Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Update On Quilt With Dye Runs

I held my breath and put the “Sunflower 9-Patch” quilt in the washing machine with HOT water and Synthropol.  I also threw in a color catcher sheet (Thanks, Allison, for that reminder!)


Long story short… The color runs disappeared from the back of the quilt!!  Truthfully, I’m not LOOKING too closely… it is what it is at this point!  Ignorance is bliss… What you don’t know won’t hurt you… I could go on with more platitudes (that are NOT really true, by-the-way), but let’s just say it is done, and I’ve learned a lesson here.

One thing the hot-water-wash did… it really crinkled up the batting.  My personal preference is for nice, flat quilts.  I love the look of an un-washed quilt, so this crinkling kind of bothers me.  I just keep telling myself this is a USING quilt, and sooner or later it WOULD be washed, so “Get over it, Girl!” 

Mom and Pop will love it, and hopefully use it a lot.  She is notorious for not using things because they are “too nice to use”.   Mom, if you are reading this, PLEASE USE THIS QUILT!  It already has been treated rather roughly in order to get the dye runs out, so nothing you can do to it will hurt it at this point!!

And just as people say, “The check’s in the mail,”  Mom and Pop, your quilt is on its way back to you soon!

Have a wonderfully blessed day today… it’s raining buckets here, I am outdone with Gussy Fay, so I think I will work on bookkeeping today.  Now you KNOW I’m ticked at her if I would rather do bookkeeping than quilt!!!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

BAD Gussie Fay!

Poor Gussie Fay… We (the Gammill tech and I) really believed that her loopy days were over.  I have not taken the time to really try her out much but today (on the 2nd quilt I have done since getting her back from Vicksburg) the loops reappeared with a vengeance!

AAACCCKKK!  More picking out loops and working in loose thread.  I tried every trick in the book… thinner thread, larger needle, loosen tension, tighten tension, the extra bobbin case, silicone on the thread, spray silicone on the quilt, loosen quilt sandwich tension, tighter wound bobbins, looser wound bobbins, quilting fast, quilting slower, ….  she is one stubborn gal.  Nothing seems to help.  I can get fewer loops on one pass, and then the next row may have twice as many.  What a mystery!

I think I will re-christen her with a new name…

Loopy Luanne

I am at my rope’s end and will probably be taking her to West Plains, MO to the factory in the near future.  I MUST get this worked out before adding computerization to her.

In the meantime, I will keep my tiny crochet hook handy, and practice some more fruit of the Spirit (like patience and long-suffering).


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Calling All Local Quilters!

Calling all quilters in the Sabine and Natchitoches Parishes area

Once again Rebel State Park in Marthaville will have a February quilt show featuring OUR quilts!!  That’s right… they want to display YOUR work (or quilts you have that were made by other people)!  This is NOT a fancy-dancy quilt show!!  DON’T say “My work isn’t good enough for a show.”  (This is now referred to as the MWIGE statement.)  

They want ALL types of quilts:  old quilts, new quilts, red quilts, blue quilts, quilts that have little cars, quilts that have little stars…  (Sorry Dr. Seuss… I just couldn’t help myself!  If you don’t recognize the source of that text, it means you did not read the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to your children a gazillion times like I did.)

She wants everything from utility quilts, baby quilts (She is planning a special display of baby/small quilts in the round room.) on up to bed quilts.  EVERYTHING you send will be greatly appreciated.

(Sidebar -  I hear a lot of you say, MWIGE…. There is NO SUCH THING!  This is NOT a judged show, and Staci wants a great VARIETY of quilt types.  PLEASE don’t miss entering because you think that MWIGE!)

Just pick several of your quilts to share with us all, and call Staci at 472-6255 to let her know you are willing to help her out.  She will even come and PICK YOUR QUILTS UP FOR YOU!!  She is hoping to do pick-ups on Jan. 28 and 29 so she will have the next week to hang them.

Please tell others you know that own quilts (even if they are not quilters) and encourage them to enter.  This is a community show and everyone is welcome to participate!

The quilt show will run the entire month of February, so your quilts will need to spend the month away from home, but the good news is, YOU HAVE VISITATION RIGHTS!!  The quilt show is FREE, and you can go as many times as you wish.

100_1234ALSO:  On Saturday, Feb. 13th she will have a morning of scheduled programs to interest all quilters.  The theme this year is the evolution of quilting. (BOY!  Have things changed since your Grandmother made quilts!)

100_1232 (This is some of last year’s group… Don’t they look like they are having FUN?  Well, they DID have fun… they just don’t like having their picture taken!)

So pass the word, and PLEASE enter several of your quilts!!  (I’m begging here, on my knees, hands folded in the prayer position, desperate look on my face.)  OK…  Now stop laughing and go get those quilts!!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great Deals on Fabric and Yarn


Sale!  Sale!  Sale!

I hate to see a fabric shop go out of business, but Suzanne Earley at “Knots and Bolts” has decided to move her shop back to her home, and thus needs to clear out inventory.  Check out her great sale here.  Fabric and yarns are 30% off (can you believe $3.50/yard???).

You can also read about her great give-away on that page.  Check it out… buy things (so her sons don’t have to help her move a gazillion bolts home), and enter her drawing.

And if you are not already a follower of her blog, DO sign up for that… it is really neat and interesting!!


Monday, January 18, 2010

To Pre-Wash or not to Pre-Wash

WARNING:  This post is long and somewhat whiney.  Now you HAVE been warned so proceed at your own discretion!

I’ll admit… I DEFINITELY land on the “pre-wash” side of the fabric fence.  I am adamant about it, and I make no apologies for it.  Those of you that feel just as strongly about not washing, I am not throwing stones at you, I am just sharing my experiences.  For those of you that are “on the fence”, perhaps this will help you decide.

I LOVE fabric… all colors, patterns, designs.  Even BEFORE I began quilting, DH’s Mom told me, “Always pre-wash your fabrics.”  Now why did she say that?

She had made a beautiful (and very colorful) maple leaf quilt to commemorate a trip to Canada.   Please consider that this was back around 1990 and quilt shops were few and far between.  Her only fabric source was Wal-Mart, and I am not knocking that… she used what she had access to.  She purchased very rich, vibrant colors for the leaves…. red, orange, purple, green… they are BEAUTIFUL!  The quilt was made and folded, then placed on a table in the guest bedroom, right under the window air conditioner unit.  (I can see your mind is racing ahead of me, and you can imagine what happened next .)


Yep… the AC was turned on, and as they sometimes do, water condensation dripped onto the beautiful quilt.  This resulted in colors running onto the white background fabric.  



She was VERY upset that the beautiful hand-quilted treasure was now streaked with colors.  THAT is why she gave me the pre-wash advice.  (DH and I now have the quilt, and I debated over trying to wash it and get the excess dyes out, but opted to leave it as it is… I am so afraid of totally ruining the quilt Mrs. E. made!)

As a rule, when I purchase fabric I set it on top of the washing machine so it will be pre-washed before even bringing it into the house.  Although I KNOW to do it, sometimes it just is not practical.  FOR INSTANCE:  jelly rolls.  I LOVE using them… they make such fun, quick quilting projects without having to break the bank to purchase a variety of fabrics.  I have considered several ways I might could prewash and preshrink them, but when it gets down to it there is no way to keep those cut edges from fraying away, and preshrinking would mean your pieces are the wrong size for patterns intended to be used for jelly rolls.  This CAN AND WILL jump up and bite you on the … ummm … rear end!


The special Christmas surprise quilt I made for my Mom and Dad has done just that.  It was made from a jelly roll, so the fabrics were not prewashed, and the border fabric also was not prewashed so they would shrink at the same rate. 


I was really concerned about the red fabrics, but THEY are not the problem children… it is the fabrics with the black backgrounds. 


I used a rather light lining fabric because that was all I had, and a Christmas Eve deadline was looming so there was no time for getting another lining fabric.  (Remember we are in the boonies, and the nearest quilt shop that carries lining fabrics is about 1 1/2 hours away.)



I gave them the quilt Christmas Eve, then brought it back home to finish the hand-hemming, wash the quilt (because I had used the blue fabric marker to mark centers on blocks), and put a label on it.  That was done, and as I was sewing the label on the back I noticed these “shadows” on the lining.  The black dyes ran through to the lining side where the quilting was.  It’s not REAL bad, but I notice it in lots of places on the quilt, not to mention the outer border (all one particular black background fabric).  BUMMER!

100_2453 Look closely at the intersections of the continuous curve quilting… there it is!  It REALLY shows up in florescent lighting, but today in regular lighting at my house it is not so noticeable.

So I am now wrestling with whether to try washing again in synthropol to get the runs out.  It would probably take several washings in HOT water, and is a very scary thing to me.  Mom probably won’t notice or care that there are shadows of color on the lining, but it sure does bug me.

I guess the reason this REALLY bugs me is because I took the time to tie thread tails on this quilt, which I only do on show quilts.  But since this was special for my Mom and Dad I decided to do it because those backtracks REALLY showed up on the light colored lining fabric. (Lesson learned again… choose your lining carefully!)

OH WELL… there is not a life involved here, and so in the big picture of things, WHY AM I WHINING?  ANOTHER lesson learned:  I will proceed VERY cautiously with pre-cut fabrics.  I think I will just cut my own jelly rolls from my already-prewashed fabrics! But then I will miss out on all the oh-so-wonderful new fabrics.  (Side-bar:  another quilt I did with a brown, green, and blue jelly roll did NOT have color runs.)

Now… off to quilt on Gussie Fay.  I have not turned her on since I brought her home, so today is the day!

And if you have any advice on whether to try and get the color runs out, I would love to hear it!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gussie Fay is Coming Home!

The repair man called while I was gone to church tonight and left a message with DH… “Call tomorrow morning.  Gussie is fixed.”

YAHHHH!  I will ZOOM to Vicksburg tomorrow (an 8-hour round trip) and retrieve my best mechanical friend.  It has been a week since I saw her, and I’m missing her greatly.

What have I accomplished with her gone?  Not a whole lot.  But I have had some R&R after working my tail off for the last 3 months.  And I have cleaned a LITTLE in the studio, and in my office/fabric storage room.  And a few other places too, but I haven’t gotten crazy with it. 

Now that she will be coming back home (without the thread snot) I will have a legitimate reason to not do those things that I feel guilty for not doing this week.  I’ll be busy once again quilting away with Gussie Fay, my best mechanical friend!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Poor Gussie Fay!!


Poor Gussie Fay (my Gammill Classic +)… she’s sick.  Actually, she’s BEEN sick for a long time now… not REALLY sick, just a little sick.  Think of it as the longarm equivalent of a sinus condition… every now and then she leaves a bit of “thread snot” on the back of the quilt.  (Now if you don’t know what “thread snot” is, you haven’t been reading Suzanne Earley’s blog, and you really should… it’s a fun blog! )

Here’s a quick definition.  (Well, really, a NOT-SO-QUICK definition, because I get wordy.  Forgive me… that’s the elementary teacher in me coming out!)

… thread snot is a little wad of thread that is caused by the thread getting caught somewhere in the lower unit of the machine as the top thread goes around the bobbin to pick up the bobbin thread.  It can big a big blob or a tiny dribble, but it is ugly just the same, and NOT something you want on the back of your quilt! 


For the most part Gussie Fay has been leaving small blobs of thread snot for about a year now.  This means you have to carefully inspect every inch of the back of the quilt, untangle the little thread knots, go to the front of the quilt, pull up the extra thread with a tiny crochet needle, and then work the fullness back into other stitches… it takes a while!  I have wrestled with this in a big way, making every adjustment that can be made to a longarm with little improvement.

(Side note:  This is my PRACTICE piece I am showing… I do NOT quilt like this on customer quilts!)


I will put on a practice piece of quilt, adjust, test… no snot…. YAH!!  But on the next quilt I do, there it is again… that offensive thread snot.  It can make a gal want to say very unkind things to her best mechanical friend!!  I’ve taken her to Texas for adjustment… still have snot.  So yesterday I bit the bullet and made a flying trip to Vicksburg, MS.  (And while I was there I got a very good demo on the Statler Stitcher from Kay.  That computerization is AWESOME!)

Mark at Stitch ‘N Frame tried EVERYING in his mechanical bag of tricks, but poor Gussie Fay was determined to keep snotting on the quilt.  SO… he kept her.

This is my first time to be separated from Gussie Fay.  It is almost like the feeling you get the first time your child goes to a sleep-over… you are constantly wondering what they are doing, how things are going.  I think, “I should go work on blah blah blah.  OH WAIT… no Gussie Fay.”

So today I will sink myself into housework to distract myself from her absence, and Gussie Fay will come home to a cleaner, more organized quilt studio.  And while I am at it I think I will venture into a few other rooms and do some things I haven’t had time to do because… I was busy working on Gussie Fay, who was busy snotting on quilts.

Get well quick, Gussie Fay.  Momma misses you!


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