I need to stop with the large quilts. However, I like making large-ish quilts, though. The problem is that I am too short to photograph them. Perhaps I just need to win the lottery and have my own personal photographer at my beck and call?
OK, enough with the fantasy world.
I went to Always Quilting on Friday and quilted FOTY 2009. It has been awhile since I went there to quilt a quilt on their Gammil longarm; July 2009 to be specific. I was pleased that they had tidied up the quilting room. I had enough space to spread out.
I need more practice at setting up the machine.
Photos are better taken by someone else so you can continue quilting while still getting process shots.
I had an easier time monitoring stitch length and speed and am more pleased with both after this quilting effort.
First, I trained for my longarming day. It can be quite hard on my body, because, essentially, stand up for 6-8 hours. I took the day off work on Thursday, so I wouldn’t be exhausted Thursday night and then have to get up and go stand in front of the longarm on Friday.
I also brought a second pair of shoes and switched halfway through. I would love to see them get one of those industrial rubber mats to put in front of the machine. If I see one on Freecycle, perhaps I will get it for them.
So, the biggest problem with my longarming is that I don’t have enough time practice. Time is relative, too, because it involves making a top and a back I want to quilt myself, taking time to spend a whole day quilting the quilt and getting a slot. That being said, I am much more pleased with the stitch length and quality this time around. I felt a lot more comfortable with the stitching than I thought I would. I wasn’t as anxious about ruining my quilt.
I forgot to put a quilting border on the quilt, which sent me into a bit of a panic when I was pinning the quilt on to the machine’s leader, but I couldn’t do anything about it, so I let it go.
I could just quilt a bunch of pieces of fabric and give them away as comfort quilts, but it still costs money to do the quilting. Perhaps I can find a way to get the details stuck in my head without paying to learn. I did sign up for another longarming day at the end of July. I have to confirm it does not conflict with a trip I am planning.
I did the same pattern as I stitched on FOTY 2008 and the Eye Spy. I also practiced during the week before my session. I didn’t do as much practicing as I would have liked, but I think it was enough.
I try to be well mannered, which involves not ignoring people when they talk to me. It was a little bit of a problem on Friday when I was either trying to deal with the machine or concentrating on driving the giant machine. Other customers kept walking in and talking to me about the quilt. It was really nice to be complimented, but I just couldn’t concentrate on them and the work I was doing. The fabulous Roberta, one of my helpers at the shop, was annoyed when I mentioned it, because people are not supposed tojust walk into the longarm quilting room.
Lil Sissy stopped by on her way to the airport. She forgot my coffee, but beggers can’t be choosers. It was great to show off a bit for a non quilter. She, of course, wanted to drive the machine. I couldn’t let her, because she hasn’t taken the class. She did take some in process photos, which was great except for the person in them!
Roberta and Diane were my helpers. It is so great to have them there to assist. After my needle broke and I had three bobbin changes, Roberta knew I was a bit done for and just took over changing the bobbins for me. She talked me through, but was a godo teacher in that she knew when not to push and when to let the reins out a bit.
Yes, I ran out of bobbin with a 2×2 grid of blocks left to do. I quilt really small motifs – at least I did on this one.
I spent Sunday, and a few minutes on Saturday night, finishing up the FOTY blocks so I can take them to the CQFA Retreat. When I return from sewing bliss, I hope to have the quilt top ready to show you.
I really like the warm colors in this group. Some of the darker colors, especially the greens were given to me by my sis for my 2009 birthday.
Getting down to the bottom of the pile made matching up fabrics difficult. I tend to pull out the ones I really like and press and use those first. Some (not all!) of these were my lesser favorites.
In a way the FOTY exercise helps me train my eye and mind to choose fabrics I really love and want to use right away. At the same time, it trains my eye to avoid fabrics that are not my colors. Yes, I did find fabrics that I bought that made me wonder why I bought them. Before I buy, I think I will have to not just look at the fabric next to lovely coordinating bolts. I think I need to take the potential bolt off the shelf and unroll it a little to see more of the fabric. That will make me shop slower, which can’t be a bad thing.
I pressed, cut and sewed the last fabrics on Saturday. Sunday I counted all of the blocks and consulted with DH about the layout. Not the layout in terms of color, but the layout in terms of numbers of blocks across and down. He told me I had to have an even square root number (or something). I ended up needing 14.83 blocks across the top and down the side. I don’t know what a .83 block looks like, but I knew it wasn’t going to fit evenly into my quilt.
I immediately grabbed the fabrics I received for Christmas and shoved them in the washer. Then I went to work on a pencil roll, which you can read about later in the week. When the fabrics were done, I had figured out that I needed to make 7 more blocks to come out with an even 225 (15 across by 15 down). I pick out some pairs of fabrics and sewed them together. Now I am ready to arrange the quilt and sew it together.
I do have one extra, which I will stick on the back.
Some of the fabrics I bought at the very end of 2009 will end up in the 2010 quilt. As the Quilt Mavs say “my quilt, my rules.”
* I have no Internet at home at this time, so if I am a little slow responding to comments, I apologize! It makes it a challenge to get blog posts up as well!
I moved the Fabric of the Year project forward all weekend last weekend by sewing like crazy. I made over 100 Zanzibar blocks, as well as cut and organized other little pieces that I need for other projects despite the rain, power outages and family obligations.
Keep in mind that these are SMALL blocks. Each rectangle is 1.5″x3.5″, so they sew together very quickly. I do about 8 at a time using chain piecing methods. I talked about the selection and resizing of these blocks on February 16, 2009.
I actually felt rather smug getting so much done. Sadly, that feeling was short lived. I haven’t done anything this week except a little pressing of fabric. Pressing of fabric is the first step in the process so that is a good thing. I, however, had grand illusions of finishing the blocks this week and making another pencil roll this weekend. I have about 18 more blocks to make from uncut/unpressed fabric. Half of those fabrics are pressed and half are not, so I still have some work to do.
I also have about 10 groups of cut pieces waiting for mates that I need to sew. I have a lot of dots, which should not surprise you, and I am trying not to put dots together every time if I can help it. In some cases I can’t help it. In the grander design of the quilt, I don’t think it will matter.
I have been trying to post this blog post all week as well and there were several days where I did not get near the computer at home. I am glad podcasts are around, because they kept me in the creative loop.
One of the things I tried to do with this batch is put contrasting colors together. I did some of that before, but didn’t feel successful. I was bored putting two yellows or two blues together, so I decided to mix it up a little.
I am in love with the blues. What do you think?
In case you were wondering, I have about a foot of design wall space because the Tarts are still waiting for me to machine applique some hearts onto the curvy teapot. Below is what I have to work with:
I am slowly getting a bit of the FOTY blocks done in between the Christmas gifts. I am branching out a bit as well and not putting same color with same color all he time. For some of the color combinations it just didn’t look right. Not sure how I will handle that choice when I start putting together the whole quilt, but I am sure that it will work out one way or another.
Cutting FOTY strips and putting blocks together is my main project for next week
I took a small hiatus from putting together the FOTY 2009 blocks (Zanzibar from Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle) for a number of reasons. First, the 9k was in the shop and I wanted to use the same machine to sew them. Second, I didn’t have the right fabrics to combine. Third, I was working on other projects. Etc.
Here are the latest iteration of this simple block. I did a bunch of fabric laundry and am nearly done, so now it is on to the pressing, cutting and sewing. I have only 2.5 more months to get the fabrics taken care of as I am planning on putting this quilt together at the CQFA retreat in January.
Slowly, but surely the FOTY 2009 blocks are stacking up. I doubt that FOTY 2009 will be as large as FOTY 2008, however I consider it to be more complex so smaller is better. I know I know, sewing in addition to cutting is part of the quiltmaking process and doesn’t necessarily constitute ‘complex.’
😉 I just like to see if you are paying attention sometimes.
As I said before, these blocks make great warm up blocks before a serious bout of sewing, so that is what I did on Saturday after getting the 9K set up again. If you look at the photo in Sunday’s post, you can see one of the green blocks under the feed dogs.
I had some hot pink dots that I hadn’t yet made into a block, so I used that with the flower print. Haven’t done anything with the stripes. I need to press some more fabric and then we’ll see what transpires.
I do really like that pink Gigner Blossom flower print for some reason. It makes me feel happy.
I stayed away from the computer all day yesterday and sewed.
The 9000 is back and better than it has been in a long time. It is quieter. I can punch any button I want and the machine reacts instantly. It was a pleasure to sew.
I did a lot:
made a receiving blanket
finished the last bit of the Tarts
almost finished the machine quilting on Beach Town
made some Infinity blocks
worked on some FOTY 2009 blocks
Normally, I sew early in the morning and stop in the evening. I am a morning person and I have learned the hard way that when I sew tired I make mistakes. Last night, however, I stayed up late and sewed. It was wonderful.
My warm up for Sunday turned out to be some FOTY blocks. I have not been diligent about pressing and cutting up my new fabric. I have fabric I washed a month ago still sitting on my chair. It isn’t as if I haven’t been in the workroom, though. I will get around to it eventually. These were the fabrics that were already cut up and ready to sew. I sewed them up and now have additions for the FOTY pile
The FOTY 2009 block has been selected. It is from a quilt called Zanzibar by FunQuilts. You can find it in their book, The Quiltmaker’s Color Workshop, a book I highly recommend for the in depth discussion of putting colors together.
TFQ and I are going to make the same block and see how that goes. I made these first two thinking that I would use each fabric twice. I want to see a bit of the fabric, so I will use each fabric for the outside of one block and inside of another. I am interested to see how that idea works out.
I also am thinking that I will continue with the “waves of color” Jag I seem to be on and put like colors together. This may prove a bit of a challenge and I will have to change later, but for now that is my idea.
These blocks go together very quickly as each patch is 3.5″.