Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My New Friend Millie!

Putting aside catastrophe for a little while, I'd like to introduce my new friend Millie:

It's a Millennium Longarm Quilter!  Big enough to put on a King Size quilt, or a little 2x2 wall hanging, and whatever you need in between! This pic is from the company website, but it's the same model as the one I get to use now at the Stitch Chicks Quilt Shop.  I took the certification class last night and am totally in love!!
Here is the little wallhanging I used for the class:

the front

the back

We had a little difficulty getting going, but it turned out the thread was bad, once replaced, it was smooth sailing!  This machine is heavenly!  The whole thing glides around with a feather touch, and you can do freeform designs (that's what I did) or set up the pantagraph in the back to copy images and patterns with laser guidance! (That's another class that I'm looking forward to!)

I love the look of the back of this project so much that I want to try a whole cloth quilt down the line.  My first date to work on my own is in the first week of November and I'll quilt my Shadowbox quilt. I'll post a picture when it's done.

Swap-bot Ambassador!

A nice post on the Swap-bot blog about me!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Backing went Pear-shaped--almost Literally!

Lesson learned: When sewing 2 1/2" strips in a sort of "Jellyroll Race" fashion, it's better to follow the instructions.  At least look them up and see how it works.  What I did was sew all the little strips together into one very, very long strip, with nice mitered seams (this part was right) then I cut one off that was (I thought) the correct length for the quilt (110")  Then I took the new end, and attached it to the one I cut off and sewed them together. cutting it off at the 110" length (I thought).  Then I added the new end to the other two and sewed it on, cutting it at the 110" (I thought...see the picture developing here?)

After I had made a width of about 20 inches, I ran out of pre-sewn strips, so I cut more and sewed them together.  Realizing I was almost out of one of the six colors, I bought another 1/4 yard and continued, though I started with a fresh 110" length and added to it, because the whole piece had been getting bulky at the machine.  I created another 20"  and decided to sew this one to the first one.  THIS is where I finally noticed the first error.  My first strip had not been 110", but 130"!  Which was why I ran out of one of the colors.  I also now had run out of another color, one I couldn't buy at the original shop because they were out, too. :( I decided to take apart some of the sections to re-sew some of the yellow strips and spread out the colors a bit so I could make the thing balanced.  THIS is when I found the FATAL ERROR.

When you sew the jellyroll race properly, you're supposed to sew all your strips together into a mile-or-so-long strip, then fold this in half and sew it together into a half-mile-or-so length, then fold that in half, and so on.  This puts the strips together in a way that they remain straight.  When I did it my way, what happened was that every one I sewed together pulled just a little bit on the previous one, causing the whole thing to create the most graceful CURVE!  It looked like a very shallow rainbow. :(  NOT what I wanted AT ALL!!!

So.  I took the whole mess to my favorite quilt shop (The Stitch Chicks in Franklin, CT ) where, try as they might, I finally received the bad news--I would have to either take the whole thing apart, strip by strip, or cut it up into manageable squares and redesign the whole thing.

I chose to redesign it.  I couldn't stand the thought of ripping out 800million-or-so stitches.  So, I bought some extra 1/4 yards of the colors, ordered the yellow one online from Amazon, and when I get it, I'm cutting the stripes into squares and rectangles, and leaving the new color pieces in wide strips and I'm going to use some smoke, mirrors and lights to fake it until I make it look good. 

Just goes to show that, especially if you don't follow directions created by someone who probably went through this process themselves, you are doomed to repeat history. I really, literally pays to look before leaping.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rare Supermoon/Blood Moon/Eclipse Sunday night

We in Connecticut may have cloud cover blocking viewing of this eclipse, but a little farther northeast in New Hampshire and Vermont and upper Maine should have a great view.  I'm hoping the storm coming up from Virginia will move a little faster for two reasons, my sister in Virginis wants to go to the VA State Fair (she missed it last year and really needs a date-night/day with Greg) and I want to be able to see this eclipse!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Quilt and Backing--with Options

The backing choice is made!  Yay!!


 Judy Martin's Texas Twister and Sidney Star blocks, with the current backing plan.

Two more possible backings: (I like both better than the original)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Fabric Design!

Crows on Blue Clouds*

This enlarged thumbnail shows the pattern which is a small print on the fabric.   It's a wide variety of sitting/standing and flying crow silhouettes and flourishes on a difference-cloud blue background.  Contact me for different color backgrounds!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Michael's Turtle Spoon-back
 Here are some samples of woodburning I've done.
Michael's Turtle Spoon-front
Claudia's spatula, front and back

Celtic Knots and Triskele

Salad Set

Victorian Gingerbread

Tiny Tudor

Bar Sign

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crazy Fun 9-Patch Quilt Blocks Text/image Tutorial

Crazy Fun 9-Patch Quilt Blocks

Begin with three 11” squares of good quality quilting cotton fabric—because it’s a scrappy block, the colors and prints don’t have to match at all, but I like to put a light, a bright and a darker valued selection. It makes the pattern show a little better. 

Using your rotary cutter and quilt ruler, cut an angled cut through all three squares at once.  There is no rule for this cut except make sure you have enough at the narrowest part to make a visible patch when it’s all finished.


Next take the top piece on the left side and put it on the bottom of the stack

Sew the narrow pieces onto the left side pieces, with a ¼” seam allowance.

Press the seams to one side and press the square open.  Re-stack the way they were before you sewed them.

Turn counter clockwise so the narrow piece is on the top, and make another angled cut down the right side..

Take the top left piece and move it to the bottom

To make it easier to keep the stacks in order, I flip each over to the left as I match the cut piece to the bigger piece.

As you press the seams, you will see that they often will be angled in the same direction

Fold the top one to the opposite direction when you sew it for a smoother flatter block. 

The next seamed and pressed open stack should look like this:


Cut again on the right side and… 

… move the top left piece again to the bottom.

Your three blocks  should look something like this:

Stack them again, rotate  and cut the last angled cut on the right and move the left piece again to the bottom.

The final blocks should be arranged like this, three diagonal patches should be the same:    




I sew them one after the other without cutting them apart so the order stays right, and...
I can press the seams all at once to the proper side, then clip the threads between the blocks and press them open.

On the seam side, one pair should go outward…

…and on the other side they should go inward.

The back of the finished block should be nice and neat.

Here are the three finished blocks