Quilts, Denim and Thrifting… Oh, and I Finished My Cross Stitch

I’ve been working on a ton of projects but current resources are making things hard to finish anything. And when I say “resources” I am not talking about time, imagination or inspiration and generally speaking also not about fabric, thread or sewing machines.

The group of quilts that I’ve been working is based on using denim fabric harvested from old jeans. Getting my hands on really, really cheap jeans isn’t an issue. The problem I am having is that the borders I want to add to these quilts in progress I want to be seamless. And that will require the purchase of new denim fabric. And, of course, I want to use is flannel and I am finding that the necessary amount of this fabric will be quite large. I tend to find myself in this quandary quite often now that I am approaching nearly a year of unemployment. 😦

Not so long ago, I saw a comment posted on a beautiful – simple yet very functional – quilt made from old blue jeans. The comment, which I cannot seem to locate now, said something to the effect that quilts made from old jeans look like “old jeans” and therefore implied that the quilt looked ‘old and worn’. I replied saying that’s what makes these quilts so extraordinary, that they feel as great as your favorite jeans and thereby by extension, are something to be used and to feel comforted by. These words kicked off a goal of using harvested denim to make both beautiful and functional quilts. To show that your blue jeans and flannel shirts aren’t about dressing up, but about feeling good; and isn’t that what we all love about our favorite quilts?

So, let me start with sharing my method for acquiring blue jeans. It was a absolute accident that I stumbled upon this idea. If you’ve been reading or following my blog, you’ll know that I am a huge lover of thrift shops and going with my son. We just happened upon the “Last Chance” racks of clothing at Red Racks. Red Racks, I believe, are local to the Missouri, from Kansas City on the west all the way to St. Louis on the east. With a little luck, you may find your solution in your area.Fancy Line 1

Red Racks is a major source of funds for DAV. The proceeds from the sales of donated goods help our country’s Disabled American Veterans, providing assistance for transportation, medical needs, counseling, and much more. Find out more at DAV.org.

Fancy Line 1

So, Red Racks have what they call “last chance” and all items on these racks are priced at a dollar. Sometimes, they have some wonderful items (a great place to get kid’s clothes!) and often many pairs of jeans. These range from baby jeans all the way to guy’s jeans. Even at this price, you can’t beat it.

But… on Sundays the last chance has one really last chance and everything is marked to twenty five cents! Now here is a unbelievable price! And as you might suspect, items go quickly. For some reason, The Kid and I just happened to be there early and literally took every piece of denim we could find. And even at this, our giant haul was only $13!

Now, here is one thing that I discovered with working with denim. Be extremely cautious using denim with stretch. One project I am working on is using the jeans seams. However, when you add in seams with stretch, the piece becomes … curvy. Not a result that I wanted. And if not used correctly, the stretch denim can cause havoc in your quilt. I am not saying that you can’t use it, just be careful when you do. I, personally, have opted to reduce my use, if not all out stopping.

IMG_4370So, this is one of my first hauls. Either someone was watching or had the same idea as me, but it never was more than this. But this is more than enough. I was also working on collecting colored denim as an accent for these quilts, but true colored denim is hard to come by. Or maybe I should say heavy denim or colored denim without stretch.

IMG_4369In this pile, really only the top red, the blacks and browns and the bottom turquoise print are what I would call “real” denim. The others are lightweight and/or have stretch and will not use them in quilts. They may work great for making doll clothes though.

So, I’ve been able to piece together six denim quilts, four that need borders and all need flannel backings before I can ship these off to my top quilter. For those who may have missed it, I have a wonderful friend Becky, who does my longarm service, Collis Country Quilting. (If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you!)

Here is a quilt that I stumbled onto via Pinterest. It is called “Cathedral windows” and was quite quick to put together.DSCN5208And the back:DSCN5209This is quite wonderful since it didn’t actually require top quilting… it is a ‘quilt as you go’. I love the varying shades of denim… this is one of those quilts I am working on in the concept to show just how beautiful old and faded jeans can be turned into equally beautiful quilts.DSCN5210And here, a shot of the front. Some of the squares turned out a little funky, I think I wasn’t paying quite enough attention to the flaps as I worked. I think once its gone through the washing machine once or twice.DSCN5211I’ve actually starting working on another of these quilts, starting with 10″ circles which should fold down to about 7″. Initially, I was going to use the harvested colored denim, but after assembling a few squares have determined that it is too dull. So, more investigation as to other possibilities.DSCN5212I actually did a smaller quilt with some leftover squares and ran it through the washer. This will give you an idea of how it will look:IMG_4388I did finish the binding for one more that Becky top quilted for me (there are still a ton more to finish binding!):

DSCN5214The quilt didn’t turn out quite like I hoped. The patterns of the fabrics mask the layout and you can’t quite see it for the colors.DSCN5215Oh, well, sometimes you hit a homer and sometimes it is just good for keeping the fans in the bleachers warm.DSCN5216Pretty purple backing with a nice meandering pattern.

I also finished my cross stitch of my favorite Pyrex pattern: Friendship Birds.IMG_4391I’m not thrilled with it in the hoop, can’t seem to get it taut. I am going to look into other options. Stay tuned!

Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks for dropping by!

julie

A Few More Finished Quilts

I’ve been keeping busy but mostly doing what I said I wouldn’t do and that was to start any new projects until I finished a few that were almost done. :-/

I have finished three more quilts however. If you’re new to my blog, you should know that I love to make quilts, but am not quite so in love with the process of finishing them. So I send my quilts off to a wonderful new friend, Becky, who is quite talented in doing the top stitching. She has a longarm service called Collis Country Quilting. (If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting). She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you!

She did some incredible work on a quilt that was so amazing! I am in awe at the work on this quilt:

DSCN5197IMG_4333IMG_4332IMG_4331IMG_4330IMG_4329Five different quilting styles were used to complete this quilt. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the way she quilted this. Her attention to details is off the charts!DSCN5199DSCN5198My helper in trying to stay hidden when its windy and he doesn’t want to be in the pictures:DSCN5200The next couple of quilts are ideas that I get while looking at the already cut stash of fabrics. I’ve been trying to use up as much as I can.

DSCN5196DSCN5195DSCN5194DSCN5193And the final quilt for this post…

DSCN5190DSCN5189DSCN5188I used a blue background with white dots, which is the same as the border. A nice little finish. I did, however, not have enough for the backing, so there is an inset of red with white dots. Sometimes you gotta make do!

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Also, this week, The Kid and I were on a Studio Ghibli kick and watched four or five movies. The one I like is “Howl’s Moving Castle” which boasts a fire who is voiced by Billy Crystal -“Calcipher”. So as sort of a salute (and for something to do with my hands) I made this little bean-guy:

IMG_4328Took apart another forty pairs of jeans. We stumbled onto the best deal for salvaging denim from old jeans. Our local Red Racks (which is a thrift store that supports veterans’ needs) has what is called Last Chance, which is where clothing ends up that doesn’t sell. And on Sundays, it goes to a whopping twenty-five cents! So, I go through and grab all the best jeans – generally speaking those that have pockets and side seams for additional quilting. Voilá! I have something for my hands to do and it provides a lot of fabric for jeans quilts.

So, a couple more projects accomplished and this post done. Whew!

julie

An End to a Frustration

For some time I have been lamenting, investigating and wishing for a new heavy duty sewing machine that would handle all of the denim and leather that I threw at it. I love my  Singer machines, some I have had for lots of years, but they aren’t intended to be used with heavy duty fabrics. I have a couple of basic Singers and two more advanced Singers. Those machines are made for more lightweight sewing… quilting pieces and clothing. My experience sewing with denim – and especially the seams and waistbands – has been notably difficult. One project ended up with over fifty needles and I’ve broken a couple of throat plates and even broke one sewing machine!

So, after listening to his mother swear and bang my sewing table, The Kid took it upon himself to do a little investigation into my blog, Pinterest and Facebook page to figure out what I was looking for in a heavy duty machine. And this is what he went out to purchase:

img_3882I pretty much had decided that a Jonome was going to be my next purchase. It was wonderful for him to have understood what I was looking for and more specifically, what I wasn’t looking for.

Now my Singers – The XL-150, two XL-1000’s and an XL6000, are machine intended to do embroider work (as well as being sewing machines). I have invested a small fortune in the specialized embroider card disks, so I continued to purchase the same make, albeit newer models, of Singers. Its hard to make the change once you’ve invested that much in a system, but what I am finding now is that it is hard to find servicing – let alone parts – for these machines. But, oh how I love them!

There are a few things I might have changed – things that I have gotten accustomed to using the other machines – namely the option of not using a foot pedal. Was pretty used to touching the “go” button on all of my other machines, and now I have to change that behavior.

But as an aside, I have already spent the better part of twelve hours sewing together denim seams. If you are a regular reader, you know that I love to dissemble well worn blue jeans and turning the parts into new projects. And one thing I love to utilize is the leg seams on jeans.

olff-ffHere is what sewing together a lot of seams looks like:

img_3884I have to line up the edges and then have it quilted. I figure that a soft flannel backing would suffice without any batting.img_3883This thing weighs a ton, so I am hesitant to add any more weight to it. But additional quilting on it will help hold it together and hopefully be a nice finishing touch. I am thinking about using the ‘blue jean gold’ thread and then finish the edges with waistbands (which were also harvested from more than 200 pairs of jeans).

I am also working on a quilt (or two) made from more waistbands. And the bottom seams of each pant leg. I’ve got lots in the process!

But it is the new Janome machine that has allowed me to make actual progress for the first time in a long time. Thanks to my wonderful kiddo!

We don’t celebrate holidays like most other folks… it was my intention to treat everyone every day as if each day was unique and special. Can hamper this blog, as I don’t make Christmas decorations or other religious trinkets (although I have made holiday themed quilts for friends). I love that others celebrate in their own styles and traditions, and I don’t begrudge it for those who do. But I don’t wish people Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever. But I do wish everyone a wonderful day to celebrate (or not) however you wish.

julie

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Creative Update, Medical Update

Well, no, not really a creative update… but rather just let everyone know how things have been going. Two weeks ago, I had the first of bilateral total knee joint replacement surgeries. The plan then was to wait for a week and then have the second surgery. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a little too aggressive for me so we bumped it back one week. Which is tomorrow! Yikes!

But I really feel in a good place, pain levels haven’t topped four for the past week and usually it is just a little stiff from lack of use. The thing that bothers me most, though, is that I feel so prohibited from doing the things I want and love to do. I’ve been joking with The Kid by saying “… I feel like someone just chopped off me off at the knee…” ha, ha, ha… but it really does feel like that kind of limitation. I’m making light of the restrictions, but for me, it is like typing an arm behind my back. And now I am looking at starting it all over again, this time with the right knee! I only hope that having learned from the left, I can make it go a little more in stride for the right.

I had been working on getting the hand quilting rack set up so that I can enjoy some of my downtime on putting some real time and effort into hand quilting that old quilt top that I rescued during one of me and The Kid’s “adventures”, but am finding out the hard way that it isn’t really as easy as you might think.

I thought I’d start with just pin basting the quilt and then working on the hand quilting from the center of the quilt top out. But laying the backing, the batting and the quilt top out on the kitchen island and then starting to pin, it isn’t as simple as one might think.

2016-02-06 20.21.58First, it takes a small pyramid of safety pins to do this. I had maybe a hundred – who wouldn’t think that would be enough for a small quilt top, right? Well, wne through them very quickly. I purchased another 6 hundred and really pushed to get the half triangles all basted and a row around the border.

2016-02-06 20.48.23But when I went to transfer the quilt onto the basting frame, I realized that I no longer had the quilt top centered on the backing. I thought about it and tried to find solutions without having to unpin every single one of those safety pins and had almost convinced myself to just modify the border when it got to that point… unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I had managed to pin baste a couple of very large wrinkles into the backing material.

2016-02-08 22.04.09There is just no way around it, I am going to have to start all over with this effort.

But of course, since in the morning I will be once again looking at another few weeks before I can put any real effort into undoing and then starting again. If I had really been thinking, I would have had this ready prior to the first surgery. And all in all tonight, I am getting really tired and need to get things lined up for tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Denim! Is There Anything More American?

I started thinking about this as baseball, apple pie and denim. We Americans love our jeans!

I played around with the waistbands that I harvested from 50 or 60 pairs of jeans. I’ve already sewn the pairs together and it is going to be handful. I am thinking that this might work… lay them in pairs and then piece them together:DSCN3709

Due to the heaviness of the denim and the small neck opening on my sewing machine, I am going to have to simply add the pairs to the existing piece. Usually, you sew two together, then sew two of those together. Then sew the 4’s to other 4’s, etc., but like I said, that will create way too much bulk and weight. And way too quickly!

I’ve been trying to varying the lengths, but they are all over the place. The piece will also inevitably get longer than it is wide, so I am thinking that maybe four large pieces placed ninety degrees to each other.

Here’s a mockup to show you what I mean, only you have to use your imagination to include many more waistbands and the thing being a whole lot bigger!

Waistband Quilt ConceptI haven’t been able to decide what to do with the metal clasp/button. They wouldn’t be nice to lay on or step on and most of the time they aren’t lining up with the band below or above it. But I think it is kind of an essential part of a pair of jeans, so I am tempted to figure out a way to use them. I guess we’ll see.

Another thing that I’ve not decided if I will resew the belt loops back down or glue them – either way it will have to be a lot of hand work. I like the look of the belt loops, but this is going to be a heavy and it won’t be able to be top stitched – so not a “real” quilt. But it is going to be heavy and warm, I promise! So far, I’ve not lost a single needle yet to this work, as the waist bands are generally only two layers thick, unless you hit one of those &@#$! belt loops. :-\ And wow, with the zigzag stitching, it is using up a LOT of thread and bobbins! I have been trying to use a light blue matching thread on top, and white for the bobbin.

I have to say, though, there is something inherently beautiful in denim – especially as they come out of an old pair of jeans. I had a few pieces, like from the zipper enclosure or a side pocket or seam and just love the way that the fabric fades and wears.

photoThe varying degrees of exposure to sunlight and the dimpled, wrinkled way that seams create wonderful color variations are something to behold. After I go through the ton of denim that I have to be cut into strips for the rag rug, I know I will end up with many weird little shaped pieces. I might see about just using all those weird shapes to create another quilt, less bulk might actually mean being able to top stitch it. And can you imagine using the ubiquitous gold thread to do so?

I started this during my sabbatical, but have since returned to work (three wonderful months now!). I am driving down to meet Rebecca, the woman who will be top stitching all my quilts this weekend. She has invited me to check out Collis Country Quilting – her setup and more importantly, meet. I have so many quilt tops and their backs ready to be completed… I am sure that I won’t even remember doing some of them it has been so long. I want to write a post for Rebecca and her services, so that she can continue to be available for my top stitching (I know, I am selfish!). I am so excited!

So onto the weekend!

julie

Fabric Storage and Organization: Reducing Exposure to Sunlight

Recently I read a couple a handful of storage methods for quilters and their fabric. There are as many different approaches to how this is handled, as many ideas as there are quilters.

Well, I’d like to add my storage plan to the mix. Much as I love the site of fabric, I know that it is not conducive to maintaining colors in fabrics, to allowing your fabric to be exposed to light, especially the rays of the sun. But the plan also needs to keep your fabrics close at hand and easy to get to. Allow you to be able to view your fabrics as a whole while still protecting it.

I’ve seen organizing from many different perspectives, such as style, patterns, colors, even sorted by the amount of fabric. Some store fabric in baskets, plastic containers, drawers and on shelves. The possibilities are endless and many decisions are based on a number of factors, such as how much fabric is being stored, how much of each fabric, how much money a quilter has to spend and also how quickly the fabric is used.

I, myself, am a collector. I have often said that I could quit buying fabric and still have enough to make quilts until I die and will still have one helluva estate sale! My quilting room has been dubbed “little JoAnn’s” as some days it seems that I have enough fabric to start my own store. I have a saying on the wall of my quilt room that reads:

Definition of a Quilter:

1. Knows what a ‘fat quarter’ is.

2. Has at least 5 projects going at once

3. Owns 65,000 yards of fabric

Well, folks, that describes me! So, let me show you how I handle my “65,000 yards”: 2015-05-24 17.56.14My quilting room is actually a converted bedroom. For resale, I didn’t want to eliminate the closet, so I converted it with storage units. On the left wall, there are both drawer units plus open shelving.

2015-05-24 17.56.25I found the baskets and they worked perfectly for this purpose, as they were the right depth as the cabinet and for nine inches of fabric (basically a quarter of a yard). They help reduce the small amount of sunlight and keep things nice and organized.  And you can see the color of the fabrics through the holes in the front, which also allow air flow around the material. And above all else, I close the closet door, leaving the fabrics in total darkness. No fading allowed here!2015-05-24 17.56.35The drawers slide in and out quite nicely and I can transport a single basket to the cutting table and back. 2015-05-24 17.56.01Here you can see the basket conveniently sitting on the cutting table. I can pull fabrics and cut what I need, then return it to the basket and the basket goes back into the closet. Almost all of the small pieces of fabric are stored here.

Any larger size, including fabric still on bolts, go into the extensive cabinetry that I had made and installed when we first built the house.

DSCN0186I have, in an earlier post, shown you my wonderful quilting room, but did not share with you what was stored in them.

2015-05-24 17.58.33From left to right: The first cabinet is black, white and black & white fabrics. The cabinets, as indicated previously, were custom built to be the exact depth of a bolt of fabric, give or take.

2015-05-24 17.57.17I tend to buy fabrics when they are on sale or clearance and keeping it on the bolts, not only keeps the fabric more organized but also cuts down on the creases from folding. Larger cuts of fabric go on the top shelves. I also moved quite a bit of this when we migrated from California to Missouri and it was so much easier on the bolts.2015-05-24 17.57.28The last cabinet contains most of my solids on the shelf and my reds and pinks on bolts. Isn’t this just wonderful? Sometimes I like to go up and open all the doors and then go through all of the fabric and admire the colors and patterns.2015-05-24 17.59.22And last, but not least, these boxes lined up across the east wall contains pre-cut squares; I most usually use 2″, 3″ 4″, 5″ and 6″. One of my favorite sizes is 2″ x 6″, perfect for the ‘fence rails’ or ‘braided’ patterns. I also store scrappy squares that I complete as I have time and scraps.So, I am interested in how you store your fabric; do you store it by color or size or something else? How much fabric do you have on hand at any one time. Is it more difficult to use up your stash than to buy more? Share your ideas!julie

Better Late Than Never, Right?

So based on my post last night, the orange quilt I finished up wasn’t for my friends’ – Lucien and Jenn’s – second daughter, but for their first, Maxine. Who, according to emails we exchanged today, is six and a half. That has to be a record for late baby shower gifts, six and a half years! And, much to my chagrin, never even started a second quilt for their second angel, Eloise! Wow… I know things get busy, but I gotta do better!

But, I have filled you in on the unfinished pile, right? I’m estimating that there is something like a hundred more quilts just sitting and waiting. Waiting on money mostly. 😦

DSCN3256So, I have completed two more. They were long arm stitched for me and returned. I just needed to do the binding. And sew on my little label.

2015-05-01 17.39.24First up is this green nine patch set inside framing triangles. I have this thing with color families. It really helps to reduce the fabric stash – well, not really – but I will take what I can get. I love when I get this many shades of a single color, although in quantity, some of these color would be garish and definitely clash, but in small amounts it all works.

2015-05-01 17.37.48There were a couple of centers that differed from the norm. All of my sewing machines are also embroidery machines and when I brought home the first one, I embroidered every single design. There were a couple of quilts that had quite a bit of embroidery, some have but a little. These were obviously one of the first attempts at embroidery and they came out well. And I can never throw anything like that away. So, as I was working on this quilt, I trimmed out these two blocks and included them in this quilt. Just a little something extra: a pine tree…

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…and a bow in green.2015-05-01 17.39.51And to switch the color, the final one is in red. Shades of red. It seems that red is the one color that doesn’t really range far… there is really two base shades of red; One with the underscore of blue and the other with underlying orange. If it gets too bright, its pink and it gets too dark it becomes maroon. But I think it is one of the most happy colors there is and I love it.

2015-05-01 17.38.42You see that this one is displayed on one of the two country rustic benches that I recently finished. Base construction is two twin head-boards and foot-boards, and the addition of a few boards and a seat, these benches were born. If you want to read more about it, you can read here.2015-05-01 17.36.42I tried a little different technique on the corners and while I like how the concept, I am not exactly thrilled with my execution. I definitely want to explore more options as to finishing techniques.

Most of my projects have been completed, although we have two of the antique victrola cabinets remaining and a small wood table. After that, I am going to have to start coming up with new ideas!

Ah, the weekend has arrived. Even with the fact that I am not actively working – a so called ‘9 to 5’ – the weekend holds different tasks and schedules. And it starts with sleeping in. LOL

julie

A Baby Gift When the Recipient is No Longer A Baby

By being such a prolific piecer, I tend to create quilts that take a long time to get finished. As some of you may remember, I had a huge box full of quilt tops that I had sent off to my long arm quilter (Hi Gloria!) some time ago. She had some issues with her machine (I swear I didn’t mean to break it!) but somehow in all of that, the baby that this first quilt was intended is by far no longer a baby.

A good friend and former colleague, I had made a quilt for his first daughter and she received it promptly. So even though we no longer worked together, we kept in touchish through Facebook. And when his second daughter was born, I whipped up a baby quilt complete with her name embroidered in the center. 2015-04-30 17.54.09If memory serves, I think Maxine is probably 3, maybe 4, now. But today, I finally got it completed.

2015-04-30 17.53.57 The center blocks are hearts embroidered in various shades of orange. Well, you can see that the whole quilt is a variety of shades of orange, this is the color they had picked for the nursery. And of course, the center heart has her name.

2015-04-30 17.54.40Now I just have to just have to get the address and get it sent.  I hope better late than never. Right?

The next one I finished today is this experiment with stars. It didn’t turn out bad, but it was an experiment for me and I really am not all that happy with the result.

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So many of the star points ended up being blunted with the next block. I really need to work on my technique. 2015-04-30 17.56.19

I love the colors in this quilt and I like the way that it shows brightly with the dark background.2015-04-30 17.56.24

It is really much too small for a bed quilt and much too dark for a baby’s quilt. I don’t really know what I will do with this one. I’ll have to think about this one.2015-04-30 17.56.34

2015-04-30 17.57.58Well, that about covers today’s projects. I’ve been working on creating the supplies for another project, it is great fun to sit and punch one inch circles out of paint chip cards. Does that spark intrigue?

And speaking of, the toy horse is still being worked on, slowly but surely. 🙂

julie

Another Collis Country Quilting Quilt: Zig, Don’t Zag

The second of the two quilts shipped off to my new long-arm quilter is finished. If you missed yesterday’s post, I wrote about a very talented woman who is now quilting my quilts. She is not exactly local, but close enough that I should be able to deliver a sizable stack of quilt tops ready to be quilted. I had previously sent her two randomly chosen quilt tops from my considerable stack as a sort of trial and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Somehow, out of the hefty stack, I managed to choose two of the largest quilts I made. Or maybe all my quilts are larger than I remember. At least shows that Becky can handle even the largest quilts. I’ve completed so many quilt tops, that by the time I get around getting them shipped off to be quilted and they return, it is like having brand new quilts. It is quite a nice surprise.

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So, here it is, spread out on the guest bedroom waiting for binding. This one is larger than the last, so much so that I think it is close to king sized. I rarely pay attention to the sizes as I am creating quilt tops, rather just sew to my heart’s content.photo 2Isn’t this beautiful quilting? I love the way that Becky quilts right up to the edge. Oh and did I mention that she actually bastes right at the edge before quilting? Makes the quilting lay so nice and flat. And after the first washing, the quilt takes on that puffy look, which I fell in love with when I saw my very first handmade quilt.

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I tried to get some close up photos so that you could see the beauty in her quilting. And so that you can see the details in the fabrics that I used. I have a whole collection of fabrics that I continuously add to so that I can make “I Spy” quilts. You can see some of those fabrics in this quilt.DSCN3286I don’t recall where I saw this design but it was easy enough to do. I am pleased with the wide border, to set of the white zig zags.

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Lots of bright colors and cheery fabrics:DSCN3289 DSCN3290

And there it is in all of its glory! Its funny, but The Kid has called ‘dibs’ on this quilt. Funny enough, though, he calls ‘dibs’ on most of my quilts! If I actually gave him every quilt he called dibs, he’d be sleeping under thirty or forty!DSCN3285I can’t say enough good things about Becky and her services. In case you missed yesterday’s post, I am trying out a new longarm service, Collis Country Quilting. If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you! She is working to build up a client base, which is kind of funny, because as word gets out about how good she is, she probably won’t have time to do my quilts! Ha!

Still working on completing everything that’s already been started (before beginning anything new), but I’ve managed to sell my last furniture piece. I need to get a few more of the garage furniture completed next. I picked up a few new pieces over the last couple of weeks, so tomorrow we start banging out those projects.

julie

My New Longarm Quilter! Meet Collis Country Quilting

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I am an avid quilter. Well, I suppose it might be accurate to call me a ‘quilt piecer’, as I have really only actually done “quilting” on a single quilt. When my daughter-in-law was pregnant with her first baby – a girl – I made her a quilt. I found out that she was pregnant and that they were decorating their baby girl’s nursery in red and white. I pieced the top in a weekend and then furiously spent the next six months hand quilting it. I got it done just in time for Elisabeth’s birth. After that, I knew I wasn’t cut out for being a hand quilter.

Funny thing is, I had attempted to do quilting using my sewing machine a few times, but never could make it go the way I wanted. And then I have to sit and carefully pluck the stitches out and then find someone else to quilt it for me. I did tie a couple of quilts, even went so far as to “tie” a quilt and stitch beads into each section, but knew that the beads would soon be lost during use. Then I saw the ad in the back of a quilt magazine.

I “met” Gloria through that ad. And a virtual relationship started. Gloria has quilted so many quilts for me, that I couldn’t keep track. I am guessing somewhere in the three- to four hundred range. If memory serves, she had just gotten her long arm and wanted to try out some new patterns. In all of those quilts, maybe – maybe – I specified a pattern or thread color a half a dozen times. Otherwise, I let her experiment to her heart’s content. I would box up ten to fifteen quilts and send them off and two to three at a time they would come back. She has always done above excellent work for me. There literally has NEVER been a quilt that she completed for me that I didn’t outright LOVE.

I remember that when I moved from California to Missouri, I shipped her an extra large box of quilts… why drag them to Missouri just to send them to her? And then they came back to me done.

About a year or so ago, I managed to break her machine. I take full responsibility for it too. She had quilted a couple of denim quilts – recycled jeans, seams and all – but I recall her tell me just how difficult that it was to quilt. I recalled those quilts being hard on my own sewing machine, sometimes you get two or more seams stacked up and the needle just doesn’t want to go through it. Bam! Broken needle. Or broken throat plate. And it would throw the machine out of whack.

Well, it seems that one of my denim quilts really did a number on her machine. So much so, that she decided it was time to hang up her quilting needle for good. It was heartbreaking to lose her expertise and the quality she gave me in finishing my quilts for me. We’ve become Facebook buddies and share comments and a small part of our lives with each other. She did a great job getting a friend of hers to finish the remainder of the quilts that I had sent – sans the denim quilts. I had hoped to find someone more ‘local’ though, do you have any idea what a large quilt costs to mail? And multiply that many times over and it would seem that I am supporting USPS more than I should!

Recently, I wrote a blog about uncovering unquilted tops. Counted 53 that still need to be finished. And with my steady work to complete all started projects before I start anything else, I have added another eight plus six denim quilts.

Which brings me to Collis Country Quilting. When I wrote about all of my unfinished quilts, she made a comment to me about getting them done. Seems that she is in the vicinity of Kansas City, but still a little ways south. She is relatively new to her long arm, and after a year of practice of her own and family members… she was ready to take on more customers.

I picked out two quilts and shipped them off to Becky. She is great about communicating, she let me know that she had received them. And she sent me updates as she worked on them. This was sent when the quilt was on the frame:

01e3684c08dfadb21006aac0c79acd2e76cc634943Next was the photo of the quilt finished. There is just some magical about the transformation of a quilt once the quilting is done.IMG_0049Yesterday, I finally got to completing the binding. It came together easily. Finished in about an hour or so, and considering just how big this quilt is, that’s quick!

It was returned and then rested for a while on the guest bedroom bed. You can get a glimpse of the quilting pattern here:

2015-04-06 14.55.36I’m guessing about a full sized quilt, albeit an extra long one. It is a simple quilt, just plain ol’ pinwheels around a larger pinwheel medallion in the center.2015-04-06 14.55.08So, a few more shots of the quilt and its quilting:

2015-04-07 13.38.032015-04-07 13.39.16Here you can see the quilting on the center medallion: 2015-04-06 14.55.44I used the same material in the medallion as well as the edge setting triangles and the backing. I love the way this quilt turned out!

2015-04-07 13.39.25If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com.

I have one more to get done and then I am caught up. At least in the quilts department! I’ve have a few things in the garage that are calling for attention, though.

julie

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