Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It Adds Up

Almost a year ago I discovered a block swap called the Low Volume Plus swap. I made a couple blocks, then I made a couple more. When I was done I'd made a pretty big stack of blocks. I sent off a stack of blocks for the swap and waited for my blocks to come back to me. The host ended up with thousands of blocks so this took a little while. The blocks I received were added to the box of blocks. you can find the block pattern for free on Craft Buds.
I pieced them all into a top and then the top waited for a backing. Somewhere along the way I found the perfect backing in a wide fabric (this rarely happens because most wide backing fabric is just terrible either in quality or print, or both) from Henry Glass.
I recently pulled everything out of the bin and got set up to quilt. This is where I realize, again, how long it can take to get ready to quilt something. It is possible that because I make so many charity quilts I forget how much work a full to queen size quilt can be. I spent over three hours designing the label, stitching it out, pressing the backing, cutting the batting, pressing the major wrinkles out of the batting, loading the backing onto the frame, loading the batting and then the top. This is before I got to make a single quilting stitch.
I decided to go with a sort of organic, all-over, wood-grain design (find a good photo of it in my Modern Mania post). It isn't fancy. It does flow across the quilt and create a nice texture. The top thread is Fantastico from Superior Threads, with Omni as the bobbin thread. Don't be afraid to mix/match your threads. It is something your machine can handle no matter what machine you have.
As some of you may know, I have a really simple long arm quilting machine. This is my Empress. A Tin Lizzie machine that is mounted on a 10' Falcon frame. The day I was quilting this quilt we had a bit of a problem getting along. She never really told me the problem, but we worked through it together. If you ever have thread tension issues, I highly recommend you check out this great video from Jamie Wallen.
After that long discussion with my machine, we worked everything out and I got back to quilting. Hours and hours of quilting. But the resulting texture is so totally worth it.
Low volume binding was the finish I went with for this quilt and I love it. I'm usually not a fan of light-colored binding, but this quilt really wanted to work right to the edge of the piece.

I recently read this post by Mandy (Mandalei Quilts) about her QuiltCon quilt rejects. This is a topic that comes every year when QuiltCon sends out the rejection notices. I include this here, because it seems that right now the Modern Quilt Guild doesn't have a place for some of today's long arm quilters. Mandy discusses this briefly in her post and it does make me wonder if I'm in the right place when it comes to quilting.

I also caught up with the Crafty Planner and her great interview with Cal Patch.

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