Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Truth About Longarming: Part 1

The truth about longarming is that I’m scared of it. It’s been nearly a year since I got my longarm and so far I’ve longarmed one large quilt (badly), no more than half a dozen practice pieces (middlingly), and one mini-quilt (not too badly, actually). I’m struggling to remember when I even turned the machine on last. It must have been in late April, when I quilted the bookshelf mini.

My longarm is the most expensive thing I have ever bought outright. Other than a car that I owned for less than two years, it’s the most expensive thing I have ever bought, period. I scrimped like a crazy person to buy this machine. I spent an entire year making and taking lunches to work, which I’d never managed to accomplish in twenty years of working. I set aside every extra penny I had even when I didn’t so much have it, I bought pretty much nothing for myself during that year. I borrowed nearly €3,000 from the Germ because I had to have it RIGHT THEN instead of waiting a few more months until I had saved the entire amount (€10,000), and I spent months scrimping some more to repay him. And since then I’ve mostly used it as a hanger. This is a very sad state of affair, my friends.

1I’m not sure why I decided that I had to have a longarm, but I’m pretty sure that in the back of my mind, other than the conceivable fun factor, I had hoped to make a little bit (ok, a lot) of money with it, as part of my plan to escape the misery of my day job. So far I’m €105 in, on a job I offered to do for free to get some practice. Be that as it may, I’m not regretting the purchase, I’m just regretting my own fears and the time I’ve wasted.

2It’s hardly a mystery why I’m afraid, it’s not even original: I don’t like being bad at things and I get frustrated when I can’t master something quickly.

I was listening to Kim Werker* on the Crafty Planner podcast recently and she’s an advocate of allowing yourself to be bad at things, so here’s the plan. I’m going to be actively bad at this and I’m going to embrace the ugly, because eventually it won’t be.

I’m setting myself some specific goals (well, I’m thinking of the specifics, as it were), and I’m going to report about my progress here, so watch this space.

* Kim Werker is pretty awesome. Go read her book, Make It Might Ugly.

July Quilt Block for Stash Bee

This was a fun one! Although I’m loathe to admit it, this solids thing isn’t the absolute worst.

To put this block together, you cut seventeen 4.5″ squares in a range of white-grey-black and one 4.5″ square in a bright colour. Toss them all in a paper bag and randomly pull a pair and make an HST (line down the diagonal, sew 1/4″ on either side, cut, trim to 3.5″). Once all the squares have been turned into HSTs, set aside one of the coloured HSTs and another random one (they’re extras) and put the whole lot back in the bag. Pull a pair of HSTs out, sew it randomly together, and so on and so on, until you have a 4×4 block.

Random HSTs

Random HSTs

Kiwi says Hi!

Hi!

Hi!

I’ll talk a bit more about the frame in another post.

Bookshelf Mini Quilt

My friend Cathy, mother of Rachel and Louise, turned fifty recently and I had to commemorate the occasion. Cathy is an incredible writer, so I decided to make her a bookshelf mini, which hopefully she can hang in her writing shed.

Rainbow Bookshelf

Rainbow Bookshelf

I loosely followed the tutorial by Don’t Call Me Betsy and was fortunate to have lots of selvages, sent to me completely gratis by the lovely Alison of Little Island Quilting. (Speaking of Alison, go buy her book, it’s hilarious!)

Book titles

Book titles

The titles are fused on using double-sided fusible and then top-stitched.

I then took this baby to the longarm (which I have used embarrassingly little since forking over all of my savings) and went to town.

Quilting Detail 1

Quilting Detail above the shelf

Quilting Detail below the shelf

Quilting Detail below the shelf

AND! For the first time in nearly five years of quilting, I made a quilt label! My sources tells me it’ll fade because all I did was laser print directly on the fabric without any kind of fixative, but I left it to soak in water for a full day and there was no running or fading, so I’m hoping it’ll stay put. Names unskillfully removed via photo editing to protect the innocent.

Quilt label

Quilt! Label!

Catching Up With Stash Bee Quilt Blocks

I’ve been enjoying the stash bee and am looking forward to being Queen Bee next month. I have my block picked out and I’m happy to report it’s not one that’s been done by anyone this  year. Yay!

Here’s a quick catch-up on what I’ve done so far.

In February I made this “low volume” star block for Ruth. I… don’t really have much in the way of low-volume fabric, but Ruth seemed to like it anyway!

February block for Ruth

February block for Ruth

In March I made this paper-pieced Union Jack block for Toni (@gypsygirl6923 on Instagram). Paper piecing is not for me, friends, but I concede that it produces perfect results. I’m avoiding any and all Brexit cracks here and you should know it’s really hard.

Union Jack block for Toni

Union Jack block for Toni

In April June I made these awesome cross blocks for Jennifer (@jabloxham). They may have gone in the post only this past weekend, but they were really fun to make, even though they have solid fabrics, which I typically avoid.

Cross block for Jennifer

Cross block for Jennifer

In May I made this fun star block for Rose (@rosebraun914). It came together so easily that I actually made a pair.

May block for Rose

May block for Rose

Officially in June, I made this green star for Em (@moonlightsewing). It barely made a dent in my green scraps.

Green scrappy star for Em

Green scrappy star for Em

Thanks for picking fun, challenging blocks, bee mates!