Archive for 2013

Reflecting on 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Years Eve!  I was  going to share my favorite free motion quilting tips and what I've completed this year, but first I want to share some thanks.

Reflecting On Those That Matter
I have had an awesome 2013!  I want to thank my wonderful husband Eric.  He supports me, helps me, indulges me, cheers me on and, when needed, he's there to drag me forward.  I feel like I've done some very beautiful work this year and it would have been impossible without him.  I also want to thank my two awesome kids, Samantha & Eric.  I see something quilty in their futures.

The seemingly random fabrics, thread spools, project bags, finished tops waiting to be quilted, and quilts waiting for their binding are all in various nooks and crannies and sometimes they're right in the way.  As with many quilting families, they help with all of it.  Each of them has spent time carrying bolts of fabric, looking for some obscure notion or looking for just the right red fabric to bring the whole quilt together.  They also protect all my things quilt related with a fervor most people and one cat find surprising.  For all these things, I thank them.  Coupled with who they are and all they do, I love them more & more each day and am thankful to have been blessed with an amazing family.

Favorite FMQ'ing Tips
I had planned on sharing my favorite free motion quilting tips, but I don't want to short change any of the planned topics.  With that in mind, I'm moving my favorite free motion quilting tips to Friday.

Completed in 2013
I wanted to include an accounting of my quilting for the year, but work took more time than I had expected today.  I'll update this post with my list tomorrow, but here's the general idea.

- 5 lap quilt tops
- 3 bed quilt tops
- 2 lap sized quilts completed for quilt shows
- @10 mug rugs/wall hangings
-  2 dozen swap blocks

I do not measure success only by 100% finished quilts.  My completed tops are just as important to me.  When I think back to all of the responsibilities I have outside of quilting, I am impressed with myself.

I am happy with what I've accomplished.  I am looking forward to what I'll accomplish in 2014!

Have a happy, safe & quilty new year!!!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Motif Monday 5

Ooops...a day late!

Today's motif is a free motion, continuous line oak leaf.  I used this as a block motif and a border motif.

First, a little about the project I used it in.  I did a 10" fall fabric square swap in September.  I'm a little funny about fabric swaps.  The varying fabric preferences can lead to either a great swap or a less than fulfilling swap.  I've come to terms with the occasional interesting (sticks out like a sore thumb) fabric selection.  What I don't like is mixing LQS and non-LQS fabrics.  For this last swap, we were all very specific about what was being swapped and all went well.

Back to the actual quilt.  Here's the top pinned using #1 curved pins with Quilters Delight Safety Pin Quilt Covers and a Kwik Klip. You can see the nice group of fall fabrics we were working with.

Fall Quilt Pinned

Here it is quilted:

Quilted with Binding on Front
For the block motif, you'll be FMQ'ing forward and backward.  It's a simple enough pattern.  Even if you're not accustomed to quilting in all directions, you can use this motif to help build the your directional skills. I started at the bottom of the stem for the block and border.

My test block
And here's the border:

I'll post a directional photo and the border on black next Monday.

I really like how nicely these worked for my quilt.  I hope one of them is useful to you.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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My Quilting Roller Coaster!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

While I've been terrible about the blog, I'm actually quite happy with my progress on quilting.  I was spending so much time focusing on the down parts of my quilting roller coaster that I'd all but discounted the ups and the soaring ride in general.

First, a big THANK YOU! and I LOVE YOU! to my hubby.  He surprised me with exactly what I wanted on Christmas morning.

The Birds of a Feather weekend quilting retreat with Virginia Longarm Network at the beautiful Founders Inn & Spa in Virginia Beach, VA.

Best. Christmas. Present. Ever!

It's exactly what I wanted & needed to keep my quilty juices flowing.  Let me know if you're going to be there.

I just finished putting the binding on my fall quilt.  I'll be stitching the back down this evening.  I haven't named it yet so I don't have the label.  I'd planned on a bottom left corner placement, so I'd better get thinking.

Pouring rain outside, so kitchen pic it is!

I'm determined to get back to my old normal posting schedule. Here's what I have planned for the coming week.

Motif Monday: I've got a nice block motif to share tomorrow.  You can see a sneak peek of it above.

Technique Tuesday: I'm going to share my favorite free motion quilting tips and what I've completed this year.

Wednesday: Happy New Year!  I'll share my goals for 2014.

Thoroughly Modern Thursday: I have a pattern for a quick win modern quilt I designed. 

Free Form Friday: I have time to decide on this one!

…with more to come.

As I sit here writing this post, I realize that I've really missed writing about my quilt journey.  There's something therapeutic about sharing my quilting hopes, successes & failures.

Don't forget to appreciate and reflect on all parts of your roller coaster!!!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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It's Finished! And Named!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I worked feverishly to get this done for the fair and I almost made it, but then life happened.  Oh well!  I can enter it next year.  I am so very excited it's done and I'm able to share it here.

I don't want to over do it with the pictures so I'm just including 3.  I'll add some detail pictures later in the week with some insight into the decision making process.

The entire quilt was completed with free motion quilting.

Introducing...Down the Rabbit Hole!  See if you can find the hidden pics.

Down the Rabbit Hole - Front

Down the Rabbit Hole - Back

Down the Rabbit Hole - Label

Hubby and I decided that the view from our backyard looks oddly fake - a little too picture perfect.  We've also decided the beautiful view of the sky is one of the reasons our little house on the hill is so awesome.

Make sure you stop in during the week.  In addition to a little more Down the Rabbit Hole, I'll be sharing pictures from Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA last weekend.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Circus Fun...Or something like that!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Well, as you all know, when it rains it pours.  We've been making lots of lemonade from the lemons we've been dealt this last month, but that's ok.  We're healthy, happy and filled with love.  The rest is just noise.  I've been quilting when I could spare a moment.

I've been working on this project for a while now.  The top was done a couple of years ago.  Now I've started quilting it.  I've gotten the in-the-ditch stitching done and now I'm ready to work on the rest of it.

It's a little wacky but I love it.  I designed it myself.  I used three fabrics - the stripes, the dots and black crackle.

The basting is what has annoyed the daylights out of me.  I basted it four times before I decided to just let it go.  I'd love a nice smooth back, but I don't think it's terrible and will work once quilted.

My next issue was finding a thread that would work for the top.  I wound up with Sulky Prism White Metallic thread and Sulky Black Metallic thread. They both have a nice sheen and an interesting play in the light.

They're 50/50 Poly/Nylon so I've had to adjust the tension on my machine so they work well together.  I think I've gotten it all straightened out.

Now, if only I could decide how to quilt the rest of it. Wish me luck!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: We moved the new 1921 Singer Red Eye to a new spot so I'll be able to get some good pictures to put up!

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Happy Sunday!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wow, how do almost 4 weeks fly by without a post?  Between family stuff and work stuff it's a wonder anything else gets done.  But...

I'm back!  And I've been quilting!

Here's a look at a few of the things I've been working on.

FMQ Feather Heart
FMQ Heart Paisley

FMQ Loose Weave
These are practice pieces so I used a dark thread on light fabric so I could clearly see how I was doing and review how I did.  In a few spots, the variegated thread makes it look odd.  I can live with it.  I call them conversation starters.  Well, I'm going to go organize my space(s). Wish me luck!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: Come by during the week.  My parents picked me up a beautiful 1921 Singer 66-1 Red Eye treadle machine for my upcoming birthday.  I'll be posting pictures.


Midnight Madness / Motif Monday 4

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ok, so I had a very busy weekend.  My beautiful niece made her First Communion on Saturday.  We made the hour & 45 min long drive out to PA for the mass.  It was lovely and we had a great luncheon afterwards.  My back was less than thrilled on Sunday after 3 1/2 hours in the car, so after initially heading back out to PA for Mother's Day with my mom, I turned around to give my back a well deserved rest.

After a nice, long nap, I got back to quilting.  Since I spent yesterday laying low, I was able to get some sketching done, I worked out some of the details of the Floating Sampler BOM I'm starting in June, and I worked on the quilting motifs for my block swap squares. Today you get a twofer: my favorite blog posts and motifs.

This Week's Favorite Blog Posts!

Here are blog posts from this past week you should definitely take a look at.

Happy Quilting
Melissa ran a really great Celebrate Mom event.  She had 6 guest posters write about being a mom and quilter.

Monkey Do
Katy is starting a quilt along June 1st.  I'm considering doing joining in.  She's using Rachel Griffiths Impromptu pattern.  You'll need a layer cake and 6.5 yards of fabric if you're interested.

Motif Monday

Last Monday I left you with this image of my block swap blocks.

MLK Block Swap
I want to thank all of you for your input.  I ended up with some straight lines, some curves and an undecided background.  I printed out the image and started drawing on it.  Here's what I've decided on.

MLK Block Swap Quilting Designs
Tree:  I wanted something geometric to go inside the tree.  I'll probably make those lines curved to flow better with the other blocks but you get the idea.
House:  The brick work will get a ribbon around the main elements, shingling on the roof and an attic window.
Basket:  An echo of the basket is going to be fancied up with my curly tulipy design.
Pinwheelish: The design is inspired by this motif, except rectangles instead of the triangles.
Heart:  I have a heart feather in there but I may change my mind.

Stay tuned for more information on the Floating Sampler BOM.  Subscribe by Memorial Day if you'd like a sneak peek.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: I did get some FMQ done yesterday, but more on that tomorrow.


Free Form Friday! Get to it!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

I do believe I'm over thinking things.  I started the evening with a great plan.

1. Make dinner.
2. Get through a bit more of my Craftsy class(es).
3. Practice quilting on the new machine.

So I managed to get through 1 & 2 mostly without a hitch.  I do not like to watch too much of the class without some practice so it was time to move on to #3.  That's where the problem comes in.

What am I going to do?  What's my plan?  I don't want to just start quilting, do I? Ocean? Blocks? Vase? Feathers? FMQ sampler using some of Leah's designs?  So many choices!

I know!  I'll do a vase with flowers in it...NO...with feathers coming out of it.  Phew!  That wasn't too bad...let draw it up first.

I like this, but it's not what I want to do tonight.  I'll save it for another day.  Hmmmm...I really want to do an ocean floor scene.  Pebbles, kelp, fish...I should sketch it out.

Kelp Forest

Ooooooh!  I like this!  The scribbles will be an ocean currents filler design.  I've got the little anemone in the corner.  Hmmmmm...this looks more like work than practice.  Let's see, how much time do I have left for a new plan.

What!  It's 11:30!  It can't possibly be that late. Humpf!  I should really go to bed.  I have to be up really early tomorrow.  Great, lots of design done, but no actual quilting.

New plan:

1. Cut 1 yard of fabric into 6 1/2 inch squares.
2. Make quilt sandwiches from the squares.
3. Keep sandwiches by sewing machines and use them as small practice pieces.

I hope to execute the new plan sometime this weekend.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Thoroughly Modern Thursday - 3

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today's post will be short and sweet.  It's been a long day with work, mass and choir practice.  I am exhausted!

I am also excited.  I've designed a quilt I'm referring too as Floating Sampler.  I've designed all the blocks myself.  They'll be an interesting reflection of the world around me.  Also, they're not just straight piecing.  I'm using a few different techniques in the blocks.

I hope you'll join me in June when I start this block of the month.  Here's a look at the fabric I'll be using.

Happy Tones by Michael Miller Fabrics

I think these will give my blocks a fun outlook.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Motif Monday 3

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sorry for the one week hiatus.  I was in Dallas and, unfortunately, I didn't get to any quilting stores.  I enjoyed a migraine on Saturday and had some family stuff on Sunday.  All the weekend "stuff" had me thinking on other projects - more on that another day.

I'm nearing the end of a block swap.  My quilting group does a mini retreat every year for MLK weekend.  During the weekend, we choose a paper pieced block.  We've been doing it for 6 years now and there are 9 of us in the swap.  Had I to do it over again, I would do one thing:

Set a background fabric!

We could have each purchased just 1 yard and it would have served us through all these years for the block backgrounds.  As it stands now, there is nothing unifying these blocks.  I will definitely be adding a sashing to break up disorder.  It will very likely be black.

All that to tell you this.  The next couple of motifs will cover some of the blocks we in the paper pieced blocks.  Here are the blocks I've made for the swap.

The 6th one will be a very simple court house stairs.

By the time we swap the last set of blocks, hopefully by summer, I'd like to have my game plan all laid out.

With the other blocks being all over the spectrum of color and only black sashing to unify, I'd like the quilting to pull it all together.  Right now I know more about what I don't want to do than what I would like to do.

  1. No stitching in the ditch.  I don't want to just outline each of the designs.
  2. Each block's design should have an element that tie them all together -  a curl, a loop, a heart, a feather, etc.
  3. No all over design.  Some quilts work great with an all over.  This won't be one of them.  There's already so much not to like about this quilt.  I want the quilting to turn it into something I love.

The heart is my favorite and has the most quilting space so I'll start with that one.  I'm going to sketch out some designs and post them next week.

Do you have any ideas?

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Motif Monday 2

Monday, April 29, 2013

Today's motif includes a block and a sashing.  It's a little silly looking and you might think I called this one in, but let me go through my logic and it'll all come together.

I like crinkle cut fries - also known as worm fries or caterpillar fries. Ok, so maybe I'm the only one who call them worm/caterpillar fries.  Anyhow, I thought they might make a fun border design.  I also tried it as a block fill design, say for small cornerstones, but I'll have to work on that one a bit more.

Ok, back to my drawing.

So here's how this one's a twofer.

1. I couldn't decide if the fry edges were sharp or curved so I did both.  The top and left side of the drawing have curved lines, while the right and bottom have angled lines.

2. I thought about doing curls in each of the pinwheel triangles, but thought it might be a little nicer to only have the curls in the backgrounds.  The pinwheels themselves will ditch stitched and then have the inner echo.

So I've decided to show you my fry fill.  Looks more like a fabric sketch to me, but it gives you an idea of where my mind was today. (Note to self: Eat breakfast.)

The pinwheel on the right shows the outlined pinwheel and curved lines inside.  I like to keep my quilting as continuous as possible so I'll likely go with this design for inside the pinwheels.  I'm not convinced the curls are the best option for the background triangles.  I might use Leah Day's Micro Zippling in this area.  I could just echo in the triangle like a little maze and travel stitch back out to the center of the block to move on to the wiggle ghost in the pinwheel.

I hope this has given you something to think about and that one of these is useful to you.

I'm linked up to Let's Get Acquainted and Anything Goes.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



This Week's Favorite Blog Posts! (04/28/13)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It seems picking just one favorite blog post may not work for me.  Once again, here are a few I liked this week.

Random or "di" - I came upon Di's post via the Let's Get Acquainted link up.  Her Spiral Geese quilt is just fabulous.  Her post directed me to...

Better Off Thread - Janice designed the Spiral Geese quilt and this post catalogs the process of designing and making the quilt.

Both versions are just beautiful.  I see a Spiral Geese quilt in my future.  I think I'll start a Quilt Wish List page to keep track of all the incredible quilts I come upon and want to make.

Домик у моря - Or Cottage By the Sea is from Julia.  She has a really pretty makeup case she's made from a quilted rectangle.  This post lists the steps she took to make it.

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: This time I'm late for a very good reason.  My brother-in-law was over for a visit and we all had a fabulous time catching up!

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Thoroughly Modern Thursday - 2

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm still trying to figure out how best to quilt My Heart.

I tried to think of something that went in with the ombre fabrics, but that seemed less the point to me than the heart.  Oh, My Lonely Heart wasn't quite right either.

The heart really symbolizes the love between Eric & I.  We are very blessed, almost 20 years in, 1 in college, 1 on the way to the Marine Corps and we're still honeymooning.

With that thought in my heart, here are the quilting design ideas I came up with.

All but the top left are a combination of ideas rather than just one over all design.  If I choose to add the hands in, I'll spend far more time sketching out a proper set of hands and forearms.  Hubby says these look like the Grinch's hands!

We are both leaning towards the top left - sweet, simple and to the point.  What do you think?

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Technique Tuesday - 2

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yes, I know it's Wednesday, not Tuesday.

I've been thinking these last three days a lot about how I'd like to work with Technique Tuesday.  I don't think a one day/week turn with a new technique is conducive to learning.  With all the project most of us are working on, it's hardly enough time to even start on a new technique.  I also think one new technique a month seems too long.

I've settled on one new technique every other week - for now.  This will allow us time to live with the new technique and see progression of a project using the technique.

Now that I've decided how Technique Tuesday will work, next week I'll post my progress on the Sashiko project we started last week.  I'll also post new suggestions for implementing the technique.  I hope you find this updated format helpful.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Motif Monday 1

Monday, April 22, 2013

The first motif set I'm going to put up is holly leaves and is a block motif.  You may remember I posted one of these quilting designs in the Winter Whimsy quilt design sketch.  I wanted something a little more fun so I came up with these variations.  Each of them can be done free motion and continuous.

I'll normally do an original and a variation, unless something strikes me.  Today, I had intended to give two variations, but I really didn't like variation 2.  Variation 3 is what I'd had in mind all along.  When I started to write this paragraph, I looked at the drawing again and realized what my biggest issue was with V2.  I'd forgotten to do the fourth echo in one of the leaves.  It's not my favorite, but it's not awful. I hope one of them is useful to you.

I'm linked up to Let's Get Acquainted and Anything Goes.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Midnight Madness Sunday: This Week's Favorite Blog Post!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I had a hard time picking just one blog post so here's my list of favorites for the week.

Christa Quilts!
Her French Rose Buds Baby Quilt is far beyond lovely.  She's selling the pattern in her store.  I see a purchase in my future.  I have some thoughts on quilting it.  Now, if only I had someone to give it to!

The quilting on her Improv Star quilt is beautiful.  It's just dense enough, thematic, and flows in such a nice way.  Makes me want to get quilting on my TMT quilt.

Stitch by Stitch
Marelize is working on a hexie project.  She wanted a hand sewing project to work on so she's been basting hexies.  She's got about 1600 of them!  I can't wait to see what she makes with them.

I hope you find these posts as fun to look at as I do.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: Yes, I forgot to set the publish time.  I'll do better next Sunday.  Have a great week!

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Free Form Friday!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Following my new format, today is Free Form Friday and I'm in the mood to share a little bit of everything today.

First, I'm really excited to be going on the NJ Shop Hop tomorrow with two friends from my quilting group.  I set up bins for the three of us to store our purchases during the trip.  The little labels say "Hi My Name Is" with each of our names.

Inside each bin I've also included 2.5" fabric strips I matched to each of us.  I also made pull through tags from each of the fabrics.  Pull through tags are 4" x 1" strips of fabric with a 1" slit half an inch in from one of the ends.  Once our bins are full, we can use these tags to mark our bags.  They're fun, quick, easy and we'll be able to quickly identify our own bags.

With any luck, one of us will win one of the prizes!

Project Follow Up:

1. Sashiko Dragon Flies - I'm a bit further along with my dragon flies.  I decided to stitch them in a different color from the grid.  I just happened to find some gold sashiko thread at Happy Quilter. And I had a great time chatting with Susan at the store.

2. Oh, My Lonely Heart - I still haven't decided on how to quilt this project.  I think I'll baste it on Sunday and see how the spirit moves me.  The graphite ombre is the front with the quilted and appliquéd on heart.  The graphite ombre dot is the back.  The graphite zig zag is the binding.

Any ideas?  Let me know what you think! 

3. Free Motion Quilting - I shared these two projects here and here.  I've had them sitting together until I can find the rest of the fabric I used to bind the first one.  I have enough fabric left to do at least one more in this fabric combination.  There's lots to love about them and lots to fuss over, but I think they'll look nice hanging on the wall over my piano.

I'm linking up to Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Friday.  It's also worth noting that I've officially lost the marked whole cloth I'd started.  I had marked Leah's Hearts and Feathers pattern on a beautiful red batik.  It's been gone long enough for the markings to have faded so I'll be starting over next week.  Glad I didn't take the pattern off the window!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Thoroughly Modern Thursday

Thursday, April 18, 2013

There are some quilts that look definitely modern to me and there are others that look barely different for any other quilt your abuela might have made.  While there are certain characteristics that give us good guidelines, in the long run, modern can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder.

Modern Quilt Guild on what is modern quilting:

"...several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work."

I think we can agree on these characteristics.  We could also disagree on some of these.  If you look back in history, modern quilting as characterized above has been a segment of every quilting generation.


I found these great fabrics at Rock, Paper, Scissors in Montclair, NJ.  They host the local MQG meetings.  I haven't made it to one of the meetings yet, but their listing on the MQG site is what lead me to finding their store.  Quilting fabric is only part of what's going on there, but I was able to find some interesting fabrics.  These are all from Simply Color by V and Co. for Moda.

Cat Not Included

I cut, sandwiched, turned out and then quilted this heart.  Next, I'm going to applique it to the quilt top before putting it all together.  I'm all over the place on how best to quilt it.

  • Idea 1: Quilt around the heart and one echo.  Then echo quilt circles around the outside of the heart.  
  • Idea 2: Quilt straight vertical and horizontal lines to create a grid in the top left corner of the quilt.  Then in the area not covered by the lines, quilt bubbles.
  • Idea 3: Use 5 different fillers designs that change in size and density from the top to the bottom of the quilt.
  • Idea 4: Add a few more hearts floating down to the bottom right and then figure out how to quilt it. (Ack!  Scope creep!)

I'm hoping to get this quilt done in the next week.  What do you think?  Any ideas on how to quilt this?

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!



Sashiko on Technique Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sashiko is a running stitch that was used in Japan and China as reinforcement stitches for high wear areas of clothing - elbow, knees, etc.

Overall Thoughts

This is my first attempt at sashiko.  I've decided to start with a preprinted panel just to see if I'd enjoy it.  I'm not even done with this first piece and I can already tell you this is something I'm really enjoying.  It's very relaxing.  I can see many applications for this technique in many of my quilting projects.  It's also not difficult.  You're using a running stitch which most of you will be familiar with.  The complexity will come from the pattern you choose to stitch.  I'm about 1/2 way done with the panel you'll see below.  I'll post the completed panel Friday.


  • Cotton or Linen - While most recommend a looser weave, you can test the fabric using the sashiko needle and see if you're comfortable working with the combination for an entire piece.  Alternatively, you can purchase a preprinted panel to work from.
  • Sashiko Needles - Sashiko needles are larger than what we may be used to using.  The eye is large to accommodate the sashiko thread.  They come in different lengths.  You should try a few to see what works best for you. 
  • Sashiko Thread - This is a soft thread.  The one I am using has 6 twisted threads sets.  Each set is heavier that  average quilting thread.  Handle your thread very carefully.  I made a big, hot mess of my thread and am having to deal with the consequences.  When you open it up and lay it out, one side of the thread loop has a small thread wrapped around it.  If you hold this point, and pull the thread up off the table, it will open out nicely.  Then you can cut it into lengths.
  • Thimble - I'd recommend a leather thimble.


1. Thread and knot your needle.
Use whatever method you're most comfortable with.  I loop the end around my index finger 1 1/2 times.  Then I roll it off with my thumb and pull it tight to create a knot.  It's not the prettiest or neatest not, but it works for me.

a. Loop 1/2 x's
b. Roll off thumb
c. Pull knot

2. Choose your starting point.
Start by choosing the longest stabilizing line.  My panel has a grid on it so I am working from the center out.  You'll want to start with the straight lines and then move to any curved lines.

3. Insert your needle from wrong side of fabric.
Start from the wrong side of the panel and push your needle through to the right side starting at the beginning of the marked line.

Insert from wrong side

4. Take several running stitches.
Using the pattern marking as a guide, take several running stitches.  Be sure to cover the marked areas with your thread and move back down to the underside in the areas with no marking.

Take several running stitches

5. Continue straight line running stitches.
You may have noticed in the picture above that the needle comes back up on the other side of the dragonfly's wing.  As you're traveling along, be sure you travel underneath pattern areas to continue your line.

Some thoughts on how to do the stitches…
I have found the quickest and easiest way to do this is to scrunch the fabric in my left hand and stab through the fabric with the needle in my right, rocking the fabric as I go.  These shouldn't be tight stitches either.  They should lay gently on the fabric.

Rock & Load

6. Pull the fabric to settle the stitches.
You'll have to gently tug the fabric in the direction of the stitches to settle them into place.

Before gentle tug
After gentle tug

Continue in this way until you have completed all the straight lines in your piece.

7. Stitch curved lines.
You'll stitch these lines in the same way you've stitched the curved lines.  You may want to switch to one of the shorter needles - personal preference rules here.

Keep In Mind

Once you're piece is completely stitched you can use it for whatever you'd like.  In parts of Japan, they're used as dust rags!

I'll be using mine for a quilted wall hanging.  I'm going to add a border.  Then I'll be using a matching thread to stitch a dense filler design all over, except for the dragonflies.  I want them to really pop up off the surface.  I'll likely use two layers of batting to make sure it's pronounced.

I have seen the knotted ends left floating at the edge of the pattern as a design element.  In my project it would be at the end of each grid line.  In that case, you'd want to use a cute little knot or maybe a knot with a short tail.

Indigo bleeds so wash it separately after you finish the stitches.  You may want to use a color catcher or a cup of vinegar.  If it bleeds onto your thread, this is characteristic of traditional sashiko and isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, personal preference rules here.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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It's a Brave New World!

Monday, April 15, 2013

You may have noticed after Easter I stepped away from the blog for two weeks.  I was trying to find my writing voice.  I want this blog to be more than just show and tell.  I want to share - quilting designs, patterns, projects, techniques, and even the occasional show and tell.

Here's how it's going to work.

Motif Monday - I'll be sharing quilting motifs.  Some will be free motion and some will require marking.  For each new quilting motif I share, I'll also include a variation.

Technique Tuesday - I'll be sharing a different technique.  In some cases I'll be learning them and in other cases it will be a technique I've used for years.

Thoroughly Modern Thursday - I'll be sharing my take on modern quilting.  I'll share some of my own patterns and designs, as well as, some that I've stumbled across.

Free-Form Friday - I'll be sharing whatever I'm in the mood to share.  Maybe it's a show and tell of my FMQ for the week.  Maybe I'll show my progress on a BOM I'm working on.  It just depends on what's going on that week.

Midnight Madness Weekends - This is going to be fun.

  • Midnight Saturday: The first Saturday of the month, I'll be posting a Block of the Month.  Subsequent Saturdays will be about sharing the finished block in 2 - 3 different fabric sets.  
  • Midnight Sunday: Every Sunday I'll share my favorite post of the week.  There are so many great quilt bloggers out there.  It can be hard to keep track of them all.  
I'm really looking forward to the new format.  Please chime in and let me know what you think.  If you'd like to see something, let me know.

Today was announcement day so I'll be starting the new format tomorrow.  I hope to see you tomorrow for Technique Tuesday!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Must Do's Done - On to Free Motion Feathers

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hubby and I were able to get our must do's done by 2:30 so I had plenty of time for quilting!

Here's the result of Angela Walter's Free Motion Quilting with Feathers class.

X Marks the Spot
Free Motion Feathers

 I'll have to get the binding and label on in the next couple of days.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Quick Mini Label

Not sure how much quilting I'll be getting done today.  We've got a bunch of must do's scheduled.

I took Angela Walter's Free Motion Quilting with Feathers over at Craftsy.  I loved it!  I went to bed thinking about feathers and woke up thinking about feathers.  I can't wait to get to my practice piece.

Rather than rushing through a feathers practice piece this morning, I finished up the little pink practice piece I'd posted earlier.  In line with my finish everything with a binding & label, I added the binding and made these cute little labels.  This little pink practice piece is about 5" x 7", so the usual label seemed like overkill.  I'd remembered seeing this on someone's blog.  They'd had them mass produced.  I figured I could do it only home printer so I decided to give it a try.  I think it looks really cute.  I'm very happy with how it came out.  Now I have another little mug rug.

I made these using 4" x 6" photo fabric on my home printer and Avery's online printing tool.

Here's hoping my must do's don't take as long as expected.

Quilt.  Create.  Enjoy!


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What I've Been Up To...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I've been very busy...Shopping!

My friend Marie & I had a fabulous time on doing our own Private NJ Shop Hop.  We visited some great stores and made some great buys.

Here's the list of fabulous store we went to:

  1. Budding Star Quilts
  2. Pennington Quilt Works
  3. Olde City Quilts
  4. The Village Quilter
  5. The City Quilter
I thought it would be great to pick up 2-3 fat quarters from each shop so we could make a quilt to commemorate our day out and about.  Here's the collection I came away with.

I started with the 5th one from the right and then added from there.  I ended the day having purchased far more than I expected, but it was a great day.   We ended the day with cheesecake and milk shakes for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

I've also been practicing my free motion feathers.  I won't share any of my horrid practice pieces just yet.  I'm trying to find which method is most comfortable for me and results in beautiful feathers.  I decided to go back to basics and found Feathered Fibers has information on how to quilt various feathers.  What I found most useful would have to be the sheets to print out and just practice the shapes.  She has a few of them, so if you need help with your free motion feathers you may find them useful. Here are the sheets I've been drawing so far.

I just flipped the paper over and started drawing on the other side to continue my practice.  I'm also going to watch Leah Day's Feather pattern videos before I start.  I'll be moving to a practice scrap on the machine today.  Wish me luck!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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Hearts a Flutter

Friday, March 29, 2013

I've been working on finishing the heart quilt this week.  I bought this top a while back to practice my quilting.  I love working on my own quilts, but sometimes I just need a top to practice with.  I'm less emotionally invested that way.  

I tried a few things until I settled on the quad heart design on right.  I started by stitching in the ditch on all the sashing.  Then I FMQ'd all 9 sets with the hearts.  I was afraid they'd be all different sizes and shapes, but they're all actually pretty close.

Hubby also serviced old reliable.  I'd had a little issue with it during the last quilt group meeting.  He wanted me to give it a little practice run.  This little rectangle is the result.

I also started working on the Heart and Feather whole cloth quilt from Leah Day's 2012 project.  I used the glass window tracing method.  I can tell you two things: 1. I hate the pen I used. 2. I wish I had a light box.  At least it's done.  Now, if I could only get to it before the ink disappears!

Well, I've got lots more quilting to do.  I'd better get back to work.

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


PS: You may have noticed I like the dancing flowers (my name) design.  I think I'll be ordering fabric or even better, looking through my stash, to get some designs under my belt.  I want my go-to quilting designs to be as varied as the fabrics I use.

PSS: I just got back from singing at Easter Vigil Mass a little while ago.  I am filled with the Spirit!  Have a great Easter!!!

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Jelly Roll Race

Monday, March 25, 2013

My quilting group had a great time with a jelly roll race last Tuesday.  All but two of us were able to finish the tops before the end of the evening.

I got the borders on Friday night and picked up the backing fabric on Saturday.

It's a little hard to tell from this picture but the middle border is purple and the final border is pink.  The detail one shows it a little better.

You can also see the backing peaking out on the bottom right side.  It's a little too much pink & purple for me but I think my niece will love it.

Here are the other quilts from Tuesday night.

I also picked up the borders for my Barbara's Antique quilt - red, gray, & black. The backing is black too.

So many great quilts to work on, I'm having a hard time deciding what to do next!

Quilt. Create. Enjoy!


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