Thursday, June 10, 2021

Quilt backings

 You know how you have a project that just seems to go on forever? This current magazine quilt appears to be that quilt. I'm happy to say that the top is completely together and is waiting on the long arm to be loaded later this morning. 

There are many colored little squares in it, and I swear, the more I tried to keep the colors separate, the more they gathered together. I didn't change any of the squares around, and actually, something interesting appeared because of this. Sorry - I can't share it with you. I should take pictures and then share them once the quilt gets published. I just said, "let it go," and left it the way it was. I noticed in one spot that the SAME fabrics were side by side, and in another, I had THREE fabrics in a row that matched in color. Now how did I do that when I was supposed to check it all before sewing? 

I even stuck a pin in the top left corner of every block so they wouldn't get turned. This is a common thing to happen. I had a good chuckle about it and got back to work. 

So I needed to prep the backing for the quilt. I was hoping to do that last night, but I had another presentation, and there was no time. If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know that I have a stash of backings. 

With the labeling system that Ronda and I did quite some time ago when I had to move things around, it's so easy to find exactly what I need without rummaging through baskets of fabric. 

The neatly organized quilt backings

You may not have as much as I do, but the fact that it's all folded neatly and the yardage is marked on all the pieces makes it so easy to find something that works. 

I still have FIVE pieces that won't fit on the backing shelf, but each time I remove one backing, one of these pieces takes its place. I'm super excited. Isn't it strange that the smallest of things can make us happy?

Five more backings to fit on the shelf

And then, once that pile is on the shelf, I think it's going to be time to search through the baskets of fabric to find other HUGE yardages that could be used for quilt backing. I did go through the orange baskets a while back and found five or six pieces that were larger than 3 ½ yards that could be used for backings. I suspect there is more in other baskets. With it being on the backing shelf, it's actually getting used—no need to go shopping for quite a while. 

Each time I use up something, there's a slight glimmer of hope that YES, one day, all this fabric will be used up! 

Diane dropped off three more quilt tops that she has pieced, which means that I'm going to have to find backings for those quilts one day. So I may have a major depletion happening at some point. We'll see how it goes. 

Do you see how those pieces are somewhat folded nice and neat? OK - so they are nice and neat, but one stack might not be quite as wide as the other. The "organizer experts" would say - fold your fabric around a ruler and then fold it in half and put it on the shelf. My thoughts on that? If you're a quilter and can determine if a "square" is out by 1/8" of an inch? I don't need a ruler to fold my fabric. All of this was eyeballed. Life is too short to have things so perfect that you're afraid to use them. Nope - fast and easy is the way for me. Besides, I'm a lazy quilter - if I can get away with eyeballing something - I'll do it in a heartbeat. And I'm a Virgo, and we're usually very meticulous with detail. And yes, I am, but you have to pick the details you want to stress about. Folding quilt backings is NOT one of them. 

We haven't done a lot of decluttering in a while, but this is a good task. If you have large pieces of fabric that aren't measured, get yourself in your studio, measure them, and label them. You'll be happy you did. And you can't tell me that you don't have this stuff. You know you do - you bought it on sale, and now it's in a jumble, and you're not using it. Why? Because you have no idea what you have! Get it measured and neatly folded!!!

This is the fabric that I used for the backing of this quilt. 

The backing for my current project

My criteria - the colors. It works for me. I swear some people get fussed about the backings, and yes - I try to have something on the back that correlates to the front, but seriously?? I don't fuss. If the color is somewhat the same - that's good enough for me. I used to NEED something that matched "perfectly," and well, once I saw what I had for backings - I changed my tune rather quickly. 

This M&M fabric was purchased years ago - I probably saw it on sale, and I bought YARDS of the darn stuff. I have enough for the backings of two more quilts! That obscene!!

I can't say enough about these presentations that I'm doing for my day job. I've learned so much! More than I could ever have done on my own. I get some amazing questions from the students, and there are a couple in my current software class that - well, I swear they are testing me! Can we do this? Can we do that? I LOVE IT!!!  So if your local sewing machine store (PFAFF or Husqvarna Viking) hasn't run one of our series, you should encourage them to do so. There's so much information packed into each session, and I'm constantly adding more as I make a new sample or learn something new. 

The more that I play with the mySewnet Embroidery Software, the more I'm hooked. I love this software and the things you can do with it? Well, it's so darn flexible that you can do ANYTHING. Now to find the time to play more! 

The same with the software for the long arm (Quilt Path). I know that it's capable of a lot more than I use it for. I had a Zoom call with Sandy yesterday just to chat and to compare notes. Funny, with all the Zooming, I've not had a one-on-one with someone who wasn't for a specific reason. You know what? It was great!!! I should do that more often with people. Once we can get back together, some people are just too far away, but keeping in touch with Zoom would be awesome. 

You know what they say - two heads are better than one. So imagine if you have someone who is just as curious as you are - comparing notes can be a HUGE thing. This is what I'm learning from the clubs (EQ8, Machine Embroidery) that I'm running. I learn as much from the students as I do on my own. They push me without them realizing that is happening. Luckily I can mostly answer their questions, or I do the research to find the answer. 

Look what I purchased the other day. 

KONA color card

Yes -- this is the KONA color chart. They have an amazing array of colors. This can be an amazing color tool that can help you choose colors for your quilt, not just for solids. I didn't get mine in time for the color theory class the other day, but I'll add it to the mix for the next session. 

Look at that range of colors!

Look at all those colors!!! Doesn't that make you want to order a bolt of each (OK - maybe not a bolt) and make something with graduated colors?? Oh yes --  I want it all!!! There are 365 colors in there. That's HUGE. What's really nice about the KONA line of solids is that they have most of the major color families covered off with shades, tints, and tones or whatever you want to call them, so you can basically go in any direction you want. I think it's well worth the $45. I bought it from Thimbles and Things in case you want one for yourself. When you purchase one, you also get a bit of a break on the price of KONA solids. 

I've got two nature pictures for you this morning. I love seeing the rays of the sun peek through the trees. I wasn't sure I could capture that on camera, but it turned out not bad. We aren't walking too much in the forest in the morning - the mosquitos are out!!! I hate wearing bug spray, so we take a shortcut through the forest, but we don't linger. Murphy is NOT a lingerer, so I don't mind walking her in the forest. Lexi is a lingerer and has to sniff EACH and EVERY tree - I don't walk in the forest with her. I'd get eaten alive. 

The rays of the sun through the leaves

The hot temperatures and humidity have brought some spectacular cloud formations. This one looked much more threatening and dramatic in real life. But still pretty to look at. 

Cloud formations

Here are some dates to keep in mind. 

Quilt Canada is NEXT week. If you haven't signed up yet, you should. It's all taking place online. It costs $10 to "get in." That gives you access to the Awards Ceremonies on Wednesday night, as well as the ability to see all the quilts. That's pretty good entertainment value for $10. PLUS check out the door prizes. There are two TOP-OF-THE-LINE sewing machines to be won. That's nothing to sneeze at - if for no other reason than to get your name in the draw for those TOP OF THE LINE machines, I'd sign up!

The next VIRTUAL RETREAT is coming up on June 26 and 27. That's going to be the evening of the 26 and all day on the 237th. Stop by and say HI. If you haven't joined a virtual retreat yet, you should - I think that even when we can all get together again, these retreats aren't going to go away. I know that it's super easy for me. I don't have to clean up the studio space, MORE people can participate, there is NO cost for anyone, the weather isn't an issue, and people from all over the world can participate. I'm not sure that I'll go back to having a real sewing day at my house. It's too chaotic at the moment. 

I had a great visit with the window salesman. I set up the table in the gazebo, and we talked windows. And I got a quote. I knew it was going to be high. But WOW -- I could buy a car or a top-of-the-line long arm with software for the price of that quote!! But I knew it was going to be high. And guess what? The price of windows has increased by about 30% because of COVID, and they WILL NOT be reduced once the pandemic is over. I'm sure that's going to be the same situation in every industry. This pandemic is just a good opportunity to raise the prices, and now how could they possibly lower them. Nope - higher prices are here to stay.  

Is it Friday yet? I swear the thought of things opening up on Friday has me breezing through this week. I have a feeling that it's going to be total chaos tomorrow. Let's hope it's not, but I'm doubtful. There's a pent-up demand for patio dining. 

OK -- that's it for me today. So you've got work to do - measuring all those big yardage pieces and signing up for Quilt Canada. 
Have a super day!!!!


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