A Quilt Finish

Yeah, I finally finished one of my own quilts. The first in, oh, I don’t know maybe a year now. This particular quilt I have been working on for some years now. I think I started cutting it out and collecting the fabric back in 2012. Life happened and it got put away until a few months ago when I finally pulled it back out and decided to finish it.

It is my version of Kaffe Fassett’s Bordered Diamonds design. Most of the fabrics in this are Kaffe Fassett but not all. It was a really good exercise in using colour. It really made one think outside the box and look at colour and design in a whole new light.

I pondered how to quilt it as I didn’t want to take away from all that is happening in the design itself. I also didn’t want to use a variegated or monofilament thread so my choices seemed to be limited. I finally decided to just quilt it with a large stipple. I know, I know, how boring right? The poor lowly stipple design, but seriously, sometimes any other quilting design would simply overpower the quilt itself and I felt this was one of those occasions.

The next issue was what to do about thread colour? There appeared to be every colour of the rainbow in this quilt. It was a client of mine that gave me the idea. I had the quilt up on the design wall and we were debating what to do about binding when she mentioned the lime green throughout the quilt. I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about lime green thread blending  with lots of things and I just so happened to have a spool so thought I would check it out.

Lo and behold it worked great! The lime green blended with all of the colours whereas even a beige ended up being too stark. I used Superior Threads So Fine 50 #534 Ferrari in both the top and bobbin.

For the binding I ended up going with a dark forest green, that just seemed to finish the quilt off nicely.

So now that I finally finished a quilt that had been languishing you would think I would keep it right! Nope, I am taking it tomorrow to offer it to my church so they can raffle it off.

Now to go and see if I can finally finish some of the other projects I have that have been sitting around awhile.

Happy Quilting

What’s Up!

So what is up with me! A lot has changed in the last month and mostly for the better! This post will not be quilting related as such, more just a quick catch up on what has been happening in my life and my studio.

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks back I had taken a full-time job back in December. I won’t mention the name of the company I was working for, however, some people reading this post will know which company I am talking about.

I put in my notice for April 13 as I had intended however I ended up leaving a week before then as the work environment became intolerable. The company brought on a new account and they had known this was going to happen for months before the April 1 date. Did the company prepare for this happening and have trained staff available for the transition? Nope, not at all! In fact the 1 person they did hire (a week before) quit after only 10 days on the job. That’s how bad the situation became. It was almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

This was so poorly planned that the only thing management could say was, we’ll get through it! Really!! Yup, you will, without me! If the remaining staff were smart they would have walked as well. I don’t know as I don’t have any contact with anyone there.

So, Kevin and I took a well-earned break and went to the Dominican Republic for 12 days. It was part holiday and part of a seminar regarding a business venture that we are starting together. We have been back for just over a week now and life is starting to get back to normal.

I have several quilts waiting to be quilted both mine and client quilts and also learning all I can re our marketing business we have started. I am so glad to be working for myself again although that said I may have the opportunity to work part-time over the summer months. That is still up in the air. Either way, I love having the freedom to choose when and for how long I work during the day! I certainly don’t miss sitting in my car in traffic for 45 minutes trying to get home at night!

Happy Quilting

 

It’s Been Awhile

Well, it seems like forever ago that I have updated this blog and to some extent that is true it has been several months now. A lot has happened in that time frame.

So where have I been! Well, life got complicated and due to some circumstances, I decided to go back to work full time. I still had my quilting business on the side and was doing it evenings and weekends, however that left little time for doing things like updating this blog or posting pictures on social media, watching movies, or even going out much. Life got very busy and even more complicated really fast.

The circumstances that led me to go back to work full time have not really changed however, I have. Well, ok that is not entirely true, my quilting business is actually getting busier, not enough to be able to sustain as a full-time job but busy enough that just working at this evenings and weekends aren’t enough.

The other thing I have noticed is that my health was declining working full time. I also noticed that I was becoming very unhappy and negative. In light of the above, I have made the decision that life is too short and I want to enjoy it while I still can. I have therefore decided to go back to just quilting, something that I love to do and give up the day job.

Since I didn’t do much but work, work, work for the last few months I don’t have a lot to say here except that although this was a difficult decision I know I am making the right one.

This means I will have more to write about in future although I still have a couple of weeks of work left and then Kevin and I are going on a much needed holiday.

So watch this space for updates in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to getting back to posting about life, quilting and anything else that comes up.

 

 

Changes Happening and a Quilt Batting Primer

6dfa7320b9df7b2d116879a5ca140fd2--quotes-about-giving-up-quotes-about-people-changing

Winter seems to have come early in this part of the world, we even had snow a week ago. One day I am walking the dog wearing just a sweater and two days later we are having to pull out the complete winter gear. Yikes. I hope that is not a sign of how this winter is going to progress.

Well, it’s been awhile since I have posted an update here. I have been super busy working and quilting customer quilts. I have made some changes in my work life these days as I am no longer working at The Cloth Castle. I really enjoyed my time working there, however, I was offered more hours at my other job and it does pay far better. So with that and the fact that I am getting busier with client quilts as well, I made the decision to simplify my life a bit.

It has been a good decision even though I do miss working at the store and meeting all of the customers. I now have my weekends back and it is far easier to schedule in time with family and friends, as well as time for quilting. Now I just need to find some time to quilt my own quilts.

Awhile back I wrote a newsletter on how to choose the right batting for your quilts. This question has come up again so I thought I would repost this article here.

Batting Primer

Batting-Choices-ChasingCottons

 

There are a lot of different types out there and I could probably write a whole book on the subject. Not sure it would be the most interesting book mind you but still…

Each step of bringing a quilt to completion has its own choices, challenges, and delights. Some people love piecing the quilt top but could easily forgo the sandwiching and quilting part of the process. I guess that’s why I know lots of people with a drawer full of unquilted tops.

Batting selection can be boggling these days as there are so many choices on the market. So how do you choose the right batting for your project?

Where to Start?
First off you need to start by asking yourself some basic questions.

What am I making? 
Is this a baby quilt that will be washed over and over, a wall hanging that may never be washed, a bed quilt or heirloom keepsake.

How will I be finishing it?
Will this be tied, hand quilted or machine quilted.

Machine Quilted
If the quilt is to be machine quilted, what kind of quilting is required, loose all over design or an intricate custom quilted design?

The type of batting to be used in your project will vary depending on the answers to the questions above.

Basic Batting Terms
Once you have answered the questions above it is time to move onto what types of batting are available. Here are some simple terms to help you get started.

Loft: High
Loft is the thickness of the fluffed batting. A high loft is anything above 1/2 inch, and the highest lofts come in the polyester battings. These types of battings are typically used for hand tying quilts

Loft: Medium
The fluffed batting is somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 inches.

Loft: Low
The fluffed batting is somewhere between 1/4 – 1/2 inches. This is the most common loft for machine or hand quilting.

Quilting Distance
Quilting Distance is the distance between rows of quilting stitches which will keep this batting from shifting or bunching. This varies radically depending upon the type of quilting you are using.

Bonded 
Fibers are held together through a bonding agent, similar to a glue. Some bonded battings may not be able to be preshrunk as the glue used may dissolve. Another drawback to this type of batting is that the quilting stitches may need to be really close together.

Scrim
A light, loosely woven fabric, sometimes used to stabilize batting fibres when needle-punching. Often a polyester fibre, it may even be used in batts labelled as all cotton.

Needle-punched
Fibers are loosely felted together by a felting process using tiny needles. This creates a more stable batt, but some hand quilters find it difficult to use as it is quite firm. Most needle-punched batts include a scrim for securing the fibres. They may provide more stability for wall hangings.

Different Batting Fibers 

So now you have decided what the quilt is to be used for, whether you are going to tie, hand quilt or machine quilt the finished top and you have some idea of batting terminology, now it’s time to pick what type of fibre you want your batting to have.

Cotton 
Fiber from harvested cotton bolls.Cotton is stable, soft and washable however it will shrink. Cotton tends to yield a flatter look than a polyester or cotton/poly blend when quilted. The cons of straight cotton batts are that the batting can ‘beard’ or have fibres migrate through the stitching holes of the quilting.

Polyester
Polyester batts have a higher loft than cotton and offer great stability between fibres. Polyester batts are the best choice when you want to ‘tie’ a quilt as it will have the least bunching.

Cotton/Poly Blend
Considered by many to be the best of both worlds, these blends offer the softness of cotton and the stability of polyester. Bonded ones may be easier to hand quilt than needle-punched. Blend percentages vary by product however the most common blend is 80% cotton and 20% polyester.

Bamboo 
The fibres from bamboo are long and strong, but surprisingly soft. Bamboo can be as drapeable as silk, and as soft as fine wool.

Wool
Wool is extremely soft, and the warmest batting option. It is easy to hand quilt and is a good choice for machine quilting as well.

The above types are the most common on the market today although there are others. There is a batting made out of recycled plastic bottles that is called a green batting and I believe it has the colour green as well. There is also silk batting and organic batting. Both of these types are more expensive.

As well as the above there are also thermal battings used for oven mitts and very low loft thermal battings used for placemats.

Batting Colour
Once you have finally decided on what type of batting you are going to use there is one final consideration to make and that is the batting colour. Now some people may not care about this but depending on the project and how the quilt is to be used it may be a consideration.

Battings can come in three colours (4 if you count the green plastic bottle one). These are

Cream or Off White
This is the most popular colour of batting. Both Hobbs 80/20 and Warm and Natural two very popular types of batting are cream or off-white in colour.

Black
Hobbs 80/20 batting also comes in a black colour. You may wonder why anyone would use a black batting, however, consider this, if your quilt project is mostly black and bright colours you don’t want a white or cream batting showing through the needle holes. In that case, you may prefer to use a black batting. Black batting is a little stiffer than the cream because of the black dye however it does soften up with use.

White
Most 100%cotton batting is white and there is a batting called Warm and White that is also very white. You would want to use a white batting if your quilt is more modern with a solid white background colour. The cream batting would dull the bright white look of the quilt.

Conclusion 

I think for batting you may just need to get some small samples and test them out yourselves until you find the brands types you love.

As for me, I have used the following battings.

Hobbs 80/20 (my go-to batting for everything)
Hobbs 80/20 black
Kyoto Bamboo Batting (lovely to work with
Hobbs Wool
Warm and Natural (quilts up nicely)
Warm and White

Well with all of the above I may have just confused you more than enlightened you. I didn`t even touch on fusible batting something which I loved to use when I was quilting using my domestic machine. I never used fusible on baby quilts though.

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal

 

Busy End of Summer

The first day of Autumn. I love Summer and this one was particularly good however the weather has changed now, it’s still sunny but much cooler.

The last few weeks have been busy with some local travel going on. Kevin’s daughter had her housewarming party in Nanaimo a few weekends back so Kevin and I headed up there for the day. We got there early so enjoyed fish and chips on the wharf in downtown Nanaimo as well as some window shopping before heading to the party.

It was a beautiful sunny day especially considering it was Labour Day weekend. Picture perfect actually.

The next weekend my Mom and I took the ferry to the Mainland to visit my sister and her family. It rained the Saturday but the weather turned warmer on Sunday. Didn’t matter much though Mom and I spent most of Sunday at Ikea in Coquitlam doing some damage to my credit card. You should have seen us trying to fit everything in the back of the SUV and we still had to pick up my friend Karen from New York at the airport on the Monday. Ha we got it all in but it was a tight squeeze.

My wonderful nephew holding my sweet great niece Georgia. She is just too cute for words and loves to cuddle.

So on the Monday Mom and I picked up my friend Karen from New York and we headed for the ferry. We lucked right out and were able to see a pod of whales along side the ferry half way through the trip. Ha saved the money for having to take a whale watching trip.

I had made Karen a quilt (of course, that’s what I do) so here I am presenting it to her. The picture isn’t great. Kevin is awesome at editing videos, painting and music but picture taking isn’t one of his strengths yet.

It was fantastic seeing Karen again and getting to show her around the beautiful place where I live. I had a great time and it gave me the opportunity to see some places on the Island that I haven’t visited in quite some time.

We lucked out too as the weather held right up until her last two days here. We spent an afternoon touring Fort Rodd Hill which I hadn’t done in years. Above is a snapshoot of Fisgard Lighthouse.

Last Friday we went up the Island and stopped at Whippletree Junction for some shopping. I found a great old Elna sewing machine (which I haven’t taken a picture of yet) and two lamps. We had lunch at a great restaurant right on the water in Qualicum Beach and then stopped at Little Qualicum Falls. From there I took her to Cathedral Grove to see an ancient Douglas Fir ecosystem. It was so still and quiet in the Grove except of course for the cars on the highway. Oh well.

Karen flew back home on Tuesday and I miss her already. I had a great time playing tour guide and falling in love with Vancouver Island all over again.

With Autumn comes the cooler weather and of course quilts. People are starting to get back to sewing again and thinking it’s only a few months now until Christmas, so back to work to help my clients finish their projects.

Click here to receive the free Inspiration Journal pattern and sign up for the newsletter

Inspiration Journal