Before we moved out to Cheyenne, my doll friends and I decided that we wanted to have our own quilt round robin. Since just three of us were interested in quilts we opted to just make flimsies and the person who made the center would then do their own quilting. As you may remember, I started out with this center block of a peacock applique'. It went to Laurie for the 1st border and is now with Valerie for the final border:
I got Valerie's center block, a landscape and added this border to it ... I need to work on my piecing precision because some of the points don't match up .. maybe next time I'll paper piece it instead? I do like the hourglass blocks that help to expand the landscape past the thin outline. I also did the raw edge stitching on the applique' because they were lifting up. It's now on its way to Laurie for the final border and then back to Valerie:
I also did the final border on Laurie's flimsy. I felt that it needed a bit of solidness so I added black borders with the four square in a square corners. That seemed too plain to me so I added a red 3D origami flower for texture and color. It does seem a bit lonely but I was thinking that a bit of fancy red quilting in those black borders will give it a bit of balance and more texture. I don't know, maybe I should just rip it out and make it plain solid black instead?
Okay, there's a bit of time for me to replace that red flower with just solid black. Do you think that I should do that? The more and more I look at it, it bothers me ... off center is fine when other sections are asymmetrical but the rest of this top is symmetrical. Okay, I'm going to replace that. Be back in a jiffy.
While I was at the Denver Quilt Festival a couple weekends ago, I tried out quite a few of the longarm quilting machines. I've been thinking about getting a longarm both for working on my own quilts and also as a way to earn a supplemental income for the household. Of course I'd have to save money to get one since they are the price of a good used car.
The first machine I tried was the Tin Lizzie. My stitches came out very nicely but there's no dealer nearby so I don't think that I'll go with them. Here's a picture of my sample spiral stitches ... see, not bad for a newbie:
Then I played with an Innova ... more spirals, my name and I also got to try out a ruler with that one since they had the extended ruler base on it:
I didn't snap pictures but I did try out a Nolting FunQuilter 20" that was on a Hinterberg Stretch Frame which had the plus of being expandable so it would fit in a smaller area. I have seen a few of these machines for sale online for a reasonable amount. The stitch quality was good but once again no nearby sales rep.
Next up was a HandiQuilter Avante' ... sadly the threads kept breaking. The sales rep told me it was because the spool of thread was almost out. If so then I wish she would have changed to a new spool so that I could see how it really stitched. The good thing about them is that there is a relatively close dealer (within a couple hours) that has a quilting store that has classes on the HQ and will rent time on the machine. That's a plus for me so that I could get used to it while saving money to buy one. No pictures on this one either, although to be fair I wouldn't have shown them because of the thread breakages ... if it truly was due to end of spool I'd want to give them a fair chance.
Finally was the APQS family of machines which I've heard such great things about. I started on the smaller ones, Lenni and Lucey but after hearing about the bonuses of having a longer arm length I tried out the Freedom and Millenium machines. Wow, they are a bit heavier but since they were on the new Bliss system they just glided along without any problems. They too have a sales rep within a few hours and a quilt shop that has classes and rental time ... yay! My stitches came out very nicely too.
So far I've logged into the APQS forum and have been reading lots of info. I've also joined the Yahoo groups for HQ, HQ Fusion (the 26" throated machine), Nolting, and Machine Quilting Professional (which is also open to wannabees who don't have a LA yet). Basically I'm just trying to absorb as much info as I can. I know that I'd be interested in doing FMQ, ruler work as well as pantographs and E2E. As much as the CAD systems sound interesting I don't think that I'd want that (too expensive) but perhaps it's good to know that you could upgrade to it later. I do know that I'd want a stitch regulator because I did see the difference of stitch quality with and without it. The only certainty is that it'll take at least a year or so before I can earn the money to buy one of these. It'll probably be a used model so that's a consideration in choosing a brand/model.
In the meantime I'll be signing up for the APQS class even though it's in Colorado Springs, CO which is a 3 hour drive. Maybe I can talk Steve into driving the 8 hours to this Saturday's MQS show in Wichita, KS so that I can test drive the machines again.
So for all those Longarm Quilters out there, what would your advice be? Any longarmers near Cheyenne, WY or the Ft Collins and Denver CO area that I can talk to?
Here's a few more quilts from the Denver National Quilt Festival the other weekend that I really liked.
Autumn in Yellowstone by Linda MacDonald ... beautiful colors, a lovely tribute to our favorite national park.
It's Risky Being a Beer Drinking Mantis by Carol L. Fletcher ... this one is hysterical ... the background quilting includes words that tell the story of this beer drinking mantis who's afraid that his wife will bite off his head for coming home drunk.
Song of the San Juans by Amy Bright ... lovely machine embroidered birds, piecing and quilting ... overall beautiful.
Samurai, the Archer by Wendy Knight .. this one also has background writing but I wasn't able to read all of the story. Great details.
Triple Play by Teresa Rives ... great colors!
Soaring by Kim Loar ... I just love this one, the colors, the flying geese and the quilting. It's graphic and perfect!
Last weekend I drove down to Denver so that I could see the Denver National Quilt Festival. It's sponsored by Mancuso, the same show managers of the Pacific International Quilt Festival that I normally go to see at Santa Clara, CA in October. It's still a nice show but so much smaller than PIQF. I was able to comfortably visit all the vendors and see all the quilts in one day. Of course next time perhaps I'll go a second day so that I don't feel so rushed when viewing the last quilts.
These are some of my favorite quilts.
Not Your Grandmother's Nine Patch by Sherry Pryor ... I love the embellishments and the leaves that are connecting the nine different quiltlets.
Colorado's Northern Lights by Barb Gardner ... some of my favorite colors!
Birds in Flight by Barbara Yates Beasley ... gorgeous colors and quilted textures on this one.
Beauty of the Beasts by Barbara Yates Beasley ... lovely use of colors and prints, very graphic.
Red Ravens by Judith A Roderick ... this is painted silk that has been quilted and embellished with buttons.
Lots of fun colors and embellishments .. more art quilts than traditional although there were a few amazing traditional quilts. More to come later.
Well another round of the Fab Little Quilt Swap is over because my quilt finally arrived at its new home yesterday. Also I received a beautiful quilt last week.
This is the lovely quilt that I received from Ellie@CraftSewCreate ... the colors are perfect and I really admire star quilts so it's just right all around. It's going to look marvelous in my new studio.
And I love the way that she signed the back of the quilt along the zigs and zags of the backing:
Spiced Coffee received her quilt last night and is very happy with it. In fact she hung it up on her stairway landing near the front door. Her picture is much better than mine so here it is again:
All in all this was a spectacular swap ... I'm very happy that I was invited to be a member of this group. Now it's time to finish two different round robin quilts.
Today I mailed out the quilt for the Fab Little Quilt Swap session three. Thank you everyone for all of your votes for which background to choose. I guess all of the snow that we've been having here in Cheyenne determined the final choice of a solid white. (We had 17" of snow the other week!) The quilt shops out here didn't have plain white so I went with a very subtle white on white micro dot. The flash of bright color against all the stark white gave the quilt its name: Aurora Borealis, The Northern Lights.
This is the first time that I was able to practice my new FMQ skills that I learned from Jill Schumacher at the Empty Spools quilt retreat at Asilomar recently. I even used nylon thread for the first time when I ditch stitched the NY Beauty circle. I also didn't want to do just one allover pattern so I divided the quilt into four sections. Instead of a sun the NY Beauty circle really brought to mind a map's compass but it needed an 'N'. Rather than embroidering it I took a cue from Angela Walters' and quilted it. Wow, was that a fun technique. I'll be doing that again.
Detail of the quilting from the back
Detail of the front ... red/orange binding accent to bring some warmth to balance out the large sun. At first I wasn't going to quilt the white triangles of the flying geese but the triangles just weren't popping. That little bit of quilting really made a big difference.
A bigger view of the back ... I sewed two hanging triangles in the top corner.
The hand drawn quilt label ... the swap recipient hasn't received it yet so the name is covered until it arrives at its destination. I love the simplicity of drawing a label using fine line Sharpies.
This was such a fun quilt to work on and I'm thrilled that my FMQ skills have improved so much. I'll definitely be practicing in the near future. After my round robin commitments I still have to quilt the Ohio Star quilt. We need some artwork to hang on the walls in our new digs. That quilt would be perfect in the living room. Okay it's time to get warm because it's snowing once again in Wyoming. Geez, I thought that Spring was here.
Part of the design for the Fab Little Quilt Swap 3 quilt is a ribbon of increasing flying geese. I've never tried one of these before so I went to town with pen and paper to draft it out.
I bought a Moda jelly roll of pale polka dots on rainbow solids. I didn't realize that they were gradations until I opened it up. Yay! They let me draft 27 flying geese with purple at the bottom. I wanted them to pop so I decided to use white fairy frost as the backgrounds. Of course before I started sewing I had to retrace the drawing in reverse so that it'd sew up correctly.
Here I started with a few of the flying geese. So far so good.
After a while I realized that if I had it to do over that I'd divide this ribbon up into three sections so that I wouldn't have to fight a long curl of paper. Midway into the greens section I realized that I forgot to sew the turquoise. Oops! I had to frog that section and re-sew it the right way. Also I tried to sew too much of this while I was tired and I kept making silly mistakes like letting the ends of pieces curl backwards into seams. Ugh! Don't you hate when that happens?! After a few too many mistakes I turned off the sewing machine and took a break.
Finally I got back to it this morning and worked until a little after noon when I completed the last flying geese section. Whoo-hoo! Isn't it a cool thing? Here it is next to the NY Beauty circle.
A little bit of a rest and then I'll get cracking on the background. I've decided to cut out those black/white/grey fabrics with the triangle Sizzix die cutter. Hopefully they won't take too long to sew. Then I'll split it apart for the ribbon and then reverse applique' the circle. It's starting to come together.
In between all the snow I've been sewing away. Finally I finished the NY Beauty circle for the Fab Little Quilt Swap quilt. I'll probably reverse applique it to the background. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, especially since it's the first time that I've ever tried sewing them. I found the patterns from Sew Sweetness' NY Beauty Quilt Along. The only change I made was to reduce the size by 50% so that I'd have 4" blocks, not 8". I can't remember which blocks I used. They were a bit fiddly at that size. Next time I'll try one full size and see how they turn out.
NY Beauty Circle:
It's hard to see in the picture but the "white" background fabric is a white with gold metallic to give a touch of sparkle. Now it's time to attack the flying geese ribbon in the quilt.