Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Check this out!!

This is the quilt I am working on today.  It was pieced by Christy Luckinbill and left unfinished in a closet until she recently decided that she should have it quilted.

It measures 88" x 101" and is made up of thousands of 1" blocks....finishing to 1/2" squares that you see.

Each of those large "squares" of blocks has 81 little pieces in it and Christy did a phenomenal job of piecing it all together so it lays flat with no lumps, bumps, wavy borders, or hairy threads sticking through to the top.

Waldorf is quilting it in Anne Bright's Frenzy b2b.  I think this is a good choice...traditional yet not so fancy that you would be afraid to use the quilt or have to mortgage the house to pay for the quilting.

Had to share it with you. 

Selvedging Sunday

I spent my Sunday afternoon playing in my selvedge stash.

I am working on a project for yet another swap.  This time it is with a group on Flickr that calls itself Fab Little Quilt Swap.  It has a very impressive group of quilters in it's membership.  I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

I have a couple of inspiration mosaics from my partner and a list of likes and dislikes.  From that, I am to make a mini just for her.  (Yup, my partner is a girl.  Don't tell!)

Here are some mid-progress photos....

On the design wall, when I realized that my blocks were way, way to big.

They were supposed to be about 6" square.  They ended up about 12" square.  Hmmm.  I may have a giant selvedge flower hanging on my wall in the near future.

My helper, darling DH, a.k.a. The Giant Flower Monster, flashing me a monstery grin.  This is such a fun picture.  He didn't want me to share it.  Too bad.

The finished top in the afternoon sunlight.  My plan for the mini has some dead give away applique to be added at this point.  I'll give you a working title is "Sniff!"

I like how it is turning still not convinced that my partner will be.  I will probably make one more trial mini before I settle on which one to send.

Okay - I wrote this post on my iPad.  Then the thing wouldn't up load and I got distracted by other things.  This little rainbow birdie quilt is another idea for my partner.  This one is really growing on me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Anatomy of a Longarm - pt 2

They say that learning new things help to prevent the decay of mental acuity as you age.  I don't know if it is true....don't know that it isn't true either.  What I do know is that when I stop learning new things I start getting board.  (Don't you hate that word...especially when it comes out of the mouth of a teen.)

Over the years I've taught myself how to do a number of different things.  Some of them were a lot of knitting socks.  Some were fun, but not very spinning wool (in Texas?!) and needle tatting (in a house full of boys?!).  Some not so cutting my husband's hair...not much fun but very practical.  In every case that comes to mind having the right tools for the right job was key to the degree of my success and enjoyment.

That doesn't mean that I have to have the best, or most expensive tools for the job.  I needed to use the tools that were available to me.  Take cutting hair - yuck - I am left handed.  I usually cut things with my right hand.  All of the scissors in my home are right handed.  When I cut hair I tend to use my left hand more.  Cutting hair left handed with right handed scissors doesn't work very well.  It takes twice as long as it needs to, and it hurts my hands.  Using left handed hedge sheers, or class room scissors don't work very well either. 

Quilting is kind of like cutting hair.  (Really?  That sounds crazy even to me.)  There are tools, like left handed barber sheers, that make the job easier.

No - you don't need a computer to run a long arm machine to have beautiful free motion quilting.  You don't need to be able to draw either.

The back side of my long arm table - the part that counter balances the quilt while it is being worked on - has several advantages besides its ability to hold piles of neatly folded laundry. 

It has a toothy edge.  I've never used it...except in the class I took...but there is a nifty gadget that attaches to the edge and works like a Spirograph.  Cool huh?!

It has a clear plastic sheet that lifts up.  You put a paper template underneath the film so that you can follow it with a laser pointer.  As you move the laser light along the pattern you  move the machine in the same pattern, thus creating the design on your quilt.

I also have plastic templates and rulers that can be placed on top of the quilt and used as guides as I quilt from the front side.

Long armers are full of tricks and gadgets - all of them are invisible once the quilt is off of the table, bound, and on your bed - that help them get the designs that we all admire.

Here are a number of ways you can create beautiful designs as well.:

1 - and the one I hear the most about in FMQ circles - free hand the design as you are sewing it.  I am in awe of people who can do this.  I can't even draw with a pencil let alone with a sewing machine.  You go!

2 - draw it on the fabric and then follow the lines - Ya, I just told you that I can't draw.  True enough.  I can trace patterns!  Try tracing a pattern from a stencil onto your fabric with a pencil or erasable fabric pen.  Did you know that there is a pen that has heat sensitive ink.  The ink disappears when you iron it.  Chalk pencils work great for this too.

3 - you can use a stick on template - I know a woman who does beautiful FMQ by first drawing it on Press & Seal.  (They sell it in the grocery store where the plastic wrap is.)  She draws the pattern on the not sticky side then presses it to her fabric and sews on the lines.  The paper stuff then peals off.  Another product that works like this is Transfer Eze.  I've not used it, but it sounds like it would do the trick.  Read about it on Sew We Quilt.  You can actually put this stuff in your printer.

4 - masking tape - it works for painters!  I've used masking tape to "draw" equi-distant lines on my small projects.  If you sew along the edge of the tape you can then peel it off and move it over.  It will let you stick and restick it several times before the sticky gets to fuzzy to work.

5 - the list is probably endless....but you have the idea now.  Don't be afraid to try something new, or to use a tool to get the results you want.

Last summer I attended a regional guild rally day.  We had a national speaker who told us she uses any means necessary to get the look she wants.  That included paint and Sharpie markers.  Her quilts have won a ton of prizes, and the paint and Sharpie don't come off.

A Stitch in Color

Have you seen these fabrics?  Oh my they are scrumptious.

I bought a charm pack while I was out last week.  I have no plans for it...other than to sit and pat it, and feed it, and call it George.  Maybe if I am very attentive it will multiply.

I'm working today.  Hmmm, let me see.....

Wow, that photo doesn't look very good...kind of I'm feeling today.  Since Waldorf does all, or at least most of, the work I have time to play.  So, play I have.

Enter United Notions and their fantastic download of images, and EQ7

I think I like this one.

Ooh, Waldorf is calling.  Back to work I go.....

Catch the chicken...

I have these in my "it's not a stash" pile. They want a new home and heard of someone named The Polka Dotted Chicken, but she isn't in my address book. Sigh.

Are you tempted yet?

Wish I knew how to turn that photo on Blogger....but I guess you just have to turn your head. Aren't they cute?

Oh look, there are more. What to you suppose a chicken whips up in the kitchen?

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hey - It's my Blog-o-versary!

I wrote my first post to this blog on January 20, 2011. 

How time flies when you are goofing off.

I don't really have enough followers to do anything spectacular.  That is really a lame excuse to do nothing other than comment that the day has come and gone.  It wold be fun to do something, but what.

While I'm thinking about it, know that you are appreciated.
  Your comments often make a very big impact on my otherwise quiet and solitary day.

God bless you all!

Oh the things one discovers....

Did you know that you can download jpgs of fabric patterns?!

Remember me telling you about making quilts for my son's best friends?  They both had birthdays back in late November/early December.  I made each of them a quilt using half square triangles....really big half square triangles.  It was a wonderfully successful experiment.  Each boy, and his respective family, loved his gift.  One of the boys has an older brother who happens to be my oldest son's best friend.  (It has been a lot of fun over the years trading boys with this family.)  Any who.....these two boys, whom I love dearly, have an older sister.  One day in December we saw their daddy in church (not unusual since he is the pastor) and he confided in us that his daughter saw her little brothers with their quilts and sighed, wishing that, "The Sharp's had a daughter that was my age.  Then Mrs. Sharp would make me a quilt."

LOL  I am done having babies, and even if I wasn't Jess is 22 years old and I doubt that she would be best friends with my little girl now....if I had a little girl...which is highly unlikely...but I'm not done making quilts.  How I would love to make a quilt for her.

Soooooo I asked her to describe the quilt I would make her, if I did make her one.  She told me....something bright-ish with flowers and amazing quilting.  That narrowed down the field a bit.  (sarcasm) She also told me that her favorite colors are blue and purple.

Back to the Hancock's of Paducah catalogue I went....such a terrible thing to have to do....and I got...nothin'.  Really, I didn't find a thing that seemed fresh and girly and blue and purple.  Then I remembered reading about Kate Spane's "Good Fortune".  (I can't believe it isn't in Hancock's catalogue.  Gosh!)

I went to Moda's site  to look for images and discovered that I could download the whole collection in the click of a button.  Bazinga!  How cool is that?! 

I stuck these images in my EQ7, along with a bunch of others, played around with it for an hour or so while I talked to my Mom on the phone, and came up with this pattern.

It looks easy enough.  The blocks measure 12" finished.  I bet it would be as easy as half square triangles.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hi ho, hi ho, .....

Isn't this a lovey quilt top? It was pieced by Carol Bradley, my most prolific customer, bestest buddy, and Mom. It would look wonderful in my bedroom or living room, but I don't think that is where she intends to store it. (rats!)

Today was her turn, or rather her quilt tops turn on the long arm. At this very moment I am working on row the last. Yahoo! (And yes, I can quilt and type at the same time because Waldorf is computer driven. Awesome!)

It is quilted in Deb Geisler's Field of Wheat pattern.

She will be soooo excited to have her quilt at long last. Unfortunately the title of best buddy, and Mom puts her near the bottom of the customer service priority list. (Sorry Mom. Thanks for loving me anyway.)

Other than working on this, my day hasn't been all that exciting. It is dark and rainy today. Not a happy thing for my Bassett Hound friend. Hope HATES any water that isn't in her water bowl. That said, it has been a good day. The rain stopped. Hope noticed. She just came and asked to be let out.

Good dog!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Studly mail!

My day wasn't really that bad. Ya, I did put that block together wonky, but I thought it was kind of funny. I've made a bunch of those blocks and it was bound to happen sooner or later. I shared the picture to let people know that I do that too.

I got my kits ready for the block of the month, Quilty Friends, program for my guild. We meet tomorrow night. I got most of the laundry finished and put away. I even took a few minutes to improve my Quilty Friends blog. It now has an elements page listing directions for the 4" finished blocks that make up the bigger nine patch blocks. Today was very nice just the way it had been going.

It got better!

I received a STUD package from Mamacjt.

This month's theme was "Log Cabin".

My photo isn't the best, but if you look closely you can see that Carol made six tiny log cabin blocks and set them in a big log log cabin condos! Each tiny block has a little black button in the center. (Carol, do you buy them by the gross? You need to check out Just Another Button Company ). AND she sent extra goodies....

Speckled fat quarters, bright buttons, note cards, and a pattern to make pillow cases.

I am one spoiled swapper.

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Anyone else see something wrong with this block?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It could happen....

Last spring I signed up to do a round robin with the local quilt guild. There are seven of us in the group and we decided to. Move the tops every other month. Since then life has gotten in the way a couple of times. It happens.

This block is called Night Vision. I found it on an iPhone quilting app. Who'd a thought!

I decided to add a border of these blocks to the top I've been working on since last October. (Like I said, life has gotten in the way a couple of times.)

The blocks are about 10" finished. I needed to make 20 of them to complete the border.

I finally finished adding my borders in Saturday. I like the way the colors and shapes bring your eyes back to the center. Although now that I'm done I think it really needs something between my border and the one before it.

Maybe the next person can figure that out.

Now I'm on to the next one....

I've decided to repeat the border that is on point. Imagine a two inch cream colored border followed by two inches of the bright blue and two inches of cranberry ending with partial pinwheels on the corners. I'm hoping that this will reemphasize the bright contrast in the well as be a quick and easy border to add.

imaage created using EQ7

I would love to be able to pass both quilt tops on to the next person in the round robin on Tuesday (our next guild meeting.)

Wish me luck. Tomorrow is laundry day, and I need to cut/package kits for the next Quilty Friends BOM, and quilt a customer quilt.

It could happen.....right?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 20, 2012

After the rain....

Moda Felicity Tulip Stems in Stone Grey

This fabric has been haunting me since I saw it in the Hancock's of Paducah catalogue the other day.  It makes me think of the moments just after a rain storm when  you realize that things kept growing during the maelstrom.  It is dark and dripping, but the air is freshly scrubbed and you can smell the flowers breathing.

My beloved gave me an update to EQ6 for Christmas.  EQ7 is kind of like those moments after the rain.  It does everything that EQ6 did, but with more clarity.  It is a cinch to import images of fabric and then play with them virtually.

I added these to my pallet....

Robert Kaufman Fusions Green Ivy Tendril Vine

Moda Marbles Grey

Moda Felicity Garden Tonal Blooms Rose
along with some Kona white.

The results are this delightfully feminine quilt.

Did I tell you that I decorate in wrought iron and quilts?  Yup....they are hard to break.  Between the dogs and the boys  it seemed like the safest path to follow.  I suppose, being a quilt, this would fit right in.

Now that my boys are getting big I occasionally think about taking over their rooms.  You should see their faces when I talk about tearing down walls to make my sewing room bigger.  It is pretty big as it is (it has to be to hold my longarm) but it is short on wall space.  I'd love to knock down one of the walls to have room for a real table.

I know many of you sew in the dinning room, with little to no space for a special table for your sewing machine.  One of my other Christmas gifts was a portable sewing table.  The SewEzi table is compact, light weight, and has an insert that is fitted to particular machines.  For years I have shared sewing space with my work/cutting/laundry table.  I would cut a bit, put away all of my tools, then sew a bit.  Now I can leave it all up.  It will take a little getting used to, but I think I like it.  I can't wait to see how it works on my next quilt retreat.

Time to get back to my sewing....I have round robin to get finished before Tuesday.  Actually, I have two to get done, but I'm only going to aim for one.  More on that later.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Procrastination..... it called procrastination if you have nothing that you really ought to be doing.  When I was a kid we called that playing.

What do you think?

Fancy a limey donkey in the rain quilt?

This quilt brought to you by EQ7 software, a Christmas gift from my beloved, which, incidentally has some awesome block features that either I never found in EQ6 or weren't there; the Hancock's of Paducah catalogue volume 57; and my can't get my groove on funk.

You would need  3 1/4 yards of grey; 1/2 yard of boots; 1 1/4 yards donkeys; and 1 1/4 yards backing which I think should either be those hysterical boot shod donkeys OR a nice cozy grey flannel/minkey.  I know which way my boys would vote - SOFT always wins in our house.

Because Laughter is Good....

and I still haven't found my groove, and the Hancock's of Paducah catalogue is sitting right here on my desk.

Some times you just have to wonder what goes through the minds of creative people.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when they pitched their ideas to the fabric companies.

Donkey is in the rain is just so....pedestrian...don't you think?!

Jack & Jenny Donkey Galoshes Grass #K 12529 47

Jack & Jenny Rainboots Grass #K12530 37

Jack & Jenny Raindrops Grass Green #K 12531 47
It also comes in a pink and green colorway.  I want to see this fabric in the next Kaufman challenge.  Heck, I want to be in that challenge just so I can have an "excuse" to make something with this delightfully silly fabric.

I grew up next door to a chicken farmer.  I spent many hours entertained by my cats as they watched the hens in the corn field.  I also spent many hours in a vain attempt to teach the chickens how to fly.  Catapulting them from see saws and dropping them from trees did no good in aiding them in their aeronautic education.  It didn't damage the chickens - their wings, although lousy for flying make adequate parachutes - but it may have had something to do with the large number of double yolks we got.  Check out these fancy fowl...

Chick Chick Dotted Hens Daisies Country # K 11952 276

Chick Chick Farmyard Chicken Suzani Country #K 11953 276

Chick Chick Country Daisy Blooms Sky #K 11954 63
 Again - you can get these funny fowl in bright pink and green too.  Hey....wait for it...

Chick Chick Dotted Hens Daisies Summer #K 11952 193

Get Together Pig Toss Chartreuse #PW DW 065 CHARTREUSE
A green eggs and ham quilt!  Ooh, I'm silly today.  (Silly is better than depressed.  I hope I'm cracking someone up besides myself.)

As long as I'm acting like a first grader....doesn't this quilt look like someone has been playing with pencils?

Satsuki Japanese Seville Bright Quilt Kit #K 11991 195 QK

I'd love to see it done in bright colors against a background that has thin lines on it - like notebook paper - or maybe even one of the fabrics that has handwritten words on it, or the sketches from Moda Etchings.

Etchings Antique Architecture Charcoal #M 4060 15

One more before I go to lunch....

I have long been an admirer of toile.  It appeals to the closet girlie girl in me.  It is always so delicate and calm, serene even.  Occasionally you see a toile that has unconventional images or colors.  I remember one, about 17 years ago (eek), that depicted Tom Sawyer.  My favorite bit was of little boys skinny dipping.  Nothing hinky...just boys in a pond with their clothes draped over a bush.  It was very subtle, and unless you stopped to really look at the drawings (and how many people actually do that?!) you would never have noticed.

Civil Rights Toile #TT 8955 WHITE
This is the first time I've seen a toile with stick people.   Please do not be offended that I find it funny.  It has nothing to do with the topic of the toile.  I've never seen civil rights fabric either and think that is kind of cool, although I don't know that I would ever use it.  I don't know that I would ever use the donkeys in golashes either.