Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Still playing

I can't seem to get a good photo of these cards but I finished up the tree (my favorite city to visit in the spring is Washington DC in case you were still wondering) and then played a bit with the small die cutter I'd ordered from Joann's -- again, it's Deb's fault. These are both a lot cuter than the photos shows.
Now, I think I'll go down, load a top, and start the quilting. I haven't been very productive the last couple days.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Freemotion embroidery?

Does anyone do any of this on their sewing machines? I thought I'd
give it a try for the tree on my April postcard. I'm not unhappy with
this at all and will probably try it on other postcards. Still plenty
of beading left to do but I'm going to stop for the night.

Can you guess my favorite city to visit in Spring?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Did you miss me?

I tried to catch up on some sleep today then Keith and I had a quiet evening at home - Scrabble - dinner - and a movie. I'm going to sew a while and then take a BIG glass of wine and a book to the tub and hope it will make me drowsy enough to sleep some tonight.

Hope you all had great weekends!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just because....

I was feeling tired and a little down.

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Good Question!

I'm feeling a little like the local news but Marilyn asked a question and I thought I'd answer it here:

How do you decide what quilting pattern to put on each quilt? Since many of your quilts are string quilts, I see you don't quilt them all the same. Do the quilts 'talk' to you and tell you what they want? Or do you just get in the mood to quilt something different on different nights? I'm learning different quilting patterns and learning to listen to my quilts now so any advice you can give would be much appreciated.

It's true many of the string or scrap quilts are so similar that I could probably quilt anything on them, heck I could probably do a plain meander a lot quicker than the freehand designs or pantographs I usually choose but then I'd be bored out of my mind.

So my answer to Marilyn's question is a little of both....sometimes I pick up clues from the quilt's purpose or fabric and other times I'm just in the mood to quilt a particular design.

I recently finished 3 different Quilts of Valor -- the one last night got swirls because it's a no brainer for me, I hadn't done it in a while, and I love the texture I get from them, the 2nd one got freehand stars and loops because the border fabric had stars and hey, stars just suit a QOV right? The 1st one got a pantograph Ebb and Flow -- another of my favorites for QOV's because it reminds me of a flag waving in the breeze. All three quilts were essentially the same but got different quilting designs.

Now, I've got 9 different Happy Block quilts here from another HeartStrings project and they'll get a variety of designs too. The first one got Bubbles -- a favorite pantograph for kids quilts, and the one I'm working on tonight(pieced by Liz) is getting a panto too but this time I'm using Whirlygig which looks like a sun to me -- get it? Sunshine = Bright and Happy = Happy Blocks? Click on photo to enlarge!

Speaking of working tonight - is anyone participating in Judy's Quiltathon? I don't know how much I'll do during the day tomorrow or Sunday but I'm going to be working through the night.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Heading downtown

I'm meeting Keith for drinks and dinner.

#6 of 10

Still working....you may notice that I'm back to working *nights* but don't worry, I'm sleeping during the day. Tonight I quilted another top pieced by San (Gypsy Quilter) for Alycia's QOV project. Freehand swirls this time.

And I managed to get the binding stitched down on this small top pieced by Carmen.
Just 4 more tops to get done in the next two weeks - I'm doing well working my way through my list but can't believe the trip to Dublin is just 2 weeks away.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm busy working

I got this HeartStrings QOV bound. Sent to me by San (Gypsy Quilter) to finish and donate to Alycia's QOV project.....it's the 2nd of 3 I'm trying to finish and get to Alycia by the end of April.

And an update on my Boxed Squares for Adam. This quilt will be bigger than my design wall so I'm trying to get a 12x12 block section up and then will add the last 3 rows after this is assembled.

Each time I go up the stairs, I stop and move blocks around a bit so it's not the final layout. Good thing Keith doesn't mind the design wall sitting out in the hallway.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The best of ALL worlds

You might not know that I enjoy cooking - I don't talk about it much and I do write about eating out somewhat frequently but I truly have the best of all worlds. Great restaurants within walking distance, a husband willing to stop for takeout on nights I'm working and don't want to cook or go out, and on the days like today - the time to spend making a home cooked meal for my man!

This afternoon I cooked up a big batch of homemade meat sauce, put half in the freezer for another night, and whipped up a pan of lasagna for tonight's dinner. Keith's stopping on his way home from work for fresh bread and a really good bottle of red as I type this.

Good man, good food, good wine, a cozy fire, and a game of Scrabble - what more could a girl ask for? A little snow flurry? Got that too!

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#5 of 10 is done

I'm having to tear myself away from the sewing room to get my quilting done but with just 2 weeks and 6 tops left to meet my goal -- I knew I had to get down there tonight. With this one done....just 5 left to quilt.

This is a gorgeous HeartStrings top pieced by Sue I think from blocks made by Melva. Don't you love that green center strip with a narrow black on either side? This is the last of the tops I have here from our Green for Guys project last fall but not to worry I have lots of other tops!

I quilted this one with a pantograph - Lush Leaves and chose a dark green thread so that even with an allover pattern, the sashing looks *uninterrupted* by the quilting lines crossing it. You see the texture in the photo above but DON'T see the quilting thread. Both photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Have you seen this site?

I did a search a few weeks back and don't even remember what I was looking for but I found Moda's Bake Shop with a lot of cute patterns. There's a braid quilt I want to make and a pincushion too. I just sent Mom the link for this cute pinwheel quilt.

Thanks for all the comments on the boxed squares - I made a bunch of blocks yesterday and today and I'm loving the results up on the design wall. It's going to be a big quilt so I'll be working on it for a while and I have 6 more tops to get quilted in the next two weeks so I'll be loading another one on the longarm and starting it tonight when Keith goes to bed.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Should be quilting but

I'm still making boxed squares and playing with this design -- I didn't really plan much more than I wanted green/black/white. I liked Teri's suggestion to add red to one center square but decided it needed several red centers and then decided it even needed 3 red squares.

Also, I decided that I should alternate the black and greens with the whites to keep it from being too dark. SO... for now, this is my plan -- we'll see how it plays out in fabric as I continue to make squares.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Progress Report

  • Two tops quilted
  • Bindings made and machine stitched to two quilts
  • Green/black/white boxed squares started
  • Continued to make QAYG blocks for HeartStrings
  • 3 quilts washed; 3 quilts mailed for donation

No fabric purchased but I did buy both a small die cutting machine and a new sewing machine along with my relatively new GO Cutter purchased a few weeks ago, you can see I've been on an equipment spree but they'll all help me use stash!

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I call it arrhythmia hill

I don't know what it is about this slow climbing stretch of the bike path but it triggers a cardiac arrhythmia every time. I'm not concerned because I had a cardiac workup last summer when it started but it is so frustrating!

I still enjoyed our ride today -- 11.5 miles and here's the view we have as we ride that last mile.

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#4 of 10 quilted

I was definitely more in the mood to work last night -- I finished up about 1:30AM with top #4 of 10. Pieced by Sharon and sent to me to finish and donate for Heartstrings.
The thread blends completely with this top so the light has to shine just right to see the quilting. I used a pantograph - Wandering Daisies.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009


This is NOT a great photo but Keith is calling this Boxed Squares version drab (maybe it has to do with the olive?) I'm liking it more as I add blocks but the jury is still out --- obviously, there are blocks that will be moved around as I make more of them.
A new postcard from Deb - she's having fun with her new die cutter.
Someone wants me off the computer don't you think?
I spent time both quilting and piecing today - how did you celebrate National Quilting Day?

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No rain!

The forecast has changed and it's sunny and warm so we walked across
the river to eat lunch outside at the Bulldog!

#4 is in progress

I thought I might stay up late tonight quilting but it's midnight and I'm ready to head to bed with a good book -- not so much sleepy as just tired. I've been a little sluggish all week and while I've been marking some things off my to do list, haven't felt like I've made much real progress.

Tonight I did get this gorgeous basketweave strings top pieced by Sharon loaded and have a good start on the quilting. I'm using the Wandering Daisies pantograph again but I probably could have used anything, the quilting is not showing up but I know the texture will come to life once I take it off the machine.

We're expecting rain this weekend so we're planning a quiet one around here -- some work, some Scrabble, some relaxing. I should be able to finish this one up by working on it on and off Saturday and Sunday.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

If it wasn't for the mail

I wouldn't have anything to show you today if not for the mail. This gorgeous postcard came from Jan. The photo doesn't really capture it's sparkled beauty! Take a look at some of the her other postcards on her blog -- these caught my eye the other day.
And look, 3 more Happy Block tops sent to me by Liz. They were made by her and her weekly quilting group The Quilting Broads. Thanks Liz, Sally, Ann, and Lynda. I think the Happy Blocks have been one of my favorite HeartStrings Projects.

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I did manage to get a little work done tonight while I was playing with the new machine but no photos.

I started out making some QAYG blocks - what better way to get used to a new machine than with forgiving blocks like these string ones. I've got 33 made - I just do a couple here and there before starting to work on whatever my current project is.

Speaking of my current project - I've got a white/black/green version of my Boxed Squares in progress. I used the Go Cutter to cut a bunch of 2.5 inch strips - so quick and easy! I'm not sure I'm thrilled about the colors but I'm going to continue on.

I pieced binding leftovers together and sewed it onto the 2nd of 3 quilts done so far this month. I like the start and stop button on the new machine for piecing but I found it easier to use the foot pedal for binding.

Tomorrow I need to get another top loaded and start the quilting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Deb's a bad influence

I took my Elna to get serviced today and came home with a new machine. It's all Deb's fault. If she hadn't just bought a new machine when hers crashed I would have never thought about it. It was even on sale!

I haven't owned a Brother before but Deb and Mom have had good luck with them so that's what I got. It's got a knee lift, a thread cutter, and it has an extension table....I can get an insert made so it will fit my sewing table but it sits down with just a little gap in the back so I'll see how this works for now.

They're going to fix the Elna too....I'd feel bad about having 4 machines (counting the Gammill) but I know many of you have even more than that!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baptist Fans -- freehand by machine

I've had lots of questions about the fans including one from Elaine that had specific questions so I'm going to answer it here for everyone.

First, my inspiration for quilting freehand fans comes from two places. I've always LOVED Tanya's hand quilted fans but as you know, I don't do much hand quilting. One day, Helen shared some fan quilting she'd done based on a DVD by Patsy Thompson. I HIGHLY recommend this DVD and even bought one for my Mom for her birthday in December. Patsy quilts on a domestic machine but just like Dawn's Pajama Quilter DVD that I also love, it doesn't matter which machine you quilt on -- these will work for either.

Patsy has a free handout on her site -- but again -- I highly recommend you consider buying her DVD. She shows a lot of variations but my favorite and the one I used on this last quilt is the first one shown on the handout.

So, now the answers to Elaine's questions.

Do they always flow from the same direction?
  • No they don't! In this quilt, I did them in rows but each row goes in a different direction -- I worked my way across the quilt in one direction, and back to the other side. If I'd wanted them to go in one direction, I would have started all my rows from the same side.
  • I've also quilted them so that they're completely random and just filled the space like on Patsy's handout.
How many 'swings' or 'arcs' do you usually do? Are they always an odd number?
  • I tend to use 5- 7 arcs. When I'm quilting in a row like on this quilt -- an even number is needed to keep you in a row - in this case mostly 6 - 8 arcs. When I'm quilting randomly, I'll use however many I need to fill the space -- using an odd number will take you off in a different direction.
  • The more arcs you use, the harder it is to keep them smooth so consider that when you're first trying this out.
Any right or wrong as to how far apart?
  • Personal preference maybe?? I made mine pleasing to the eye and had to measured this quilt to answer your question. I found that the marjority are 1 inch apart but they do vary from 0.75 inches to as big as 1.25 inches but again most are 1 inch.
Do you use any guidelines for your free-form?
  • Nope, absolutely NONE. This is a great pattern for a string quilt or other free pieced type of project where the randomness or wonkiness of the quilting *goes* with the randomness of the piecing.
Could you show a really close up? See the photos below
Where do you backtrack or ??
  • Backtracking is along the edge of the arc of the next fan. I come about 1/4 of an inch or closer but don't try to backtrack on the line. You can see that really well in Patsy's handout linked above and the photo below.
All the photos should enlarge when you click on them.
This set of arcs seems to be particularly wonky - notice the narrower and wider areas in the same arc.
In this quilt I worked my way from left to right and then then next row was worked from right to left. I didn't really plan that beforehand but was trying to minimize how much I had to roll the quilt back and forth on the longarm. I was able to quilt two rows of fans before having to roll.

Any questions? If so, please make sure you include your email address if you want an answer!

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My baby's 24

Happy Birthday Adam!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is there anything more fun than a local parade?

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Waiting for Keith

The parade begins in an hour -- my Kindle and a green beer are
entertaining me in the meantime.