Archive for August, 2008

I’ve been invited to a party – do you want to come along?

Suzanne‘s throwing a party with food, beverages, and prizes to celebrate her 600th post. I’m bringing wine!

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I was nervous but it was fun

I’m not sure how those of you who give presentations to guilds do it. I gave a presentation to a local guild, the Quilting Queens this evening – my first ever and they were SO nice to me. I spoke a little about my quilting and about HeartStrings and took a lot of quilts with me both mine and many of the HeartStrings tops I’ve been finishing up this last few weeks.

I was completely surprised when they each held up HeartStrings blocks they’d made and presented them to me – I had to come home, lay them out quickly and snap a photo to share.
Isn’t this the cutest fabric? They used this heart print for their centers and Cynthia gave me the rest of the fabric to use in finishing the quilt.

Cynthia, who contacted me about speaking was wonderful and made me feel very comfortable. As I watched their meeting, I was really impressed with how organized they are and how much education they do. I saw some feather star blocks from a class, a beautiful mystery quilt, a quilted bag, and several other really pretty quilts during their show and tell.

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RWB Rails

I did manage to get the RWB wonky rails trimmed and bound yesterday. I stitch all my bindings down by hand after machine stitching them to the front of the quilt and this one went pretty quick last night while I was watching more of the Olympics. This quilt will head to CO as part of Alycia‘s 400 Quilts of Valor for 2009 project.

You can find instructions for this quilt at my site.

For some reason, the horizontal lines are more prominent in the photo above but in person…you see both the vertical and horizontal lines equally like in this photo below.

Just one more small quilt to be bound so I’ll have to get some more quilted. I was going to load my string heart top today that will be donated to someone battling Leukemia via Clare’s Quilts for Leukemia program but I want to take it with me today when I speak to the Quilting Queens’ guild in Roseville so I’ll load it tomorrow.

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Yesterday was a productive day!

In addition to quilting the Wonky RWB Rails that I showed yesterday, I finished the binding on two quilts and got another two quilts washed, dried and ready for donation. This first top was pieced by Deb in AZ and sent to me to quilt and donate.

This HeartStrings top was pieced by Barbara in FL.

I took Chesty to get his stitches out this morning and he’s doing pretty good. Still trying to bite/lick the incision so he’s been in the e-collar whenever he’s not sitting with me. I’m hoping that having the stitches out will decrease the itching and he’ll leave it alone.

I have to gather up some quilts to take for a talk I’m giving at a local guild tomorrow so I probably won’t get much work done today – if I have time, I’ll put the binding on the Wonky RWB Rails. I’ve finished the binding on 4 out 5 quilts I had waiting and there’s still a lot more to Olympics to watch.

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Weight-loss Wednesday – Week 2

  • Gain of 0.6 lbs = total weight loss of 6 lbs
  • Met exercise goal for the week
  • Met water goal of 64 oz on 6 out of 7 days.

I think some of last week’s loss was just water weight so although I have a gain of 0.6 pounds this week – I’m happy with a total loss of 6 pounds for two weeks.

How did YOU do this week?

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Top #7 of 10 quilted

I decided my Wonky Rails needed a wonky grid so I quilted the first pass and ran upstairs to even my sides up to reload the quilt…and promptly started trimming like I was getting ready to bind.
Since I needed an edge to attach to the leaders, I decided to try using safety pins – and it worked. I also shorted myself on the side there – couldn’t clamp it so I had to hold it with my hand as I started each pass.

This is why I wasn’t paying attention. I have a wallhanging to quilt for my younger sister that needs a background fill. Deb does this one so well that I asked her to draw out how she quilts it and used the leftover backing from the above quilt to see if I could quilt it. I have a few little issues with spacing but I think with a matching thread and a little more practice, I can probably manage to quilt this.
I did manage to reload and finish quilting the Wonky Rails – here’s a front view of my uneven grid…
and a back view. Only 3 more tops to meet my goal of 10 quilted before the end of August.

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A social event

I’ve been cleaning and preparing all weekend to have the sales managers from Keith’s company here tonight – 12 people in all but luckily just a couple hours for drinks and appetizers. We ended up going out to dinner with all of  them and then to another bar for drinks after dinner with 5 of them. That’s quite social for me but I had a good time.

We did catch a bit of the Olympic swimming in the bar but I didn’t get any quilting done today. Back to work tomorrow!

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Are you watching?

Keith was out running some errands this morning and brought back some additional items for my decor – don’t the flags put you in the mood to watch the Olympics and cheer for the Americans! (or YOUR national team?)

I’ve got the 3rd quilt out and am working on the binding but I don’t think I’ll get this one done to show you in the morning – we’ll see.

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Here’s last night’s finish

Another HeartStrings quilt pieced by Sue Frank’s mother from blocks donated by other HeartStrings members finished last night during the Olympics. Swimming is one of my favorite events to watch, men’s gymnastics not so much but all of it made for good stitching!

I’m not getting any quilting done the last couple days but I’ve picked out the last 4 tops I need to quilt. Three of them are ready to be loaded at any time, backing pieced and even batting for one of them and the 4th I have to put borders on and piece the backing – it’s one of Mom’s tops – aren’t I nice?

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Sunday’s Progress Report

I made good progress on my goal to quilt 10 tops by the end of August. Six have been completed – three of them this week AND I’ve got two of five waiting for binding done too.

I pulled binding for 3 of the quilts from stash and pieced a backing for one of the tops that will be quilted this coming week. I even carted the bin with batting leftovers up to the sewing room and pieced a batting for another small top that will be quilted this week. So a little fabric being used but only 1 yard added to the official count since I only count fabric once the quilt is finished.

I did fall off the wagon this weekend. Suzanne Earley opened her new store and online shop and I found some fabric there that I needed. Some background beige/tans and a couple border fabrics.

You can checkout Suzanne’s fabric and yarn online shop here: Knots and Bolts

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HeartStrings Blog Ring

At the request of several members, I created a blog ring for HeartStrings. Anyone participating in the project that is interested in joining can follow the link below to sign up.

*HeartStrings Blog Ring

*The HeartStrings logo was created by Forest Jane

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This small HeartStrings quilt was pieced by quilters at St. Mary’s in CT and the binding was finished last night while I watched the Opening Ceremonies.

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July’s questions

I thought these were interesting and I hope others will post their answers in addition to emailing them to Judy.

1. Why do you quilt?

It feeds my creative self, it allows me to help those in need, it gives a purpose to my days now that I’m not working.

2. How long have you been quilting?

8 years exactly – I hand pieced my first quilt in August 2008. (Didn’t own a sewing machine and had never used one)

3. What made you start quilting?

I’d seen a quilt using photographs and wanted my Mom to work with me on a family memory quilt – she refused to make the quilt so I had to learn. Still haven’t made that quilt using photographs yet.

4. What sewing machine do you use mostly for piecing?

Elna’s Quilter’s Dream

5. What machine do you use mostly for quilting?

Gammill Premier Plus

6. If you could have any sewing machine you want — money isn’t an issue — just get anything you want . . what would you get?

I’ve been very happy with both the Gammill longarms I’ve had (had to downsize for my move to MN) but if I bought another one – I’d buy an A-1.

7. When you buy a sewing machine, how long do you expect you’ll keep it? Til a newer and bigger and better model comes out? Til the old one refuses to make another stitch?

I’ve had my Elna for 6+ years and don’t really have an urge to trade it; wouldn’t have traded my Gammill Classic Plus if I didn’t have to downsize so I guess I’m somewhere in between. I have good machines so I don’t feel the need for new ones but I doubt I’ll wait until they wear out to replace them.

8. On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you love your stash? (10 means you LOVE it! 1 means you’d get rid of it all today if you could!)

I’d say 8 – I still have a lot of fabric I bought in the first 2 years of quilting that is OK but not great.

9. Why do you have the stash? How did it come about? Why is it the size that it is?

It’s pretty large – I like being able to pull everything I need for a quilt from my stash.

10. When we talk about “stashbusting”, what are your thoughts? Use every crumb of the stash? Use as much stash as you add? Shop the stash first but don’t feel bad if you have to go buy additional fabric for a project? Don’t mind buying for a project but not buying just for the purpose of having the fabric . . with no project in mind?

My goal for stashbusting has changed over the last couple years. Initially I didn’t want to buy any fabric and I used a fair amount of stash but now my goal is still to use my stash but I’ll buy fabric if it really appeals to me and to replenish colors I’m running low on.

Bottom line – I buy less these days but I make sure I have the fabric I need to create the quilts I want to make.

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Conflicting goals

I realized yesterday after finishing the quilting on #6 of 10 that the reason I’m not hitting my goal to walk or bike 30-1 hour 5 days a week or more is that I’m CHOSING to spend my time in my quilting or sewing rooms. With Chesty recovering from surgery, he can only be out of the crate when I’m sitting right by him so that consumes blocks of time too.

I’m going to decrease my walking/biking goal rather than my quilting goals. I’ll aim for getting out 4 times a week – the week starts on Wednesday and I’ve done one walk. When Keith gets home from work this afternoon, I’m going to talk him into walking around downtown for a couple hours. I feel the need to get out and about and I’ll get a walk in.

The Olympic Opening Ceremonies are tonight so I’m going to gather my binding supplies. Get ready to start seeing finished quilt photos on the balcony!

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# 6 is quilted

Thanks to Sheree from HeartStrings handing me a bag full of backings already pieced, and Barbara in FL sending the binding already made along with this donated top, this one was loaded, quilted, and the binding has been sewn on and is in the pile to be handstiched down during the Olympics.

I used the same pantograph – Feather Me – that I used in top #4. I like it, it was already on the table and lined up, and it saved me a bit of time especially since it’s a quick one to quilt.

By the way, did you notice the tub of batting in the first photo? I lugged it upstairs so I can zig zag some of the pieces together – can’t let all that go to waste even though I’m not fond of piecing batting.

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Is it possible to catch up?

Inspired by a question JudyL asked, I decide to tally up the projects in progress and those tops waiting for me to quilt them.

12 HeartStrings tops still waiting for quilting ( I thought I had 6-8 before I counted)
2 of Mom’s tops – one I need to add borders to
2 pillow shams and a top from my Aunt that need quilting
1 wallhanging from my sister to quilt
numerous tops of my own to quilt (I won’t drag these all out to count but let’s just say it’s more than 10)

4 bindings to stitch down

3 piecing projects to finish up

AND a couple of postcards needing backings and the edges finished.

Top #6 of 10 is on the longarm and about 1/2 way quilted. Maybe if I repeat this goal of  quilting 10 a month for the rest of the year I’d catch up but since I’m not ready to commit to that, I’ll just plan on setting a goal of another 10 in September.

Speaking of catching up – this is why I don’t purge all the blog posts waiting to be read. I would have missed these string quilts by Rhonda. And this post of Morah’s that reminded me I’ve wanted to try locker hooking ever since I saw this rug VickiW made. Ok, given the list at the top of the post, maybe NOT seeing Morah’s post would have been a good thing since I wasn’t able to resist ordering supplies to make my own rug.

Chesty’s break from the crate is over and I’m heading downstairs to get back to work.

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Are YOU ready for the Olympics?

Keith and I typically watch a lot of the Olympics and I want to make sure I’m still being productive so I spent time today in the upstairs sewing room trimming and binding quilts. As of now, I have 4 quilts ready to be hand stitched down.

Don’t you love this pink stripe? I really need to head back over to the Real Women Quilt website and see if Pam has any more of it. By the way, don’t bother to write and tell me I should have made bias binding with these stripes….I’m trying to get caught up so while the thought briefly crossed my mind – I didn’t want to spare the time to find instructions and figure it out.

I was sure Deb in AZ had sent some of the yellow fabric for binding but no matter how hard I looked, I could not find it…maybe I’m confused and am thinking about a different quilt. Anyway, I pulled out another stripe.

I think this will work just fine.
And here’s my stack of 4 all ready for stitching – tomorrow I need to print more HeartStrings labels so I can stitch them on as I’m finishing the bindings.

On tomorrow’s agenda is loading and starting to quilt top #6 of 10.

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Weight-loss Wednesday

So how did I do week one?

  • 6.6 lbs lost
  • drank 64 oz of water 5 of 7 days, the other two days just managed 32 oz.
  • Walked 3 of 7 days.

First,with my weight loss this week you’d think I probably had to starve myself but I think it’s due mainly to two things – drinking water and actually eating more but having a concentration on more fruits and vegetables. One of my biggest problems with my managing my weight is that I tend to skip a LOT of meals which slows my metabolism way down.

While I did pretty well drinking my water, I need to make sure I get the 64 oz in every day and that means starting to drink earlier in the day.

My goal for exercise was to walk or bike 5 of 7 days and I fell short on this one. I’ll blame Chesty’s surgery and try to do better.

So how did you do Juliann .Pam, and anyone else playing along?

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#5 is done

This is a HeartStrings top pieced by the St. Mary’s quilters in CT and it will go back to them for binding. I’m not completely happy with my decision to freehand quilt leaves over this quilt – it was very difficult to see my quilting and therefore I fretted the entire time over my spacing. Also, it would have been better if I’d stitched the border separately but it’s done and it’s not too bad.

Of course, the backing would show every little detail of the quilting but luckily my spacing wasn’t as bad as I feared.

I’m halfway to my goal of 10 quilts by the end of August but don’t be too impressed – most of them aren’t that large and they’re getting either freehand overalls or pantographs but it sure feels good to be getting these done.

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Range of Motion Exercises

This dog will let you do anything! Here are our morning Range of Motion exercises – flex and extend, flex and extend.

On today’s agenda, trim 3 quilts and get them ready for binding, load top #5 of 10 on the longarm and if time allows I’ll either bind or quilt some later.

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