Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ann Arbor Quilt Show 2008

My two show entries, shown above, were hung side by side in the first row -- a really great location. I was surprised and pretty pleased! Mostly, I was just glad to get them both done in time, after the fiasco with my sewing machine. By the way, that "Next Day Air" service that I paid $50.00 for was a bust. The part didn't arrive until the day after, and my sewing schedule was thrown for a loop. But somehow the quilts were finished in time.

Brenda's quilt got a lot of attention and favorable comments, and may stand a chance of winning the "Viewers' Choice" award. (I'll let you know!) The lighting was perfect for it, really making the circles pop out as you approached it. I've grown quite attached to this quilt during the long months of hand applique, and will be sorry to see it go. But it's rightfully Brenda's, and she has been patient enough. You should have it by the weekend, Brenda!

The quilt I made for myself (finally!) came out well, too, but it's more traditional and less eye-catching then Brenda's. My favorite part of my quilt is the fabric, which is a tiny rosebud print in several colorways. I've been collecting this for years, and have finally made the quilt. From a distance the print reads like a solid, so I like it best up close, where the tiny vines and buds are visible (see below.) The beige background fabric, as well as the backing of the quilt, is also a vine and flower print.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Next Day Air?

I learned another lesson yesterday: Time constraints cause machine failures.

As I've mentioned here before, I'm exhibiting two quilts this weekend in the Ann Arbor Quilt Show, and I have to deliver them to the venue first thing Friday morning. It is now Tuesday morning, and only one of the quilts is complete! I put the second one (shown above) in the frame on Sunday, and quilted a couple of rows before bedtime. I was planning to finish quilting yesterday and today, which would still allow time to bind it, label it, attach the hanging sleeve, and wash and dry it before Friday. You can probably guess that my trusty Pfaff refused to cooperate; the free-motion quilting foot would not stay centered. Every time I crossed a seam the foot shifted position slightly, and eventually the needle would hit the rim of the foot, jamming the machine and making a frightening grinding sound. I broke two needles before I figured out what was happening, and then I couldn't find a way to prevent the foot from slipping. Buying a new foot seemed like the quickest fix.

It wasn't. I called three shops. The first one, where I bought the machine, was closed. The other two don't carry Pfaffs, but said if I brought in the broken foot they might be able to match it with another brand or a generic. They couldn't. They seemed puzzled that I hadn't thought to order the foot online. I had. But I also thought it would be faster to pick one up locally. It wasn't. So.....

I ordered one online, and paid $50.oo to have it shipped next day air. The foot only cost $24.oo. I couldn't sleep last night for worrying about the looming deadline and berating myself for procrastinating. (See previous post!) It's now 9:00 am, and the foot isn't here. I've never used next-day air, and am not at all confident that I will have the foot in time to finish the quilt. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coming Off The Frame!

I did it! I was able to quilt the entire project without turning the quilt, and "floating" the top worked very well. I'm really happy with the way it turned out! Now I just have to finish binding it, add a label and hanging sleeve, and deliver it to the show site on July 25. GULP! That's coming way too fast, especially since I haven't even finished assembling my second entry yet! I may need to recruit some volunteers for the second quilt's binding and sleeve. I will never procrastinate again. I will never procrastinate again.I will never procrastinate again.I will never procrastinate again.I will never procrastinate again.I will never procrastinate again.I will never procrastinate again.I will never procrastinate again......

Friday, July 11, 2008

Framed At Last!

Yesterday I finally got one of my show quilts in the frame and started quilting it. It has to be done by July 25th, and I have to quilt a second entry as well, so I don't have much time to spare!

This one is queen sized, and is the largest quilt I've ever done by
machine. I am "floating" the top and batting rather than rolling them on feeder bars, which is another first for me. I'm hoping I can finish it without having to turn it top-to-bottom, since I'm not sure how to do that! Luckily this quilt is going to be mine, so if it's a little off it won't matter too much. (And the back, where the mistakes are likely to be most obvious, won't be in view at the show!)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Quilts and Cats

If you are a potential quilt buyer, please read no further! This post is meant for you quilters. You know who you are, and I know what you are hiding! Apparently, quiltmakers are not supposed to like animals. At least, most of the item descriptions I read proudly announce: "Made in a pet-free and smoke-free environment." Well, smoke-free I can believe. But frankly, quilts are cat magnets, and so are quilters, so I just can't believe all those "pet-free" claims. I imagine I know more quilters than the average person, and I know that most of them have pets. In fact, most of them can probably produce photos similar to those above! But still, those ads keep saying "pet-free."

I do try to keep the cats off the quilts-in-progress, but I don't ban them from the studio while I'm sewing/quilting. And, honestly, they seem very interested in all phases of the creative process. If only they had opposable thumbs, they'd be excellent assistants. And for me, one of the perks of working at home is enjoying their companionship. I wash and double rinse all my quilts upon completion,and tumble them dry. From that point on they are kept in a strictly imposed cat-free zone. (All of the quilts shown belong to family. None will be sold while I'm still alive! ) No customer has ever complained about fur or dander on my quilts, so I guess this works. I don't mention the cats in item descriptions, but I don't claim to be pet-free, either. Do you? Are you?