Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Merry Pace

Life is tumbling along at a merry pace, as I've been preparing quilts to ship to Austin, Texas, to be delivered for February 21-24 QuiltCon in Nashville, Tennessee.

Also, Quilting Guild of The Villages local show called "Showcase" is coming up January 25-26. That too has required quilt preparations and planning, as I submitted two quilts into the modern category. This is a new category to the show, and two is the maximum number of quilts any member can enter. Quilts were judged last week.

During a slot of time, quilts had to be delivered to a specific rec center, in their own fabric bag, labeled with personal information and a quilt number, and then three days later be picked up.

I entered these two quilts.
Urban Trek, 59" X 71"
"Always Add Orange," 15" X 15"
When we picked up our quilts, each quilter learned if her quilt was a "winner," though not what the award might be - first, second, third, or honorable mention. I'm happy to say that both my quilts are winners. It will be when the show opens next Friday that we'll learn what ribbons were earned. If you're in Central Florida and interested in attending the show, here's where you can get more information.

Also, I've been prepping quilts to sell in the show's "Boutique." QGOTV has a shop where members' items can be sold. The guild gets 10 percent of each sale; the buyer pays Florida's 7% sales tax. I've gone through nearly all my quilts, and came up with (only) 33 to sell! I've photographed, measured, and written brief descriptions for each, as well as prep sales tags with assigned numbers, dimensions, and prices.

The pricing... that's so difficult to do! While I want (most) of the quilts out of my house, to free-up closet storage space, I need to price them to sell. But I also don't want to undervalue the cost of making a quilt - both the expense of materials, and the time put into making. It's tough to decide what to charge for each quilt, especially as sentiment tends to play into my decisions too. So, I'm pricing higher those quilts that I'm having a hard time parting with, some of which I made as recently as last year! But I also don't want to return 33 quilts to the closet where they've been stored. What good is that? In my opinion, it's a no-win situation. This topic is also a conversation trigger for every quilter I've ever met.

Yet I keep making quilts anyway! Ha, ha. What can I say? Makers gotta make. Besides, I need to justify the cost of that Bernina 770QE!

Here's a picture of it with its latest embellishments. I saw this on the Bernina blog. A sewist used small, hooked, suction cups to keep handy items like scissors, and tweezers. I'd like to hang a few more gadgets here, like a seam ripper and 1" X 6" ruler, but those don't have hanging holes.

These 4" triangle-in-a-square blocks, pieced with solids and cut using Bloc Loc rulers, have seen several iterations on my design wall. I still can't decide what arrangement I like best.

When I ask, everyone has a different opinion. As if I expect otherwise. 

Orange circles? Or no circles?

I like all of them! These may be on the design wall for a while longer.

A finish this week is this Double Zip Gear Bag, a pattern from ByAnnie.

I made it at our son-in-law's request. He saw the cosmetic bags I made as Christmas gifts for our girls, and commented that he'd like a bag. I thought to make him something more masculine, with shale-colored Essex linen.

I like that it looks like a bonafide shaving kit.

Mesh pockets are on the outside and inside. Inside, I also added a layer of vinyl, not called for in the pattern. The vinyl definitely made the whole thing harder to work with at the sewing machine, but the Bernina handled the thickness extremely well. 

I love using the dual feed zipper foot (#4D) to install four, purse-type 14" zippers.

Of course, I had to use the alphabet, to personalize the bag for him. See how I even figured out how to make the design on the right side mirror the design on the left?!

Coming up next week... the anniversary of my 10th year of continuous blogging. How time flies! Linda

Friday, January 11, 2019

Temperature Quilt

Thanks to you who weighed-in on my last blog post about the white pen mix-up. I've emailed the MQG to withdraw my Roulette quilt from QuiltCon... though I haven't yet received acknowledgement of it. 

Moving right along, I'm starting a new quilt. Though this one is really different from any I've made before. Have you heard of temperature quilts? They've been around for at least three years, and temperature versions can be crocheted or knitted or embroidered as well. After seeing a whole bunch of quilts crop up on Instagram (see #temperaturequilt) I decided to join in.

Basically what you're making is a quilt that's assembled with 365 two-color patches that represent daily - for one year - high and low temperatures of some location. Not surprisingly, I am making a 2019 quilt using temperatures from The Villages.

To make your own quilt you first need to find historic weather data on the place you choose, to learn what the high and low temperatures have been. Where I live, the range is about 60 degrees (92 to 32). You can usually find this sort of data on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, but due to the federal government shutdown, the website isn't operational. 

Based on the range, temperatures are broken into units of five or four or three degree increments. Then, select 18 to 22 different fabrics that may be solids or prints, and assigned a fabric to each increment. In my case, I am going with three degree temperature increments, assigning 20 solids (one is missing because I need to order it) to them. 

Using my iPhone and the Wunderground app, each day I've been tracking local weather high and local temperatures. I'm recording that info on an Excel spreadsheet I created on my iPhone as reference for block-making later. 

The two-color block I chose is a sort of Drunkard's Path made with the Classic Curve Ruler. Convex curves are the high temperatures and concave curves are the low. I'll assemble these four-inch blocks in vertical columns, and turn the block up or down according to whether the high temperature is higher or lower than the previous day. 
The vertical columns make photos challenging! 

When I've made 21 patches, I'll start another column... until I have 18 columns to make a total of 378 patches. Yes, that's too many than the 365 days of the year, but if I make month markers for 12 months, I'll have only one block extra to make of something - maybe the color key for the quilt. No doubt this will evolve as I go along, but right now the quilt will turn out at around 72" X 84".

It's been fun to see what other blocks quilters are making - flying geese, half-square triangles, improv rectangles, circles appliquéd on a square, English paper-pieced hexagons, and so on. Every quilt is different of course, so the outcome is a surprise. 

I decided I wanted to be sure to include the 2019 Kaufman Kona Color of The Year (COTY) in my temperature quilt, so I bought some - Yes! This was the first time I've bought fabric since last May! Kona's COTY is "Splash," as seen on the right. It's too perfect for a Floridian, isn't it. 
Painter's Palette Solids color card next to Kona Splash
Please note that if you buy Splash (or any Kona for that matter), be sure to prewash it! It bleeds. I washed Splash yardage with a color catcher that was distinctly aqua when it came out of the washing machine.

My favorite brand of solid fabrics is Painter's Palette, but unfortunately there's no color that's close to Splash. Hence the reason I purchased several yards. 

I'm looking forward to making this quilt through 2019, though perhaps by August or so I'll be sick of it, especially when the daily temperatures aren't varying. Maybe monotonous? 

If you'd like more information about making a temperature quilt, visit Anina's blog - TwiddleTails. Anina, who lives in Des Moines, Iowa (!), is leading a temperature quilt-along, and has lots of helpful information on her blog. It's certainly not too late to get started!

It feels good to be working on something new and fun! Linda

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Could it Get Any Worse?

My first 2019 blog post was about a bumbling start with 2019 with a quilt design faux pax. Well, I'm sad to say that it was only the beginning of a rough quilting-related start to 2019.

I decided to spend Saturday prepping quilts for upcoming shows. Quilting Guild of The Villages has its local show on January 25-26, and for my two entries I needed to make custom-made bags labeled with personal info and the quilt number. I also have three quilts to ready, and paperwork to complete, to ship to Austin, Texas by January 24 for QuiltCon in Nashville.

So I went over my quilts with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak - burying and clipping random threads, running a lint-roller over fabric, and generally making sure each quilt was pristine. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that I had some light white quilting marks on "Roulette" from using a Clover white marking pen - I thought. (Read on. Clover white marking pens are great!)
"Roulette," accepted into QuiltCon
After pressing to steam-heat remove the quilt marks, the marks did not come out, as expected from a Clover white marking pen that erases with water.

I decided to created a test sample using the same Kona Silver and same white marking pen.

I couldn't get the marks out after trying Dawn dishwashing liquid, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, salt, S-23 stain remover, Norwex laundry soap, and even a Mr. Clean Eraser - many of these suggestions coming from commenters to my Instagram post about it.
The quilt, after being immersed in water.
As it was Saturday, I sent an email to Clover, questioning what I did wrong with their white marking pen. Or could I have a defective pen?

Monday I called Clover (Ontario, California), and Connie in customer service was very helpful. She said that the heat from the dryer - several months ago when the quilt was completed, I had wet and partially tumbled dry the quilt - probably set the white marker. She said to make a spray of two parts white vinegar and five parts water, spray the quilt and let it sit. If the marks didn't come out, add baking soda to the solution to make a paste.

It was at that point that I decided to make another test sample of fabric to work on.... and noticed this about the two pens in my tool chest. Top half picture: They are identical!

Bottom half picture: The pen contents are completely different!

I believe I mistakenly grabbed the upper pen, marking some quilting designs with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen, a permanent white marking pen, used to make quilt labels!

How totally embarrassing.

Because I needed to be honest, and as painful as it was to admit fault, on Instagram I publicly apologized to Clover. And I do so here as well.

I am ashamed. Devastated. And heartbroken because I cannot knowingly submit a quilt to QuiltCon with these permanent marks, however unnoticeable they may seem.

From two feet away, the quilt looks fabulous!

But under the scrutiny of a judge, perhaps using a magnifying glass, Roulette would not stand the test. Those white lines can clearly be seen.

Since realizing that these white marks are from a permanent pen, I have used the test sample piece to try removing ink with lighter fluid, hair spray, and acetone. Nothing touches it.

So I will, with great disappointment, withdraw Roulette from QuiltCon. And still be grateful that I have two other quilts in the show.

By the way...  I thought I kept my quilt markers separate from permanent marking pens. All my other Gelly Roll pens are in a plastic container in the closet! I cannot remember when or how the white Gelly Roll pen may have gotten mixed-in with my quilt-marking pens. It doesn't matter now.

This is humiliating to share with blog readers, but I do so in the hope that you will be very careful to not let this happen to you. Double-check what pen you grab for a particular task. Linda

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Off to a Bumbling Start

Though I've entered into 2019 with quiltmaking optimism, I've already bumbled my first quilt finish... this little 15" X 15" piece to enter Curated Quilts challenge.
"Arcature," 15" X 15"

If you paid attention to my last blog post, I said I was going to try to design more quilts for myself, and this one may seem like I did but look. 

And now you'll say, "Ah-ha! That design is someone else's!" You're right. This Cascade Quilt design belongs to Victoria Findley-Wolfe and is from her book "Modern Quilt Magic." I bought the book and ruler template last year, and will follow-through by making the quilt using only stashed fabrics. 
Curve Braid Strip ruler
For the Curated Quilts challenge, I reduced the size of the Curved Braid Strip ruler template to 60 percent to come up with this design. The reason I think I bumbled is this... 

I looked at each vertical stack as a unit, rather than looking at the whole design. My husband calls it "silo" organization. I'm sharing a picture of what I think would have made it better, as I placed some leftover shapes on top of the finished quilt. 

The three separate silos start to blend a little better. 

Of course, I didn't come to this realization until the day after finishing it! I've disappointed myself, but I learned something. And I would much rather make this mistake on a little quilt than on the big Cascade Quilt which will be 85" X 92".

Still, I used this mini challenge quilt to continue working with rulers. This Fine Line ruler, by Accents in Design, is what I used. I'm still having to make sure those vertical posts don't hit my machine's dual feed, though they did a few times as I was going along.

For anyone learning ruler work, what you'll quickly come to understand it that you need to be able to eyeball a quarter-inch... which I think quilters know how to do very well! The sewing machine ruler foot has been designed a quarter-inch from the needle on all sides. So when you're aiming your quilting to a particular spot - where I have inserted the straight pin - you need to position the ruler a quarter-inch from the quilting. 

I changed thread colors several times, and am pleased with the simple repetitive arc design that I spaced 1-1/2" apart.

After seeing 109 other pretty fantastic little quilts entered into the mini quilt challenge, on the Curated Quilts website - notably quite a few improv quilts - I have no doubt that others' quilts will be selected for the next issue. For me, it's not problem because I learned something, and that's always good.

For now I'll keep cutting stash to prep the needed 513 right and left shapes for the Cascade Quilt. Another scrappy project at it's best! Linda


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