Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Yesterday we received more information regarding the quilt retreat my sister and I are attending at the end of March. We were so excited about learning "Double Wedding Ring". Turns out we are going to learn "Double Wedding Ring Light" (my word) which is really the Quiltsmart version of the pattern. The whole thing is sort of foundation pieced onto pre-printed interfacing. We can choose to do a table runner or wall hanging while we are there. When I told Julie her response was "Oh - well, I'm disappointed. How do you feel about it?" Exactly the same! We really were not mislead. The advertisement for the retreat said we would be using old and new techniques. So, I am disappointed but I also look at it as a weekend to get away to meet some new people, have my meals prepared for me and sew to my heart's content. It was suggested that we also might want to bring along a current WIP so I will have plenty to do when I get there!

I have nearly finished quilting Brian's bargello quilt. I love the threads I used - a Sulky variegated rayon that is copper/gold and a Sulky blended cotton in shades of blue and teal. The only quilting left to do is the border and I have decided to quilt that with invisible smoke colored thread and randomly outline the kelp and coral. I practiced on a scrap strip of the border and I really like the effect.

FINALLY have Ms. Em's quilt on the LA frame. At the rate I am going I probably won't quilt it until the weekend. And, speaking of the weekend, The Quilter's Palette is having a Fat Quarter Frenzy. Twenty five fat quarters for $25! My paycheck goes into the bank on Thursday. Guess where I'm going on Saturday!?!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Great weekend so far...

I ventured forth in my new SUV on Friday late afternoon. The roads were pretty clear and I stuck to mostly well traveled routes. I took my sister and nephew along as both were anxious to get out of the house. We got a little shopping done and then headed home. At that point, temperatures were dropping again and I hit ice on the way home...on a hill. Some fool in a F250 was climbing up my back. I was driving exactly the posted speed but folks think this particular speed limit is just a suggestion. Let's just say that the return trip was a bit more "exciting" than the trip out!

Julie and I had a pajama party (her husband was out of town) on Friday night and watched the "Pajama Quilter". This was Julie's first experience drawing on the white board. I can pebble like it is a full time job. I don't know why. That is just really easy for me. I have a lot of trouble with wonky feathers. Julie could not pebble to save her soul but you should have seen her feathers! A couple more practice sessions and we are going to load up muslin and batting on the LA, set up "zones" to try different patterns and just see how it goes. Looping and meandering go really well for me on the LA so I am pretty good with the "stylized meandering". I love those fat, swirling flowers that Dawn teaches. I am really anxious to use that on a quilt.

We sewed nearly all day on Saturday. I have all the sashing now on my quilt along quilt that I am making for my niece. I have the inner borders and outer boarders cut so I will put those on today. No pics of the WIP 'cause this quilt still needs more work to make it pretty! I think the quilting will make the difference on this one so it may be a long time before you see any photos!

We had to make a run to Burkholder's. It is the only place nearby that has a decent thread selection and I wanted something special for the bargello. OK, I needed some fabric - just a little. Julie wanted to pick up a couple of pieces for a bag she is making...and she needed thread...and WE NEEDED A FIX!

Foltz Pottery is having a rug hooking demonstration/sale today so my best quilting buddy, Pam, and I are heading over the mountain. Pam is also a rug hooker so she is really going to scope out the competition and see what kind of prices they are getting for their work. I am going along because they always have good food at the pottery. Yes, that's the truth. I am a sucker for a buffet...especially when it is free!

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Snow Event"

Yes, that's what we are having...a "snow event". I promise not to dwell on it. I am like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve. I woke up at 1AM just to see if it was snowing yet. It was. Looking at the top of my car, I think we have about 4 inches so far. I was just out taking the photo and the teenage girl that brings my paper was trudging around making her deliveries. Bless her heart...and thank goodness for Daddy's that drive their little girls around!

I stopped at The Quilter's Pallette and picked up some fabric so that I could work on my "Chocolat Delight" this weekend. I have another quilt on my design wall that I need to finish and I should work on quilting the bargello but I still haven't decided what I want to use to quilt it. Jen suggested a copper metallic but they didn't have what I was looking for at the shop. If they get the back roads cleared tomorrow, I may make a trip to Burkholder's and see what they have. (I haven't been there in a week so really do need a "fix"!)

Once they have called from work to tell me that they are officially closing for the day, I will pack up and head to Julie's. I am finally going to get Emily's quilt up on the frame. I am going to freehand hearts and vines from Patsy Thompson's "Fast & Free" DVD. (I know...I can't believe it either!)

Hope everyone has a happy day!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow's a comin'!

I know that there are lots of you that live in snow country and snow is no great shakes to you. Here in my little corner of the world, I live for snow in the winter. It is the only redeeming thing I can think about living where I live. However, the past couple of years have been sadly lacking in snowfall. (Is that one word or two?) Tomorrow it is supposed to snow - real snow and not the little piddly crap that we have been getting lately. My boss, who is a prince among men, told me not to worry about coming in tomorrow if the snow was more than a couple of inches. I can work from home. Ya gotta love this guy! You know what this means, right? I can work and quilt. Of course I can! I can answer the phone, do some paperwork and then reward myself with some machine time. Computer time, machine time. It works for me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bummer - I've been tagged

Nancy tagged me. Here are the rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

OK - if you know me, you know I hate rules. I am choosing 5 women in my blog ring: Heather, Beth, Beth, Cathy and Connie. If any of you guys have been tagged lately, please ignore (and forgive me!) Please don't feel obligated to play along.

Stuff about me:
1. I am an Army brat and my very favorite place we were ever stationed was Fort Riley, Kansas.
2. My eyes are aqua. Not blue, not green...aqua.
3. The only foreign country I have ever visited is Japan and that was 51 years ago. I have been to Canada but I didn't need a passport (and they speak English) so that doesn't count as a foreign land in my book!
4. I have been driving for 39 years and I have never had a speeding ticket...not because I don't speed. I just haven't been stopped yet!
5. I love Limberger cheese and I don't care how bad it smells.
6. My favorite vacation spot is Holden Beach in North Carolina. It is a great family beach.
7. I only recently found out that my mother really wanted to name me Suzanne but my last name was so long she just named me Suzan. All my life, I thought she picked my name off a tombstone. I swear!!

I hope I never get tagged again. I can't keep thinking of new things about myself to share!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My first bargello

Yesterday our quilting group got together to eat, talk and sew a little. I started on a quilt I have been planning for my youngest son, Brian. His birthday is in March and since it is his 35th I wanted to do something special to commemorate this milestone. Brian quit a very lucrative job in sales to become a high school science teacher. His wife, Sally, was extremely supportive, they moved back to the Tidewater area of Virginia and Brian started teaching. One of the classes he teaches is Marine Biology. I call this quilt "Chesapeake Blue". It is all batiks and the outer border is a beautiful Hoffman batik that has coral and kelp depicted in the fabric. I drew my color inspiration from the border. Just the quilt top is done but Jen said to share so here it is. I think it is beautiful and I really hope my baby boy likes it!

(Brian never reads my blog so I know it's safe to post!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stop me before I exclaim again...

Again - nothing about quilting. I just realized in reading over several of my posts that I have a really bad habit of using exclamation points. Like everything I write is of some incredible value. (I almost used another exclamation point.) It's like it is a disease or something. Mrs. Gardiner (9th grade grammar teacher) would be appalled. Mea culpa.

Another new baby!

This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with quilting. Friday night I negotiated my very first auto purchase. This is a big deal to this old broad. Men have always purchased the cars I drive. My Malibu was leased by me but it was part of a lease trade-in by my sister and there was no negotiating. I picked the color and signed a contract. Not this time, baby! I went into the dealership and gave them a pretty low monthly price that I was willing to pay. I knew that would never fly and had another number (a real number) in my mind. I sent the salesman back to his manager 7 times and waited him out. Three hours (!) later, I had the deal I wanted. I was so proud of myself! (Pretty easy to tell, right?) I pick my up my Sportage this morning. I was so excited I could barely sleep and got up at 2:30 this morning! Here she is -

I am thinking that I will be able to get a lot of fabric in the back of this vehicle. ROAD TRIP!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Here it is...

It's hard to tell from the photo but the quilt top measures 50"x70". I am convinced that the reason I completed this top so quickly was because Jenny sews so fast! 1600 stitches per minute!

Finished quilt top

I finished the the quilt top on Tuesday night. I am not crazy about the photos I took since I had no where to hang it and had to put it on the floor in my living room. Because I am height challenged, I could not get up high enough to take a full shot. So, now that I have finished my whining, I just realized that I didn't upload the photos to Webshots so it is on the computer at home and I am at work. Bummer... I will post a photo when I get home. The real positive is that I totally used stash, I am happy with the results and I am going to try some snazzy quilting in the plain blocks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Following advice

I decided to follow Jen's advice and ordered some "Bottom Line" thread so I did not mount my quilt top yesterday on the LA frame. I ordered pre-wound bobbins and I am really hoping they last as well as the ones I used from Coats & Clark.

I have been inspired by all the stash busting going on out there that I thought I would work on a project using up some of my stash. I have a truly great collection of Vienna Nights fabric from 3 Sisters for Moda. I could not help myself. Every time I saw a bolt, I bought some. Everytime I saw a fat quarter, I bought it. I made a couple of table runners and used some in my "Geese in the Snow" quilt but mostly I have just been hoarding it. No longer! I bought this pattern, cut out the pieces and started sewing it last evening. I expect to have the whole top put together this evening. It's amazing what I can accomplish when stop talking and start doing!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Bed...

OK - Jen wants to see what's on my bed so here it is!


I bought the quilt when I lived in Seattle. (At that time I wasn't a quilter.) I love this quilt and have kept it on my bed now through summer and winter. During the winter there is a big, fat down comforter under the quilt. This is the reason I am anxious to get my "Chocolat Delight" quilt finished. I really would like something a little less "summery" during the fall & winter.

There you go!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I read Jen's blog and decided to find out which Jane Austin character I am. I think I knew even before I took the quiz! (I think I actually look a bit like Emma Thompson except I have better teeth!)

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I am in the midst of finishing the last block of Amanda Jean's quilt along. I hope I like it better when it is sashed 'cause this bad boy needs some help! My sister is out of town so I don't have my "color consultant" to take along to the LQS. It needs something to make the squares pop and I am just not sure what route to take. I think this one will go into a bag and become a PIGS for a while. I would post a photo but it is embarassing ugly at this point!

Tomorrow I am going to load my granddaughter's quilt on the LA and get it started. I found a beautiful purple variegated King Tut thread that I am going to use to quilt it. Hopefully I won't get any pokes coming through because I really want to use a pre-wound bobbin and my color choices right now are off white and dark green. You get so much more thread on one of those. The biggest downside I see to the APQS Freedom is that it uses a standard size bobbin and if you wind your own, you can make only a couple of passes and the bobbin runs out. I know I saw the pre-wound bobbins offered somewhere on the internet and there were lots of different colors. I better go get my credit card!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I know...second posting from me on the same day...but I am so excited! My sister and I are going on a quilting retreat being organized by Quilter's Heaven in Coudersport, PA. Mim has a lovely little shop and is so friendly and helpful whenever we stop in. Coudersport is in Potter County and it is an extremely depressed area. There have been plant closings and some other large businesses that have left the area. It is amazing that there are enough quilters in the area to support Mim's shop. Julie has a vacation home in Potter and that is how we discovered Quilter's Heaven.

Mim has been hoping to do one of these for a while so she is also very excited. We are going to learn the Double Wedding Ring. We are really delighted because both Julie and I have been thinking this is a quilt we really want to attempt but just haven't had the nerve!

So 2 nights & 3 days at a lovely inn, the opportunity to learn something really exciting and meet other quilters...well, let's just say that money was no object!

Tablerunner finished!

I stitched the Mystery Quilt tablerunner sandwich together and flipped it yesterday morning. Last night I used 12wt variegated Sulky thread, a #18 needle and my walking foot to top stitch the quilt. I had planned to just stitch in the ditch but thought a loopy kind of meander representative of a vine might look pretty. So, that's what I did. The largest needle I got when I bought the machine was a #16 so I used a Kenmore needle. Goodness only knows where I got a full package of those! I didn't bump Jenny up to the highest speed just because I figured there was a better chance of snapping the needle if I was stitching too fast. She ran beautifully and I am pretty pleased with the quilting.

My sister designs and makes quilted purses. She is having a heck of time with the Viking she uses for quilting. She just got a Bernina with a BSR but hasn't had the time to even take it out of the box so tonight she is coming here to use Jenny. It is the very least I can do since she allows me unlimited use of her APQS LA. It is a real delight to have a sister with whom I can quilt!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sewing under the desk

Now that I have Jenny, it became imperative that I purchase some kind of chair so that I am not sitting under the desk when I am sewing. I was sitting on a pillow on top of a phone book on a regular desk chair. Everytime I got up to iron, the pillow fell on the floor and the phone book moved. Pretty exasperating!

Today I made a quick trip to Target to look for the magic potion I put on my face to make the lines go away. While I was there, I went down the furniture aisle looking for clearance items. (Always looking for a bargain!) I saw a task chair for $19.99. $19.99!!

I figured if it didn't work out, I could always take it back. I got it home, removed it from the box, put all the pieces together and voila! A perfectly fine little chair that gets me up to the right height so that my elbows are at the correct 45 degree angle when I am quilting. Don't get me wrong. It is a very basic, ugly little chair. I still want a super duper chair with back support and arm rests for my birthday but this will work just fine until then. When I get my jazzy new chair, this one will move to my computer desk.

Money well spent!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

First project on Jenny

Well, I named her Jenny...Jenny the Janome. Has kind of a ring to it, doesn't it? I am really enjoying this machine. I don't know how I ever managed without a knee lift and auto thread cutter!

Our Super Bowl Mystery Quilt party was great fun. The pattern was a little tricky but I think the results are really nice. Here is a photo of my flimsy. Attempting to put binding on this would be a nightmare so I am going to do a self-encased sandwich and then quilt it. I think the points will be really sharp that way and also it will be so much easier to finish the edges. You can't tell from this photo that the print fabric has clematis blooms on a black background and the fabric that looks solid is really a muted peach paisley.

After all of the women in my group finish their projects I will take photos so that you can see how different and beautiful they all are.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Back from shopping...

I am now the proud owner of a Janome DB1600P. (Turns out Janome makes the Viking Megaquilter.) I almost bought the Juki but after looking at all the options and taking into consideration the fact that I would have to drive more than an hour to have the machine repaired, I just decided the Janome was the way to go. We have a local dealer for repairs if necessary and I really believe this is the machine for me. I got the "Professional Plus Kit" with all the extra feet I need and a large extension table. I NEED TO SEW SOMETHING!!

I am supposed to have a Mystery Quilt Super Bowl party here tomorrow afternoon and I really need to get some cleaning done and get organized for the party but all I want to do is sew! I think I will clean something, reward myself with sewing time, clean, sew, etc until everything is ready and I have had the opportunity to give my machine a good workout.

Now I need to name her....


Today is the day! Today I am going to Pocono Sew & Vac and bring home a new baby. I have been thinking about this for months. I have 5 sewing machines. One was a gift from my parents about 35 years ago. One was a Mother's Day gift from my son and his wife and is a little Janome that is perfect for taking to S4 gatherings and on retreat because it only weighs 11 pounds. Two were yard sale finds and are all metal monsters. They are incredible workhorses and are great for freemotion because their motors can handle the dragging of big pieces of quilt fabric. None of those machines can do any "fancy" stitching. They do straight stitch and zig zag. Only one has feed dogs that drop. I did buy a machine from someone on eBay about 6 months ago that does do very nice decorative stitches and I do like that machine.

That being said, I have been wanting a high speed, heavy duty machine with a knee lift, the ability to drop feed dogs, a "needle down" option, a large harp...basically something designed for quilting. I am going to test drive a Janome and a Juki. I have used the Viking Megaquilter and it works very well. At $15oo it isn't out of my price range and the dealer is just about 10 miles from where I live. Then I started reading about folks that were so happy with their Janome and Juki's. I don't need all that a Janome 6600 can do and I cannot afford to spend quite that much. I want to look at the Janome DB1600 series and see how that one feels. The one I am really excited to check out is the Juki TL98 series. ESPECIALLY now that I found out they actually make the Viking Megaquilter. I can bring home the top of that line for about $1000 and that is pretty exciting to me. I pick up my shop hop door prize and a sewing machine! Does it get any better than that?
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