Saturday, March 31, 2007

A UFO becomes a NEW project

I love it when a UFO can become a new project. For some reason it's always more fun to begin something new than to work on an old stalled project.

I'd had several sections of strips sewn together sitting in a bin for about 4 years thinking that they'd either become a piano key border or a Chinese Coins quilt. With the new short-term project for HeartStrings, I pulled them out and I have a jump start on my Chinese Coins quilt.

Pam at Real Women Quilt had emailed me that she had a sale on some of her fabric that might work for HeartStrings quilts and I found this blue that I'll use to sash this first Chinese Coins quilt. Can you see all the Joann's prints in these strips? When I started quilting all of my fabric came from there - now most of the fabric I buy is quilt shop fat quarters and fat quarter bundles. (Like the bundle sitting on my cutting table that I bought from Pam when I ordered this sashing fabric.) I still like bargains so I do shop the 50% off shelf at my quilt shop and other sales like Pam's for my border yardage and pick up the occasional border at Joann's too.
If you're interested in using up some shorter strips or strings - Join us for April and May and work on Chinese Coins sections. You can either make the entire quilt yourself or send me the sections and I'll join them together and we'll see how many quilts we get.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Home again

Georgia Visit

Click on the above album to see photo's from the trip.

We're home again at least for the weekend. We leave for Hawaii early Tuesday morning so unfortunately Chesty will be heading back to the kennel on Monday afternoon, for now he's glad to be home.

We enjoyed our night at the Ritz Carlton - Reynolds Plantation and then a couple days at the Marriott at Stone Mountain. Spring was in full bloom in the Atlanta area and I had a dusting of pollen on my clothes every time I went outside but it was beautiful.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Reading List

For those that watch my reading list on the sidebar I just want to mention that I have really enjoyed the last two books I finished. It seems like a lot of books I've read recently have been OK but nothing great. I really enjoyed these two.

Christ the Lord out of Egypt by Anne Rice
Nineteen Minutes by Judy Picoult

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A relaxing afternoon

Here's another post without photo's but I do have the camera with me so I'll share a few when I get home on Friday.

We had a great dinner with the boys and Becky to celebrate Adam's birthday. The Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Plantation is beautiful and they upgraded our room to a HUGE suite (there was one and half bathrooms plus a full living room plus a nice deck). It was hard leaving there this morning to come to Stone Mountain but I did have a wonderful afternoon sitting by the pool and then a hot stone massage before dinner.

Tomorrow - more relaxing by the pool with my book.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm off to Georgia tomorrow

Keith and I are heading to Atlanta in the morning. We'll stay tomorrow night at the Ritz Carlton that Adam works at and take him to dinner to celebrate his birthday. Chris and Becky will join us so I'll see both my boys.

Then we'll spend a couple days at Stone Mountain where Keith has a conference and I plan to relax and read.

Chesty went to daycare/boarding late this afternoon. Between this trip and the upcoming Hawaii trip he's going to think I've abandoned him.

I've got my Pineapple blocks partially assembled and may get the blocks completely together tonight. The small lap quilt I was using the Featherz template on was progressing well until I made a significant error on the last wreath - that one will have to come out and be redone so it will be waiting for me when I get home.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Circle Lord Template

I think a comment on my previous post warrants a little clarification from me .

DB wrote: I'd love to see you 'practice' piece. I've never seen a posting that references woggly stitching with the Circle Lord. Someday I hope to get the C.L. THANKS

I'm using the Featherz template with my Circle Lord for the first time. As with any new quilting template or design, I expect that a bit of practice will improve my results.

For those of you wondering how the template is used - there is a stylus attached to my machine that fits in the groove of the template and I guide my machine to stitch the design.

The results are definitely affected by how smoothly I move the machine as I'm stitching the design and advancing the template.

I'm thrilled with my Circle Lord and fully expect some learning curve rather than instantaneous perfection and the instructions with the template clearly state that "at first you will not lay the thread as well as with more experience."

I frequently share my quilting challenges on my blog and this case is no different - I have wobbly stitches on these first attempts using this template. It's not a negative comment on the product and I have no hesitation in recommending the Circle Lord.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I'm trying out the Featherz template I bought with my Circle Lord tonight - I'm not crazy about my results so far as my lines are kind of wobbly but the template is easy to use so I'm sure I'll improve once I practice some.

I'm quilting a top purchased on eBay that I've had sitting around for a few years. You'd think I generate enough UFO's on my own that I wouldn't have needed to purchase any additional ones but I bought a few tops before I realized I should just focus on finishing my own tops.

Spring is coming to Minneapolis! The restaurants on Nicolette had their outside seating set up and Keith and I walked downtown and ate dinner outside. Nice!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

UFO #10

I know I just posted a picture of this quilt but I stayed up late last night stitching the binding down and wanted to share the finished quilt. It's my 10th UFO finish for the year and the quilt will be donated with my other HeartStrings quilts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another UFO

This blue and green rail fence variation was made from leftover strips and didn't quite turn out like I expected. (You can see a photo of the top here.) I'd expected it to look more like the version I made from my leftover red and purple strips.

So it sat on the shelf until last night when I pulled some fabric for a backing. I didn't have enough of any one fabric so I made one of my off center 4 patch backings and loaded it on the longarm last night.

I quilted it with a pantograph I bought at Jodi Beamish's site Willow Leaf Studio. It's Ebb and Flow from Lorien Quilting. I've had the pantograph for a while but just hadn't used it. I like the way it looks on this quilt and it was pretty quick and easy.

Someone blogged the other day about their dog getting into their batting. Chesty decides to chew on mine every now and then. He found my brand new roll of Hobbs the other day and chewed off a chunk. Luckily this quilt didn't need the entire 96 inch length so I let him off with a warning.

Monday, March 19, 2007

HeartStrings Quilt Project Blog

I've created a blog to share all the wonderful progress being made on the HeartStrings Quilt Project. Neither the website or the Yahoo group alone have been ideal for sharing information about donations or upcoming events. I'm hoping with the addition of the blog - I can share photo's and stories of the quiltmakers and groups participating in the project on a broader scale in a more timely manner.

You can find the site here: and make sure to click the subscribe with bloglines.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Another sleepless night

I couldn't sleep so I was playing on EQ thinking I could combine my Half Square string quilt with my Baby Stripes and Linda's zig zag setting. I was trying to come up with an easy string quilt that is pieced on a muslin foundation with half the block just being the muslin foundation. So I would only be adding strings to half the block.

For my first quilt, I just modified my EQ drawing of my Half Square strings - those blocks are smaller than the HeartString blocks so the setting is 8x10 blocks - adding a red center like the HeartStrings blocks - and I felt it needed borders.

Then I started thinking about what if I made part of the blocks with a blue half so I'd have a built in border when I assembled them and that was version 2.

Finally, I thought I'd make fewer blocks and make them the same size and setting as the HeartString blocks and this was version 3.

I was going to use a lightweight fusible interfacing for my next string quilt foundation but if I decide to try this quilt I'll stick to the muslin.

Happy Birthday Adam!

My baby is 22 today. He's far away in GA but next week I'm tagging along on a business trip with Keith and we'll see him then. We're going to stay Tuesday night at the Ritz- Carlton and go to dinner at the Georgias restaurant where Adam works. Chris and Becky are going to drive from Marietta to join us.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Being half Irish, I just had to spend part of my day in a pub! Keith and I headed downtown to drink some Guinness and watch the St Patrick's Day parade down Nicolette Avenue. Keith even spent $5 and bought me some beads.
We're not big party people so we were home by 7:30PM and now I'll work some on my Pineapple blocks - hopefully my seams won't be too crooked after the Guinness!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Questions in comments

Patti also posted about this today but I thought I'd add my two cents. I hate not answering questions but don't always have time to chase down email addresses. If I get a comment and it shows most likely you won't get an answer to your question.

You can either edit your profile to include your email address when you comment or just type your email address in your comment if you have a question you'd like me to answer.


I'm still on the sleep half the day and stay up all night schedule. Keith was in town last night for dinner and gone again today. He comes back from Florida tomorrow and leaves for California on Sunday. When he's out of town a lot I get really bad about staying on a *normal* schedule.
Yesterday I quilted this top Lori in CA donated to the HeartStrings Quilt Project. I'll try to get it bound today; and I made more Pineapple blocks. I have 20 made now but lots more to piece in order to have enough for a king size quilt.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What happened to Spring?

After several days of warm weather it's decided to snow again! I'm sure it won't accumulate since it's 40 degrees out there right now!

UFO # 9 finished

Click on photo to a larger version

I finished the binding on the Rail Fence quilt last night so I'll show one final picture. I'm very happy with the improvement that the applique and quilting made to this rather unappealing top!

This quilt will be donated as part of the HeartStrings Quilt Project. Although it's not a string quilt, I feel that as long as we are donating non string quilts that are given to the Project to quilt and donate that I might as well label my own non string quilts with the HeartStrings label.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Raw edge applique on the longarm

Diane from Patchogue questioned whether it was OK to applique after quilting.

For this quilt, I used the longarm to stitch down the applique at the same time I was quilting. The bears and trees were fused first, then I loaded and quilted the rest of the quilt, and last I quilted the applique down. I wasn't too happy with it last night but looking at it this morning it doesn't look half bad.

There's a book (one of many in my collection) called Appliquilt in the Cabin by Tonee White that uses a technique of appliqueing and quilting at the same time. Hers is done by hand but I don't see why it couldn't be done by machine too but unless it was a small piece I would think it would be too difficult to maneuver the bulk of the quilt.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Line Dancing

I finished loading my rather unattractive Rail Fence UFO last night and have been working on the quilting today. The plan was to stitch the applique down first and then throw a pantograph on it. After further thought I decided I'd try a Line Dancing design by Diana Phillips that she calls pine needles.

Once I finish quilting the pine needles I'll go back and stitch down the applique. I also made another 3 Pineapple blocks last night - now I've finished 12 but still have a long way to go to make a king size quilt.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I've been sewing some Pineapple blocks the last couple nights after Keith goes to bed. I'm back off schedule - sleeping late and then staying up most if not all of the night. Usually it's not a problem but I was supposed to cook black beans today and now I don't have time. I could either run out to get something to cook (no grocery store run this weekend) or I could call Keith and tell him we have to go out to dinner - again.
I also started an interesting book about Catherine the Great on Saturday night. If you haven't noticed I started keeping a reading list on the sidebar. I was only sporadically posting what I was reading so I'm trying this for a while to see if I keep up with it better.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Quilt donations

I donated eight quilts to the Ronald McDonald house in Minneapolis this afternoon. They were piling up and I ran out of room on my shelf so it was time for them to move on. Six of the eight were HeartString Project Quilts.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Patriotic String Star

I couldn't sleep last night and got up to make a few string blocks. Decided I'd make the last 20 I needed for my Patriotic String Star and by the time I was finished it was too late to go to bed. Keith and I planned to go to breakfast before he headed to work and I knew I'd never get up at 6:30 if I went to bed at 4:30 so I decided to stay up and assemble the top.

This isn't the greatest picture but I really love how this top turned out and Keith really liked it too. We went to breakfast and now I'm going to bed!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Binding and label finished

This top was donated to the HeartStrings Quilt Project by Lori in CA for me to quilt and finish up. I took this picture outside and there's a pinkish glow to it from the setting sun. I've been washing quilts all day and have a stack ready to donate. Hopefully, I'll get out in the next couple days and donate them all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My oldest UFO (I think)

This rather ugly rail fence was made in the first months after I started quilting. I got the blocks together and realized it wasn't large enough and I didn't like it very much so I picked another pattern and made the homespun quilt shown below which turned out much better. This top has sat in my UFO pile for 6 years and I'm determined to finish it and get it out of my house.

I decided some applique - a bear and trees - might make it cuter for a little boy and make it appropriate to donate. Since I've been wanting to try some raw edge applique work on the longarm after I fuse these down, I'm going to stitch around them with the longarm and then do a quick pantograph over the entire quilt. The same bear and trees are repeated at the bottom right edge of the quilt. It won't be pretty but it will be done!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Poor baby

Chesty had to have his teeth cleaned and a growth removed from his head today so he wasn't feeling well. He wanted to sit curled up next to me so rather than quilting this afternoon and evening, I read some and watched some TV.

Keith's home from work and a business dinner and has taken over puppy sitting so I'm going to get a binding sewn on.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sewing together with a fellow Stashbuster

Sandra from Stashbusters invited me to her home today and we started my Pineapple quilt. She's made several using the Quilt in a Day method and took time to show me her tips for both that quilt and the Kaleidoscope that she's working on now. She fixed a wonderful lunch and luckily she warned me not to eat a big breakfast! I also made a sample Kaleidoscope block which you can see up in the corner.

Believe it or not, this was the first time I've driven somewhere since moving to Minneapolis in December. Other than occasionally riding along with Keith on the weekends to do some errands, I've walked everywhere since getting here.

When I got home this afternoon, I had time to quilt one of the tops sent to me from Lori from CA. She had some non string quilt tops and a block set she wanted to donate to the HeartStrings project and I agreed to finish them up.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

String Coins finished

I finished stitching the binding last night on the String Coins quilt and even got a HeartStrings label sewn on. Once it's washed it will go in the pile with the other ones to be donated. The hearts and loops quilting went really fast so I was able to quilt and bind it yesterday. I didn't have enough of the green print I wanted to use for a backing so I added 8 fat quarters and pieced it to make it large enough. The quilting blends into the print but shows up nicely on the fat quarters.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Home Safely

Keith finally got home this afternoon after being delaying in Atlanta for 24hrs on his way home from Denmark. We had dinner out and then relaxed in front of the TV. He drifted off to sleep and I worked on stitching down the binding on my String Coins - another quilt made for the HeartStrings project. I'll take and post a picture tomorrow.

We did commit to a trip to Hawaii in April that we'd been talking about on and off for a couple years. It's been a challenging few months and it will be good to get away together. Tickets are purchased so no changing our minds again.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Last night before I went to bed I sat by the window awhile looking at the freshly fallen snow outside. There's something so peaceful about a new snowfall at night.

I did get a pieced backing made for my string Chinese Coins quilt and it's loaded and ready for me to start quilting tomorrow. I could make a few string blocks tonight but I think I'm going to go sit and read for a while by the fire after taking Chesty for one last walk for the night.

Keith wasn't able to fly home as planned tonight. He was coming home from Denmark and got as far as Atlanta but the flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis was canceled. The next flight with open seats is not until 1:30PM tomorrow. With my trip to VA last week and his to Denmark this week we've been apart for two weeks except for last Sunday night. I guess I'll just have to wait one more day to see him.

HeartString variations

There's been some discussion on the HeartStrings group about the string blocks being too busy or even *ugly* when set together. Patti suggested pairing up a HeartStrings block with a solid background to create a Half Square Triangle block - similar to my Half Square Strings but having the strings run perpendicular not parallel. Rita suggested that an EQ drawing might help so I played about a bit.

I didn't particularly care for the first version but did like the *X* version better. I decided to throw in an Hourglass version too similiar to my Hourglass Strings. I also think sashing these blocks is also a way to calm things down for those that find them too busy.

Keep in mind that I LIKE the blocks set straight and don't find them too busy but I do like seeing lots of variations of the same quilt and I want people to like the quilts they're making. I've enjoyed the discussion that this has generated on the list.

A couple links showing how to make the half square triangle blocks

Quick and Easy Half Square Triangle units

Half Square Triange Tutorial (also shows how to make the hourglass blocks)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I should stay in but I want to walk in the snow!

Did you see the picture of Mom's daffodil's I posted last week? It's certainly not spring in Minneapolis on this first day of March!

I've been busy finishing up a quilt for Mom. I didn't line up one of my rows right and had to pick out stitches AGAIN! I've had to frog some on my last 3 quilts - hopefully I'm done with that now since trouble usually comes in 3's. Yes, I did use the Baptist Fans again but Mom has wanted one of her quilts done with the fans since I got the template. Since it was already on the table from my last quilt - I brought home her baskets with me from my trip to her house and went ahead and quilted that one first.