Quilt and Sew In Retreat

This past weekend (Thursday through this morning) I attended a Quilt and Sew In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC put on by  heARTS Desire Creations.  This was the first “retreat” I’ve ever attended.  I’ve attended quilt shows and fiber festivals many times.  I’ve taken classes along the years, but this was totally different and refreshing.  First, there was no “must do” agenda.  Participants were free to come and go as they pleased, to sew or not sew as they pleased, and no expectations were implied!  A chance for me to totally relax.  I had no phones, except what I chose to use my cell for, no animals demanding attention, no chores that had to be done, just free time to create as I wanted to (or not).

 

The lighting in the room was great!  I took my Ott Light and never took it out of the bag.  Everyone had their own table to work on, but the tables were in clusters so you had company to talk with if you wanted to.  And there was a lot of joking and kibitzing over the weekend.

Thursday after arriving, I set up for sewing, and did a little.  My goals for the weekend were to finish the hand-quilting on “Hope”s border, to make some scrap blocks for my 2009 Block in the Box from Lake Norman Quilters, and to make some Hunter’s Star blocks for that same project (aka UFO), as well as to spend some time knitting.  I accomplished some of them and would have finished all if not for my machine, but I’ll tell you about that later.

 

First I finished the hand-quilting on the border of Hope.  This was from a long ago class by Susan Brubaker-Knapp on hand applique.

Hope

I had originally thought to hand quilt the entire thing.  Quite an ambitious project with the arthritis in my hands that I quickly gave up on.  I machine quilted the center and decided I would only do the borders by hand.  Finished one motif and gave it up for “another time” (UFO).  With the arthritis more under control now than it was back then, I spent one day hand quilting the remaining border motifs while away.  And while my stitches are far from the even tiny ones that I used to make years ago, I’m pleased that I can still hand quilt a little.

Hope-border

After that I started working on some scrappy (kind of) blocks.  I had no plan for these.  Before I left I looked at a couple of my Accuquilt Go Dies and thought “these should go together” and cut some pieces.  Then the play started and I like the results.  These are for the aforementioned 2009 Block in a Box project that I hope to finish soon.

Scrap-block

 

Of course the project needed more blocks, so I used the GO to cut out pieces for eight Hunters Star blocks using the colors above and a white as background.  While I didn’t finish them, I am well along.   All the halves are pieced.

Hunter-Star-halves

And two of the blocks were pieced, but I’ll be re-doing them as I’m not happy with the centers.

Hunter-Star-Points

The fault of the centers was my machine.  I took along a 1941 Featherweight that I just love.  And while it goes great for some things, when I encountered the bulk of the center, the machine consistently wobbled around the bulk rather than over it.  I did this block twice, then tried on another block and each time the same thing, wobbles between the arrows so I put it aside to finish on one of my newer machines.

wobble

In the evenings I did some knitting, the red sock is a test knit for Mary Hough Designs, and the striped sock is my go to plain vanilla sock.

socks

 

Of course, who among us, goes on retreat, or on vacation and never shops at all?  And I did do some shopping, at both of the two quilt stores in Boone where I added to my collection of batiks and splurged on a jelly roll (I LIKE those things!).

 

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As well as the yarn store in Blowing Rock.

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Will I go again?  Most likely if I either the husband or the son are going to be home that weekend to care for all my critters!  If you get a chance, I highly recommend this particular retreat as a fun long weekend away!

 

Antique Quilt — Part Two

Yesterday I managed to get the batting secured between the new layers.  To do this, I had to remove all the rotting fabric and secure it with basting spray between two thin (Request weight) battings.  That makes this now a five layer work.

1 backing

2 QD Cotton Request batting

3 Antique carded wool

4 QD Cotton Request batting

5 New Quilt Top

DSCN1382Having been able to completely secure this sandwich on the longarm, and baste down the sides to hold in place, I left the day with the quilt looking like this:

DSCN1381This left me with the hope of not having to either hand quilt (big stitch) or tie this quilt, but that possibly I could do a large meander on the longarm to secure all the layers.

This morning I started and soon realized this wasn’t going to work.  While I had most of the carded wool batting thinned smooth, not all of it was able to be smoothed out, leaving lumps of batting in it.

I made it this far before giving up as a bad option for securing layers:

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DSCN1385The puckering is unacceptable.  The stitch length is unacceptable as I try to maneuver around the biggest lumps.  But the biggest problem is the thickness.  Even with my hopping foot at the highest setting, and a size 21 needle, the machine was bogging down.
The quilt sandwich is now on my work table, to have this small amount of quilting removed, and in preparation of hand tying.

Now I’m concerned with attaching the batting to the edges of this………. the adventure continues!

Antique Quilt Re-do

On occasion a customer sends me an antique quilt top to recover.  One particular customer sends me antique “carded wool” quilts to have a new top made for.  Since it’s been a couple years since I did one of these, I’m blogging my journey with this one in the hopes that I’ll have a reference for the next time.

The quilt came to me, already recovered once, and tied:

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After talking with the customer, the new quilt top to recover it was made out of 1930’s reproduction prints.  Here’s a portion of it:

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Today I started working on uncovering exactly what was underneath.  First I need to remove a gazillion ties:

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And then find a way to smooth out the carded wool that’s inside a deteriorating cotton quilt, inside the plaid fabric.  I’m thinking this deconstruction to reconstruct is going to be the trickiest part.  But I won’t know for sure until I get the outer fabric off:

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The biggest problem is that the muslin covering the wool batting is disintegrating as it’s touched.  My thought process, at this point, is to utilize the longarm and flannel sheeting.  If I load the new backing onto the longarm, spray baste a flannel sheet as I go, then insert the carded wool layer, laying another flannel sheet (or similar weight flannel) over it, I’ll be enclosing the wool and keeping it all from shifting when it’s removed for the new ties.

This will be tied, the carded wool is too thick (an inch in some places) to attempt to longarm quilt, even on my workhorse of a Gammill.

I’ll post progress on this as I go.

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