Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stay-cation in the Studio, Day 3

As predicted, the hubs and I spent a lovely day together yesterday--library, sushi, pedis--and not a stitch was made. (That was hard on me!) Today I was back in the Bottoms Up! Studio, not quite as focused as I was on Monday. Every time I think I'm organized, there's something I need that I can't find. I just purchased some fusible batting tape at the quilt show I attended earlier this month, and I couldn't find it. It finally turned up and I used it to piece together several scraps of Warm & White to use on a practice quilt.

I still consider myself a novice longarm quilter. I have been using my longarm this year more than in any of the almost 7 years I've owned it, and finally feel comfortable with it. I still lack certain longarm skills, such as Feathers. Ah, feathers--the go-to answer for most quilts when nothing else inspires. I have issues trying to quilt feathers. My oldest used to say, "Mom, you are SO left-brain." Yes, I am--and I try to let go and let things flow, but feathers continue to stump me.

Sharon Schamber came to our shop shortly after we purchased the longarm. I watched her quilt feathers--talk about lovely. I would try and try (and practice on paper--LOTS). Katrina was over one evening a while back and I told her how much I wanted to do feathers and that I especially wanted to quilt them on my latest Blooming Nine Patch. After seeing how she drew them I thought, "That looks a lot easier." So today's project was practicing feathers--traditional, and chicken. Also, some practice on filler for some borders on a charity quilt I hope to complete this week.

The quilt I practiced on today is from the International Mystery Tour we promoted at the shop. It's been sitting in the pile waiting for borders and Katrina said, "No borders! Feathers!" I loaded it up and away I flew--I still have lots of practicing to do, but I did improve by the time I reached the last pass:

I realize the thread isn't the best choice, but this was also to test a new thread I had never used because it's going on the charity quilt (I don't like surprises when I'm longarming). After a few minor tension adjustments, it was smooth sailing. Granted, it's not the prettiest thing, but the quilt will be used for something in our home (like a throw for one of the dogs). 

I would like to give a shout-out to Nichole Webb Rivera--she's an outstanding longarm quilter and she's also now serving as a personal coach and mentor for other longarmers wanting to get into the business or improve their business. She has a new website and is GIVING AWAY several of her workshop/class handouts that are fabulous. I'm hoping to take a class with her next year. If you're looking to further your machine quilting skills, I highly recommend signing up for her newsletter.

Tomorrow the plan is to quilt the Barn Chicks quilt--I need to piece the backing and then we're ready to load. I hope I've practiced enough chicken feathers to do it justice. I'll show you parts of it, but can't show all of it until it's gifted in October.

And good grief, it's already Wednesday! 

Just keep quilting,