Monday, June 27, 2011


I don't think of myself as stupid except when it comes to computers.  Then I would classify myself as "challenged", and then some.  Anytime I want to participate in some computer function, like this blog, I have to be walked through the process with a compassionate hand-holder, like Mary, who will patiently explain each step of the way until I get it through my dense noggin how to do it on my own.

Same thing for the software for my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond.  It's called 5D.  I bought the 5D Extra program and added Stitch Editor to that.  This past Tuesday I attended a lesson in Stitch Editor.

Now, before I tell you about that, let me tell you that my interpretation of what those 5 D's stand for is:  $$$dollars$$$, dumb, difficult, detailed and delightful.  I spent mucho dinero on this program, but not as much as people who bought the Pro program.  I feel totally imbecilic when I sit down to try to work with the program on my computer -- again, I need the hand holding.  The process is difficult if not impossible to figure out on your own:  hence, the lessons I have been taking for months.  The lessons are extremely detailed -- so much so that my brain refuses to digest them during lessons -- thank heavens for detailed handouts!  And delightful -- I'll bet you never thought I would add such a positive point at the end, did you?  But the end result of learning the lessons and finally applying them is delightful!

The "doily" above is my first lesson in adding cutwork needles to the steps in embroidery.  This pattern did not come with cutwork in mind.  It was just an embroidery pattern, but my teacher worked out how to edit the  pattern and add the steps and directions so that bits of the embroidery would be cut out -- i.e., cutwork. 

It took me the whole day yesterday to try to figure out this lesson.  Our assignment was to finish editing the pattern and save the work.  Not only did I finally figure it out and save it, I stitched it out as proof that even this 5D "challenged" damsel could GET IT -- at last!  And you can bet that this piece of work is going to end up on a T shirt or a bag or some other project.  It took WAYYYYY too long to do it to just put it away.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Joyce T loves green, so when it came time for her to make her first quilt, she selected a green, tan and off white palette. She cut the squares, sewed them together, and, like we all do, put the quilt top away. Years pass. One day she digs it out of her closet and decides "I want to finish this." And guess who she brings it to? Right - me!

So, the way I usually do, I look at it for awhile and see what reaches out to me. The blocks aren't all that big, so quilting each independent space would be too dense and too busy. And what color should I use? The theme is definitely dominant in the green arena, but there are the off white and tan colors to deal with, too. I don't want something with too much contrast for these paler colors.

And then I notice: the lighter green is a soft, pale jade with darker viney scrolls through it. On the end of each tendril of the vine, a sort of heart-shaped darker leaf is found. Eureka! I search through my threads and come up with a soft, pale jade green thread that almost perfectly matches this fabric. And I quilt it with Sweethearts Garden, a lovely, whimsical vine with large simple leaves in which hearts are nestled. Here's a close up. You can see it even better if you click on the picture.

There. Done. And I think she will love it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Janice S paid me the compliment of sending me one of her superb quilts -- a stunning bargello made from batiks with rich fall colors in them.  I mused over it for a day and realized that there is no appropriate pattern for a bargello that isn't linear, like stitch-in-the-ditch.  So I decided to use a wispy, wave-like pantograph in the center of the quilt.

This pattern didn't interfere with the impact of the bargello strips at all and allowed your eye to travel from one luscious curve to the dip and the next curve without hanging up on the quilting design.  So now I had to figure out what to do about the borders.

The borders were bold in their separation from the body of the quilt.  Janice had chosen a cream with gold swirls through it for the inner border, so I used a magnified version of the swirls to "end" the pantograph.  The outer border was black with gold curlicues and just needed a little texture to be able to give the quilt the final touch.  The pattern in the black portion is called Hazel Spice 2, and has a slightly formal appearance to it.  However, you can't see it well against the black-- just the texture, which is what I wanted anyway.

While my IQ was chugging away at Janice's quilt center pantograph, I was able to trim my own king size quilt and put the binding on it.  My quilt is just a giant Disappearing 9 Patch, which I happen to like very much when sashing is added.   It's nestling on my bed, even as we speak.  In case you're wondering, this huge quilt measures 110 x 120, and although it doesn't need shams or extra pillows, I have some leftover fabric that I think I will use for pillow cases.  Won't that be cute?

This has been a good day's work.  Janice's quilt is in the mail, and the next quilt is on the frame.  Off to the lurkim.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Is there anything so wonderful as seeing the next generation complete a rite of passage, ready to begin the preparation for taking its place in the world?  This past weekend DH and I attended our eldest grandson's high school graduation.  Oh boy!  Did it ever bring back memories of his daddy's first day of school, first basketball game, first drum set, first girlfriend, high school graduation, college days and graduation from university, then police academy graduation, meeting his wife, having their first child, oh my!  What a long span of time!  Those forty plus years went like a flash.  In the picture above, beginning from the left, is brother Dalton, graduate Chris IV, mom Sheri, and dad Chris III. 

Proud grandparents:  DH and I with Chris IV.  This is one set of grandparents.  The next picture shows all of us, including Chris II, who was my first husband and the father of my children.  We all get along very well, by the way -- better than we did when we were married, I think.

Oh dear.  My blogspot won't let me download the picture of all the grandparents.  Well, here's Chris III (my son), Chris IV (my grandson) and Chris II (my ex). 

Now to concentrate on the next three grandsons as they head for middle school.  Three more high school graduations and four college graduations to go!

Monday, June 6, 2011


I took a little trip over the past 5 days to see family and friends and to get my hair done correctly.  Yes, hair.  I have not found a completely acceptable hair dresser these past four years since we moved to EBF, VA, so every three to six months, I bite the economic bullet and go to the big city where I used to live and get a decent job done with my longtime favorite hair dresser, Katie, who makes me look like ME again instead of some frumpish backwoods denizen.

Having gotten that off my chest, here are the promised Sue B quilt pictures that I didn't have time to post before leaving on my marathon trip.

This wallhanging is about 36 x 36 and consists of 32  4" churndash blocks alternating with solid 4" patches surrounding a central appliqued 11" block.

I chose to quilt the solid patches with a cathedral windows motif, which made the quilt look like it had been embossed.  Those corner patches that are only 3/4 of a block were a doozie!  I had to fashion the pattern myself to make it fit into the 3/4 block at the same size as the pattern for the full blocks.  This was done with the aid of my ingenious IQ system for my longarm using a continuous curve approach.

Here is a close up of one of the 4" squares and the quilting in it.  You can enlarge it by clicking on it.

The applique outlining took the longest to do and required the most precision.  It helped her lovely design "pop", didn't it?

And now off to the laundry and my lurkim.