Saturday, December 27, 2014

Existential Flow? Huh??

Tom's last blog post ended with an invitation for you all to come back and check out "The Existential Flow of Quilting", written by me. He was pulling your leg, and mine. I'm no student of philosophy. I am, however, a quilter.

We have had the privilege of quilting a number of really spectacular quilts recently. I've asked two of the quiltmakers to allow me to post some photos.

Judy C. trusted us with a beautiful Civil War sampler quilt she'd begun in a class several years ago. As is common to we quilters, she produced many gorgeous blocks while attending, but got sidetracked when the class ended. She showed her unfinished quilt to Lauri, a mutual friend, a while back.

Now Lauri's a take-charge kind of gal and a great quilter. She got Judy back on track and helped her finish the top.

I love the Civil War reproduction prints, and there were so many pretty and fun blocks to quilt around. Judy had done all the "heavy lifting". This quilt mostly just called for stitching in the ditch, with some background stipple around borders and sashing.

Judy's quilt
Judy C's Civil War quilt

Karen W's beautiful batik nine-patch, pieced for an Emerald Valley Quilter's challenge, was also a quilt that pulled its own weight. She used her creativity and color sense to really bring those nine-patch units to life! Mostly, it just needed to be made into a quilt sandwich, but she left me opportunity to put some fun quilting into the individual nine-patches.
Karen's batik nine-patches, set within stars floating across a dark sky.
Nine-patch sketching with thread

And just when we'd gotten caught up with quilts needed before Christmas, our friend Molly had a baby girl. I didn't have much time, so thought a whole-cloth quilt might be the answer to saving time. Her mom was heading to California to meet Miss Bella yesterday, and I raced to get some fabric on the quilt frame. 

Silly me! Whole-cloth quilts may save time getting it to the quilting stage, but the nature of the thing is that it calls for lots and lots of quilting. So the quilt is quilted, but it has no binding attached. And I am too late to send Bella's quilt with her "Grumsy". I shall have to give the U.S. Postal Service some business next week when the quilt's complete.

Detail of Bella's whole-cloth quilt
Yes, it is also probably crazy to make a quilt for a tiny baby in such an intense color. Shouldn't the quilt take a back seat to the delicate little person who is wrapped in it? Ah well, it shall keep her warm, no matter the color.
Bella's quilt, awaiting the application of binding.
Sorry for all you blog readers who'd wanted to read about the existential nature of quilting, you did not get that promised blog post. Maybe Tom will come through with some philosophical stuff next time!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Where We Are At

Tom longarming while jazz plays in the background
Tom here. Now that Denise and I have been longarming for about ten months, the feeling of newness has diminished somewhat and we've settled a bit into our roles in the business. Denise enjoys the companionship of fellow quilters (as in those who "piece" quilts) and naturally gravitates toward quilt guilds, sewing clubs and any group that has anything remotely to do with quilting. In the business world, they call this networking, but Denise just loves being with people and quilting.

I hope I don't alienate women readers with what I'm about to write, but it feels weird being the lone male at quilt guild meetings brimming with estrogen. So I'm okay with Denise attending those events without me. I'm perfectly fine handling the books, paperwork, website and other boring organizational things.

Nice feathers and echoing by Denise
on this Paris themed floral panel
So what about the quilting? I'm pleased to say we actually have clients -- and many are return customers! We offer three levels of service: all-over quilting, semi-custom, and custom. Most clients prefer basic all-over patterns. This option costs less and, depending on the color of thread, places greater emphasis on the piecework. I don't mean to brag, but I'm getting really good at loops, loops & leaves, and loops & hearts. Denise actually told a client that my leaves were better than her's. Well, I don't know about that.

At this juncture, Denise, being the more skilled and talented of our team, handles the more artistic, detailed and varied custom work.

So that's where we're at currently. As with any young business, we would love more clients. But I think we're growing at the right pace. Next blog post: The Existential Flow of Quilting. I'll ask Denise to write it.