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 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...


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 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 and 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!


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!)


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Schedule, Schmedule

When I began working as a professional quilter, I set up this blog and actually SCHEDULED it on my calendar to be updated weekly. Ha! Well, as we all know, weekly might be ambitious, particularly since I haven't posted since MARCH.


First, I'd like to encourage you to follow my Facebook page, where I can post pictures quickly and efficiently as I'm working, so it's my first line of communication. You can find it at Island Time Quilting on Facebook. If you aren't a Facebook member (you know, because you are one of about six people on the planet who hasn't given in and been assimilated by the Borg), you can also follow my Instagram feed. It's my personal feed, so occasionally you are inundated with pictures of my beautiful granddaughters, so don't say I didn't warn you!

But, since you are here, I'll post a few pictures of what I've been up to since I finished my Cross & Crown quilt in February.

On my personal quilting side, I have finished several on my "To-Do" list. I've made a couple of gifts (not to be published yet), and I've gotten these two done for Grams's house.

The first one is called "Persimmon Tweet" and I pieced it from Persimmon by Basic Grey for Moda Fabrics charm squares plus yardage using Swim Bike Quilt's Star Bright pattern which you can find here. It's fabulous for a quick gift or a fun project. It's a great twin-sized quilt for Grams's guest bedroom.

The second one I named "Scrumptious Slick Showers" and it's all 2" finished squares of Bonnie & Camille fabrics from the April Showers and Scrumptious lines for Moda Fabrics, plus a jelly roll of Kona cottons called "Sandcastle" in an assortment of beiges. My sweet customer Donna C. had done a beautiful checkerboard quilt last year using Sandcastle, and I envied it so much that I completely copied her. The Bonnie & Camille fabrics were leftovers from two previous projects for another customer Julie L., who always has the BEST taste in fabrics!

I also finished this long-time-UFQ (from 1994!) one day in April:

It was a fun and quick finish of an unfinished quilt top I'd carried as a burden for 20 years. I have a few more of those upstairs (sigh) and I'm determined to get those quilty-guilty projects DONE. This miniature quilt has 1/2" finished squares, and fussy-cut Dalmatians. It's a Christmas quilt, but I hung it in my studio and there it still hangs!

Now, as customer quilts go, I have finished a bunch in March, April, May and June! I cannot possibly post details about all of them (go look at my Facebook albums from CQ1525 through CQ1540!), but here are a few highlighted photos.

I'm looking forward to seeing what I complete in the next few weeks! I have a couple of doozies in the line up, and a stack of my own personal goals to accomplish. Stay tuned! (You know, check in every month or two to see if I've posted "weekly.")