It’s loaded!

What a day, first I had about 2 hours of cleaning and organizing in the sewing room just to clear up some space to put the final border on this top of Mom. I don’t really have the space to lay out something this big but I can spread about half the quilt out on the floor and do one side at a time. Then I got it loaded and ready to quilt. I haven’t decided what pantograph I’m going to use so I’ll think on that some tonight and I’ll be ready to start quilting it tomorrow.

You might remember seeing these blocks when Mom was visiting about a year and a half ago. I decided it was time to try the Hunter Star die and when Mom saw my blocks, she wanted a bedsize quilt but didn’t want to make all the blocks … so I gave her my blocks and we made the other ones before she left. She assembled the top adding all but the last border which I volunteered to do and now I’ll get it quilted for her too.

Next up

I should finish up the 2nd set of Strips and Strings log cabin blocks tonight and I’ll keep on making them for now. I’m thinking maybe blocks for 4 quilts before I transition to some HeartStrings blocks. My main task this week will be to put the border on Mom’s Hunter Star quilt and get it loaded and quilted. It’s queen size so it will probably take me a couple days to quilt it once I get started. Also on the list is cutting HSTs for my next scrap quilt. It’s going to be based on this doll quilt I made from some leftover pinwheel blocks.

I’m going to take the HSTs and piece them at Big Canoe but I’ll bring them back home to do the twisting – I want access to all the stash and scraps when I start choosing the framing fabrics. This afternoon I dug in the scrap bins and cut a bunch of rectangles and they’re all ready to be put through the GO. I’m using my 4 inch HST die for this quilt and I’m going to use a single background fabric for the pinwheels.

You see there are two different stacks, fabric should always be fed through the GO on the lengthwise grain because it has less stretch and you get more accurate cuts. Luckily, the die can be sent through either lengthwise or width wise so the fabric is in piles depending on how it will go through the cutter.

A family challenge

Half the battle for me is getting something into my routine. Every night I think about what I want to accomplish the next day and my fitness goals have been lacking, certainly the last few months given the broken ankle, but I haven’t been truly consistent with my fitness goals in the last couple years. The suppression therapy for my thyroid cancer made me tachycardic and very sensitive to heat limiting me to some degree. We did more biking which was good, some hiking, and I still enjoyed some kayaking but I got out of the habit of walking for exercise on a regular basis. We’ve done a family challenge with the boys before and they usually poop out after a few months so we’ll see how it goes this year. The goal is to walk 2021 miles this year – in teams of two. Luckily, I have Keith on my team because he is the most consistent of all of us and logs the most miles.

Chris for some crazy reason decided to hike the approach trail to the Appalachian Trail this weekend with a friend to log some of his miles. They were going to camp out tonight and then tomorrow night they were going to stay at the Hike Inn. (I’ve been wanting to do that for several years and we have plans to do it together when life returns to normal – when I’ve been vaccinated!) He called me this afternoon with a change in plans … asking could they stay at Big Canoe tonight. They weren’t expecting snow!

They hiked 10 miles today and they’ll head out again tomorrow to hike for the day (it is Georgia, there shouldn’t be much accumulation) and will stay tomorrow night at the Hike Inn as planned. For tonight they’re tucked up at Big Canoe with pizza, beer, and a nice fire! Not to mention beds and hot showers!

As far as my results go, while I haven’t logged any great number of miles, I’m getting out a fair amount – walking 11 days out of the first 16 days of the month and fitting in a walk in my daily activities is starting to feel like a habit again.


HeartStrings is playing with Tumblers this month and I made a top on New Year’s Day but I also intended to make a 2nd one this month. I’d even pulled out two more sets of fat quarters to chose from but the more I work on organizing and sorting, the more I know I need to use these scraps! I was sorting a bin I’d used for this quilt … the top was finished in January 2019 – two years ago and those scraps were still sitting in that bin. Who does that? Leaves leftovers from a project in a bin instead of putting them away for 2 years?

I pulled out greens and neutrals.

I grabbed the bin of green scraps to add to the pile and started cutting. I wasn’t sure this was going to work because I used lots of different shades of green but I’m liking it. I’ve got it all cut but haven’t started sewing it together yet.


Today is binding day – two quilts have been trimmed and the binding is on and ready for hand stitching – I’ll start that tonight. Since I set Grace up for string piecing, I thought I’d do the binding on the Bernina. My feelings so far about the new machine are tepid … I’m definitely not in love but remember I told you it takes me a long time to warm up to a new machine.

I don’t like the 1/4 inch foot and the way it interacts with the feed dogs and the fabric. Toward the end of a narrow seam, it loses its grip and the fabric slides over. It takes a lot of attention to keep the seam from narrowing at the end. I’ve seen people use stilettos to guide the last bit of a piece under the foot but I have never had to do that with any of my machines and I’m hoping I can learn to end pieces in this machine without one. Who wants to pick up a stiletto at the end of every seam in a block?!?!

I’ve also had to make some adjustments in how I cut, lift, and pull a piece out. With the Jane it’s a quick 123 motion, almost without pause. With the Bernina, you have to have a definite pause after hitting the scissor button otherwise the thread will tangle around the hook and you have rotate the flywheel to release it and then turn the machine off to reset it. I’m getting better at this so I’m not having the issue as often but boy is it a pain.

The bobbin is a mixed review. I LOVE the big bobbins. It holds more thread than any machine I’ve ever had. What I don’t like is that it’s not a drop in bobbin and it’s harder to get to it to change a bobbin and to oil. The big bobbins are probably worth the hasle

Today, I machine stitched bindings on and it handled the bulk beautifully, it was easier than either the Grace or the Elna. I did not have a walking foot on but it fed and stitched nicely.

Bernina B475 Quilter’s Edition


The first set of log cabin blocks are done and already off the design wall and in the bin that goes to Big Canoe. I’ll assemble the top in February. I did a bit of rearranging and the string bins are now on the other side of the room and I’ll use Grace (the babylock) to start another set. I’m going to stick with the log cabin blocks right now because I’m in the rhythm of making them. I’ll make at least one more set of 48 and then decide whether to keep going or do something different. These are going to be a side project. An hour here, an hour there in between quilting and binding and organizing. I’m going to start another Tumbler quilt this week too.

While I was straightening up, I came across the baggie with the leftover stripset pieces from the windmill quilt I finished in December so I went ahead and finished cutting them and assembled the little doll quilt. Because you know I can’t throw them away! This will go to GA too and eventually I’ll either hand or machine quilt it.

More on scraps

Funny, I should have know how many of you had the same problem. To be clear, I don’t mind having scraps – I love them but they’re unorganized and taking over. So why is that? I looked back over my spreadsheets for the last couple years. In 2020, I pieced 35 tops and only 4 of them were from scraps/strings. The rest were from precuts or yardage. In 2019, I pieced 20 tops and 5 of them were from scraps and the rest from precuts or yardage.

I quilt a lot of tops each year too. Some are mine, some are Mom’s, and there are always HeartStrings tops pieced by other quilts – that generates a ton of scraps from the backings.

Another issue, we tend to move every 3 – 5 years which forces me to sort and reorganize … we’ve been here 5 and a half years now. Past time to go through all the different bins sitting around and sort into usable groups.

Finally, I know what doesn’t/won’t work for me. I do not cut my scraps up into pieces before I decide what I’m going to make. I like to keep my options open because I frequently change my mind about the quilts I want to make. I also know that the last 3 years I was either dealing with health issues or going back and forth between two places. It’s always easier/quicker to pick up precuts or yardage than to cut a scrap quilt.

So like I said, there will be more sorting through bins and more focus on string and scrap quilts. I’ll try to keep one of those projects going at all times. I’m participating in HeartStrings 365 project this year and if I stay focused I might actually hit 365 string blocks – which will be a combination of HeartStrings blocks, my strips and strings Log Cabin blocks, and I’d like to do at least one rail fence from the string bins too. Those are quick and easy.

And it’s been a long time since I’ve made a Chinese Coins quilt. Good for using up smaller strings.

I’ve always liked making string versions of Roman Stripes quilts.

I could also dig into the scrap bins and the string bins for another Half Square Strings quilt. So I have plenty of inspiration just looking back at my string quilts and I just need to focus on using them!

I have a problem!

I have bins of scraps everywhere. Some are full of scraps or strings …

Some are just a jumbled mess … this one has leftover blocks, squares, and leftover chunks of fabric.

There are numerous smaller bins with fabric leftover from other projects, some of them have binding pieces just tossed on top.

My GO cutting table has piles of scraps and yes, another bin with scraps …

And trust me, there are many other bins piled up with scraps. I mentioned a couple days ago that I’d like to have one machine set up just for string piecing without explaining that I do have two machines set up here in Tampa in addition to the longarm. Typically, I use one for the current piecing project – that one is in the nook with the cutting table, the ironing board, and the design wall. The other machine is across the room and I use that one for piecing backing, battings, and binding. I don’t have room to set up another machine so I’m going to try to use the 2nd machine for string piecing and leave my string bins there under the GO table. I’ll have to walk back and forth across the room to press and trim blocks but we’ll see how that works for now.

I started moving things around this afternoon and going through some of the bins. This will be an ongoing project this year.


I found a small section at the edge of Sue’s quilt that had tension issues and loops on the back as I was binding it today – I ripped the binding back partway, ripped the stitches out, loaded it back on the longarm with a combination of pins and bike clips to get to the section I needed and restitched it freehand. Luckily, it was an easy pantograph (Dollop) otherwise it would have been a pain trying to line up the panto and restitch it. I managed to restitch that section and get the binding on and I will hand sew it down tonight but I didn’t get the 2nd binding on. That will have to wait for tomorrow.

As I was making more strips and strings log cabin blocks today I was wishing I had a machine set up just to work on string blocks … not sure if I can manage that here or at Big Canoe but you’d think with 4 sewing machines between the two places I could find a way.


I’ve started responding to some comments from yesterday’s post but I’m not sure I’ll be able to respond to each one and still get into the sewing room to quilt today!

For those of you seeing just comments supporting my views, I want you to know I’m deleting ones supporting the actions of Trump and HIS supporters and the conspiracy theories. It’s not something I’ve done in the past but I’m tired of listening to and responding to those justifications of his actions and the expressions of hate toward me.

I know we remain a deeply divided country but I hope that January 20 brings a change in direction, a kinder, more caring direction. I don’t expect it, but I can hope and pray that yesterday was a wake up call and that we can learn to work together again even with our differing views.

And for those of you who wrote me in anger about daring to express my views on this site, I remind you that the content here is what I choose for it to be and that you get to choose whether or not you visit. I’m closing this post to comments.