Monday, November 25, 2019

Terry Frey's jeweled butterly, a finished quilt

drumroll, please!

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

After 145 hours
 of cutting, sewing, pressing, and quilting,
a 4 day battle with bleeding dye,
lots of sweat,
and even some tears,
we have a finished
one of a kind

This quilt contains
117 different fabrics,
(many of them fussy cut)
2 battings
(Quilters Dream 100% wool on top of Pellon 80/20)
6 different threads,
and is
- quite possibly -
the most epic quilt
I will ever make.

Terry contacted me Oct 23rd, 2018
and asked if she could commission me to make a butterfly quilt.

We messaged back and forth,
and it turned out
that what she really wanted
was a jewel-tone version 

So that is what I set out to make.

I spent a little over a month searching for
and collecting fabrics,
and made my first block
on Nov 28th

Terry wanted me to 
'put my mark' on her quilt,
which I very much appreciated,
as you all know,
I'm not so great with patterns in general.
And honestly,
I'm not the biggest fan of that particular pattern

I bought the pattern,
but I took an awful lot of liberties with it 😉

(And then,
thanks to cutting mistakes,
bad maths,
and who knows what all,
I took several more liberties...🙄)

I swapped out blocks I wasn't crazy about
and replaced them with  a bunch of self-drafted ones
(and self-drafted versions of others)

that were either meaningful,
or would help me create the look I was aiming for,
for the butterfly.

At a glance,
the quilt looks like most of the other 
but when you look more closely,
you can see I changed things up a good bit.

I worked in pairs,
making mirror images of each block,
and made the heart borders 
when we couldn't find a fabric that would work.

I finished the (3 sections) top
in mid-February.

I basted each side separately
because there was no way 
I was going to attempt to quilt
a queen-sized
double-batted quilt
on my domestic machine.

(little side note:
I thread basted one side
and that took for-e-ver,
so I spray basted the other.
The thread basted side has several small tucks and folds
quilted into the back.
So - unless you're hand-quilting,
I'd recommend spray basting with 505)

I started quilting the wing portions on February 26th
(doing my best to quilt mirror images on each side)
and finished them March 7th

For a few weeks,
I quilted the background fabric on my Janome
while also practicing quilting on the longarm.

Every time I finished a section of background,
I'd add hand quilting with silk button twist
 to outline the butterfly.

(Terry could take or leave the hand-quilting,
but I figured it wouldn't really have my mark on it
if I didn't add a least a little 😏)

Terry was in no rush for the quilt
and I had some other quilts that needed to be made
to celebrate a niece's graduation
and the arrival of a new nephew,
so I put hers on hold
while I worked on those.

Somewhere around that time,
my left shoulder started hurting really badly
and I had seriously reduced range of motion,
which made pushing that quilt
through a domestic machine near impossible.

It suddenly became really important
 to improve my longarm quilting,
because the longer my shoulder hurt,
the more I wanted to be able to finish the butterfly quilt
on the longarm.
So I focused on getting my longarms skills
on par with my domestic machine quilting skills.

Longarming was a little painful,
but not nearly as much as regular machine quilting,
and it had the benefit of being soooo much faster.

When my longarming was finally up to snuff,
I loaded up the unfinished side
and completed it amazingly fast,
and even achieved reasonably decent symmetry.

and finished the rest of the quilting
in just a few days.

(this color is soo wrong 😑 )

Because I quilted the remaining background so fast
I had lots of hand quilting to catch up on...

Then I made and attached the binding over the course of a few days,
and sewed it down with big stitches.

I finished the quilt on Tuesday, Nov 19th,
took a quick celebratory photo,
 and tossed it in the wash.

To my absolute horror,
it came out with pink splotches 
where there shouldn't have been any pink.

After many soaks and washings
it was restored to its proper glory on Friday.


And now 
almost exactly one year after I started it,
Terry's Jeweled Butterfly
is finally ready
to go home.

and start saving for the next one 😁.

(You can find progress pictures
with  associated stories, whines, celebrations
and thought processes

Terry ~ this quilt is filled with love and hope and prayers
and fond memories.
Thanks for hiring me to make it for you 
and helping me save lives.

I love you!!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

becoming a longarmer

Picking up where we left off yesterday...
(this lying around all day is good for something, I suppose)

While deeply grateful for the opportunity to practice and learn
on other people's tops,
I was starting to feel 
that if I continued this much longer,
I was going to be getting the short end of the stick.

I totally recognize I could not have gotten to where I am
as a quilter
without these ladies allowing me to quilt 
less than amazing quilting
on their carefully pieced tops.

but because of that
I was actually starting to get
- dare I say -

I didn't feel like I could just go on 
quilting for free,
no matter how badly I wanted
 to be able to continue to practice regularly.

There are only so many hours a week 
I can dedicate to this hobby/ministry.
and while I was loving the improvement to my quilting,
I wasn't doing anything to help improve lives for my RR ladies.
(Not that I always have to be - but it is always on my radar)

I started thinking about maybe quilting for pay,
but at a reduced beginner rate.
It'd be a win for me,
because I'd still be getting practice,
but I'd also be able to earn some money
for more machines for Rahab's rope,
and it'd be a win for clients,
because they'd be getting decent quilting
- with a little more character 
than computer generated edge to edge 
or pantograph quilting -
for less $$
(and that money would be going to a good cause!)

I also had been thinking
as much as I love Lucy
and am so grateful and thrilled to have this old longarm,
I'd really like to be able to do ruler work.
(translated - I'd like a different longarm someday
in the not too distant future)

It's something that I'd been looking forward to
 about owning a longarm machine.
I didn't realize
that without a stitch regulator,
ruler work would be difficult (at best)
and when you add a very heavy machine to the equation,
it's next to impossible.

So I wondered -
would it be okay if I saved some of that money
for myself

God is always so good to us.
Every big decision we've had,
where we might be inclined to not see exactly eye to eye,
He has brought us -separately- to complete agreement.
Where one of us starts the conversation
(with perhaps a bit of trepidation)
and the other one says,
"Yes! That's exactly what I was thinking too."

The end of July,
Tyler told me he'd been thinking.

He thought that I should think about 
quilting for pay.
And that I shouldn't donate all of the money,
but keep some of my earnings
to save for another longarm.

a horribly pieced and badly cared for vintage quilt top I purchased off Etsy.
Quilting this showed me that I just might actually have a gift!
I'll share more about this one when it reaches the top of the to-be-bound stack ;-)

I didn't want to just throw myself out there.
(I don't want to spend my precious sewing time
quilting ugly tops.
Just being honest here.)
So I was thinking and pondering and praying 
about how to proceed.

the quilting on the colored portion and the right side background fabric was done on my domestic.
I finally got good enough, and brave enough (and tired enough of this quilt needing to be finished...)
to figure out how to put the partially quilted thing on the longarm.
The top portion was done by Lucy.

Three days after Tyler and I had that conversation,
I got a message from Mary.

She wanted to discuss
 hiring me to quilt for her.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

lovin' Lucy

I just can't even express how much 
I am loving
having a longarm.

Sometimes I'll be in the middle of quilting
and just feel 
This is what I was made for.

In the first few days after buying Lucy,
I had several moments of 
"What have we done?!"
"I just wasted almost $2000!"
but then Tyler replaced the wheels
(which we sort of expected he'd need to do)
and I bought a Towa gauge
and got in a little more practice

I started having

I quickly figured out 
that I would better retain my improvements
if I could quilt fairly regularly.

But I couldn't quite figure out how to 
piece lots of quilt tops
in order to practice quilting
at least once every week to ten days.

Then, some Instagram friends
lovingly and generously sent me some of their tops
to practice on,
and assured me that they would cherish any imperfections
(of which I had assured them 
there would be plenty!)

I will always be so grateful for those women.

Their faith in me,
and their graciousness towards me
allowed me to increase my skills
so much more rapidly
than if I were 'going it alone'.

When I didn't have anything to quilt 
and it'd been a week or so,
I'd throw a yard of fabric on the frame
and just play.
(I've amassed quite a stack of quilts to be bound)

My quilting went from

to decent

to actually kinda good.

And Lucy and I were loving every bit of the learning.

Well. I was anyways,
and I can only assume from Luc's wonderful compliance
that she's lovin it too.

I still love piecing quilt tops,
but man,
I'm loving quilting them more than I ever expected. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

life in the fast lane (not)

What I didn't tell you in my last post
shortly after I took that picture,
I went in the old house
 through what had been the doorway to the LEM
(and before that - the kitchen window)
and then exited
with my arms full.

I misjudged quite how deep of a step down it was
and with no hands available to grab onto the opening
 to help ease my way down,
I ended up sort of falling out of the house,
landed hard on my foot (on unlevel ground)
and tore my dadgum meniscus in my right knee.

You might remember
 I had a slight tear in my meniscus several years ago
and only went to the doctor 
when I had to
use my hands to move my leg
to move my foot from the gas pedal to the brake
while driving.

Or that I went months after injuring my achilles
before going to the doctor.

I didn't even wait 24 hours before going this time.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

know what this means??

This means
that the LEM will soon be moved over
and attached to the new house.