Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Poltergeist Rabbit - 4 years in the making

They say every quilt has a story and this quilt definitely has a story.  This story resulted in this quilt's name. Wait, do they say that and who's "they"?  Regardless, let me share a tale with you and since this took 4, almost 5 years, to complete, go grab a cuppa something, sit down and get comfortable.

It all started with my sister who wanted to hire me to make a quilt for my SIL.  I told them it was good practice (I'd only been quilting a couple years) so covering cost of fabric would be all that I'd ask for.

V (SIL) chose the Jinny Beyer Shimmering Sea pattern and asked for it to fit a king quilt. I thought, no problem, I love foundation piecing! I did not pay attention to my inexperience or the level of skill they cautioned as needed.

I took V to the store, she chose most of the fabrics and then I go started cutting. I cut, a lot. To put it in perspective, there are 45 pieces in each block and I decided to make a 6x6 quilt.  That's 36 blocks which means 1,620 pieces, borders not included in this quilt.  Add borders, binding and backing and I have 1,640 pieces of fabric in this quilt (I'm counting the back and binding as one each).
That's the most I've ever done for one quilt!


Anyway, I cut and then I copied and traced 36 foundation patterns but not before dealing with the first mishap.  A pup who, it seems, did not appreciate Ms. Beyer's pattern in the same way I did. 
I bought more tape that night.

Eventually I started sewing and on the third block, realized I had a problem. I sewed it backwards (the design was rotating in the wrong direction). Once I realized how this happened, I figured I could avoid it but no, I managed to do it 3 more times.  4 blocks I now have as scrap blocks. 
I kept  sewing. Each block took me between 1 hr and 15 minutes to 1 hr and 30 min. to complete. I wondered what was wrong with me. Then I would put it away for a while, months at a time. We moved houses, I lost the fabric pieces and blocks for a bit but I knew they would turn up sooner or later.


Eventually they did but then my sisters’ dog was ill and had a hard time controlling her bladder. I couldn’t justify rushing to finish a quilt that would have to sit in a closet.  I took my time with it but was feeling ambivalent.  So I put up blocks on a design wall and shared it with my sister. It did what I wanted it to do, set my sisters on my tail to find out when it was going to be complete. 
I had a plan. I was going to finish it and take it down to them when I visited at the end of February. I was making good time. I loaded the quilt on the frame and started quilting it.


Then, I started having machine problems. The knob to raise the presser foot broke, the tension screw was stripped and the lever to raise/lower the presser foot was out of alignment. 

That may not sound bad but I didn’t know those were the issues when they presented themselves. Thankfully, Nolting (Hinterberg) was VERY RESPONSIVE and super helpful with their responses. I couldn’t, however, finish the quilt in the time frame I wanted and I did have to talk with the tech/sales people at the same quilt show I was heading down my sister’s way for.  I threatened Ms. Midge (my machine) that it might be time for me to purchase a new one. 
I only had this much left to quilt when she decided to act up.
When I returned from the show, I was 80% decided I would hold off on purchasing a new machine. I set Ms. Midge up with new parts and started sewing but she STILL gave me problems. Clearly, she felt she should still be on strike but I had other plans.  I adjusted a few things and told her she better shape up or, my 80% would change from keeping her to trading her in.  She started purring sweetly and sewing straight.  AMAZING how management can threaten labor with being fired to get them to perform again. –wink-
I was able to finish it up and add the binding. Then I realized there was no way I could take pictures which would do it justice. This thing was big and beautiful. Now what?  Ah yes! I’m giving it to a photographer after all.

I sent it to her and then on Easter weekend, we went to the docks and took some photos.  Of course the day had to be windy and we were hanging on to it for our lives. We had visions of it slipping away and landing in the water. Talk about the most nerve wracking photo shoot ever! But it was worth it. Look at what she came up with. It makes this quilt look great and I’m a bit amazed I made it.  Despite the long term process and despite the hiccups I have come to love this quilt after seeing these pictures but I’m am glad I don’t own it.



 
That reminds me, of its name.  Poltergeist is the descriptor because, frankly, all the little things that happened during its making and all the time it took to complete it. Rabbit because it’s a substitute for the swear word I uttered often completing this quilt. The “f” word substitute came from my SIL when the kids were young and listening to what we said.


So here you have it, the Poltergeist Rabbit shown in pictures that are fantastic from Ren Photography in Hampton Roads, VA area. 

Cheers!
Beck

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quilting for Another

So I have an announcement. I've been thinking about offering my quilting services for others but I wasn't sure if I'd really enjoy it.  I love quilting for me but would the stress of quilting for someone else in a certain timeline make me a little crazy? (Crazier than I already am.)

I decided to offer it up as a giveaway prize for the #sweatnsew entrants (the Instagram healthy & fitness peeps that support each other during their efforts to get healthier - open to all, if you are on Instagram, by the way).

As it so happens, a friend I had already met in real life, Safieh, won and sent along this beautiful top with the request for baptist fans.  I did have a few moments of heart palpitations when I unfolded the top and saw how pretty it was. Honestly, what did I get myself into? After a few minutes, I realized I was up for the challenge. I would not ruin it, I told myself.

I asked about thread, thinking that with the prints and grey, a pink would be pretty. Safieh gave me the go ahead so I loaded her up on the frame and got going.
I would post little sneak peeks on Instagram along the way but I did not want to post the entire quilt until I had approval from the quilt owner and frankly, I wasn't going to ask that until after she saw it.
 I used Auriful 40wt thread on top and Superior's Bottom Line in the bobbin.
Once I finished it up and pulled it off the frame, I got a good look at it and really liked the overall quilt pattern the top design. Thankfully, Safieh also loved how it looked. Talk about  a big "phew".

So, here's my before presentation to quilt owner shot.
Here's a photo borrowed from Safieh's Instagram post (in other words, her photo and credit goes to her - @safieh) showing the quilting a little bit better than the photos I could get.  In this photo, it's fully bound and I believe washed.
This experience clinched it for me. I am going to offer quilting services. While a little stressful, I really, really enjoyed it. It won't be long now before I post a page with some pricing information.

Thank you, Safieh, for trusting me.

Cheers All!
Beck

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Little Finishes

Joining in on SewJo Saturday, today.

The last couple weeks have been about little finishes.

I finished quilting a quilt for a friend (which I can't post about just yet) and I finished piecing and binding the Quilt of Valor donation quilt made by the Fredericksburg Modern Quilt Guild.  Another member will be binding it so it's off to her next week.
Our parameters were blocks that were red white and blue and 12" finished. Any style.  Look at the variations of style and yet they play so nicely together.  I can't wait to see what it looks like with the binding on it.
Also, I was asked (after volunteering my services for whatever might be needed) if I could make 5 small giveaway gifts for The Stash Bash in GA at the end of this month.  I went to this last year and had a great time sitting and sewing with old and new friends. I can't wait to see Chris Warnick (Frecklemama) again and everyone else.  Seriously. It's a weekend where food is prepped for you and a room is always open for sewing. Top it off by being on a beautiful piece of property and it's a wonderfully relaxing. I've got 4 out of 5 prizes finished, so far. I'm not sure what to make for the 5th. Maybe a cellphone wallet. I don't know... still thinking.

Prize 1 - zippered pouch

Prize 2 - 12" mini
Prize 3 - Thread catcher and tool holder
Prize 4- Thread catcher and tool holder

Last little finish, a bunch of headbands. I  keep buying headbands in hopes I can find ones that don't slip off during exercise with no success. So, I tried making one.

It worked, didn't slip once while exercising. I've made several more and will send them to my sisters and a friend to test and see if they work for them as well. Regardless of their review, they work for me and a couple of these extra ones will be in my drawer. :-)
If you want to make your own, you need 1 piece of fabric 4"x18" and 1 piece of 1"x4" elastic.
- fold in half lengthwise and sew long side together
- turn right side out and tuck the short, raw edges inside the tube about 1/4"
- press the whole thing
- position the elastic about 1/4" inside a short end and then sew the short end closed going over it about 3 times.
- repeat on the other side and it is complete


Cheers!
Beck


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fabric Boxes

This past week I had a sew day at the house, in part, because I had a quilty friend stop by and stay with me while she was in town.  I wanted to give a little gift to those who were able to stop by (it was selfish, really, I participated in a Kokka 10" square swap a couple years ago but I had no idea what to do with the fabric and I wanted to use it up).

I had made a fabric box a while back using this tutorial from Seaside Stitches.  I had chosen the 10" square fabric size and the box is a great size for me to hold sewn leaders & enders as I complete them and I realized that this would be a great use of the fabrics and a cute gift.  It would be a great thread catcher.

With the aid of Karie (my guest) of Two Kwik Quilters (IG: @karitkq), I sewed up several boxes with a slight variation. I made them taller, which allows them to act as a tool holder. The tutorial calls for a diagonal to be sewn using a 2" measurement for a square box but if you use a 2.5" measurement, you will get the taller box.
I also want to share a quick weekend quilt top finish. Karie gifted me with her pattern Kwik Trio of Stars and we had fun pulling fabric for the project her last night here.  After she left, it only took me a few hours to stitch this up.  I left off one additional white border (personal preference for the finished look, and no other reason). I plan to donate this to a quilt drive held in the Spring (more on that another day). Isn't this darling?
I'm in love with these little boxes and the quilt top so I am sharing them with the very new "SewJo Saturday" linky party being held by Kim on over at My Go-Go Life.  Take a look at all the great and fun projects linked up over there!

Cheers!
Beck


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stitch that Stash Bee block

For my bee block, I am turning to 13 Spools Improv Herringbone Tutorial.  I love the look of this block and would like a colorful quilt that is sort of tonal but not necessarily all solids.
In progress...
To my bee-olleagues, I used Kona White as the strip fabric.  As for color, please choose whichever you would like. The nature of the block has light and dark contrast so as long as the block is in the same color family and doesn't have a noticeable of contrasting color in the individual fabrics, I will love it.
Did  that make sense? I guess I'm saying it doesn't need to be tone-on-tone, but if you are doing a green block and your green fabric has bright red stars, I would prefer that not be used. However, if your green has something like tiny yellow stars, it might be okay.  In short, the fabric should clearly "read" the color, I think. -sigh- I don't know if that makes any more sense but there you have it.

Okay, so this block takes a little time because of all the pieces. Once done, it is 11.5" unfinished. If you can do two blocks, that would be great but if one is all you have in you, I am completely good with that. I leave it up to you and whatever you choose/have time for. :)

I can't wait to see what you ladies come up with!

Cheers!
Beck