Friday, August 22, 2014

10 Million Stitches

My longarm has a stitch counter on it, and I just passed the 10,000,000 stitch count.  2 years, 10 million stitches.  That's over 25000 yards of thread, or 14 miles of stitching.

When I bought the longarm, I had planned to use it just for my own quilts. By the time it arrived, I had 8 tops backed up, waiting to be quilted - because once I'd made the decsion to buy it, there was no way I was going to do any more quilts on my domestic machine.

But then I was convinced to do a couple of tops for friends.  And then their friends. And before I knew it, the business side of things took off last October.  I've done over 50 customer quilts since then.  I'm still loving it, although longarming for others has drastically cut into my production of quilts.  But that's ok. I'm still quilting, and instead of having to buy fabric, I'm getting paid for it :)  (No, that has not stopped me buying fabric, as those who read my stash reports know).

And now, 2 years after buying the longarm, I have only 18 tops waiting to be quilted.  Oh.  Well, at least the original 8 are not all still waiting, although I think 4 of them are.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Productive week

I had a really productive week this week.  I got 3 of my quilts on (and off) the long arm.

First, a quilt for my son.  I want to try to get this one bound before he leaves for university next week.  That may be pushing my luck, but I'm hopeful.  This is made from Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, and is my second quilt of this pattern. Quilted with the same panto, too. I think I see a pattern here :)

This is Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice, her mystery from last November.  It's actually looking like it might get done before the next one starts.

And finally this one. I picked up the blocks from the exchange table at guild in the spring. Added the pink setting triangles, and finished it off with a bias border and the darker pink border.  It will get bound with more of the stripe - hopefully cut on the bias again, if I have enough of it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Design Wall Monday, Aug 18

I've been plugging away this weekend on my Toes in the Sand blocks. I fell pretty far behind, so I did a catch-up blitz.  Months 7 through 10 are now up on my design wall. Which I think means I am in fact all caught up.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls today.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stash Report, Aug 17

I've dedicated the last few days to getting some of my quilts onto (and off of) the long arm.  That means making backings, which means lots of usage to report this week :)  And, I was a good girl at the fabric store this week and have no incoming fabric to report.

Mystery quilt - 5 yards
backing for mystery quilt - 5 yards
backing for Celtic Solstice - 3 yards
backing for Grant's quilt - 5.5 yards

total used: 18.5 yards

Stash totals for the year:
463 1/2 yards in
152 1/4 yards out
Total: 311 1/4 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Removing Blue Lines

I posted the other day about my difficulty in removing the blue lines from one of those water-soluble (yah, right) markers on a quilt. I think the lines may have been ironed, which will set them pretty much permanently.

But I really wanted to get them out, and avoid replacing the 2 blocks with marks.  First, I tried a few suggestions I found on the internet. Soaking in water - removed all but these last 2 areas. I tried vinegar.  I tried cream of tartar (mixed with vinegar). I even tried a Tide Stick (TM).

Searching on-line, I found this promising product with some pretty good reviews Blue Line Eraser. But shipping from the US is more than the product actually costs, and that's just annoying. 

A bit more googling, and I found a suggestion to use hairspray. Hairspray? Really?  Well, in fact, YES! That stuff was a miracle cure.  I sprayed one section of the quilt with 3 or 4 lines on it, and literally watched them disappear.  Then I rinsed the quilt to remove the hairspray, and after drying the marks are completely gone!

Went back and treated the rest of block, gave it a rinse, and you can't even tell the marks were there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

I'm working a quilt this week - not my own, but one that I'm trying to repair.  One of our guild members brought it to the silent auction, hoping someone would take it off her hands.  There's a lot of time and effort in this quilt, but it was fraught with disappointment for her (a story that's not mine to share) and one of the final straws was the quilting job that was done on it . As she put it, "it was quilted by a drunken sailor".  Looking closely at this picture, you can seem some of the stitching marks.  It was supposed to be a baptist fan, but there were fans with straight edges, "backtracking" that missed by almost 1/4", and unequal sized fans.

She had completely unpicked all the quilting, and then disassembled most of the blocks because several holes were introduced in the unpicking process.  I pulled it out this week, started looking for good pieces, and put together what blocks I could.  I came up with 16 full blocks (rather than 20). Still a good sized quilt.

Then I gave it a gentle bath. The quilter had a rather heavy hand with the blue marker and I didn't want to press all the seams until I made sure the blue was gone, since heat can set that.  The end result has been hanging over a railing to dry overnight.

Looks pretty good, except this one block :(  Anyone know how to get out blue that water won't touch?

I see the original owner used a couple of different greys in the quilt. I wonder if she intended a pattern with those fabrics. I seem to have a bit of randomness, and I think I'll leave it that way (partly because I don't think I have an equal number of each background colour).

Next step - create a backing and quilt this with a baptist fan pattern. One that hasn't been done by a drunken sailor :)

I'm linking up on Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Network today.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Aug 11

It's been another productive weekend in the sewing room.  I finished up my Border Creek Station mystery quilt top.  When I got to the final stages, I looked at the fabric that had been selected for the borders, and I hated it.  My fabric is not the standard fabric for this quilt - it was selected by me with some help at the store.  But when I put it together, it looked terrible - both border fabrics were very dark, and they didn't quite match the other purples, and itmade the quilt just sooooo purple. 

So I did a bit of hunting through my stash - and found nothing usable. And I refused to buy any more fabric for this quilt. But, I had lots of fabric left over from the rest of the quilt  - not sure why I had so much, but I'm not complaining. I tried a few options, and came up with this arrangement which I am very happy with.  The original border fabric will head into the stash for another project, another day.  It's still a purple quilt, but I knew that heading in. And now I think the look more closely mirrors the original plan.

And then, continuing the spirit of not buying any more fabric (well, trying not to anyway), I found some fabric in my stash for the backing. Not quite enough of it, but I still had even more of the quilt fabric left over. And an extra block, because I changed the shape from a bed runner to a lap quilt.

This arrangement was a total surprise, however.  I knew the leftover block would go in the middle.  And the 4 patches seemed like a good idea, because they reflect the 4-patches on the front. Then I was looking at the remaining spots - I considered 1/2 square triangles, but decided I liked quarter square better. And I had just enough of the 2 purples for that to work.  I debated the orientation, but decided I liked the way the lighter purple extended the middle block. Then I put it together and stepped back to take a picture - and noticed the star I had come up with :)

Now this is all off my design wall and neatly folded, into the "quilt me" pile.  And I'm debating my next project - finish Toes in the Sand, or start something new.  I've been doing so well on my finishing kick that I think finishing is going to win out.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls today.