December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Life was good in 2013. We can only wish that it's just as good in 2014 for our family and friends.

Resolutions, I have none really, haven't made those for years. I think I may be getting too old for them, plus it's depressing if they don't work out. Lists: the only list I ever make is for what I need when I go to Costco or the Grocery store! LOL!

Quilts I will complete: Your guess is as good as mine. I quilt for fun, and have no goals when it comes to my hobbies. All I hope for right now is some rain---and also that my plants will survive the cold dry freeze we have had these past few months---

Happy New Year!

December 27, 2013

Machine Embroidery Lace

I love machine embroidery---and I have a new machine embroidery addiction! Free Standing Lace! I know---it's been available all along, but I was never interested in this type of machine embroidery until the past few weeks.

I wanted to do a few book marks---and now I'm looking at free standing lace in a whole new way!  Here are just a few designs I've been making. I don't have a very big collection of designs. I think that will be resolved very soon as I add to my collection. :o)

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

December 05, 2013

Chilly Nights

We live in a fairly moderate climate here in Sonoma County. Thirty mins. inland from the Pacific ocean.  The last few days it has been very chilly---in the 20's at night. Our low was 28 when we stumbled out of our warm bed to this.
Icicles at the fountain

December 03, 2013


The past few days I've been quilting this lovely Christmas raffle quilt on the long arm.  It's for a senior group in Lake County that is trying to raising money for a rent control measure they hope to get on the ballot next year. "Save the Seniors"

This quilt top was one of several that ended up in a thrift store, where they were rescued by my friend, Joyce. There are more beautiful tops, all queen size and similar to this. The best Joyce could decipher from the shop clerks is that the quilter who made them was elderly and died, and the quilt tops along with some of her other belongings were donated to the thrift shop. What a beautiful find!

The quilt design is "Fanfare Grande" by Patricia Ritter and Urban Elementz.  It's the first time I have used this pantograph, but I love the design it created across the quilt and how it filled the open spaces.  Almost like I had planned for the design to stitch out in a certain place on the quilt. When I do pantographs I don't plan much---I just let the design begin and end where it will.  I know many quilters measure and slide the pantograph to create the ideal placement---I just let it happen.

The effect on the plain white backing is just as pretty as the front.

I hope this raffle donation quilt helps raise funds for a good cause.

November 20, 2013

Crystals to the Rescue!

I ripped out the lights in the Stonehendge Christmas tree panel----they just do not did not work for me. Lightbulb moment! Hot-Fix crystals to the rescue!  Leftover from another crystal project.

November 16, 2013

Stonehendge Tree Panel- Not Merry!

I finished one of the Stonehendge Light-Up Christmas tree panels yesterday. This is one of three I had, (had being the key word) ---planned to do.  I'm hoping some of my blog readers can offer me encouragement and some better ideas about these panels as right now I'm not Cheery-Merry over this project!

The quilting went well. That's not the issue. I cut off the top and bottom snow flake fabric that bordered the panel as there isn't much of it to be of any use, and not enough lights to light up the larger snow flakes.

I used silver metallic thread to free motion quilt the panel. I have never used metallic thread on "Polly", but she handled it well.  If ("if" is the other key word)---I do the other two panels, I won't spend a lot of time outlining the snowflakes though---it's just not worth it because no one can really notice the quilting on this fabric. It's too busy. A simple meander will do.

The problems started after I finished the quilting, and it has to do with the Lights that come with the panel.

First, there are probably not enough lights for all the stars motifs in the panel. That said it's more about the "Wires" that protrude all over the back of the quilt once you attempt to hang it on the wall. They are stiff wires and criss cross the back of the panel. Attempting to have it hang flat on a wall is almost useless.  I resorted to taping some of the wires against the backing fabric in an effort to reduce the bumps and bulges on the front of the quilt panel the wires created. What a mess.

I created eyelet buttonholes on the sewing machine and used a punch afterwards to make the holes in the fabric eyelets and pushed the little lights into the fabric. Then another problem arose.  The light tips are larger than the actual lights which are approx. 1/4 on an inch long. So the entire light wants to go squeeze through the holes and droop down on the front of the panel. Not attractive.  I wrapped tape around each shaft of the lights so that helped.  Now only the light tip shows on the front of the panel. 

Should I proceed---? oh well you should know the whole story. 
The panel looks pretty in the day time lit up.  

At night, turn on the lights and that is all you can see. Lights. Not the quilted panel. The fabric is so dark it recedes into the darkness of the room. 

 I took these pictures this a.m. so you won't see that effect. But, trust me. All you will see is the lights at night. Not the tree, not the quilting. 

 Lit up in the daylight hours. It's O.K.
Better yet with no lights on.

I have a red panel and a green panel to complete. Not sure it's worth it. Maybe no lights is better.?

November 13, 2013


If you own a sewing machine that also does embroidery do try some of the wonderful "In-the-Hoop" projects. This is one of the designs from Embroidery Garden.  Our daughter requested a padded case for her portable hard drive---this measures 4-3/4 x 6-3/4 when completed.
Everything is done in the hoop! ---including the zipper.  This took approx. an hour to make. I added the snap ring.

November 11, 2013

Flag-Veteran's Day

We finished the new flag pole just in time to raise the Flag in honor of all the Veteran's today. Thank you for your service to our country. God Bless.

October 30, 2013

Lights, Camera, Action ---Finished

It's a "cut" as they say in the film industry….in the quilting world, "it's finished" sounds sooo-- good.

"Lights, Camera, Action" 

I made this quilt top several years ago, and just now have gotten around to quilting it.  Free motion quilted with pebbling, meander and some ruler work in the triangles.  It has been a fun project. The quilt is 52" x 60" and is a wall hanging for my grandson, Christopher, who does videography.

This is a fabric produced by Andover and designed by Gail Kessler. I think is such a fun fabric!  It comes in co-ordinated prints. Like the popcorn, the masks of comedy and tragedy, the film reels, etc. The center is a panel.  Since I purchased the fabric several years ago, I don't know how readily available is may be now…..


October 24, 2013

Progressing---sure but slow.

"Lights, Camera, Action" is progressing---slowly. 
 Custom quilting. Pebbles and ruler work

Completely different fabric choice for the Easy Street mystery quilt border. Love this Batik!
 From a distance it "reads" Turquoise---zoom in closer and it picks up all the colors in Easy Street!
 Adding a border is adding more appeal to this quilt.

Bonnie Hunter has a new mystery quilt starting this Friday, Celtic Solstice, if you are interested or in the mood for doing a mystery this time of the year. So much going on with the holidays coming up, I can't imagine doing a mystery quilt along with all the Christmas sewing projects going on. I won't be doing Bonnie's new mystery. I may in 2014 when I see the resulting quilt.  Bonnie's quilts are interesting, but very time consuming.

October 21, 2013

Magna Glides

Yesterday I started machine quilting on the long arm  and noticed I was getting low on pre wound bobbins.  My long arm uses L size bobbins.

I prefer to use Fil-Tec Magna Glide Delight prewounds
They come prewound with 72 yards of Glide thread
on a magnetic core. They are the most trouble free
prewound I have ever used, and they also combine well with 
any top threads I use which is usually Perma Core, or Superiors threads.  There are times I have felt guilty using these prewounds, and other quilters quite often  remark at the price, and that L size bobbins don't stitch very far, and other reasons why they do not  use pre wounds and wind their own bobbins.

I respectively disagree. I do a lot of machine quilting in a years time. Donation quilting, some quilting for a few close friends and my own quilts.
It has been almost a year and half since I've needed to reorder prewound bobbins. I think that  reflects that L pre wounds are worth it.  I did all this stippling and free motion quilting up the film strip border of this quilt top which is approx. 50" x 60" inches.,  and I still have a half of the med. grey pre wound on the bobbin.  This quilt will probably take approx. 4 prewounds doing Custom quilting.  Considering all the factors of perfect tension (magnetic core), lint free thread, and all the colors available--- and that my long arm "Polly" loves these pre wounds. The few cents more for these wonderful pre wounds is so worth it.

(above) The Magna Glide Delight stash
(below) Some of  magnetic cores for recycling back to Fil-Tec

The magnetic prewounds also come in cotton. 

October 18, 2013

Borders, and a Quick Quilt

I can't figure out how to title this blog entry so I will just tell you since I came home from quilt retreat last Thursday I managed to unpack and get things put away. That is a feat all onto itself! Did the laundry another thing finished,  and on Saturday promptly came down with the flu/cold bug. Three  boxes of Kleenex later,  today is the first day I have actually felt better. So, hopefully I'm on the mend----talk about wiped out, whatever this virus may be, it will take you down.

Yesterday I did  finish seaming the long diagonal center of the two sections of Easy Street. It is now officially a quilt top and I auditioned two pieces of turquoise Batik for the borders.

Amazing what a photo will reveal. Without the camera I had picked the second color (your right) for the border. Now, after the photo,  I like the first piece of turquoise fabric in the photo.  I also plan to add a small strip of purple sashing between the quilt top and the border. Every one who saw the quilt being pieced at retreat liked it----Maybe after it's quilted, I will too. I just want it to be finished.

Do you visit the Missouri Star Quilt Company website? Are you on their email list? I just recently joined their email listing.  I watched some of their tutorials (while sneezing and wheezing.) The Double Slice Layer Cake tutorial was one that caught my eye--- (along with many more).  I made this quilt top yesterday. Today I'll sew the blocks and borders together.

You've heard of those "week-end" quilts and thought oh-sure (wink-wink!). Well, the Double Slice Layer Cake could be a ONE day quilt. Really!

Kate Spain "Cuzco" Layer Cake is the fabric.  The Missouri Quilt Company is 'sold out', but if you like Cuzco you can Google and still find it online at several websites. I plan to quilt this with the Circle Lord "Cosmo" template board. I'll post when it's finished. I wanted to share that it's possible to make a quilt top and even get it quilted in one day using Jenny Doan's "Double Slice Layer Cake" tutorial.

You could also make your own layer cake squares. A layer cake is 42-10" inch squares of assorted fabrics.

There are so many more wonderful free tutorials on the Missouri Quilt Company's website.  Jenny is a great teacher!

I did come up with a blog title after all---- Not a totally wasted week.  Have a good weekend everyone. Stay well.

October 13, 2013

Quilt Retreat

Last Sunday at this time I was rushing around gathering all my sewing stuff, packing my clothes, watering plants and anticipating sharing time with wonderful quilting friends at our semi annual quilt retreat. There are times it seems like only yesterday we met at the ranch,  and other times it seems like forever since we have seen each other....time has a way of playing games with my mind at eventful moments like these. Like can you believe it's Fall already with the holidays just around the corner.

The quilt retreats are always wonderful! How could four days of complete immersion in a passion for quilting not be completely wonderful! The welcoming hugs and chatter of dear friends as we schlep are belonging to our favorite sewing spots and start set up our tables with a multitude of containers of fabrics, cutting mats, rulers, irons, threads and sewing machines. Even our favorite sewing machine chairs get toted to retreat. Comfort is important as we may be sewing for literally 12 or more hours of the day---and into the night.

When I finally start down the driveway headed for the ranch I feel like I have packed my entire sewing room into the back of the car. Not that it would ever fit there, but it's all  important stuff!....and I've been known to turn the car around and go back for just one more sewing thing I suddenly realize I might need! Usually, I don't, but you just never know----that one piece of fabric or cutter could be important! As it turned out, I did forget some things------

The drive to retreat is always beautiful through the rolling hills of vineyards, wineries and roadside produce stands. Once I turn off the main road and go up the drive to the ranch a feeling of peace settles over me. It's like I leave the "outside" world, and settle into a cocoon with others that feel about quilting the way I do. Where else can one talk incessantly about quilting literally all day, and have the other person nod in perfect understanding when you mention texture, color & value, or a special quilt pattern or block? We are all of the same mind set at retreats.  The sheer joy of our shared passion for quilting is unsurpassed.

All the wonderful food is provided with not a thing to do except enjoy while we sew, sew, sew!

We plan and ponder all the projects we will take with us. We have big plans for what we will accomplish in such a short time----some enthusiastic quilters complete their unfinished projects. Me, I always take too many dream projects with me, and may finish one, or none.  Most containers never get opened, only to be repacked into the car, and placed back in the sewing room at home---some projects may go back and forth to several retreats in the hopes of being finished one day. Like this beautiful Labyrinth at the ranch, they go round and round.

Here I am working on the Miniature Menagerie quilt project. A complete change in plans with the fabrics set me back a whole day---and then I ran out of the focus fabric (quilter talk for the plain beige background fabric I left at home).

 I was however was not without other things to do!
More on that later!

Here are a few photos from our wonderful time together at our Fall quilt retreat. Until we meet again.