Thursday, July 24, 2014

White lines...

It all started last night.  See my previous post (or just scroll down).  I finally finished True Colors and did the soak to remove the slightly stubborn white water soluble pen markings.  Then I blocked the quilt and we left off with something that looked like this:

The quilt was looking amazing.  I was even over my self-doubt phase that kicked in earlier while I was quilting.  I was happy with it, it still had a few issues, but overall I was happy.

So I took a bunch of pictures, here's just a couple:


You'll notice a couple of things -- one being that the quilt is two different black batik fabrics.  Yes, two different dye lots one has much more blue than the other, these things happen when you wait soooooo long to finish projects.  I tried to balance the two in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible.  You'll also notice that all of the marking lines have been removed.

Well, guess what.  Things are not always as they seem...

Late last night I grabbed my cell phone to snap a quick picture to text.  The cell phone is always set to auto for the flash mode.  Here's what I saw when I went to text the picture:

OMG what is that?!!  Why are all the marking lines there.  Now this was a new marking pen (white water soluble pen available from Blue Line Eraser) that I used, but I tested it on this fabric (both blacks).  It was stubborn, but it went away.  You can't imagine what was going through my mind.  I sat there looking at the quilt with no markings on it and looking at this picture with white lines all over it!  Confusion, massive headache, palpitations, you name it, I was feeling it.  Nothing could explain what was going on, so I took some more pictures with the phone - with and without the flash:




Pure craziness, right?  I tried everything to make these lines disappear.  Most of the night I spent fretting about this.  Trying to figure out why.  The lines aren't visible to the eye, but they are everywhere when using a flash.  The worst part is many people use the flash on their cameras while at quilt shows -- pssst.... you get much better pictures with no flash - spread the word!  But could you imagine if this quilt were hanging at a show and someone snapped photos of it using their flash -- look at what they would see!  OMG, it's like the working copy, not the finished product.  I was so upset, I was retiring this quilt before it even had the chance to be shown.  I was sending it off to the special exhibit at Quilt! Knit! Stitch! (as it is already committed) and then it was going to be done.

So after a stressful night, this morning I messaged Blue Line Eraser.  And yes, I already tried the fantastic blue stuff on this - it didn't work.  I even scrubbed some areas with a Magic Eraser sponge (bad I know), didn't work.  I was ready to soak it again in some baking soda and water when Sky from Blue Line messaged me back.  Sky asked that I wait to do anything more.  Using the same products as me, Blue Line then spent the day working on formulas and tweaking and creating and doing the Blue Line things they do and came up with a solution!  They are express mailing it to me and I will have it in time to spend the weekend fixing the quilt!  I'm keeping everything I have crossed that it works on my quilt (it worked on Blue Lines test samples).  I am so thankful for how helpful they were!

Reflecting on this I'm so glad I snapped the picture with the phone or I wouldn't have known any of this. I'm also glad that Blue Line has come up with a solution, staying extremely optimistic!  I'll keep you all informed and will share the results sometime next week.  I've got to rid the quilt of the white lines and still need to get the binding on this beauty and have her shipped out by the end of next week!

Like always, sharing the good and the bad -- thanks for following!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Soaked and Blocked

True Colors finally came off the frame tonight.  I was starting to think it was going to stay up there forever, no really.  It has been like weeks, much too long.

So, during my Facebook postings many people asked me what my soaking process was.  Well, I have two -- the super quick, throw the quilt in the bathtub and run water on it until its wet, roll it up in a towel and then start the blocking process.  And then there is the other way -- when I have lots of foundation applique that needs to soften or in this case that as well as removing the white markings.  If you don't remember the markings, look at this post.  As this was the first time I was using this water soluble marking pen, I did a test sample on the same fabric as the quilt.  It didn't just wash away when spritzed with water, I really need to soak the piece before the markings disappeared.  So, in this case, I put the quilt in the washing machine and let it fill with very hot water.  Then, I let it sit, swished it every so often, and let it sit again.  I do this for probably 20 minutes or so.

Then I drain the water and let it spin just enough so that it is not dripping as I carry it over to the blocking foam.  Easy enough, right?

Then I start the blocking, pulling and pinning, and working the quilt flat.  It usually takes about three times around the quilt and some sore fingertips for me to achieve perfect results.  But blocking is magical -- it totally makes your quilt flat!

So then we have this:

And there it sits, under the fan until it is dry.  I usually leave it blocked for at least two days.  We'll see, I really, really, really need to get the binding on this!

More pics soon, you know the real ones with perfect lighting, etc.  Oh, and if you want to see this beauty up close, it'll be in a special exhibit at IQA's new show, Quilt! Knit! Stitch! in Portland, OR this August (next month)!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The fuss this week...

Wow... fun week, lots of stuff happening over here, some of which I'm able to share.

Drops - 2013
I guess I'll start with what I think was one of the more exciting events.  I sold a quilt - yes, a very beautiful special quilt.  I'm super excited as I've only sold small items in the past, this is my first competition piece that I've offered for sale so it is kind of special.

Drops now belongs to a private collector in Rhode Island -- she treated herself for her birthday.  Isn't that awesome.  Wow, it makes me feel fantastic that one of my quilts is that special to someone else.  I am smiling from ear-to-ear, I am feeling beyond blessed.

I guess all this falls under artistic growth.  I've always been artistic, drawing, doodling, painting, and then the quilting started.  So to combine all of them was great on its own, but to combine them and then have them go to a point where others are purchasing my work... yep, that's growth.  So it got me to thinking, maybe I should start making some pieces for sale.  I'll still be making my competition pieces -- I love that part, but I'm thinking I may start making pieces specifically for sale.  I'll have to think on this and see where the ideas go, but something is definitely simmering...

Down the Rabbit Hole - 2013
What else?  Oh, Houston notifications went out this week.  They were supposed to be on Wednesday, but due to some technically difficulties didn't go out until yesterday.  I opened this wonderful email first:

Congratulations! Your entry, Down the Rabbit Hole, has been selected as a finalist to be exhibited at the 2014 International Quilt Festival/Houston in the annual IQA fall Judged Show, Quilts: A World of Beauty. This year’s jury selected 355 of the 602 submitted entries for display. We genuinely appreciate their diligent efforts.

Awesomeness again!  This will be my fourth year having a quilt accepted to Houston - if you don't know, that is a big deal.  Like the email says, 355 quilts out of 602 -- that's like just under 60% right? Now, you did read that right, I submitted two quilts this year.  Unfortunately, my second email went more like this:

The reality, however, is that we must limit our show to 58% of the quilts and garments entered this year, and those were selected by a jury. Narrowing the entries was a very difficult task for our jurors. Regretfully, your piece, The Thing With Feathers, was not accepted into the show this year.

Bummer... my second quilt was one of the 247 that didn't make it but, I'm okay with that, seriously.  I can now submit it to another show that the dates happened to overlap -- yay.  It kind of works out. And there are many reasons why quilts get turned away -- it doesn't mean the quilt was awful.   So here is a peek at The Thing With Feathers, just because.
The Thing With Feathers - 2014
Oh, and I can't forget that I finally made it to a PSLCQ guild meeting.  It's been forever since I've been to one, at least if feels like forever.  But while I was there I picked up some beautiful dyed fabric pieces from Helia.  The first one is 17x44 and will be used for applique flowers:

The second is 31x44 and will be used as a backing for an orange-pink silk wholecloth that's almost ready to be born:

And the last piece (the largest) is 89x44.  This one will be the backing for the pelican quilt that's been simmering on my back burner for far too long.  Now to get the rest of the silks for that one!

And while at guild, this amazing storm rolled in:

And to keep all that wonderfulness in balance there was this:

I had a needle bar issue on my 2003 machine and although I know a lot about quilting and stitching, I still don't know everything about repair.  No worries, she's all fixed now thanks to the wonderful customer service peeps at Gammill.  I called and Lis walked me step-by-step through everything I needed to do to fix it - she was awesome.  Now the machine is back up and stitching beautifully! And here I thought it was jealous of the new machine... nope, she really needed a little loving.

Well, that was pretty much my week.  Hoping you're all having a wonderful summer and stitching up something beautiful!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quilty Goodness

Did you know that I have a YouTube Channel?
I do.

There is a link over there ---------> in the sidebar
Or, you can click below and be taken to my YouTube channel -- if you haven't already, make sure you press the subscribe button!


You might wonder why I'm sharing this?... perhaps not everyone knows I share videos from time to time.  Perhaps people forgot, perhaps people didn't even know...

In the very near future I will be making some new videos using my GoPro while stitching away on the Gammill, it's like you'll be right there with me -- cool right?  Well, the old noisy, grainy, shaky videos will slowly be disappearing from my channel.  So, if you want to watch them, you'd better do it now!  Ahhh, that sounded a little demanding, what I meant to say was check them out soon!... or now!

Oh, and an afterthought - sometimes I throw in some goofy personal videos, feel free to watch those too, or not...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Week in Review, plus a few days....

Yeah, sorry about that.  I try to keep you informed and post at least once a week.  Apparently the past ten days have been too much.  Really, too much rain, thunder, and lightning.

I don't quilt during storms, or just before storms, or just after storms... you have all read about my lightning issues, if not, they are numerous, and just know we don't get along... all quilting stops and everything gets unplugged.  Here are just a couple of pics to keep you amused:




 So, yeah, its been like every day, for more than just the normal hour or so.  Needless to say, I'm not getting a lot done over here.  I finished one client quilt (over on the other blog).  I have been trying to work on True Colors, I've managed to get most of the detail stitching done, which is hard only quilting an hour or so at a time -- lots of this:

Love the difference in quilted vs not quilted areas from the side




So, I'm not sure what is to blame, but some of my backtracks have been seriously off on this quilt. And by off I mean totally not even close.  I'm sure it has something to do with the black thread on the black fabric, all while looking through white chalky markings with water soluble thread in the way. And I'm also sure it has a lot to do with the fact that my monovision contact prescription has changed.  My near vision eye has changed and it is becoming increasingly difficult to focus on the small stuff.  I have an appointment, but in the meantime there is a deadline looming and this quilt must get finished. It may not be everything I want it to, which explains why my self-doubt phase is sneaking in early on this project.  I foresee some future bobbin work to correct some of my *oopsies*, also known as blind misses on my back tracks.  That will be another day, another post, if it does happen.  Sometimes you just take the not-so-perfect and let it stay... kinda like us.  We'll have to see, not today, so no need to worry about it now.

Oh, and with all this storm dodging I'm behind on starting my next client quilt -- hope that happens later this evening... keep your fingers crossed, but not for too long, because that would probably hurt.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Gammill Day!

As if life wasn't good enough, yesterday my newest Gammill, the Vision 2.0, arrived.  You'll remember me talking about it here.

UPS Freight brought it right to my doorstep, really -


So then the hubby and son brought it in the house - it's a really big box!

The peeps at Gammill made sure that nothing was going to move, shift, or bump during shipping (this is after I removed tons of packing materials as well as the new cross track):

And then to install the encoders, H-lock, V-lock, and the tablet mount -- I did pretty good for being alone with tools!  And please don't mind the background mess (that stuff is usually on the nice empty work table I'm using).

And then after dinner, my happy place -- stitching!

My test sample lasted 39 minutes and according to the stitch counter I was at 52622.  I tried my favorites threads, tweaked just a couple of things, and realized that we were getting along quite well. 

If you haven't yet tried the Vision 2.0, you really should!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The quilt that refused to be finished...

I have been putting off finishing this quilt for far too long.  Not really putting off, just doing other things.  But, on Friday I finally loaded True Colors on the frame for the trapunto stitching.  WooHoo!!

Now, those that have followed me for years know this name.  You've heard it numerous times.  But for those that have just started following, let me keep you up to date:

2/22/12 -- yes, 2012!  Here is an excerpt from that blog post (if you want to read the entire post click on the date):

I had a mexican pinwheel feathered star (Marsha McCloskey pattern) that had been sitting around collecting dust.  So I pulled it out -- this is what it looked like (actually is was extremely wrinkly so I gave it a real quick pressing):

Then I worked on it over the weekend, and now it looks like this (still wrinkly):

So when did I start this quilt?... I can not remember, but according to this post it was already collecting dust in 2012!  OMG... seriously!

And then on 8/9/2012 I decided to add the little dots in the border.  I also decided to use this project to partake in my guilds UFO challenge... hahaha... again, hahaha - history with this quilt has already proven that it can not be finished!

So fast forward almost a year to 6/6/13 - yes, I said a almost a year!  This quilt has already missed multiple deadlines -- one being the World Quilt Show FL entry deadline of September 2012.  And, as I already stated in the last paragraph, it also missed the UFO challenge deadline.  And even with missed both those deadlines,  I still managed to pull it out of the pile and *think* about quilt designs... 

So on 8/13/13 I was doodling out some quilting designs -- one of which I really seem to like as I talked about transferring it to the quilt.  Again... did not happen.  Although I talk about this quilt wanting to be born, I think that was me wanting it to be finished.  But no, this quilt was not ready!

Fast forward to 2/21/14 when I took yet another WIP Inventory (these help me to realize how much needs to be finished).  I also again share how this quilt was named.  Now this is what the quilt looked like then - somewhere along the line I added additional fabric for the border, which was a good idea, all that amazing quilting that was planned really needed a place to land!

And at this point I had to finish this quilt.  I had committed it to a special exhibit at Quilt! Knit! Stitch! Did I finished?  No, it's now the end of June and I'm still talking about it.... well sort of.

So back to THIS post.  Last week I finally pulled this quilt out to mark up for quilting.  I had to, there was absolutely no choice, it was getting quilted period!  Then... out of no where this quilt started talking away.  I had added four more dots to the quilt since the last picture (one on each outer point). When suddenly the quilt (or the voice in my head - I think they are the same sometimes) said NO!  Put a diamond there! So me, being no dummy, listened and this happened: 

It looked fantastic!  Yay little voice!!  Yay me for listening!  So, listening some more, four more diamonds were added to the outer corners (sorry, forgot to snap that pic).  I spent the evening doing some hand applique - 8 diamonds worth!  And I continued marking the quilt for trapunto work  Yes, I have to mark the quilt - the design is too precise and things need to line up.  Also, the feathers I have planned are mirror-imaged.  I don't know about you, but I am not precise enough to mirror image anything to perfection, kinda, but not perfect.

Well guess what happens... I discover that I need 4 more diamonds to make this quilt happy.  So I add them -- they looked like this:

See how the quilting design totally needed a diamond there?!!  Sometimes your quilt isn't finish until AFTER the quilting design is planned out.  

So in the middle of all this amazing quilt design I received an awesome phone call!  My new Gammill Vision 2 was being shipped out!  WooooooHooooooo!  It is scheduled for delivery on Monday!  What awesomeness -- the trapunto part of this quilt would be the very last thing stitched on my Vision.  And the very first thing (well other than a test sample) to be stitched on the new Vision 2 -- that kinda makes this quilt even more special!!  Awesomeness overload!

With all this fun news racing around my mind I was determined to finish marking this quilt and start the trapunto work asap!  So here it is all marked up:

I've already received numerous inquiries on what I used to mark the quilt.  I used a water soluble white pen, available from Blue Line Eraser.  It's not quite as water soluble as a blue one, I tested it on this black batik and it indeed needed a soaking before coming out.  No worries, this quilt will need a good soaking anyway as there is water soluble thread holding all the trapunto together.

So, this is what Friday looked like:

And this is what today looks like:

I can not wait to finish the quilting on this!  It just goes to show you - a quilt will not be finished until it is ready!

Oh, and if you're wondering about yesterday -- it looked like this:

Old dishwasher (no, not OLD, just broken) coming out and new dishwasher going in.  Please, don't mind the messy kitchen!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Week in Review

Wow...
a week, already?!!  Didn't I just finish the last week in review?  Time is going way too fast anymore!

So here it is, in absolutely no order:

I am delighted to be teaching at the East Coast Gammill/Statler Conference in Richmond, VA in January 2015!  I will be one of only a few hand-guided instructors there.  The event is being run by Threads Run Thru It - pre-registration starts in early July.  You can view the preliminary details here, or contact the shop and sign up for their newsletter so you don't miss anything.  You'll definitely want to save the date and start planning your attendance -- it is going to be super fun and full of educational goodness!  I'm hoping to see many of you as well as meet many more -- who is thinking about attending?

My Wicked Challenge for Cherrywood Fabrics -- it is finished!  Should I share a peek... how about three?  I'm not sharing much as I have a super long share-it-all post already written and waiting until after the entry deadline.  I really want it to be a surprise!!
some green...
 marking the edge at 20"
the label

Hmmm, what else exciting happened this week?  Oh.... I totally thought I lost a quilt!  I woke up crazy early one day, way too early to run the machine (peeps still sleeping) so I decided to organize some of my quilt pics and put them all safe and sound over on Dropbox.  Oh no, the folder for Clouds in My Latte is missing?  Really?!!  So I go into the quilt room to check the label for the exact finish date so I can pull up pics from around that time (I probably didn't separate them and they are in dated folders).  OMG... no quilt.  Go through the entire pile again, no luck.  Clouds in My Latte isn't there!  Sitting on the floor having a panic attack... wander around the house in crazy going nowhere pacing... where is it?  I sit down at the computer and boom, it hits me.  I lent it to Fil-Tec so they could photograph it for their catalog... phew!  Double phew!!  Crisis averted, crazy back to its normal level.  But then, I realize that not only is there no Clouds in My Latte pic folder, there are also no folders for Wonderlust, The Choice, and also Stella Luminosa!  Apparently my crazy was at an all time high in 2011 as I didn't create pic folders for any of the quilts I made.  It's all good now, pics are organized and in their proper folders -- its all on Dropbox -- I am safe, apparently from myself!

On the somewhat calmer side of the week...

I'm planning a wedding quilt, not a super jumbo king-size, a nice usable everyday quilt, probably throw size. It's not due for quite a while, but then again, I'm insane busy so it's probably cutting it close anyway! I'm again attempting the two birds one stone theory. I can make the quilt and we (the cronies) can each piece one during our Friday night sews. The pattern we chose was the Sessoms quilt by Carolyn Friedlander:

It's paper piecing -- it'll go great for a Friday night gab-fest, just sew and chat, not much thinking involved. Now that's my kind of piecing! Nancy chose brights with a white background, Natalie hasn't decided yet, and I chose to part with some of my beautiful aubergine Gees Bend fabric. Technically it is called Concord. I'm using a Bali Pop called Cotton Candy for my stars.  I love how these look together!

So, anyone that knows Gees Bend fabric knows it bleeds.  And it doesn't just bleed... it bleeds forever! But it is beautiful, so we adapt and adjust.  I pre-washed it five times!  Still bleeding.  Here are the color catchers to show my progress:

On the right is after the first wash, on the left after the fifth wash.  I know, things are supposed to go left to right -- blame the lefty in me!

And here is the washed fabric next to the unwashed fabric:

Again, with the washed (5 times) on the left and unwashed on the right (darn lefties)!  I ran out of color catchers- I may try washing it a few more times once I get to the store for some more.

And of course, a client quilt -- it's hard to quilt when you're dodging storms.  Pictures on the client blog.  I'm hopefully finishing up another one today!

So, what amazing and wonderful things are YOU working on?  Tell me all about them!  My main goal in sharing with you is to inspire that creative spark - it's there, I promise!

And to end the post with a little piece of beautiful, our newest hibiscus, called Hawaiian Tiki Torch: