Monday, January 31, 2011


After weeks running around from task to task, I found some time today to become reacquainted with my sewing room and my machine.  And I finally started on the quilt that I gathered these fabrics for...

Fabric for Mystery Quilt
I can't share a lot about this quilt until the designer gives me permission (won't be any time soon), but I figure the pictures of my progress today don't give anything away.  While I spent my time, sewing and pressing these...

My companions spent their time hanging out on the couch behind me...

Sam and David
However, David wasn't content to just hang with me, he wanted some up close and personal attention...

It's a little hard to sew with a 20 pound cat laying on your fabric.  But I persevered and managed to finish putting together this strip set...

Mystery Quilt Strip Set
The center strip is a bit more yellow than in the picture.  So far, I'm liking how these fabrics play together.  And I enjoyed the time in my sewing room along with all the companionship.

Until later...

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 
 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NLT)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Here's My Heart (update)...

Initially my goal was to finish this quilt by Valentine's Day.  I'm now thinking that might not happen, but I'm still hoping to have the top done by then.  I managed to finish the hand applique on the center of the quilt the other night.  I only have a little bit of embroidery still to do on the bird (add his eye and feet).

Here's My Heart by Bunny Hill Designs
This was a kit I bought at a quilt store a couple of years ago.  Not only do I really like the fabrics in it, I'm also really impressed with the amount of it.  I'll have some nice sized pieces left over when this is done.  I would definitely buy another kit from them, but unfortunately the owner retired in December and the shop is now closed.

I've managed to get the inner border on this as well and am now prepping the outer border which has scallops appliqued on it.

Center with Inner Border
It looks a little wavy in the picture, but that's just because I didn't smooth it out.  I think if I can applique one side of the outer border each night, I might have the top together by the end of this week.  Of course that's only if life doesn't interfere - which it has a habit of doing!

Here's a picture of Gabriel I took during her afternoon nap.

Until later...

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stash Report Week #4...

January 22 - 28, 2011

Time for another stash report.  This week saw one finish and one purchase.  It would have been nice if the fabric in and out would have matched, but it's not even close.

I'll start with the finish.  I put the final stitches in Hootville last night.  (This was my third quilt finish this year.)  You can read all about it in my last post if you're interested.  The minkee backing on it was 60" wide so it only took 1.5 yards.  And although I cut the binding wider than usual, it still only required half a yard.  Although I worked heavily on quilting Twisted Rope and appliqueing Here's My Heart, neither of them are done yet.

As for incoming fabric, I bought a whole bolt of fabric.  I purchased it last week, but it just arrived on Tuesday.  I just happened to read Bunny Hill Design's blog right after she posted that she was going to stop carrying yardage and was selling all she had in stock for 50% off.  She had on hand several colors of Moda Bella Solids and if you'll recall, I purchased some at the beginning of the year called "Snow" thinking it would be an off-white.  But when it arrived it was a pale yellow.  In any case, I jumped at the chance to purchase a bolt of the White at $2.88 a yard.  I checked back the day after and she had pretty much sold out of everything.  If I hadn't been in the right place at the right time (figuratively speaking), I know I would have missed out.  So now I have 15 yards of this beautiful basic to use in my quilting.

Moda Bella Solids White PFD - 15 yards
What's also great is that this fabric is PFD (prepared for dyeing), so if I get up the urge to dye some more fabric, I can use this.

Purchased-this-week: 15 yards
Used-this-week: 2 yards
Purchased-to-date: 28.5 yards
Used-to-date: 9.5 yards
Net used: -19 yards

I'm further in the red this week and I've also already purchased my quota of fabric for January, February and the first week of March.  My goal was to buy less than 150 yards this whole year (or 12.5 yards per month), but it's not looking so good right now.  Fortunately I'm stocked up on staples and don't have any projects that I need to buy fabric for in the near future.

Until later...

The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me. 
Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Today saw the finishing touches on a small quilt for charity.  It's one of the ones I practiced long-arm quilting on.  This is a picture of the top before I quilted it...

Hootville Top
The quilt is made from a panel I cut apart and sashed with the red.  It was a very cute panel and nice quality fabric, but I have to admit the blocks were wonky and not square at all.  No matter how much I starched and pressed them, they still continued to fight me - particularly while quilting.

I used minkee for the backing on this one.  It's a charity quilt for a child and I thought they'd enjoy the texture and softness of it.  Minkee is a bit stretchy though so I basted it to the batting before loading it onto the frame.  That seemed to stabilize it enough for me to quilt it.

Batting and Minkee Batting
I wanted to try a couple of different techniques on the long-arm and used this as practice.  I bought a clamshell ruler and used it to make circles inside the sashing.  I also used a different size clamshell in the outer border.

Circle and Clamshell Quilting
I completed all the circles and clamshells on the long-arm and then finished the rest of the quilting at home on my regular sewing machine.  I straight stitched the printed border inside each block and free motion outlined some of the figures in each block.

Hootville Quilted
I think the front turned out pretty cute, but I am so in love with the back!  I thought the minkee might be difficult to work with.  Not only was I wrong about that, but the effect of the quilting on the back is so graphic.

Minkee Backing on Hootville
It's as if all the quilting is etched on the fabric.  The color is really a deep chocolate brown, but the flash lightened it quite a bit in the pictures.  Hopefully you can still see all of the quilting though.

Monkey and Owl Block from the Back
In this one block I outlined the monkey and owl on a branch and they show up so well on the back.  I would definitely use this again for another baby or kid's quilt.  I don't think you even need batting here although it did nicely stabilize the backing.  I also cut my binding wider than usual to account for the bulk of the minkee.  I cut it 3", but probably could have gotten away with 2.75".  The binding was all attached by machine.  I don't know if it would have even been possible to hand stitch it to the back or not.

Another Section of the Back of Hootville
The stats for this quilt are:
  • Size: 48" square
  • Fabrics: Owl Panel from Wish Upon a Quilt, Sashing is Kona Cotton and Outer Border was from my stash. Backing is minkee in chocolate brown from JoAnns.
  • Batting: Warm and Natural
  • Thread: Superior Threads So Fine 50 wt for circles and clamshells; other quilting is a mix of Aurifil and Guterman 50wt.
  • Quilting: Custom
  • Started in September 2010, completed January 2011.
So this quilt is now done and ready to go to it's new home - a child at the InterAct shelter.

Until later...

So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 
James 2:17 (NLT )

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My favorite thread to machine piece with is Aurifil 50 wt.  If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it.  It's strong and has almost no lint.  Of those threads I've tried, it's definitely my favorite.  But I'll admit it can be pricey.  At my local quilt store, it's $10.99 for the solid colors.  There's a lot on a spool though and it lasts quite a long time.

Aurifil Thread
I recently ordered some online for $6 a spool from Sue's Sew EZ Designs.  Same stuff, just a much cheaper price.  She also ships up to 24 spools for $5 (continental US only I believe).  I'm mentioning this now because the sale price ends at the end of this month.  I've ordered from her several times before and have always been pleased with her customer service.  Just passing on a good deal in case you're interested.

Note:  This is a completely unsolicited and unsponsored post.

Until later...

Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive. 
Titus 3:14 (NLT)

Frogging it...

Have you heard the term?  It's quilter's lingo for unsewing.  Whenever you have to rip out a bunch of stitching, you're frogging it.  (In case you're confused, it's because "rip it" and "ribbit" sound so similar.)

I spent about 6 hours yesterday ripping out most of the quilting I've done on Twisted Rope.  I took out all the stitching for this heart motif because the thread color matches so well, you can barely see it.  In fact, were it not for the paper, you probably wouldn't notice anything except the fabric.

I've decided to re-quilt the feathered hearts in a different thread color.  There will be one on each side of the quilt.  I also quilted feathers on either side of this motif for the length of the quilt (113") - in a different thread color.  After looking at it, I decided that although I liked the new thread color, I wanted to do the feathers differently.  So I removed all that stitching as well.

Fortunately I had a bunch of episodes of my soap saved up (Days of Our Lives) and I could just play episode after episode while I worked.  Jack was also my companion for this task...

I had to finish taking it all out and prepping it for the new stitching because I had an appointment to rent time on a long-arm Tuesday.  So I spent 5 hours today adding the new feathers and stippling the ropes.  No pictures though because I forgot my camera.  I left the quilt on the frame so Donna of Whatever's Quilted can add feathered wreaths to it using the computer aided design.  When she's done, I'll go back and work on it some more - maybe Thursday.

I'm doing most of the quilting on the frame, but there are a few areas that I plan to tackle on my domestic machine because they'll be easier on my back that way.  I'm finding this hybrid quilting is the best approach for me.  Some parts are less taxing on a long-arm while others are better at my home machine sitting down.

In any case, I'll be really glad to finish this quilt.  And I'm so very hopeful that I won't have to frog it anymore.

Until later...

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 
 Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stash Report Week #3...

January 15 - 21, 2011

Well, it looks like I'm going to be in the red for a while longer.  Perhaps a lot longer.  I never made it into my sewing room last night or today to finish the charity quilt.  Maybe I'll get around to it sometime this week.  They're talking about some more winter weather Tuesday so I might be forced to stay in and sew.

I purchased a couple of fabrics this week from Wish Upon A Quilt.  I now have all of the fabric to test out a quilt pattern for a friend.  I bought 2.25 yards of each of the middle fabrics here for a grand total of 4.5 yards.

I'm still working on my Valentine's Day quilt, Here's My Heart.  I'm not too far from finishing the hand applique.  But despite forward progress on that and a couple of other things, I haven't finished anything that I can count towards this report.

Purchased-this-week: 4.5 yards
Used-this-week: 0 yards
Purchased-to-date: 13.5 yards
Used-to-date: 7.5 yards
Net used: -6 yards

I wonder how long this trend will last.  I'm not used to being in the hole like this.

Until later...

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NLT)

Friday, January 21, 2011

So much for that...

I had grand plans for tonight.  I was going to finish this charity quilt I've been working on.

I figure another 3 hours and I could finish quilting it and apply the label and binding.  And then I would have something positive to report on my stash report tomorrow.  However, this is me right now...

So instead, I think I'll crawl in bed with the heating blanket.  After all, it will still be there tomorrow, right?

Until later...

“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. …I will not be mastered by anything …” 
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gabriel's bath...

As I mentioned in my last post, our dog, Gabriel, has recently found a stockpile of deer pee to roll in.  You can't imagine the stench that was coming from her.  This pervasive and soul destroying odor necessitated a bath - something she is not too fond of.

Here are the pictures from her ordeal.  This first one is her hoping someone will open the door so she can make her escape.

Please let me out!
It begins with the soap...
Then the tongue comes out...
And stays out...
The flash makes her eyes look weird...
She looks terrified here (although she really wasn't)...
Don't you feel sorry for her?
Again with the tongue...
And again...
And again...
The other side this time...
She almost got her eye with this one!

And now we have a clean, wet dog.  Until she finds some more deer pee to roll in that is...

Until later...

"Only those who give away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the good news will ever know what it means to really live." 
Mark 8:35 (LB)

New toys...

I found a new kitty toy at the pet store the other day.  Since then, the cats have been taking turns playing with him.  Right now, it seems to be David's turn...

I'm off now to give Gabriel a bath.  She has found a hidden cache of deer pee in the yard and she stinks to high heaven.  Mr. Quilting Bug has a cold right now and although I wish he felt better, I can envy him his stopped up nose tonight.

Until later...

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:19 (NLT )

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finally started...

Well, I've finally started the quilting on Twisted Rope.

I've been considering how to quilt this for some time now and had been renting a long-arm machine to practice before starting it.  Last night I drew out a feathered heart on Golden Threads quilting paper.  I want this design to go in the center of each border with feathered swags on either side.

My intention is to also fill all of the vines with small circles.  I managed to get the quilt loaded and stitch the feathered heart, but when I started to tear some of the paper away, I realized that you couldn't see it!  The thread color matched too well and for all my hard work stitching it, it might as well have been invisible.  It was disappointing.  However, I bounced back and decided to do the rest of the feathers in a different color.  They turned out much better.  So I've decided to rip out the heart motif and restitch it with this new thread color.  It will add some more time and work, but I'll be much happier with the results.

So this was day 1 of what will no doubt turn out to be many, many days of quilting.  I must say, I really do enjoy quilting on the long-arm although it's a bit rough on the back.

On my way home from quilting, I stopped at the pet store and found a new toy for my cats.  As soon as I laid it on the table, Sam was all over it.

Until later...

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.  
Psalm 18:1 (NLT)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fresh candy canes...

Last night I was able to put the last few stitches in the next Winter Wonderland block.  This was the 6th one completed, only 4 more to go before I can start putting the quilt together.

Winter Wonderland Block 6

It is also by far the largest one I've worked on, but I do know there's one remaining block that will be even larger.  All of the stitching is done with a simple backstitch using black size 12 perle cotton.

I'm going to stop working on these blocks long enough to finish the hand applique for Here's My Heart, a pattern by Bunny Hill Designs.  Between working on it last night and some tonight, I almost have the vines completed.

Here's My Heart
It really doesn't look like much now, but I'll start adding the leaves and flowers next.  I'm enjoying getting back to doing some hand applique.  I do all of mine using the back-basting method - meaning I baste each piece in place from the back before appliqueing it down.

I managed to get a surprise picture of David.  He looks rather grumpy here although he's really not.

Until later...

"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. . . . Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." 
Romans 12:2 (MSG)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stash Report Week #2...

January 8 - 14, 2011

I was hoping by this second stash report to be back in the black, but I think it's going to take me another week or two.  Let me start with my purchases for this week.  I only bought 2.75 yards of this black and gold batik that I plan to use trying out a new quilt pattern for a friend.

I still need to find a couple more coordinating fabrics before I can start.  I hope to find them this next week at Wish Upon A Quilt

Looking back at my blog posts, I see that I finished two quilts this week and can count the backing and binding for both.  I used 3.25 yards for Stargazing and another 3.25 yards for Nestled in the Branches.  I'm in the process of quilting another small charity quilt (48" square) and hope to finish that one some time this week as well.

Purchased-this-week: 2.75 yards
Used-this-week: 6.5 yards
Purchased-to-date: 9 yards
Used-to-date: 7.5 yards
Net used: -1.5 yards

Until later...

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11 (NLT )

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nestled in the Branches - check!

It happens that I was feeling better today and spent some time quilting.  It was enough time to finish the quilt "Nestled in the Branches".  All I really had left was to add a label and put the binding on (which I did entirely by machine).  I think the quilt turned out just as cute as the first time I made it (a year and a half ago or so).

Nestled in the Branches
The first time I made this quilt was as a prayer quilt for a friend who is battling both cancer and MS.  However, because my mom liked it so much and I still had a lot of fabric left over, I decided to make one for her as well.  I quilted it with the "Climber" pantograph by Meredith England.

Climber Pantograph by Meridith England
This is the first time I've used this pantograph but won't be the last.  I love the fabrics in this quilt and they're all from JoAnns.  I especially love the backing fabric for this with all of the various birds.

This quilt is already packaged up and ready to be mailed to its new home tomorrow.

Here are the stats for this quilt:
  • Size: 55" x 65"
  • Fabrics: JoAnns
  • Batting: Warm & Natural
  • Thread: Superior Threads King Tut 40 wt in variegated brown
  • Quilting: Climber pantograph by Meridith England
Gabriel didn't think too much of the quilt, but she did keep me company while I finished it.

Until later...

"Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I'll wholeheartedly obey." 
Psalm 119:33 (LB)