Oh my goodness! It’s 2020!

The other day I popped quickly in at Tanner’s Interiors  to pick up some quilts.  She happened to be in her shop that day and wondered how I was as she hadn’t heard anything from me in a while.   What I didn’t realize at the time is that the “in a while” was 15 months!!!!  I had no idea it has been so long since I posted your quilts, my projects or much of anything.

So it’s the beginning of a new year & a new decade!  And YES I’m still quilting!  And more.  If you want to catch up on my personal life – you’re welcome to read my personal blog. 

Quilt shops – I still go out to Cottonwood in Charlottesville every few months as needed.  Amazingly Mary has expanded her shop compared to the ones I use to go to that have closed down.  Another quilt shop in Fredericksburg has also closed their doors in recent weeks.   And of course Tanner’s Interiors in Madison is still available for your to drop off/pick up your quilts.  I do have plenty of favorites online to buy quilt kits & fabrics from.

Here’s what you’ve been doing for over the last 15 month AND some of my projects.

Quilts 2018

It has been a very hectic year in my life. I’d like to believe that the next two months I can just relax and breathe, but not holding my breath.

Here’s what you’ve been busy doing this year with a few of my own interspersed!

Quilt Pictures ONLY

Too busy to actually write something worthwhile so here’s a slide show of the year thus far!

Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

I’ve been longarm quilting for 10 years now and quilted well over 2000 quilts in that time.  But there’s still something I haven’t achieved….. taking a imperfect quilt and making it perfect.

Recently a new client complained about my lack of design on her quilt compared to another’s she had seen.  The other quilt at the request of the quilter had parrots quilted on it to go with her fabrics and the intended recipient’s interests.   The new client’s was a rather simple design all solid fabrics.  She gave no preference for designs – to do what was best for the quilt.  So based on the size of the quilt, the piecing job, and in my opinion – a generous meandering was best.

I apologized that I hadn’t understood what she had wanted, but overall still felt it was best for the quilt.

Then she complained about some pleats & tucks…. well here I sit after a couple days of mulling this over.

My mentor has a policy – if the pieced top is not square or doesn’t lay flat, loose seams, wavy borders, etc – she returns it.  If the backing is too small, not squared, doesn’t lay flat because it was also pieced, etc.  She won’t quilt it.

Ten years ago – our family was struggling financially due to the crash in the housing market and husband’s job in construction.  I was willing to quilt anything and did – good, bad & ugly.

So over the years I’ve developed a reputation for being quite good at longarm quilting.  I’ve manage to make quilts I received better than I received them.  I’ve learned a few tricks to help ease in extra fullness in borders or hiding it a well place pleat.

But I can’t fix everything.  I can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.


REVIEW: Preparing your quilt for your longarmer

Deemed necessary as recent quilts have not been as ready as I’d prefer.

Pressing your quilt top – do it while your making it!  Your seams will line up better and it will be easier to do a block/row at a time versus trying to press it when its completed or worse not at all.

Backings – pressing isn’t totally necessary.  I’ve found the best method is spritzing as I load it on the rollers.  Pieced backings – please remove salvage edges and press seams open.  While pressing whole cloth backings is optional in my book – size is critical whether pieced or whole.  PLEASE allow an extra 6-8″ around the perimeter.  For example a 50×50 quilt top needs at least 62×62 backing & batting.  I need ample to attach to the machine and side clamps, thus avoiding mishaps with the needle hitting a clamp or pin at the edges.  The side clamps also help stabilize the quilt backing during the quilting process.

Edges – if your quilt has a border your good to go, but if you have a pieced edge?  Well that means lots of seam ends that could possibly come loose from handling.  You can do one of two things – 1) leave an inch tail of thread at the end of a seam or 2) sew a 1/4″ stay stitch around the perimeter of the quilt.

Update on my life – many of you already know, but my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson in December.  He lost his dad to Parkinson so we know what the future could possibly hold.  He is doing well, taking meds and staying active.  He plays racquetball 4-5 times a week with his sons and I do a water workout a few times a week with him that focuses on keeping his movements big and maintaining balance.  Our 10th grandchild arrived on Feb 1st.  She is a beautiful little girl.  Her quilt is unique – no longarm quilting.  I over-designed the size of it, so after some thought, she got a small cradle quilt at birth and the larger crib quilt is waiting on a few more crochet flowers.  I was involved in a car accident in March – that although not injured, knocked me for a loop emotionally.  I’ve had a difficult time getting out of a slump – much like writer’s block- a close friend came and cracked the whip and I’ve been doing much better.  I got my garden started & a few other projects started.  Which leads me to your quilts!  Lots of them! Your notes & phone calls about how much you love the designs I’ve quilted keep me going forward ~ Thank You!

Most recent mishap(July) was with my machine – while thinking too much about the accident and while basting one of my own, I decided to put a stitch through my finger – went in one side of the nail edge and a very small piercing and the other side of the nail bed edge.  No blood on the quilt – it happened really fast.  Made a trip to the ER – tetanus shot, x-rays (missed the bone, no needle pieces or thread fibers), painkillers, antibiotics – I was pretty fuzzy for a few days.  It’s healing but the nerve endings inside get a little irritated when I use the finger to type, press buttons, well pretty much anything that puts pressure on it. (September update – finger has healed very well.)

Now for the show!  Lots of quilts to show off!





Changes in the wind

Well my life came to a bit of a halt in June.  My dad had cataract surgery and due to being removed from his blood thinners, he had a second stroke – the first one was in 1996.  The next few weeks he would be in & out of the hospital.  On July 4th my dad finally passed.  I was grateful I had recently returned from visiting my parents in late April/early May, but it was difficult being so far away.  My husband & I flew to Washington State for the funeral and to help my mom adjust.  I had recently noted some inconsistencies in her memories & behaviors on my last few visits.  My siblings came on board with watching mom deal with dad’s hospital stays and death.  So I spent time taking her to dr appts., researching possible outside help, cleaning and promising to return to give relief to my siblings in taking care of her.

I returned home in late July and started getting back into quilting and life.  Speaking of life – our 9th grandchild is expected by month’s end and our 10th in January!  #9 will be living here with us – so I’ll be busy taking care of him once his mom returns to work in November.  So for now my quilting schedule for the rest of 2015 –

October  7  – 145 Art & Design in Culpeper (new location across the street); Cottonwood in Charlottesville; Quilt & Sew in Fredericksburg

October 21FINAL PICK UP FOR HOLIDAY QUILTS!!! at 145 Art & Design in Culpeper; Cottonwood in Charlottesville; Quilt & Sew in Fredericksburg

November ??? – I plan to make one trip in November to return all quilts in my possession.  You will be emailed or called when they are ready to pick up.

For those willing to drive to my home in Partlow or mail/ship – you have until October 31th to get quilts to me.

At this point I don’t know exactly what 2016 will bring. I know in January I will be heading to North Carolina for the birth of our 10th grandchild.  And sadly its’ been almost a year since we’ve been to Texas to see our grandchildren there – so a trip is desperately needed to see them.  And my mom – although I have several siblings on the West Coast to take care of her – they need some relief even if all I can give is a week or two a year.

I have no plans to end my business – I love quilting and working with your quilts too much, but my schedule will be erratic at times.  Please be sure to let me know if you have deadlines.

And for the favorite part…. your work & some of mine too!

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Quilting – lessons learned

December of 2012 – I started a Block of the Month quilt with a Christmas theme.  April 2013 I finished Block 1; August 2013 Block 2 was complete and two others the pieced backgrounds complete.  Over the last 3 years I’ve slowly worked on the blocks until about 4 months ago when I decided I was going to get it done.

Tonight I finished all the embroidery, all the blanket stitch, all the piecing – whew!  Quilting & a few button embellishments and it will be complete.IMG_3716

I considered myself a fairly decent quilter, but there is always rooms for improvement.  So a few things I learned:

  • Iron-on interfacing:  I have this spider web awesome stuff I use when doing hand applique – I have no idea why I used a heavier interfacing for the applique work on this quilt.  The blanket stitch was time-consuming and difficult to push a needle through two layers of fabric and the interfacing.  Also with the main blocks I was turning the edge with the blanket stitch. When I finally reached the corners with the birds & scallops – I trimmed off the edge I had originally turned under.  It helped a  little bit. Lesson learned – avoid med/heavy weight iron-on interfacing for any hand or machine stitching – even if you are just trying to use up your stash.
  • IMG_3718

    You can see how smooth & flat the scallops are versus the border strip.

  • Measure. Measure. Measure.  I tell clients all the time when it comes to borders to measure, measure, measure.  Another disadvantage of the interfacing – the scalloped edge stiffened the fabric where it had NO movement and so the border didn’t work well with the directions measurements.  I had to put an easing stitch along the entire edge of the border to ease it to fit the main blocks.  No gathers or puckers but time consuming.  The borders were made as a unit – difficult to adjust beforehand, but I probably could have figured it out if I had measured first. I’m working on another Block of the Month quilt – no embroidery or embellishments.  The directions call for measuring & squaring the smaller blocks withing the blocks as you go.  I wish this quilt had done that a bit more. Lesson learned: measure, measure, measure.
  • And last of all – I really don’t like to do blanket stitch by hand.  I love to do needle turned hand applique, but not blanket stitch.  Blanket stitch with my machine – love it. Lesson learned: next quilt that calls for lots of blanket stitch – I will use the machine.

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Last but not least – leftovers!!! Several years back I made a quilt for a fundraiser – raffle quilt 2010

For almost 5 years I kept the leftover scraps together – because there were that many!  Recently I finally made a very scrappy baby quilt for my great niece.

Well I have the same dilemma –  guess I’ll wait for a Christmas baby?


Slowing down…

I’ve kept pretty busy for the last several years – quilting, children, grandchildren, church, etc.  Recently I felt inspired to slow down.  I let my clients know that I was only scheduling 2 quilts a week versus the 5-7 I had been doing.  I was released from overseeing the children’s program in our church.  And I paused.

So for the last month I’ve been working in my gardens, tending my bees, playing my piano, studying my scriptures, finished embroidery on two shirts for my husband (last year’s Father’s Day gifts from my daughters), worked on a quilt I’ve been working on for about 3 years, traveled to Tacoma to visit my parents, attended my youngest daughter’s spring concerts, relaxed in the evenings with my husband, went strawberry picking with my grandchildren, and… done a few quilts.  And yes this was slowing down in my book.

I’m still waiting… I know the Lord has something coming around the corner, that he wanted to give me a chance to breathe.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the sun, my gardens and quilting.

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New Studio!!! WOO HOO!!!

Well it took more time than I had planned and there are still lots of odds & ends but here’s a photo slideshow of the process!

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Tonight – this is how the studio generally looks.

From the closet - project wall - ironing board - cutting table - thread wall  - sewing table.

From the closet – project wall – ironing board – cutting table – thread wall – sewing table.

Scrapbooking corner - office - longarm machine - bobbin winder/file cabinet.

Scrapbooking corner – office – longarm machine – bobbin winder/file cabinet.

Catching Up on Quilting! And the Top Quilters for 2014

This blog post will be just that – all the quilts that I haven’t posted in the last 7 months.  And why!

Life is crazy busy and not just with quilting.  For the last year & a half I’ve been chauffeuring my youngest to all her outside the home activities as her siblings have grown up.  As a homeschooler you’d think we’d be home more than away but with a very artistic & talented child it can mean just the opposite. We are gone 3 days a week to music & art classes.  That has meant less time in the studio working on quilts during the schooling months.  And then there is the traveling….we now have 8 grandchildren in Virginia, North Carolina & Texas.  Sometimes we are traveling there and sometimes they are traveling here – either way it means less time at the quilting machine.

But I love quilting your quilts!!!

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*Top Quilters for 2014*

In 3rd place – Leann Shelor (7 quilts) $10 off first quilt of 2015

In 2nd place – Jackie Macuk & Pam Brackett (9 quilts) $15 off first quilt of 2015

And 1st place quilters for 2014 were Susan Oakley & Elaine Wurth (10 quilts)  $25 off first quilts for 2015

Happy Quilting ladies!  Next post – the new studio.