This past weekend (Thursday through this morning) I attended a Quilt and Sew In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC put on by heARTS Desire Creations. This was the first “retreat” I’ve ever attended. I’ve attended quilt shows and fiber festivals many times. I’ve taken classes along the years, but this was totally different and refreshing. First, there was no “must do” agenda. Participants were free to come and go as they pleased, to sew or not sew as they pleased, and no expectations were implied! A chance for me to totally relax. I had no phones, except what I chose to use my cell for, no animals demanding attention, no chores that had to be done, just free time to create as I wanted to (or not).
The lighting in the room was great! I took my Ott Light and never took it out of the bag. Everyone had their own table to work on, but the tables were in clusters so you had company to talk with if you wanted to. And there was a lot of joking and kibitzing over the weekend.
Thursday after arriving, I set up for sewing, and did a little. My goals for the weekend were to finish the hand-quilting on “Hope”s border, to make some scrap blocks for my 2009 Block in the Box from Lake Norman Quilters, and to make some Hunter’s Star blocks for that same project (aka UFO), as well as to spend some time knitting. I accomplished some of them and would have finished all if not for my machine, but I’ll tell you about that later.
First I finished the hand-quilting on the border of Hope. This was from a long ago class by Susan Brubaker-Knapp on hand applique.
I had originally thought to hand quilt the entire thing. Quite an ambitious project with the arthritis in my hands that I quickly gave up on. I machine quilted the center and decided I would only do the borders by hand. Finished one motif and gave it up for “another time” (UFO). With the arthritis more under control now than it was back then, I spent one day hand quilting the remaining border motifs while away. And while my stitches are far from the even tiny ones that I used to make years ago, I’m pleased that I can still hand quilt a little.
After that I started working on some scrappy (kind of) blocks. I had no plan for these. Before I left I looked at a couple of my Accuquilt Go Dies and thought “these should go together” and cut some pieces. Then the play started and I like the results. These are for the aforementioned 2009 Block in a Box project that I hope to finish soon.
Of course the project needed more blocks, so I used the GO to cut out pieces for eight Hunters Star blocks using the colors above and a white as background. While I didn’t finish them, I am well along. All the halves are pieced.
And two of the blocks were pieced, but I’ll be re-doing them as I’m not happy with the centers.
The fault of the centers was my machine. I took along a 1941 Featherweight that I just love. And while it goes great for some things, when I encountered the bulk of the center, the machine consistently wobbled around the bulk rather than over it. I did this block twice, then tried on another block and each time the same thing, wobbles between the arrows so I put it aside to finish on one of my newer machines.
In the evenings I did some knitting, the red sock is a test knit for Mary Hough Designs, and the striped sock is my go to plain vanilla sock.
Of course, who among us, goes on retreat, or on vacation and never shops at all? And I did do some shopping, at both of the two quilt stores in Boone where I added to my collection of batiks and splurged on a jelly roll (I LIKE those things!).
As well as the yarn store in Blowing Rock.
Will I go again? Most likely if I either the husband or the son are going to be home that weekend to care for all my critters! If you get a chance, I highly recommend this particular retreat as a fun long weekend away!
Yesterday I managed to get the batting secured between the new layers. To do this, I had to remove all the rotting fabric and secure it with basting spray between two thin (Request weight) battings. That makes this now a five layer work.
2 QD Cotton Request batting
3 Antique carded wool
4 QD Cotton Request batting
5 New Quilt Top
This morning I started and soon realized this wasn’t going to work. While I had most of the carded wool batting thinned smooth, not all of it was able to be smoothed out, leaving lumps of batting in it.
I made it this far before giving up as a bad option for securing layers:
The puckering is unacceptable. The stitch length is unacceptable as I try to maneuver around the biggest lumps. But the biggest problem is the thickness. Even with my hopping foot at the highest setting, and a size 21 needle, the machine was bogging down.
The quilt sandwich is now on my work table, to have this small amount of quilting removed, and in preparation of hand tying.
Now I’m concerned with attaching the batting to the edges of this………. the adventure continues!
On occasion a customer sends me an antique quilt top to recover. One particular customer sends me antique “carded wool” quilts to have a new top made for. Since it’s been a couple years since I did one of these, I’m blogging my journey with this one in the hopes that I’ll have a reference for the next time.
The quilt came to me, already recovered once, and tied:
After talking with the customer, the new quilt top to recover it was made out of 1930’s reproduction prints. Here’s a portion of it:
Today I started working on uncovering exactly what was underneath. First I need to remove a gazillion ties:
And then find a way to smooth out the carded wool that’s inside a deteriorating cotton quilt, inside the plaid fabric. I’m thinking this deconstruction to reconstruct is going to be the trickiest part. But I won’t know for sure until I get the outer fabric off:
The biggest problem is that the muslin covering the wool batting is disintegrating as it’s touched. My thought process, at this point, is to utilize the longarm and flannel sheeting. If I load the new backing onto the longarm, spray baste a flannel sheet as I go, then insert the carded wool layer, laying another flannel sheet (or similar weight flannel) over it, I’ll be enclosing the wool and keeping it all from shifting when it’s removed for the new ties.
This will be tied, the carded wool is too thick (an inch in some places) to attempt to longarm quilt, even on my workhorse of a Gammill.
I’ll post progress on this as I go.
I’ll be there in August, will you?
Originally posted on Lake Norman Quilters:
Lake Norman Quilters Quilt Show
9 AM to 5 PM
Talbert Recreation Center
210 Talbert Pointe Drive, Mooresville, NC 28117
Less than 2 miles from I-77 Exit 36 Near lots of shopping & restaurants!
200 plus quilts on display
Personal appearances by Featured artist Lyric Kinard
So, I look at my phone today and it shows me that it’s January 3rd, 2015! Really, we’re in 2015? How did that happen? When did that happen? Okay, logically, I know that 3 days ago was when we moved into 2015, but mentally, I’m just not there.
Over the course of the last few days, while I’ve been down with the flu bug, I’ve paid little attention to social media, except the occasional browse through Facebook. Hey, who doesn’t browse FB when they’re bored? One of the things that I saw mentioned was that the movie “Back to the Future II” was set in 2015. My first thought, then where are the flying cars! LOL
That got me to thinking about the year change and our expectations or lack of them. Resolutions, intention words, changes, I don’t particularly set any of them. And yet, always during December, in the darkest of the long nights, I find myself looking forward. And thinking about changes I’d like to make. Just as I always spend a few days near the end of January, when the sun is shining and the temps are mild cleaning house. Or in February when I start browsing the garden centers, even though it’s way too early to plant. Some things just come naturally at certain times of the year.
Earlier in December, I was thinking of regaining my health (knee injury) and maybe dropping the weight I put on before my low thyroid was diagnosed. Did I set a resolution to start on New Years Day? No, I’m too impatient to wait for a day three to four weeks away. Did I make progress, well, for a little while, until the holidays hit, and then I got the flu. Will I go back to the changes I had implemented (drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking daily walks), most definitely! As soon as I’m truly back on my feet. Which hopefully will be in the next few days (did I mention my patience level?).
I suppose, if I’m honest, I do have intentions for 2015. Several months back, myself and a friend both decided that we would work more out of our stash this year. Now that won’t be hard for her, stash, and scrappy, are her preferred way of quilting. But for me, I’ve never really held to working out of either for any length of time. Will I manage it? Who knows? I will give it a good try, and I do have a decent stash to work out of. And I did order in some special fabric for a planned project. After all, now that it’s here, it’s stash, right?
Another intention is to do more sharing of what I’ve learned over the years. Not exactly teaching, but lectures and workshops. I guess workshops are teaching in their own manner. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching a teenager how to make clothes this last year and it’s re-ignited my love of garments. Now if only my body was as easy to fit as it was 25 years ago! I’ve booked two lectures (quilting related) for 2014 so far, and look forward to them.
Of course, as Quilt Show Co-Chair for the Lake Norman Quilters Guild show in August, I know that I’ll be busy with organization. But I’d like to see that organization extend into my home office as well. Truly I would. I dream of having all the paperwork caught up to date, but there’s that patience thing again to sit down and actually do the paperwork!
And I’m taking some online courses to refresh my bookkeeping skills. Who knows where that may lead, but learning, or re-learning, is never wasted!
I’ve started advertising my longarm quilting services again, as I do miss the interaction with quilters and enjoy seeing their finished quilts.
I’ve decided to cut back on the rabbitry. I have nine Angora rabbits now and as they slowly leave me (as they inevitably will), I won’t be replacing them. While I love the breed, they take a lot of time that I’d much rather spend elsewhere. And I still have the 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 16 chickens here to care for. Why yes, I do believe I am an animal magnet! LOL
So, those are a few of the “intentions”, or “resolutions”, or changes that I’d like to see happen in 2015, and beyond. After all, why limit it to just the next
365 362 days?
Frogging is a word that’s used in two of the mediums I work with, quilting and knitting. In both cases it means the same thing, although the technique is different, it means to “rip it out” ( rippit, ripppit).
I have done my fair share of frogging in quilting over the years, but not so much in knitting. Not because everything I knit is perfect, but because I used to just toss the bad knit on a shelf and forget it. Easy to do when you’re working with the small amounts of yardage needed for hats and gloves, and even socks. Yes, I do have socks that don’t fit in my closet.
But when you start knitting sweaters, with the quantity of yarn needed, that just seems wasteful. And at the expense of the yarn (usually a wool blend) and the care required, finding someone who would fit the garment isn’t usually an option.
About two years ago, I started a cardigan, Nantucket Red in Blue, that I loved the designers garment. BUT, I wanted wool while the original was in cotton. AND I wanted long sleeves, while the original was short sleeved. AND it was two years ago, before I started taking many knitting classes.
The last week or so, I’ve spent a lot of time finishing the fronts and the sleeves. It went into the UFO knitting pile almost two years ago with just the back and half the first front knit.
Two nights ago I seamed all the pieces together using a technique for invisible seaming that I learned at SAFF in 2013. And then I knit the neckline. And THEN I tried it on.
The sweater was inches too wide, probably about two sizes. The modified sleeves went down to my fingertips and had a funny bump/wing at the shoulder seam, and the neckline being that large was too big to stay on my shoulders.
So frogging began. But I had learned that seaming technique really well, and it was late last night.
And I cut the front!
So today in my sitting time, I’ll continue to frog this swearer, hoping to save as much yarn as I can. When i’m done, I’ll weigh the yarn, figure out what I have left and find an appropriate pattern for it. Then the next sweater I won’t take 2 years to finish! (I hope!)