Quilting, ripping & thinking

May 28, 2012 § 7 Comments

Thank you for your votes on which project I should finish next! I still haven’t decided because I’m still working on quilting these.  So keep voting!  Your thoughts have been very persuasive!

I was all set on Friday to quilt two of my quilts on the rental mid-arm machine at my local quilt shop. But the thread kept breaking.  At least 7 times or more on roughly half the quilt. We tried everything… changing the tension, changing the needle, cleaning the bobbin case… and it still kept breaking. After 2 1/2 hours and a little more than half done I gave up. I can usually quilt an entire lap-sized quilt with easy loopy stitches in roughly 1 1/2 hours.  I didn’t even attempt the 2nd quilt. Now I am in the process of ripping out all of the stitching. I hope the big holes left by the needle will eventually wash out. This white fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics and the weave is a little denser than regular quilting weight cottons.  It’s times like these that I wish I had a quilting machine at home. Then I could continue to tinker away at it as I have time.

On another note…  I was reading Jenny Gordy’s post on her blog Wiksten about running a small business and have had similar thoughts and feelings. Not the ones about growing too fast. I’ve never pushed that hard to grow. I believe in small steps.  At least for me.  But the feelings of frustration in not being able to do what I have imagined I can identify with.  This last year of dealing with the mono & insomnia has sucked the energy out of me for any sort of business decisions, let alone just plain quilting.  I’m glad to be feeling so much better. But now I am left in a place where I don’t know what I really want to do with my quilt patterns. I’ve stopped selling through distributors because I haven’t had the energy to print, package & ship large orders.  And I’ve seriously thought about converting all of my patterns to pdf download as a way to semi-sustain them.  And then there is the whole shopping cart thing to figure out.  I’m left wondering where this all fits in with life in general?  So many thoughts and questions and no real decisions about where I’m going or what I want to do. It’s always been my objective to do this because I enjoy it and because I want to pass on the joy of making something with your own hands.  How that looks as a business, I have no idea. I’d love to hear how others have managed a small pattern business. What goals or parameters have you given yourself? What has been your biggest hurdle? How do you balance time, energy, inspiration, ideas, making, packaging, shipping and all that? Do you actively seek out advice or do you just let it happen as it happens? As a consumer, what do you love about quilting patterns and what is the biggest turn-off when buying a pattern?  Any other thoughts you’d care to share?

Ready & Waiting

May 24, 2012 § 34 Comments

There are 3 quilt tops sitting on my table ready to quilt. (Shhh… there are more in the closet)

Top = HST’s for a graduation gift
Middle = HST Tiles for a possible class
Bottom = UFO Christmas quilt

The question now at hand is… How should I quilt them?  The challenge is always trying to pair what I can imagine in my head with what my actual ability might be.  I haven’t free-motion quilted anything in a long time. I am rusty.

Following that question is another… What should I work on next?  I feel like I am in finishing mode. But I’m afraid that is a rather boring state to be in.  Let’s take a vote on what I should finish next, shall we?

A. Buggy Barn Snowflake quilt

B. Pinwheel bee blocks on the left
C. Basket bee blocks on the right

D. 9-Patch Amish blocks

E. Wagon Wheel blocks

Okay, that’s enough choices. I have many more UFO choices but I’m going to ignore them for the moment.

CAST YOUR VOTE!  I may or may not take your advice. Hehe.  And I may or may not have a give-away prize waiting for you if I do decide to take your advice. How’s that for being vague and undecided?

Knitting Mojo

May 23, 2012 § 3 Comments

After hitting yet another roadblock in my old knitting projects, my friend Carlie gave me permission to start something new.  And she also offered future moral support for those obstinate projects that are tempting me with guilt. What a good friend! My mind is feeling more relaxed already.

Peas Like a River

May 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

I spy leaves sprouting everywhere.

Peas.  Zucchini.

My hubby has been tickled with his garden jokes. “Peas Brother”, “World Peas“, “Raise your leaf if you want to volunteer” (we had a volunteer squash seed sprout from our compost bin)

It’s been 2 weeks since my hubby planted his garden. It was sunny last week and I think the seeds loved it.

My Dresden quilt.

It will be almost a year since I started the Dresdens. And I am excited to see this finish.

What do you spy?

This & That

May 16, 2012 § 6 Comments

There has been some sewing going on around here. In fact. I’ve finished the Scrappy HST quilt top and just need to quilt it.  And I’ve been working on another HST quilt for a graduation gift.  In the mean time, I’ve also been working on a few small things that needed to get done.

We have a Small Project of the Month club at the quilt shop where I work.  Each month we choose a small project & create kits for the members of the club. It’s been great for those folks who want a little something to work on without having to work on an entire quilt.  And I’ve been enjoying trying out all of these patterns.

Next month (above) will be a Kindle cover. The pattern is from the book Everyday Handmade. This is by far the easiest pattern we have done so far!  And if you own a Nook, there are measurements for that in [parentheses].  The only thing I did differently was to use batting for a little extra padding rather than just interfacing as the pattern suggests.

This month’s project was the lunch bag in the pattern Wine & Dine from Atkinson Designs. The trickiest part about this was adding the binding strips around the outside seams. Otherwise, another fairly simple project. I made this one 2 different ways. I forgot to take pictures of the first one, but it was made with laminate fabric. Laminate is definitely a little tricky to sew on. And this one I added Insul-Bright to add more insulating power and left out the flatware & water bottle pockets. Terry Atkinson’s patterns always have really clear instructions. And her method for finishing off the zippers is just fabulous!

And my hubby has been quite the gardening fiend this year. He built these raised beds and we are attempting to grow a few cool weather plants like lettuce, peas & Brussels sprouts that can handle a little more shade and some cooler days.  He kept waffling between feeling like nothing was going to grow to excited about the possibilities of having a flourishing garden. The weather here makes it harder to grow warm weather veggies. And for some reason it feels like our little piece of property is always cooler than everywhere else. (The neighbors across the street have the perfect warm & sunny back yard!)  All his hard work seems to be paying off because the greens are coming up!  And for that we are thankful.

Where Am I?

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