Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on 15K

I was scheduled to walk this race with Keith and Chris in October but I was in VA caring for my sister-in-law and Chris contacted them about me doing it ‘virtually’ as in they sent me the medal and I was supposed to do a 15k on my own (9.3 miles). I’ve been home long enough to get it done and we’ve got the half marathon coming up in about 6 weeks so it finally happened today! My medal can now go up on the wall with the others. 

My stats (and my proof it was done)! My actual walking pace was a little faster – there are stop lights and roads to cross on part of my route and the clock keeps ticking even when I’m waiting for a light or a car. I won’t have those to contend with in the half marathon. 

It was sunny when I started out but ended up overcast which is fine with me – easier to walk when it’s cooler. 

Insomnia strikes again

Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Insomnia strikes again

I was doing well for a while – going to bed and getting up at somewhat normal times but this week I’ve been unable to fall asleep until very late and each day gets worse until here I am sitting up at 6:20am not having slept at all. Sleeping today won’t be a problem but I won’t be able to sleep in the rest of the week. UGH!

Since I couldn’t sleep I played around with some quilt ideas on the iPad. I wrote that when I buy dies, I think about sizes that can be used together. Tonight I paired the half rectangle and chisel dies – they both finish at 3×6 so the blocks would finish at 12 inches. 

You could also pair the half rectangle with the 3×6 finished rectangle for a simpler, funky pinwheel. 


Published / by Mary / 4 Comments on Quilted

My Simply Woven quilt was not only pin basted but quilted!  As you can see, I chose an irregular grid rather than one that quilted each line. Simple straight line quilting that kept it nice and soft. It’s a free pattern from the Moda Bake Shop. 

I also walked a couple miles before setting down with my knitting for the night. 

We had some cooler weather which has been very nice and last night I even used the heat for a little while for the first time ever and promptly ordered a small heater from Amazon as I just needed a little extra warmth here by my knitting chair and didn’t need to heat the entire house (although the thermostat did read 63 when I turned it on). I used to keep it at 65 in Minneapolis but I also sat by the fire in the evenings. 

Of course, I also had someone to cuddle with in MN! Thinking of him a lot this week as I’ve heard that there are two new puppies in the family. We will NOT get another dog … at least not while we’re traveling so much … and maybe never because I don’t think another dog could ever replace him. I tell Keith all the time I’m not a dog person, I was a Chesty person!


Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on Lazy

I had a lazy morning around here and need to get to work … last night I intended to pin baste this top after Keith left but I forgot the guest bedroom only has a small bedside lamp so I decided it could wait until today. I do need to get it done because I have a cleaning service coming Wednesday and company coming Friday so the table has to come down before then. 

Along with the HSTs for the Dutch Windmill quilt, I’ve been cutting small rectangles on the electric GO for a second quilt. I made a RWB brick quilt a couple years ago – or should I say top? It hasn’t been quilted yet! It was based on an antique quilt and I always intended to make a more colorful child’s quilt so while I have the fat quarters out, I’m cutting 2.5 x 4.5 rectangles. Of course, this is an easy one to strip piece too but this fits my leftover fat quarter pieces perfectly and I get 8 rectangles which is just what I need per block.  I’m also thinking I’ll make the background scrappy and by cutting the rectangles I can mix them up more. There are similar modern quilts out there and I bet you could find them with a google search but I prefer to go my TouchDraw app and draft one myself. 


Published / by Mary / 9 Comments on Miscellaneous

I’m sewing …. I’m not sure why I haven’t put the year on my watermark before but I decided I’d add it this year. I can always look back through my databases or the blog to figure out when I finished a top or quilt but having the year on my photos will make it quicker to look up. 

I’m walking … 22.7 miles this week

Looking for inspiration … do you think Mom would make this Nine patch and snowball quilt for me?!

I’m knitting too but I won’t post another photo since my scarf looks a lot like it did last time I posted just a little longer. I’ve also been cooking. Enjoying my new kitchen and we’ve bought new dishes and silverware too. All my stoneware was chipped (someone hits the counters a lot when he’s loading the dishwasher). 

I’m also doing children’s crafts without the child … decided to make a fox for the Big Canoe tree. It reminds me of doing counted cross stitch!

What are you up to this weekend?

How many UFO’s

Published / by Mary / 18 Comments on How many UFO’s

The beginning of a year is a time of accounting for me and other quilters. An interesting discussion is going on over on my HeartStrings groups about UFO’s with Crystal wondering how people can have so many. I thought I’d share my answer here and ask you all — How many UFO’s do you have?!!

For me my story goes like this – in my first year or two of quilting I made quilts from start to finish. Then I found myself starting new quilts before finishing old quilts and eventually learned that quilts that didn’t get to the finished top stage were more likely to be abandoned so now I work very hard to get a top finished before setting it aside and as a result, 27 of my 30 UFO’s are finished tops. 

The first 7 and a half years as a member of HeartStrings I quilted many of the group tops on the longarm. That meant that my tops went to the bottom of the list unless one was needed for something. 

When we moved 2 and a half years ago, my longarm and the bulk of my stash went to our Georgia condo and we moved first to the Ft Lauderdale area and then to Tampa. That means that I only have about 5-7 weeks a year to work on the longarm and my mom and aunt have tops that need quilting during those weeks too. 

Because of this, my UFO number jumped up from a steady 20-22 per year to 36 in 2016 and down to 30 in 2017. 

In 2016, I tracked WHERE my tops were being quilted and was happy to say that 14 of 38 were quilted here in FL on my domestic machine thanks to Stephanie reminding me at the time of the move that I could quilt on the domestic machine too. Seriously, it hadn’t occurred to me to go back to quilting on the regular machine and if I hadn’t, my UFO number would have been significantly higher over the last couple years. 

Having the longarm and stash in GA has also changed my quilting in other ways. My quilts made here tend to be a little less scrappy either because I don’t have as much fabric here or because when I’m in GA I’m trying to quilt as many as possible so there’s less time to cut – the scrappier the quilt, the longer it takes to cut. Another factor is that the fabric in GA is in bins not on a shelf, it takes longer to dig through bins trying to find different fabrics that work well together than it did to pull them off the shelves. 

Finally, the size of my quilts have changed. I make more child size quilts in the 40 x 54 to 60 inch range and keep those here in FL to quilt on the domestic machine. The larger throw or bed size tops still go to GA for quilting on the longarm. 

As far as being stressed by having UFO’s – for the most part I’m not as long as I maintain the high percentage of finished tops. If something were to happen to me and I were no longer able to quilt, I would choose a few tops to be professionally quilted for my family and the others would go to one or more of my fellow HeartStrings quilters to be quilted and donated. 

I keep all my finished tops and quilts in an online album to help keep up with them. A snapshot of some finishes from 2016 shows more finished quilts than tops but of course it doesn’t show the whole picture because as I said above, I have 27 finished tops waiting for quilting. 

Accuquilt’s GO

Published / by Mary / 9 Comments on Accuquilt’s GO

I’m frequently asked questions about using the Accuquilt GO in my quilting and I’ve responded in posts before – this one I will pin to the How To page so I can refer people back to it when new questions are asked. If you’re not interested in the GO, you will want to skip this long wordy post!

I bought the original GO pretty soon after it came out and have been using it in my quilting for years — I’ve collected dies over the years, some that I use more than others, and the GO works for the way I quilt. I’ve read reviews from other quilters who don’t like it so I can just tell you that it works for me and gets me to the piecing part of quilting faster.

The two biggest complaints I read about the GO is accuracy and fabric waste.

Because we’re cutting fabric rather than paper there will be some stretch as the die goes through the rollers. Accuquilt does a pretty good job of educating quilters on ways to get the most accurate cut but for me it boils down to ONE THING – send your fabric through on the lengthwise grain – it has less stretch.

The 2nd complaint is about fabric waste and in my experience it does use more fabric than traditional rotary cutting but I’ve got more fabric than I’ll ever use and I typically make scrap quilts so if I need more fabric, I just pull more off the shelf. There are ways to minimize the waste also – again, Accuquilt does a pretty good job with education – both written materials and videos. So check them out.

The next question I frequently get is about what dies someone should buy and really that’s not a question I can answer. I can show people the quilts I’ve made and the dies I’ve used. Click the link to go to my webpage and see examples.

GO Friendly Quilts.

I first bought the dies that cut unusual blocks that weren’t as easily rotary cut – Apple Core (haven’t finished that quilt yet!), Drunkard’s Path (LOVE the 7 inch one, haven’t used the 3.5 inch one yet), the Dresden Plate, the Tumblers – another favorite.

Then I bought Strip dies – I use my 2.5 and 2 inch strips dies the most but I also have the 1.5 inch and the 1.75 inch ones and use those less frequently.

The 3, 4, and 6 inch finished half square triangles have been some of my most frequently used dies.

I always recommend that people think in terms of which dies work together. I have the 3 inch half square triangle, the 2 inch strip die (finishes at 1.5 inches), the 3 inch finished square, the 6 inch finished half square triangle, the chevron die, the half rectangle die …. all of these work together to create blocks and quilts.

Accuquilt has tried to group these together in their QUBE’s but although I bought the 8 inch one for here in FL since most of my dies were in GA, I find myself a little frustrated because they don’t cut as many shapes at a pass as the individual dies. For example, I’m working on a quilt with 16 half square triangles in each block. The QUBE 4 inch half square triangle cuts 2 at a time x the 6 layers – just 12 triangles – I need to cut 16 background and 16 focus triangles for each block. My 4 inch finished half square triangle that’s in GA – cuts 4 at a time x 6 layers which is 24 – the cutting is done twice as fast.

So for my purposes the QUBE’s are not ideal for how I quilt and I won’t buy another one but will buy individual dies that have more shapes per die.

The latest question is whether someone should buy the regular GO or the electric GO. There’s a difference in price so if the regular GO is what you can afford, I say go for it! I used it for years and will still use it in GA to cut quilts. If you can afford the electric GO, that’s the one I would recommend you buy. I recently replaced Mom’s GO with the electric one, she’s never been able to crank the handle as easily as I can on the regular GO and as a result she would cut fewer layers at a time. The electric GO is very easy to use with no cranking needed so that’s another plus in its favor.

So, hopefully this answered some questions for you but I encourage anyone thinking about a GO to explore the Accuquilt website and their many videos.

Crossing State Lines

Published / by Mary / 1 Comment on Crossing State Lines

The 2017 Callenge tracker is working and our team (Chris and I) is up and running. I hate choosing names, I’m not very creative with my quilt names which usually consist of the block name and the quilt color, but we had to come up with a team name and since we’ll both cross the FL/GA border and will run/walk several times this year, I came up with Crossing State Lines. 

We’re on our way! I won’t bore you too often with updates but you will see some of our progress through the year posted here and as I said, I’ll also complete the Appalachian Trail virtual walk at Walking 4 Fun – about 600 miles left on that challenge I think. The difference between the two challenges are that I count all my steps on the Walking 4 Site but for the 2017 challenge, we’re only counting “exercise” miles not total steps. 

Jan/Feb Goals

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Jan/Feb Goals

It doesn’t seem like much – get two UFO’s quilted and bound, pieced a couple tops, make some Heartstrings blocks, work on some knitting and crochet projects but we’ve got some company in the next couple months, a trip, and of course, some ambitious walking goals including a half marathon the end of February so I’ll start with these goals and if I finish them, I’ll add more!

Jan/Feb goals

Quilt and bind

  • Pin baste, quilt, bind woven quilt
  • Pin baste, quilt, bind churn dash quilt


  • Start and complete Dutch pinwheel top
  • Draft, cut, piece rectangle quilt
  • Make HeartStrings blocks – ?? Number of blocks and colors to be determined


  • Finish knitting Shine scarf
  • Crochet an animal – zebra?
  • Start birch leaf scarf