Friday, December 30, 2011

One year of blogging!

After blogging for one year, it is exciting to write this last blog of the year and wish you all a Happy New Year!

I've used this forum to linkup with Judy's Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday, Lyn's What-a-Hoot Quilts BOM Monday, Canoe Ridge Creation's {Sew} Modern Monday and Lee's Freshly Pieced Work-in-Progress (WIP) Wednesday. The year end Giveaway Day at SewMamaSew and QuiltingGallery's Blog Hop & Giveaway brought even more followers and was exciting to get all the feedback provided through the question posed that required an answer to be eligible for the giveaway. Thank you all!

New ideas have surfaced through reviewing others work and I've met a lot of goals that I set for myself with the encouragement and motivation provided by you--my readers. I look at my business anniversary as based on the date I received my long-arm machine, so back in November I wrote a year in review post that has most of the details for 2011.

The alternate version of 'Charmed Network' was finished up this week with the help of two testers (my sister had to leave mid-progress and my mom finished it up). This is a queen size version and utilizes 42 charm squares and uses long horizontal borders. This new pattern was on my new list to get done in yeah!!! Pattern now available at Craftsy

There were 5 WIP's that I put on my list that didn't get finished. Three are ready to quilt and two need more piecing work. I plan to post a WIP year in review next Wednesday as Lee kicks off the new year at Freshly Pieced.

My personal quilting goals for 2012 include the Irish Hand block (Céad Míle Fáilte) for the Int'l Quilt Festival of Ireland welcome quilt (are you joining me?), Rose of Sharon Bird Block, continuing with some Block-of-the-Month (BOM) quilts that I've had in my stash for a long time, the McCall's Mystery currently being published (2 versions) as a project my small group is doing together, a couple of shop-hop patterns with stashed fabrics, some block lotto wins from past years in my local quilt guild, several personal t-shirt quilts, some WWU wedding quilts that have been sitting way too long, and a quilt I designed on our honeymoon almost 3 years ago!

My business will include long-arm machine quilting for customers, pattern writing, and creating treasures from client ideas --I've got no less than 4 currently in the queue and several others who have expressed interest in having me create something for them. Exciting times ahead!

Have a merry and safe Happy New Year!! Delve into 12 !!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Design Wall Monday

This has been a productive week in Arizona. Great to have time with the family and celebrate the Christmas season, but to also make progress on ideas.

One was this table runner. I'm currently the board chair of a credit union and they desperately need new placemats and could use a coordinating table runner that would be used each month prior to board meeting when the board members are fed a meal. The colors in the room are teal walls light wood furniture and burgundy covered chairs...kind of old school banking colors. I searched a long time to find a border print to use in this table runner that would incorporate those colors. I also had some 'money' fabric that I thought would be fun to incorporate too. This print seemed to have all the pieces and so this is what I finally put together. It is a Jinny Beyer pattern that I modified to fit the dimensions of the fabrics I had as well as the needs of the long board room table. I still might add a border print on the ends. wdyt? I don't have enough to border it all the way around and once it is quilted I'll trim it straight on the top and bottom before binding it. Maybe the binding should be out of the border print? Hmmm...not sure I have enough for that either.

I plan to make placemats with the border print's coordinating print and back them with burgundy. I hope that just putting a big piece of fabric on the quilting machine will allow me to quilt the whole piece and then just cut it up and bind it.

I also produced a new design "Charmed Network" and tested it (posted yesterday), and here is a second testing version in progress.

While helping my mother at her church's outreach program, I noticed a set of decorator 'leather' samples they had been given to use as they can to help with raising funds to pay off a school building loan that their church is paying. Recently Jinny Beyer sent out a trinket box pattern that required no sewing. I thought maybe that type of material would work well and be super easy. The sample pieces of leather were too small, so I sized down the pattern to make it fit. Here you see the template I made, a blue one that is cut out, and the red and brown ones are folded up in their 'finished' form. Fun, easy project. Maybe the non-profit group can use them as a fundraiser.

More design walls linked up at PatchworkTimes. What a great 2011! See you next year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!!

While preparing for Christmas festivities last night, I made one of my husband's favorite traditions of the season...affectionately called 'Christmas Log', also known as 'Hurry-up Roll'.

This seems to be basically a german chocolate cake done as a is always so yummy at my MIL's home, so I am excited to have made it for the first time this year at my parent's place. The 'snow' on this log is the only bit at this house here in Arizona this year.

As promised, here is my Christmas present to all of you..."Charmed Network". A new design using a charm pack and yardage from the same line. I challenged myself to design something using a charm pack and 5 fabrics that include a background, two contrasting colors, and a medium and large repeating motif in the borders all selected from the same line of fabrics (backing and binding could be the same or additional elements). Of course you could do anything you want, but this was the challenge I gave myself. Sew Lux Fabrics asked what I would do with the Terrain by Kate Spain for Moda fabric that I won from their weekly customer order drawing and this is what it is! My sister (a novice quilter) is testing it, as I write this, in another fabric line and using a full 42 piece charm pack. This version uses 35 charms and creates a more rectangular quilt. A modern twist on a churn dash and shows how repeating motifs can be used to create a mirrored mitered border. I hope to have the pattern ready for publication next week!

Happy Christmas 2011 !!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Borders with BIG Motifs can be mirrored

I have used border prints several times to make mirrored mitered borders.

A few examples:

Royal Peacock Jewels - sewn and quilted

1892 Rondure - sewn and quilted.

Mi Amore -- here I am testing the border print with a mirror to see how it should look if I line it up right.

This week I experimented with using a large motif fabric and creating a similar effect.

These are from the Terrain by Kate Spain for Moda line of fabric.

I previewed the concept of a new quilt in my post on Monday and these are the fabrics I used in the borders.

When looking at the motif, there is a repeat and is vertically symmetrical in the fabric on the left (the eyes are flatter on one end), and basically both vertically and horizontally in the fabric on the right (the flower centers aren't quite symmetrical).

Cutting strips the size of the repeat, provides an opportunity to get very close to a mirrored mitered border. If the fabric is not printed straight, it does create some opportunity for inconsistencies. Here is how it turned out:

My Christmas Present to you all will be to show you on Christmas Day how the quilt top turned out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday

An exciting week was wrapped up after hosting two giveaways through linkups on Quilting Gallery's Blog Hop Party and Giveaway and on SewMamaSew's Giveaway Day - Dec. 12, 2011. The winners packages will be in the mail on Tuesday and should arrive before Christmas! It was great to get all of the comments. Each set of comments are compiled and have been edited on the original post. Very enlightening! The blog now has over 100 followers as well.

On the design wall is a new project I'm working on....hope you'll come back next week to see the top completely pieced! I'm using 'Terrain' by Kate Spain for Moda. You'll be 'Charmed--I'm Sure!'

Who's doing the McCall's Mystery Quilt? The Fearless Design small group that has met for a year at my house has decided it will be our first project for 2012. I've got the fabrics and hope to make at least one version, maybe two! If you're doing it as well, let me know in the comments with a link to where you'll be posting about it. It seems to be a great one to learn how to choose fabrics that work together.

Hope you are getting your last minute items finished or shopping done for that specific loved one during this holiday season of giving. I still have some to do for sure, but lots of time still left in the week, right? :-)

More Design walls linked up at Judy's Patchwork Times! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Rush

My tip this week is for pieced borders. Be sure to stay-stitch your edge before sending it out for quilting, or quilting it yourself. This helps to keep the edge from stretching or unraveling when it is being handled in the quilting process.

I'm working on some new designs that I look forward to sharing with you after the holidays!
Time to finish up those Christmas gifts and enjoy time with your family and friends. You are part of the gifts I have received this year. Thanks for reading along.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Started making several 'Mug Rugs' for a Guild exchange as well as gifts for the employees at a local Credit Union --I just happen to be the Board Chair and my 3 year term on the board is about to end, so thought this would be a nice little gift to the current employees. The Blue Mountain range can be seen from our town and we grow onions, grapes, wheat, have a hot air balloon stampede each year and well, it is a credit union, so money should be represented somehow. These are the themes that will be used on the lower portion of each mug rug as well as on the back. Here are two so far. I also have a surprise in the works for my departure.

I've got over 100 followers now!! WHOO HOO!! The 100th is Tina and she's going to test the 'Mi Amore' quilt and receive a discount for quilting, if I do it for her. Thanks!!!

This week I've got two giveaways going on. You'll have to read my SewMamaSew Giveaway Day post (runs through Dec. 16, 2011, 5pm PST) and this past weekend's Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party & Giveaway post (runs through Dec. 17, 2011) in order to find out how to enter and what the giveaways are! LOTS OF FABRIC!!!

Hope you are getting lots done in the rush before Christmas. I need to get back at it!

Giveaway Day!

ANOTHER  GIVEAWAY!!!! Welcome blogland....I'll keep this post simple and focused on the giveaway, but if you're curious about who I am and why I'm blogging, please read my post from Friday where there is another HUGE giveaway.

SewMamaSew is hosting 'Giveaway Day' - December 12, 2011 ...and letting it last through Dec. 16, 2011 5pm PST to give you all a chance to get around to all the blogs.
The other giveaway 'Blog Hop Party & Giveaway' is hosted by Quilting Gallery, with more than 240 blogs it out if you'd like to try and win more--way more! My own giveaway in that event consists of 7 half yard cuts of cotton sateen ombres. You'll have to leave an appropriate comment on my other posting to be eligible.

'Tis the season to give, right? And SewMamaSew's linkup is prompting me to do ANOTHER giveaway!

So...this giveaway is fabric with lavender flowers on it. It will make up beautifully as lavender sachets or in a quilt or whatever your creative mind comes up with!  I'll send you one (1) yard.

How to qualify? Leave me a comment of what you might do with this fabric if you win it. Be sure you're not a no-reply blogger or leave me your email within the comment. I'll randomly choose a comment  at the close of the giveaway and the winner will be contacted for snail mail information.

Thanks for stopping by! 'Follow' me if you'd like to keep up with my long-arm quilting tips and quilt top designs. Good luck w/the giveaway(s??), and I hope you'll check out my other post and try to win that fabric too.

12/16/2011 5pm PST. The giveaway is now finished. Thank you for participating!

Here is my summary of comments received and statistics.
108 comments; 5 inelgibile (no 'what you would use it for' was indicated).
In order of popularity of what you'd use it for:
  • Quilt  (31)
  • Little girl/spring dress (20)
  • Sachets (18)
  • Tote/Bag/Purse/small purse (11)
  • Skirt; Pillow/pillow case (8)
  • Table runner/Placemats (4)
  • Flaxseed/lavender heating pad; eye mask; scarf (2)
  • rice sock, shirt, gift bag, pin pillow, stash, patchwork wallet, garden apron, cosmetic organizer, earrings, curler wraps, sunbonnets, mug rug mat by the bath for soaps a 'tub rug', book cover/gardening journal, zippered pouches, something for mom. (1)
Some great ideas here...thanks!!

Here is a view of the entire line of fabric at RJR Fabrics.

And the winner is: #34 -- Morgan "A dress for my purple-loving girl. Thanks!"

What a fun week with all the comments too!
If you are interested in purchasing some of this fabric, I do have some more of this particular piece, you're welcome to contact me directly to get some.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blog Hop Party & Giveaway

Quilting Gallery is hosting a blog-hop party with giveaways galore! I'm participating and hope you'll join in the festivities. QG also has a weekend quilt contest each week...this week's theme Christmas Table Runners. I've put in my mystery table runner (right) 'Poinsettia Points'. You can check out all the entries and help people win items from the sponsors by voting for your favorite. This was the first quilted item that I quilted using a walking foot on my domestic sewing machine. Nice straight lines! Note: 12/12/11 - Theme contest is now over.
I've been in business now over two years and blogging for almost a year. A new resolution in my 3rd year of business is to blog on Friday about things I've learned this week related to my long-arm quilting and quilt top designing. If this would be of interest to you, I hope you'll 'follow' me. I'm also on Facebook if you'd prefer to follow-along there. On Facebook I also post all customer quilts with detail photos of the quilting, here on my blog I might explain a bit more about the quilting or process of designing a quilt. There is an opportunity each time I design a quilt to signup to be a tester for that quilt pattern, always an incentive is given as well, I even have a few spots left for the most recent ones--some are my McCall's Quilt Design Star Entries, read my post about testing for details.

I often blog to join the fun at Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday linkup, What-a-Hoot Quilts BOM's Away Monday linkup, occassionally on {Sew} Modern Monday linkup at Canoe Ridge Designs, and Freshly Pieced WIP (Work in Progress) linkup. Always a great idea to stay motivated by being accountable and sharing our goals and successes! I wrote about this in the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 issue of the Country Register (local edition).

This week I was working on my 'I need by Christmas' client quilts. The most seasonal quilt was this one:

Often when I won't be using the same thread in the center as I am using for stabilizing and/or borders, I will baste across and vertical the center. This time I used pins horizontally across each time I rolled the quilt forward and it seemed to work fine. This was quicker and didn't use up thread.

So...what am I giving away and how can you enter to win?
Half Yard cuts of 7 Lumiere Sateen 100% cotton variegated color/ombre fabrics.
To enter the random drawing: Leave a comment by end of Dec. 17, 2011 indicating which is your favorite quilt displayed below and why it appeals to you. I'll randomly pick a qualifying comment and email you for mailing information. Good luck and thanks for the feedback.

Written patterns: Elephant's Play, Zoe, WWBaby#3, Will you Accept This Rose?, Hugs and Kisses, WW Contemporary,  Starlight-Flutterbright,
To be written: Dutch Kids, Protection from the Storm, Royal Peacock Jewels, 1892 Rondure, Mi Amore

Dutch Kids                                     Protection from the Storm

 Royal Peacock Jewels, 1892 Rondure, Mi Amore
This was my Entry Quilt, Challenge 1 and Challenge 3 quilts respectively
in the McCall's Quilt Design Star 2011 Contest.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm hosting a second giveaway 12/12-12/16, so I hope you'll come back. Merry Christmas!!
Update 12/17 --the giveaway is now closed.

179 Comments, 18 did not leave a reason why they liked their chosen favorite :(, but thank you so much for participating! WOW! What great feedback.

Both modern and traditional markets represented.

By vote of popularity:
1892 Rondure - 37  --pattern testing to start January 1; now available
Zoe and Mi Amore - 33 -- Zoe  Mi Amore pattern testing to start January 1; now available.
Starlight Flutterbright - 23 -- available.
Protection from the Storm - 15 --thinking I should write this one up!
Elephant's Play and 'Hugs and Kisses' - 13 --now available.
Royal Peacock Jewels - 10 - pattern testing to start January 1 - now available
Will You Accept This Rose? - 4 -- available
WW Baby #3, WW Contemporary and Dutch Kids - 3 - patterns available from me directly for the WW's, 5 versions are available; Dutch Kids is on the list of patterns to write in 2012.

If you would like a pattern sent to you in the mail, please go to and order directly.

Online patterns available at Craftsy

If you'd like to buy them wholesale for your shop, contact me.

Testing and future patterns will be available online when they are ready.

The Random Winner is #70: Needled Mom -- "Starlight Flutter Bright!!! What is the name of that quilt below them patterns that looks almost 3 dimensional (like a ball coming at you)? It is gorgeous!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Design Wall / BOM's Away Monday

Can't say I've made much progress, but I also lost an opportunity to take a photo of some exciting things I was working on. I donated them before capturing a shot to a worthy cause.

Here are the leftovers that I just can't put in the trash. Thinking I should mug rug them or something! Any other ideas?

Still working on my Oddie's Wild Nature (O.W.N.) ....auditioning backgrounds for the eagle block. I'm also thinking the eagle might need to have a fish in its talons! wdyt?

More Design Walls indexed at Patchwork Times.
More BOM's Away indexed at What-a-Hoot Quilts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

This week in review

Every customer project so far this 'year 3' has had interesting challenges or learning experiences. Here are two:

Pillow tops ...those small things on a long-arm could be more easily loaded if the back was one large piece and you could just place the pillow tops across the table and quilt them. So...if you're thinking about having your long-arm quilter quilt pillows, consider having 1 large back for the totale of your pillow tops. These pillows coordinate with a quilt I did in Year 2 - CQ84. They asked for a similar motif of the quilting. This collage shows all 3 and the backs so you can actually see the quilting--a big bunch of grapes still on the vine.

Fancy front AND back ...When designing a quilt, sometimes there are elements that just won't work together, so you decide to do something special on the back too. Well, as soon as it is special and has borders that kind of match the front--this is a major challenge to the long-arm quilter. Unlike domestic machine quilting, we don't put the sandwich together and THEN load it...we bring all 3 pieces together as we quilt down the the way the fabric stretches or has been pieced is going to show up as we sandwich it when quilting. This week I had a quilt with a 'charm pack' pieced quilt top with a border, and the 'backing' was a large piece of fabric with borders and then applique in two corners across the center and border. The borders didn't EXACTLY match and the overall dimensions were roughly the same. Besides the "I can't match this exactly" issue, I needed to go back to pinning the bigger piece onto my backing leaders (which was the charm pieced top) instead of using my Red Snappers and to grab the sides, I had to grab all 3 layers--just no choice. We really need 4-6" each direction on the bottom layer to NICELY attach and grab the sides when doing the quilting. The client seemed happy with what I did....and here it is. I should say..I am too given the situation.


I quilted it from the 'BACK' checking where the border seam was as I went with a feather / leaf treatment in the border and then migrating into loops in the center from the feather so that it appeared to be intentionally flowing rather than a clear start/stop at the border seam. It worked well on 3 sides, but by the time I got to the bottom border it ran over a little on the true 'front' of the quilt's border. This quilt will be headed to Germany with the military family and baby and I'm sure will be well loved regardless. How else could it have been done? - Applique the letter on the true front and let the back be blocked together to just be the back. It doesn't need to be pieced together symmetrically. It will give the back some character. This was a new quilter doing a favor for an ill quilter, so it will be ok.

If you're reading this Dec. 2-4, 2011 ...please check out Quilting Gallery's 'star' themed quilt contest this weekend. You'll see my Starlight-Flutterbright. This week a client dropped off a 'blue/purple' colorway and elongated version of this quilt. That is going to be fun to do!

Going to Ireland with me in June 2012?? I hope so!!

Interested in making a block for the welcome exhibit?? Make one along with me within the next month.

May the stars be bright where you are tonight.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Continuous Line Butterfly, Odd Angle Binding and Scallop Background Fill

Last week I got started with Year 3 of having a Gammill Quilting Machine. My first customer quilt was a custom quilting request on these antique butterfly blocks that the client had set in a very unique configuration for a table runner. I came up with a continuous line to stitch the applique work of the entire butterfly, except the dark spots in the middle of the wings. I've tried to illustrate the path in this photo. I used black thread to match the blanket stitch that had been done by hand originally.

Start on the side of the butterfly and move towards the center on the bottom edge of the top wing  (this photo has the butterfly flying DOWN). Go around the black center, including the antennae (if you forget, you can catch them on a second pass past them later). When you reach the point of the black center where you started going around that section, then back track to the bottom of the butterfly and stitch around the entire external part of the butterfly. When you come back to the black section from the opposite side, back track up the black center to the bottom of the top wing and then stitch to the outer edge of the butterfly.

With a neutral color I then stitched about 1/4" from the edge of the butterfly and then filled the block with a medium size stipple.

Given the inner corners as well as outer corners, I went searching for Marci Baker's tutorials on doing special angled bindings. I've added video links to both on my new 'Resources' page on this blog. Thanks Marci! This year I hope to expand the resources page to include tutorials I find online that deal with specific techniques I have found helpful. I hope they will be helpful to you too.

Here is what the whole quilt looks like --it is intended to be used as a table runner on a rather large table. The client intends to put a piece of glass on top of it. I think the layout even makes the whole piece look like a butterfly.

On the second quilt of the year, I decided to do a scallop design in the center blocks. I've included an illustration to remind us all that you section it with always a HALF space left at the end so that there is no need to run along the ditch to continue with the next row. (DOH!!) ;-) Learned this originally from Pam Clarke in her Designs with Lines class. Should have gotten my notes out before I started and had to re-think it all through. I'll add a link to the 'Resources Page' to Pam Clarke's books.

Glad to have gotten some customer quilt's finished and enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with dear friends. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday has been one of good memories made with friends and loved ones.

I did enter the Kitchen items contest at the Quilting Gallery this weekend. You'll recognize my Heart Placemats. Thanks for hopping over and giving them consideration for your vote.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Progress on 'Oddie's Wild Nature'. The bear block is finished. Added two different fish than I had originally made. One was from a novelty print (far right), the second was just out of another batik (far left) that made it past the bear.

EQ7 BOM - November Novelty (bottom block) was added.

Finished (See blog entry):
  • One-Fabric Table Topper
  • Two potholders that I forgot were started, so they will count as 'new' and 'completed'!
Trying hard to get this list done by the end of the year. I've already been strategizing for 2012.

2011 Stats - I started off with 12 projects in process and 1 I counted complete that first week:
New since the last posting: Two Potholders (we'll count this as one project)
In Process: 6
Completed: 15 - I'm thinking a year-end post with a photo finish ;-) I've definitely finished the NUMBER I started out with, just a few more got in there and others weren't touched.
In Progress: 6
  • Oddie's Wild Nature
  • EQ7 2011 BOM- on track
Awaiting Attention:
  • Lonestar wall hanging - I'm thinking I might take this with me during the holidays since I want to do some handwork on it too. Maybe I'll get it done before the end of the year. MAYBE :-)
Completed Tops awaiting Quilting -- hmmm, not sure these are going to get done. We'll see!
  • 2006 Basket BOM
  • Tulip wall hanging --this is a redo of the quilting - target November
  • Colorwash Heart Duvet Cover -- this is to salvage an old duvet - target December  

Other WIP's indexed at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Wall / BOM's Away Monday

Trying to focus on customer work at the moment, but found a few minutes to get the November Novelty block from EQ7 BOM done last night. So...this is on my design wall and keeps me up to date on my BOM work.

More Design Walls @ Patchwork Times
More BOM's Away linkups @ WhataHoot Quilts