Sunday, July 25, 2021

Strategies for Selecting Long-Arm Quilting Designs

My Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild monthly long-arm group is always a wealth of information. Here are some highlights from last month's meeting (and a gratuitous shot of the guild sampler from 2010 that currently occupies my long-arm):

*When doing computerized patterns for clients, it is preferable to choose designs that don't have backtracking.

*If the quilt top has busy fabrics, you aren't likely to see a detailed quilting pattern, so it makes sense to choose something simpler.

*Pause before choosing designs to "let the quilt speak" to you about which to select.

*Take classes when they are offered to improve your skill.

*Combine computerized designs with free-motion.

*Pair linear designs with organic ones.

*If you make a mistake in free-motion, repeat the mistake to make it look intentional.

*Choose from designs that are in your wheelhouse.

*Correct issues with wavy borders before you begin quilting.

*Limit the amount of time-consuming custom quilting jobs (as opposed to edge to edge computerized designs) that you take on for clients to a manageable amount.

*Consider loading the three layers together if you are doing art quilts with many thread color changes.

*Test out designs by drawing them with dry erase on a piece of plexiglass laid over the top. Tape the edges of the plastic to avoid getting marker directly on the quilt.

*Create real quilt samples of computerized designs for clients to have a visual of options available.

*Select a thread that isn't too matchy.

*Consider the purpose of a specific quilt to determine the quilting design.

*Accent what you like most about the quilt top, and camouflage what you don't like.

*Scale the quilting to match the scale of the fabric.

*There's no right or wrong way to quilt a quilt.

*Remember that everyone is in a different place in their quilting

Friday, July 9, 2021

Traffic Cone Quilt

Today's finish is a traffic cone quilt that I designed specifically because the Dear Stella fabric demanded it.

I made strip sets and put the angle lines on my ruler to good use. The first cut was 15 degrees.

The following cuts were 30 degrees.

I filled in the right and left sides with the background and trimmed to the desired block size.

The bottom of the block is a large rectangle of orange with blue rectangles pieced on either side.

I arranged six blocks in a circle.

I went overboard making strip sets, so I decided to use the extras for seminole-pieced top and bottom borders. There's a great YouTube video for that if you're interested.

I quilted the background with a straight-lined modification of loop-de-loops.

In the Project Linus stash, I found a brown fabric with traffic cones and construction things, so I chose that for binding.

Here's the final result! It'll be off to Project Linus tomorrow.

Have you ever had a fabric that cried out for a certain design?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Long Arm Studio Organization

The past year brought about my owning of a used Innova long-arm, and repurposing 1/2 the garage for my She Cave. I'd love to share some of my organizational ideas to perk up the place. To deal with comfort, lighting and temperature I purchased interlocking foam mats from a wholesale club, carpet tiles from a garage sale, linkable shop lights from Harbor Freight that I run using through Alexa using a smart plug and an Echo Dot, as well as a Dyson fan. As for the rest of my ideas, it reads a bot like a love letter to Target, Dollar Tree and Fat Quarter Shop. I can't help it, those are a few of my most favorite stores.

A critical storage consideration is how to keep your favorite threads handy. After taking over the garage, my conquest was the workbench pegboard. I got some long hooks and hung my Aurifil Forty3 (yellow spool) cones. Forty3 is 40 wt, 3 ply so it is perfect for long-arm quilting given its extra strength plus the benefits of the original 40 wt. It comes in 73 colors. The lovelies below are 2021 Natural White, 2843 Light Grey Green and 2615 Aluminum. A spool of 50 wt (orange spool) 2324 Stone snuck in there too.

On my workbench table, I have an OLFA Folding Mat, a Sewline Large Ironing Pad, and an Oliso Mini Project Iron.

When my Oliso Mini Project Iron is not in use, it can be wrapped up on its trivet and hung on the pegboard next to a magnetic board where I've placed instructions that I need handy.

In addition to my Forty3 threads, I have a colorful selection of large spools in 40 wt for custom quilting on a rack hooked to the pegboard.

To store notions, I outfitted a shoe rack with baskets from the dollar store.

I use a first aid kit from Target to store smaller rulers. These handy storage cases typically come free with the purchase of three packs of Band-Aids.

And now, I'm back to more Dollar Tree baskets. These hook onto the pegboard.

With the help of my label-maker I can identify bins (from the Dollar Spot of Target) containing Aurifil threads for individual quilts.

A Pamper Chef Tool Turn-About for kitchen utensils works just as well for marking pens.

I purchased an Arrow Storage Cube. It has wheels and can hold a good amount of thread, fabrics, and notions.

My Lipper Bamboo Tray Organizer is a favorite, due to the adjustable compartments and a depth that my long-arm can clear when it sits on the frame's table.

Cubical bins can hide a multitude of fabric sins. I now use the Room Essentials 11" ones from Target, as the Dollar Tree ones did not have sufficient durability. For a higher volume of concealment, I use the 13" Threshold or Pillowfort ones.

My local Modern Quilt Guild, ABQMQG, has a long-arm special interest group. We discussed organizational strategies. Below are the expert ideas I heard. 

*To store Red Snappers, use a section of capped 4" PVC pipe attached to the frame's leg with zip ties.

*Put threads in a specialty box.

*Rolling wooden, plastic, or metal carts are helpful for storing fabric or notions. 

*Repurpose other furniture. For example, use a tv stand for a pressing table or office tables for a cutting station.

*Place tubs under the long-arm for storage.

*Store smaller items in a rotating make-up organizer.

*Use a letter sorter to contain rulers.

*Separate each project (quilt top and backing) with shoe drawers.

Thanks for joining me on my little tour. What are your favorite organizational strategies for your sewing space?

Gridster Bee Rise Quilt

I finished putting together a long-awaited Gridster Bee project, and simply neglected to share until now. 😊 However belated, it's such a fun quilt; and I appreciate all the wonderful blocks my friends from afar contributed. I'm going a little backwards here, but I'm showing off the full reveal and then the components.

I used a solid white for sashing between the balloon blocks. I refrained from picking a blue background, as solid blues tend to vary; and I prefer a more synchronized look. I quilted with swirls. 

For the back I had a hot air balloon fabric, Suzy's Minis by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman. I used for color inspiration. As for the binding, I chose a bright red blender with text pertaining to ballooning, Adventure Awaits by Whistler Studios for Windham Fabrics.

The balloon blocks I received follow. The block patterns are from Alli of Woodberry Way's Rise pattern.