Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I've got threads and quilting patterns selected for the next two quilts in the que, so I'm hoping to get them at least basted in the next day or two. I have one more solid day of work before I am on vacation until January 11th. I can't wait. I will relish every day off as I expect that there will be tax returns already coming in for prep the week I get back, in addition to the returns already in process for tax periods that ended prior to 12/31, and payroll filings due on 1/31. It definitely won't be slow again until after April 15th.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The first quilt I quilted was a simple single patch quilt that I made in March 2006 to use up some fabrics that I didn't love. I quilted in a wavy grid pattern using King Tut Caravan for the top and my normal Coats & Clark gray piecing thread in the bobbin, both 50 wt cotton. I bought the King Tut thread a year ago at a quilt shop close-out. I thought the color was quite ugly on the spool, but for 70% off I was willing to give it a try. It complemented this quilt perfectly.
The second quilt I quilted was a Mini 4 Patch quilt. This quilt started out as a mini Jewel Box quilt in June 2002. I didn't like the looks of it, so I repurposed the half-square triangle units into a mini flying geese quilt for my sister and the 4 patches became this little gem. The top has been complete since Oct 2006, so it was due for quilting. I quilted in an allover grid pattern using Essentials Thread color Plum for both the top and in the bobbin. I just received this thread for Christmas (thanks Jen!) and I really like it. It quilted up beautifully and the colors are stunning.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I was a serious cross stitcher before I became a quilter and had accumulated quite a list of stitched, but unfinished projects at the time I began quilting in 2001. My biggest barrier to finishing the pieces (i.e. framing, ornaments, etc.) was my fear that I would somehow ruin the piece in the finishing process. When I took up quilting, I had the same problem with my machine quilting skills. If I couldn't do it perfectly, I was paralyzed to do anything and so my quilt tops sat in a drawer unfinished. It didn't help that the first two machines that I used for my quilting for both less than adequate for machine quilting nor did I have any easy way to baste the quilts. Consequently, I dreaded the basting process, which is obviously a crucial step to getting to the actual quilting. I sent the large quilts to a longarmer, so fortunately those got finished, but the pile of small quilts continued to grow.
Soooo, in late 2005 I went through every nook and cranny and made a detailed list of every project that needed finishing. The grand total of UFO's was 107. About a handful merely involved putting a label on a finished quilt (a task I detest), but I put them on the list anyway in order to get the task done.
Every year after that I have updated my UFO list on or about January 1st and have slowly been bringing the overall total down and finishing old projects. My machine quilting skills began to improve dramatically when I purchased my Janome MC 6600 in July 2006, but I still had the basting problem to contend with. Enter Craigslist in January 2009 and my find of an old banquet table for $25. I jumped on that deal and now basting is a breeze. This year I basted and quilted a king size quilt on it with no problems. Granted, the quilting was all done with the walking foot, but that is good progress for me and I will continue to practice my free motion quilting skills on my small quilts.
I still have quite a number of UFO's on the list that have carried from the original list and I am committed to either finishing them entirely or making significant progress on them before the end of 2009.
So far in December I've completed the following:
- Framed Marty's Sampler XS - stitched in 2004
- Framed Scared Crow XS - stitched in 2006
- Completed stitching and Mr. & Mrs. Claus Bowtie - this UFO is at least 10 years old
- Finished the quilting on Long Tall - pieced in 2009
Sammy is her own cat and spends limited time interacting with the humans of the house and most definitely does not want to interact with the other animals, with the exception of Sassy, whom she tolerates, as evidenced by the picture. Sammy is the black and white kitty in the picture and Sassy is the calico. So, it's easy to see why Sammy has been kind of a slacker with her quality control duties.
We used to describe Tyrone as always into something, but since the addition of the two members below, we realize he's actually quilt calm compared to them. He mostly likes to inspect the finished quilts and generally can no longer be bothered with checking the steps between the start and the finish. On occasion he shows up for a surprise inspection, but doesn't stay long and rarely has any negative comments.
Echo is one of the newest members of the team, having replaced Nika, who passed on in October at the age of 19. Like Tyrone, Echo generally doesn't inspect much until you have a finished product, or close to a finished product. He and Tyrone both diligently inspect all quilts being quilted if they are left unattended at the sewing machine for very long. Echo also spends a lot of time sleeping on the finished products to ensure that they are soft and snuggly.
I guess you could describe Sassy as the Quality Control Manager since she wants to have her little nose in every step of the process. I have tried to explain that surprise inspections while I'm cutting fabric may not be the best plan if she prefers to keep her tail and all appendages intact. She is also diligent about inspecting all ironing of freshly washed fabric and the basting of quilts. She doesn't care much about inspecting the piecing at this point, except when the blocks are laid out on the bed for assembly.
So that's the current team. I'm sure you will continue to hear alot about them since all of the animals are in integral part of our daily life.