Monday, December 31, 2007

Coins and Swirls

I've decided that my favorite quilted design on Chinese Coins type quilts are these Swirls from my Circle Lord template. (This is the donated Stashbuster top I showed yesterday draped across the longarm.)

Now that the Swirls are back on the table, I think most of January will be swirls or freehand quilts. ( I have 3 other Coins tops waiting for quilting). I know other people get bored doing the same thing but I like taking advantage of having the templates set up and as long as I do some freehand quilts in between I shouldn't get too bored. I also need to decide which top to quilt the Wonky Feathers on and I want to try Dwirling from the Pajama Quilter DVD too.

More postcards?

I decided that the beaded postcard was done so I put a backing on it and stitched the edging. I also decided to start one more....I wonder who will get these two?

See those glasses in the photo? My eyes are getting old and I find I'm having to use glasses for detail work - serves me right for laughing at Deb years ago when she started wearing granny glasses (you guys do know she's my OLDER sister don't you?).

Here's the next top to be loaded on the longarm. It's one of two pieced by Sandra and contributed to by the Stashbuster group I belong to. Both quilts will be donated when finished.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Have you noticed my interest in crazy quilting?

Note: Marilyn asked what type of thread I use for crazy quilting. While most of the books suggest a variety of appropriate threads, my favorite is size 8 DMC Perle Cotton. I've also used size 5 (which is thicker) and DMC embroidery floss.

I had an old UFO - just 6 crazy quilt blocks that I made into a doll quilt earlier this year. I've had a lot of fun collecting and reading Crazy Quilting books and trying different stitches on this pint size quilt. My embroidery skills are improving as I go along. Click any of the photos to see a larger view.

Permission to play?

I'm having fun with the postcards but always feel a little guilty about working on them rather than one of my quilts. I guess it's all those tops waiting for quilting. Tonight I could have been working on bindings but decided to make a postcard and try beading it.

Keep in mind this is my first attempt and that I'm not very artistic. I stitched the seams on the machine with the feather stitch thinking I'd just bead the tips but I quickly decided that would be boring so I decided to just play. I'm not sure if this is done yet - I'm going to go to sleep and look at it again tomorrow. Once I do the edging, I'll also have to fill in some beads but I tried not to get to close to the edge since I don't want to run over any beads with my sewing machine.

Click the photo to enlarge or maybe it would be kinder NOT to look too closely.

Since it's 3AM I guess I can go ahead and report my accomplishments/stashbusting efforts for the week.
  • Assembled my boxed squares blocks and that top is finished - the blocks were from a Jelly Roll from stash
  • Quilted an ugly UFO - the top was all from stash back when I pieced it in 2006 and I used stash for the backing
  • No fabric purchases again this week

I did purchase books and beads but I'm focused on my fabric not my books and I'll blame my current interest in Crazy Quilting for my desire to try some beading.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Boxed Squares

I had some requests for instructions for my Boxed Squares top. You can find them here on my site.

I drove in the snow today!

For the first time since moving to Minneapolis, I drove while it was snowing. Granted it was a light snow and the highways were clear but the secondary roads still had snow and ice on them. That's a big accomplishment for this southern girl!

While I was out I also stopped at Michael's to buy some beads. I want to try some beaded crazy quilting but I'm going to start on a small scale with some postcards.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I impressed myself!

I can't quilt allover freehand feathers, I just can't. I want to but have never been able to space them or get the shape right or something.

I finished quilting the blue/gold windmill quilt (ugly quilt#2) and had some space for practice at the bottom. Having watched Dawn Ramirez's DVD ONE time 2 days ago, I decided I'd try some allover feathers. Aren't you impressed?? Imagine what they'd look like if I'd actually practiced them on the whiteboard like she suggests! She calls these Wonky Feathers and they're supposed to look goofy and wonky - I can do THAT! You can click the photo for a larger view.


The 28th is my 2nd year blogging anniversary and I'm officially calling this my first successful attempt at keeping a journal. Thanks to all of you who stop by and leave comments or email me. You help make it fun.

And on this anniversary, here's my year end summary (a couple days early and you'll note that I'm counting the windmill quilt as quilted. I loaded it tonight and the quilting will be done before the end of the year but the binding won't).

My most important success with my UFO's this year was not allowing any new starts to be set aside until the entire top was pieced. I don't mind carrying tops over into the new year as UFO's because I'm confident they'll be finished not's those quilts still in pieces that I struggle to finish once they're set aside.

2007 Quilting Stats
62 Machine Quilted
· 18 of these were tops belonging to family members
· 2 were my quilts that were gifts for family
· 17 were tops that were pieced by others for HeartStrings
· 25 were my donation quilts
3 Hand Quilted
· Drunkard’s Path doll quilt
· Checkerboard doll quilt
· Holiday House wallhanging
16 UFO’s completed
18 New starts (includes 2 with Mom)
· 11 quilts were completed
· 7 are finished tops

UFO’s for 2008 – 25 on this working list (there are others that may be added as I come across them)
Needing Binding/Label
· Pink HeartStrings
· Red HeartStrings
· Blue/Gold Windmills
Donated HeartStrings tops needing quilting/binding/labeling
· QOV top pieced by Sue
· Stashbuster #1
· Stashbuster #2
· Annie’s top #1
· Annie’s top #2
· Barbara’s Chinese Coins
My HeartStrings tops and personal tops
· Green 4 Patch
· Crazy quilt (doll quilt)
· Half Square Hearts
· Christmas Lily
· Irish Chain
· Green Floral
· Dragonfly
· Pineapple
· Spiderweb
· Chinese Coins #2 (pieced by me from donated coins)
· Chinese Coins #5 (pieced by me from donated coins)
· Boxed Squares
· Lizard Strippie
UFO’s still in the piecing stage (started in 2006 or earlier)
· Flying Geese
· Homespun uneven SnS
· Grandmother’s flower blocks

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boxed Squares

This is an awful photo but I'm showing it anyway. I finished these blocks before going to Virginia from a Jelly Roll that Deb gave me for my birthday in June. Now the top is finished and it will go on the shelf while I catch up on some of my other quilting.

For those of you wondering, I got 40 blocks from the one Jelly Roll and the quilt is 48 x 60. I considered adding a border but with the fabrics being SO coordinated I don't really have something in my stash that would work well. This is a very *warm* looking quilt so I'll back it in flannel and it will make a nice lap size quilt.

Even though the fabric was a gift, it will be donated. I know Deb won't mind - she knows that most of my quilts are donated. It will probably go for the Angle Tree at my Mom's church next Christmas. She usually pulls the names of a couple senior citizens and I give her quilts or afghans to add to the present. This year we worked together on piecing two tops and I backed them in flannel and quilted them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just how much time can I waste on the computer?

update: I managed to spend a little time sewing this afternoon. In honor of the snow we've been having all week, another postcard for my journal project.

Make-a-Snowflake - Better Homes and Gardens

Continuing Education

The apartment is quiet, Keith, Chris, and Becky left for the airport and Chesty and I have a few days to ourselves. Since I'm still struggling with this cold(flu?) I don't plan to work today so I watched a quilting DVD that came just before Chris and Becky arrived.

The Pajama Quilter Reloaded

I've been longarm quilting for 5 years and while I think my freehand quilting is decent, I'm not always happy with how it flows. I've quilted most of the elements on the DVD before so I'm hoping that I can use the information and inspiration to improve. For me, the DVD was definitely worth the cost.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Not much computer time

I haven't been doing much blog reading since the kids have been here. I've limited my computer time but I wanted to share some more photos. After breakfast and before our traditional Christmas Eve picnic we took a walk down to the Mississippi River. It was quite cold but we stopped in at Panera for some coffee and a light lunch.

I tend to forget the difference in mine and Keith's height until I see a photo of the two of us together. I'm 5'3" and he's 6'4". Quite a bit of difference between the photo of Chris and Becky and this one of us.

Chris is hooked on making postcards and worked on several more today. Here are three tree variations he made. Becky and I were talking about knitting and crochet and I pulled out some knitting needles and showed her how to do the knit stitch. I think she might take a knitting class when she gets home.

Finally, Adam called us this evening. He's at home in GA working and we really miss him not being here. I hate that he's alone for the holiday.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Snow, lots of snow!

Keith and Chris drove to the grocery store to pick up my order and Becky and I walked downtown. Here she is in front of Macy's and the Mary Tyler Moore statue.
They're only calling for 2-4 inches of snow but it's been coming down all day!

More photos

After brunch yesterday we took Becky to the Mall of America. Other than buying a couple Jim Shore figures, I spent my time in the bookstore. I found 4 new quilt books and a couple novels. In the end, I spent more than she did!

This morning, Chris decided he wanted to make a postcard.
With a little help, he made this one for the Redskin/Viking football game we're going to tonight.

Friday, December 21, 2007

She likes it

Chris and Becky got here this evening and she got her belated birthday present. She was surprised so Chris didn't spill the beans and she liked the quilt. I'll be sorry to see it leave but at least it's going to a good home!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Uncommon Quilter - Autumn Leaves

I've been watching Jeanne Williamson's blog since buying her book The Uncommon Quilter and she posted a link today to a video of the making of one of the quilts...very cool. I never thought about using YouTube to play a series of photos like this.

I feel better

OK, I'm still getting a cold but either I was a bit hungover from dinner Tuesday night ( in addition to champagne and beer, our Danish hosts served Akvavit) OR getting a massage, manicure and pedicure this afternoon was just indulgent enough to make me feel better than yesterday. At any rate I still have to clean the apartment but I'll leave it for tomorrow.

Keith just ran downstairs to workout so I'm going to grab the pink HeartStrings top (the one on the machine in this photo) and work some on the binding. I quilted it back in November but other quilts have taken priority.

Chris called earlier to say he'd been in an accident. Luckily no one was hurt and it won't interfere with their visit. They fly in tomorrow around dinner time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Am I getting sick just in time for Christmas?

Keith, Deb, Mom, and other family members all came home from our reunion sick...I think Keith has finally shared his with me just in time for Christmas.

Not much accomplished today since I'm not feeling well but I did finish up some of the Christmas tree postcards I was making yesterday. Here's the one I made for my journal project. I love the crystals - thanks again Vicki!

Fun with crystals

Along with my hand dyed backing, Vicki gave me a couple packets of crystals. Tonight before going to a Danish Christmas party (which was LOTS of fun) I played around with Christmas tree postcards.

Monday, December 17, 2007

UFO #16

I finished up the binding and labeled the YBR quilt so that makes 16 UFO's finished this year. Unfortunately, I'll be carrying over some new ones into 2008 but at least I'm making progress.

I received this postcard in the mail from Deb'll have to visit her blog to see the inside.

This one came just before I went to VA from Helen in the UK. I plan on making myself a Xmas postcard for my journal project but not tonight. Keith has been sick with a cold and keeping me up at night with his coughing since I got home....I really need to catch up on my sleep before Chris and Becky get here Friday.

I actually have quilt photos to share today

Just to show you that I actually did bind the Ice Cream quilt. It's in the dryer now and then it's ready to be gifted.

Here's a fairly old UFO. Everyone on one of my quilting lists was raving about the Yellow Brick Road pattern 2-3 years ago so I had to try it. I realized quickly I don't like quilts from this pattern - mine or others I've seen and this one sat unquilted until today. It will be donated as a HeartStrings quilt (donating *ugly* quilts is another recent discussion on one of my groups that I won't go into right now) .

Since I can be pretty assembly line about my quilting at times, this has the same thread and pattern I'm going to quilt on another UFO that's next up for quilting. The pantograph is Whirlygig from Willow Leaf Studios. It's one I recently ordered and this is the first quilt I've used it on. It was quick and easy and more important - it takes advantage of the smaller amount of throat space I have on the Premier so I don't have to roll as frequently.

I checked my binding bin to see if I'd made a binding and found one cut from the yellow butterfly fabric but I think this needs a blue binding so I'll use the fabric on the bottom of the photo instead.
Next up is binding this one and piecing a backing for another ugly UFO. I think using the yellow thread and this pantograph will help to break up all the blue background on that one.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Stashbusting report

I didn't get much done this week but I have a few things to report:
  • The binding is done on the Ice Cream Quilt and it was from stash as was the rest of the quilt.
  • I pieced a backing from stash for the UFO I loaded on the longarm today.
  • I pieced two leftover pieces of batting for that same quilt.
  • No fabric purchased this week. I even turned down a trip to Mom's LQS while I was in VA because I tend to pick up fat quarter bundles there!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas decorating

I changed out my fall candles for red ones, added some Christmas potpourri, a mini tree, put my Christmas quilt over the back of the chair and we're done!
We've been running around doing errands all day so now I'll catch up on email and then hopefully finish binding the Ice Cream quilt as we listen to Christmas carols.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Chris called on Wednesday to say that he was very excited that they'll be here a week from Friday (that's a week from TODAY!). I think I need to revise my to do list and add shopping, decorating, CLEANING, buying groceries....who knew that Christmas was just around the corner?

Between shopping yesterday for a few stocking stuffers for Adam who will be on his own for Christmas, buying a few decorations for the apartment (all my Christmas stuff was left at the house in Marietta last year), shopping for a festive outfit, and going to a business dinner with Keith...absolutely nothing from my quilting to do list was accomplished.

On today's list of things that MUST get done - sewing the binding on the Ice Cream quilt and unpacking from my VA trip. I think I'll toss those HeartStrings quilts in the washer and check that off too.

Did anyone else seriously overestimate the amount of quilty work they were going to get done before Christmas?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


One of the best (and worst) things about being gone for a week is going through the mail when you get home. After working my way through all the bills and junk mail I was left with the fun stuff!

  1. I'm making an Anniversary string quilt for myself to celebrate HeartStrings first year in *business* and asked members of the HeartStrings Yahoo group for a block to be included in my quilt. I had 8 blocks here waiting for me.

  2. I saw an offer on the MQR list for a set of Great American Quilt books and couldn't resist and they arrived while I was gone - all 11 of them!

  3. We're going to a football game on the 23rd when Chris is here - the Vikings are playing the Redskins so I ordered a Redskin shirt for Keith and a Viking one for me. I was a Dolphin fan for years but don't really follow them any longer and never did get into the Falcons when we were in Altanta so I'm ready for a new team.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I'm glad to be home but another early morning flight has me very tired. I caught up on the mail and paid bills...doesn't a nap sound like a good idea before Keith gets home and takes me out to dinner?

I didn't mention it before but my Dad's birthday is 2 days after Mom's on December 10th. He died 19 years ago on December 11th and it was impossible NOT to think of him this past few days especially with the entire family getting together. Mom and I went to visit his grave on his birthday and she placed flowers.

While I was making a DVD with the photos from our reunion, I took a couple CD's that had a lot of old photos and slides that had been scanned and created a DVD for Mom and me. Here's one of my favorites from the CD. With 6 kids in the family, it's a rare thing to have a photo of just the two of us.

Tomorrow I should get back to work on my To Do List.
  • Piece 2 backings
  • Quilt 2 UFO's
  • Bind the Ice Cream Quilt
  • Finish the bindings on 2 HeartStrings Quilts
  • Wash/Dry 3 finished HeartStrings Quilts
  • Assemble the Boxed Squares blocks I pieced before my trip

Monday, December 10, 2007

Still in Virginia

We had a great time at the reunion on Saturday and Mom loved seeing everyone on her birthday. I enjoyed having Adam and Keith with me but it would have been great if Chris and Becky had also been able to make the trip. I've been busy sorting through hundreds of photos and creating a DVD for everyone. I'm using Windows DVD maker for the first time and I love it. I'm just adding photos, music, creating the title and choosing page transitions, a starting page and burning the DVD. (Deb, you're going to LOVE it!)

Here's a shot of Mom and the 6 of us.

Deb and I also met with Vicki on Sunday for lunch. We had such a great time and Vicki brought me a hand dyed backing for one of my donation quilts that's absolutely beautiful (I won a drawing on her blog).
I missed my Stashbusting report on Sunday but I haven't done much sewing this past week. I did finish the blocks for my framed squares which were from stash and I didn't make any fabric purchases during the week either. I even passed up a visit to the local quilt store here in Newport News today.
I have another day here in Virginia to visit with Mom and then I head home early on Wednesday morning. Are you missing me?

Saturday, December 08, 2007


We arrived Wednesday and Deb's son Stephen picked us up and dropped us off at Mom's. Since then we've been busy preparing for the reunion tomorrow. We're planning on having lots of fun! It's been fun seeing everyone so far and we still have one sister and a brother who will arrive tomorrow. We are a LARGE family....there are six of us plus all our our extended family. It will be great seeing those that make it to the reunion tomorrow.

Here's Deb with her son and granddaughter.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nope, not asleep yet

So I made a postcard. I've been wanting to try Sandy Bonsib's bias tube letters anyway. I made a half hearted attempt a week or so to actually make the bias tube - it didn't go well.

Since I had some of the ready made stuff I thought I'd use that and give it a shot. I actually like how this turned out but the problem with the ready made double fold stuff is that the opening is on the side and she stitches down the middle to hold them in place.

Now is it even worth going in to lay down for 2 and 1/2 hours? I think I will.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Trees

We can't have a real tree at the apartment so when I get back home, we're going to buy a small artificial table top tree but who needs a real tree with these right outside the window? I bet we got another 5-6 inches of snow today and they're calling for more Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'm going to hate missing it.

Deb gets to sleep in tomorrow - she doesn't leave until 7AM and since my cab will be here at 4:30AM to take me to the airport I'm sure I won't sleep at all tonight. We're both very excited about the trip to VA and our family reunion. We have a large family - there are 6 kids plus our families and we have some extended family coming too - aunts, uncles, cousins. Of course, Mom will be there too and it just so happens that the actual day of the reunion is her birthday.

My camera is packed and I bought a spare battery and extra memory cards. There will be lots of photos taken!

Deb and I are going to lunch with Vicki on Sunday after the reunion - how fun is that?
I'll be gone a week and my internet use will be spotty so I probably won't be posting my usual 1-2 x per day.

More winter weather

In spite of the snow, I lined these 3 small quilts up on the railing of the balcony to take this photo. These quilts were pieced by Wanda and sent to me for quilting. They'll be donated by Cricket to homeless families in the NE as part of the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

They're calling for 3-5 inches of snow today but if this keeps up I bet we'll get more than that. Hopefully I won't have a problem getting to the airport tomorrow. I have to be there VERY early!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Just a little quilty progress today

Just in case you were wondering, I machine stitch my bindings to the front of the quilt and then hand stitch it down on the back. So of the 3 quilts HeartStrings quilts on the list; 1 is completely done, 1 is machine stitched and ready to be whipped down, 1 is still waiting for binding. I know a lot of people machine stitch their bindings completely, especially on donation quilts but I like the look of my binding best when finished by hand.

Finish Holiday House
Load and quilt the Ice Cream House
Make blocks for Boxed Squares
Make 2 backings for UFO's that will become HeartStrings quilts
Bind 3 1.5 HeartStrings quilts

Tomorrow I'll spend a good part of the day getting ready for my trip to Virginia so don't expect to see much (any?) progress then either.

My sleep clock is completely off again

It's almost 3 AM - I'm finally finished working for the night and getting ready to head to bed. Normally I don't care that much but I'm going to pay later this week when I head to Virginia and can't sleep late after being up half the night!

After having wine and cheese while we watched the sunset from the apartment windows and a movie - Mr. Brooks, Keith and Chesty went to bed and I went back to work. I was very productive.

All my blocks for the Boxed Squares are finished now and I'll set them aside until I get back home. I hope I can find a border from stash since this will measure 48x60 - I think I had 40 strips in the Jelly Roll so that should be 80 blocks set 8x10. I also pieced 2 bindings and stitched one on my Pink HeartStrings quilt from October's project. I still have to hand stitch it down but getting it on the quilt is half the battle.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Almost done

I finished the quilting on the Ice Cream Quilt this afternoon and it's unloaded and trimmed. Binding will have to wait until I get back from VA on the 12th. I LOVE this quilt- thanks to JudyL for providing the inspiration/pattern with her July QFAH Project! Click any of the photos for a larger view (yes, I'm still manually fixing the code on each photo so it WILL enlarge).

Here's my report for Stashbusting Sunday.
  • All the fabric from the Ice Cream quilt is from stash, including the flannel backing.
  • All the fabric in my Holiday House finished this week is from stash.
  • I started a new quilt with a Jelly Roll (a gift that's been in stash for 6 months).
  • NO fabric purchases this week.

While I'm making current to do list looks like this

  • Finish Holiday House
  • Load and quilt the Ice Cream House
  • Make blocks for Boxed Squares
  • Make 2 backings for UFO's that will become HeartStrings quilts
  • Bind 3 HeartStrings quilts

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What a fun evening

Keith and I walked downtown, had coffee, did a little shopping, went to a wine bar and watched the Holidazzle Parade with the snow coming down. We had a great seat right by the window! Walking home everything seems to glow from the freshly fallen snow. Here are a few views from our apartment.

Click photo to enlarge (I fixed the code, it WILL work!)

I'm working but.....

I'm still enjoying the snowfall . Keith and I are getting ready to head out for coffee but I quilted another 1/3 of the Ice Cream Quilt. Just 1/3 left to do. Also, my comment on the pantograph was a little premature. It's actually not as fussy as I thought and flows rather well. Still, not one to do if you're in a hurry and I stay slightly inside the lines since they're fairly close together.

Still playing with framing options in Photoshop Elements too.
Don't you love the view from my studio? Chesty does! He's usually sitting up here (but facing out) when I'm quilting.

Lots and Lots of SNOW!

I want to go out and play but I'm going to quilt first and then Keith and I will walk downtown later.