Archive for September, 2009

Struggling to learn

I’ve kept up with my online class up to this point but for the next 10 days I won’t have my Photoshop program with me so I’m going to try and pick the photos and write down the lessons learned so I can catch up when I get home.

All the previous pages can be found at this link.


I’m on my way to Maine but will be posting some photos from my trip and a few scheduled posts will pop up too.

There’s good and bad

The bad news is that I didn’t sew a single seam on the pink and brown blocks last week. I had hoped to have that top assembled and something new on the design wall yesterday but it didn’t happen.

However, I did manage to get another Happy Block top loaded on the machine and quilted — I even pieced that batting in spite of being rushed for time. I’ve set a goal of using up as much of these leftover batting pieces overflowing from my bins by piecing them for all the remaining Happy Block tops but I was SO tempted to save time and just whack some off the roll — good for me for NOT doing that!


This one was quilted with the pantograph Happy Times – same thread, same pattern as the last quilt saved time that was spent piecing the batting.


I’m going to stuff this one in my suitcase and carry it to Maine with me.

Back to bed

Seems I’m just catching a few hours sleep here and there and after waking up at 2AM and being unable to get back to sleep, I got up to check a few things off my to do list for today but now I’m heading back to bed.

I needed a postcard for our monthly family exchange. Pets are this month’s theme and I was going to make a simple selvage card with the addition of some cute bits of ribbon.


Unfortunately, no one mentioned that the wider satiny ribbon was going to bunch up on me when I tried to sew it. I have very limited sewing experience other than quilting and I’m used to cotton fabric. I’m not that happy with either one of these and normally I’d just redo them but there’s no time before I leave so they’ll have to do for this month.


So what’s left to do when I get up – laundry, the post office to ship a quilt, packing, and maybe I’ll quilt a quick top while I’m downstairs doing laundry.  I’m sure there are other things but right now I can’t think of them.

This post is going to ramble a bit

First, am I the only nut who puts the dishwasher on delay and then is startled in the middle of the night when it starts up? I always think it’s someone trying to get in the house before I realize the noise is just coming from the dishes.

I didn’t plan to quilt tonight but since I was washing the Brown/Red/Pink Happy Block quilt I’d just finished tonight,  I thought I’d load one and once I got it loaded, decided to go ahead and quilt it.

I’ve had this top for quite a while maybe close to 2 years but when you don’t work from patterns, sometimes the final result isn’t what you wanted/expected. Mom actually pieced this one for me but I drafted the layout and picked the fabrics and when it was done thought the center was too plain for the border. I was tempted to take the border off but that was the whole inspiration for the quilt.

With a darker than normal thread and a lot of texture from the pantograph (Happy Times) I like this top a LOT better now, in fact it’s pretty cute.


The colors are little dark on these because I’m taking the photos in the middle of the night but you get the idea.


For those of you who keep a watch on what quilting designs/pantographs I’m using, do you notice how many of my pantographs come from Willow Leaf Studio?  When I’m in the mood for a new pantograph, it’s the first place I look.

I don’t know how much more I’ll get done this week before I leave on Wednesday morning for Maine. I’ve got people coming to measure for tile, dinner out with Keith,  the post office, laundry, etc but I’m hoping to get another Happy Block quilt done while I have blue thread on the machine and the pantograph still on the table.

Finally, I’m really looking forward to this trip. It combines a HeartStrings sew-in and visits to Portland, Bar Harbor, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. We’ll be moving around like crazy but I can’t wait.

In the wash….

I haven’t done a lot of work this week with Keith home but I’ve been binding. This HeartStrings quilt of mine will be heading off to my sister-in-law tomorrow for one of her family members.

Based on the Happy Block instructions I wrote up for HeartStrings but starting with a pack of charm squares, these centers are 1/2 inch larger.


Quilted with the pantograph Wandering Daisies. One of my favorites for it’s small motifs and the fact that it takes full use of the available quilting space on the Premier — which means less rolling.


Working on my longarm room

We’ve only been in our townhouse for a year and a half — is anyone else as bad as I am about getting things organized and decorated (and I use this term very loosely) after a move? At this rate it once I get my room where I want it, it will be time to move again.

This weekend Keith hung a rod for a quilt behind my longarm — don’t pay attention to that odd lighted area on the wall, I think it was the reflection of the lights and my flash from the plastic on the back of the longarm table. Here’s my handyman gathering up his tools.


The view of the quilt coming into the room — pieced by Mom and quilted for me by my sister Deb.


And the holes left from the first two attempts by my handyman. Do you think 8 extras holes in my wall count as my 3rd bit of bad luck? Let’s hope so.



I’m still not sleeping after spending all yesterday afternoon and evening trying to set up a new network backup drive. What should have been a relatively simple process turned into a complicated one thanks to limited directions. It’s working but there’s an intermittent error message that pops up every now and then.

If bad luck comes in 3’s I’m due for one more problem as Chris called yesterday morning to report that the condo above ours in Big Canoe had a leak and there’s significant damage to our ceiling and some to the wall in our living room. That will be fun to coordinate from here.

ceiling 1

It looks even worse in the up close photos where you can actually see the cracks that are forming

ceiling 2

A finish and a new top

Edit: Sharon’s quilt is one of Bonnie’s patterns and of course, the Orange Crush was one of her quilt mysteries too.

Basketweave Strings

I have several quilts that will be donated to Habitat for Humanity but I need to show one of them at a guild talk I’m giving in November so I’ve been slow to get this one bound since I knew it wouldn’t be donated until after the talk.

Pieced by Sharon and quilted with the pantograph Wandering Daisies. I didn’t have fabric that matched the color of the border but I think the pieced binding works well.



And this gorgeous Orange Crush top arrived this week from Helen to be quilted and donated.


A drive, lunch, and a new quilt

We took another drive today, this time to Stillwater. We had lunch on the St. Croix River – have you noticed how drawn I am to the water? I forgot the camera so this shot is from the phone.


After lunch we wandered into an antique store looking for a coat rack. We found one but I also found this tumbler quilt that had to come home with me. You’d think with all the quilts I make there would be enough of them around here but this is my 4th old quilt I’ve purchased and I love it. It’s a tumbler quilt and it’s in pretty good condition.


I think it’s really neat that there’s a stamp on the backiing fabric from Elberton Georgia. I was searching online and found this reference to a cotton mill in Elberton – I just happen to have this Georgia Quilts book too.


I’d intended to work when I got home but gave up about about 30 minutes….I’m tired, not sure from what because I slept late but I guess it’s just one of those days I’m not going to get anything done.

At home vacation

Keith’s off this week so after working during the HeartStrings Sew-in this labor day weekend I’ve been spending time with him rather than sewing — I am doing a little binding at night when he goes to bed but so far no progress on the pink & brown blocks on the design wall except to come across the one with the squares rotated the wrong way — glad I found it before it was sewn into to the top!

The top is too big to fit on the design wall so these are only part of them…..


Look at the bottom two corners and you’ll see where I rotated those two squares wrong…..


If you love this quilt and want to make it — check out my site for an instruction sheet and several different color options.

Dreaming of Autumn

I did mention that Keith was off this week didn’t I? No sewing today (although I may sneak some in when he goes to bed tonight). We’re going to walk downtown, hang out a while and eat dinner.

Yesterday’s drive has me dreaming of Autumn — the trees were just barely begining to turn and when I came home I was looking though my photos from last year and found this collage of photos I’d taken here in Minneapolis.

Are you ready to throw on a sweatshirt and go for a walk on a gorgeous Autumn day? I am!

MPLS Fall 2008

I didn’t sew today


Deja Vu

Yep, you’re seeing grid quilting on another Happy Block top.  I’ve gotten so many of these tops that I’m alternating between pantographs and grids. They’re all so cute and I’m surprised how different they can look. This top was pieced by Sally, sent to me by LizA, and the backing was pieced by Sheree from donated fabric. What a great team effort!


A close up of the wavy line grid – I freehand this using the piecing lines as a guide — very easy!


I know it’s design wall Monday but I’m too lazy to go up and take photos of the blocks on the wall especially since I’ve put the brown and pink ones back up there and you’ve already seen them — it’s time to get that top assembled. Cross your fingers that they’ll be gone by next Monday.

Still working

Our HeartStrings sew-in is continuing today and I’m doing a variety of little tasks. I’m going to head down and piece a batting for a Happy Block top and then get started on quilting it after posting this.

I mentioned yesterday that we picked out tile for our kitchen backsplash – it will probably be 3-4 weeks before we get it installed between the scheduling and my travel. We’re just going to have them set the tiles straight and aren’t going to attempt any fancy designs.



I finished piecing my Diamond Strings — thanks to focusing on it during our HeartStrings holiday weekend sew-in but I’d hoped to get a backing pieced and another small top quilted today so I could load this one and quilt it tomorrow.


But after lunch Keith and I went to Home Depot to order tile for the kitchen backsplash and I picked up a couple more shelving units in my never ending quest to be more organized. The first one is in my longarm room which also functions as my office. I can place the bins with files, backings, tops, etc. on the shelves instead of them sitting in the various boxes they were shipped to me in. I’m going to move that top shelf down some.

DSC_8103Finally, I had a couple bins with finished quilts waiting for donation sitting at the bottom of the stairs – this small shelf is much neater but I’d like to talk Keith into letting me put a taller one there.


I’m almost done with my string top

But in the meantime, here’s a photo of another one of Mom’s quilts she just finished. This and one of the sheep from yesterday came from a recent Baby Quilts magazine from Fons & Porter. The other sheep quilt came from the book Baby Quilts by Ursula Michaels.

mom's peeps

Taking lots of breaks

Cuddle time with Chesty and time out to watch a movie with Keith but I continue to make progress on the Diamond Strings assembly.


A couple more comments on assembling the top — I take my time and press well, picking all the strings off of the blocks and between the seams which will help when I go to quilt the top. I’m careful to match my seams up between the blocks and the walking foot helps to keep my layers from shifting.


What I don’t worry about is having the center strings line up — in fact, I prefer that they don’t match up exactly — adds more interest to the quilt ( in my opinion)!



I’llprobably  get bored with this when I’m about halfway done — assembling blocks into a top is not my favorite part of the process so this weekend sew-in is a good thing for me. It will keep me from leaving this up on the design wall for another week!

Some tips for assembling these blocks – I use a walking foot to handle the layers (these blocks are pieced on a muslin foundation). If I move my needle all the way to the right, I can use the edge of the foot to line up my blocks and get a 1/4 inch seam.


I iron all my seams open on these blocks to decrease bulk — this makes them lie flat which helps a LOT when I go to quilt them.


I assemble my blocks in groups of 4 — the top 16 blocks have been assembled into 4 block sections already. This helps make sure I don’t get my blocks out of order as I’m creating a diamond with each group of 4.


HeartStrings sew-in

Today starts our HeartStrings holiday weekend sew-in. We’re kicking off our new project making Diamond Strings which will go through October 31. I’ve got most of the blocks made for my top but need another 16 before I can finalize the arrangement and start sewing them together.


Keith is home but I told him he’ll have to entertain himself and decided to help him out by sending him to the grocery store. Wasn’t that nice of me?


A binding done too

I’m doing a little binding this week too — this was a top pieced by San (Gypsy quilter) and sent to me to quilt and donate.


Quilted with freehand leaves.