Archive for May, 2011

Some RWB blocks

In honor of the Memorial Day holiday, I put away the 9 patch blocks and started a set of blocks for a RWB HeartStrings quilt that will eventually go to a veteran or wounded soldier.

I’m approaching a BIG birthday in a couple days — I was feeling a little down but with a Spa day planned and my son Chris coming in for a visit to help me celebrate – I’m not feeling too bad now and I’m looking forward to Thursday.

Keith and I also went on another bike ride today – it was hotter and very windy but we did 14.3 miles and we got a lot of exercise! My hope in the next 2-3 months is to increase my exercise level and drop a few pounds — they seem to creep up on me.

Bound and labeled

I love this quilt! I was worried about how all the greens would play together but I’m glad I didn’t limit them to just olive shades as I started to originally.

Click here for Forest Brick Instructions

This will be donated here in Minneapolis for a Returning Warrior weekend this summer.


It’s raining now BUT

It was beautiful earlier and we got the bikes out and rode to the lakes. About 11 miles roundtrip (with a little assistance from my electric bike). They’ve opened up the trail all the way to the river so it’s much easier for us to pick it up now that we don’t have to ride through downtown.

Now I’m going to head upstairs and do a little piecing before cooking dinner.

Disaster Relief – Quilt Giveaway

Click the link below to go to the post with the information about the giveaway. Please keep all giveaway entry comments on the original post. I’ll bring this reminder to the top every 2-3 days until the drawing on June 24.

Disaster Relief – Quilt Giveaway

How about some more texture?

Maybe it’s the time of day I’m trimming these last couple quilts but the light is really showing off the quilting texture.

Again, the pantograph is Lush Leaves and I think it has such a pretty shape.



I know not everyone likes them but there are many patterns that look lovely quilted out and on a day like today when I’m completely uninspired and not really in the mood to quilt but still need to make progress on my goals – they’re just what I’m looking for.

On the machine is my Forest Bricks top

And I’m quilting Lush Leaves on it

May’s UFO Finished

One thing I like about this challenge is that it keeps me from setting my quilts aside to finish something for someone else. Last year I had a goal of finishing 12 UFO’s but fell short because I put off my quilts.

Tonight I finished the binding on this HeartStrings quilt of mine which is my UFO for this month.

As I had it laying on the floor to trim – I couldn’t resist snapping another photo of the quilting. I love all the texture.

Disaster Relief – quilt giveaway

My last giveaway was successful in helping to raise funds for the disaster in Japan so with all the recent tornadoes and disasters here in the US, I thought rather than trying to send quilts into a disaster area, I would hold another quilt giveaway in exchange for donations to the Red Cross.

I just made my personal donation to the Red Cross Disaster fund so if you’d also like to help those affected by the recent tornadoes and floods AND have a chance to win this quilt click on this link to the Red Cross and make a donation of $10 or more and come back here and leave a comment with your confirmation number.

For donations of $25 or more, please leave a second comment for another chance to win.

You will have until June 23rd to make your donation and leave a comment and I will draw a name and post the winner on June 24th.

The quilt is approximately 72 x 90 inches. The first photo is of the top and the second photo is after quilting.



Time to quilt

Can you believe it’s been 6 weeks since I’ve quilted anything??

After brunch and a fabric shopping trip with a couple friends today, I pulled out my UFO for May. Luckily, it’s one of my HeartStrings tops so some quick easy quilting was all it needed.

If I hadn’t had problems with thread breakage it would have been even nicer but after some troubleshooting and a couple needle changes, my machine settled down and I was able to finish without further problems.

I quilted a swirly version of Dwirling from the Pajama Quilter DVD.

Can you see the Heart in this photo? This was one of our LOGO quilts but I used jewel tones – you can see the heart better in the full photo of the top here.

I’ve got a week to get it bound now.

Home for a while!

I’m sitting in Boston’s airport on my way home. It will be 3 weeks before I travel again so I need to work on a list of goals for what I want to accomplish in that time.


Inside versus outside

We’ve been out and about all day and it’s been beautiful but Keith and I disagreed a bit this afternoon. I wanted to spend a little time inside at the library and he wanted to sit outside.



Pat’s Shadow Star quilt

Most of my quilts are designed with the intention that they will end up as donations or occasionally gifts so I tend to design them in the sofa to twin size range.
Remember my Shadow Star?


I haven’t yet made mine or written the instructions but Pat took the block and border from my design and created this large 84 x 100 inch version for her sister. I think it’s gorgeous!


I love Boston

A walk down by the Charles River to the Public Garden and then chowder and a lobster roll for lunch – what could be better??





Maybe tomorrow I’ll stop in at the Library.


Debra’s 16 Patch and Pinwheels

I love getting photos of quilts when someone has used my instructions. Look at this beautiful scrap quilt Debra made from my 16 Patch and Pinwheels instructions.


My Design Process – part seven

Once my top is done – it’s time to think about the quilting. While I like pantographs and frequently use them, I usually audition quilting designs if I’m going to be doing freemotion quilting.

One of the very first quilts I shared on my website was my Quick Strippie – designed to be quick to piece so that I could practice my quilting on it when I first got my longarm. I’ve never liked loading muslin to practice and while I tried a few panels — these quilts were perfect for practicing both allover freehand designs and border and sashing designs. Once you’d quilted something in each of the strips – you had it down.

Prior to getting my iPad, I would repeatedly draw designs out on paper until I embedded them in my brain. Now I use the app Adobe Ideas and draw my designs either on a “whiteboard” or directly on my quilts. I can erase and redraw as many times as I want and save the designs I like.

Drawing on a photo of my quilt itself gives me an idea of how different options might look.

Auditioning designs for Caleb’s quilt last year – see how great these Strippie quilts are for practicing a number of designs?

Here’s a HeartStrings quilt that I auditioned different freemotion designs from the Pajama Quilter DVD’s

And finally, I was looking for a alternate block motif for the basket quilt my Mom pieced for me and after looking at Kim’s Just Leaf It book and drawing different variations – I came up with the perfect one for this quilt.

Even if you don’t have an iPad, you can practice drawing designs on paper or a whiteboard because if I can draw it, I can quilt it!

This was my drawing practice for a Chinese Coins quilt and I loved how the quilt turned out.

In Flight


Someone still likes a physical newspaper rather than reading online. The headphones are so he can tune me out I think!


Traveling again

I leave again tomorrow and I’ve accomplished the quilting goals on my list for these 3 days I was home … of course, I left the unpacking, laundry, and packing until today. So yesterday I started piecing 9 patch blocks – I have a bin with 2.5 inch strips so I cut a few scraps for the one inch sashing between the blocks with my GO. Today I had enough 9 patches done to assemble a few of the larger sashed blocks.

Since you know how much I don’t like sashing quilts, it’s kind of crazy that I picked two sashed quilts to work on back to back. Also, my original plan was to use blue for the larger sashing but after just finishing the String Log Cabin with blue sashing, I might end up using a different color. I’ll wait until I have more blocks made and then start auditioning fabric. And just in case you didn’t see my post last week – this is where I’m going with this one.

Now back to my nine patches. You can expect this one to stay on the design wall for a while because when I get home from Boston, I’ve GOT to get some quilting done before the end of the month.

A catch up day

Another backing pieced this morning and then some running around doing errands. Finally, I stopped into the library for a bit to write cards for birthdays and graduations.


I think I’ll head home now and start piecing some nine patch blocks.

Do you piece backings?

I love pieced backings but don’t have the time to spend doing them for the most part but in order to use my stash I try to piece some simple ones.

My favorite and most used is my Off Center 4 patch – which takes two coordinating fabrics but sometimes I can’t make that work with the fabric I have so another favorite is a strippie backing which I used yesterday to piece a backing for one of my tops.

In this case, I had (2) two yard pieces of backing but needed extra length so I added a stripe

  • The center panel is 2 yards by width of fabric
  • The end pieces are a 2 yard by width of fabric piece cut in half
  • The stripes are cut 4.5 inches and pieced to fit the 72 inch width of the backing

This gives me a backing that is about 88 inches long.

Another recent one I used was a log cabin or framed backing – just be sure to keep your borders seams away from the edges of the quilt. I used a floral for my center and a couple different greens for framing and it looked great. Depending on how much fabric you had, you could use 4 different ones for framing. I don’t have a photo but this EQ drawing will give you the idea.

I used a one yard piece for the center (about 32 x 40 inches) and subtracted ¬†that from the width and length I needed to determine how wide to cut my framing strips. I also pieced them to get the length I needed. I use different widths for the framing pieces so I don’t have to worry about centering the backing on the longarm – it’s meant to be uneven.


On my design wall

The sashed strips & string log cabin top is done!

One of the things I really, really dislike is poorly sashed quilts — and I’m always surprised at how many quilts I see in books and magazines where the sashing doesn’t line up. I don’t sash a lot of quilts myself but when I do – cornerstones help me keep everything straight.

Normally I don’t sash my string log cabin blocks but I saw a quilt in the book Log Cabin Quilts with Attitude that appealed to me so this is my version. I did not use her directions but did use blue sashing with red cornerstones.

I have instructions for string log cabin blocks on my website — rather than light and dark strips and strings — I used all medium and darks.