short cut through the country and kept getting stuck behind overly cautious drivers without a schedule to keep.  I also hadn't factored in rush hour traffic in Wichita.  Then to top it off I am a terrible map reader and had a challenge getting to the right location.  When it was all said and done I arrived nearly 15 minutes late to my first class.  I HATE to be late, it goes back to my childhood.
My first class was one of the featured MQS School of Business classes that were offered, Getting Down to Business.  I apologized profusely for being late then slunk to the back row.  The teacher for this class was Linda V. Taylor.  I have to tell you I was enthralled for the entire 1 hour and 45 minutes and wanted to tackler her husband, whom I was sitting next to,when he started giving her the time's up sign.  I took six full pages of notes.  She covered everything from setting up your business, advertising, pricing, patterns, business opportunities, thread, batting, how to deal with issues that come up in the process of quilting, and tools of the trade.  Amazing stuff! I really can't say enough good things about this class.  She stressed that time is money and if you aren't quilting you aren't making money.  When she owned her own shop she expected her employees to get three quilts done a day, she didn't specify size, which would play a big part into the equation.  She also said you should be able to load a quilt top in 20 minutes, possibly a few more if it's a king size quilt she said after a few ladies raised concerns about that.  I timed when I loaded my competition quilt and it took me 34 minutes to get it completely loaded and it is a king size quilt, so I don't think I'm doing too bad, especially since it was my first big quilt to load.  She told a story about one time when one of the quilts she did for a customer got a cricket quilted into it.  She said for five days she would take a hair dryer and dry the spot with the cricket.  On the 6th day all her employees gathered around and she put a sheet of fabric over the spot where the cricket lay and used a mallet and smashed it to smithereens.  It worked!  She spent a lot of time discussing you are a professional and you deserve to be paid like a professional.  It always amazes me how people don't think they are worth what they should be charging.  You own a sewing machine that is probably worth more than the car you drive!  Linda was blunt in this area.
My other class of the day was Show Off! by Renae Haddadin.  Renae is most famous to me because she is the inventor of Renae's Red Snappers which I use exclusively to attach my quilts to my frame.  Love them!  She also is the winner of Best of Show last year at the Paducah quilt show.  It's kind of a big deal.  I arrived 20 minutes early for class to make up for my earlier tardiness and got a front row seat! I was under the impression this was a class about fillers to use in everyday quilting.  It was actually fillers for show quilt quilting.  I could tell I was going to be over my head but since it was just a demonstration class I sat down with my notebook and started filling it up.  I actually learned quite a bit once my heart quit racing since no one in there knew I wasn't in the slightest ready for fillers for show quilts.  I learned how they  make those little pearls (I referred to them as lines of circles before this).  Renae stressed that the three most important things are scale, color, and complexity.  We also talked about negative space being just as important as the quilted space on a quilt.  She also discussed using channels in your quilting to form a small area of negative space to break up patterns.  She had tons of examples showing good and bad use of the different techniques she was demonstrating.
Renae drawing some different filler design options on the white board before she quilted them.
After my classes the rest of the day was devoted to the quilt show and trade show.  I first sought out some lunch since it was after 12:30 and I hadn't had time to grab breakfast.  I went into the show and found my quilt.  The pictures aren't that great but you can see it.  I had a passerby take my photo with me in front of my quilt.  I didn't win any ribbons but I still am pretty proud that I took a chance and entered my quilt.  I'm getting to the age I don't care what people think about me and I refuse to live my living with regrets so I did it.  Yes, it took up six full weeks of my life to get that thing done under the wire but I feel it was worth it.  Start living your life for you! No one else.
My competition quilt.
Posing in front of the quilt.
One more! I would like to note that I followed the rule book and placed my quilt sleeve 90 inches from the bottom of my quilt because the rules stated if you didn't they would hang your quilt.  I saw lots of quilts as big as mine that didn't have a quilt sleeve attached correctly to the rules and they still hung.  Grrr!  Next I'll know, that's one of those optional rules.
I then traipsed through the trade show.  I stopped by the Hunter Heirloom Quilting booth.  They were hopping!  I had asked Amy earlier if she could bring me specific color of  thread I am in need of to finish Quilt of Valor quilt I have and she had it.  Amazing memory! I was really impressed with the number of people trying out Innovas.  I stopped by the Fil-Tec thread booth as well and had a nice long talk with one of their sales representatives.  I also walked away with thread from there with a few more cones of thread.  Because thread to a longarmer is like fabric to a quilter! Haha!
It was a great day in Wichita and I look forward to heading back for a little bit more fun on Saturday when I pick up my quilt.  I plan on having my second Quilt of Valor finished up by then so I can drop off two finished quilts to them and maybe pick up a few more.  I'm getting more and more confident as I do them for the foundation so maybe soon I'll be brave enough to try out some custom designs on one.