Well no kidding! I finished off the quilting tonight! Who would have thought it.

I quilted the whole darn thing!

Thank you for all of your advice and help over the past week! You all were a ton of help when I felt like I was super stuck. I can’t explain how badly I want to start something new now.

But first, binding must begin!

I have to admit, that I really am loving this machine quilting project I’m taking on. Things are going so well–in a million years I would have never thought I’d be so pleased with how nice it’s turning out. It’s a big surprise to me.

thread problem

My only big issue at this point is that I’ve been having some problems with my thread. It’s not constant, but every so often, it seems to bind up in the needle (or possibly further back in the machine, I’m not real sure) and breaks off. I’m using Coats and Clark 100% cotton machine quilting thread, but I’ve heard before that some machines (especially the higher end models) tend to be picky about what threads work well in them. I’m confused only because I’ve used this thread in my machine since I first got it for piecing and pretty much all other sewing and I’ve never had issues with it. My plan is to try some other threads for the next quilt I sew, but if anyone has dealt with this before and has ideas I’d appreciate it!

still churning away

I’m about three-quarters of the way finished! I’m hoping to have the quilting all done by the end of the week!

I am seriously amazed at this quilting thing! It doesn’t even look too bad!

I'm not a big failure!

If I look closely at it, there’s many spots that I’m not in love with. The speed of it all is taking a lot of getting used to, but overall, I think my stitches are mostly even and tensioned well. I brought it along to work on tonight during Sit and Stitch at my local Modern Quilt Guild and got wonderful comments from everyone. I was geeked about that!


Thank you all for your excellent links and ideas today about machine quilting! I’m really excited about the new prospect of finishing my quilts this way. I can’t believe I waited this long to try it out, but I’m so glad I’m finally doing it. I have so many ideas, and so many projects to finish (including this one!) this year.

Hello 2011!

So, I’m not typically someone who makes big lists of resolutions, but this year, I’m determined to tackle a real quilting resolution for myself. I’ve been making quilts for over 10 years now, but I have yet to really take on machine quilting. This year I want to make learning how to free motion quilt a priority.

lots of pins

For a long time I’ve neglected to put something I made on our bed, mainly because I’m afraid Hudson will ruin it. He sleeps on the bed at night and has a tendency to spread dirt around liberally (eww). Recently though, I found out that I have some major allergy issues with the dog and cat, as well as with dust mites. I need to be able to wash all parts of our bedding weekly, but the comforter we were using is too big to fit in my washer.

Instead of buying a new quilt (seems stupid for someone who can quilt) I figured it was time to make one. I had the majority of these blocks made and I finished it off last week. I just kept thinking that it was going to stink to spend all that time hand quilting something that is sure to end up with dog slobber and dirt…a pretty unhappy end to a quilt that I’m sure I’d spend months finishing.


I’ve wanted to try free motion quilting for so long now, but I’ve been worried that I’d just end up wrecking a full quilt. Perfect for a quilt that’s going to get used all the time and will probably fall apart anyway, right?

all pinned up

I’m starting this project out, not expecting a whole lot from my first attempt at this. I’m tired of only really being able to hand quilt, and I feel like I could do so much more if I could just tackle free motion quilting. Keep your fingers crossed, and I’ll post progress soon.

First off, let me just say thanks to those of you who haven’t abandoned my blog. I want so badly to be consistent and write all the time, but when months go by without doing anything really new, I just feel that no one really cares. I could blog about things like what I eat (I had cereal for dinner tonight), my dog (he’s snoring beside me on the couch) or my travels (I went to JoAnn’s for interfacing last weekend), but I’m not sure anyone really cares. We’ll just call it a creative block for now.

I am getting ready for some holiday craft shows in the next few weeks though, and it’s requiring that I actually finish some work. Most of what I’m working on is standard fare for my shows, but what is new are some patchwork quilted scarves.

quilted scarves

I’m using cotton batting and fleece, along with the cotton patchwork for the front, and after washing them, they’ve turned out so soft and squishy. They are every bit like a quilt, and I love the idea of having a mini quilt to wear out in public on cold days. We’ll see how they do at my upcoming shows, but I really, really love them. In fact, I’m a little worried they’ll be hard to sell–mainly because I’m unwilling to let them go. I can wear 5 or 6 of them at once, right?

I’m getting ready to go back to work again in a few weeks, and after spending a couple hours the other day going through all the projects that I had planned to finish this summer (haha) something in my brain kicked into gear and told me to get sewing.


I started cutting triangles for this project back at the beginning of my time off. Whenever I had fabric out for something else that I was working on, I’d just hack off a triangle and stash it in my pile. It had been sitting on my desk with all of the other things I was working on for the show, and at that point was itching to start something with it. I held off, and then forgot about it for a few weeks.

As with all projects that I seem to start though, I’ve got dilemmas. I do love how it looks so far, but I’m just not sure that I’m up to par with the sewing skill to pull this one off. I’m going to have to be so precise with piecing, and I’ve already noticed that it’s nearly impossible for me to make the edges line up completely. Where I could normally fudge it with squares, the edges of the triangles won’t be perfect points if I don’t line up my seams absolutely perfectly. Does that make sense?

Triangles in progress

I nearly threw in the towel after the first row. I seam ripped several pieces (several of those pieces were ripped more than once) and it still just didn’t line up like I wanted them to. My argument to myself to keep going is that I LOVE the colors. And if I can squeak this out, I think it will look amazing. I’m just not so sure it’s going to look amazing in the end. We’ll see.

Oh nine patch quilt….you seemed to simple to make and yet you’ve given me such a bad headache. What to do with you?

the final layout?

I think the best thing for me to do is to be content where I’m at now. I spent another day today making blocks, and I think I’ve been able to achieve a better balance of color and pattern with some of my original blocks. That’s a very good thing to me. There’s still something though that I can’t put my finger on that bugs me about it, but I can’t really figure it out. That’s why I’m going to call it good. At least, I think that’s the plan right now. We’ll see what happens in the next few days when I move onto sewing the top together.

And, to report–I ended up going to the Modern Quilt Guild meeting last night and was so glad to have gone. I had a really good time and I’m looking forward to going back next month! They’re a really nice group of people and I don’t think my awkwardness scared too many people away. (Although I won’t know that until next month.)

Dang, my blog readers are hard core about giving opinions! I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts and I’ve been seriously considering what you all have to say about the both colors. Honestly though, I still haven’t decided what I’m doing.

Here’s what’s new though:

and still more

I spent today making new blocks. I added pinks, grays and blacks and I think it’s been helpful to see more colors added in. At first I wasn’t thinking a whole lot about how they’d blend with the other blocks–instead I was just on a mission to make as many new ones as possible and edit from there.

nine patch jumble

This is what I had made by mid-afternoon. I put everything smooshed together on my cutting table and stood above, and just let the blocks sink in my brain for a while. I realized that there’s some blocks that I really love….and there’s some blocks that I really can’t stand. I started by separating those into piles. Then I added what I thought would still look good with the “like” pile. I feel a lot better about the blocks now, but was depressed to see that instead of having at least what I started with this week when I first showed you this project (30 blocks) and then sewing more blocks today (20 blocks) I am now down to 25 blocks.

I hope no one is disappointed that I don’t have a real answer yet. I’ll be back with more progress on Tuesday.

Oh! One other thing. I’m thinking about stepping out of my comfort zone a little (Hi! I’m totally socially awkward! Yay!) tomorrow to go to a meeting of my (sort of) local Modern Quilt Guild in Brighton, Michigan. I’m very excited about it. Has anyone else joined up with a Modern Quilt Guild? I’m interested to hear how people like them.

Okay, I need opinions once again. I thought about the ideas that you all had from yesterday (thank you for pulling me out of my mini-meltdown with good ideas!), and decided to lay the blocks out again on Kona White and Charcoal. I also liked the idea of Navy as well, but I noticed that too many of the blocks have dark blue in them and it blended in too much. I thought the Charcoal provided a dark color with enough of a difference from the dark blues.

But, which to choose now? (Pretend you’re at the eye doctor.)

Better A?

Better A?

Better B?

Better B?

Here’s some important thoughts:

1. I’m not sold on the placement of the blocks. I’m not even sold on keeping all of these blocks in. Heck, I might add more blocks and turn it into a bigger quilt. I just kept them in the same placement as yesterday for consistency.

2. I’m still thinking about adding single 2 inch squares in the corner of the sashing. (Take a look at the picture in the Hip To Piece Squares banner–that’s what I’m describing.) I’m thinking about this, but not completely sold yet.

I’m determined to make this thing work. I’m going to finish it.

I’m not sure, but I think I may have just spent the last two days on a big failure of a project.


I don’t know what the deal is with it. Part of me thinks that I should have used prints and solids in each block, but I wanted it to be busy. I think it needs a sashing in between the blocks, but I’m not sold on the Kona Ash that the blocks are sitting on. Should it be white? Or cream colored? Or should I go darker?

But on the other hand, I’m wondering if I should actually add some more color to the blocks. Maybe it’s too small?

I don’t know. I need to put it away for the night because it’s making me frustrated and angry. Any constructive criticism will be well appreciated!