Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I'm two-timing on this blog. I now also blog, sporadically, . Who am I kidding, wherever I blog, it's sporadic. On a good day I get everyone fed & educated. I have been sewing up a storm. My eldest teenager, I now have two, took photos for me out on the clothesline today. I loved making this quilt. She's called "Pokie Dots" cause that's what Sophie Kate calls her. Sophie has no idea that this quilt is going to Threads of Time to hang out with Bill & Missi for awhile. I don't think she's planning on sharing. All the circles are freezer paper appliqued. I made way more than I needed. I absolutely love making these. I love them so much that I went out and bought a bigger and better die cut machine and a new set of circles. I can now die cut 21 sizes of circles, five at a time, out of freezer paper. There is no holding me back now!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Urban studio

Early this sping I decided I needed an indoor studio. The three season porch gets really nippy, even with the electric fireplace. I decided to get a corner desk at Ikea and wedge it into the dining room. We have 8 people in 1800 square feet. Obviously, the dining room is small. I made incredible use of a corner of the room. I love it. I call it my urban studio because it is so much stuff crammed in one place. It reminds me of city living.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tara, No peeking

don't you dare scroll down. You only have 2 weeks to wait. No spoilers!!

Sophie's Quilt

Sophie's quilt

Slideshow from Atkinson Designs. Really well written pattern. I picked the lap quilt size thinking it would be a good size for Sophie Kate. I should have looked at the dimensions. It almost entirely covers my king size bed. I'm finishing up the machine quilting. I just have all the tiny little squares to quilt around. Then I'll decide if I'm going to put something in the middle of the big squares.

Sophie loved it when I started it, now she doesn't like it. It's fine, cause I love it.

Poor neglected blog...

Summer is coming so posts should increase. I've been quilting up a storm and Matthew is knitting up a storm to get ready to go to market in June.

This is a sideways picture of Tara's baby quilt. Her aunt is going to machine quilt it. When I put the right side up one above, it somehow got cropped. I have a degree in Psych and nursing, not computery stuff. Apparently, I need to do this backward because each picture I post shows up above the last one. I'm not sweating it and hitting the "publish post" button with my fingers crossed. I've tried to post and blogger kept eating the posts over the last few months.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pam's Curved Log Cabin Complete

Okay, I'll admit that I've been remiss in my blogging duties.  Pam's curved log cabin quilt has been done for almost two weeks, and I'm just now getting around to bragging about it and posting pictures here.  I will see Mom & Dad tomorrow, and they will courier the quilt back to Colorado and deliver it personally to Pam.
I am super pleased with how this quilt turned out: from the fabric choice, to the piecing pattern, to the quilting! I did a large-scale meander on the print fabrics and a small-scale meander in the background. I had a grand time playing with the BSR on the new machine, and I'm just tickled with the results. I am in LOVE with the automatic tie-on and tie-off+cutting at the touch of a button.

I also need to thank Grant for my earlier birthday present: a Tutto rolling bag so I can take my machine to workshops, like the Men's Quilting Retreat in Danville coming up in August!  I took the picture of the bag on a queen-sized bed so that you'd get a good sense of big this bag is!  Also, if Kara didn't have such severe motion sickness, she could come along on my flying trips, because I think she could easily fit inside this bag!

I am also really excited about finding the quilt shop (A Quilting Bee) in Mahomet!  I've driven by there hundreds of times on my way to the bank or post office, but many thanks to Kara for letting me know it was there.  I stopped in tonight on my way home from work and snagged some awesome Hoffman Batik Fat Quarters (20 of them in bright primary & secondary colors) along with some awesome white-on-white print fabric to make "Slideshow" -- which Kara just made for Ms. Sophie Kate's birthday.  I also got a few other assorted fat quarters and some rulers I didn't have.  Andrea and her husband Jeff are simply delightful, and they have a rather lovely collection of fabrics.  And they've ordered two gallons of Mary Ellen's Best Press in Lavender for us!  Because lavender *is* the office scent of quilting...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pam's Curved Log Cabin Update

I have 25 of the 48 squares completed for Pam's Curved Log Cabin quilt.  Grant and I played with the squares and laid out a few of them (I admit I was a lazy bitch because I didn't clear off the dining room table to layout more of them).  I'm quite pleased with how this is going to come out!

It turns out this quilt pattern is perfect for constantly checking one's quarter-inch seams:  Each time you add a new piece, it should fit along the edge exactly.  If the new piece is too short, then the seams have been too small; but if the new piece is too long, then the seams have been too large.  I thought I was going to hate the quarter-inch foot because the line on the throat-plate disappears into the hole for the feed dogs, but then I noticed that the feed dogs have the quarter-inch line in them!  Between the line on the throat-plate, the line on the feed dogs, and the edge of the foot, I have this down now!

One of the coolest things about piecing the blocks is deciding in which orientation the next foreground fabric strip will be added, allowing one to consider the color and flow of the block.  I can hardly wait to do the same thing when laying out the blocks in rows, swapping them till I get a pleasing arrangement.

And I'm really excited to quilt on my new mid-arm machine.  I haven't decided if I'm going to use stencils or free-hand; at the moment, I'm leaning toward free-handing a tighter meander in the background fabric areas, with a looser/larger meander on the foreground fabrics.  I might also use the fabric pencil to draw in the long, graceful curves implied by the rectangles, perhaps adding some scroll work or other embellishments.  But, I have plenty of time to make those decisions.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

And He's Back...

I did not really expect to be absent from the blogosphere for such an extended period of time, but no trabajo, no dinero.  The month of January saw no quilting activity to speak of for me (shock!  gasp!), although I did some serious fabric collecting during that time.  The coolest development, however, was that between Mom & Dad's christmas present and Grant's valentine's day present, I got a new Bernina 820 (henceforth known as Ernie):

I am in love with Ernie, as one might expect. I don't know if I'm more in love with the 40% larger bobbins, the bobbin quantity warning, the automatic needle threader, or the button to cut the thread! I'm not quite used to this dual-drive quarter-inch presser foot because the right feed doggie is only half-covered, so I feel like the seam is hard to control as it moves to the very end of the seam. On my 21 year old Bernina, I shift the needle to the right 1/8" and then use the 3/8" guide. The only downfall to that method is remembering to shift the needle accordingly when switching tasks.  For the time being, I'm going to stick with the 37D foot because the foot was designed for quilters.

My only serious complaint has already been addressed:  When we put the order in, the distributor told us that Bernina decided not to develop the plexiglass extended table for the 8 series (and I fell in love with that innovation with my old Bernina).  Yesterday, Joyce informed me that they found another company that makes the table I want (24" by 24"), so I will get my extension table afterall!!  Yay!

So my current quilting project is an excellent one for my new machine:  Curved Log Cabin from Blue Underground.  It's perfect between each square is comprised of 15 rectangles, and if my seams are not spot-on at a scant 1/4", then the new piece will be either too long or too short.  I've made my first two squares, and my seams seem to be right on target with only tiny variation.   When Grantward picked up the first square, he noticed immediately that the stitches were extremely even and more consistent that the old one.  I'm using a dozen asian print fabrics and a beautiful brown "line sketch" floral for the background of this quilt, which is destined for my dear, dear friend, Pam, who is going through chemo for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  Yikes!  For the record, I'm getting a little fed up with all these fluffing cancer quilts.  On my last trip to Sew Sassy, I bought a dozen happy, bright batiks to make a HAPPY COLOR version of the Arcadia Quilt for myself.  I need a happy, non-cancer related quilt in my life!  I have two blocks done, and I can hardly wait to piece the blocks together -- this one is going to be gorgeous, and no one deserves a special quilt more than Pam.  Good thing, too, because otherwise this one would be hard to part with.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sharks for Sam

Sam felt that he should help out with making his PJ bottoms.
I've mostly been doing handwork while the little kiddos are sick.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 27, 2010

22 yards later...

My friend, Grandma Joyce, who is blogless made my entire family matching PJ bottoms for Christmas. She also made my two youngest robes. We tried out the timer on our camera for the first time to get a family photo for her.

Christmas Morning Hangover

Every Christmas my husband takes the classic shot of me holding my Starbucks Latte in the morning after a long night of finishing up homemade presents and wrapping presents.

Another day, another party...

We celebrated the day after Christmas with my Husband's side of the family. I made a quilt for his mother and aunt.

Best Christmas Ever...

I made 24 photo calendars

around 9 mousepads

lost count at 80 treat bags... there were many more, including the adult ones with the whiskey candies, and the four quilts

This is my Grandma and Great Aunt Dee holding up their quilts. They absolutely loved them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas... I need a nap!

I can't believe I finished all the Hudson quilts in time for Christmas!  I put the final stitch in the binding on Katie's Hunter's Star quilt at 10:45pm on Thursday night, so it made a trip through Mr. Washy and was dry at 12:15am on Christmas Eve.  The Jumbo Vacuum bag from The Container Store worked like a charm, with all five Hudson quilts and a half dozen shirts compressing down to the size of a medium suitcase!

I do have the two Columbus quilts to finish (each one needs the binding sewn down), but we won't leave for Columbus until New Years Eve, so I have five days to finish two quilts -- compared to the mad dash to get two quilt bindings sewn down in two days, finishing these two will be a cake walk.  Update:  All quilts are finished for Christmas, 2010!  Everyone loved his or her quilt, and here are the pictures to prove it.  Okay, well to be honest, Greg wanted to wait to open his present till we get back, but we know he'll love it!

So, here are some pictures of the Hudson quilts:

Mom and Dad's Amish Steps Quilt

Mom and Dad's quilt is made from batik fabrics, and the quilting is "stitch in the ditch" two inch squares with a medium meander in the outer border.  Mom and Dad insist this quilt is the most beautiful quilt ever made.

Jenny's Zen Quilt

Jenny's Zen quilt is also constructed from batik fabrics using one of our favorite patterns from Blue Underground Studios.  The quilting uses the "Wondrous Waves" template (# HW31) across the main quilt.  With a fairly dense quilt, the 2" finished border is unquilted, save from quilting the year and my initials.  Jenny insists this is the most beautiful quilt ever made.
John's Hunter Star Quilt

John's Hunter Star quilt uses two different batiks for the background, each one with red kanji on a black field, and two guilded gold prints for the star points.  The inner border is a gold-on-black print, and the outer border is a chinese knot pattern.  The backing fabric has large, red kanji characters on black and small black kanji characters on gold.  The stars are quilted using a free-motion "stitch in the ditch", and the squares were quilted using the "Celtic Square" template (# DAY15), although when quilted on this fabric, the motifs look more like chinese knots than celtic knots.  The border was quilted with a large meander and included my initials and the year it was quilted.  John absolutely loves his quilt and was extraordinarily pleased to have a "ninja" quilt, complete with throwing stars.  John insists that this is the most ninja-est quilt ever made.
Katie's Hunter Star Quilt

I started Katie's quilt at a Hunter Star class, and the instructor was quite concerned that the fabrics I had selected were too close in hue, value, and saturation to work effectively in a Hunter Star quilt block.  By the end of the workshop, I had my first square constructed and enough pieces to layout one star, and she was quite happy to see how unfounded her fears were.  Of course, I never had any doubt.  This quilt uses the 6" blocks, so there are 80 blocks; each block is comprised of 8 pieces of fabric, and Katie was properly amazed with the 640 pieces of fabric in her quilt.  The interior diagonal lines running through the stars were quilted "stitch in the ditch" using the walking foot; the outsides of the stars were quilted "stitch in the ditch" with a free-motion technique.  The squares were quilted using an interlocking hearts/flowers template (# HH42).  The borders use a medium meander, including my cursive initials and the year.  katie absolutely loves it and insists that this is the most beautiful quilt ever made.  
Robert's Arcadia Quilt

Robert's quilt top is pieced from civil war reproduction fabrics that I bought in his home-town of Danville, Illinois.  Everyone who knows Robert (or has seen his wardrobe) immediately recognizes these colors as very "Robert" colors.  The backing fabric was tea-dyed, and upon washing the quilt, I discovered some noteworthy fading of the color.  Under other circumstances, I'd be quite upset; but in this case, I'm delighted with the fact that the color faded far less (or not at all) underneath the stitching and far more so elsewhere, bringing the quilt stitching into a much stronger contrast (as can be seen in the last two pictures).  The large squares were quilted with the "Flowers & Curves" template (# HH2), and the four adjacent squares were quilted using the "Elegance" template (# HH54) in a 4.5" size.  The borders were quilted with a smallish meander, including my cursive initials, the year it was quilted, and special message (and inside joke).  Robert was quite taken with the quilt (and especially loves the secret message / inside joke stitched into the border quilting), and he insists that his quilt is the most beautiful quilt ever made. 

The Columbus Quilts:

Greg's Amish Steps Quilt

Greg's quilt is a second "Amish Steps" quilt, using many of the same batik fabrics as the one I made for Mom & Dad.  His borders, however, feature a leafy batik that we've dubbed the "Marijuana" print.  I used a "stitch in the ditch" technique with a walking foot to outline each rectangle with a fairly tight meander for the outer border, including my initials and the year.  Greg hasn't opened it yet, but he will insist that it is the most beautiful quilt ever made (at least if he knows what's good for him).
Haley's Six-Pack Fat Quarter Quilted Tote Bag

Haley's tote bag is made from six fat quarters; the pockets are quilted with a meander tight enough to qualify as stippling, and the rest of the bag is quilted "stitch in the ditch."  Haley hasn't opened it yet, but no doubt she will insist it is the most beautiful quilted tote ever made.
Kathy's Arcadia Quilt

Kathy's Arcadia quilt was made with the Hungarian Blues collection fabrics.  The quilting of the motifs (large and small) are identical to Robert's Arcadia, but the borders on this quilt use a "Feathers and Curves" template that rather resembles a leafy vine.  Kathy is a big fan of blues and paisley, and she insists this is the most beautiful quilt ever.
Colin's I Spy Quilt

Colin's quilt is comprised of 63 charm squares (5" finished size), with three squares cut from each fabric, except for the Oreo cookies, of which there are nine squares (because his nickname is Cookie).  The outer border is genius for an I Spy quilt with the eyes looking out of the jungle, and everyone loves the backing fabric as Colin will no doubt spend hours driving cars over the roads.  The quilting is very simple:  Sitch in the ditch around the charm squares and the borders, with additional parallel lines quilted at 0.5" intervals on either side of both borders.  Colin insists his is the coolest quilt ever, at least we assume that's what he's saying with the "gup" in his mouth.

I know I could add a new post to add the new pictures as we exchange gifts with the Haab family, but my OCD side wants all the Christmas, 2010 quilt pictures in one post.