Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Motif emphasized…

Popping flowers with thread
These awesome flowers are just popping with life with the thread outlining. I am having such a great time working on this quilt! Still undecided about what to do with sashing and borders, but I am following a couple of expert quilters who have some great ideas. One in particular, and that would be the amazing Leah Day. So, you will just have to wait and see what design comes about on this quilt. Keep checking back…
Mark just finished knapping this cool little arrowhead!cool little arrowhead

Monday, July 23, 2012

Plenty of Practice on FMQ Fundamental Skills…


Setting triangle in "Lovely Lou"“Lovely Lou” has presented me the opportunity to practice many of the basic fundamental skills of Free Motion quilting. Stitching in the ditch is harder than I thought it might be, but with this quilt I am working on that particular skill. 

I just spent a few minutes on the phone with a friend from years ago. We taught school together way back in the 80’s. What fun it is to have enduring friendship with someone even though we haven’t seen one another in years. Laughter is good for my soul, and with this friend I can laugh. A treat, for sure.

cool rockAnother really cool rock that Mark came upon!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday quilting…

awesome flower
I believe I am seeing an improvement in my stitching. I am searching for that “Humm-Purr“ as described by Cindy Needham’s June Tutorial on SewCalGal’s awesome blog. I am still playing around a little bit with tension, but only in small increments on the upper tension. In all my years of sewing experience I have never had to adjust the bobbin tension. I usually wait for the sewing machine doctor to handle that when I have my machine serviced. That practice has served me well.
Outlining these awesome flowers has been like painting with thread. The thread is a beautiful soft yellow color and when the thread builds up, it appears a soft gold. I am liking the effect.
happy plantsRecently I moved my plants to the end of my table where I work. They are happy campers and I am much more attentive to them while indulging myself in this “quilting habit” as Leah Day mentioned.

Another addition has been the treadmill, since Mark and I share the space we are encouraging each other to create a “walking habit.” Also, here are a few of Mark’s rock polishing endeavors.


treadmill for

polished rocksmore polished rocks, crystals, and just cool rockspolished crystals

Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting Back to the Quilting Habit...

Leah Day has inspired me in one more of many positive ways. I have had  a wonderfully refreshing relief from my daily routine. Now I am ready to return to my habit of quilting and have more fun.  After a break and coming back to Lou, I have made changes while considering a more modern approach. Although I haven’t caught up with Leah’s QAL, I am attempting to apply much of her teaching to the quilt I had ready to quilt. This quilt is for a lively young woman who is best described as a fun and modern (in all the good ways) individual. I want the quilt to reflect the same qualities.

IMG_0704I had done a Loopy Loop in the setting triangles around the quilt. The setting triangles are inside three borders. IMG_0724When I came back and looked, I was not pleased with the effect. So I have spent several days armed with my seam ripper and plenty of patience. I have replaced that filler design with simple stitching on the motif of the fabric. I am liking the thread build-up. I would love for this quilt to come out of the washer with that old fashion crinkled soft feel, but done with a modern twist. Designing the quilting aspect of this quilt or any other is a new skill set for me, and I am open minded about making changes—another “Leah Lesson.”

While ripping I took the opportunity to review many of Leah's fabulous videos to better enforce my grasp of the many aspects of FMQ. I must say once again, she is the best quilting teacher I have found on the internet. I have spent a considerable amount of time looking. I have years of sewing experience and even done some hand quilting, but those skills are not the same set as FMQ skills. No other teacher is willing to spend such dedicated effort emphasizing the basics and other wonderful techniques of FMQ so freely.  Thank you, by the way.
The stitching on the back of the quilt is looking fairly cool. I am looking forward to seeing improvement as I quilt Lou. The print fabric on the back of the quilt is forgiving. I am not happy with the little pointy blobs where I hesitate to move the quilt, but experience will hopefully help with that issue.
                                             IMG_0738     IMG_0739     IMG_0743   IMG_0747
I think Leah’s latest design, Branch Out with Bare Branches, will have a cool effect somewhere in this quilt. I would definitely like to use her Infinity Tree, but that may be beyond my current skill level. Although I have been practicing on scraps, I have yet to be pleased with my result. I will continue working on the amazing Leah Designs.
IMG_0736I have added an item to my arsenal of quilting must haves. Because of Leah's instruction, I faithfully use my Machinger’s gloves (available right here from Leah’s quilt shop) every time I quilt. I tie off my threads and consistently take time to bury them, which I do with every thread break. I have found that in order to effectively tie off the  knot and thread a needle to bury the tails, I must remove my gloves.

Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme is an incredible help to control those tails efficiently. When I hand quilt I use beeswax or other product to control my thread. It only takes a tiny bit and then before I put my gloves back on I use a bit more just so that it soaks in to my skin. After working for one of the large retail fabric stores I thought it interesting to learn that fabric absorbs the moisture from your skin just like a wick. So try out Burt’s Bees, and you will be amazed--you'll have experienced a super moisture treatment on those busy quilting hands!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Terrific Family Reunion...

Family reunion was terrific! I am so blessed to be married to a man whose family is so much fun. They have been having a reunion every year for the past 51 years. Isn't that amazing!!! Great to see everyone who came and so much laughter making fun of the ones that didn't come! If you don't show, you are subject to be the target!!!

 As much as I enjoyed getting away for a few days, I am ready to get back to my sewing machine. I love my early morning coffee sitting near my current project, anticipating a good day of quilting!