Back in Business

The Juki arrived back the Friday before Thanksgiving week. My gardener (and general helper/builder/handyman) was able to come over and help me lift it back onto the table on Monday. He had helped me with the original set-up and so I was very grateful that he was able to come and help me get it back in place.

I was unreasonably nervous about working with it, and so  I planned to practice on a couple of small quilts before attempting the quilting on Hallelujah!

First, I finished the quilting on this little piece. This was made of some very small courthouse steps blocks I had made. I enjoyed making them, but after getting this far, I realized that I was never going to finish enough of these blocks (with 1/2″ finished logs) to make a whole quilt. I always loved this verse, and thought it was the perfect one to go with “courthouse steps” blocks.

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Next, I dug out a really old little quilt. A long-gone dog had chewed on the edges, and I didn’t know what to do with it. Then when I looked at it again, I realized I could just cut the borders smaller, and no one would ever know a dog gnawed on it 🙂 I had fun quilting it.

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So I was almost ready to start Hallelujah! But I decided I wanted some different thread for quilting. I decided to treat myself to a trip to the quilt shop after the last shot in my knee, the day before Thanksgiving. Because I was determined to start this quilting the day AFTER Thanksgiving.

Look at this wonderful fabric I found at the shop! I could not resist getting a piece of it.

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And right on time, Friday morning, I made myself go out into the studio, I practiced a feather or two on a practice sandwich, and then I just went to town. I alternated outlining the lettering with making feathers.

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Next I am going to fill in between the feathers with some crosshatching and some pebbles. I’m not sure what I am going to do around the lettering–thinking about some straight line quilting just to make them stand out.

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Momentum

A few weeks ago, I made a little “in the meantime” piece because I had “nothing” to work on in the evenings–no handwork.

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Since then I have embraced the kantha blanket, and have begun the long journey of repetitive stitching that I had planned for it.

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And then, I finally bit the bullet and started a new project that I had been mulling over since last December.

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Can you guess what it is? I am doing a quilt of “The Hallelujah Chorus.” It has long been one of my favorite pieces of music. When I lived in Texas, our church choir sang it, and we were required to memorize it. The words are magnificent, and have so much meaning to me. I had the idea when I went last December to a beautiful cathedral in downtown Sacramento for a performance of The Messiah. My little idea was that the quilt had to be extremely beautiful, mostly white, with perfect extensive quilting, and of course, the words would be preeminent, and of course beautiful calligraphy. Hmmm. See why I was afraid to start it?

A little thought came along–why don’t you do what you know you can do well? So I decided to use my own handwriting, and to make my circles with embroidery. I bought some silk-type fabric at Joann’s to practice on, and it turned out that I really liked this fabric, so I stuck with it.

I wanted the piece to be a bit larger than most of my embroidered works, so I came up with the idea of doing the circles and the words in separate panels, and then after all of them are embroidered, I will join them into one quilt top and add more quilting.

All I can say is, you just have to try. It very well could have been that these things would not have worked. Heck, they still might not work. But by trying, even if I fail, I have learned something new.

And now, I must leave you. I have a bit of stitching to do 🙂

Quilting Fast and Slow

Well, I had ANOTHER little interruption to my normal schedule. I had volunteered to donate a quilt to Noah’s trainer for her organization’s annual fundraiser. She takes in dogs that are essentially hopeless, and turns them into good citizens so that they can be adopted! Anyway, I knew about this way ahead of time, but did I do anything? Noooo…. The event was on Sunday, and Saturday afternoon I was looking for something to donate. I found a top I had actually made into a sandwich, and thought, how fast can I quilt this? It was a challenge! I decided to try my walking foot one more time. I don’t like it very much, but I was hoping it would save me a bit of shoulder hunching so that I would be able to quilt for a longer period of time. I planned to do straight line quilting, varying the distance from 1 1/2 to 4″ apart. Nothing fancy, but it would make a sturdy quilt. I quilted steadily until about 7pm. Got up the next morning, and quilted the rest of it, and then put the binding on. Threw it in the washer and dryer, and left just in time to get to the event at 3pm! ….only to find that it was cancelled due to the aftermath of the fire… well, at least now I know how fast I can quilt.

This was the quilt I did with the leftover squares from my color experiment a while ago:

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For the back I used the very last of the leftover squares!

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And then it was back to work on my fire inspiration quilt. And there we have an example of some very slow quilting. The lettering I chose to be large, and I needed to do a double line of stitching with #5 perle cotton on each letter. I felt like I was moving in slow motion.

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Finally, the day came when the lettering was done, and I could move on to the quilting. That I could do in a day, I was pretty sure. Wrong… to start with, I chose a thread that I really liked, but it was #12 thread. I put a metallic needle on the machine (larger eye for the  larger thread,) and started in. You just have to work slow with the large thread.

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After doing the one tree with this thread, I decided that was enough of that. I chose different threads and went back to work. Ahhh, that was much better.

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Still, I had to work fairly slowly, as it was fussy quilting, working around the lettering.

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Now, this morning, on my third day of quilting on this quilt, I can see the finish line. Hopefully, I will be able to share the finished quilt with you this weekend!