December 29, 2013

Free Motion Practice

Thank you so much for your opinions about the Juki TL2010Q and other machines.  If you are a "no-reply" blogger, I don't have your e-mail address, but want to thank you for your recommendation or opinions.  I did in fact buy the Juki.  I ordered it from Sewing Machines Plus

I finally had some time to play with it this weekend, trying out different threads and practicing free-motion quilting without a stitch regulator.  It's like learning to ride a bike without training wheels all over again, but with a little practice, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.  I won't go into detail about the machine's features since there are lots of reviews already, but if you have any questions or need to be pointed in the direction of the reviews I've read, just let me know.  I will say that I LOVE this machine.  The tension is wonderful, and it handles any brand and weight of thread I've tried so far. 

I had an issue with the quilting feet that was easily resolved.  I love that the free-motion quilting feet are heavy and sturdy, but they rest a little low and don't "float" over the quilt.  I was having to work too hard to push and pull the quilt sandwich through the machine.  Leah Day is a courageous woman who fearlessly modifies her free-motion feet.  It makes perfect sense, but I'm afraid I would mutilate them and have to buy more.  Then I found this post by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I wedged in a few tiny pieces of cardboard and they work perfectly. 

Here are photos of my practice doodling.  Yeah, I got a little impatient and didn't press the fabric or baste the layers.  I'm thrilled that there are no knots and tension issues.  I think I'll be very happy with this machine. 

Thanks so much for visiting.  I hope you have a fabulous 2014!


December 8, 2013

Do You Have an Opinion to Share?

As if I didn't have anything more important to do, I spent the entire day yesterday reading sewing machine reviews.  My head hurts.  I haven't studied this hard in a long time.  I piece and quilt on a Bernina 440QE.  It's really a great machine, but I spend a lot of time changing the tension settings, adjusting the bobbin case, etc. when free-motion quilting.  Which also causes my head to hurt.  I've had the longarm argument in my head before, and decided that I don't have room for a giant frame.  And I have a full-time job already, so a longarm would be like another "toy" in my mind.  A very expensive toy.

Lately, a lot of quilters have been discussing the Juki TL-2010Q.  It's described as a "semi-industrial" machine with only a straight stitch.

  I read reviews of this machine and closely inspected photos of stitch quality until I fell asleep last night.  (To those of you who have taken the time to write detailed reviews, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Really.)   For the most part, the reviews were very positive.  Aside from seemingly isolated issues with a couple of features, and a more common issue with the needle threader, this machine appears to be exactly what I need -- great tension, dependable, and affordable.   Unfortunately, I don't live close enough to a store where I could test-drive one.   As I was about to click the checkout button at an on-line store, it occurred to me to ask for any opinions about this machine you might be able to offer.  I would really appreciate your thoughts if you have one or know someone who does, and whether or not you love it.  I'm not at all concerned with the lack of bells and whistles -- I'm keeping the Bernina.  I'd just like to know if it's a solution to my free-motion tension issues, and whether or not it's fussy about different threads.  Unless I'm warned against it, I'm doin' this thing.

Thanks so much for any help you can offer.  Hope you have a great week!


November 24, 2013

Lattice Stars

A while back, I shared a picture of some yummy charm squares that I had trimmed for a project.  Seems like three days ago, but it was actually many months ago.  I can show you now what happened to all those charm squares from leftover charm packs and scraps.  Here's the finished quilt featured in Australian Quilters Companion's Quilts From Precut Fabrics No. 3.

  If you love working with precut fabrics, you'll love this issue.  It's full of wonderful quilts, as well as tips and tricks for using precuts.  It also comes with a DVD, Learn to Make a Modern Bargello Quilt with Sarah Fielke.    

Hope you all have a great week.


October 27, 2013

Soho Solids

The only thing more fun than a new fat quarter bundle

is a new fat quarter bundle and a new five-pack of rotary cutter blades. 
Playing with Soho Solids from Timeless Treasures.  Can't wait to see what happens. 
Have a good week.

September 29, 2013

Martingale's Quilt Calendar 2014

The sweet folks at Martingale told me a while back that one of my quilts would be featured in the 2014 Quilt Calendar.  I had completely forgotten about it until it came in the mail.  I stopped what I was doing (can't remember what that was now, but it probably wasn't important), and looked through it, admiring all the beautiful quilts.  The photography is so amazing.  You can see the stitches in most of these quilts. 

Each month, a different quilt is featured from one of Martingale's books.  You can visit Martingale's website and click on the gallery to see all the featured quilts.
Not only will you find lots of gorgeous quilts inside, you'll also find complete instructions for making all twelve quilts!  There are designs by Amy Ellis, Audrie Bidwell, Cheryl Brown, Darra Williamson, Jill Finley, Jolene Klassen, Julie Herman, Kim Diehl, Rebecca Silbaugh, Sally Schneider, and Sue Pfau.  And me.  You can find me in July. 
July's quilt is "Triple Star" from my book, Scrap-Basket Beauties

Don't forget to check out the gallery.  And while you're at it, you can find out more about the contributors by visiting their websites/blogs.

Hope you have a great week!


August 6, 2013

Scrap Quilting, Strip by Strip

You can get the scoop on my new book from Jenny over at Martingale's blog, Stitch This!  I'm a guest there today, so follow me over there, and don't forget to leave a comment with your answer to Jenny's question.  You just might win your own e-book copy.  See you there!

August 4, 2013

My Current Obsession

Recovery from my polka dot problem was slow, and now I've developed another problem.  Text fabrics.  I can spot a bolt of fabric with words on it through the store window from the parking lot.  Not kidding.  Just a few more pieces, and I'll be ready to make a really fun quilt. 

Picked up these (and a few more) pieces of Benartex WordPlay from an Etsy seller, carmenjass

And more Benartex WordPlay from Quilter's Compass.  (Great sale, too.)   

Noteworthy and Lucy's Crab Shack from my stash.

More Sweetwater goodness.

Echo Park and Architextures
New favorites -- Lori Holt's Polka Dot Stitches and Timeless Treasures Wine Lover Words.  This group from fabric.com
And a few that I picked up from my lunch hour hide-out.
Hope you'll stop by Tuesday -- I have a fun surprise for you.
Have a great week!

June 9, 2013

Evening Star Quilt Guild

Last weekend, I had the privilege of teaching two workshops for the Evening Star Quilt Guild, the same guild that hosted the Quilt Symposium of Alabama in 2012.  (You can read about that here.)  What a fantastic group of people!  I was missing all of them about ten minutes after I left.  I tried to snap pictures of everyone's projects, but it looks like I missed quite a few.

Everybody's busy working here.  Well, hello there, Sandra!

Terry was looking especially cute with her matching quilt project, flip flops, and two-color pedicure.  I'm sure she wanted to kick me when I took this picture under her table.  :-)


I really love it when people change up things and head off in a totally different direction.  Judy used part of her units to make the blocks in the top picture below, then used the sashing strips for a border.  Mancy arranged her Irene's Vexation blocks on point.  And Kathi worked on Peaks and Valleys in a really scrappy arrangement using fabric she cut from men's shirts.   (By the way, the three of you created a monster with that whole men's shirt thing.)
Ginny (left) attended my Flowers for Nana Girl class at Quilt Symposium of Alabama, and she brought along her finished quilt to share.  Isn't it beautiful?  And Ella (right) was sewing Sanctuary blocks so fast my head was spinning.
These are quilts from Scrap-Basket Beauties thrown over chairs at the workshops.  I decided not to leave them in the car overnight, and I wondered what the desk clerk thought when he saw me dragging quilts into the hotel.  Should have told him I get really cold at night. 

Susan used Legos to make a baby Bernina for my big Bernina.  Cute, huh?

She also made this invitation to the guild's retreat.  The quilt is a little over an inch and a half, and the clothespins are an inch long.  I can't imagine the patience it took to make this sweet card.  (The glue is actually invisible, but for some reason it wants to be noticed in this photo.)

Thank you all so much for a super weekend.  It was really great to see all of you again.  Hugs!

May 20, 2013

Just Piddling

That's what I say when I'm busy, but not accomplishing anything that really needs to be done.  I'm not sure if piddling is a verb, but that's what my grandmother used to say, and I can't think of a better way to describe my weekend.  Except for too short.  A little of the time spent piddling was on these blocks.  They're made using the Cross My Heart pattern in my new book.  Instead of using a single background fabric, I used lots of little scraps to make light and dark blocks.  And instead of an on-point setting, I'll be using a straight setting for these.      
Don't forgot to listen in at 4:00 p.m. Eastern today for the live broadcast where I'll be chatting  with Pat Sloan on  American Patchwork & Quilting Radio. 

Just click HERE to get there.  If you can't listen today, you can always listen later
on your computer, by subscribing to iTunes (search American
Patchwork & Quilting), or by downloading to a player.
Hope you have a great week! 

May 13, 2013

Who, Me?

That's what I said when Pat Sloan invited me to be a

I hope you'll join us on May 20 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern for the live broadcast.
Just click HERE to get there.  If you miss the broadcast, you can listen later
on your computer, by subscribing to iTunes (search American
Patchwork & Quilting), or by downloading to a player. 
Guest on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio, Hosted by Pat Sloan. Click here to learn more.
I met Pat last year in Birmingham where we taught classes at the Quilt Symposium
of Alabama.  She's every bit as cute and energetic as I thought she would be.
Before I left for Birmingham, my husband asked if I would be the only
teacher there.  I told him there were lots of others, and started running down
the list.  When I got to Pat's name, he interrupted me to ask, "THE Pat Sloan?"
 He doesn't know a lot about quilting, but he knows that Pat rocks!
Hope you'll join us while I chat with THE Pat Sloan on May 20!  

April 7, 2013

Cutting Party

My rotary cutter needs a break.  So do I. 

I've been cutting scraps for a new project using leftover jelly rolls, charm squares, and other bits of this and that.  To make sure there's enough contrast, I like to "audition" the fabrics by placing them side by side.

Sometimes it's helpful to see the fabrics without color, so I converted the photo to black and white. 

This helps identify any problems before it's necessary to un-sew! 
Time to wake up my machine and get these pieces put together.  Hope you have a great week. 

March 29, 2013

Book Signing at A&E

Last weekend, A&E Fabric, Variety & Craft Store helped me celebrate the release of my new book by hosting a book signing and trunk show.  I wish all of you could have been there becaue we had so much fun.  Since you couldn't make it, I'm sharing lots of pictures. 
I had a lot of help with the quilts in Scrap-Basket Beauties.  My friend Karen pieced and quilted two quilts for the book, and my friend Nancy quilted ten of the quilts that I pieced.  As if all they did wasn't enough, I also forced asked them to sign books, too.  Apparently, they couldn't find anything better to do on a Saturday morning, so they agreed.  Here we are with Rhonda, pretending to be hard at work. 
A&E is closer to where I work than to where I live, so I like to shop and hang out there during my lunch hour.  If you go there around noon, you'll likely see me walking around mesmerized and running over people with my shopping cart.  These are the people who cut my fabric, help me choose borders, know exactly where to find everything, and make me laugh.  Tovah, Martha, Ollie, and Veronica.   
And here's Liz (pink blouse) sitting with Nancy, Karen, and me.  Liz makes the others behave (or tries her best) and orders everything for the fabric department. 
Here's my friend Karen (a/k/a Nana Girl).  
I can't remember if I've ever told you how I know Karen.  (If I have, feel free to skip past this part!)  Karen and I worked at the same law firm for 12 years.  Most days, instead of going out for lunch, we would work on quilts together.  After four years or so, our firm moved to a different building.  There was an empty office, so we filled it with quilting tools, sewing machines, a design wall, an iron, an ironing board, and even a small stash of fabric.  We had so much fun together working on projects, cutting, pressing, and sewing.  Our firm's telephone directory listed a telephone extension for the "Sewing Room."  We accomplished a lot, an hour at a time.  We no longer work at the same firm, but she's only a couple of blocks away. 
And here's Nancy. 
I met Nancy when she set up her longarm business at A&E.  She has a machine at work and a machine at home.  I think she has separation anxiety when she leaves one behind.  Nancy saved my life.  Maybe literally.  I was extremely behind in finishing the sample quilts for the book.  Nancy agreed to quilt "a few" of the sample quilts, and ended up quilting ten!  I would pick up one quilt and deliver another quilt top to her every few days.  I still can't believe she didn't run like the wind when she saw me coming.  I'm so glad she didn't, because she did a fabulous job on my quilts.  If you're anywhere near Pensacola and need a quilter, please let me know and I'll be happy to give you her contact information.  She's really good at choosing quilting designs that enhance the design of the quilt.  Like this one.
This is the back of Perpetual Motion.  I'm crazy about this free-hand modified Baptist Fan design.  Just too cool. 
A sweet lady named Wanda had made a few quilts from my first two books, and she brought them to hang in the store.  You'll see them mixed in with some of the sample quilts in these pictures. 


Thank you so very much, Rhonda, Liz, Tovah, Martha, Ollie, Veronica, Wanda, Karen, and Nancy.  And thank you to all of you who sacrificed your Saturday to come by and visit.  It means so much to me.  Hope to run into you at A&E soon.  But hopefully not with my shopping cart.