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  1. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to ffq-lar in Translating your customer's input   
    I'm always stressing to business owners to listen to their customers and find ways to stay within their budget while also providing pretty stitching.
    This customer said--don't do too much.
    That translated to me as one of these things-- the budget was limited/ she wasn't in love with the top and didn't want something extravagant on it/  it was a gift for an acquaintance/ or she has seen how I "go overboard" and wanted to avoid that!  
    This is a medium-size wallhanging made with geese and lots of half-square triangles--all of a good size. The HSTs are 6 inches square. There is some applique where she plans to add 3D flowers.
    This was my approach. The HSTs were treated as squares with a CC design that had an added leaf and echo. The triangles and squares were marked into larger squares so a leafy-wreath fit, and five wreaths fit in an L-shape piecing area. The geese (which aren't shown) were also marked into squares so the same CC design could be stitched--they were all the same size. All the blocks were "super-sized" regarding stitching--stitching all the individual pieces would have been much more expensive so I ignored some of the seams while still honoring the piecing.
    Applique blocks had the background stippled, a narrow border split into two colors got small leaves on one and swirls on the second.
    She was thrilled with my "restraint" and loved the subtle stitching. And it wasn't very expensive. This can translate into a customer bringing you more tops. 
    Just wanted to share the thought process and decision-making.
    Link to a photo.
  2. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to Cagey in Constructive Criticism 1   
    I took my first free motion quilting class at the end of January 2014.  It was primarily a stencil class.  That is to say, using a stencil we drew a design on our quilt, then stitched the lines.  I bought my first real DSM in February.  In October, I took a class with Claudia Pfeil.  She taught us how to draw the stems of the feather, and then quilt the feathers.  I completed the class on my DSM, while the other participants did it on the longarm.  Since then, I have been practicing drawing designs on paper, and getting to know my George.  
    This is a NICU quilt that I have been working on my George.  I did not piece it, I just quilted it.  I made Jamie Wallen feathers around the hearts on the quilt, and did two different types of feathers in the borders.  I am looking for some constructive criticism, so I can improve my results.  
    I will start out by saying, that on the double hump vine feathers, I should have drawn some register lines to ensure my vines were all equal in size. Instead, I just went for it, and did my best to keep them the same size.  The other feathers, I chalk lined the stem and stitched them out.  Overall, I am happy with results, but I want to know how to make it better.  Should I leave the stem feathers as they are, or fill them in more before I put on the binding?
    Thank you in advance for the inputs.

  3. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to pumpkinpatchquilter in Constructive Criticism 1   
    Aww thank you!  I'm still learning ALL the time!!!  This forum is wonderful as everyone here is really good hearted and good intentioned and will give great advice with the true goal of helping you.  I love this place!
    Regarding stitch length - it's a wee bit on the long side but mine were too when I first started out.  Also, you're on a sit down George, is that right?  After a while you'll just start to feel it out a bit and you'll have more control to shorten or lengthen the stitches the way you like.  Right now I wouldn't sweat it - just try to be consistent, and it looks like you've got that down.  (For the record - there are some very famous highly awarded quilters that tend to have longer stitches when not using regulation...you'll learn to reign it in.)
    Another thing that might make you feel better about the overall look is to use a blending thread - for now.  I take it you wanted to SEE the quilting on the red border in this quilt - but sometimes when I'm trying something new I play it safe and choose a close color to the fabric...that way you see more texture and less error.  We ALL have womples and wobbles but you learn tricks to disguise them....blending thread is one of those tricks...plus you boost your own confidence and feel AWESOME when it turns out looking beautiful.  
    On the note of high contrast thread - when you have free time I'd play with some different high contrast combinations.  Some are better than others - and some designs work better in a high contrast thread/fabric combination than others.  I am always fooling around with designs...even when I'm not working on a quilt on the long arm I'll have scraps around and I'll sit and goof around on my Juki.  For example I was playing with a high contrast koi fish design on black fabric recently.  I found when I used an aqua (that of course in my MIND looked AMAZING) it looked kind of sloppy when I quilted it even though my work was as meticulous as I am capable of.  I switched to a rusty orange, still pretty high contrast but just not quite as much as the pale aqua...the same exact design looked worlds better.
    Just a thought.  
  4. Upvote
    anniemueller got a reaction from Oma in Millie got tattoo's   
    What fun!  I put these pretty purple decals on Millie. 


    They are so much fun I ordered more for my DSM and my fabric stash cabinet.  They're available at www.quiltastick.com.  You can pick your own colors or custom designs too.
    They just make me smile.  :)
  5. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to ffq-lar in I want to know   
    I knew our passion gave us "longer arms". But bigger around too? 
    Do you have the fabric advance? I bet advancing the rollers by hand could build some muscles.
    Frogging could do it. Pulling the layers apart to get at those crappy stitches---it raises my heart rate and makes me sweat. Great aerobics!
    Squatting to check your stitches on the back could help your haunches.
    Dropping pins--great for the waist. But I still hear that strange noise when I bend over. Oh, wait. That was me...
    I hope you have a great time sewing some gorgeous garments. I bought a jacket pattern and three yards of rayon batik. Wish me luck--- I haven't made a garment since I was pregnant. And Adam will be 35 soon.
  6. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to ffq-lar in Where to start?   
    Float the top and pin-baste the first half working to the center, patting everything flat. Stitch-baste the center area and work your way backwards to stitch-baste back to the top, removing the pins as you get to them. This technique allows you to adjust the fabric relative to the center. Then advance to the center and stitch-baste from there to the bottom. I'm a great pin-baster and probably wouldn't bother with the stitch-basting. But that's just me.
  7. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to Corey in NQR- health related   
    Isn't that the truth, we should be mindful of our own well being. Us, women are nurturing & we forget that we are not like the energizer bunny.
  8. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to ffq-lar in NQR- health related   
    Well, you figured that one out! So glad you got a good nights sleep. Look out world---she's back!
    Women are tough and quilters are tougher. Since Peggy mentioned the swap above, we're going to name the red FQ swap "Oma's Blood Drive"!!
    Hugs, my friend.
  9. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to Oma in NQR- health related   
    As some of you know...I haven't felt good for quite a few months.  So tired and just sliding down and down.  I kept struggling to keep up my normal pace and failing miserably.
    I spent the past four months seeing doctors and trying to figure out why I was feeling this way.  My doctor would change some meds (I only take three) and I stopped some on my own.  Each thing helped a little, but I was still fading.  Every single day if felt as if I was walking around carrying a 200 lb. weight after running a mile and not sleeping for 4 days.  I had terrible restless leg syndrome and leg cramps, my muscles just felt like they weren't getting any blood supply.  When I would climb my stairs at night to go to bed I would be gasping to breathe and dizzy, nauseous and just felt like I was going to pass out.  My heart would just race!  I did this every time I had to walk for more than 20 feet.  Heck, I needed to sit on a chair to scramble an egg for breakfast.  Any exertion would make me gasp for air.  Everyone would ask me if I had used my inhaler, but I kept screaming "It's not my asthma!  I know what asthma is!  I'm a nurse for Christ's sakes!  An inhaler is not going to help this!"  My pulmonologist agreed with me.  Told me I was controlling my asthma beautifully and my lungs were in good shape.  I saw a cardiologist in January who did an echocardiogram and a treadmill stress test and said my heart was in good shape.  I was getting frustrated because I was getting sicker and sicker and my brain function seemed to be getting foggier and foggier.  AAACCCKK!!!
    Last Thursday night I was watching tv with my husband and I asked him to bring me some ice chips.  What!!!  I don't like ice chips...never eat ice chips...hate the crunching on my teeth.  Then a light bulb went on.  All my life the only time I would eat ice chips was when I was anemic in my 20's and 30's.  OMG!!!!!  Why hadn't I pieced this together?  Friday morning I went to the ER.  My hemoglobin level was 8.5 (normal is 12-16).  I was admitted and was given two units of blood.  The level went up to 10, but then down to 9.5, then leveled off at 9.7.  Still not good, but good enough to go home and have some tests scheduled to find out where my blood went.  My labs were normal back in December.  On the lower side of normal (12.7) , but normal just the same. 
    Every time I saw a doctor they would ask me how I felt and I would say "Like crap!" and they would look at me and smile then look at my labs and go on to other stuff.  They were reading my numbers and not my body!  Even the ER doc.  He took my history then seemed perplexed and started ordering tests to rule out blood clots, etc.  I asked him to check the hgb because when the lab assistant drew my blood it was dark and thick and didn't look like my normal blood samples.  He came back into my room within five minutes and told me I would be getting admitted and having a couple of units of blood transfused.  Gave me a high five and said "Good call!"   EEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!!  
    I came home yesterday and it felt so good to be in my own environment.  I slept 7 solid, uninterrupted hours last night. I can't remember the last time I did anything close to that. It feels good. I was worn out for sure.  I'm not looking forward to all the testing to come, endoscopy and colonoscopy, to start with, but it has to be. The docs want to know where my blood went. It was a major drop in just a few months. So we'll get me fixed and I'll be good as new then watch out world.
    This just goes to show you how tough us quilters are.  During the worst of this I hosted a fabric swap, participated in a different swap and the day before I went into the hospital I helped my friend get her quilt quilted and I covered two cushions.  What was I thinking?!!!  Just goes to show I wasn't thinking...I was putting one foot in front of the other and pushing onwards.  The world had better watch out when I get this under control.  I've got projects to do!!!!
    On a high note...I just ordered my two red fabrics for Linda's swap.  Yay!  Looking forward to it!  I'm ignoring the fact that I don't like red quilts.  I'm stepping outside my box! 
  10. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to K. Szymaszek in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Very beautiful designs.
  11. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to loraquilts in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Those feather were freehand!    Absolutely gorgeous!  Great job all the way around. 
  12. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to dbams in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Really lovely quilting, Annie!  Thanks for sharing!
  13. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to dlnewell in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Your feathers look perfect!  I see no backtracking!   Lovely quilt!
  14. Upvote
    anniemueller got a reaction from Enchanted Quilting in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Gentle steam seems to be helping some.  I might put it back on the machine next and try stitching from corner to corner like you suggested Linda.  I'm glad you described it in detail.  I see why my circle idea won't help now.
  15. Upvote
    anniemueller got a reaction from dbams in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Ta Da!  Light steaming on a hard surface with a big square ruler for a little flat weight on top while it cooled improved the cups.  I'll let my customer know that she can block it to fully tame the cups if they become obnoxious.
    It really is a pretty quilt.  
    I had hoped that the big diamond shapes would show as big stars or big cubes.  But I see now that the top was so busy that effect is lost.  It's more visible on the back, but did not photograph well.
    and the back    
    Thanks for your support!  It's been over a year ago that I asked for quilting ideas.  I got a great response from many of you, that helped me create the designs.  Love this forum!
  16. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to srichardson in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Great job, love the designs.
  17. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to chickenscratch in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    That's so pretty.  I love the design you put in the diamond blocks.  Makes me wish I had IQ on my machine.
  18. Upvote
  19. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to ffq-lar in Hobbs heirloom wool package   
    Use caution with the king size (120" X 120") Hobbs heirloom packaged batting. The one I just loaded was so compressed to get it in the bag that there were obnoxious creases and towards the inside it was actually felted from the compression. The creases were so bad that I laid it out and spritzed it with water. Then I had to redistribute the fibers with my fingers to take the tops off the creases. They are still evident if you run your hand along the top, but not so bad when it's quilted. The felted areas are not fixable so I made sure the worst end was at the end of the quilt so less of it was used. I had about 8 inches left, which I'll show to my customer. It looks OK after quilting.
    I fully understand how this can happen and next time I might spritz it, put it in a laundry bag and give it a ride in the dryer without heat. I'll be warning my customers and next time I get one we'll open it at drop-off to inspect it. Just a heads up.
  20. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to srichardson in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    When I am piecing tops that have a lot of seams coming together causing too much bulk I use the hammer trick.  I hit the area with a burst of steam and then hit the seams to flatten them.  I haven't tried this after I have quilted but don't see why it shouldn't work.  The quilt would need to be on a firm surface.  
    I use one of these, not a regular hammer.  https://www.piecesbewithyou.com/shop/product/Wkr/
  21. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to QuiltGuy in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    As a guy and an old car enthusiast...I am intrigued by the "hammer trick". As all guys know there are two indispensible tools; Duct tape and hammers! 
    So how does this work? Dampen the area and then whack it? I assume this is either before or after it is on the frame? 
  22. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to srichardson in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    If the bulkiness of the seams coming together is part of the cause I would try steaming the area and then giving it a good thwack!  I have a mallet that I use and it is amazing how much difference it makes to bulky seams.  Linda mentioned the hammer trick too.  It works!
  23. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to LisaC in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    I just had this same thing happen with my QD Wool batting on my son's quilt. I quilted rays coming from a center point and it cupped at the center point. My top was perfectly flat before; I believe the extra stitching distorts the area; I stitched mine in both directions. I plan on getting it flat by washing and blocking and I think they will easily tame. If you want it flat before your customer gets it; I would try misting those areas and laying the quilt flat and patting them out. See if they will stay down; and if not, can you weight it a bit with something? Or try steaming them flat, but wait until they are cool and dry before folding up the quilt. Good luck and let us know what you did! Beautiful quilting; looks great.
  24. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to Oma in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Have you tried the old spray starch and steam routine?  Seems like it would draw it up a little...maybe just enough.  Very nice quilt!
  25. Upvote
    anniemueller reacted to ffq-lar in Please help me tame the cups! TA DA Finished Scroll down for pics   
    Please don't beat yourself up about this. There's no way to "quilt" cups into piecing unless it's full before hand. I suspect that the bias edges of the triangles and the extra fabric (seam allowances) behind the center intersections are what has added to the problem. You have a circle of lots of extra fabric (plus the wool batting) under that intersection, which is hard to flatten. That's why it has such a nice round look.
    Your SID through the centers would have been my first suggestion. Obviously that just pushed the excess into a smaller area. You can split the difference there and stitch a line from each point of your quilting to the opposite point and back to the center--then a line across the next two, and the final two. But I suspect that it will not flatten it out any more for you.
    Second suggestion would be blocking, taking special care that the problem areas are patted down. Suggest that your customer use some spray starch or Best Press on those areas, cover with some plastic wrap, and place a book on top to flatten things a bit. When it's dry it should stay flat until the starch is washed out. Too bad you couldn't try the "hit it with a hammer" trick before you started.
    Third suggestion---fluffing in the dryer (no heat) might puff up the wool batting so it's not so noticeable.
    Fourth--sew a button onto those intersections. Not my favorite idea though...
    Your quilting is wonderful! Don't take on the blame for this. It's the dynamics of fabric weave and extra layers---not something that you stitched into it.
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