These tumblers make for a quick quilt even when cutting them from scraps. The green tumbler top is assembled. I used my Accuquilt GO 6 inch die and set the tumblers 13 across and 13 rows down.


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 hassle

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

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.

More finishes

These 3 were tops sent to me by Sue from my HeartStrings group to finish and donate. They are all quilted and bound. I don’t have pattern information to share with you but several people wanted a full view of this first one so I didn’t drape it over the railing like I usually do. You should be able to view larger photos by clicking on an image and scrolling through them.


I finished this Rainbow HeartStrings of mine on the 5th but am just now getting around to taking photos. It’s my first UFO finish for the year. My goal is to finish 12 which will be a little harder than usual since I only have 16 UFOs this year and I won’t have as much choice about which ones to finish. The quilt will be donated.


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.


No sewing on Saturday – I’d let the cleaning slide too long and it was past time to give the house some attention. Keith helped as always – I’m so lucky that way! The rest of the day was spent on laundry, walking, and football. Since I did not get the 2nd binding ready for stitching down on Friday, I spent my time after the football game crocheting.

I started this ripple afghan on the 28th of December but since I’m still binding and sewing some at night the progress is slow but steady. I wasn’t thrilled with the colorway but I’m less unhappy with it as the blanket grows. Some might stop working on a project they weren’t happy with but I believe even the blankets and quilts that don’t turn out as pretty as I’d like have value for their warmth. Someone will be grateful to have it to cover up with.