Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quilt Square Quilt Along Block 3

I've finished Block 3 for the Quilt Square Quilt Along at Jo's Country Junction. We are making blocks from the pattern Quilt Squares #1 by Lori Smith of From my Heart to Your Hands. My 12" X 12" squares are all quite different - I'll use them as small hangings or table mats. The first one was a Log Cabin and the second a Bear Paw. In March, our block was The Star Block. 

I had left some batiks on my cutting table so I just decided to use them for this block. I can be really lazy sometimes! I just need to get it quilted!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Project Update

This update is on the Heart and Feathers Wholecloth Quilt. Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project is an excellent teacher. I love her written instructions and her videos.

This week we did all of the outline quilting in free motion. So I was stitching on a line and travel stitching on a line. I did pretty good with a few little mistakes which I hope won't show much. Actually, no part was difficult. It really helped to break the quilting into sections. I greatly appreciated Leah's hints about practicing each motif before actually stitching and also the variety of ways she showed us to do the feathers. 

I still have more erasing to do - can you see some of my lead marks? Well, I know you can see my shadow - I really shouldn't take photos at night with an overhead light!

The back looks about the same as the front.

I am definitely getting better at outline quilting. I really like the quilt just as it is! But I'm in this to learn so I will go on to the next part! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Plays well with fabric

We've exercised and done the errands and the phone calls that have become our new normal. While we were doing errands, I found a penny and I wondered if it would be a lucky day - yes! I have had the last hour or so free to play with fabric - something I haven't done for ages!

First, here are a couple of pillowcases that I finished. The fabric is left from the quilts I just finished.

I didn't have enough fabric so the inside of the cuff is lime green.

Then I began playing with some other left over pieces. Not sure where these blocks will end up but I love the bright colors. Each block will be 6" finished. These 2 blocks are a mirror image of each other but that is hard to tell the way I have them positioned.

I love to play with fabric when there is no goal involved. I just enjoy seeing what I can come up with. My friend Colleen showed me a book yesterday and that is where the inspiration for these blocks came from.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quilts and pillows done!

I just finished quilts for a couple of bunk beds. It has been an interesting journey - no pattern and just learning FMQ (free motion quilting). I learned lots and enjoyed the process! With the scraps, I made three pillows - each with a quilted top.

First the 14" throw pillows.

One quilt is baseball themed.

The back is bats and balls.

The other quilt is hockey themed.

The back is sticks and pucks.

The batting is Dream Poly. The quilts each measure 72" X 90". They are machine pieced and machine quilted.

I hope the preschooler enjoys them - I know he won't judge my FMQ skills!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I am doing the QAYG FMQ QAL with Laura at Quokka Quilts. I am not making a quilt but I am practicing each design. The last two weeks have been tough - first the flu and then my FIL is gravely ill - so I haven't had much quilting time. So I've tried each design but there was very little practicing!

I drew the rosebud until I thought it looked like a rosebud - maybe my mind just decided it did!

And then I quilted! This one is rather close.

Next was the spiral tree. I really like the looks of this (not meaning mine!) but my spirals always leave a little to be desired!

Then McTavishing - oh wow! I love the look of McTavishing! Maybe not mine though - at least not yet! I quilted a rose in the middle because I didn't have anything that I could quilt around. Then I tried the McTavishing. My machine is not cooperating very well.

So another try - I just filled the area and this was better.

I was able to get to a quilt show for about an hour the other day. I really investigated the machine quilting - maybe some of mine isn't too bad after all! Oh, I was also able to try a Gammill longarm with a regulated stitch - that was incredible. Now if I just had an extra $10,000!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Project Update

I follow The Free Motion Quilting Project Quilt A Long with Leah Day. I have learned so much already - it is rather incredible! Now I didn't have much time this week and that is bothering me - I know I am a better at FMQ when I am able to quilt most days. If you visit often, you may know that my FIL is very ill - we signed up hospice care today. And my mom, whose is a little over an hour away, already is under hospice care.

Anyway, we are moving on to a wholecloth quilt and I expect to learn more about FMQ including stitching on a line which I have done but can always use more practice and filling spaces with dense quilting. It will be fun. This week, we had to prepare the fabric, and mark the design on the fabric, and baste the quilt sandwich.

My fabric is supposed to read as a plain. I found this yellow in my stash - the backing fabric is the same as the front. After washing the fabric, I marked it with a Fons and Porter mechanical ceramic lead pen. I think you can see that the middle is marked and the pattern is very easy to see through the fabric.

I am using a Quilter's Dream Wool batting because I had a remnant that was the perfect size. The quilt is ready to be quilted.

Let the fun begin!

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge March Update

I am trying to keep up with the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at Insights from SewCalGalI really enjoyed Ann Fahl's tutorial on FMQ. She is not only an expert on FMQ, but also teaches quilting and has written a number of books and other publications. Her work is awesome. Her tutorial was very informative - she discussed basics as well as giving tips. She encouraged us to develop our own style - something I am working on.

Many of you know that March has been a blur due to health problems with family members. As a result, I have quilted very little. I made these pillows and quilted them with stippling loops. It is a style that I really like. I have some ideas for future practice - I have been sketching - now I just need machine time!

I think you can see the quilting here.

I pieced the pillow tops at our retreat on Saturday. I had my Featherweight so I didn't do any FMQ that day.

Each pillow is made out of scraps.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

National Quilting Day!

Today is National Quilting Day and it's St. Patrick's Day!

A while back, my friend Sandy had an idea to have a retreat at our church. We talked with Kitty and the three of us came up with today's date - actually it was the first date we all were free! At that time, none of us realized it was National Quilting Day.

Friends Paula, Krista, and Barb joined us for our first Quilter's Retreat. We are hoping it is more often than an annual retreat!

Sandy's husband surprised us with cupcakes! Kitty is holding a Turtle Cupcake.

Sandy has a white cupcake with raspberry filling. They were ohhhh, so good!

We had other treats, too. We ordered lunch from a local restaurant so we didn't go hungry!

Barb is working or maybe talking.

Paula really was working hard.

 Krista wasn't doing a good job of hiding.

Lots of projects were worked on. 

Here is Paula's 10-minute block.

Barb's buggy barn project.

Sandy's buggy barn project.

Kitty was making napkins that folded up to look like a Christmas tree.

Good thing that Krista is holding a project in the earlier picture because her work station was, well, empty when I took this photo!

I didn't get a picture of me but I really was there! I finished piecing this table runner

and began work on some pillows.

We had a great time and can't wait to do it again. Quilting with friends was a wonderful way to spend National Quilting Day! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Project Update and a bit more

It has been quite a couple of weeks. Last week Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project was sick so we didn't do anything new; we just kept practicing - or at least some people did. I had the flu! I was finally able to finish this quilt. It is machine stippled. I can't show the back yet - I even took the picture upside down - maybe the person getting the quilt won't see it!

I quilted this quilt in quadrants and I learned something new. I had been quilting "in a row" from back to front. I watched Leah's video and realized that I should be quilting left to right and right to left. It is so much easier! 

I am now in the process of quilting a companion quilt to this one. It is taking a while - life keeps getting in the way. 

My FIL is terminally ill and has had a really bad week - his health took a horrible downslide. We have been going a bit crazy with two short hospital stays and the move to a skilled nursing center in the last 9 days. We have an apartment that hopefully will be cleaned out by Friday and still have to deal with hospice ... We found out that he needed to move to skilled nursing just a couple of days ago. So tomorrow we are taking a break - we are going to a care plan meeting for my mom who is in the last stages of Alzheimer's. We feel a like a couple of gerbils on an exercise wheel!

My quilting has really suffered. I did a little FMQ tonight and my work looked horrible! After about 20 minutes, it got some better. So I guess, once again, my quilting will reflect my life. And as always, I find great comfort in quilting even when my stitches aren't great.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Today is the International Day of Awesomeness, which always falls on March 10 as a tribute to Chuck Norris. To celebrate, you are supposed to perform "Feats of Awesomeness". (from The Missouri Star Quilt Company)

Not sure what I'll do that is awesome but maybe an opportunity will come along!

I think the flu is gone and Ray did not get it - whew! We are off to watch grandson Mack play hockey this morning. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A full weekend

What a great weekend! 

Yesterday we went to the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge that benefits Illinois Special Olympics. I think it was the coldest Polar Plunge ever at Rock Cut State Park in Rockford. It was COLD and WINDY. The wonderful participants raised  thousands of dollars for Illinois Special Olympics! 

The torch arrived.

The Illinois State Police Polar Bears entered the water...brrrr! Look at the snow in the background! There is still some ice on the lake.

The Polar Bears left the water as fast as they could!

We left after about 10 teams went in the water - I think there were eighty some teams! It was just too cold to stay. Ray took a number of photos on our way out of the park. The snow left from Friday's storm was gorgeous - especially when I was looking at it through a window! I am such a wimp.

We made it home just in time to stop by a 50th wedding anniversary party for friends Arlene and Jerry.

Then last night we were at A Night of Comedy, a fundraiser for our local school foundation. After a great BBQ meal by Wally, we saw Mike Mercury followed by Roger Radley. It was non-stop laughter - a wonderful, fun night with many friends. 

Today we were at a 45th wedding anniversary party for friends Pat and Gary. Oh, I do love turkey dressing sandwiches!

It was a busy, fun weekend!


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