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Posts from the ‘LongArm Quilting’ Category

Problem Solving

Thread comes in many lovely colors and sizes of spools but I don’t always need a full cone (at $35 each) of a color. And I have a lot of smaller spools but they do not work well on the Gammill. The thread catches on the small slot intended to corral the thread from unwinding itself all over the floor.

One of my sons solved this problem. We designed a spool cap that would fit over the top of the spool and prevent catching in the slot. It worked absolutely perfectly.

Now I can use a lot of different threads and not necessarily invest in a lot of cones of thread.


A little something for Ella and Eli

My mother was a quilter and like many left behind some starts and stops, experiments and partially completed projects. I have been finishing up some of them and gifting them to her great-grandchildren.



the first one is for Ella and the teddy bears is for Eli—-a set of twins, children of one of my nephews and his lovely wife.

I have one more to quilt—the boxes are slowly being emptied and put to good use.

Blues…….Indigo batiks

It isn’t much of a secret that my favorite color is blue—in nearly form but particularly a lovely indigo color—and a purply blue heather color—the color I painted in my sewing room. Several years ago I bought two cotton bedspreads made in Indigo with the intention of making them into a lightweight summer quilt.

The fabric is somewhat gauzy making it a bit stretchy and more than a bit difficult to quilt—and then I chose a lovely warm cranberry red thread for the quilting. That thread disappeared into the fabric and it seemed to take forever to get it quilted.

But now it is done and is in the queue to be bound—the hardest part of that is the trimming.



One of the fun news articles this past week—-and don’t we all appreciate something nice….has been about a woman who bought an unfinished embroidery project at an estate sale and enlisted others to complete it. I have a similar project but haven’t enlisted anyone to to work on it besides myself.


It is a set of beautifully embroidered state birds. Someone decided to paint the outlines of the states in an off color white–at first I thought they had mended the blocks but after looking at a few more, I discovered some state outlines. Ohio is not that remarkable a shape–but Texas is.

First I had to trim up the edges to make them all reasonably uniform sized.img_2671-m

Then I had to calculate the pieces to make these into square-ish blocks AND figure out img_2673-mhow to cut those pieces using the rulers I had.img_2674-m

Adding all those corners took some time but now all the blocks have been cornered and are awaiting joining to their neighbors. I am not putting them any particular order although I thought about putting all the cardinals together somewhere.img_2676-m

Final challenge will be the quilting; how to not overwhelm that beautiful embroidery will be something I will have to think about a bit. That will occupy my mind while I am doing the rather mundane part of trimming (again) and stitching together.img_2678-mimg_2679-m


Indigo from India

Several years ago I bought two lovely large cotton batik indigo pieces in Colorado. It was my plan to quilt them together so as to have a double sided light weight quilt for summer nights.

I decided I wanted to use flannel as the batting; and as I have been diligently working on the quilt tops that have accumulated over the years—I’m not fond of basting===clean off the dining room table, put down popsicle sticks to mark the centers, tape and pin and roll—but with a long arm–basting is now a breeze—or actually not needed except at the edges.

I loaded up the bottom, smoothed out the flannel lining and put on the top layer.

Now what?

I had planned to use a deep warmish cranberry red as the thread—thought about doing fancy custom work—and then realized it would not be very visible so why go to all that work.

Pantograph it was.

Each row takes about 15 minutes to complete. I finished up three rows; my back is not happy doing all this standing–and came back to it the next day—–but——the laser light did not work.

Turned everything off and then back on again–still no luck. Called the dealer—I needed a new laser light–and it would be easy to install.

Laser light arrived yesterday.

Installed without a hitch—I did need to use the flashlight to see where the hex fit on the side.

I am now back up and running. Did three more rows and quit for the day—maybe tomorrow will be another two or three rows—I think there are about 6 rows left.


and here is a detail of the stitching


UFOs in the land of fiber

Starting a new project is always fun and exciting—and maybe like others, I suffer from the ‘my ambitions and ideas are bigger than my hands can finish’ syndrome.

I have always had more than one project going, trying to pair an older one with a newer one to keep up the excitement and interest. But two years ago, I stumbled upon the American patchwork UFO Quilt challenge.

First you pull out the old projects—I had already done that and put them in boxes and labeled and made a list. Then you choose twelve and fill in a sheet from one to twelve. If you are really brave, you post it on their facebook site.

Then each month, a number is pulled and that is the project you work on for the month. Sometimes you think–oh, no, why did I put that on the list—but once started, it gets easier. I haven’t finished all the projects I listed–as some took a lot more time than I thought they would—and work was especially busy—and I like to have them completed–stitched, quilted, bound, and photo’ed.

And of course, one of the guilds I belong to decided on the same challenge—but they had to be different—so that meant EIGHTEEN projects.

I can say the stack of quilt tops is diminishing; the project boxes are emptying—but I seem to e adding new projects along the way—but trying very hard to show restraint.

Here are two from this year—one was quilted and the other finished into a top and put into the to be quilted pile.


this was a round robin; it started with the center camel batik from Africa


left over strip pieces from a workshop with Nancy Crow

and here is a closeup of the quilting


Bears and Tongs

My mother left behind a lot of good intentions and ideas in the form of partially completed quilt tops, left-over blocks and a few completed tops just awaiting quilting and binding. My father also left behind a lot of good intentions and ideas and partially worked out projects in the form of metal work, a forge, welding equipment, a metal lathe and assorted scrap metal pieces.

While I am not inclined to finish any of those metal projects- or deal with the left-overs from Dad’s garage and basement doings—that was brother Rick’s task, I am dealing with all the fabric bits and bobs left in Mom’s sewing room.

moms20irish20chain-mirish20chain20detail-mSometime this week, a package will arrive on a small boy’s doorstep—a great grandchild–and my great nephew—two lap sized quilts—one with tiny farm animals in an intricate Irish chain pattern and another one featuring my dad’s welding tools set against a background of the junction of Plum Creek and Shanghai Ridge.


There are still more to complete but the stack is slowly diminishing and there may be an end in sight-.

Thanks to my dear husband who willingly served as quilt holder-upper for these photos.

The pile is shrinking

In a fit of organization, I catalogued, organized, and labeled all the undone projects in my sewing room. I also did the same with the quilt tops awaiting quilting. Cleverly I even added dimensions, the need for a back or label. That stack was embarrassingly high and did not include twenty some quilts for my mother’s grand-children—left for me to quilt and gift on the occasion of their wedding.

There are four of those left and maybe one wedding in the near future, but my stack of tops has been cut in half.

In the past, I signed up for a lot of workshops at the local guild; and then there were all the exchanges so a lot of parts and starts—and they all glare at me insisting upon completion. I must admit, though, I have cheated just a bit, well perhaps more than just a bit. Now those bits and pieces become covers for Marble notebooks.

Layering and basting was always a challenge requiring clearing off of the dining room table, getting out pins and masking tape and popsicle sticks (that PVC pipe method looks intriguing) but now Vivian the Gammill makes short easy work of that task. I like to load the backing and leave it stretched overnight before quilting the next day…smooth…no wrinkles..and ten minutes of work instead of two hours or more.

I also drape the top over the rails, letting it dangle and relax some of the fold lines from being in that stack.


This was an exchange with the Happy Scrappers. There was some really ugly fabric in there (most of it mine!) but look how pretty it is..and it is bound, folded up into one of those closet storage containers ready to gift when the right occasion presents itself.

Feathered Kisses

img_1412-mTwo or three times a year, I like to buy a new pantograph or two. I’ve bought them from the Gammill dealer in Texas and from Urban Elements, an on-line store. I was surprised to learn I really like doing these edge to edge designs; after the first two or three rows, they become very meditative.

This panto is called Feathered Kisses; somehow the ability to do decent feathers has escaped me despite several attempts. This particular one undulates across the quilt, leaving little sections unfilled. Instead of doing random loops and twists to fill in the space, I employed the use of a Venetian blind header (they were really cheap and the header which covers up the mechanism for drawing the blinds up/down broke and fell off. I had been using it as a straight edge to cut sections off the batting roll.

However, I was able to place it so I could follow the lines of the design and fill in all those little sections with pattern.

Unfortunately, I discovered I mistakenly used the top of the undulation as the TOP of the pattern when actually it is low point of the undulation that is the top—–really technical hear….but I ended up with a gap of about 3 inches to fill in somehow and make it look like I intended to do this.

So one point for figuring out how to do the blank sections and minus one point for not figuring out where the top of the pattern was…….Now there is a dot at the appropriate spot and no more 3 inch gaps in the pattern.

That quilt has just three more rows to do—and then there will be another to add to the needing binding stack.

Circular SunBursts

img_1290-mAs I noted yesterday, I have not been idle.

This is another piece that was on the UFO list—but somehow I ended up signing up for the same UFO challenge but with another group and was shamed into not using the same projects for both—although no-one would really be checking. I do want to clear out these projects–I’ve made fairly good progress—the trick is to not start new ones while working on the old ones.

This was a workshop project several years ago. We used stamps to mark the size and seam allowance of the pieces. It was a hand-piecing project–which was a relaxing change from ones in which we hauled in sewing machines and yards of fabric and  rulers and rotary cutters and thread and so forth.  For this one, we needed a gallon bag of fabric, scissors, needle, thread, and pins–easily carried in with room on our arm for a sack lunch and maybe even a cup of coffee.

I had pieced the sunbursts and appliqued them onto background—alas, as I found when I began to quilt it—each circle was not exactly in the center of each square. I managed to do the feathered circle around each sunburst but the grid was a lot more challenging.

Still it is finished and moved to the done pile!

Back to the UFO list!