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.