Thursday, October 30, 2008

This morning I took my Christmas Disappearing 9 Patch off the frame: quilting done. I used a variegated green thread on the front so it is kind of hard to see the quilting. The back is 10" blocks of Christmas fabric and the quilting only shows on the white blocks (and sometimes this is a good thing): picture to follow. I was going to trim it and begin the binding but discovered that I first will have to, again, clean off the cutting table before I can lay this one out and square it up. I have been working on about three different projects while quilting and each of them has left it's mark on the table.

Oh, I discovered what was wrong with my HQ16: operator error, of course. When the thread broke the last time it came out of one of the threading places. This seems to make a really big difference. I discovered it when my machine repairman called to tell me that he had ordered my new needle plate for my Babylock but the other problem was that I had threaded it wrong. Well, I was embarrassed. My excuse is that my new machine is self threading and maybe I just forgot how to thread it? Or, maybe in my haste, I just did it wrong. Whatever!

And the laptop problem, you may ask? Well, after 90 min with a very nice tech at HP it was decided that I would have to reset it to factory defaults. What a pain! But, did that and have almost completely reinstalled all the programs. I/We think that when I tried to uninstall Norton it took my internet connection with it. But now I have Norton out and McAfee in and all is well.

Yesterday I got two 4' x 6' mirrors: free. My LQS is relocating to what was a beauty shop and she had these mirrors she wasn't going to use. I love mirrors and have them all over my house so I couldn't resist. I put one in my bathroom (I will probably regret that next time I shower) and one in the studio. They are not permanently placed but good enough for now.

And now it is time to return to the studio and clean, at least the table.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

So, Friday I went to the studio, full of vim and vigor, ready to work on projects. First I started embroidering on a shirt (for me). On the fourth design the machine started grabbing the thread, breaking it, and making a mess on the underside. I had just had the machine serviced so I packed it up and took it back to the service person. He thinks it is the sole plate which he had already told me had a nick on it.

Back at the studio I started quilting on my Christmas disappearing 9 patch.

I had decided on a holly leaf and loops motif:

And I quilted one pass and was about 2/3 of the way through the second when my HQ16 jammed. The needle goes down but won't/can't pull the bobbin thread up, just gets stuck there.

Now to add to all of this my laptop has decided to not connect with the internet. For the last week it will only be on local wireless and not internet. I have been so frustrated by it that I haven't called anyone: I knew I wasn't in any mood to try many different things. Anyway, the two machines were just too much for me so I shut everything down, jumped in my car, and drove 70 miles to a quilt shop I had recently heard of. It was very nice and I even was able to pick up some sale fabric.

Saturday I sat down at my straight stitch machine and pieced on my Bonnie Hunter quilt now named Chocolate Stars. I have made about 24 blocks, pinned on the design wall, and will probably make 20 - 24 more before I run out of fabric strips.

I also got the fabric all together to make a Christmas wall hanging. My sky will be the blue and I plan to have 12 reindeer, 6 light and 6 dark, kind of like shadows. This quilt will cover a set of bookshelves that are above where we put our Christmas village set: this will be the background. I have to get started on it soon because we put the village up the first weekend in December, only 5 weeks away.
I guess the moral of this story is that it is good to have several different machines so that when one goes wonky I can just move to a different one and work on a different project. Another moral is that it is good to have decided to not make Christmas gifts this year: no deadlines looming.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Quilt Related

Between car problems, piled up errands, and babysitting, not much in the way of quilting has gone on around here. I did get the rows for the Christmas quilt backing sewn into pairs but that is as far as I got. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

This is Sky, my "great" grandson. He visited this morning while his grandmother, my daughter, went for her admission interview for nursing school. Here he looks happy, doesn't he. Well, he wasn't when he woke up in a strange house. But after a little temper he settled in.

Here he is with PawPaw, wondering, I think, what I was doing.

And meeting Buffy.
Sky and I spent some time outside sitting on the swing before his grandma came to take him away. He loves to swing so was quite content. It was fun to play with a baby again but also fun to see him packed in his car seat and taken away. I don't know how I got things done with little ones (4) around "way back then."
Tomorrow I have nothing else planned so really hope to get the quilt back done and everything loaded on the HQ16. Of course, as I typed this I remembered that I have a lunch date with my daughter so I guess I will have to get up early to get something done. What a mad social whirl my life is. ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

So Much Time, So Little Done

So, with a whole weekend to myself, I planned a lot of piecing and quilting time. And what did I accomplish? Very little. Friday afternoon, after my husband left for a trip, I crashed. So I decided that what I really needed was to rest, so that's what I did.

Saturday morning I drove to NW FL to visit in two quilt shops, Lowes, and Books-A-Million. When I got home I read my email and worked on a plan for the backing of a Christmas quilt. I also repressed all of the strips for the Chocolate Stars (Bonnie Hunter class) and hung them up so they will be ready when I can get back to it.

Then came Sunday. I was up early to get a paper (no delivery in the country) and then fixed a really good breakfast for paper reading. After feeding the puppies and birds I went to the studio to cut 10.5" squares for the backing (something I saw on Bonnie Hunter's quilts). I chose 5 different Christmas fabric remnants and when the squares were finished I counted them and then went to EQ6 to decide how to position them. That was much easier than the design wall since I still have the bargello on the wall. I printed out the plan and was back in the studio to stack the blocks into rows. By that time I was tired, again. I was going to nap but wound up cleaning bird cages instead. The really fun thing was that it was in the 40s last night so I had a fire in the fireplace while I sat, read quilt magazines, and rested.

This morning I was up and running. I took my car to be serviced, took a sewing machine to be cleaned, deposited money in the bank, and went to the grocery store. Back home I had brunch, fed the birds and was back in the studio. I sewed blocks together until I had all the rows done for the backing. When I went back in the house I decided to make meatballs, my husband's favorite meal. I got started but when I opened the rice I found that it had gone bad so will finish them tomorrow. I then decided to put the new drawer knobs on an old dresser I am using for a buffet. The dresser is 42 years old and has been painted several times. Last summer I sanded about three layers of paint off and although I usually don't like shabby sheek I loved our history in all those paint colors. So I left it and decided I wanted crystal (acrylic) pulls.

Aren't they great?
So now it is Monday night. My husband will be home about 1 am and tomorrow morning we will begin a normal week (except I didn't get my car back, yet). Maybe I will be able to get my quilt back done and on the frame, maybe I'll get more done on my star quilt, and maybe I will get enough rest to do it all. GARI

Friday, October 17, 2008

Road Trip

So after a wonderful workshop on Wednesday, Maribel and I decided to check out the "local" fabric shops. We traveled from Auburn, AL to Columbus, GA. We went first to Sew Much More and found a wonderful shop with LOTS of fabric and notions. I bought a little more of the Moda for my workshop project and a Christmas fabric for a finished quilt top. I also bought a pin cusion to sit on the HQ16.
Isn't she cute?

Then we headed off to an heriloom shop. We had told Maribel's family that we wouldn't have any trouble getting around since we had the GPS. Well, shortly after we left Sew Much More, the GPS died. It will not run when plugged in and it charges very slowly in the car. So we called the next shop. They gave us directions but we kind of went around in circles for a while. We finally stopped at a Welcome Center where a very nice lady give us maps and directions and we got there. I asked if we could plug in the GPS while we were there and then we shopped. I got a pincushion that sticks on the design wall and some whip stitch piping that I think will look really good on this workshop quilt.
Then we headed home. The GPS died again before we left Columbus so we got the maps out and found what highway we were headed for and pointed ourselves in that direction. And, what do you know, we found it and got where we were going. (BAD GPS!!)
So far this has been a great week. I spent Monday and Tuesday getting ready to go to the Bonnie Hunter workshop in Auburn, AL. I had decided I didn't want to come home to dirty dishes or dirty clothes so I did everything up. I even took my "Baby Brother" sewing machine to be cleaned. I stayed late Tuesday to attend my guild and show off Falling Leaves and then hit the road around 7 pm. I arrived in Auburn at 9:30 and Wednesday was up and ready for the workshop in plenty of time.

My friend, Maribel, was already there and had gotten us a table right up front so we could see Bonnie and be sure to understand all the instructions.

Bonnie is a great teacher. She is enthusiastic, and talks a little fast, but made everything very clear. She didn't, however, stay up front. She walks around, talks to everyone, helps with fabric selection, sewing, and general encouragement.

Here is my version of Bonnie's quilt. I bought a Moda jelly roll (didn't have any precut strips of my own) and paired it with the brown. the four blocks on the left are sewn together and the two on the right are just lying there so see how they look. I think this is going to be a very pretty fall quilt.

On Thursday night at their guild meeting Bonnie gave a trunk show and also explained how she comes by all these "strips, squares, and logs" that make up her quilts. Most of these can be seen on her web page,, or in her new book, "Scraps & Shirttails."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Falling Leaves - done

This is Falling Leaves. It is the first quilt top I ever made. Because it was the first, and I was so proud of it, I was afraid to quilt it for fear I would ruin it. However, this week I put it on the frame and just started. I quilted the leaves by quilting, free hand, 1/4" around the leaf and then quilted in the veins. Then I stippled around them.

All of this was done with monofiliment, invisible, thread. The sashing was done with variegated thread that I have had since the top was done (2001). I used the same thread to do loops and swirls in the border, which can't be seen because of all the color already there.

I even had the backing and binding all ready, just waiting for me to get up the nerve. The quilt is 70 x 78, just right for a coverlet on these cool Fall nights.
After getting this done I was on a roll so I completed the BOM for the quilt shop in Ft. Walton Beach that I used to go to all the time when I lived down there. I go to FL at least once a month (100 miles) because I live "90 miles from anywhere" and taking my BOM is just one of my excuses.
Next project? I have two Christmas quilts (first ever) to complete. One top is done and I need to find backing for it. The other is swap blocks that I have only half designed settings for. Also, on Tuesday, after guild, I am going to Auburn and Wednesday I will be enjoying a Bonnie Hunt class with the guild there. A friend invited me and I am really looking forward to it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Slow Quilting Start

I woke up this morning and decided to read my email while I ate breakfast. However, my laptop wouldn't connect to the internet. I went to the PC and it also didn't connect. A call to my server and, after a failed attempt at resetting the router, I was told that they would try to fix it from "there" or they would send a technician today, tomorrow or maybe Monday. I was really depressed about no internet for 3-4 days but what could I do?: go out to eat is what. Anyway, when I got back from eating and running errands, my email was back. Whoo Hoo!!!

I am still pretty new at long/mid arm quilting but I did learn some tricks to getting ready for free motion, which I really enjoy. I bought a white board and markers. I draw a reasonable outline of the quilt I am doing and sometimes even the blocks themselves. Then I "practice" different quilt patterns. By the way I quilt better than I draw but I have gotten used to that and don't judge my drawing ability any more. Anyway, I take a picture of the design I decide to use and then have it with me when I quilt. It is amazing how often I refer to the drawing to keep me on track. This is the drawing for the Falling Leaves quilt currently on the frame.
I decided on the small meander after outlining the leaves. I have finished quilting the blocks, done with invisible thread, and now am ready to start the sashing. I think I will be doing the small oak leaves using the Meandering Magic technique. This will be done with a varigated thread that has several Fall colors. Since the borders are very colorful I am only doing loops and swirls because they won't be seen much.
And now it is off to the studio. If I don't get busy I will have used us a whole day with no quilting, only talking about it. GARI

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Still Learning

Today I tried something new, to me. I used John Flynn's diagonal cut quilt backing idea. I got his formula and put my numbers in: figured that the fabric I had would work. so I had to lay the fabric out on the deck in order to mark the diagonal line (using two yardsticks) and then cut it. Back out to the deck to lay the two triangles on the decking and move it until I had wide enough fabric. and guess what! It worked. Now it is ironed and on the HQ16 along with the batting and quilt top. Tomorrow, when I am rested, I will begin quilting it.

This top was the first quilt I made (2001) but I never tried to quilt it, waiting until I had a machine and then learned how to use it.

I have been receiving some very nice comments: thanks everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


For the past several years I have had a personal rule: only three ongoing projects at a time. Then I retired and decided I could handle 4-5 since I like variety. However, a couple of weeks ago I decided to sign up for an online class, Bargello Blues on QU. As I got ready for that class to start I also took a class using the 9 degree wedge ruler. And two days later several of us from my quilt guild decided to try our hands at a feathered star. Well, by now I am feeling a little schizophrenic. This is how my design wall looked last week: This is all three projects on one wall: what a mess. So I decided to concentrate on one at a time and today I completed the feathered star.

As I look at this picture I see that my blue fabric looks just like the blue wall but I swear there is fabric in there. Anyway, I am pretty proud of this and sat down and planned a table topper design using friendship stars as the border.

Tomorrow I want to put a quilt on the frame and finish an embroidered pillow for my BIL and then get to work on the bargello. I'll bet I will feel a lot better when I have this mess under control. Of course it didn't help that yesterday I bought fabric for two new quilts. Will I ever learn?

Friday, October 3, 2008

This is me and my quilt called Hunky Cowboys. My husband collects B Western memorabilia and has decorated our family room with his treasures. I needed a quilt for those cool winter nights and decided it should fit the theme of the room. Thus....Hunky Cowboys. To see other quilts I have made, please visit my Webshots page:


This is a small picture of me. The quilt is called Hunky Cowboys. My DH collects B Western memorabilia and he has decorated the family room with most of his treasures. Well, I thought I needed a quilt for those cool winter nights but also needed something in keeping with the theme of the room. Thus...Hunky Cowboys.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

And Away We Go

So, here I go, starting a blog. And why? Well, I have been reading other’s blogs, mostly about quilting, and I found I really wanted to join this community. I like reading about other’s adventures in quilting and would like the opportunity to share with likeminded people. So thus begins this new adventure.

I am a retired psychotherapist (married with 4 adult children). I used to knit, sew, and do other crafts but work took up too much of my time. Then in 1996 I got my first embroidery machine. That led to joining a small sewing/embroidery group and where I was eventually introduced to quilting. From then on quilting has become my avocation and passion.

At retirement, 2 years ago, I got a quilting studio and a HQ16 mid-arm quilting machine. It took me almost a year to get the courage to use the HQ16 on anything but muslin and so had built up a small stack of quilt tops. However, in the last 6 months I have been slowly gaining confidence and have quilted about half of my tops along with several charity quilts. I attended MQX in April and took three classes with Suzanne Earley where I learned about Meandering Magic and found that I really like free motion quilting. This week I tried my first panto, on a charity quilt. It was not as much fun as free motion and I will really have to work on placement: had to do free motion loops in between passes.

So, this is my first post. I figure I will be talking to myself for a while but soon hope to have others sharing my quilting life. GARI