Quilt ADD in therapy

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Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. I am a longarm quilter who can work for you. I enjoy any style, from pantographs to all-over to full custom, ranging from traditional to modern. I love bringing vintage tops to life and am willing to work with a challenging quilt top. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

WIPs & Paper Piecing Tip (literally)

Two things going this week:

New York Beauty blocks for "Listen With Your Eyes" (a Jacqueline DeJong quilt), the next focus on my 17 in 2016 list.

~*~*~Paper Piecing Tip~*~*~

I love the preciseness we get from engineered paper piecing, but it can be daunting to get the papers off when you have lots of tiny angles. In the past, I've used my Purple Thang and needles in my applique book to help. 

When I was spring cleaning, though, I ran across this huge sailmaker's needle. (Why on earth did I even have this?) 

It is my new best friend in my pool of quilter's tools.

A sailmaker's needle is the PERFECT tool for this job! It's long enough to hold comfortably (about 4-1/2 inches). It's fat enough to never bend (a little bigger around than the lead in a #2 pencil). Its sharp tip fits right into the ends of the acute angles (in 40 arcs with 15 pieces each, I never had a problem with it getting caught in the fabric).

Just slip it in, give it a swoosh, and all is happiness. You find the rhythm, and it makes much shorter work of a mundane TV task.  :) 

If you pick one up, you'll want the sharp tip, not the rounded one that's like an oversized cross stitch needle.

My real work this week is this Super Cutey! I am so excited to start on it. This is the "Lloyd & Lola" pattern from Elizabeth Hartman, and this is my first customer quilt.

I am so lucky for this to be my jumping off quilt. It's absolutely adorable to start with, and Heather's piecing is meticulous (no wavy ends, a perfectly squared-up backing with lots of margin all around). I even get to do fun custom work on it. We've already settled on the plan, so all I have to do is get the tension squared away and start playing.  :)

Linking to

Brook's WIP Link-Up
"New to Me" at Celtic Thistle, 
Lorna's Let's Bee Social
and Julie's Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE

Sunday, November 26, 2017

BOMs Away - "Garden Friends" Flimsy Alert!

Welcome to the link-up for BOMs Away Mondays!
Where we share what we're doing on a BOM-type project 
so they don't stall out in UFO-land!
(Linky at the bottom.)


After venturing out on Black Friday for the first time in 20 years (and remembering why I never do that), I was in the mood for some serious home-retreat quilting work. So I opened my BOMs armoir and pulled out a box that hasn't been touched for quite a while.

My poor Garden Friends was originally purchased in 2007, and I never touched it until October 2014. I worked on it sporadically for several months, and then it was abandoned altogether when I needed to drop quilting and make Renaissance wedding outfits for 15 people. 

Yesterday I attached the butterflies, did all the cute little bits of stitchery on the blocks, fused-and-sewed the elements on the top and bottom leafy rows, and assembled the center to the black stop-border.

Isabeau *loves* the box I've been keeping this BOM in. I love how she hangs out with me at this table when I'm working here. Who can resist those blue eyes and super-silky fluff?

Today I built the other borders, fused-and-sewed all those sunflowers (I had already prepped those centers and the 90 petals, so just had to put them together), clipped the background from behind all those pieces, and finished the border assembly.

This is 64 x 70 inches. It's a "The Quilt Company" pattern, designed by Arlene Stamper and Melissa Harris. It came kitted in the "Full Sun" fabric collection (Maywood).

I'm super happy to have this BOM completed as a flimsy. I don't know if I have backing fabric for it. I'm hoping to get it on the longarm by March. I want to try some McTavishing and curved hatchwork on it. 

10 years - sheesh!!  That makes this an excellent UFO semi-finish.  :)   And it's an item off my 17 in 2017 list. (I'll be linking this up to Meridithe's 17 in 2017)

Kate over at Katie Mae Quilts has joined me in hosting this meet-up,
and linking up from either end puts you on the party at both sides.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Finish Report, a Flimsy Alert, and a 17 in 2017

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. We we enjoyed a traditional feast day at home with all the kids except Devon, and of course, I ate far too much. I still feel sluggish from that! I don't have much energy right now, but I'm Whooping it up, because I have three things to report this week. :)  

~*~*~  Finish Report!  "Thankfulness 3"

Here is the final of the three "Thankfulness" quilts! This one is ours. It was the first to be quilted, so that I could try out the longarm diagonal ruler work and feathers on it before moving to the ones that were gifted. It was the last to be finished, though. 

My first longarm feathers. I'm not unhappy.  :)
Diagonal SID, though. . . needs practice!

These were 47 x 56 inches as flimsies, 46 x 55.5 after quilting, and 44.75 x 53.5 after washing in cold and a low-heat dryer. Perfect lap size. That's with pre-washed fabrics and batting. I wonder how much more they would have shrunk with un-treated materials? I can't believe how soft the Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 washed up in these, though. It has a really super nice feel.

Karen's Thankfulness quilt was shared last week. It arrived in Florida on Tuesday, and I got a slew of exuberant texts. My daughter reports that she loves showing it off. 

Lisa and Jeff got their Thankfulness quilt on Sunday, and she was tickled to death to have a handmade quilt. They live across the street from us, and always do more than anyone else to clear snow and coordinate the resurfacing needs we have to attend to for our cul-de-sac. I said something about wishing I'd been able to finish it several weeks ago so that it wouldn't be "out-seasoned" so quickly, and she said, "Are you kidding me? This is mountain Colorado land! We will use it all year!" 

Our Thankfulness quilt got its binding and label two days ago, barely in time to be out for Thanksgiving Day use. I was tempted to put it on the table, but decided I didn't want it getting that dirty right away.  :)  

The diamond and sashing fabrics are the same in all of them, while the accent colors, borders, and backings are each different.

All of them have the faux-piped binding, and all of them have leafy labels. I really love how these turned out, first-time longarm ruler bobbles and all!

Flimsy Alert: "It's a Silky Wool Flannel Kind of Autumn Day"

. . . because sometimes you just need a funky quilt name!

Yesterday evening when everyone was crashed for some quiet time, I did all the "race" seams for my jelly roll. This flannel collection, "Woollies Flannel" from Maywood, is so plush and nice, I want to buy several of the prints to make jammies from!

A really weird photo of a flannel top in gorgeous fall-jewel tones.

Boy, oh boy, do I love this flimsy with the spots of gold Silk Radiance! Night-time shots are tricky to get the colors right, and this full shot is really horrid for that. Contrast is all messed up and won't play nice in filters, colors are weird. . . you know how it goes.

Taken upstairs under an incandescent bulb, this next photo shows a better balance, although the colors are still a little richer in life.

With the flannel, I pressed the seams open instead of to one side. I sewed this up "race" style, but took the time to press the seam after Lap 1 and Lap 2. Laps 3, 4, and 5, I left the pressing until I was finished. I'm really glad I pressed those first two laps before sewing the next lap. It would have been a royal pain to have all the seams to press open at once without a decent space already lying down for the rest of the laps going at once. It also made it infinitely easier to line up the fabric to stitch laps 3 and 4.

It'll be January, probably, before this goes on the longarm. I have a customer quilt, a QOV gift for my father-in-law, and some Christmas quilts that have first pick on frame time.

17 in 2017 - "Mermaid Fantasy" 

On another vein, I've been able to check off a stage on one of my 17-in-2017 projects. 

Heather's "Mermaid Fantasy" now has its detail trapunto work finished on the five vignettes, and it's ready for its final quilting. That's a task for the 2018 list.  :)

That was a weird movie
(The Whole Nine Yards provided snipping entertainment)

I did this the same way I did my Sea Breeze mini quilts - I've put in all the detail quilting for each of the five vignettes. I didn't do the dissolving thread approach, as I like the way the detail quilting gives definition to the area, but doesn't get flattened too much when layered over the quilt's full batting and outline-quilted. For very large areas, like the central mermaid, there are some inner lines that will be followed through both layers of batting, but the details will stay quilted only in the trapunto layer.  I did all this at my domestic machine. There's no way I can do that level of detail at my longarm yet.

Linking up: 

TGIFF at Myra's this week

Meridithe's 17 in 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WIPs - Flannels & 17 in 2017


Geez, I get distracted so very easily these days. . .  Now that the bird is happily bathing in some cold defrost water, I can take a social moment.  :)

I usually wake long before the others, so it wouldn't be cool to work on my priority quilt at the longarm, as it would wake some of them. So I have "putz around" projects I do in other places. 

Right now, that's working with this really luscious flannel jelly roll my daughter gave me for my birthday. I'm doing it up race style, with diagonal joins and some spacers. Those spacers and the whole backing are done with harvest gold Silk Radiance. It'll get a  leafy vine meander for quilting, with leaves highlighted at each of the gold bits. It's a nice project to see in the mornings during Thanksgiving week.

Also, when I have odd moments that aren't really long enough to get good piecing in, I've been working on my "Plums in November" quilt, which is on my 17 in 2017 list. I had started its quilting at my domestic machine last year. 

Almost all the black SID work is finished (hooray!), and a wee bit of decorative quilting had gone in.

So far I've removed the over-500 quilter's safety pins, marked the rest of the diamond centers, trimmed back the batting to get the backing edges easily accessible, and I've made sure those are all squared up.

I still need to make some extenders to baste on so the clamps don't interfere with the quilting at the longarm. I grabbed this huge amount of ugly-fabric yardage that's been in my stash forever. 

Which is inspiring me. . . 

You know that concept that if you don't like a fabric, you haven't cut it up small enough yet? I'm going to work up a nice pattern to use an ugly piece from stash, coupled with two nice colors and a good bit of "neutral" to make a really appealing quilt. It has to be after the holidays, though. 

So the first Stash Rehab 2018 will appear this February 1st. 

This one will be designed to utilize a piece of yardage that's been sitting in stash. As I have more than one piece that's been stagnant in there, I'll do periodic Rehab projects, some of which will focus on using pretty fabric that we just don't know what to do with. Rehab will culminate on St. Patrick's Day so we can see what those little magic leprechauns can do for us. I'll figure things for several sizes. I hope you'll join in! 


Thanks to Lorna for hosting Let's Bee Social
and Julie for Sew, Stitch, Snap, SHARE

Sunday, November 19, 2017

BOMs Away - How to Prevent Wavy Binding & Avoid Lumpy Corners

Welcome to the link-up for BOMs Away Mondays!
Where we share what we're doing on a BOM-type project 
so they don't stall out in UFO-land!
(Linky at the bottom.)

Because my need to finish up the third Thanksgiving quilt Right Now left me with no BOM sewing time this week, I thought I'd share some binding tips. The first one I figured out on my own, the second I picked up a couple years ago from who-knows-where.

~*~ Preventing Wavy Binding *~

Have you ever taken a quilted quilt with nice, flat edges, and carefully machine finished its binding, only to have the edge be all wavy out of nowhere when you're finished? I'm talking about the kind of wave that I've simulated here by putting spools under my quilt's edge:

I can help you banish those waves!

Except for the few times that a design need demands a straight-grain cut (like totally cool stripes along the quilt's edge), I always cut my binding on the bias.

That's because fabric folded along the bias is much, much more supple than it is when folded on the grain. This yields a binding that wears better on the very edge and has a softer bend as a quilt is used. It is also the ONLY kind of binding you can use for scalloped quilts.

But the same traits that give a bias binding its wonderful suppleness are the same traits that give you an undesirable outcome on machine-finished bindings if you don't handle it properly.

We all like to work smarter, not harder, so we use the quickest, easiest way to accomplish quilting tasks that we can find. Sometimes these short cuts aren't worth the time saved, though.  (Like cheater borders where you don't bother to measure your strips and you end up with bowed or waving borders instead of flat ones.)

Another shortcut you have to watch out for is failing to pin when you're putting a binding on by machine. I don't mean we you first attach it. I never pin for that, except when I'm marking my stop point as I come into each corner, and when I'm doing the invisible join at the end of it all. 

But when you're doing the final stitching to put the second edge of the binding down, if you forego pins and just pull the binding around as you go, stitching a few inches, pulling the next bit around, stitching. . . etc. . .  you *will* get a wavy binding because the flex in a bias cut allows the binding to stretch in unattractive ways. You can kind of get away with this short cut on a straight-grain-cut binding, but not always.

The solution is very simple. Just use pins. I work with only 10 or 12 of them, folding over and pinning however much of the binding those pins reach along. I pin *along* the binding instead of across it, like this (and you can see that I stitch right up into that pin's business before I remove it:

Now, when you  sew the second binding edge down, start ahead of the first pin (you're going to leave that one in until you get back around to that point again - you can see my red-head here at the end of my stitching that was the first pin in, and it stayed in all the way to this point):

And MAKE SURE you always leave the last pin in your line-up in the binding in front of your needle when you stop to pin up the next segment. If you don't, you'll get a little wave in the spots where your pins ran out each time. So, this pin STAYS IN while the next ones get added:

And the magical outcome of the simple practice of pinning your binding before that final stitch-down is a perfectly flat edge. Happiness!

I'm sure you could use the little binding clips just as well (I wouldn't space them further than 2" apart for this use) - I'm just too lazy to go upstairs to get them from my hand-stitching station, which is how I usually finish a binding.

~*~ Avoiding Lumpy Corners *~

You know how the corners can get super lumpy on your binding? 

Some people (and I've been guilty of this approach years ago) actually snip a wee bit off the corner of the quilt to reduce the binding bulk.

Oh, my! DON'T DO THAT! Never cut bits of your quilt off.

Instead, you snip off the binding dog-ear, and here are the two steps to do that:

(Please note that I was making a faux-piped binding, so one side is gold, and the other is brown, which you'll see in these photos.)

After you've attached your binding all around your quilt, pick up a corner 

and insert some good scissors into that fold on the top, between the uppermost layers and the triangle-fold on the inside.  (Big scissors work better than little scissors for this job.)

Now snip that fold open to the cross seam.

After that, you can carefully fold back the top flap and the quilt so that the inner dog-ear is exposed. 

Binding is folded down to the left,
Quilt is folded down to the right

Now, even MORE CAREFULLY, snip off that dog-ear pretty darn close to the cross seam. You don't want to get so close that you snip any stitches, and heaven forbid the actual quilt or outer binding! 

This removed a huge amount of the bulk for the corner, although you will still be able to feel that necessary tiny bit of ridge if you palpate a finished corner. Can't be avoided, but it's waaaay better than the bulk of leaving the dog-ear in.

Now, the last step to getting the flattest corner possible is to fold the second side of the binding down in the opposite order that it was folded on the first side. You want the bulk of each side to lay on either side of the corner instead of both together on one side. When you hand stitch those folds closed, this corner will be FLAT with a nice, clean angle. Super lovely!

~*~ Final tips for a binding that's lump free all-around ~*~
  • Join the strips with a diagonal seam, never a straight up-and-down seam. 
  • Press those seams open, not to one side, and clip off the dog-ears.
  • Before you attach the binding, Run a quick long zig-zag around the perimeter of your quilt that's about 3/16 inches wide.
  • Use the never-ending join-up when you attach the binding so that no-one will ever know where your binding starts and stops, and that point will be lump-free. (Nancy made a great tutorial to do that meet-up: How to Finish Off a Binding.)
  • Always hand-stitch the corner folds closed as your final task. Keeps corners sharp and flattest they can be.
And they don't get wonky in the wash if you stitch them closed.
Here's the freshly cleaned, softly crinkled quilt
ready for its gifting.


So, those are my secrets for how I get bindings and corners that always receive compliments when I have a quilt appraised, whether I hand- or machine-finish them. Now, if you're making a quilt for stiff show competition, there's another level of OCD you want to go to, like using glue, etc., but I'm talking about us normal folks who are finishing normal quilts where we want to pay attention to detail, yet be realistic in our approaches.

And now back to BOMs Away - 
I didn't have any work to share, but do you?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

TGIFF is Here Today, and It's About Thankfulness :)

Hello from Colorado, USA! Welcome to this week's TGIFF link-up!
Have you finished something lately that you'd like to share? Link up at the bottom of this post, and be sure to visit some of the other links to find some great eye candy and help your fellow bloggers celebrate. :D

This quilt's story is one of Thankfulness and progress. I have a very special friend, Karen, who has been more like family over the years. 

She took our young-adult daughter, Devon, in several months ago when her life took a rough turn and she wanted to try a fresh start down in Florida. Karen's that kind of friend, and this quilter's mama heart needed to make her a Thanksgiving throw quilt as a bit of a Thank You.

It's one of a trio, as there was enough fabric to do up three of these diamond-lattice throws. One is for our neighbors, the Heinz's, because they do so very much for all of us on the cul-de-sac, contributing more than anyone to keeping the snow cleared on our hill (we don't get winter service from the county).

The other is for us to keep, largely because I'd only done 6 quilts ahead of these on my new longarm machine, and I hadn't tried diagonal work or feathers on it yet. The one for us provided a foil to figure things out on first.

Good thing, too - I got a little ahead of myself with this design! If you don't have a longarm, you need to know that diagonal lines are not easy. It takes ruler work to keep them not-wobbly, and I hadn't tried that out yet. Naive braveness on my part for these quilts, but it's gone well enough to gift to a friend. 

Quilts 7 & 8 on my longarm - APQS Millie, hand guided

My 12-foot frame was just large enough to sew two backings together top-to-bottom, so I could load two up simultaneously. 
(I found that I *greatly* prefer to float the top so I have full control over any shifting that may need to happen, I can double-check the flatness of the back and batting (and presence of dark run-away threads behind very light fabrics in the top) with each advance. I use painter's tape lines on the quilt-top bar of my APQS frame to give myself marks for the vertical lines. This keeps the top square from side to side. I use the channel lock feature on my machine to make sure horizontal lines are square, and you can see the pins I've used beyond the working area to make sure the top stays in square for that section of work.)

Diagonal work went fairly well - if I were doing this for a high school term project, I'd give it a "C-" for the wobbles that I couldn't avoid (which show quite well since my thread was dark. (Affinity 40-wt variegated "Satin")  

Early bobbles in diagonal ditchwork

Feather work went better. I would give those bump-backs and free-hand shaping in the diamonds a C- on the early ones, but a B+ on the later ones, and quite a few stretches in the borders would get an A. I'd also give myself an A on keeping the quilts perfectly square and having no tucks in the backs or problems with the tension. So something is going well already. :)

Early bump-backs
Later bump-backs

Still feeling like I had to concentrate at a calculus homework level just to shape things and watch the fabric play, I wasn't confident enough to free-hand the border work. So I made templates of feather sections and chalked them onto the quilts. Worked great, although it made me sneeze a lot!

I also wasn't up to trying the feathers on the vertical, even with templates. So I rotated the quilts to do the final borders. 

NOTE: If you think you might be rotating a quilt (which is really quite easy with a squared-up backing), make sure you don't start the quilt top right close to the take-up bar. Otherwise, you have to work with hyper-care slowness at the edge against the clamp!

I can tell that my precision control will improve steadily with more practice, and look forward to my machine and I becoming really great friends. As I do each new quilt on my Milli, I tend to do the grading game in my mind - not to criticize myself, but to mark my progress in terms of attaining the professional excellence I got to on my domestic. As that initial development took a good eight years, I'm quite pleased to find that the learning curve is shorter than that to transfer it to this new way of working. 

The Heinz's will go on the frame this afternoon

Each quilt has its own border and backing fabrics. Ours won't get its binding until the Heinz's is quilted and gifted.

The first one to be quilted will be the last fully finished

I am super happy with these quilts, imperfections and all, and I know that Karen will love hers. 

I'm giving these quilts a faux-piped binding. My favorite approach to this is to cut the outer color at 1-3/8" width, and the accent color at 1-5/8" width (I normally use a 2-1/4" double-fold binding - if you use 2-1/2", add 1/8" inch to each of these figures)

I press the joining seam toward the accent color, which isn't the easiest. You have to go SLOWLY, finger press first, and be super precise both with this seam press and when you press the double-fold into the created binding to get a nice piping line. Pressing toward the accent color will make the faux piping have substance, and after the final topstitching, it will look like real piping instead of a flat flange. (I attach this binding to the back of the quilt with a 1/4" seam. Orient it so that the accent color is shown, then when you fold it over to the front, you see the main color and the piping line.) Do your corners exactly the same way you do for normal binding.

Anyone who lets a friend's daughter live with them, helps her get her car fixed (more than once!) and borrow a vehicle while it's in shop, gives her rides and support for a bicycle century, and just loves on her in general definitely deserves a quilt, and who has time to wait until skills get perfected?  :)  

Love you, Karen. Happy Thanksgiving!


Now it's your turn to share a finish. We love to see your accomplishments, and hope you'll visit a few of the fellow link-ups.
Also, per link-up etiquette, please include a link to TGIFF on your post.