All of ’em! Yes, four projects actively in process, at least two more than I usually have, and I’m making progress on all fronts. Here’s where we started the other day:
- Untied. I’ve been hand-quilting this with a hoop for the center, and no hoop for the rest, which I can reach more easily. It’s been on hold for a couple of weeks, but the center is almost done and soon I’ll move to the outer borders. They should go a little more quickly. Update: the center is done and I’m working on outer borders.
- Moonlight Waltz. The top is beautiful. I loaded it onto the frame with a back and wool batting. My longarm machine has had unreliable tension, but after testing extensively, I plunged ahead. It was awful. Rather than baby the project along, a few inches at a time, I stopped. I took my machine to the factory. Last week I picked it up. They installed a new tension assembly and a new shaft for the bobbin assembly. The price of repairs was very modest. Jim re-installed the machine. I removed the whole project from the frame and picked out the quilting I’d done. I’ll need to add a big test strip to the back before loading it on the frame again. Update: It’s back on the frame. I switched to a polyester batting, and I’ve completed one pass of quilting. So far so good…
- Diamonds. I don’t have a good name for this yet, but it’s my most recent start. The top is done and the back is ready. I need to cut batting and make a binding. I will quilt this one before getting back to Moonlight Waltz. Update: it’s DONE! Quilted and bound, though I’ll admit, not labeled. (Ugh, the colors are so strong, I cannot get them to show right in photos! This looks really dull compared to the real thing.) OH! And the name — “More Precious Than Diamonds.”
- Testing. This actually is my highest current priority, and it is what I’m working on today. I put plain muslin on as backing and top fabric and used a scrap of polyester batting between. To evaluate the tension, I am using a different color of thread in the bobbin than on the top. I think it’s adjusted pretty well now, but the batting scrap is a different loft than I usually use. After a few more squiggles, I’ll switch to my usual brand and test some more. Update: testing went fine. I’ll continue to create test strips before starting quilts. But I’m hopeful now that my tension problems are much improved.
- Local guild challenge. This year’s guild challenge is to create a quilt inspired by Iowa. “What does Iowa mean to you? Corn and prairie grass? The Old Capitol Building? Family and friends? In 2016, Iowa will be 170 years old and we thought we should show everyone what Iowa means to us through our quilts. There is no size or technique limit to this quilt.” This is a hard project for me because I can’t easily distill my thoughts and emotions into a design concept. However, while instant-chatting with my son one evening, he described the Iowa in his mind as he flew over early this year. I’m still working on how to incorporate his words. The challenge meeting is in July, so time is running out! Update: my concept is developing. I’ve chosen words, roughed out a wind turbine, stitched highway I-80 across the state, and determined how to paint fields. It’s moving along.