Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday & Asking Advice on Speakers

This week I have been working on a "Challenge" quilt for one of our guild members.  May is challenge month.  The goal for 2014 is to use your "stash" stock as much as possible and explore the possibility of doing a modern twist on a traditional pattern.  It must have one log cabin block in the quilt.  I am really proud of the lady who made the quilt I am quilting.  The back of the quilt is as neat as the front.  That makes it so much easier on the longarm quilter to have a flat quilt top to work on. 
Since I can't show pictures of my work until after May 1, 2014, I will move onto my next subject.

I am asking my readers and fellow bloggers for advice on speakers.  I am the program chairman for our guild and I am looking for speakers and teachers for workshops for the rest of 2014 and all of 2015. We are located in north central Illinois about 120 miles west of downtown Chicago and right on Interstate 80.  You can leave me comments or contact me at

I have started working on Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.  Here is #2.

I had a winter project.  I had pink geranium that was in full bloom last fall and I couldn't just let it die with the frost.  So I moved it inside to see if it could survive the winter with us.
The picture through the front window was difficult to take with the reflection.

Its difficult to get it all in its so big.  There are 13 blooms on the plant right now.  Its our taste of Spring. 
On April 14th we had snow showers.  The snow had melted by about 3pm on April 15th  The grass is greening up.  I just saw the morning weather forecast and warmer weather is coming.  Yippee!
 Its only 32 degrees this morning.
Today I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.
Yours in quilting,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Tips

I have been working on applique blocks for a Barn Quilt designed by Quilter's Garden

This was the January block laid out on the silicone pressing sheet.  I was arranging the placements before the final pressing on the background fabric.

Here is the March block pressed onto the background fabric.  I had bought quite a few architectural fabrics that look like wood, rock, asphalt, etc. to use in another barn quilt by Lori Holt at Bee In My  I am having fun using them in this quilt also.  My husband grew up on a farm and Quilter's Garden took pictures of local barns and are re-creating them in this quilt. 

My Tip for Tuesday is to save your small pieces of Steam of Seam, Heat N Bond or whatever brand you use. 

Here are my applique pieces traced on the small leftovers.  I was able to trace almost the whole block's pieces on just the leftovers.  I only had to get out a new sheet for the front of the barn.  I used Steam A Seam II Lite.  Steam a Seam has to paper sides that protects the glue film sandwiched inside.  Before starting to trace your pattern peel back a corner of the Steam A Seam and see what paper the film is stuck to.  The paper that has the film stuck to it should go face up.  That way when you peel off the paper backing, the film will be stuck to your traced pattern.

When you start to stitch down your applique, I use a small zigzag stitch.  I have a Janome 6600 and I set my 08 zigzag stitch to 2.5 width and .60 length.  I have this measurement written in my owner's manual for easy reference. 

Today I am linking up with Connie at Freemotion by the River and Quilt Story.
Yours in quilting,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I am so excited to be back writing.  Missed you guys so much.  Good news that my taxes are done and in the mail.  WooHoo!!!  I hate doing taxes and this year I expected to have to pay in but got a surprise that we get a small refund.  I have been doing the happy dance ever since I got the call from the tax preparer. 

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  I hope everyone got to celebrate their way.  I spent the day napping and Harry Potter napped with me.   I didn't get hardly any sleep Saturday night and so with the dreary weather, I spent the day watching TV through my eyelids.  That is so rare for me as I am not a nap taker.  I woke up this morning feeling refreshed.

Here are the two blocks that have been on my Design Wall.  These are the April blocks for Quilter's Garden's BOM.  The quilt is a barn quilt alternating barn blocks with pieced blocks.
This was March's block.  Quilter's Garden offers an incentive to finish your blocks each month.  They hold a drawing during their monthly Garden Club meeting for a $10 gift certificate.  I won the gift certificate in March and used it to purchase Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.  I bought this book to use up my small scraps. 

Here is block #2 laid out but not sewn.
Have a great Monday!  I am ready to load a quilt on the longarm for a customer.  Enjoy your Holy Week.

Today I am linking up with.....Judy at Patchwork Times.

Yours in quilting,

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Finishes

 My first finish for the week was adding a sleeve to full size quilt for the local United Way office.  This quilt has been hanging in their old office by tack pins.  They moved into a new office the first of the year and it will displayed by hanging it on a decorative rod.  This is such a fun quilt that the kids from different agencies created.
Second quilt finish this week was a t-shirt quilt.  This quilt was a learning process for both the quiltermaker and myself.  This is the first t-shirt quilt made by the quiltmaker.  There was no interfacing behind the t-shirts and it would not lay nice on the longarm without stretching and puckering under the hopper foot.  We decided that it would be best if the quiltmaker would take the quilt home and iron on interfacing.  She did a lovely job and it quilted up nicely.  I am looking forward to the next t-shirt quilt.
I have been working on the wedding quilt and having one side of binding left to finish and then the label. 
Tonight my guild will have Lisa Binkley from Wisconsin as our guest speaker and Saturday workshop teacher.  Looking forward to meeting her and hear lecture on embellishing your quilts.

Have a good weekend!

Yours in quilting,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Tax Day

I dread getting ready to get our taxes done.  The day has arrived and I am buried in paperwork.
My appointment is tomorrow.  So nose to the grindstone getting everything organized.   The weather outside matches the mood in the house.  Its a rainy, thunderstorm type of day and dark, dreary day inside.

I escaped yesterday for a few hours.  I headed to Peoria and got in a little shopping.  My husband had suggested that I needed a few new Spring clothes.  I visited Gordman's and got three new tops.  The lady in front of me at the check-out gave me a 20% off coupon.  Next headed across the street to Charming Charlies for new earrings.  My third stop was at Kohl's for a new Spring purse and I had a 20% off coupon in hand for that.  When I got in the check-out at Kohl's, I was bowled over by my total.  Unknowing that the purse was on sale plus the 20% coupon,  I got a new purse for 60%.  WooHoo!!!!!

I was meeting one of my quilting customers to pick up 3 quilts and she suggested we head over to Chili's Restaurant for an early dinner.  What fun we had catching up.  Lots of giggles and story swapping.  We had a little time left and headed over to JoAnn's.  I didn't spend any money there.

Last night I attended the Gems of the Prairie Guild meeting.  So much talent in this group.  Enjoyed a wonderful, hilarious program by Kim Hogan, The Accidental Quilter, of Glenwood, IL.  I really enjoyed her sense of humor and tales of her shop hop bus trips.  All her show n' tell was eye candy. 

Have a great Thursday!

Yours in quilting,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

Did you ever get up in the morning and things are going well and then there is a kink? I saw my husband off to work, showered, put away the clean laundry and was making the bed when, “uh oh”, I found wet spot on the bed. Of course, no claimed it! Honestly, I don't know who created it because we just normally don't have these issues with our pets. So I started peeling back the layers to see how deep the moisture went, two layers, both quilts. Ugh!

I had a plans for a friend to come over and work on learning skills on the longarm today. So I texted her about my issue and said I'm running out the door to the laundry mat. I will meet you at 9:30am.

So I have two king size quilts in the commercial size washer as I write this blog post. On the positive side, these quilts needed a Spring washing. On the downside, I am not sure what pet did this and hope its not a regular thing.

Yesterday I finished two projects: a t-shirt quilt and put a sleeve on a quilt for the United Way office.

I will save the reveal pictures for Friday Finishes. When I finish a customer project then I reward myself with a little time on one of my projects. So I grabbed a UFO baggie and pulled out a small vegetable quilt. I was happy to find that I had cut most of the pieces already and I could just start sewing. Piecing is my therapy or stress relief.

The only thing I don't like about this small quilt is the outer two borders. So I am working on a possible creative change to the borders. There is plenty of fabric left as the kit was very generous. The kit was unique as it included enough fabric for backing and binding. This is a rather summer-like quilt and I would like to finish it up and hang it in the kitchen. I have another UFO that is a fruit and vegetable quilt, wall hanging size, that I would like to finish to hang in the dining room.
I also pulled out my Tula Pink 100 Modern Blocks book and completed block 1.  A great way to use up small scraps.

Its exciting to think about finishing the UFO's. Let's see if I can follow through! Linking up today with Lee at Freshly Pieced

Yours in quilting,

Tuesday Tip

Last Thursday was the first day of SPRING!  Finally, the weather man is predicting some warmer temps in the future and I have the Spring cleaning bug.  I am going to sort through my old magazines and send the ones I no longer wish to keep to the guild for our next show.  We (the guild) sell used magazines at our bi-annual quilt show to raise additional money.  Its nice that once a month, I can take the magazines that I no longer want and pass them on to the guild for the future quilt show.

I have been trying to work on organization. I have really enjoyed seeing views of others' sewing studios on Quiltville Open Studio on Facebook. Its inspirational to me. I know that I will never have the perfect sewing studio, but I certainly have come along way, baby! I started sewing at the dining room table and had to put it all away or push it aside. Now I have basically the whole basement.

The basement has its challenges. First, I had to deal with possible flooding. So we put in a basement system with two sump pumps. Next I made room for two longarms (oops, how'd that happen—a story for another day). I have storage under the longarms:  Sterilite drawers, tubs and piles. Yep, admit it—we all have piles.

So my Tip for Tuesday don't look at your room as a whole and feel overwhelmed. Break it down one area at a time. I like to work in 15 to 30 minute increments to sort, clean, put away and organize. You could make a list of what you want to accomplish and choose one thing to work on at a time. I am making a dent in clearing a path. See I admit that over the winter, my sewing area has become piles of stuff everywhere.

First, I worked in cleaning off my main work area, also known as the work triangle. I straightened up my sewing table where my sewing machine sits. Then cleaned and organized around my ironing space and then uncovered the cutting table. My cutting table should have a sign, WARNING AVALANCE AREA! Hehehe......My cutting table is my collection area or dumping ground.

My mother-in-law has been bringing me Rubbermaid or Sterlite containers. I have been putting my current projects in those and labeling them. That has made it really easy to grab a project and go. I find these containers are stacking nicely under my longarm or under my ironing board. Not all the containers match but they are stacking nice and are all clear so I can see into the containers.  The labels remind me what project is in the box.

 Next stack of boxes waiting to be washed and dried.
When buying Sterilite drawers for storage.  Buy individual drawers that stack.  Avoid buying drawers units that have multiple drawers.  They will sag from the weight of the fabrics and become hard to open.  Also, if you have individual drawer units, you can pull a whole unit out to take to a retreat.

Have a great day and I hope no one pulls an April Fool's joke on you. I am linking up with Connie at Freemotion on the River and QuiltStory.

Yours in quilting,