Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy 21st Birthday!

Today was my daughter's 21st birthday.

We celebrated in traditional style for our household - a menu for dinner which includes all the choices of the birthday celebrant, right up to the kind of cake.

Tonight, my daughter chose, grilled chicken and bison burgers, green salad, macaroni salad, pickles, potato chips, lemonade, and Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

We had my husband's mother and my parents in attendance. At one point in our lives, all grandparents lived in other cities far away from us. We are fortunate now to have everyone living close enough that we can celebrate milestones such as this together.

Happy Birthday, D!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Work, Work, Work

Although I have not been posting that frequently lately, I have been quilting. I have been quilting, but not for me......only for others. I have been so busy with quilting for others that my life has slipped out of balance. My hobby--quilting--has been lost. Even my quilt tester, Joey, is starting to wonder if there is ever going to be a requirement for his quilt testing services in the future--he is not allowed to test customer quilts only my quilts. As you can see by this picture, he is currently considering employment in other fields--bird watching being one.
These are some of the quilt tops that have occupied my free time of late. (All of these quilts belong to customers.)

Stay tuned for changes. Recent events have caused me to re-examine my role as a long arm machine quilter and have caused me to assess how much of my time in the future that I am prepared to devote to quilting for others at the expense of producing quilts for my own enjoyment.
I am currently developing guidelines to assist quilt top piecers with determining if their piecing will best be complimented by my quilting style. I realize that just like there are many different styles of painters, potters, and other artists; there are also many different styles of long arm quilters.
I specialize in the use of Circle Lord templates. I do not use pantographs or quilt freehand. The use of the Circle Lord products allows me to produce very precise designs providing consistent results equivalent to what the computerized machines are able to produce - but at a fraction of the price.
The following guidelines are necessary for the preparation of quilt tops for long arm quilting. Following these guidelines will ensure that the piecer and the long arm quilter avoid disappointment and are both happy with the finished quilted results.
- Must be 4" longer and wider than the quilt top on all sides.
- Must be pressed.
- Pieced backs should have 1/2" seams which are pressed open, selvages should be removed, and the backing overall should be squared up.
- Even backings which are not pieced need to be square on all sides which includes straight edges on all sides.
- All seams need to be pressed flat.
- No wavy borders or borders with extra fullness. Quilt tops pieced with wavy borders will result in a wrinkled quilt after quilting.
- The same size as the backing which is 4" longer and wider than the quilt top on all sides.
Thank you to all piecers who have entrusted your quilt tops to me in the past. I have appreciated the opportunity to work on your quilts. I have enjoyed the stories of the quilt's origin whether it be the testing of a new pattern, piecing a special quilt for a relative or friend, acknowledgement of a milestone such as a new baby, wedding, significant birthday, or graduation. I have particularly enjoyed working on the quilt tops that have been left to the recipient as part of an estate which in turn have been entrusted to me to complete. Some of us will continue to work together in the future producing fabulous quilts and some of us will realize that there is a better fit out there somewhere between piecer and quilter.
To all of you, I say thank you!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I never tire of beauty like this......

These locally grown tulips get more spectacular every year.

Guild Meeting - April 15

These are pictures from our last Quilt Guild meeting that was held on April 15.

These are pictures of quilts made by our members and donated to our We Care Program for charities.

A total of 18 quilts was handed in at this meeting.

You will recognize some of these quilts from our March workshop:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Move It Forward

I spent Good Friday on line with Linda - Moving it Forward.

We have decided that once a month we will take at least one day and move some projects that have stalled or aged as UFOs far too long forward to the next stage. That may mean getting a top to the flimsy stage, moving a top from a flimsy to a quilt, or completing some binding. What Move it Forward is not is a day to start something new. It is all about making progress on something we have already started previously.

Before I could work on anything, I needed to clear my work surface from the project that I was working on the night before. In between passes of the long arm on customer quilts, I piece string blocks onto used Color Catchers (that is the white rectangle you see in the upper left hand corner of the picture). I had 11 blocks partially finished - they needed a strip or two and they would be finished. So before working on anything else, I finished off those 11 blocks. On the previous weekend, I took some of the blocks I have made previously and pieced them together into this colourful scrap top. This top needs the sashing finished off on the right hand side and bottom, then it will be ready for borders.

The next project I had to finish was a customer quilt that had already been loaded onto the long arm the night before. There was only about 1/2 hour of quilting left.

This is the finished customer quilt. It is a Nine Patch Pizzazz quilted with the Wave.

The next project was my Bento Box. It had stalled at the borders. I typically stall at this point so this was a great project for Move It Forward day! Also, I had the expertise of my good friend Linda to assist in deciding on which colour to use in the inner

....or red?

After discussing options back and forth, the red was chosen. And this is the finished flimsy. This one is for me so I am really excited about getting this top to this stage. I now need to go on the hunt for just the right backing.

The next project up needed binding. This is the fabric that was picked for binding.

I made 1/2" wide binding for this quilt. An extra wide binding serves dual purpose as an additional border and binding. Strips of binding for a 1/2" wide binding are cut 3 1/4" wide.
Binding was machine sewn to the quilt after supper. This top is now waiting for a quiet evening or two of hand sewing in front of the TV.

The day was busy and my quilt inspector/supervisor played out.

After the flash picture, he did open an eye to let me know that he did not want to be bugged further!

I know that both Linda and I made great progress today so we will be looking forward to the next Move It Forward Day to move yet more projects to the next stage.

Wacky Fab Challenge #2 - Reveal

Wednesday night was the reveal for our Wacky Fab Challenge #2. The last package had arrived at its destination during the day on Wednesday. When I got home from work, there was a message for me letting me know that the planned reveal would be at 6 pm. I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat for supper. I guess I was taking a little too long because precisely at 6 pm the phone rang. The call display said Alabama. I knew I had to quickly grab my camera and get to my computer--or else I would have some explaining to do!

One by one we opened our packages and then quickly took pictures of the contents of the packages to share with the rest of the group.

This is Joey assisting with the opening of my package. The tape slowed me down and some of the other FABs wanted to know if I needed assistance in opening. LOL It is all part of the suspense.
This is what was inside my package.....summery placemats from Linda.

There were four placemats in total - one for each member of my family.
Thank you Linda! The applique is fabulous!

Do you remember me teasing with just a sliver of the project I was working on?

This is a picture of the challenge fabric:

This is a picture of the project that I made from the challenge fabric for Pat.
This picture was taken when the top was still a flimsy, before it was quilted and left my house for Pat's house. The pattern is 4 Patch Stacked Posies from HD Designs. I know that Pat had been admiring the 4 Patch Posie quilts that Linda and I had been working on. Pat wanted to make her own 4 Patch Posie but she is a very disciplined quilter and has a quilting to-do list with at least another 10 quilts on it to make before she was prepared to start one of these. Now Pat has her 4 Patch Posie quilt and she can stay on track with her other 10 projects!
We had to use a large percentage of the 1 yard piece of challenge fabric we received while staying within the theme of summer. A Summer in Winter challenge. Summer to me is all about heat. Heat in colour is red, orange, and yellow. As soon as I received the challenge fabric in the mail I knew instantly what fabric I was going to use with it--this large floral depicting the colours I associate with heat--red, orange, and yellow.
This is the same quilt, now quilted at at Pat's house.
This was a great challenge. Thanks to Cher and Pat for organizing.
I believe Linda and Pam are responsible for the next challenge--details TBD in the future.