All set up

I moved things around yesterday and got set up for ongoing string piecing here in Tampa. I’m going to use the Babylock Grace machine that I’ve been piercing backings, bindings, and battings on. Not everyone understood from my previous post that I’ve had two machines set up here since before I brought the longarm from Big Canoe in January 2018. I could really use 3 but don’t have the space so I’m giving this a try. I moved a little table beside the machine, the bins can slide under the folding table I leave up with the GO and I’ve got that bench to set string bins on too. I gave it a try today as I started another set of strips and strings log cabin blocks and I think it’s going to work.

My sewing space here in Tampa is the master bedroom and it’s a very large room with 4 closets. There are two of these nooks and I have a machine set up in each one. This is my “main” piecing nook and I have the Bernina there now. It’s got everything I need, my cutting table, the big board for pressing, and my design wall. It looks a bit neater without the string bins in the middle of the floor!

And in the middle of the room – the longarm.

My desk is also in the room and as you can see, it needs some attention too. All those papers on top of the file cabinet need sorting and filing or shredding.

I only managed a couple hours in there this afternoon so I came back up after Keith went to bed and pieced a backing, pieced a batting, and loaded and quilted the last top I have of Sue’s. I’ve just two of hers left to bind and then I can mark all of those off my list. Pantograph is Raindrops.


This is another one of Sue’s tops. Pantograph is Happy Times. I found some PolyQuilter thread from Superior in my bins and it was a perfect shade for this top. I haven’t experimented with threads on this machine mostly using Permacore but it ran wonderfully without any problems.

I’ve finished two bindings and tomorrow I’ll get the next two ready for hand stitching. They’re already trimmed so I won’t have to crawl around on the floor. This one will wait for binding until next week when I quilt Sue’s last top and then I’ll get them trimmed and bound at the same time.


A little cleaning and organizing this afternoon and then I loaded and quilted this top of Sue’s. Pantograph is Flower Power.

I’ve now got 4 waiting for binding so tomorrow I’ll trim at least a couple of them and get the binding started. Tonight after Keith heads to bed, I’ll make some more log cabin blocks. I won’t work all that long, just an hour or two and then I’ll head to my chair and crochet. I’m not sleeping at all at night but I sleep all morning. I’m not going to worry about it as long as I make progress on my goals. Mornings are not my friend at the best of times so it’s a good thing that for now, I have no morning appointments or travel scheduled in January so no need to get up early. That’s the tough part, not sleeping at night and having to be up in the morning.


My last top quilted for 2020 was done today. It’s the 3rd and last of the Rainbow HeartStrings tops I made with our Maine group this year. The plan was to take the blocks to the September sew-in and make and tie group quilts from everyone’s blocks but since the sew-in was canceled due to COVID, we had a virtual sew-in and I assembled 3 tops from the blocks I’d made and had a few leftover to send to Brenda to combine with other leftovers into group quilts. Pantograph is Leafy Love.

This also ends my December quilting and binding marathon. I exceeded my goal of quilting and binding 15 tops and got a head start on January’s goals.

  • 18 tops quilted
  • 16 quilts bound
  • 9 backings pieced
  • 4 battings pieced

I’m sewing Tumblers with my HeartStrings group tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll make one or two quilts but we’re going to have some fun with tumblers in January.


I may be slowing down but I’m still working… Sue’s Batik Rail fence is quilted. It’s #17 for December for me and the pantograph is Dollop.

Keith and I are planning to go to the beach tomorrow but I hope to get my last quilt bound too. These last two tops of Sue’s will wait for the new year to get bound.


It was a gorgeous day here in Tampa and we got outside and on the bikes today.

When we got home, I loaded and quilted this top of Sue’s – it’s #16 quilted in December and with this one I’m making a start on January’s list. Pantograph is Halcyon. It’s been one of my favorites for years and I recently bought the digital version so I can use it with my Pantovision. I haven’t quilted a panto from the back on the new machine. It would be more challenging than the Gammill because of the way the bars on this one limit the visibility but I do have my pantographs and can use them if I ever have a problem with the Pantovision tablet.

I also got my last one trimmed and ready for binding. The plan is to get that one bound in the next day or two and quilt another one or two. I won’t worry about getting these “extra” ones bound before the end of the year but they’ll be quick finishes in January.


My Modern Square in a Square top is quilted. It’s #15 for December and once it’s bound, I will have met all my goals for the month. Pantograph is Mermaid Fingers which is basically just a teardrop like meander but the name alone makes it perfect for a nautical quilt.

Keith and I took a walk along the bay this afternoon and when we detoured around a construction site came across this – egret? heron? crane? I can’t tell even after looking them up! I’d say egret but their legs are supposed to be black …


My turquoise Sharon inspired HeartStrings top is quilted with a swirly version of Dwirling from the Pajama Quilter DVD. I loved freehand quilting this one. So easy and it looks great on my HeartStrings quilts. This is #14 quilted for December.

I want to use more of my scraps in 2021 so I decided to pull a group of them to take to Big Canoe. I just don’t seem to have enough time to precut and kit projects when I’m here in Tampa so I gathered these up and pulled my 6 and 3 inch HST dies and we’ll see what I can come up with.

All ready to go to Big Canoe. The larger green bin stays open and I drop supplies and projects in it that also go to Big Canoe on the next trip.


I got a late start but the Granny Squares top is quilted. Pantograph is Steam and it’s #13 for December. I also finished another binding last night – #12 and have one ready to stitch tonight. I’m so close to meeting December’s goals!


The L Block Charm top is quilted. I went looking for a star pantograph last night and didn’t see one that wasn’t complicated. Many digitized patterns are intended to be quilted by a computerized machine and they can be very detailed. I use a digital pattern but quilt it myself so they need to be more simple. This morning I found one that came with my machine called VermStar and it was basically a meander with stars mixed in so I decided to give it a try. This is #12 quilted for December.

I actually was up early and got this one loaded and quilted by 12:30 pm. I was waiting for the exterminator who didn’t call or show up. I’ve spoken with Terminix and they’ll be out tomorrow. I’d say I got up early for nothing but that’s not the case. I was piecing a backing for this one when my Elna started to screech. I know she’s way overdue for servicing and she’s 19 years old so as I headed out the door to take her in for servicing, I told Keith not to be surprised if I came home with a new machine. He was still surprise when I walked in with a new machine. I’m still hoping the Elna can be repaired and be a backup machine but it looks like this will be my main piecing machine here in Tampa now. Mom will be shocked because I always said I didn’t like her Bernina’s but the shop didn’t have a Babylock and said they were having trouble getting them so I gave it a try and decided to go with it. Now I just have to get used to a new machine again. I’m just now starting to feel comfortable with the Innova longarm after a year and a half so I hope it doesn’t take that long.

Normally I would never piece a quilt on two different machines but who knows when the Elna will be ready (if ever) so I’ve been piecing windmill blocks this afternoon. I’m hoping I don’t have to do too much easing when it comes time to sew everything together.