Sunday, August 28, 2011


Been busy today trying to get ready for my camping trip this week.  Every year a group of my friends go camping near Santa Barbara, California.  I usually don't go, but this year, I am!  I'm excited to be out in the fresh air under the stars.  I'm also excited to visit my cousin on the way home.  She just bought a new home in Santa Barbara, so it will be fun to see where they live now!  I spent today trying to quilt my friend's quilt.  It should have been easy ... well, the borders are really off.  She said she thought they would be ... she doesn't measure and add borders, she just starts sewing and then cuts off when she gets to the end.  Well ... this is a quilt made with jelly rolls, and the jelly roll strips are cut on angles.  I think what's happened is that all those angles stretched and we now have a problem.  It is so easy to take care of this problem if you properly measure through the center of your quilt and get your length and width before you add your borders.  That way it helps square up your quilt.  I had decided I was going to take it off the frame, take off the borders and fix them.  Well, then when I took the quilt off I noticed my tension on the back is not good.  The thread is not burying in as it should ... it's just laying there.  Hmmm ... cause I tested the tension before I started.  Well, I was going to have to rip it all out anyway, but I'm pissed about the tension.  How can I still be having tension issues after quilting about 50 quilts?  So frustrating ... okay, I guess that's my lesson to not try and fit stuff in; slow down and only do it when you have the time.  Well, I've been ripping out for about 5 hours and I'm only about halfway done!  Ha ,ha ... now I really need a vacation.  Have a great week everyone.  I'll be back on Friday with some pictures of camping!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A grateful heart

What a wonderful day today was.  Our store's "Sew for the Cure" sale raised $11,000!  This year we did something a little different.  Our friend JoAnn that we work with, her daughter has been battling cancer.  She had melanoma a few years ago, and last year had some tumors appear.   Megan went through some chemo treatments that weren't working, and then they started her on an experimental chemo that did work.  A new scan showed that some of the tumors had some new growth, so she needs to start chemo again.  Because the drug is not experimental anymore, the cost to her is astronomical.  So this year all of our proceeds went to Megan.  When everyone found out it was JoAnn's daugther, they gave additional money, or just wrote checks without even buying anything.  There were tears around all day ... but what a wonderful day it was!

Here are the quilts and goodies that were in the front yard to sell.  You can see that people line up early to get first pick.

The first in line, waiting at the gate for it to be 10:00 a.m.!
Here are the quilts, etc. in the backyard.  They are all things that customers have made, and they lend them to us for the day so we can inspire others!

Look at how beautiful this lady's stitching is ...

These were a couple of my favorites ... the applique was just beautiful!

What a wonderful, heartwarming day ... all of these ladies I work with, and the store we work at, the ladies that work on this all year ... we are so blessed.  Quilters are amazing people!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday ... whew ... pooped!

Wow, I am just done today!  Finished the binding on my little tablerunner and went into the store today to help with a little more setup.  I didn't start my day off too well ... my cell phone fell into my huge cup of coffee ... knocked it all over the floor.  Phone is currently drying out in a bucket of rice ... it's supposed to help dry it out.  Then I was at the store and trying to leave and I lost my car keys!  Finally after about 15 minutes of looking, I found them in the pocket of my purse in a spot where I don't normally put them!  Ahhh .... and the show is tomorrow and I am already pooped!  Ah well ... it will all be fine.   Can't wait to show you pictures tomorrow ... here's a peek at the mystery quilt I'm teaching in the next couple of months.  Of course I can't show you the whole quilt because it's a mystery!
Have a great Friday night ... yahoo!!

A long day

Whew, what a day!  I work on Thursdays at the quilt store ... the most wonderful quilt store, the Country Loft, in La Mesa, California.  Every year at the end of August we do what we call Sew for the Cure; the proceeds of all the donated quilts, dolls, etc. have in year's past been given to the Susan Komen Foundation to support cancer research.  This is a huge undertaking ... today in the store was the day they price the donation quilts.

This is a picture of JoAnn and Tina at the end of the day ... they sure worked hard and most of the stuff is priced.  They were getting a little silly at this point.  I love when we have special store events; it's a lot of hard work, but it's really exciting, and usually instead of two people working, we have at least double that.  Everyone pitches in to make the event wonderful ... today there were six of us!  Tomorrow it will be crazy as we get everything set for Saturday.  JoAnn has the biggest job ... she has to handwrite all the signs that go on the quilts that people share.  The customer quilts, dolls, etc. are shared for inspiration in the backyard, and in addition to handwriting each of those signs, she has also had to handwrite all the signs that go on the quilts that are donated to be sold ... her hand needs a vacation to be sure!!  I'll post pictures on Saturday of the event so you can get a peek at how wonderful it is!

I am almost finished with the binding on my Halloween Squares quilt, and I have a small tablerunner that I am teaching as a Beginning Quilt 101 class ... it is also a halloween fabric quilt ... ha, ha!  That needs to be bound too, and I will do that probably early tomorrow a.m. before I go into the store to help out.

One of the great things about working in a quilt store and teaching classes, is that when I design a pattern of my own, the store carries those patterns for sale.  I am so lucky!  In rearranging the store for the fall opening (which coincides with the quilt show), two of my quilts are shown in the front room as samples ... I am so excited ... it's like being a celebrity ... here they are!

Honeycomb Stars

Stars by Night

Time for bed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quilt is done!

First of all, I really want to thank everyone who commented on my first few posts.  Especially as someone that has a new blog, it's really great to hear from anyone to know that it's being read!  Keep those comments coming!  I'm a little late on posting today because I went to my monthly book group.  We read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."  I don't know that I would recommend it, but I was the lone person in the group that didn't like it.  I do like that it was really different from what we normally read, so that part was nice.

I finished quilting the halloween quilt.  The samples for the new class scheduled should really all be done the day before the schedule comes out so they can be hung ... I never have all my samples done!  I always try, and I thought I would have them done this time, but I just ran out of time!  I decided a while ago that there is only so much I can do.  This whole quilting thing -- teaching, working at a quilt store, longarming, etc. -- is supposed to be fun.  When it stops being fun, then that's not much of a hobby is it?  So there are certain things I just won't fret over anymore ... and one of them is finishing the samples. As long as they're done well before the class so people can see what they look like and decide whether to sign up for them, then I'm happy!  Actually, I think I did great this time ... I have 4 classes, and only 1 sample isn't done.  Not too bad!

I decided to show you a picture of my Innova ... this is the granny flat next to our house, and that's where my longarm lives.  I actually finished the quilt.  I'm not entirely happy with the quilting on it ... I wish I had quilted the swirls in the border closer together or put more in or something, but I was in a bit of a hurry to get it done. 

I have one more small quilt to quilt tomorrow before everything is due to be turned in on Friday.  But again, I can't sweat the quilting ... I am a perfectionist and it will probably look better to me tomorrow!  I'll shoot a picture tomorrow of the finished quilting so you can judge for yourself.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My little friends

I am seldom alone when I'm at home.  No, my kids aren't little ... I have a son who is 21, and a daughter, who is 17.  They periodically will come visit with me when I'm sewing; they'll pull a chair up and sit down and chat for a little bit.  My husband steers clear of the room, and usually stays downstairs and just hollers up when he wants something.  He doesn't understand what goes on in that sewing room.  Like I said yesterday, the room is pretty small, and I can usually be assured that I'm not alone in there ... if I look, Charlie is usually wedged in between a wall and a small space.  Charlie is my 70 pound rottweiler/labrador mix ... he is my baby, and my kids will tell you that I love him more than them.  It's not true ... but what can I say, Charlie doesn't talk back!  He is also always so happy to see me, and he can always be found wherever I am.  It's a pretty cool thing actually, and one of the reasons I love him so much.  But today was so hot (we don't have air conditioning in most of the house), that he was laying outside the sewing room door.
Our daughter got a puppy last year, she is usually found not too far behind Charlie.  But Sophie doesn't quite understand why Charlie would be upstairs where it's hot, when it's a lot cooler downstairs.  She doesn't have that need to be right near me.  She isn't really my dog, but we do spend a lot of time together, and I must admit, I sure love her too ... she is a crackup.  She loves to comes into my sewing room and find some tiny piece of fabric or something on the floor.  She then grabs it up quick, makes sure I'm looking, and runs as fast as she can the other way!  But where was Sophie today? ...

Well she's no dummy ... she decided to take a nap since it was so hot.  That way she could conserve her energy for later!
I did get some sewing done today at least.  Remember that cute fabric from yesterday ... here's a sneak peak at the halloween square quilt.  What do you think?  I am liking it!  I hope to be finished with it tomorrow and get it on the long arm.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A few of my favorite things

If you're a quilter, you know what I'm about to say is true ... if you're not a quilter, you'll think I'm just plain crazy.  Looking at stacks of fabric can make me happy!  How can you not smile when you see this?
Hometown by Moda
These colors are so beautiful ... I had to have some of almost every bolt.  Am I crazy?  Well, I have been creating a lot of my quilts lately from my fabric stash, so I do need to replace some fabric.  But wait ... did I forget something?
... yes I did.  I already have a fat quarter bundle of the same fabric.  But really, a fat quarter bundle is not nearly enough fabric, so a little bit of yardage is quite necessary!

If you know me really well, you know that my favorite holiday is Halloween.  Translate that into the fact that I have TONS of halloween fabric ... here's a small sample of what I have

I have more halloween/fall quilts than any other quilts! I just love all those warm colors.  Our new class schedule at the store comes out on Saturday, and I have a few classes scheduled for the next couple of months.  One of the classes I am teaching is called Halloween Squares.  I can't show you what it looks like just yet ... but here's a sample:

This is going to make one awesome quilt.  I'll show you more later in the week!  I was having a problem this evening though, and this problem was definitely slowing me down.  I have a fairly small sewing room ... the desk that I sew on is pretty small.  Nala the cat was insisting on keeping company this evening.  I'm always afraid I'm going to run over her tail with my rotary cutter or something.  But tonight she just would not leave me alone.  She wanted to run her head on the machine and I was afraid I was going to run over her tail with the machine.  I finally had to kick her off and out.
Good night Nala!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A few too many things

Do you ever do this?  You have so much to do that you ... do something else!  I had three small quilts to quilt this weekend for a class that we have at the store on Monday.  I have to have my friends' quilts finished so we can learn to create a scallop border.  So what am I doing last night?  Making chocolate chip cookies, and creating this blog!  Ha, ha ... I swear though that is how I get stuff done.  It drives my husband crazy!  I've always been like this though.  I think I work best under pressure!

So I finished the quilts.  Two of the quilts are the same size, and one is a smaller version.  They are all three the same quilt pattern, so I wanted to do something different in all of them.  I describe myself as a simple quilter.  What I mean by this is I like the quilting to compliment the quilt, not overwhelm it.  I want to see the quilt first, and the quilting second.  It is amazing how different a quilt can look depending on what stitching you do on the top.  I feel a pressure when I'm quilting for others.  I want that person to love what I do to their quilt, but most of the people I know say "just do whatever."  What if my whatever isn't what their whatever is?  The other problem is that I tend to try and be perfect and that is not a good reality to live in ... there is no perfect!  I know the day will come when a customer doesn't like what I quilt for them; it's just bound to happen.  I do hope they let me know so that I can remedy the situation and know what they like and don't like.  I think that's important.  So here's the quilts I did ... the tablerunner ... the all-over free motion pattern is on the left, and the pantograph is on the right.

What do you think?  Do you quilt for others?  What kind of quilting do you like?  I always love to know what people decide to quilt on a quilt.  What I finally realized ... there is not one perfect design ... there are probably at least 100 that would look great!  Life is too short ... let's eat cookies!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My first post!

Hi and welcome to my first post!  I'm so excited to finally be starting a blog.  I wanted to do this for a little while, but didn't know how.  Well, I just decided to jump right in!  I wanted a way to share what I do ... I love looking at other people's blogs and seeing what quilts they're working on, and the machine quilting they have done.   So let me just jump right in!  I work in a quilt store one day a week and we have a yearly event called "Sew for the Cure."  People donate quilts, dolls and other quilting related items to be sold.  The items are purchased and the proceeds go towards supporting cancer research.  In the past we have donated the money to the Susan Komen Foundation.  There is a group of awesome women that work on a lot of these quilts one day a week at the store.  They are really responsible for the success of this venture!  I donate my longarm quilting services, and am really happy to be a part of this!  It is a good way for me to get practice on my new Innova 26" quilting machine.  I have had the machine since the end of June; prior to that, I was working on a Juki on a Grace frame since February 2010.  So you see I am relatively new to this whole longarm quilting world, but I just love it!  Here's some pictures of a couple quilts I've been working on -- thanks for taking a peek!