Monthly Archives: September 2014

Machine tension

Published / by Mary / 1 Comment on Machine tension

You may get away without adjusting tension when piecing but to get a balanced stitch for quilting, I usually find some tension adjustments are necessary. Since I frequently adjust tension on my longarm, adjusting tension for quilting on my sewing machine wasn’t difficult for me but if you don’t usually make adjustments on your machine, this instruction PDF from Superior Thread might help.


Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Careless

I always caution people to be careful when sewing the Strippies together when using directional prints. For some reason I had in my mind that these animals were oriented in all directions and didn’t pay attention. I was lucky I only had to pick out and resew 2 seams to fix the three rows that were upside down!

Bree’s Strippie – I’ll take it to GA to quilt and bind and give it to her when I’m there next month.


Instructions are on my website

Getting organized

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on Getting organized

I have a couple weeks before I head to GA so I’m getting organized. Unpacking sewing stuff from Maine and packing for Georgia. I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve accomplished in the couple months I’ve been here in spite of traveling 3 times. There are a couple finished quilts, 3 tops (a 4th sent to Kathy in WI to finish and donate), and a small knit blanket.

Since Keith is gone for a few days I’m spreading out. I’ll cut out a couple Strippies using the kitchen island (one is for Bree, one for donation).


And I’ve set up the tying table in the living area so I can pin baste a couple small HeartStrings quilts for machine quilting on my sewing machine.


My sewing goals will be to piece the two Strippies and quilt and bind the two tops before I leave for GA. If I have time, I’ll start a new quilt too!


Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on Patterns

Do you see quilt patterns everywhere?!

I saw this design on the bulkhead of the plane and then again in the Delta Sky Club …. Thanks to my TouchDraw app, I’ve saved it for a future quilt. I love quarter square triangles or hourglass blocks … So one day I’m sure I’ll make this….and I even have a GO die for it.



Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Done

My work here is done but what an amazing week. As always I get re-enthused about HeartStrings after spending this time working together.

As we speak, I have 105 photos uploading to share with HeartStrings members and they include this one of me that Jackie snapped tonight and a stack of finished quilts. There are more tops that are going home with us to be finished and a couple more days of sewing for the others.



Having fun

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on Having fun

While the bulk of what we’re working on in Maine are HeartStrings blocks and quilts, it’s not all strings. Several people decided ahead of time they’d cut and exchange some tumbler blocks … Both large and small. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many tumblers and the bulk of them were cut by these three … Tomorrow they’re going to have a Tumbler Race and we’ll see who can assemble a small top the quickest. There was lots of fun and good natured smack talking going on tonight!


Do I live in a fantasy world?

Published / by Mary / 15 Comments on Do I live in a fantasy world?

On my list of quilts to make is a tumbling blocks. I’d like to hand piece it … and even hand quilt it. I’ve found a beautiful Jenny Beyer quilt on Craftsy and am so tempted to purchase it even though I never make quilts from kits … Sometimes I buy deeply discounted kits and use the fabric for other projects but I don’t believe I’ve ever made a quilt from a kit.

So although I may be living in a fantasy world … I think I’m going to buy this. Who knows how long I won’t be living with my longarm and stash and if I’m ever going to do something completely by hand now would be the time right? Worse case, I use the fabric for a different quilt.


You guys are amazing!

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on You guys are amazing!

I am thrilled and honored every time I receive an email from one of you sharing your version of one of my quilts. Today I received two emails.

First, Marijke wrote and shared her version of my Forest Bricks

I thought you might like to see what I did with your forest brick pattern. It’s a wedding gift and I think it turned out beautifully. Thank you for making the pattern available.



Then Linda wrote and shared her version of my Carpenter Star

Yesterday I awarded quilts to veterans at our Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home. Amongst the recipients were three brothers who each served in a different branch of the service. I decided I wanted to make three branch specific quilts, similar but different to these three young men. I used your Carpenters Star pattern for the Marine. It’s getting rave reviews!


Linda goes on to say that she shares my website with others looking for ideas for Quilts of Valor.

I also received a third email about an interview about HeartStrings that will appear in a book in the future.

Today I feel really good about what I do — quilting for those in need, organizing HeartStrings, and designing and making my quilts available to everyone via my website.

Hiding out!

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on Hiding out!

Keith got home late last night and has been on conference calls all day so Chesty and I have been hiding out in the sewing room. The daybed makes a perfect place to park myself with the iPad after finishing my task for the day and with Pandora playing through my JBL speaker … We can drown out the business conversation from the other room!

My goals these days are less lofty but deciding what I want to accomplish in advance for the week and the day ensures that I make steady progress. This week my goals were to quilt a small HeartStrings top (✔️), bind it (✔️), and assemble these HeartStrings blocks I pieced during our July RWB project (✔️).


So lazy …

Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on So lazy …

I had errands today including a haircut and while I walked in spite of the unrelenting rain this afternoon/evening (kind of proud of myself for not opting out d/t the rain)…. I haven’t done anything other than read and look at recipes for company on Saturday the rest of the evening. Hope your day was more productive.


Today’s task

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Today’s task

We’re encouraging our HeartStrings members to sew along next week with the group of us meeting in Maine. We’ll be making blocks, assembling tops, tying quilts, and binding them and if you’ve followed my blog a while, you know I always tie quilts during the week in Maine. I decided to get an early start on the sew along and quilt and bind the small HeartStrings top I finished yesterday and my second task before leaving Sunday is to get these blocks I made in July assembled into a top. Since the design wall still has the bright 4 patch blocks, I started laying these out on the floor. I always sew my HeartStrings blocks first into groups of 4 and then sew the rows together.


Now I’ve got them all sewn into groups of 4 so tomorrow I’ll sew the rows together. Having the walking foot on the machine was helpful both in sewing the binding yesterday and in assembling these blocks. It handles multiple layers of fabric better than the regular quarter inch foot and I like to sew these blocks with a slightly generous 1\4 inch seam anyway because I press the seams open to decrease the bulk where the blocks come together. My machine allows me to adjust the needle position so with the waking foot on, I move the needle to right until I have the seam allowance I want.