Before details of the Ricky Tims seminar start to get misfiled in my aging brain, I want to document a few items from my notes.
From Ricky–our number one homework assignment was to put away our standard ironing boards and make a large surface for pressing. Cut plywood to size, cover with Warm and Natural and then a finish cloth folded over to the back and stapled. Does not have to be pretty! A dry iron is recommended with a water bottle spritz for pressing. Steam irons not favored due to inevitable “incontinence!”
For all his piecing except Kaleidoscope, he tears rather than cuts his strips. A quick nick on the selvage, rip as far as your arms will reach and then fit your knee into the V where the tear stopped and complete the motion to separate the strip. Funny demo and I’m sure a real time saver. Plus you never get those little crooks when you didn’t line up the fabric perfectly with the straight of grain before rotary cutting.
For machine quilting, he favors a cotton/poly batting because it is thin and lightweight. This makes it possible, when quilting the center of a large quilt, to push and lift the excess quilt under your machine arm forming a “cave.” From this position, get your “potholder-sized” area moving before starting your free motion quilting.
Ricky’s life lesson: Nothing in life is a failure if you learn something from it.
From Alex Anderson–for hand quilting (her preferred method) she uses Mountain Mist Quilt-Light batting. I was so glad to hear this as poly seems to have such a bad reputation these days. My mom got me started with Mountain Mist poly and I still use it. Alex also uses my favorite Clover open sided thimble for her hand quilting–except when she quilts backwards. Then she uses a standard thimble on her THUMB! She did a demo of that and also how she travels her thread between stop and start points. This last tidbit was very interesting but I didn’t quite get how she did it. I’ll have to see if I can find it online or in one of her books.
When clearing out your stash, never give away your lights or neutrals because they are hardest to replace. She has an interesting book I had not seen–Neutral Essentials–in which all the quilts contain only neutral fabrics.
If you have a quilt with a fabric that bleeds to a lighter neighbor, put in the washer with Synthropol and agitate. This will remove the unwanted dye. Shout Color Catchers also recommended.
From Bob Purcell (Superior Thread)–a straight wind thread is designed for a vertical spindle. If you use your horizontal spindle, twists are added as the thread comes off the spool–not good. His recommended needle is the Topstitch as it is sharp but not razor sharp, has a wider deeper groove and an elongated eye (twice the size of a regular eye). To thread, simply place thread in the groove and move down toward the eye. The thread slips right through! Use size 70 for mono-filament and silk, size 80 for fine threads, size 90 for decorative/metallic threads.
Trouble-shooting thread issues–95% can be solved using the following breakdown: 50% thread quality, 20% needle, 20% tension, 5% thread feed method.
From Libby Lehman–favorite new marking pen is Pilot Frixion. The marks disappear with a hot iron. If available for your machine, a leather foot is great for sewing curves on regular fabric. The leather foot is a disk that only engages with one side of the feed dogs.
Tips for selling your work. If you want to make money, don’t make bed quilts. Your work has to be useless. The more useless, the more money you can get for it 🙂 She hates math so she prices all her work at $400 per square foot–OK she is an award winning artist but it’s something to aspire to.
She often judges quilt shows and offered these six pointers: 1) straight lines straight–no “cooked bacon” waves 2) curved lines curved 3) some areas may benefit from more quilting 4) quilting stitches smooth and consistent–regardless of size 5) binding full 6) corners exact and consistent. Number 1 rule–You must enter to win!
Two of Libbby’s quilts I really liked are below. The one on the right started as two layers with the same colors in each block position but the bottom layer has lighter values. Look at the effect when she stitched around her circles and cut away the top layer.
I wish I had attended this seminar when I first discovered my quilting passion instead of stumbling around in a self-taught vacuum, but like Ricky says: Nothing in life is a failure if you learn something from it.