Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sending a quilt to a quilter

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me, “…tell me what I need to have in place before sending a quilt to a quilter.”

I know how I would answer this straightaway, but as a new longarm quilter, I decided to see what the professionals had to say.

After looking at numerous websites, I found over and over, and totally agree with:

1.     Quilt top needs to be squared, trimmed of loose threads, and pressed.
2.     Backing needs to be at least 4” to 6” larger than the quilt top on all four sides. The backing also needs to be pressed.
 NOTE: Everyone charged a fee for ironing and trimming threads! I wonder why? Duh! Because it takes time!
 For me, however, rather than cutting the backing to size, when someone is using the wide backing – 108” wide fabric, I like the selvages to stay on while I’m quilting it. I’m able to line up the selvage on top and bottom much easier.

This same person had asked me before what size was my ironing board or surface that I press my finished quilt tops. My answer: I only use a regular sized ironing board throughout the process. I don’t press the huge top because by the time my quilt top is completed, I have thoroughly pressed every inch of it ~ as I go. (Oh, and I never put water in my iron!)

I had a professional, experienced, LA quilter make the remark, “I would quilt one of Lanetta’s quilts anytime.” This is the top she quilted... and did a beautiful job on it!

We all have our own way of doing things, this is my process:

Use 100% quality cotton (it tends to fray less)
I rarely prewash my fabric now. I do “set” the colors during the completed quilt’s first washing. (Specialty products are available, or a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing soap added to the washer works magically!)

Just saw this article & wanted to insert here to share! The National Quilter's Circle explains nicely "quality" of fabric. 

Cut accurately (measure twice, cut once!)
I never ever use the cutting mat to measure. Their lines are only guides to keep fabric straight, not to measure with. If the printed lines distract, I flip it over and use the solid mat.

Sew ¼ inch seams – accurately! All patterns are geared to ¼” seams.

Press the stitches to blend, then press either open or to the side – whichever is needed for the smooth joining to the next block. I never ever sew over an unpressed seam.

Once a block is finished and pressed from the back side, I flip it over and mist with spray starch and press again. This is also when I clip any threads that may have gotten caught within the stitching and is seen on the front side.

I square up each block before sewing to the next block.

This continual process of pressing continues throughout the entire quilt top. So, by the time I’m finished, it’s all pressed and ready to hand off to a longarmer!

Does my arm get tired picking up the iron so much? Yes.
Do I get tired getting up and down and walking over to the ironing board that I purposely have several steps away? Yes. (My form of exercise on a sewing day!)
Is all this worth it? Yes!

It is indeed worth it to have a nice, quality made quilt top, ready for quilting! Any longarm quilter will be pleased, thrilled beyond words to work with your quilt!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

National Quilting Day

The entire month of March is National Quilting Month, but today is the day! According to the National Quilting Association, the first National Quilting Day was observed in 1992. Now it’s a global celebration!

NOTE TO SELF: It is always the third Saturday in March.

Maybe next year, I’ll not be under the gun in organizing, creating, encouraging others to help, in getting 30 quilts finished to honor our local Veterans! Hopefully next year, I am able to organize a local public celebration of quilt making! I will, however, celebrate today through service by finishing quilting a top, and hopefully load another one on the longarm frame.

Thanks to the National Quilting Association, they offer a variety of ideas, of ways to celebrate National Quilting Day. Here are a few I will certainly keep in mind while planning next year’s celebration!

  1. Make it a service day – maybe schedule a local sew-in on 3/19/2016
  2. Organize an exhibit at the library – invite folks to share their quilts! I would love to share the one my maternal grandmother made me over 45 years ago!
  3.  Start a “quilt documentation” project! I’d never heard of this until today! I did a google and found a site “Texas Quilt Search Project” and will check into it further, later! Wouldn’t it be fun to do a local project and produce something like those local recipe books but have it about Quilts! Just thinking out loud here!
  4. Organize several of my fellow quilters to each demonstrate a quilt block technique to a group, set up at various locations, where ever they may be!
  5. Oh, I like this idea… contact a hospital (before hand) and donate a quilt to the first baby born on National Quilting Day!
So many other great suggestions… 

I agree with what they wrote in the article: 

The possibilities for National Quilting Day
are limited only by your time and energy!

What are your suggestions on how to celebrate next year?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Patron and a Quilt Show

Texas has quite a few major quilt shows! I went to the Houston International Quilt show about ten years ago with my cousin. We had a fabulous time! We were there the three full days and I don’t think we saw it all! We didn’t “stick” together, but would meet up every couple of hours for a “show and tell” of treasures we found. We’d have lunch together, then go our separate ways until the next meet-up. In my opinion, that’s the only way to experience a quilt show when a family member or friend also attends. They are “with” you, but not with you!

I can’t see ever going back to Houston. But, I never say never! It’s just too big for me. Now, the Dallas Quilt Show – I’ve been several times and am planning on attending this Friday – is just the right size. Although there are hundreds of vendors, the variety is amazing. I can hardly wait to get there!

I keep thinking… what should I wear… what should I carry to put my goodies in that I know I’ll have to have (since Dallas has a pay for a bag ordinance that applies to the quilt show as well)… where will I stash my cell phone, money, keys, lipstick, driver’s license, as I don’t want to be bothered by a purse!

The only thing I know for sure:
My roper boots – the most comfortable shoes I own! I wore them all over touring Ireland and never had sore feet!

And, I will wear red... I always wear red on Friday's to "Remember Everyone Deployed"!!!

Do I take my backpack and have it hanging on my back all day long?
Do I take my rolling sewing machine thingy, and get in everyone’s way like those small luggage things others use, or a baby stroller that mom’s forget is a tripping hazard?

What do you use?

What do you wear? 

Inquiring minds what to know! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Make it Happen!

Today is International Women’s Day. Although every day is Women’s Day in my world, it is the internationally recognized day to celebrate the achievements of women! Oh, yes! We have come a long way baby! Do we have more to go? Certainly!

This year’s theme is Make it Happen, “…encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women.”

I found a slew of current and past videos on their “resources” page. They appear to be inspirational, informative, and inspiring. I’ll watch myself the next time I’m somewhere with unlimited bandwidth! Let me know if one in particular has special meaning for you.

Past or Present, what woman has inspired you? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bite Size Pieces

Are you interested in making a quilt, but find quilt blocks intimidating? Well, some are for sure! When I look at award winning quilts at the State Fair of Texas, and online, many are certainly far above my skill level! However, I don’t let that stop me from creating others, less complicated yet beautiful, quilts!

September of last year, during National Sewing Month, I posted daily articles focused on making quilt tops. “It’s that time again” begins the series. Click “newer post” at the bottom to read the next day, then so on and so forth. 

Anyway, I met Linda M. while working the Elections. She and I worked together several days during the early voting period one year. Because of the low number of voters coming in, we had a bit of “down time” between citizens exercising their right. I had brought several quilting magazines. I believe she brought a crossword book ~ I’m not sure ~ because we both ended up looking through my magazines, together!

NOTE: Please cast your vote when the time comes!

Linda shared she hadn’t really done much sewing since her now grown children were young. She does beautiful embroidery/cross-stitch work – as she brought a “show and tell” piece one day. While looking through the magazines, it was fun hearing her recall how many of the designs brought back memories of quilts her mother had created.

She commented on a quilt she saw, something about it being too difficult for her to ever create. I took a pencil, drew hard lines around each block, and suggested, “Break it down into bite size pieces.”

I could see the light bulb going off!

This is my process when I see a “free” quilt pattern. Because of having limited bandwidth issue, I cannot download patterns. So, I print off a sheet of graph paper, sharpen my pencil, find a straight edge, and go to work. Although I have a picture, I need to “see” the block on graph paper.

So, the next time you see a fabulous quilt, break it down into bite size pieces to see how it is put together. Make a spin off, to make it your own!

When you’re ready to create a quilt, I found an amazing site chalked full of invaluable information at about home. I highly recommend it, even for the experienced quilter!

Monday, March 2, 2015

"The Quilt Lady"

Someone I’d never met before gave me one of the nicest compliments I’ve heard in a long time! Before a meeting, we were sitting around a table introducing ourselves, and when I said my name to a lady, she immediately said, “Oh! You’re the Quilt Lady!”

I must say, it took me by surprise! What a nice way to be known!

With the arrival of March yesterday, this Quilt Lady is celebrating National Quilting Month!

For me, I celebrate quilting every day, every month, every minute I possibly can! Quilts bring back many fond memories. I remember sleeping underneath a pile of quilts (long before electric blankets or electric mattress pads came along in my parent’s or my grandparent’s home). I remember spreading a quilt out, for a wine and cheese picnic next to Turtle Creek when my husband and I first began dating. Now, a quilt always covers me while curled up in my chair reading a good book.

Why do quilts matter?

It’s a transformation process filled with prayerful love that is hard to explain. Those that create quilts will understand this. Those covered with a quilt will feel the warmth, literally and figuratively.

Quilts matter.

I am blessed to be known as “The Quilt Lady”.

I am blessed my Mother taught me how to sew.

I am blessed now I can give back...

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