With the onset of the pandemic and especially when everything shut down, my shop went nuts. It took me by surprise, never having owned an on-line business during a pandemic before. (Who knew??). Anyway, I was happy to provide fabric to the many, many people making masks as well as quilters who were not able to physically go into their LQS. As a result of this increase though, I was really busy and had almost no time to sew.
Things have changed and many people are venturing into brick and mortar shops (which is good for the shop owners, as long as people are being careful and masking up.) I think the frenetic mask making has slowed down a tiny bit as well. Thus my shop has gone back to a more realistic level of sales for one person to handle. What does this mean? More time to sew!! Hurray.
This week I had the opportunity to learn to use my friend Sophia’s Baby Lock Tiara sit down quilter. It is a dream. The wide throat is incredible and it sews with a nice even stitch. So much easier than using my Janome (which while it has a bigger throat, is getting old and tired) for FMQ.
When I wanted to first try it, I decided to just bring a piece of cloth over – I wasn’t sure how successful I would be and didn’t want to bring anything I had pieced. I have had a yard of this cute fabric sitting on the shelf for a good 4 or 5 years. I am sure it was a border print made for a panel but I think it is adorable. I used to sing this song to my kids when putting them to bed and now I love hearing my son sing it to his girls.
I decided to use it as a whole cloth baby quilt for donation. To practice with Sophia’s machine, I just stippled this. It was so fun and so incredibly quick. It took (almost) as long to pin baste it as to quilt it.
The bold blue polka dots on the back are really cute. You can see the stippling a bit better on the back side. I used an off-white thread which doesn’t really show on the front.
Now there is a cute baby quilt ready for donation and I have a little practice under my belt with the Tiara machine. It is rather tiny in size (30 x 36″) so I will need to see which organizations can utilize a quilt of this size.
So that is a (small finish for me! Used a little bit of fabric off the shelf, learned to use a cool machine and have a donation ready for someone! My next project with the machine will be the jelly roll quilt I recently pieced. I am looking forward to getting some tops finished up! 🙂
I have such a bright, cheerful quilt to share with you! This is the second time I have made a whole cloth baby quilt for a customer. The first time was last fall, when I did the elephant quilt. Check it out here for the details. I very much enjoy making these. This quilt was a simple project because there is no piecing involved. My customer really loved the Mexican Dress fabric from Art Gallery Fabric’s Fiesta Fun line. This is actually the second time I have used this fabric line in a baby quilt. The first time was when I made the Knock Knock quilt while pattern testing for Sarah Goer. The colors in this line are a fantastic mix of brights and pastels against a pure white background. It is a lot of fun for a baby quilt. There is much for baby to look at!
My customer and I emailed back and forth numerous times one night as she selected the backing and binding fabric. After having two boys, she is expecting a girl. She wanted bold and bright colors so she went with a Ta Dot polka dot fabric from Michael Miller. The polka dots were used for both backing and binding. I really think this was an excellent choice.
Rather than put the dots right up against the floral fabric, I suggested using a flange in a solid deep orange (Pure Elements in Tiger Lily from Art Gallery also).
I think it is good to have a break between the bold orange dots and the busy floral fabric.
Quilting this was a lot of fun. For the most part, I outlined bits and pieces of the floral design. As I moved from one part to the next, I would add a loop or two. Having this busy print was like having a stencil for the quilting. I didn’t outline everything though. For a baby quilt, I like to have some space between the quilting to keep the quilt soft.
The quilt finished at 40″ x 40″ and I gave it one trip through the wash before packaging it up to send to Texas. Hopefully Baby Camille will get lots of use out of this quilt for a long time to come!
Just in case you are in need of some gorgeous color in your sewing room, I do have all of these fabrics in stock in the shop. 🙂 I will be linking up this week with a few of my favorites. Check the tab at the top of the page for links!
Also, I want to let everyone know I drew two names for the giveaway of Carrie Bloomston’s book! Congrats to Susan S. and Nancy H. Here are their comments:
Susan S. said: “I would like to design a house that perfectly fits my life style and compliments it’s surroundings.”
Nancy H. said: “Great interview, Bernie. At one time, and not too long ago at that, I would have said that my one wish was owning a cozy, welcoming quilt shop where people felt as though they were home. Now, it’s a tough choice. The simple answer would be to finish my quilt in time for the show in two weeks! But I think it should be more substantial than that. You’ve really stumped me!”
It was so interesting to read the responses to my question, ” what would you try if you were guaranteed success?” There were lots of interesting ideas put forth. Thank you for joining in!
Never have I said good bye so many times. This is getting ridiculous. But last night I finished my Pretty Gemstones quilt. How could I leave and give it away without sharing it? There aren’t that many quilt finishes in a year (for me anyway) to skip one! This will be a quick post, because you know, the wedding and all. So much to be taking care of around here.
In all it’s glory, here is the first quilt finish of 2017! By the way, pictures were all taken indoors and late at night so they are not of the award winning quality that you have come to expect from me. 😉
This quilt was made with a pattern called Pretty Gemstones. It was designed by the wonderful Cynthia Brunz of Quilting is Better than Housework (which is absolutely true!) It was published in McCall’s Quilting magazine in the January 2016 issue. The pattern is a breeze to make. I love a pattern with sashing. It means that my less than perfect piecing doesn’t make me go crazy because there are no corners or points to match. (I can be so lazy!)
I started this quilt last January as one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects. But to be honest, I didn’t always follow the color prompts of the challenge. I was trying to use colors that are reminiscent of gems. I think this came off quite well. There is are blocks which represent sapphires, rubies, topaz, tiger eye, amethyst and rose quartz. I skipped many of the suggested colors because they didn’t work for this project. I am pretty sure that is allowed but, if not, please don’t tell on me.
The sashing is done with Kaffe Fassett’s solid (the color is Ecru). I found it difficult to work with this fabric. It is a thin cotton and has a great deal of give to it. It became almost stretchy, especially the long strips for the sashing. Honestly, I doubt I would buy it or recommend it to a friend. (Sorry Rowan Fabric and Kaffe.) I had to starch it and while that helped, it didn’t completely solve the issue. This is the second time I used these solids. The first time was in the jelly roll quilt I posted about here. I had quite a bit of trouble with awful stretchy waves in this project too. Part of the problem on the jelly roll quilt was I had to rip out stitches several times which distorted the strips. Now I also think it was this fabric. Seriously, it is very thin. After trying it twice, I doubt I would purchase these solids again. I have used Kaffe Fassett’s gorgeous print cottons and they are wonderful. It is this line of solids (and his stripes) that I am not a fan of. For the backing I pieced the sashing fabric with a deep purple remnant that I picked up a while back. See the label on the back? I am trying to be more diligent about labeling my quilts. The purple fabric was also used to bind the quilt.
I quilted it with a motif of interlocking squares and rectangles of all sizes. This is the first time I have used this pattern and I loved it. The boxes are very forgiving. One interesting thing I noticed is that I can control the machine better with a square pattern than a round. Circles are more difficult for me to keep a consistent speed with as opposed to square. It felt more relaxing to quilt the squares.
On the plus side for Kaffe Fassett solids, they are quite soft – especially after washing. This quilt crinkled up so nicely after a quick rinse. No color bleeding issues either. Yay for Color Catchers!
Finally, take a close look at the quilt. See my rather silly error? I didn’t catch it until about 1/3 of the quilting was done. Yikes!
I am giving this quilt to my new daughter-in-law’s parents. We wanted to bring them something as a thank you for the events they are hosting for this weekend’s wedding as well as to welcome them into the family. I hope they like it.
I am not going to promise this is the last post for the week. It probably is. But who knows?
Linking up with the lots of fun places. Check out the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
If you are shopping for a new Craftsy class, this weekend is a good time to do so. From Friday, January 13th through Sunday the 15th, the classes are Buy One, Get One. BOGO deals are great – two for the price of one! Check it out here.
(Note – I am a Craftsy affiliate. I am paid a small stipend for purchases made after clicking through the links on my site.)
I live just far north enough that we get to enjoy a colorful autumn. Right now it is spectacular. I have lived in Pennsylvania and I know that what we enjoy here is not on par with the colors that splash the countryside this time of year in the East. However, we do have some really lovely leaves on display these days! This was taken in my neighborhood yesterday when I was walking the dog.
Ok – moving over to the sewing room….. I was really productive this week. For starters, I had a few sales in my Etsy shop which is always exciting. Now that fall has arrived, I have been selling the cozies that I make for Chemex coffee pots. If you aren’t familar with Chemex pots, they make the best drip coffee. However, because the pots don’t sit on a hot burner or stove, the coffee cools quickly. I have been making these insulated covers for a while now. With this mad rush – 😉 – on Chemex cozies, I figured I had better make a few more for my shop. These came together quickly. I have been cutting them in batches when I have the time and then sewing them sort of assembly line style. I love the fabric on this one.
Here is another one. I had purchased this home dec fabric to use as a tablecloth but the piece I bought was too small so I am using it here. Lovely!
As an aside, I was taking some packages (Etsy orders) to the post office to mail. When I was there I saw that I had estimated the shipping fairly closely for one and had overpriced one package for a couple of dollars (not quite $2.00) I sighed and was telling the postal clerk that I can’t always come close when I quote the shipping charges and I wasn’t sure if I should refund the overage. She knows me since I have been there regularly lately (benefits of small town life) and said I shouldn’t only consider the post office charge. She asked why am I not considering the time it takes to prepare the package, go to the post office, stand in line. “That’s the ‘handling’ part in shipping and handling.” Honestly, I never really thought about it and was always only charging for the postage. It made me feel better. This little Etsy shop has taught me a lot in the past few months. Very nice!
My main finish for this week is my Christmas Lattice Quilt. I finally finished quilting it and even got the binding sewn on. Yay!!
Overall, I am pleased with this project. I quilted it by free motion quilting a little Christmas tree on each block. As always, some turned out great and others, not so much! They were just free-hand, though I did use chalk and draw two guidelines forming a basic triangle to follow. They don’t show up all that well since some of the fabrics are busy prints. I also straight-line quilted the sashing.
On the setting and corner triangles I FMQ’d snowflakes. These were really fun – again just free hand. I’m very happy with how these turned out.
The front of the quilt is pretty. The back….. Yikes! With each project there are lessons learned, right? Let’s just say that this quilt should only be viewed from the front. I had a remnant of a red and green chevron print that I used as the backing. The trees look absolutely awful against the chevron. They don’t line up with the geometry of the print and the bright green thread that I (for whatever reason?!?) used in the bobbin looks, ummm…. horrid. I should have used white and maybe the trees would have been less noticeable on the back. At any rate, by the time I saw how poorly this looked, it was too late to change. So, when I am a world-famous quilter and all of my work hangs in a museum 200 years from now, they will look at this one and just wonder what on earth possessed me. Shudder.
I am really trying to finish all of my WIP. Much as I am dying to make a new quilt top I need to finish up what I have already started. I hate having things stacked up. Tomorrow I will make the backing for the 1600 jelly roll quilt top that I made at the beginning of October. Hope to at least start the quilting on that one over the weekend.
In closing, does anyone need a good book recommendation? I have read a few of the best books lately. Here you go:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Excellent story with the best characters. Total tear jerker so have a box of tissues nearby. Basically the story is about a young woman who desperately needs work and finds a job as a companion to a very unhappy, cynical quadriplegic. There are some really funny parts as well as some very sad. No more details though as I don’t want to spoil the story. Great book though.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is wonderful. Again, great character development. This is a story of a couple in India that marries as arranged by their families. They come to live in the US in the mid 1960’s and raise two children. The story follows their assimilation into America and that of their kids. The insights into their culture are so interesting. Loved this book – a really, really good read.
The Birthhouse by Ami McKay is a story about midwifery during the World War I era. The details are fascinating and the story is excellent.
What have you been reading lately? I would love to hear what is good and what’s not so great. Let me know! Have a great weekend all. 🙂
Linking to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, & Crazy Mom Quilts. As usual, links to all of these wonderful sites are listed at the top of my page, under Link Ups.