Friday, December 8, 2017

It's Quilting Frenzy Time!!

When I was finishing my version of Jen Kingwell's Long Time Gone earlier this year as part of the international sew along, I decided who I was going to give it to when it was finished not expecting that the opportunity would arrive quite so soon. 

It's a very cheerful quilt and it is perfect for my new daughter-in-law (as of 3 weeks ago) but there is a family superstition that I've scared off a couple women in my son's past by gifting them with a quilt too soon.  They became engaged in July and I was expecting a spring wedding but surprise, they turned their engagement party into a wedding!!
So I can give it to her for Christmas!!
It just needs to be quilted.
So I layered it up a couple weeks ago while layering up several small charity quilts.
When I arrived at the machine the next day, I realized that I had buried two already-layered quilts so I decided to quilt one of them before beginning Long Time Gone.
I finished the binding a couple days ago and with the winter sunshine today, I rushed to get some pictures before the clouds roll back into town.
I set up my photography studio -- 😉
Climbed up carefully and took "flat" photos so I can share my finish!
I learned that trick from a professional -- well, not the climbing up on a chair part.  He had a sophisticated overhead set up so that he could photograph things completely flat.
I'm happy with this photo.
This is a crib size version of my Sandstone Revisited Quilt Pattern (listed here on Etsy).
I used this stacked swirly sort-of Baptist fan motif and variegated shades of aqua King Tut thread. 
The backing is this fun dot (don't get excited -- it's at least 12 years old) for the backing and a black mini-dot for the binding. 
Brings me to a total of 3 finished quilts for my fourth quarter list of goals for this year's Finish-A-Long -- yea!!  There's one more layered and ready to quilt (HERE) so if I finish Long Time Gone before Christmas, I'll have an entire week to try for a perfect four!!

As I was quilting on Long Time Gone this morning, I was reflecting on how much easier machine quilting is becoming for me.  Part of it is having a larger scale machine and table that makes it easier to manage more bulk.  

But another important aspect is the confidence I'm building through more consistent work.   The stop/start areas of my stitching are becoming more uniform and harder to pick out once the quilt is done -- that only happens through repetition!  My stitch length is becoming more consistent -- another result of quilting more frequently and getting more comfortable with the operation of the foot pedal and how fast/slow I move the quilt around under the needle.

Probably the two most important factors contributing to these changes are working with simpler designs and recognizing that 30 minute sessions are the best approach to moving forward steadily.   I can push to 45 minutes before my arthritis starts to make me uncomfortable but stopping sooner is wiser -- those last 10 or 15 minutes when I push myself aren't worth it.  My work becomes sloppy as my shoulders begin to fuss and I recognize that my wrists are tired.  If I still feel good when I stand up from the machine, I'm more likely to come back later in the day and get in another productive 30 minutes!

So maybe 2018 will be a year of machine quilting and I'll morph into a quilter with no ancient UFO's?!?  

Willie sends his greetings! 
 He is learning to be an indoor cat (after three trips to the vet in 5 weeks for significant fighting injuries) and how to enjoy indoor sun puddles!
They can be just as relaxing as that cozy nest of leaves under the spice bush on the south side of house!!
Here's to all of us having a productive and pleasant weekend!!


  1. No ancient UFOs. An idea I would like to embrace! Thanks for the update, Mary!

  2. Wow. That has a real ring to it. No more ancient UFOs. I want to join your club, too.

    Good advice and realization on becoming more consistent with your work. With a stand up machine, long arm, I need to stop every hour for a break. I think sit downs require more upper body power to move that quilt around, and like you, I think half an hour is plenty. It can quite wear you out, and it does show in your work. I'm glad you're powering through the season, Mary. May your 2018 be a breakthrough on your ancient UFOs!

  3. Great attitude approaching projects with a more simplicity and shorter intervals - smart thinking. Congratulations on checking a goal off of your list. Thanks for linking up to 2017 Q4 FAL on behalf of the Finish-A-Long hosts.