A Quilting Update

Well the days are whizzing by, or at least it seems like that. I remember being told that time moves faster the older you get. I could never figure that one out when I was younger but I am beginning to see how that saying came into being. Of course being busy helps with time appearing to move faster.

The weather here in Victoria continues to be unusual or at least it seems that way. It appeared to jump from winter to summer overnight, a few wonderful days and then back to winter overnight again. So far we appear to have missed spring altogether this year.

Here are a couple of random photos taken while Cocoa and I were on one of our daily walks. We ran across this turtle behind the pond near where we live. He/she had come out to enjoy the sun that had finally shown itself that day. Don’t worry Cocoa didn’t harm it. I picked Cocoa up and we carefully stepped over the turtle and left it in peace to enjoy the day.

My crazy work schedule has slowed down a bit and that is both good and bad. Good as I finally have time to relax and do some planning and maybe actually quilt one of my own quilts (we’ll see how that goes), and bad because slower work means less money coming in. Oh well, I am enjoying having a little time to sit back and actually think about what I want re the future. Besides come July 10 the schedule will go back into crazy mode again so I need to just enjoy the time I have while I have it.

Princess Kieva Quilt-1Princess Kieva Quilt-2

Recently I got the chance to work on this wonderful quilt. This was really fun to work on, the only drawback I had is that the silver Superior Sew Fine 50 thread I used as the background colour for a large part of the quilt ended up being back ordered. I had one small spool of the thread so I ordered a cone the same day I started working on this quilt and I didn’t receive the thread in the mail until 10 days later. Not great however it all turned out well and I love how this quilt turned out.

Even though I previously posted that I am not a huge fan of doing pantographs there are quilts that call for just an all over edge to edge design. I am very good at doing simple edge to edge for kids and baby quilts and I really enjoy those however I thought it would be nice to have a couple more sophisticated edge to edge designs available for people who want them. The Cloth Castle where I work recently brought some pantographs in so I purchased two that I liked.  Both are by Urban Elementz, one is Deja Vu and the other is Bora Bora.

I have used the Deja Vu on a client king size quilt (which I forgot to take pictures of) and it turned out great and I have also used it on a smaller quilt for a client that needed a quick wedding present.

Blue Quilt-1Blue Quilt-2

I did like the way these turned out. I just finished a custom quilt (one I completed from start to finish) with the Bora Bora pantograph which also turned out really well, however I am still sewing down the binding on that one so the client hasn’t seen it yet other than in pictures I have sent so that will have to be posted later.

Good friends are like quilts they never lose their warmth

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About a week ago I wrote about how create a pantograph using Electric Quilt 7 software.  I created a simple coffee mug pantograph from a colouring book page.

I have quilted three quilts now using pantographs. One was a paw print, one a moon and star design and this last coffee mug one. Although I enjoyed the process and really liked the end result I have to say I am not a big fan of quilting a quilt with a pantograph.

For me, I find working from the back of the machine, following a little laser light, repetitive and boring. After 2 hours of this I find I have a pain that starts in my neck and travels all the way down my right arm. Once I start feeling that pain I know I need to stop. Quilting too many quilts using a pantograph would see any profits from my quilting going back into the hands of a chiropractor.

I also find the constant bending and stretching to see the quilt (as you are working from the back of the machine) very hard on the body. On this past quilt I added up the extra time it took to adjust the quilt on every pass. Normally advancing the quilt takes me 2 to 4 minutes. With a pantograph I find that time is usually 4 to 6 minutes. The other thing is that on a quilt that would normally take me say 7 passes, with a pantograph that amount may jump to 12 passes therefore if you add up the extra time pantographs can eat up to almost 45 minutes longer to quilt than an all over free form design.

Now, that may not seem like a lot but most times the cost to quilt an all over design vs a pantograph is the same however because the pantograph has used 45 minutes more of your time you are actually making less money so technically speaking we, as long arm quilters should actually be charging more for using pantographs.

Some quilts, like the one I used the paw print on and the coffee mug, call out for cute designs that are defiantly easier to quilt using a pantograph. Others can just as easily look great with an allover design or a partial custom look to them. I find it takes the same amount of time to do some partial stitch in the ditch and a free flowing feather or leaf design than it takes to quilt from the back of the machine.

Anyway, I guess if you had a computerized machine all over pantographs would be great. Just program the design in and let the machine do the work. That said you still have to advance the quilt and check to ensure everything is lined up correctly.

So for me, I love working from the front of the machine and creating my own designs even if I learned them from a book by Angela Walters or some other quilter. The designs are like handwriting, they are similar but still uniquely in your style.

The above is a client quilt I finished last week. It will be a wall hanging for her sister. I love the way it turned out and it was a lot easier to do and a lot more fun than the coffee mugs (although I do love the look of the coffee mugs).

Friendship is sewn with love and measured by kindness

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