Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Weak Moment, and a Classic returns

I simply Could Not Resist

A fat quarter collection of Westminster Fibers Happiness and Blossoming, on sale at Craftsy.  That website is best known for offering a ton of different online classes in all sorts of areas, but they have a nice fabric selection and awesome sales, so check it out!

Also, in my Etsy store is the return of a Quilting Violinist classic:

Welcome back to the Upcycled Selvage Pincushion!

This item kind of fell off of my production radar but I felt it was time for a revival, mostly because I Felt Like Making One (always a good reason).

And, the Autumn applique placemats that were in progress in my last post (here) have been completed and listed in my Etsy store.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Looking Ahead

I realized with a jolt the other day that it's JULY already.  And the past 4 years of Quilting Violinist history has shown that many of my Etsy shop customers start thinking about (and purchasing) autumn decor in August.

Better get busy!

I never get tired of Autumn Leaf Applique.

This placemat set is ready to be quilted.

I'm all about quick and easy machine applique.  I fused scraps with Pellon Wonder Under, cut out the shapes with the Accuquilt Go cutter (the "Autumn Medley" die), ironed the shapes to the background fabric, then sewed around the edges with a narrow zig zag stitch.

As always, I love sets of placemats that Go Together But Don't Match Exactly.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Big One

I figure that since I opened my Etsy shop in 2010 I've produced probably around 75 selvage bath mats.
Most of them look like this one:

8 squares, 4 across and 2 down.

It measures about 14 x 27"

Production time:  about 3 hours

So it was an interesting challenge recently to produce a really big one as a custom order:

20 squares, 5 across, 4 down

30 x 38"

Production time:  don't ask (lol)

Well, it's nice to know that they can be made larger if needed!

At the customer's request, the back is blue terrycloth.

So.  It's the beginning of my long, long summer off from orchestra work (the orchestra season resumes in the beginning of October).  And, of course, my first summer of living alone.  I have realized that staying busy is a key component of recovery, and for the first time in many years I have time to donate to others.

Metropolitan Ministries is a huge service provider based just a few miles from my home that provides shelter and assistance to homeless people, families in need of temporary assistance, and basically anyone in danger of falling through the cracks of society.  They rely heavily on volunteers to assist their staff doing child care, cafeteria chores (they produce literally thousands of meals per day), processing donations, general maintenance chores, special events-- well, you get the idea.  I've been spending 2 afternoons per week there and enjoyed every minute of it.  Between that and quilting, going to yoga, and seeing friends I feel busy every day.  

One foot in front of the other.  Stay busy.  Keep living until you're alive again. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Other People's Quilts

My quilt guild friend Robbie came over today to baste a quilt.

I moved recently and in doing so lost my ginormous tile living room floor, and was sort of crossing my fingers that there would be room in this new house for basting.

No worries!  A minor amount of furniture shuffling in the dining room and there was plenty of space.

It looks like I set my camera for black and white pictures, but in fact we basted a gray and white quilt.

It's going to be a wedding gift, and apparently the bride and groom wanted this color scheme.

Size is 70" square

It's neat looking in person and Robbie said it was an absolute breeze to put together.  I might have to make one of these myself!

Another person's quilt:

My friend Christine asked me to quilt this for her. She likes to make quilt tops but doesn't like to do the quilting.  I'm flattered that she likes my quilting enough to hire me to do it for her!

This is also a commercial pattern, in kind of an odd size:  about 53 x 88"

 It has a beautiful collection of batik strips in blues, greens and browns.

This is going to be a young man's quilt (for her son, in his 20s) so I kept the quilting very simple-- a grid pattern of straight lines, and a few wavy lines for flourish.

There will be a binding of batik strips for the finish.

The back is also really pretty, and there's a nice picture and inscription of Christine and her son at the bottom right.  Sweet!

On a more personal note:

I recently had a birthday, accompanied by an absolute tidal wave of love, laughs, and margaritas by my friends and family.

Yes.  It was THAT birthday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A tribute

I'm just finishing up an interesting custom order from an Etsy customer.

Her mom died recently, and she wanted something quilted made from her mom's clothes.

But not a quilt, as one might expect.
Quilted Table Runner Modern White Bright ColorsRather, a table runner made in the style of the one pictured, (currently for sale in my Etsy store), but using her mom's clothes for the colored squares, and my white fabric for the background.

This was an intriguing idea, especially since I had no idea what the customer was going to send me.

She sent a very large box with a large selection of tops, slacks and jackets.

Nothing was what I would consider even close to being cotton quilting fabric.  There were knits, wovens, some really filmy polyesters, a silky camisole, flannel pajama bottoms, even a lightweight cotton sweater.

I decided to approach it like a T-shirt quilt.  I used stabilizer (Pellon 906F) for all of the fabric pieces so at least they would ACT like quilting cotton when I cut them and sewed them together.

Here it is basted and ready for quilting.

At the customer's request, this T shirt was used on the back, with some pretty coordinating fabrics.

All finished!
It's pretty big, about 15 x 70"

This was a really unique project, especially since I don't do garment sewing and so never work outside of the realm of quilting cottons!  But in the end I think it turned out nice, and I hope my customer really treasures it as a tribute to her mom.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The Puppy Quilt is finished, and has been listed in my Etsy store.

Gosh it's cute!

It's a small lap/baby/toddler/ size, 40 x 42"

Living in a new house has presented an array of new product photography challenges as well as rewards.

A beautiful front porch that faces south seemed like a good spot to try taking some quilt pictures.

I always like to photograph my items with some sort of "real" object (like the chair in this picture) so the potential buyer has a sense of scale.  Not all online customers read through product descriptions, so even though I always include dimensions I think it's a good idea to have a visual aid as well.

The porch railing is going to work great for photographing quilts, although next time I might try taking the pictures earlier in the day-- you can see a little bit of over-exposure at the bottom of the picture, which I think could be avoided by adjusting the photo session time, or taking pictures on an overcast day. However, I was pretty happy with this first photography session!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Keep Living Until You're Alive Again

^  This quote is my new mantra while I climb what feels like a mountain of grief (see this post).

It's all about coping, and adjusting to a vastly different life than the one I had.  This new life will be fine. I know it will be.  I just need to adjust to The New Normal, and this adjustment will take as long as it takes.

In the meantime, I have so many blessings in my life to focus on.  Like quilting!

It's probably not a coincidence that I've had the urge to make something cute and cuddly and full of novelty prints.


It's a dog quilt!

More of the red and black paw print will be the borders, and the black and white polka dot will be the binding.

The squares are 5" unfinished, and I'll probably cut the borders the same width as the squares, making this a small lap quilt or maybe a toddler-size bed quilt.

   Is that the perfect backing fabric, or what?

Cat lovers:  please note that The Quilting Violinist is an Equal Opportunity Employer!  While I was waiting at the cutting counter at Joann's yesterday, I saw this Accuquilt die on sale and it went into my shopping cart with the dog fabric.  So a cat project is also in my future.