wonky blue and yellow square quilt

I’m not sure how I managed to do it, but I’ve somehow finished my second quilt in one week. I ended up having impeccable timing in putting both pieces into the state of finishing at the same time–I don’t expect for this to happen again anytime soon.

block detail

I know it seems like I polished this quilt off quickly, but it’s been in my progress pile for really, many years. I first started working on these blocks around 2005 after being (obviously) inspired by Denyse Schmidt for the first time. As blocks, they sat in a pile for a loooong time, until I finally pulled it out again last spring and completed the top. I don’t know why I seem to do this with projects, but its a case of distance making the heart growing fonder. I grow more in love with what I make when I put it away for a while.

back of quilt

So last April or May I started the hand quilting. And then, yet again, I stopped. The quilt sat patiently for me on the back of the couch for about 6 months–until after my holiday craft show blitz ended last month. Slowly, I picked it back up again during quiet evenings on the couch, and stitched the last of my squares at the beginning of the week.

many squares

I know that I can’t keep up the pace of finishing two quilts a week, but I’m invigorated by all of this productivity. It feels like a race where I’m only competing with myself and I don’t have to be skinny to win. I just have to have a speedy sewing machine and a lighting fast rotary cutter.

It’s hard to find reliable help these days.

helper #1

It seems like everyone wants to walk all over you. And stand in the middle of where you’re trying to bind a quilt at.

helper #2

And if they’re not walking all over you, then they’re laying on your legs so that you can’t move. Then your feet fall asleep, and then it’s your legs and up to your rump, and then you’ve become so disabled that you can’t quilt anymore.

(That’s 120 pounds of brown dog right there.)

Binding on quilt #2 of 2011 is almost done. I hope to have finished pictures to post tomorrow!

No time to rest, there are other projects that need finishing.


I wish I always could feel the swift kick of momentum to keep me going like I felt today. The feeling of waking up from underneath a new quilt really shot me into action, and I felt like sewing from the moment I woke up today. First up, is to make some progress on these 9 patch blocks that I started this past summer.

I’ve got lots of feelings towards this project. Overwhelmingly, I think my biggest feeling is to ignore other thoughts I’m having about and to finish it just like I had originally planned back in June.

the final layout?

I’m trying to deny that I’m going to be bummed once I finish it and only end up with a lap size quilt, but I really think I’ll be kicking myself if I do just that. The way that I have it set up here (and how I’m currently planning on finishing it as) is in rows of 7 by 8. If I want to make it fit a twin bed, I’m going to need to add some more blocks. It’s not a huge deal but when I started it last summer, I ended up having some difficulties with liking the arrangement and block placements.

I’ll end up making a decision, and either way, I’m sure I’ll end up kicking myself over it. I like how it’s going so far though, and I’m excited to make some more progress. (Says the slowest quilt-top-piecer in the world. You’ll be laughing at me when I’m still working on putting this together in 2014.)

Log Cabins in the Snow

It’s my first completed project of 2011!

with contrasting charcoal binding

I can’t even begin to talk about how happy I am to have this quilt finished off. First of all, it’s one project that’s been sitting in pieces in the sewing room for almost two years, and I’m glad to have one less thing on my desk.

back stripe

The quilting though, has to be my biggest accomplishment with this quilt. It took me a long time to get up the guts to tackle free motion quilting, and I’m so pleased with this as a first effort. I fully expected to wreck a quilt in the process of learning how to free motion quilt, and this is by no means that. There’s areas that I know I need to continue to work on, but I think with time, I’ll be able to get the hang of it a little better.

front and back

I also just wanted to add that I’m grateful for all of the suggestions and support that came my way about this quilt over the last month or so. I really appreciate it all! Thanks to this project, I’m looking forward to really keeping up my momentum with my machine. I think it’s going to be a productive year.

But stay tuned this week….there’s a nearly finished hand quilting project that will be popping up shortly!

Organization, you are a cruel temptress.

it still looks messy to me

It still looks messy to me, but I think this is much better than where I was at this weekend. There’s still too much stuff stuck in one small room, but I have to admit, as much as I think I’d like a light, airy space, I love having everything at my fingertips, shouting colors and patterns at me while I work. It keeps me on my toes.

a little better

If you came over to visit, I wouldn’t open the closet for you. Just saying. But everything else isn’t too bad–the fabric is put away, notions are in their spots and the floor is even pretty clean. I was even able to keep my Nana’s rock table set up (and mostly clutter free) and I’m very happy about that.

Now…can I keep it this way for longer than a week?

I’m trying to take a sewing break for the weekend so that I can get a few things accomplished in my sewing room. For the past few months I’ve been so busy working to get things ready for shows and Christmas that I’ve neglected keeping up my sewing room. It’s time now to get things back in order.


Oh my. I’m so frustrated with the set up in here right now. I moved my cutting table to where is presently is this fall so that I could open it up the full length, but I’ve never been happy with where I have it.

the east facing wall

Last year I inherited the small table in the bottom left of the above picture from my Nana. It’s made from a collection of pretty rocks and was made by another member of my dad’s family. It’s one of those things that I admired in my Nana’s house as a child, and was promised that I could have later on in life.

As much as I love having it, there’s just no place for it in my house. I felt I needed to put it out somewhere, but other than my sewing room, it just doesn’t fit. When I put it here in the room, I had to reorganize the way I had things set up, and I just haven’t been happy with it ever since.

the north facing wall

My goal for the rest of the weekend (and before I start on anything else, including binding the machine quilted quilt) is to finish and fix this mess of a problem. I love having a sewing room, but this isn’t helping me be creative at all. It’s just a headache.

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.