“Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens”

 

We all have a “few” of our favorite things. Those items that, if they went MIA,  would have us completely paralyzed from doing anything productive.  For me, there are those very obvious things like my longarm, and sewing machine that undoubtedly would prevent me from moving forward each day.  But in pondering the less obtuse items, there are three  favorite things that come to mind:

My Grandmother’s Thimble

 When I received my grandmother’s thimble I was thrilled to have such a pretty memento. To me thimbles weren’t a necessity to quilting. I felt they were very cute, and made nice, tiny decorative piece; but useful…no  I mean, really, how could a small piece of metal situated on your finger really become an instant force field?  Well, was I enlightened to the thimble’s importance! I felt like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart when I finally chose to spare my finger tips from being murdered by potential needle jousting. My fingertips and heart thank my grandmother on a daily basis!

Needle Threader 

 Even my red-headed assistant wants one of these (for those very, very rare occasions she needs to replace a button).  Once she saw me use this little gadget she was in awe and was very tempted to walk out of the studio that afternoon with mine in her bag.  No, replacing a button was NOT on her to-do list that evening she just fell in love with this handy-dandy device.  But for those true sewers, like me, I am happy to know that in a mere blink of an eye my needle will be threaded.  I can cast away those reading glasses, and wasted time making sure I am in a nicely lit area, this mini machine gets it done.  Since revealing this item to Drea I have kept a watchful eye out to ensure mine doesn’t go missing.  I might just bite the bullet and get her one for that once a year use.

Organizer

Okay, so this little beauty is so important that I felt simply posting a picture and writing a brief description would not do it justice.

Karen Kay Buckley’s Thread Bag

Karla’s Amazing Cherrywood Fabric

I have no affiliation with either of these two wonderful ladies…. Just love their products!!

  There you have it quilting friends, a couple of MY favorite things.

 

Now I know YOU have a couple of Favorite Things.   So please, do tell!

 

Go On…

 

I really try to expand my repertoire with each quilt I design. I achieve this by incorporating a new technique; whether it be in the quilting, piecing, or appliqué, somewhere in my layout.   A feathered star quilt is o ne that I have been longing to make, yet I have evaded this design due to the odd angles.  I realize a feathered star is far from being a new skill; but I continue to side step any forward motion due to insecurities .  I do very little executing on the EQ 7 but admittedly I  have played around with the feathered star (see below picture).

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Unfortunately no “YES!” moments have emerged, or any results that I perceive to love.  So I suppose I will have to persevere and hope one day I will have a light bulb moment and a feathered star quilt design will appear in my head.

Who else has a technique they have been meaning to try? Or maybe there is a quilt design that you have thoughts of completing?

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Pantographs, Good or Bad for the Newbie?

My adventure in longarm quilting took off in 2004, and at that time I longed to be able to stitch out a pantograph.  Alas, I did NOT seem to have any talent for producing a  pantograph.  I was totally “Pantograph Challenged” which was a blessing, unbeknownst to me, in disguise.  But during that time period it was sadly, quite clear pantographs  and Lisa weren’t going to be friends.

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My inability to stitch a panto forced me to initiate my work from the front of my machine.  It became apparent if  I wanted any of my designs to come alive on fabric I would need to start the process off this way.  I took baby steps, to begin it was just a meander.  Next I incorporated stars, loops, and hearts to this meander.  As my baby steps grew, the strides in designs grew.  Over time I was no longer taking steps; I was running!  My confidence finally paved the road to implementing feathers, feathers flew into custom, custom brought about stitch in the ditch…and so on, and so on, and so on.unknown-27

Being “Pantograph Challenged” was fate.    I truly believe that piece of my quilting journey drove me to become the quilter I am today.  If creating pantos had been smooth sailing from the get go I often wonder where I might be now.

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So this raises a question to many quilters:  Are Pantos a Good Place to Start?

They aren’t  necessarily a bad place to begin.  I encourage my students to become more familiar and comfortable standing in front of the machine, rather than behind the machine.  Starting in the front of the machine will help in a couple of ways:

  • Gaining insight and understanding regarding “proper balance”.  Was the quilt evenly quilted or did it become smaller and tighter on one side?
  • Hearing the sound of the machine when things go awry.  With some machines the sound changes, (i.e tension) In addition, being positioned in front of the machine will provide the ability to  SEE the stitches. Obviously having a visual will allow immediate access to viewing issues.

After about a year, I became proficiently decent at pantos.  I vividly recall completing an entire row of quilting, only to spend an unpleasant amount of time ripping out the that row due to tension issues. Yes, I had heard the machine, it sounded a little different.  Yes, I chose to ignore it.   And yes, I ultimately paid the price for my lazy choices. What took 15 minutes to establish, took 3 hours to eliminate.  That most definitely was not  a good quilting day.

Are you new to your machine?  If so I would ask you to consider working from the front of your machine for a couple of months prior to diving head first into attempting any pantos from behind.  Then let me know how the transition went.

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Quilting for Customers: “How To”

Longwood quilt

Longwood Gardens Quilt  2010

Quilting for customers, yes this is a specialty that I was successful doing for approximately 10 and half years.  I loved it and quilted some 3000 quilts through this livelihood.  Are you considering expanding your quilting to the next level? If so, this is a wonderful way to make that goal a reality.

Trust is a HUGE word, and one of the best feeling in the world is when your customers embrace your talent, and depend on you to bring life and beauty to their quilt.  What does that feel like? I cannot imagine giving my quilts, which I consider my babies, to someone else.  Speaking for myself I pour my heart and soul into the quilting process and have no doubt it would be painful letting another individual take charge temporarily.  For me that’s one of the aspects of this profession that I find so rewarding, each piece is one of my client’s babies.

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All three of my boys… back in the day…

To Be or Not to Be: What about this business appeals to you? Is the idea that you simply love quilting or are you looking for additional income? These are two significant questions to consider.  For those individuals choosing to quilt as a hobby, kudos to you! I say quilt away and surround yourself with all the creativeness you can gather; but please be mindful of those that do quilt for monetary reasons.  Being a professional quilter becomes very challenging when a customer declares my cost expensive compared to that of Quinn Quilter.  What my customer does not realize is there is a difference between Quinn Quilter and Lisa Calle.  Quinn Quilter loves this craft as a hobby; Lisa Calle not only loves this trade but also has made a career out of quilting.  If you feel that this a business you are aspiring to become a part of then I can only offer this piece of advice; I quilt for the purpose of making both my clients and ME happy. I must remain true to the fact that this is a business and income for my family.  Therefore, the ability to lower my costs to meet the prices of those that are fortunate to quilt as a hobby is not something I can justify.  Yes, possess an attitude! If you have committed to making quilting a business then you are worthy of owning your quilting ideals,  methods AND prices.

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It’s All About the Money: Begin by setting an hourly wage that you feel will be advantageous of your time, and materials.  YOU need to be satisfied with the price you are charging, and obviously this might be different for everyone.  I am not a low-priced quilter, as a matter of fact I’m fairly certain that I may have ended up being the most expensive in my area.  However, I knew what I wanted to make monetarily; I was realistic that I had other responsibilities that also demanded my time.  I was comfortable putting those obligations aside in order to run my business AND I was also comfortable putting those considerations into my quilting price.

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The AH HA Moment: Retail and I have always been united, “Customers Come First” was my motto and I went out of my way to ensure my customers were more than satisfied.  Did I make everyone happy?  Heck no, I would never please everyone.  Boy, I definitely had my share of those clients that undoubtedly could not be appeased in any way possible. On those work days happy hour felt like it would never arrive!  Even enduring sweat and tears there were some partnerships that dissolved.  Quickly I would come to terms with the understanding that there were going to be professional relationships that would find me and my client parting ways…and Ah Ha… that’s okay.

Next Up: Mastering feathers, I always wanted to conquer this technique.  I could be found, pencil in hand, quietly doodling for hours and hours.  My dedication paid off and gradually I was feathering away!  Now did every customer love my new gift of feathering? No way, as I stated before there was, at least, that one customer who shuddered “Oh no I’m not fond of feathers”.  For the sake of feathers people quit bursting my bubble,  feathers are my thang!  My advice, don’t let anyone get in the way of your thang!

It Needs a Price Tag:  Well friends that is a post in and of itself!

Lisa

Drea’s Hitting the Books “The Language Of Quilting”

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There are so many learning curves being presented to Drea as she begin this new endeavor.  Perhaps the most critical element for her to embrace is that of learning and understanding the Quilting Language.  Flashbacks of Spanish 101 are bombarding her mind.  Those days back in high school when she spent countless evenings memorizing Espanola vocabulary for the next day’s quiz.  Now many moons later she find herself hearing words and looking at me with furrowed brows saying “Huh, you want me to learn about SID??”  I had to reassure her that this was, in fact, a term pertaining to quilting.  Not a new health topic that she would frantically need to research and discuss with her fourteen year old son in the near future.

Now that I’m temporarily a “A Foreign Language teacher of Quilting”, Drea is being tutored on various quilting terms that I feel are essential.  Those fundamental concepts and words that she will hear frequently.  I found this day of schooling to be quite humorous and felt inclined to share this session with all my peers. Therefore, below you will observe a few words I unveiled to Drea.  You will note Drea’s perception of what these words signify and then the enlightenment I bestowed upon her.

SID (Stitch in the Ditch) – No, not a topic now being required by health teachers to educate those entering high school; but Stitching in the Ditch is a machine quilting technique that involves quilting in the seam line.

DSM (Domestic Sewing Machine) – This is not an artificial sweetener now being placed in consumer bought products to reduce calorie intake.  It is a device that stitches materials together with thread. They range from foot-operated or electric domestic machines to large, industrial machines. Sewing machines are mainly used to make clothing faster and easier than is possible by hand. According to Drea she was required to use one of these in Home Economic class in 9th grade to create a skirt that had to be worn to school.  Let’s just say Drea wore shorts under her newest article of clothing on that designated “wear your skirt” school day.

FAT (Fabric Acquisition Trip) – Drea was offended that I was bringing her calorie, and carbohydrate content into the studio.  I was happy to educate her on the fact that it simply means “buying fabric”.  This doesn’t have to be an ugly word people!  And no, I don’t stash my fabric.

Feed Dogs – In Drea’s home this implies that promptly at  5:30 am and 5:00 pm her two cockapoos will begin begging and whimpering until they are given their evening meal.  To those of us that quilt it is a toothed metal piece under stitch plate that moves fabric along.

UFO (Unfinished Project) – Drea was shocked and disappointed to learn we weren’t talking about the movies, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “E.T.”, or “Men in Black”.  Sorry Drea, these are pieces that have been put aside and are incomplete.

FQ (Fat Quarter a Square Quarter of a Yard) –  Adding a little spice to our class time Drea depicted herself as contestant on Quilters Jeopardy, buzzing in a few times with responses, “What is Fairly quick?”  Her second attempt “What is frequent questions?”  And her final chance at answering correctly “What is  financial quotients?” In my best “Alex Trebek” voice I leaned forward stating “Sorry Drea those are incorrect, the correct answer would be , What is a piece of fabric that measure ~ 18 inches by 22 inches”.   My recommendation is for her to forget Jeopardy; after completing this course Drea will be a stellar Wheel of Fortunate contestant!

Tackling the Quilting Language will be an ongoing process for my new assistant.  After turning forty the mind isn’t what it used to be, but I am confident that she will gain the ability to speak fluently in the language of quilting.

Do you have a favorite quilting term you feel is key for Drea to build into her quilting repertoire?  I would love hear from you! This is just one of many learning curves my “Jenny” will need to conquer; but she is willing and ready to take on the Quilting Language!

 

Lisa

 

 

 


 

 

Flat Lisa is STILL in Pennsylvania?? Say It Isn’t So!!

WHAT,  Flat Lisa is STILL in Pennsylvania?! Say It Isn’t So!!  img_8873

Where is everyone? I know quilters reside in places other than Pennsylvania, so why is Flat Lisa stuck in Pennsylvania? Okay, perhaps you missed the Flat Lisa Reveal, maybe you skipped the Flat Lisa Reveal, or I suppose there is a slight possibility you aren’t interested in Flat Lisa.? Regardless, I will say it again I am eager to view my quilting friends globally.  That being said I’d like, one more time, to introduce Flat Lisa! Share with me your quilting studio, classes, shows etc.(be creative if you’d like).  Simply right-click on Flat Lisa below, save it to your computer and print out copy.  Take a selfie with you and Flat Lisa and send your picture via email to Lisahcalle@me.com  –It’s that easy!!

****Make sure you include your location so that I can track where my adventures have taken me. All photographs will be posted AND you will be entered to win a copy of my book “Divide and Design”.  A winner will be drawn for end of this month.  You don’t have a lot of time, so come on quilting friends I know you’re out there!!

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