July 18, 2013

Time to Relax

I just returned from a fun family reunion and spent a couple of days at this beautiful lake. I also had the opportunity to meet Sue Bleiweiss in person. I think we hit it off quite well and hope that our paths cross again sometime. Sue is a very talented lady and you're going to be seeing her work everywhere.
This is what I found when I got home. Don't they look delicious? The tomatoes are so abundant this year, the cages can't support the weight of the plants. The metal has completely given up the fight and has bent over in half. Besides tomatoes, I'm also growing a few varieties of peppers, green beans, garlic, lettuce, and several herbs. What do you have growing in your garden?

July 3, 2013

Preview Your Quilting Designs

I'm pretty confident in my color choices and my design decisions. Generally, I can visualize the outcome and make decisions fairly quick. But when it comes to deciding how to quilt the piece, everything slows down considerably or comes to a screeching halt. I understand how to use my machine(s), I know how to make many quilting designs and I'm a pretty good quilter. Each quilt is unique and I'm just not sure what quilting design is best for each quilt. It's not as simple as choosing an allover pantograph design.

Maybe it's just a general fear that I could ruin a nice piece with an awful quilting design. We have all seen quilts improved and ruined by the final layer of quilting.

Eventually, I need to get over it because there is a deadline to meet. So, I take a deep breath and begin quilting, and the creativity begins to flow. And everything is fine .  . . until the next quilt.
I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to quilt this top, but it still sat on my design board for a long time. I printed the photos on a tightly woven fabric and I knew that if I had to remove any stitching, you would see the holes a mile away, and the piece would be ruined.
Even though I wanted to stitch through the photos, I just didn't have the confidence to do it. I discussed my problem with my artsy friend Ranell, who has a long arm quilting business. Fortunately, she doesn't have an issue sewing through anything.

Ranell had a great suggestion for me (and maybe you too) that set me and my quilting decisions free. She suggested that I use a piece of plexiglass to draw and audition quilting designs. I bought a 30 x 36" piece, taped the edges, placed it on top of the quilt, used a dry erase pen to draw / erase quilting lines until I was confident that the design would work.
I put paper behind the plexiglass so you could see the lines clearly.

What a concept! So simple and so effective. That's all it took to get me quilting and I haven't ripped out a single stitch. I've got a lot more quilting to do, but for me, the hardest part is getting started.

If you have a tip that helped you get over a hurdle you were having, please leave me a comment. I would love to hear from  you. I hope I'm not the only one with an issue.