Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Alabama Escargot is quilted.

I had some thread breakage: got to quilt three passes twice. I have decided that when I find the thread broken it is another opportunity to practice. LOL

Here is the backing with the quilted label.

And a couple of close ups.

Anyway, I took this off the frame this afternoon and then cut the strips for the binding. I plan to sew the binding on tomorrow and then I will pack it away for a week. We will get taking a trip next month and I am taking this quilt with me as my “handwork” project. I know it is a little big but I don’t do any other handwork and I need something to keep me busy on the drive and during the evenings while visiting. I will post pictures of it when it is all completed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bye Bye Beach

It was with deep regret that we packed up late Sunday afternoon and headed away from the beach and back home. It was kind of funny because I when leaving home for the beach I had regretted leaving the quilting I really wanted to do and now I was regretting heading home. I guess I just can’t be satisfied. However look how rested I looked at the beach.

This morning I was up and ready to get back to quilting. After a good cup of coffee and breakfast, I was off to the studio. I sewed the two parts of the backing together and appliquéd the label to the back. Once that was done it was time to load the quilt onto the frame. Sometimes I forget how many steps there are to that but eventually everything was set and I was ready to quilt.

However, before I could get started DH called and invited me to lunch (Taco Bell). Well who could resist that? So, off I went.

The panto I am using is Siberian Iris from

After some auditioning, I decided on a lavender thread for the top: I want it to be seen but not to take attention from the fabric and piecing. All was going well until about 6 when I found that I had quilted a half of a row without any bobbin thread. At that point I decided it was time to rest and head for the house for some food, TV, and blogging.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Snails Runaway

Thursday I became very frustrated. I could not decide what I wanted to do for a backing for this quilt.

I did prepare the label which is the leftover block and will be appliquéd to the back prior to quilting.

But for several hours I planned, put fabrics on the design wall, and paced with no idea of how to back this quilt. Finally I gave up and left the studio: “Gari has left the studio!” Friday morning, however, I started searching through fabrics that I had not considered and found 10 yards, count them, 10 yards of fabric with red and gray sea shells. So I cut off 5 yards, cut and pressed it in preparation for stitching it and then I closed up the studio and we went to the beach.

And this is where I am now, Perdido Key in the panhandle of FL. When we got here this was my first priority: a comfortable chair, coffee, and a good book.

This was first thing this morning: the sun does not hit our deck as we are facing south.

By 7:30 this morning this was the beach, surf, sand, and fishermen. Boy will this be different later this morning.

We are staying in a friend’s condo, enjoying the sound of the surf, the smell of the salt air, and having no responsibilities, until Sunday evening. Then it is back to the real world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finish-Thank You-Apology

Whoever said it was a good idea to do pieced borders? Well, whoever it was didn’t say what a pain they are.

And, did they come out even on their own? NO they did not. I had to “fudge” a little, increasing some seams, like this.

But the outer border was much easier and now the top is done.

I won a giveaway from Quilter Jan. This beautiful pen was made by her husband and now is mine. Isn't it beautiful? Thanks, again, Jan.

And lastly a heartfelt apology. I recently was given some chicken fabric and when I posted it, Belinda of Brown Dirt Cottage offered to send me some more if I wanted it. Of course I did and she sent these. When it arrived there was no name or with it and I couldn’t find the email to tell me who it was that was sending it. I didn’t post it’s arrival because I didn’t know who to thank. The fabric is wonderful and I am already beginning the process of quilt planning/design to include these fabrics with the others. Thanks Belinda.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Someone recently asked “which is your favorite quilt?” Thinking about it I realized that my favorite quilt is almost always the one I am working on. While I am designing, piecing, appliquéing, quilting and binding, my favorite is the current one. I get passionate about it, as anyone who reads my blogs can attest. However, I have noticed that I am extremely fickle. As soon as a quilt is finished, I either put it on the bed, drape it on furniture, or send it as a gift, and then I almost forget it as I focus on the new adventure. Don’t get me wrong. When I look at the former favorites, I still get that warm, loving feeling, but it is not the intense passion that I feel for the one that is “becoming” under my fingers. I LOVE the process. I love designing a quilt: choosing blocks, putting them together, figuring out color schemes, deciding on borders, etc. Then I love picking out fabrics: can’t buy a “line” because the process has been done for me. Of course I HATE cutting fabric but after that I love piecing blocks and even the changes to design that come either from inspiration or needing to cover for a mistake I have made (oh, yes, that happens).

On my design wall now are all the snail’s trail blocks and I today I finished sewing them together. I made the decision to make a pieced border and I finished one today.

I have a wide backing that I bought at MQX in 2008 that I think will work well for this so I probably won’t have to piece the back and I have decided I am going to quilt this with a panto but have not yet decided which one. I had one extra block, one that didn’t have a lot of value contrast, that I am going to use as a very large label. I have measured out the words that I will be embroidering on it and will get to work on that this weekend. Since the block is 12” I think it will go in the middle of the back and will be on the back before I quilt. But I know that once all of this is done and the binding has been sewn down, I will give it a hug, tell it how much I love it, and then turn around and move on to my next love.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking Time Out

I am taking time out from Snails to work on something else. My guild issued a challenge during the winter. Make a wall hanging, no more than 30 x 30, using two required fabrics and up to 4 more of our choosing. Well, I have made mine and decided to use the “birthing” technique rather than do a binding. I do, however, want to quilt it on the HQ. So, what to do when there is no back or batting to attach leaders or clips to. Well, here is what I did.

What you also are seeing are the two required fabrics (ugly) and two of my four optional ones. Anyway, I made faux leaders that I stitched on to each side

and then attached them to the real leaders and off I went. I can’t show the quilt yet: it will be showing up in September.

Now, the real reason I am posting tonight. I read so many blogs where people are sharing how proud they are of their grandchildren. Well, I would like to do the same. But, alas, this is all I have. Our grandson came by on his way home from work, and here he is:

He explained that today they were having “sex change” day: sounds more like college than work, doesn‘t it? Anyway, we were so happy that he shared with us that I just had to snap pictures. And, as you can see, DH really enjoyed the show.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What’s on my design wall today I am getting this up early as I like to post on Sunday evening and Judy asks for it on Monday. Anyway, this is what my wall looks like right now.

I have gotten 18 blocks done on my batik snail’s trail quilt. I am really loving the look. Below is a picture of how the quilt looks in Fabric Trends: isn’t it amazing how different it is with a different fabric? After I finish all the blocks (20) I will be rearranging them for a few days. I am thinking that I will do two borders, one to stop the action and the outer to finish out the quilt.

One commenter said that she had found this block difficult. I realized that I had not read the directions but had just looked at the pictures and started in. I have also realized that after the little four patch, the rest of the block is working with bias which can be tricky. Anyway, I thought I would show the process I have been working with.

First: I set up a board and picked out all the color combinations for the snails using the 2“ squares. I am using 14 fabrics, all batiks, and tried for as much value differences as possible. <> Anyway, then I take the 2” squares and sew them together into a 4 patch.

I only work on one block at a time because it is too confusing to chain stitch this block, at least for me. One thing I have learned doing these blocks is that I can finally swirl my seams on the 4 patches and get that little 4 patch on the wrong side: look, I am so proud.

Anyway, after pressing these seams it is time to sew on the first set of triangles. The first set is pretty easy as I line up the point of the triangle with the seam of the 4 patch and sew away. After stitching the first triangle I finger press that seam and then go on to the next triangle and repeat the process until I have done this four times and the round is done. Then it is time to press. I press all four seams and then trim.

My way of trimming is to line my ruler up so that the crosspoint of the new edge falls right at the ¼” mark. Because of the bias the sides may not line up perfectly but if the tails at that point are cut on the ¼” mark, you can get a perfect seam for the next round.

Second: For the next four rounds I take the next triangle and pinch it in the middle.

I then line it up with the trimmed point and move it up to that edge. Even if the full edge doesn’t line up, that one will give you the perfect point you need and the block will continue to be square.

I pin on the left side of the edge and then I turn the block over and sew where I can see those two center seams cross. Perfect every time.

Then it is finger press, pinch, line up, pin, sew, finger press, pinch, sew, etc., until the round is done. After each round the block gets a full press and trim before starting the next round.

Wow, it almost took longer to write this than it does to sew a block. With that said, I think I will get back at it. We are in the planning stages of a trip to MD in August and I would like to get this sewn and quilted so I could take it with me to do the hand stitching on the binding while I am visiting. No pressure.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Snails are on the Move

Besides housework, swimming, puppy playing, and blog reading, I have been working on my new quilt project. What have I learned? That snail’s trail blocks take a LOT of fabric cutting. First you cut two strips of fabric for each snail (4 to a block). Then you cut 5 different sized squares.

Then you cut 4 of the 5 squares in half, diagonally.

Then you sew a little 4 patch and start attaching the triangles all the way around starting with the smallest (didn’t think of taking pictures of this part). And this is what you end up with.

I have finished 5 blocks: only 11 more to go, unless I decide to make this a bigger quilt than originally planned. This block has a lot of points you don’t want to chop off but it is really easy to do since you can stitch from the back to make sure you hit the mark. Once the cutting is done this is a really easy block to do and goes much more quickly than I would have imagined. So what do you think of what I have done so far?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quilting Rebellion

My design wall still has the Christmas swap blocks on it and then over them I have put some ideas for a gift quilt. I, however, have decided that at this time I don’t want to work on either. I will leave them up until I need the space and if I am not ready to work on them by then, back to the UFO shelf they go.

On Friday I took a stroll through a local nursery and these hydrangea bushes “jumped” into my car.

I had them sitting in the shade of an oak tree and started digging a hole. This was not a successful venture as we live on clay which is HARD. I dug a little and then filled it with water with the idea of the clay getting softer. When I went out later there was a really big hole. Seems that DH had seen my puny effort and took that as an excuse to go to Walmart where he bought a post hole digger. So we got the first one planted in. Then we started the little bit of digging and water soaking routine for the second. Last night we had a storm and are having off and on storms all day today so the ground should be receptive by tomorrow and the second one can go in.

I have started a new project. I have decided to do a Snail’s Trail quilt, similar to one I saw in the latest issue of Fabric Trends. I am going to do this one in batiks and these are the ones I have chosen.

And this is all I have gotten cut. The pattern calls for 14 fabrics so there is still a lot of cutting to do: did I ever say I HATE cutting?

My other sewing accomplishment was to get my Eleanor BOM block done for July. This is the second Dresden plate block I have done: this one I machine appliquéd which was much easier on my hands. But this block is so easy that I may think up a Dresden quilt to do.

And now, before I get to the dishes and then the studio, I think I will accept DH's invitation to lunch.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Look what arrived at my house today. Nancy was giving away chicken fabric she had decided she was never going to use. Because my mother collects chickens, all kinds, I couldn’t resist entering and, what do you know, I won. Thanks, again, Nancy.

After doing housework and grocery shopping, I fled to the studio and worked on setting up two basket blocks.

I drew the lines where the embroidery is supposed to go: we will have to wait to see if I do the hand embroidery. But I have bought floss, just in case I am so inclined. I now have started Jan, Feb, and March and will probably do the machine appliqué before I start the next three. I would like to get caught up with this before the end of the year. lol

As I was closing up the studio today I happened to look back and this was what I saw.

Isn’t that awful? Up close you can see that I pressed all of the chicken fabric so I can start on my new project. But the cutting table in the background is just full of “stuff.” I have been working on one project after another but the scraps from each project have been shoved to the right and have become quite a pile. I guess that tomorrow I will need to do some housecleaning in the studio before I start cutting or sit down to sew.