Thursday, December 22, 2016

Emma's Jams Finished

We (me and the friend who made most of it) are calling this quilt Emma's Jams for the inspiration and "Shabby Chic" for the way it turned out. Those cute pj's were almost impossible to quilt hence the shabby part, but chic because this one turned out so cute. 

I'm aware that stabilizer would have prevented some of the 'crawl' in the double knits and silk, but it would have spoiled the look my friend wanted. She is totally happy with the way it turned out. I feel somewhat humbled (my perfectionist side) but totally delighted that this one is unique, very cuddly, and finished. It will be gifted on Sunday and mom will send pictures of her teen's reaction. Sorry, I had no place to put it to get a better photo. It is a large twin size. The colors are close, but not quite right... and it is square and flat!!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Emma's Jams

This quilt has a long story to go with it. I'll save that for the 'finished' photo. Right now, it is on my longarm. That was not the plan. The friend who made most of it ran out of time and asked me to quilt it. Good thing. Most who have a quilting business may have refused. It is thick, stretchy, and entirely cute. 

This shows the end I've left to finish. A real challenge? Yes, but totally delightful.

Monday, December 12, 2016

My fabric scraps are sorted to color and in boxes that are about 9" x 10" x 15" and most of them are nearly full. The red one was at about 3/4 and I just watched an episode on The Quilt Show on making 'slab' quilts. This technique has been perfected by a woman from Calgary, Alberta. Her name is  Cheryl Arkison and she has three books out. The video on TQS was fun to watch and making these improv blocks is so relaxing.

What amazes me is that with a few scraps, I already have 15 large blocks (12.5") and will have at least 15 more, just in the reds and reddish scraps from that bin! There are variations in prints, tonal values, etc. but all red and shades thereof. Here is a picture of the blocks so far. To the left is a pile of larger pieces that will finish up 15 more slabs that are already partly sewn.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Nativity Pattern

After securing copyrights to use the original design as inspiration for this quilt, and after making a pattern and putting it on my Etsy site in January or thereabouts, I'm delighted to report that I've sold 72 patterns. I'm not sure what is normal for something like this, but for me, this is a blessing. Most of them went to the USA, but some to other parts of the world and to Canada of course. The link to my Etsy store is on this page.

The pattern is about 36" wide, but can be enlarged and made in three panels like this photo. This particular version is about 84" wide. The pattern is also available in digital files, which saves on postage but needs to be printed on a wide printer. A nearby Staples store does that for me.

I've asked those who purchased the pattern to send me a photo of their quilt when it is done. So far, nada, but I'm sure these quilters are at work on it. It is not difficult but does take lots of time. 

I'm hoping to offer more patterns soon. I've secured a copyright for an amazing design that needs to be altered to make it 'quiltable' and then I need to make a sample with directions. Lots of work, but it is neat to be able to do this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Basically Babies – Lions

Our city has a group called "Basically Babies" that makes one-year layettes for babies in needy families. They accept quilts, so I purchased some panels and am planning to give them to BB. This one is my third so far, a cute lion with cubs. I didn't need to do anything to it except trim and add borders. I put a flange in there too, just for the color. The outer border is about 4.5" and the same rusty color in the shadows on the lions. 

Actually, piecing the backing took longer than assembling the front. It will finish at about 44" x 50" — a nice size. Quilting panels is good practice on my longarm also.

Btw, a tip for some: My dryer has two steam cycles that I thought I would never use. However, when I take fabric out of my stash (I don't wash it when I buy it) the wrinkles are heavily impressed... so 20 minutes in one of those cycles 'irons' it perfectly! It probably does a bit of 'shrinking' too. I'll have to do a before & after measurement. This has been a huge time-saver and likely saves electricity too. Give it a try if you haven't already!

Friday, November 11, 2016

"Sweet Dreams"

For the background on this one, see this post. I decided the only way to figure out how to show my friend the way to make this was by making one myself. I went to the nearest store with kid's clothing and bought a pair of "Frozen" theme pyjamas in a small size, found the necessary fabrics for background and backing in my stash, and started cutting. This was the result. . .

This quilt is about 32" x 50" and was so much fun to make, much easier than it looks. After trimming off the backside and adding a pocket to the top, I pinned and appliqued the pjs to the background, made a sandwich, then quilted it on my mid-arm. The bits left over worked for the binding. 

I'm delighted with this one. It is cute (but way too pink for my taste) and some little girl with enjoy it. I've never seen anything quite like it and have to credit my friend for the idea. She is not a quilter so has no quilt police telling her "You can't do it this way." Her version has four pair of little pjs on a background of her daughter's beloved blankies.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Karen's King

No photo today, just a question. My daughter wants a king-size quilt in taupes with some lights/darks and in a modern, non-traditional pattern. I've been looking and have a few photos but nothing definite. Do any of you have a pattern or a link to a pattern that would work? Or even a photo that would be easy to do without a pattern? It does not have to be those colors, but adaptable to 3 or more values. 

I'm not asking anyone to do the looking, as I can do that, but just in case your research has already found one... that would be super! :-)

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Never Again"

This quilt is only 36.5" x 40.75" and I cannot imagine ever making a bed quilt with 2 inch 1/2 square triangles! I'd be in a white jacket without sleeves long before it was done! Even though making them with "Thangles" was easy, I'd rather applique a zillion pieces than sew these little squares together.

Strangely enough, doing the intricate quilting was fun! I was terrified to start, had no idea what it needed, but made it up as I went along. This was on my Handiquilter Avante. It took about 5-6 hours to do the quilting... but not all at once. Lots of thinking in between. Since this was my first attempt to use rulers with micro-quilting, I should get faster with more practice?? I hope so!

I didn't have a ruler for the trio shapes along the bottom in the photo, so my hubby cut one from a piece of plexiglass. It was not easy, so he won't be going into the ruler business any time soon! But he is asking me what shape to make next!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tips wanted...

A young mom asked me to show her how to make a quilt from her teenage daughter's beloved pajamas she had when she was little. She wanted to include those beloved blankets too. So we started out with a sketch, and this week got the blankets sewn together, but not trimmed on the outside edges. She pinned the pjs to this background. It will have some borders and be about a twin size.

Our plan is to cut the back of each pj top and bottom off, as in all the parts that do not need to be there, then applique the visible parts in place. We are having a lot of fun and the results so far are just adorable. However, she has little sewing experience and has never made a quilt. I am also 'winging' it on this one. 

The blankets are somewhat stretchy so we hope quilting will help, but the fabric is firmly woven. The borders will definitely not be stretchy! Two pjs are knits and the other two are woven.

Has anyone ever made or even seen anything like this? If so, directions, tips, advice, etc. would be so appreciated!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quilting the HSTs

This week I started quilting this small project without any plan. I couldn't design anything that had an over-all appeal, but has designs that I liked for some of the parts. So starting with that, it is coming along. This photo shows a partly finished area and some of the ruler tools that I'm using. Rulers are for people who cannot draw a straight line :-) !

The on-point squares on the right will have some oval flower petals in the center, as well as the triangles on the right side. I've not yet figured out what to do with the HSTs under the yellow ruler, but am taking my time. The experts tell that the ideas will come.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sewing but not quilts

I've two new tops that need to be quilted, but am taking a break. I've a closet full of fabric that needs to be sewed into clothes or find a new home. Sunday I made a pair of slacks. Today it was a blouse.

But before that happened, I went for a walk in the trees. We have a wildlife refuge park practically across the street. The leaves are starting to turn and the sun was shining. One leaf jumped out of the busy background and I had to bring it home. Its colors are like Christmas, but nature says read and green need not be restricted to December!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Thangles for a table

At least a year ago our LQS had a competition or something using Thangles and pre-cut strips. Each made 28 HST that would finish at 2". I didn't want to get into the contest or whatever it was, but liked the Thangles (supplied) and the batiks, so bought a bunch of them. Yikes, what a thing to do!

But they are cut, sewn, designed into a medallion looking table topper which will be about 37" x 42" and now that it is this far, I'm kinda glad for persistence. I will look okay.

This is after they are sewn into vertical strips. A few on the left are sewn together. 

This is just the squares precariously stuck to my design wall. I was so scared of brushing against them and knocking them off to the floor that I pinned each row so they would not be out of place no matter what happened on their way to the sewing machine! A narrow border might be nice, but finding the material (any of the umteen batiks) could be a challenge. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

One-block wonder, still no name

I'd wanted to do some sort of dangling zentangle on the top part of this quilt. After much thought and the purchase of many possible do-dads to put on it, I found a double rod (at 10,000 Villages) and just started. So far, this is what it looks like. There are dozens of iridescent beads in the strips, plus knots with yarn, ribbons, torn fabric strips, and tulle. I've a couple packages of blue crystals to cascade down the sides and to the bottom so that is next.

The color is darker than this photo. I had the flash on auto and didn't notice until cropping it. Next time... :-) Also it needs a name. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Still Practicing

Here is the full panel that I've been practicing on. Besides being a good way to play with my HQ Avante, it is rather cute. It will likely go on the back of a door as I can't think of anything else to do with it! It needs a few more stitches and maybe that ribbon will stay and I'll add a few buttons besides those printed into the design.

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. :-( 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cobblestone Lane, sales, and wildfire

Response to my nativity pattern has been a nice surprise. Sales are brisk. I'm hoping that everyone who bought the pattern is busily making the quilt! It looks difficult, but is more time-consuming than hard to make.

I'm working on a pattern purchased who knows when. It is one of those "I'd like to make this" projects that I'd collected all needed fabric but stuck in a box and forgot about. At the beginning of the year, I picked twelve such projects, numbered them, and asked my hubby to pick a number each month. The funniest thing happened with this one. I had the main instructions for the sashing, etc. but thought I'd lost the block patterns. So I drew them using EQ7 as foundation paper-pieced blocks... then I found the patterns. Actually, that was a good thing. I love FPP and they are going together easily that way rather than cutting all those squares and triangles.

Here are three of the blocks so far. The reds are too dark in the photo. They will finish at 12" and the sashing is 9-patches with strips in the same colors. It looks a bit like an Irish Chain.

We are downwind of the wildfire in Fort McMurray so have some smoke in the air now and then. This has been a horrible event in our province, as you've seen on the news. People are making quilts, yet the greater need has been basics like toothbrushes and underwear for the 80,000 people who had to leave that city. Some homes have burned and this week, several simply exploded, even though the fire has moved away. It is still not a safe place for those waiting to go home, even to find out if they have a home to go to.The fire is immense and still out of control.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

One of these things is finished...

This quilt, "One of These Things is not like the Others" is finished and ready to give away. It is washed and that helps too... much more cuddly. 

It is just not my colors and that print is not a favorite either. However, I'm so glad this fabric is used up, except for a few bits. I can't use the word 'hate' lightly, so will say that I really don't like this quilt and yet I know that someone will like it. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Christmas Nativity Quilt Pattern

THE BEST NEWS! As of April 8, 2016. I've managed to secure worldwide, exclusive copyright to use this design in a quilt pattern... so this pattern is for sale again. Please check my Etsy Page for details!  It is copyright under Aergraphics, a name I use for art and design.

This pattern is 36" wide, and can be enlarged. It uses batiks, fusible webbing, and raw-edge applique on a black background. The larger one shown was made in three panels. The smaller one is the actual size of the pattern. 

This quilt is not difficult but takes time and accuracy to place all those pieces. I've been told the big one is "jaw-dropping" but the little one looks great too. 

Prices and more information are on my Etsy site. You can order there using PayPal, which also supports most credit cards. Shipping is added. There is also a digital version, which saves shipping but adds printing costs.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

One of these things...

What do you do with fabric that is just not your thing? I decided to make a charity quilt with it in a pattern I'd wanted to try, realizing that someone would just love this old fashion tiny flowers in purple and pink.

I tried the layout two ways and decided to go with on-point. 

That meant I needed another block, so instead of making one like the rest of them, I did a simpler version.

The name of the quilt is: "One of These Things is not Like the Others." 

After the top was done, I still didn't like it, but after a few rows of quilting, it is starting to look better. As the book says, quilting does make the quilt.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Blue & Cream Sampler

This one is finished, quilt #189. Just need to sew on the label and find a home for it. Lezley, thanks for your comments. You always encourage me!

Now I have to peel potatoes etc. for Easter feasting with some of our family. This is the most significant holiday for us. We are so glad that Jesus died for us and is now alive!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Blue and Cream Sampler

This top is now ready to sandwich and quilt. Of course the quilting part is always a big decision. It will likely be something simple!

The photo was taken in dull light, so the contrasts are sharper than they appear here. Also, the yellow isn't the first thing the eye notices.The blues, whether light or dark, are muted. So are the creams, with the sashing being the very lightest value. 

It is about 61" square. Originally, I'd planned another border, but am happy with this. I'll put a dark blue binding on it.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

12 projects

From my list of 12 projects/ideas for 2016, my hubby picked number 3 for March. Years ago, I'd taught a few people how to make some basic blocks. My samples were blue and cream, all 12.5" square. I went to the storage box expecting to find 4-5 of them (poor memory) and found 17, a nice surprise! 

It took a few tries to arrange them and be satisfied, as there are two of some and one of others. I decided to put sashing between them and yellow squares in the space between sashings to pick up the yellow center in the log cabin block. The applique block (half of it shows on the left) will have to go on the back. 

This is what it looks like so far. The photo is a bit dull and blurry (I was talking to my son on the phone while taking the picture!) The bottom row has the sashing, which is not quite that bright in real life. It needs at least two borders. I'll likely quilt it with an all-over panto and donate it to the Canadian Quilts of Valour. It does not yet have a name.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Boston" place mat

This year I gave numbers to 12 projects or ideas for projects, one to work on each month. My DH was going to pick one number each month and I'd finish it or at least make some progress. 

Well, January was a bust. My hubby is doing well after weeks of being very ill. Thanks to those who prayed. However, he did pick a number at the end of the month instead of Jan 1. It matched a project idea that I had called "skyscrapers." Since Feb is a short month, I opted to try the idea on place mats.

The pattern was easy. I selected four cities and made the first one using plain black and some sky fabric. It was not difficult or time-consuming, but after one, I decided I'm not a place mat person. Washing and ironing? No thanks!

So this is the sample. Wish I'd made my home city, but maybe someone in Boston would like this little experiment. It is 13" x 18" and could even be a wall hanging.

The number for March matches a sampler in blue and beige. I've a few blocks done and ideas and fabric for more... so better get busy.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pattern for Cascading Blossoms

The pattern for the 6" x 24" wall hanging "Cascading Blossoms" formerly "Only in my Dreams" is now available on my Etsy site. 

It is $13 USD plus shipping. It will take 3-5 days before I can mail it, but it is done and here is the latest sample! 

It is fusible, raw edge applique. The pages for the pattern pieces are already reversed to make it easier for tracing to fusible webbing.

The flowers pop without any trapunto. They are fun to make with a mottled batik. 

This quilt looks great in several color combinations and edge finishes. This time, I finished it with piping alongside the binding. 


On Etsy, buyers can use PayPal and PayPal allows the use of most credit cards. How handy is that!

Here is the link to my Etsy Page: Elsie Quilts

Friday, February 26, 2016

Frustration Friday

Yesterday I had time to do the quilting on my sampler for Cascading Blossoms. It started out okay, but after awhile, the stitching became unpredictable. I switched to a different machine and had similar problems. Was it the new brand of fusible that I used? The needle wasn't sticky, but I changed it, even tried a couple other types of needles.

So I'm not happy with the stitches, but from 2-3 feet, most people wouldn't even see them. The main use for this little one is to put with the pattern. It is written, needs another quilter to check it for dumbness, and then I can put it up for sale. 

With my hubby being so sick since the first part of January, I think I've forgotten everything I ever knew about quilting. This is why the picture is NOT cascading but lying on its side... Sigh!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pattern for "Cascading Blossoms"

Only . . . (SOLD)
I'm making progress on the pattern for "Only in My Dreams" which is now changed to "Cascading Blossoms." It is about 6" x 24" but easily enlarged for table runner size. The first quilt is sold. The second one is my sampler. I wrote out the pattern, then made the second one to see if everything worked the way it should. Besides enjoying the process, the pattern has been refined because of it. 

Cascading . . .
This sample is not finished. The fusing is not done and the stamens are not on, nor is there any quilting. Thread choices will also enhance it, I hope!

When the pattern is ready to go (as in printed, packaged) I will note that here in this blog and make it available through my Etsy page. Etsy takes PayPal which can also process most credit cards. Note that prices on my page are in US dollars.

I'm fascinated at the difference made by fabric choices. Now I'd like to try one with a medium blue background, dark blue-green leaves, and pale blue/white flowers... and enlarge it to 12" x 48" for the top of a cabinet.

Friday, February 5, 2016

All of a Sudden

Please tell me I'm not the only one who this happens to... I was nicely making one quilt at a time but something happened to my good intentions. 

• I finished Nativity 2 (it has a better title) and was 1/2 to 3/4 done drafting the pattern with lots of people asking for it.

• I'd also started and finished a one-block wonder but was not happy and designed to jazz it up with a dangling zentangle design, so gathered a pile of stuff to do that with while we were on holidays.

• And while we were on holidays, a woman bought "Only in My Dreams" from my Etsy page. Then in the next few days, a couple people asked for the pattern... and I thought that would not take long so started working on it, which of course involved making another one so I was sure the pattern worked and was easy to follow.

• In the meantime, I had some ugly fabric that I wanted to make a utility quilt with, and cut it out, sewed the smaller parts together and have this stack ready to sew together -- hiding somewhere in my sewing room. It will make 11" blocks and I've enough for a good-sized couch quilt.


• At the start of the year, I decided to do the 'pick 12' thing, so numbered that many projects and told my hubby to pick a number at the end of each month. Yikes, he was so sick in January and into February that we nearly lost him. (He lost nearly 20 lbs) Weak and wobbly, he still picked a number, which turned out to be one of those "only an idea in my head" projects, along with some blackish fabric. I decided to make place mats. How hard can that be? But the idea included skylines, so after a bit of searching, I found enough good ones to make a set of place mats. So far, they are mostly dormant on my computer, but this looks like fun...

But I need to finish that Cascading Blossoms pattern, and the pattern for the nativity scene. Dangling Zentangles are calling my tame, but the ugly fabric even looks good at times... All of a sudden, I need to clone (or kick) myself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hubby and I went to NC on the 7th to visit our daughter and son-in-law. Bob got sick on the 8th and went from bad to worse rather rapidly. I've posted some of it on my other blog. If you read from January 17, it will tell you why I'm not posting here. It has been a very rough couple of weeks and it's not over yet. He is seriously ill.