Sunday, September 30, 2007


It was a busy weekend, Mom had her procedure and came home from the hospital on Saturday. she's sore but doing well. Two of my sisters came to visit for the weekend and I saw both my brothers too. The only one of the six not here was Deb.

Both Ann and Maureen quilt a little but haven't worked on any big projects in a while - Ann had a couple things she wanted to do this weekend. We got one applique wall-hanging fused for her and she made a fabric postcard. She's working on stitching the edges in the above picture.

Deb's son Stephen came by with his wife and daughter - too bad you weren't here Deb - Fiona is SO cute and she's getting big!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A quilty day/UFO #15 done

Mom and I spent most of the day working up quilt kits for her. I modified several patterns she was interested in making and we pick out fabrics. We ran to Joann's and found a couple border fabrics and some flannel that she likes to use for backings.

I was looking for a wedge ruler for making fan blocks but we didn't find on at the quilt shop or at Joann's. I have one I could lend her but it's in Minnesota! Luckily, the quilt shop will special order it.

Tonight I sewed the border and binding on the green 16 Patch and Pinwheels, a HeartStrings quilt and a UFO of mine that will donated through my Mom's church at Christmas. If anyone is interested, a brief instruction sheet is posted on my site.

She has her surgery tomorrow and I'm taking my Crazy Doll Quilt to work on while I'm waiting. Thanks for all the good thoughts coming her way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have plans to work on 3 projects on my trip. I'll be gone until Oct 5th so I don't want to be bored!

When I get home I HAVE to finish putting together July's QFAH project!

And even with everything else going on, I found myself pulling fabric for a new string quilt. Since I'll be using a rail fence format, I'll be cutting these from rectangles in a slice and dice kind of way.

Monday, September 24, 2007

An unexpected change of plans

Today I spent running errands, mailing out packages and getting my hair cut which was good because I have to go to VA a couple days early. My Mom has to have some surgery so I'm going to fly in on Wednesday rather than Friday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weather photo

As severe storms came through Minneapolis the other night, I sent in one of my photos and it was used as part of this slideshow on the website of one of the local news stations. Of course, they probably included all the ones they received but I got a kick out of seeing it!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I love this pantograph! It looks so elegant and quilts up quickly. Here's Mom's top, fresh off the machine, trimmed and ready for binding!

This is so fun!

I'm really enjoying the hand embroidery on the Crazy Quilt (my latest doll quilt) and bought a second book with some stitches at Borders today. I also had to check out the stitch library books that Amazon has so now I have a couple of those on order. I guess I'll have to do at least one more project after this one to get my money's worth. I did mention that I'm addicted to books didn't I? My basket with all my supplies is pictured below.

Before I let myself work on this project today, I'm going to try and finish up Mom's top that I started quilting yesterday.

These blocks are pretty busy so the stitches aren't showing up all that well but that's OK because it helps hide the flaws. My favorite thread so far has been the size 8 perle cotton but I don't have but 5-6 colors of it. I did buy some more floss at Joann's today. The size 5 perle cotton I have seems too thick but I did find some couching techniques in the new book where it might work.

Click on the photo to see a larger view.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No photos tonight

How boring is that?

It's nice to be back at work after a few days off. I loaded one of Mom's tops - a log cabin quilt made from the same pattern but a different color scheme as this one I made (pattern is in the Best of Black Mountain Quilts book). I'm using Mereth's Feather Me pantograph again. The donation quilt was a *practice* piece for Mom's quilt but really it quilts up very nicely and that practice wasn't even necessary!

I've been embroidering the blocks on the doll quilt too. Some of these *easy* stitches aren't quite as easy as they first appear but I'm enjoying working on this project. I've always loved Crazy quilts but stopped making these blocks when I realized that I wasn't going to devote the amount of time a decent size quilt would take. Not to mention the difficulty of handling something larger than this small one.

I'm so happy I finally gave into the temptation to make some of these. I just had to find a *practical* application for them before I gave myself permission. Now I need to go shopping for dolls but I think I'll do that at Mom's so I don't have to ship them there. The dolls and quilts will be donated to Catholic Charities.

Just before I left for Key West I received a thank you note from a woman who received one of the HeartStrings Quilts I'd pieced and quilted. I can't describe how touched I was reading her note and how strongly it reaffirms my commitment to making and donating quilts and to the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A quick top

I had lots of catching up to do today after being gone but did manage to squeeze in assembling the crazy quilt doll top. I had 6 blocks but felt that it was too long and skinny so I chopped off 3 inches off the top and cut squares to piece on the side.

Having just watched Ricky Tims Caveman Quilting Video, I decided to bind this using his *birthing* technique. I liked how much easier it was to turn the quilt using his method of cutting the back and resewing it leaving an opening for turning.

There is no batting and I'll do the embroidery along the seams through the backing fabric.

Key West

We're home after a LONG day of travel yesterday. Keith had us fly into Miami and drive to Key West which was great on the trip out but tiring coming back.

Here's a slideshow - can you tell I like Sunsets?

Friday, September 14, 2007

What am I doing?

I told myself I was just going to make a few blocks for the HeartStrings Project Pink. I decided I could make some blocks while I'm at Mom's and them mail them off to Jennifer who's going to coordinate this project for us. But then I thought wouldn't it be nice if we did pink blocks at the October sew-in and I came back with a couple tops to quilt.

So today, I started cutting some pink and white strips. I'll pull some pink strings to add to them and I have a feeling I'll make at least one quilt myself even though those Chinese Coins are still calling my name! I just can't resist these special projects.

I'm heading to Key West in the morning - I may not post until I get back next week (although Keith is taking his laptop so we'll see!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another top finished!

I don't know why it took me so long to finish up this one! I wanted this quilt to be a little less square so since I was watching Ricky Tim's Caveman Quilting DVD, I decided to add some of his *dancing squares*. I was so tempted to add a bottom border too but since I'm trying to let go of my symmetric tendencies I just added the one border.
This will be another HeartStrings donation quilt and I think it will be quilted with my Swirls template from Circle Lord .

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Feather Me (continued)

Did I mention quick in my last post?

Feather Me

I'm quilting another donation quilt today and am using a pantograph designed by Mereth. I love the way this one quilts and looks. It was purchased at MQS this year and I used it once before getting my EdgeRider wheels installed. The circle in the middle of the design was a bit challenging with the old wheels but now it stitches like a dream and looks great! Click the photo to see a larger view.

Another UFO

I was rummaging through a bin tonight and came across 7 crazy quilt blocks - a very old UFO. Since I'm certain I won't ever finish this as a regular size quilt I've decided I'll use 6 of them and make a doll quilt. These small quilts are turning in to the perfect way to finish a few UFO's and try new techniques on a small scale (I have a Hawaiian doll quilt planned too).

I have an extensive book library so I just so happened to have a book on embroidery stitches for crazy quilts - I knew I was going to need that book one day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I made a mistake

This book, A Passion for Patchwork has some seriously cute patterns in it. I can't remember for sure but I think I picked it up at B&N or Borders on a clearance table (maybe a couple years ago) and it was the inspiration for my current doll quilt.

Unfortunately, I think I would have done better to have quilted this on my sewing machine because hand quilting this grid isn't going to give the same definition that machine quilting it would. I should have realized that before starting but I was eager for another hand quilting project and just rushed into it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Today's progress

I ordered a TOWA tension gauge for my longarm which arrived Saturday. I'm hoping it will help me set the tension on the machine without having to play with it so much. Today's quilt wasn't much of a test since it had a flannel back which always helps with tension as there's a thicker quilt sandwich for the stitches to hide in.

After testing the bobbin with the guage, I only had one small adjustment to the top tension and everything was good! This is a donation quilt that will go to my Mom's church - Mom and I pieced this top on my visit to VA in May. It's quilted with a pantograph - Popcorn from Willow Leaf Studio.

I'm also making slow progress on the String hearts. The light wasn't the best but I thought I'd share a photo anyway.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Another finish

I finished the binding and labeling on this quilt the other night. It's a HeartStrings Purple Project quilt that will be donated.

I used my favorite pieced backing - an off center 4 patch and used the new HeartStrings label.

Friday, September 07, 2007


You guys are great! Thanks for all the compliments, I'm really trying to listen to your comments and be less critical. Hopefully, less criticism from myself will leave me more open to venturing beyond my comfort zone and to trying more challenging quilt designs.

Keith came home this afternoon and we spent the day and evening together - I feel very blessed these days.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Another finish and I'm going to be kind to myself and not pick it apart. I started writing this by describing what I didn't like about my quilting on this top. But you know, it's done and it looks pretty good.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Am I the only one that saves leftover binding bits?

I keep a bin just for these leftovers and every now and then I go into it to make a scrappy binding. Obviously I add to the bin more than I subtract. One of the HeartStrings quilters is making quilts for the homeless and I have an opportunity to sew these bits together and send them on to her to use to bind her quilts. It feels SO good to use these up. I've sewn a bunch together tonight but I've got plenty more and will finish up tomorrow.

Sharon Schamber Network

Stephanie mentioned a video by Sharon Schamber. She's got a bunch of video's on her new site and although many of them are high speed previews for her classes, you can still pick up some great information. I also ordered a CD from her recently - it's not a demonstration video, more like a book on CD but it had some great background fills I've been playing with. Sharon quilts on a longarm but these background fills could certainly be done on a domestic machine.

Here's the link to the CD Stipple Basics

Here's the link to the videos


Tutorial? Maybe you all didn't read my post closely where I said this was the first time I'd used them in a quilt!

I've read several books that show how to quilt these and this is what works for me. They are surprisingly forgiving and I think it's because you quilt around the circles 2-3 times.

I start in a corner of the space I want to fill, I usually go around my circles 2 - 2.5 times so I end up where I want to make my next circle - Fig 1.

I continue to make circles, filling the space and trying to vary the size of the circles. I don't want them all the same size - Fig 2.

Here's the part that threw me - as you make the circles, you end up with odd shaped spaces between them - Fig 2, highlighted areas. I found that if you just put a circle in that space even though it's odd shaped it works. See the second photo where I've filled in the space. Of course, you do these as you come to them - I only left them in my example so you can see them occurring.

Fig 3 shows the space filled with pebbles. My sewn examples look just like these circles, I'm not usually exactly on the line when I'm sewing around them.

I did match my thread to my fabric. You can see the sew examples here or here. Click on the drawings below to see an enlarged view.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thanks for the comments, compliments, and encouragement

I appreciate the comments and encouragement! I'm working my way around the borders of donated top now, I'm just doing a simple feather with an echo (and a wobbly echo at that!) - I'm sure as Mereth suggested on the hearts that by the time I'm done with the quilt these will somewhat perfected too (hopefully).

This is the first time I've used the pebbles on a quilt and I love them. No matter how poorly I feel like I'm quilting them, when I'm done and step back they look great! I think it's because you quilt around them 2-3 times so they don't have to be perfect.

I was second guessing using the heart fill. I loved what Mereth did on her banner so maybe next time I have a large open space I'll use a meander that includes a variety of shapes.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm bored!

I finished the blocks for the Half Square Hearts, quilted a couple hours on the doll quilt, worked on the quilt on the longarm, finished my book, watched some TV and since I had a little nap this afternoon after getting just 2 hours of sleep last night I'm not ready for bed yet.

I think I'll go look for something to play with for an hour or so in the sewing room and then start a new book.

Here's the quilt I'm working on. You all know how much I struggle with my freehand quilting. There was tons of white space on this top (donated by Sandra) and I didn't want to run a pantograph across the links so I'm pebbling inside the links and using the hearts as an overall fill. It's more dense than my usual quilting but I'm trying to reserve judgement. There are some feathers on the outside edge triangles that aren't all that great but they'll do.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day

I was whining today to Keith that one of the things I miss is getting together with family on holidays. He's heading out in the morning - to Tampa and then on to Denver and won't be home until Friday so I'll be on my own. I hope you guys have some fun plans for tomorrow!

I've made a good start on my to do list for the week. I finished binding and labeling another HeartStrings quilt, this one a top donated by Fran that I quilted with "my" hearts; pin basted and started hand quilting the new doll quilt (I know it's kind of boring but I love simple scrappy quilts); loaded another donation quilt on the longarm; and machine stitched the binding on the Purple Project #2 quilt - I'll hand stitch it down over then next night or two.

As I was loading the top tonight on the longarm I wondered how the rest of you deal with tasks that you tend to procrastinate on. I was sitting there pinning and telling myself that I *had* to finish piecing the blocks for the Half String Hearts this week before I allowed myself to do more quilting on the doll quilt. I guess that's a remnant of my upbringing - finishing the chores before allowing myself to do something fun.

Starting and finishing are my two favorite things about quilting - its the stuff in the middle I have to discipline myself to finish.

Why do I need lists?

I need lists so I don't get sidetracked! I had a little while this afternoon to work while Keith was on the computer so what did I do? I made another small doll quilt.

My intention was to use more of the Drunkard's Path blocks and then quilt free form Baptist Fans. (Tonya uses these on her quilts and there's a very good description on quilting them in the book that Lucy led me to Quilting with Style by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham.) But I decided I'd hold off on doing another Drunkard's Path and I pulled out another book that had a checkerboard table runner that was quilted very simply in a grid 1/4 inch on either side of the seams.

I had leftover beige strips from the green Double 4 Patch pieced a few months ago and leftover blue fabric from a table quilt for my sister. So here it is, a scrappy blue/beige checkerboard that will be finished off with a blue binding. Keryn's doll quilt started out as a checkerboard too but she added borders to hers.

Had there been a list it would have looked like this:
Bind 2 quilts
Load donation top from Sandra on the longarm
Finish piecing string blocks for Half Square Hearts
Finish piecing my July QFAH top

I guess I'll add layer and hand quilt Checkerboard doll quilt and use this as my To Do List for next week.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Key West!

Keith's taking me on an unexpected trip in 2 weeks (did I mention we're celebrating?)! Key West is one of my favorite places to visit but we haven't been back in a number of years. Cross your fingers that there will be NO hurricane's heading for Florida!

Doesn't the B&B he booked sound wonderful?

The Heron House, a Florida Keys bed and breakfast, is located in the very heart of island’s historic district. This Key West B&B offers the intimacy of a guesthouse with all the style of a romantic inn. Bask in the sweet scent of orchids wafting through our exotic gardens. Take an afternoon dip in our quaint swimming pool, surrounded by tropical plants and comfy wicker furniture.

Heron House, a four-diamond inn, prides itself on the small details, such as fine woodwork, tropical stained glass artistry, intricate stonework, and the elegance of etched glass panels. Every morning, guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast by the pool or indoors. Every weekend the innkeepers present wine and cheese.

Each of the 23 rooms at our bed and breakfast in the Keys is uniquely designed and may include woodwork artistry, private decks, balconies, tropical plants, and custom interior lighting. Nevertheless, all rooms have air-conditioning, private bathroom, bathrobes, morning newspaper, telephone, and cable television.