Record Fast

My sister in law came to quilt today, so I thought I’d take a couple of pictures of the process and share what it’s like to use a long arm machine.

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This is the quilt when it is first loaded on the machine. This is the reason you need the back of the quilt and the batting to be larger.  The front will lie on them, and may travel as you quilt it. The extra space keeps you safe from going off of the edge.

Using the Long Arm

Isn’t her quilt magnificent? It is Moda’s Nest Fabric, with nesting stars.  I may have died of cuteness, but then I wouldn’t have been able to help her use the machine.  She is an unusually fast stippler. This is a large, king sized quilt, and she stippled it in less than five hours. If you are thinking you can do that, I would pause and try it first. I am pretty sure I could not do it that speed, and I’ve had a lot of practice.  That is the fastest I’ve seen one done on this machine.

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I love that she hand stitched a little inscription here. Always sign your work, friends.

 

IMG_6487This is what the edges of the quilt look like when it comes off of the long arm machine. The quilt is ready to be trimmed, and then bound. There is a line of stitching around three sides of the quilt, and the fourth side is basted together. I always trim these edges so the stitching will be inside of the quilt binding. Up in the corner of the photo is a non matching scrap I used to test tension. That’s the other reason you need the backing and the batting to be bigger.  Long arm machines need the tension adjusted if there are variances between sizes of battings, threads, etc.

Any questions? Shoot me an email, or comment.

Eye Spy Quilt

In my non-sewing life I am a realtor, and one of my awesome clients gave me a bunch of eye spy quilt kits already cut out. Well, I have some nieces who live so far away, and it drives me crazy that I only see them on the internet. I knew where this quilt had to go.

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I combined a couple of them so I could make it bigger, since they are growing girls. I made it checkered, with predominantly colored and then mostly white blocks. It worked out great.

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I played and played with how to quilt it, and finally settled happily on this floral pattern. This quilt is about 60 by 67 inches, and it took about two hours to quilt on my machine, not including time to load it and unload it.

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Then I decided on polka dot binding, because you can’t really go wrong with that.  I hope they will love it and feel a little hug from me when they wrap up in it. Thank you, Linda! Now I have to decide if I want to try to drive all that way and give it to them in person, or mail it …

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Happy (Belated) Graduation Baby Sister

Abbie Graduation Quilt-1Many, many years ago, when I was eighteen years old, my mom was pregnant with my youngest sister.  She thought it would be a great idea for me to see the baby be born, since I was likely to eventually be a mother myself. My mom had had several good experiences with epidurals, and thought that watching a calm, pain free birth might help me not be afraid when it came time to have my own kids.

When the birth night came, my mother called me to the hospital. This was her eighth child, and the doctor had given her a treatment to get her labor going.  She progressed quickly, and when I got there my mom was ready for an epidural.

While they were inserting the epidural, my mom progressed extremely rapidly.  After the epidural was in, my mom began screaming in pain, and then began bearing down to push the baby out.  I would say this was about a half hour after I got to the hospital. My baby sister made an exciting entrance into the world before the epidural took effect.

I decided that if it hurt like that, I would NOT be having children.  Six years later, I did have my own daughter. Let me tell you, it took well over an hour. Over sixteen, in fact.  But I am getting away from the real point of this post, which is that another eighteen years later, my baby sister graduated from high school.  So I made her a quilt. This is a rainbow zig zag, because she has a colorful personality. I put a zebra print flannel on the back, and bound it in black.

Unlike my sister when she was born, this quilt was very late. Thankfully, she graciously accepted it anyway.

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Next Project – Great Grandma’s Double Wedding Ring Quilt

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I don’t know the entire story of this quilt, and it fills me with questions. How old was my great grandma when she  made it? How long did it take her? Where did she get all of this wild fabric?  I feel like my grandma may have said the fabrics were her old shirts and dresses at one point. I called Grandma this week to ask her some details about the border, which was sewn on by machine. I thought she told me once that she sewed the border on, but I can’t remember now, and she can’t either.
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There are a few things I do know about this top.

1. It’s very colorful and mismatchy.

2. I like it a lot.

3. The pattern is called a double wedding ring.

4. Double wedding rings are very hard to sew.

5. It was pieced probably before I was born, and all by hand.

6. It sat in my Grandma’s closet for a long time.

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I think the quilt came to me with very interesting timing. It started like this. My sister in law loves quilting  and family history. A few years ago, she gave me a miniature double wedding ring template for my birthday. The template is acrylic, so I could cut the pieces with my rotary cutter. I thought that to start I would try making a 3 ring oversized hot pad for my mom for Christmas.

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By the time I was done mangling my three ring hot pad into existence, I realized that I don’t have the skill level to make a full wedding ring quilt—much less a miniature one! I decided that if I tried it again, it would be with a teacher and a class.

While I was still finishing my wrinkly piece of mischief, my mom and grandma were cleaning out a closet, and found this top and gave it to me. I decided that if our ancestors are watching over us, Great Grandma was watching over me, waiting for me to try a wedding ring quilt so I would not judge her craftsmanship.

It’s not perfect, but it is whole. I am so glad it came to me. It took me two years to get up the patience to think I could hand quilt it, but I have got it basted and ready now. I took these pictures to chronicle the hand work inside, because that is one treasures of this quilt that will be hidden once it is quilted.

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See You Soon

Just a few weeks ago, one of my best friends dropped her oldest daughter off to college. I had decided to make a her a quilt, and it seemed like it would time right. I decided to call it “See You Soon,” because I was hoping to finish it before Peach Days. I don’t always name quilts, but when you enter the Guild show they give you a form to fill out, which includes the quilt’s name.  If you don’t name it, Lynette says she’ll name it for you!

With getting kids and myself back into school, and going on a ladies kayak trip, I ran out of time and finished it the day after Peach Days was over.

This quilt was a challenge because I wanted to do an unusual border. I saved some blocks to do that, but when I put the border on it looked absolutely horrible. I ended up cutting them off.  I took the center with me to JoAnn, and auditioned some fabrics with my daughter and my other friend. A random lady came by, too, and said she liked the same one everyone else had voted on.

I am really happy with it, and I hope it reminds her that we all look forward to when we’ll see her daughter again soon.