Friday, December 31, 2010

Quilts, quilts, and more December quilts!

Today has been a really great day!

I woke up thinking I had finally picked the fabric needed for the mystery quilt hosted by QT Mystery Quilts today.  Mind you, the directions say to pick the fabrics out and cut them to specifications BEFORE the day of the mystery!…but then, I’m “mystery challenged”!  I have such a hard time not knowing what the quilt will look like, I get paralyzed with not being able to pick out my fabrics….much like the Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery that Bonnie Hunter is running!  Wow, is that one intriguing!  I haven’t started it yet, either, because, for once, I’ve stayed focused….

To begin with, I finished the two Bronco quilt orders I had, and they were delivered in time for Christmas…barely!

One was made with snowball-ltblue-quilta Hungarian blue fabric, which I really liked.  This picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but it is an overall lighter colored quilt than the second one.

This close-up shows the Hungarian blue much better:snowball-ltblue-closeup
The second quilt used a very dark, tone-on-tone blue fabric that evensnowball-dkblue-quilt my DH thought was great, and I put an orange binding on it for contrast:


During our Christmas holiday, which we got to celebrate at home, I took out a UFO that I’d started during the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, featuring the U of Idaho Vandals.  It’s been on my mind, partly because I promised it to DH last February, and partly as a counter-part to the Bronco vs. Vandal rivalry here in our home…after all, I make BRONCO quilts!  DH is a University of Idaho graduate, and played football for the Vandals,  so I thought he’d like to use it during football season.

For some inexplicable reason, I picked a log cabin design.  Lots of people say this is a beginner’s block, but I truly don’t think so because the narrow strips require precise seam allowances, and the amount of work each block takes to create.

Of course, I planned on making a throw (he won’t go and get one of my many, pink, quilts).  I checked with him again as I pulled it out, and he’d really like a bigger quilt…one that will fit on our king sized bed!  Oh, the joke is on me!

PW-VandalWell, now that I’m making 12-1/2” blocks, I’ve had to go buy more fabric just for the blocks, and I’ve decided to add borders to make the design work the way I want it to.

I worked up a mock-up in Electric Quilt 7 and I have to say…it’s going to be STUNNING!

Now I know why this amount of work will be worth the effort.

While perusing the Yahoo discussion for the Quiltville mystery, I ran across the 10 Minute Block instructions that someone mentioned.  Wow!  Talk about making a block fast!  Sewing them together and putting on the borders took me much longer than making the blocks!

10min-floral-purpleSo, today, rather than working on the QT Mystery Quilt, I finished up the blocks I cut out last night and got it all sewn together.  It currently measures 44” x 63 and I achieved my goal of using up almost 2 1/2 yards of fabric!  A friend of mine stopped by and made a great suggestion for the outer border, so I need about 1/2 yard more of the purple plaid fabric that is currently shown on the border; I hope I can find some!

P.S.  Why is it that photos of quilts rarely look as good as the actual quilt??

Oh, and because my friend was interested in how I made a quilt so 10min-green-pinkquickly, I showed her the technique.  Can you see the Bow Tie block?  Of course, I had to cut some more 10” squares….and I ended up with the beginning of a new quilt!

So, finishing this unplanned quilt took a bit longer than I had anticipated, and now I need to get back to cutting more 1 1/2” strips for the Vandal quilt, rather than working on either of the mystery projects.  That’s OK, because even though I still haven’t picked the color, I’ve decided, that I would start sewing together some string blocks for Bonnie’s project, because they are neutrals and I can work them into any other colors I pick later. Smile

On the home front, we also found out that my DH needs shoulder surgery to repair his rotator cuff.  This will require a 4 month recovery, which pretty much puts him out of work for that entire time, as he is a self employed drywaller.  Luckily, he carries workman’s comp insurance on himself, and this all started when he was working on a job, so we are in the process of starting a claim.  He’s the sort who is very unhappy when he isn’t working, and we’ll both have to deal with the entire recovery process.

As much as I’m not looking forward to his surgery, I am very thankful for the blessings we have and the opportunities the new year will bring.  I think many changes are coming for this new year, and I can’t wait!

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Vacation Report

I am at the end of my vacation, and I have accomplished quite a bit…which is why I haven’t posted in 9 days!

  1. Two twin sized flannel log cabin quilts have been quilted for a customer and delivered back to her.  She was delighted!DSCF2752
  2. U of M Grizzlies quilt
    I am almost done with the U of M Grizzlies quilt that my mom commissioned, I just have to finish the borders, which will be done after I post this message!  Then onto the quilt frame for completion!
  3. Bronco Quilt #1 – Snowballs and 9 Patches
    This is a custom order Bronco quilt that is to be a Christmas present.  I have half of the blocks made, and need to cut the other half.
  4. Bronco Quilt #2 – Known as Towne Square
    This is a quilt that I started to cut out this summer…or was it last winter?…and never got very far, but I’m dying to see it made!
  5. I created my first Bronco quilt listing on for a Bronco quilt that does not currently have an owner.  It sure takes a lot of time to get all that set up!
  6. I scanned some family photos for DH and got them posted online.  Next time I’ll show him how to do it!

So, that is what I accomplished.

But, of course, I am scheming to also:

  1. Make myself a cute bag that was posted as a free tote bag pattern from
  2. I need to start cutting the blocks for the home game Bronco Football T-shirt quilts I’m planning to make and sell.  I even came up with a great idea on how to make them even more special, which I’m keeping secret right now…can’t wait to show you how it turns out, though!
  3. I’m also thinking I should make some placemats as a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law…but then again, I’ll probably just buy them to go with the cookbook I plan to get her.
  4. Of course, my hubby has been watching football and now that it’s turned cold, the lap quilt I promised him last February has come to the forefront.  Better get that one done.
  5. And I’ve been dying to start the new Bonnie Hunter mystery, Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  I sorted through about 2/3 of my donated scrap fabrics and started pulling out appropriate colors.  I thought I had a photo of how that sorting project is coming along, but can’t find it right now, so will have to post it later.  I still have quite a bit left to go through…and then I had an idea for another quilt using some of those pre-cut strips.

On a less frenzied note, I have almost all of my Christmas shopping done, too.  Aaah…

I think I accomplished quite a lot in these 9 days!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Plans!

My holiday starts tonight!

I was given tickets to the BSU vs. Fresno State football game...of course, it's predicted rain and snow mix tonight!  But they are a good team and it will be a fun game.  My DH and I had season tickets for the past 5 years, until this year.  The prices kept going up and it just didn't make sense to keep spending that money right now.  Hopefully we'll be able to buy tickets again.

My mom is supposed to drive from Montana and arrive for the holiday on Tuesday, but with the predicted snowfall and bad weather, she probably won't make it.  So, while that will be disappointing, I’d rather have her safe and sound.  I will console myself by sewing and quilting all next week, as I have the week off, too!

I still plan to finish the quilt Mom commissioned for her U of M friend by Tuesday, so after running errands on Saturday I will get that one moving further along.  Unfortunately, when the fleece back that I ordered arrived on Monday, I found that it referenced only the sport of basketball.  Since this is a football quilt, that simply won’t do, so I am returning it and will have to find another suitable back.

After that, I have two other customer quilt tops to quilt, then start serious work on the orders for two Bronco quilts to be done before Christmas.

I also need to find time to post a couple of quilts for sale on Etsy, finish one of my Bronco flimsies, and 3 baby quilts that need borders and quilting.  Then I have 3 more quilts in the queue for American Hero Quilts, too, if I get a spare minute!

I’m ordering parts for a new computer this weekend, too, so I’ll need to put that together and get it setup.  I’m very excited about that prospect, though, as this is what I’ve been waiting on before installing my new Pre-Design Studio II software.

Last night’s guild meeting was fabulous!  If you haven’t seen quilts by Karen Schoepflin Hagen from Genesee, ID, you are really missing something!  She was fabulous, and what a depth and breadth of work!  Inspiring and intimidating all at the same time.  WOW!

I volunteered to do a demo and/or a make-and-take class at the upcoming BBQ quilt show in June.  So, now I need to come up with an easy sort of thing to make that doesn’t require a sewing machine.  Any suggestions, send them my way!

That’s all for now…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun Playing in the Fabric Scraps!


My customer picked up her quilt tonight and I think it turned out really well.  Her 8 year old grandson is going to really like this Christmas present!   I am definitely getting better at the consistency in my overall meander.   I think it helps that it took less time to actually quilt it than it has in the past, reducing the impact that fatigue cars-blue-flannel-back-smplays.  Now I’d like to focus on more variety in the overall size of the quilting design and I will get that chance!

I had a surprise request today from someone I work with to quilt two quilts for Christmas.  I have already figured out my schedule so I can quilt them in between making the two Bronco quilts I promised for another customer for Christmas.

Bronco-Snowball-blue-white9patch-orangeborderWe finally decided on the patterns and I am excited to get moving on them!  The first one is one I designed in EQ7 and I think it will be really fun when it’s finished.

I haven’t had a chance to work the second one up in EQ7 to show it in Bronco colors, but I think it is going to look great, along with being really fun to make!!  TownSquareQuiltThis pattern is called Town Square by SweetWater, and I contacted them when I purchased the pattern to secure permission to make and sell quilts using their pattern.  I have been waiting to get to do this one for awhile, so I’m really excited that she chose this one!

Mom’s quilt is coming along, too.  Last night I decided to start putting up the pieces of the blocks on the design board before making any more, and this is what it looks like so far: 

Grizzlies-Magera-previewMom will be here Tuesday night and my goal is to have it finished by then.  I will need to do some finagling, though, as the back arrived yesterday…just in time, yay!….only to discover (look in the lower right hand corner) that their is a sport displayedGrizzlies-fleece-sm in the design…and it ain’t football!

Oh, dear!  So, I will have to see if I can return the fleece and go with something else.  There was no mention of this in the description, so this is very disappointing.  I really hope I can return it.  Exchanging it is probably out of the question, as I need it right away.

I’ve also been sorting my big box of donated scraps into colors, and making quite good progress!  I bought one of those plastic 5 drawer organizers and it is pretty full, with lots more to add.  My inspiration has been Bonnie Hunter’s mystery for this year, Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  This quilt will eventually go into her 4th book so it won’t be posted on the site for a long.

Now, considering I have additional quilting and the two Bronco quilts to finish, I will have to delay the start of this mystery.  But it sure has been fun playing in the fabric scraps!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Starting out November Right

I seem to have misplaced the cord for my camera.  Of course, it has to be a special cord, it can’t be a generic USB cable.  That is one pet peeve of mine, having to have a bunch of different cords for everything!  I love my camera, but still!!

I have all sorts of gizmos and gadgets that I’ve kept around because “I might need them”, but they seem to be, shall we say, vintage?…and so, they are useless to me!

Oh, but finally, after over a week, a light bulb went on!  I finally remembered that I could plug my color inkjet printer into the computer itself and use the built in card reader!  You see, it’s set up using the network, and, well, I always seem to do things the hard way!…..DUH!  And I call myself a computer technician…sigh.

But enough of that.  This is what I wanted to show you…the BOM that I couldn’t resist buying at the guild meeting last week and that I finished tonight:


I know it doesn’t look like much now, but when it’s all tiled together, it’ll look like a ribbon, and the way I envision it is as in intertwining circle.  At least, that’s why I bought it.  And I hope I win all of the blocks back, so I can show you what I see!!

I’m definitely going to have to go through my scrap bag and boxes with my Bonnie Hunter 2010 Mystery instructions.  Yes, she’s hosting another one this year and I’d like to participate.  I am still dying to do the Double Delight, which I pulled all the fabrics for, and did start cutting a BUNCH of little triangles, but never got around to actually sewing.

Not that I deserve to…I won a ruler holder tray from the donated goodies basket last time.  I need another ruler holder, too!  Thank you to Nancy from

DSCF2687The blocks aren’t done yet, but here’s a photo of the quilt blocks in progress that I worked on last weekend.  It’s a comfort quilt for one of our group members whose throat cancer has returned.  She will be undergoing a new treatment and we are hoping for the best for her. DSCF2685 She’s a great lady.  We’ll be getting together this Sunday to put the blocks together.

You can also see parts of the Grizzly quilt I’m putting together for my mom.  I got interrupted with yet another project when I had company two weekends ago and I was hostess to the 9 year old son of a friend of mine.  He designed a quilt top 0n my design board, and I am going to sew it together for him.  I can’t wait to see it finished, it’s really great!  Until I get it sewn together, though, I don’t have any place to put up the Grizzly quilt pieces!  So, I’d better get to it!

I’ve been tripping over a bag on the floor for awhile, which is part of what prompted me to start clearing out my workspace.  Here’s what was in the bag:DSCF2631

It’s a Pass The Bag project that I participated in last year but didn’t have time to put the blocks together.  Now, I have an idea of what I want to do to finish it.  I’ll keep you posted!

I’m doing pretty well in my class and I’ll be quilting on my customer’s quilt on Saturday.  Life is good!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

I knew it had been awhile since I’d posted anything…my mind, and my fingers, have been racing around!

So, what have I been working on?

DH and I have signed up for a series of Community Education classes on Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights.  It’s taught by one of the local patent attorneys in town and has been very enlightening.  I have some ideas for patterns and I want to make sure I have an idea of what I might be getting myself into!

Homework, of course.  Two weeks ago the teacher assigned FOUR chapters for one week’s worth of homework!  AARGGHH!   I read 1 1/2 chapters, but have not turned in the assignment; this was the week that my middle stepdaughter went into the hospital unexpectedly and had abdominal surgery for an infection, and my DH flew to Seattle to be with her for a few days.  You know the saying “when the wife is happy, the husband is happy”?  Well, same for the reverse, and he was understandably stressed.  I didn’t expect it to affect me quite so strongly, but it did, even messing up my diet for the past 3 weeks.

I also got the tax information in to the accountant; now I have to work on this year’s information, because I messed up my inventory file by trying to adjust it to a new method.

I finished my customer’s quilt this weekend, it’s a simple meander on a purple and white gingham top.  I’ll post pictures soon, just haven’t taken any yet.

I haven’t installed the Pre-Design Studio software yet; I want to be able to spend some time with it and I know I will not get anything else done once I look at it.  I also would like to get some specs for a new computer; of course, then I have to build it and install my OS….

I’ve also been working on my mom’s Grizzly quilt, so I have lots of pieces and partially finished blocks done.  I figured out a really fun, easy way to put it together and it’s going to look so much more difficult than how I actually get it made!

And, I think I’ve finally narrowed the other Bronco quilt selection down for my customer, I just need to send her the photos to choose from.  That means I have another one, maybe two, quilts in progress.  I got some great ideas at my longarm networking group last week on where to show them off for sale, so need to work on that next.

Guild meeting on Thursday…

Sunday, October 3, 2010

CueCat arrived!

My CueCat arrived this week and I was able to successfully “de-claw” it!  That means that the barcode is no longer encrypted to a proprietary format and I can scan all my books into the DataCrow open source media cataloger software I found.  So far I’ve got 51 books entered!

One thing leads to another, right?  Well, because I needed to pull the books off the shelf to scan them, I decided to reorganize the shelf entirely.  And that led to unscrewing one of the boards from the shelf holder in order to cut a semicircle into the board so I could run cords through it.  Now that everything is back up it doesn't look much different!

I did however get to work again with the audio cables and the mounted TV now plays audio through the stereo radio speakers, so that’s sort of cool.  It makes me want to figure out how to mount the speakers and/or get an all-in-one receiver of some sort, as I used a three way switch for all of the components.  I need to call the cable company to see if they have a smaller cable box; yes, we still use one as the other cable services that don't require it cost more money!  I still haven't gotten the sound from the Linux box connected to the computer; that wouldn’t work for me for some reason and it sure bugs me!  No matter, when I get a new computer my old XP box will get moved upstairs and then it will be a moot point.

I was able to load the customers quilt this week so it's already to get quilted, and I have to work on my QuickBooks today, too.  My back is sore from sitting at the computer all week and not moving around enough so I'd better go stretch and see what else I can get accomplished today.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pre-Design Studio software!

Yesterday, I ordered a software package called Pre-Design Studio II!  It's a software package that allows you to create and print your own pantographs.  I saw it demonstrated at Innovations and was really impressed with it.

As wonderful as Adobe’s Creative Suite is, I've been struggling with it for this type of task.  I's simply been frustrating because there are so many options in each of the individual applications of that suite, I don't have enough training, and I don't even have the entire suite, further impeding my progress.

I'm hoping that because Pre-Design Studio is designed specifically for doing what I want to do, it will be a lot more straightforward and I'll get more accomplished.  I'll report back my findings when I get the software and hopefully I'll have a free design to offer my readers.  Hmmm…. maybe even a contest...?

Its big sister, Art & Stitch, is another package I've had my eye on but decided that I couldn't afford at this time.  Not only will it allow you to create and print pantograph's, you can digitize the designs for all current computerized quilting machines and embroidery machines.  So cool!!

Eventually, I'd like to become a certified teacher for both of these software packages so now I have another project on my hands!  One complaint I'll never have is being bored, eh?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The box in the mail yesterday, and today, an email from, finally pushed me to make a decision.  I bought a CueCat.

I went crazy and bought about 10 books that were on sale by 60% or more before I left for Innovations, and yesterday the first box arrived.  I have been looking for a book/inventory database and some way to manage it for some time and came across an open source program called DataCrow for managing library type items.  Even though I installed the program, though, it’s a bit daunting to try to enter all of my books, CD’s, and DVD’s so I’ve put it off.

The obvious solution is to get a barcode scanner.  Could I get by without it for entering my books…well, sure.  But my DH has quite the CD collection, too, and that’s not any project I want to take on by hand!  And we really need a list of those titles for insurance purposes.

With the arrival of the box yesterday, I figured it would be a good time to enter the info before they went on my shelf.  The problem then becomes which scanner to buy, and they aren’t cheap.  I don’t need a really heavy duty one, and besides, I don’t even really know what I need.  For $15, I ordered the CueCat.  I have other plans for helping to track my inventory, too, so this will be mighty handy if I can get it working properly.

I’ve seen this device before but there’s a history to the device.  You can read all about it on Wikipedia, but essentially, it was initially developed with a customer tracking technology installed and privacy concerns emerged.  The company website and its services are now defunct, and there are lots of sites around to “declaw” the Cat to remove any doubt about sending out personal information.  So, once it arrives, I’ll declaw the cat and get organized!

Innovations 2010 – Second Day, and beyond!

Wow!  As they say, time sure flies when you're having fun!  I can't believe it's already the Wednesday after Innovations and haven't posted since last Wednesday night!  I haven't had a chance to tell you yet about all the fun things I learned on Thursday or about the great dinner DSCF2603 I had that night.  Here’s our photo after dinner, from left to right:  me, Debbie Wendt’s mom, Debbie Wendt of Wendt Quilting, Marian Drain (CuddleTime Quilts), Marion Carmickle, and Edie Eliott (CuddleTime Quilts).

Marian Drain taught her Incredibly Easy Techniques for Success class for the first time…and it was a hit!  She talked all about grain line of fabric and how it affects the quilting process and those waving borders, as well as how to tame them.  Way to go, Marian!

I took a Baptist Fan class from Laura Lee Fritz, who is also the author of four different books.  I’ve had my eye on at least two of them for some time now, and I had ordered Creative Classics before I left for Innovations.  What a great class!  Not only did she explain the technique, but we got to go up to the whiteboard and draw out the patterns.  Some were shy and didn’t want to go up to the board, so they stayed at their desk and drew, but I really needed the feedback and it helped a lot.  What a treat to get to take a class from the author of a book!

I also took a class called Bluming Background Designs from Irena Blum, an award winning quilter, author and teacher.  This was also a hands on class and we drew for almost 2 continuous hours, going over the techniques and getting feedback.  Some creative students came up with their own unique variations, creating people and animals from the designs which were quite wonderful.  The time just flew by!

I flew back to Boise on Friday morning, as I was trying to get ready to sit at a booth at the Hyde Park Festival that weekend, but DSCF2619it didn’t work out.  However, I was able to finish a Bronco quilt!

I’ve been looking for a blue and orange variegated thread to use on Bronco quilts and finally found it!  Wonderfil, a Canadian company, was at the show and has a line of variegated rayon threads called Mirage.  I also bought a spool of their Deco Bob thread, but didn’t use it this time so I could test each separately.  Mirage quilted up perfectly, not one thread break!DSCF2614  I discovered, however, for this sort of project, that the variegated colors disappear too much for my taste.  It’s sort of cool that you see a “shadow” of the football design, but  I am going to stick with either a tone-on-tone or solid color that is opposite of the border color.

I’ve got another Bronco quilt top in the queue, I just need to decide if it wants a fleece or cotton backing.

Back to work this week, lots of homework, and quilts calling my name…there’s not enough time in the day!  Sigh….

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Innovations 2010 – First Day!

Wow, what a great day!

I met up with one of the Innova quilters who lives in the Tacoma area, whom I met on one of the Yahoo discussion boards.  We had lunch together and other people in the area joined us, too.  Thanks for the sandwich, Sheri!

I only took one class, called Panto Fun, that was about a really wonderful piece of software called Pre-Design Studio.  It will allow you to make your own, original, pantographs!

It has tools similar to those found in major graphic design software packages, and I have been wondering if I should get one over the other.  They both have their places, as I knew they would.  Pre-Design Studio is designed specifically for digitizing images (not creating the stitch information for the design) that can be used for embroidery and longarm use and all of the tools I need are included in this one application.  The stitch-out creation happens in the big sister application, Art & Stitch.

All I can say is “Wow!”  Not only can this package do everything Pre-Design Studio can do, it does more…lots more!  So, not only can pantographs be created and resized, it can be used to create embroidery designs, including the stitch information, as well as computerized longarm quilting files for all major systems on the market today.  Now I just need a computerized system!

A quilt conference wouldn’t be a conference without meeting new people.  I had a wonderful conversation with Mavis Rosbach of Quiltbird Studio after the Pre-Design Studio class.  I was delighted to hear her story of becoming a quilter, teacher, and pattern designer as well as her upcoming endeavors and she was generous enough to offer some suggestions to some ideas I’ve been tossing around.

I also met Anne Bright while I was browsing her selection of pantographs, which can also be found on  her website,  Since I was at her booth at the end of the day, I decided to look through her catalog a bit longer before making my purchase; she’s having a “buy 2, get one free” sale and I want to maximize my choices.

After the show, I met up for dinner with Marian Drain and her sister Edie Elliott, from CuddleTime Quilts, and Marion Carmickle.  Marian Drain will be teaching her first Innovations class, although it’s not her first teaching gig, on how to fix the challenging quilts that come into your life.  Marion Carmickle is teaching about leveraging social media and YouTube in your quilting business, as well as a class for new quilters.

Time for bed, I need to get up  in the morning for a full day of quilting classes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Innovations 2010

Innovations, the machine quilting conference in Tacoma, WA starts tomorrow.  This is the third year I have attended and  I’m looking forward to reuniting with some of the great friends I’ve met at the conference and hoping to bring back a new skill or two to practice.

I arrived in Tacoma late last night.  Know what I did? I booked my flight Saturday, which was late in the game for booking a flight in the first place, and as I went to do my web pre-flight check in for my Monday morning flight, I got a notice that it was too soon to try to check in. What?? It was 9:00 pm and I was supposed to leave the next morning. I re-checked my ticket and sure enough...I had booked the flight for the PM not the AM flight! AARRGGHH!!

So, had to call my friend with whom I’m staying to tell her the bad news, as changing the flight would have cost $75, and I had used my miles to purchase the ticket. As always, she just shrugged it off and said "no problem". When she picked me up last night she said it was probably for the best anyway, as she had had a long night at work (she's a paramedic) in addition to the mandatory morning meeting she had attended, and was exhausted. So, other than not finishing my homework, it all worked out!

Elliot-sm I even got to sleep with Elliott, one of the house cats!  Today, Chris and I are off to spend some time together.  I feel blessed to have such good, long-time friends.

On Saturday, I will be at the Hyde Park Festival.  I will be sharing a booth with a couple of other quilters and showing samples of my Bronco quilts and taking orders.  Please stop by and say hello!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Post Trip – Pre-Innovations Update

Wow, lots has happened in the last two weeks!

I started my grad class, visited my family in New Hampshire (those kids sure grow fast, don’t they?), I signed up for Innovations, I’ve gone to a Washington Nationals baseball game against the New York Mets, then off to the Boise State vs. Virginia Tech football game, where I yelled myself hoarse, BTW, and now I have a cold.  Ugh to that!

I am making a concerted effort to keep a realistic To Do List, though, and that is keeping me sane.  Interestingly, as much as I love gadgets, I love my paper lists.  This cold, however, has me in a low energy mode and I need to get at least one Bronco quilt done this weekend, pickling some cucumbers, working on paperwork and getting ready for my trip to Tacoma, not to mention trying to get a lot of sleep…and I still seem to be on East coast time.  I have no time for being sick!

On a more serious note, when I picked up the dogs from the dog sitter, Rosie’s eye was watering and red.  DH took her to the vet yesterday and turns out she has a laceration on her eye.

I feel really terrible, because I put some ointment on it that we had used for her after she had a cyst removed, and the vet said that made it worse!  Turns out that it had steroids in it, and they may have pulled the laceration further apart.

So, now we have drops to give her and she's looking better already. Worst case scenario, though, is that if it doesn't get better, she could lose her eye.

There's no way to tell how she hurt it, could be she rubbed her face on the carpet and there was something in there that got her, or one of the other dogs at the house might have scratched her.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reboot Your…Plane?

I am visiting my brother in New Hampshire this week and it’s a two plane trip from Boise, with a layover in Chicago.

While we are sitting on the tarmac in Boise, the pilot comes onto the loudspeaker to tell us why we haven’t taken off yet.  Turns out that there’s a small electrical problem and the mechanics have asked them to turn off the plane and then turn it back on to reset the electrical panel.  In other words, they rebooted the plane!  Good thing they didn’t make that request while we were flying!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

School Has Started!

Well, school started this week, and I already have too much to do... but then again, that's nothing new!

One problem, though, is that the instructor refused to post the online course until the middle of the week instead of the beginning of the week when school actually started, so I've already lost time, and I'm not very happy about it.  Mentally, for me, it's a lot like that bad dream where you show up for an interview without having taken a shower, brushed your hair, or pressed your shirt.

On a brighter note, though, my DH surprised me yesterday with a Kindle!  Actually, the one he purchased hasn’t arrived yet, as it was just released this week.  He gave me the leather cover it will go into as I was ranting about being behind and the possible scenarios for managing this class, one being to purchase the Kindle edition of one of textbooks.  He wanted to know if I’d like to keep it, or go with another technology…that guy!  I’ve been wanting one of these for awhile now, but just couldn’t justify the cost, and now it will help with school, too.

Last weekend I started 2 new Bronco quilts.  The tops are together and now I'm ready to put the borders on them and decide what the backing should be.  I’d love to get them quilted this weekend, but I suspect that won’t happen for a couple more weeks, if I’m lucky.

My mom also commissioned me to make a quilt for her so I've been picking out the fabrics, washing, and ironing.   Now it’s ready to cut.  We picked a lasagna quilt pattern, so at least that one's a pretty easy one and it should go together quickly.  I’ve been planning more of these for Bronco quilts, too, I’m just not convinced I’ll get them ready any time soon.

Innovations, the machine quilting conference in Tacoma, is coming up in less than a month, too.  I’m planning on being there, but I need to hurry to get signed up for my classes; the deadline has been extended to September 1st.  Oh, and book my flight….

So, I’m making my list and checking it twice.  Hmm….that sounds familiar, somehow…..

Monday, August 23, 2010

Accuquilt Give Away!

Paulette over at Sweet P Quilting has posted a tutorial on the Accuquilt Go! and is having a give-away for one!

The tutorial is very good and explains how the Go! works quite well.  I have been considering getting this device for some time, so I would be pleased if I became the lucky recipient!

Weekend Update


This was a very productive weekend!

Besides getting caught up on making sweet pickle relish and dill pickles for the first time ever, I made enough blocks yesterday to make 2 new Bronco quilt tops!

I still have to sew the rows together and audition the border fabric, but I’m considering simply adding outer borders, and not using inner borders on this one.

Since I’ve got two quilts, I’m also considering using a fleece back for one and a cotton back for the other.

School is starts today…or, rather, it’s supposed to.  I am signed up for an online class, but the class hasn’t been published to my account yet.  Last semester the professor wouldn’t even give me the list of the books we were supposed to use ahead of time so I could get them ordered beforehand.  I’ll have to see if I stay signed up for this class!

More Bronco quilts to come!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wedding Quilt – complete!


The binding is done and the quilt is ready to be shipped out!  I think the red binding adds a nice touch.

The back is a red flannel; it was supposed to be maroon, but it’s more like a candy apple red.  If you stare at it too long and then look away, everything looks like it’s in shades of green!red-flannel-back-sm

Thursday is the first quilt guild meeting of the season, show it off there, then it will go into the mail.

So, with all this focus on the wedding quilt, I haven’t completed my SwirlAbout quilt.  That’s the one I posted about on July 12th, and I was all excited about the new border fabric I bought for it.  I still am, it’s just that  I was getting some really bad waves and wrinkles in the black inner border, so I thought I’d save myself a bunch of grief and take it off and see what I could do to fix it; it certainly wasn’t going to get any better by adding another border!

The problem now is that I had intended to get that quilt entered into the Portland quilt show, but I think I missed the entry deadline already, so even if I busted my rump to get it done, it’s probably too late.  I’ll have to check, but I have a lot on my plate coming up.

So far I’ve finished 2 of the helmet liners, but they are still taking donations until September 1st.

It’s also canning season, and my DH and I made plum jam tonight; it’s the first time we’ve done any canning together!  It turned out really good, too, and we have enough plums to make another batch tomorrow night.  This weekend I’ll need to work on making some pickle relish and maybe getting some pickles canned, too.

School starts on August 23rd, and even though I’m only taking one class, Innovations is coming up and I have another trip in the works. 

Then there are the everyday, and not so everyday, chores that I have put off which are demanding my urgent attention.

I think I need to clone me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wedding Quilt – Binding Needed

weddingquilt-previewI’ve finished quilting the Wedding Quilt and have the binding made.  Last night I went to my longarm networking meeting and was able to whip stitch down the tucks in the back; they aren’t very visible and at lease they lay down now.   Tonight I will start attaching the binding and will machine stitch it down.

The Mother of the Bride said this about the preview photos I sent her:

    “The quilt is gorgeous....I feel better already… The product itself is so amazing, the extra line on the back side [from machine stitching the binding on the front] is certainly not an issue.  I am a bit envious of them having such a quality heirloom quilt, but also proud to have been a part of it.  I love what you did to the border -- such an artist you are.”

Since she put together the blocks made by the family, she knew that they were not consistently made, or the same size, so she had her doubts.  Quilting certainly makes all the difference in the world to an unfinished top.

I’ll post photos when I finish it completely, as I think the red binding will add another dimension.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wedding Quilt - update

DSCF2026 I thought I’d post an update to the saga of my latest quilt project, the wedding quilt.

I started it this weekend and even took Monday off to see if I could get it finished.  It's for a family friend, and the wedding is at the end of September and I have a million other things I need to do....they drove it here from Washington state, and the mom didn't have enough time to complete it so I ended up putting the borders on it.  I used the straight of grain for the outer border, just like Brenda Hennings from Bear Paw Productions suggests.  I was determined I was going to get it done Sunday night, as I was going into the 10th hour, and got to the last row and the border was puckering, big time.

So, I decided I couldn't really “quilt it out”, and with it being a wedding quilt, as well as the gal's first quilt and I ripped out the thread holding most of the border and I literally ended up with an extra 2 inches!!  Now I have to take it off the frame and fix it, then finish that last row.  I'm going to wait until the weekend to finish it, well, maybe I’ll get to the border on Thursday, but I have been ignoring a TON of stuff that needs doing around the house.  Sigh, where does the time go??

I've been trying to help DH figure out a billing problem with his business, and now I’ve gotten all riled up.  He finally decided that he should take the problem back before I blew a gasket.  I probably didn't help him any, and I didn't accomplish anything toight that I wanted to, either.  Drat!

Better get ready for bed...well, maybe a row or 2 of knitting on my hat will calm me down first.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wedding Quilt

I'm not sure if I’ve mentioned in the past that I volunteered to quilt a wedding quilt for my husband's best friend’s oldest daughters wedding…. did I?

wedding quilt-before borders So here's the story:  The youngest daughter, DD2, approached me to find out information about making a quilt for her sister's (DD1) upcoming wedding at the end of September.  Since I was going to make my own quilt, I thought that it would work well to simply quilt her quilt as our wedding gift.

The catch is that DD2 has never made a quilt before, and she wanted to make a King sized quilt!  I am never one to discourage such ambition, especially since I did the very same thing.  We discussed patterns and she eventually picked one called True Lover’s Knot, which is much like a Log Cabin.  Since many people start on those as first patterns I told her that would be just fine.  Personally, I think sewing the narrow strips is much more difficult than the larger strips.

I told DD2 that she needed to get me the quilt before the end of July because I would be starting school in the middle of August, as well as to account for any possible delays.  With the help of her mom, she did just that, arriving this weekend from out-of-state with her dad and the quilt in tow.  Her mom however had run out of time to attach the borders and asked me if I could do that as well.  I agreed, as long as she sent me the border fabric washed and ready to go.

There were a couple of problems, however.  First, the border fabric was not the same solid color that was used in the top, and it did not enhance the top in any way.  Secondly, several of the seams needed to be picked out and re-sewn.  So, Friday afternoon off we went to Quilt Expressions, where Karen H. helped DD2 pick new border fabric and came up with a unique solution for the inner border.  We got it into the wash, inspected the quilt for areas that needed to be fixed, started fixing them, and then ironed the new fabric on Saturday.

We had decided to go floating the Boise River Saturday afternoon and we did just that.  No need to have me stay home and quilt while everyone else is off having fun in the sun, right?  I ended up with a pretty intense sunburn on my legs, from my thighs to my ankles!  We also had planned a barbecue for that evening and we had a great time with mutual friends who had recently moved to Boise as well.  We had tons of food and I ate way too much!

Dad and DD2 left early Sunday morning, as she needed to get back to work by Monday.

I spent all of yesterday afternoon fixing additional seams that I found that needed to be re-sewn, and in the evening eventually got the borders added to the quilt.

Today, I will finish getting the quilt loaded and start the quilting.  Optimistically, given the quilting pattern we selected, the quilting should only take about three hours if each row could be accomplished in 15 minutes.   However, I am not fast nor am I optimistic, and it will probably end up taking me the entire day.

So, I better get started!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sewing Morning

I have really gotten into working on the knitted helmet liner caps, so have sort of taken a break from working on my quilts…gasp!

I completed one on Friday and started casting on stitches for the next one. finished-hat    Last night I got the ribbing done and have started the main body.  I had intended to sew this morning, as we had company coming in the afternoon, but I decided that I should work on cleaning up some of the mini piles that have popped up instead.  I’m glad I did, but it sure wore me out!  I had to lay down and take a nap!  We haven’t seen them in several years, and it was sure a nice visit.  I did, however, completely fall off the diet wagon, and I am going to pay the piper in the morning!

As for my current quilting project, I need to “tighten up” some of the half square triangles on the quilt top I am currently working on, that I haven’t named yet, that I took the borders off of early last week.  That way I can put the black inner border back on, and I need to cut the replacement border fabric so I can finish it up.  I’d like to enter this one in the quilt show in Oregon in September.  As a featured guild, the Boise Basin Quilters can enter quilts for no fee, and I plan to take advantage of that!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Border Fabric - Update

I have decided to go with the new fabric for the borders, and make the black border skinnier.  So, the new inner border fabric is not getting used in this project.  My mom said it looked sort of brown and blah from a distance, and I have to say I agree with her.

So, last night I removed the borders, then cut the black inner border down 1/2”.  I then admitted that there is too much fabric in that border, it would not lay flat for anything and as I was trying to starch and press it out, it simply wrinkled on me.  That’s exactly what it would do if I tried to quilt it this way, so I decided to take them off too, and see what I can do about easing them back on and make them flat.  I think the fullness is coming from the bias edges of the half square triangles….bleh!

Now I’m back down to where I started on Saturday!  Will get the outer borders cut Thursday night and see how I can take in the fullness too, so I can get it finished this weekend.  We have company coming on Sunday, and I’m getting my hair done in the morning on Saturday.  With all of those distractions I’ll be lucky if I get anything else done!  DH invited me to go on a date tonight, so will be spending some quality time with him.  He’s such a sweetheart!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Border Fabric!

DSCF1984 I went to the fabric store at lunch today to get more border fabric for a quilt I am finishing up.  I got over zealous and cut too many strips for the sides and now I only have one large piece for one of the borders.  Since it’s a busy, but large, print I don’t want a seam going down the middle of it, as it would be distracting.  So, off I went to get another 1/2 yard.  Of course I didn’t bring the quilt with me!

Well!  Not only did I find more of my border fabric, I found a different border, as well as a different inner border that I think will make this quilt look great!DSCF1985  I was ambivalent about the borders I was putting on, and now I am just EXCITED about getting home to see how this will look!  I will post photos of the before and after…because what this means is, all the work I put into getting the borders attached yesterday is going out the window!

I really think it’s going to look 100% better, though!

Once I see it tonight, I’ll put the fabric in the washer and get it ready to finish by this weekend.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lone Star is finished!


This is the king sized customer Lone Star quilt that I’ve been working on.

I did mostly custom quilting in the middle. and a large overall meander on the border sections.  It has Hobbs Tuscany wool batting with Sew Fine on part of the top and all of the bottom, and a new-to-me shiny silver polyester thread called Hemmingworth Polyselect.  She wanted something that looks like fire and to accentuate the star and make it sort of “pop out”. lonestar-bed

She didn't want to pay very much so we initially decided on an open "flame" design that would sort of outline each of the 8 petals, and a small stipple in the setting squares, but then the petal was so large that I couldn't reach the tip from the middle of the star to make a smooth motion to make the flame.  I also was worried about making the meandering small enough, consistently enough.

lonestar-back-outsideSo, after beating my head on it for a couple of weeks, I called and asked her if I could just do what I wanted to do, without her knowing the design ahead of time, but still keeping her original idea in mind, if the price didn't change and she said yes.  So, now  it's finished and I’m really pleased with it!

She picked it up tonight and loves it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

I wanted to share a new project that I started yesterday, that I thought was quite appropriate for the 4th of July celebrations.  What?  A new project without finishing the other one first?  That never happens! ;-)

You’ve seen me post about the organization called American Hero Quilts, who donate homemade quilts to wounded soldiers who come to Madigan Army Hospital in Tacoma, WA.

Well, if quilting isn’t your thing, then I want to let you know about another opportunity to help.  The Yarn Shoppe, a local business here in the Boise area,  is working to make knitted “helmet liners” for The Idaho National Guard’s deployment early this fall.  According to their website:

We are continuing our call for knitters to help make helmet liners for the Idaho National Guard's deployment early this fall.  The 116th Brigade from Idaho , Montana , and Oregon is shipping out to Iraq in September.  There are about 1500 Idaho soldiers and 1200 from Montana and Oregon involved.   We are helping this effort by distributing patterns, discounting the wool yarn needed, and providing a drop off point for the helmets.

These caps are used to help keep the soldiers warm in the winter and can also be soaked with water to keep heads cooler in the summer under the military helmets.

These caps MUST be knitted from 100% wool for safety (acrylic yarns can melt in a fire or explosion) and MUST be in medium to dark earth tone colors (black, grey, browns, tans or greens).

I stopped by their store yesterday afternoon and got a new pair of circular knitting needles and two hanks of the approved wool blend yarn.  I started on the pattern last night after dinner and I completed the ribbing before the dogs started going crazy over the fireworks noise.   I’ve never knitted in the round before, which is what this pattern calls for, so I’m learning a new skill, too.

Fast knitters can probably complete a cap in 4 hours, and, depending on your gauge, one hank of yarn will make 2 caps.

Please consider making a helmet liner, or recruiting someone to do so.  Visit The Yarn Shoppe’s website to find out more information.

This is one small way to let those who give so much for our great country know we care and think about them daily.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Boise Basin Quilt Show

Well, I thought I had written about the upcoming Boise Basin Quilter’s quilt show…and, now that the event has come and gone this past weekend, I guess I can write a little something!

Not only was the show fun, I bought a ticket to hear the lecture by Marianne Fons, from Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting.  She was quite entertaining and I even got to get a picture taken with her beforehand.  I didn’t bring my own camera, as I didn’t realize there was going to be a Meet ‘n Greet, so someone else took the picture for me.  I’ll have to post it when I get it.

I had two quilts in the show and got some solid (+) Good ratings.  606All constructive criticisms were in line with my own perceptions and expectations, which I think is a good thing because then I know I’m on the same track as the judges.  I am also very happy to be able to finally post a picture of the Happy Quilt!  Once I get a closeup of the quilting, I'll post a picture of that, too, as it turned out quite well and you can't see the variegated thread or the design in this photo.

One particularly nice comment that I just *have* to relay, though, was “outside edges impressively straight and square”.  Woo Hoo! 607

Now that the show is over I can concentrate on the lone star customer quilt that is still on the frame.  Almost done, but the free motion design in the star part is giving me a hard time, I can’t seem to get it right….and she wants it back!   Can’t say I blame her, I’ve had it quite awhile.

Not all has been procrastination, though.  My DH tore his rotator cuff in his left shoulder last week, I re-tweaked my back a bit over the weekend, and the dog went in for a cyst removal and major dental surgery.  So, it was a rough week.

Then the dog had to wake me up this morning at 2AM and I couldn’t get back to sleep.  So, I’ve been up since 2:30AM…and I’m going to bed now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Place for the Onions

garden2010 I finally got my garden planted.  Not that I didn't have a few challenges along the way, however.  You see, here in Boise the weather has been very chilly, windy, and downright undesirable, as far as spring goes.  I am a fair weather gardner, however my procrastination has been rewarded!  Those serious gardeners, who actually planted when they were supposed to this spring, are re-planting, spending the same time in the nursery that I was looking for plants this weekend and not any further ahead then I am.  Whew, off the hook for this year!

Before I started on this journey though,  I confirmed with the local nursery that it wasn't too late to plant.  Mind you, I am planting in June, which is at least a month later than when I planted last year, and I really felt like I didn't get much produce at all last year; I didn't even can anything!  We have really missed the lack of canned goods, too, I can tell you.

So, radiating with the afterglow of a 50% off the edible plants sale, I started calling around for a rototilling service, as DH strained his ankle working last week.  I was lucky enough to find someone who would come on Saturday and he did a great job!  E-mail me if you would like his contact information, as I definitely recommend his services.

With the soil freshly tilled, I started my early-morning journey to planet the garden.  I bent over and reached for a T-shirt on a lower shelf and…CRACK…. I threw out my back.  All I could think of was “this is not how I planned to spend my day”.  DH to the rescue, as he offered to "help" me with the garden and ended up planting everything where I told him to plant it.  With the new space I had rototilled, I was able to make room for one more tomato plant and two cucumber plants for which DH pre-dug the holes.

Fast forward beyond two days of intense chiropractic care and I am now walking and being very careful of how I move, although that is fading fast.  I stopped at Lowe's tonight to get a sprinkler head replacement and came out with the additional items I needed for the garden, plus a pack of candy onions.  I have never grown onions before, so I'm interested to see how they turn out.  Because DH had helped me carefully lay out the other plants, I had to come up with a creative solution for planting the onions.  I ended up making a "corner L-bracket" configuration of the onions around a jalepeno pepper plant, which I think will work out just fine.

I decided that I should call my garden “The Salsa and Pickle Patch” because I have planted the majority of the ingredients for both salsa and pickles.  This year though, if the peppers don't grow I am giving up on them!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why so quiet?

I haven’t posted anything in quite awhile, as I’ve had my head down and just plowing away.  I get focused like that, just want to get to a good stopping place, and then, if I’m not careful, I start another row, another block, another stitch, another…something.

So, what have I been working on?  The Boise Basin Quilters quilt show is coming up and I have submitted 2 entry sheets for quilts.  The actual quilts are due to be turned in on June 5th.  I’m putting the binding on one of them now, and the other is the Happy Quilt, which still needs to be quilted!  At least I’ve picked out the thread, batting, backing and quilt pattern for that one, but I need to find time to get it done!

I’ve also been working on quilting a customer’s Lone Star quilt.  It’s not your typical “home-y” colors that most people think of, it’s purple, dark grey and light grey, and it’s gorgeous!  I’m taking my time on it, as I’m using 2 colors of thread on top, and a different color of thread on the bottom, which means I have to do a thread change and I am very particular about the back thread not showing through.  The top threads are a bit different in weight, so each time I change the threads, I have to re-calibrate the tension, which means I want to minimize how often I change threads!

lapquilts-smI’ve also been working on a way to make several lap / baby quilts at once.  I have a customer who is interested in buying them, so this needs to be an efficient enterprise.  I’ve learned a lot in the process (I should probably write those lessons babyquilt-back-smdown, huh?) and have been quite thrilled with the results.  I’ve used the Valentine pantograph from Willow Leaf on the first two, and will be considering other designs as well.  I think this will definitely work for some Bronco quilts, too!

A batting sampler quilt is in the works, too!  I purchased 20” squares of Pellon’s Legacy batting at Innovations last year and have been meaning to put this together since then, but never got around to it.  I finally decided how I wanted to do this and was able to find some really nice fabric on sale, now it’s almost all cut and ready to sew together.

I’ve recently setup a wholesale account with Sulky thread as well as received some thread samples from Fil-Tec in the mail.  I got to see some of the Sulky Blendables for the longarm machines at my last networking meeting and I really liked how it felt, and it was gorgeous!

Fil-tec makes Glide thread, and I’ve heard that Glide is wonderful!  I’ll be testing it out on these samples, too, and will report how I like it.  I haven’t gotten any of the Sulky thread yet, but I will probably be able to get some before the project is ready to quilt, so I’ll be able to show off quite a few of my threads.  They are as fun to collect as fabric!  I’ll post photos of the sampler when that is finished, but for now I’d better get back to finishing my quilt show projects.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Upcoming plans

I wish I were home today, as it is raining and gray outside, the perfect sewing weather!  I need to make up some time, as I did not quilt this weekend, as planned.  Instead, I updated both my husband’s and my websites, and

I am excited that I conquered the challenge of a new piece of software, as well as how the new FAQs now display in an accordion style!  There is still a lot of work left to do for my site, specifically getting the store back up and running and configuring it to use PayPal, but that is the nature of the beast!

I am also looking at submitting an application for one of the local farmer's markets to sell my quilts.  The table fee is quite reasonable, and I don't have to commit for the full season up front, which is a concern since I don’t have a large inventory of quilts to sell yet.

One reason I haven’t posted much lately is that  I have been working on testing a particular pattern to see if I can make some quilts in a production style method, while still maintaining quality, and I have been very pleased so far.  I think I can have several lap/baby sized quilts completed in 2-3 weeks, which will make having a table at the market feasible, as well as showing some larger quilts for customers to order in their own colors.

So, I have lots of quilting plans, not to mention normal “life” plans.  I feel very blessed to have so much to look forward to.  I hope to also achieve balance in my approach, enjoying the entire journey and appreciating the experiences with the busy-ness that can be so all-consuming.

Friday, April 30, 2010

American Hero Quilt Finished!

DSCF1697 I finished the first quilt top that American Hero Quilts has sent me with a pantograph called Star Spangled, from  It was a bit more challenging than I anticipated, since it has a lot of points and changes in direction, but I think it came out OK for a first try.  I will definitely use it again!DSCF1693  I used  gold King Tut cotton thread on the top and  gold Sew Fine! on the back.   I’ll be sending them off as soon as I get a box and print a label.

I’ll be doing more quilting this weekend, to get ready for the BBQ Quilt Show coming up in June.  Submission forms are due May 20th, so I need to get busy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bonus quilt!

During the flurry of activity of making the Happy Quilt, I made several more blocks to “make it bigger”…I always want a bigger quilt!….and then it just didn’t look right, it had WAY too much going on!
So, the new blocks came off the design board and the Happy Quilt became what it is today…and unfinished top!  Not that I haven’t been working on it, mind you.  I have the thread, quilting pattern, batting and backing picked out, I just need to seam the backing fabric together to get it ready to quilt.  For some reason, that always takes me a long time!
In the meantime, my copy of Quiltmaker magazine arrived last week…with a wonderful pattern inside by Scott Murkin called the Swirlabout!  I immediately went back to my left over Happy Quilt blocks and re-arranged them from Happy Quilt 2, which I felt was uninspiring, to the adapted arrangement also offered in the magazine, called Whirligiggle.  Click on the Whirligiggle link to get the downloadable pattern from Quiltmaker.
 swirl-dk-sm swirl-lt-sm

Here are the two versions of the quilt, same blocks, just reversed to show the negative of the other; squint at them if you don’t see it.  I’ve decided how I will sew them together, but I’m interested in hearing which one you like best!

Progress to Date

Quilting:  My “need to quilt” count now is 3 customer, 3 personal, and 1 American Hero quilts to quilt.  Backing to be seamed together for 3 of these quilts.
Tops:  This new bonus top needs to get sewn together before the blocks start falling off, or get taken off, the design board so I can use it again, and I have two Bronco quilts in process on which I want to see further progress.
Blocks:  I finished my donation blocks for the upcoming quilt show.  I cut fabric to help out with making a wedding quilt.  I have star blocks from a Pass The Bag event that are still sitting in the bag.  Those won’t make it into a real quilt for awhile yet, I’m sure.
Looks like it’s going to be a fun, and busy, weekend!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Official Boise State University craft vendor!

It’s official!!

I have been been awarded an official Boise State University crafter's license to use Boise State University themes in making and selling quilts to the public at large.

So, in addition to offering long arm quilting services and making custom quilts, I will also be creating BSU themed quilts!

Sample Bronco quilts are in progress, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Adventures with Zippered Leaders

The reason I haven’t posted for the last two weeks is that I’ve been extremely focused on tax reports and sewing …more so on sewing!

I finally finished my American Hero Quilt that I started quilting last August, but it still needs the binding.  I don’t have a picture of the full quilt right now because I also pulled out a UFO that is made of of LOTS of half square triangles, and they are taking up the majority of space on my design wall where I normally take my pictures.

On Sunday, my fabulous friend, Verna, came over to motivate me and lend a hand with getting the canvas properly cut for my new zippered leaders.  I’ve been avoiding it due to the fact that this has to be pretty precise and dealing with the 4 yard length of fabric presents its own set of challenges.

It took a couple of hours to get the fabric cut out properly, and I realized that I’ll need another 4 yards of fabric to make the 3rd set of leaders that I want, but I’ll have two of them for now, which is great!

It is, however, taking an inordinately long amount of time to get this project finished!!  Sunday night I was up past midnight because I was serging the edges of the canvas.  I remembered someone saying they had color coded theirs, which I think is a great idea (I had red thread in the machine already and loved my test run!)

So, I serged red, then blue and then decided I was going to go for just plain cream/white on the pickup roller.  Changed thread and the tension was a mess!!  So, I dutifully tried to adjust it (I have a wonderful Pfaff 4785 electronic serger that I NEVER have to adjust the tension on!)...and I spent over an hour messing with it (DUMB, DUMB, DUMB!!) with no satisfactory results...and yes, I turned the machine on and off several times to get it to go back to its default settings.

FINALLY, I decided that hey, the tension on the other colors looked great, just change the thread again.  And, voila! the tension went back to being beautiful!  Well, mostly...I used the 3 matching dark colors I had left and 1 light color in one of the needle positions, and the light color kept skipping a few stitches, then would catch again, then skip later so that it left large stretches of thread on top of the fabric.  So, I put in a contrasting dark color and it worked just fine.

So, why would light colored thread suddenly become my evil nemesis??

Less confident that I would actually finish, I again took up the task again last night.  I added another straight line guide down the middle of where I will be attaching the quilt to the leader, then ironed down the edges.  That went very well!  I went to sew it down with a straight stitch and half way through this long 128" trip, the thread broke but I didn't know it.  So I fixed that, not especially happy with the way it's looking, but OK fine, will address that later.

Then I couldn't remember what my zipper foot looked like so I had to look it up in the manual (it's not the usual "half-foot" for the Pfaff) and then had to find in the manual how to move the needle over left and right so I get a tight seam.

Then it was time for bed, and I actually went!  No more staying up until midnight, I’m exhausted!  So, they are STILL not done!   And this is for the FIRST SET!  AARRGGHH!

Now to get the binding completed by Thursday night (guild night), finish the leaders so I can get this other American Hero quilt mounted, and finish my tax reports for the accountant. 

That's what one calls blessings, huh?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I actually played this weekend!  Not only did I go golfing with my DH and another couple, I actually played with that big box of scraps!

I am really proud of what I accomplished:  additional blocks to get a UFO (UnFinished Object) on its way to being finished, and two crazy patches!


I have always wanted to do this block but this box of scraps really provided the opportunity….and I love the result!

Given that I already have several projects in progress, not to mention the list of UFO’s, I decided that, for now, I will limit myself to making 9 blocks to make a wall hanging.  I think I will even do some hand stitched embellishments!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Holy Scraps, Batman!

I am overwhelmed…both by generosity and volume!

A nearby quilter is moving and asked if I wanted a box or two of her scraps....she warned me that there was a lot, and I'd be sorry....but I said, yes, I want them!  Of course, I want them!

Box-o-scraps-sm She called me yesterday to pick up the box of scraps.  The box is from Quilter's Dream, the size that you can get the baby quilt sampler batting packs in.  Once I opened the box and started pawing through it, the contents started to expand and take on a life of its own!

My goal is to sort them by lights and darks.  Medium is not a goal right now.  If there are strips, they will be moved to my newly purchased "strip" bins.  dark-scraps-startI worked for over a half an hour and I only got as far as about an inch in a 20 gallon Rubbermaid tub.

And there's another box coming next week!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Zippers coming!

Hey…I  just ordered zippers to attach to my longarm leaders from and they should be here Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have been waffling back and forth about using Velcro or zippers, had definitely decided on Velcro and then, after a conversation with one of my online quilt buddies, bam, went with zippers.  I’ve never been fully confident that I will be able to attach the leaders straight if I use Velcro, I keep thinking there is going to be a little wiggle that I won’t be able to get out.

I hope I got the right sizes!  Since my leaders are 139” long, I’m getting 3 sets of zippers at 128” to attach to the take-up rollers, and the other half will go onto a canvas leader that is about 6” or so wide.  I’m also going with 90” and 60” lengths for the smaller quilts, based on standard batting sizes.

Oh, and coming from the west coast, it was so fun to hear a real for-real New York accent on the telephone!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Geek alert…

Today I literally spent the entire day on the computer.  For some people that might not be too amazing but since I do computer support all week, I tend to avoid the computer in my free time as much as possible.  However, I just got “in the zone” and ended up knocking off a couple of items from my To Do List.  Not only did I try out new shopping cart software for my site, I also needed to update my husband's website with a photo gallery.

Let me tell you, if you use Joomla for your website and need a a photo gallery component, you've got to try JoomGallery!  I was astounded at  how extremely easy it was to install and how many configuration options were available.  It offered the integrated, full featured, photo gallery I was looking for.

Some configurations took more time to figure out what they affected than others, and, being completely new to the software, it seemed to me that a couple of settings had to be changed in two places and I wasn't sure why, although they were not hard to find.

One item that was not obvious, and undocumented, was how to change the display name of the Gallery page, which needs to be edited in the global Joomla language file.  That information was gleaned from the forum pages, and is new with the introduction of Joomla 1.5.

I'm ecstatic about this component, and highly recommend it!

I’ll reserve my judgment on the shopping cart software until I’ve had time to populate it with data and test it.  So, more to come…

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bronco Quilts – work in progress

I have been very busy this weekend, working on trying to get some Bronco quilts made…and it is taking forever!  I sewed, with a little bit of cutting, on Saturday for about 6 hours, and I only have 28 Nine Patches made…and I need at least 42 for one quilt!  After those are made, then I need to make them “disappear”…into a Disappearing Nine Patch design.  Here’s the prototype:


I may need to reconsider the size of the strips, or the construction method; I know I’m slow but, dang!

I expected to already have two made, working on a queen sized quilt, and fleshing out other designs….too bad it’s all in my mind!

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