Monday, January 31, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I decided to start a little project that will just be fun and quick. This is Carrie Nelson's McGuffey pattern which started out as a Schnibbles pattern and later made it to her book "Schnibbles Times Two." These blocks were made from 2 charm packs and I will still get a piano key! The finished size is 31 1/2" squared

I hit a snag quilting a top with my Nolting Fun Quilter...skipping stitches again. I'm thinking my hook needs sharpening. It only does it when I place a press'n seal sheet on the top to follow a design and move the machine away from me...from my research the dull hook is the most likely for now I'm going to try a velum paper pinned on top. I'm ordering a back up hook just in case. Plus I read one about a gal who sharpened her hook too much and it cut her bobbin thread...sounds like something I would do!

I'm real excited to start February. I have a great quilt to hang for the first time...a Nancy Halvorsen design. I made it exactly as she designed...her fabric and button embellishments...I so rarely do that! One of my goals this year is to work on show-casing my quilts better when I bring them out for display. I'm house-bound with a recovering dog so never got to it for this quilt but I left part of my Christmas swag wouldn't take much more to really add a nice finish to the display.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Return to Everyday Life poor dog really had a tough few days after his surgery. I have to contain myself or you will get all the gory details. I think he had a bad reaction to his fentanyl pain patch. It was due to come off today and he is back to his old self. Maybe it's just a coincidence but he has been sleeping all day. He barely slept the first three days home. 

I had to skip my Breakfast Club meeting on Thursday so no photos of show and tell. Plus I didn't start the new project. I plan to start it on my own and do the small version in my Christmas fabric of Carrie Nelson's  design - McGuffey. 

Today I tackled catching up on blog quilts. 

Here's block seven of the Layer Cake Quilt Along.

And I really want to do Anne Sutton's BOM this year so I got the base for the first month done.

I get to try my hand at wool applique with this project. There will be an adorable squirrel on here in the near future. The new monthly block is posted on the 5th of the month so I have a few days to meet that deadline.

I'm going to be home bound for another week and looks like I'll be able to spend a lot of it sewing. I'm trying to look on the bright side of a not so great situation. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nurse Mom

Just a quick note...I'm nursing a dog recovering from major surgery. I may be absent for a while.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Design Wall Monday

It's a new week and a new project is in the works...
Big decision to make...
My Breakfast Club meets on Thursday and we are making Carrie Nelson's McGuffey pattern from her "Schnibbles Times Two," book. 

Do I make the smaller size and go with a Christmas theme...

Or go bigger and use batiks...

I just don't know!

This weekend I completed a quilt on my Nolting Fun Quilter and got the quilting design worked out for the next quilt project.

I'd love to finish it by Thursday which would mean ignoring everything else (house cleaning...ewh).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Wrap Up

My house beckons me to attend to it...I suppose I really should start putting Christmas decorations away!
My quilting is coming along great now...

I did a little applique last night...added the saddle to the carousel horse.

Just had to put a little rider in the saddle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


As in stitches...ARGH! Everything was going so smoothly. I am on the bottom border of my first thread excited to finish and change thread color...but no...all of the sudden I'm skipping stitches. The trials of machine quilting. Checked the needed fixing. Put in a new needle. Loosened the tension of the quilt top. Still skipping. It must have to do with the humidity...of course...we got a little snow today. At this point I'll take any reason...I'm sure I will work through it.

I had a visit with the vet today, my baby Forrest needs to have an eye removed. He lost sight in it last September...a blood vessel broke in a very bad place causing idea why. Cancer has been a big fear but so far he looks and acts great. (Lymphoma was a big concern but that would have run its course in 3 to 4 months so we made it past that hurdle.) He turned one in October and has survived two other health crisis in his young life. I really hope I have him for many more years. I know many of us share struggles with family's not easy to make these very expensive decisions. He has glaucoma in the eye which requires regular medication so it's not so simple to just stay with the status quo. He sure is a happy boy. 

I thought I'd share a picture of two companion quilts I gave to my mother-in-law, Judy,  for Christmas.

Twin-sized, Yellow Brick Road pattern made with Moda Roman Holiday fat quarters. Judy is a quilter and she is planning to share them at her guild meeting this month. She lives in Marble Falls, Texas. I knew Judy liked this line of fabric because she bought some of it to make a quilt which went to one of her granddaughters.

This quilt went to my sister-in-law, Tara, in Houston. Not a great photo but I thought it was perfect for her...her home is fairly traditional in jewel tones. This will be a nice Christmas throw for those chilly winter nights in Houston (when they really crank the air conditioning.)

I understand my other two sister-in-laws are anxious to get their Christmas quilts! I'm happy to take on that task. No more talking about which quilts that might be until after Christmas.

Time to go snuggle with Forrest and Jenny.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh My Aching Back

Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments regarding my quilting design. I am almost a 1/3 of the way through the project. One more row and border to do in blue thread then I am switching to a cream color which is most of the heavy quilting. I've spent 7 hours so far at the little sessions...and of course some of that time was spent picking out some little areas. I'm doing a lot of stopping and starting which will mean lots of thread tails to bury but I felt the need to push myself. 

My quilting world changed when I discovered these little miracle discs...

They really help prevent loops on the backside. Maybe you never have that problem! I don't anymore.
(They slip in the bobbin case and help prevent thread backlash which is what makes those undesirable loops.) I am always amazed at the ideas people come up with for notions. 

I'm trying a new thing with this quilting project...two layers of batting. I've read several blogs where folks have done this and it really helps give the quilting some fullness. It takes a little care when pulling through the frame but I love the results. With the increasing cost of cotton this is not exactly an economical trend if I like it. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Design Wall Monday's quilting Monday. Hopefully I will get started on actually quilting...

I've spent several days working out the design. This is pretty close to what I envision. 

The quilt is loaded. It's -17 outside. Hopefully I will make some major progress today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Favorite Techniques for Quilting

I thought I'd share two of my favorite techniques for machine quilting...

Dry Erase Marker Board to practice quilting designs
I love this idea and use it regularly now in preparation to quilt on my mid-arm. I often go two or three weeks between quilting on my Nolting FunQuilter so a little work on my muscle memory is always in order before I start quilting. I start doodling a quilt design on paper but like to work on the actual size of the quilt. Sometimes I rough out the patchwork design on the board in one color and use a different color marker to work on the quilting design. I almost always wind up doing something different once I'm in behind the machine.

Press'n Seal
Not a great picture...I'll show one in a few days that makes the point better but I'm not there yet. I have done this before and it works great. Draw the quilting design on the Press'n Seal...lay it on the quilt top and quilt on top...pull the "paper" away when done. It works wonderfully!

I'm making progress on the Debbie Caffrey Mystery. I've got the borders added...I went totally simple after trying out some border designs through EQ7. The quilt is for my son Zack and he will use it daily so I decided to keep the borders simple. I ordered a wide backing last night via the internet so I will hopefully get this done before my quilt club meets on Jan. 27th.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

LCQA Block 6

Layer Cake Quilt Along - Block 6
I wanted to use as many of my scraps from previous blocks as possible.

Here's where we are at so far. It will make a nice lap quilt for my navy leather sectional...half way there!

Check out Moose on the Porch Quilts Layer Cake Quilt Along to join the fun.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

UFO Removal

It's Official...#6 is done. I got lucky and had an easy one to tackle this month.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BOM Progress

I have sewn up the first block of a new BOM from Pieceful Kwilter but I'm thinking it needs some reworking...just not enough contrast. A constant problem when working with batiks...but gosh...I really love batiks. The setting triangles around the block on diagonal are constant for each month and I think I will start by reworking them...I think the central block works. 

I'll be tackling block #6 from the Layer Cake Quilt Along...another batik project. I wish I could just play all day in the sewing room!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Design Wall Monday

My design wall holds the main body of a Debbie Caffrey mystery. The pattern calls for a 10" border of the theme fabric which is the green. In the past year I have rarely left a quilt with a plain border and this piece definitely feels like it needs more. 

I'd like to incorporate this bear fabric into the border. I have been playing on EQ7 to try and work some ideas out but I just haven't found anything that clicks yet. 

Try #1

Try #2

Just not any closer to what I want. I will continue to play. 
I love playing with EQ7 but it sure steals time from my days.

Tonight's the big night for my son's appearance on the TV show, 
"Alaska Wing Men - Explosive Cargo" on the National Geographic channel...can't wait!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Little Fires

I have a lot of little fires going and I've been working in EQ7 so time has just flown out the window.

First - an update on  my son, John's TV debut. He is in the Explosive Cargo episode of  Alaska Wing Men on Monday, National Geographic channel. Here's a 3 minute promo for the show with my son in it: Explosive Cargo My husband was so excited his float plane made the show...and it's in the shows his blue and white float plane (Cessna 206 - just in case you know airplanes) landing and delivering John for the Bush Pilot course.

I went fabric shopping Friday and had a grand time. One thing we have plenty of in the Anchorage area is quilt shops. I have 7 great shops within 30 minutes of my house. It's time for new classes to start at all the shops so I had new quilts to check out from the class samples. And when I got home I had a package of fabric in the mail. It was a great day! My husband asked if I needed any more fabric...

My husbands toys are airplanes and boats...

Not that it's a contest or anything but I think we spend a lot more money on his toys than my fabric.

...On to a few pictures of my stash additions

Hoffman batik fat quarter bundles...yummy...this is Sangria relaxing


I do have projects in mind for these sets...bought the book Fat Quarters Anonymous last summer and saw all the quilts at the Long Beach quilt show. It's a Cozy Quilt Design book so lots of easy designs. Now it's back to all those little fires.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reality in Alaska

There are so many reality shows centered around Alaska and there are only so many people in our great state so eventually someone in my family was going to make it on one. My oldest son, John, makes his television debut on Monday.

 That's him on the right. He's only 19! 
He will be on National Geographic's Alaska Wing Men
There are three, one hour episodes running back-to-back that evening. We don't know which episode he is in but I'm thinking it's the one titled, "Deadliest Skies," because he landed a plane on one of Alaska's few highways.

That is a real shot! That's my son landing on a highway with moving traffic...yes, the guy driving the RV was worried! My son did a "Bush Pilot," course for three days while the camera caught the action. I live in a family of pilots, my husband started it all and now both of our sons are pilots. I'm very anxious to see the shows...the piloting world is small and I'm sure there will be others we know in the series. (We love watching all the Alaska reality shows because every so often there is someone we know in one!)

 If National Geographic does a show about the perils of walking dogs in Alaska I'm sure I'll be on that show. For now...back to quilting...not quite as exciting.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Making Progress

Yesterday I felt frustrated not getting to my Fun Quilter to work on the Good Tidings banner...I had to tell myself it's only January 5th...I have weeks to go in this month...and I'm sure I will finish this UFO on time. I love my Fun Quilter but working on it means having at least two free's not something I can just turn on for 30 minutes. Today I have a repairman coming so I probably won't get to it today either.

I am making progress on my Debbie Caffrey mystery. I googled the pattern name and found her website Debbie Caffrey Creative Moments where you too can check out a few of her patterns for free! This is the second mystery I've done of hers and she is so thorough. She has detailed instructions for pressing which makes it so easy to put it all together...opposing seams mean very little pinning.


Once again I find myself with a pile of triangle scraps. I am going to resist the urge to sew them all together and instead put them in a nice baggie where they can be found for later know the price of cotton has gone up. I will make many of you feel better...I'm already paying $11.99-$12.99 per yard for Hoffman batiks here in Alaska...I can't imagine how much higher the prices will go with the rising cost of cotton. The internet is a wonderful place and I never count shipping into my fabric those flat rate boxes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Free BOMs

There are so many wonderful free Block-of the-Month programs to join. I've printed up instructions before but this year I'm jumping in and doing a few. One that I'm taking on is from Shannon at Pieceful Kwilter. She is using batiks and that was all it took to make it irresistible for me. I've started pulling fabrics from my stash but I think a search for more purples and teal blues is in order...I'd like to do a purple and green quilt.

The fabric on the far right is my inspiration piece.

The second BOM I want to tackle starts's Anne Sutton's from Bunny Hill Designs. I always love her quilts but have never made one. I think it's about time. She is combining patchwork with applique and telling a story about Henrietta Squirrel. So adorable. She is using wool for the applique on cotton blocks. I just might have to try the wool...another first for me since I have issues with combining different fabrics. Cottons stay with cottons, wool stays with wool and batiks stay with batiks. I know...silly me to set up these meaningless parameters.

And there is one more BOM I'm looking at from Nancy Rink Designs. She is commemorating the Civil War. I'm not a fan of reproduction fabrics so I am a little stumped as to what fabric I would use. I might even do one of her previous BOM designs instead but I'll definitely print this one up just in case...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cross Stitch Finish

I finished a little Christmas ornament. This is "Frosty Santa." He is one of three Woodland Santas in a Mill Hill kit yearly series. The designer is Sandy Cozzolino. I covet her Santa designs. Mill Hill releases a new series of ornaments from her every year. I am only three years behind! But that doesn't include the other kits I have of her older releases which I picked up through Ebay that were produced by Janlynn, Bucilla and Astor Place. Collecting these ornaments is an ongoing hobby. These projects are very portable - great for travel.

I sewed my finger on Sunday. Needle straight through my nail and out the other side. Hubby had to get the pliers  to pull it out. Didn't hurt at all. Barely bled. After my husband pulled the needle out I thought I should have gotten a photo for the probably didn't want to see that. (I did soak it in some ice water immediately and drank two beers.)

Back to Frosty Santa. He is stitched on perforated paper which I will back with green wool felt. He's about five inches tall.

 I suppose you have your Christmas decorations down and put away...I haven't even thought about that...we like the festive lights to stay on a little longer when we are in the peak dark hours of winter. We had a wonderful layer of snow on everything...about 3 feet on the ground. Then we hit a warm spell. It's been above freezing for several days. So frustrating. Now we have a layer of ice on the ground and no snow on the trees. So DARK. It's supposed to get cold and snow again by the weekend. Can't wait!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Design Wall Monday

This is my #6 UFO

I spent Saturday and Sunday doing a machine blanket stitch around all the raw edges. This is a kit given to me by my cute. Can't remember how many years ago I got it but all I have left is quilting and binding.

My design wall holds step one of a Debbie Caffrey mystery

Check out Judy's players in Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dog Walking

Nap time is over. 

Mom - don't forget to walk us. You've done enough sewing!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Layer Cake Quilt Along Update

I am also participating in Moose on the Porch Quilts Layer Cake Quilt Along.

 We are on our 5th block already. I stayed totally in my comfort zone using a layer cake from Tonga Treats - Coffee Cake. Blues and browns are safe although batiks for a sampler is a little challenge...batiks can lack contrast. Here are the previous 4 blocks.

This is one of those rare occasions when the contrast of the fabrics in the photos looks crisper than the real thing...go figure. This will make a smashing throw for the great room.
If you haven't joined...think about it. It is going very quick and the blocks have all been pretty easy! They finish at 12" so you'll make a nice size quilt out of 12. 

January's UFO Challenge

I have an easy UFO project - Good Tidings Banner. It needs top stitching, quilting and binding.

I will use a blanket stitch by machine to top stitch. I have everything but brown thread for the tree base. Since it is so small I may quilt it on my Bernina with the BSR foot. 
If you haven't hear of  Judy's Patchwork Times UFO Challenge you might want to check it out and join. Just think - if I got one UFO done a month...that would be amazing.

A New Year

It's always exciting to start a new year. I have so many projects planned. I'm hoping this blog will help keep me on track without keeping me at the computer too much.

As promised - a look at some of the show and tell from the monthly Breakfast Club meeting. First a little background. A quilt is selected every month as our project but often one or more ladies will decided to work on something else. November's project was Kitchen Sink from Scrap-Basket Surprises. The goal was to use fabrics folks already new purchases.  (My photos are not the best...practice makes perfect.)

This is Gina's Kitchen Sink. She used some fabrics collected many years ago that she wasn't as fond of anymore.  A nice warm feeling to this quilt.

This is Carol's Kitchen Sink made with Thimbleberries. I bet some of those fabrics look familiar to a lot of folks.

Next up are two quilts from Bobbie who works at a school so we don't see her as often as we'd like.

Show and tell goes so fast I am really glad to get another look at this wall hanging. 

And here is Bobbie's Scrap-Basket Blues, another great design from Scrap-Basket Surprises. I believe Bobbie is planning to put a blue border on from her stash. I think all this was from her stash...she said she even has fabric stored at a friend's house because she ran out of space in her sewing room. I never thought of that!

Next, two quilts from Midge. First is Autumn Braid from September's class. It's a Cozy Strip Club pattern. I didn't tackle that project but I think they made one long braid and cut it to the sizes needed for the windows. 

Love that background fabric. Midge's second quilt is an individual project. (Things to learn for future blog postings...take close-up photos to show the quilting.)  Midge hand-quilted this entire quilt and is just finishing up the binding. I don't think there was more than 1/2'' of open space. Amazing. My hand hurts just thinking about it.

And finally my spin on Bali Sea Stars. 

We got a great start on our Debbie Caffrey Mystery. Just to add to my subject matter for postings I'll share the steps for that as I complete them. I'm very close to having step one done.