Archive for September, 2009

A change in plans

Instead of piecing and binding — today’s tasks were quilting and piecing a backing but I will work on stitching down another binding tonight.

Do you remember my plans for a series of string log cabin quilts from the beginning of the year? Well I made all of two tops before going off in other directions (string tumblers, Quilt as you Go blocks for Australia, String diamonds) Now, a fellow Heartstrings member needs help with a project he’s doing to provide quilts for a nursing home with residents who had been homeless (I forget how many he needs in total but 40 something comes to mind). He’s close to his goal but needs a little help  so I’m going to send him a couple quilts.

I pulled one of the pieced backings sent to me by Tish and one of the string log cabin tops I pieced earlier this year and quilted it this afternoon.


I chose to do a quick allover swirly version of Dwirling from the Pajama Quilter DVD.


For the second quilt, I pulled a donation top from Cheryl, pieced a backing and I’ll quilt that in the next couple days or so.

The elephants are done

I drafted this quilt  after seeing a baby quilt Mom made with appliqued elephants. She pieced and appliqued this one and I quilted it with the pantograph Happy Times.


I love stripes for bindings and while I know most people use bias binding so they’re on the diagonal, I like them straight too.


This is UFO finish 6 of 15 that I had at the beginning of the year (doesn’t count any HeartStrings quilts!)  Add to that 12 finished tops from this year yet to  be quilted and 2 in the piecing stage and my total UFO count is 18 tops and 5 quilts that are somewhere in the piecing process…..and again, these numbers don’t count any of the HeartStrings tops here.

I don’t know how you feel but the tops don’t bother me at all — I love having them here so I can pull one and finish it whenever I need a quilt but I do hate having UFO’s still in pieces, those are the ones I have a hard time finishing.

I’m not giving in — yet

I was reading a post on Janet’s site about her Quilter’s ADD and while usually I manage to keep pretty focused by having projects in different stages so I can choose to piece, bind, or quilt what I usually struggle with is the desire to start new projects.

I’ve had those pink and brown stars and pinwheels up and off and up on the design wall way too long and although I’m very anxious to start a new project I’m going to make myself get that top assembled first.

Through the summer and into September I’d also been binding at a much slower rate and as a result, my stack of quilts needing binding was staying in that 8 – 12 range.  For now, I’m trying to get up each morning and trim a quilt, make a binding, and machine stitch it before I do anything else. That will ensure a steady stream of quilts waiting for hand stitching in the evening. I’ve also had offers of help from other HeartStrings members so if needed, I can take some to our October 31st sew-in.

So before I give in and start a new quilt — I’m going up to work on assembling those blocks.

Another reason to blog

I used to have a great memory but I seem to be losing my mind….I’m sure it would be considered *normal* but it’s very frustrating for me.

Two recent things the blog has helped me *remember*

1. I bought a magazine for Mom but couldn’t find it anywhere, I was sure I’d bought it but it just wasn’t here at the house and I’d been considering buying it again and sending it to her….come to find out flipping through the blog that I’d bought it while I was visiting her this summer so of course I gave it to her before I left. No wonder I can’t find it here.

2. I was looking all over for the blue Happy Block quilt I’d quilted before leaving for Maine. I knew I’d done quilted it but couldn’t find it anywhere. Going through the blog I saw the post the the night before I left that said I’d gotten the binding machine stitched on and I’d put it in the suitcase to take with me to the sew-in.

I never used to forget things.

He’s so cute

It’s a little cooler here today and when I came upstairs from quilting, I found Chesty exactly like this.  I’m not sure how he managed to get the quilt and the pillow just like he wanted them but doesn’t he look warm and cozy?


Sometimes simple things make me smile

A few months ago LizA sent me 3 Happy Block tops pieced by her and 2 friends. Last night I finished the binding on Sally’s quilt, this morning I made and machine stitched the binding on Liz’s quilt, and when I went downstairs to pull a top to quilt today – I was looking for one that I could use the blue thread already on the machine – I pulled the 3rd top pieced by Ann and quilted it.

I didn’t plan on working on all 3 of the quilts in the same 24 hour period but it just happened that way and it made me smile.

So here’s a  Happy Block top pieced by Ann, with a backing pieced by Sheree, and quilted with the pantograph Happy Times.


Piecing batting

I had a few questions the last time I posted I had pieced batting for a quilt so I took a few photos today as I pieced some for a Happy Block quilt.

First, let me say it’s much quicker to piece batting by machine using a wide zigzag stitch but I’ve been doing it by hand downstairs recently because I don’t want to run up 2 stories and change the thread on my sewing machine.

Starting with a fairly straight edge on both pieces, I like to slightly overlap the top edge over the bottom one. I use hand piecing thread because it’s strong, a large needle, and a Herringbone stitch.


I usually do load my backing first on the longarm and then I just pull pieces of batting that are wide enough. You can use a table. (I lay a piece of cardboard between my batting and my backing so I don’t have to worry about stitching into the backing.)


Here’s the stitched seam — the slight bump I get from overlapping the pieces is not noticeable in the quilt and I feel like it’s more secure. When I zigzag by machine I don’t overlap.


As with everything we do in quilting there are lots of ways to do this — this just happens to be mine.


Keith asked me while we were in Maine what my favorite trip we’d ever taken was and I couldn’t pick just one. In fact, I had a hard time picking my top 5.

These are not in any particular order:

Edit: How did I manage to forget the Ireland trip this past April — I need a top 25 list I think!

  • My first trip to New England — we went to Boston, Vermont, and Maine.
  • Copenhagen with a stop in London on the way home
  • Hawaii
  • Vancouver & our Alaskan cruise
  • This last trip to Maine or San Francisco/Napa Valley — I can’t choose

The Maine trip probably makes the list because it’s so fresh in my mind but the two highlights that will stay with me are participating in the HeartStrings Sew-in and visiting Acadia National Park.

I really would like to add at LEAST another 5 or 10 trips to the list above — there are so many things that make a trip special to me. Being with family, visiting National Parks and Monuments, being near the water, being somewhere historical or that I’ve read about, and exploring a new city. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to travel as much as I have.

What’s the best trip you ever took and what made it special?

Still binding

This Happy Block top was pieced by Sally and sent to me to finish and donate.


Quilted with a simple wavy line grid using the piecing as a guide.


Judy wants to see our stashes

She’s on a mission to organize and use hers. I wish her luck but mine seems to be pretty static — I use some fabric – I buy some fabric but at least it doesn’t seem to be growing.


Unfortunately, my string stash continues to grow in spite of my best efforts.


I jinxed myself

I know a lot of quilters cut and resew their bindings if a seam falls at the corners but I usually try to make it work if I can. I was congratulating myself that no seams had fallen on the corners yesterday or this morning so of course, the last seam on the 3rd quilt did.


However, you can see (sorry for the blurry photo) that the corner does fine when folded over so I did NOT cut, and resew.


What do you do? Make it work or redo?

Yes, I am working

I’ve been setting up a new computer for Keith and in spite of some challenges with my home network, I managed to get back into the sewing room this afternoon.

This top was pieced by Sue and her group in CA – I love the combination of the blue and red centered HeartStrings blocks. DSCN7775

It’s quilted with my freehand Baptist Fans.


I’ve got another top trimmed and the binding made to stitch on tomorrow. Do you think this stack of trimmings is one reason my string bins refuse to go down no matter how many blocks I make? The batting bits will be tossed but all the rest will go into the bins….eventually.


Had a great time but…

I am SO ready to get home — I checked out the doggy camera at the place we board Chesty and saw him trotting around — I really miss him! We fly out tomorrow.

Today was for relaxing. We took a blanket and our books over to Cape Elizabeth. First we were at Two Lights State Park and then when Keith decided he needed a bit of shade, we moved over to the Portland Head Light. Is there anything better than sitting by the shore on a beautiful, sunny autumn day? Except maybe finishing off the afternoon with a late lunch at the Lobster Shack!

Thumbnails will enlarge if you click on them.

Acadia National Park

Absolutely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Click on thumbnails to see larger views.

A quick trip to Nova Scotia

We really didn’t do any exploring but we took the ferry over to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and spent the night. Other than walk around the town and eat a couple meals on the water, we didn’t do much — I just love being on/near the water. The fog was rolling in and out all day today which was kind of neat.

Tomorrow we’ll briefly visit Acadia National Park before driving back to Portland.

Maine – I could live here

Keith and I drove up the coast from Portland to Bar Harbor – I just love it here.DSCN7484

Click on thumbnail for a larger view — yes, I did stop at Marden’s since we happened to be driving by. Keith also spotted a quilt shop on Route 1 – Maine-ly Quilts and we stopped there too!


Keith arrived yesterday afternoon – we walked around the Old Port area and had a great seafood dinner. After a good night sleep and a leisurely morning, we’re going to drive up the coast to Bar Harbor.

I can’t believe how many quilts were actually finished during the sew-in. Here are just a few (and I mean VERY few) of the quilts along with most of us — my new friend Ann disappeared at picture time!


Just a half day left

Keith arrives tomorrow afternoon so I’ll only be working another half day with my HeartStrings group but I’ve had the best time. Thanks for all the comments and emails — I may not get to answer each one but I’m reading them and appreciate you all taking the time to write supportive comments.

I’m spending my time tying lots of quilts and in addition to the top being held up in the photo – pieced by Rebecca – which I tied later in the day, you can see my tying table to the right with a couple smaller quilts done yesterday morning. I just love these HeartStrings quilts!


Working hard

I arrived yesterday around 5PM to find the HeartStrings group already hard at work and joined right in. I’m so impressed with these women – those of you who think I’m a productive quilter would be amazed at how much they accomplish.

I’ve been tying quilts left and right and just love it. I sit on a rolling seat and just scoot down the table as I’m tying — just like Jay taught me in Nebraska last May.

Here’s a photo of the pile of quilts both tied and quilted from yesterday and we added even more to it today.


To help me remember what I’ve done

I find I’m having a hard time remembering when I finished certain quilts or tops and I use my blog to go back and check which tops were finished, which quilts were bound, etc –  so before I left for Maine I started categorizing my quilting posts.

While I did it to help me, I think those of you who come here just to see what I’m quilting I’m doing will appreciate using the links to go directly to those posts.

So, on the sidebar you’ll find the Just Quilting box. Ignore the uncategorized link but the others will take you to my quilting posts according to the following categories :

Hope it helps you find what you’re looking for when you visit my site — I know it will help me!