Sunday, July 5, 2015

Taking classes and learning new skills is a critical part of any quarters life. Because of my busy life it's often much easier to take an online course. For about the last year I have been signing up for Craftsy classes.
The most recent class "Zip It Up" by Joan Hawley  ( was fabulous! I learned to sew when I was 7 years old ( so a really really long time agošŸ˜) and I have been quilting for more than 25 years and this is one of the best classes, live or on line I have taken.

Here is my little Bendy bag! I need more practice!
The Nikita bag is next on the list!
Happy Quilting

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Winding Ways Quilt

Well if you in the Northeast US, then you are just sick of the snow this winter. I actually like winter, I used to ski (hopefully will do again) and enjoy the change of seasons. But my goodness - enough is enough - there is just no where left to put the snow in the driveway!!
As I am writing this post, another 1 - 2 feet is forecast for the Boston Area for Sunday into Tuesday  early. Depends on where you are.
I will leave my RI ocean sanctuary today - Sunday-  to go back to my metro-Boston home- to work from home on yet another snowy Monday. But I am blessed in all this by several things

  • I have two homes (many have none)
  • I can work from home - and not everyone has that privilege - and it is a privilege. My job lends itself to this structure - I spend my days in spread sheets, with numbers and I have very supportive management.
So - back to quilting! The first of our children's generation on my husband's side is getting married this summer. I think this may open up the flood gates - eek!! This means I have to actually make and FINISH quilts.
I was inspired by this Winding Ways Quilt I am making,  from a similar quilt in the last issue of The Quilt Life Magazine (October 2014). The quilt was Jan Magee's "Rosita Meadows". She made it in Japanese Taupes.  The colors would not work for me - but I loved the design - classic Winding Ways block.
I like the circular movement of the pattern.

As I noted earlier I am trying to become more proficient with my EQ7. It is such a great tool.
So I found the Winding Ways Block in the block library, and set off to design a similar quilt in blues.
I have a TON of blues in my stash, and have also been inspired by the utilization of scraps from Bonnie Hunter's site. - BTW - if you have never gone to her blog - GO THERE. You may not be into scrappy necessarily, but this woman is the most prolific, organized quilter on earth. Check out the link to her blog.
Here is what I came up with
EQ7 Print out of my Winding Ways Quilt &
 the Card With how many of each shape and color I needed
This was the first time I approached a quilt like this. Normally I just follow a written pattern.
In this case I had to figure out how many of each block component I needed in each color
Hence the file card below. EQ will definitely calculate yardage for you, but I was going to be using my Accuquilt GO! Cutter and Winding Ways Block die!!
Accuquilt GO! Winding Ways 8 Inch Die

So I counted the 
  • Corners
  • Wedges (narrow triangles)
  • Triangles (large 4 leaf clover looking patches)
For each of the Dark Blue, Medium Blue, and Neutral. I actually have a tiny bit of light blue - but I will see how this progresses as it goes up on the design wall.

Sorted the stash I had brought to the beach and started cutting!

I then printed out each block type combination from the quilt, and counted how many of each I needed. I am sure people who regularly design quilts do this all the time.
It was really interesting and fun. I feel like I am doing this quilt from start to finish.
So I have not cut all the pieces, but I have started the construction.
Some hurdles - more on that in my next post.

Happy Quilting

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fabric Box Tutorial

One of my favorite blogs is Seaside Stiches. Tina shares great information and she too lives in New England.
A group from our guild organizes a retreat every year, and this year there are actually two  sessions going on. Both in February - I know February - Coastal Maine - but it is beautiful and we have been lucky in past years - no major snow issues! And we are inside most of the time quilting.
We go to the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunk ME.  I was helping out with the second session, but in the end I am not able to attend.
We were trying to find a functional but easy "gift" for the attendees. And I had used this tutorial before to make the cloth box.

You can use them as:
  • small trash baskets on your sewing table,
  • make a matching Mug Rug and put tea bags in there
  • in larger versions with a plastic liner, you could add a small plant
  • The list goes on.......
Here are two I made so far - I am hoping to make 22 by Feb 23!
Fabric Box - from Seaside-Stitches Tutorial

I did use the little button attachment foot on my machine - that was hugely helpful to go through all the layers and attach the buttons.
Please respect Tina's requests at the bottom of the tutorial about selling etc.
These are gifts for my quilting sisters at the retreat and I know they will enjoy them.
I hope you do too!

Happy Quilting

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quilting, Life and Other Stuff - ReBoot!

I read and follow many many blogs. Mostly about quilting, but some knitting, some food. I have been a start-stop blogger for many years but for 2015 I am going to blog 1 - 2 times a month. I will probably never be a blogger that quilts daily, but eventually, I will move to at least weekly.
This blog doesn't have many pictures, just musing, future posts will have more pictures I promise.

Sharing what I know about quilting can keep me talking for hours - LOL - so why not write about it and maybe reach a broader audience.

I find when I talk to people, and just think they know what I am talking about, with regards to a technique or method, fabric types etc. I can often get that "deer in the headlights" look.
So the info I share will cover the gamut from really basic, to more advanced, but hopefully will help someone.

And teaching quilting is my "Life Part 2 (read when I retire - 3 to 5 years from now) Goal", along with entering more quilt shows.
I still work a demanding (but enjoyable) full time job outside the home and commute up to 3 hours a day. Most of my quilting is confined to the weekends.

However,  I need to finish more quilts, but also start defining some lessons, and quilts to share.

These is no part of quilting I don't like. Outlining what I like about quilting, will help me focus on topics for this blog.
Here is my overview on what I like about quilting:

  • Designing
    • EQ7 is my go to tool - to impatient for drawing, and the idea possibilities make my brain hurt! But I am still a real beginner using this tool and want to get better at it.
  • Fabric Selection
    • I am lucky enough to have several LQS (Local Quilt Store) in my area and I go to one of them FIRST
    • Support your LQS. If you don't they will go out of business.
    • But the web is a huge shopping opportunity, and full of inspiration and a reality for getting what we want or need in this day and age.
  • Cutting
    • Both Specialty Rulers (from just about anyone anywhere) & Accuquilt Go! are my go to tools
      • I like efficiency and short cuts - BUT they must yield precise pieces - I strive for perfect pieces - Striving being the operative word. There is nothing better than a 4 patch with a perfect center or a triangle with a perfect point. 
    • Templates 
      • Not the biggest fan of templates(don't like cutting around small pieces)- but sometimes they are a good options and necessary.
  • Piecing
    • Machine - If I had to pick my favorite part of the process machine piecing would be it. I constantly challenge myself to get my piecing as close to perfect as possible
      • I learned quilting over 20 years ago by hand piecing, but I no longer do it. Too slow and the arthritis in my hands just doesn't allow for it
    • Paper Piecing (Machine)
      • LOVE paper piecing - seen note above about precision
    • English Paper Piecing - WELLLLL....... I used to say - I "hated" Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts. Then along came the "rebirth of hexies". And I love the look  - however my hands have failed me. I have tried, because the portability is wonderful, but the pain of holding a tiny needle, just doesn't cut it any more. BUT I have found some options to machine piece Hexies and am IN LOVE with Mickey Dupre's pieced hexies, and the pictures I have seen on Instagram and Pintrest of fussy cut hexies just take your breath away.
  • Applique
    • Machine - this is a technique I want to explore more. With the loss of the ability to spend long stretches using tiny hand needles, I still want a needle turned look sometimes. So more on this as time goes on and as I learn alternative methods.
    • Fused - this is great method with tons of versatility.
    • Hand - I loved hand applique and always wanted to do a Baltimore Album quilt - it will just have to get done by machine now.
  • Quilting
    • My goal is to become very adept at domestic machine quilting. I am finding I like the look of  fairly dense quilting - particularly feathers, but not limited to that.
    • I will never have space for a long arm machine in my home, but there are options for this
      • In my area there are a couple of  local LAQ(long arm quilters) that rent out time on their machines. This still takes a ton of practice and preparation - but will be the secondary go to for larger quilts.
  • Learning about Quilting
    • If you love quilting - educate yourself!
    • This means following blogs, checking out Pintrest, Instagram, buying books, or getting them from the Library.
      • Like all things on the web - take a look see if you like the content and follow the person - if you don't like the site, stop following it.
      • Going to web sites of suppliers to the industry - do you know how much inspiration and FREE STUFF (patterns particularly) are on suppliers web sites??
      • Go on YouTube and look up a technique or topic again quality varies, but there is some really good stuff out there!

      • Take classes
        • At your LQS, at regional or national quilt shows, or your guild's workshops.
    Like many bloggers, I will insert some personal stuff from time to time. I live in New England and have a home on the ocean. So lots of ocean pictures pending!
    This is New Year's Eve (Dec 31 2014) Sunset from Matunuck RI Enjoy!

    Sunday, June 30, 2013

    Working those UFOs

    I have been recuperating from a medical procedure at my beach house. A great place to recuperate!

    It is giving me some good time to finish those oodles of UFOs I have accumulated over the years.

    Here is a quick project I finished. These date from 2007 and the "kitchen towel" of the month at a LQS. I got three. They were supposed to be hand appliquƩd. Well of course they languished in my UFO PILE. I'm not doing anything by hand that I'm going to dry dishes with, just would just be silly.

    So I pulled out my Steam-a Seam II, my Superior Threads Monopoly, and went to work.

    This is the first time I've done invisible appliquƩ using a mono filament thread. I used a very narrow and short zigzag stitch. It worked perfectly.

    Happy Quilting


    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    Quick tip- multi-cutting strips

    As a block of the month, I am working on the "Spring Bouquet" quilt from Laundry Basket Quilts. I had seen ads for it for months, and was intrigued by the laser cut appliquƩ pieces. Timing was perfect because of my hand surgery. No tracing and cutting a "bazillion" appliquƩ pieces for me.

    The LQS near the beach house had the block of the month so I signed up. It will actually be done in 10 months so even better.

    This is the quilt.


    The pieces are all Pre-cut with Steam-a-seam II on the back. It is wonderful

    Last weekend I worked on the inner 4 patch border.

    These are 1 1/4 inch strips of background and the wonderful batiks used in this quilt.

    You have to cut quite a few and I was looking for a way to speed cut the sub-units but remain accurate.

    I remembered seeing this technique somewhere, and it came in handy.

    All strip sets are pressed to the dark

    Then I placed the color on the background aligning one edge to get a group like this. It is very important to keep the top edge of the strip aligned squarely against the seam of the strip set above it.

    I put my ruler on the stacked set of strips, using the horizontal lines to match with several of the seam lines to keep the group square and aligned, and clean cut one edge.

    Then I rotated my mat, an sub-cut the 11/4 inch two patch strips.

    Then I get in the chain piecing zone, and TA-DA, little four patches

    More on this quilt as it progresses

    Happy quilting!



    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    DH's Quilt is Finally Done

    For our 30th wedding anniversary, I gave my husband a sampler quilt.

    This is a theme you will find running through my quilting process. I LOVE to start projects. Kind of like diets, don't love to start them, but the enthusiasm is high, commitment is right up there.

    This particular quilt was a Block of the Month at one of my LQS, in 1995. So I'd worked on it off and on for over 15 years. Now my anniversary was in 2010. DH got a fully pieced, but only partially quilted quilt. I didn't str making it or him, but I needed a good 30 year present and this was lose to being done.

    Finally, 2.5 years later he got the finished quilt. I took it to our guild retreat and only worked on this one project. Three full days and ome night time work to finish quilting and binding.

    This is the front.


    My free option quilting is ver very beginner. But it was done with love! Used some decorate stitches too.


    Initially I was going to put a braided border on the quilt, but it was way too busy. So I put it into the backing.


    DH likes it and is keeping it at the beach house.

    I have 60 plus other projects that need to be finished. At best I can do 10 a year, and that's with a lot of focus. So I have years of projects without buying another thing. And we all know that won't happen.

    Happy Quilting