Saturday, December 6, 2014

7-Hour Layer Cake Quilt, Scrapadealy-O

Hey all!  I hope you are having a great week.

I was getting burned out from all the machine quilting for customers this week and it reminded me of a time when I was in college, studying Physics.  It was a Saturday night around 7:00 p.m. and some guys called to invite me to go swing dancing with them.   I decided not to go because I just couldn't get the Physics assignment.  It was at that point, my father came to my room and said, "Sometimes you just need to take the time to sharpen the knife."  He took my Physics book away and sent me out dancing with my group of friends.

It was some of the best advice I had ever had!  Make sure to take the time to enjoy life.

So...Friday I skipped out on my machine quilting orders (thankfully I'm ahead of my due dates), pulled out a layer cake and came up with a new pattern.


7-hour project (no kidding!) start to finish!

I love all the fabrics designed by Bonnie and Camille.  For this project I used "Miss  Kate".

The layer cake was cut into a 6  1/2" square, a strip 3 1/2" by 6 1/2" and a strip 3 1/2" by 9 1/2".  These were then sewn together to make a 9 1/2" block.

Then, my favorite part of quilt making--playing with the colors.  Here is a random color placement.

Making a blue pinwheel.

Putting red in the corners.

Ultimately, I settled on the random color placement as there were a lot of small scale prints in this layer cake bundle.

I like how it turned out, but I wish the bundle had more large-scale prints.  The small scale prints just washed out.  As I live 30 minutes from the nearest wal-mart and an hour from a decent fabric store, I had to order the borders online and will be putting them on once the fabric arrives in the mail.

I also have another variation I am working on. I can't wait to see how it turns out as well.  By the end of next week I should have a PDF ready.

Taking time to sharpen the knife feels great!  Rejuvenate!  I am ready to get back to the long-arm.  I just needed a break.  I am finishing closing out my machine quilting business and won't take any orders in January.  I was accepted to my Master's Degree program and will work on that--and spend more time with my mini-monkies.  I love my kids.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Running A Machine Quilting Business Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

Running a machine quilting business isn't all it's cracked up to be...

Okay, long title for a weird post.  Usually you get design ideas from my blog.  This will be a very candid post, and I'm not normally personal on my blog.  However, when I first started writing this blog, it's purpose was to educate my customers as to my policies and costs of machine quilting...then I posted a quilt design to attract returning customers, and voila, I suddenly became a quilt designer.

Crazy turn of events.

Shared from "Sprout Social Photos"

I've juggled a machine quilting business while raising my 4 children for 5 years now.  At first it was fun and a great way to get some experience on my long-arm machine. 

After a while, it became annoying--none of my customers could understand my policies (or visit my blog to pre-read what they were_  and want custom work (which is what I am known for) at edge to edge prices.  It doesn't matter to them if it takes 3 times as long, it's just the "cost".

The costs of batting and thread continue to rise...but folks don't want to compensate you for your overhead--or the time to load the quilt, or so and so down the street is having a sale, why don't you?  It is tough to break even, and since I insist on "staying in the black" I keep getting beaten by those computerized machines.

While I like the extra income, I am tired and I am finally ready to admit that I am ready to move on. It's not worth the time involved.

I'll keep blogging and designing quilt patterns, but I think it is finally time for me to bow-out of the machine quilting for customers race.  I just don't have the drive for it anymore.

I hope to use this extra time to enjoy more things as a family.  Here are some things we like to do.

Hiking the trail to Silver Lake.

I need to practice!   Maybe I can make it out of the 8 year old recital class.

More hiking.

Working the horses (I know she's sitting on a pony).

So cute!   Of course I want to spend more time with this princess & her 3 older brothers.
I'm grateful for families.  Aren't you?  I do my best to spend time with them, but I think I can do better.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Baptist Fan Quilting, Star Quilt and KISMIF 31

Hello all!  How is your week?  Well, I don't have any new projects to show, just more work on some quilt designs I did this year.  It's December and so I am busy getting Christmas projects ready for my machine quilting customers. is my Christmas quilt for this year, and as announced last week the pattern is ready for download.

Nordic Sweater Quilt

I did work on another American Sparkler Quilt--my summer design for this year.
American Sparkler Quilt
While this one shown is a queen-size quilt, I have a smaller 60 inch square version that I machine quilted this week.  It is made from fabric scraps.  I've always wanted to machine quilt a Baptist Fan as I love the traditional hand-quilted feel it gives.  Up to this point, I never had the confidence to try it without marking the entire top.  I created my own pantograph to do it and my husband was impressed how it turned out.  He really liked it, I think it's okay, but not perfect so I won't do it for customers.  Here are some pictures.

My favorite part of the day--unloading from the quilt frame.

Close-up of my Baptist fans.

I often get asked why it is necessary for quilt backing and batting measure 4 inches around larger than the top on all sides.  I hope this photo below helps explain.  When you are following a computerized or pantograph pattern, the last row often repeats and over-laps off the edge of the quilt (shown by the stitching my finger is pointing to).  This gets trimmed off and secured in the quilt binding.

Quilting off the edge of the quilt to complete the pattern.
Here is the pantograph I is available (for free) for you to try it if you'd like.  I scaled it so it fits a 4 1/2" diameter and repeats every printed page.  Simply print out the number of pages for the width of your quilt. The area shaded in pink is the alignment where the next printed page over-laps under.  The yellow area is the the portion of the arcs to follow when starting the row.  Subsequent arcs only reach the white portion and will only need to be traced.  To download the PDF click HERE.

A special thank-you goes out to everyone who participated in last week's linky party and commented on my post.  I really appreciated it!  :)  My favorite post was the Maxi Porch Revolution from Porch Swing Quilts.  It was a lot of fun to read.  Jennie wins a free-pattern from me.  You could win a free download next!  Leave me a link to your blog and when you win, I will email you your favorite pattern that I wrote--which can be viewed on my Craftsy and Etsy shops.