Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is the heat on?!

Mercy!  It surely was a hot weekend in my little part of the world.  I vowed that I would not turn on the air conditioners until June 1st but I caved in last night.  There was no way I was going to sleep in my hot, sticky bedroom without some kind of relief so I turned the a/c unit in my bedroom on high and slept like a baby.  Grace has taken to sleeping sprawled on the kitchen floor.  I think the cool tile must feel good on her belly!

Early in the morning yesterday I ventured into the studio before the heat became unbearable.  I put this little number together.

I bought a piece of MDF and placed it on top of two plastic storage drawers.  I was concerned about weight but it works great.  I may end up putting legs on the back but so far, so good.  I quilted on a practice piece and nothing jiggled.  Next I will pick up the piece of rigid foam insulation to build up on the table top to machine bed height.  I have a pretty piece of laminated fabric that I will use to disguise everything and create a "slippery" surface for quilting.  I will use my folding, height adjustable table on my left to help support larger quilts as I am quilting.

Did you notice my thread racks?  I finally have a place for my large spools of thread not tucked away in a plastic bin and are now easily accessible.  I mounted them with these.

Oh my gosh!  I love these things!!  I use them to hang just about everything.  I buy them at Joann's with a discount coupon.  If you have not tried them, pick up a pack.  You will thank me and say nice things about me!

Monday, May 28, 2012


Today there will be lots of picnics, the community pool will be open and many of us have a vacation day from work.  Please take a moment or two to think and remember those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy this day.

Remembering today especially Edward Arthur Hopkins who lost his life in Viet Nam in 1969.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I need just a few more days!

I have been working on my red, white and blue quilt.

I should have accomplished more but I have also been working on these

I bought Shape Workshop for Quilters and this block is called "Deck of Cards" by John Q. Adams.  I just picked up some additional Kona cotton for the next round of borders on each block.  The initial block (floral square) is the same on each block but I varied the fabrics across the block.

The red, white and blue quilt was supposed to be ready for Memorial Day.  I am now shooting for July 4th!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The two sewing machines that I use regularly are my little Brother CS-6000i and my Janome 1600P.  The Brother machine is lightweight, easy to set up and take down and is perfect for many projects.  The Janome is a work horse and I use it for making purses (it can handle heavy weight fabric and lots of bulk) and quilting.  In my studio, I have a large sewing cabinet my mother purchased years and years ago from Yield House.  It is solid pine, very sturdy and has a nice leaf that pops out for added surface space.  The downside is that the sewing machine sits on top of the unit.  That is where I use my Janome.  I have a very nice, ergonomic chair and under normal circumstances, it works fine for general sewing.  When I quilt large pieces I am dragging the quilt up and over the quilt table that is attached to the Janome.  My shoulders ache every time I quilt and it really is much more cumbersome than it should be.  In a perfect world I would just cut a hole in the top of the cabinet and affix a support underneath to hold the Janome flush with the cabinet top.  Unfortunately because of the desk leg support, I cannot do that.

I was seriously thinking about getting a small frame for the Janome so that I could easily quilt runners, wall hangings and baby quilts.  Then I thought about what a pain it would be to keep hauling the Janome off the frame and back to the table top for purse work.  I started looking for a sewing table that the Janome would drop into with a flush mount.  I found some that were more expensive than a frame and knew I was not going to spend $600 on a table.  Then I discovered the Gidgett II for less than $200.  The plexiglass insert will be another $70 but I really think that is a much more practical (and less expensive) solution.

So - here's the question:  If you have a heavy weight sewing machine, what kind of set up do you use for quilting?  I haven't made a final decision and I am looking for some input.  Don't hold back - I know quilters ALWAYS have an opinion!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Big, squishy package!

Pat Sloan has a new book that was released recently.  It's called "Focus on the Center" and is a collection of 8 new patterns with a center medallion being the focal point for each quilt.  There were several blog hops getting the word out about the book and I commented on Carrie's blog, La Vie en Rosie.  I was the very fortunate recipient of one of the prizes Carrie was giving away.  She said there would be a copy of the book, a fat quarter bundle and some other surprises.

Well, surprise doesn't come close to describing what I found in my very squishy, big box.  Not only was there the book and a fat quarter bundle of French General's Rouenneries Deux, there were two layer cakes and 6 packages of charm packs!  The layer cakes are Cabbages & Roses Northcote Range and 3 Sisters (swooning) Sentiments.  There are 3 charm packs of Freebird by MoMo, 2 charm packs of Blackbird Designs Blueberry Crumb Cake and one of Love Letters from Laundry Basket Quilts.  All are Moda designers.

Did you hear me squeal?!  I can't decide what to do first so I am just going to pet the fabrics for a few days.

And I thought my birthday celebration was over!  Maybe this turning 60 isn't so bad...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My quilt top is finished!

My dining room can be restored.  I finished the quilt top at 5:15 this morning.

Spring on SW 185th Street
I would love to quilt it this weekend but I will be out of town.  Someone asked what I was going to do with it because it isn't my "style".  I loved living in Washington.  The Pacific Northwest will always be my favorite place.  I think it will lay across the chair in my bedroom and on those days that need a little comfort I will curl up in it and dream.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

At last!

For years I have been talking about not coloring my hair.  I have hemmed and hawed and nearly did it a couple of times but then I chickened out.  Well, no longer!

I still have high lights only now they are natural and not from a bottle.  60 be damned!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Red, white and blue

I want to make a red, white and blue quilt for patriotic holidays.  I didn't want to use fabrics that might be considered typical.  I found these and think they will be perfect for my quilt.

The fabric on the bottom is the focus fabric.  I really love the red tonal in the middle.  The stripe is going to be an inside border.  

Hope I will have it finished by Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Design Wall!

Y'all know that I have used the floor, the bunk beds and the guest room bed for a design "wall".  I finally decided to stop whining and make one!  I used pvc pipe, elbows, a flannel backed plastic tablecloth and a tutorial from Karen (Sew Many Ways).    I did add the prop stand on the back because I wanted to make as few cuts of the pipe as necessary.  I also didn't want to have to do any cutting at all on my plastic tablecloth.  I can easily prop it against a cabinet, chair or whatever.  For this photo I had it propped against my china cabinet in the dining room.  The design wall is 4' x 5'.

I do need to add a velcro tab on either side to make the edge a bit more taut but other than that I am calling it done.

I started slapping up blocks of "Spring on SW 185th Street" but at this point that is all they are...slapped up! It has become very apparent that the predominant color in the quilt will be gray which is a huge switch up for me. However, spring in the Pacific Northwest is very often gray.  As soon as I decide on the layout I will add strips of gray (and maybe some yellow) to make the blocks all the same size.  This is the most improvisational as I have ever been.  (Baby steps, people.  Baby steps!)

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