Loved.

There is something so special about a quilt that is loved to death.

I think when most quilts are made, the maker spends hours thinking of the recipient. Wishing them well, praying for their safety, hoping for their future.

I know for me personally that I am happiest when the quilts I make are used, and yes even in need of repairs.  I don’t make them to be put away in a closet somewhere.

I recently had a quilt brought in that has been so loved that it was literally falling apart.  This quilt is the girl’s everything.  It is the only thing that she wants when she’s upset or sad or feeling any of those scary emotions that a kid goes through when the world seems so big and overwhelming.

They couldn’t just get rid of it, she still loves this quilt so very much.  But she couldn’t keep using it in the shape it was in.

 

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Faded, threadbare in places, a large hole, missing pieces.

 

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Poor Dora.
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This section is all that was left of the binding on the bottom of the quilt.

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The backing was shredding and the batting was disintegrating.

It took me a little time to decide how I wanted to fix this.  I originally thought I was going to have to just replace the torn Dora with a different fabric all together.  I knew it needed a completely new backing obviously.  New binding on the bottom at least.  New batting.  I stared at it for a little while and started working it through in my mind.

The first thing I did was to completely deconstruct the quilt.  I honestly wanted to keep the original as in tact as possible- but the batting was gone and really I didn’t want to enclose the backing into the new quilt.  The quilting that was left was very light and relatively painless to take out.

I used a solid off white to back the original top to add some stability to it.  I didn’t want the top to have too much strain on it anymore since it was so fine.

There were holes forming all along the top of the quilt and I was pretty sure patching so many would look really obvious and could just make it weaker than it already was.  I had a pink in the shop that actually matched the original color pretty closely so I added a strip to the top take care of the holes.

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The top edge had multiple holes.
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A 2″ strip that matched the original color of the quilt to reinforce the top of the quilt.

The main reason they brought this quilt in was this hole.  I guess it was the final straw, I’d been given the go ahead to not worry about saving the torn Dora and replace it with a different fabric altogether, but the more I looked at it the more I started thinking I could just fold the ripped edge under and stitch it down.

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The giant hole.
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I folded the edge under and pinned into place

I knew I would lose some of the design, and have a small pucker at the end of the tear but honestly those things kind of work themselves out in the wash and weren’t a big concern to me.  I just wanted to get the hole closed up and secure.  I decided not to try closing it up from the back like a seam- I just didn’t think the original fabric would hold up long term to a new seam.  So I went for a zig zag stitch using invisible thread.

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Invisible thread for the win!
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Not too shabby. Not too much of the original image was lost.

It turned out pretty good honestly.  I lost a little bit of Dora’s hair and a bit of her leg, but she doesn’t look too distorted.  Now that the hole was fixed I needed to take care of the smaller holes.  They weren’t straight tears, so stitching them up would have distorted things too much so little patches were the ticket.  I drew a few little hearts on some Wonder Under and used them to cover the smaller holes, a zig zag using invisible thread again and they were good to go.

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A little Wonder Under and a bit of Grunge Lemon Drop
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Patched and ready to quilt.

Then it was time to quilt.  I replaced the original batting with Quilter’s Dream Poly.  I typically use Quilter’s Dream Cotton, but I wanted the quilt to have a very similar weight and feel to the original. The original had poly.

The original quilt was quilted just around the blocks and the stitching to tack down the fleece fringe acted as quilting as well.  The blocks were a little too large to not have something tacking them down in the center though so I quilted along the edge of the blocks like the original then outlined each Dora to secure the center of the blocks.

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Quilting, quilting, quilting…
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You can barely see the quilting around Dora

The original quilt was missing one leg of the fleece fringe.  However over time the rest of the fringe had stretched and distorted so much that with a bit of careful placement I was able to fill in the missing area.  I reattached the original fringed binding down each side then added a new binding to the top and bottom.

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Heart patches and reattached fringe
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New binding along the top.
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Finished quilt.

 

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A shot of the back with the new backing and quilting.

This was a fun challenge.  I quilted this on my domestic since my longarm was still packed up from the move.  I haven’t used my free motion foot on my domestic in quite some time so it was a nice little project to do that with.  I’m very happy with the outcome and I truly hope this little girl is happy to have her much loved quilt serviceable for many more years to come.

-Violet

 

 

Goodbye. Hello.

So I’m sitting here, with blurry eyes and a giant coffee, at the Subaru dealership getting a new tire this Memorial Day morning.  Joseph, the kids, and I have been putting late nights in every day this past week working to get the new shop ready.  The lack of sleep is starting to catch up to me- anyone that knows me knows that I love my sleep.  I’m not a fan of late nights combined with early mornings.

Seriously.  May has been a freaking whirlwind month.

I mean, I knew it was going to be a little hectic- quilts to finish, a 5k, Spring Quilt Market, moving.  What I didn’t expect was for it to go by SUPER slowly the first 2 weeks- then boom the second 2 weeks gone.

Just like that.  Gone.

So.  Where to begin?

I guess at the beginning?

At the beginning of May I picked up the key for a new space for the shop.

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A new key for a new space!

 

I made the announcement later than I planned that I was moving shop, I was waiting for a few things to fall into place first, and last week we decided that we would be moved by June 1st.  We originally told my current landlord that we’d be out by the 1st (when we told him it still seemed so far away!) and, even though he’s very understanding and wouldn’t mind, we don’t want to disrupt his plans by staying past that.  So now everything is moving very quickly.

This past Saturday was my last day open in the current location.  Joseph left for work and I decided I’d lay down for a couple of minutes and wake back up at 7. I drifted off to sleep and when I woke up, I felt like it was later than 7.  I thought “Eh whatever, it’s not too late”, then I drifted back to sleep.  I woke up again and thought “Nah- my alarm will probably be going off soon, I’ll get up then.”   Then as I was laying there waiting for my alarm to go off it suddenly hit me that I was supposed to go let a friend’s dogs out.  I looked at my phone and saw that it was 8:23.  Not 7.  I jumped out of bed and got ready ridiculously fast and raced over to their house to let out those poor dogs that I had completely forgotten about.  As I was driving over I noticed my tire light was on.  When I got to their house I could hear air coming out of a tire.  My rear passenger tire was half flat already.  I ran in, took care of the dogs, the cat, checked on the hamster and the turtle, and decided to head straight to the shop.  I had an order that needed to go to the post office, I didn’t have time to get coffee at home so I planned to stop at the coffee shop, all my plans were foiled. By the time I got to the shop, my tire was completely flat.  I needed to get the order out so I did something I hate doing- I called a friend for help.  She headed straight over to pick up the fabric and ran it the post office for me as I wandered to the back of the shop to make myself a cup of coffee- only to find that I couldn’t.  I was out of what I needed for coffee.  Cue the sad face.  So I had to ask her to do me another favor and pick up a coffee for me.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have made it.  The day went by quickly and before I knew it I was closing up shop for the last time in that location.  It just seemed so sudden.  I didn’t quite know how I felt.  Sad because wow- it’s been such an adventure opening my little shop there and I’ve had so much fun.  But so excited because the new location is going to be a great space for my little shop to continue to grow.

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Not where my tire should be…

I knew my lease for the shop was coming up this summer.  And I knew I didn’t want to sign another year- I just didn’t love the class space and knew I wasn’t going to be able to comfortably seat more than 4-5 sewists at a given time.  I mean- yeah I could rip walls down to open the shop up to the unused space- but I just wasn’t feeling it.  So a couple of months ago Joseph and I started looking for a new space.

We found a space that I really love.  I can’t wait to see it come together- because well- right now it’s still quite the mess and we have a lot of great plans for it.

The first two weeks the restroom was being updated to bring it up to code.  And technically two things need to be fixed still so I can pass my city inspection.

The second and third week the electrician was in making sure everything was up to speed.

The third week there was a guy in replacing ceiling tiles.

And then it was finally clear for us to go in.

With a week and a half to get everything ready.

We originally planned to be moved and up and running by the 30th so it wouldn’t disrupt business at all but alas things took longer than planned for the repairs.  We weren’t able to get in there and start really working until right before we had to leave for Quilt Market (another post for sure).

So we get home from market with what is essentially a week and a half to get everything done- and somehow we are determined to do it.

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My new favorite coffee cup.

 

We been going to the new location every evening after work to spend a few hours working, and at times it feels like we bit off way more than we can chew and there’s no way it’ll be ready in time.  But we are starting to see major progress and I do believe it’ll all start coming together.

Fingers crossed my reinspection (according to spellcheck that’s not really a word) goes well tomorrow and that I can got my business license update to the new address and then actually open when we get everything ready- ha!

We will have to close the brick and mortar shop for hopefully no more than a week- but I will still be available to take care of everyone’s quilty needs through the Facebook page, website, or phone.  I really hate the disruption, but I it’s going to be a great space and worth it.

-Violet

Uncivilized.

So the other day I was scrolling Pinterest aka The Ultimate Time Suck and I came across a pin about the ‘Bad Habits Quilters Need to Quit’.

I like reading these things occasionally to see just how untrained I really am.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, I am self taught.  I don’t have any fancy titles or certificates.  I just happen to be someone that loves fabrics and quilting.

In fact most of the time I feel like I’m just making things up as  I go along.

Boy, that really instills a lot of confidence doesn’t it?

Anyway- so I’m reading this blog post about bad habits and honestly, I’m feeling pretty good about things now!  I’m not as uncivilized as  I thought!

A few of the habits that struck me:

The first bad habit mentioned is not organizing your scraps- I technically do! I don’t organize by color but I do organize them!  As I’m cutting for a project I take any piece that is at least a 2.5″ inch square and I throw it in a large zippered pouch that is always sitting near my work space.  Once the zippered pouch is full I process my scraps- I give them a good starch and press, then cut as big a square from them as I can.  I sort my squares into jars labeled 5.5″, 4.5″, 3.5″, and 2.5″ and that’s it.  I don’t keep anything smaller than 2.5″.  Once a jar is full I start making something with the scraps.  Too many scraps around make me apprehensive so I keep them to a minimum.

The second is being overly critical of your work.  SO. MUCH. YES. to this one!!  Seriously. We’re all guilty I think.  Stop pointing your mistakes out to others.  Stop beating yourself up over misaligned seams.  We all make mistakes.  We all should try to be less judgy of ourselves and others.  We’re all still learning.

Another one they mentioned was putting water in your iron.  I’m actually not guilty of this one!  I assumed I was just mistreating my iron by not giving it the water it so desperately needed, but one time many years ago I was ironing one of Joseph’s shirts for work and my iron spit dark orange water all over the back of the shirt! It was ruined and  I was scarred for life- I’ve never put water in an iron since.

Let’s see what else am I guilty of- cutting in the same spot on the cutting mat? Check. Sewing over pins? Yep. Unthreading may machine by pulling the thread out backwards? Always. (Although that one still baffles me- what’s wrong with pulling the thread out backwards?!)

Anyway- I found the post interesting, I’m not much of a rule follower when it comes to quilting- I’m more of a “trim to fit” kind of quilter. I habitually wait too long in between needle changes.  I don’t prewash.  I think machine stitching your binding is perfectly acceptable.

What are some of your “bad” quilty habits?

-Violet

Spring Break Shenanigans.

So it’s spring break here this week.

Which typically doesn’t mean a ton in my life, however this week I got to have a really fun experience!

On Wednesday April brought her two little girls in the use the long arm.

Oh the cuteness!

 

I had a practice piece set up for them when they came in and they both dove right in.

I love the see the creativity of little minds. They haven’t been bogged down by the “rules” of quilting yet.

You want to use different stitch lengths throughout your quilt? Ok.

You think there needs to be a dinosaur right there in the middle of your love themed quilt? Sure!

These girls had a great time quilting their quilts- it was truly something that was so much fun to watch.

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The other cool thing about little kids getting to quilt at the shop?  I’ve been finding random little love notes since then.

Oh the cuteness!

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-Violet

The Socially Awkward Shop Owner.

Yep.  That’s me.

I find at times that I am forced to come out of my shell and sometimes- I do pretty well.

I smile.  I say the right things.  I engage in conversation.

People have no idea that inside I’m shaking and nauseous and just generally trying to decide how to politely extricate myself from the situation.

Before opening the shop I was actually worried how I’d do talking to people on a regular basis.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised to find that I love having my little shop and I really love talking to people that come in.  There are some days that I find that I’m chattier than others- but I think that’s the case for most people.

Anyway- so today.

I’m taking part in a travelling quilt group on Instagram and this month I am working on Kathy’s quilt.  One of the blocks I’m making for it is the Hipster Fox– oh my goodness LOVE HIM- but he’s intense- 17ish colors and 202 pieces, paper pieced.

So I started piecing him last week and found that I didn’t have quite the right shades of orange-y browns I need for his fur.  I decided to check out one of the other quilt shops that opened not too long before I did on the other side of Little Rock.

I’ve been meaning to check them out but have never been there because well it’s 40 miles away and my two days off are usually pretty full.  But I needed to get this fabric for the fox and I figured it was the perfect opportunity.

So today was the day- the kids and I drove all the way to the opposite side of Little Rock to see if she had the colors I needed.

I decided that while I was there I would introduce myself since we are a tiny little community- the shop owners of LR.

We got there and browsed for a little while and while she was cutting my fabric I stepped why out of my comfort zone and introduced myself.

She was very friendly and we got to chatting.  All was well- I was actually holding a conversation!  Then she asked me what all I had in my shop.

What?

So responded with “uh, well, I have fabric. And a long arm. I quilt. I sell quilting supplies. So…yeah….”

What kind of response was that?!

I am certain that is not really what she was asking- I mean obviously I have fabric- right?

So yeah- I stepped out of my comfort zone, then just as quickly ran right back.

I swear I should carry note cards.

Teaching?

When I was in high school I worked at a restaurant.

I started out as a greeter, moved on to cashier, then server, then bookkeeper.

At some point during this it was suggested that I become a training server.

Seemed like a good idea, apparently.

I was pretty decent at the rest of the tasks handed me, why not help train new people?

Well I sucked at it.

Really.

I was just awful.

I didn’t enjoy the task at all.

So there was absolutely no sadness in my heart when the title was taken away from me.

I’ve always figured that was just not in my bucket of abilities.

I’m not made to teach, I guess. (Says the homeschooling mom of two…)

I’m not messed up about it.

So anyway.  When I opened the shop some of the first questions I got from customers were about classes.

Was I going to teach sewing and quilting?

I said that I would probably eventually add classes at some point. (It is almost impossible for me to say no- I tend to give a very noncommittal maybe on the 5th of Never kind of answer instead.)

Anyway.  I said maybe, but my mind was saying most likely not. (See?  Even here I can’t say no.  My mind was saying no.)

I just didn’t think I’d be any good anyway- so why disappoint people?

I truly hadn’t even thought of classes.

But people kept coming in and asking for classes!

I couldn’t keep stalling and putting them off, but I really didn’t want to do them.

I mean.  I’m self taught.  I’m pretty sure I do everything the “wrong way”.  I’m not “classically trained” (whatever that’s supposed to mean).  I haven’t been doing this for decades.

In my mind I had no business teaching anyone anything about sewing.

Reluctantly. Very reluctantly, I decide that I couldn’t stall anymore and set up my first workshop (I prefer to call them workshops- it sounds less formal and therefore less strict than classes.)

I’m pretty sure my first workshop was a Quilting 101 series.  It’s a three week class and we go through an entire quilt.

I had one student.

And I was so incredibly thankful I only had one student!

I was a nervous wreck then whole week leading up to it.

That first class went beautifully.

I was so relieved. And I was thrilled when it appeared that I’d passed on the quilting bug to someone.

I started thinking of other workshops I could have and started telling people about them when they’d come in and ask if I had classes.

I was amazed at just how many people were excited to learn that I did have classes.

I still keep my classes very small because I still question my ability to teach anyone anything about sewing.

And my students keep coming back and my 101 students seem to take to quilting with an energy that is so fun to witness.

It turns out I love it.  I love passing on little tips and tricks.  I love when someone that is completely unsure of themselves makes something beautiful.  I love seeing them become more confident in their abilities.

I’m finding that it is so very rewarding to have someone that I “taught” to quilt come in and tell me about their list of projects and to see that they are embracing this art/ hobby/ skill.

It’s just one of those funny things I didn’t expect when the thought of opening a quilt shop popped in my mind.

-Violet

Finisher.

Two blog posts, one title.

No need in reinventing the wheel.

So this week I had the honor of finishing a quilt.

I do this often seeing as people regularly bring me their quilt tops for quilting.

But this time it was different.

My customer brought in a quilt top that she remembers watching her grandmother make 50 years ago.

Her grandmother finished it as a coverlet.

The back of the quilt top had all the raw edges still exposed (but held up surprisingly well!), and there was a 6 inch drop added to three sides.  The corners of the drop were pleated, so the piece wouldn’t lay flat.

Over time the original fabrics faded in spots and the drop had been ripped away in places.

It was time for this lovely quilt to be finished as a quilt.

I am always so honored when I am entrusted to finish a family heirloom.

To start I cut off the original drop and squared up what was remaining.

I added new borders and it was ready to quilt!

I went with paisley quilting and infinities in the sashing. (I don’t know if it’s actually called infinity quilting, I just call it that.)

I’m very happy with how it turned out.

To finish it off I bound it in yellow to match the yellow in the flowers.

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I added little angel wings to one of the girls.

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The vintage fabrics add an instant crinkle.

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I just loved working on this one.  When I’m quilting a vintage or antique top I often find myself wondering about the maker.  What kind of person were they?  What kind of quilter were they?  Why didn’t they finish?

-Violet