Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Now this is cold!

So far I haven't had any complaints about the weather - it's been colder than I'm used to but I've been bundling up and still get out and do some walking, visit the bookstore, go to lunch but it looks like some serious cold is heading this way!
There was a post on the HeartStrings group today about Quilts of Valor. I've seen lots of messages on and off about that group but hadn't really paid close attention because although I do lots of charity quilts I had the organizations I donate to all lined up. Today I went and took a look at the article posted and then the Quilts of Valor website and decided it's time I make a QOV quilt .

So with my current obsession for string quilts - I decided to play around in EQ6. I liked the first two OK but the stars didn't really pop. I tried some red/white strings too but that looked too busy. I like the white star in the middle the best but I may still play around some before I decide which one to use. I'm not sure what happened to the reds in the first picture but I'm not going to go back and redo it - use your imagination!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

some quilting done, more blocks made

I left the kitchen stool in the studio because I still have to pick out the top border on Mom's quilt once I decide how I'm going to redo it and believe it or not Chesty jumped up there by himself. I don't think I've ever seen him jump up on anything so high.

Plodding along today - some quilting done on Mom's quilt. I'm doing some small meandering in the blocks around her applique now - I only do 4 blocks before taking a break because my arms start to ache.

My circle issues were resolved with a call to Michael at Loricles. I've never heard anything but great reports about their customer service and based on my experience it wasn't exaggerated. I'm very pleased with both my Baptist Fan template and my Circle Lord.

I also made some more blocks for my rectangular string quilt - just 16 left to do and I may make more later tonight. Keith is still out of town so I'm going to take a break and watch a little TV and then work some more.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This is how I'll spend my night!

Keith is out of town so I might as well spend the evening and night picking out the mess I've made of this quilt! Luckily the bar stool from the kitchen is the perfect height - which I found out last time I had to pick out a row of stitching. I've already warned Mom that I'm making a mess of the quilting on this quilt.

A bad day quilting

Ever have one of those days where your quilting sucks? Today was one of them so I stopped quilting and took a walk. Click on the photo to follow me on my walk to the river.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

String Quilt Layouts

I had a request for a string quilt in the shape of a ribbon for a breast cancer patient. Anyone out there want to give it a try? This was my attempt.

I should be quilting

I should be quilting but I just had to start a string quilt using rectangular blocks. There have been several pictures posted at the HeartStrings group and Hanne posted one she finished too.

I've had the book String Quilts with Style by Bobbie Aug & Sharon Newman for a while and they've got a quilt in the book using rectangular blocks called Tapestry. So I'm going to use that setting.

I decided to start with a floral fabric in my stash that I like but had no idea how to use and then sorted through my strings for ones that had similar colors. I've made the first 4 blocks but now I'm going stop playing and go load a quilt on the longarm.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mom's quilt

I finished the quilting on Mom's Block of the Month quilt. I quilted a pantograph called Popcorn - I think it looks like clouds and it suits this house quilt.

A museum visit and out to lunch

Chesty gets bored waiting for me to finish on the computer

I met today with Sandra - the listmom from Stashbuster. She suggested we meet at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts which is only 1.25 miles from the apartment so I walked over (even though it was 8 degrees!). We got acquainted as we walked around looking at their art collections and I can't wait to go back and spend more time there.

We lunched at Ping's, a Chinese restaurant nearby which was great too - I even have leftovers for dinner tonight. I'll have to take Keith there one night when he gets back into town. He's gone again - this time for a week - to Vegas for a meeting.

I came home, got right to work, and finished up the quilting on Mom's Block of the Month quilt - Now I just have 3 left to do for her.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Personality Type

I don't do these very often but this one has me nailed.

You Are An ISTJ
The Duty Fulfiller
You are responsible, reliable, and hardworking - you get the job done.You prefer productive hobbies, like woodworking or knittings.Quiet and serious, you are well prepared for whatever life hands you.Conservative and down-to-earth, you hardly ever do anything crazy.
You would make a great business executive, accountant, or lawyer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bright Strings

I finished the Bright Strings top tonight - I don't have anywhere in the apartment that I can take a good picture at night so this was the best I could do - the top is folded in half and thrown across the top of the door to my studio. I REALLY miss the lighting in my studio in Marietta. The string colors are a little overly vivid - they're not quite that bright in person.

Online Photo Albums

I recently set up a Webshots account because I was spending a lot of time going back through my achieves looking for specific photo's in response to questions. I wasn't really happy with the setup and read in one of my groups about Google's Picasa Web Albums. I think if you already have a Google ID you don't even need to sign up - you can just log in.

I spent some time yesterday setting up my quilt albums and found that I could link my 2007 album right in my sidebar by just copying some code.

So far I love it and it's much easier and less cluttered than Webshots.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Finished quilts and string quilts in progress

Keith didn't get around to hanging a rod above the slider for me to use to take pictures of finished quilts so I took these on the balcony this morning. These are the last 3 finishes plus the finished string top PLUS my rows of bright strings waiting to be assembled into another top.

I mentioned in an earlier post but just to give credit - the house and tree quilt was pieced by my Mom and given to me to quilt and donate and the nine patch blocks were also made by her and given to me a few years ago. I used part of them in a quilt back then and these were the leftover blocks I pieced together into this top last year.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An early start

I was up early this morning - unusual for me but I got to work piecing my bright strings. Since I was starting with fat quarters for this quilt rather than true strings, I'm cutting my strings from rectangles as show in the book. I have a few more sets to sew and then I'll be able to start assembling my rows. I really like this technique - you'll find it in a lot of books. I think the first time I came across it was in Jan Mullen's book Cut-Loose Quilts: Stack, Slice, Switch and Sew but Gwen Marston also uses the same technique in her book Liberated String Quilts .

I also finished up the quilting on the 9 Patch this morning. I used the BF template again and if you look at the (L) side of the quilt the edge looks incomplete. There was not room for another arc so once the quilt is bound it won't look like I forgot to quilt to the edge.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I take over even MORE of the apartment

It's not enough I took the second bedroom (along with a walk-in closet) and the den for my quilting but now I'm taking over the guest bathroom and the hallway between the den and bedroom. I love this table I bought from Joann's. It folds up very narrow when I'm not using it but extends to create an extra surface when I need it.

I finished the binding on the Blue Strings yesterday and just have to sew a HeartStrings label on to finish it. I loaded my nine patch quilt on the longarm and started quilting - I'm doing the BF's on in it too. If I can do more than one quilt with a particular pattern and without changing thread I like to save time by doing them back to back.

I also started making the strips for my new string quilt from the book New Cuts for New Quilts or at least for my version of her cover quilt.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

String top done

I finished assembling the string top tonight. I don't have good lighting here in the apartment like I did at home so I can't get a picture of the whole top tonight. I think I'll just post one when I finish quilting it.
I've asked Keith to put a curtain rod up over the slider so I can hang quilts for pictures. It's the only spot with a large enough space that I can hang a quilt and then stand back to take the picture. It may look strange but oh well - I don't entertain much at home anyway.

It feels SO good to be productive again

I can't believe how good it feels to be back to work after what felt like months of quilting inactivity. You all are going to get tired of seeing this quilt but I finished the last couple rows of quilting and just had to show another picture of it even before trimming.

I also finished the 80 blocks I needed for this string top and started putting the top together. Hopefully I'll get it assembled this weekend and then guess what I'll be quilting on it? I need some practice turning the corners on the BF anyway - my lines are a little wobbly as I turn to go into the next fan.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I'm quilting Fans!

I'm so excited - my Baptist Fan template came today and I'm quilting away on my Blue Strings. I called Keith in to see my first row and I'm jumping all around telling him how excited I am and how I've wanted this template for 2 years - he just looked at me and asked why I didn't buy it sooner if I wanted it so bad.

Whatever - It's my present to ME for moving to Minneapolis and I'm happy now and that's what matters!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Circle Lord/Baptist Fan Template

I ordered the Circle Lord and the Baptist Fan template earlier this week and they should arrive tomorrow. Last night I pieced a back for my Blue String quilt and am going to load that on the longarm and quilt it with the BF template when it arrives.

Tonight I finished stitching the binding down on my 4th UFO for the year. This was a top my Mom made and gave to me to finish and donate. I'll take a picture of the finished quilt tomorrow. Earlier today I made another 16 blocks for my string quilt so I have 6 more to finish and then I'll have the 80 I need for this quilt. I've already started assembling the top so that will be done and ready for quilting in the next few days.

Since I hate to post too many times without a picture, I'll share of picture of my brother-in-law Jamie and my niece Sarah. Jamie keeps up with my blog and emails me if I don't post frequently enough!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Linking to the HeartStrings Website

I've had a couple comments and emails asking about linking from individual blogs to the HeartStrings website. I have links in my sidebar and anyone else is welcome to link to the site too. The more people that hear about our project the more quilts we'll make.

Jane even went to the trouble of creating a graphic if you'd like to use that.

The website can be found here:

HeartStrings website

Phyl, a member of the HeartStrings Quilt Project has been working with me on developing a website for the project - not an easy task I'm sure! She uploaded a trial version today and I've been playing with the format tonight. It's basic at this point but I think we have the bones up of it up. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Our goal is to have information about the project and contact information for people interested in the project who do NOT want to join the Yahoo group.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Planning my next string quilt/Baptist Fan Template

While I was quilting today I glanced over at my shelves and saw a crate of fat quarters from Joann's on the shelf. I decided they would be perfect for the next string quilt I want to make. It will be a version of the cover quilt from New Cuts for New Quilts: More Ways to Stack the Deck by Karla Alexander. I also have the perfect border/sashing fabric too.

I called and spoke to Michael at Loricles Quilting today and am definitely going to purchase the Baptist Fan template and am thinking about the Circle Lord too.

I was a chicken

Even with the snow plow coming through at 3:30AM this morning there was still plenty of snow on the roads so I moved Chesty's vet appointment to Friday afternoon. It's just a get acquainted visit so it wasn't worth the stress of getting in the car.

Instead I stayed home and quilted a UFO from last year. This is a top my Mom made and gave me to finish and donate. As you can see, I'm adjusting to having less space but luckily my longarm is on wheels so I can push it over to one side when I need to trim a quilt or cut some batting.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I have SNOW too!

I can't believe how fast this accumulated. I was just commenting on a couple blogs that we were finally supposed to get some snow and went to turn off the light by my cutting table and everything was already covered in less than 30 minutes.

I'm supposed to take Chesty to the vet tomorrow afternoon but you can bet I'm not driving. I haven't driven in snow or ice in many years and I'm not going to start tomorrow.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's COLD!

The really cold weather has finally hit. Yesterday I don't think it made it to 10 degrees and it was as low as 1 degree when I took Chesty out for his walk last night. This afternoon it was 8 degrees when I took a break and walked down to the bookstore and coffee shop. I'm not used to these temperatures being the HIGH's for the day but so far it's not too bad as long as I bundle up. What I really want is some snow! Other than a few flurries now and then we haven't had any since New Year's Eve.

Keith comes home tonight from Denmark and we're going to go out and get a drink later. In the meantime, my stack of blocks for my next string quilt is growing! I have 43 of the 80 I need finished.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hourglass Strings photo

Click on the photo to see a larger version

Here's the label I just finished stitching. I made a simple one on the computer and embroidered my initials beside it. I don't usually put my name on my donation quilts but last year I started putting my initials - you can see I really need more practice with my embroidery!

Hourglass Strings

I finished quilting my Hourglass Strings yesterday and the binding was done tonight. I don't have a picture yet - not sure how I'm going to manage pictures here at the apartment but I'll take one somewhere tomorrow and post it.

This quilt is a UFO from last year AND my first finish for the HeartStrings Quilt Project! I had planned to quilt it using a freehand design from the Line Dancing book but ended up playing with my tension way too long and opted for a quick pantograph instead. I'm way behind on my quilting thanks to the move and other stuff that kept me busy last fall so I'm on a mission to FINISH quilts!

When we started the HeartStrings Quilt Project there was a suggestion that we create a website and after reading the comments on Nancy's blog about so many people NOT wanting to join another group but willing to make blocks for Nancy I thought it was time to get one going. One of our members, Phyl has offered to help us set up a web page so we're looking at options for hosting sites and starting to draft the content.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Off Center 4 Patch Backing

I had some questions about one of the pieced backs I frequently use - an off center 4 patch. I like using this back when I don't have enough of a single fabric to make the backing and when I don't have time to piece multiple fabrics together. In a nutshell - this is how I make the back:

I take 2 pieces of fabric that are long enough to cover the width of my quilt plus 8-10 inches. (my selvages are running horizontally here and the WOF is going to provide the length I need).

I trim one selvage off each fabric and sew the two together.

I make an offset cut so the seam won’t fall in the center of my quilt. (see vertical line)

Flip one side around and sew back them together to create the 4 patch.

This gives me a backing that is about 84 – 88 inches long and to offset my horizontal seam – I just position my quilt near the top of my backing rather than centering it. I also don't worry about having the top and side exactly even although they are in this picture.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More String blocks

I sent 20 HeartString blocks off yesterday and started working on an older UFO. I had the muslin foundations and larger triangles for this quilt cut but hadn't made any of the blocks yet. I've got 20 made so far and need 80 which will give me a quilt that is 61x76.

I also got the Hourglass String quilt loaded and will start quilting tomorrow. I've been playing with some Line Dancing ideas but not sure what I'm going to use yet.

I have 3 baby quilts ready to ship off to my Mom along with the top I just quilted for her. They'll all be donated to Catholic Charities. Two of them count as UFO finishes for my Stashbuster group.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Settling back into a routine

I quilted a top for my Mom this afternoon. I still think the new machine may need some adjustment of the wheels to make it move a little easier but I'm getting more accustomed to it. It's nice to get back into the routine of piecing and quilting each day.

In my new *studio* there's a window seat that overlooks the park. Chesty can watch people and cars coming and going as I work AND the sun shines right in on him - he loves curling up in a spot of sunlight. He sat and watched out the window the entire time I was quilting today.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

String blocks

I made 4 more string blocks today in honor of Nancy's birthday and now have 20 blocks along with some $$ for postage and fabric for a backing ready to ship off to Sue for the HeartStrings project. I did a quick count on the database today and counted 604 blocks made so far - that's enough for 12.5 quilts and we're just 1 week officially into the project!

I also pulled out a UFO string project that's been sitting around for a couple years and made 4 blocks. I'll make this quilt ( which will be similar to my first string quilt) from start to finish and donate it here in Minneapolis. It's based on a quilt I saw in the book Great Lakes, Great Quilts.

My package from Gammill came this week so now I have my side clamps for my longarm and a working outlet that fits on the center leg of my table. I've got a quilt of Mom's loaded and can't wait to quilt some tomorrow.

UFO # 1

I finished my first UFO last night. It's just a simple strippie pattern I made up a few years ago using one kiddie focus print and 2 coordinates - I use this design to make quick donation quilts. Everything is cut in strips WOF and then alternated between skinny acent strips, a plain strip, and then the focus print. The plain strips are usually a good spot to try some border designs - hearts in this case.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Chesty and I went on a cultural outing today for our walk to the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden. I like the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture but he likes rabbits so I think he preferred Hare on Bell.

On the quilting front I made 6 more string blocks for the Heartstrings Quilt Project for a total of 16 - I plan to mail these off once I get 20 made. I have 2 UFO's that are finished string tops that I'll also quilt and donate for this project. I checked the database earlier and with just 12 people having entered their information, we already have enough blocks made for 6+ quilts. The plan is to set the blocks 6x8 for a finished quilt size of 54x72. I also finished the binding on one of the baby panels I used to practice quilting on the new machine. I have one more panel and a small strippie to finish the binding on and then all 3 quilts will be donated.

Chris sent me a picture of my bedroom ceiling - they're going to repair the roof on Monday so cross your fingers that we don't get anymore damage before then. Chris did put up some tarps but I won't stop worrying until the roof is repaired and I know that it isn't going to leak anymore. Chris and Becky went home today so there's no one there to keep an eye on things. I'll be glad when they get themselves moved the end of this month.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

When it rains - the ceiling collapses!

Chris and Becky are at the Marietta house for a couple days and when they got there last night they found that there was a leak in the roof and part of the ceiling had collapsed in the master bedroom.

Luckily, Chris was able to take off work and get a roofing company out to look at it today. They'll repair it ASAP next week and in the meantime Chris is putting some tarps up so that we don't get anymore damage.

This is SO not what I needed right now!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Laurie Ann asked how Chesty was adjusting to the move - we think he's a little depressed. He's been very adaptable over the last few months but he's moping around somewhat right now. Of course that may be because our time has been spent unpacking rather than cuddling with him!

He also HATES the snow - I need to buy him some booties before the next snowfall - I just have to find them. I saw some in Target when I was here in November but there were none in his size so I'll check again this week. Otherwise I'll have to find a pet store.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

View of the snow outside our window
Last night Keith and I walked to dinner with the snow falling down - one of the wonderful things about actually living in the city. We didn't have to worry about driving on icy roads or having a few drinks.

This morning I've been working in the office - clearing out more boxes. I'll probably sew some this evening but for now Keith and I are heading out to walk along the river. One of my favorite short walks so far is a 3-4 mile route from our apartment to the river - we cross over the Mississippi river on the Hennepin Avenue bridge , walk down to the Stone Arch Bridge ,cross back to our side of the river, and then find a coffee shop on our way home.