Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can you see me now?

I've gone to great lengths to be able to see my stitches.   
I'm keeping it real....yeah, I'm a dork.

With or without the led lighting on my longarm machine,  sometimes, I have no idea where my stitches are going - I just cannot see them amongst the fabric.  I have a plan - but I can't see a darn thing.   And it isn't a vision thing...

My machine has a black light which I discovered -  and I kind of giggled with glee that it did...memories of night clubbing all over again...sigh. ( I really need to find those old Cure and Smiths cd's)

But my black light doesn't work on everything.... :( 
 blinded once again.  
I have tried turning all lights off, using my headlamp, etc.  Any suggestions from the audience out there?     

I discovered my headlamp is also great for checking my tension and stitches underneath the quilt.  

I also have a new secret.   Under this machine,  it is really quiet and a super great hiding spot...where no one can bother me.   It's now my number #2 spot behind shower time.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Live a Colorful Life - The Name Game

I'm totally bashful about this, but I was invited to play over at Live a Colorful Life.   :-)  I love reading this feature every week and have  discovered a whole bunch of new bloggers though The Name Game.  

Did you know that my first blog post was made in 2006?  Holy moly!!  This makes me feel:
a) old
b) a technological whiz
c) lucky to have met so many virtual friends
d) embarrassed that I have that much to say publicly

Hope everyone is having a great week.   I'm working on a custom small starts for me.   She said to 'play'  and 'no pressure'  which makes it even worse.    So, my first 1/3 of the quilt took forever with lots of starts and stops...and now I'm in a groove and am figuring things out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shadow Leaves Quilt - finished

 Hooray, it's finished!  Well, except for binding...
Shadow Leaves fabric by Cynthia Coulter
Pattern -  my own wing it design that had been re-worked about 4 times...

 Used a pantograph to quilt this -  it's an older one, called 'Garden'

 I actually did borders!   I haven't done borders for a very very long time...

Glide thread on top, bottom line on bottom.... Hobbs 80/20 batting.

Not fond of the hobbs was quite stretchy and thin in some spots?  quite the opposite of what I have heard...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Longarm Quilting Malpractice #1

 It's Millie's first Longarm Inaugural quilt
 Edge to edge pantograph with Fireside by Moda backing (I call it grown up Minkee)

This quilt is heavier and very warm and will be the perfect comfort for a special someone going through another hard fight....

#1 lesson in my longarm quilting malpractice series... ;-)
Can you figure it out?   

I pinned the backing to my leaders

Nice and neat and all in a row....
Doesn't look so obvious until you roll up your backing a little at a time and then smoooooth it out on the roller..


   It's a mistake I'll only do once and never again.  Ouchie!!    I'm ordering Leadergrips ASAP.   

Monday, March 11, 2013

A real quilt on the longarm!

I'm bold and daring, maybe a little stupid to do this but... I put a real quilt on the longarm and learned to do a pantograph! 

I put the one with the minkee backing fabric on.   gulp.  nothing like diving into deep waters, right? 

I did the first pass on the pantograph no problem.

2nd pass in, I paused for a minute to check my stitches and then continued stitching - BACKWARDS. gah.  At least it was only a few innches worth of a pass I had to frog.   (Frog-  means to rip out the it rip it!)

One thing I need to figure out -  my laser light has a double reflection and this can get confusing when I'm trying to follow the line.  I learned that moving a bit faster makes a smoother line for me....

So far so good.  One more pass until I finish this quilt.   See how the minkee looks on the back, isn't it nice?   
A few hiccups here and there, but I'm figuring it out!

One thing I'm learning about my machine -  controls on the back of the machine are backwards to the front of the machine.   brainfart happens especially when you haven't eaten lunch.

My thread cutter only works about 25% of the time.   ?????? 

They should include ear protection for your ears.  I have a feeling over time, this noise could damage my ears.   I don't see myself pantographing forever, but with one ear so close to the machine, I'm not going to risk it.  

I'm still practicing on my whiteboard every day.   What I have learned is that if I pick a shape/design and practice that ONLY,  I develop better muscle memory than if I do random stuff and my shapes become better and more consistent.    

Just including a few of my sketches to show my progress over time...I'm sure I'll look back at these in a year and be embarassed that I posted them!  

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Spools of Colour

Is it possible that my addiction to solid colour fabrics could easily transfer over to threads?  

Look at this gorgeous pack of thread I bought from  
This is Glide thread, which has come highly praised by many longarm quilters from what I read.  I also received a colour card - and it's actual thread wrapped samples too, so no distortion in colour. 

Three other brands I want to try out -  the new Aurifil longarm thread, Superior and Metro/Sigma.  
oh this could be trouble...

Only thing I realized.... I didn't get any grey.  And I have a King size top to quilt soon with grey thread.  sigh. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Something new...

A friend of a coworker found out I make quilts and has commissioned me to make one for her.  These are the fabrics she's chosen:

It will be a kingsized very basic square/rectangle patchwork design.   I gave her a variety of designs, but she just wanted a simple mix of these fabrics.   They are beautiful.

Quilt from hell is almost complete.  I need more fabric for the border (underestimated).  It's coming along nicely, and much better than my first 3 attempts.   Let me say, I love the fabrics, but those preprinted panels really feel restricting in the design process.  It will look lovely in the end, but I still get to call it what I want.   I could have stuck with my original design and be done, but often I complicate things until it looks just right. 
 Millie and I have had time together daily, about an hour at a time.  I needed to get quilt from hell completed before I felt like I could really explore.   :-)