Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Blogger!

Just wanted to let you know that there's a new blogger out there! Judy and I met online many years ago when we were both making the "Grandma's Country Album Quilt" by Robert Callaham that was published in McCall's Quilting magazine. We had a little support group going and cheered each other along as we worked on these blocks. My quilt has been in the flimsy stage for several years now (yes, like the cobbler whose children had no shoes, the machine quilter rarely gets to quilt her own tops!) but Judy's has been finished for a long time. If you have a minute, head over and meet her at Irishlakequilter. Tell her I sent you! :o)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Judy's Challenge


Over on Judy's Blog she has issued a Stash Busting Challenge. I've decided to take her up on it! This fabric is something I purchased about 6 years ago, shortly after moving back to New Jersey. I got 3 yards of it when I went to the Love Apples Quilt Show. There show is coming up again in 2 weeks! I just fell in love with it and purchased another 3 yards shortly after the show, in a quilt shop. Whenever I would start a new project, I would pull this out, pair it up with my other fabrics and be disappointed...nothing quite matched. It just didn't play well with others!

Of course, this was the first fabric I thought of when I read Judy's Challenge. I pulled it off the shelf and finally had one of those light bulb moments! If it wouldn't play nicely, I could put it on the BACK of a quilt!!! Ironically, I've been searching online to find a backing fabric for my Sunflower quilt that I made over the summer. It was already washed, so this afternoon I sewed the 2 pieces together, trimmed the selvages, ironed it and now it's all ready to become the back of my quilt. This quilt is for ME so I can enjoy the backing fabric too. :o)

Now I have the month of February to get this quilt finished...and I'll have busted 6 yards of stash! I think I may have to pull another favorite to make a quilt top with as well. I love this challenge, Judy...thanks!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Productive Headache

I was in Kindergarten this morning and got a nasty headache. And it wasn't even from the kids! :o) I went to the gym after work, but cut my workout short because my head was pounding. When I got home, I took some Motrin, but didn't want to sit down. I loaded a customer quilt, took my daughter to wrestling (she's the team manager) and was going to start quilting. But...when I leaned over the machine, my head would pound! I just couldn't do nothing, knew I couldn't focus on knitting or applique, so started making Heartstrings blocks. So...my head still hurts, but at least I have something to show for it!

I haven't sat down at the machine for over a week and felt like I was going through withdrawal. I had done lots of applique, a little knitting and had quilted 2 or 3 quilts, but there's nothing like piecing blocks and having something wonderful when you've finished.

Update on my Women of the Bible Quilt I haven't had time to make the blocks, many of them are very involved and intricate. I still plan to do them, but have set them aside for now to finish up customer quilts and my challenge. I am keeping up with the Bible Study though...I figure that is the important part!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Customer Service

This morning I decided to pull out my new Featherz template for my Circle Lord. I couldn't quite figure out how to use it, so I sent an email to Michael at Loricles Quilting. Within about 15 minutes, ON A SUNDAY, my phone rings and it's Michael! After realizing that I hadn't received the instruction book that should have come with my template, he gave me instructions on how to use it, then emailed the instruction booklet to me. I am so impressed with their customer service! Whenever I have had a question, concern or wanted to place an order, I have had a response within a very short period of time.

After downloading the manual, I marked my template as he suggested. It looks like this now...


Before I had the instructions, I made this feather wreath which I wasn't thrilled with...I was backtracking far too often because I didn't know which way to go, and with the high contrast thread it just looked awful!
And here are the after pictures. I'm sorry they're hard to see, but you get can get the idea! It was so much easier knowing what to do. The instructions were simple to follow and I'm so pleased with the Featherz template! I can see I'll use this a lot. Thanks Michael, for you help and your amazing customer service!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

applique question


I know that many of you do applique and I have a quick question. I've been working on my challenge quilt, which has to be machine quilted. (It IS going to a machine quilting show, after all!) My plan is to add applique leaves to my vine, but I'd like to make 3-dimensional flowers to add. So, as a longarmer, I plan to do the quilting before I add the flowers so that they don't interfere with the machine. Is there any sort of problem doing this? It just seems to make the most sense to me!

Thanks for your advice!

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's Monday

and I feel like I should be getting a lot more done than I am! I did find some time over the weekend to spend in my sewing room. As I was sitting in front of the window (feeling like I was on display!), the heat was coming up from the baseboards and I felt like I was having an enormous hot flash. Well, I get enough hot flashes without creating them while I quilt, so my husband and I moved my sewing table to the corner AWAY from the sunny window and FAR AWAY from the baseboards. So now maybe I won't overheat while I'm quilting and I'll spend more time in my sewing room! Here is my table, back where it started.



I have been working on something...my challenge for the MQX show in April. I can't show you all of it here, but I will show you the stashbusting part! I made this bias strip years ago for a round robin. I had about 6 feet left, so rather than make new bias strip, I pulled this out and busted it from my stash! That's got to be what, an eighth of a yard busted?? :o) Now to make some flowers and leaves to applique on!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quilts and Scones...

Last night I finished a beautiful customer quilt. This was made by the friend of mine who came to visit me in August. She does beautiful work, I've shown her quilts before in my blog. This is her latest masterpiece!



I quilted freehand feathers all over...it was such fun!


And this afternoon, I whipped up a batch of cinnamon scones using my new mini scone pan which I bought with my gift card to Sur La Table. They turned out good, but would probably be much better if I added some cinnamon chips to them. I'll have to check the grocery store and see if I can get them. If not, they sell them in the King Arthur Flour Baker's Catalog.


My next project is working on the borders for my Challenge Quilt for MQX. They will be appliqued...once I design them! I don't think I'll work as quickly as Ann did on her borders though...nor will they look as beautiful!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nancy, watch the mail!


These blocks will be heading to Nancy on Tuesday, in honor of her birthday. Once I clear up a few commitments, I'll be making more blocks to send for the Heartstrings project. These blocks are such fun to make!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Delilah Block

And here is my Delilah block for my Women of the Bible Quilt, completed. Paperpiecing all those little triangles was tedious, but I love how the block turned out!

HeartStrings Blocks


Happy Birthday Nancy! Here are two blocks to celebrate your birthday. Let me know where to send these.

I'm thinking these blocks can be very addicting...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday Evening

and life is good! The Philadelphia Eagles just beat the New York Giants and will move on in the playoffs. My DH was at the game, I'm sure he's soaked, but I know he's happy!

This afternoon I loaded the first customer quilt of the year onto my longarm. Then I headed into my sewing room and worked on the blue and muslin 9 patch quilt I've been creating. It's very simple, just nine patches with sashing and cornerstones.



Then I began paper piecing the next block for my Women of the Bible Quilt. This is the center of it...the star is 3 inches across. It will have lots of little half square triangles around the edges. I love how it's turning out.





I've also taken Nancy up on her birthday wish and I've joined the Heartstrings group and will be making some string pieced blocks for Nancy's birthday. For the past few years I've quilted for Rosie's Calico Cupboard's Camp Reach for the Sky for children with cancer. I've quilted my last quilt for them and was looking for a new way to contribute. I've decided that Mary's Heartstrings group will be my charity project for this year. Thanks Mary for getting this started!

Friday, January 05, 2007

UFO's


I've been thinking a lot about UFO's. I said a few weeks ago that I don't really have any UFO's. I do have a few tops that need to be quilted, some blocks that need to be pieced into quilts, some fabrics for quilts that are planned. But...I've never considered these UFO's. For me, if it's labeled a UFO, then it's NEVER going to get finished! My one true UFO is no longer a UFO...it was repurposed and became several tablerunners and what's left will be a tabletopper.

So what do I call these projects that are just not done but are waiting for the next step? They are my Projects That Aren't Quite Finished. Most are just "seasoning", taking a well deserved break while they wait for their turn to become Projects That are Nearly Finished. Then they will continue on (after more seasoning, I'm sure!) to become Projects That Really Are Finished. I've started a list of these projects over on my sidebar, now that it's so easy to do it in blogger!

In the meantime, one of my Projects That Really Are Finished has gone to a new home. This quilt which I made over the summer languished on top of my sewing closet, waiting for a home. I just couldn't decide what to do with it, but was sure it was meant for someone special. Last week, my DH mentioned that a friend who he visits often and felt very close to had just been diagnosed with cancer. She had her first chemo treatment yesterday and from what I've been told, when you have chemo you tend to get very cold. As soon as he told me, I said, "That's where the quilt has to go!" and we boxed it up and shipped it. Yesterday she received it and called him. She was so appreciative! I'm thinking it would be good to have a few quilts on hand which have no purpose, yet would be appreciated in difficult times. Quilts that are ready to go at a moment's notice. So this is what I would like to work on this year as my stashbusting project.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

First Finish


On January 1st I had my first finish for the new year, it just took me a few days to post it! This quilt has been in the works for about 4 years...an awfully long time for such a simple quilt! Once I finally had quilted it, I couldn't decide what to do about the binding. I didn't have any of the red left, didn't want to use white to bind it, so finally settled on the navy blue. I love how it turned out. I'm not sure where it will wind up but I may send it through Quilts of Valor.

Other than that, it's just good to be back to normal here! The decorations have all been packed for the year, we're all back to school (although almost everyone in the house is sick!) and we're eager to see what the new year brings. For me, I'm hoping it will bring lots of time for quilting, knitting, reading and all the things I enjoy. I have 2 or 3 quilts which I'm considering entering into the Machine Quilter's Exposition (MQX)show up in Manchester, NH...I have until March 1st to enter them, if I can get up the nerve! Of course, only one top is made and needs to be quilted, one small one is almost a finished top and the Whitework quilt I'd like to do is still living in my mind! If I'm going to be brave and enter them, I should get to work, I guess! :o)

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