Re-Fresh After a Long Break

Someone once told me that once you start quilting you will never stop! I didn’t know how true that statement really was until very recently.

I had stopped my machine quilting service about four/five years ago and stopped piecing about two years ago due to illness and thought for ‘sure’ that I would not get back into it again. I thought I would sell my longarm quilting machine and move onto something different.

Instead, only recently I went through my studio tidying up and sorting out all the quilts that I still had waiting for binding charity quilts for Sew Generous and couldn’t believe how much fabric I had amassed. At this point I thought I would just make a few quilts for the family and then call it quits.

After finishing off the charity quilts and then sorting through all my scraps and reorganising everything, the quilting bug hit me like a sledge hammer and I realised that I didn’t want to give this up, not yet. I still really, really love quilting and piecing and everything else that goes along with it.

I shut down my old website and started up a new one with the same name and re-freshed my logo. After designing the logo I noticed that it was a design that could be very easily transferred to a quilting pattern. I haven’t designed or graphed out blocks in a very long time (I am thinking Farmer’s Wife Quilt) but I still remembered how to do it so I got out my trusty graph paper and drew out my logo.

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I really enjoyed the process. It is now the first thing I see when I walk into my studio.

I used TouchDraw which is a new to me app that is fantastic for making quilt designs. In the past I used EQ which is a windows based program and I own a Mac. The version I had was really old so I thought it was time to upgrade to something that actually worked on a Mac. I read about TouchDraw from Lily’s Quilts and after reading her tutorial I purchased  the Mac version and since then I have made about eight quilt designs.  I also used this app to transform my logo into a quilt pattern and then I went ahead and made it. I think it reflects more of a modern feel which is definitely what I am going for.

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1998-My First Quilt

I started off doing a lot of traditional quilts with traditional fabrics because lets face it, back in 1998 when I made my very first quilt that was all there was.

I throughly enjoyed quilting traditional quilts and I still have some unfinished projects like Dear Jane, Farmer’s Wife and Pony Club. I have already done half the blocks for Farmer’s Wife, but for Dear Jane and Pony Club I hope to put a modern twist on it. I will have to see how much traditional type fabric I have left to use up.

My first quilt was the usual stitch in the ditch on my domestic which was my mum’s old Singer at the time.

I just love how the most amazing quilt designs can be done on both the domestic and longarm. I must say I am a little spoiled with my 26″ throat longarm.

I bought my longarm in June 2010 and only did pantographs and the occasional ruler work. I really wasn’t much into custom as it just didn’t seem to  come together and my back would hurt only after a short time quilting. It wasn’t until I watched a free longarm quilting Craftsy  video ( brilliant online learning courses) called ‘A New Look At Longarm Quilting’ that I realised that I had my machine height set up all wrong. When I bought my machine I didn’t have someone come out and set it up for me as I believe most companies do now when you buy your longarm machine. I had my machine set about 30cm to low. That is significant height difference. According to the video I watched the  front rollers of the frame should sit just under bust height. That very night, very late that night I made my husband readjust the height of my quilting frame.

The next morning I gave it another go and couldn’t believe the difference, I could quilt from the front of my machine for over an hour with no back pain. I have been practising like crazy ever since and am just loving all the custom designs out there. I have all the videos and books by Angela Walters and Natalia Bonner and I don’t want to put them down and I can’t wait to practise what they are teaching!

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Let’s make scraps beautiful,

Suzanne