Southern Vermont Quilting
Well, it’s Spring in Vermont, which is as always, a rollercoaster of weather…. People say, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change…and it’s pretty much true. Sometimes, it feels like we experience two or three seasons in a single day. Yesterday was sunny and warm and I had the windows open. This morning, there is a frost on the ground. Luckily, my daffodils are nearly done blooming, so this frost isn’t going to hurt them a great deal. I haven’t yet planted anything in the food garden, so no losses there. Our growing season is super short, as we are prone to getting frost or a late snow all the way through May. A common rule of thumb is to not plant until after Memorial day. Yet, even that can be risky here in the mountains. I’m happy to see the leaves filling out on my lilac bush, and promises of dark buds that will turn into sweet, fragrant flowers. I can’t take any credit, as it came with the house, but I am so lucky to have one of the most beautiful and prolifically flowering lilac bushes in our town. Today, the sun is out again, and the frost will burn off quickly. Still, I’ll wait for some more warmth before I get my kayak out.
I continue to struggle with the new website, though I am getting better. My biggest challenge right now is my email; the ones that are sent to me. Where do my emails go? I was given an email address when I set up the site, but it didn’t seem to be working. I found a place to change that and redirect it. So, I put in a different address to an existing email and now that says that it’s pending confirmation. It’s been days and days and I haven’t gotten an link for the confirmation. Uuugh! I’ve tried and tried and the change is still pending.
The good news is that, if I go way into the guts of my dashboard, I can at least find if anyone is submitting anything on my contact form. I believe that this means that the contact form page works okay and just the email address is broken somehow. Maybe I have something wrong in some settings somewhere. I just can’t find it. And I am so not techy, that I get weary with the trying. I haven’t given up. I will keep trying and I will get things sorted out.
Work has been slow. Spring is usually when the long arm quilting starts to pick up. Typically, things get busier and busier, peaking at the winter holidays and then dropping off until things start to come back to life in the Spring. And then the cycle starts again. Now, as we move toward the middle of May, things are still rather quiet. And with the cancellation of the Vermont Quilt Festival, I fear a backlash of still less work heading my way. I had hoped that, with the calming of Covid, that the more normal rhythm of quilting requests would return. But things are just slow. What is to blame? The economy? The cost of quilting materials? The loss of my local fabric store, which would send referrals my way? I just don’t know. What I do know is that, I can’t survive if this continues. So, I am looking at diversifying a bit. Not leaving Long arming, of course, but adding a side gig.
Our area in southern Vermont, boasts a lovely reservoir; Harriman’s reservoir, otherwise known as Lake Whitingham. Nestled in a setting that is surrounded by trees and the green mountains, it’s the largest body of water that’s completely located inside the state, and it has all that a lake should offer. It’s 28 miles of shoreline, provide a wonderful place to swim, picnic, hike, paddleboard, kayak, fish, and bird watch. Bald eagles have successfully nested on the lake for several years and loons and other waterfowl are a common sight out on the lake’s waters. And there are, of course, boats. Boats that might need some new upholstery.
So that is where I am heading with my new side hustle. After 20+ years of long arm quilting, I am looking into adding marine vinyl repair to my list of services. There is lots to learn, as vinyl is quite different than cotton. But I will start small and simple and build my skills, just as I did with quilting.
Anyway, with things being a little on the slow side, I have given myself permission to do a little creating of my own.
Here is a little fabric collage that I’ve been working on. She reminds me of my cat, Loki. I need to select a background and then will add more details with thread painting and quilting. Whiskers and eyelashes will be thread paint. I’m not yet sure if I will do this on my Gammill long arm or on my sit down (Bernina). I guess I’ll just see what hits me when I’m ready to start.
Here are a couple of auditions for the background fabric. Haven’t decided which. I like them both. I’m thinking of going with a single piece rather than collaging the background too.
Usually, I work with my own patterns, but this is one of Maxine Tarsey’s. I’ve tweaked it a little and will modify it some more, if I ever do it again. Her patterns are fairly loose, so lend themselves well to adapting and reinterpreting.
Under the Needle
What has been under my needle lately? Well, I’ve just finished up a very large commissioned T-shirt quilt. It’s quilted and bound now, but here’s a look at it pre-quilting. Video
Also, newly completed, is this single wedding ring quilt that I have custom quilted for a client. This one is a combination of digital set in designs and ruler work. Custom works always takes a chunk of time, and this one was no exception. Ruler work is slow going and there is a lot of it on this quilt. Still, I find often find that the hardest part of quilting is just getting started. Once I actually start quilting, things tend to come together. I guess that’s probably true of many tasks.
Barbara’s Single Wedding ring, close up of custom quilting. Custom quilting by Hummingbird Hill Quilting. Digital quilting combined with hand-guided ruler work.