Friday, January 28, 2022

More Finishes!

We had a pile of toys in our living room for a while. We finally moved them last week; they are going to some kindergarten and pre-school kids that don't have much. Some very kind teachers are spreading them around for us. I'm so happy the toys will be loved again.

I finished a couple more donation quilts! The quilting is fast but the hand stitching of the binding takes some time. My hands cramp at times so I usually only stitch one side of a quilt in a day. I think all those years of hand stitching, hand quilting, and marking papers with red ink have caught up with my hands. I'm so glad I can still do some hand stitching (which I enjoy) even if it is a little slow.

I began the first quilt, Red Border Postage Stamp, in June. My hastily written instructions (I think from TV) said to make four patches from squares of fabric and some with opposite corners white. And that's all I wrote. So I arranged the blocks to make the white diamonds. I have no idea what the original looked like. 

I used  2" squares from my scraps for this quilt and made lots of 4 patches. I put red borders on this to make the quilt larger; it finished at 58" X 58". I quilted this with a large stipple - it was so easy and fast on the longarm! I used Aurifil #2600, Dove Gray thread. 

The back should be a surprise when it is turned over. It's very colorful - I love it!

The second quilt, Postage Stamps with White, is also made from 2" squares - the leftover 4 patches with white from the first quilt.
The scrap box does show a tiny dent! 

This finished at 56" by 56".

This one is quilted with a large loop motif. I used Aurifil #2600, Dove Gray thread. 

The backing is not as colorful as the first quilt, but I think it still offers the choice for a reversible quilt.

I finished both quilt tops last July. I think that was about the end of my stitching before my surgery. I'm so blessed to be feeling good and I'm getting stronger which means I do some sewing or quilting most days. Besides enjoying the process, I love finishing quilts. There are more waiting to be quilted so stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

First projects of 2022 and more

My first projects of 2022 are my first projects using the longarm.

The first one was actually my second practice piece which I decided to finish and use. I took some leftover Christmas jelly roll strips and sewed them end to end. Then I cut 8 - 49" strips. 

I made this 16" X 49" table runner as a QAYG (quilt as you go). Everything except the binding was done on the longarm. Each time I added a strip (after the first), I quilted the previous strip. It was good practice, educational, and I ended up with a Christmas table runner. Not bad! The back is some Christmas fabric from my stash. I used Finesse #3285 Light Wool (light gray) thread.

I made the second quilt at least a year ago. I used scraps from my orphan and scrap bins and added the green because I thought the colors popped with it. I call it the Bright Green Quilt.

I quilted this with a free-hand double loop. The larger loops are probably 4 - 5" in diameter. I couldn't quilt large motifs on my domestic machine so I just had to try something a little bigger. It was fun and so fast! The stitches are beautiful - my stitch regulator is wonderful.

This quilt is about 50" x 57". The back is a bright green that I found at Quilting in the Valley in LaSalle, IL. 

There is a very good chance that I will get caught up quilting my finished tops this year!

Health update:
I was released from my spine surgery care yesterday, 1-18-22! Today I began weaning off of the last pain medicine. That will take 2.5 months.  

My scans show that my hardware hasn't moved since surgery which is great. And they show that bone is forming next to the screws and rods which delights me. I take daily shots for my bone health and this is proof they are working.

I was told 3 - 6 month recovery and I was released from care 3 days prior to 3 months. My surgeon's PA was amazed at my scans and said no PT! I will now work to get back strength and stamina. I need to go slow. I can do that - I have experience, having worked my way back from my first spine surgery in 2011. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Rearranging and cleaning out for a longarm...

I've been busy and I've accomplished some things! I'm slow but slow and steady wins!!!

The toys are all ready to go to a preschool in an impoverished area. 

My upstairs looks different. The front dormer, aka front room, is still the machine room and hasn't changed much other than needing a good cleaning. My panoramic photos are always a little weird.

The guest room now has a cutting table.

One of the dormer closets in the guest room is now my craft closet. 

I store my Cricut on it's cart in there and I can move around it!

The longarm room has plenty of room - that's the ironing table against the window and a very comfy rocking chair for breaks or visitors (Ray).

Thank goodness, I sewed from my stash for the last 10? years and pretty much only bought backing. I still can't believe that almost all of my stash is in this dormer closet.

It's taken a while but is definitely worth the effort. I am delighted with the outcome. Right now I can quilt easier than sew so the longarm is getting a workout. 

I will see my doctors this week. I'm hoping to have my restrictions lifted. I'm feeling good and would like to begin exercising. I need to get my strength back. I'll let you know what they say...

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year!

Happy 2022! Ray and I are hoping this is a good year; I’m sure everyone else is too.

I’m getting better! Although my only exercise is walking, my left leg is getting stronger and I can now go up and down steps while alternating feet. I still get very tired and need naps, and I still begin sweating like a little pig if I do too much, but I think my back is doing great. In a couple of weeks, I see my neuro-spine surgeon’s PA. I’m hoping to get rid of some if not all, of my restrictions. 


I’m helping more around the house, especially with meals. It was a nice break of not worrying about what we were going to eat each day but now I’m sure Ray would like a break. He bought groceries a couple days ago and I pretty much made the list and decided some meals. He still helps A LOT and cleans up but appreciates my efforts or so he says!


My long-arm (technically a mid-arm) is set up and running. It's been rather eventful. Getting the boxes upstairs was quite a task. A neighborhood man, who grew up with our kids, and his high school sons helped. Then we had to clear space before we could even open boxes – so we shoved things into dormer closets. What a mess.

The mess on the left side of picture will be leaving.

Next, we put things together little by little depending on my endurance, so it took many days. When we set up the frame (which is an 8’ frame but takes up about 9’), it did not fit according to my plan. I didn’t know I needed so much room in front on and behind it. It actually fit in the room but blocked the doors of two dormer closets. So we moved more stuff and some of the same stuff. Then we moved the frame 90 degrees. Please know that whenever I say we, I mean Ray – I just supervised. Next we had to move the frame even further from the wall to facilitate the opening of one dormer closet door. This meant the only original item that could remain in the room was the ironing table. All fabric and a 35” by 60” cutting table had to move. Thankfully DS2 and his boys came to help. Whew!

The cutting table in it's new home and a large mess.


While DS2 and boys were here, they also shoveled snow for us and cleaned out most of the dormer closet that contained toys. Most of the toys were for younger kids and they did a good job of tossing damaged things, rescuing a few treasures to take home, and sorting things for me. As a result, I am almost ready to begin emptying another dormer closet. Of course, we will have to do that. I can’t wait to restore order and have access to everything in the studio.

Our dining room is now overrun with toys...but I do have a plan. By next week, I hope they are all gone.

I love the long-arm but need practice. Of course, I’ve done very little free motion quilting in the last year. I don’t think my learning curve will be nearly as bad as I had thought; I just need lots of practice. I’ve been using the machine a little each day and I’ve graduated to working on a real quilt vs. a practice sandwich. The quilt was partially quilted on my domestic machine as I practiced ruler work. It will eventually be cut in half and used as  a mat for my domestic machines. I never thought I’d have a long-arm so I’m still a little giddy.


Hopefully as we progress through 2022, I’ll get caught up with the quilts that need to be quilted. I also look forward to sitting at a sewing machine and stitching. I am not setting any goals other than to be grateful for and to enjoy each day. Its is absolutely wonderful to feel good.


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