March . . .

Sometimes a whole month goes by and at the end I wonder what did I do???  It seems that I’m in the same place and yet, a lot has happened.  March was colder than average here in Wisconsin, as was the rest of the winter.  I was sick for most of the month and didn’t get much of my own sewing done.  I finished many Quilts of Valor and have heard that they are off to Afghanistan to be given to American service personnel.  I hope that the quilts will show my gratitude for the service of each of those men and women.  I have three Quilts of Valor in my ‘to do’ list.

We had to say good-bye to our wonderful family dog of twelve years, Lucky.  She came into our lives in Warsaw, Poland and helped to raise my two sons.  She was never lacking for enthusiasm especially when it came to wearing her antlers.  She loved Christmas and birthdays and opening presents.  She was ‘tattle-tail’(sic.).  She would come to tell on my sons when they went outside without her, when they were playing in the snow without her, when they were rough-housing inside and not including her, when they forgot to walk her, feed her, water her or give her the daily ‘Greenie’.  My oldest son, thoroughly exasperated, said,  “I expect my younger brother to tell on me–but not the dog!!!”  She learned English as a second language, learned to spell ‘w-a-l-k’, and learned to speak French as a third language, ‘promenade’ (walk).  She has been a shoulder to cry on when we needed it through losses both minor and major.  She was gentle with my husband when he became sick and she grieved with us when he was gone.  Lucky ‘knew’ she could be more rambunctious with my older son and that she neededto be gentle with my younger son.  Her favorite place was where ever we were and preferably in the middle.  She loved to chase squirrels and she ‘rescued’ baby bunnies without doing serious harm to either squirrel or bunny.  Lucky thought that the UPS, Fed Ex, Post Office, Plumbers, Electricians, Appliance Repair people came just to see her and she ‘assisted’ them in their work by smelling every tool.  She helped me quilt, laying under the longarm or behind me at the sewing machine.  We even designed a quilt about her.  We miss her greeting us when we walk into the house, we miss her ‘stalking’ me to ask my sons to let her out/give her food/give her water/walk her/etc.; we miss her kisses; and we miss the dangerous wagging tail–known to clear coffee tables of all glasses.  She tolerated our silly names for her:  Lucky-dog, Lucky-duck,  duck, sweetie, fruit loop etc.  We miss her shaking her head ‘yes’, rolling in the snow and prancing.

Lucky Reindeer

Lucky 2002-2014

 

I will be getting back to blogging and to quilting tomorrow.  I am working on some tutorials and even have some finishes.

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Finish a long 2014, Goal check up

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Here is the summary of what I’ve achieved since the first of the year.  I have made a lot of progress on Crimson and Tweed, the Quilts of Valor and Pie in the Sky.  I will be concentrating on binding in March.

1.  Pie in the Sky (pattern by Kim Diehl)

Pie in the Sky, EQ7 mock up, pattern by Kim Diehl
Pie in the Sky, EQ7 mock up, pattern by Kim Diehl

The quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and the label on it and write a blog post.

2.  Flower Strip quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

3. Winding Ways–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

4.  1930′s reproduction quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

5.  Quilt the 4 9 Quilts of Valor tops which I have received, mail them and write blog posts.

6.  Finish Imperial Blooms, pattern by Sue Spargo (www.suespargo.com).

7.  Finish Crimson Tweed, pattern by Sue Spargo.  I am applique-ing the borders, but will take off time to bind other quilts.

8. Riley Blake Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  Here is part of my mock-up in EQ7:

Riley Blake Challenge

The fabrics have arrived and I am so excited to start sewing on this wall quilt.  I am so thankful for the fabric which Riley Blake (www.rileyblakedesigns.com) provided to all of the members of the Modern Quilt Guild (http://www.themodernquiltguild.com/ ).  Of course, I couldn’t resist adding some additional Riley Blake to my design.  I have quilted it and need to bind it and put on a label.  I’m so sorry it wasn’t in time for the MQG challenge.

9. Mission Triangles, this is a quilt I have made with the help of our Mission Stitchers group at Onalaska UMC from donated flannel triangles.  It will be soft and warm.  Here is the EQ7 mockup:

Mission Triangles
Oh my, will the flannel ever end?  I have sewn and trimmed half of the squares.  My buddy in this project fell on the ice and broke her wrist.  I can hardly wait to finish the quilt top(s).

10.  Log Cabin quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

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11.  Various mug rugs, place mats, and table runners–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

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Linking up with:

More Quilts of Valor

Red, White and Blue are the colors of my week so far.  One of the most fulfilling things that I do is to quilt for Quilts of Valor.  At least once a month I get an email introducing a quilter who has pieced a top and is ready to have it quilted.  You may find out more about Quilts of Valor here.  When I saw this quilt top I knew immediately that I would need to do something special with the eagle in the center–so I threw caution to the wind, turned the computer off and free-handed the feathers.

I added quilted borders to the ‘Bars’ quilt creating a sashing from Anita Shackelford‘s non-traditional leaf vein, and an eagle designed by Kim Diamond (I know it is hard to see, white on white is very tricky to photograph).

Linking up today with, WIPs on Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social, My Quilt Infatuation, Really Random Thursday and Show Off Saturday.

  

Have a quilty day!!

Lovelli-Signature

Swirls, and Pearls and Wonky Stars

My headline today sounds like one of those late 60s early 70s pop/folk hits, (think Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell) but this fun quilt is on the longarm right now.  I received a ‘Wonky Star’ quilt to quilt for Quilts of Valor.  It was one of those quilts where I had either too many ideas or not enough ideas, sometimes at the same time!!  The quilt is a fresh modern design with speckled, dotted, and flowered fabrics.  I knew that I wanted to use a quilt design which is fresh, and modern.  I think Anita Shackelford’s design ‘Modern Snails’ is just perfect.  The design adds interest without overwhelming the quilt top design and it quilts out beautifully.  I hope the recipient of the quilt likes it!!

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I had a good weekend–I had plans to drop my son off at Solo and Ensemble contest, go to Embroidery Club, pick up my son at Solo and Ensemble along with my niece, and go to a quilt retreat  all before 5–I thought I would expire from all of the fun.  The dog was quite concerned because I packed up my sewing machine along with my supplies, I’m sure she thought we were moving again.

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Snow made me stay home from the retreat, Solo and Ensemble went well, and I was able to go to Embroidery Club.  I can’t wait to share what I made there.  Linking up with Pile of Fabric and My Quilt Infatuation.

 Have a quilty day!

Meet Statler

When I tell people that I am a longarm quilter, I am usually greeted by a blank look and then they look at my arms!lol.  A longarm quilter uses an industrial sized machine to sew together the quilt ‘sandwich’ (top, batting, backing).  My Statler Stitcher/Gammill machine can be either hand- or computer-guided, as a result I can quilt thousands of designs with craftmanship, artistry, and creativity.  I love combining creativity with the precision which computerized quilting can bring to a project.  Statler allows me to both quilt a perfect traditional 8 pointed star and a wonky star in a whimsical style.

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Have you named your sewing machines?  My grandmother used to call her car Betsy, and several of my friends have named their sewing machines–Bernie, Ramon, Bob etc.  I thought maybe I should name mine, my first thought was S.(tatler)Teal (because, in a fit of extravagance, I decided on the optional paint job–Statler is teal with sparkles), but then I spelled it out and realized it spelled ‘steal’.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to name this beautiful machine something criminal.  So in the meantime its name is Statler, not a bad name, but maybe not as exciting/exotic as it could be.  My sons thought I should call it Sven.  What do you think? I want to make a machine cover for it with its name appliqued on it.

Statler is my first longarm machine.  I certainly stepped into the deep end of the pool, monetarily and skill-wise.  Most people step up to computerized quilting after they have used a hand-guided machine for a while.  I certainly faced a steep learning curve when I got my machine, but my dealer, At the Heart of Quilting, showed me how to use it.  They have also been available to help me when I had a couple of minor mechanical issues (all resolved thankfully in a very quick time frame, mostly due to ‘pilot’ error).  I’m fairly comfortable with some of the more common problems with longarms thanks to their training and support (I haven’t had to adjust the timing yet, but I know they will help me when my machine needs it).

The biggest problem I had with longarm quilting was my own frustration at not being able to do things perfectly the first time.  I know in my head that no one does anything perfectly the first time, including me, but my heart wanted perfection.  It was incredibly nerve-wracking to quilt a client’s quilt, because I wanted a happy client so badly, I had a hard time even starting the quilt.   Once started, I then spent several all-nighters taking out stitching which didn’t conform to my expectations.  It seemed like there was so much ‘stuff’ to remember.  am so thankful for the charity quilts (Mission Stitchers, a quilting group at our church, and Quilts of Valor) and quilts pieced by friends which I quilted during this time because they allowed me to gain confidence and increase my skill level.  I’ve also quilted a lot of my own tops, now all waiting on binding, and just recently I picked up some fabric panels which I will quilt to increase my skills.  If you are new to longarm quilting I encourage you to try any of these methods to increase your skill and confidence.  Now, I am having fun with my quilting and (mostly) achieving the good results which I expect.  Have a quilty day!

Lovelli-Signature

Red and White Challenge

I am so excited about SewCalGal‘s Red and White Design Challenge–a red and white quilt has always been on my quilter’s “bucket” list.  I was inspired by pictures of mosaic floors and tile work to design these quilts in EQ7. My ‘Rising Star Medallion’ quilt measures  64 1/2″ x 64 1/2″ and requires 5 3/8 yards red and 4 1/8 yards white fabric for the quilt top, 7 1/2 yards fabric for the backing, and 1/2 yard red for the binding.  (Whew! that seems like a lot of fabric, EQ7 frequently over estimates the amount of fabric needed.  However, I’d much rather overestimate yardage than not have enough, I just add the excess to my stash!).  To calculate the fabric needed for backing and binding, I used the calculators found on The Quilter’s Paradise,

The  ‘Rising Star Medallion’ quilt features the following blocks from Barbara Brackman’s Blockbase:   “The Rising Sun”, Finley #3445, the first border uses the block: “Sonnies Playhouse,” Kansas City Star 1935 #N023, and the third border uses: “Lover’s Knot,” Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Service/Laura Wheeler #3010.

Red and White Challenge 1

I designed several quilts with these blocks.  Some are more challenging than others to piece, and some have a more modern aesthetic, such as the following which uses the Lover’s Knot block:

Red and White Challenge 2

The ‘Lover’s Knot’ quilt is 36″ x 36″, and requires the following fabrics:  3 yards medium red, 1/4 yard dark red, and 1 1/2 yard white (backing and binding included).

Lastly, I designed ‘Sonnies Knot’ quilt as a bed quilt, it is 82 1/2″ x 99 1/2″, and requires the following fabrics:  6 3/8 yards medium red, 1 yard dark red (plus 1/2 yard for the binding), and 6 3/4 yards white.  The backing will require 8 1/4 yards (I’m considering red minky for the backing to make it super snugglie).

Red and White Challenge 3

I really appreciate SewCalGal‘s hosting of the Red and White Challenge, and EQ7 and Island Batik.  Batiks are wonderful fabrics to work with when doing precision piecing because their higher thread counts will stand up to the shorter stitch length used in foundation piecing, they are easily pressed, and their bias edges don’t stretch as much as quilting cottons.  I am planning several tutorials on precision piecing as the Red and White Challenge progresses to the construction phase.  Please look at SewCalGal’s blog for all of the red and white designs.

I’m linking up with SewCalGalDesign Wall Monday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Anything Goes Mondays, Show and Tell Tuesday, and Freemotion by the River.  I follow all of these blogs.

 

Have a quilty day!

Lovelli-Signature

Quilting in the dark (or, opening my eyes)

I must confess after 2  ‘snow’ days, in a row, trapped in the house (-20 is too cold for me), I have started to feel a touch of cabin fever.  This week while working in basement, quilting away, I felt like the room was a little on the dark side.  hmmm, I wonder why?  Oh, I have 6 light bulbs out, perfect job for DS2 who is bored to death and 6’3″…That didn’t seem to do the job, why?  Oh, well, it’s winter, the sun doesn’t seem to go any higher than 40 degrees in the sky and it’s cloudy?  Yes, to the low flying sun, no to the cloudy sky.  Then I walked into the sewing room and looked out the window:

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Yes, that is snow, blocking the window, and, thus, all light.  I chose that room for its sunlight and southern exposure!  I am going to make the best of this–perhaps the scene from my window will be inspiration for a ‘low volume’ quilt. ;)

I finished a client quilt today, she used the pattern Rear Window, from Blue Underground.  I quilted it using the pattern Swirls Simple, by Kim Diamond.  I think the spirals soften the lines and squares of this quilt.  The quilt makes me think of a warm spring day…

Color and pattern first attracted me to quilting.  It has been an opportunity to meld together interests in geometry, art, history, and fiber.  I first thought about starting a quilting business when we lived in Ottawa.  Life had other plans for me at the time.  However, I made use of the delay by thinking about my business, what my strengths are, and learning more (there is always more to learn!).  I love to see people wrapped in my quilts–kids, family, friends.  As a result, most of the quilts I’ve made have been given away.  I love to surround myself with the work of my hands.  I love to teach people techniques.  I love to watch students gain confidence in their skills and their creative voice.  I love to teach people about the quilty treasures they own.  I love to Quilt!!!

Lovelli-Signature

Linking up with:

Needle and Thread Thursday I Quilt @ Pretty Bobbins