Tuesday, December 31, 2013

let's wrap this year up

A few finishes not yet blogged:

Daily News, 63" by 80", my own random piecing:
 I used all stash for the front, prints and batiks.
Quilted using different motifs, and some ruler work.
Why "Daily News?
Remember the silly riddle: what's black and white and red all over? The newspaper!
Photographed at the beautiful Bethabara Park, in Winston-Salem, NC.

And my small stuff:
A 16" by 20" Christmas pillow cover. I free-handed the lettering using the satin stitch on my Sapphire. Then random piecing in red and teal (love this combination!)

And another:

A 24" square snowflake. Fusible applique, free-motion swirls. Leaving this out all winter.

My winter table scape featuring the 22" Poinsettia block from sew kind of wonderful:

Leaving this out all winter, too! So happy 2014 to all of you!

Monday, December 16, 2013


My Tiara, I call her Queen Latifah. She is beautiful, strong and talented!

I have referred to her a few times of late, but want to expand a bit, now that I've quilted several projects on her.
I had decided, earlier this year, to make a long arm purchase. I love quilting, especially free-motion, and thought I might like to quilt for others in the future.

I began by talking to my long-arm quilter friends, practically interviewing them about their machines. Each person was so helpful, and I received the best information. I asked each what they liked about their machine, what they didn't like, and any advice they had. Several recommended that I test drive a variety of brands in order to find the machine that worked for me. I also joined several different quilter groups on line, they were helpful and informative as well, again recommending test-drives. To that end, I attended the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in Raleigh this past June. A group of friends went with me, which made it even more fun. One of my friends, Laura, was on the same mission as I so we enjoyed test driving the machines and comparing notes. (She purchased an APQS George).

All the machines were nice, all did a wonderful job quilting. The stand-up long-arm that I fell for? The Juki Virtuoso. I loved the smooth lines, the amazing handling and all the lights! I also really liked the HQ Avante, beautiful, smooth quilting.
Since all the machines I tried were great, and all the people I spoke to were helpful, I had to consider more of my specific needs. At this point in my life, I quilt for me. Most of my projects do not have a time frame, and while I do quilt for friends, it is not my primary business, so the machine I buy needed to fit my style.
I went with the Tiara for several reasons.

The primary reason: I love free-motion-quilting, moving the quilt with my hands, making designs using the needle as my pen. Second: The quilting on a sit-down long arm would not require learning a new way of moving. My mother has a stand-up long-arm, a Gammill, and I have quilted on it and love many of the features such a machine brings. HOWEVER, that would require a learning curve for my quilting, time practicing in order to get my quilting skills up to speed. With a sit-down machine, no learning curve required.
Plus, I can trade in my Tiara for a stand-up long arm if I decide that is what I want in the future.

The extra space under the needle, the bright LED lights (I have added extra lights as well), the extensions on the table, make this such a joy. I quilt as often as I can! I have started trying build up a few UFO's so I will have something to throw under the needle! I am learning ruler work and having fun trying new threads. I have a supportive dealer and am a member of a great user group so I feel I have 24/7 support. But I have had no problems learning this new machine. She is such a good sport and likes everything I have thrown at her. I am very happy with this machine!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Squeezing a project in

The Thanksgiving holiday break is a great time for me to get in some quilting. The cooking, cleaning, feeding, cleaning all hits on Wednesday-Thursday, so while a seemingly large number of people are shopping, I am holed up in my sweatshop, happily stitching away! I was able to begin, and complete a wall quilt, all on Friday.

This is yet another awesome pattern by May Chappell "All Squared Up". It finished at 24" square.

I purchased the pattern as part of a kit from SewLux Fabrics. I swapped out the center square fabric, using instead a fussy-cut piece of "Winter's Lane", and instead of a solid background fabric, I used a low-volume print.

I had a blast quilting this. I used a bright polyester thread on my sweet Tiara & just let it fly!

Yep, that is some insane matchstick quilting in that border.

And some gratuitous back shots!

This will hang in our foyer as our "winter" wall quilt.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Spare time quilting

At long last, my manic business travel season has come to an end. Can I say "whew"? For a while, I only knew where I was by looking at my calendar!
I did squeeze in some sewing the few times I was home. Started some projects, finished a few. Here is one I finished:

Regal Garden - a wedding gift for a friend of my dear hubby. I have not met the bride, but the groom told us her favorite color is purple.

This is my 2nd using May Chappell's Lazy Sunday pattern. Can I say again how much I love the pattern? This pattern allows me to indulge my love for layer cakes, and enables me to make best use of my limited (of late) quilting time.

I used an "Urban Oasis" layer cake and added both an inner & outer border.  It finished at 56" by 68" after washing.I FMQ-ed it in all over loop, nothing showy as this quilt is all about the colors.

I love the striped binding. It really made everything pop.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Autumn Afternoon

My amazing friend Lee of May Chappell fame released a new pattern called "Lazy Sunday Quilt". She designed it to use 10" squares (layer cakes, an addiction of mine). Lee writes wonderful patterns. Her directions are always clear & she provides great illustrations.

I used "Origins", a layer cake by Basic Gray that was a deal at the Missouri Star Quilt Company a while back.
This pattern went together like a dream!
I made the small size, this measures 44" by 56" (pre-wash). 
Directions are given for sizes up to King.
I FMQ-ed this with a loose loopy stitch path to keep it soft and cuddly.
I already have layer cakes lined up for more.
A great pattern, and you really can make it on a "lazy Sunday Afternoon".

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The 800

According to the Blogger stats, this is my 800th post. Pretty amazing for me. I was never one to keep a hand-written diary or journal. This format of being able to add in pictures with prose while being mobile has kept me at it. So indulge me a bit of reflection.
I began this blog in November 2006. My only son was a senior in high school. He is now in grad school pursuing his Master's in secondary education. He is an amazing man, full of life, joy and a delight to be around. My MIL and Dad wre still here, they have now passed on. My blogging was a bit unfocused, rantung sometimes, random others, then it became my personal quilting journal. And that stuck! I have virtually met many wonderful quilt artists through blogging. Their friendships are very special to me.
I like being able to look back through my blog and see where I was, what I was doing, at any point along the way. Thanks for reading, and commenting!
Now, for a picture!
I made this pillow for our United Fund drive at work. This is a traditional block, the Rolling Stone, done in modern fabrics, it is a 16" pillow.
Oh, and to share something I did for me:
I bought a new machine! A Baby Lock Tiara, 16" sit-down long arm.
Yes, it is love! I thought there would have been more of a learng/adjusting curve, but we just clicked! The extra space and light has lifted my enjoyment to a whole new level! I will share more on her in the future, but suffice it to say: the only problem I have had since getting her is finding enough time to quilt!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New finish

I totally fell in love with these fabrics & this quilt. I used a variety of fabrics (Amy Butler, Jennifer Paganelli) along with a subtle white-on-white. 
This is a wedding present for a bride who likes Lily Pulitzer, green & pink, very girly.
I quilted it with my all-over swirly stitch.
It measures 72" square after washing and drying.
For now I am calling it "wedding star" but I am open to suggestions for a name!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

so, I've been away for a while

I lost my father in August.

His illness and death ripped the rug out from under my feet.

We banded together to support each other, my mother, brother, husband, sister-in-law and son. Family and friends have taken care of us. I really didn't feel like sewing, quilting or blogging. I retreated, taking care of Mom, and myself.

But, I have begun sewing and quilting again. I am planning on maybe a weekly blog post. Unless I have something fantastic to share.

For now, here is one of the projects I am working on, the Metro Hoops pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful.

Please check back, I have other stuff to share!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2 pillows...and a mug rug

2 18" pillows made from orphan blocks, created from my scraps. A mugrug (with mug) for our TMQG swap.  That's about it lately.

Friday, August 2, 2013

my kind of intuitive

This is "good for the Gander":

I used no pattern, making it up, deciding on the parts as I went along. I started with some random scraps, using this method for the Flying Geese. It is a fantastic, precise and fun way to make this block.
I love medallion quilts so I set out to find an appropriate center. I settled on this block, but I strip pieced it instead of the method given. I made positive/negative versions for more visual interest.

After some thinking, exploring and pondering, I stumbled upon this method for Flying Geese, and changed it up to have the Diamond strips.
After a bit more pondering, and auditioning different blocks, I opted for a piano key border. I kept the quilting simple, mostly SID (stitch in the ditch) as this is a quilt that for me is about the play of fabrics. I FMQ-ed feathers in the setting triangles.

What do you think? Like my method of intuitive quilt design?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Small Whole Cloth Quilting

I have finished a couple of small whole-cloth quilts.

These measure 17" square and are gifts.

It is really difficult to get a good photo of the "V", the red fabric really flares.

Silk thread, 2 batts: wool over cotton.

I love the dimension and texture.

The back shows the density of the quilting.
White on white is hard to photograph as well.
Here it is, back lit by the sun.
More dense quilting, more feathers. Way too much fun!

Monday, July 8, 2013


 (read on for a discount code for the pattern)
I have been planning this quilt for a while. The pattern is "Designer Star" by my friend May Chappell. She brought her quilt to our guild meeting and I was smitten! I love big, bold, one-block quilts and hers fit the bill. I bought her pattern and set out on this experience.
Syzygy (pronounced siz-uh-gee) 55" square

Lee (the genius behind May Chappell) and I are buds, yet I had never made one of her patterns. She is gifted at combining fabrics, has a fantastic color sense and is a great designer, but can she write a pattern?
Heck, yeah!
(Lee is also an excellent teacher!)
(And she won 2nd place in this year's Accuquilt Barn Quilt contest)

The pattern description states "Want to make a quilt top in a day? This graphic quilt comes together very quickly and is so fun to make! Using simple techniques, the pattern is written for a beginner, but fun for an advanced piecer as well."

The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. There are pictures and diagrams, and instructions available for 11 (yep, eleven) sizes! My quilt is the 55" square version. This is a great pattern for a quilt that will make a tremendous visual impact. And it goes really fast! I pieced mine in about 3 hours.
My version the pattern photo

I chose to cut into my Moda Cross Weave Natural stash for the background, some Kaffe and Tula Pink give it the zing!  I free-motion quilted in soft wavy lines to accent the star.

Like this and want to make your own? Well, Lee has graciously offered a discount to my readers!
This pattern is available in the May Chappell etsy shop. You can order the pdf or printed version. And until July 31, enter the code "kheli20" in the special instructions area and you will receive 20% off!
Check out all of her amazing patterns. Do you have an Accuquilt die cut system? The Designer Star pattern is also available as an Accuquilt GO pattern.

I believe making a quilt out of the 10" or 19" blocks would be awesome too! I am going to make a pillow from one of those for me! This quilt now is hanging behind my sofa, so we can enjoy it every day!

What are you waiting for? Go, use the discount! Make a quilt!

Why "syzygy"? The astronomical definition of a syzygy is an alignment of 3 celestial objects; for me this was 1) the perfect pattern at 2)the right time, with some of 3)my favorite fabrics!