Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I have been working in my lurkim, quilting Sue B's wallhanging.  She's gonna love it!  She used antique colors/fabrics, so I used the cathedral windows/orange peel pattern to quilt the unpieced blocks.  That made the little (4") churndash blocks just jump out!  You'll see pictures of that tomorrow, hopefully.

But you know how I am. I can't just sit there the whole time my IQ is working.  I may have to do the measuring/adjusting for the pattern going into a particular block, but once the IQ is stitching it out, I use those 5 or 10 or more minutes doing something else.  This time I have been working on this fabric bowl, done the raw edge way.  I like this way better than the Bali Bowl way -- no ironing!

My friend Mary had given me these 1 1/4" strips as a challenge to see what I could come up with.  My prototype bowl wasn't very good, so I made another one, which came out just right.  Won't she be surprised to get that fabric back in its altered form?!

I also finished Sisty's checkbook that matches the key chain I made yesterday for her. 

AND -- if you look closely (click on picture), you can see that I also learned how to put in snaps!  The flap covers a clever little pocket for mad money, credit card, license, what-have-you.

I think I will do one more thing to polish up Sue's quilt tomorrow and get it in the mail so it reaches her before the 8th.  She's delivering the quilts I did for her friends then, and I want her to have hers to show-and-tell as well.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I spent the entire day yesterday, literally, finding patterns and designs for my embroidery machine that I had misplaced, filed who knows where, lost, or had stored in another format (my HV Designer Diamond uses .vp3 now with my 5D software as opposed to .HUS that was with the 3D program I used to have.)  I had to go back to several internet sites and re-download designs, but I couldn't find my account on others, so I emailed them to have the patterns sent to me.  Having succeeded in obtaining all the patterns, I next had to load them into my new 5D system.  It took HOURS!  Especially since when you download alphabets in different fonts, you have upper and lower case patterns for each individual letter.  Whew!  So I needed a reward, and what better one than to use one of the patterns I had re-discovered in this process.

I haven't seen my sister, Missy, for about a year, but we're going to get together with other friends and family for my niece, Cheryl's baby shower, and I thought I might spend the night with my sisty, as we call each other (sisty ugler, from fractured Cinderella tales).  So I wanted to make her something personal as a little hostess gift. 

You take one 3x3 square of fabric and fold over two opposite edges about 1/4" in, placing a length of Wonder Under between the edges.  Then you fold those edges in towards the center and iron, like so:

Well, maybe not that crookedly, but since this one is for me, it doesn't really matter.  Thread this rectangle through a D ring to make a tab, which we'll attach later.


Next, load up your embroidery machine's hoop with medium stabilizer and, using the pattern from Five Star Fonts, sew the placement line, add batting and fabric to cover this for the front of the project.

Next the machine will quilt this combination for you, leaving a space for the next step.

Use a coordinating fabric for the snippet you need as background to a monogram. 

After the monogram is sewn, cover the front of the project with a folded piece of coordinating fabric.  This will become a pocket when we're finished.  Sew around the edge, according to the embroidery steps for this in-the-hoop project.  Lastly, you cover all of this up with the same fabric as you used for the front, but this time the fabric is face down.  Once sewn, remove from the hoop, trim and turn.

Here's the back.  A snap goes on the tab to the left of the picture and the other end of the snap goes about 1" down the center of the pocket.  I haven't bought the snaps yet, so bear with me.  But here's the front:

Aren't these just the cutest key chains ever?  I made one for me first (T) to learn how to do it, and then I made one for Missy.  Tomorrow I'll make the checkbook cover that goes with the keychain.  What fun!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


In an earlier post, I showed you the crocheted blanket I had made for my niece, Cheryl, who is going to have a baby girl, Payton, in August.   I have to admit that there was a technical error on my part in one corner of the blanket.  I have fixed it as best I can, after the fact, but there still remained a dissimilarity between that corner and the other three.  So I decided to girly up the blanket by making a three dimensional crocheted flower, which I will sew into that corner to camouflage the discrepancy.

I got the pattern from BFF Mary and set to work.  I have to say -- I am fearless when it comes to crochet, but there was one part in this pattern which I simply did not "get" and had to tear out my work three times.  Finally, I accepted the fact that there had, at last, arrived one pattern that was my Achilles heel, and I winged the row that stymied me so.  What evolved was this darling 3D flower with three tiers of petals, about 5" across.  The center was an open circle, so I made a tiny, tight little pom pom and sewed it in there.  Cute!

Today I have chores to do -- sewing chores.  Sewing chores are more like a holiday, though, and since this is a holiday weekend, I'm right in the spirit of things.  This is my sewing machine table.  I have several quilts to put labels on, a pair of pants to hem, and some straightening up to do before I can have my reward.  What is my reward, you say?  Here's a hint:

This is the booklet that I bought with exercises in it so I could learn my new Babylock Imagine serger!  Yes!  I finally tossed my Singer Quantum.  Just could not thread that thing correctly, so it never got used.  A local (1.5 hours away  -- that's local for us!) quilt shop was having a super special:  bring in any sewing machine as trade, and they would take $1000 off the high end Babylock sewing/embroidery machines they sell in the store.  Well!  I just couldn't pass that up.  But I sure didn't need another high end sewing/embroidery machine.  So I called them and asked if that deal would apply to their high end sergers as well.  They agreed to extend the deal to the sergers, so I trotted down there and came back with this:

And I was VERY good -- I didn't buy one scrap of fabric while I was there.  I did buy the rolling case for the serger and the exercise book, both of which I think are completely reasonable purchases.  What I love about this serger is that they have an AIR-GUIDED threading system!  You push a lever, and air puffs your thread through tiny pipes and voila!  You are threaded and ready to go!  At least, the upper and lower loopers are.  The needles you still thread the usual way, which is not the problem with sergers.  It's those doggone loopers that drive you crazy.

I need to put Sue B's third quilt on the frame and get that started today, too.  Wait till you see that quilt!  She sure makes beautiful music with her fabrics.

So off I go to do my chores.  Have a happy holiday weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Number 2 finished!

It's Memorial Day weekend already!  DH has stocked the refrigerator with steaks, happily marinating in his special sauces, and I have finished, trimmed and sent off Sue B's friend's star quilt, which she wanted quilted just like Sue's that I did several months ago.

Mission accomplished.  Exact same patterns.  And I think it's a great way to start this weekend, because I know this quilt was made with our country's servicemen and women in mind.

It's even pretty on the back!

Now here's another little something for those of you who are feeling patriotic this weekend.  If you think there are an awful lot of planes in this video, it's because it was filmed at an Air Force Base.  USA 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A beautiful day!

I think pansies are the cutest flowers God ever made.  And did you know they're edible?  I have read that if you buy them from a landscaper or nursery, they may have been treated with fertilizer or pesticides, either of which can make you pretty sick, so you are advised to grow your own.  That poses a problem:  is there such a thing as pansy seeds?  There must be.  But this woman is not going to sprout pansy seeds or any other in the near future, so I'll just enjoy looking at my pansies and save the edible ones for Pru.

Who is Pru?  Prudence Ruth is a wonderful, industrious lady who owned a farm in Pennsylvania, complete with a farmhouse that had an enclosed porch in which she served the most remarkable teas anyone has ever experienced.  Here's a picture of the play house in her garden.  In the window sits a nearly life size doll with antique clothing on it.

Pru would serve heavenly sandwiches made with ingredients that we had never thought of combining.  Her hot and cold soups were to die for.  I even have the ingredients of her pumpkin soup, but since Pru doesn't have the measurements written down for many of her recipes, you just have to wing it.  Nonetheless, my friends and family all love my (her) pumpkin soup now.  She also served tongue titillating salads, the greens all grown in her own garden.  She used pansies and marigolds and other flowers as garnishes.  And she made the best clotted cream and scones this side of Heaven, baked and served in little terra cotta pots.

Here's a picture of the table where my sister, cousins and friends usually sat, looking out the window at the pond in the garden.  On each table, Pru put a fresh pot of tea that she would choose from her extensive repertoire.  The charming tea pots were covered with adorable cozies that she had made for them.  I especially liked the Christmas cozies, which were Mrs. Santa Claus or snow people.

And why am I talking about Pru today?  Well, for one thing, I miss going to tea at her farmhouse.  Today is Pru's birthday.  She's probably old as dirt, if you ask her, but she is ageless to me and to all of us who have had the blessing in our lives of knowing her.  Happy Birthday, Pru, and many more!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I just completed this quilt for Barbara M, one of Sue B's friends whom she browbeat into sending her first quilt to me to "bring to life."  Barbara's quilt was beautifully and carefully made, so it seemed important to make the quilting very special.

Here's the back of the quilt.  I sent it off to her yesterday and can't wait to see what she thinks.  For those of you who do longarm quilting at home for yourself or others, check out my professional blog:  http://www.lakeside-quilting.blogspot.com/  for notes on quilting "adventures" and tools and such.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A tisket a tasket, a red and yellow basket (and green and white)...

I was quilting downstairs in my lurkim, doing some custom work on a new customer's project, when I said to myself, "Self, I need a new project to use some of my time up when I'm letting the IQ run for these wreaths."  I looked around, and lo and behold! there was a long strip of 1 1/2" x 40" fabrics that I had sewn together in the hopes of doing a cloth bowl some day.  My friend, Mary, had given me this honey bun of fabrics as a challenge over a year ago, and I had attempted to make the bowl once and had given up in frustration.

However, having succeeded with the Bali Bowl project a few weeks ago, I was armed with renewed self confidence and decided to tackle it again.  The difference was, though, that these strips were only 1 1/2" wide, whereas my Bali Bowl strips were 2 1/2" wide but folded over to give me 1 1/4" with no raw edges.

Susan S from my guild had shown a lovely bowl she had made using the raw edge technique, so I thought I would try that out and add little handles.  The wrapping of the clothesline went without a hitch, as did the sewing, although I did have to be careful not to get that raw edge caught under the presser foot.

About four hours later, here's the end result.  What I learned from this project was 1) I needed to have a wider base for this bowl, and 2) I sewed too many rows AFTER the handles were made.  So this is just a prototype, not good enough to be on display, but useful nonetheless for holding odds 'n' ends under the bathroom sink.  I'll make another one later this week, using my lessons learned.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What a week!

This week has been wonderfully productive for me.  First, I finished Sue B's red, white and blue antique looking snowball quilt.  Sue leaves it up to me as to what to do about the quilting most of the time, but this time she wanted the quilting to be the same as in the magazine picture of the same quilt pattern, so...

I cross-hatched every single one of those little 3 1/2" snowballs.  Do you see the tiny little squares between each snowball?  They measure only 1 1/4" in size!  I must say that I think Sue has the patience of a saint to put all these together.  There were 256 snowballs all told.  And now I can say I had the patience of a saint as well, since I had to cross-hatch them all.  The borders are done with piano key quilting, but you can't see it well because I used thread that matched the fabric.

Next came Linda B's second quilt.  The picture of this one does not do it justice.  The fabrics are luscious batiks in teal and a light greyish teal with a bit of chartreuse in the chains for a real punch.  The darker teal fabric has dragonflies in it, so Linda wanted dragonflies and loops in the quilting.  I just happened to have two such patterns, and I used the prettier one for her quilt (see below).

You might have to click on the picture to get a magnified view so that you can see this quilting.

The third quilt this week was from Gerry C, who wanted a throw for cool evenings in the spring/summer.  She had a really cute panel to start with:

Then she added the borders and voila!  An adorable quilt.  The backing is flannel -- her signature touch for her quilts, it seems. 

Here's a closeup of the pattern:  Sweethearts Garden, one of my favorites.  I used this since the panel in her quilt was all about gardening.

Lastly, I finally finished crocheting a baby blanket for my niece's daughter, who will be born in August.  I'm going up to Maryland for a baby shower for her in June, so now all I have to do is to wrap it up and get ready for a fun time.

I have another three quilts in my lurkim, waiting to be done, but it's storming outside today, so my Nolting is shut down to wait out the thunder and lightning.  Meanwhile, a good book is in order...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm late, I'm late!

Of course, on today of all days, I'm running late.  I'm supposed to be at the guild meeting in 10 minutes, and I'm supposed to bring this quilt that I've quilted for one of our members, but I haven't photographed it yet.  I try to keep an accurate record of the quilts I have quilted, and eventualy I will be organized enough to have thumbnails of the patterns as well as the name and number of the thread and batting -- all stored on paper right now.  But, as I said, I was supposed to hand this over today, and I still needed to photograph it.

The trouble is, DH is still sleeping.  That's pretty remarkable, given that he is usually up at 5:30 getting ready for work.  BUT!  Ever since he was laid off, we have been sleeping until whatever time we feel like it -- heady freedom! -- and he's exercising that privilege this morning.

I tiptoe into the bedroom with my camera and the quilt.  He's sawing the logs.  I lay the quilt down on the floor -- my neutral background -- and take pictures, complete with flash -- and still he slumbers.  I try to tell him I'm leaving now.  Nothing.  I tiptoe back out of the room, the sound of a buzz saw following me.

The good news is that I made it to the guild meeting in time.  It was only about 4 miles away, and I tend to have a lead foot down these country roads anyway.

Here's a little closeup of the quilting.  The fabrics were donated by Wish Upon A Quilt for our guild to make for Madeline's House.  This Disappearing Nine Patch will have its binding put on by its maker and then handed back to me to deliver to MH in the future.  Since the fabrics had Halloween motifs on them, I used a cute Halloween pantograph with witches hats, bats and pumpkins. 

Today I delivered another 16 quilts to Madeline's House.  That makes 46 so far.  In the next few weeks, various guild members will deliver several quilts to the Veterans' Hospital in Durham, NC and several more to the outpatient chemo unit at our local hospital.  We have been a BUSY guild this year!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


What did I do with my Mothers' Day?  Well, since neither son could come this year, DH and I re-covered the stools in the kitchen.  The fabric is black with a sheen to it, thick like upholstery material, and has gold and white woven threads running through it.    We got it at a marvelous fabric outlet in LaCrosse, VA that usually makes comforters, drapes and the like for hotels.  I wanted something sort of plum-ish to go along with the vineyard theme, but DH thought this classic black weave would be better for not showing dirt.  He's right, of course, and once it was on the stools parked against the granite of the island in the kitchen, well, that granite just "popped" and looked even better.

Eldest son had sent a Visa in his MD card, and after finishing all four stools, we splurged and went out for Mexican food -- probably our favorite, next to Cheesecake Factory.

Then, as we were coasting down our driveway, we noticed that the orange irises had bloomed.  Here's a picture of one.

Isn't that a nice thing to have happen for Mothers' Day?  I think so.  Several other flowers were in full bloom -- the pansies, of course,  and these purple beauties which I think are verbena.  If I'm wrong, please send me the real name so I can correct my blog.

So now it's time for a nap until The Borgias comes on.  Doggies are slumbering.  DH is drifting away.  I still have 24" of my baby shower gift to finish, but then I might give in to the sandman for a bit, too.