Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tech Sunday - End of Year

This is the last Tech Sunday post for 2012.  Right now I am working on getting all my paper work wrapped up for sending to my CPA.  It is amazing to me how long it takes me to get everything together to send in.  I try really hard to make sure I have everything up to date through out the year.  I have done post on how I use Google Drive (used to be Google Docs) to track things like my mileage so all I have to do is create the equation to sum that column.   That takes maybe a minute.  It is gather all the utility bills that usually gets me.  I hate doing that.  It's not like it's hard and most if it is online. I just need to get organized enough to do it quarterly so all I have to do is create the equation.

That is my goal this year.  To get my business organized to where the paper work does not get out of control.  I have been working on cleaning the office and getting rid of paperwork for 3 days.  That is no fun at all.

We have ordered an additional desk for the office.  It will be here this week.  Our current set up is just not working.  We have a u-shaped which was designed for one person and two of us have been using it for the last 7-8 years.  It was what would fit at the old house and we just put it up here and left it.  I did not take a before shot of the office, but picture every surface covered with paper and then throw in random quilts, quilting stuff, and boxes... everywhere.  No wonder that those doors stay shut. It had become a really big, unorganized closet with huge window at the front of the house.

We have packed away all the old paper worked to be stored in our storage closet upstairs.  I have gotten as much as I can get done for the taxes until paperwork starts coming in next month.  And I have cleaned out a bunch of useless stuff.  Who still needs 3.5 floppy disks?  I have a box of unused ones.  Yikes! And cables that were out of date before the Millennium.

So for the Tech Sunday, take some times to get your your home office in order.  I will take before and after picture of the office set up.  I was not brave enough to take a before of the mess.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tech Sunday - A Tale of Three Quilts

One of the hardest decisions to make is what design to quilt.  I had the opportunity to quilt the same quilt 7 types a couple of years ago.  Yep!  Seven times, in a row.   Some of them were custom and some were edge to edge.  They were all for the same person.  This first picture is of one of the custom quilts.  I did a  dense back ground fill, holly in the green parts of the wreath, c's in the red board and bead board in the dark green border and changed threads.  The quilt looked great.  
 Here is a close up of the background fills
And here is the back so that you can see the holly and the stitch in the ditch.
On the next quilt I did Holly in the outer border, loops in the read border and did and all over border to border fill in in the wreath.  I still changed thread.
Here is a closer shot
 On this last quilt I did an edge to edge of all over holly with no thread changes.
I could have quilted every one of these quilts the same way.  But I like that they each have their own personality.  All three quilts turn out great.  There is no one right way to quilt a quilt.  

These quilts were quilted with 3 different budgets in mind. The bottom quilt is currently hanging in my studio, because, in the case, the customer was my Mom.  The top one is Mom's and the middle one I think is at my sister's house.  The other four were given to family and friends.  They are all unique even thought they are all the same pattern with different border fabrics.   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Funky Feathers

Having sew much fun today! Lettuce leaf feathers in a bright sage green on solid black. Yum!!! Love it when the feathers show! I am using Aurifil MAKO 50 cotton thread, which is favorite cotton thread for longarm.

4th Bloggerverisary

Hard to believe, but I decided to start blogging 4 years ago today.   I still feel like I am talking to myself.  I know people read my blog because I have people mention post when they see me in person.  But I don't get very many comments.  I have decided that it is okay that I talk to myself.  As a good friend told me talking to myself is okay, answering myself is also okay, but when I start saying who said that, I have problems.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tech Sunday - Needles

There is a debate about whether or not to use titanium coated needles.  I personally do not use them in my longarm, but do use them in my domestic machine.  I have used them in my longarm with any issue.  I actually did not realize that they were titanium.  I went to load a needle and realized that the package did not look like I remember and compared it to another pack.  There are 2 needles missing from the pack so I know that I used them.   The pack on the left is a the type of needles that APQS is timed to use; the one on the right is the same type of needles but is titanium and ball point.  I apologize for the picture it is I could not get a clear picture that you could read with the flash and the flash is shining on the glossy paper.  
First off notice the difference in the the way the name of the brand looks.  On the steel needle, it is dark print on white and on the titanium it is white print on gold.  The word Gebedur tells you that the pack on the right is titanium.  But I also want you to notice that they pack on the left has an R, and the one of the right has FFG/SES.  The pack on the right is a Sharp, that is what the R means.  FFG/SES means that they pack on the left is a ball point.  This is really important because I don't want to use ball points on most of my quilts.  They might want one if you where quilting a double knit quilt from the 70s or possibly a T-Shirt quilt.  That being said I usually use sharps on T-Shirt quilts.  Without getting into the whole debate about titanium needles.  I will say that they are dipped in titanium nitrate which makes them stronger and means they have less flex.  When timing a machine you are looking for that flex to get the perfect stitch.  So, for now, I will be staying with the needles on the left.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Reindeer Tablerunner

Last summer Wish Upon A Quilt hosted a Trunk Show from Disa Designs. Mom was here visiting and we made 2 Reindeer tops. Today I decided to treat myself and quilt mine.

It is quilted with Prickly Pear Glide thread. I seem to use this color a lot. I wanted a shiny thread and a color that would show on the dark green background. I love the way the lighter green shows up and I love the shine from the thread.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tech Sunday - Bobbin Cases

Most of us don't think about our bobbin cases very often.  Usually we only pay attention to them when we are setting our tension.  They are an essential part of our machines and we all should pay a little more attention to them.  When we don't they have a tendency to make us pay with things like tension that we can just not get to balance.  Frustration until you want to throw something or scream.  That little metal case can cause a grown girl to cry... literally.    I don't know about you, but every once and a while I drop a bobbin case.  I try not to, but it happens.  Even dropping it on my carpeted floor can knock that case out of round.  It is important to really look at your case if you drop it.  If it is out of round replace it.  It is just not worth the headache of trying to balance tension with a bobbin case that is not round.  Trust me, I have tried.  I have even trying to reround the case and that has not worked out very well for me.  Bobbin cases are relatively cheap.  Always have a spare or two.

There is a little finger on the outside of the case that the thread goes through.  It is a place that loves to collect lint.  I use a very thin pin and drag it under the finger to where from the screw down to the area the thread comes through.  I do this a couple times a month and almost always get lint out from under the finger.  If you can't get your bobbin tension to work out right.  Check to see if there is lint under the bobbin finger.  

Another place that can cause a problem is the check spring.  The spring is the disk that is inside the bobbin.  It is designed to hold the bobbin away from the back of the case and to prevent the bobbin from spinning backwards when you change directions or stop quilting.  When you put the bobbin into the cause you should be able to feel that the bobbin springs back towards you slightly.  The bobbins should look like is slightly too tall for the case.  If it looks like the bobbin is indented into the case, take it out and bend the 2 little arms on the check spring so that it holds the bobbin a little farther out of the case.  Eventually you will need to replace the spring. 

There are magnetic bobbins that are designed to work without the check spring installed.  I actually have 3 bobbin cases in use at anytime.  One with no check spring for MagnaGlide magnetic core bobbins, one that I use with prewound Superbobs and one for bobbins that I wind myself.   I also keep a couple brand new spare bobbin cases on hand.    

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tech Sunday - oops!

I wrote a bunch of Tech Sunday post and thought I had scheduled them to post. Nppe. When I went up today to start working on posts for December, there sat my November posts. Scheduling in advance only works of you actually do it. Instead of just posting them, I scheduled them for the upcoming Sundays.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tech Sunday - Needles (needs pictures)

I have had a couple calls lately from longarmers that have had issues because they inserted their needle backwards and tried to run the machine.  It is a really frustrating situation to be in.

Most of the time putting the needle in backward does not actually hurt them machine.  But it can cause the needle to jam in the hook assembly.  The really damage comes when too much force is used to try to get that needle out.  I have had luck in loosen the screw in the needle bar that hold the needle in place and then carefully rocking my fly wheel back and forth while holding the needle with with a pair of pliers.  I put a slight upward pull on the pliers so that the needle will come up when it gets to a point it is loose enough to move.  I have actually had to do this several times to other people's machines and have not had to time the machines afterward.  It is a really good idea to check out your stitches on practice cloth, if you ever make this mistake.  After all, it is better to find out you have an issue there then on a quilt where you have to pick out stitches.   Also if your machine ever jams, turn it off immediately.  Just turn the power switch off.  There are worse things then retiming...  Actually retiming is not as bad is it's reputation would have you believe.  It is more fiddly then hard.   

When you look at your needle one side will have a long channel that runs all the way from the eye to the the top of the shaft that is inserted into the machine.  The other side has a concave area that is about as wide as my index finger, shown is the slightly blurry picture above.   The channel faces toward you when you put it into the needle bar, the concave area faces the back of the machine.  The channel is designed so that you can slide the very end of the thread down the channel and straight into the eye so it makes sense that have to be able to see it when you are threading the needle.  I normally cant my needle ever so slightly to my left.  So that the eye is at about the 35 minute mark if straight towards me is the 30 minute mark.  This helps when you are using finicky threads.  It gives the hook a little bit longer to catch the thread when it is spinning.   I use a very thin pin to show me how my needle is orientated and then use it to hold the needle all the way up in the needle bar as I tighten the screw.  I use a flat headed screw drive with a long handle as that give me more torque and I really tighten that little screw.  The last thing I want is that needle getting loose and falling out and down into my hook.  This is one of the few places that I "boy" tighten a screw on my machine.  

I actually use the channel ever time I thread my needle.  I tickle or flick the end of the thread across the front of the needle (left and right) when it catches in the channel I just slide it down and through the eye.  It is the fastest why I have found to thread the needle.  If you watched me do it you would think that I was just sticking the thread directly in the eye of the needle.  I would notice immediately if my needle was backwards because it would be harder to thread the needle.   

Monday, November 5, 2012

APQS Beginner's Class in Raleigh, NC

With the beginner class offered at APQS, our goal is to teach you the skills you'll need to accomplish a typical quilting project on your new longarm machine. This class is designed to be an introduction to machine quilting after you have made yourself familiar with your machine controls. Whether you intend to start a business or just want to get your quilts done faster, you'll learn valuable techniques to accomplish your projects creatively and efficiently. This class is mostly "demonstration" so we can squeeze in as much information as possible.

We will cover specific topics during each class, however, each class is unique and based on the needs of the students. We encourage questions and active participation -- you're here to learn!

Bring all your questions about operating the machine, business practices, thread, tension and anything else you can think of. This is a demonstration/lecture class. No hands on time will be available. Information we will cover includes:

  • Starting a business
  • Thread, tension, batting
  • Deciding how to quilt a quilt
  • Dealing with problem quilts
  • Different methods for loading quilts
  • Pantographs
  • Borders
  • Stitching a block
  • Marking quilt designs
  • Ruler work

 *Free to qualified new APQS owners or $200

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
9:30AM- 4PM
Thread Waggle Quilting
Space is limited so, call Angela to reserve your space.  919-576-9897
If this is not a good date, call me so that we can arrange a future date for you to attend.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tech Sunday - Skitch Update

I was playing on my laptop today.  I don't use my laptop very often anymore so I had not looked to see what is available for use on Windows.  I just downloaded Skitch for Windows from Evernote.  It is actually very easy to use with a mouse.  Color me happy!  Now I can play with pictures on my laptop and my iPad!  Woo Hoo!  Skitch is available for iOS, Andriod, Windows 8, Windows and Mac.  So pretty much everyone gets to play.  

Tech Sunday - Skitch

In previous post I have talked about different design software that I use.  In my last Tech Sunday post I posted a picture of my very dirty bobbin area with arrows showing two of the places I can choose to oil my hook assembly.
I had a couple friends ask me how I made this picture.  I imported the picture into Skitch by Evernote and drew the arrows onto it. It took about a minute.  I also have a map that I email to people that need to find my house that I made in Skitch.  It has a choice for Map on the main screen and then you can draw and type on it.

Skitch is a great app!  It is extremely intuitive.  It is really easy to just figure out by playing with it.   It is one of my go to design apps.  You can see all the pages that are on the main screen.  I have been drawing my background fills into Skitch and them exporting them to Evernote.  That way I have a digital design pad that I can show my customers no matter where I am.  All I have to do is log into Evernote, which is easily done on my smart phone.

Disclaimer time...  I am not affiliated with Skitch, Evernote or Apple, nor was I asked to review this app.  I love my iPad and like to share apps that work well for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happiness is...

Quilting tiny little feathers.  the Flowerhead pin is for scale.  The flower is just less then a half inch. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tech Sunday - Daily Maintenance

Today I thought I would talk about what I do to my longarm before I start quilting for the day.  To start out I make sure I have all my tools and supplies ready.

The first thing I do when I walk into studio is turn on my air compressor.  Nothing says you need to wake up better then a really loud compressor.   I could just use canned air, but in the long run the compressor is cheaper and has better pressure.  Matt keeps telling me to remember to drain the air out of the tanks everyday.  He is insistent that I do this to prolong the life of the compressor and he says that it is safer.  I go with it because it makes him happy.
Then I make sure I have the following:
A can of WD-40
A rag to wipe my rails (It will get nasty so not a towel I care about.)
An rag that I don't mind getting oil on.    (Another towel I don't care about)
A micro fiber cloth to dust the frame and machine
Machine oil

All machine manufacturers have a way they suggest you clean your machine.  APQS has you use compressed air and WD-40.   I have had people tell me that I will run my machine using them, I tend to believe my machine manufacturer over them.  I think WD-40 got a bad rap because people don't understand what it does.  WD-40 is a solvent not an oil.  It is meant to break things down.  So if you just WD-40 your machine and don't wipe it out and oil the hook, you would be heading for a disaster.  I am not using it as a substitute for oil; I am using to break down the old machine oil in my hook so that I can replace it will nice fresh machine oil.

Once the compressor has air pressure.  I take the bobbin out of my hook and unthread the top thread so that it the it is just hanging out of the tension disk.  This means the top thread will just be sitting there but not moving.

Then turn the machine on, set the speed to somewhere between 9-11 and put it in manual mode.  This will cause the hook to start spinning.   This means that sharp hook is moving and can hurt you.  You should always pay extra attention when the machine is on and you are working in the bobbin area.  I use my compressor to blow out the bobbin area with the hook rotating. I have tried to do it without the hook rotating, but you get a lot more lint out with it running.  While a towel in my left hand well below the hook area, I spray the rotating hook with WD-40.  I really soak the hook.  Keep that towel away from the hook!  It only takes a second to get the whole towel wrapped into the hook and then you will be learning to retime your machine.   I usually hold mine 3-5 inches below the bottom of my machine.  I let it running for a couple minutes then stop the machine.  Once the hook is not rotating I use the towel to wipe off any excess WD-40. Once that is done I start the machine again and blow the hook area out again with the compressor.  Then stop the machine and wipe the area again.  Now I get the oil bottle and place a drop of oil on hook and turn the machine back on.  There are two places that I oil from and it really just depends on my mode.  You can either put the tip of your oiler on the little ledge at the bottom of your hook or you can put the tip into the indentation on the right side of the hook.  Either way works.  Then turn the machine on and let it run for a while.

While it is running I check the wicks a the top of the machine.  If my fingers come back shiny at all I do not oil the upper wicks.  I probably oil then every 2-3 weeks.  I have never oiled the wick on the left side of my machine head.  I check it every time I start up, but it has always had oil on it.  My machine is a 2008 so it is has not been oiled in 4 years.  Then I wipe my rails and if I am feeling like it dust the frame.

This whole procedure takes me between 5 and 10 minutes.  Please excuse the picture of my linty dirty bobbin area.  It will get cleaned tomorrow before I start quilting.  :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Streak 'o Lightnin

Streak 'o Lightnin' is another quilt by Janice of Anything But Boring.  It is strip pieced from precut strips!  So, it is a quick.  Just look how stunning the pattern is.  Janice used Blank Quilting's Fabrication Strips in her quilt.  I believe they are the Hot Red and Pralines and Cream strip sets
 It is all over quilted with Lightning meander.  I used gold Aurifil MAKO 50 thread on both the top and in the bobbin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Honeybell Stars

Honeybell Stars is a new pattern by Janice at Anything But Boring.  It is fun pattern that she designed with Blank Quilting's Honeybell fabric line.  This collection has some really fun paisley and floral prints.  
The center of the quilt is quilted with my all over Pothos fill.   Presencia thread was used on top.  MasterPiece by Superior Threads was used in the bobbin.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tech Sunday - Snips

I had to pick out an entire pass of quilting this week.  As I was doing it I was thinking about my Tech Sunday post and how much I love both of my pairs of Fanmore snips.

The first pair I purchase was a set of Titanium snips with curved blades.  They have hung on the front laser light post of my longarm for over 3 years and I love them.  The curved blade lets me snip thread close to the quilt top without touching it.  When I misplace them I stress out and end up looking for them until I find them.  I do not start quilting without them.  I am obsessed with those snips!

Recently I bought a pair of snips with a hooked blade.  These things are awesome for when you have to rip stitches with the quilt still on your longarm.  I used them for about 4 hours on Friday.  They are wonderful.  I was able to get under the stitches and it made ripping quick.  I know that 4 hours does not sound quick, but it was an entire pass and I quilt dense.  I also use a really tiny crochet hook at times, but did not need it on Friday with my new snips.

Just for the record I purchased both of these pairs of snips.  I was not asked to review them nor have I been given anything to do a review.  I just love them so much I wanted to share.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tech Sunday - Mobile Blogging

Mobile blogging....there is an app for that.  :)  Corny, huh?

I have used both the Android and Apple version of Blogger's mobile app.  They are the same as far as I can tell.  Both let me post a quick picture that always ends up at the bottom of my post.  But for a quick post on the run they both work.  I use the Android version on my smart phone and the Apple version on my iPad.

On a side note, most of the time I use my laptop to post because I and embed the pictures into the post and I can choice how they are aligned.  Plus it is just easier to type on a keyboard and my laptop does not constantly change my words on me.  But it is fun to post while at a shows or market.  I am going to miss Fall Market this year and I am looking forward to seeing some post from my blogger friends that will be there.

APQS Demo Sale

Woo Hoo!  APQS is selling their 2012 Demo machines.  

These machines are a great deal!  To reserve one of these machines, you really need to call right away as they will go FAST!  Call me at 919-576-9897 

Demo Millennium with Standard Table 
(10, 12, or 14 foot table)
$1,500 cash off
Free Quilt Glide ($1250 value)
Free Motorized Fabric Advance ($1350 value)
8-year warranty
Machine Value $20,000 - Sale Price - $15,900 

Demo Freedom SR with Standard Table   
(10, 12, or 14 foot table)
$1,900 cash off
Free Quilt Glide ($1250 value)
Free Motorized Fabric Advance ($1350 value)
8-year warranty
Machine Value $19,400 - Sale Price - $14,900

Demo Lucey on NEW Standard Table
(10 or 12 foot Table)
$1,200 cash off
8-year warranty
Machine Value $11,900 - Sale Price - $10,700
Demo Lenni on NEW Standard Table
(10 or 12 foot Table)
$1,200 cash off
8-year warranty
Machine Value $10,900 - Sale Price - $9,700
**Optional Bliss Upgrade available for all machines!!**  - $1,000

Don't forget the awesome extras that the machines comes with, like:
* Bobbin Winder
* Beginner's class, a $200 value 
* Year subscription to Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine
* Two sample spools of Thread
* Two pantographs from Golden Threads
* Package of needles
* Bobbins

A $500 fully-refundable deposit is required to secure the machine. All customers must take possession of the machine before December 1, 2012 or the order will be canceled and deposit refunded. Machines are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tech Sunday - Zipper Leader Trick

Early this summer I had a friend come over to help me demo my longarm to a potential customer.  At that point I was on my Doctor enforced no longarming for six weeks vacation.  So my dear friend came from 2 hours west of here just to be in my studio with me so that I didn't do anything stupid.  And yes, I do know that I owe her big.

She made a comment about the fact that there was a quilt on my take-up roller, but practice cloth loaded for the customer to play on.  She was really surprised at how I had loaded the practice cloth.  I have zippers on my leaders.  Here is how the leader looks when I get to the bottom of a quilt.  Notice the blue ribbon.  I sew a length of blue grosgrain ribbon to the backing bottom zipper and green to the backing top zipper.  That way I can tell immediately which is which when I start pinning.  I have 6 sets of backing zippers, but only one zipper for the quilt top.  I need to order a second quilt top zipper, but so far it has not been an issue.

In the next picture the quilt with the black backing has been rolled onto the take-up roller and I have added another backing which is bright orange.  Notice that there are two ribbon colors because all you have to do is zip an new top backing zipper onto the bottom backing zipper that is already on the frame.    Normally when I do this the second quilt is smaller then the first one.  But it can also be done if you have enough backing on the second quilt to be able to tape the zippers to the take-up roller.
 I use a lot of tape in my studio.  I have multiple rolls of orange masking tape which is low tack.  You could also use painter's tape.  You will notice in the picture below that do tape the zippers to roller so that they do not flap around.  I also put some on the backing of the first quilt so that it is out of the way.

Yes, that is a third backing that you are seeing.   In this case the second and third backing were seamed together.  If I still have the quilt top zipper pinned on the first quilt, I just fold the zippers in as it is rolling onto the take-up roller.  I normally try to stabilize to the bottom of the first quilt if it is custom.  

Every time I have bought a backing set of zippers they have come zipped together.  I tried loading this way right after I bought the zippers for my longarm and have been doing it for four years. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Last fall one of the members of my bee won a stack of leaf blocks.  Our guild has a program where you make a block and turn in it and that gives you a chance to win blocks.  Normally there are enough turned in to have two winners.  These block became a Bee Challenge this spring we decide to make a quilt an donate it for the Heritage Day Auction.  (Which was today.)  Unfortunately due to several issues the quilt is not finished yet but will be ready for next year.  Every member of the Bee has touched this quilt.  We all worked on the layout.  We all searched out stashes for the perfect border fabric, but none of could find it.  Then flipping through a catalog we found the it.

We thought the fabric would never make it to North Carolina, but we finally got it.  Then the top came to visit my Studio.
I quilted big airy curls.  I love how the gold Glide thread looks.  I really like the way the quilting looks like wind.  All in all it is a successful quilt.  Now we just need to get the binding done so that it can be submitted for next year's auction.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tech Sunday - Another use for Docs

I was talking to another longarmer about using Google Docs spreadsheets and a new idea that I will playing with in the next couple weeks came to me.  Why am I filling out hand written take in sheets.  I can use Google Documents for that.   I can even email a copy to my customers so I don't have to print anything.  Just think of all the paper this will save.  I am so excited.   Google Docs even has a form that can insert things into a spreadsheet.  My inner geek is just screaming YES!   Look for a review after the first of the year.  :)

If I can think of a way for customer signature, I could put my marking tools form up there too and just email copies to my customers.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A maze ing

I have drawn this pattern a lot, but this is the first time I have ever quilted it. I love it. And it was the perfect choice on the T- shirt quilt for one of my very favorite boys.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On the frame today

I am a bad Aunt. My sister, Mom and I worked on a T-shirt quilt for my nephew last Christmas while we were at my parents house in Florida. The top was done before I came home. All I needed to do is actually quilt it. Life and business has gotten in the way. Today I decided it was THE DAY. And here is proof that not only is the quilt on my frame, but that I actually did start quilting it. Before you think the poor boy has been freezing waiting on his quilt, he has other quilts. After all he has 3 quilters in his family. But what is the benefit of having a longarmer as an Aunt if you can even get your quilt quilted. Of course my sister, Mom and I all have quilts sitting in my closet from before my sister started this project. I promise the quilt will be on it's way soon. I may even mail the thread I got for my sister at MQS.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tech Sunday - Scheduling Post

This is a post for new bloggers.  Did you know that you don't have to publish your blog post immediately.   Let's say you have a half an hour free and you can write two blog post.   You can get ahead for you next Tech Sunday post by writing next week's post now.    I tend to use this option sporadically.  When I do sit down to blog I normally have carved out time on my calendar.  It is dedicated to blogging.  So doing more then one post is the best use of that time.  If you haven't used this option, you need to.  Trust me!  It is life changing.  And it is how I am planning to keep up with Tech Sunday.   I have heard that you need to post constantly and preferable 3 times a week.  The only way this will happen for me is if at least some of the post are scheduled ahead.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tech Sunday - Mobile Documents

One of the great things about being a longarm quilter is that I get to work out of my home.  This is also one of the bad things about being being a longarm quilter.   I love not having a commute. I love that I can just walk up stairs for lunch.  I love that I don't have to dress to impress anyone.  I also love that I get to set my own schedule.  When I decided to go into business Matt and I had a discussion about customers and decided that I would meet my customers at a local quilt store.  Have I told you lately how much I love Wish Upon a Quilt?  They are absolutely wonderful and they let me do drop off and pick up at their store.  Love, love love them!

When I am meeting with my customer I do not have my computer or printer.  Yet I need to be able to tell them about when their quilt will be back.   I keep a spreadsheet in a Google Docs that has a list of my customer quilts, when I received them, when they are due, if they are custom or edge to edge so that I can look at it an estimate when I can get my customer's quilt back to them.   I can look at this spreadsheet on my smart phone, iPad, laptop, and desktop.  I can print it and put it on my wall in my studio.  I live and breathe by that spreadsheet and it goes EVERYWHERE with me.  I also put some of this information on a Google Calendar which I can access ANYWHERE.   Mileage tracking is easy because I have a spreadsheet for that as well.    I put my starting mileage in before I leave the garage and put the ending mileage in when I get home.  Then I can easily use the spreadsheet to calculate the mileage for my account at the end of the year.   I don't know how I would live without my smartphone and trust me none of you want to be around me if it goes away.   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Longarm happiness

I have been having so much fun!  Got to love applique quilts and wool batting. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Time for a change

I decided that it was time for a change.  I have been wanting to change up the look of my blog.  I liked the dark brown background, but the white font made it hard to read on my smart phone.  I have been noticing that I am more attracted to blogs with white backgrounds so I decided that today was the day.  I have played with a couple different colors for the headings, and am not necessarily sold on the current one.  I also want to load a header picture.  But for now I am liking the cleaner look.

I also have been working on writing a program for the Carolina Longarm Association with my friend, and fellow blogger, Sheri of Maxine and Me Quilting. In doing so I am doing a lot of research into ways professional longarmers can use technology in their businesses.  My goal is to do   weekly posts on some of the information on my blog.  Since I know that blogging on a regular basis is important, and it something I really want to get myself to do, I am planning on do a post every Sunday on technology.

Since today is Sunday, I am going to kick of my push by saying that it is really easy to change the theme of your blog.  You should really look at your blog occasionally to see if it still has the look and feel that you want it to.  Personally, I loved the chocolate brown and lime green color combination that I was using, but I no longer think that it was a good choice for my blog.  The whole idea of a blog is to get your message out, if it is hard to read because of your color choice then your message is being diluted.  I know that I could go out and get a snazzier theme, but I have notice that I seem to like plain looking blogs, so the basic template for blogger works for me right now.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nice surprise!

Matt had an early lesson with his golf pro this morning.  I had him wake me up before he left so that I could run by Walmart before the ravaging hoards of barbarians attacked.  Which around here means you need to be there before 8AM. 

After his lesson he went by Whole Foods and picked up breakfast and a surprise for me.  He is such a keeper!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week 2 Project

Before I bought my longarm, my sweetie and I got to spend 18 months in Fairfax, VA.  It was not our first choice of places to live, but there were some benefits.  First we knew upfront that it would be for a short time, so it made no sense for me to look for a job.  And there are some fantastic quilt shops in Northern VA.  I spent most of my time finishing UFOs to the needs to nbe quilted stage. 

While there I got to go to Great Falls and visit Jinny Beyers' shop.  It is one of the must dos for quilters.  On one visit, my Mom and I bought the kit to do the backpack shown above.  We did not have time to do the project during Mom's visit and decided that it would be a project that we worked on together. 

I love this backpack!  It should have taken us half the time it did, but we had a blast.  I am sure that me recovering from surgery and being on pain meds caused most of our issues.  Luckily the bags both turn out beautifully.  They took us 2 weeks to complete.  Two weeks of memories to cherish.  My studio was filled with laughter.

Monday, July 30, 2012

No longarming for six weeks.

I am on an enforced, not planned longarming vacation.  Just because I can't longarm, does not mean I am not in my studio.  My parents are driving home today.  Mom and I have spent the last 2 weeks sewing.  It has been nice being able to spend time with her. 

The first project I tackled was new cosmetic bags for both of us.  Mom was working on finishing a quilt top that she left with me.  Ironic that getting projects off her plate adds to my to do list. 

I used Aunties Two Patterns' Dufflette for our bags.  I forgot to take a picture of Mom's bag which is out of a wild batik from my stash.  I actually used Kaffe fabric for mine. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quilt Carolina

I stopped by Wish Upon A Quilt today to pick up my passport.  I am honored to have been chosen to quilt Cathy's beautiful Quilt Carolina quilt "Lazin' Around the House".

I will post close up pictures of the quilting soon.  I took this picture with my phone, so the colors are way off.  The background is actually white.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Millie learned a new trick!

 So after 4 years of my APQS Millennium looking like this...
It now looks like this...
Notice the new knob on the bottom right under the APQS flag? My Millie just got a Quilt Glide upgrade!  I have been wanting to do this since the first time I played with Glide, about 6 months after got my longarm! I am going to have so much fun this week!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sewing Expo

Spending the day at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo.  Woo Hoo!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mobile Blogging

I just downloaded an app so that I can blog on the go.  Now to see if it works....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Quilt Market

Normally Spring Quilt Market and MQS conflict.  This year they were both in Kansas City.  YEAH!  Market is so inspirational.  It is so much fun to see what is coming out.  Attending is a great why to see what customers will be doing in the coming months and start planning how to quilt those quilts.  After spending the last 2 days seeing all the new fabric, designers and notions my head is just swimming with ideas! After taking classes, and walking 2 vendor malls I am ready to head home!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Another MQS has come to a close.  It doesn't seem possible.  The classes were fabulous.  Jamie Wallen is such a wonderful teacher.  Dawn Cavanaugh is always wonderful! Angela Walters taught for the first time this year.  If you get a chance to take a class with her, DO IT!  She is fabulous! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Road Trip!

I haven't done a road trip since I was in college.  This week I am reliving all the fun.  My friend, and fellow longarmer, Sheri decided to Road Trip to Kansas for MQS and Spring Quilt Market.  We left NC and drove to ....


If you have never been to the National Quilt Museum, drop everything and go! NOW!  The quilts were incredible!

After touring the Museum we drove to Overland Park. I am not afraid of bridges.  They really don't bother me.  But the one we went through out of Paducah was awful.  It was long, the driving bed was grates the whole way across and it was like driving on ice.  

Along the way I took this picture.  Good thing Sheri was driving.  

She offered to stop and let me go up in it, but I really just wanted a picture.  Plus we wanted to get all the way to Kansas City.

We pulled into our hotel at 11PM.  We were so revved up we actually unpacked and organized.  I really hope there was no one in the room next to us.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tech Post

Long before I started quilting I did computer Tech Support for a large financial software company.   At that point if you had told me that 10 years later I would be a longarm quilter I would have laughed.  I still love the technical world, but my small world has changed dramatically since then.  

So not surprisingly I am loving being able to blend my too worlds.  I still love all things computer.   My life is buzzing with a plethora of electronics.  And before you ask, no, I have not ordered a computer system for my longarm.  I may someday, but I am still in love with freemotion quilting.  For now, there will be no computer added to my beloved APQS Millennium.  

I started thinking about how I use technology in my business.  When I started I was fine with my laptop.  Then it crashed and I decided that maybe I should put my financial software on my desktop.  I got a new laptop and I did use it daily, mostly for websurfing and blog posting.  When Matt gave me my iPad that changed, I really only use my laptop for blogging, because it is painful to do on my iPad.  My iPad has changed the way that I quilt.  I now do my design work on my iPad.  I have a couple apps that I love to work with.  One is Adobe Ideas.  I can take a picture of the quilt top with the camera  bring it into Adobe Ideas and draw on the picture.  This has truly changed my creative process.  I also like Evernote and Skitch.  I have been working on drawing all of my fills in Skitch and importing them into Evernote.

This way I can show my customers a sample of what I am thinking about using on their quilts, on the go.  Evernote has become my digital sketch pad.  

Plus I can email out of any of those programs so if I am working with a customer that is not local we can send ideas back and forth.  This came in really handy for a recent quilt that was shipped to me.  The customer emailed a photo of the quilt.  I was able to do the design work before the top even got to my studio.

Another plus with Evernote is that I can log onto it from my PC and smartphone so I can get to those pictures from anywhere I am.