January 20, 2022

Running Stitches –

Running Stitches -
Running Stitches -
“I cannot count my day complete, ’til needle, thread and fabric meet.”
I know that is a little ditty from somewhere.  I have no idea who first coined this phrase, but I certainly can lock elbows with that maker in solidarity when it comes to our shared passion for stitching – no matter what it is.
I’m closing in on the center of my Oak Leaf & Reel quilt – where fans will run into other fans and end where fans end, somewhere in the middle.
Running Stitches -
The one thing I love about Baptist fan quilting is the sheer unknowingness of which fan is going to end up where.
Did you know that fans are quilted from the outside edge inward to the center of the quilt?
There is a reason this quilt filling pattern was (and still is!) so popular amongst quilting bees.
Imagine if you will – the old fashioned quilting bee, with a quilt top, batting and backing stretched flat out on a wooden frame, chairs placed strategically around the frame –
Fans are marked on each side – the first side going edge to edge across the whole, starting in the bottom right corner and running off the edge of the left corner.  This is Quilter #1.
Working clockwise around the quilt, to the left of Quilter #1 sits Quilter #2 – who has started up where Quilter #1 left off – marking fans all along their side until it runs off the far left edge of that side.
That’s right – they just run off the edge. There is no “making it fit” or having things be symmetrical.
While Quilters #1 & #2 are quilting away, Quilter #3 is at the top of the quilt opposite of Quilter #1, and they are busy marking fans along that quilt edge from right to left – starting where Quilter #2’s fans ended, and marking all the way from right to left until the fans run off at that last corner to their left.
In comes Quilter #4, marking their fans on the 4th side, starting where Quilter #3 left off – all the way to where Quilter #1 began.
Can you see it in your mind?  

Running Stitches -

When the first round is completed, there is another inner round worked on top of the first round, moving the stitching toward the inside of the quilt.
The two quilters on the sides (Quilters #2, & #4) can only work as far as their arms will reach toward the inside.
When no one can reach any further, the C clamps are removed and quilters #1 & #3 will roll their boards so they can reach the next area to be quilted.
I have used this method free hand, with no need to mark any lines on several of my projects.  For further explanation, click to my Free Hand Fans tutorial HERE. It’s been linked under the Tips & Techniques tab at the top of the blog since 2010!
I’m not quilting on an old fashioned wooden frame. I quilt in a hoop.  This one is 14” which is pretty much my go-to size.  It fits my arm span for easy lap quilting.
Much like the Free Hand Fans tutorial, as the only person quilting, and quilting from a hoop, not a frame, I first have to baste my quilt layers extremely well.  That’s important when quilting from the outside in, or you can push fullness to the center of the quilt – and then where is it going to go?
I use a basting length stitch on my longarm to make the job extra quick.  Basting stitches are removed as I move the hoop from area to area.
Since this quilt was extra fussy (pretty formal) I chose to mark my fans with a stencil and chalk. Because the chalk brushes off as I quilt each area, I am only marking one hoop’s worth at a time.
What you see in this photo is the CENTER!  I’m getting close. And  I may finish quilting the center within the next week or so as we have THIS happening this weekend:
Running Stitches -
Approximately 2 1/2” of the white stuff expected on Saturday, followed by nearly 12” more on Sunday.
Remember last year when I had to park down at the bottom of the hill because of all of the ice and snow?
I may be parking my van at the bottom of the hill on Saturday.
And I’m already making a list of everything I’ll need here at the cabin studio so I can sew sew sew – 
And I have a movie list planned out so that I can sit with that hand quilting project in my lap while the snow falls outside.

Running Stitches -
This happened yesterday.
More x-rays were taken of the suspect tooth and surrounding area.  It seems to be holding its own for now, but if it acts up again its going to need a root canal.  Dang.
I have an antibiotics back up prescription should anything happen over the weekend. And I have a referral to an endodontist should we need to go that route.  It’s worth it to save this tooth, but my hope is that it was just an odd event that won’t recur since we adjusted the bite on that tooth to not be so close.
(Sorry about the medical stuff – but you know? It’s a pandemic, Omicron is raging, and going to the dentist is considered to be an “outing” you know? LOL!)
Running Stitches -

Guilty Pleasures.
Yes, I know it’s instant.  And yes, it has a gazillion calories – but it has been SO cold that all I wanted to do was get this into my bloodstream.  It’s really not that bad!
Behind the scenes:
Running Stitches -

I’m pattern writing for Cherry Crunch!
If everything goes right – look for this pattern to be available on Saturday, January 15th! Perfect quilt for Valentine’s Day Scrap Happiness! Get your strings ready – no matter which color you envision your version of Cherry Crunch to be.  I can’t wait to see what you make!
And yes – there will be an introductory price.  And yes, there will be a Fabric Roll Gift-Away with Cotton to Quilts!  And a couple of other exciting things up my sleeve to go with it.
I hope to finish up the pattern writing part today (along with some photography while the sun shines) and then jump right in to writing Rhododendron Trail Part Eight, so it’s going to be a desk day in the studio for me.
How about things where you are?  Are you closing in on some quilting finishes of your own?
Running Stitches -

Quiltville Quote of the Day –
I LOVE the hand quilting on this one!
Looking for the one positive thing in any situation can help push you through to the bright side with valuable lessons learned.
Don’t sit on the cactus!
Another life lesson – though parts of us may be worn through (like this quilt) we are still exceptionally beautiful on the inside!
Have a Wonderful Wednesday, everyone –
Running Stitches -