Welcome, “Laverne & Shirley II”!

I had this big, gaping hole in my sewing room for 3 weeks.

At 8 AM on a Friday morning a couple of weeks ago, this delightful sight showed up at my front door!

That’s right! Accomplish Quilting traveled all the way from St. Joe, Michigan (not far from where we used to live) to deliver my new longarm 🙂 As my brother so lovingly stated “Jesus, little drunk in it huh? By the truckload now!”. Yes, I’m drunk in my quilting, bro. I would like to introduce the newest family member – An Innova 26″ longarm loving named Laverne & Shirley II:

Dad looks like he approves!

I have to thank my mom for my machine. It was purchased with the money she left me after she passed away. She said “Use it on something you WANT, and that you’ll LOVE.” She taught me how to sew, loved my quilting, and I know she’d approve of this purchase!

The Innova was delivered by this sweet tech, Rico. Installer extraordinaire, lover of quilts, and a guy who is also planning his own quilt! He also has a hidden talent – he’s a cosmetologist!

Rico has waaay too much energy in the morning – he was rarin’ to go when he arrived. Walked about 10 loads down to the basement in no time flat. This, from a guy who doesn’t drink coffee! I as exhausted just watching him. Oh, BTW, much to our delight, 12-foot steel bars will round the corner to the basement door. We thought for sure we’d have resort to the second option of bring them in through the basement window.

Rico is a hard-workin’ fella. I figured my job was to keep him fed and hydrated, and to keep the tunes rolling. See the headphones hanging over his ears? He brought his own music, but my Alexa kept him singing all day long. That’s right. ALL DAY. I think we can add singer to his list of talents, too, because he’s good! It would’ve taken us a week to set all this up ourselves, lol. I tried to stay out of his way, but had to sneak in several times to check it all out – I was just tooooooo excited!

What did I love about Rico most? The fact that he was genuinely interested in the quilts in my room! He wasn’t just a “delivery guy” who grudgingly set up the system, but was actually engaged in the quilt world. He did a mini-class to make sure I knew how everything was loaded and how the machine ran, and answered all of my questions about the machine with true expertise.  Rico even let me make a video of how him threading the machine! 

I was amazed at how quickly I became comfortable with the Innova. After only one day on a practice piece, I loaded up the inaugural quilt.

I had started this quilt on the Voyager, and became so frustrated with the tension that I pulled it off. I’m excited to see the differences between the Voyager and the Innova, but that’s for another post. Needless to say, I’m happily quilting along right now!

On a side note, I have been nothing but thrilled with the sales and service I’ve received from Accomplish Quilting. Nearly everything was done via email since I’m 300 miles away. Eileen was my sales rep, and answered all 10,000 questions I had, without hesitation. I took a Beginner’s Innova Class (three free classes are included with the sale!) while I was up in Michigan in April, and I’m looking forward to the Intermediate Class in June, along with a Jamie Wallen class in August – woo-hoo! – one of my favorite quilters ever! Eileen has called just to check in and make sure everything was going well. Now, that’s caring service!

 

Sewing Room Update

Yikes! July since I last posted??? Shame on me. I’ve been busy, though. As you know, I’m creating a new sewing room from scratch. It’s going to be a looooong process, but it’s starting to come together. Here’s a panoramic of the room, and some of my recent projects. Forgive the pictures, I took them at 4 AM. There’s truly a crapload of light in there, but the camera was fighting with me:

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Don’t you just love that floor?? It looks like a patchwork quilt. LOVE. They’re carpet squares we got at Home Depot, and the entire thing cost only 94-cents/square foot! And, yes, I laid the entire thing myself – over 400 sf over a 2-day period. It was a blast laying out the pattern, and (except for the outside edge tiles) they butted up so tightly they didn’t need taped down. No problems vacuuming – and trust me, it’s been done a lot! It has warmed up this basement room not only in looks, but in temperature. Here’s a link to the flooring: Versatile Carpet Squares It still need a ceiling, but that will be the last thing done. I want to make sure everything is in place before installing the ceiling. I’m sure there will be more room-rearranging, and the lights will be shifted to the optimum areas once the final layout is done. My design wall on the left is perfectly awesome.

design-wallTwo sheets of 1-3/4″ insulation covered with batting only. How happy I am to have an 8×8 foot design wall! The thicker insulation allows my pins to completely push through the insulation so they don’t stick out. Peggi’s suggestion of using only batting worked SO well and was much less expensive. It fits perfectly between two sets of outlets without being screwed into the wall. These babies aren’t gonna move or shift. Several of the projects I am working on are hung on the design wall. Two table runners and applique blocks. More on those later.

For the first time, quilts are hung on my wall!

longarm-areaThere’s my dad. His quilt won first place in the AQS online quilt contest in 2009, which resulted in winning the quilt frame and helping to purchase my mid-arm machine, so it was was only fitting that he should watch over me as I quilt.

Don’t you just love the quilt on the left?

happyplaceYou can see the post about it here. I added my own applique to it, and it looks so cute on the wall. Did you know that Command Strips makes little clothespins?? I didn’t want to drill holes into the brick, so I used these and they’ve held up perfectly. Or heck, you could just add Command Strips to regular clothespins.

Lastly, a new sewing “nook”!

sewing-nookDon’t’cha just love the makeshift footstool?? The chair was from the upstairs bedroom – darn, it just didn’t match the furniture up there (snort!). The end table was my mom’s, so she’s there with me too. It’s a great place to do hand-sewing and watch a movie.

That’s all for now, a cutting table and sewing table are in the planning stages, and I’ll post them once they’re finished!

Cindi 100PS: Happy Thanksgiving to all! We’ve got 15 coming for dinner, so I’m off to get ready….

New quilt clock

Well, since I’m updating my sewing room – slowly but surely – I decided I needed a new clock. Once I found this tutorial, I was off and running. I used the block supplied with the tutorial, but decided I wanted mine a little different – a little more me. Like Alton Brown, I believe the only “unitasker” in my sewing room should be the fire extinguisher that hangs on my wall. So my clock will serve several purposes.

clock2Not only will it tell me when I’m late, I’m using it for my quilt show pin collection and to hang blocks or pictures. The blocks were made from leftover charm squares I had, which I glued to poster board with a glue stick (no warping!). While the tutorial called for gluing the blocks together, I decided to hand-sew mine, even though there was poster board behind every block. Why? Two simple reasons: 1. I’m a quilter. 2. I’ve never completed anything hexagon-y before, so now I can say I’ve done it 🙂 The burlap canvas and clothespins were purchased at Hobby Lobby. That 40% off coupon sure does come in handy! I bought the clock hands through Amazon. The total cost of the clock? About $14. It only took a week to get everything sewn together, glued, and up on the wall.

And yes, that is a cow on my clock.

IMG_1409This quilt won 3rd prize in the quilt competition at the Ohio State Fair this year! We stopped in today so I could see it 🙂

PebbleSo glad DH talked me into entering it. Being a practice quilt, I didn’t think it had a chance of even being accepted! It certainly wasn’t perfect quilting, lol. But, I’m proud as punch, which you can see in that smile on my face. So, that’s why there’s a cow on my clock. My quilt was in the show there, and that means a pin must be purchased!

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Signature quilt finished!

Yes, several months after the wedding, the quilt is finally done!

IMG_4428OMGosh, it seems like I’ve been working on this forever! And the hardest part was that I couldn’t post any pictures of it, as Kylee and Cam didn’t want to see anything posted until they saw the completed quilt. Aack!

Here’s a pic of it laid out:

IMG_1183As you all know, I did this quilt by paper piecing, as the blocks were to be signed, and also taken to Florida and back to Columbus for two receptions, and I wanted them to hold up to a lot of handing. While paper piecing is accurate and perfect for stabilizing blocks for signatures, I’m not a huge PP fan. Why? Because it’s a PIA trying to sew the blocks together…

IMG_0925….then tearing all of the #&%$ paper off the quilt, which was a week-long process in itself….

IMG_4108Swear to pete, I’m STILL finding pieces of paper in my living room, LOL!

I drew the applique myself in EQ7 – learning experience! Laid it out in paper before I cut out the shapes and hand-appliqued them to the quilt:

IMG_3991Learning lesson #1: Do not make curves too tight! I had a heck of a time with some of the scrolls, trying to turn them under.

Made one mistake when I loaded it onto the longarm. Learning lesson #2: Don’t be in a rush. Press it again after tearing off the paper. Had a heck of a time with some of the seams being bulky because I was too excited to get it onto the frame.

I was able to try out my new Boomerang ruler from Deloa’s Quilt Shop. Awesome!! Looks like waves, doesn’t it? Perfect, as they were married on the beach.

IMG_1140I made the label from one of the leftover blocks, and spent 3 evenings hand-sewing the binding. Always my favorite part.

IMG_1153This was a true labor of love, with a lot of learning and new techniques for me. I drew both the applique and the snowball block in EQ7. So this quilt is my design, my piecing and my quilting. When I finished, I nearly pulled my arm out of the socket trying to pat myself on the back, as every aspect of this quilt is by me – and that’s a first!! I’m comforted in the fact that Kylee is a crafter and appreciates the value of handmade, so I know it will be well taken care of in the years to come.

Now, it’s on to a new project!!

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Let the transformation begin!

After 2 years, I’m finally getting around to making this space my own! It’s in the basement, with one tiny window. The previous owner used it as a woodworking shop, and the concrete block walls are painted a stark white. Ugh. Not that I’m complaining – the room is huge – 17×24′, and I’m grateful to have a place that allows me to put the LA in the room as my sewing area. Plus, I’m looking forward to a place that’s inspiring. My room before was too small, and the LA was two floors up, which meant dragging everything up two flights of stairs. Yikes!

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And would you look at that gawd-awful paneling?? Right outta the 80’s! So the walls will be painted tan (including the paneling), and we’re putting down carpet squares on the floor. Yes, I am one of the few who prefers carpeting rather than vinyl or hardwood floors in my sewing room. Don’t bother telling me I’ve made a mistake with this. I LIKE carpeted floors! I’m on my feet too much when I quilt, and my legs get achy with a hard floor. We found carpet squares at Home Depot for $1/SF. Woo-hoo! With 480 SF to cover, that’s a perfect price for a basement floor! 

DH is also going to build a cutting table for me – which will be a godsend, as right now I’ve got the most expensive cutting table ever:

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Yep, our pool table! Make due with what you have, I say. Everything from the sewing room has now been moved into the pool room and his mancave (incentive!) so the entire basement is a disaster area right now. Then we’ll figure out what to do for a sewing table, whether to build one or buy inexpensive cabinets and put a countertop on them. The portable table just isn’t working. It bounces around too much when I’m sewing at full speed, lol…

The room is now empty except for the LA frame, which we’ll just pick up and move around rather than taking apart. He’s going to be painting this long weekend, while I spend the weekend shopping and dining with my teen niece and dog-watching. Hey! He likes painting by himself – says it’s cathartic and mindless. Who am I to protest??

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More longarm practice

Yikes! It seems like ages since I’ve posted – life got in the way. I have been quilting, though. A while back I saw this quilt on the Tamarack Shack blog, and fell in love with it. I thought it would be a perfect quilt to practice more longarm quilting. I suck at pebbles, so I decided this quilt would be my “Pebble Quilt”. Plenty of blank space to pebble to my hearts desire!

IMG_3840Spent some time with pencil and paper first, then got busy…

IMG_4163Simple quilting in the printed blocks since the quilting wouldn’t show.

IMG_9100Took forever. Had a blast. Decided to hang it on a wall. Yep, the first full-size quilt I’ve ever hung. Used the Hang-it Dang it since it was in such an odd place. One nail and done. Didn’t need hubby falling off a dadgum ladder and breaking his neck.

IMG_4110-1May have to paint the wall a darker color, but right now I’m loving how the beige almost disappears and the design stands out. We’ll see….

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No Fear FMQ (or, just TRY, dammit!)

fave-pic-2Angela Walters is one of my heroes. Her quilting is to die for. I recently signed up for her “Machine Quilting Negative Spaces” on Craftsy, and decided to give it a whirl. I love her teaching style. She’s calm and makes you feel like you can do anything. And I did!

I’ve had this quilt in my UFO pile for 5 years, never finishing it because I just didn’t care for the fabrics. They must have jumped in my cart when I was fabric shopping. But it was the perfect pattern for giving FMQ a go.

Closeup1A different pattern was used in every single block, digging through books (including her book Shape by Shape Quilting) and Pinterest to find designs interested me. I used both FMQ and ruler designs. It really helped me figure out what designs I could do quickly and easily, and which ones were just too dang difficult. And I didn’t care if I made mistakes. Just kept right on going. Taking the fear out of FMQ made all the difference for me. Angela was great at encouraging me to just….well….try, dammit! Yes, I’ve got a long way to go, but I think I did a pretty good job that I’m proud of!
foldedI found the original teal, and had just enough for the binding.

BindingThe back even looks amazing 🙂

the-backThere are too many mistakes on this to even count, and I don’t give a horse’s patoot! It’s gorgeous as far as I’m concerned. I think I used about a dozen bobbins on this, and it’s the most intricate quilting I’ve ever done. This quilt may be going up on the wall behind “Laverne and Shirley” (my LA machine) as my sample quilt so I can refer to it when I’m looking for designs. Thanks, Angela, for such a great class!

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Struggling with broderie perse

I am struggling with this new-to-me technique, broderie perse.

applique 1I understand the concept, and I did a bit of online research to see exactly how it’s done.  However, I wasn’t able to find a lot of specific how-to information out there.  It was mostly historical information; it seems that broderie perse has fallen out of vogue.  A post on Barbara Brackman’s blog states that quilters would not cut very close to the actual outline of the shapes, but rather loosely in the background around the shapes.

Well.  That’s not going to work so well with my chosen appliques.  The background, seen here in my previous post, is more of a bluish periwinkle.  That won’t work with the black background of the quilt.

So I decided to try invisible thread; Superior’s MonoPoly in Smoke.  It really is very, very hard to see – so much so that I had to get a magnifying glass to thread my machine.

applique 2But I don’t like the little holes the needle leaves in the applique. I used a size 10 needle, which is the smallest needle I have.  But it was still leaving those ugly holes, and since the appliques are fused, I doubt the holes will close back up after washing or steaming.

applique 3So I switched to Bottom Line, which is a fine (60 wt) thread.  Didn’t care much for that look, either.

Back to brainstorming.  I briefly considered a denser zigzag, but that’s a TON of work, going around all those shapes, and I think in the end, it will detract from and obscure the appliques.

I’m actually considering pulling off all the flowers and doing a different type of applique for the borders, but the perfectionist in me is mentally stamping her foot and pouting because these flowers are so stinkin perfect for the quilt!

So.  Does anybody out there have any ideas, suggestions, or broderie perse resources I could check out?  I would greatly appreciate it!

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Neon Glow part 2: trying something new

Well, it seemed to take a really long time to get all the blocks assembled, but it’s done.

kaffe 4But…  it doesn’t really look done, does it?  It needs something, some kind of border.  Not just a typical plain border, though.

Sometimes daydreaming can be very productive.  I was staring at the quilt, daydreaming, studying the construction, when it hit me – what to do about the border.

bordersAha!  Much better!  I really like how those corner blocks extend the center of the quilt out.  And it’s different.

But.  Hmmm….  it still needs something, doesn’t it?  A bit of applique, perhaps, to soften up all those pointy angles.  Off to my local quilt shop I go, top in hand.

I auditioned teal, purple, and pink solid or read-as-solid fabrics.  The colors matched the ones in the quilt, but the fabrics just did not blend well with the design.  They overwhelmed it instead.

Enter one of the best things a quilter can have in her life: a wonderful, knowledgeable, and creative Local Quilt Shop Owner.  My favorite LQSO is named Cheran Bee, she owns Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, Washington (Vancouver not B.C., Washington not D.C.), and she’s an absolute gem.  Cheran looked at the top, agreed that the borders needed something, and she didn’t like the pink and teal fabrics either.  She thought a minute, disappeared into the depths of her shop, and reappeared with this:

philip jacobs anne marie in blueWow – I know where she’s going with this.  I gasped and blurted out “Broderie perse!”  It was PERFECT.  I bought a couple of yards and ran straight home, did not pass Go, did not collect $200.

Confession time.  I’ve never tried broderie perse, and to be honest, I’ve never really liked it when I’ve seen it in magazines and quilt shows.  But I realize that’s probably because when I have seen it, it looks like a still-life painting to me.  Boring, yawn, Ho with a capital Hum.

But it’s a challenge and I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I did some research.  I learned that broderie perse was quite a popular technique back in the day, whatever day that was. Quilters would loosely cut around floral prints, then applique (needle-turn or buttonhole stitch) the shape onto the background.  According to Barbara Brackman, “traditional broderie perse is harder today because large-scale florals with white backgrounds are rare” and it’s harder to match backgrounds.  However, quilters can solve that problem by cutting the entire background away from the print.

People, that kind of detail work is right up my alley!

I ironed some fusible web onto the back and started snipping happily away.  I LOVE intricate, detail work.

A few hours later, I have some working pieces to play with:  dahlias and carnations.  I tried the dahlias first.

kaffe 7Hmm.  This doesn’t balance.  I tried placement of the flowers by size, first putting the small ones in the corner, then reversing the order and placing the larger flowers in the corner.  Neither worked.  Okay, let’s try carnations:

kaffe 8I like that better; I like the delicateness of the carnations.  They’re not big and blobby like the dahlias were.  But it’s still not cutting it; the carnations don’t seem to flow with the quilt either.

How about combining both types of flowers?   I really didn’t think that would work well, which is why I separated them in the first place.

kaffe 9Wow, I really like that!  I like how it starts off large in the corner and tapers out toward the center of the quilt.  I like how the carnation stems give some flow and continuity. I like how the small, delicate carnations balance the big blobby dahlias.

Yes, I think this will work!  Off I go to cut more flowers for the opposite corner.

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Shoedling

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Shoe doodling. Took me a year to get up the nerve to draw on these Vans. Nobody wants to ruin a perfectly good pair of Vans! But once I got started, it went really quick. It was a nice break. Love Pinterest for all the ideas. I used Sharpie medium and fine markers, and sprayed them with waterproofing. Don’t think I’ll ever wear them in the rain – I don’t want to find out the hard way that these markers aren’t “permanent” enough, lol….

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