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Posts from the ‘LongArm Quilting’ Category

Winding Down

Last night I turned into my driveway….home from a week in Wisconsin.

I drove through rain several times, the worst being in Arkansas with cold rain hitting hot pavement, sending up waves of fog amidst the downpour. No-one was driving very fast, including the semis. I stopped in Pocahontas for the night; I felt quite safe that night as I was surrounded by Sheriff Deputy marked cars—there must have been a convention/meeting/gathering…they were all out chatting and talking–no SWAT rifles or helmets or shields evident–just a lot of laughing and chatting.

Google sent me down 49 in Louisiana and through some really rough two lane roads; not to my liking. The small town of Keach established in 1888 struck my eye but I cannot find anything about it on the internet. Google must have heard me grousing about the quality of the roads and the lack of rest-stops and availability of auto-diesel as it then sent me around Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Rain again in Beaumont with steaming roadways and a deluge. People were driving slowly but fortunately I was heading south and they were mostly heading north.

unloading20from20trip20to20wisconsin-mI managed to catch half hour of no rain to unload the inside contents of my truck—a large box of produce===MacIntosh apples from my Auntie Hazel’s yard, pears from a high school friend’s yard, and tomatoes from our garden on the farm.

Today is a day to catch up with all the things that need doing—retrieving the dogs from the kennel–they had a wonderful time as I signed them up for extra play-time, dealing with email and work issues, reviewing photos and contemplating the events of the week.

I’ll be commenting on them as the next week goes by—but the primary reason for the trip was to attend the wedding of one of my nieces and to deliver the quilt my mother–her grandmother had pieced for her and I had finished.

This was the hardest of all the quilt tops she had left for me to quilt–I finished all those edges with a facing—and Tami–my niece—had a huge smile on her face as she peeked at the edges of her new quilts.



Dahlia Procrastination

There will be a wedding next Saturday.

I have known about it for at least six months maybe more.

Yesterday, I had no choice but to load up this quilt top and begin. My mother had left a quilt top for each of her grandchildren–sixteen or twenty or maybe a hundred–and I was instructed to get them quilted as a wedding gift. Fortunately most of them were teenagers or even younger at the time and so it didn’t seem like an impossible task. I’ve gotten quite a few done but this one was the fanciest of the group—and one that I wanted to do up right.

img_8793-mMom and I had very different ideas of what made pretty color combinations–maybe she had early cataracts but I remember her choices as a forty something that just seemed really dull and boring to me. The sage green was not appealing, the only bright spot the orange in the center.


That isn’t a wrinkle—it’s the bobbin thread somehow I have not mastered locking the stitches AND cutting the bobbin thread. I had a lot of these until I figured out a way to bring the thread up and give it a yank.

The first day is always hard–what pattern shall I use–and then you’ve got to line everything up–but I didn’t have a straight line to put at the edge. I had been advised to cut off all  those fingers to make it easier to quilt and bind—but I left it as it was and did my best. It is far from perfect and in other hands would /could have been a prize winner. But it is now done, and I have four evenings to sew on its binding.

img_8796-mHere it is all done and hanging off the Gammill front bars. Maybe I will show you those fingers a bit later after I’ve faced them.

And then it will be on to the next one she left behind for me to complete. I found a few tops designated for maybe more grandchildren–or maybe the greats—I’ve done more than a few of those too–but still lacking a few–four more at last count.

Splendidly Sampled


Sometime a year or more ago I discovered a challenge issued by Pat Sloan—a hundred block sampler. I had bought the book ‘Dear Jane’ with the intention of working through that book and creating my own sampler but like a lot of good ideas remained as an thought.

This project appealed to me–because it would be one small bite at a time–and surely I could keep up.

Of course I soon fell far behind. I was using shirtings cut-offs my great uncle had bought from some mail order place offering such things—my mother had bought satin pieces. These pieces were relatively small but as the blocks finished 6 inches I figured these would work well.

Sometimes I would take my box of scraps and the patterns and cut out a half dozen or more blocks at a time; I would trace off the embroidered blocks three or four at a time–my evenings are spent with Netflix and a hand project—knitting dishcloths, putting bindings or sleeves on quilts, or English Paper Piecing. Embroidery was easy to add to the list–and now I have a lovely lamp over my shoulder to make things even easier.

After finishing all of these blocks it was time to set them together–with sashing. Here it is–not a particularly good photo but a better photo will be had once it is quilted and bound–it goes to the bottom of the stack to be quilted.

Pillow Talk

As a member of the Houston Modern Quilt Guild I volunteered to swap a pillow case–a pillow covering with someone in Kansas. Her preferences were blue or rainbow and batiks.

Not having a lot of batiks, I spent some time perusing the offerings on-line–and was pleased to find some nice choices; I also came upon a design that I thought was fun and intriguing–a sort of woven effect.

Here is that finished top—and the back. I had planned to put a zipper in it–but in the end used velcro as the fastener.


Mom’s Legacy


My mother became a quilter in her later life and had a goal of a hand-quilted quilt for each of her six children–she accomplished that goal several years before she died of ovarian cancer and its complications.

But not satisfied with that goal being met, she set herself a new goal–a pieced top for each of her 19 or 20 grandchildren–I could count them but I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet this morning. She managed to get them all pieced–some were classes she took at a nearby quilt store and some were patterns she found in books. But she didn’t get them quilted and intended for them to be machine quilted because she thought they would get ‘hard use’. She left them all for me to complete.

I have worked hard at finishing them all up–aiming for weddings as the due date for them. Some of the grand-children have delayed that life event–giving me some breathing room but now I have one coming up in late September that will be the most difficult of all to complete. The one pictured here was pretty easy but this next one—hmm–it has uneven edging.

I have been advised to just cut off those fingers—but it seems not quite right–

Fortunately I have a few months yet to figure it out.

Sons and Daughters


The charming young woman on the left is named Jasmine. She was our waitress while eating at Pappadeaux in Houston during last year’s Quilt festival.

To the dismay of both of our families, we had chosen the name Jasmine Cordelia as a girl’s name. They fussed about no-one in the family with those names although my father had wanted to call me Cordelia.

But we had three sons–all named for various family members on both sides. Two have married and now I have two daughter-in-laws—one of whom insisted he spend the day with me!

We cleaned the shed at the shop in preparation for my honey freezer.

We measured and talked about a greenhouse and chicken run.

We talked about honey and bees and hives.

We inspected the yard; the brick he had put in a crepe myrtle tree as part of his castle that is now grown into the tree.

We rescued several Boy Scout booklets–fishing, citizenship, and firemanship as his oldest son has joined Boy Scouts.

We chatted with my youngest son as he was on his way to a shopping trip on his solitary day off from work in two weeks.

We ate Checkers burgers and curly fries–the shake machine wasn’t working.

He fed the dogs the few remaining fries as a treat–Toby adored him, Dora wasn’t about to miss out on a treat and did her best to do the tricks he required.

All in all a wonderful day—and although I could have wished for a Jasmine in my life, I have Marielys and Tiffany. Not to mention Savanna and Sadie.

Leavings and Fives

five20inch20patch-sYesterday I wrote about the Happy Scrappers and the previous year’s block exchanges. This year is supposed to be an ‘off’ year in which we tackle putting together those previous exchanges into a completed quilt–quilted, bound, and labeled.

Earlier this week I completed the top of triangles; trying hard to use them all and being mostly successful.

But then there were the five or maybe it was six inch colored squares we exchanged with the idea of using them in applique–something I don’t do very often and only more often than paper-piecing. So I took all those squares, turned them into 9 patches and trimmed away to make them all uniform size–so much easier to sew together.

The leavings pile got quite large and I had to clear it off my table three times before I finished.leavings-s

Wish I could figure out something wonderful to with this pile—but into the trash it went—I’ve tried putting it out for the birds to make their nests–but pigeons put a few sticks in a crotch of a tree and call it done–while the cardinals are quite secretive about their whereabouts–and I guess the mocking birds do something but have yet to see their home sweet homes.


ufo20no206-mI belong to a group called ‘Happy Scrappers’. The name was supposed to imply that we used our scraps to make quilt blocks but in truth there is a lot of verbal scrapping–sometimes reaching reality TV level of entertainment….as long as you are not the object of the discussion.

Last year, two exchanges were chosen, my vote being cast as the deciding vote against a particular name fabric–of which I have exactly two yards.

The two projects involved making hundreds or thousands of half square triangles and some four patches. Thousands of them! And enough to cover a football field–well, maybe not quite that many.

I duly cut, sewed,, trimmed, and measured. One set did not follow the rules–I reread those rules and they did not say what everyone else thought they said–but then they got to see the finished block example. So all of my carefully measured pieces returned to me. One set did make the cut and I received a variety of triangles…enough to cover inner field of a baseball diamond–T-ball size.

What to do with those triangles and four patches?

I put them together into one fairly large quilt with just a few left-over, enough to border a label, and a few to add to the orphan block box. That is getting full–so maybe I need to address that problem–but not tonight.



Mysteriously Fabricated


One of the things my mother left behind after succumbing to the ravages of ovarian cancer and assorted treatments for over 13 years was a collection of fabric–in her favorite colors–rust and turquoise. These were NOT my favorite colors to work with–a certain  shade of turquoise in my box of crayons at age six led me to throw that crayon away ..much to my mother’s consternation.

The fabrics even smelled like she did and it was hard to open up that box and begin this project. But when Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville posted the suggested color palette for her annual Thanksgiving to Christmas mystery quilt, I knew it was time for me to start.

Bonnie likes to use a LOT of little pieces and I must admit I simplified the sashings considerably–using just two strips of fabric with no triangles on the ends. I also got rather a late start having to deal with hypercalcemia in November and December…amazing how oddly you will speak and weak you become with a toxic level of calcium. There is no handy way to measure the levels–no calcium meter like a glucometer. And the diet? no Dairy, no broccoli or dark greens! Tough for this girl from Wisconsin who loves all things cheese!

I digress.

I completed the top in January, got it quilted and bound in March. It now only needs a label and it will be ready to be transported to M.D. Anderson for their odd year quilt auction to benefit ovarian cancer research.

I think Mom would have been pleased.


Harvey Cleanup and Repair

Our city seems to be slowly recovering but there are many who are still displaced and wondering where they will go next. On the other hand some of us are using this time to do some much needed repairs.

I have some property out of town which used to house my sewing machine business, now it houses my bee hive and bee equipment plus a lot of my sewing/fabric playtoys including Vivian my Gamill.

img_6418-mYesterday husband repaired the front eave on the porch. Just tearing down the eave which was hanging by one end and prompted a passerby to leave me a sign saying that he bought dilapidated houses made it look much improved., Replacling the rotten boards–probably because of clogging up of the drain spout from the cedar tree that lived there until Rita. Guess I should clarify–that was Hurricane Rita–followed by Humberto and then Ike in this area, not to mention tropical storm Allison and other assorted near storms with downpours of up to ten inches of rain in a day.

We had already repaired the shed roof–which houses the bee equipment; ran the lawn mower around, I picked up a lot of dead branches, and we checked on the bees. I am down to just one hive now–and there is an abundance of ants. The oil trap seems to be working well with a few hive beetles and a lot of ants.

While he worked on that eave, I worked on this community service quilt. I must confess I am accustomed to my own piecing–which–not to brag–well, okay bragging some–does not have ruffly edges. This top was beautifully pieced in the center but the borders were too long and so it ruffled. To compound the problem, the backing was just barely big enough. When I trimmed it afterward, I had mere slivers of backing to remove. It may have been my inexperience as a longarm quilter but it was definitely a challenge.img_6423-m

And yes, that is my attempt at free-form feathers. I think I need to stick to pantographs.


Now back to my own work–I still have a backlog to complete.