Tuesday, July 31, 2007


You guys are way too nice but I am beginning to realize that if I'll walk away from the quilt when I'm discouraged and come back to it later, I don't see every single wobble and poorly stitched line like I do as I'm quilting it.

I did a few more blocks tonight and they're getting a little better except for a few places I ran up on the applique. I know I should take those stitches out but I'm debating leaving them in. Since my Aunt's blanket stitch is all over the place on the applique it seems a bit pointless for me to pick out some stray lines of quilting and I may do more harm than good to the applique itself.

I think in the end I'm going to be OK with this quilt - it won't be my best work but I will have learned something along the way and since even my worse quilting is better than my aunt could have managed she comes out ahead too!

Of course, I told Debbie that in the future Nancy might choose to send her quilts to Florida rather than Minnesota. After all why have me quilt them when she could have them quilted by an award winning quilter! (Yes, I'm feeling a little inadequate these days!)

I really suck at this

I can't echo quilt - I really suck at it but I think it's in part because I don't ever do it and since all my quilts are scrap quilts there's just not the opportunity to practice. My Mom does do a fair amount of applique but I always chicken out and do a small meandering type background on her quilts.

I've decided that no matter how bad this looks I'm going to keep on practicing - YES on my AUNT'S top.

What the heck
  • she doesn't pay me for quilting (she does pay for the supplies/shipping);
  • her piecing leaves a LOT to be desired and her quilts are always a challenge anyway;
  • finally, if I don't practice I'll never learn to do it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Progress is being made

I set minimum goals for my quilting today since I knew that going out to buy the router and setting up the wireless network would take me the bulk of the day but by 5PM I hadn't done any quilting.

This is when having a husband that travels frequently comes in handy. I quilted some on my aunt's top and then went out for dinner. When I got home I worked on the 4 patches for my QFAH project. I snapped this photo and then finished sewing that pile in the middle. So thanks to Keith being out of town, I accomplished my goals on both projects I'm working on.

Just a quick note

I'm heading to the longarm right now - well as soon as I type this post!

I ran out to Office Depot today and bought a router - got it hooked up but of course there was a glitch. I called Debbie since she'd just set one up but ended up calling customer service at Linksys. They were wonderful - had me up and running in 30 minutes. Then I set up the printer to work on the network and I'm all set.

Just to show Keith that I had it up and running - I sent him this photo. He's off in Dallas for a couple days.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Still no quilting

Unusual I know but another day has passed without me sewing a single stitch. Keith and I took off this afternoon for Minnehaha Park. It was nice to be out walking/hiking and overall it was a beautiful afternoon but I was a bit overheated by the time we got home. A cool shower felt great. Keith heads out of town again tomorrow so I'll get back to work then.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More laptop stuff

This is so cool. I've been playing around with the new version of Office that I got with the computer most of the afternoon. I haven't done any quilting or piecing at all.

There's a Deli/coffee shop/bar in our apartment building so Keith and I decided to bring the computers down and have some coffee. I high-jacked someone's wireless earlier today but couldn't get on this afternoon. I guess I'll have to get a router and set it up on Monday. Debbie just did it with her Comcast Internet and assures me it's easy! For this weekend I'll just have to use the desktop or drop in for some coffee.

A neat feature of the laptop is a built in webcam. Here's a photo of me sitting in the coffee shop. I know it's not the most flattering picture but it's fun! (Can you see Keith in the background getting my coffee?)

It's finally here

My laptop finally arrived from Dell and I've been playing around with it all morning. They shipped some of the accessories separately so I'm still waiting for those. So far I love it! I've been sitting on the sofa with Keith rather than back in the den where my desktop is located. I'm highjacking someone's wireless internet connection for now but I may set up our cable internet for wireless.

It's so pretty!

I don't think I'll get much quilting done today!

Friday, July 27, 2007

OK - now it's hot

Summer has finally arrived in Minneapolis. Keith and I have been looking at each other all month and saying "can you believe it's July?". Coming from the South, the lack of humidity and the lovely summer days have been wonderful but now it's HOT. Luckily, it's also almost August so we know the hot weather won't be here long.

Today we decided to walk across Loring Park and visit the Walker Art Center. We've been over to the Sculpture Garden but hadn't been through the museum. They have a Picasso exhibit there and I have to say he's not my favorite artist. I prefer paintings by Monet and Van Gogh.

Quilting progress seems slow the last couple days. I continue to work on my Aunt's top but just a little bit at a time. My QFAH project is coming along. I finished all the large 4 patches and cut my browns yesterday. I've sewn the strips for the small 4 patches. Later today I'll try to iron the strips and get them cut and sewn.

I hadn't updated my reading list for a while - I've been reading a little bit of everything recently. The usual mysteries and some historical fiction are there but I can't you the last time I read something by Danielle Steel. I brought that book home from Mom's and it was very light summer reading.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I've been wanting to begin Judy's July Quilt for an Hour project but felt that I'd never get caught up enough to get started. I finally decided today after visiting Vicki's blog that I'd just combine the QFAH project with a quilt I need to make for a gift. So I played around some with Judy's EQ file and here's my version - my quilt will be scrappy but I tend to use a single color in EQ to save time.

I've been making so many string quilts I'd forgotten what a pain it is to cut out a scrap quilt. I still have my browns to cut and I'm going to have to hunt up some more beige but I'm ready to start sewing tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

HeartStrings CC #4 - Top - Done!

More of the same today

Yesterday was productive. I worked on quilting Nancy's top - it's a king size version of Mom's Honeybee and piecing another HeartStrings Coins top. I'll continue to work on both today and maybe even get the coins finished - I have the top and bottom inner border to add and then the outer green print.

Tonight I actually have a dinner date - a friend is visiting from Florida (she does some work for Keith's company) and we're going to grab dinner and then meet Keith for drinks after his business dinner.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chinese Coins

I was in the mood to work some last night but but had a hard time deciding what to do. Finally I started sewing another Chinese Coins quilt for HeartStrings. I pulled out a bunch of coins and started putting them on the design wall.

I had a set that was donated together but only enough for 6 rows of coins so I had to go back to EQ6 and play around with the sashing and borders. I'm almost finished putting the center together and the diagram below is the pattern I used; this other one will be used for the next quilt. Both instructions are on MaryQuilts.com if anyone is interested in knowing the cutting measurements.

I'll also start quilting my aunt's top today - really I promise - I'll stop procrastinating!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A couple more quilts finished

These two are now on the completely done list. The Coins binding was finished up before the weekend and I took the final stitches in the Amish Stripes and Strings binding (a UFO) this afternoon. Both of these are HeartStrings quilts - don't you love the swirls quilting on both of them?

St. Paul

We're back from a weekend trip to St. Paul - yes it's just a few miles away but Keith had a conference on Friday so we spent a couple nights at the St. Paul Hotel. Now Keith has headed off to St. Louis and I've been watching some of the British Open. If I can summon some energy later - I'll quilt some.

A few photos from St. Paul. I always try to visit the local library - the outside of the Central Library was nothing special but I loved the inside - I spent a couple hours in this room on Friday. Lots of green space in the city - Keith took this photo of me yesterday after our walk.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Using the stash

Interesting discussion on Stashbuster about using *up* the stash. Having seen the stashes of some of those quilters as well as those on this Stash Quilt ring I'd say there is no danger for many of us of actually using the stash up.

It wasn't until I started making string quilts for HeartStrings that I realized how little fabric it took to make a scrap quilt and how much of it I had not only in my scrap bins but on my shelves. I've come to realize that the best I can do is try to use more than I buy.

Even with all the string quilts made this year (along with pieced backings) my scraps are multiplying not being used up.

I finally loaded that damn top!

My Aunt's top is loaded and ready for quilting AND I finished the binding on the HeartStrings Chinese Coins quilt tonight also. Along with the Purple Project top assembled earlier that makes for a VERY productive day!

Chesty and I had a longer than usual walk in the park but that didn't stop him from following me around all day. I constantly go back and forth between the bedroom that has the longarm and fabric and the smaller den that has my computer and sewing machine - poor Chesty gets up every time even when I tell him I'm coming right back. Here he's waiting to see where I'm going to go next before sitting down.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Still procrastinating

I haven't loaded my Aunt's top yet but I have pieced this one from the HeartStrings blocks that have been on my design wall for a week, vacuumed the entire apartment, cleaned the kitchen, done the laundry, walked Chesty in the park, and clean up the longarm from the last quilt. Now I'm going to walk downtown and have some dinner and MAYBE when I get home I'll get it loaded.
Brief instructions for this quilt are at MaryQuilts.com under Strings ~ Purple Project Quilt #2.


I did find a few things shopping today - nothing too exciting but some tops, a pair of shorts and Capri's. It would be nicer had I not gained back so much of the weight I lost last year - its very depressing.

I worked up the energy to change the thread on the machine and have the binding on the Amish Stripes and Strings. It's next up for hand stitching once I finish the binding on the Chinese Coins quilt.

Tomorrow at the very least I'll run the vacuum and hopefully will stop procrastinating and load my Aunt's top on the longarm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Playing on the computer

I've been playing around with the design of the HeartStrings website and blog. I've made some changes - what do you thing?

This afternoon I'm going to do one of my least favorite things - go shopping for some clothes. I just need a few things but I HATE shopping!

Monday, July 16, 2007


blah (blä)
A general feeling of discomfort, dissatisfaction, or depression
Dull and uninteresting.
Low in spirit or health; down

Yep, that describes how I've been feeling last night and today.

Keith and I took a long walk yesterday and went into some open houses that we passed by. Looked at two townhouses and two condos. Could that be one reason for the blahs? We won't move for a while but as we're renting here, we'll eventually have to make some kind of decision. At this point we plan to extend our lease in December for at least another 6 months.

Last night I finished the binding on the Purple Project quilt - I had one side left to stitch down after the sew-in Saturday and I got a HeartStrings label sewn on too.

Today, I finally took the Amish Stripes and Strings off the machine - it looks WONDERFUL but I didn't feel like changing the bobbin thread to make the binding and get it sewn on. Didn't feel like getting ready and loading the next quilt either - a top of my Aunt's.

Finally, I decided to sit down at the machine for a bit and make some HeartStrings blocks for the 365 Block Challenge. I'm working on blocks for another Half Square Strings quilt - I still have triangles left over from a UFO that I decided to divide into two quilts - this will be the second one. I made 8 blocks and now I'm going to read a while.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Yesterday I participated in the WI/MN area sew-in for HeartStrings - details can be found on the HeartStrings blog and more photos in our online album.

I took two completed quilts for Quilts of Valor - one from group blocks that we had assembled at our first sew-in in April and my Patriotic String Star - and brought 2 tops for quilting back home with me that we assembled at the sew-in yesterday.

The 365 Block Challenge is taking off - we have 37 participants signed up and 113 blocks have already been made. Are you joining the challenge?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bound and labeled

Up early this morning and finished binding and labeled this HeartStrings quilt that was pieced from donated blocks at the MN sew-in in April.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quilting progress

I've been busy working on HeartStrings projects getting ready for the WI/MN area sew-in on Saturday. Today I finished quilting the Amish Stripes and Strings - the 3rd top this week quilted with my swirls template and the last before it comes off the table for a bit. This photo was taken after the first few rows of quilting and I really like how it looks on this quilt. I've also been working on bindings on 3 HeartStrings quilts and labeled the Patriotic String Star tonight too.

This is the second set of blocks for the Purple Project - the first quilt just needs the binding hand stitched down and a label applied. Putting them together will be on my list of goals for next week along with piecing another Chinese Coins quilt, starting the quilting on my aunt's top, and working on bindings.

I'm bad...so sooo bad!

I've been toying with the idea of getting a laptop on and off for a couple months. I miss my computer when I'm not at home and I'd like to be able to work on things and not be chained to my desk. Computing in the living room, the coffee shop down the street, even the park sounds good.

I said something to Keith yesterday thinking he'd tell me it wasn't something I needed - usually I can count on him for that - but instead he said it sounded like a good idea and go ahead and get one. So I ordered one from Dell today and it should arrive within the week. It's the pretty red one pictured above!
It's something I want - not need. I am SO spoiled.

This and that

HeartStrings is starting a 365 Block Challenge - read about it on our blog
I haven't blogged about the ordeal we had over the present my brother, sisters, and I got Mom for Mother's day. She sent me this photo Tuesday - she finally has her coffee table - intact and is able to display her quilts. (When it finally arrived it was damaged and it took a while for my brother to pick it up and have it repaired).

I'd written about the quilt chest I'd purchased from Kerry's Kollectibles several months ago. That purchase went well without any problems and I love my chest.

Unfortunately, the customer service we received when buying Mom's present was very poor in my opinion and based on that I would NOT recommend them.

Finally, another one of Debbie's customer quilts won a ribbon. I'm so impressed - that's 3 different ribbons on 3 different quilts in 3 different shows since June!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Taking time out

Chesty and I take a walk in nearby Loring Park every morning - it helps rid him of some excess energy and then he'll sit/sleep quietly while I work. The last two days have been beautiful and I don't know if it's just having returned from Virginia or the difference between in living in Minnesota versus the hot steamy south but I can't believe it's JULY!

Today we took a quilt and a book and sat for a while after our walk.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another HeartStrings quilt

This is the quilt I finished the binding on last night - it will be donated to an injured serviceman through Quilts of Valor. An instruction sheet for this quilt - Patriotic Star - and the Purple Project Quilt #1 can be found at MaryQuilts.com

Who said String Quilts were ugly?

You have to admit even if you don't like string quilts that this one is kind of cute. I finished quilting this HeartStrings quilt (with more swirls!) - trimmed it and then put together the photographer's stand I bought to take quilt photos. I didn't get this hanging perfectly straight but it will do for now.

I love the colors in this quilt. I thought I'd back it with purple and use purple thread to quilt it but after pulling out a bunch of purple fabric I realized it was calling for blue. Luckily I had two blues that look great with it in my stash.

This quilt meets Judy's Use the Stash Challenge for July. The border and the two backing fabrics have been in my stash for quite a while.

More Swirls on the agenda for today

Thanks for all the compliments on the Chinese Coins quilting - these templates make it easy. I pieced an off center 4 Patch backing last night and loaded my Purple HeartStrings top for quilting today. I also finished the binding on the Patriotic String Star and have the 2nd set of purple blocks up on the design wall.

Today's goals:
Quilt the Purple HeartStrings top with swirls
Label and wash the Patriotic String Star
Make and machine stitch binding on the Chinese Coins #3 quilt
Cook dinner

I don't mention it often but since we've moved, between the inconvenience of not have a grocery store I can walk to and all of Keith's travel, I rarely cook anymore. The week before I left to visit Mom I tried a grocery delivery service Simon Delivers and it worked out great. I placed another order which will be here this afternoon and we'll actually eat dinner at home 3 nights this week!

Once I take Chesty for a walk in the park I'll get to work. After our visit to the dog park last week I applied for a dog license and an off lease permit - both are required for Chesty to go back to the dog park - so far they haven't arrived and for now we just walk around the park and chase squirrels.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I LOVE this template

I know I've been talking about the swirls template all week and I just showed you a photo of this quilt on the machine but it's done and I LOVE it. It's quick, easy, and looks great on the finished quilt. Thanks Michael and Kay!

I'm Quilting Swirls!

I realized last night that I didn't have a backing made for the purple HeartStrings quilt so I loaded the HeartStrings Chinese Coins #3 and am quilting Swirls. This is probably a better choice anyway as my wobbles as I learn the flow of the pattern will be lost in this busy quilt.

I LOVE how this pattern quilts up and have 3 tops lined up that I want to quilt with it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Is blogger having hiccups again? Bonnie posted that she couldn't put a title in and now I can't today either.

I'm home - the trip back was uneventful until the cab ride home from the airport through a pretty severe storm. All the hail made me glad I wasn't driving MY car! Keith was getting on a plane as I was getting off but I'm sure his flight was late leaving.

I'm so excited to be home so I can quilt my latest HeartStrings top with my new swirls template and then Debbie goes and emails me that there's already a new Circle Lord template. I love it - I want it - but I'm just going to have to wait a while to get it!

Friday, July 06, 2007

I made too many blocks

Mom and I just got back from NC - her sister lives down there and we went for a visit so no sewing yet today.

I was working on some HeartStrings blocks to send in for the Purple Project and made enough for another top - now I want to keep those and make a second top to donate myself. So now I need to work on some to take with me to give to Sue at the WI/MN sew-in next Saturday.

I head home Sunday morning - I miss Keith and Chesty so I'm looking forward to getting back to Minneapolis.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Mom and I had a quiet day spent working on our quilting projects.

Since I've finished my Purple Project top for HeartStrings yesterday I've been working on extra blocks to be sent in for group quilts. You can see my bin still has lots of bright strings.
Those of you who liked my Spiderweb quilt may want to take a look at Annie's version on her blog. Norma also did a 2 color version of the easy Double 4 Patch. Brief instructions for both quilts are posted on MaryQuilts.com

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

One more top done

Mom and I took 11 quilts to Catholic Charities this morning - most of them were hers but I'd made a couple , another one I'd quilted for her, and some I'd worked with her on the design and helped choose fabrics so basically a team effort. The women working this morning were very appreciative and said that the quilts are added to layettes and given away to those that need them. Mom commented that it made you feel so good that the quilts were appreciated that it made you want to come home and make more.

I finished up the borders on the HeartStrings Purple Project quilt. I've decided it's the perfect one to try out my new swirls template from Circle Lord that came just before I left. I can't wait to get home and load this one and play.

Debbie has news to share today but I just checked her blog at 8:30PM and she hadn't updated it yet. If you're reading this later in the evening check to see if she's posted.

Monday, July 02, 2007

HeartStrings Purple Challenge

I finished my blocks tonight - I hope to get this sewn together tomorrow between trips out with Mom to run errands. I'll be glad to get this top finished this week while I'm at here at Mom's and I may get some more blocks sewn to send to Sue for group quilts too.

More Strippie fabric

Mom and I went to her LQS - Nancy's Calico in Newport News this afternoon. I found this cute fabric to make another quick strippie to donate. I'll add a red fabric from stash for the narrow accent strips. I'd forgotten how fun these were to whip up although the lizards are still waiting for quilting. (Instructions are on MaryQuilts.com)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

This is so weird

I've had this purple fabric in my stash forever and I just noticed when I clicked on the photo to enlarge it that it's a FISH fabric - I've always thought it was just abstract, random splotches of color. You have to take a look and find the fish!

Judy's Use the Stash Challenge for July is to use 3 fabrics from your stash. I'm going to count this purple as one and find two other very old pieces to use also. The blue from this quilt is stash but it's fairly recent - I'd say in the last 6 months so I won't count it for the challenge.

Back to work

The suitcase with my clothes came this morning and I caught up on some sleep. Now I'm back at work - Mom and I are each working on our own projects this visit.

She's making a log cabin in the same pattern as one I finished last year. The pattern is from the book The Best of Black Mountain Quilts and I added borders to make mine a little larger. Being the nice daughter that I am - I cut all her strips for her.

I'm working on a quilt for Heartstrings Purple Project. I've got 8 of the 24 blocks pieced and I like how it looks. I chose pink, purple, blue, and green fabrics for this one. The blue will be an inner border but I'm considering sandwiching it between two borders of the purple print.