Debi reacted to delld in A Happy Quilt
This quilt was started by a dear frien, Faye, in her 90's. She had started to try to use up her stash. This was her last quilt and not finished. Sharon completed the blocks and I had the pleasure to quilt it this week end and finished the quilting today. We lost Faye in May and now this will be given to her daughter Cindy. I think it is a very special treasure!
20141103_161628 by delld1964, on Flickr
20141103_161640 by delld1964, on Flickr
Thanks for looking!
Debi reacted to Busy Quilting in Top thread breaking
Shelly great to hear you seem to have your problems sorted.
If you have dropped your bobbin then it may be out of round and have been causing some of your problems.
I have previously had problems with Highlights and put it back on the shelf. It is a slippery thread and may need a thread net to stop it pooling at the bottom of the spool, Where it can catch on the slit in the base.
One of these days I am going to take it off the shelf and work through my problems I have with using it.
For now enjoy your quilting and find your happy place again.
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in APQS ? Where were you........
Thanks for sharing the information, Norma.
I always look with interest on any survey done by entities that have a vested (read "financial") interest in any industry. Of course they would be watching the demographic closely. I just think they didn't count us all.
I'm 63--right on the demographic for a quilter.
I don't think there are fewer quilters. My area supports one huge guild, one medium guild, and a two-year-old Modern Quilt Guild with members added every year. We also have two successful quilt shops, a JoAnns that is always busy, and full classes at the LQSes with lots of younger participants.
*** This was the year of "use up your stash". The price of fabric has skyrocketed and many of my age decided to stash-dive to make tops this year. And every other blogger was pushing stash-busters and scrap quilts. So if you want us to buy fabric and maintain a stash big enough to insulate the sewing room--you better give us some better prices.
*** I've stopped subscribing to quilt magazines. Unless I find one at the LQS with a pattern I can't live without, I pass. Unfortunate but true--I can find free patterns on-line or I can even (gasp) figure out simple piecing without a pattern. I don't need a pattern to piece a chevron quilt, or a column quilt, or a panel with a border of pieced stars. Maybe the demographic is smart?
*** The industry has already tightened. Fewer quilt shows and more knitting or sewing shows on public TV. I can live without a couple of the older shows, but don't touch Fons and Porter! New blood has maintained this show and younger quilters are attracted by easier/ more modern quilts that have been demoed lately. That's fine with me.
So if the survey of quilters was done by counting mag subscriptions, or looking at fabric sales that are flat, or counting those who have given their email addy to a quilt shop, or by support to PBS, or by a phoned cold-call---I think they're missing a few of us. Women of my age (ahem) aren't easy to categorize. We're pretty fearless, perhaps frugal, like to be challenged but are more likely to challenge ourselves as far as design and construction, probably don't need a lot of classes, and yes---love fabric.
If fabric sales are down, that's because prices are so high compared to 5 years ago. We're hunkering down and using what we have. A good friend who just turned 70 and is a prolific piecer has stopped buying fabric all together. She says her piles of projects will outlive her and she doesn't want to think of all her lovely fabric being sold by the pound at the garage sale!
I hope quilting isn't on the decline. It isn't declining in my world. I agree with Meg and her statement "So what?" I hope I'll be able to quilt until I fade away. We're still here.
Debi reacted to Oma in Machine Quilting Award
I've never entered a quilt into a show. I seldom do custom work so I probably have no business commenting on this, but that's never stopped me before...lol. You make a very valid point, but the award was given for machine quilting excellence so unless they specified that it had to be custom I'd say the award was fair according to them. Remember when machine quilting was very new? Show quilter's turned their noses up and whined incessantly about how unfair and not up to proper standards it was compared to hand quilting. I still hear the comments of it being "machine quilted" at quilt shows. Like ANYBODY with a machine could make it look like that. My reply to them is usually asking them if they still piece by hand or do they use a machine. Just another view I guess. Did you take pictures? Isn't that all we ever want to know...lol.
Debi reacted to Neher-in-law5 in Almost funny...
You can also let her know that the quality of quilting dramatically decreases when your mind is trying to answer her questions at the same time as you try to remember where you are quilting. Also, the cost of quilting while being watched doubles or triples to cover the cost of nerves, distractions and ripping out the mistakes caused the by previously mentioned situations.
The insurance answer is good.
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in NQR - I'm not saying I'm tired, but...
Been there/done that myself. Your toenails are cute!
My hilarious husband always knows how to say things with humor. He once asked a co-worker "If someone had their sweater on inside-out, do you think they would want to be told about it?" With a big grin on his face and a wink. He pulls that on me often, but it's usually about my hair. "If someone had hair that looks like a squirrel slept in it, do you think they'd want to be told about it?" I tell him--No.
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in No more "day job" for Linda!
I sit here with my coffee on the first day of my retirement from my day job. The feeling is wonderful!
My calendar for the next few months is full of fun---a trip to Disneyland with my sister, guild volunteering, Moxies at my house, the local Arts Walk, the list goes on. On the business side, for the first time in six months I will be caught up on my monthly quilt quota. I try for 6 quilts a month and I've been one quilt behind every month for a while! I'm busier than ever and need to get better organized--as usual--so I can pencil in some piecing and retreats!
I was treated to a tear-producing farewell at work. They called former co-workers who I haven't seen for years to come to a get together after my last shift. The people are what I will miss the most!
My job provided me with good pay, great benefits, nice people to work with, and allowed me to have the $$ and time to following a modest dream. For that I'll always be thankful. But I'm glad to move on.
Let the fun begin!!
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in need help on backing
Well, grab a cuppa coffee while I step through my loading technique.
You need to have one perfectly straight edge---either a selvage or one that's been torn straight-of-grain. This will be pinned to the front take-up roller, so if the backer is directional or you need to load it the long way as a preference, just make sure that edge is straight.
I reach between the front roller and grab the leader, bringing it through and laying the edge facing me along the top of the roller. Disregarding the center mark, I position the backer to where it's most convenient for me. Many times this will mean loading towards the right so I don't have so far to go to release/set the brake. The top loading edge is facing me and the rest of the backer is laying neatly over the back rollers. I use pins to attach to the leader. Then I gather the whole backer and bring it towards me, under the front roller and then stuffed onto the panto shelf so it's ready to go under the leveler roller and over the take-up roller.
Here's where the trick happens. Position the backer properly over the back roller and pull the backer tight as you smooth out all the fabric. It should look flat and taut, with the excess backer fabric pooling on the table or on the floor behind the frame. You will use the "bite" of the canvas leader to load the backer squarely. Go to the front and use the power advance to roll the fabric towards you to load onto the front take-up roller. Nothing in the back is pinned or attached--it's just unfurling towards you and you will turn the front roller by hand to keep the fabric tight in the quilting field. Watch the top of the back roller as it advances and watch for ripples of fabric. When you need to, set the brake and either reach up and pull the backer at the sides to remove the wrinkles or walk to the back to smooth them out. A really wide backer will need to be adjusted from the back. Then go to the front and continue to load the backer, stopping and smoothing when necessary. I usually can advance the depth of the quilting field and then adjust. If the backer is square, the side edges should be piling up on top in even layers. If the backer is not square (as was mentioned, wide backs sometime are wonky) you'll have one side scrolling out and one side scrolling in. We'll get to that at the end...
I continue loading towards me until the backer just clears the top of the panto table. This is where you can see if the far side is square by eyeballing the edge. This works well when you know that the edge isn't square because of extra piecing or a badly cut edge. I put the shortest part of the edge right at table level and place pins along the longer area right at table level to help with loading. I bring the middle of the backer up and over the leveler roller and pin once to itself to hold it while I get the back canvas ready to load. I pull the leader edge over the roller so it's facing me and unpin the backer. I lay it all along the edge of the leader, noticing where the marking pins are and lining them up with the loading edge. I put one pin in the center to hold the backer in place while the rest is laying in position along the leader edge. The backer fabric slings down between the rollers. Look at the sling---if there are bumps or slanted ripples, unpin the center and slide the fabric left or right until the fabric looks flat. This is the same technique you use when you're making sure your yardage is straight before you cut it--make it lie flat with no ripples.
Almost there!! With the backer in the sling you're ready to pin to the back roller. After that, I move to the front and load the sling fabric onto the back roller until it's tight and then advance it onto the front roller. Sometimes you'll need to roll back and forth if you have some sagging.
Now you can look at the backer to see how wonky it is. If you've loaded a parallelogram, you will have one side scrolling out and one side scrolling in. On the out-scrolling side, feel for the first pin at the edge and mark the position with a piece of painter's tape or an erasable marker on the top roller leader . On the in-scrolling side place a marker at the narrowest part---usually at the end, but sometimes if things are ugly you'll need to watch as it loads to find the narrowest place. The distance between the two marks is the usable width of the backer. Anything outside the marks is to be avoided, obviously. So if you have 96" between the marks and the quilt top is 100" it won't work. Been there/done that!
This technique allows you to load anywhere along the leaders and not worry about those wandering center marks that sometimes happen as your leaders stretch.
I hope this was helpful and that you can visualize the steps. I'll try to clarify if you have questions.
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in The joys and tribulations of scheduling customers...
I try to call my customers the month before their quilt is scheduled as a reminder and to set up the intake appointment. Last month was hectic and I didn't get that task done, figuring I'd see two of them at a meeting last night. One wasn't there and responded to my inquiring email that she didn't have a quilt ready and for me to schedule her again "some time in the future". The second answered at the meeting that she'd forgotten and would see if she had anything at home that she could bring me, but she "doubted it".
I realize that I need to be more proactive contacting customers and setting up intakes, but it's obvious that all of us are in the end-of-summer frantic-ness. This isn't a huge deal for me. I have a backlog of customers and I can call a couple of scheduled customers for next month and will fill the two spots. Or I may throw something of my own on the machine---woo hoo!
In any case, I'm retiring from the day-job at the store in two weeks (you can imagine how excited I am! ) and will be re-examining my business practices. I'll freely admit that on occasion I welcomed a no-show or rescheduled quilt. It gave me breathing room for custom quilts and I could do some charity quilts a couple of times a year. Now my time will be my own and I'll be scheduling with an eye to some off time for me and retreats and activities with my guild and girlfriends. And maybe requiring a deposit when my backlog gets far enough out that my customers forget they have a quilt scheduled!
I love my job, love my customers, and always encourage newbies starting a business to have firm plans in place, set forth their "rules" clearly, and make the business "business-like". I guess I need to take my own advice!! If you've made it this far, thanks for listening!
Debi reacted to JenniferBernard in Quilting sympathy needed and venting
We try to support each other in a profession not many others understand. I find other quilters stories very interesting and am glad that they have a place to find sympathy and understanding. The people who bring their tops to us have many quilt shops, guilds, small groups, and friends to express their frustrations to. We, the quilters, are spread over a wide distance and are few in numbers compared to "toppers". This is the place I come to celebrate, find inspiration, and a sympathetic ear when I need it.
Thank you all for understanding me when I am down and celebrating with me when I am happy with my quilting endeavors!!
Debi reacted to LibbyG in Log Cabin
A new customer wanted this done for a wedding gift for a relative. I put the heart design in the corner border and the center. I thought it would look adorable in all the pink blocks, but she said her grand daughter was marrying a surgeon and she thought it would be too much. Hey, he could end up being a cardiologist! Hobbs 80/20 and So Fine and BL.
I have to thank Heidi and Charlotte for the quilting design. Normally I would have just feathered all the colors. But when Charlotte took Heidi's idea and quilted the lines, I loved it. What a wonderful forum we have!
Log Cabin by LibbyG7, on Flickr
Log Cabin (2) by LibbyG7, on Flickr
Log Cabin (6) by LibbyG7, on Flickr
Log Cabin (3) by LibbyG7, on Flickr
Debi reacted to Oma in GD's Purse
Life has a way of changing when you least expect it to. A few weeks ago our 17 year old GD came to live with us and will be finishing her last year of school here with us. Without getting into all the particulars let's just suffice it to say her parents really dropped the ball here. She is such a sweet and smart girl and she deserves to have what's left of her childhood given back to her and to have a place to live where she feels safe, loved and protected. There wasn't any abuse so to say except the uncertainty of her life situation. I love having her here with us. We gave her the guest room and let her make it into her style. She didn't change much in it except to move the furniture around. I cleaned out the closet. OMG...I had clothes in there I hadn't worn for 15 years. The biggest shock of all is that she is a teenager with a compulsion for neat and tidy. Wow!
She is also a little quilt maker. A couple of years ago we designed and made a quilt as tribute to an English boy band, One Direction. She didn't like her current purse and noticed my mini professional tote and wanted to make one like it. I told her it was hard. That didn't dissuade her so we got busy picking fabric from my stash. Can you believe she found this in my stash? It's taken us several days, but today it is finished. I'm posting a pic. She loves it!
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in Just finished. Customer guild border challenge
Just off the frame--another two-week quilt!
Last year, my guild challenge was a border-of-the-month. Starting with a center focus block, borders were added each month and shared at guild. This is a large bed-size medallion quilt. She wanted heavy custom so she can enter it in state-wide shows. She pulled fabrics from her stash a la Bonnie Hunter--only for color, not for content or era. There was the romantic toile (her focus fabric and the entire backer), some stripes and plaids, Jenny Beyer, calicoes, modern, etc. Her final one-inch piano key border was interesting with added squares at alternating ends. The only thing I couldn't talk her into was wool batting. She like 100% cotton in her bed quilts. But hanging, it looks fine.
Miles of SID, feathers, line-work, six thread colors and invisible thread. And some stand-and-stare to try to find a cohesive quilting plan.
Here's the Flickr link---scroll right for details. Thanks for looking!
Debi reacted to Beachside Quilter in One Fell Swoop - Pieced on Millie
I was inspired by Threadtales blogspot to make this flannel quilt for my great niece. It's called "One Fell Swoop". Simply cut strips of fabric, load backing and backing and piece entirely on the longarm. Worked great on my Millie! The hardest part was piecing the backing as it is directional and when I pieced it one side was upside down. I noticed it when I loaded it so fixed it before quilting. Took about 3 hours from start to finish. Quilted with my Milky Way boards. Super fast and easy! I'm going to use this method again when I need a quick quilt. Now I just have to do the binding!
Debi reacted to K. Szymaszek in Pink and Grey Basket Quilt
Here is the basket quilt I made some time ago. Many may recognize it. I still haven't bound it yet, hopefully soon. More pics at www.ksquiltsandquilting.com . I can get the pics a better size there. QDWool and So-Fine thread. Thanks for looking, K
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in Almost Amish
Click on the Flickr link for photos of one just finished. Log Cabins, sampler blocks, checkerboard, lots of blocks all in solid fabric and lots of colors. It's 106" square and was on the frame for two weeks. Wool batting made it dimensional, six different thread colors, some straight line ruler work, and a made-up scroll pattern. Arrow right for detail shots--I couldn't get the whole thing with one photo.
Thanks for looking!
Debi reacted to Quilting Heidi in Opinion: HeatPress Batting Tape
I've used it with good results. I've never had an issue with it. You can get the same thing at Joanns, buy the tricot fusible used for knits. Buy it with a coupon and buy long enough for the width of your batting and then cut it into 1" strips. Walla and much cheaper that way.
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in What is this pattern?
I suspect that the blocks are pieced, not appliqued. I can't tell from the small photo whether it's hand pieced.
I say go ahead and take the opportunity. Remember that not every quilt needs SID. If you feel reluctant to do it, a simple quilting plan can be very effective.
The blocks have the look of butterflies, with adjoining yellow pie-pieces. Start in the corner where the pieces join and stitch three or five petal shapes back to the corner. Then stitch the adjoining pie-piece the same. The arcs of strips can be nailed down with a forgiving squiggle-in-the-ditch along each seam and also the seam around the arcs. You can use the same thread for both areas because of the scrappy piecing in the arcs. Use a favorite medium-dense filler in the white for contrast--using white thread so it makes the rest the focus. A stipple would be era-friendly but loops or swirls could be pretty as well. The white can be stitched continuously all along the stitching field. If you want to try SID, start on the straight block seams. If you squiggle-stitch the arc seams they won't need extra attention--and they're hard to be accurate on because of the curve.
Hoping this was helpful. My charge for the non-SID treatment would be a generous two cents an inch, even though there are thread color changes. If I added SID to the mix, 3 cents an inch. My charge goes up whenever there's a ruler in my hand!
Debi reacted to zen quilter in Need Longarm Lessons: Run, don't walk to Carol Cunningham
My husband and I are so excited about the quilting experience we just had, I have to share it. Having purchased a APQS Millenium in January 2014 I was stressed. You know the questions. Can I do this? Is my quilting now at a level that I could charge? How do other quilters do that? Will I ever make money to pay for my Millie? I finally got smart and found Carol Cunningham who is a APQS dealer and educator. I booked us in for four decadent days of quilting bliss with Carol at her beautiful studio "The Quilt Batt" in Beamsville, Ontario. Carol sorted us out. Thread, tension, batting, design ideas, stencils, pattern transfers, use of rulers, marking tops, machine maintenance, freehand drawing, freehand quilting, stippling, applique, feathers, business ideas and issues, so many techniques, and so much more. Carol will take you from knowing nothing, to feeling comfortable and confident with your machine and your skills. Time just flies with Carol. We arrived for 9:30 am and before you know it, it is lunch. Carol (now known to me as superwoman) has prepared a delicious lunch for us. Chicken pot pie, beautiful green salads, fresh baked breads, fresh fruit, and crème brule ice cream. You get the idea. Carol is so knowledgeable and so much fun before you know it, it's 4:30 and you are done for the day. Learning from Carol was not at all like the business trip I was expecting. It turned out to be a fabulous vacation, a real getaway for the two of us. We asked for ideas on what to do as we don't know the area. Carol did not disappoint with her suggestions. There is a really great outlet mall, Niagara On The Lake, and Niagara Falls. If you are thinking of buying a machine or if you are in need of lessons Carol is the one to contact. Thank you Carol Cunningham and thank you APQS for having the fine dealers and educators you do.
On a side note I feel the need to tell you about a device Carol showed me called "The Circle Thingy" by Circlelord and I am in love. Check it out. It is amazing and can be easier than turning on your computer to make perfect circles every time.
Debi reacted to JeannieB in Millie and My 1 Year Anniversary - Things I've Learned
Over the last year, these are the things I've learned ...
I cannot sneeze and stipple at the same time.
Backing loaded right side up does not look near as good on the back of a quilt as a backing loaded wrong side up.
If you wear long sleeves, make sure your seam ripper or scissors are close to the head of the machine … just in case you sew your sleeve to the quilt while getting in those odd positions holding a ruler.
A bug landing in spikey grey hair while FMQ can cause a 14” unwanted stitched line across a quilt that does not necessarily match the stitching pattern.
Eyeballing a straight line does not mean the stitched line will be straight – use your channel locks.
Changing a needle because you are having stitching and tension problems and putting the needle in backwards will not correct the stitching problems.
Loading a quilt backing, batting and top on TOP of the leveler bar (instead of underneath it) will create stitching problems and tucks in your backing.
QuiltPath does what you tell it to … not what you intend for it to do.
When a customer says, “oh, just do what you want”, that’s not always what they mean.
When a more experienced quilter tells you, “practice, practice, practice”… that IS what they mean!
I have the best machine on the market today. APQS sales and service can’t be beat!
This “family” on the forum is the greatest teacher I’ve found … no matter what question I have, someone is always ready with an answer. I learn so much reading your posts and seeing your pics. THANK YOU!
I’m proud to be an APQS owner!
Debi reacted to ffq-lar in Need to slow down. sigh.
Your body and mind are whispering to you. They are saying just what you suspect. I'm coming up on the 10 year anniversary of my business. After I started having a backlog of customer quilts, I went through what you're experiencing.
The best thing I ever figured out was when I decided to schedule a specific number of quilts per month. Quilts are dropped off the month before so I can decide in which order to stitch them (two customs in a row is too draining so I space them throughout the month interspersed with easy/small ones).
I first thought I could do 10 a month--wrong. I work 25 hours a week at a "benefits job" which I wouldn't give up because of the security it provides.Then I went to 8 per month. Again, that was too many since my customers were building Judy Niemeyer giants and Dear Janes, along with giant bed quilts and BOMs. Now I'm at 6 per month and it seems to work. I have time for a few QOVs and my own quilts here and there. I have time to schedule vacations with family and for other interests. So I have 6 quilts whispering to me at the beginning of the month, rather than 30 in the queue screaming at me that I'll never get to them all!
* Have your business be your only "job". Consider being part of something else (family, classes, gardening, fun times) and pencil those times in as part of the "job". This will give you something to look forward to besides the happy smiles of your customers.
* Feel bad saying "no"--to customers and sometimes to your friends/family. I'm hoping your circle understands and supports your endeavors.
* Feel bad turning away business. It isn't meant to be if a customer can't wait a couple of months in your queue. You aren't any good to them if you've lost your spark!
* Raise your prices when you have a several-month backlog of tops. This sounds counter to everything your heart tells you (you'll lose customers /they'll never come back /I'm not good enough to charge that much /I want my customers to be my friends) but it's everything your brain knows and your accountant wants! You'll find you'll be closer to an acceptable hourly rate and will still make a similar amount monthly with less time in front of the machine.
* Realize that if you're behind and pressured, you can call your customers and without revealing too much personal stuff, explain that you'll need to push their job back a couple of weeks. Most will understand and it will give you some relief from the pressure you put upon yourself worrying about the backlog.
* Walk away when you need to. You're more important than the quilts. Your family is too, as well as the other things that make you smile.
I'm sending you good thoughts and assure you that we've all gone through this--as does anyone who owns a business. You put your heart and soul into it but will need to balance the best way you can.
Debi reacted to Wannabelongarm in Creative Festival in Toronto
Matt Sparrow, Tracey Russell and I will have a booth a Creative Festival in Toronto on Friday and Saturday this week - we are very, very excited to show off the wonderful APQS Machines as this show. www.csnf.com
If any of you are going, please, please, drop in an say hello and it would be fun to get 'selfies' with any APQS owners that are there.
We will also be at Quilt Canada 2014, at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, June 11 - 14, 2014. There are some great teachers - Brigit Schuller from Germany is one of the teachers! www.canadianquilter.com for more information.
We have been busy here in Alberta, I just had my first trunk show last night and had information on our rental program at Sparrow Studioz in Edmonton and Calgary. It was fun, and I appreciated the group's enthusiasm!
Have a great week!
APQS Sales and Education