Saturday, December 29, 2012

Asking a quilter to mend something? like asking Michaelangelo to paint a garage.

It's rainy and cold in North Carolina today.  A perfect day for quilting!  The ruler foot for my Tin Lizzie needs replaced, I'm in withdrawal.  I can't quilt.  What to do, what to do.... Go fabric shopping! 

I bought the entire line of Moda's fabric collection called Audra's Iris Garden.  So lovely!  I found a lovely pattern on the website Quilters Club of America and I'll use this line of fabric to make a quilt... for me!  Imagine that?   Audra's Iris Garden has an elegant deep purple and I love this color!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

American Hero Quilts

I've finished the Hero quilts, and they'll be shipped back to American Hero Quilts on Tuesday.  Check out the website for American Hero Quilts, they are doing an awesome job supporting our wounded soldiers.

This is the quilt I finished longarming this weekend:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ode to the sewing machine #3

Some of you are following my "Ode to the Sewing Machine" posts.  We've all seen the ads on craigslist, ebay and elsewhere.  The clueless sellers give those of us who sew a belly laugh, or two!  Where do they come up with these dollar amounts???

No one in their right minds would continue reading, but who says quilters are in their right minds, so here's your next installment...

So I have a car I want to sell. I put the car in the garage, close the garage door, take my camera outside in the yard and take a picture....

Makes ya wanna throttle someone, doesn't it?
Oh, and he hit zero too many times.

There's that zero again...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hero quilts

I was thrilled to find photos of a Civil War era flag!  As you know, I'm working on 6 quilts to honor my great, great grandfather's service in the Civil War.  I found the flag his unit carried in the early part of the war.  The flag is being restored.    This is the flag for the 4th Iowa Regiment, Infantry Vol.  The lower corner of the flag is lost forever, the only part left is the "I" for Infantry.

 During the Civil War, silk fabric was used to make flags for the military.  They were painted with various symbols, names and stars on both sides of the flag.  As a result, the areas that are painted are very stiff.  This flag is 150 years old now, I'd say she looks pretty good for her age!  Iowa has over 300 flags currently being restored from the Civil War, WWI, WWII and other wars.

I've got a quilt loaded for a friend today, and the second Hero quilt will be loaded next week.  This is Thea's quilt!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quilt of Valor finished!

... and after
I finished a quilt of valor, and have one more to go. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You must be a Master Gardener if...

What the finished quilt will look like.
My finished blocks.
I started piecing a new quilt today.  It's a Patchwork Party quilt.  This one is for my mom.  I've been using the Singer 201 sewing machine to piece this week.  What a wonderful machine!

Singer 15-91 affectionately called "the tank".  I use this to sew leather, heavy canvas, etc.
In this photo you see leather I used to reupholster my chiropractor's table.
It was 1/4" thick and this machine went through it like it was butter.
 (The blue bin you see in the above photo are my worms.  .... What?  You don't keep worms in your dining room?)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

teaching children to quilt

I've been so busy learning my long arm machine I'm afraid I let the blog go by the wayside. My apologies! But in my time offline, I've learned that long arming isn't really all that hard. Pantograms and a laser light make it a breeze to create beautiful designs on the quilt.

The quilt in this photo was made by a 12 yo beginner. Her goal was to match her corners, and she did a pretty good job! There are tucks and puckers everywhere, making for thick seams at times. You can see the pattern I'm using has plenty of swirls, I chose this one because the swirls will help disquise the puffiness caused by the tucks.  It's a pantograph by Lisa Calle.

Friday, August 3, 2012

house all to myself!

I have the house all to myself tomorrow and can't wait!  It will be a day of practice on my long arm.  2 quilt tops came in the mail today.  I'll have music on, sweet tea and chocolate on hand, who could ask for anything more?  I'll start with this one first.

I started piecing a new quilt today.  It's a Patchwork Party quilt.  Hope to get it done before Christmas!  I only have these 4 blocks finished.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When Doubt Tries To Bully Us

This was on the website today at Proverbs  It was so good I had to show you!  It is written by Renee Swope and is from chapter 6 of her book "A Confident Heart".

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 (NIV)

One morning I woke up feeling beat up by discouragement. My mind was being bullied by thoughts of doubt: I can't do it all! I am not cut out to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, a speaker, a writer and all the other things God has called me to.My thoughts were against me, and my feelings were too.

As I lay in bed feeling completely inadequate, my radio alarm came on. Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by Twila Paris singing to me. With confident assurance, she spoke truth to my soul, telling me this was no time for fear, but a time for faith and determination. She challenged me not to lose my vision or be carried away by my emotions, but to hold on to all that I had hidden in my heart, and all I believed to be true. Then she reminded me of the most important truth of all: God is in control. [1]

As I heard these words, my thoughts aligned with God's truth. It changed my whole perspective. I went from feeling afraid to feeling determined and from feeling out of control to knowing God is in control.

We have the choice either to let doubt beat us up or to let God's truth build us up.
If we have Christ in us, we have full access to God's power and His promises to live with a confident heart. But it won't just happen because it's possible. We have to take action.
When my alarm came on that morning, I was so glad I'd set my radio to that station the night before, so I would wake up hearing encouraging music and truth. Just like I tuned into that station, we need to get intentional about tuning our thoughts into God's thoughts toward us, every day.

In the same way a radio has AM and FM frequencies, so do our thoughts. They are either AM (against me) or FM (for me) thoughts. The truth is, we are often our worst critics and have a lot of AM thoughts.
Find this book here

And if our thoughts are against us, our feelings will be too.
So, the next time you get those feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you are thinking that is making you feel that way. Then compare your thoughts about that situation to God's thoughts, which are reflected in Scripture. Do they match? If not, find a promise in God's Word to replace the lie that has filled your heart with doubt. Here are few to get your started:

• When doubt comes against me, saying I'm weak and all alone, I will focus on the truth that God is for me! I can be strong and courageous because the Lord my God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

• When doubt comes against me, saying I'm not good enough for a certain role or position, I will remember that God is for me! He says I am His masterpiece, created to be new in Christ so that I could do good things He planned long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Power Verses:
1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (NIV)

Deuteronomy 20:4, "For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." (NIV)

Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV)

[1] "God Is In Control," © 1993 by Twila Paris. All Rights Reserved. From He Is Exalted: Live Worship CD.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ode to Sewing Machines #2

Many of you follow my "Ode to the Sewing Machine" posts.  We've all seen the ads on craigslist, ebay and elsewhere.  The clueless sellers give those of us who sew a belly laugh, or two!

No one in their right minds would continue reading, but who says quilters are in their right minds, so here's installment #2...

(click to see larger photos)
The ol' bait and switcheroo:

   (Uh oh, is that a belly hanging in the shot?)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tin Lizzie

Tin Lizzie Ansley 26" on a 12' Hailey quilt frame.  It's nearly ready to start quilting.  I'm missing one cable, need to get it ordered.  Then I'll load some fabric to practice.  As you can see, the door/window trim needs to be installed, and the floor but those will come in August.  I couldn't wait that long to get started, could I???

I found 2 old letter sorting/office cabinets at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  With email today, who uses these anymore?  I placed 2 on end, with 1 on top of the other and it's perfect for storing fat quarters.  I'm not done filling it...
Walk through this door and you find my sewing room.  

(click the photos to enlarge)

To the left of this window, the wall is large enough for a king size design wall.  As soon as Fons and Porter's design wall go on sale I'll put one up.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Progress is made!

As some of you know, I'm remodeling a room in our house for a long arm quilting machine I bought in February.  My husband said it would take a week to get the drywall finished, 2 months later this is where we're at!

 That's my husband on the ladder.  You can see drywall dust hanging in the air!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Goodwill bargains!!!

Don't you know, I just HAD to stop by the Goodwill store yesterday!   I was thrilled to find 4 (four!) $35.00 12"x12" scrapbooks for $6 each.  

As you know, I'm making 6 Civil War themed quilts, 5 are for family members, 1 will hang in my school.  I'm making scrapbooks for each family member to go along with their quilt.  These are perfect!   My great great grandfather fought with Sherman in the Civil War.  He named my great grandfather William Tecumseh after the General he fought with.  I'll include stories of the battles, photos of the battles in which he was wounded.  But the main reason for creating the scrapbooks is to document the meaning behind each block in the quilt.  The Civil War Journals quilt uses blocks that were created during the war, with names such as the "Uncertain Times" block. 

I'm using Civil War reproduction fabrics in all the quilts.  Don't worry, I'll update everyone from time to time with photos of my progress. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My quilting room is comin' along!

I'm remodeling a room next to my sewing room so I can set up a long arm quilting machine.  Insulation is going in the walls for sound proofing.  I've been told it'll only take a week for the last month so hopefully it will be finished before the year's out?  rotflol

The view on March 20th

The view on April 20th

This is the view if you're standing in front of the door seen in the photo above.  My sewing room is through the open door.  I'm using the 'formal living room' as my sewing room.

What this means is, everyone who comes over sees a MESS upon entering my home.  Compared to that, the rest of the house looks fabulous!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Long arm quilting machine and frame

I bought a long arm quilting machine and frame from someone in Portsmouth, VA yesterday, and I did some pretty significant drooling over the many vintage machines she had. Wow, she had a beautiful New Home treadle with a coffin top on a fabulous table. It wasn't for sale, but it was wonderful seeing one is such fine condition.

I spotted a beautiful 201 for sale! The Singer 201 is in wonderful condition. It's not in a table but the wiring was sound, and the paint looked great.  Look at the throat space!  The 201 is supposed to be the quietest machine available.  The Singer 201 is considered by most collectors to be the best machine Singer ever made. It is gear driven and has an internal motor, which makes it very strong. It is also extremely quiet when sewing.

Once I get my long arm set up I'll be posting about that. We have to finish the ceiling and walls with drywall before I can set it up. Hopefully that will be finished this week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ode to the sewing machine # 1

I'm starting a new series called "Ode to the Sewing Machine".  We've all seen the ads on craigslist, ebay and elsewhere.  The clueless sellers give those of us who sew a belly laugh, or two!  Where do they come up with these dollar amounts???

No one in their right minds would continue reading, but who says quilters are in their right minds, so here's installment #1...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How can I be expected to cook and clean?

I've been sewing all day!

Not really, but I have been in my sewing room all day.  I decided I HAD to get the piles organized.  And this is what I came up with!  I bought the bins at Lowe's on clearance!  I bought all they had, and still have 8 more ready to be filled.  In another corner I added shelves above my embroidery machine.  Thread went on the wall and I can see it at a glance.

The quilt on the left was made by my great grandmother when I was born.  It's very worn and tattered, it was used for all 4 kids, I'm the oldest.  She used old shirts, aprons, sheets and anything else she could find.  It's entirely hand sewn and tied.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mid-Atlantic quilt festival

Small wallhanging
small wallhanging
Once again the quilt festival was faaabulous!
Stunning in person, the photo doesn't do it justice
I didn't take as many photos as last time, here are a few! I met some wonderful ladies, ate too much, and spent too much!  We stayed at the Best Western, one of the nicest hotels I've been in!  I was impressed.  I can't wait until next year!

These two are my favorites from this year's festival:
The quilting is stunning, the photo doesn't do it justice. 
There is an antique doily attached at the bottom.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What to look for in a sewing machine

A friend of mine has been looking for a sewing machine for several weeks. She's researching brands, trying the new ones and also looking at used machines.  I found a blog that has WONDERFUL advice for anyone looking for a sewing machine.
What to look for in a sewing machine

I've had several brands of sewing machines through the years, including a Featherweight 221 and 222. Currently I use a 1951 Singer 15-61 Centennial, a Bernina 640, a Tin Lizzie 26" longarm quilting machine and a 1501 SWF embroidery machine with 15 needles.

I thought I'd share a photo of my Singer. I restored the top recently.  It looks beautiful, I keep it by the front door. I call it "the tank". I'm using it this weekend to reupholster our doctor's chiropractic table. The leather he chose came from a huge, huge cow! It's gigantic! It's also very thick but the tank will handle it nicely.

You can see the leather in a pile on the floor and the pieces from his table can be seen in my dining room.  The blue bin you see on the floor are my worms. I keep the attachments for the tank in the suitcase.  I found the machine on craigslist for free!

Then there are the Singer Featherweights, wonderful little machines.  A few years ago I bought a 222k as a doorstop.  It lived outside in someone's back yard for 2 decades, and was not a pretty sight.  I bought it for $40 and restored it.  An automotive shop repainted it for me, and then I replaced or repaired everything else on the machine, including the decals.  I used it for a year or so, and made a few quilts.  I sold it for $1,200 on ebay (it had every attachment known to man, which is why it went for so much).  The new owner absolutely loved it. 

I need to get off the computer and sew! ... until another day my friends, may you have no thread nests.

( .....What?.... you don't keep worms in your dining room??? ) 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quilt basting sprays are fabulous!

There is a great discussion on the quilting board today!  I've learned so much from this great group of women.  It's a wonderful place to visit with other quilters.  I've really enjoyed reading the thread about basting sprays.  I thought I'd add a blog post to recommend using the basting sprays according to the directions on the can.  It'll save you money this way.

The ladies on the quilting board were discussing Patsy Thompson's Basting Spray How-to Video  which explains her quilt basting spray method. You'll need to fast forward to the 6 minute mark for the spray tutorial.

Patsy's video is good, and the method she uses will work.  But it's important to note that she is using 505 incorrectly.  She calls it "505 basting spray", but if you're looking for it online it's called 505 Spray & Fix Temporary Adhesive.

1. In Patsy's video, she holds the can only 3-4 inches from the fabric surface. (The directions on the can state you should hold the can 10-12 inches from the fabric surface)

2. She states "you WILL get a glob on your needle", and she shows you what the glob looks like in the video. Yet, the can states you will NOT get a glob on your needle. The reason she gets globs is because she is holding the can 3-4" away from the fabric. When you hold the can this close, of course you get a thick, concentrated amount in a small area.  In fact, as you watch her spray the quilt in the video, you can see the adhesive turn white on top of the fabric, she really puts a lot on there.

3. Patsy says the sticky "will last up to 5 years". But the can states it is TEMPORARY. The reason she gets 4 to 5 years worth of sticky is because she's spraying a thick, concentrated amount on her fabric. When you spray a ton of adhesive on the fabric it WILL be permanent, not temporary.

In 1997, I used 505 spray on a Christmas ornament.  I used a heavy amount of 505 to hold an applique piece down.  You know when you put fabric in water it turns a darker shade?  And it lightens as the fabric dries?  The applique fabric turned darker, just like it was wet, only it was due to the 'liquid' sticky spray.  Today, 2012, the fabric piece is still dark, it never did lighten up, and the sticky adhesive is permanent.

My take on it is this: If you want the thicker sticky to last forever, spray the adhesive 3 or 4 inches from the fabric. You'll use the whole can up on a queen size quilt that way.  If you want the spray to be temporary follow the directions on the can.

Since 1999, I've used 505 for quilting and KK2000 and KK100 for machine embroidery.

When used as directed on it's label, 505 will stay around for roughly 2 months, but you can wash your fabric and it will disappear in the wash.

KK2000 and KK100 only lasts a few days.   Note: DO NOT under any circumstances wash fabric that has KK2000 or KK100 on it until it has dissipated. It WILL become permanent.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cooling off

The quilts are in the mail!  My sister will be able to move back home this weekend and I wanted to get the tabletoppers to her by then.  She knows I made one for her friend, when she opens the box she'll find out I made one for her too.
Whew, I was a stitchin' machine over the weekend! My machine needs to cool off this week (smile).  Here's a photo of the second tabletopper.

I'm excited about a trip I'm planning with a friend.  We're going to the Mid-Atlantic quilt festival in Virginia. I went to this one a few years ago and had to pick my jaw off the floor more than once.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Comin' and Goin'!

This is one of the tabletoppers I made this week, they went together fast!  It's a pattern I came up with after getting ideas from quilting magazines.  I call this pattern "Comin' and Goin'".  The pinwheels look like they can go any direction!

Here's why I chose this design... My sister's house caught fire January 12th.  Enjoying a day off from work, she was sitting on the floor of her 2nd bedroom, filing tax paperwork piled on her lap and around the floor. Then “someone” told her to go get something to drink. She thought she was going crazy for a minute, and didn’t want to move because she had just sorted things. So she decided to say back ‘I’m not thirsty, I don’t need anything to drink.” And the voice said, “Yes, you do.”

So she moved everything she had just sorted, went to the kitchen and saw puffs of smoke blowing past the kitchen window.  She ran to wake up her son, grabbed her cat, and the tax papers.  As she was headed outside, on the phone to 911, a man in a red truck pulled into the driveway. He yelled out the window “are you on the phone to 911?” She yelled back “yes!”. He nodded, pulled back out of the driveway and left. She still doesn’t know who it was.

I said "Isn’t it cool God sent back-up just in case you decided you weren't going to get up?  He's got you comin' and goin'!"   And that's what I decided to name this design.  I made 2, one will go to her friend who is taking care of Sushi (the cat).

Friday, February 3, 2012


The Civl War Journals quilt is a BOM from Marcus fabrics.  I finished 5 of the blocks for January, and have 5 more to go.  These are 2 of the blocks that will go in my Uncle Leonard's quilt:

My sister's house caught fire 2 weeks ago, while she was home.  The firefighters arrived quickly and had the fire out before much was damaged.  She lost the roof and but nothing inside the house was damaged.  The electrician she hired a year ago did some shoddy work in her attic, he's in trouble now.

The power has been off since the fire, so she's staying in a motel until her house can be repaired.  A friend of hers is taking care of her cat while she's in the hotel. 

I took a break from the Civil War Journals to make a table topper as a thank you gift to the friend for helping my sister, and while I was at it I thought I'd make one for my sister as well. 

One can be seen on the far left.  The second one is nearly assembled.  I'll add the borders and get them quilted this weekend.  I need to get them in the mail by Tuesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

How to clean your iron using vinegar

It's just like using vinegar to clean a coffee maker or a steam humidifier. It softens the calcium deposits that can gunk up the vents or cause particles to break loose and cause leaks where once water was kept tight.

Step #1
Pour half water, half white vinegar into your iron. (Vinegar will not hurt your iron). Fill the iron, turn it on and let it sit for an hour. The auto-shut off will turn it off eventually, this is ok, just let it sit to soften the crud.

Afterwards, take the iron to the sink, hold it upright and shake it gently to loosen the crud. Then turn the iron upside down and pour the vinegar out of the iron.  Fill with water, shake and pour the water out.  If you've never cleaned your iron before repeat step #1 two more times.

Step #2
Add white vinegar to the iron, fill it to the top. Turn the iron on high, turn the steam to high and hold the iron horizontal over your sink, as if you're ironing.

Let the steam vent out until the iron is about half empty of vinegar. Then turn the iron upright, shake it gently as before and turn it upside down to pour the remaining vinegar out of the iron.

Fill with plain water, empty, fill with water again and repeat the process of venting steam until you're satisfied all the vinegar is out of the vents.  Now you've just added another few years of service to your iron! 

Note: This is the cutting board my husband made for me.  A tupperware colander fits perfectly.  I place a plastic cutting board on top of the colander and slide the veggies into the bowl of the colander as I go.