Monthly Archives: April 2016

What a beautiful morning!

Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on What a beautiful morning!

Most days I do my walking in the late afternoon or evening, the later the better, but it’s our 27th anniversary today and we have plans so I got out early for my walk. 

Are you tired of hearing how gorgeous it is along the bay? My 6 miles flew by!

I’ve had my new activity tracker for a couple days now and for the most part I love it. It’s a little bulky although it is light, and they’ve designed it to be easy to read outside in the sunlight so it’s a little harder to read inside but I’m OK with both of those. I can use the GPS feature on my walks to get accurate mileage and a ‘map’ of my route and the rest of the day it tracks my steps and reminds me to move.  I love how it even documents the temperature during my walk. 


Now I’m going to shower and sew for a couple hours before it’s time to leave. 

Starting to plan

Published / by Mary / 9 Comments on Starting to plan

Months ago when I was in the midst of getting Mom ready to move to my sister’s house, we started talking about a family vacation. Keith is just the best at finding house/hotels for vacations and he found a fantastic one on Hatteras Island that we’re renting for Mother’s Day. Mom’s sister and two half brothers live in North Carolina so I’m going to pick her up and drive her to visit her family and then we’ll meet Keith, my brother, sister, Chris, and their families on Hatteras and then I’ll drive her home. She won’t have her entire family there but 3 of her 6 children, 4 of her grandchildren, and 2 of her great-grandchildren plus two of her son in-laws, a daughter in- law,  and a granddaughter in-law will all gather together to spend a wonderful 4 days together. 

The house is amazing! 7 bedrooms and 7 full bathrooms. A pool, hot tub, close to the ocean and sound. (4 floors but Keith made sure there was an elevator!)


The sunset views – gorgeous! I can’t wait for happy hour on the deck!



Published / by Mary / 15 Comments on PLUS 1

I love it – wobbly quilting lines and all. I finished the binding this morning but it’s not washed yet so the crinkles will help some with the wobbles but it’s a bright happy quilt in spite of them.  Easy to make, easy to quilt.  I used part of a Jelly Roll for the pluses and chose 5 of the leftover strips for a scrappy binding. 

Now back to work on the Rail Fence. 

I love a Rail Fence Quilt!

Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on I love a Rail Fence Quilt!

The WI/MN HeartStrings group is having a sew-in on Saturday and will be working on RWB quilts for veterans entering hospice. Since I can’t be with them, I started a quilt today that will eventually go to Kathy in WI to be donated there. 

My Patriotic Rail Fence is the one I’ve chosen to make (remake). 


I’ve done a number of RWB quilts since we moved so I have enough fabric here to make a scrapper version. Some of its even already in 2.5 inch strips!


And here’s the progress from today.


I’ve still got Churn Dash blocks on the brain – can you guess what I’m going to be making first when my Qube and Go BABY arrive? This is a vintage one from eBay and it can also be made with the 8 inch Qube. It’s a little chunkier than the other blocks and it can be pieced with the 4 inch HST and the 2 inch square and makes a 10 inch finished block. I haven’t decided which block version I’m going to make yet. 

Can you find her mistake?!


That was fast

Published / by Mary / 10 Comments on That was fast

Wow, did the weekend fly by for you? I can’t believe it’s over all ready – Keith got home Saturday night and leaves early in the morning. Maybe that’s why is seems like it was so quick. Can’t believe the contractors will be back in the morning too. The weekends are my respite from the bathroom remodel. 

I didn’t go into the sewing room at all. Not once! The PLUS 1 quilt is ready to be trimmed and bound – that will happen this week, I’m thinking about the quilting for the Rainbow HS top. I mentioned that I like to use the ADOBE Ideas app for auditioning quilting designs.  They’re no longer supporting that app and now, you need  to download Adobe Draw. 

How about some spirals – quilted with the walking foot?!  The only question is where to place the spiral and what to quilt in the rest of the top – radiating lines?!!! One possibility is the spiral at the top. 

Another is the spiral in the middle. What do you think?!

I did spend time knitting and the feather and fan blanket is coming along.  It’s a little more ‘purple’ than this photo shows. 

I also spent time walking – 7+ miles both Saturday and Sunday. I intended to finally calibrate my Vivofit  – counting the exact number of steps I walked in a mile to customize my results. Imagine my surprise to find that my device was significantly undercounting my not just my mileage but my steps also. Keith has the same device but his is much more accurate – we checked it today. Maybe mine’s defective but when I walk 7.2 miles and it records 4.4 miles, it’s way, way, off. And yes, I looked at the number of steps and its undercounting there too so it’s not just a matter of calibrating the stride. At any rate, I’ve ordered a new device from Amazon. Hopefully it will be more accurate. I’ve done quite a bit of research and the watch I’ve ordered has GPS so I should be able to get an accurate measurement. 

The photo is my Garmin watch – it uses GPS to track mileage and pace but doesn’t have a step counting function. It’s what I used to check the accuracy of the Vivofit. I walked 7.27 miles yesterday and 7.2 miles today. Yea me!

More about the Qube

Published / by Mary / 9 Comments on More about the Qube

I’ve had several comments and questions so I wanted to make a few points about the Accuquilt Qubes. If my sewing things were all in one place like it used to be instead of spread across 2 states I personally would not be buying the Qube. I have my GO and a number of dies in GA that I’ve brought through the years and while they’re not a set like the Qube, I know how they all work together and in general you can cut more shapes at a time from the regular dies than you can from the Qube ones. 

So why would anyone buy a Qube? 

  1. Overall if you were just starting out, I imagine buying a Qube would be cheaper than buying individual dies. 
  2. Accuquilt provides you with a list of blocks that you can make using just the dies in the Qube – the work is done for you and you have a lot of options. 

In my case, buying the Qube gives me a set of dies that I can use here in FL and I don’t need to have a die for every shape I use in a block – I often combine rotary cutting with the use of a die or two in my quilts. 

One thing that you don’t want to get get confused about is that the 8 inch cube just makes 8 inch blocks. You can build 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 inch blocks from it. Think of the Qubes as building blocks. Here’s a list of dies in the 8 inch Qube.

GO! Dies included (with quilt shape number)

GO! Square-4 1/2″ (4″ Finished)
GO! Square-2 1/2″ (2″ Finished)

GO! Half Square Triangle-4″ Finished Square

GO! Quarter Square Triangle-4″ Finished Square

GO! Half Square Triangle-2″ Finished Square

GO! Square on Point-3 1/4″ (2 3/4″ Finished)

GO! Parallelogram 45°-2 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ Sides (2 1/16″ x 2 13/16″ Finished)

GO! Rectangle-2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ (2″ x 4″) Finished

So let’s look at designing a quilt with a Churn Dash block. It’s a 3×3 grid and the 8 inch Qube would build me a 6 inch block (if I cut strips to piece the rectangle sections) or it would build me a 12 inch block. 

The 6 inch Qube would build me a 3.5 inch finished churn dash or a 9 inch churn dash. Again, for the smaller block I’d have to cut strips and cut the rectangle sections sections by hand. 

So the 8 inch Qube builds me a 6 and 12 inch churn dash and the 6 inch Qube builds me a 4.5 and a 9 inch inch churn dash. 

My point is if you’re thinking about buying a Qube, you have to look at the sizes of the dies included and think of them as building blocks. Quilt blocks are based on grids. A Qube, if you’re willing to cut some pieces, will give you the option of using the pieces to make blocks in more than one size. And they won’t always be the size you expect!

Of course going back to one of my first points, if you don’t want to think or design with them you can download a free booklet showing how to use the dies in the Qube to make 72 blocks. There’s one for each size Qube they make. 

And speaking of blocks – do you have a block encyclopedia? I have several including the one in my Electric Quilt software. This one by Jenny Beyer is nice.

She groups the blocks by grids and shows you the underlying grid. 

I also have and like the Encylcopedia of Pieced Patterns by Barbara Brackman although it’s not as glossy as this one. 

One last point about the GO and dies in general. It’s important to think about how you would use them in your quilting. I have fewer appliquĂ© dies than Mom because I do a LOT less appliquĂ© than she does. I use a lot of strips in my quilting so I have the strip dies in a variety of sizes. Also, when I first bought my GO I wanted it for shapes that were difficult or tedious to cut by hand – the tumbler, the drunkard’s path, the fan. I’ve bought some dies that I’ve used a lot and others that have yet to be used!

Tax refund spent

Published / by Mary / 13 Comments on Tax refund spent

We got a small tax refund this year compared to the last several years so I decided to spend it on myself. You know I’m balancing trying to keep the longarm and stash in GA with doing most of my piecing here in FL. It’s almost 2 years since we moved and overall it’s worked OK with both some positives and a few challenges. On the plus side, now that life has settled down a bit, I’m able to do more piecing than I have in 10 years. 

I love the longarm but because of my work with HeartStrings, I spent the majority of my quilting time finishing up tops that were pieced by others. I was happy doing it but I’m happiest when my quilting time is spent more equally between piecing and quilting.  Plus I love looking for inspiration in antique quilts and then creating my own version. My quilts are scrappy and the quilting is fairly basic so for me the creative part is in the drafting and piecing of a quilt. I realize that for other quilters, the quilting is where their creative side sings. 

One of the things I’ve missed most is having access to my Accuquilt GO. It didn’t make sense to bring it here when the stash is in GA especially when I’m working from more limited fabric amounts and we all know the GO uses more fabric than cutting by rotary cutter and ruler. But still, there are some times that I just want to cut something using one of my dies. Half square triangles especially. 

I looked at the Brother Scan and Cut but I’m mainly a piecer not an appliquĂ©r and I didn’t want to cut pieces with it so I put off making a decision. I’d thought about getting a GO baby – that would fit my HST dies and some of the appliquĂ© dies that I have for those times I want to do some simple appliquĂ© but I didn’t want to always be carting dies back and forth. 

Accuquilt has come out with what they call Qubes and initially I wondered why anyone would buy them. They cut fewer shapes per pass than other GO dies that I already had but when I was shopping, I realized that they also probably use less fabric. The shapes are more compact on the die and you can get a set of them that work together to create blocks. Plus, they fit the GO Baby. 

So enough trying to find a solution for my current situation – I ordered a GO Baby and the 8 inch Qube. I’d debated between that and the 6 inch one because most of my quilts are 2/4  or 3/6 combinations so I might end up getting the 6 inch one eventually since Mom likes that 1.5/3 inch combination also. 


Do you appliqué?

Published / by Mary / 13 Comments on Do you appliqué?

Last year when Mom wasn’t feeling so great I designed a quick easy “panel” quilt for her. Like my strippie, it relies on finding a yard of a cute novelty print and adding in some coordinating fabric from stash for the appliquĂ© and borders. The appliquĂ© is fused and machine stitched. She uses her Accuquilt GO to cut the appliquĂ©s but there are lots of  appliquĂ© designs or coloring book pages that can be found online. 


  • Cut center panel 27 x 35
  • Cut border and cornerstones  6.5 inches
  • Quilt will be approximately 39 x 47

This is the one she just finished and we decided it needed a small inner border so we just cut the center panel a little smaller. Mom likes to keep them at or under 40 wide so she can use a single width of fabric for the backing. 

A few others for inspiration. 


One more family photo

Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on One more family photo

I asked Keith to have Chris take a photo with him and the 3 little ones … He’s such a good Pop, I can just tell they all had a good time tonight. 

Of course while they were enjoying dinner and each other’s company I was trying to get my steps in. Keith is a gerbil and doesn’t mind doing multiple laps of the same block but my preference is for an out and back route. In this case, I was working on a 4 mile walk, 2 out and 2 back but I turned around early because it looked like it was about to get really nasty. It hadn’t started raining by the time I got back to the house so I did the gerbil thing, lapping around the block where I wasn’t ever too far from home in case I needed to make a run for the house.  In the end, we didn’t get a drop of rain from those clouds. 



Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on Alone

I like my alone time and I often get to GA to see the kids when Keith’s schedule doesn’t allow him to join us but it’s NOT fun when it’s reversed. He’s in Atlanta on business and the kids joined him for dinner tonight. I’m happy they were able to get together but feel so left out.  


Someone’s happy to see her Pop!



Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Quilted

Don’t look too closely at the wobbles but the Plus 1 top is quilted.  It’s funny but the wobbles bother me a lot when I’m actually quilting but by the time the quilt is bound I’m not as worried about them. Hopefully, they’ll be even more unnoticeable when the quilts are washed and dried. I love how the crinkles that come with washing a quilt with a cotton batting hides some of its flaws. 

When I went to quilt the horizontal lines, my rows didn’t start with a seam so I used this flexible ruler that came with my knitting bag to line up the edge my quilting foot.  


It’s a Rainbow

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on It’s a Rainbow

The voting was very close so I guess both versions work OK. There were slightly more votes for the Rainbow setting and even though I was leaning toward setting B myself, Mom voted with majority for the Rainbow so I finished assembling the top this morning. Thanks for weighing in with your opinion and helping me to decide. 


This one makes 3 tops for our HeartStrings Rainbow challenge – two are even already quilted and bound which is unusual for me. I’ve still got my bright strips and strings sorted by color so the next set might be a string log cabin.

Speaking of rainbows, I was looking through old quilt photos this morning and found this one I made in 2004 – remember the St. Jude’s Quilt of Dreams challenges? I’m sure I used a pattern for this one and I think it was in a magazine. (I might have modified it some, I usually did.)