Monday, November 9, 2009

Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

I have a block in the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks coming out in the next few days. I had a sneak preview and now have quilt ideas swarming around my head. This book is wonderful! So great I think I'll give away a copy of the book. To register, please post a comment on my blog. You can also send an e-mail to Make sure I have a way to contact you ifyou win! Tell me what your working on and if your ready for the holidays. (I am not!) I'll put your names in hat and pull out a winner on Thursday November 12th. Look for my block, Hot Fudge Please! Is there anything as good as a bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day? It's great as a place mat.
Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily Nov. 9-13 at for inspiration, ideas and giveaways galore! Look for 100 Blocks from Today’s Top Designers in your local quilt shop, or purchase it at

I am finally starting to settle in in Jacksonville. The weather is beautiful, but I do miss wearing a jacket now and then. The trip was a little hard on my electronics. I had to replace my computer. Too many bumps on the way down I guess. Of course it was right before the new Windows 7 was released. I wasn't sure what to do. After a little research I went ahead with a Vista machine that included the Windows 7 upgrade. I would have liked to buy a Mac, but have too much software that only runs on Windows. I still have my Mac laptop though. Now I just need a new copy of Electric Quilt. Seems I left that box behind.

I am still in the process of setting up my sewing room. Many of my things remain in Erie, Pa, like most of my fabric. My sewing machine has been in the shop as well. Not for much longer though. I got the call today. A board was replaced and the machine is sewing better than it has in quite a while. I can't wait to get it back and get back to work. I've been doing a little hand sewing to pass the time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rolling, roling, rolling...

I have lived on the shores of Lake Erie most of my life. I am used to having the lake as a directional landmark. When you live in this area, you usually know the lake is always north and from that can determine which direction you are headed. If the lake is on your right, you're headed west. It's quite simple. I have grown up with trips to the beach, lots of snow and not much sun. Summer temperatures reach 90 an average of 5 days a year. This summer, we had a hard time reaching 80. My mother used to say the temperature had to reach 80 before we could wear shorts. If I still listened to her advice, I would not have been able to wear shorts this summer. I compromise with shorts and a sweatshirt. All of this is about to change.

Honey and I (and all the little ones) are moving south. We are headed to Jacksonville. I am exchanging the lake for the ocean. I'll have to adjust to the ocean being east instead of the lake up north. It is quite an adventure. I have brought the kiddies down with all the essentials. Honey will follow with the remainder of the house.

If you have heard about my cat Cleo, you'll know that she is afraid of everything. I thought she would be the biggest challenge. She will hiss, spit and whap you if you upset her. She can be very playing, but does not like being picked up and held. She's not a very big fan of petting either. I tricked her into going into a cage by setting her food in it. Fortunately it's a soft cage. She tried to jump out after I closed the top. She really surprised me by settling down about an hour into our trip.

Charlie is my Great Pyrenees. He's 10 and is just starting to have hip problems. Oh and he weighs about 150 pounds. I had to lift him into the car, front half and then back half. The little boys, Booboo and Petey hopped right into the car and we were off.

I took my time. I was pulling a trailer and had some concerns about going through the mountains of West Virginia. We stopped to stretch, to get gas, to sleep, and to get hamburgers for everyone. Now, we're in Florida and the real adventure can begin.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Not Quite What I was thinking...

The word is out... Honey and I are moving to Florida. I have been packing, packing, packing, and living with boxes up to my eyeballs. I have sorted all of my clothes. Winter clothes go to Goodwill. The few I am saving are probably 10 times what I will actually need. Do you think the Goodwill in Florida has a market for a down jacket? or wool blazers? I guess I'll find out.
I have given away about 25% of my basement stores and the attic hideaways...and I am still up to my eyeballs in boxes. The accumulation of my fabric stash was a little shocking when I pulled it out of the attic and stacked it all together. Somehow it remained in the GO TO FLORIDA PILE though, even with a kind offer to help me sell some off.
We decided we had to do something about the kitchen counter top and floor before we put the house on the market. We have an amazing friend coming in to help replace what needs to be replaced. I knew that would be messy. I wasn't expecting this. Counter's strewn everywhere and mixed in with my boxes (sigh). The boys are very confused. Booboo is trying to climb into every box he thinks might be going. Petey sits on the couch giving me the big sad eyes. Charlie is trying to sleep through everything and hoping it will all go away.Even the cat is being more friendly. Maybe she's afraid she'll get left behind also. Just wait until I try to put her in the car. Friendly cat will disappear I'm afraid and witchy-witch cat will return.
So we are off on another grand adventure.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Changing Things Up

I think our vacation to find summer really woke me up. I realized I had been falling into a routine that had become monotonous. It's time to shake things up a little. I decided to take a little break from quilting. (Jaw drops in shock!) Don't worry, not a long break. I decided I needed a new jacket. I went round and round looking at patterns, trying to find just the right combination. conservative enough to last forever (almost anyway), stylish enough that I will want to wear it and was easy enough that I wouldn't get bogged down in making it. That's quite a tall order. I decided on a McCalls pattern, made the muslin and hated it. Good thing I used muslin first. Remind me about this jacket the next time I want to skip that step. I finally settled on Vogue 1064. I ordered a grey wool three season suiting and a grey silk lining. I have to say, it went together beautifully. I still have to send it out to the cleaners so they can press it.

Then, I promised to make the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag for T. It is a beautiful bag, but has piping all the way around. It has been some time since I have done piping, so I thought I had better make a "sample" bag to make sure my piping skills were up to speed. Off to the quilt store because (of course) I didn't have anything that would do in my stash. I bought a beautiful black/grey and tan fabric and a very cool stripe for the piping. I came home and cut everything out and realized...I can't use the stripe. I have to cut the piping strips on the bias and the stripes were already on the bias. So back to the quilt store for more fabric. In the end, I like how the bag turned out. Now I just need to fill it. Hmmm.

I'm ready to add some color to my sewing again. Working with all this grey has been soothing but it's time for another change.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home Again, Home Again...

Summer has been a little slow in coming to Erie, Pennsylvania this year. Our temperatures have been in the high 60's and low 70's for most of June and July. If I wanted to see summer, I had to take matters into my own hands. Fortunately, We have family in Jacksonville, Florida. Last week Honey and I headed south. We took the motorcycles. The little puppy boys (That includes my Great Pyrenees) went to Camp Diane and Camp Bonnie. Diane NextDoor watched the cat for me as well.

The weather was a balmy 65F when we left Friday evening. We made it to Clarksburg, WV on Friday. If you are ever near Clarksburg on a motorcycle, make sure to head East on 50. What a great road. Unfortunately we missed that side trip this time. We had 700+ miles to go. The mountains were beautiful as always. Very misty which turned into rain at the higher elevations. We rode the rollercoaster between rainy and cold at elevation down to hot and muggy in the valleys. Ah well, the joys of riding. Once we cleared the mountains, the weather was beautiful.

Most of our trip was spent visiting family. Honey's brothers, sister, and mother were all happy to see us. We took a short 300 mile (round trip) ride to visit my sister in Tallahassee. What a beautiful town. I agree with her the live oaks are stunning and Tallahassee has plenty of them. She also has a really cute quilt shop. I stopped in the Quilting Patch and looked around.

My sister-in-law has the same crazy infatuation with fabric that I do. She took off an afternoon so we could do a little shopping. We visited Paula's Fine Fabric and looked at the Bernina Sewing Machines. Neither Chris or I are really looking for a new machine, but it was fun to look at what is new. Paula also had rows of beautiful apparel and handbag. I love the Michael Miller collections she carries. Paula's focus is clothing, not quilting. She did have a few quilts that must have snuck in her back door though. She also has a service person in the store on Wednesdays. Chris and I agreed it would be nice to know you could drop off your machine Tuesday and pick it back up on Wednesday when it needed a cleaning. After Paula's we went down to Old Green Cupboard. They have quite a fabric collection. We were there a long time. I bought fabric to make a new bag and more of the In The Beginning Wintergraphix snowflakes. It's really too bad we can't buy more time to make the beautiful things. Old Green Cupboard has plenty to offer in addition to fabric. The store was full of pumpkins last week. They were all so cute. It's a good thing we brought the bikes down, or I might have brought many more home with me.

Unfortunately we only had a week to spend in the south. We took 2 days to come home. The weather cooled off again as soon as we hit the mountains of West Virginia. It's still in the high 60's and low 70's here at home. I hope summer arrives before September. I would like a little warm weather before the snow starts to fly.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Time for a Vacation

This week has been a crazy week. I started a new top on Saturday. I have not made too many knit tops. Just a silly fear on my part. I decided that fear of knit was irrational. I know, I know, when is fear ever rational. It was time to have confidence and move forward. I used Butterick 4886. I was able to do most of the sewing on my serger and that was a good thing. My regular machine stuck it's tongue out at me. I had to take it to the shop to have the thread cutter fixed. My sister said it needed a vacation.

I did get out my old machine in the meantime. This is the Singer I learned on. It's older than I am. A little cleaning and a little oil. It runs like a champ. The top is finished. It's not perfect, but it is wearable (with a cami of course).

I move on to a little quilting on my longarm. My machine is in the basement which is great most of the time. This week though it has been a little damp in the basement. Time to get out the dehumidifier. It as been in the high 60's and 70's here all week. Not exactly our usual July weather. Why does all that matter? I've been having tension issues. I think my thread has absorbed some of that dampness. Similar to paper kept out of the package this time of year tends to jam the copier. So I spent last night and this morning ripping out stitches. I don't really mind taking them out if they come out easy, it's the thought of having to put them all back in an no guarantee the tension is fixed (heavy sigh). Maybe I'm the one that needs a vacation.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy July 4th!

I can't believe it is July 4th already. Honey and I are getting ready to take a ride down to Fla. It's about 700 miles to his brother's house. We have the quilt shops already scoped out, a trip to Tallahassee to see my sister and maybe a little ride down to St. Augustine to see a few ghosts. The little boys are all excited about going to Camp Diane (Diane Next Door).

My bag did wonderful on it's test ride. I took it out to Warren, Pa which is about 90 minutes from home. I stopped at Quiltessentials in Pittsfield, one of my favorite quilt shops! I bought this wonderful purple butterfly fabric that I have no idea what I will do with.

Then on to Warren to the shop there. They were having a Shop Hop. I missed the tour bus, but they were still very busy. I found this great Galaxy batik to play with. I wished (as always) that I had a bigger fabric budget to play with. That would also mean I need a bigger time budget to work with all that extra fabric.

Getting back to the purpose of my trip. My new bag certainly gets quite a bit of attention. I need to devise a rain cover for it if I am going to take it to Fla. I don't think I can make one that fast enough. We may have to bring along an extra large baggie for it. I am taking quilts back to my sister-in-law so I'll have plenty of room for any extra purchases while we are gone.

I've been working on placemats again for my fall classes. I like the smaller projects for class. We can take home a completed top. The blue mat is for my paper piecing class. The brown/black is for my curves class. I've also been working on a few seasonal/holiday ones, but they are nowhere near finished yet.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Test Drive

Ready for a test ride! My bag is finished!

I added grommets to the bottom of the bag and threaded the bungee cords through them. I never did find purple cords, but the green coordinate well. I added a strip of fabric to hold the hooks when not on the bike. I can also push the cords into the bottom of the bag so they won't catch on anything.

This bag is huge! I tested how much fabric I could put in it on a Shop Hop.
I might even be able to fit some clothes in it as well, in case I have to stay overnight somewhere.

Here's how it looks on my bike. Looking pretty good I think.

The final adjustments. I made a little do-hickey thingy to hold the straps together so they don't flap in the wind. I shortened the bungees a few inches so they are tight over the fender.
What do I have left to do?
Take it for a test ride and fill it with new fabric!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My mother is a knitter. If you read her latest post, she talks about knitting rows and rows without the project seeming to get any longer. That's the way I feel the quilting has been on my bag. Then...all of a sudden, it's finished. I quilted the fabric in a cross hatch, using a quilting arm on the smaller pieces. I marked the larger pieces. I have a tendency to wander on bigger pieces. Once you start to wander, each row follows the last. It looks like I've been drinking. So, I marked the lines 1.5" apart.

I lined the pockets with matching fabric and added velcro closures so I don't loose things as I ride down the road. That would be very sad! I also added a band of Timtex. Timtex is a very heavy weight interfacing that added considerable body to the top of my pockets, right where the velcro is.

One pocket went on tonight, the other will wait until tomorrow. There are also side pockets that will get similar treatment. This is the pocket. I wasn't even trying to match the fabric on here and I find it difficult to find the pocket top. Lucky me! I'm sure that won't happen again.

Here are the little boys trying to help me out.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Off and Sewing

Although I have been distracted by class projects for this fall, I have also been assembling supplies to begin my motorcycle bag in earnest. Here are the changes I am planning in a little more detail.

First, The bag must have a way to attach to the motorcycle. I am going to use bungee cords attached to the base of the bag. I have metal grommets to put in the floor of the bag and will feed the cords through the holes and tie knots inside the bag. I also have a panel on the outside of the bag so that I can tuck the bungee cords with hooks inside the panel when it is not on the bike. I am contemplating putting zippers in to zip those pesky hooks inside. I've had bags before that got hooked on just about anything because the hooks did not have a safe home.

I have cut out the pieces roughly so that I can quilt first. I suppose it might have been easier to quilt the whole thing and then cut it out. Ah well. I have chosen a variegated purple thread for the quilting. It is a King Tut Cotton from Superior thread. The light purple dragonflies are the contrast fabric and the lining. I am using a fusible fleece as the batting and Decor bond interfacing to give the bag body. The quilting will be a simple grid about 1.5" apart. So, for a day or two I will be quilting, quilting, quilting!

My local quilt had their quilt show this weekend. I worked the admissions table on Saturday for a few hours. I also had 6 quilts in the show, mostly because of my absentmindedness. I turned in my list of 3 quilts at last months meeting. I was having a little trouble remembering the sizes of each quilt. I promptly forgot all about the list. After a gentle reminder in the newsletter, I called one of the kind ladies that was accepting quilts to take to set up. I had 2 of the quilts ready, I told her, but I couldn't remember the third quilt. When I dropped them off she told me who to call to find out what was on the list. So I called. Neither quilt I had dropped off was on the list. (Sigh!) I called another kind friend who was accepting quilts to take to set up. "I'll bring them right over." I said. Now, it also seemed a little silly to me to make them go through all the quilts in the show to find my quilts. So they ended up in the show anyway. Guess I had better pay more attention next time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Sewing Gazette

It's official. I sent out the first issue of the Sewing Gazette. It is a newsletter in a PDF format that I hope to send out monthly. It is general sewing related information, not just quilt things. You can sign up for your copy at There is a great interview with Laurie MacDonald from Chili Pepper Quilts. She is doing some amazing things with paper piecing. Check her website while your browsing. If you have other people you would like me to talk to or little tidbits you think I should include, please send me an e-mail and I'll do my best.

What else am I working on? Placemats and table runners for my fall classes. I'll share these when I get them finished. I've been playing with paper piecing more and a few simple curves. I've been working through this idea that you can create any shape with a few simple lines and curves. This time of year I'm really thinking ice cream! You'll have to wait until next time for more on that.

My motorcycle bag. I've been collecting supplies. The fabric arrived for the exterior. It's amazingly beautiful. Love that Kona Bay fabric! I bought the fusible fleece and the decor-bond interfacing to give it body. I still need purple bungee cords to strap it on the back of the bike. Black will do, but I would love to find purple. I have D rings, zipper, grommets and fasteners. I still need a little bit of webbing.

I was originally thinking saddle bags, but my tailpipe is too high and I haven't been able to find a frame to keep the fabric away from it. I decided on a bag to attach to the passenger seat. I am using the Butterick 3934 Duffel to get started. It is the right shape and about the right size. I will have to shorten the straps, add cinch straps to the top and a panel on the bottom for the bungee cords. More pictures to follow soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check it out!

I stopped in the quilt store today. I know, no surprise there. The new issue of Quilter's Home is out. Guess who's Watermelon Buffet quilt is in this issue. The new issue is not online yet, but I'm sure it will be shortly. My quilt shop always seems to get their magazines before anyone else. I think they have a special connection.

I ordered the fabric for my bags for the bike. I can't wait until it arrives. I have a little planning to do in the meantime. I have a few measurements to take of the bike, and see how I am going to work around the tail pipe. Heat and fabric don't usually do well together. I wonder if I can get purple bungee cords. I'll need grommets, velcro, webbing for the straps, and at least 1 zipper. Time to search the internet for sources.

My Latest Challenge

I'm giving myself a challenge project, stepping outside my comfort zone a little. First, a little background. I have been riding motorcycles for about 20 years (Yes, I started riding before I could walk, haha.) One of the things I learned over the years it that it is very helpful to have a place to put all your stuff. Riding motorcycles requires stuff. You have several different pairs of gloves in case the weather changes, hot weather gloves, cold weather gloves, waterproof gloves. I always carry a sweatshirt in case the temperature drops. Honey gave me a heated jacket liner for Christmas. I have to bring that. A rain suit is a good idea if you have the room. There always seems to be lots of stuff before you even begin to bring anything along or (heaven forbid) purchase something like fabric along the way.

My current bike is a 2005 Kawasaki Z750s. It is a great little bike. Fast when I want to be fast. It looks fast all the time, so I must be fast. Blue is a good color. Other drivers seems to see me coming. Always a good trait in a motorcycle. It is comfortable to sit on for long periods of time. Great for those 14 hour trips to Florida, or 10 hours to Tennessee. My bike has one major downfall. There are no bags. No place to put all that stuff. I have a bungee thing to tie things down on the back seat. That works for the larger items. It does not work so well for fabric. I have looked at every motorcycle bag that is out there. There are some that are very nice. They tend to be very black. Maybe black and red and black and yellow, but always black.

So, now to my challenge. I am going to make a duffle bag out of very pretty, girly fabric that I can attach to the back of my bike so I look like a girl (a fast girl) going down the highway. I want bungee thingys on the bottom to fasten around the back seat, but I want to be able to put them away so I can carry my pretty bag in to where ever I'm going. So. Follow along with me on this new adventure. I'm picking out the fabric now. I like the green ginkgo by Kona Bay, but I would have to paint my bike green or get a new one. I know, I know I have said lime green is a neutral. I think I'll try to stay in the blue/purple family this time. Maybe I'll use the Ginkgo to make a bag for Honey's green Goldwing. Like he needs more room to put things. Ha! I love the Lavish Florals by Kona Bay. I think maybe the Lavish Florals April in violet. The challenge is not so much the making of the duffle bag. I have done that before. The challenge will be the outfitting it for the motorcycle. Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it's coming along as I work on it. I wonder if I should make a rain cover for it also. Hmmm..