Tuesday, April 25, 2017


I have a few things to show you.

Real progress has been made quilting Little Butterflies.  I'm close to turning to stitch in the other direction.

That's good because I have two quilts waiting for binding.  I'd like to get them finished before the weather turns hot.  I don't like sitting to sew with a quilt over my lap in the heat of the summer.  We have air conditioning but it is still uncomfortable.  Binding is a good winter activity but I missed that window of opportunity.

I welcomed spring by switching the quilt on our bed to Love Actually, my double wedding ring quilt made in 2015.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Topper or Quilter?

To be truthful, I am more a topper than a quilter.  Though I hand quilt the occasional small project (and I have about 35% of the quilting done on my butterfly quilt now), I outsource anything sizeable to a professional longarm quilter (and highly recommend Karen Thompson of Greenbrier Designs).  I've taken two free motion quilting classes but concluded it would take a major investment of time in practicing before I would ever be satisfied with the outcome.

I've used my walking foot to quilt straight lines on a few baby quilts but always thought that approach was rather limiting.  Well, I clearly don't have the imagination of Jacquie Gering, whose new book Walk, takes straight line quilting to a new dimension.

I became inspired just browsing through the book and even more enthused after I sat down to read it cover-to-cover.  Jacquie provides lots of instruction in how to use your walking foot,  how to mark your top (or not mark it for some designs), along with designs even a beginner can manage.  I particularly like shattered quilting, curved crosshatch, and some of the radiating line designs.  Though I probably won't attempt a bed size quilt on my machine, there are lots of designs in the book I can see using on a wall hanging or small throw.  

And the designs are not all straight lines as this sampling (the back cover of the book) shows.  I think you will find Walk to be a good addition to your quilting library.  And if you think Jacquie's name is familiar, you are probably right. She blogs at Tallgrass Prairie Studio and is Chairman of the Board of the international Modern Quilt Guild.

A big thank you to all of you who left comments on my last post, sharing how you got your start quilting.  I enjoyed reading all of the stories.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

25th Anniversary

How long have you been quilting?  I date my official start to the early spring of 1992 and that means it has been 25 years!

I dabbled in quilting prior to 1992.  I was in high school during the USA Bicentennial celebration, when traditional American crafts experienced a resurgence.  I was an occasional garment maker so I used some leftover cotton (probably cotton poly blend) fabric to make a tote bag.  I cut the squares and sewed them with a 5/8" seam because I did not know any better.  That tote bag held up for a long time though.

Then in the early 1980's, I took an evening quilting class offered by the continuing ed department of my local public school district.  We used cardboard templates, cut the fabric with scissors, and sewed by hand.  I enjoyed it but those were my hard-charging early career years of little leisure time.  I made a pillow in the class, followed by a small wall hanging.  Then I started on a set of place mats.  A year later, I had one place mat finished and a second one started.  Food was never coming in the vicinity of those place mats after all that work!  I put quilting aside.

An early project, my first Christmas quilt

But the local quilt shop still had my address and I'd occasionally take a look at the newsletter they sent me.  In early '92, I noticed they were offering a "Log Cabin Quilt In A Day" class.  I was extremely skeptical about making a quilt in a day but dropped into the store to find out more.  The staff introduced me to rotary cutting and machine sewing.  I  had the machine, bought the other equipment, and took the class.  I did not quite finish the quilt in a day but took it home and kept working on it.  Just as I was finishing up the top, my sister announced her pregnancy, and that first quilt went to my nephew, Nicholas.

My sewing room, where it all happens.

Miss Main Street came along two years later and she needed some quilts.  By then, I  was hooked. And when we moved into our present house in 1997, I could have  a dedicated space.  No more picking up the supplies to make room for dinner on the dining room table; I had a room where I could leave everything ready for when I had a few minutes to sew.  I've had a least one project in process ever since.

The collection grows.

Now, my collection of quilts is outgrowing my storage space.  How did you get hooked?

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Quilting By Hand Is Slow Going

I didn't intend for such a long time to pass between blog posts.  My current project is hand quilting this butterfly appliqued top (Little Butterflies by Laundry Basket Quilts) and it is taking forever so I haven't really had anything to write about.

It did not help that after a couple of weeks of working on my initial quilting design, a grid created by vertical and horizontal lines, I decided I didn't like it and used a seam ripper to take it all out.  Then I started again with diagonal lines.  There will be a second set going in the other direction so they cross.  I like this look much better.

The blue painters tape is how I mark where to quilt.  It is very easy to follow and no markings to get rubbed out or removed later.  I'm using tape that is 3/4" wide.  I estimate I've finished about 20% of the quilting, but I hope that means this won't take all year to finish.  I just got two quilts back from my longarm quilter and they need binding.  Then, there's all the other projects I have in mind...

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What I'm Working On Now

A beginning of the year trip to Hawaii.  I worked on my dance steps and my tan.

Just kidding about the tan.  I'm a redhead and that just doesn't happen, less white is all I can hope for.
  Despite much time spend relaxing on beaches.  This one is Kapalua Beach on Maui.  

Lots of fun and now I'm back to real life again.  My first order of business is to clear the decks in my sewing room.  My sewing room doubles as our guest room and one of Miss Main Street's friends stayed overnight after interviewing for a job to teach English in Japan after graduation.  The room got its first clean in quite some time.  I sent two finished tops off to be quilted and unearthed Little Butterflies, a project I appliqued and pieced in 2015.  So, definitely a UFO!

Little Butterflies is about to be quilted, by me, by hand.  I've been meaning to do this for a while but got side tracked by other projects.  My plan is to quilt a sort of grid behind the butterflies, to make them stand out more.  No marking necessary, I use painter's tape.

Painter's tape comes in several widths (I'm using 7/8" wide) and it sticks to the fabric without leaving any residue behind after removal.  You can re-position the tape several times so each piece is re-usable.  After a few times, it won't stick as well; I just ball that piece up, throw it away, and start with a fresh piece of tape.  No marks to wash out after quilting is done.

I'll be back soon with some progress shots.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Plans for 2017

OK, I bought the cardboard, the comic book backing boards.  Did you somehow miss out on this "thing?"  These pieces of cardboard were originally sold for comic book collectors to use to protect their collectibles and keep the paper from creasing.  A clever quilter re-purposed them as the stiff center for mini bolts of fabric.  After folding yardage a second time length-wise, it becomes the right size to wrap around the card, creating a mini bolt that can stand upright on a shelf.

So, I bought a package of 100 (surprisingly inexpensive) and spent the long weekend cleaning and organizing the closet in my sewing room.  I like the way they stand on end, like a bolt of fabric in the shop; it makes it easier to pull a piece of fabric out to check and easier to put it back in place than the piles I had previously.  Unfortunately, they take up about the same amount of room as the folded piles of fabric that were my previous method of organization.  I had visions of being able to squeeze more into the closet.  I have several plastic bins of fabric that I store in the attic (really, a 3rd floor) but out of sight, out of mind.  My goal is to get my entire stash into the sewing room.  It's not happening this year though.

What is going to happen this year is completion of a UFO, Little Butterflies.  I finished the top in mid-2015 but it has been waiting for me to get to the hand quilting.

And I updated my Quilts to Make Pinterest board.  Well, I updated it in my usual way, editing the board's title to change the year while deleting the few projects I finished in 2016.  It still holds way more than I'll get to this year but my priority projects are Colorway (I have the fabric purchased and set aside with the pattern), a Christmas quilt (probably All Wrapped Up), a lace clutch using my collection of vintage and cutter linens, some pillow shams or cases, and some smaller projects.  I'd love to make a Flowering Snowball quilt with my stash of Kaffe Fassett fabric and am looking for the perfect background fabric to use.  Oh, and I ordered paper pieces for a new English paper piecing project.  It will be my new portable/travel project, not necessarily to be completed in 2017.

What are your quilting plans for 2017?

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Monday, January 2, 2017

It's A Wrap

I finished piecing my scrappy Fig Tree quilt top.  It is pressed and folded, ready to be shipped off to the quilter, as soon as I piece the back.  I found some fabric in my stash, an off-white tone-on-tone with a large floral design, that is perfect.  And the piece I have is just the right size, so that is perfect too.  

The photo is not great, it was raining and I had to take the photo indoors with the lights on, which gives the quilt a yellow cast.  

The design is a variation on Irish Chain, and a sort of mash-up of two quilts I saw on line.  First, the colors are from this quilt from the Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe.  And the piecing instructions are from a tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts.   The end result is exactly how I expected it to look, which does not always happen, so I am happy.  And of course, I'll like it even better after it is quilted.  

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