Friday, June 29, 2012

Closed for the Season :)

It's that time of year again when I close up my longarm business for the summer so I can spent more time with my family. Our summers are very short up here so I want to enjoy it as much as I can.  I won't be blogging as often as I usually do but I will have a few personal quilting project to share over the summer and maybe some fabric dyeing too.

I reached a great milestone with my business this month and that was to pay myself back for the purchase of my Millennium.  I had saved up to buy my Mille and I wanted to keep track of how long it would take to pay myself back.   I bought my longarm new 3 1/2 years ago and with exchange, duties and shipping it cost me $20,000.  On the APQS site it states that if you quilt 10 queen size quilts a month you can pay off your machine in one year. But that isn't exactly true....what about your expenses?  If your thinking of starting a longarm business I believe a more realistic goal would be 2 1/2 years to pay off your machine at 10 quilts per month.  It took me longer as I take 3 months off a year, have a large supply of threads, batting and pantos, and I really like to have time to work on my own projects so 10 quilts a month is my limit.  Another large expense is insurance!     For me to run my business and have clients come to my house, which was very important to me, I have to pay $600 a year on insurance.   So there are a lot of expense to consider when figuring out how long it takes to pay for a longarm machine.  I thought this might be interesting to those of you considering this as a business.

So to celebrate this milestone I thought I would get a tattoo! not for me... for my Mille :)

Urban Elementz sell this great tattoo decals and I thought it would be fun to decorate up my machine.

 I though I would end this post with some pictures I took while kayaking on our lake a few days ago as this is what I'll be doing instead of quilting the next two months!

Hope you have a great summer....or winter if your down under.... not that you can really call that a winter ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crazy Curves

This is Sandra's Crazy Curves quilt that she made with batik fabrics and designed her own layout.  If you have followed my blog for awhile you may have noticed that batik fabrics and the Crazy Curve templates are very popular with the local quilters.  I have made two quilts using these templates, my Beach quilt and my Raindrops quilt.

I used the panto Tickle and you can see it nicely on the backing.

King Tut on the top and Bottom Line on the bottom.  King Tut can be tricky to work with but I find if it is matched up with Bottom Line it works great.  
At first I wasn't sure if the purple I chose for the backing was right but once I laid a strand of thread out on the backing it blended in beautifully so don't dismiss a color on a cone until you have auditioned a strand of it on the fabrics.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Whisper Quilt Done

Here is my Whisper quilt finished!!
The constructions of the semicircles went quickly, it was decided on the final colors that took the most time.   I am very excited to finally have a quilt that is made with only my hand dyed fabrics, even the binding and backing  (same color as the binding, forgot to take pictures!)

When I first finished the piecing I wasn't really happy with it as it just seemed so flat and boring.  But once I quilted it, WOW it just came to life and I love it!! It was an amazing transformation. Also as I was quilting it the brown and beige fabrics kept reminding me of chocolate ice cream and that was all I could think about when I was working on it!  So I treated myself to a bowl when I was done :)
Here is the before and after.

You may have notice that my free hand swirls are kinda wonky, we that is not on purpose. I am finding my Mille harder to move these days and discovered a few weeks ago that my rails and wheels are really wearing down and making the machine harder to move smoothly.  So I am considering an upgrade to the Bliss system that runs on ball bearings instead of wheels on the table rails.  I have a online quilting friend that has offered to let me try her machine with the Bliss system as she just upgraded and loves the new system.  We have a date booked to get together this summer and I am really looking forward to finally meeting her!!

So it is a good thing I take the summers off from quilting for others and I can do a bit of maintenance on my machine and get her running 100% again.   

This last picture taken in the shade shows the colors of the fabrics best.  Mmmmm ...every time I look at this quilt all I think about is Ice Cream!! I guess I'm going to have to rename this one " Ice Cream Swirl!"

I have one more client quilt to finish for the month but I have been waiting on a thread order. Hope it arrives on Monday as I have a busy week with the boys writing exams and finishing up school plus a day trip to the orthodontist that is out of town.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reading Instructions!

It is very normal for me to change my mind when I'm planning a quilt, especially when it comes to picking the fabrics. Yesterday I decided to actually READ the quilting book I bought and discovered a new way at looking at fabric. I have a tendency to want to match and blend my color perfectly but that doesn't always work. So I want to work outside my comfort zone and mix fabrics that don't initially call to me but work well together and I think I have a better grasp of color values. For this project I needed to avoid extremely dark and light values in this quilt and created a light, medium and dark groupings to achieve the transparency look.

So I spent yesterday dyeing more fabrics and came up with the above mix. I needed more medium and dark values than what I had shown in the last post to make the quilt look more like the pattern picture, which is what I am hoping to achieve.  I am much happier with it now and will start cutting into it today, really I am!
 I'm sure I'll switch a few more fabrics around but I think I'm on the right track now.

 Here is all the extra fabric that I dyed but am not using, I guess this was a good way to build my stash!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Project with Hand Dyed Fabrics

I was having fun dyeing fabric for my new project this morning. I have always wanted to make a whole quilt out of my hand dyed fabrics and I finally decided on a pattern, it's called Whisper from the book Transparency Quilts

It took a few tries but I finally got the results I was looking for in the lighter colors and I might add a few more darker colors to the mix.  I used the Low Immersion method but instead of leaving the fabric in the jars for an hour or more I squeezed the fabric out after a few minutes of being in the jar and then let them sit in a baggie for an hour.  This give the fabric a solid look with just a bit of texture which is exactly what I wanted.  Now I hope I can cut into them, they are so pretty!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bali Love Song #2 and #3

This is Sheri's Bali Love Song quilt and she used the Coconut Bali Pop to make it.  Looks so yummy!!  

She wanted Edge to Edge quilting so we choice the Mimosa panto for the design.

I used a brown Lava variegated thread for the top, brown Bottom Line on the back and Dream Blend Batting.

I love the batik backing Sheri chose for this quilt!!

She actually brought me two Bali Love Song quilts to do and this pink one is going to be a gift, she is keeping the Coconut one for herself!  I don't think I could part with that one either!!

I used the Double Plume panto for the quilting design and pinkish gray Lava thread.

I have quilted this quilt before and you can see how I custom quilted it here.  You'll also find a link to the free Hoffman pattern Bali Love Song in that post as well.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Paper Pieced Trees

This is Gail's quilt and she made it for her husband Larry.  Now Larry is a man with a vision and knew exactly how he wanted his quilt quilted and best of all was very good at communicating what he wanted. Or should I say what he didn't want!  :)   No feather, swirls or curved lines of any kind.  We tried to tempt him to let me do a curved design in the inner beige border but nope, straight line quilting and SITD was what he wanted.  And I am happy to report that both Gail and Larry were very please with the results...and that is probably because Larry hasn't found the feather I quilted into it yet!!    Just kidding Larry, but I was tempted.  :)

Gail paper pieced all these lovely trees and set them in attic window blocks.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Out of the Blue Quilt

This is Lorna's Out of the Blue quilt and it is made from the pattern Out of the Blue by Blue Meadow Designs.  She made it for a little boy who's father is a pilot.  Since it is for a child I like to keep the quilting light so they have a soft quilt to cuddle with.

Edited * This pattern is no longer available as the design company is no longer in business. Please do not email me asking for the pattern as my client sold it to the first blog reader that asked back in 2012*

I did simple wavy lines to add motion in the sky and echoed the clouds to give them a fun cartoon feel.

The border was a bit of a challenge as it was hard to see where I was going when I was quilting, I matched the green thread too well! 

I thought since the outer border was green that it needed grass and trees on it and then a little airplanes flying loop-de-loops above the trees.  I used a stencil of a tree and repeated that design around the quilt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Popsicle Sticks Quilt

This is Phyl's Popsicle Sticks Quilt by Atkinson Designs that she made using all batik fabrics.

I used the panto Taro, Dream Blend batting and So Fine thread.

I dyed the backing for her using Royal Blue MX Procion dye.

This is the second Popsicle Sticks quilt I have quilted for Phyl, I quilted  this one for her last fall.  I didn't realized until now that I picked the same panto that I used on her first quilt...guess I really like Taro on this pattern!  :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Great Deal!

I finished my circle quilt (I don't have a name for this one yet) and used a panto design called Raindrops.  It seemed appropriate for all the rain we are getting.  This afternoon I had a window of about 15 minutes of blue sky to take a few pictures.

It has a spot hanging in my Shack for now, I'm not sure how long it will stay there as I might have other plans for it.
The Raindrops panto was a free one off Lisa Calle's website, here is the link.  I just printed it out 18 times and taped together in two rows to make this size of a panto.

I have more exciting news today.  Do you remember the photos my husband took of the Northern Lights this winter, well our neighbor Ron is a wonderful painter and he made an oil painting of Tim's picture. Well I saw the painting for the first time today and just fell in love with it.  Ron was more than happy to make a deal with me on it.  It is so great to have a painting by Ron and one that has personal meaning to us. 


 I found the perfect spot.  And I'm sure Ron's wife Raye will be very happy with the deal we struck....yes she is a quilter and a regular client of mine!  :)