Monthly Archives: June 2007

Time for a break – I’m going for a walk!

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on Time for a break – I’m going for a walk!

I’m finished the 3rd HeartStrings Chinese Coins top. Are you tired of seeing these quilts yet? I’ve got several more to make so I’m still playing around with different variations. I’ll be adding the cutting directions to the site in a day or two and I think this one would look great in brights like my EQ drawing.

Since you can’t see my purple inner border fabric very well in the above photo – I’m adding a close-up here. Those of you playing along with Judy’s Use the Stash Challenge may remember my plan for June was to work on these tops. The coins were donated by HeartStrings members and I’ve been pulling borders and sashing from stash. This purple however was a 1/2 price purchase yesterday.

The borders and sashing for the first two coins quilts (here) and (here) were from fabric in my stash and HeartStrings members are making and sending backings. Between piecing the tops and quilting them I don’t have time to piece multi-fabric backs for them so I appreciate the help!

HeartStrings Chinese Coins #3

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Keith is out for a run and then will be leaving for the airport when he gets back and showered – this time a quick trip to Denmark coming back on Tuesday – so I’m checking email and planning my quilting for the day.

I’ve got another set of Chinese Coins up on the design wall and here’s the EQ6 drawing of the quilt. The coins I’m using are not all the same width like the ones in this drawing and they’re not as bright either but you get the picture and just like the 2nd Coins quilt, this one would look great in brights.

I also want to get the quick strippie quilt cut out from these fabrics today.

A new strippie

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Keith and I ran by the quilt shop just before heading out to lunch and I saw this really cute lizard print. It’s been a while since I made one of these quick donation quilts and its been on my mind since posting an instruction sheet on I bought one yard of the print and the gold and blue are from stash – I’ll back it in stash fabric too.

For those interested in the cutting directions for the Dragonflies quilt – I posted that instruction sheet on too.


Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on Family

Someone mentioned that Debbie and I look alike. There’s always been a strong McLaughlin family resemblance between the 6 of us but I think that she looks more like my Dad’s side of the family and I look more like Mom.

This picture was taken in October at Chris’ wedding and the youngest and oldest are standing on either end. I won’t tell you who’s the oldest in the family but I think it’s pretty obvious from this picture since Maureen looks like she’s 12!

If Pat and Kevin switched places in the back – we’d be standing in age order which puts me smack in the middle of the pack or what I like to refer to as the oldest of the youngest girls!

You may have also noticed that I call her Debbie and she calls herself Deb – old habits are hard to break – luckily she doesn’t seem to mind.

A slow day

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I didn’t work much today – spent a bit of time on the computer and just before Keith got home this evening I pulled out the HeartStrings quilt to bind. I save all my leftover binding bits just for quilts like this one. Unfortunately, I add more to the bin than I take out.

Keith leaves again on Saturday so I’ll take the day off tomorrow to spend with him and be back at work in the studio Saturday morning. We’re going to Ft. Lauderdale Thursday – Sunday of next week to visit family. My niece is heading off to college and my sister-in-law is having a big party for her. Chris is going to drive down too so we’ll get to see him but unfortunately Adam has to work.

Thanks to everyone who went to Debbie’s site to welcome her to blogland.

My sister has a blog!

Published / by Mary / 1 Comment on My sister has a blog!

I’ve been trying to convince my sister Debbie to start a blog. She’s a longarm quilter and we just recently went to MQS together where she won an Honorable Mention ribbon for the quilt she entered.

While we were there we met Judy – who also told Debbie she should start a blog and she must have been more convincing than I was because Debbie just created her blog Rags N Quilts.

I’ve also added a link to my sidebar so please visit her and welcome her to blogland!

HeartStrings Chinese Coins

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on HeartStrings Chinese Coins

Here’s the 2nd HeartString top from donated Chinese Coins sent in by group members. From computer to finished top in less than 2 days (while working on other projects too) is pretty quick but it helps when the coins are already sewn. The first top can be seen on the HeartStrings blog.

These coins were made by Teresa and given to me at our April HeartStrings Sew-in. Although I got lots of sections from other group members, Teresa’s were perfect for this quilt because she used the same width strips and all her sections were 12 inches. I trimmed them down to 3.5 inches and the leftover 2 inch sections were used for the border. I have plenty of her coins leftover so I’m going to make a version of the red coins quilt too.

Found it

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I went looking for the coins quilt with red sashing and found it in a folder of old computer files. The file is dated 2003 and if I remember correctly it was an antique quilt for sale on eBay.

I have the center of mine together and as I was sewing the sashing on I remembered why I usually avoid sashed quilts – especially sashed quilts without cornerstones but I chalked my lines and I think everything is lined up really well – I must be getting better at it because this is the 3rd one I’ve done in the last year without problems. As you can see from one of my inspiration quilts – the maker was *sashing challenged*. I also found the webshots link to the other quilt – this is the photo I’d saved on my computer at some point and used to design my quilt in EQ6.

I really wish I’d bought this quilt back then. It really appealed to me flaws and all and the memory of it has been in my head for 4 years.

New Pantographs

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on New Pantographs

Usually I finish a quilt and bind it immediately but I was in the mood to quilt so yesterday I loaded and started a second HeartStrings top which I just finished. Both quilts were quilted with new pantographs and since neither one is bound – I’m just showing these photos of the quilting.

The Rectangle Strings was quilted with a pantograph called Feather Me by Mereth. I picked it up at the Golden Threads booth at MQS. The longer circular sections gave me a bit of a challenge as my new machine just does not move all that smoothly but I love the looks of the quilting on this quilt and the wobbles aren’t too noticeable on this busy top.
I had a chance to talk with Gammill at MQS and it was suggested I check my track and try to run the machine in manual mode to see if it made a difference. Well it does run much smoother but there’s a reason I bought a stitch regulated machine! I’m going to give them a call and see if there’s anything I can do to improve how it moves.

The Blue HeartStrings quilt was pieced at the MN area sew-in the end of April and was quilted with a pantograph by Lorien Quilting from Willow Leaf Studios called Happy Times. What a quick easy pantograph and it looks great – I’ll be using this one again too.

More Coins

Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on More Coins

I finished up my list from Sunday and I’m partially through quilting the Rectangle String quilt.

I decided to load another HeartStrings quilt first and I finished quilting that one this afternoon but I haven’t taken a photo yet. I was in too much of a hurry to make a backing and load the 2nd quilt of the day. I usually procrastinate loading quilts and it’s unheard of for me to load 2 in one day – I’m very proud of myself!

I also started playing with the layout of the 2nd Chinese Coins quilt from the sections donated by HeartStrings quilters. I thought I had enough of my favorite black fabric to do this but am having to settle for a grayish black in the interest of using my stash whenever possible. The sections sent in were 5.5 inches so I’m cutting these in two – one section is 3.5 inches and the leftover section which is 2 inches will be used for the pieced border. The coins in the drawing are brighter than the ones I’m using too – I might just have to make this quilt again in the future with black and brights.

I saw a photo of a similar quilt somewhere on the web but don’t know where. I first saw this type of layout in an antique quilt – maybe in Gwen Marston’s book Liberated Strings – that quilt used a red sashing.

I really like the look of the shorter coin sections and with enough coins for 6 or more quilts I want to use different patterns. Feel free to send me links to your favorite Chinese Coins quilts.

I also uploaded two instruction sheets today to the webite – the Off Center 4 Patch backing as requested and the instructions for the easy Chinese Coins version used for this quilt and this one.

Progress report

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I had 5 bullet points on my list for today and I’ve checked off 3 of them and am getting ready to sit down with the 4th and work on a binding while I watch a little TV.

The first item was finishing this top Mom and I had started at her house in May – the borders are on and the binding is already cut and sewn.

Second, I pieced this top from donated Chinese Coins sections for the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

Third, I trimmed my aunt’s quilt, made her binding, and machine stitched it on for her – it’s ready to ship back to NC now.

I doubt whether I’ll feel like loading a quilt tonight but I’m please with my progress.

Back to work

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After being gone this past week I’m eager to get back to work. Keith left early this morning for Salt Lake City and LA and won’t be home until Thursday so I’ve got some uninterrupted time for quilting.

Here’s my to do list and I’m going to see how far I get today. Most of the day will focus on working on HeartStrings quilts.

  1. Cut and sew borders for 16 patch and pinwheels
  2. Trim Aunt Dot’s quilt; make and machine stitch binding
  3. Layout 1st Chinese Coins quilt from HeartStrings project; pick and cut border; assemble top
  4. Make backing; load HeartStrings Rectangle Strings quilt on longarm
  5. Stitch binding down on a donated HeartStrings top that I quilted last month.

An interesting post

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on An interesting post

Nancy had a very interesting post on her blog about letting go of all the *rules* and just having fun with her quilting. I posted a comment over there about my perspective but thought I’d post here too because I think it’s something that many of us deal with.

This might not surprise those of you who read my blog but what motivates me and makes me happy in my quilting is being productive and making and donating quilts. (That’s not to say that being a quilt factory and blindly mass producing quilts is what my quilting is about.)

I don’t have *rules* for myself but I do have* goals* and it sounds like I just use a different word for the same things Nancy talks about – curbing my fabric buying, using the stash I’ve already accumulated, finishing UFO’s, and making a number of donation quilts.

I set goals for myself and then work toward them – if I don’t accomplish everything I set out to do then I focus on how far I did get toward my *goal* rather than beating myself up over breaking a *rule*.

So Nancy’s *rules* make her unhappy but my *goals* make me feel productive and happy. Since as Nancy said so well quilting is something we do for fun, I think she made the right decision for her quilting.

As for me – I’ll continue to set my goals and work toward them.


Published / by Mary / 12 Comments on MQS

I’m back from the quilt show and wanted to post a quick note. I met my sister Debbie in Kansas on Tuesday and we spent the next 3 days catching up with each other, viewing quilts, and shopping the vendor mall at the show.

This was the first visit to the show for both of us and the first time Debbie had entered a quilt at MQS. She won a Honorable Mention ribbon for her wall quilt Some Like it Hot – Frog Legs Cajun Style. Unfortunately you can’t see Debbie’s amazing quilting in this photo but you can go to her webshots album and see some close-ups.

I also had a chance to meet Judy in person for the first time – we chatted a while and took her over to see Debbie’s quilt.