Tag Archive | quilting

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!





A New Year of Quilting – A New Quilting Studio

I don’t think I ever realize how much time has gone by since my last post until I finally sit down to do a new post.   I’d like to say this year I’ll be better but…. well blogging is not at the top of my “to do” list. The last few months have been busy ones.  I’ve done some traveling back & forth to North Carolina, had a family reunion, traveled to Salt Lake City and more back & forth to North Carolina.   And finished lots of quilts!

I’m moving my office & quilting room out of the dungeon!  In the coming weeks my daughter & I will be tackling moving, painting, flooring, and more moving.  We have a huge room over the garage that we’ve been using as a playroom for our kids & grandkids – no more.  It will be my studio – lots of room and a WINDOW to the outside! So here’s a peek at where I’ve been working…. distorted views because I used my iPhone to do a panoramic view

The "quilting" room.

The “quilting” room.

The "office" and "everything else" room

The “office” and “everything else” room

And here’s where I’m heading to… two flights of stairs….

Future home of Hummingbird Hollow Creations

Future home of Hummingbird Hollow Creations

Tentative plans for the new studio

And with not keeping the blog up to date on a monthly basis, I have a ton of your quilts to show off!  Rest assured that there will be a spot to hang & photograph your quilts in a much better setting than currently!

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Last bit of news –

That Little Quilt Shop in Madison, Virginia has moved.    Noreen Smith, the owner, also has a store in Culpeper, Virginia called 145 Art & Design Studio (located at 145 E Davis Street, Culpeper, Virginia) and has decided to combine the two.    She has a closet all ready for your quilts.  Parking is located in the back – you can also go into her shop from the back – dark red brick building, wooden stairs – located at the left(northwest) corner of the parking lot.  Parking lot is on northwest corner of E. Culpeper Street & S. East Street.

I will also be continuing drop-offs & pick-ups at Cottonwood located at 2035 Barracks Road in Charlottesville  and at Quilt & Sew located at 3940 Plank Road, Suite N in Fredericksburg.

1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month are my typical days for drop-offs & pick-ups.  Fredericksburg area customers  – flexible as I go into Fredericksburg a few days a week – just let me know when something is ready for me.   And your always welcome to come visit me – the new studio will have a corner just for you to visit!

Also – look for Hummingbird Hollow Creations at Pinterest and on Facebook.

When A Ping-Pong Table Just Won’t Do!


How To Display Your Quilts

So if you haven’t noticed I use a ping-pong table to drape your quilts on for the photo.   I face two problems – lighting and not be able to display the entire quilt.  And of course for long-term displaying – well a ping-pong table just won’t do.

Now sometimes if I have some able bodies in the house and I have them hold it up in my family room where natural light is optimum or for the larger quilts to hold it over our second floor catwalk that looks over the family room.  Great lighting and you get to see the whole quilt.  But I depend on able bodies – which are decreasing even as I type.

Well I’ve been looking at some options floating around on the web — and some I’ve ran across at some at quilt shops.

Here’s what I’ve found:


Hmmm… OK but needs a sleeve.    Not an option when they aren’t my quilts.  Even my own quilts I don’t want to bother with a sleeve.  Of course if you don’t mind sleeves – any nice curtain rod will do.

This same company makes a hang-up booth like for quilt shows – time-consuming, need to pin the quilts to the curtain – most definitely not a good long-term solution.

Using PVC pipe –


Not particularly appealing – get the same results as the ping-pong table in that you don’t see the whole quilt.

Now I have seen a PVC pipe hanger that I’ve considered  in another long arm quilter’s studio.  She was hiring the guy to make them and then she would sell them – don’t know if it ever happened.  Anyway – the guy cut a slot down the pipe the entire length, sanded the edges and added end-caps.  You simply removed one end cap and slid the quilt down the slot – the binding would be enough bulk to keep the quilt edge inside the pipe.  What I can’t remember is how it was mounted to the wall – maybe before you put the quilt it you could screw the pipe to the wall?  You’d have to drill a tap hole to keep the pipe from shattering – but that is definitely something I should follow-up on.  And you can paint the pipe to match your walls to boot!

Another is a giant like clothes pin –


I’ve also considered taking a 1×4 and screwing clothes pins to it every 6-8 inches.

Lighting is a big obstacle – generally I take the photos in the basement – no natural light, and the fluorescents are down to one bulb.  Problem escalating. Hmmm.  I really would like to take them outside to photograph… hmmm.  Maybe husband can build large self-supporting frame with clothes pins???

Backs of couches, old fashion quilt racks, cedar chests, ends of beds – are all great place to display your handy work.  I have an old treadle machine that I plan to put an unfinished top on someday.

What do you use to display your quilt?

Here’s what you’ve been doing the last month or so – displayed on my ping-pong table until I come up with something better – which better be soon because the lighting is doing a number on the photos this month.  And a couple of my projects in recent weeks too.

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Making progress on UFOs!

I’ve been married for almost 31 years (two days shy of this post)!   UFOs were part of the package unbeknownst to my husband.  One in particular is nearly as old as I am.  It is an embroidered coffee table runner that I started about age 6.  My grandmother & mother taught me and over the years I slowly worked on it – for years.  IMG_0360 IMG_0362Do you notice the differences between the red work & the pink work?  About 10 years of practicing.  This is one UFO I will never finish but I will also never part with.  I have used it to show my own daughters that it takes time to perfect a craft.  They don’t believe it until about 10 years have gone by – lol.

I have a few boxes of UFOs I’ve collected over the years  – many are things I gave a try, and just didn’t pursue further.  Others like cross-stitching I still enjoy doing – but I have a few UFOs of those too.  Mainly I finish the stitching but never get them framed & displayed.

I even have a few quilting UFOs – okay more than a few.

What UFOs have you collected through the years?  And if you don’t have any….. WHY NOT?

Here’s what you’ve been doing ~No UFO’s here!

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And my current quilting project – well I’m still working on January’s block!


Year End Quilting New

2012 is coming to a close!  Hummingbird Hollow Creation’s biggest highlight & achievement – my longarm machine is PAID in full!  In preparation knowing it would be paid off by the end of 2012 I decided to reward a customer each month during the upcoming year with $100 of quilting during 2013.

Here’s the list of winners!

January – Marianna Baier

February – Betty Wimmer

March – Dorothy Hinkes

April – Sandi King

May – Kasey Miller

June – Helen Graham

July – Lisa Hansen

August – Karen Darby

September – Dot Clear

October – Estalla Harris

November – Monike Moody

December – LeAnn Sholer

2012 Prolific Quilters!  Ties in all 3 places!

1st Place — Pam Brackett & Jackie Macuk for 11 quilts.  $20 off your first 2013 quilt!

2nd Place – Helen Graham & Barbara McVeigh for 9 quilts.  $15 off your first 2013 quilt!

3rd Place – Sandi King, Kathy Law, and Betty Wimmer for 6 quilts. $10 off your first 2013 quilt!

I’ve been asked in the past how many quilts I personally make – not as many as usual – but 3 very important ones for 3 new grandbabies!  And then another 11 for great nieces & nephews – still have another 4 to finish and even more to get started on!

2013 I have plans for two quilt just for me!  Both hand applique – I love the look!  One is a Block of the Month with Shabby Fabrics called Peppermint Place.  If you haven’t ran across them – they have some beautiful patterns & fabrics.   And the other was a Block of the Month with Honey Bee Fabrics  but I was late in signing up, so I purchased the pattern Baltimore Autumn quilt and will be scavenging for the fabrics in the coming months.

Here’s what you have all been doing the last few months!

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Have a wonderful 2013!


First – I don’t know all the tricks!  But I have learned a few over the years and even this time around!

Patterns – you can find plenty of patterns for applique quilts out there but sometimes it is fun to do your own – anyone can!  A great place to start as a beginner is with coloring books – find one that has simple straight forward drawings.  Trace onto scrap paper – you can simplify more or move a line or add a curve.   Add color – with pencils or crayons or even scraps of fabrics you plan to use.  Decide on the order – start at the bottom and work up – you don’t want to do the eyes first!  And then we start…

One of my favorite products for quilting applique is Heat Bond Lite. Your going to trace each shape onto the Heat Bond paper side.  Couple of things to remember:

1 – Reverse your shape, especially letters.

2 – Trace some extra fabric/heat bond to areas that overlap another fabric shape  – like a seam allowance, but only where there is overlap – you’ll see later on why this is important.

3 – Cut out the heat bond larger than the traced shape.

Next simply iron the  Heat Bond to the back of your fabric piece.  And then trim to the traced design – remember  not to trim the extra allowance of the overlap areas.

Do this for each piece of your design   – don’t it look great!

Now for my grandson’s quilt – I had 16 blocks to design, trace, cut out, bond, cut out again and layout!.  Quite an endeavor but it looked great at the end.

Now you’ll need to decide on a background for your applique – in a block? A quilt border?  Throughout  the quilt top?  Unless it is scattered throughout the quilt top – best to apply the applique to the quilt piece before putting the pieces together.  I like to cut my blocks about a 1/2-inch larger and then re-square them up after applying the applique just in case the applique has altered the shape.

Because I chose a white background it was easy to put the original drawing behind the block to help in the placement of the pieces.  Note the extra allowance of fabric at the edge of the fabric.  Start with the piece that is on the bottom – here it is the hull of the ship. I was able to go ahead and iron on two more pieces that didn’t overlap.  Then I added the other three pieces – now here’s where I forgot to add some extra for overlap – note how the pieces are flush with the  lines of the pieces that go on top.  Not good – when it comes time to stitching the pieces there is no fabric underneath the top piece to catch in the stitching.  Whoops!

You can see in the below photo that there is some overlap with the hull of the ship and the top piece on it as well as the water. Whew!  But not so much with the other two.

All the blocks are ready!

Time to sew!

Now in the past when I did applique before Heat Bond  – I would have added a 1/4-inch to seam allowance to each piece, straight stitch the perimeter at the 1/4-inch seam line. trim closely to stitching and then stitch again with a zigzag stitch  – at your desired width & stitch length.

Now with the Heat Bond – I simply just go straight to the zigzag.

Again we start at the bottom and work upward.  To minimize thread changes I would do all the same color that was on the bottom or stand alone on all the blocks and then move onto the next color.  I begin & end with tiny straight stitches to lock in the stitching  – zigzag is notorious for coming out.

Ending can be done either directly on the zigzag or down the edge where it will be hidden by subsequent zigzag.

Another option for ending – needs a bit more patience – but is great for tips of leaves – anything that has less than a 90 degree angle.  You simply decrease the zigzag width while stitching – or decrease, sew a couple of stitches, decrease, sew a couple of stitches… like I said requires patience.

Using  additional stabilizer – a good idea!  I used a light weight tear-away type – when I remembered!  You can see how the one sailboat is not as smooth as the car.

You can simply tear it or use small scissors to trim it away on the insides.  Cuticle scissors are a great little tool to have near the sewing machine!

Time to square up!  Fairly easy if you cut your background a bit larger than planned.  Use a grid & ruler to check your design is center and begin on one edge.  Using the first edge as your guide for the other cuts.

Now it’s time to put your quilt together!  Have fun!  Feel free to share any tips you’ve learned doing applique with the rest of us!

My newest grandson’s quilt – ready to quilt!

I did a lot of freehand quilting on this quilt as well as stitch-in-the-ditch and some custom scripting.

And of course one more ~ the star of the show!


Not quite ready to get the blog going but it is ready & waiting for me to fine tune it by the first of the new year!

I’ll be posting quilting & sewing tips, my projects – quilts, designs & what-nots, favorite customer quilts and more.  Be sure to subscribe so you keep updated on news!