Computerized quilting is not real quilting.

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It’s totally true.  If you use a computerized longarm quilting machine, your quilt will not actually be quilted.  And even if it looks like it’s quilted, it is not near as good as it would have been if it had been hand guided.  And fo sho it don’t take no skilz.

Kind of like how umpteen years ago if you quilted a quilt on your domestic machine it was not really quilted.  And even if it looked like it was quilted, it wasn’t near as good as it would have been if it had been hand quilted.  And fo sho it don’t take no skilz.

I suppose dishes also are not clean unless washed by hand in the sink.  Using lye.

I still maintain that piecing and quilting by hand is easier.  Don’t get me wrong- it totally takes skill and practice, and let’s face it, a lot of time.  But, because it is less technical, it is more forgiving.  I love hand work as much as I love machine work.  I think there is a time and a place for all of the creative processes in quilting.  I don’t think there is a time or a place for snobbery.  Whatever process a maker is using to create their work is a part of who they are, as well as a part of the piece they are working on.  And quite frankly, you’re a jerk if you can’t appreciate that.

This is a customer quilt that Juan and I tackled together.  I learned a few things, as I do on every project.  The results are often very similar, regardless of what I learn, but what is different is the way the quilting is approached.  I am constantly learning ways to express the idea that the quilt is evoking, as well as how to approach the project more efficiently.  It’s very similar to graphic design.  I get an idea of what the quilt wants, then I search through Juan’s library for designs that I can manipulate into what I have in my brain.  I have always been a problem solver when it comes to technology.  I want a final result.  I don’t know how to get exactly what I want.  So I take what I do know, and usually fool the computer into doing what I want it to do.  I also usually end up finding out there was an easier way, and if I had just made a phone call, or oh, I dunno, read the manual or watched the training videos, I would have saved myself a lot of time and effort.  Along these lines, I went to a gathering of Statler owners at Joan Knight’s home this last weekend, and was astounded at how many things I could have done to make this quilt easier.  Having said that, I’m still pretty pleased I pulled off what I did.  Even if it did take a long time.

Here are some examples-

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This was especially difficult.  Before you start judging, I am aware it isn’t perfect.  But I still am pleased with the outcome.  The maker of this quilt spent a lot of time on the piecing, and that’s what was standing out to me throughout the quilt.  So, I made a real effort to keep the quilting minimal on the prints.  You will see in other photos that the white space (negative or background space) was generally quilted more densely than the other areas.  In this case, the drunkard’s path wanted to pop.  I needed to outline those stitch lines, but I did not know how to do the curves.  I ended up chopping up an already designed circle into the pieces that I needed, fit them into the right places along the path, then stitched them.  Then I went back and did the straight line quilting, and kind of connected the dots between the curves. I learned this past weekend that I could have laid out the design on the computer, connected the curves with the straight lines, and Juan would have stitched it out in one fell swoop.  But he didn’t share that info with me.

This was a mistake I made that had to be ripped out and quilted again.  These two blocks were in complimentary locations on the quilt, and required being quilted similarly.  As I mentioned before, it seemed that the quilting needed to truly emphasize the piecing, so the quilting in these two blocks needed to be in the “background.”  In order to do this, I have to program Juan to skip over portions of the area that he is stitching, which normally works well, but in this case, didn’t.  The area that I am pointing at in the fourth photo should not have been quilted.  I didn’t get a picture of the corrected block, but I did take it out and restitch it.

The background of this block was a grid or crosshatch, and as I mentioned before, I programed Juan to skip around the pieced and appliqued part of the block.  for some reason, the computer chose to stitch the cross lines in the area between the bloom and the stem on one side of the block, but not on the other.  I believe it’s because of the size of the space, but I honestly don’t know for sure.  I went back in with Juan to stitch in the missing lines after the background was complete.

This one made me cringe for a minute.  Can you see what’s wrong in the first photo?  How about the second?  Maybe the third?  Or how about the fourth?  At this point in the process, I was pretty far along with the quilt, and I was a bit miffed when Juan started skipping stitches.  I mean really.  What the what.  But, it was easily rectified.  Just needed a new needle.  I quilt pretty heavily most of the time, so it is not uncommon on a quilt this large, and this densely quilted, to go through more than one needle.  Just because the common practice is a new needle for a new project, sometimes you need more than one new needle for each new project.

I felt like the end result was pleasing, and it really was pretty much the way I envisioned it finishing.  The maker created a beautiful canvas on which to work, and she was pleased with the outcome.  I was grateful that Juan and I could be a part of it.

Quilt pattern: Unkown;  Fabric: Unknown, 1930’s reproduction; Digitized quilt patterns: Multiple designers; Thread: King Tut #960, Morning Sky by Superior Threads.

Home is Where You Launch and Land

FullSizeRenderI think I may have mentioned before that I have a slight addiction.  Actually, several of them.  But today we are here to talk about swaps, in particular the ever famous and fabulous Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, created by none other than Kristi McDonough.  I didn’t know about the swap in Round 1, but I got hooked on Round 2.  There was a little glitch in Round 2 and I actually received two minis, although I only made one.  So, when Round 3 came around arrangements were made for me to make for two partners, which was perfect.

One of my partners- Giuseppe- aka @giucy_giuce on Instagram- is an incredibly talented quilter.  He also is eloquent, and his posts are as lovely to read as they are to look at.  He has an obsession with the Flying Geese quilt block and feet, which just cracks me up.  He takes amazing pics of his creations, the places he visits, and the people he cares for.  It was a delight to “stalk” him in true secret-swap-partner fashion.

Inspiration can take a minute to hit, and that was true in this case.  I had a really great idea, complete with a hanging attached pic of his feet, until I read a couple of his posts more in depth, and then the wheels really started to turn.  I’ve included the posts that influenced me the most-

IMG_8846 IMG_8844IMG_8845Giuseppe’s posts stirred something in my heart, and suddenly bits and pieces tucked away in my studio started to gather in my mind, and I knew it was right.  I grabbed the pack of hand dyes from Cherrywood Fabrics, a couple of Carolyn Friedman patterns, and I was off to the races.

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Giuseppe- those feet are just for you. Sorry, no toes, it’s winter.

Even though my gut was screaming with joy over it, I wasn’t confident.  Truly, I was worried that the hand dyes wouldn’t be well received by my “modern quilting” cronies, and I was afraid that it was too artsy, too personal, too much.  But I couldn’t stop.  Like driving through the snow storm because your heart tells you home is ahead, even though everything around you tells you that you don’t know where you are going.

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Click the picture to order Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern “the Grove quilt” at my Etsy shop.

It actually came together pretty quickly.  Kind of freight-trainish.

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Click the pic to go to Jeliquilts’ pattern shop

Is there such a thing as double paper piecing?  I don’t know, but I think that’s what I did.  I used a portion of Kelly Liddle’s pattern “War and Geese” to create the flying geese in the sky above the house, which came from Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern “the Local quilt”.

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Click the pic to link to Carolyn Friedlander’s pattern “the Local quilt” in my Etsy shop.

At this point I started to get worried again.  It was entirely too large for the requirements of a mini quilt swap.  I panicked and sent pictures to Kristi asking what to do, and she very patiently reassured me that all would be well and to carry on.

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Mini’s are generally not supposed to be larger than 24″ on any given side, and mine was way bigger than that.

Doesn’t it look like somewhere that Giuseppe would live?  I think so.  Now, the quilting….

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While I used my favorite, Aurifil thread, to piece the quilt, I did use another thread for quilting. “Smoke” MonoPoly in the top and “Silver” Bottom Line in the bobbin, both by Superior Threads.

I love binding quilts.  I don’t know what it is about it, but it is one of my favorite parts of the process.  I think that in part it is because I don’t sit down for much of anything, and binding gives me a chance to sit and catch up on a show or two.  This time I think I watched some Downton Abbey.

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Feet.

When it was done I thought my heart would burst.  I honestly think this might be one of my most favorite projects.  Ever.  All I ever want to do is give shape and form to all of the things that are flying around inside of me, and I think this time Giuseppe’s words helped me catch a bit of it and make it real.  Thanks isn’t enough.  I get how you feel Giuseppe- we are different people living different lives in different places, but the feelings are still the same.

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I didn’t put a label on this one. I wrote on the back instead. The backing was something from my stash, a piece of fabric printed with travel themed papers- passports, tickets and such. Apropos.

I headed to my local post office, admittedly a little late.  I knew, through my stalking skills on IG, that Giuseppe was out of town, and I hoped that it would be waiting for him when he got home.  Then I heard about the huge snow storm hitting NY, and my heart sunk a little.  But, all’s well that ends well.  Both he and the package were delayed, and they ended up getting home on exactly the same day.  How about them apples?

And if that wasn’t enough, this is the post he put up while waiting in the airport in LA before he got home-

IMG_8843All I can say is follow your heart and your mind will help you find the way.