I could use some suggestions

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last posting!!  Mostly that’s because I haven’t had time to work on anything lately.  I finally sat down this weekend and cut the strips for the next part of my “secret Christmas” project.   I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out, but I still can’t show pictures yet.

One interesting thing did happen this past week.  A good friend of mine owns a catering company & she has leased some shop space in her hometown.  She’s going to be running her company from the kitchen there, and she’s also going to open a small cafe & possibly a gift shop.  She’s hoping to sell locally crafted items, and is wanting me to provide her with some inventory.  I’m not entirely certain what to do about it.  While I would love to be able to make tons of money from making & selling my quilts, I know that won’t happen.  For one thing, I’ve heard it’s extremely difficult even for excellent quilters to make a living from selling their quilts.  For another, I am far from an excellent quilter.   I am happy making quilts for family & friends, but my current level of ability is not what I would be comfortable selling in a shop (YET).  I am, however, fairly happy with the quality of my baskets.   I would be okay with letting her sell some of those in her shop.  But I’ve only ever made six of them in my life.  I don’t know where I would find the time to make enough to sell.  So far, I’ve only ever made them during instructor led classes.   If I were to start making them for her shop, I guess I’d just fill my weekends with basket making.   I admit that I am slightly jealous of a lot of the crafty bloggers I read, who do not have to fit a standard 40 hour work week into their schedules.   I would love to be able to focus on kids & crafts all day, instead of just trying to cram them into evenings & weekends.  But on the other hand, if I didn’t have my job, I couldn’t afford my craft supplies anyway.  So it’s necessary.  And I am fortunate enough to at least have a job I enjoy – even if I would enjoy staying home with my family more. 🙂

I suppose I could also make little stationary sets for her to sell.  This one was an easy to make project, but I didn’t make the actual stationary that’s in it.

Okay, so now for a crafty question.  I have made a number of quilts, and my favorite part is the piecework, rather than the actual quilting.  Thus far, I have only ever used straight stitch quilting and I’ve had trouble with puckering on the backs.  (That is a seriously strange looking word.)  I have read that the best way to prevent that is to tape the backing to the floor, making sure it’s stretched tightly, then lay the batting & top over it…. & pin like crazy!  So that is my current plan for this secret project.  BUT, I’m not sure straight line stitching is appropriate in this case.  I’d *really* like to branch out a little and try some designs.  I can get stencils, if I decide to use someone else’s design.  Or I can create my own designs.  I haven’t really figured out exactly what designs I want to use for the quilting yet.  But what I’m having trouble with, in my experimenting, is getting a decent look from free-motion quilting.

I figured out how to get my feed dogs lowered, so they aren’t moving the fabric along.  And I purchased what I believe is a quilting foot for my machine.  But when I tried to practice with it, it just didn’t seem to work very well.  Is this something that you have any experience with?  Do you have any suggestions, tips or tricks on how to improve my free-motion quilting?  My machine is just a little Singer.  It doesn’t have room to twist full size blankets around under the arm.  So being able to move the fabric to follow the pattern in any direction (instead of just forward, with the walking foot) is essential if I want anything other than straight lines.   I am considering an alternative, if I can’t figure out free-motion by Christmas.  I have said in the past, that I don’t particularly like the look of tack & tie quilts.  However, if I can’t get the free-motion quilting to work, I may search out some very thin satin-ish ribbons in the appropriate colors.  Tiny satin bows would, I think, be very pretty in this case.  But I would prefer to have nicely quilted patterns instead.  Any ideas or suggestions?

S&Y Green Turtle


10 responses to this post.

  1. First of all, you can avoid puckering by using basting spray instead of pins. This is quite possibly the greatest product on the market! And instead of spraying my quilt batt, as the can suggests, I tape my quilt batt to the floor, spray the back side of the backing and apply it to the batt, then flip it over, re-tape it, spray the back of the quilt top, and apply it to the batt. I can e-mail you some other suggestions that will make free-motion quilting much easier, too!


    • Sarah, I SO appreciate your suggestions. I will have to get some basting spray and try it out. I’m always excited to try new things with my crafting! And I would LOVE any further suggestions you have on free-motion quilting. You can email me at SnippetsAndYarns at gmail dot com.

      Thank you!


  2. Sounds like you have some great opportunities coming your way!

    I agree with Sarah C! I used basting spray and rarely have trouble with puckering on the back, whether I do free motion or straight line quilting. I lay the backing fabric down first, right side down, tape it tight, then lay the batting over, and then the quilt top, right side up. I fold the batting and quilt layer back half way, spray the backing fabric, and smooth the batting back down. Then I spray over the batting and smooth the quilt top back down. Repeat for the other side of the quilt.

    For free-motion quilting, I have are regular machine too, and have found this tutorial to be the most helpful: http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2009/03/quilt-along-14-freemotion-quilting.html


    • Thank you, Terri! I just took a quick look at that tutorial & it looks like there are a lot of things in there that will be helpful to me. I have some batting scraps that aren’t big enough to do much with, so maybe later this week I’ll make myself a “practice sandwich” 🙂

      Whether it’s this week or not, I’ll be sure to post pictures of the practice results!


  3. NO is a very powerful word and great for getting rid of guilt. You do very nice work, judging by the pictures, but you are not a full-time crafter. I’m not either. I am very lucky to get in an hour a day. That is (mostly) OK with me because it is what it is and much better than nothing. Maybe in the future you will be a crafting mogul, but in the meantime, continue to develop your skills and be yourself. If the time comes, you will be ready. If it doesn’t, you will be happy anyway.


    • Very wise words, Deanna 🙂 Thank you!

      She & I haven’t even talked specifics about what sort of things she’d like me to provide. Basically she just acted like she expected me to contribute LOL

      I do think it would be a lot of fun, though. As long as she’s not relying on me to keep her shop stocked. I think if she has other people providing inventory then I would be okay making a few items here and there. I guess it would be similar to what some people seem to do with their Etsy shops. They just add things when they have them, and if they only have five things for sale, then that’s okay. As long as the arrangement is something like that, I think it could be good.

      As always, thanks for stopping by!


  4. Your baskets are gorgeous. I love them.


  5. Posted by Liz on November 1, 2010 at 16:16

    I like your baskets too. They look really professional. Shoppers are rarely willing to pay for the time and effort put into handmade goods, always looking for a bargain. You would be helping your friend out more than she helping you out in mho. Although it was a flattering offer, be strong and say no thanks.


    • Thanks Liz!

      As it turns out, my friend has gotten her money back on the shop space & is looking for somewhere else to set up. The building had sooo many problems, and the Inspector basically told her it should be condemned. She tried to get the landlord’s repair man to come fix some of it up, but he never made it a priority. So she canceled the deal.

      She might ask me again when (if) she finds a new place to setup. But I agree with you about people looking for a bargain. So I think I’d just do a few little things that don’t cost me much money or time. And I wouldn’t want my stuff to be what she was relying on to fill her inventory.

      I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit!


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