Wednesday, July 1, 2020

One (Or Two) Monthly Goals for July: Finish Quilting Spirit Song + Launch New Long Arm Learning Linky Party

Can you believe that the year 2020 is officially half over already?  My brain is still stuck back in February, before the whole world came to a screeching halt and we all woke up at the Mad Hatter's tea party with Alice in Wonderland...  

I know the whole idea of the OMG "One Monthly Goal" linky party is to focus on ONE main goal for the month, but I have two for July.  One of them is a quilting goal, and the other one is a blogging goal.  And the two goals are interrelated, with the blogging goal supporting the quilting goal and the quilting goal supporting the blogging goal, so it's kind of like my One Monthly Goal for July is a pair of conjoined twin goals!

My July Quilting Goal: Finish Custom Quilting Spirit Song

Spirit Song is still my primary focus project, and since I'm getting sick of looking at it, I'd really like to finish ALL of the quilting and get it off my frame by the end of July!  I'll bet y'all are getting tired of looking at this quilt, too, aren't you?!

I've already completed the SID (Stitch in the Ditch) as well as the ruler work and free motion designs in the pink/peach/yellow patches.  I've also finished quilting one of the longer ruler work and string of pearls borders, also quilting the ruler work and free motion designs in the little blue HSTs (half square triangles) as I work my way down the quilt.  So, breaking this big July goal down into component steps, I still need to:

  1. Finish quilting borders and blue HSTs with blue thread.
  2. Rethread with off white thread, either So Fine #50 weight or Bottom Line top and bottom (haven't decided yet)
  3. Finalize which background fill designs I want to quilt in which areas
  4. Quilt fairly dense background fills in all of the white/cream/neutral patches

I have two different diamond shaped designs going on in this quilt, and I know that I want to quilt the background fabrics differently in each of them.  I'm thinking of things like pebbles, little curlicues or swirls, matchstick quilting, small-scale stippling, etc., for the most part nothing that needs marking, except that something cute is going to have to go in the center diamond in the photo below:

Hopefully whatever I decide to quilt will go faster than all of the marked designs I've been quilting for the past couple of months, and hopefully I won't get bored from the repetition and burn out on it before I finish.

My July Blogging Goal: Launch New Long Arm Learning Linky Party

...Did YOU vote in my poll yet?  I've decided to launch a new weekly linky party with the theme Long Arm Learning!  Having made the substantial financial investment in my long arm machine just over three years ago, I have quilted exactly 3 charity quilts and 4 "real" quilts.  All of the charity quilts and one of the "real" quilts were quilted with edge to edge pantograph designs, one "real" quilt was quilted with an allover freehand loopy meander design, one was quilted completely with rulers, and one was a light custom quilt job with a mix of SID, simple ruler work and a smorgasbord of freehand fills.  But clearly, I am not going to master long arm quilting if I only quilt one or two quilts each year, right?  In my defense, I did have some mechanical issues with my machine when I first got it that really aggravated my learning curve.  As a complete newbie to long arm quilting, I struggled for a year and a half on practice samples, thinking my problems were user error, until a professional longarm quilter friend in my guild who has the same machine as me came to my house to help me and told me that my machine "wasn't supposed to do that!"  The wonderful folks at APQS helped my husband and me to go over my Millennium from top to bottom, checking absolutely EVERYTHING the same way they would do if I sent it back to the factory for "spa maintenance," and now every part that showed the slightest wear or malfunction has been replaced, every adjustment has been fine-tuned, and Thoroughly Modern Millie is purring along like a kitten.  It's time to ramp up my learning curve!

As a new long arm quilter, it is so easy to get bogged down in endless practice samples, trying to get "good enough" before you risk "ruining" a real quilt by quilting it poorly.  I love this idea that maybe no one is EVER "ready" to do anything -- and the only way to GET ready, or to get good enough to feel ready, is to just jump in and start trying!

I am really looking forward to connecting with other machine quilters in general (YES, domestic machine quilters are welcome) as well as others who are learning long arm quilting through this linky party.  The Internet is wonderful for being able to shrink the globe and create virtual communities of like-minded quilters, and I hope that hosting the linky party will also help me to be more intentional -- and more CONSISTENT -- with my long arm quilting.  I look forward to learning from others!

But first, I have some work to do.  These are the steps I still need to accomplish before I can cross "launch new linky party" off my July OMG list:
  1. I figured out how to create a graphic for my linky party "button," but I still need to figure out the html code part of it so that the image functions as a button rather than just an image
  2. Select a linking platform and create my account
  3. Figure out the mechanics of actually creating a linky party and inserting the link up into my blog post so that others can join in the fun
  4. I know I want a weekly link party, but I haven't picked the day of the week yet -- so let me know in the comments if you have a preference!
  5. Finally, and crucially, I'll need to figure out how to spread the word about my new linky party so that those who might want to participate can find out about it.  Again, if anyone has suggestions, please share them in the comments
Of course, I am still going to participate in all of the other linky parties I've been joining up with for the last few years.  If I didn't get so much out of other people's linky parties, I would not even be considering starting one of my own.

So, I'm linking up today's post with One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts.   Fingers crossed that this time, when the end of the month rolls around, I will be able to link up a post about how I accomplished both of my July goals as well!  Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday, those of you in the United States!


Gretchen Weaver said...

No, I am so NOT tired of seeing Spirit Song on the quilting frame, she is so beautiful! But I am so glad I'm not the one quilting her. I'm looking forward to the finish, maybe not as much as you but it will be exciting. Good luck with the new linky party.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Your Spirit Song is so beautiful! Really a stunner! I'm excited for your LA link party!!! Best wishes to get them both launched!

SJSM said...

Your Spirit Song is so unique and beautiful I don’t think I would ever tire of it. "Hearing" all the options considerations as you quilt has me realize the true amount of work that goes into a show type quilt.

We continue to SIP. No official fireworks or gatherings are supposed to occur. So this July 4th will be low key for us. We will hear fireworks from all the illegal ones people will send up. It could approach sounds of artillery exploding. With the hills dried out and ready to burn, it always amazes me how incredible obtuse people are in lighting fireworks by any open area. Other than that we hope to meet up with our small "social bubble". It’s a grand total of 7 people but we usually only see 2 at a time. Good thing I volunteer a lot so phone, email, text and virtually meeting keeps my mind active.

Kathleen said...

Good luck with your goals and your new linky party. I will definitely link up when I have some fun to share!

Patty said...

Enjoy! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck on your project.

Teresa said...

Love love love seeing Spirit Song! And where is the Poll for the Linky Long Arm. I vote yes.

I have had my hand guided Gammill Vision for almost 5 years. I do lots of charity quilts. In January of 2020, when life was almost normal, I custom quilted my "Long Time Gone" and "Quilty Fun" quilts. I entered both in my local quilt guild show on March 5th. I won a blue ribbon for LTG, and red ribbon for Quilty Fun. It was the most thrilling thing ever when I saw those ribbons on my Quilts. I didnt imagine they were worthy of ribbons.

Now I believe that I am ready and can do this, and I am not too shabby!

Teresa in Texas

Kate said...

It's the rare individual who can learn just by watching, but it's definitely brave to take that first step and just do. So far it looks like all your bravery is paying off with your quilting efforts. Good luck on both your OMGs.