No Wasted Fabric Here!

 

 

 

 

Have you heard of  Quilts for Kids.?  I am sure many of you have, but if you haven’t you really owe it to  yourself to look into this organization.  My workshop last week gave me the opportunity to teach at their headquarters.  I was astounded, I mean it is quite an operation!

 


Above you will see the incredible founder of this company, Linda Ayre.  If you haven’t heard of her, please take a second and read her story here. 

This non-profit organization has helped so many children, if you would like to support the cause,  feel free to request a kit or use your own fabric.  For those of you that don’t know how to begin here are some patterns to get you started…  Quilts for Kids patterns.   After visiting Linda’s facility I’m now eager to make some  in the near future.  I hope after visiting her website and gaining a little insight on what a wonderful outreach program this is you too will join me!

I am so grateful for meeting Linda, she is a true inspiration!

 

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Never-Ending Quilt Lesson #3

 

I had good intentions, and  grand plans of getting a ton done on my never-ending quilt over this holiday weekend.  But as we all know what happens with “good intentions” it did NOT happen.  The weather on Saturday had the golf Gods calling me to my favorite place.  “Lisa, Oh Lisa if you grace my greens with your presence I will ensure that you have an amazing 18 holes”.  I needed no begging and with no further ado I was having a blast swinging my clubs.

Even thought I did NOT provide my 4 year UFO with  any TLC on Saturday, Sunday or Monday; I did get make sure I gave it some love on Friday.  So to ease my conscience I thought I’d share what I accomplished on Friday with everyone…as promised.

I agonized and agonized over what to do in this area of pink.  After a lot of painstaking consideration I eventually reached a decision but not before I mentally put myself through hell.  Thoughts where having a relay race in my mind “oh my, I am going to put the wrong thing here and it’s going to look horrible” and “what if I discover I HATE it, I’ll be picking it out till the cows come home” (sound familiar).  At some point I had a small epiphany.  And that was realizing that this quilt could already be perceived as ruined due to the bleeding that it incurred. Understanding this little notion had me putting aside any further fickleness on my decision-making process.

 

I contemplated many different ideas as to what I should be incorporating in the below portion of the quilt.  The thought of applying feathers was a brief consideration; but it was a fleeting prospect since there wasn’t enough space for them to become a reality.  In addition, the area in yellow just opposite of the pink was intended to feature the same technique, therefore creating a mirror effect.  Now as I reflect on my choices, in hindsight, placing feathers on one colored area and echo lines on the opposing colored area would have enhanced my design.  But if you think I am ripping anything out you are highly mistaken.  As with the bleeding color, this too stays and I move forward.

I’m not in love with the feather motifs that I applied, in fact, those I really did consider ripping out.  But thank goodness I am working hard on combatting my compulsive behaviors; because now they are starting to grow on me. I can’t say I love them yet, but maybe in a few more days we will move beyond the feelings of toleration.

So a few more steps along this adventure have transpired and as I move forward a feeling of excitement is beginning to stir within.  Hopes of salvaging this piece are becoming a possibility.

Lesson #3:  The lesson learned during my Friday quilting was this; prior to Friday the feeling  of being “hopeful” or “excited” did not exist.  This quilt has reminded me that regardless of our initial thoughts and feelings are, there is always hope in what we do.

Are you working on something that has you rethinking your original design?  Have choices you’ve made ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding my designs or choices I have made with thread, batting etc.  I’d love to answer any questions you may have.

 

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Psst….Quilters Have Questions

 

 

 

You Have A Question, I Have An Answer 

 

I noticed in one of your posts that you had basted a quilt prior to actual quilting. I would like to know the best method for basting. I have been cross basting about every 8 inches. Would grid basting work better? And what is the best way to do this?  Cynthia 

Yes, Cynthia, the above quilt needed to come off the frame before it was done so I could get some samples completed.  I used a crosshatch basting, the spacing was about every 4 inches.  I did not want any of the fabric to shift or move which could have created possible areas that would cause the material to pleat.  If you only baste in one direction you risk the chance of the fabric shifting the other way.

How do you quilt a king size quilt (120″ square) on a 10 foot frame? Daniela

Hi Daniela,  This is not a situation I have ever experienced.  However, in thinking through the process here’s the plan of attack I would consider:  I’d have to completely ignore my first thought which tells me to “Run for the hills and dismiss any further notion of quilting a king size quilt!”  There is so much potential for things to go awry.   But I guess if I had no choice and needed to be very brave I would (fingers crossed) recommend the following:

I encourage you to load the backing, which would allow the part that didn’t fit on the frame to be situated to your right hand side.  Take time to ensure that you have an area to the left of the quilt where tension can be tested etc.  Next, I advise loading and floating the top.  In doing you then can mark how far over to go.  This will create some fluff room.  When the quilt is then advanced very carefully bring the “extra” backing and top and roll it.  After this is accomplished unload and reload the sandwich with the surplus hanging off the left and finalize the process.

**NOTE:  I have NOT had to execute this process, therefore,  I do not know how well this method will work.  Again, this is how I would strive to quilt a king size quilt on a small frame.  Good luck, please share your results and I  hope all goes well!

Hey L…when are you going to come and teach a class here in Florida… you could mix work with fun we have really nice golf courses here! Seriously I do have a question… do you free motion with the stitch regulator or without…I am new to the long arm coming from a sit down…I seem to get beautiful results on my free motion feathers and curves when I turn it off…turn it on… not so good! Just wondering! Jan

Hi Jan, you don’t have to say the word Florida to me twice!  I’d love to come your way for a little warm weather, golf and quilting, of course!  To answer your question I complete most of my fill work with the stitch regulator off.   I find the machine always feels much smoother when I don’t have the stitch regulator on.  In my opinion, if you are getting better results without  engaging the stitch regulator, then by all means go for it.  Remember, there are NO rules.  But you may want to examine how many stitches per inch it is set on once your regulator is activated.  This could indicate that you’re stitches aren’t set appropriate, maybe go for more stitches per inch.

I did receive a couple of late entries to the show~n~tell post that I didn’t want to neglect sharing with everyone. So enjoy these wonderful designs!

Kathy Jessee’s beautiful Unicorn! The detail is amazing!

Carol Higdon’s  created this incredible quilt for her grandson’s wedding!  Is anyone surprised that to observe a ribbon hanging from it? I’m not! Way to go Carol!

Thanks for sending me your inquires.  I hope I was able to give you some insight on the question, or concern you shared.  Feel free to send me any quilts questions that you stumble upon during your design process.  I’d be more than happy incorporate them into my posts.

 

Show~n~Tell the Quilter’s Way

I thank everyone who took the time to forward me pictures of  their projects.  It was wonderful to open my inbox and  have the opportunity to share the talent of fellow quilters!

First Up:

Jackie sent this to me from “One Creative Family”.  Great job Jackie, I love how the red boarder pops and sets off the brown fabric. Your design has a great sense of warmth to its color scheme.

Next Up:

Betty Lou Hornbuckle recently finished this design by using scraps from her stash, god bless you Betty Lou!  I love the colors choice and the how the quilting highlights the simple floral appliqué.

Our Third Participant:

Bonnie Blake submitted pictures of a quilt she completed last summer for a customer.  It was her first customer quilt that incorporated feathers and straight lines.  She did an amazing job! Way to go Bonnie!  You know I LOVE feathers and they look fabulous!

And Finally:

And last but not least Janis DeVito shared this bright, blooming quilt that just came off the long arm!  WOW, I love the brightness of this design.  You can’t help but smile when looking at this quilt.

 Again, I thank Janis, Betty Lou, Bonnie Blake and Jackie for kindly submitting their work. All of you should be very proud of what you have accomplished! And hopefully we have inspired others out there to start or complete a project.  If you meant to submit a photo, and missed the deadline for this post please feel free to email me at lisahcalle@me.com and I’d be more than happy to share with all those that have a passion for quilting!

Fear of Free Motion

Do You Fear Free Motion?

There are many quilters out there that feel more comfortable working from the back of their longarm machine.  Just thinking about moving around to the front of the machine brings a cold sweat to their forehead.  I realize that you may think using a pantograph or pattern makes life less stressful.  But what if I told you that isn’t necessarily the case? I am here to encourage a few of you out there to give “Free Motion” a whirl. And here’s why:

Pencil, Paper, I Can’t Draw!  Are you sure about that?  Purchasing a sketch book where you can doodle until your heart’s content is a wonderful tool for discovering the creativity in yourself .  Laugh at yourself if need be, (a glass of wine doesn’t hurt either) because initially it will feel quite awkward and you may feel a bit childish.  Relax, don’t overthink what your clever mind wants to transfer onto paper.

Rid yourself of those artistic inhibitions and let your self go!  Doodle for a while, try different designs, and see where your pencil takes you.  The beautiful thing about owning a sketch book is you will be able to visually see your progress.  And yes, there will be progress!  You needn’t be a Picasso, just be open minded.  Bottom line..if you can draw it you can quilt it! You might just witnessing yourself setting aside a pantograph for one of your designs!  A one of a kind, yes indeed!

Lacking the “Artist” in You, “I’m not creative.”  “There is no way I can fabricate a design on my own.”  “Producing a design for an ENTIRE quilt, are you CRAZY?”  These are all mental statements that have been sabotaging any notion of trying Free Motion.  ALL quilters are creative, in their own way, and with their own style.  We are so hard on ourselves and we feel the need to measure up to what “Quinn the Queen Quilter” has designed.  Insecurity is our biggest creative buster.  Allowing self-doubt only inhibits your growth, and that’s just not acceptable!

  

She said it, get out there and set the artists in you free!  How do you know you aren’t creative if you haven’t dabbled in a Free Motion?  Moreover, experts say you need to try something more than once to truly know if you like it or not (I keep telling my red-headed assistant she needs to give Hot Yoga another shot…yeah not happening).

There is Less Room for Error.  Really?  Mentally you convince yourself of that statement.  However, that isn’t always the case.  Regardless of whether you are in the front or the back of your machine, mistakes happen.  Like it or not, you will screw up in whichever position you choose to quilt.

Errors are frustrating.  We immediately know that we are going to be spending unwanted time on corrections, and that does not make any quilter smile. Working from the back of a machine with a pantograph or pattern doesn’t exonerate anyone from yielding ERRORS.  Yes, there will be moments when spacing will be off or uneven.  Mistakes happen.  Mistakes improve our quilting and provide the quilter with insight on what to do and what not to do in the future.  Get over the mistake issue!

Be Brave and Get in the Front Seat of Your Longarm.  Simply take it nice and slow.  Allow yourself short little periods at the front of your machine.  Easing into Free Motion removes that reckless “what am I doing?” feeling and eventually has you sitting nice and comfortable in the driver’s seat.  Before you know it, you’ll be wanting a pair of sunglasses as you feel like you’re cruising along some smooth fabric on a nice summer day.

Who Knows?  You may even be pleasantly surprised with what transpires the go around.  Heck you may even look at your first attempt at Free Motion and think, “Huh, not bad, not bad at all”.    Heaven forbid you’re a natural at free motion!  Even if you gaze over your material and cringe, keep in mind we all initially cringed at one time or another (I still cringe).  Coming to the front of the machine brings a whole new meaning to quilting with a longarm.   No one says you have to completely abandon the back of the machine, but please don’t neglect the front of the machine.  Fear of Free Motion is only allowing one side of the magic that lies in your longarm to appear.  Utilize the entire machine and step into the Free Motion arena.  I guarantee you will say, “Why did I fear Free Motion?”

Do you have a fear of giving Free Motion a try? If so what keeps you from the front of your machine?

I ain’t doing that!!!

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When I began quilting, I chose fairly subdued fabrics.  I had a tendency to lean towards blues, browns. burgundy’s; and gravitated towards material that displayed busy prints.  Oh and the busier the better; bring on the BUSY for this designer.  Over time my quilting journey has me constantly evolving, and I’ve discovered new likes and dislikes.  Those super busy prints that I was a fanatic about has lost it’s luster.  I now find that my choices in fabric has followed a new path.  I am now drawn towards materials that possess bright colors and has me wearing a smile as I gaze upon them.  The grin on my face quickly spreads from ear to ear as my mind is filled with incredible design possibilities.  What amazing creation will find its way onto this amazing fabric?   Therefore, it probably won’t surprise anyone to hear that I now LOVE solid colors that will really show off the quilting.  Why lose all that hard work of quilting  amidst a chaotic print?  In conclusion not only has my ideal fabric palate changed dramatically; but my appetite for super busy prints has diminished drastically.  I guess you could say it I don’t have any appetite for busy prints. Less is more!

During one of my many stepping stone through quilting many moons ago,  I had witnessed customers as they entered the shop and browse for their “appliqué” project.  If that wasn’t bad enough, these delicate ears would hear that these clients were searching for their “HAND” appliqué project.  I wanted to yell “Hello? Isn’t that why God invented sewing machines?!”  For the love of Pete, Hand work takes so much longer! I swore I WOULD NEVER do that!

Center Medallion designed by Ronda Beyer

First machine Applique  Center Medallion designed by Ronda K Scott

I was soon eating my works, and have since learned “never say never”.  I admittedly LOVE appliqué and really love hand appliqué. Never in a million, bazillion years would I have thought this quilter would yearn to sit and hand sew.  The craft of appliqué and hand appliqué bestows such a calming effect that I find it very therapeutic. I know who would have thought? Definitely not me!

New Project

Which has me thinking that I’m long overdue and need to start another hand project!

My question to you fellow quilters is:  Has there been something in quilting that you never thought you would enjoy doing and now love? It’s okay to admit that we all have said “I’D NEVER”.   Then eventually life has us kicking ourselves as we think “NEVER say NEVER”!

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?