Monday, October 16, 2017

Nearly Two Years, but Little Has Changed

I would like to begin this blog with lots of false promises of "I'm back to stay!" and "I'll be posting regularly again," but I'm not going to do that. I think I have a few things to say today, maybe a bit later this week, and then I'll definitely have much to tell you when I get back from Texas with our next deployment with Quilts of Compassion. But I cannot promise a single thing beyond that. As evidenced by my blogging history, I have good intentions, but less follow-through. If you are truly interested in following what I do day-to-day, you should follow my Instagram account.

And so...time warp. I'm just going to pretend nothing of note has happened since January 2016, and just post today as if you are all caught up. If you are my dear friend and rely on this blog to know what is going on in my life--CALL ME.

In my latest quilting endeavors, I have a beautiful vintage client quilt in the frame.



I also have new design I've been testing called "Leftovers." I whipped up the design to use up fabric that was left over from another quilt, and it has taken on a life of its own. It's a great way to use a charm pack and a couple of yards of background fabric, so let me skip the preliminaries and give you the how-to.

Pictured: "Leftovers" laying on top of Swell (designed by Camille Roskelley of Thimbleblossoms), made from the remains of two Jolly Bars of Prairie and Sundrops from Corey Yoder for Moda Fabrics.

Fabric Requirements for your own version of Leftovers

1 charm pack
3 yards of a contrasting fabric for background, backing, and binding
  • at least 38" of background fabric
  • at least 55" of backing fabric
  • at least 12.5" of binding fabric
batting at least 40x50

Cutting instructions

1. Split your charm pack in half (two stacks 2.5" x 5").
2. Cut six 5" strips of your background fabric, then crosscut them into 1.5" x 5" rectangles.
*******
3. After your top is together, cut four strips (your choice of width) for borders.
4. Your backing needs to be about 55" long, and you can strip up the rest of your fabric for binding. You'll need 4-5 strips 2.5" wide for binding.

Sewing instructions

1. Chain piece all 42 2.5x5" rectangles in one stack with background fabric on each side. I don't clip my threads, and instead wait until after ironing and trimming at the cutting board to clip the sections apart. Speed is your friend.






2. Trim up each block to 4.5"x4.5" Use the first 42 to make 10 blocks, and chain piece them through the machine.





3. Repeat with the other half.



4. Web your top together.



5. Add borders to all four sides. I've made three quilts so far, and I've cut those borders 1.5", 2" and 2.5" and I like all three looks. I'm probably going to try 3" borders on the next one.

Leftovers 2, in 3Sisters fabrics for Moda

Well, there you have it. Leftovers, on the most abandoned blog in the whole dang blogosphere.

Leftovers 3, in Jo Morton & Barbara Brackman fabrics

Monday, January 4, 2016

Quilts of Compassion January 6-10, 2016

My passions collided last summer when I had the opportunity to go to Tupelo, MS following the tornadoes that devastated the area. I'm a Tupelo girl, and I immediately committed to go serve with Eight Days of Hope, a disaster response ministry based in Tupelo. I'd taken a team of 10 middle school girls and their parents to eastern NC in Pamlico County with Eight Days a couple of years ago after a hurricane, and my sweet hubby had also served with Eight Days in MS four years ago after a terrible tornado system. Anyway, we signed up to go to Tupelo for all eight days of ministry to do drywall work. I told that story here.

Then, I stumbled upon a Facebook post about Quilts of Compassion, and their plan to go to Tupelo at about the same time. I contacted Janice Grimes, the director and founder of QOC, and offered to longarm some donations, and gather all I could bring and meet her there. It escalated (as these things tend to do) into my joining her Disaster Response Team, along with my daughter Mallory, and actually delivering quilts in the area for four days. You can read about my journey with the quilts I made (I think I took 25), the friends I made who donated tops, backings, bindings...from all over the country here in this post.

As a 1990 graduate of the University of South Carolina, I have a lot of loyalty to the city of Columbia, SC as well. When South Carolina experienced such horrific flooding in October 2015, I knew I was called to go again with Quilts of Compassion, and contacted Janice to discuss deployment dates and times. But in the meantime, my sweet husband felt a need to go immediately, so he responded with Eight Days of Hope's new Rapid Response Division, Hope Reigns. He spent three weeks in October, directly interviewing homeowners, assigning teams to aid them in removal of drywall, insulation, and sometimes flooring and ventwork. So much demolition has to follow the insidious nature of flooding, before mold sets in. The statistics we heard were that more than 70,000 FEMA case numbers were assigned. The devastation is so wide spread.


This is what my foyer looks like RIGHT NOW. (You'll notice I have not started putting away Christmas yet.) I have a significant pile of quilts made by my local team, plus a generous donation from Dare County (NC)'s Project Linus group.

And so, we are going back with Quilts of Compassion this week. If you are a quilter, consider making and donating a finished quilt (large bed quilts are always needed and in shorter supply) at any time during the year. Sadly, there are always enough disasters to go around. If you don't quilt, but would like to support this ministry, please consider a cash donation. But whatever you do, please pray for the people who are struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives, and rebuild or relocate from a catastrophic natural disaster. Thank you to all of my team who met locally at Christ Presbyterian Church in Winterville, NC (stay tuned for announcements of when we'll be meeting again) to actually make quilts, and to pray. Thank you to my church family for covering me and my hubby in prayer as we serve. Thank you to all of the extended quilty friends who sent tops through the mail, or dropped off finished quilts, or just handed me a check to buy batting or backing material.

Happy New Year! I'll have some reports from the road, and we'll be back to quilting business as usual next week.

I'm posting this picture because you need to see that the pile of quilts is as tall as I am. I think I've got over 200 in my foyer, with more on their way from Ohio in the Quiltmobile for donation to the areas affected.

Lori

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

August Achievement

I am happy to announce that I did, in fact, finish my UFQ goal. My "Celtic Solstice," a Bonnie Hunter design, is complete. I even finished it on August 31!







It's such a good feeling to finish. I'll show it off at the September guild meeting.

I've finished several customer quilts this week, once CS came out of my frame, but I'll save those for another update. What UFQ are you tackling next? Mine is a doozy...wait and see!




Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer Solstice, Delayed

Is it possible to have the summer doldrums at a frantic pace? If so, that's where I've been the last couple of weeks. We have a fun family summer, with lots of visitors and vacationing. I've still finished a few special quilts for customers, but much of August has been an intake process for the September and October calendars, while I finish up my own projects and soak in the last bit of summer I can find. Here at Island Time Quilting, I'm always going to be a quilter myself, so I'll have time in my schedule for my own pieces of art. If I can meet your timeline and needs, I will happily serve you...but I don't schedule myself so heavily that I cannot make my own art. You wouldn't want the unhappy person I would be in that situation to touch your beautiful masterpieces. Thank you for allowing me to share my own work with you, as well as the quilts I finish for clients.

In fact, I want to say this right now...if you have any Christmas gifts you want me to quilt, they need to be ready to go no later than October 15! I'm booked up right now until November 15, and will only take a small handful of gifts/deadline quilts to finish before the end of the year. I'm booking now for my 2016 calendar! Let me know at my email or give me a call if you want to reserve a time slot for January or February 2016.

So, while I could only squeeze a few hours here and there, I set myself a goal to finish my Celtic Solstice quilt (a Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville mystery from 2013) in August. At the beginning of the month, I only had a few blocks pieced, and had not yet pieced the remaining units. With a couple of aggressive piecing days on the 3rd, 10th and 17th at my weekly Sugar Creek Quilters gathering, and a last minute trip to Thistle Bee Quilt Shoppe in Goldsboro for borders and backing, I managed to get it in the frame on Friday, August 21. I quilted the top borders that evening, and row one and part of row two on Saturday, August 22. That's when it occurred to me that this wasn't going to go as fast as I'd hoped.







Even with several more dedicated hours this week, I've just rolled over to row five...so it's at least three or four more days. Perhaps I'll surprise myself and get it out of the frame on Monday!

Quilting is laborious at times, but oh, so worth it.



September is just around the corner, y'all, and I have a closet full of beautiful quilts to tackle in the next couple of months. Make sure you like my Facebook page to see what's happening as I go. You can follow my Instagram, but it's very likely to also have grandchildren photos.

Back to the quilt in my frame...

Lori

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Brief History of Island TIme

While quilting for twenty years as a hobbyist whose time was so precious around work and school and family obligations, I often exclaimed loudly, "No one can pay me enough to quilt for money!" Quilting is a very expensive hobby, despite its reputation as a way to recycle or reuse old garments. Very few modern quilters recycle old clothing, or use "scraps" from garment-making to make quilts. Instead, we buy new cotton fabrics at a premium price, often accumulating a stash for months or years before we have the perfect colors and prints for the designs we envision. One of my quilts from this year, Cross & Crown, was pieced in Lakeside Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings for Moda Fabrics. It took me over 100 hours to piece and quilt, and had $500 in materials alone. With my billing rate and materials, it's a $2,500 quilt. (I'm tossing that out there for the nonquilters. You quilters know how much you spend. If you don't want your spouse to know, don't let them read this. But I don't think you are fooling them.)



It was inconceivable to me that I'd have enough leisure to quilt all the quilts that I have in my own mind in my lifetime (and that's still probably not an option!). So, I guarded my time with Grinch-like stinginess, and doled out my quilts as gifts to special family members or friends, and gradually built up a few for our own use in my home. If you ever received a quilt from me, you need to understand that I spent no less than $300 on materials for that gift, plus spent anywhere from 40-100 hours of my time. Even baby quilts are typically a $150-200 investment. Yes, there are "leftover" fabrics that I can use again, but most of the time I've bought 6-8 yards of fabrics for the top, and another 4-5 for the back, and then there's batting and thread. I'm still waiting for all the "free" quilts I should be able to make from the scraps I have upstairs. (The scraps that FILL TWO ROOMS OF MY HOUSE, and must be handled soon.)

Trust me, as much as I quilted, we still don't have "a lot" of quilts in my house. Okay, we have quite a few. More than we have beds or people. Or beds and people. Or wall space...NO, there's room for a few more on the walls. Plus--aren't you supposed to rotate art so it doesn't sun damage?

I digress.

Three years ago, my sweet husband sold his super-de-duper airplane, and bought me the first new sewing machine I'd ever owned. I invested in a Pfaff p3 Powerquilter with Quilt Artist II. It was a beautiful machine that still felt like it was appropriate for a hobbyist. Maybe an expert hobbyist, which I certainly was after twenty years. All my friends oohed and aahed and said, "Will you be able to quilt OUR quilts for us? We'll gladly pay you!" So, I thought, "Sure, I'll start a business. But it won't be a busy business. I can still teach fulltime and occasionally quilt for friends." I quilted ZERO quilts that first year. For me or for anyone else. (A teacher's job is hard, y'all. Love your kids' teachers.) But Island Time Quilting was conceived, and I became optimistic with future hope...



Then two years ago, my sweet husband convinced me that we would get along just fine without my school salary, and that he'd love to spend more time able to travel or camp together, now that we were an empty nest. And, then I could spend more time with my "business." DONE!

AND THEN...as Providence intervened, my dearest boss of all time, Barb, sent me an email that said, "Hey, I've found five quilts in the attic that my mom pieced. They've been in storage for twenty-seven years. Do you know someone who could finish them for me?" And my first client project was shipped to me from Dayton, OH, stored longer than I've even quilted myself.








I'm glad I didn't know any better two years ago when Barb bamboozled me into quilting her project. Now I have hundreds of quilts under my belt in that marvelous machine, and I learn something new on each and every one about handling the complexity of fabrics and design and texture and thread color.

I've been so blessed by the growth of my client base over two years in business. It quickly became a real, full time job, with a work load that kept me up late some nights and a schedule I have to guard so that I can meet my obligations. I'm not so busy that I cannot have a "retired" lifestyle, which includes loving my two little granddaughters and supporting my daughters' family needs, and yes, even traveling with that sweet hubby.



So, here I am, two years later, reflecting on how great it is to wake up early obsessed with what I am going to do in the studio today, and rejoicing on how many vintage quilts I've finished, and first quilts for new quilters (many of whom have gone on to become prolific quilters!), and baby gifts for new grandchildren, and wedding quilts, and charity quilts for tornado victims, and quilts of valor for servicemen and women.

Island Time Quilting is less about "not busy" and more about a wonderful breeze blowing off that needle.

Thank you. Thank you for filling my days with color and art and laughter and hope and comfort and warmth and friendship. I've got a business plan that includes upgrading my machine in three years (although, it's a great machine, and I've really learned a lot of tricks in handling it). I've got a list as long as my arm of new projects I want to sew for myself and others. I'm encouraged that I have a stack of client quilts at all times with two or three new ones showing up each week for me to provide the quilting services, and often even the binding services. I'm attempting to stop converting all my profits into fabric for new projects...but that may be futile. I purchased IslandTimeQuilting.com and LoriMillsap.com so that I can build those sites over the winter and make it easier for you to see my work and read my blog and maybe start a teaching schedule.

So, again, thank you. I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This week at Island Time

I had some great quilting times this week! We had a "Christmas in July" day at my house with my Sugar Creek Quilters, where we sewed, ate, laughed, sewed and ate some more! I was able to start a new quilt with a layer cake from the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial "Alter Ego" (just a four-patch and a QST). I even ordered the border and backing fabric and got it in the mail this week, so it's ready to to border and then quilt! I'm using the "Holly's Tree Farm" line of fabric, and it's adorable. I used a layer cake, plus a yard of inner border, 3 yards of border, a yard of binding, and ordered five yards of backing in this great flannel. I've linked the Fat Quarter Shop (not an affiliate link), but you might find it at your local quilt shop! I have to say, FQS got my extra yardage here in three days. I love both Fat Quarter Shop and Missouri Star Quilt Company for their speedy service and great selection of Moda fabrics. I actually bought my layer cake when I was in Ohio in June, so you could also order from Fabric Shack if you like...which for a long time was my local quilt shop!



Then I pieced a cute "leftovers" top from the scraps remaining from Gumdrop's baby quilt. I used the Moda Bake Shop pattern "Lattice Bones" to piece this fun finish. I have the backing pieced and ready to go, so this will go in my frame in August.


I quilted two client quilts on Monday, and got their bindings on by Thursday, so they are ready for pick up. They are both such fabulous quilts, and they have great textures. I'm happy to attach your ready-made binding for you, or even completely finish your quilts. I honestly think binding is one of my favorite parts!


Julie's Quilt is quilted in "Amulet" by Lorien Quilting in Glide Cool Grey 3.



Nicholette's Quilt is quilted in Baptist Swirl in Glide Magic Mint.

I have a third client quilt in my frame now. It's a great vintage top, which has challenges that stretch me as a quilter. Many vintage tops were pieced from templates, and may have very full blocks or borders. I have lots of tricks for flattening that excess fabric out! Check out my Facebook page to see the finished pictures of this vintage snail's trail as I complete it.



As always, follow me on Facebook or Instagram for the most up to date pictures, because I can snap them and publish from my phone on the fly.

Happy sewing!

Lori

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Finishes Report

Here's a quick post to share some finishes from the week!

This adorable Christmas quilt was delivered this week:


I quilted it in "Slick" by Lorien Quilting in Glide white. I love the texture of Slick...I think it looks like nondirectional hearts. I used a nice soft loft batting and density for this bed quilt.



Then I finished this "Scrumptious Squares" from my UFQ pile, and plan to gift it soon. I quilted it with Strawberry Blonde Glide thread in "Luxury" by Lorien Quilting, and bound it in the lime green bias stripe. I love the flannel polka dot backing fabric.


This adorable table runner was picked up by a happy client today! She had seen my Lakeside Gatherings table runner from Fat Quarter Shop, and ordered her own kit! I quilted hers in "Waterworld" in Lemon Ice Glide thread, then bound it in Lantern Glo.



I have had this in my UFQ pile since March or so. I pieced "Yellow Roses, Lakeside" from the leftovers from my Cross & Crown quilt, but added in a special favorite fabric that Maggie fell in love with at our spring Greenville Quilters Guild show, and a guild member shared graciously from her scrap pile. So, I guess you can say this is a "scrap" quilt but it was custom-designed for my daughter.
I added in triple lattices and nine patch cornerstones, plus a flange binding to make it special. The backing is a grey gingham from April Showers by Bonnie & Camille for Moda.



Here's that favorite yellow roses fabric...


This was another UFQ in my stash. I'd pieced four rows over a year ago, but finally got around to finishing the other three rows and cutting the white setting fabric, and getting this quilted. It's 45x55" and is for my younger granddaughter "Gumdrop" to enjoy. I quilted it in Florist by Lorien Quilting in Glide White.


 I think this is the first quilt I've ever bound in white!


Today I'm cleaning and resetting my studio for a fun sewing day tomorrow. We are celebrating "Christmas in July" on July 25, and starting some Christmas-themed projects.

Happy sewing! (Five months to Christmas!)

Lori