Monday, July 15, 2013

Two Day, Ten Hour Quilting Marathon

Hooray, my camera is back with me now! Last week I quilted myself into a tizzy at Ellen Peters' Cat Whiskers Quilting Studio, working all of Tuesday evening on my first 5" Tumblers quilt on the big longarm, and then all of Wednesday during the day. Whew! I had a whole lot of sore muscles going on there, man oh, man. But it sure was worth while.
Here you can see the twin sized tumblers on the machine as I stopped to take the picture. I was quilting from the front of the machine for this one, doing a simple stitch-in-the-ditch. I traced the tumbler shape across, down, over, and the back up to go across again. It sounds easy enough! What I learned is that the ups and downs of the tumbler shapes are slanted at an angle and the machine fights you on those angles. Yet going across the tops and the bottoms of the tumblers is a straight horizontal line that the machine just glides along smoothly.

In the above picture, over on the far right, you can see two white groovy boards lying on the black table of the HQ Fusion machine. Those are what I used to do the Baptist Fans pattern on the big Easy Street quilt on the following day, but I forgot to take a photo of them for you.
The tumblers went well in spite of a few backtracking events where I lost myself on the rhythm of the pattern. It was so easy to get confused. The simplicity of the work makes your mind wander and then, all of a sudden, you snap out of your daydream to realize that you are lost on the pattern! The terrible heat and humidity doesn't help you to concentrate, either. We all joked about being in the sweatshop!

Ellen's cats have the run of the studio, so I had brought one of my famous catnip mice to amuse them. Here you can see "Denver", on the left, the big tuxedo cat taking charge while on the right, the all black "Sparrow" watches interestedly.

Mind you, Denver is twice the size of Sparrow, so she felt it was prudent to be polite.
But when he left the catnip mouse due to the camera flashes, she moved right in to claim the prize!
My catnip mice are filled with imported Canadian catnip, harvested at it's peak of potency and I think that the shorter growing season strengthens it's pungency. I do a brisk business of selling the calico catnip mice for $2 a piece and have lots of repeat customers in the neighborhood. Whenever I'm at my sewing machine and not sure what to do next, I sew a couple of mice while I'm cogitating.

Here is Ellen just finishing the loading on my 98" square behemoth named Easy Street. This was Bonnie K. Hunter's fall mystery last November through January 1st of this year. It will appear in her next book. Bonnie's colors were effervescent turquoises, purples, lime greens, with grays, but I chose to substitute my beloved Civil War reproduction fabrics.
The other gals in the studio didn't think very much of my plan to put the Baptist Fans quilting over such intricate piecing and wanted me to opt for a custom look. I strongly considered it but in the end decided to stick with my original plan. The piecing is so VERY busy! It needs something simple but in the Civil War tradition, so the Baptist Fans won out.
I chose 100% cotton batting by Pellon called "Nature's Touch" that I was able to get with a 40% off coupon at Joann's when it was on sale. It was 90" wide on a 25 yard roll and I bought the whole thing! It had one yard that had been cut off in a clerk's mistake, but that yard was included. As damaged goods, the manager let me have it for under $5 per yard. Good deal and no shipping costs! It's a little more crowded in the guest room, but who cares about that, right?

The only thing that Ellen and I did wrong was to load that batting, which we thought was square, onto the frame such that we ran a lil' short towards the end. I was in a blind panic when I saw it, but Ellen and the other gals laughed and said that it's happened before and they knew just what to do!
We grabbed that extra yard of separated batting, that thankfully I had brought with me, and just smoothed it into position. It came up just a tad short, so Ellen grabbed her big scissors and whacked off a piece from the excess at the one side and slammed it into place. When we finished the last of the quilting, it looked perfectly fine! Wow, I sure am glad that I wasn't all alone at home encountering these challenges. The team, and especially, Ellen, pulled me through it all; 7 hours of heat, humidity, aching feet, and batting issues, everything! Thank you so very much!

I'm making nice quilts, not "Art of the Western World". There is no such thing as a perfect quilt. Done is better than perfect.

The heat continues as I rest up from the marathon of quilting that I did and I haven't even started the bindings. But I'm on Kitty Patrol at home, too!

Tanner, Tiger, Blossom,and Tipper seem to be all weaned now!
 Happy sewing!


Elaine Adair said...

Oh Vic, I found you - I am struggling with a new "reader" and getting VERY impatient. I think you are still being read by but I'll be darned if I can figure it all out.

Nice to "see" you again, I feared I'd lose contact with all my blog friends due to this latest change.

don't forget me! 8-))

Janet O. said...

That is a lot of time on your feet moving that machine. I could never do that. But isn't it nice to have those all quilted? : )

Helen in the UK said...

Congrats on all that quilting in such heat! I've heard professional long-armers say that stitch-in-the-ditch is harder for them to do, so kudos on getting it done of your tumblers.
Funny thing, I was only wondering yesterday whether you'd managed to finish your Easy Street ... last I remember you saying on the blog was that you were assembling the top whilst waiting to collect Matthew from something. Can't wait to see the finished quilt :)

Nann said...

Yep -- Easy Street turned out to be a four-lane divided highway for those of us who made all the blocks that Bonnie specified. Congratulations on the finish. I think that Baptist fans will be ideal with the repro fabrics.

Your kittens are growing so fast! Love how the camera caught those green eyes.

cityquilter grace said...

looks terrific! a job well done and you have learned so fast too! i am impressed...hope to see it on our next fun day out, trek to lowell...until then you'll find me hanging over the a/c, my new BFF....LOL

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