apqs · Design · Finished Quilt · Longarm · Millennium · Millie · Quilt · quilter's hideaway · Quilting · Quilting with Care · Sewing · Uncategorized

What’s In a Name?

Happy 2018! It is a new year, and we have so many things on the agenda for the shop. I’m not a huge New Years Resolution person, but I am really hoping to find time to blog more this year.

 

With that said, I am also helping to continue learning more on Millie, and I started early learning new things this year. On Christmas Eve/Day, I quilted a custom quilt for my Brother-in-Law. Somehow, my two brother-in-laws have been able to convince me to only quilt custom for them. It has always been a large learning curve. Each time, I have learned new things, and thankfully the quilts always turn out great!

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This particular quilt was a gift for the man officiating his wedding. The family’s last name starts with a G and they have three kids: Ellyn Beth, Jax Joseph, and Jones Dean. I promise we checked the spelling multiple times during this process, but it still made me nervous.

Devin, my brother-in-law, had the idea to quilt all of the childrens’ names into the quilt. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well… I couldn’t find an easy way to do it without a ton of jumps between every letter (A jump is when Millie stops sewing in one spot and moves to another spot. It leaves a stretch of loose thread that needs trimmed.), so I improvised. I spent quite a lot of time in PatternCad, a program in QuiltPath that allows a pattern to be “drawn”.

I grumbled quite often while “drawing” this pattern, but I love how it turned out. Now I want to do a similar quilt for my grandmother with all of the grandchildren’s names, but the idea of creating patterns for all of those names makes me worried.

 

See you at the machine,

Care

 

 

apqs · Finished Project · Finished Quilt · Longarm · Millennium · Millie · Quilt · quilter's hideaway · Quilting · Quilting with Care · Uncategorized

Millie, the machine, Earned Overtime This Weekend

Happy Monday!screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-58-02-pm

Today feels like Wednesday, or maybe Thursday without the added excitement that tomorrow is Friday.  It just has the drag that we are pushing through another week.  The get up and go of a Monday following a relaxing weekend is nowhere in sight.  I’m tired.  The reason I’m tired is exciting, though.  We open THIS weekend!  I never thought the day would come, but there are only 4 more days until Grand Opening, and we will be ready.

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I might be drinking caffeine which I normally avoid and running around with a slightly jumbled brain, but it is beyond worth it.  Dreams are coming true, y’all.  Yes, I just said “y’all” maybe I do need a little sleep…

I digress.  This weekend was a whirlwind of fabric, Millie working away, and things coming together.  We could open tomorrow, but there are still a few things I am hoping to finish up beforehand.  It feels a little like wedding-week or the week of a big performance.  These are the only things I can find comparison to at the moment, but both are very positive and we survived each in their own way, so this will be no exception.

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First up, Millie earned overtime this weekend.  It started with a ginormous King-size purple and camo customer quilt.  The pattern was simple but executed well and I can only imagine how long it took to finish the mile-long seams from one edge to another.  We found a quilting pattern called antlers and deer hooves, and I am so happy we found it because there is nothing that could have been more perfect.  Take a look!

Next, we pulled out my most favorite panel that just came in.  I wanted it visible for you to be able to see, and decided to toss it up on Millie and play.  Bruce the Moose came to life with an acorn precisely placed on his nose… snout?… I didn’t plan that, but maybe I should say I did? The acorn adds to the overall playfulness of this quilt.  It is a favorite for sure.

Bruce will hang in our kid room along with a cradle my grandfather made for me.  Our shop is filled with family and love.  Much of the furniture is from my grandmother’s house when she passed away.  The sewing machine my mom learned on which was purchased and owned by my great-grandmother sets in front of a quilt that my mom watched my great-grandmother sew using remnants of tattered clothing.  My mom’s first quilt hangs along with my first quilt-the difference is incredible, but each quilt showcases our tastes in a funny way.  Each quilt hanging in our store holds a story, as every quilt does.

The furniture in our shop, though many of the pieces are from IKEA, includes several family pieces: the cabinet puzzles were kept in at my grandmother’s, crates my husband built for our wedding, my mother-in-law let us borrow furniture, more of grandmother’s furniture, pieces made by my grandfather for me, and so much more are all mixed together.  It was fun creating the feel of our shop and trying to find ways to mix the old and new, much like mixing older fabric from your stash with new for a quilt.

After Bruce the Moose was complete, I worked on another customer’s quilt.  This one used hand-dyed fabric.  I love seeing all the different ways people create quilts and how their personality is showcased through fabric.

This quilt was yellow with pieced triangles and we found an all over triangle pattern to quilt on it.  I love how it turned out.

After Millie had a few seconds of a break, I needed one last thing finished before the weekend was over.  I had great plans of piecing a quilt for the back of our checkout area’s dresser.  We have it turned backwards so the drawers can be used for storage, but it left a slightly ugly back.  Time just kept sneaking away, and I made the decision to take a solid piece of fabric and try quilting it much like a Wholecloth quilt. It is not perfect, actually far from perfect, but it will work.  It also gave me a reason to use purple thread! Where are my purple loving friends??

Once it is cut down to size and binding attached, it will do the job.  I will keep practicing and one day, I will make a Wholecloth quilt. I just love how they look.

I think that about wraps up our weekend.  More boxes are due for arrival on Wednesday, and we will send out our first Newsletter tomorrow or the next day.  If you would like to be included in our newsletter, please send me an email with “newsletter” in the subject (quiltershideaway@gmail.com)

Don’t forget, you can have your own Bruce the Moose if you come to the Grand Opening on SATURDAY!

See you at the machine,

•Care

Squirrel moment: every time I post a blog, I worry about all of my high school and college English teachers reading it.  I’m sorry to all teachers and grammar enthusiasts trudging through my many issues. You are a champ for continuing to read these posts. Thank you!

FOUR MORE DAYS!!

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apqs · Challenge · Design · Finished Quilt · Longarm · Millennium · Millie · Pattern · Quilt · Quilting · Quilting with Care · Sewing · Uncategorized

Standing at the Start Line

Everyone has to have a starting point. This is mine.

 

Not that long ago I wrote a blog post about us opening some very special boxes. Once we assembled our Millie, I spend almost every waking moment wanting to sew with her.

This weekend, I was able to take a two day class on quilt path, Millie’s brain/computer quilting system. There was so much information and I am very tired, but I have 20 pages of notes to hopefully pull me through and remember everything that was said.
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It was an incredible class that was both informational and fun. It also left my mind wandering to new quilt ideas and more projects (because we all need more of those, right?). Saturday’s class started at 9am and we dove right in. When class ended around 5pm I just wanted to jump behind the machine and apply many of the skills we had learned in simulation mode during class.

After class I drove straight to my parents house, loaded my first actual quilt, not just pieces of fabric sandwiched together, and got to work. Nerves were high as I leaned in to push the SEW button, but everything functioned fairly well.
There was a bobbin change, a thread break, safe zone areas to set, patterns to resize, repeat, and nest, and so much more.  I think I might need a checklist to remember the common steps for the next few quilts.

My weakest area is either setting the numbers for pattern sizes and thinking through that aspect of the loading process, or the last partial row at the bottom of a quilt. This row was causing a few challenges last night while quilting.

I thought I just had a problem with my pattern or a setting. I wasn’t sure, so after finishing my first quilt I loaded a second– determined to figure out what was happening.
I should clarify that the problem I was having was manually working through the jumps and a system error between the computer and the machine. There may have also been a few errors with the users brain. It happens. It was still sewing fine, occasionally there would be a thread break sensor go off when the thread was fine or it would start tracing a pattern when it was supposed to be sewing.  With each issue I was able to back it up and restart at the stitch the problem started on without changing the end result of the quilt.

With the second quilt loaded, a pattern imported, and settings seemingly happy I dove in. Unfortunately I had the same issues on the second quilt as I had with the first.
Thankfully, when I returned to class today I was able to ask a handful of questions and come up with a game plan on trouble shooting to find an answer. No matter what, she still sews beautifully and I can work around this hiccup manually instead of automatically for now.

I am just so thrilled with how each quilt turned out. I love watching Millie sew and thinking through how to enhance different quilts with different quilting designs and concepts. It opens an entire new element to quilting.
Sew you at the machine,

•Care
apqs · Challenge · English Paper Piecing · EPP · Longarm · Millennium · Millie · Quilt · Quilting · Quilting with Care · Sewing · Uncategorized · WIP week · Work in Progress

Millie Hums

We went on vacation this last week and I completely checked out on technology. It was wonderful, but I am happy to be back!

I missed WIP Week for this month, but I did spend some time working on an unfinished project. I hope you did too! See my last post for more about my WIP Project. It was an English Paper Pieced quilt designed by Mickey Depre (Her patterns are fabulous!).

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We flew back home late Friday night and yesterday (Saturday) I spent on a date with Millie. If you remember, we had a few boxes delivered the week before I left town. Those boxes turned into an amazing, APQS longarm machine. I AM IN LOVE! Sorry My Love, you might have a little competition.

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Back to Millie- Her full name has turned into Millennium Falcon thanks to one of my awesome Brother-in-Law’s suggestions. For short, we will still call her Millie. The week before we left I was able to get her all assembled, we plugged her in, saw lights turn on, then I had to leave and drive back to my house. This was so tough! It was just before midnight when we saw her lights turn on, so we were not able to actually hear her hum.

The week was crazy and I wasn’t able to get back to her before leaving town. Thankfully, I had a great distraction-Disney World. Though I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about sewing with her every day.

Back to yesterday. Yesterday I finally got to not only turn her on and hear her hum!

At first, I loaded on a couple fat quarters to check tension and play with settings on QuiltPath, the computer program she is able to work with and we have conveniently named “Millie’s Brain”. Here is what we came up with.

After this was finished, I decided to work with a larger area and loaded a little over a yard top and a backing then played more. This time I didn’t have a plan and just wanted to try different things.

I wasn’t looking up tutorials or spending too much time fighting through settings because I am taking a two-day class next weekend. This was just a time to get my hands dirty.

The first row I was hoping to alternate a teddy bear and crosshatching. Everything went well for the teddy bear, then it moved to do the crosshatching, but instead of making a jump, it sewed the transition line. “It is just a test piece,” I reminded myself, though I was already looking for a seam ripper to mend this mistake. On the next jump from crosshatch to teddy bear I thought I could trick it and stop her right after finishing the crosshatch then move it to the start of teddy bear and search for closest stitch. In theory it sounded like a fabulous idea, but in action it just didn’t work. I moved along to a new row.

Another issue I came across was that sometimes after starting a block, setting the safe areas and where the block should sew, Millie would move through the pattern, but wasn’t stitching. I was able to jump in the middle of it and get her to start stitching again, but I couldn’t figure out how to back up and get her to fix what she missed.   I’m hoping to clear this up with a YouTube video or in class next weekend.

I’m very happy with how everything is going so far even with this learning curve. I’m glad I was able to start playing and come across these issues ahead of time.

After coming across a few issues I decided to take a stab at freehand quilting. I turned QuiltPath off and unlatched her from the belts to give me full control. Once ready, my mind went blank and I had no idea what to quilt. I started with a simple “hello!” and I forgot halfway through how to write cursive- brain fart!

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Next up I played with writing “Quilter’s Hideaway.” Remember that surprise I hinted at a few posts back? Here is another part of it. I’m going to let you slowly put pieces together as I share hints and clues.

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With that, I moved on to some meandering, straight lines, and a box. I also tried pebbles in a smaller box, but my goodness, this will need some work.

I hope you enjoy this journey with Millie. I cannot wait to continue learning and sharing along the way.  I already realize I will need to come up with a better option for getting pictures of the quilting.  Often it was hard to get the stitches to show up.

 

See you at the machine,

Care