March 29, 2012


Sometimes I just want to let loose and quilt whatever I want. No particular designs, no pantographs and no template boards. Just start up in one corner and take off with some designs I feel comfortable doing.

Leaves, hearts, small twirly-whirlies. Some feathers, some flowers with feather petals.
Here is one of the Martha Quilts---Freehanded.
It's fun to do this type of free handing. If you need some more structure than going it on your own, there is a good book by Diana Phillips of Cozy Creations. "Friendly Freehanding". Backgrounds and Overalls Volume 1. Floral Medley on page 6 provided some inspiration for this.

March 26, 2012

Donation Quilting

I quilted two of The Martha quilts this weekend, and put the binding on one, and have the binding made for the next one.

I meandered this Disappearing 9-Patch. We Remnants have been busy!

Never underestimate the basic free motion meander to get a quilt finished fast. This took me less than an hour on the long arm.

For this one---a larger Disappearing 9-Patch quilt, I used the Circle Lord "Square Dance" template board. Dancing was fun!
This took about an hour and a half to complete. Legacy 80/20 batting.

March 19, 2012

Stolen Quilts-Karen Combs

Thiefs have struck again. A quilt instructors worst case scenerio is to have their quilts stolen or go missing while traveling.

Karen Combs quilts have been stolen!

Karen is a delightful teacher and I had the pleasure of taking a class from her through our guild workshop program. I learned so many useful tips and ideas from Karen. Please read more about the theft and see pictures of Karen's stolen quilts on her blog. I sooo---hope her beautiful quilts are found soon.

Karen's quilts are very distinctive and beautiful. So be on the look out for them on eBay, Craigs list, thrift shops, resale shops, antique shops, yard sales and newspaper ads.

This was my project with Karen done in her patchwork illusions class.

March 18, 2012

Sort of Spring Cleaning

The weather has been rainy, and when it's not raining, it's windy and cold. Winter has arrived here in Sonoma county where we once had Spring. (like a few weeks ago) The daffodils have long since bloomed and actually shriveled up due to lack of rain this winter. Now the tulips are struggling to bloom but have been beaten down into the mud by the currant rain and wind. It's much needed, but plants and weather are all mixed up this year.

So, with the wet weather keeping us indoors and my not being in the mood to stand at the long arm for whatever reason, I decided to organize many of the embroidery files I have been downloading so I can find them more easily. A job I have been putting off for a long time. Now I don't have to resort to searching around in different files where I downloaded them to, but can't remember where. I also backed up all my lap top files which I had not done for a few years. I deleted a bunch of old machine embroidery designs too---and wondered why I ever thought I wanted them. Funny how our tastes change.
I found more day of the week embroidery designs on some old floppy disks and moved them. I use Designer Gallery software to sort and store the embroidery designs. I set up a catalog for all the day of the week designs which will really will help me find each set of designs.
I organized some of my sewing room tools while the doing the computer back up. I wondered at how I have accumulated so many fabric marking pencils! White, pink, blue, black, graphite, chalk, and others. Some were so short, I couldn't even sharpen them any more---trashed those! Geesh!
Then I organized some polyester embroidery threads that I had in shipping box and I had not decided where to put.
And finally I cleaned off the cutting table and sorted out some rulers that I rarely use and put them down under the table. I even put a new blade in the rotary cutter!

Today I spent some time working on a UFO that has been up on my design wall forever. I finished 3 blocks late this afternoon. If I set my mind to it I could have the whole top done in a few days---and if it keeps raining as predicted maybe I will get more things cleaned up and finished.

March 07, 2012

Jane's Star Block Quilt-finished!

Rolled off the long arm yesterday.
A Reeeee-lly big quilt! 105" long x 93" wide. This is laying across our king size bed. I don't normally do big quilts like this one.  Jane gave me the beautiful star quilt blocks as a birthday gift years ago.  It's only fitting that I finally get around to enjoying them in a quilt! 
It helped to have a wide one piece quilt backing and Hobbs 80/20 batting. The quilt is heavy and it helped to have a power take up roller on the long arm to deal with the bulk of this quilt.   I have a lot of binding to make.
It's a good feeling to have this almost finished. Sassy thinks so too!

March 04, 2012

Vintage Embroidery Recipes

This past week I finished this set of six machine embroidery dishtowels. Between quilts, weeds, laundry and errands I'm lucky to get one towel finished each day. I love seeing the final stitch-out.

I used the Aunt Martha woven cotton dishtowels. A generous 28" long x 18" wide. They come three towels in a package, and can be found where most of the newer Aunt Martha iron-on transfers are sold. I found these at our local JoAnn's Fabrics, and they are also at JoAnn's online.

The machine embroidery designs are from one of my favorite digitizers, Juli, at SewWeird designs.
I used the 5" x 7" hoop, and two layers of Disolve-Away mesh stabilizer.  I like to wash, starch and press the towels before doing the embroidery as this helps minimize shrinkage and results in smooth looking embroidery with less puckering. Cute designs from Juli!

March 03, 2012

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

There are several variations of the 5 minute Chocolate Mug Cake on the internet. Marilyn, a quilt guild member posted this recipe today. I couldn't wait to try it!


4 tabls. flour
4 tabls. sugar
2 tabls. cocoa
1 egg
3 tabls. milk
3 tabls. cooking oil
3 tabls. chocolate chips (optional)
A splash of Vanilla Extract. (1/8 tsp.)
1 large coffee mug (micro safe)

Add dry ingredients to the mug, and mix well. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (optional) and Vanilla Extract and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
This is what it looked like just before I removed the mug cake from the microwave. Before this, it had risen at least an inch or more above the rim of the mug, but it does not overflow. Allow to cool and tip out onto a plate.
This is a dangerous cake recipe! Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of day or night!

Taste Test Results: This is a dense chocolate concoction. More like a brownie texture. Personally I think it needs Frosting! So, keep a can of frosting on hand, or mix up your own frosting with some butter, powdered sugar, milk and a dash of vanilla while the cake is cooking in the microwave! Vanilla Ice Cream could substitute for frosting in a pinch! Mmmm---good!

March 01, 2012

What's on the Long Arm

It's a UFO!

 This is a quilt top I pieced from the block's my friend Jane gifted me for my birthday several years ago. There are only a few donation tops to do, and by-gosh, by-golly. I've taken a Spring Break of sorts and I'm  quilting some of my own tops. Yeah!

Jane's blocks became a larger quilt top than I anticipated, and I probably should have let someone with a wider frame complete it. It's beyond queen size--but, not quite king size. My leaders are 94" inches, and the backing on this quilt is hanging about 4 inches off the edge of the leaders on each side. As is the batting. The quilt top is only hanging over about an inch on each side. Because my long arm is made in such a way that I can move in very close to the ends of the frame side supports, I've managed to quilt in this tight space left at the edges of the quilt.
Arm base of the Prodigy Quilter is approx. 3 inches wide and can roll within 1 inch of the side support. This is sure helpful when doing this quilt.
My side clamps are wound around the side supports of the frame as there is no place left to attach them to the velcro. It's that close. 
To complicate finishing this quilt just a tad more, I wanted to use the Circle Lord Baptist Fan template boards---and I ran out of "board".  So, I've extended the design by drawing an extension of the pattern onto a piece of paper and taped it to board. When I get to the end of the board I drop the stylus tip onto the paper and finish the last baptist fan curve from the pencil lines.
Good or bad, it's on the frame now, and I'm in it for the long haul!
---more later.