Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Binding (Groan or Hurray)

After completing the quilting portion of a quilt, the next logical step after trimming all the excess backing and batting away from the top, is to bind the quilt.

Binding to some is a dread. To others, it's one of the favorite quilting activities. For me, it's both.

If I have the time and am not too rushed, I love to throw in a movie (or three) and just chill out on the couch and bind away. If I am rushed, binding becomes a chore and a necessary event I just can not avoid.

I use two methods to bind with only minor changes to step one (back versus front sewing).

The first method is to machine sew the binding onto the back of the quilt all around the edges and then roll the binding back over to the front and sew it on with my machine using any of the hundreds of decorative stitches I have on two of my sewing machines.

The second method is to machine sew the binding onto the front of the quilt and then roll the binding onto the back and hand stitch the binding secure using a blind hem stitch.

Of course, the second method takes up way more time, but the look is more polished and has to be done when making a quilt that may end up in a quilt show. I also hand bind the quilts that are of "heirloom" quality.

For the hand binding method, I have recently discovered that instead of taking my quilt into the living room and throwing that movie on, it's actually quicker to do it on my pressing table where the quilt can lie flat and I can more easily maneuver it around. Many quilters often pin their binding down to assist in sewing it on, but I have found it works just as well as long as you only do an inch or two at a time, without having to pin it down.

Here is a pic of how hand binding is accomplished on Andrew and Laura's quilt. See how the binding is rolled over from the front to the back and then secured with needle and thread by hand?

I don't stand at my table for four or five hours hand binding, but with an hour or so each day, it will be completed before they are due to arrive is less then two weeks. It's easy to move if I'm working on any other projects and to put back again for the next round of hand stitching.

Having said all that, I am pondering whether to hand or machine bind that beast still hanging out on DW's take-up roller. I think it is nearly heirloom quality and it would be nice to put in a show, but, but, but...decisions, decisions.

What do you think? Should I hand or machine bind Amish Stars? You be the judge!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Open Houses, Baby Showers, and Yard Sales, Oh My!

Friday was spent with mom at yard sales. Or at least the morning and afternoon were occupied with such activity.

Friday evening was spent at a wonderful open house for our cousin. He's a great kiddo and we wish him the very best in the next chapter of his life.

Saturday (yesterday) was spent mid-day at another cousins' baby shower. It was at this baby shower that five (yup, five) of my quilts were given their new home. You have seen them on previous posts and I'm sure the recipients will take care of and enjoy them fully. But most of all, they will be loved I'm sure.

A special thanks to those who made Ben and Alisha's reception an amazing event: Valerie and Scott Miller, Michaela and Robert Miller, and Amber Lynn Jane. Five wonderful people who we have the honor of being related to!

After the events of above were tackled, I was gearing up to work on my long-arm beast when the middle kid and his wife called to see if we were going to be around. "Of course you're welcome out here and no, we are not going anywhere." Says dad.

I had a goal, and even though the kids were on their way out, I still needed to get Amish Stars off DW; or at least get it finished to make room for other projects in the bull pen.

This is one of the most welcome sights to a quilter.

I know it doesn't look like much, but truly it is. It means the quilt is now fully quilted and is ready to take off the rollers. It means another chapter of the quilt is closed and we are now past the half-way point in the completion of a huge project.

No matter the size of a quilt; whether it's a baby quilt for a shower, or a beast like the one above (which, BT Dubs, is for sale), getting the quilt quilted is one of the milestones we all look forward to as quilt makers. It takes a lot of planning and time to make sure it's quilted correctly. Too often I have pulled stitches out (we call it unsewing) because I neglected to plan well enough ahead on what I'm going to do with the quilting.

Small celebrations are worth every second to be happy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Creativity is Fun!

My long arm came with a computer and an amazing program for that computer called Art and Stitch. Art and Stitch (or ANS) is a vector-based drawing program providing the ability to draw continuous objects and shapes through lines and curves.

The drawing my quilting friend provided on Tuesday night wasn't readily available in the default motifs provided in my computer, and as much as I tried to modify one that was really close, it just didn't seem to work out: Too many jumps and tie-offs between diamonds.

My next option was to create the motif in ANS. Most of yesterday morning, after I blogged, was creating the motif I wanted to fit in the area I wanted to put it in and figuring just how to draw in ANS since this is a brand new venture for me.

While it doesn't seem like a really difficult motif that I did draw, I did do it and had at first a very frustrating time with it, but with persistence and some colorful language, arrived at a result I could live with.

Once the motif is drawn, it has to be saved on a thumb drive and then put into the computer system that drives the quilting machine.

This is the result.

The star between all the "chains" was not my doing. That motif was actually already included with the basic motifs provided with the computer.

The chains, or continuous diamonds were actually what I did. Again, I know it doesn't look like much but I built the motif to fit what I needed and where I needed with all the correct dimensions and very little modifications having to be done. Once I figured out what I needed to do, it was pretty fun and look forward to spending some not-so-crunch-time time on the computer to design more motifs for my long arm machine.

As of this morning, I have two and a half rows done. My goal is to finish the quilting before the weekend, but I am going to yard sales with mom tomorrow all day (one particular guy, who stopped by our guild show this March, is selling his deceased wife's fabric-all of which he states she obtained at our local quilt shops).

Cue: Pandora!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


After I looked at and evaluated my intention for the quilting on my Amish Stars, decided to head in a totally different direction.

While I don't normally subscribe to the "quilt it to death" method of quilting my quilts, this one seemed to say it needed to be. I gave one of the stars a dry run yesterday and liked how the machine and I were working together through free motion and this is how the stars are being quilted with the beautiful variegated jewel-toned thread.

The grey star is the most boring of the 40 in the quilt and look how the thread works to pick up the color gradients all the stars share.

It takes a long time to do even one star. Most of yesterday was just doing the stars in the first row and I still have four more rows of stars to do.

The next question was what to do with the sashing and border areas. They aren't very wide; 3 1/2" finished, so I have to narrow down whatever I want to put there.

I consulted with an amazing fellow long armer last night and talked to other quilting friends at a meeting I attended and the consensus was to not use the variegated thread in the sashing/borders areas, but instead use a very black thread. My long arming friend suggested some other little details after building a large crosshatch motif within so I'm going to be doing some computer work to get the ideas all incorporated into those sections.

My dog is driving me nuts since Caleb has left for England. It's hard to focus on working on this piece so intensely with her constant whining. I think we'll crank up the tunes today to drown out her noise so I can continue on with my quilting adventures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Now Appearing on the Long Arm

This is my next project. Actually, it's going to be an Everest. I've never done a quilt this big on the machine before, and this one, as you can see, is extremely large. It's kind of scary too!

I've watched a few quilting videos today at lunch and think I have an idea in my head of what I want to include in each of the quilt top elements. I am actually thinking about free motion quilting the stars and following along their piecing lines with some echo quilting, but don't know if I want to risk ruining the quilt.

I think a single rope braid in the sashing and a small feather wreath in each corner of the star block would lend to the Amish feel of the quilt and a feather in the border would be nice as well. We'll see what we come up with after we get everything plumbed.

Over the weekend I was able to complete the commission quilt and deliver it. I also put the binding on AL's quilt and will take to the baby shower on Saturday. The section that I ruined on DW actually came out okay, so I don't think I'll have to do much with that. Yeah!

Because I was super productive this weekend, I also completed two charity quilt tops. After the monster above gets off the frame, we'll put those two on next. Saturday, after I came home (the guys picked me up a little early), I put away all my sew-in stuff and then wasn't quite ready to stop with the sewing for the day so completed UFO #2 from when DW was in the shop.

Here's what the top looks like.

It's hard to see exactly what's in each of those little blocks, isn't it. How about a close up or three?

The bottom two pics give a close up of the handles. Each colored handle is appliqu├ęd down a different way . I wanted to give the cups some variety besides there own fabric combination so used a variety of stitches on my new machine.

I still don't know how I'm going to quilt this. Caleb suggested some steam coming out of the top of each cup, which I am actually going to do, but that only covers the top of each much of coffee. What about the rest of the block? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Process of Quilting

My intentions this morning will be to share how I actually quilt a piece once the top, batting, and backing are loaded onto my long arm. Whether you quilt on a long arm or on your little 1952 Singer, the process of putting together the layers is essentially the same; a sandwich is made with the backing, the batting, and the quilt top.

Since I'm working on the commission piece, this is what I'll be quilting today. I was actually able to start the quilting last night and hope to get the remainder done this morning. Let's take a look...

I wanted to include a Sparty head in the border between the words Go Green! Go White! I have already set up my area perimeters and have scaled down the motif to fit within the section I want to put it.

The four-inch section I need to put a Sparty head

Remember, I'm not a videographer, and my iPad would have done a much better job, but here is DW making the Sparty head on that border section.

So, this is what I'll be doing for the morning. I randomly place Michigan State University elements throughout the quilt and utilize my long arm to be creative and have some fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Commission Quilt(s)

I love to hate them! Let me explain. Seldom do I repeat a quilt I have made. There are a few exceptions, but in 20 years, I can count the numbers on one hand. It's probably the fact there are so many other patterns and pieces I would like to make I just can't seem to repeat something I've already done. It gets kind of boring.

Referring back to a few posts (if you will), I made an MSU quilt for Caleb. It's a utility quilt that I want him to use daily rather then folding up and putting away for later. The kids are told this when I make something for them. They have very few heirloom pieces because I like to keep making them more quilts and want them to enjoy what mom makes.

Caleb took his quilt to school and it's on his bed in his room at the house. By house, I mean where he stays during the school year. It's a huge four story house they call a Men's Christian Co-op or a Christian Frat House. Each of the boys may or may not have a roommate and currently Caleb does not; his moved out to get married earlier this summer.

Caleb has been taught to keep his room neat and while women are not allowed on the floor where the guys sleep, I have no way of knowing whether his room is being kept clean or not. I really don't think it's my place to babysit my 20 year old anyway, so at this point it's really none of my concern. However, his house father does keep tabs on the residents and the condition of how the boys are keeping things.

Since Caleb's room was the cleanest (so says the house father), and it's time to start getting new residents in for the upcoming school year, Caleb's room has been used as the model when showing prospective residents and their parents what their son can expect for the money they spend each month for living at the house.

The house father noticed (kind of) Caleb's quilt after taking the first set of interested parties through on their tour. When the next week rolled around with another set of tours, Mike had a chance to actually look closely at Caleb's quilt and noticed all the intricate stitching I included within the blocks. He then started looking even closer to discover many more items that were included within the quilt. I guess he was pretty impressed and an idea started brewing in his head.

He asked Caleb where the quilt came from and when Caleb said it was something I threw together for him, Mike was astounded.
"Can she do a smaller one for our library wall downstairs?"
"I'm sure she could, but it's kind of expensive."
"How much?"
When Caleb took it upon himself to shoot this guy a decent figure, the man didn't even blink and said he wanted to talk to me.

And while there are other details, Mike decided he wanted a quilt similar to Caleb's to fit a smaller wall space and with a little more items added in. Thus, another commission (quilt) was born.

I've done a few commission pieces. I feel like the pressure is on from the very first minute you start to look for fabric, design, thread, get it. There were already a few mistakes made while just piecing the blocks together that if it would have been one of the "normal" quilts I make, I would have fudged through and just made it work. I do more un-sewing on commission pieces then I do sewing because I feel like my name is out there and I want to keep it a good name.

I put a lot of stress on myself and dread the whole process. I actually get all jittery while working on the piece and over-think everything. I think I need to take heed and let people know that while I'm glad they admire my work and want something from me, I have plenty in my inventory for them to choose from should they want to see any of those. Jim's concern is that the guys in the house are going to see the quilt on the wall, see Caleb's quilt (his room is located at the top of the stairs where everybody else walks by to get to their own rooms) and want one like or similar to it. This could start to be...

...let's not think of that right now. I have to get back to work on this piece (can you tell I'm stalling?).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hhhheeee'sssss Bbbbbaaaaccckkk!

DW is back. We actually went and got him on Saturday, but had a houseful of family during the weekend to celebrate Father's Day and didn't get to check and see how we did in getting him back onto his frame.

It's wasn't all beer and skittles. While he would stitch horizontally, he would hardly stitch vertically, whether it was with the computer or free motion. Ring, ring...

"Hello, Gall Sewing."
"Hello, who's this?"
"Oh good. Mike, this is Colette and DW is not behaving."
"Okay, what's he doing?"

Within about 10 minutes we diagnosed what exactly happened in transport and got him back to rights again (thank you my wonderful husband for fielding the remainder of the phone call to diagnose and fix what had happened). It wasn't anything we did, or that Gall did. It's just one of those things while traveling down our lovely Michigan highways that must have jostled him a bit to set things a little out of alignment.

We did a test run with the remainder of that baby quilt I was working on when I broke him in the first place and he's completely cured!

I have left that quilt on the frame for now even though I'm done stitching it because DW looks so naked when something isn't sitting there ready to go. And quite frankly, I'm working on a commission piece right now so I just loosened up the quilt and it's merely hanging around.

The commission quilt. Since that's all I'll be working on for the next few days, I'll share that story in tomorrows post. Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Since DW is (still) in the shop, and the weather outside is not so purty, I thought this would be a good opportunity to catch up on some much needed UFO work.


I have a few of these UFO's patiently waiting in the cupboard so I rolled up my sleeves yesterday, started working on one, and before you know it, completed it (or at least the top is done and now we are once again waiting on DW). It's not one of my favs so it will be either sold or donated once it's finished.


Number two. This project has been hanging around from house to house for nearly two years. It will probably be given/sold to a lady in town who owns the local coffee house and I know when I present it to her, she'll probably give me a years worth of latte's or something, and hey, barter is better!

So, today's post is going to be real short 'cause I haven't any pics to share with you. I put the first UFO away before snapping a photo and the other one is dangling from the design wall only half completed. Until Monday...

Happy weekend!

Friday, June 13, 2014


I belong to a quilt guild called the Across the Square Quilters out of Charlotte, Michigan. Charlotte is not pronounced like the spider or the city in the Carolinas. It is instead pronounced Char-LOT. Apparently it's after a French explorer who founded the town; or some other such story.

The guild I belong to is comprised of forty or so members and occasionally, one of the members will offer up what we call a "challenge". The member will challenge the rest of the guild (as a whole) to produce something quilty with certain parameters attached. For instance, were were issued an art quilt challenge last summer. The parameters were to think of four things right off the top of our head that meant something to us, incorporate these four things into a wall-sized quilt and it had to be made out of items we normally do not include in our quilts; we call them embellishments.

Here is my entry:

2013 Art Quilt Challenge issued by MJ Barker

I won second place as voted by our guild members. Several fabric types were included and the quilt represents something each of my boys enjoy: Andrew and his sailboats, Ben and his love of the beach and water, and Caleb for his love of Sunflowers. My love is the quilt on the beach in the center and me riding my horse along said beach. Embellishments included embroidery floss for sea grass, beads for rocks, rick-rack for the flower stem and the outline of the quilt, gauzy fabric for the water foam, and yarn to accent the water waves.

Our next challenge is due in a month, and over the past two days I have built and completed said quilt. Katie May, if you are in this challenge you MAY NOT view the quilt below this line of the post!!!

It was announced last night that there are 26 members who drew for the challenge. By "drew" the person who issued the challenge had us draw four cards out of four boxes. Each box contained a challenge parameter.

The first card was size. I drew 20" x 30"
The second card was pattern/print: I drew Beach
The third card was technique: I drew Applique
The last card was color: I drew Red

I pondered this challenge for quite some time and did have an idea of what I wanted to do with this bouncing around in my little head. We were given a little less then a year to complete the challenge, which is more then sufficient time-wise so why wasn't mine done? Once I sat down this week to design my idea, a whole totally different idea sprang up and this is what the result was: (DON'T LOOK KATIE. YOU BETTER NOT LOOK!!!!)

Here is what I created:

A challenge quilt issued by R. Hodge for 2014

This is definitely one of my favorite creations so far. I love it's simplistic lines and implications. The quilting is hard to see because I wanted all except to the red to be pretty monochromatic, but the quilting lines accentuate each of the pieces elements if you look close enough. I tried to capture the element of a polaroid picture normally taken in the black-and-white format but the sizing parameters may have thrown that off a bit.

As each of our challenges are issued, I wonder to myself why I even get involved. They take a lot of time (thus the name "challenge"), and are generally just something else hanging around the house that I need to find a spot for; and I'm running out of spots.

But after I complete a piece, I remember that some member of my family or even a friend will end up with this long after I'm worm food. Whether they appreciate the piece or not I'll never know, but making it is a great experience and time well worth the effort.

Meanwhile, DW is in the shop for a few days because I decided to jam him up a bit on an outer border. Apparently I messed up the timing and I have not a clue when I'll get him back, so this is a nice time to get caught up on those UFO's and do things like challenge quilts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Loading a Quilt

Here is todays subject we will be quilting. This is a baby quilt for one of Jim's cousins who has a baby shower two weeks from Saturday. I like to stay on top of these things, so I made her a baby quilt yesterday. Now it's time to quilt it!

Our target quilt for the day

After selecting the backing fabric earlier this morning and pressing the wrinkles and creases out I am going to take it to the long arm to load. This quilt is small enough that I could actually do it on my regular sewing machine, but I need the long arm practice and I have something in my head of what I want to quilt on it.

There are many ways to load a quilt (I am told), but this is how I find that it works for me. Do not think this is the only way to do this process. Experiment with your long arm/frame to see what works best for you. And, if you have a better way, please share! There is always something new to learn!

The front is to the right and the rear is to the left
I'll first introduce the components of my particular long arm (Handi Quilter Fusion). I have three roller bars (four actually, but one is used to separate the layers and aids in rolling the quilt as I move along). The first bar, or the bar closest to the front, is what I refer to as the belly bar. I rest my belly on it while loading all the other layers and while quilting my top. The belly bar is where the backing is loaded onto.

The second bar in front is for loading the top. Many seasoned quilters remove this bar entirely because they do something called "floating" the top. They don't attach it to anything and just let it "float" on the backing/batting layers while they quilt it. I was advised that when using my computer to quilt (rather then me just free-motion quilting), it's better for the top to be attached to the leader rather then letting it float. And, the one quilt I have floated turned out kind of wonky and not real square, so that seems to be something I don't quite understand as of yet.

What is a leader? Those canvas thingies there you see around the bars. That's what I attach the backing and the top to. Each bar has their own leader to pin to. Neat, huh?

Find the center of the backing to line up with the leader
I have located the center of my backing leader and have put a permanent mark on it to guide me for each quilt. Finding the exact center of the backing, I have learned, is not so crucial. You can muddle your way through without having the exact center marked. I just measure and take an approximate center pin in my backing fabric to guide me. 

Pins to outside; fabric to the inside
Now we pin, pin, pin. Lots of pins! I begin pinning the background fabric to the leader with the fabric inside the leader and pins to the outside (the side facing me). Once, I messed up and pinned to the inside of the leader and wow, did I learn quickly never to do that again. I skewed myself pretty good with those pins while rolling the backing up later. Ouch! Make sure the right (or printed) side of your backing fabric is facing down (towards the floor).

Center, left. Center, right
I start in the center and work to the left, and then will move to the center again and work towards the right. 

No telescoping!
After the backing is attached (pinned), I roll the back towards me ensuring the sides don't telescope (in other words, stay even) and that no wrinkles get in there. I stop after each revolution to smooth the backing down and keep it feeding evenly. Sometimes I have to unroll the backing and start again. I guess this is normal especially if using a suspicious quality fabric that has been irregularly woven.

Next is the top. We follow nearly the same process with the top as we did with the backing but on that next roller in the front. The top should be face up (towards the ceiling). I have learned that quilting works best if the longest sides of the backing/quilt are pinned rather then the short sides. The machine will pull in at the sides slightly more then the ends that are pinned and the less surface area that pulls, the better. 

Pins on top of top
One other difference from the backing to the top is the pin location. Remember on the backing we put the pins in front of the leader? For the top I have found that putting the pins in the inside, right next to the top itself works best. It bends the top less when rolling and once again, keeps the quilter from being skewed by those nasty pins (because this is rolled opposite of what the backing was). 

Roll the top away from you (the backing was rolled towards you if you remember). 

Whew, we've done a lot of work so far and we have one more step to go. This is the hardest/easiest stop there is. Easiest because nothing has to be rolled. Hardest because I have to bend over and kind of dangle across a 24" span to pin the backing to the other rear (take up) leader. Here's what I mean:

It doesn't look like a long expanse, but after a 1/2 hour it certainly is!
Some of the backing fabrics I have been using are mystery backs. I don't know where they came from or what their quality is. I know some of them have been poorer quality because the weave is uneven and the backing bows or ripples diagonally after I have spent all that time to pin it on to the leader. 

To get over this particular hurdle, I have found that after finding the center of your backing fabric on the take-up leader (once again, I just measure and put a pin as close to the center as I can and then line the pin up with a permanent center mark I have on my leader), put one or two pins to the left of the center pin. 

Now shift to the right and put in one or two pins (whatever you do on the left, do the same on the right). Continue back and forth until the fabric is completely pinned. It's great exercise and after unpinning a few backing fabrics (even if I carefully measured and marked) came up with this solution. Thank you physics majors Andrew and Laura for giving me this idea.

Adding the batting
The batting is the last thing I put in. The bar that has the top loaded on it removes pretty easily and I just scoot the batting in between the two layers. This way I don't have to monkey around with the batting (which can be kind of grabby) until I'm ready to actually start quilting. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Making a Backing

This is the quilt we'll be making a backing for. This quilt will be auctioned off at the upcoming DeGroot Reunion in July. We use the proceeds to purchase food and supplies for almost 80 people each year at breakfast for two days. The money is also used for as drinks throughout the weekend and other miscellaneous paper items such as plates and napkins.

The quilt we are making a backing for
The quilt measure roughly 57" x 57" so far. The backing piece needs to cover the entire back of the quilt. Since fabric generally comes in 42" widths off the bolt, I need to piece the backing together to make sure I have enough to cover the entire top. I ensure I have enough extra so my clamps and leaders on the long arm don't interfere with the quilting process.

About 5" extra on both sides
The selvedge has to be removed from the inner edges before sewing them together. I know other quilters who keep the selvedge on while piecing the backing but I have, through experience, found that the seams pucker and bow and don't give an even sewing line. This becomes difficult when pressing and then loading the quilt onto the frame. Another reason I take the selvedges off is that it provides me with material to use in my much-sought-after selvedge quilts (see previous posts on pics of such a critter)

Remove the selvedges before sewing the backing pieces. 

The fabric I have chosen for the backing is a directional print so I have to make sure the print all runs the same way prior to sewing them together, otherwise (and even though nobody really pays attention to it) the back side of the quilt would look pretty silly.

Directional prints have to be sewn together with the motif all running in the same direction
The longest sides are sewn together using a 1/2" seam allowance. I generally press the seam open on the backing and this is the reason I use a rather generous seam allowance. Another reason I press the seam open is for the quilting side of things. An even seam produces a nicer quilting motif without the hopping foot skipping over a lengthy seam that is bulky.

Sewing the backing together taking a 1/2" seam allowance
The rest of the back has to be pressed now to make sure all those nasty wrinkles and creases are out before loading on the quilting frame, otherwise you get puckers in the backing while the quilt is being quilted.

Ugly wrinkles and creases have to be removed
Once the back is pressed and ready to go I get it right on the frame to make sure we don't have to repeat some of the process over again. A good rule of thumb is to not make the backing piece until you are ready to quilt the quilt. It saves a lot of time and energy, believe me!

The seam is pressed open and wrinkles are removed. Time to go on the frame!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Thank you Jenny Doan

Jenny Doan, from Missouri Star Quilt Company, has a new tutorial every Friday to show us one or more wonderful ways to work with our fabrics. Her methods are simple, quick, and result in creating a quilt you don't feel like you can't immediately snuggle up with on a chilly night.

Once in a while she instructs us on how to make something else. Like this little wall hanging. There are a couple of stories behind this wall hanging, but the funniest one is the reason I created it. While sleeping one night, not too long ago, Jim was home and peacefully snoring away when the shelf above his head decided to depart from the wall and come crashing down on top of him.

Thankfully, Jim has a pretty strong head and the aforementioned incident only resulted in a fat lip. While I know this isn't funny-ha ha, but it's funny that in all the years we've been together, have never had anything like this happen. We decided it would be best to leave the shelf down from its original home and to replace it with something else.


I used the leftover layer cake pieces from our new quilt. Sunflowers are so cheerful!

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I looked and looked in the various spots where I store quilts and quilt tops to locate this missing quilt I spoke of yesterday. Of course, it was in the last spot I looked after tearing apart the closets and rooms only to find it on Caleb's log cabin foot rest.

Once I found the quilt, I looked outside to see what the sun was doing so I could get the best shot of it. The rain yesterday, the fog last night, and the large amount of dew that fell during the night isn't leaving me much of a choice. I had to shoot the quilt indoors, which I could have very well done yesterday and probably with better luck then I had today.

Here it is, with poor lighting and at a poor angle, which is unfortunate, because it's a really cute quilt and the pic doesn't do it justice.

Michaela's Quilt for helping out at Ben and Alisha's wedding

I'll be seeing these three kids maybe later tonight and am pondering whether to take their quilts in for gift-giving, but hesitate to do so as we'll be at a baseball game and I just don't know, ya know? I'll have to think about that today.

Andrew and Laura's quilt came off the long arm last night and it turned out stunning. I have made the binding strips and am at a crossroads (another one) on whether to machine or hand-stitch the binding on. Since this is an heirloom quilt I think hand-stitching the binding would be best decision, so I'll probably end up going that route.

The DeGroot Reunion quilt blocks are on the design wall and today I'll be working on the sashing strips. The quilt is set on point and I either have excellent luck working quilt blocks this way, or it turns into an absolute nightmare. Here's crossing my fingers and hoping it's the first option rather then the later. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Round Up

Apparently there were more quilts then I had originally expected, and there's still one more (that I remember) that I have to dig out and photograph. With the rain today though I can't very well drag it out onto the wet lawn and take its pic so it will have to wait another day or so before I can capture it.

This is one of my most recent and probably one of my favorites. I call it the Kitchen Chicken.

Wind in the Whiskers. Another favorite!

A newer Dresden table runner for our new spring season

A table cloth to cover the "temporary" island in the kitchen

Quilt of Valor. This is being donated to our local VA hospital in Battle Creek in November.

Amber Lynn's quilt for assisting at Ben and Alisha's wedding. 

While not quilted (yet) worthy of a few appearances. I call it my Crumb Cake Quilt.

Robert's quilt for assisting at Ben and Alisha's wedding.

I'm still working on the DeGroot Reunion quilt, although I have at least completed all the blocks now. Sashing strips and corner pieces are next. Laura and Andrew's quilt is still on the frame, but I'm making excellent headway and hope to wrap it up today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Caught Up!

The next batch of quilts posted should be the remainder of what was completed over the previous four or so months; meaning I'm finally caught up with the neglectful side of posting to a blog.

There were a few quilts that were camera shy and didn't get their pics taken. I'll try to convince them to pose for you so you can see more of what it is I've accomplished, but I don't think there are too many left.

Meanwhile, here is a menagerie of odds and ends.

This is not yet quilted, but has been an ongoing project throughout 2013. It's the Craftsy BOM and can be found free on their web site.

Bathroom Basket. I wanted a wall hanging to put in our new little bathroom and this is what I came up with.

Don't know if I already added Scrappy Stars before, but I love this throw!

Buttons and Bows. I think you've seen this before, but it's worth a repeat, no?

Just in case I forget who I am while working in my studio

"Flying Proudly". A VA charity quilt that will donated on Veteran's Day this coming November.

"Springtime Anita's Arrowheads". This was quilted by none other then Jim! Didn't he do a nice job?

Practicing free motion quilting. Each block is quilted differently to enhance my free motion skills.

Currently I'm still working on the wedding/anniversary quilt for Andrew and Laura. It's on DW right now and is taking FOREVER to get quilted. Each of the 225 blocks has to be individually quilted and I try to do a few rows each day.

I'm also working on the DeGroot Reunion quilt. I fell in love with a pattern that came across AQS' web site a few months ago and have recently obtained all the necessary supplies to complete the top. Most of the pieces have to be fussy cut so it takes some time to complete the two-block pairs and so for the next few days, I'll be switching between the two tasks of making a top and long arming. 

Sew, sew, sew!