Thursday, February 22, 2018

A New Gadget:

It's a Fiskars Rotating Cutting Mat. I've been thinking that this might help alleviate some of the shoulder pain that I've been experiencing in my right shoulder. Not quite sure what the problem is, I've been to the doctor's twice--once for a steroid shot, which I do not want have again.

However, shoulder pain is not alleviated when all you do is rotate the mat instead of the fabric. The shoulder works pretty much the same amount. The mat itself "is neither here nor there" (as my mom would say) when it comes to easing pain. So that's a scratch. When I consider the cost of the mat, there's another twitch, but nothing like a steroid shot, so I can deal with it. In the end, I like the mat.

Finally, we get to my habits, which are difficult to change. Really difficult. I probably need a shot for that, but I don't know where the doc would put it, and I'm not taking any chances. The habit of which I speak is that I'm used to making a cut, turning the fabric and arranging it and the ruler just so, then making the next cut. Until all four sides are nice and square and pretty close to the best I can do. 

The mat is a revelation in that it--the mat--revolves! No moving the fabric: lay fabric on mat, center ruler, make a cut, turn the mat, make a cut, and so on until all the sides are cut! The fabric doesn't move! So it doesn't get all wonky because you've moved it. 

And the ruler doesn't slide around. No, it all works beautifully. 

There's one caveat, however. The person has to remember to leave everything alone and turn the mat

Turn the mat. Turn the mat. That's been my mantra for three days now. Turn the mat. I'm still turning the fabric. Yes. I know. 

Frustrating. Annoying. Stupid. Dumbass. All those ugly words that I did not allow my children to call each other. I've said them all and a few more and, still, I forget.  And accidentally, the mantra became Turn the damn mat. This despite having just gone to confession on Sunday. (We Catholics try to stay in good graces for a while after confession.) 

I've said those ugly words only a time or two, but they are too ugly to allow any more. Thank goodness I was alone. I have a thing about using ugly language and another about setting examples. I've apologized to God and the Angels and the Saints and my poor Mama and Daddy in heaven. 

Eventually I figured a way to avoid some frustration. I sew up several--okay many, many--blocks, press them all, then take them to the mat to cut. Once I'm in the turn the mat zone, I tend to remember. 

It turns out that this way of doing things is more efficient, though I don't like the feeling that I'm working in a factory, trying to make production so my babies can eat. 

Otherwise, it's not so bad. I was able to make and trim two pretty stacks of blocks in a short time. I keep telling myself that if I do things this way for a while, I'll shift my habit to doing it this way all the time. 

Of course, when I'm designing and working out what it is that a particular quilt wants, I'm moving back and forth between sewing, pressing, and cutting. That's really when I forget the turn the mat mantra. But I'm trying to be patient with myself and remember that I'm relearning a habit that will (apparently) take some time.

Otherwise, I like my rotating mat. It is a nifty little gadget and makes short work of cutting and trimming. I definitely recommend it to anyone who fussy cuts or often trims down blocks. Just remember:  Turn the mat

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pin It Weekly #234

Want to see this one under a neon light.What's happening in your Pinterest world? Are you getting any pinning done? If so, what's pinning? 

I don't know why, but I've been all over the map pinning stuff that just strikes my fancy. One day I pinned baby animals--I saw a few and jumped into the fray. Another day I pinned more quilts into my "scrap, quilts" board. I've ignored that board for such a long time, avoiding moving everything into "heart, quilts." Now I have more to move. What? Why? 

Expression is the key to opening your heart to dance without expression dance would be dull and hard to watch
After taking Jolie to buy new pointe shoes, I went on a "ballet, dance" binge. It's time to move on, Mary!

Seriously! Some people need to put their phones down and go do something!
Whatever shows up in my feed gets pinned, unless I get sidetracked by something especially interesting. If I begin a new board, I almost need an intervention to get back on track. Here are some things that are appearing on my feed. If you binge pin, don't blame me. I'm leaving this warning right here!

Pinterest Addicts - 10 Signs You Have a Pinterest Addiction.  #s 2, 3, & 10 are definitely me!! LOL!!!!!

watercolour cacti and succulent Throw Pillow

Covered Bridge

Additional Images of Selkie Quilt Kit by Coras Quilts -
February 2018 Block Study: Side Stripe | MQG Community


A special cutie

4,251 Likes, 116 Comments - Missouri Star Quilt Company (@missouriquiltco) on Instagram: “These Pineapple blocks are beautiful! Have you ever tried making a pineapple quilt? #Repost…”

Packed With Amenities - 36238TX | Country, Hill Country, Traditional, Luxury, Photo Gallery, Premium Collection, 1st Floor Master Suite, Butler Walk-in Pantry, CAD Available, Den-Office-Library-Study, MBR Sitting Area, Media-Game-Home Theater, PDF, Split Bedrooms, Corner Lot | Architectural Designs

Did I not tell you? Is this not a crazy mishmash of pins? It just gets crazier every week. I wonder if I follow too many people...

Harley Davidson ~~ finish!

The Harley Davidson memory quilt is complete! Binding and label done and dusted! The only thing left to do is to deliver it to the client. There were 30 or so tee shirts in the container, and I tried to use at least a small part from all of them. On many both the front and back had nice designs, so I sewed them together and created one panel. It was helpful in creating the puzzle design that the couple wanted. 

We were barbecuing on Monday when I finished the binding, so I  asked a couple of the kids to hold it up. Two "volunteered" but one of the guys was a bit short and had to stand on a small table. 

The other kiddo acted like he'd never held up a quilt, so someone had to get in the mix. Getting a straight line was impossible once I asked them to turn the quilt around. I had to choose how much of the boys to crop out but decided that I'll leave in however much is there. This way you can check out their happy faces. Everyone wants to be a quilt model in this family. At least they liked that it's a Harley Davidson quilt. 

My client mentioned using a black backing, but black is such a shocking color on the back of a quilt. I found some Kona charcoal, which is almost as dark and decided to go with it instead. I debated about the binding until I realized that I didn't have enough of the charcoal fabric. So black binding it is. I actually like the little contrast on the back, and the black works better on the front since many of the tees are black.

I put one full strip of tees on the back and the bottom-most tee has a nice open area above the design--perfect for the label. I included the information that I always include on a label and still have space for the family to add a note for dad. It's to be a Father's Day gift, so  that will be especially nice.

 Ready for its trip to Baton Rouge in the next few weeks, this quilt may be one of my favorite memory quilts. I'm quite surprised at that realization since I'm not a motorcycle fan but happy that I like it so much.

Quilt Stats
Name: Ainsworth Harley Davidson Memory Quilt
Size: 74 x 96
Fabrics: Tee shirts from client
Backing: Kona charcoal
Binding: Kona black 
Pattern: Puzzle design
Quilting: custom design based on tee-shirts
Completed: February 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: small town life

That's our life: small town. Only a few families. Only a few homes. Only a few folks.

Wellfleet, Massachusetts: Even though this Cape Cod-based town is famous for its mild, sweet oysters, natives  ("Fleetians," as they call themselves) stay for the nine beaches, white-clapboard New England-style homes and trendy restaurant scene.This is a neat town to stay in,in December, each weekend they have Santa, caroling and the whole town is decorated. The best part is each evening they do a countdown at dusk and then turn on the lights.

The 10 Most Beautiful Towns in Virginia ~ Clarksville Chamber of Commerce © Sheila Cuykendall

Best Downtown – Old Town Alexandria. Loaded with history, but balanced with modern fun, Alexandria was named one of’s top 10 choices for best downtowns around the country. Located on the Potomac, just 6 miles from Washington, D.C., Alexandria offer a beautiful historic district, museums, theaters and shopping. It was also named one of’s Best Cities for Foodies in 2013.

A few from Pinterest and a few from our travels...


Interestingly, these small towns are all much bigger than our small town. Here we have three churches, a post office, a town hall, and homes. Some of the homes are old, historic homes, but that's all we can brag about. We're okay with not having a grocery store, a dollar store, restaurants. We gladly travel 15-20 minutes for those. 

Belle idée, les toits en dentelle !

And on That Farm - With a Big Quilt Here and a Small Quilt There Pattern: And on That Farm - With a Big Quilt Here and a Small Quilt There is the block 1 applique pattern of the And on That Farm quilt by McKenna Ryan. This quilt block features a quaint farm town with quilts on the barns! Finished quilt block measures 47 1/2

Round the Garden. Pattern by Wendy Williams.

Country Quilts: New Pattern--Summer

Country Quilts

A house on a quilt is a symbol of comfort and the togetherness of family, friends, and neighbors. House quilts really appeal to us, maybe be...

I finished   machine quilting my wallhanging with the houses. I try and do the smaller quilts I make and leave my large quilts to the p...

My Kinda Town quilt pattern designed by Peggy Larsen for Fiberworks features 9 whimsical paper pieced blocks

This would be a fun quilt to do by having a bunch of kids draw the house pictures!

Here it is all in one piece!  I can't wait to see how it looks when it's quilted!  I am waiting on 1 block which will be made into a label!!!


It's always nice to see such variety on a theme, but the number of quilts depicting small towns is really surprising to me. Most of these have been added to my board, "heart, quilts." 

QuiltNut Creations

Friday, February 16, 2018

Harley Davidson Memory Quilt ~~ Quilting Finish

 And so the Harley Davidson memory quilt is quilted. I still need to sew on the binding, but if all goes well, that will happen tomorrow. I was thinking that I’d use the charcoal Kona for binding, but tonight I’m thinking that a black Kona would be a better idea. Harley Davidson colors are orange and black but I like the frame of a black binding.

I took these pictures very quickly after I pulled the quilt off the long-arm and trimmed the rough edges off. So typical of the way I do things, I misjudged the amount of backing I would need. 

Actually, what I did was to use one strip of tee-shirts on the back so that the quilt would not be so large and heavy. Thank goodness I did! This quilt took five days to quilt. Of course, I did much more babysitting than quilting, and I do have a sinus infection that has me sleeping late every morning. Oh, and I should not forget that I visited the in-laws which always takes a couple of hours.  Nevertheless, I spent a couple of hours every day this week quilting.

Every tee shirt got its own custom quilting design. One has stippling with a small Harley Davidson logo stitched in. Another has palm leaves; the Florida shirt has tiki huts, Texas (maybe) has stars. Memphis has music staffs stippled in. And so on.

There are several advantages to quilting a memory quilt this way. First, it adds to the depth of energy in the quilt and, second, gives the viewer something to look for. Third, it’s great practice for the quilter. Fourth, (my favorite) it’s an opportunity to create new motifs.

indianImage result
For the Alexandria, Louisiana, tee, I created a new motif. The focus of the quilt is the Indian motorcycle logo, so I attempted to recreate the Indian headdress. The first couple are okay but by the time I got to the end of the tee, I’d figured out a few problems and improved the design. 
So why didn’t I rip out the first ones, you ask? Well, it’s too much work but, also, I avoid ripping out because it so easily damages the fabric. Remember, these are old tee-shirts that have been worn and washed many times. They come apart easily if pulled on or poked with the seam ripper. What do you like most about quilt a tee-shirt memory quilt? 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Name tag and Studio Pics

I made a quick name tag to wear at our monthly guild meetings. I've escaped having to do that for several years because I was rarely able to attend. 

Now that I can attend every month and am president, I need to set a good example. Am I right? Besides there's a $1 fine every time I show up without a name tag. That was also okay but, let's face it, the fines will begin to add up now.

I've joined several sewing/quilting groups on Facebook recently. One of them is all about craft rooms. People share their rooms, spaces, closets, wherever they craft. They also discuss ideas and ask questions. Chatting is nonstop. 

I have been enjoying reading these group discussions and have participated in several. Finally I decided it was time to take a few pictures of the studio and share them. 

Then it occurred to me that I had a rough sketch of the floor-plan from when we last worked on it and found it among the many jpeg files I have saved. It may give you an idea of where things are and how I have set up my little work-space. 

Sewing table
Having cleaned up a bit, I thought I'd share them with you, also. The cleaning is far from complete, but maybe it's not so bad that I need to be embarrassed. My daughters-in-law noticed the difference, so there's some progress, anyway.

Accuquilt Studio cutter

Fabric and notions
Ahh, the mess that I'm working on.
 Areas are now well-defined so that each table, shelf, etc. has its job to do. No more of this playing around and thinking, "Well, I can do this here." Or, "If I put this here, I'll remember to come back to it." And, "Maybe I can do two things in this place." I'm finally resolved to keeping things in the area where they belong. 

Thread storage
Innova long-arm machine
I really like this set up and hope I can maintain it until it becomes a habit. There are, surely, some more things to do: figure out what to do with all that extra fabric, give away some of the books that are hanging out under the long-arm, and arrange those odd things that I'm not sure what to do with. All in time, I suppose. 

Next week I'll tell you how I have solved some of the storage problems that come with having lots of stuff.