Archive for March, 2009


I did manage to get a little work done tonight while I was playing with the new machine but no photos.

I started out making some QAYG blocks – what better way to get used to a new machine than with forgiving blocks like these string ones. I’ve got 33 made – I just do a couple here and there before starting to work on whatever my current project is.

Speaking of my current project – I’ve got a white/black/green version of my Boxed Squares in progress. I used the Go Cutter to cut a bunch of 2.5 inch strips – so quick and easy! I’m not sure I’m thrilled about the colors but I’m going to continue on.

I pieced binding leftovers together and sewed it onto the 2nd of 3 quilts done so far this month. I like the start and stop button on the new machine for piecing but I found it easier to use the foot pedal for binding.

Tomorrow I need to get another top loaded and start the quilting.

Deb’s a bad influence

I took my Elna to get serviced today and came home with a new machine. It’s all Deb’s fault. If she hadn’t just bought a new machine when hers crashed I would have never thought about it. It was even on sale!

I haven’t owned a Brother before but Deb and Mom have had good luck with them so that’s what I got. It’s got a knee lift, a thread cutter, and it has an extension table….I can get an insert made so it will fit my sewing table but it sits down with just a little gap in the back so I’ll see how this works for now.

They’re going to fix the Elna too….I’d feel bad about having 4 machines (counting the Gammill) but I know many of you have even more than that!

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Baptist Fans — freehand by machine

I’ve had lots of questions about the fans including one from Elaine that had specific questions so I’m going to answer it here for everyone.

First, my inspiration for quilting freehand fans comes from two places. I’ve always LOVED Tanya‘s hand quilted fans but as you know, I don’t do much hand quilting. One day, Helen shared some fan quilting she’d done based on a DVD by Patsy Thompson. I HIGHLY recommend this DVD and even bought one for my Mom for her birthday in December. Patsy quilts on a domestic machine but just like Dawn’s Pajama Quilter DVD that I also love, it doesn’t matter which machine you quilt on — these will work for either.

Patsy has a free handout on her site — but again — I highly recommend you consider buying her DVD. She shows a lot of variations but my favorite and the one I used on this last quilt is the first one shown on the handout.

So, now the answers to Elaine’s questions.

Do they always flow from the same direction?

  • No they don’t! In this quilt, I did them in rows but each row goes in a different direction — I worked my way across the quilt in one direction, and back to the other side. If I’d wanted them to go in one direction, I would have started all my rows from the same side.
  • I’ve also quilted them so that they’re completely random and just filled the space like on Patsy’s handout.
How many ‘swings’ or ‘arcs’ do you usually do? Are they always an odd number?

  • I tend to use 3 “blades”. When I’m quilting in a row like on this quilt — an even number is needed to keep you in a row – in this case mostly 6 swings (2 per blade). When I’m quilting randomly, I’ll use however many I need to fill the space — using an odd number will take you off in a different direction.
  • The more arcs you use, the harder it is to keep them smooth so consider that when you’re first trying this out.
Any right or wrong as to how far apart?

  • Personal preference maybe?? I made mine pleasing to the eye and had to measure this quilt to answer your question. I found that the marjority are 1 inch apart but they do vary from 0.75 inches to as big as 1.25 inches but again most are 1 inch.
Do you use any guidelines for your free-form?

  • Nope, absolutely NONE. This is a great pattern for a string quilt or other free pieced type of project where the randomness or wonkiness of the quilting *goes* with the randomness of the piecing.
Could you show a really close up? See the photos below
Where do you backtrack or ??

  • Backtracking is along the edge of the arc of the next fan. I come about 1/4 of an inch or closer but don’t try to backtrack on the line. You can see that really well in Patsy’s handout linked above and the photo below.

All the photos should enlarge when you click on them.
This set of arcs seems to be particularly wonky – notice the narrower and wider areas in the same arc.
In this quilt I worked my way from left to right and then then next row was worked from right to left. I didn’t really plan that beforehand but was trying to minimize how much I had to roll the quilt back and forth on the longarm. I was able to quilt two rows of fans before having to roll.

Any questions? If so, please make sure you include your email address if you want an answer!

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My baby’s 24

Happy Birthday Adam!

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Is there anything more fun than a local parade?

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Waiting for Keith

The parade begins in an hour — my Kindle and a green beer are
entertaining me in the meantime.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Do you guys have any fun plans for the day? Minneapolis has a St. Patrick’s Day parade so I’m going to meet Keith downtown around 6PM. Since I have to go to the post office too, I’m going to take my book and head down a little early.

What I won’t be doing this afternoon is sewing — my Elna froze up last night and won’t sew a stitch for me. I’ve got to see if I can find a dealer here and see if it can be fixed and how much it will cost me. The machine is 7+ years old and I’ve never had any problems with it before. I do have a back up machine – the Janome Gem I bought last year as my carry around machine so at least I won’t be without one.

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#3 of 10 quilted

This top was constructed by two male students in a clothing class — it’s not the most precisely constructed quilt and had some challenges but I just love that they chose to make a HeartStrings quilt for their project. It will bring color and warmth into someone’s life when it’s finished and donated.

I quilted freeform Baptist Fans (NO pantograph, template, or marking — all freehand); these are really fun and with their random and uneven arcs really suit a string quilt like this.

Getting a late start

I’m slow starting today but I’m doing well on my *to do* list this month.

  • Finish gathering my tax info and get it to the accountant by March 16.
  • Quilt 10 tops
      1. San’s QOV # 2 quilted
      2. Carmen’s Zig Zag coins
  • Piece backings — at least 2 — 4 done
  • Assemble the brown/red/pink Happy Blocks into a top
  • Make more QAYG blocks for our HeartStrings Project for Australia — ONGOING
  • Start the 3rd set of Log Cabin String blocks
  • Start blocks for a half log cabin (this one may be for Adam if he likes it)
  • Finish and mail March postcard and 2 thank you postcards
  • Get the stack of finished quilts washed – IN PROGRESS – 2 done
  • Catch up on my Here There Everywhere Journal class — IN PROGRESS — I have a lot I want to include…this will be ongoing.

I’ve got a quilt in the wash and am signing off now to load and quilt another top. Luckily Keith has a business dinner tonight so in a few hours I should be down with top #3. Have a great evening.

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What a great day!

We started with a visit to Loring Park — we drove so Chesty could come with us.

We spent a little time at the dog park.
Came home — I lost at Scrabble unfortunately but then we spent a little time out on the deck.

Keith grilled kabobs while I cooked some jasmine rice. Just perfect!
Time to eat!

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Almost done with tax prep

I’ve been sitting in Dunn Brothers drinking coffee and finishing up my tax stuff for the last 3 hours and all that’s left is tracking down a couple documents and making copies. I’ll be so glad to send this with Keith Monday morning for him to drop at the accountant’s on his way to work!

No sewing for me today but I did get two postcards in the mail today. This one for Mom for St. Patrick’s Day — she made a bunch to send out and I’m not sure how she knew this was my favorite!!

I also received Deb’s postcard from the MQR exchange. She always uses interesting fibers in her cards.

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I usually plan for things NOT to turn out just right … and in this case I had a backup. This is the reject — Ann jinxed me, I just told her to *press not iron* these little crystals and then I went and messed up my first card.

But 2nd time’s the charm …both of them are in the mail as we speak — I wonder where they’ll end up?
See this tiny insignificant speck … the moon was shining so bright through my kitchen window tonight that I had to go out and try to get a photo but the camera wouldn’t capture what I was seeing, how disappointing.

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More mail!

For those of you interested in the Zig Zag coins – an tutorial was created by Becky for HeartStrings – she made several of them and they were just too cute! Full photos of the quilts I’m working on are always posted AFTER the binding is done – so you’ll have to wait a bit to see Carmen’s quilt.

I get the best mail! This Twisted Kitty top was sent to me from Deborah to finish and donate as a part of our HeartStrings Happy Block project. Instructions for the twisted Happy Blocks are on my site.

I’m working on my Journal project too but I’ve got so much I want to include, I’m sure I won’t catch up with the rest of the class and I’ll be working on this one for a while. Here’s the latest page — I’m still on the Landmarks section of Minneapolis. I’m not sure if parks are technically landmarks — but I’m including all our favorite spots.

I’m happier with some of these pages than others but for now I’m trying to get them made and will go back and work on some of the ones I’m not so happy with later.

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#2 of 10

A zig zag Chinese Coins pieced by Carmen for Heartstrings and quilted
with Wandering Daisies.

Not quilting…but still progress

I finished and mailed a couple postcards yesterday – this was one of them. I got the idea for these from the Quilting Arts book — there was a chapter on tile quilts and I thought I could shrink it down to postcard size.

The plan today was to quilt — I have a small top loaded already but I think I’ve got a little GI bug so I decided I’d work upstairs where I could sit. I got the Happy blocks assembled into this top, made 4 backings, and pieced a few QAYG blocks for HeartStrings March/April project. Now, I’m going to allow myself to read in front of the fire for a while.

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# 1 of 10 quilted

It’s snowing today and I want to go out and play but I’m being a good girl and working my way through my to do list.

#1 of 10 tops is quilted. This one is from San (Gypsy Quilter) and is intended for Alycia’s QOV project. I have one more to quilt and then I’ll have 3 to send her before her deadline at the end of April.
It’s a busy string quilt so I picked up the stars in the border and and just did an easy allover pattern of stars and loops. You’ll see a photo of the entire quilt once it’s bound.

I used my Chicago mug for my tea this morning. I collect mugs from places I visit and then the memories of my trips stay with me each day as I choose a mug to use. I bought this one because it has the Hancock building and the Ferris Wheel as well as a view of the skyline we saw from the Planetarium.
I’m also making progress on washing finished quilts, there are two done and now I’ll load the next top for quilting.

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Here There Everywhere

I’m catching up on the prompts for the new class — I’m 2 weeks behind so I decided to go for simple. The first part of the class focuses on HERE — my neighborhood, the places nearby that we frequent, and local attractions.

Today I got the neighborhood pages done. Quilty Bird asked if I print these pages out and the answer is some of them but I haven’t really hit upon the best method for displaying them yet. Ideally, I’m looking for a 5×7 photo album so I can keep adding to them but the Christmas Album I had printed at Kodak and I wasn’t crazy about how that turned out.

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Time for a list

This one will cross into April since I’m not looking to make myself completely crazy. I’m at home from now until we leave for Dublin so my goal is to have the following done by April 9th.

  • Finish gathering my tax info and get it to the accountant by March 16.
  • Quilt 10 tops
  • Piece backings — at least 2
  • Assemble the brown/red/pink Happy Blocks into a top
  • Make more QAYG blocks for our HeartStrings Project for Australia
  • Start the 3rd set of Log Cabin String blocks
  • Start blocks for a half log cabin (this one may be for Adam if he likes it)
  • Make my March postcard for our family exchange
  • Get the stack of finished quilts washed!
  • Catch up on my Here There Everywhere Journal class — I’m now 2 weeks behind.

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Poor Chesty has to wait until tomorrow but we're almost home. Chicago
was fun and I hope to get back to visit there again.

Weather woes

Bad weather here in Chicago canceled our flight. We may be able to get
on a later flight but we'll spend the next 4 hours here in the airport
– keep your fingers crossed that flight doesn't get canceled too.