Soft is Nice, BUT….

 

Minkee, Minkee, Minkee; if you’re a quilter this word is probably quite familiar to you.  Minkee is the incredible, ever so soft, fabric that everyone dreams of having on the back of their quilt. Well maybe we should leave it at “dreams of having” on the back of their quilt.  Speaking for myself, I for one, love the feel of this material.  However, I am NOT a fan of quilting it as a backing on my Longarm.  My reasoning is  simply because I like to pull my backings nice and tight.  Due to my fondness for those two things this is where “Minkee” and I have relationship issues.

Back  in the day when I was quilting as a business, I had a client bring a Minkee backing for me to complete.  Easy peasy I assured my customer, but the joke was on me.

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I quilted this small baby quilt (in hindsight I thanked the gods above it was small) and was quite satisfied until I removed it from the frame.  My once “small” baby blanket had managed to be reduced to a “shrinky dink” blanket.  Yes, this little quilt became more than little when it shrunk!  As a result of my strong desire to have a nice tight backing I managed to pull the backing too tight (imagine that).  AND because the material is a knit, in a shocker, it stretched!!  Needless to say when I took it off the frame, this cute baby quilt wasn’t feeling or looking too cute.

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No amount of marinating in the corner was going to resolve the problem that had transpired (marinating- letting a quilt sit in the corner in hopes that a slight tension issue will resolve itself once the quilt relaxes).

PS. This normally works.

It took me three LONG days of ripping out all of the stitching so I could partake in a wonderful redo with this adorable quilt made with a Minkee backing.

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Did I want to repeat that “Minkee Production”? Hell to the no! Once was more than enough for this quilter, so from that moment on Minkee backings have not made an appearance in my studio.

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Sorry Minkee, I can only live through that nightmare one time. Do you like to quilt with Minkee backing and if so, please enlighten me on the best way to do this?

Want vs. Need

 

 

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I am not a high maintenance person.  I am not one that has to have the name brand handbag, shoes, clothes etc.  In fact I can count on one hand how many pair of shoes I own, and the one Vera Bradley bag I utilize for everything.  After reading those few sentences one would quickly deduce that the word “materialistic” and “Lisa Calle” couldn’t be further a part.  You would be correct, but I am human.  That being said the machine “SERGER” has me acting like this:

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So childlike right?! This has me pondering  “The Need Vs The Want” of this rather expensive machine.  Why do I want it? It’s just so cool! While in Chicago I had the amazing fate of using the Serger and eventually emarking back to PA in tears because I had to part with my new-found toy.  The fact that it cuts AND sews, come on that in and of itself makes it a done deal.  The future of fabric edges being finished before pre-washing, edges of quilts also finished before binding, creating bags and pj bottoms (which I could live in) has my “I want” thoughts working overtime.  15110994_599886990218974_4417419421112390630_o

Do I need it? No not really.  So I suppose I need to stop pouting.unknown-38

Yes it would be extremely amazing to own, but being responsible and mature I will end my temper tantrum now.  Do you have a need vs. a want? Those inner struggles are too torturous to hold inside so please share!

Am I Really Quilting Today?

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Most days have me descending down the stairs to my quiet haven and loving all the components that make my business complete.  But that is not to say that there aren’t a few days here and there when time in the studio has me feeling as though I have just entered a gymnasium and am about to be a participant in a wrestling match.

How do the two compare? Believe it or not in quite a few ways.

Me V.S. Fabric

Round 1:   Pre-Washing Fabric Yes as beautiful as it appears in the store, and in your car, the idea of washing it is not appealing.  Loading this amazing purchase into the washer isn’t horrible, but the results of the washer is quite exhausting.  Let me say these two words “Wet Fabric”.  Just like a wrestler moves about the mat being focused and cautious not to step outside the circle, removing the material without bringing water onto the floor is challenging! 

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Round 2: Ironing Yards and Yards of Fabric 

Ironing, ironing and more ironing.  Pressing wrinkles out of a mountain of fabric located to the left of my ironing board can feel endless and yet has to be done carefully.  After spending hours of steaming, and pressing I must be cautious not to trip over the fabric that has been ironed into silky smoothness laying to the right of my ironing board.  This has me dancing around, like a wrestler on the mat, trying to prevent my opponent from bringing me down onto all fours. images-57

Round 3: Piecing Large Quilts in a Small Area  Intense to say the least.  Piecing the fabric to the quilt is quite similar to a wrestler performing the right technique on their opponent in order to gain and keep control. Both are done repeatedly using skill and patience.

Round 4: Feeding Fabric Through the Machine  Without a Longarm working your material through the machine is taxing.  Will it ever end? Pulling, pushing, aligning, and keeping a nice pace.  These are all characteristics that a wrestler acquires in order to prevent being pinned by their opponent; yes you see we are alike!images-53

 

Round 5: Longarm Quilters, Taking Fabric Off Machine and Folding It Neatly Rather than rip my gorgeous pre-washed, ironed, and quilted fabric to the ground, I will firmly tug and pull the beast off my Longarm.  After I have mastered the removal off the Longarm, I will neatly fold the quilt.  In my eyes this is a “PIN”..and to a wrestler this is also considered a win.

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 Both take physical endurance, and both demand mental skill.  But it is both those abilities that push me forward, and I would think this would also pertain to the wrestler.  The wrestler will face easy matches, just as I encounter days that everything in my studio runs smoothly.  However, those arduous matches, and quilting days, make both of us work harder and educate each of us more than those simple periods.

Does quilting remind you of any sport, or event in particular?  We all encounter different challenges, and adversities when we quilt.  I would love to know yours!

Spend VS. Save

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Saving a few pennies is not only something we all LIKE to do, but for most of us saving is a top priority.  I am highly aware of where every penny is going, there isn’t a piece of copper that isn’t accounted for in my life.  The orthodontist, car, mortgage, yadda, yadda, yadda the list goes.  That list goes on UNTIL you get to my six letter word….FABRIC!

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And BAM, just like that my money starts flying away!  I wouldn’t consider my self a high maintenance girl, however, I love good fabric.  That being said, the one thing I will not skimp on is the quality of my fabric.  You will  never find me purchasing material other than the high quality quilt shop fabric.  The hand of the fabric, the way it feels and drapes.  I could do an infomercial using a piece of really good fabric. There is nothing like QUALITY FABRIC for me.

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So the idea of saving pennies, nickels or dimes when it comes to quilting is not easy for me.  I wish I could say that I am as disciplined with my fabric money habits as I am in every other area of my life; but that is not the case.  Maybe not keeping a large stash is my saving grace.  Can you imagine if I had a HUGE stash now knowing I only commit to quality fabric?!  Holy piggy banks I’d be in big trouble!images-34

 

 

 

 

I need a few quilting friends  to make me feel better about my fabric habits.  Please share with me in what aspects of quilting do you find yourself saving and spending?

Reality Check-Vending 102

Houston we have arrived…bring on the world of VENDING.

Since I am an individual who feels very out of control unless I have everything mapped out, down to the tiniest detail, Judy and I created a mock vending booth in my studio a few weeks prior to the event.  Together we took the morning to put together display racks and configure exactly how our “real” booth would appear once we reached Houston.  Taking into consideration all the pieces of equipment and quilting items our space required, we both felt as though a two-hour set up was more than manageable.

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This ensemble was an estimated five-hour production. Not two, but five hours which is over double what this team had projected as a reasonable time frame.  What was I thinking? I obviously had the mindset of a “newbie”.  Erecting this exhibit took an exorbitant amount of energy and time which we were depleted of by the half way mark.  Oh, that’s right, the “half way mark” was what Judy and I thought would be the allotted time needed to furnish our booth.

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Five hours later, our mission was accomplished.  Deep breaths were taken, and our back and minds were aching.   Nevertheless, as you can see below, Judy was rearing and ready to go for all our Houston quilters!

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Thank you Houston for an amazing vending experience! Judy and I are having a  wonderful time and will be heading back to Pennsylvania having learned so much. I have compiled a list or rather lists of “What to Do” and “What Not to Do” for our next vending adventure.  I am very curious to see if we can minimize the five-hour installation time.   Do you have any insight to bestow upon this green vendor? As you can see I could definitely use any and all tips you have to offer!

If you haven’t been by the booth and are in Houston, its booth #1323.  Love to see you and Flat Lisa.

Lisa

Right Stashing!!!

Have you heard of Right Sizing?  I was Right Stashing!  January is a time for organization and my stash was not spared.  Here is the before picture…

Before Right Stashing

Before Right Stashing

 

Those little tubs you see are scraps sorted by color… or they are suppose to be.   I cleared the cabinet got some trash bags and went to work.

Progress in Right Stashing

Progress in Right Stashing

I filled 5 trash bags of fabric that I no longer wanted… How did I choose you ask?  It needed to speak to me immediately… if it did not, it went in the bag.   Once the shelves were cleared, I started to sort what was left… here are my solids… I love a good background fabric to show off the quilting.

Right Stashed Backgrounds

Right Stashed Backgrounds

 

Here is the final reveal….

Final reveal

Final reveal

 

Now I am ready to go buy some new fabric!  I don’t know about you but there is something so inspiring about new fabric…. Can’t wait to go!  If I’m lucky it will be this weekend.

February is almost here….. every Friday in February I will be sharing a feather tutorial.  The plan is to show it drawing, stitch it out on the longarm and then stitch it out on the domestic…. oh, the domestic… wish me luck and join me for February’s Feather Fridays!!

Quilt on, My Friends!

Lisa