Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cindy's Quilt Quilted with Deja Vu Pantograph

I think I missed sharing this one!  I quilted Cindy's beautiful Fat Quarter Shop sampler quilt with one of my all time favorite pantographs - Deja Vu by Patricia Ritter and I.  This awesome top has hints of Lori Holt's Farmgirl Vintage...which is on my Christmas list!

Below is a shot of the top pre-quilting.  I love the difference the texture of quilting makes.  I truly believe that old saying that "the quilting makes the quilt".  It really does bring a beautiful top to life.

Love this panto so much - it's a pretty easy one to follow and it just gives such great movement and is so classic and elegant on anything it goes onto.   I believe I used Glide thread by Fil-Tec in Wheat and Hobbs 80/20 batting -single layer.

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...and a view from the back below...doesn't my new stitch regulation make all the difference on the back?  Loving those tiny stitches!  :)

I'll leave you with a sneak at the quilt I currently have on the frame for my client Jane.  It's a Bordercreek mystery quilt from my understanding...and I adore everything about it.  I'm a bit behind where I wanted to be at this point with it but I still think I'll finish on schedule.  Football and cheer are over for the season so that frees up a significant amount of time three days out of the week!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A New Quilt - Reds and Neutrals

I currently have another of Jane's quilts loaded up and after a busy week of football, cheer, and now play rehearsals as one of my middle daughters has signed up to be a munchkin in the local high school production of "The Wiz" - I'm back to work.  I have made some small progress but will wait for this evening to share photographs when I'll have a much larger section to share.

Until then I'll show you my latest quilt.  Well - one of several.  I tend to work on multiple projects at some point one grasps my attention long enough to finish, but often times it takes a couple of goes before I get to a point where I want to complete something!

This one has no name yet - and I'm simply calling it my "red and neutrals" quilt.  It was designed specifically for quilting since that is the part I'm truly passionate about.  I'm finding my own personal taste is for simple but pretty piecing that leaves a lot of creative room for decorative quilting.  I've been playing with a lot of non-traditional colorways as of late so with fall here and Christmas right around the corner, something red and warm really felt right.

I don't know if this will be the final color scheme but very close.  I'm leaning towards scalloped borders on the outer edge because I just love curves so much.

Because this quilt will be so much about the quilting I've already begun designing that's a snippet:

I need to order thread but I have everything else on hand.  I think this one will be fun!  I'm planning for it to be just a wall hanging size as my dahlia was closer to a large wall hanging or even a baby/lap and I don't generally work very big.  I think the center portion will only be 25" or so?  I may make it a little larger to accommodate the quilting design but I just haven't gotten that far yet.

Well - the baby is a sleep - off to work!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

53 Pounds Down and Counting

It has been a little while since I updated on my weight loss so I thought I might share some progress for those who have been curious, and also to help keep my momentum going through the holidays!  This is generally the most difficult time of year for me because the weather begins to cool down, and all the delicious fall foods show up around every corner!

Currently I'm 55 pounds down - give or take a few!  (This morning I woke up two pounds heavier, boo.)  I have discovered over several years of weighing myself and losing that my weight tends to fluctuate up to six pounds throughout the day or even week.  Generally early in the morning is the best time to weigh myself and I get the most accurate weight...though if I had a big meal late at night I could weigh as much as three pounds more.  It's kind of crazy!  I am learning that what you eat, the time of day you eat it, and even for us ladies the time of month all play into our weight.  The biggest lesson I've learned?  Not to sweat the actual number so much.

I've also discovered that your body changes shape as you age.  Those of you older than I won't be shocked at this notion - but maybe because I've been so pleasantly plump over the past decade, well I just didn't notice much about my shape other than its largeness!  I currently wear the same size I did when I was married...

...but I weigh only about 5 pounds less than I did at 9 months pregnant with my now 13 year old.  I am smaller on top but wider on bottom than I ever was in my early twenties.  It's been interesting to see the changes that I for so long really couldn't see because of the extra weight I was carrying.

I am more than anything ecstatic to be in smaller clothes!  I think the best part of losing has been clothing shopping.  I am a thrift shopper and bargain hunter so I buy a few new things just about every week.  To date I've gone down five pant sizes since I was at my heaviest.  FIVE pant sizes!  When at my largest I had a pair of goal jeans that my Husband had bought me the last time I had lost a significant amount of weight.  Unfortunately the jeans were too snug to wear...well...more than tight that I couldn't get them up over my behind! I put them aside as many of us do - as my "skinny" goal jeans.  It took me a long five years to fit into them - but just a few weeks ago I finally did!

 So where I'm at now is I have a new pair of goal jeans.  They are the jeans in front (I currently am wearing the second pair of jeans that the arrows are pointing to) daughter's size 6 jeans, that of course are way too big for her the stinker.  It is one size smaller than what I wore when I met my Husband and when I was my smallest.  There are a couple of pant sizes in between what I'm in now and the 6's but you can see the progression above from where I started and how close I am to the goal...the jeans in back are a pair of size 20's that were getting snug when I began losing.  I find that the smaller you get the smaller the difference between sizes is...for example my larger jeans, there was a good inch on either size larger between an 18 and a 20...where there's not quite as much between the 10's and 12's.  I feel like this is the hardest part, getting down to the smaller sizes, but with the health issues in my family I feel like not only does it feel good to look better, I'm hoping that I am really ensuring my health as well.

I will keep posting on how I'm doing throughout the process.  It's been long - several years really.  I have lost weight before, that's not the struggle for me - keeping it off is where it's really hard.  So that's my main goal.  I don't mind losing slowly so long as I make life long habits.  Other than being naturally more active because I now have energy that before I didn't, I really don't have a work out routine.  Sometimes I do but more often than not I don't because there just isn't much time for it.  Once I get closer to my goal adding some regular activity into my daily life will be a new goal.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dahlia Progress - Just About Finished

Just a little sneak at my dahlia...I am in love!  I don't want to show a full on photo of the front until after it's been to a show...but I am not good with secrets and am really excited to share! So here is a little view of the back.  I have spent hours upon hours scouring every bit of this quilt and doing everything I can to correct any possible error I could find.  I learned so much but more importantly - I feel like my skills grew leaps and bounds.  I am so excited to begin on my next project. 

I still a few surprises planned for the back.  Binding will hopefully be happening tonight!  I am going to attempt something I haven't tried before.  I sure hope it turns out!

Friday, September 11, 2015

My Design Process and A Few Quilts Too...

I have been really slacking in the quality blog post department, for that, I apologize!  You can really tell when I get busy around here because my posts become more "show and tell" than posts.  Well, I'm not lacking in work - and that is a true blessing - but I do want to make an effort to share a little more about my process here.

When I talk to a potential client for quilting it generally begins with a photograph.  Sometimes that photo is after the quilt is in my possession, but because I work from home and have very little open space for photography I love when folks send me a photo before hand.  Here's a photo Darlene sent me of her Seven Sisters quilt when she asked me to quilt it for her:

The next phase in the process for me is planning design.  Sometimes an idea comes to me right away - maybe I see something in the patchwork and know a quilting element that will really work well immediately.  Other times I scour books, magazine, the internet, or my own past work for inspiration.  Even more frequently I take that photo and simply play with ideas until I get hit with something that works.  Something that is REALLY important to me is to come up with my own designs.  I may borrow elements or draw from others, but I want my own work to be unique to me.

 That was really the case with this quilt of Darlene's...she always brings me the most unique designs.  I played this one for quite a while before something I really liked hit me.  If I'm really lucky - my clients like the idea too!

I use a Wacom Bamboo tablet to draw my designs onto the photograph using software that came with the tablet set.  If you do a lot of custom work it is a fantastic tool.  There are times when something I've drawn up doesn't play well when I actually get to the quilting - so I do try to leave some room for changes.  Lucky me this time everything went very smoothly!  Here's the finished quilting - not a wonderful photo I'm afraid because I took the photo late at night just to have a few before I sent the quilt home early the next morning.  In a perfect world all of the quilts I work on will have a photo shoot before they go home.  :)

I shared this quilt belonging to Wanda in my last post but I'll show you how I used this process for her quilt too - and do so for just about all of the custom quilts I work on.

It REALLY helps me to envision the quilting before I quilt it.  Planning each and every quilt can be tedious but it is tremendously helpful in not only communicating design to clients, but also seeing how things will actually look before I sew a single stitch.  I admire folks who can load a quilt with no plan start to finish and come up with something amazing - but that method just doesn't work for me!  I have way fewer "oops - that doesn't look very good" moments if I know ahead of time to some extent what the quilt will look like.  You can get an idea of what will work with the actual pieced design and what will not.

I never realized until now how fun it is either just to sort of see the before and after photos side by side!  I'm going to have to do that more!

Now something to really watch out to be sure you can execute the designs you come up with.  Since you are "just drawing" on the computer it is very easy to get carried away...or forget the actual size of the patchwork you are dealing with and create a design that is ridiculously intricate.  This sort of happened to me with Jane's Dear Jane quilt:

 When I drew up the design for this quilt I wasn't thinking about the fact that her gray sashing was only about 1" wide by 6" finished...or something close to that.  Whoops.  She gently reminded me in an email and we decided to go with the intricate design despite the small sashing because it just worked so well.  But definitely creates a lot more work than it seems in real life than on a computer.  (I'd like to think the finished product was worth the extra effort!)

I have some more amazing quilts in store for you in upcoming posts.  I cannot believe some times the quilts people send to me - they are fantastic and so very beautiful!  I truly love my job!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wanda's Lone Star Wall Hanging

A little late to sharing this one as I've been so crazy busy here.  (I always say that - I'm sure it's annoying by now!)  The Husband surprised our little family with a trip to Niagara Falls over the weekend...just a quickie over night stay on the New York side.  We have gone several times to the Canadian side before they required a passport to visit...but now it would cost a small fortune for our entire family to go so - New York it is!  It was actually really fun to see the American side of the falls and there was no shortage of things to do.  This week football has started for my 9 year old and the 4 year old will be a little cheer leader.  School starts next week and tomorrow is the Husband's birthday...and of course I have to do school shopping yet and a full schedule of as I said...BUSY!  LOL!  :)

Here is the quilt I finished up right before our mini-vacation...this belongs to my quilting friend Wanda who I met through Connecting Threadz...she is a wonderful lady and her quilting is just beautiful!  You'll have to take a peek at her quilts in her albums when you find the time...

I free handed the little swirls with disappearing ink in each of the corner blocks - then stitched over them and pebbled around them to give a trapunto look.

As with most of my custom quilting I used Bottom Line thread by Superior is my absolute favorite thread for quilting.

Wanda provided me with Warm and Natural cotton batting...I was actually really  happy with the texture we achieved!

A little sneak at the back because I rarely show it.  I try to keep things neat as possible - but I'm human and hiccups happen.  My backs are much cleaner and neater than they were in the beginning...I make every effort to keep them as clean as the front!  This is a bit like showing my underwear in public...  :)

I really had fun with this one.  I am kind of obsessed with modern quilts at the moment but I won't deny that I adore traditional quilting.  These sort of really traditional patterns are my absolute favorite to quilt.  :)

...and I'll leave you with a photo from our trip!  If you haven't noticed...I've lost quite a bit of weight!  I'll do an update on that when I have a moment.  For now, I'm working on two quilts for my client Darlene that I know you'll love to see!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Jane's Dear Jane - Finished!

I feel like I am always hopping on the blog and sharing just how busy I have been...well...I have been busy!  :)  I have my iron in so many fires right now - but all is going really well and I have to say I'm really happy with my life and direction at the moment.

The latest work I've finished is a quilt that belongs to my friend Jane (who prefers to go by Rusty) - it is a Dear Jane quilt ... so of course I've been having fun with calling it "Jane's Dear Jane"!  :)  Jane Hardy Miller is a very talented quilt maker - and author too!  She and her beautiful work have been explored on an episode on the Quilt Show and she is the author of several french braid quilt books...but you would never know it in talking to her as she is so thoughtful, friendly, and humble.  :)  I am so honored she allowed me to work on her beautiful rainbow colored Dear Jane!

Jane's taste is non-traditional so I really had fun playing here.  I don't think I've ever seen a Dear Jane this spectacular.  Each block is quilted differently - I aimed for minimal but appropriate quilting in each of the patchwork blocks.  All blocks were ditched and unique designs fill the black negative space.  Not all of the colored patchwork has quilting but anything needing a little boost was given something special.  
My attempt in the borders was to bring this diamond topped cone shape into the quilting.  I LOVE this shape!  What is it called?  I don't know!  Geometry isn't my strong suit but I love the look.

I used Glide thread in gray and Black and a few matching shades within the blocks.  This quilt took me about three weeks - I worked 4-6 hours a day but of course not always all at once and I took many many breaks to cuddle my little Princess Livvie.  :)

I'm really pleased with the outcome!  This was a lot of fun!  Now I'm of course obsessed with rainbow quilts...I'm going to start my very own Dear Jane but I cannot promise it will be anywhere near on the level of this one.  Rusty's fabulous color know how really took this amazing to begin with quilt and made it out of this world fantastic!