Saturday, October 8, 2022

A thief caught red-handed

 A note about the BIG guys, like my "favorite" online store. Someone commented about Wal-Mart, which was probably the first big store to take over the retail market. I remember when they opened up a store in my small community -- no one wanted to shop anywhere else. 

And let's think about the quilting community for a second. Who do we know that is doing the exact same thing? Yep -- that is the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Think about it -- they exist in a small town that was dying, so they were able to buy up a bunch of cheap real estate. Even though they have 14 stores (could be more now), a HUGE percentage of their business comes from online shopping. When I say HUGE -- I mean 85% - 90% of their business is ONLINE! 

They have a fulfillment center which I have visited. It was their second or third facility, as they had outgrown the previous one(s). Who knows -- they may have a new one by now. It's not as automated as Amazon, but watch out! 

To give all these stores credit, they have hired brilliant marketing people who put together a complete shopping experience! I think MSQC did it best when you could purchase a complete quilt kit for $100 US (something like that), which included the quilting (as they have a MASSIVE long-arm business as well - when I was there (2016), I think they had 16 computerized long arms). So if you are a new quilter and they quilt your quilt, where will you go to get your next quilt quilted? 

I won't go on, but you get the picture. The big box mentality is everywhere and hits every industry, and we must make sure that there is room for the little guy, whether that's your local quilt store, your long-arm quilter, the hardware store, or whatever! I know times are changing, but I'm not liking where this is all going! 

OK -- since we're talking about shopping and theft is a huge problem, let's talk about some local theft that I find shocking! I got pictures of it happening, so should I pursue it and have the culprit sent to jail? You be the judge! 

It's starting to get a bit nippy on some mornings, so I've started to wear a dollar store pair of gloves on the morning walk. I paid $1 for these orange gloves, and they owe me nothing, but when the fingertip went in one of them, I set them on the ledge in the hallway so I could run a seam across the end so my finger wouldn't poke out. I know --- but other than the one finger, they are perfectly fine. 

I don't remember if I put them at the top of the staircase to take down to be fixed or did I leave them on the ledge. 

The other day, I was on the phone, and because it was a nice day, I sat in the sun. I spotted something orange on the deck. What the heck is that? As I continued to chat, my brain was processing, and then I realized it was my gloves! Wait a minute -- how did they get outside? 

As I continued to talk, a certain someone realized that I had spotted the gloves, and she wasn't happy with that. So I watched as she took them and BURIED them! 

I MUST bury these gloves for safekeeping

Oh -- not entirely covered, let me pile more dirt on

That's perfect; Mom will NEVER Find them

Me unearthing the gloves

The buried treasure

MOM -- you weren't supposed to find them yet!

I couldn't believe my eyes! What would possess her to do that? She does not bury things -- at least, we don't think she does! Although about a month ago, I gave her a treat, and she took it outside and buried it, which is NOT the norm for our Murphy! What a dog!! I had a good laugh about it, and I rescued the gloves; they are now washed, and I will fix that fingertip. I mean --- seriously --- they are still good! It's just to wear for walking the dogs -- I'm not out on the town with them. 

It was another insanely busy day. I'm amazed at how I can keep myself so busy ALL day, every day, and I'm perfectly happy. And the days are long -- I'm probably spending at least 10 hours every day in Studio B. Well, that's not true, but probably not far off. Besides three hours in the morning, when I blog and walk the dogs and my afternoon walk, I'm in Studio B. That will change very soon! 

I also got another customer quilt done. 

Customer quilt - DONE

The back was interesting.  

The back of the quilt

And made up of all sorts of little bits. 

Little nine-patches

Now let's just say that it was an interesting quilt to quilt. The backing without the extra waste fabric on the sides was the EXACT length of the quilt. I managed to quilt it within the real backing, but it took some work to make that happen. 

I also got lucky with centering it top to bottom and had the same amount of pink at the top and bottom, and that NEVER happens. 

The quilt got centered top to bottom on the backing

But here's the real reason, this was an interesting quilt. See that sawtooth border -- well, that has the potential EVERY TIME to not fit properly on the quilt. And this quilt was no exception. The borders were quite wavy, and it's probably hard for you to see in the pictures, but there was a LOT of fullness on all four borders. 

Fullness on the borders

So the challenge is to gather and baste all the edges, so there are no tucks. Yes -- it CAN be done. It takes a bit of time, but it's possible. I had about 3 inches on the long sides to gather in. In the photo above, the quilt top is pinned but not basted in place. 

The border edge is gathered and basted

So once the edges are basted, as in the photo above, I use my hands to distribute the excess fabric as the long arm is quilting. Thank goodness for automation, as this could NOT be done if I were quilting from the back of the machine. 

Using my hands to distribute the fullness

There is one more row to be quilted here, and you can see the fullness better. 

One row left to quilt and still a lot of fullness to deal with

And that's the final look at the border. It doesn't look too bad, and no tucks. Once the quilt is washed, NO ONE will know what happened. 

The fullness is worked into the quilting

Here's the thing. While that took me a lot of extra time to quilt that quilt, I do NOT charge the customer for that. But I would bet if you took it to that big store in the US, they would charge for things like this. I consider it all part of the service, which is why I trim all the quilts before they leave my house. Just a little extra for my customers! Of course, if they don't want that, I won't trim. 

The lesson above is that the fullness in that outer border could have been eliminated if the quilt had been measured and that border cut to the measurement of the quilt. It would have been OK if the sawtooth border was slightly larger, as a shorter outer border would have helped to draw that in. No worries -- it's done, but it could have been avoided! 

Speaking of which, I have some openings for long-arm quilting in November -- not many, I could take one or two more and one or two in December. 

I fired up the PFAFF creative icon 2 yesterday as I have some embroidery that NEEDS to be done. Gosh -- I LOVE that embroidery machine, but I'm rusty. The fabric got marked, the design was created in the mySewnet embroidery software, and I sent the file via the INTERNET to the machine. I just LOVE how smooth that technology works. 

Then I hooped the fabric and added stabilizer, and away I went, or so I thought. Good grief -- there was a problem right off the bat. Oh -- the bobbin thread came out -- I must not have clicked it into place because it's been working fine ever since. I had a smidgen of ripping to do. Then shortly after that, the top thread broke. What? OH -- that's because I forgot to close the gap on the thread cone, and it got caught. Yikes -- I am a bit rusty, to say the least!

But it's going to take a LONG time to get all this embroidery done. By my guess, it's going to be THIRTY hours! I know! I can't share what I'm doing until I show the Embroidery Club tomorrow. I love being able to monitor the stitch-out progress on my phone!

Monitoring the embroidery on my phone

Too bad there isn't a camera attached, so you could have a peek at the work and make sure that everything is OK. I have to run over to the embroidery machine to check every so often, but I can hear it, and things are good! There will be 15 hoopings, and I'm on number four -- yep -- I've already got it running this morning as there is NO time to waste! 

I managed to get some stuff out of the living room yesterday, so it doesn't look so bad, but I need to make arrangements for quilt pick-ups as there are now a lot of quilts that need to be picked up!

The staging area looks a bit better this morning

Miss Lexi was quite happy as last night, I took the table off the sofa, and she climbed right up even though DH wasn't there t keep her company. Oh, Lexi -- you are so spoiled! I think Murphy was eyeing the whole thing and asking herself why she couldn't get up there. And at this point -- why? But I'm not going there. 

Lexi - the queen of sofa sleeping

On that note, there is so much to be done today! A SUPER HUGE quilt is almost loaded on the long arm, but it's nice and straight, so other than babysitting the bobbin, it should be pretty straightforward. I don't have time for much else between operating the two machines! I did turn on the serger yesterday and got a wee bit of serging done, but hardly any, and I have sewing that needs to be done! Maybe today? 

Have a super day!!!



  1. Hi Elaine, i was thinking about your embroidery that you would like to the embroidery on your phone to ensure everything is going well. I wonder if the babies camera that lets you see the baby in their crib would work? Just an idea!

    Oh yes, i got the tuffet kit from Helen Anne. Thank you for the arrangements. I sent you payment by e-transfer a week or so ago but have not received confirmation that it has been accepted by yourself. The answer to the question is: Penguin

    1. YES --- a video baby monitor would be a good investment!