Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Practice, practice, practice

Matt Sparrow, the man-quilter, says he practiced 10,000 hours on his longarm machine before hanging out his shingle. I might not live that long, but am learning the value of practice. For me, the best way is to use a panel. Then if I mess it up it is not a huge waste of time and money like it would be if using a pieced top... but it is also useful when finished, unlike using a big hunk of fabric with no plan for it other than scribbling stitches.

This is the current practice panel. I wanted to use contrasting thread because it is easy to see. However, it doesn't show up much on the lighter areas, so I did lots of texture stitching in those. This has helped with confidence to do the fancy quilting I want for Cobblestone Lane. I'm particularly happy with the zig-zag as I did that freehand. It has a few squiggles, but far less than the last time I tried it. One key: stop telling myself that I can't do this and just do it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hint of Ocean -- Finished

"Hint of Ocean" is quilted and on my table. The label is not done, so I'll have to whisk it off to sew that on the back. I tried putting a few white shells on it and was not as happy with them as one shell and a piece of driftwood. This glass top table has a strip of black down the middle, making the runner seem longer. 

Also, the window screen in the background is discolored by the window blind behind it. The blue is actually the same blue in the runner. I had to leave the blind down due to the blinding sunshine coming in on this lovely summer day!


Saturday, July 9, 2016


I'm in the middle of putting the borders on Cobblestone Lane. Don't know why this takes so long, maybe because my meds have slowed my pulse to 48 - 52 most of the time? But it is better to be slow than stopped! 

No photo but soon. I'm reading blogs though, and encouraged by your progress!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Progress Report

The past two months have been a challenge, but quilting is good therapy. So are naps and this is why this quilt is taking so long. However, now that the blocks are done and all the other parts are cut and labeled, it is going together -- at last. 

The corner and first block are sewn together. The sashing and next row of blocks are just pinned to the design wall. I'm usually into artsy rather than making a zillion pieces, but this was fun and I'm loving the way it looks so far. 

I made an enlarged photocopy and have been sketching quilting motifs and ideas, so when the time comes to get stitching, there will be some options to select.

Btw, I'm feeling okay, have lost the few pounds that were mostly water, and my heart is beating normally. Yet I'm aware that each day is a gift, so taking life (thankfully) one day at a time.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cobblestone Lane

This quilt is coming along... lots of piecing, but relaxing. I had a cardioversion last Thursday and haven't felt like doing much since then, so welcome this as a recuperation project. (For those who don't know, a cardioversion is used to correct an irregular heartbeat. They put me to sleep and put the paddles to me, about the same as being electrocuted. Sort of zaps all the zip out of you... BUT my heart ECG is picture perfect, regular and I'm feeling better every day.)

Anyway, all the blocks are done except the appliqued two in the middle. The third photo below shows progress on the first one. The lighting is not good on any of these, but the color is most accurate on the bottom photo of the applique block.

This is a shot of some of the sashing strips that go between the blocks. They have small 9-patches as cornerstones. I like the larger 9-patches made into 9-patch blocks. When the quilt is done, it has the effect of an Irish chain.

This applique block has more leaves, etc. so is about half finished. The biggest challenge will be figuring out how to quilt this one!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Quilting Day for June

A few quilters from our church are taking one day a month to quilt together. Right now, there are six of us, but yesterday, only two. (Life happens.)

I started improvising mug rugs with Ricky Tims' "Cave Man" style in mind and wound up with a table runner. My dining room is mostly black, white, with blue ocean scene on the wall and a privacy screen with blue fabric, white leaves that look like flying seagulls, plus a large 'sculpture' of sea gulls landing on pier posts. When the quilt is done and on the table, I should take a picture?

Anyway, this was fun, easy and now needs sandwiching and quilting. I'll do a pillowcase flip and quilt it with wavy horizontal lines in black, from edge to edge.

The other quilter who joined me for the day is a newbie. She brought her first quilt, a ragged edge one in flannelette for her granddaughter. Wow, it is nice. She also made a couple mug rugs while she was here, and helped me decide the arrangement for my runner. 

It was a lovely day!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Progress Report

A few more blocks are done for "Cobblestone Lane" and I'm having fun. Here are the blocks and the next picture is my work table. Foundation paper-piecing is a favorite construction method, probably because I'm anal about accurate piecing. 

These blocks resist taking a photo. The backing on the design wall is doing the same. It looks bluish on one side and the right color on the other. The blocks don't even look the same size, but they are. I've five more to make, two of which are applique.

I work in strips most of the time rather than cutting pieces for each space in the pattern. However, sometimes a spot just calls for a fussy cut.

On a personal note, I have A-fib, which has been fine more than four years, but this month it decided to act up. My heart rate fluctuates all over the place, but I feel okay, just slow and sleepy. I didn't get into the ER soon enough for a quick fix, so am on a blood thinner to ensure no clots. That takes a month, so my 'fix' will be June 9. :-(