I’m Not A “Country Color” Kind Of Girl

So why did this layer cake jump in my cart??

For color purposes only. I really DID buy a layer cake!

I bought it quite a while back at Yoder’s in Shipshewana. Maybe someone else invaded my body for a moment?

So I found the MBS pattern “Old Glory” by Barb Johnson to use it up. I wish the fabric would have had more than 3 colors. There’s no way to make any kind of pattern with hourglass blocks when you’ve only got three colors! It ended up being a hodge-podge instead. It’s on the frame now.


And I’m quilting it with what Peggi calls “loop de loops”.

IMG_3521First time trying this quilting, and it’s fun! Not perfect, but certainly fun :)

I decided to keep track of exactly what it’s costing me to make this simple quilt. And I mean exactly everything it takes to make it, from start to finish. I’ll report back on that later. But what I’m finding in my tracking so far is absolutely blowing my mind.

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If it’s gonna happen….

….it’s gonna happen to me.

IMG_3439Yep. My favorite quilting ruler. It fell off my frame onto the concrete floor. And the company that makes it is no longer in business. DANGIT.

I was planning on having vinyl put on my floor this time around, but after this I think I’ll revert back to carpet. I’ve got a bad case of the “whoopsies”, and always seem to be dropping stuff. These rulers are just too dang expensive to break.

DH was a sweetie and offered to try to glue it back together.



Let’s hope it works.




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Another Memorial Quilt Finish

Now that I’ve got my sewing room in some kind of workable order, I decided to get my sister’s memorial quilt made. It’s the fifth of six quilts (the last still needs to be made for me), and, gawd love her, Valerie has been incredibly patient, seeing as how mom passed away in 2010. However, she understands that these quilts have been incredibly hard for me to make, and has refrained from asking me to get it done. Here’s the beginning of the quilt….


While I can’t show a full picture of the finished quilt yet, I can show some bits and pieces. I won’t post pics of the entire thing until she’s seen it first. I think she’ll like what I’ve added to that bottom blank area. And since she subscribes to our blog, I’ll post pics of the full quilt after it’s been shipped to her and she’s opened it. However, I can tell you about it!

The quilt is made from my mom’s clothes, along with pieces from a sweatshirt jacket that belonged to dad. Once again, I’m still kicking myself for not saving his clothes. Sis Lish donated the sweatshirt. I free-motion quilted leaves in the blocks with mom’s clothes:


 Succeeded in making some fairly straight (albeit not even!) squiggle lines in the blue border around the heart… IMG_3428

…and made butterflies with dad’s sweatshirt jacket.


I’ve got some leftover Swaroski crystals from Jefferson’s quilt, so I may use them on the butterfly antennae….if I can find them!

The border was done with half-circles and piano keys. Boy, SID around those circles was a bitch!


Valerie inherited mom’s sewing machine, and does a lot of embroidery on it, so I asked her if she would embroider the labels for the quilts. She used a picture of mom and dad taken at her wedding, had it digitized and added a poem I wrote. She did them on a couple of dad’s t-shirts she had. Everyone contributed to getting something of dad’s!!


Not a great pic, I know. The poem says:

When you’re sad or feeling blue and you are missing me,

wrap up in this cuddle quilt and I’ll be close, you see.

For I am with you always, every minute, every day.

I may be up in heaven now, but in your heart I’ll stay.

It’s going to be a cold, windy day today, so it’s a perfect day to watch movies and finish up the binding. Hopefully it will be shipped out this week!

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It doesn’t matter.


It doesn’t matter. I get to spend time with my family again.





Have sewing machine, will quilt.








It doesn’t matter. My old friends are nearby. Although I’ll never forget all the friends I’ve made elsewhere!




Looks like I’ve got a reason to make a window quilt now!






It doesn’t matter. I now have quilt shops close by. No more driving an hour to find even MORE fabric!




Hmmmm…..however, hubby is going to have a heart attack when he sees how much fabric I actually have. It was all so well hidden before! and lord help me, look at that gawd-awful paneling. Thought that went out in the 60′s!



It doesn’t matter. I’m grateful, happy and blessed to be home again.




PLUS, my room is bigger, which means I can take my frame from 9′ to 14′ if I so choose. Oh, happy day! And yes, those boxes are full of sewing room stuff. Thirty-one total boxes were packed – more than any other room in the house!


I’ll cut fabric on the floor. Don’t care. Doesn’t bother me.

It’ll eventually get cabinets and a cutting table – although they’ll ALL be moveable. But not nearly as fancy or expensive as before. I will never make the mistake of built-ins again. You never know what the future holds….

It doesn’t matter where you quilt or what your sewing room looks like. It’s not fancy that makes a quilt. It’s all heart. And heart doesn’t care about how great your room looks. It cares about how much love you put into your quilting.

Me? I’m just happy to be home again.

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Designing a sewing room in EQ7

We’re moving in 2 weeks, and I have to leave the love of my life behind…



Okay, maybe I’m going a bit overboard there. But a lesson learned: Never build the perfect sewing space that you can’t take with you. I didn’t expect to move from this house for a long, long time. You never know what the future holds….

My new room won’t be this fancy. But as long as you’ve got a place to quilt, that’s the only thing that matters, right??  I’ve designed 3 sewing spaces so far, and I’ve gotten to the place where I know exactly what I need, how I need it and where I need. I’m very excited that in our new house my basement sewing room will be twice as big as this one. That means my sewing area AND Laverne & Shirley (my frame & midarm) will be in the same room. Hallelujah!! Used to be I’d pull out graph paper to design my rooms. This time I decided to play with EQ and see if I could design it in there. I did. I’m no pro in EQ (that would be Peggi!), but have always wanted to play around with the drawing section. This was the perfect opportunity to learn more about it. I created a couple of boxes in Patchdraw Motif. Just simple boxes. They can be resized on my quilt, so I didn’t need a bunch of blocks. I even found a sewing machine in the Block Library/Contemporary applique/Your design studio section! Can someone tell me why they don’t have an iron???? Or a chair?? Aren’t those a staple in a sewing room????


I started by using 1″=1 foot. My room is 17’2″ x 27′, so I created a new quilt layout with one block sized 17.2″ x 27″.


Yeah, these are just approximate measurements, so .2 = .25 on my layout. I’m not worried about a couple of inches!











What does my quilting room need? A sewing area, a cutting table and my LA/frame. So I added 4 of the blocks of I created, and stretched them to start designing. I stretched and played until I came up with a layout that appealed to me. The text feature was great to label the spaces.


Okay, but you’d be able to see my mess from the door. Not gonna work….


The following pics don’t show the measurements:


Let’s flip this around. I added the clearance area needed for the longarm frame. Better, but I need to face the door when I’m sewing (must be some feng shui thing in my head). With the sewing machine on that side of the table, I don’t have enough clearance to the left of the machine without having to scrunch up my quilt when I sew. Nope, this one’s not gonna work either…..


Aaah....much better.....

Aaah….much better…..

Once I liked the layout, I added more boxes – the cabinets. I’m planning to use Ikea cabinets, so I stretched my boxes to the size of the cabinets. I colored these boxes yellow. This also allowed me to narrow down the exact size of my sewing area.


Then I started adding things I needed in my room – a design wall, my ironing area, a fabric storage pantry and pegboards for my tools and patterns. Two bookshelves with cabinets below to make up for the wall cabinet storage I won’t have here. Oh yes, and I need a TV and maybe a sitting area for hand sewing. Let’s make it comfortable, dangnabbit!

design6And, finally, measurements so we know where everything will be placed.

Design7I know that this will be a work in progress – The sewing area and cutting table will be built first, and the other items added on as the pocketbook allows. But it will be totally portable, so if I ever have to move again, it’s coming with me :)

Now, I’m off to create my cutting table in EQ. It needs lots of shelves, and pegboard to hang my cutting tools, and…….

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Sometimes we need a reminder….

….of what our quilts mean to others. Whenever I’m frustrated with my quilting and ready to give up, I pull these out of my drawer…

thank-you-cards….and read them all. They are from people who appreciated the work and love I put into a quilt I made for them. It’s amazing how gratitude can inspire one to carry on! Do you keep your thank you notes?

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I dyed!

And lived to tell the tale!

Dyed-Fabric1Had it not been for Sue Bleiweiss’s amazing DVD, I’d have never tried it. She made it look so damn easy, I got stupid excited. So everything was set up on DH’s beer-making table in the back yard. No, he doesn’t make beer in the back yard. He makes it in the basement. We are not the Clampetts! (They live across the street from us) It was a perfect day -  mid-80′s and absolutely no wind. Had there been wind, I would have had to make up the dye in the house, which I didn’t want to do since the house was on the market to sell. All I need to do is spill dye on the floor – can you say disaster???

I don’t have any pics of the process – nobody here to take them and I didn’t want to stop, take off gloves, take pics, put the gloves back on (ad nauseum). But I loved that I didn’t have to use big vats. Just a bucket to pre-soak the fabric in soda ash and zip-lock bags. Here’s the fabric in the bags, “cooking”:

dye-bagsI mushed the bags around to disperse the dye every 30 minutes for 4 hours, then let them sit overnight. In the morning, I spent about an hour rinsing all the fabrics and hung them on a rack to dry before bringing them in the house to wash. Remember, no dye on floors!


Wet dyed fabric

Eureka! Look at those freakin’ great colors!! I’ve been wanting some bright colors for ages but haven’t been able to find what I wanted. Hence, the incentive to dye. I thought I had gotten green, but apparently I picked out a blue-green. Green will definitely be in the next batch.

Into a hot wash they went, with some Synthropol and color catchers. Here’s the finished product:

Dyed-Fabric-3OMG. I’m in love. Candy colors I could just eat.

Ten of the 12 turned out mottled, although I was hoping for solid.

MulberryThat’s my fault. I didn’t open the bags and mix the fabric to disperse the dye, but just squished the bag. So while the dye disperse, the fabric didn’t move around. Good learning lesson. But (swoon!) they’re beautiful, and look as good as any mottled fabric I’ve bought in a store. I had a problem with one of the purples:

purple-spotSee the white spot? I must not have stirred up the fabric in the pre-soak soda ash mixture well enough on this one, and the color didn’t take. Another lesson learned. But isn’t the mottling beautiful?! That white spot won’t stop me from using it!

It took exactly 2 hours to dye 12 different colors and put everything away (but the table). It was easy. It was fun. Of course, this first batch of fabric was a little expensive, having to buy the dyes and supplies. But I plan on doing much more of this, so it’s going to get less expensive the more I do!

Oh! And the house sold! Ohio, here I come!!

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I’m gonna dye trying!!

These arrived on my doorstep yesterday.DyesYep. Twelve colors. If I’m going to do something, I’m all in. Once I get the PFD fabric my dear Peggi is sending me, I’m gonna have myself a crazy good time trying to dye fabric. Or I’m going to turn myself 12 shades of color and have to explain THAT at work. One way or the other, I will be dyeing something!

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Shirley gets blinged out :)

My midarm setup is called Laverne and Shirley. Shirley is the machine, named after my mom, who taught me everything I know about sewing. She recently received a fashion makeover when I found these at the Houston International Quilt Festival that Peggi and I attended in November. Had. To. Have. Them.


Shirley2Another reason to smile whenever I quilt! These are from Quiltastick, are very affordable and very fun. They’ve got dozens of designs, you pick the colors, and they’re crazy easy to apply.

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Surprise quilts are always the best…

My lovely SIL, Marla, did a fantastic job planning a “girls only” week-long vacation on Emerald Island, NC. She had the hardest task – picking out a beach rental for 11 girls – sisters, SIL’s, and nieces (all over 21!). She did a fantastic job planning it, and I had to make her a quilt to thank her. I dove into my stash, and came up with this beautiful creation:


The tumbler isn’t from a pattern, but adapted so I could make the best use of the stash fabrics I had chosen. I originally put the colors in random order, but as I was laying it out, I realized a story was emerging. The label explains why the colors are stacked from green to dark pink:

The label IS square - camera distortion stinks!

The label IS square – camera distortion stinks!

For the first time, I tried gluing my matching seams instead of pinning them. I’m such a doorknob – can’t believe it too so long to try this. I will never pin again!!

glue2This was SO freakin’ easy, with no shifting. Perfectly matched seams.


I really enjoyed quilting this one. I used a template pattern from Judy Madsen’s book (AKA The Green Fairy) Quilting Wide Open Spaces. My, oh my, I want to grow up to quilt just like her!  For my first attempt at template quilting, it turned out pretty darn good. Of course, the first template I quilted looked a bit scary, but after the 4th one I got into a rhythm and really had a ball with it. I just had to learn to relax. Once I relaxed, everything went great.

The top one is the first template I tried - YEECH! Scary looking! But after a while, they looked a bit smoother.

The top one is the first template I tried – YEECH! Scary looking! But after a while, they looked a bit smoother.

I’m continually learning and experimenting with new things on my mid-arm machine. No fear!  I’m loving what I’m learning to create!

PS: I know what you’re thinking. Eleven women??? Well, vacation went spectacularly well. Yep. We didn’t kill each other, and had a wonderful time. In fact, it went so well that we were planning the next vacation while we were there!

PSS: Yep, Emerald Island was hit by the Hurricane Arthur the week after we left ;)

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