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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Longarm Machine Rental part 1

As many of you know, I am a Daycare provider... I work from home and because of that I don't get to spend a lot of time with adults! Because of that I have found over the years that I tend to gravitate towards online groups, it allows me to interact with other quilters from home. I am a member of several really great yahoo quilting groups, the Quiltropolis longarm group, various Facebook quilting groups and of course I read a LOT of quilting blogs.

And for those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that I am now an Instructor for our local shops Babylock Jewel certification and basic longarm quilting class.

So, the other day I was reading on one of my groups and a lady ask about the Pro's and Con's of renting her longarm, and I posted a little bit about my class and what I teach. Now I didn't really expect anyone to respond to my posting, imagine my surprise when I got an email from Renee in Georgia. Renee had a BUNCH of questions so I ask her to call me, she did and we spent about 45 minutes on the phone chatting, BTW Renee is like the nicest person and I REALLY enjoyed chatting!!!

As we were ending our call, I decided I would share with you all (and Renee) a little bit of what I teach in my class with pictures. So for those of you who do not longarm, or are not interested in my class then you may find the rest of this posting very boring. But if you are a longarm quilting and have been thinking of renting your machine, or if you are a quilter and want to learn you might find this interesting (no guarantees though!)

Before the picture show begins, I want to say a very special THANK YOU to Fonny my very willing student, I kind of sprung on her the fact that I wanted to take picture of her for my blog, she very generously agreed to participate!

After writing up this entire post, I have decided to split it in two as it ended up VERY LONG, So please continue to scroll down for the rest of the story..........................................

Longarm Machine Rental part 2

The rest of the story......

As I talked to Renee, I shared with her how I teach and some of the things I teach. One of the key factors in my class is the fact that I am NOT at the shop when the students come in to rent, so they have to be very self sufficient, I stress that I am only a phone call away and can help over the phone and that the shop owner is not a quilter so really cannot help if they get in a bind.

I provide several handouts, the first and most important is the quilting check list, I did not take pictures during this part of the class (because I forgot) but I will briefly cover the basics, this is NOT the entire checklist....
Clean rails, bobbin area and machine, checking for threads and fluff, oil bobbin area, change needle, wind bobbin, check bobbin tension with TOWA, load bobbin, thread machine. Then turn machine on...

Load quilt...
back, top, batting, how to roll evenly, how to adjust the rail height, how to tension the quilt, and how to sew or pin zippers on to your quilt before you load the quilt. (you get a set of zippers to keep as part of the class)

How to bring your bobbin thread up and how to tie off, advance your quilt, what is good even tension, trouble shooting problems and thread theory.

Now for the fun stuff, we have our quilt loaded, and the machine threaded, we get to play! The first thing we do is learn how to not strangle the machine and cause ourselves sore shoulders and backs! We do a little stretching and shoulder rolls, I look for white knuckles too. When we are all set and ready to quilt.... we take a working lunch break (I am a MEAN teacher LOL) I have a packet of hand drawn designs... we sit down with our brown bag lunch and start work on the dry erase boards...
For this class we learn large meander, small meander, loops, loops with flowers, L's E's, C's, Spirals, Ribbons, and Dragonflies! I teach left to right, top to bottom, then they have to learn right to left and bottom to top, we go forwards, then when they are comfortable, we go backwards, when that is good we go upside down! As you can tell Fonny was actually having a lot of fun. I think that is one of the most important things I teach, relax and enjoy your self, quilting is fun!
I love this picture, you can see where we have worked on the dry erase until she felt comfortable and then we take that to the machine, do a pass or two then back to the dry erase for the next design, then back to the machine, I also take about 15 minutes and I take the machine OFF stitch regulated and I have them learn how to judge their quilting, and how to move their bodies with a non regulated machine, we practice getting nice even stitches and finding a good base line speed number for them to sew at on a non regulated setting. They many never need that, but it they do then at least they have a feel for stitching with out a regulator.
One of the things we do in class, we use different threads. I supply Glide, King Tut and Superior Rainbows, three very different threads, they have to learn to adjust the bobbin tension for each thread, and the machine tension. It also forces them to rethread the machine from scratch repeatedly. Plus they get to see how each thread looks when sewn out. Again, since I am not right there over their shoulder it is important that they can do everything from wind a bobbin to change a needle to threading the machine.

One of my other important hand outs (I email this one when we schedule the class) is my introduction to longarm quilting....

It starts like this (taken directly from my handout)....

Introduction to Quilting Class At Discount Vac and Sew

In this class you will learn the care and feeding of the Babylock Jewel, how to load a quilt on the longarm quilt frame and basic/beginner quilting.

For this class you will need to bring the following items.

1) A light toned cotton fabric this fabric should measure 46”x40”. For today’s purposes Joann’s or Wal-Mart fabric is just fine, this is just a practice piece and will actually be pretty ugly!

2) A practice backing, this will need to be prepared exactly like you would prepare your backing for a standard quilt. In other words, 10” larger than your quilt top both length wise and width wise. 56”x50”

3) A piece of batting the same size as your backing.


I cannot express strongly enough how important this is. You will be “scribbling” on the practice piece on the frame, it really is not a pretty thing and you will ruin your lovely quilt top if that is what you bring!

One of my saddest stories was the lady who insisted that she learn to quilt on her lovely lone star quilt, needless to say she was very unhappy with what she learned, I was very stressed because it was impossible to teach, and she has never been back to rent the machine again. So now if we have someone come in for class with a pieced top they have to purchase fabric from the shop to learn on. NEVER AGAIN!

So that is why as you see in the photos, Fonny did exactly right, she purchased white muslin, yes you can see all her wobbles and fobbles, she was stitching in Navy Blue! But, I also keep on hand a stack of scraps that I lay down and have them quilt on to show how the quilting blends in and is not so awful when on a patterned fabric. (this does a LOT to help self confidence!)

At the end of a 6 hour day, I am tired, my student is tired... but I think they go home with enough confidence and understanding to come back and use this machine again. I do know that since I have been teaching, several of my students have come in and rented the machine....and to date I have only gotten one HELP phone call... and it was an easy thing to talk her through on the phone.

Well, I hope this was enlightening, entertaining, or at least interesting. If you are an owner and want to know more about my handouts, please feel free to email me... I will supply you with my phone number so we can chat, then I will gladly share with you my handouts. I only ask that you not sell my hard work, you can use it for teaching purposes, change what you need to do suit your needs, but that's it.

Happy quilting,

Friday, January 28, 2011

Please Vote for Torrie's Bargello!

A while ago I posted a photo of Torrie's Bargello quilt she made for her friend Sheri. Unknown to Torrie, I entered her quilt into The Quilting Gallery's weekly themed quilt contest. This weeks them is unusually shaped quilts, currently Torrie's quilt is in 4th place. I am asking every one to please take a moment and click THIS LINK and vote for Torrie's quilt. The voting ends Sunday night. She still does not think she did that great of a job on this quilt, I would love for her to win to boost her quilting self confidence!

Thank you, and Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Done, Done and Fun!

Good Morning! So I am a couple of days late with this post, but you know what they say... better late than never...

I want to start by sharing photos of the Pansy quilt, all done and bound. I totally love this quilt. So much so that I will be entering it into our local quilt show. I think it has some real POP to it. I am also very very happy with the quilting. I did just a simple floral pantograph that I purchased from Digi-tech. (a little plug for Jessica here) I love the fact that I can order my panto, download it, size it to my desired size (OK that part takes a few minutes but not too awfully long) then I just print it out, tape the sheets together and I have a panto. No waiting for the mail, no shipping charge and I can really personalize the design to the size I want. So if you have a longarm and do any type of pantograph and have NOT been to the Digi-tech website, do yourself a favor and check it out!... Now on the the pictures!
Did I mention I love this quilt. Thank you to all who voted for option A. Good choice.

Here is a close up of the quilting, just a simple little flower and I will definitely be using this design again. Oh you can also see where the giant pansies were appliqued on.

So here it is, Torrie's 17th birthday quilt! I am thrilled with how this one turned out. Torrie informed me that she does NOT like pinwheels on a quilt and would I please make a nine patch instead (yep she truly is a quilter too) I found the center fabric at a little quilt shop about 20 miles away, based the entire quit on that fabric...This is a close up of the center fabric, you will notice the black cat outlined in green. They are not super noticeable at first. The green is this kind of celery green and because the center fabric is so wild we decided to go with very simple fabrics, so the black and green have no real pattern, the green is fairy frost and the black is just basic black. The real fun comes with the quilting.....

I loaded this on the frame with BRIGHT green minkee on the back, then I used a kitty panto for the pattern, to stay with the theme I used bright green thread, as you can see it works perfectly on the black fabrics. I was able to mirror the center panel... I think this is one of the best quilts I have ever done.... With one small exception... and you the readers of my blog will be the only ones to know... if you look closely at the top row of kitties... you will notice on the sitting kitty there is a bump on it's chest. I have an entire row of kitties with this same oops... That was when the track on my long arm carriage broke... I was so angry that the rails broke AGAIN (this is a grace carriage and the second time the rails have disintegrated on me) I made modifications to the carriage that came with my frame so I can use it with my Homesteader... LONG story there... Anyhow it was the carriage breaking that lead to the final decision to install a stitch regulator... Whew...

First I want to show you my weekend fun quilt...
So last Sunday my darling hubby was engrossed in football. I don't mind so much that means I get guilt free quilting time! So I scooted out to my sewing room and cleaned up a bit, as I was cleaning I came across my cat and dog fabric that Wendi had given me for Christmas (I will have to share the rest of that story on another post...) Anyhow, I folded it and was going to put it away when I decided what the heck cut it up and use it NOW... So I broke out my Go and my tumbler die and proceeded to cut cut cut, in the end I just did not have enough blocks for a good size quilt so I started looking through my stash and came up with a bunch MORE dogs and cats, wow did not realize how much of that I had! So more cutting then I mixed them all up and started piecing and this is what I ended up with! I think it is so cute! Now I am NOT a scrappy kind of girl but you know, this one I don't mind so much.
Here is a close up of just some of the fabrics. I didn't even keep track of how many different fabrics I used. I can't wait to get my longarm back so I can quilt it. I have the best idea for that.....

Well before I sign off for the day I thought I would show you something a bit different. This is my long arm, stripped down and off the frame. Just minutes from being boxed up and shipped. If you have never gotten a good look at the Homesteader... here she is.... If you are a Hobby Quilter like I am and want a longarm but just can't afford or justify the $10,000+ price tag of the big machines I really do recommend you check out the homesteaders. They are lovely machines for a very nice price. Now I do have to say that mine did NOT come with a stitch regulator, but it is an extra option. I just checked the tracking and she is almost to the homesteader factory to be upgraded and have the SR put on. I am counting the days until she is returned!

Until then, I have classes to teach, and time reserved on the rental machine, taxes to file and daycare licensing renewal to do. As always busy busy busy! Oh and a birthday party for the 17 year old... Wish me luck!
Happy quilting and back to work for me!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Big Changes for my Longarm!

Thank you all so much for your input on the Pansy quilt, I kept it at option A. I got it quilted last weekend, plus I finished Torrie's birthday quilt. Both turned out really well, I will post pictures later this weekend while Torrie is at work (need to take pictures when she can't see)

I am happy I got both quilted because officially as of today I am quilt machine-less :( Well that is really a :)
You see, I have been saving my paychecks for a while in order to send my machine in for a bit of an upgrade and retrofit, Stuart and I got to talking and we decided that while the machine is in for servicing I should have a stitch regulator installed!!! So I gave Jennifer a call and ordered the full package. Today was the day, I wrapped and taped and bubble wrapped and in the box it went then off to Fed-ex and away it shipped. I figure I will be machine-less for at least a month maybe a little more I will find out for sure next week.

Until then I have 4 quilts to bind, and a huge mess in my sewing room to clean up. I also have my business taxes to do and I have my daycare license renewal coming up, so really this was the best time to send my darling off to be worked over. Doesn't mean I won't miss it and I am really excited about getting it back!

Well, that's all for tonight, I will post pictures of Torrie's quilt very soon!
Happy quilting,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Choice A or B?

In my last post I showed you a picture of one my newest quilt tops, well I really really did not like the center panel, did a bit of shopping and found some large pansy blocks from the same line of fabric. Cut, iron and stitch... and this is what I came up with.....

Much better than.......


Let me know what you think, better or worse?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dreaming of Spring!

Thought I would pop in today with just a short little post to show off the two quilts I have been working on, both still need a final border, the black and purple get a black border and the yellow and purple still needs its final purple border. I will hope full get those one today or tomorrow. Then I start work on three new quilts, I have two that are Christmas presents, Yep not even pieced yet! And one more similar to the one below for Torrie's birthday.

I did something I don't usually do, I purchased a kit! I can honestly say that I will probably not ever do that again, I really liked the pattern, but after I got it home and looked closer at it I was rather disappointed with the pattern. It was very scant and not well written...

Once I got the entire quilt put together I also decided that I STRONGLY dislike the center panel, it is very green and does not blend or match well. Not something I would have picked for this quilt even though they are from the same line of fabric.
Here is a close look, I just think it is very jarring, so I went to the store yesterday and picked another pansy fabric. Took the quilt apart last night and will re do the center this week too. I will show the final results when I am done.

The other fun little quilt I did this week is my Falcons Drunkards path! I cut this entirely on my Accuquilt GO, I was thrilled with how easily it went together and how well all of my seams lined up! This picture is only half of the quilt as I did not have space to take pictures of the whole thing!

And a close up, I guess I am feeling the need for spring as the focus fabric on both of these quilts is Purple pansies!

Well that was it just a bit of show and tell.

Dreaming of Spring!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another Christmas Come and Gone.

And I survived! Christmas in our house is always small, just Stuart the girls and I. We like it that way, we don't travel we don't have family over it is just us, I try not to go overboard with the gifts (we got rid of the credit cards about 5 years ago so overspending is never a temptation).

I took the week after Christmas off, this is the one week I take off every year, it is my time to recharge my batteries and just spend time on myself, this year I got a bit of quilting done, I spent a few days in my PJ's and went shopping with the girls one day (they just had to spend those gift cards!) and Wendi another. I went to the movies with Morgen and have decided that 3D movies make me sick, yep spent two days throwing up, not use if it was because of the 3D or the popcorn, I was a bad girl and ate about a cup of popcorn, yes I know better but really could not help myself!

On Friday Wendi and I took a short road trip to Prosser to a little quilt shop called The Sewing Basket, interesting little shop they have tons and tons of lovely fabric. I found several prints that I have searched for in the past but could not find because they are no longer made, well The Sewing Basket has them. The only down side to this wonderful little shop is the fact that they have TO MUCH FABRIC! Yep way to much, so much in fact that you could not see much of the fabric on the bottom shelves and it was hard to walk through there was so much stacked every where, two and three layers deep. I will have to thing long and hard before I make another trip to shop there again.

On Saturday, new years day Wendi and I did the Merry Mayhem/Planet Patchwork Mystery quilt. This was her first mystery and my second. It was fun and the little wall hanging turned out pretty cute, it was baskets, baskets are just not something that really thrill me so I was OK with the pattern but this is something that I would probably not make again unless it was for someone I REALLY like! LOL,This is Wendi's Mystery quilt, all in music themed fabric. I really like how hers turned out.

And mine, am not thrilled with mine. The mystery it's self is not to blame, it was really well done and the instructions were excellent, I just am not a fan of baskets.

Just before Christmas Wendi came over a put together a quick quilt for her youngest daughter. Kendra is 12 and LOVES Little Pets Shop pets, Wendi found this fabric a couple of months ago, I think the quilt is just darling.
Just a simple big huge piece of fabric, not pieced except the boarders. And then quilted with the same butterfly panto as I used on Alindseys quilt.

She used a pink minkee on the back, Kendra now says that ALL of her quilts need to have minkee backings. I tend to agree, I have said it before and will again, I love minkee for children's quilts. They have a nice weight to them and are so soft!

This is a little coffee quilt that I put together MONTHS ago, I finally took the time to quilt it. I have about 6 quilts that need quilted my goal in the next couple of weeks will be to get them on and off the frame before my machine goes in to have some work done on it, I will post pictures as I finish them.

This last one is of my Christmas quilt, I made it Thanksgiving weekend but did not get it quilted until after Christmas, I am very happy with the final product, this quilt came 100% out of my head! No pattern just an idea that I bounced off Stuart on day and he said do it! 12 hours later I had a top made and ornaments too. The ball ornaments were made using my Go circle cutter, each one has a pocket on the back for a sweet treat for the girls. There are also appliqued snow flakes, they were also cut on my Go.

So that was my Christmas vacation, very quilting just the way I like it!

Now for a sneak peek at what I will be making next...

Thanks for stopping by, hope that you all had a wonderful quilty holiday also,
Happy quilting,