Sports Cards

I haven’t yet given this quilt back to Mary, but you know how I blog in spurts.  I didn’t want to forget about her quilt by the next time I get around to blogging.  The blocks on this quilt are the Card Trick Quilt Blocks, in this case, I’d call them Sports Cards.  😉 You can find the pattern here.

With the bright colors on this quilt, I didn’t see the need for quilting to compete with the vibrant colors. So, I did an Edge-to-Edge on Mary’s quilt.  What to put on there, though?  Mary’s grandson is into sports, all kinds of sports, the reason for the focus fabric.  I knew I was going to put different kinds of balls on this quilt.  But, how should I tie them together? It needed movement to go with moving sports balls, and to also kind of hide them so you’d have to look for them.

 

Is this next ball an old fashioned soccer ball?  Or, is it a volleyball?  What do you think?

Finally, I put a hockey puck and two sticks in this quilt, because I’ve heard that we have a new hockey rink coming to this area sometime soon.  I wonder if he will find this in his quilt…

I think he’s going to love this vibrant quilt that his grandmother made especially for him.  Don’t you?

Why Does My Longarmer Charge ‘So Much’? by Andi Crafts

I have been reworking my quilting prices lately, because it’s tax season. I need to make a profit so the IRS will not audit me and force me to become a hobby, where I cannot make a living. Turns out, I’m not making a living anyway. Lately, I’ve been figuring out how much I make hourly and it’s not much. I have been doing a lot of Heirloom Quilting for an average of $3.50 per hour. Granted, I am a slow quilter… well, I think I am a slow quilter. I’m pretty picky about what goes into a quilt and will pick out something that bothers me. I take it slow and careful a lot of times to get as close to the perfection as I can that I’d like to end up with. I really am trying to perfect my skills and also become faster in the process. My waiting list is too long for my liking. I really want to get those quilts back to the customers as quickly as I can. But, I do a lot of Custom and Heirloom quilting. Edge to Edge doesn’t take nearly as long. I think people don’t realize that I love doing that just as much as I love doing Custom and beyond.

I have also been seriously thinking of retiring the quilting business and have been applying for “regular” jobs, so that I can make at least minimum wage. Some of the “skill-less” jobs I’ve applied for pay almost $20 per hour. This blog post, written by my FaceBook friend, Andi Rudebusch, is a good explanation of why we charge more than our customers think they should pay.  Click on the link below to see what she has to say.

Why Does My Longarmer Charge So Much?

One of the responses to Andi’s post was telling how much she paid her hairdresser… but he’s “worth it.”  Think about it.  How much do we pay our hairdressers?  If I go to the cheapest place, I pay $15 for about 30 minutes of their time.  That’s the equivalent of $30 per hour.  Could I cut my hair myself?  Yes.  Do I want to?  No.

I really do love my job, and I hate to do this, but I will be raising my prices beginning June 15th.  Until then, if the quilting cost is less than minimum wage for however long it takes me to get a quilt quilted, I will be charging at least minimum wage (half of that goes to withholding taxes, electricity and other overhead costs).  If I don’t get a “real” job before then, I need to be able to pay my bills.  In September, I sent my quilting machine in for service and, between shipping and the cost for it to be serviced, etc., it cost nearly $2,000.  Yes, you read that right.  I don’t want any of you to go into shock when I quote you a price, so I am forewarning you now.  I love you all to death and hope you will stick with me, but I do understand if you need to move on.  Thank you for sticking with me this long.

Black Brick Road?

Nikki started this “Yellow” Brick Road quilt a long time ago.  Our quilting guild is having a UFO (Un-Finished Objects) contest, so she picked this quilt back up and finished it.  This quilt would go on bed of her son, Wyatt.

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She requested flames to be quilted on this quilt.  No problem!  I know how to quilt flames!  Well… that’s what I thought.  Then I got scared and tensed up.  For whatever reason, I was worried that the flames would scare Wyatt (no, I don’t know why… maybe because Halloween is coming up and those black stitches looked like creepy trees to me???), so instead of making big flames all over the quilt, they turned out small.  Ugh!

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I tried to make up for it by writing Wyatt’s name in a block and adding a pet print.

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I even stuck a turtle in there.  Can you see its leg sticking out on the white fabric?

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The problem is that no matter what I did, it would not make up for the back of the quilt.  Nikki had this beautiful fabric for the backing.  I checked at the beginning of my quilting… changed the needle, adjusted the tension and everything else I could think of.  It was all made with quality fabric and Hobbs 80/20 batting, and the batting was loaded face up like it’s supposed to be.  So, I changed needles a couple more times during the quilting and did all the adjusting again.  Same problem… little pokeys of batting coming through.  The only thing I could think of was that I probably should have used black batting on this quilt.  Other big-name quilters have said this will come out after washing.  I don’t know, because I don’t have the quilt and wasn’t going to wash it to find out.  I can only hope.

So, I’ll be brave and show you the back side of the quilt where the turtle lays.

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See what I mean?  So, this is Wyatt’s quilt and it’s Nikki’s Yellow Brick Road quilt, but for me… I’m calling it the Black Brick Road quilt.

Nancy’s Samplers

I have 2 quilts of Nancy’s to share.  According to Nancy, the fabric in this first one makes it a Southwestern Style quilt, so we went with that theme with the quilting, too.

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So, I started with lassos (loops) and Texas-style stars for an allover Edge-to-Edge design.

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Then I snuck in some boots and other Southwestern surprises.  By the way, I try to put surprises in places where you can’t really see them on the front of the quilt so that people looking at your quilt will see the blocks and not the quilting.  But, if you turn the quilt over, you will see them… (bottom pictures).

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Nancy loves her dogs, so I had to put some kind of wild dog in there.  I say “some kind of wild dog” because I was trying to make a wolf howling at the moon, but it looked funny.  I MIGHT have passed for a coyote, but maybe not…  And, this is the back of the quilt, so you can see it better.

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It was a lot of fun to quilt this one.  I haven’t had the chance to quilt a Southwestern Style quilt before.

Her other quilt is another Sampler Quilt made from a mixture of batiks and regular cottons.  This one was a big, honking quilt, so it hung off my design wall.  I can’t wait to get some “real” walls in my basement so I can mount my design wall instead of leaning it against the concrete wall.  It makes the pictures look bowed.

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Since this is going on Nancy’s bed and will get used a lot, she went with an allover Edge-to-Edge design.  So, what kind of quilting would you do with this quilt?  I wasn’t sure.  Nancy suggested leaves, so that is what I did.  The variegated thread blends real well with the colors in her quilt, even the blocks with the light background…. don’t you think?

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Longarm-a-Palooza

If you are in the Kansas City area next weekend and are interested in taking classes to learn Longarm strategies, learn how to maintain a featherweight sewing machine, or how to start a quilting business, check out the Longarm-a-Palooza at Quilted Memeories. I’ll be teaching the business class. Here’s a link for the classes: Longarm-a-Palooza

 

Mary’s Poppin’ Pinwheels

Mary was so concerned about the 3-D pinwheels on her quilt and whether or not I’d be able to quilt around them.  Well, if I were using a pantograph, I wouldn’t be able to quilt it, because the design wouldn’t work with the pinwheels.  But, since I was quilting a freehand Edge to Edge (E2E), I was able to work around them.

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It was a large quilt.  Can you tell?  You can see a close-up of the pinwheels here.  I wonder how she put those pinwheels in there so they’d pop up like that!

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The swirly quilting is supposed to emulate wind blowing.

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So, of course I had to add a cloud with Mr. Wind blowing.  Okay… I know… Well, I TRIED to make it look like a cloud blowing some wind.

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Well, it looks better on the back…

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Okay… fail on Mr. Cloud, so I decided to add some kites.

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And, you can see a couple more surprises better when you look at the back.

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I love doing Edge to Edge quilting.  It’s so much easier for me to sneak stuff in.  😉

 

Blue and Green for Nancy

Nancy loves blue and those colors next to it on the color chart (i.e., purple and green).  This is her latest quilt.   Can you believe she does a lot of her own designing when it comes to her quilts?  Well, actually, she tells her husband what she envisions and he draws it up for her on EQ (Electric Quilter).

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The question was how to quilt this.  I try to give her a different quilting design to look at with each quilt that I do for her.  The white blocks between the whirly bird blocks needed a special design.  I’ve never done these kinds of flowers on her quilts (I don’t think I have…), so that is what I started with.

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I added flowers to the blue blocks in the center of the whirly bird blocks, too.

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And, how do you finish out those colorful strips?

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I had no idea of what to do with the border, but when I looked at those X’s at the end of the colorful strips, I thought I should incorporate those somehow.

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I hope this gives you some ideas of how to finish your next quilt!