Friday, January 29, 2010

Presidents Quilt

Our guild started a great tradition of making blocks for our out going Presidents....and I'm not just saying this because I'm up to bat next!   The Presidents quilt works this way.  She chooses a simple block pattern,  the guild hands out one of the colors in the block and the members are asked to use a color out of there stash to complete the block. Our president from 2006 to 2008 was Evelyn and this is the quilt she made with the blocks members made for her.  She chose the Nine Patch block for her pattern, red as her color and the guild gave out the white fabric so the background was all the same.  At our last retreat she was busy using her nine patch blocks to make a star block that turned out stunning!  I'm am so glad she asked me to quilt it and I hope she likes what I did.

I had fun with this new border design I found on one of the many quilting forums I frequent.  There are so many talented quilters out there and I am glad I have the ability to copy their designs :)
This one is called Onions and Garlic...but I saw rosebuds when I was quilting it on the red fabric.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Confessions of a Longarmer.

Yes it's true, I have a confession to make...I had a "OH NO" moment on this quilt and thought I would share.  Now the real problems with "OH NO" moments isn't what you have done...anything can be's how you feel when you realize you just did hours worth of work only to discover something went wrong.  It's not a good feeling especial when it happens on a clients quilt.  I pride myself on doing a good job and treating someone elses quilt like it's my own.   So when this happens I am grateful that I have very understanding clients.  The issue with this quilt was a 8inch long, 1/4" deep pleat in the backing and that had never happened before. So guess who will be checking the backing fabric more often??   The fix...I hand stitched the pleat down and  it is hardly noticable on the printed backing fabric.  Happy customer, happy ending.

Since that isn't my worst '"OH NO" moment let me share what happened earlier this year.   I was quilting on a clients quilt when my needle broke right at the eye creating a U shape at the end of the needle.  Even thought it took me only a second to stop the machine the result was a 2" rip the fabric in my clients quilt.  Join me on this emotional rollercoaster....shock, disbelief, then the nausa sets in and you question all the reasons you have a longarm business.  But once I got over that I realized the rip was in a 3" square in the border and I could pick out that square and replace with a new piece of fabric... if my client has more of that fabric.  When I called my clients and she said she had more I could breath again.  Again a happy client and a very happy ending.

Okay, back to this quilt.
This is a new pantograph, it is called Ground Cover and I am very happy with how it stitched out and the even density of the design.  I really suits my clients Northwoods BOM quilt...I wonder how many more of these quilts are still out there just waiting to be finshed?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Keep those Mystery Quilts a Coming

I'm amazed that I'm not getting tired of these Mystery quilts but they all look so different.  I love how the green in the flying geese just pop in this picture.  I used the Flourish Pantograph and black thread on my clients quilt and she said it will be used as a cuddle quilt on her couch at the lake.
I just spent the morning at the dentist...had two filling redone so half my face is frozen :(  
Think I'll go out to the Shack turn my music up loud and quilt, that will make me feel better!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Frosty Day

I spent the weekend getting re-acquainted with my Janome and pieced a quilt top from what seems to be my never ending Northcott winnings.   And since I do not have a 'real' stash of fabric I had to go online to search for borders and backing.  I think I spent more time on the computer this weekend than at the sewing machine but I was victorious!  Found the same fabric line at a shop called Knots and Bolts ...on sale for $3.50/yd and it was still in stock when I ordered it!! Woo Hoo!!!!  Of course I bought more fabric than I was looking for,  22 yards more but it only came too $108 ( including shipping and exchange). Can you tell I'm excited?  Check out  .   I think this year I will be a buying year as I now have quilts tops that are almost finished and just need border.  I think these are call UFO's (Gasp!) and that is new to me.   I have, up until now, been a very focus quilter and could stick with a project until it was done before moving on to another project.  I now have to confess I have a large project that is sitting in a box and I am not concerned about it at all and have no desire to work on.  Now it is offical...I'm a REAL quilter!  
Since I do not have any quilts to show you I thought I would share some photos I took today of the frost on the trees. 

Okay one more.  Here are my boys playing on the rink the other night.  Tim set up some lights so the boys could actually use the rink as it is dark by the time they get home from school.  They had to pose for this picture as I had to keep the shutter open for 2 seconds to get the night shot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And The Most Improved Award Goes To.....

...ME!   This quilt, that I just finished for a client, is a good example of how I feel my skills have improved over my first year as a longarmer. I was looking back at the quilts I worked on last year and wow....huge improvement.  Not a stencil was used on this quilt, only a little chalk to mark the stem of the feather border, I use a ruler with my longarm (easier said than done), and I created my own motifs in the white area of the blocks.    I throughly enjoyed playing....I mean quilting this quilt.  The one area I have to improve on for this year is my confidence.   As I quilt any quilt I have this overshadowing feeling that maybe I didn't pick the best quilting designs for it but once it comes off the frame and I can actually see the depth of the quilting then I have that *WHEW* moment and know it looks just fine.  The stitches always look so flat when the quilt is on the frame so you don't get the true effect of the quilting until if is off the machine.

Monday, January 11, 2010


That is a popular word on the quilting forums these days and even thought I don't really have a stash, well not like the ones I read about that take up a closet or whole room, I thought I would start using the patterns and fabric I have.   I do feel fabric 'goes bad' if left too long.  What I 'have to have' one year is not what I would buy the next so why let it get to that point, time to dig into my little pile of fabric and start sewing. Honestly I only have enough cotton fabric to fill a large Rubbermaid tote, that is it.

I bought this carrot pattern a year and a half ago along with a metre of orange fabric.  I looked through my bits and pieces and had enough orange to make two!  I think I'll keep one for me and put the other in my new 'Gift Box'.  The Gift Box is where I'm putting all my new creations that I want to make but don't really need and will save them for gifts for this year, that is the key...THIS YEAR! I don't want this box to get too full as these items are to be gifted not saved.  This way I will not be sewing like crazy before Christmas or the quilt show this spring as I like to have a few items in the silent auction.

I also finished two batik aprons using the many leftover 2 1/2" strips I accumulate as I love to sew with batiks.  I have made these aprons before and have two myself so off to the Gift Box they go.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It Worked!

As you can see I was able to find the right button and stretch my blog layout so I have more room. 
This is my clients Thimbleberry lap quilt and I used the Ruffle Flower Panto on it with Green Thimbleberry thread.  When I first grabbed the thread I was pleasently surprised how well it matched the quilt and then when I was taking it off the machine I realized it was Thimbleberry thread...duh, of coarse it matches!!  It is scary how many moments like that I have been having!
I also finished this cute baby quilt for a client yesterday and had a lot of fun with it.  I used Highlights thread which has a nice shine to it and tried a new border design from Darlene Epps quilting handbooks.  Those books are a must for any longarm quilt, so many ideas.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Under Construction!

Tonight I'm going to be changing my layout on my blog so if things look odd I am in the middle of adjusting my setting. I want to make my blog fit the screen better so I have more room for pictures,we will see how well I do.  I am not very computer savy, I'm more a trial and error type of computer user.  Now lets see that this button does.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Magic Tile

Just finished my clients Magic Tile quilt last night and drove into town this morning in the freezing cold (-30'C) to bring it to her.  I enjoy delivering the finished quilt to my clients as I always get a sneak peak at the projects they are working on and see their sewing rooms too.  Today I got a tour of my clients stained glass studio in her basement and saw her latest project...a beautiful scenic piece of a dog sleg team, just amazing!!!    My jaw must have been dragging on the floor from seeing all the beautiful work she has displayed in her home.  Okay back to her quilt.   Since a Magic Tile quilt is suppose to look like stained glass I can never bring myself to quilt across the black lines. So i have figured out how to quilt on both sides of the black without stopping and that saved a lot of time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

One Year Anniversary!!

Tamarack Shack Longarm Quilting is now one year old and I quilted a total of 81 quilts for clients this year.  I only manage to quilt 3 bedsize quilts for myself so I think I need to figure out a more balanced approach to my business. I do like making my own quilts but that has been put on low priority this year and I would like to manage my time better so I can work on my own projects.  So I have desided to only accept 8 quilts ( instead of 10) a month from clients, and take July, August and December off.  As you can see my business isn't about making money it is about enjoying the process, being able to stay home and justifying spending all that money on a longarm machine!
I made the table runner above with a Califon charm pack and quilted with free form feathers and swirls.  I wasn't happy with the quilt design I chose on this particular pattern but my sister loved it so it's hers!  What I should have done is quilted the stars separately from the background and then I would have been happier.

I used the Star Fling pattern to make the stars in these placemats that I made for xmas gifts this year. My goal this year is to use the fabric collections I have and just buy fabrics for borders, etc. so I can finish off those projects. No point in collecting them if your not going to use them. But it is so hard to cut into a favorite fabric isn't it!