MCM #79 – Four Surprising Lessons from my Longarm

It’s been several weeks since Freddy, aka HQ Fusion, came to live with me. As you know, we had a bumpy start but we are getting along better every day.

Fusion HQ quilting

That being said, there are some things about quilting on a longarm that have surprised me and I thought I would share those with you.

I have to say I’m really glad I had a sit-down machine prior to buying the longarm. While I don’t think it’s necessary to start with one, I am so comfortable using my Sweet Sixteen and very familiar with the machine and how the tension, etc. works. It eliminated the anxiety that I otherwise might have felt moving to such a big machine when I bought Freddy.

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen

The first issue I had when I started longarming was with ruler work. On Star Blossom (which still isn’t finished!) I did a LOT of ruler work. Each little section was quilted with a straight ruler and with different spacing. I found that I needed to write down the measurements for each section, because after I advanced the quilt I couldn’t see what was already quilted. After I unrolled the quilt for the second time, I remembered to write everything down!

Ruler Work

The next issue I had to work out was the thread that Freddy likes to use. My favorite thread to use is Omni by Superior. Thank goodness Freddy likes Omni! He’s not so keen on King Tut though. Every time I tried to use KT, the alarm would start buzzing at me telling me there was a thread break, but there wasn’t. I finally remembered hearing someone say their machine only liked to stitch in one direction with certain threads. Changing the direction I was stitching in (switched from left to right to right to left) eliminated the alarm and the stitches were beautiful. Who knew such a little thing would make such a difference?

Lesson Three – Picking is a PAIN! My goal now is to avoid it at all costs. Picking out my stitches was so much easier on a sit-down machine. I’m sure I should have tried to avoid it then too!

Finally, and most surprising to me – longarming is physical! When doing ruler work I tend to lean over and hunch my shoulders. This gives me a catch in my upper back. After about an hour I have to take a break and stretch everything out. I’m also on my feet a lot. I like that I’m not sitting for hours stitching, but it’s taking my body some time to get used to all that standing. I found myself taking frequent breaks.

I’m sure there will be other things I’ll discover as I do more quilting. I am so happy I have Freddy and I have a lot of learning to do. Quilting curves is not as easy as it is on my sit-down, so I’ll be doing lots of practice with curvy designs. This machine has made quilting so much easier, and I’m seriously crushing on how quickly I can load, quilt, and trim a quilt now. It makes me smile just thinking about it!

On a different note, later today I will be posting about the Christmas in July 2017 Bundle Sale. The sale starts at 3pm EST and runs for only 72 hours, so be sure to check back in this afternoon for more information. You won’t want to miss it!

Before we get to the linky party, I’d like to say Congratulations to Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches. Sarah’s quilt – Four Square Float – is featured in McCall’s Quick Quilts. Her quilt was the most clicked on link from last week’s party, and understandably so. Her quilt is gorgeous!

Photo by Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches

Now it’s your turn to share your quilty crush! You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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A Small Finish

Today is Friday and I have a Friday Finish to share!

Yep.

I’m probably as surprised as you are…

Last week our local quilt shop asked me to make a few letters from the Alphabet Soup book. Of course I said yes, almost before the question was completely asked! I had so much fun working with the shapes in the letters when I made Jenny’s banner, so I jumped at the chance to make more. Having someone else provide the fabric was just icing on the cake!

Alphabet Soup love banner

The guys will take this piece and turn it into a bench pillow. They are busy prepping for the Mountain Quilt Quest shop hop that begins July 17 and the pillow will be on display. I’ll also have a new quilt pattern available during the shop hop – hopefully I can get some sunny pics to share with you here soon. We’ve had a couple of really dreary, gray days. But we need the rain so it’s a mixed blessing.

Oops, I got sidetracked by the weather….

If you follow me on Instagram (I hope you do!), you may have seen this picture. I was so dang impressed by the perfect points when I made the V – I was almost afraid to look to see how I did. Boy, was I a happy quilter! Perfect points make me feel all warm and fuzzy. You know, because I don’t achieve them very often! 🙂

Perfect Points

If you’re on the fence about adding the Alphabet Soup pattern book to your collection, I say go for it! The layout and design options for these letters and numbers are endless. I can’t wait to make a banner for my sewing room. (Nobody asked me to say these nice things, I just love the patterns and can definitely recommend this book.)

alphabet soup pattern book

I’m so excited about having a finish I can share, I’m going to link to Finished or Not Friday, and Finish it Up Friday. Go check out all the great bloggers that share their projects!

 

 

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MCM #78 – Happy July 4th!

To everyone in the states, I hope you have a wonderful July 4th holiday! Actually, I hope everyone has a wonderful day on July 4! 🙂 Hubby and I spent the weekend visiting my sister and her husband, so we will keep things low key on Tuesday, with a quiet day at home poolside. Those are the best days!

I’ve canned several pints of zesty bread and butter pickles and will soon have more cucumbers ready. We love those pickles and I enjoy making them. Makes me feel like I’m doing something good for our family. Know what I mean?

On the quilting front, there is of course a lot going on but nothing really to show you yet. I delivered customer quilts last week and they were so happy with their quilts. There is always a tiny bit of doubt when I work on a quilt for someone else – ‘will they like it?’ – and so it is a huge relief when I see the happiness on their face as they look at the finished quilt for the first time.

I forgot to take a picture of the third customer quilt I quilted. But here’s a close-up of just one of the blocks. I had so much fun with this one. Each block has a different design that I just came up with on the fly. I can’t wait to do a project like that again!

custom quilting

Right now I have a top I finished piecing and am in the middle of quilting. It’s for a new pattern I’ll be releasing soon – all I have is this teaser pic:

Cooking Up QuiltsLook at that! The background is not a solid white. I’m starting to push outside my comfort zone……

The local quilt shop has asked me to make more of the letters from Jaybird’s Alphabet Soup for the summer shop hop which starts next week. And I still have to put the binding on the quilt for my mother-in-law. So I have a busy week ahead. My crush this week is that I have so many quilty projects to do, and I feel so blessed to get to call this my job.

Thank you to everyone who linked up for last weeks Main Crush Monday party. There are so many inspiring projects to see! Below are just a few:

Lisa of Sunlight in Winter Quilts finished her One Monthly Goal for June, and it is such a happy quilt! I love the bright colors, and the way it gives the illusion of circles. This quilt made me smile.

Photo by Lisa of Sunlight in Winter Quilts

Teresa of Teresa Quilts finished her Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt. This top reminds me a lot of the two I quilted last week, and it’s a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter. I’m going to add it to my list of quilts to make!

Photo by Teresa of Teresa Quilts

Alycia of Alycia Quilts has her EnProvence quilt back up on the wall and ready to finish. Right Alycia? 😉 I’ve seen several versions, or interpretations, of this pattern and I like it soooo much! I’m looking forward to seeing this one finished.

Photo by Alycia of Alycia Quilts

Now it’s your turn to share what you are crushing on this week! You can link up any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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MCM #77 – Multiple Finishes!

Welcome to the last Monday in June (can you believe it??), and to another edition of Main Crush Monday.

I apologize for being MIA lately….life intervened and interrupted me and my schedule as it sometimes wants to do. But I’ve gotten a handle on things and am back, so let’s see some quilty goodness worth crushing on!

I have made so much progress in the last two weeks. Many of you know I started quilting Star Blossom, the quilt I pattern tested for Tish & Dave. There was a lot, I mean a LOT of ruler work with some fun swirls mixed in to keep things interesting. I finally got it quilted — it took me a week — and now all that’s left is some touch up stitching here and there and the binding. Touch up stitching because I made a design change after the first row of blocks was quilted. Nothing major, but it requires some picking out of stitches and re-quilting those small sections.

This quilt deserves a post of its own, so I’ll share details on it as soon as the binding is done. For now, you can see this one pic. The quilt is so big, it took both my boys to hold it up and it still dragged the ground!

Star Blossom Quilt Pattern

In addition to Star Blossom, I finished the quilting on three customer quilts. Freddie and I are getting along so well! After all the bumps were worked out (remember the stitch regulator and handle bar lights both needed replaced), he is powering through all the work I give him. There’s a new man in my life, and his name is Handi Quilter “Freddie” Fusion! 🙂

These next two quilts were found by a son and his wife after his mother passed away. He doesn’t remember when his Mom made the tops so I don’t know how old they are. I love how scrappy they are, and I especially love the blue background of the first one. It’s so refreshing to see a background color other than white! I’m going to have to remember that in my own piecing.

Blue Scrappy Quilt

Brown Scrappy Quilt

You can see both these quilts use the same pattern, but the squares are a bit bigger in the brown one. Does anyone know what this pattern is called? I think I might like to make one of my own….

For the quilting, I stitched big loopy flowers all over on both tops. It turned out to be the perfect design. It was fun to stitch, and added great texture. You can see the design better on the brown one, so I took a close-up picture of that for you.

Loopy Flower FMQ

The third quilt I finished is made of all half square triangles. It was the perfect quilt to try a pantograph design on.

Here’s a close-up of the design:

Pantograph designPantographs sound easy – just follow the lines with the laser light and stitch a perfect pattern on your quilt, right? Um, no…. I won’t say it’s difficult because it really isn’t. But with the first couple of passes, I did have a hard time getting the curves to look curvy and not flattened.

I soon figured out I needed to loosen up, look at where I wanted the laser to go and not where it was, and just let my movements be smooth instead of jerky. It was fun to do, and I can see that pantographs can be useful. However, I’m not sure how many of them I will do simply because I enjoy free motion quilting so much. And I found it disconcerting to be behind the quilt looking at a laser light and not watching my needle and thread.

I’m happy that the quilt turned out as well as it did. It belongs to my sister who made it as a “use up some of my scraps” quilt, so it was a good top to practice on. Thanks Wissa!

HST Quilt

So that is all my crush-worthy goodness for this week. I have several more tops to quilt so I’ll be busy, but it’s a fun busy and makes me so grateful to be able to call this my job.

Now it’s time to share your projects! I’d love to see what you are working on and what has you excited to be in your sewing space this week. You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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MCM #76 – What’s Your Quilty Crush?

Welcome everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to march into the week – I know I am.

The princess birthday party was a big success. Snow White was there, along with several other princesses. My tiara was taken out of storage, and I got to wear it the entire day. Baby Jenny and I spent a lot of time together and we had so much fun!

Princess Selfie – Jen got distracted by one of the other party goers…

 

My crush for this week is Jenny’s wallhanging I finished last week. You can read about it in this post. And, just in case you missed it here’s a picture of it. 🙂

Alphabet Soup Wallhanging

I have lots to do this week to keep moving forward in my sewing room. My To Do list looks like this:

  • Teach a make-up class to a couple beginner quilting students on Tuesday
  • Attend guild meeting on Wednesday
  • Make more progress on quilting my m-I-l’s quilt. I know I keep calling it a beast, but it is! It’s so big and of course I had to decide to do all custom quilting (insert rolling eyes emoji here) so it’s taking me much longer than I anticipated. I need to get it finished and off the frame because I have customer quilts that are waiting their turn.
  • Cut fabric for the Cookie Cutter pattern and piece the top. This will be a store sample and has a deadline attached to it so this one might have me stitching late into the night.

That’s my list, what does yours look like?

Before we move on, I have a public service announcement. 🙂 WordPress has updated again and now comments are not being forwarded to my email. I try hard to respond to every comment  (except during a giveaway), so this is a frustration for me. I apologize in advance if I miss a comment or two; please understand I appreciate the time you take to write and I’ll be working hard to make sure I see and respond to every one.

Now, before we get to this weeks MCM, let’s take a closer look at a few of last week’s link-ups. There were so many good ones!

First up – Liz of Savor Every Stitch. Did you see the Avant Garde quilt she finished? I like how the design really shows off the fabrics, and it looks so good on her bed. Liz is the proud owner of a new longarm and she got to use it on this finish. It looks great!

Photo by Liz of Savor Every Stitch

Karen of Tu-na Quilts is catching up on her bee blocks. She made this star block with a fussy cut coneflower center. I tried to grow coneflowers once. I was a successful for a couple of years and then the flowers died. This block reminded me that I need to try again!

Photo by Karen of Tu-Na Quilts

The quilting on this piece by DonnaleeQ took a lot of time, but was worth every minute! I really like the details – be sure to check it out.

Photo by DonnaleeQ

Now it’s your turn to link up your crush! Remember, you can link anything that has you excited to be in your sewing space – a blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic. Here’s how:

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