Friday, July 21, 2017

This Way Up

This Way Up is the first foundation paper pieced quilt I've finished this year, and I'm really happy with it. The original pattern is called Woodcut, but I named my quilt This Way Up because all I can see are arrows pointing up!

I almost considered leaving the colored spaces unquilted to make them pop, but that's really not my style. So instead, I opted for some simple geometric lines with echoes. In all the little nooks and crannies around the colored spaces, I didn't have a lot of room, so I did what works best for small tight areas ... pebbles! It really mashed the area down, and helped to enhance the colored arrows with the contrast in quilting density.

My favorite part of every quilt to quilt is almost always the negative space. In this quilt, there really wasn't a lot of it. I did some stacking swirls that looked like they were growing out of the pebbles, and added some straight lines in the border area for some contrast.

I still occasionally overthink my quilting design, but in general it's been getting much easier for me to land a concept and go with it, because I realize it just has to look good, it doesn't have to be the most-amazing-design-ever. And finished is better than perfect, anyway!

***

Linking up with: Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Northern Lights

I first saw a sample of Northern Lights, a pattern by Julie Herman, in a quilt shop in Alaska. I immediately was intrigued by the pretty solid colors in a gradient, and I loved the quilting on the store sample. It was a lot of dense fillers in matching colors that complemented the quilt perfectly and added a delicious texture.

I didn't buy the kit then, because my suitcase was already full, and I wasn't sure I would be able to piece it. But I thought of it constantly. Earlier this year I finally bought it as a late Christmas gift to myself. As a bonus, I finally had the excuse to invest in a Hex 'n More ruler! I just love collecting rulers.

I decided to make my quilt exactly like the sample, in the same arrangement of colors. Although this quilt is doable without the Hex 'n More ruler, I do have to say it makes cutting the trapezoids a lot more quick and fun! I was worried I wouldn't be able to piece this, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I did have to use a pin or two during row assembly, but it came together very quickly and almost all of my points almost match. Close enough is good enough!

Quilting this top was an exhilarating experience. As I was quilting this, I became convinced that this quilt top was designed specifically to showcase free-motion quilting. The big expanses of space, all in solids ... there is no place to hide, and everything shows! On some sections, it's great news. On others, well ...

To start with, I filled some sections with paisleys, pebbles, and swirls. I don't think I'll ever get tired of them.

I decided to try a new filler that I've never tried before. Leaves! I know leaves are pretty much just a pointed paisley, but I find it quite a bit more challenging to execute compared to the paisley. However, it has such a great look so I was determined to learn them.

I wanted to add some straight lines just to break it up a bit. But one block in, I realized I was already bored. So to break it up even further, I added some wavy lines to contrast with it.

I'm so happy I conquered this! Quilting this quilt was amazingly fun (isn't it always, though?) and it's such a joy to watch the quilt come to life. All in all, I'm thrilled with the way this turned out.

I really like the back of the quilt too ... I didn't realize until awhile after the quilt was finished that the back shared some of the colors as the front and has a Northern Lights kind of feel! Now that's what I call a happy coincidence.

***

Link parties I joined: Crazy Mom Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quits.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Liebster Award

Have you heard of the Liebster Award? I hadn't, until Rose of Something Rose Made nominated me. The Liebster award is a blogger to blogger nomination (not limited to quilting) to help blogs get more followers, and I'm honored to get the nomination. Thank you Rose!

I met Rose through the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. It was a fun and exciting group where we shared tips and critiques about how to improve our quilting blogs, and of course, friendships were made in the process. Rose and I have followed each other since then, and she is one of the most encouraging people in my machine quilting journey! You can read her Liebster Award post here.

According to the rules, I'm to include a short commentary of a blog I follow. Well, I follow a lot of blogs, but one of my favorites is Suzy Quilts. I don't remember how I found Suzy Quilts, but once I did, I didn't want to leave. Her blog is a joy to the eye, so clean and aesthetically pleasing, and she's got a beautiful, modern taste that I aspire to. She posts many great and useful tutorials as well as product comparisons. (She even has city guides for quilters, something I used the last time I went to Chicago!) And the cherry on top? I frequently find myself laughing out loud at her writing. She's so hilarious! If you aren't following her already, well, go see what you're missing!

As part of the nomination, Rose has posed some questions for me to answer, so here they are:

Who inspired you to quilt/sew?

Actually ... nobody to start with! I started quilting because I ran out of knitting classes to take on Craftsy, so I decided to pursue a new hobby (so I can take more classes). Before I knew it, quilting caught my eye, and I haven't looked back.

If you could meet one Quilt Personality, who would it be?

Everybody who reads my blog knows how much I adore Angela Walters! She was and remains my #1 inspiration for machine quilting. But I'm signed up for 3 classes with her next year in QuiltCon, so barring any unforeseen circumstances, I'll meet her in February!

Your (audio/visual) preference while quilting:

I always prefer to have something going. I either blast alternative rock, or listen to audiobooks, or listen to TV reruns. It helps me through the not-so-fun parts (like preparing a backing) and when I'm on my longarm, having music going makes me more relaxed!

Do you have a favorite snack/munch while quilting?

I don't snack in my quilting area. Too risky. The most I will do is drink some water.

Do you look for quilts while watching a movie?

All. The. Time.

What comes first when you make a quilt:

I usually see something I really want to make, and then look for fabric in my stash (or go shop for some more fabric) to fit it.

What is your favorite quilt?

I have made quite a few quilts now and I love them all, so I really can't pick a favorite. My more recent finishes are certainly better executed than what I did a year ago, but that doesn't necessarily mean I love them more.

Hand Quilt or Machine Quilt?

Machine quilt, all the way. If I had to hand quilt, I wouldn't be quilting. I joked to my mother-in-law that I'm allergic to sewing by hand ... but it's true!

Favorite Color?

I have so many favorite colors! I love bright colors and metallics, and don't care much for pastels or earthy colors. My favorite color lately is probably a hot pink.

Favorite Quilting/Crafting Item?

My longarm, of course! I always feel a sense of great happiness when I walk into the quilting room and see her. I even love the way she smells.

Do you work on one project or many?

I usually have about 4-5 I'm working on simultaneously.

***

Now, my nominees! Actually, make that nominee. I had in mind several people I wanted to nominate, but they've all been nominated already or had too many followers to qualify. But I managed to grab Sherry of Powered by Quilting up before others did! I met Sherry through the 2017 New Quilters Blog Hop, and we bonded over the fact that we both have an engineering background! (She's a current engineer, and I'm a retired engineer.) Sherry's got great tutorials and many beautiful quilts on her blog. Please go visit her!

For Sherry, I'm passing Rose's questions along. I think they're great questions!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Aviatrix Medallion ~ Part Four: The (Not) Finale

Aviatrix Medallion is hands down the hardest quilt top I've ever pieced, and now it's also the hardest quilt I've ever quilted.

I really enjoyed quilting all the different designs, some of which are my own ideas and some that I got from inspiration photos on the internet. A combination of ruler work and free-motion means that I never take the ruler base off. The ruler base does adds a little bit of drag, but I find I'm used to it now and can still move the machine smoothly.

And ... that's all I have for now. For personal reasons, I have to take it off the frame and I'm not sure when I'll get around to finishing it. It is my first official quilting UFO (UnFinished Object). But when I come back to it, I won't have to spend any time thinking about quilting designs, at least!

Previous posts on this quilt:

  • Part Zero
  • Part One: Center Star + Border 1
  • Part Two: Border 2 + Border 3
  • Part Three: Borders 4 to 6

    ***

    Linking up with: Cooking Up Quilts.

  • Monday, June 26, 2017

    QuiltCon Registration Day

    Last night, I had multiple dreams, and every single one of them involved QuiltCon's registration. In my dreams, I'd speed through the registration site and get my top picks. This is my first time registering for QuiltCon, and I was really nervous. I had heard stories that in the past, the site would crash due to too much traffic, or that it's nearly impossible to get all your top workshop choices because there's so many people for so few spots.

    I'm nothing if not good at planning, though. I had it all ready ... my credit card number on my clipboard, all the course codes of the courses I wanted to take and backup options on a piece of paper, and a slew of keyboard shortcuts to help me move through the registration process as quickly as possible. If this didn't get me at least some of my top choices, then I really don't know what else I can do!

    This morning, I watched the computer clock tick from 8:59:59 to 9:00:00, and clicked on the registration link. And ...

    Error. This event is not available for registration. Contact event planner.

    Say what?

    I figured it was a mistake, or maybe my clock wasn't in sync. I tried again, and again. The same. I finally posted a message on Facebook, and soon found that nobody could register! It took about 15 minutes, before I was able to finally register. I must have gotten really lucky, because I was one of the first ones to get into the system ... and got all my workshop picks.

    So, barring no unforeseen circumstances ...

    I'm beyond excited! Among the workshops I registered for, I have 3 with Angela Walters!

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Geese in Flight ~ A Heart Builders Quilt

    I recently received this quilt top pieced by Annette Z to quilt for Stash Builder Box's Heart Builders charity. It is gorgeous, with tons of flying geese in different formations.


    Photo credit: @annettezee

    I loaded the quilt on my frame and got to work. When I first got my longarm, for some reason I was most fearful about learning to load. I've watched videos, and they didn't make any sense. But once I actually did it, I realized it's not that bad, and even kind of enjoyable! (Preparing the backing, on the other hand, is not the least bit enjoyable.)

    I looked at this top for awhile before I decided on my design. I did a swirl / paisley allover for most of it, but I highlighted a few of my favorite blocks and did a custom design for those.

    I finished it with a black binding to give it some extra drama. Now, once I can find a box to ship this, it's off to be given to a child in need!

    ***

    I joined the link parties at Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Can She, and Cooking Up Quilts. Link up!

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    True Blue

    When I came across a quilt kit by Zen Chic using her True Blue fabric line at a quilt show, I felt simultaneously happy and guilty. Happy because it is such a beautiful kit, and the pattern is very easy and very me. Guilty because I already have the True Blue fabric bundle in my stash somewhere! Surely I don't need to buy it again in the form of a kit, right?

    But it was on sale ...

    This quilt top was so easy and relaxing to make because it's made of randomly paired half-square triangles. I love making half-square triangles! It's the only block I have truly mastered, mostly because I can trim it to size. And of course, the fabric is just so lovely.

    Quilting this, on the other hand, wasn't easy ... at least at first. I decided to play with contrast in both shape and scale. This is my first time using a ruler base to do ruler work, and at first, it was terrifying. But after about 1/3 of the quilt, I realized I was much more comfortable!

    In the foreground fabrics, I did a lot of geometric designs, and I highlighted a few patches and quilted a flower in them.

    In the negative space, it is all about curvy, swirly designs. I had some fun echoing some of the triangle designs in the negative space too.

    I had to sneak a feather in here somewhere! But it ended up being a big, showy feather that also divided up the space.

    This is the 3rd quilt I completed on my longarm. While every quilt is a learning experience, this one really stretched me, but I'm so happy with the end result!

    ***

    Link parties I joined: Cut & Alter, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Sew Can She.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Facebook Rush

    Something kind of cool happened yesterday ... I was checking my blog analytics when lo and behold, I found 4000+ referrals from Facebook!

    I was floored. I had no idea who was linking to me or why. I clicked around a bit until I realized that my Tools page where I keep a set of quilting calculators that I use, was being linked to. It took me more sleuthing to find who had linked to it:

    So, thank you @FreeQuiltPatterns!. Thanks also to everybody who shared or visited or bookmarked the calculators.

    I only have 4 calculators there for now, and I use the first 3 (binding, backing, subcuts) all the time for my own quilts. But, I'd love to hear what else might be useful to you. So if you have any ideas, or if you found a bug in my calculators, feel free to let me know!

    Friday, June 9, 2017

    This Way Up ~ Ready to Quilt

    After finishing a foundation paper piecing top recently, I really wanted to do another. I saw Bijou Lovely's Woodcut pattern while browsing on Pinterest, and it captured my attention immediately. I knew I had to make it!

    The fabric collection I'm using is a subset of Spectrum by V and Co., a lovely collection of ombres and geometric prints in a rainbow of colors.

    As usual, I take my time to pre-perforate the paper pieces using a needle without thread, and a 1.0 stitch length. This part admittedly takes a long time, and it makes me slightly cross-eyed by the end, but I consider it a good investment to future paper piecing enjoyment. Here are a few benefits to pre-perforating:

    1) I can use plain old copy paper, which is cheaper than foundation paper piecing paper. With pre-perforating, it's very easy to remove it later.
    2) Folding on the perforated line is accurate and easy.
    3) I can use a longer stitch length, such as 2.0 when I sew the fabric, which is much easier to unpick if I need to. (And in foundation paper piecing, I frequently do need to unpick!)

    Piecing each block takes a long time as there are so many pieces. But it's worth it! Aren't these blocks adorable?

    Assembling this quilt was quite interesting because the blocks are on point, which I've never done before. My only concern is that the edges of the quilt are all bias, so I really need to be careful to not stretch it before I quilt it (or while quilting it). I have a pretty poor track record of not stretching bias edges, unfortunately.

    And ... it's ready to quilt!

    ***

    This post participated in the link party at Cooking Up Quilts. Link up and join the fun!

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    A Time Turner Would Be Nice

    At long last, QuiltCon has finally released its courses & workshops schedule for the 2018 show in Pasadena. Most quilt shows don't release it until 2 months ahead of the show, but QuiltCon has released it more than 8 months before the show!

    Since I didn't get to go this year, I was determined to go next year. And as I looked at the workshops & lectures, I quickly realized there were far, far more courses that I wanted to take than I actually had time for. To help me schedule, I punched in all the classes I was interested in into my calendar, and well, shall we say ... I'm a bit overscheduled?

    Oh how I wish I had a Time Turner! (That's Harry Potter speak.) But since I don't have access to one, my other option is to prioritize, prioritize, and decide what I really want to take and what are just nice-to-haves. Besides, I also have to book in plenty of time for shopping and to see the quilts in the show!

    Friday, June 2, 2017

    Avant Garde

    I just completed my very first queen sized bed quilt, using the Avant Garde fabric collection that was almost too pretty to cut up. Almost ... so I cut it up into rather large pieces. I completed this quilt top a few months ago and waited until I had a longarm before quilting this quilt.

    It was actually the thought of quilting this quilt that had me decide to look into a longarm machine to begin with. It might have sounded like a ridiculous idea at that point, but once the idea took hold, there was no shaking it. Suddenly, I found all sorts of excuses to justify why purchasing a longarm might be a good idea. (I even convinced myself at one point that I can make it pay for itself eventually. Some day. When my robot butler does everything else in the house.) But I'm so glad for that moment of insanity that started me down the path toward my longarm!

    This quilt is fairly forgiving to quilt because the fabric is so busy and bright. I did a back and forth design on the sashing strips and practiced a lot of my favorite fillers in the wavy strips. Most of the quilt alternates between two designs: swirls / paisley allover and wonky spirals. I quilted it on a bigger scale than I normally do because this is a bed quilt and I didn't want it to be too stiff.

    I highlighed a section of the quilt by quilting it differently, with pebbles and feathers. This is definitely my favorite section! I can't get enough of the texture, especially on this batting! For the first time ever, I used a polyester batting (Quilter's Dream Poly) and I'm in love with it. It's just as easy to quilt with, has a little more loft, and is cheaper than cotton.

    I am so happy with this quilt! The fabric was stunningly beautiful, the pattern was interesting, and the quilting was so much fun. I think this quilt looks great on the guest bed, and every morning when I walk by the guest bedroom, I'll see it and smile.

    ***

    This post participated in the link parties at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Cooking Up Quilts, and Crazy Mom Quilts. Link up and join the fun!

    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Color Dash

    I'm not a huge fan of rail fence quilts, but turns out I like rail fence inspired quilts. I made Snail Mail which is a rail fence pattern with a twist, and now this quilt is another rail fence variation. What makes this quilt interesting and striking to me, of course, is the play of the negative space with the colors. The pattern is Sweden by Brigitte Heitland, in her book Zen Chic Inspired.

    The fabric bundle I used is Color Dash by Heather Jones. I'm a fan of Heather Jones, whose style is simple but striking, and her debut fabric collection did not disappoint. As soon as I saw Sweden and realized I wanted to make it, Color Dash flew to my mind, and I knew it was the perfect marriage.

    I seem incapable of making strip sets without severely warping them, so what really helped in this case was pressing and coaxing the strip set straight with every seam I sew. I'm a steam fanatic! I wouldn't have been able to coax the blocks into shape without a lot of steam. And I mean, a lot.

    I quilted this quilt with piano keys in the sashing, and I threw tons of linear designs on the blocks. I have to say my favorite design on this quilt is the square chain.

    I also love my ribbon candies. Out of all of the designs I threw on there, ribbon candy is one I struggle with the most, especially this non-overlapping version. But when I step back, it looks much better. It's the magic of distance.

    I meant to do one particular design, but somehow quilted something else. So I just went with it, and it ended up being another one of my favorites on this quilt. I will name it ... monster teeth. That's just what it reminded me of.

    This is the first quilt I finished on my longarm, and I'm so happy with the way it turned out. Quilting on a longarm is even more fun than I imagined. Not having to baste is great, being able to use a ruler is awesome, but the best part ... no more drag!

    ***

    This post joined in the link parties at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Slice of Pi Quilts, Busy Hands Quilts, Cooking Up Quilts, and Crazy Mom Quilts. Link up and join the fun!

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Starlight Symphony ~ Ready to Quilt

    I used to say that I haven't met a batik I didn't like. And for a long time, that was true. But then I got into machine-quilting, and realized that my love of batiks started to wane a bit. I'm not really sure why, but it might have to do with batiks being more difficult to quilt over. However, after I watched the Scrappy Stars Quilt of the Midnight Quilt Show, I just loved the beauty of the batiks Angela used, and just like that, my batik fever is back.

    Fabric audition is one of my favorite parts of quilting, second only to machine quilting, but boy, do I find it a challenge. For this particular quilt, I decided to dig into my batik stash. Luckily, I have a huge one due to my batik fever last year. I came up with the the same groups of colors Angela used: dark blues / purples, light blues / greens, and yellows / reds.

    This is a paper piecing project, which means loads of printing / pre-perforating. I know a lot of people don't pre-perforate, but I picked up that habit early on and just prefer it, even if it's slower, because it makes folding and tearing off the paper so easy. Plus, there's something really satisfying about pre-perforating!

    After that, it's time to piece this. Even though paper piecing is slow, I actually quite enjoy it. The beautiful batiks keep me happy throughout the process, and the usual problem I run into with paper piecing, ultra-bulky seams to quilt over, isn't much of an issue with this pattern, as Angela specifically designed it for easy quilting later. This is my 3rd paper piecing project, and it's actually by far the easiest. The most common mistake I make during paper piecing is getting the sides mixed up and having to rip, but with batiks, there is no wrong side, so that's great!

    Until now, I didn't know I could keep the paper in during assembly. In the past, I always tore it off after I'm done with a block, and the bias edges usually mean it can be a pain to assemble. But keeping the paper in means assembly is just a tad easier.

    I really like this top, and now it's ready to quilt!

    ***

    This post participated in the link party at Cooking Up Quilts. Link up and join the fun!

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    The Lenni Chronicles

    I've spent a week with my APQS Lenni now, and even completed a quilt on her. The first day was horrible, but then things got a lot better. I started to trust that she wasn't going to flip out on me randomly, and she started to behave better with me.

    Day 0:

    Arrival day was awful. I ran into a multitude of problems (repeated thread breakage, shredding, skipped stitches, loops, threads cut on the bottom), but I've since figured out the cause of almost all of them:

  • The needle wasn't completely facing forward. It was at a slight angle.
  • The bobbin tension was far too loose.
  • The extended ruler base attachment wasn't on properly (I think).
  • The top thread wasn't threaded properly and missed a guide.

    After the dealer left, I collapsed in mental exhaustion. I was terrified that I had gotten a lemon. It would be one thing if the machine just didn't work at all, as that's something I can get replaced under warranty. It's another if it works mostly, but just has little issues here and there that make quilting a lot less fun, but can't be considered truly broken. But I decided to start on a real quilt. When I first started, I was so paranoid I checked the tension on the back of the quilt every 30 seconds (which quickly gave me a headache). After awhile though, I got more confident that she wasn't going to just break randomly.

    Day 1:

    Shortly after I started for the day, my thread broke. I figured it might be a fluke. After rethreading and restarting, things started going badly. Really badly.

    I panicked, but then I remembered the words of Leah Day: "If things were working fine and then started going wrong, think about what you changed." The only thing I "changed" was I rethreaded the needle. I looked at the thread path, and sure enough, when the thread broke the thread jumped out of a guide, and I didn't put it back in the thread guide. I rethreaded it correctly, and after that, things were smooth.

    Day 2:

    Since I couldn't fit my 12-foot Lenni in my sewing room, she's placed in the unfinished storage room in the basement. That means she's far removed from my sewing supplies, so I had to figure out some solutions for storage. Well, the area under the frame is not used at all, so it's the perfect place for some stacking bins!

    I also got a pretty little rolling caddy, which is perfect for holding my seam ripper, my drink, my ruler, and my phone. When not in use, it tucks away perfectly under the frame as well.

    Day 3:

    Today was smooth sailing. I'm having so much fun quilting. Dare I say ... the most fun I've had machine quilting yet? In some ways, my stitching looks better than it did on my midarm, because I don't have funny stitches resulting from dealing with drag. On the other hand, it's harder to control. In my mind, I know where I want to go, but I can't always get the machine to go there. Even though Lenni is one of the lightest machines I test drove, it still has a fair amount of inertia, especially in stitch regulation mode. I know it's something I will be able to control in due course, but it will take time.

    Day 4:

    I decided to float my quilt tops, because really, who needs extra pinning? This means I find the top roller bar wholly unnecessary. One of the features I read about that I should look for in my machine is easy access to batting while quilting, and well, my machine doesn't have that feature. However, with the top roller removed, I'll be able to access it if I need to much more easily.

    So, as soon as I get my Texas Hold'em Bracket (an accessory by APQS for people who remove their top rollers so that the brakes still work) I'm removing the top roller!

    Day 5:

    My eyes hurt. I always knew the storage area where the longarm is kept doesn't have great lighting, but I figured I don't need great lighting because the LED light on the sewing head is strong enough, and I can see exactly where I'm stitching, right?

    Turns out ... the contrast between the strong LED light and the weak overall lighting in the rest of the room is causing some serious eye strain. So ... I'll have to get more lights.

    Day 6:

    On my midarm it's easy to check the back of the quilt ... I just flip the back up. On a longarm, I have to crawl around under the quilt. Doing that too much gets exhausting quick, and it really gives me a headache. I realize the solution is one of those nifty cameras that get attached to the sewing head so it shines on the back of the quilt, and I'll get to see the back of the quilt on a display somewhere. Something like this. However, I do not want to mount a big display on top of my machine, as any weight on the sewing head equals extra momentum I have to manage. So, I'm going to build my own solution.

    Day 7:

    And ... voila, a finished quilt! (minus the binding) I'm pretty happy with it. There are a few issues (varicose veins, sigh) but I learned a lot for my next quilt.

    ***

    I can say it now ... I love longarming, and I'm ecstatic I have Lenni now! It is so fun, and so much faster than my midarm, and I'm no longer afraid of doing big quilts. The beds in my house might finally get some quilts!

  • Sunday, May 7, 2017

    She's Here. She's Looking At Me!

    Oh. My. Gosh. I realize I should be excited. But what I'm feeling now, is utter terror!

    Lenni arrived over the weekend, and it was delivered and assembled by my local APQS dealer, Quilt Barn Studio. After teaching the usual including loading, bobbin, maintenance, threading, and tension adjustment, we turned her on to test her out. That's when everything went up in flames.

    I ran into a whole gamut of problems right away. First there were a lot of tension issues, then, lots of skipped stitches. After that, the top thread broke repeatedly, followed by loops on the top and a whole mess on the bottom every 30 stitches or so. After a lot of troubleshooting and fixing most of those issues, something really strange started to crop up. My top thread broke every once in awhile, but only after the stitch is formed. The top looked perfect and continuous, but the bottom had top thread tails hanging out. We couldn't figure it out, and it eventually went away, but now I'm afraid it'll come back with a vengeance. In fact, I was so paranoid that I find myself checking the bottom of the quilt every 30 seconds!

    I placed the machine in my basement storage area, for that's the only place it'll really fit. It's a bit distanced from my sewing room where all my supplies are kept, so I'll have to figure something out in terms of storing thread and other supplies.

    I figured the best way to get better at quilting on a longarm is to ... quilt on a longarm. As soon as the dealer left, I unloaded the practice top, and loaded a real quilt. I then did some simple piano key ruler work.

    Yowza. It's tough work. I'm hurting all over just from that little bit! (Partially caused by excessive crawling around checking the tension on the back of the quilt.) But I'm not going to give up.

    My first day of longarming certainly didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. But I tell myself that this was the hardest day. From now on, things can only get better, right?

    Friday, May 5, 2017

    Aviatrix Medallion ~ Part Three: Borders 4 to 6

    Aviatrix Medallion is a quilt that really rewards patience and concentration. I was rather concerned that the patchwork would be beyond my ability, but I'm happy to say that the top is finally done ... and it's even mostly square!

    In previous posts, I worked up to Border 3. Border 4 is a scrappy border made of all gray fabrics, and because I messed up the center medallion's size previously and had to substitute Border 1, which was supposed to be half-square triangles, with a much skinnier scrappy border, it means Border 1 and Border 4 are nearly identical. But I think it looks pretty good, all things considered!

    Border 5 is one of my favorite things to piece: log cabins! I just love building it out from the center, and the chain piecing involved means it's very efficient.

    And finally, Border 6 is what I call the butterfly block. This was probably the hardest border to put on! My initial borders were far too long, so I had to do a fair bit of ripping, re-sewing, fudging, and easing, and in the end it managed to fit, barely.

    Whew! This is probably the most difficult thing I've ever pieced. I'm excited to quilt this, but it won't be for awhile, as I want to wait until I'm sufficiently comfortable on my longarm (which I don't even have yet). After all ... I spent a lot of effort on this quilt top, so I want to make sure the quilting is worthy of it!

    Previous posts on this quilt:

  • Part Zero
  • Part One: Center Star + Border 1
  • Part Two: Border 2 + Border 3
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