Patriotic Rosette

I have been having fun with the orphan blocks! I dug deep in my shelves and found a few easy projects, and a few that are not as easy. I got two quilted this week!

This block did not make the quilt, not because I did not like it, but when sewing it and it was the first one, I did not know what I was doing. It ended up small enough that it would have been too big of an “ease” to put it in with the others. This was from the quilt Stars Upon Thars.

And then there was the Spools quilt orphan blocks. Only one spool showed itself in this pattern. It almost looks like a scrappy ribbon.

The spools orphan came from sewing this.

The backing for the star block was just a fat quarter. I had purhcased electic elements fat quarter bundle and enjoy using up these non-ordinary prints.

This was quilted in a free panto pattern by called Argyle. This looks like a modified honey comb to me.

And the backing of the spool orphan is the panto you see above is no longer offered by Urbanelementz but was by designer Lorena. Sorry I do not know the name. The backing ended up being this.

I purchased this rug printed fabric from Hobby Lobby some time ago. This print of fabric is still available there if anyone is interested.

I managed to get the Jelly Roll Race quilt bound! And Gifted!

And I finished the first rosette for the La Passacaglia Millefiori quilt.

I started what is considered rosette 4. There are several of these to make. I decided to make this one patriotic.

And I got to the star points, but did not get any further.

I love the way you can manipulate the shapes in these cogs for a totally different affect each time. The fill in between all the points I am still pondering. Do I fussy cut something? Do I go with stripe, do I go with solid? The jury is still out on this decision. I have all weekend to figure that out. YAY! I made it to the weekend and got much accomplished along the way.

Goals were met that were set last week.

Goals for this week:

  • Finish patriotic cog
  • bind Stars Upon Thars orphan
  • bind Spools Orphan
  • Tat a little

I follow a few tatters on youtube and am delighted that there is new content going on!!!! If you are interested in learning to tat, you can learn how through a few instructional videos. For less than $10 in supplies you can get a tatting shuttle and a ball of lizbeth thread, maybe two.

You can choose if you want to learn to needle tat or shuttle tat. Here is a link to the youtube channel. They show you the basics or tell you where to go for the basics and then they assign homework and teach you how to read a pattern. Will you have a go at it? It is very relaxing. A wonderful tatting community out there. There was a massive overhaul of the former Georgia Seitz site. I guess she is elderly and not doing so good, but in the joy of keeping tatting going, others have taken over. It’s all good. And there is also older content out there by Gina Butler’s channel. I had the privledge of being taught by her in person. Her youtube tutorials can get you started. Frivole on youtube is also a wonderful teacher of this gentle art.

I am off to a wonderful start to the days between Friday and Monday! Have a great weekend and thanks for reading my blog!


A Quilter’s Journey

As a quilter, you have quite a journey from the first project you have ever done to years worth. there is no comparison on accuracy of losing points vs perfect points, perfectly nested seams vs scootched seams.

When I started quilting was back in 93. I made two quilt tops. This was long before the internet capabilities. You were limited to being taught by a loved one, family member, member of the church, or learning from a book at the library.

Those two quilt tops I made, I used 5/8 seam allowance and the pattern I chose for my first two quilts was snails trail. This was a rather complicated pattern. I had a olfa rotary cutter, but had no mat. I actually cut my pieces using an old school binder like a trapper keeper. As you can guess, the trapper keeper did not make it to the end of the quilt journey.

Once I got the two tops made, I stalled. I had no idea how to proceed. I kept those two quilt tops through about 3 moves. And alas, purged them and sold them for the price I paid for the fabric was in them (it was bargain fabric and I think I had $15 in them). So I priced them for $15. And they sold and were appreciated by a quilter (who was the crazy lunch lady at school). I wish I would have kept those tops because I would be able to look at them today and see how far I have traveled skill wise as a quilter. Back then, I had no idea how to go to the next step. I had never heard of a longarmer, and my grandmother passed in 94 so I could not ask her (she was the person who could fix anything or figure out how to make delicious lemonade out of lemons).

In her passing and then my grandfathers passing, I decided to do the right thing and took grandpas clothing, and grandmas fabric and make a quilt for my parents, a memory quilt. I look back at that quilt and see lobbed off star points (I made a farmer’s daughter quilt block as grandpa was a farmer). I can visually see how far I have advanced in my hobby. I also made myself a memory quilt and used the dickens out of it. Because it has polyester batting, it has started to erode away the cotton fibers in the quilt top. And due to a CLR (Calcium Lime Rust cleanser) error in the washing machine, it turned some green fabric that I added, to a weird pink. This chemical reaction with the synthetic dyes in the new fabric, and using some of the old fabric, caused the fabric to oxidize and erode too. I used a drunkerds path block. The block really had no significance but I liked the difficulty and it made a beautiful pattern. One day I will showcase these quilts. They are put up for now.

Each week on this blog, you read about my quilt journey for the past few days in my quilting journey. Most weeks you see progress. Some weeks are pretty meager. This is natural and even thought I strive to show you something, I pride myself to show you quality, not quantity. So this is one of those meager weeks.

Last weekend the weather was absolutely beautiful. My good weather days are running out, soon it will be too hot to quilt. So I wanted to quilt up something.

Many moons ago I made this quilt.

This was a free pattern that was offered by I can’t remember who, but here is the link to my original post so you can click the free pattern link. I called this baby booties, as this was for a newborn. I had an orphan block left over that did not make the count. I snatched it up and loaded it on the longarm and had it done in less than 20 minutes. It was fun to quilt something so small.

I did not measure this, but it is not big. And then I got to thinking about walls filled with pictures. Why could I not just quilt all my orphan blocks like this making small quilts and then hang them all together on the wall?

This would be fun and so up my alley and a great way to change things out with the seasons. And the potholder stack will not grown either LOL. So this is now the new plan. I have one, and I have no idea how many more to go, I will have to dig and play some more.

And then there was a jelly roll race quilt lingering since the quilt hop of 2018. I bought it that day, and took it home and immediately raced it into this quilt top. I finally got it quilted. Fabric dying and all. I will be binding this sometime this week. I used a new panto on it. It has a gentle wave pattern and was perfect for this baby quilt. And because of the simplicity of the pattern it took about 2 1/2 hours to quilt. Perfect for anyone who is pressed for time!

And I did some handstitching on the La Passacaglia Millefiori rosette. I did not get my round done, but will certainly have this finish this week. I look forward to the fabric pull for my next rosette. I know now not to select such a dominating fabric for the larger hexagons. I decided I wanted to distract a bit from that teal. I opted for white. I utilized fussy cutting on the stripe and putting white to the small hexagon on the last round. This is helping break that up a bit, like fabric magic!

I will get that last hexi star blade combo set in tonight, and then proceed to sew the remaining points on the stars. I am loving this! It is slow, enjoyable and more the pace of what I need to be doing instead of fighting for time during the cooking and cleaning and bathing and other family duties that need my attention that take the fun out of my blogging and hobby experience.

My goals for the upcoming week:

  • Bind the Jelly Roll Race quilt
  • Gift the Jelly Roll Race quilt
  • Dig and find an orphan block(s)
  • Start a new rosette for the Millefiori quilt
  • Enjoy life as much as possible, but not at the speed of light! LOL

I have worked my way through the week, now it is weekend time! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

La Passacaglia How To

When starting a quilt of this magnitude, you have to “gain your bearings”, meaning you have to have a method to your madness, have a direction to drive this project!

Choosing the right fabrics is key for the rounds of the rosettes. After only a couple rounds of the rosette, I have figured out one key note that I want to pass on. I also want to share my method to anyone who may be trying to figure out what works. *Disclaimer, what works for me, may not work for you.

Fabric selection. If you really don’t want muddy rosettes you will need contrast between each round. These pieces are small. Here is my start:

These two colors are perfectly porportioned together and contrast just right. But notice the dark teal below. Once I added this, I realized my first mistake. This is the largest piece of the rosette. This becomes very dominate. I highly recommend the hexagon to be fussy cut out of a print that is multicolor that you coordinate throughout the rings of the rosette. I am going to call this a mistake. It will be fine, but it sure is a lot of teal. It overpowers all the other work I done. Contrast is perfect, but too much color. Your eye goes right to it.

See how much this really disrupts the La Passacaglia? The meaning of the word basically translates to harmony of music. That teal OVERPOWERS!. This should have been a print. Where ever I put this in the quilt, it is going to stand out loudly. I like loud, but this volume will be louder than other cogs. Lesson learned.

I have had trouble at the begining trying to match my corners perfectly. The more I have stitched, the more accurate I have become in this. And like someone pointed out to me, once the papers are removed, it will be perfectly stitched together.

My process:

There are two types of cuts, one of which is fussy cutting. I took note on something Tula Pink spoke of in one of her videos. She does not purchase fabric for fussy cutting EPP unless she can get several cuts or the repeats are many. She designs her fabric this way too. I have utilized that technique with the striped fabric. The repeat of the bands was just a hair longer than the star tips.

The second type of cut would be making the most of your fabric. Strips. I cut a strip first.

The great thing about EPP, it is very forgiving, my strips are not perfect and that is ok. These templates have 3/8 seam allowance. When you hand stitch these, the seam allowance is completely lost and therefore that precision becomes irrelevant.

I subcut my strip. I was able to do this with the stripes too. I just cut rectangles with the 3/8 inch seam allowance included where I wanted the paper piece to be set.

Then I glue baste my paper.

The key to this step is rolling the fabric over the piece tight! If your corners are sloppy, it will be harder when all these angles are stitched together.

And it is now ready to stitch.

And then you have little scraps of strip left over. I am trimming those down as I go and adding them to my new bin of 1 1/2 inch scrap squares.

There will probably be more lessons I learn as I proceed. I will share as I go.

And then there is a quilt top, jelly roll race.

I have had this quilt top stitched to this point since July of 2019. I have been in search of the perfect backing. I have found nothing in the past 2 years. I had a thought. The bolt of muslin I have is specially formulated. It is to be used for dying your own fabrics. I have never dyed fabric and and thought about this. I already have the muslin, so no fabric purchase necessary. This would be about 3 yards of fabric at a cost of about $30. But for $3 I can dye my own batch and match this just as good as any solid.

Here is my morning muslin! I washed and dried this last night to prep for this morning.

I am attempting to set the color with vinegar and heat.

And here it is muslin in the morning turned to afternoon sun!

This was relatively easy. I had everything except the dye. I will be washing this later today to see how much of this is retained. I hear rit dye washes out over time. Hmmmm. Any of you textile goddesses out there have a remedy to prevent this let me know. I tried to set the colors with cold water, salt, vinegar and then dry in the heat of the dryer. I presume this will work good enough to keep this from bleeding. Unsure….

In reflection of goals last week,

  • Finish binding the Elizabeth Hartman quilt
  • Gift the Elizabeth Hartman quilt and the churn dash quilt
  • Get one round sewn on the rosette for the La Passacaglia
  • Select fabric for the next round of the orange rosette above

I met and exceeded my goals!!!!! Horah!

My longterm goals are,

  • Work on the last round of the tatted doily
  • Bind the Midnight Alaska quilt
  • Sew the hexagon quilt top
  • Start quilting on the Me and My Sister Designs quilt top
  • Work some on my 365 Quilt Block Challenge

All of these would be nice to cross off my list, they are still my long standing list.

My goals for this week:

  • Finish one rosette for La Passacaglia
  • Sew backing for the yellow jelly roll race quilt
  • Start quilting the jelly roll race quilt with a pantograph

My UFO piles shrink, my WIP piles grow, I smile with finishes!!!

Thanks for stopping in and reading my blog!

Scrap Happy April

Can you believe we are already halfway through April! I must be having fun with my scraps, time sure is flying!

What have I been up to in the last month?

This is quilted, bound, washed, and on a bed!

This is bound and gifted to new parents of a baby girl!

I had this quilted some time ago and never got around to finishing. It is also bound and gifted!

Both of these quilts were completely from my stash, no purchase necessary!

Gosh, I think I should be called Scrap Maven (maybe without the S) hahahahahaha!

The rosette round was finished on my tatted doily!

And in less scrappy news I started a new project with a jelly roll and some muslin. I am liking where this is going!

I have started on my La Passacaglia Millefiori! Rosette one is LOUD! I am liking the vast contrast. I just want to turn this up even more!

Have you enjoyed other Scrap Happy posts? I encourage you to click the links and see what Kate, Gun, Eva, Sue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nannette, Ann, Nancy, Noreen, Bear, Carol, Pretti, Edith, and Me are up to.

Thanks for clicking by and visiting my blog!


In last weeks post, I set some goals. Let’s see how I did…

I wanted to start on the last round of the tatted doily. Almost there….

I did complete the rosette round, but have failed to start the last round. Not sure I will get back to this in the coming weeks.

I finished the binding on the churn dash quilt, this will be gifted to a coworker soon.

I have failed to snap a photo of this with binding. (Pretend it is there in a blue)

I have had this jelly roll race quilt lingering for MONTHS….I am so close to calling this one done.

A year ago this was on the longarm, tsk tsk tsk. The binding is on and one side is hand stitched. I aim to finish this over the weekend so I can gift this to a coworker who’s baby is now almost one (I hesitated gifting due to the virus.)

I have started two new projects one of which I excitedly shared with you midweek. I have managed the remaining strip sets transforming them into half hexagons. I have also cut several triangles. This is almost ready to sew all together. I am putting it away for now. Soon enough.

Since I have cut out the triangles, I have decided to go with this layout. The quilt will be in the shape of a large hexagon. I have never made a circular quilt, this will be interesting to the eye.

And while digging around I found a Me and My Sister Designs scrap start. Well, this too has been lingering. This started out as a Moda scrap bag. The scraps were 3 1/2 inch strips. I sewed them together and ended up with about a 3 ft by 5 ft piece of not much,LOL. I visited the quilt shop and bought some fabric I liked. The photo does not do this justice, it really pops before the naked eye.

This has plenty of negative space to have some fun with quilting. But, I will decide and do that later. Probably not happening for a couple of weeks.

I ordered supplies weeks and weeks ago and they all arrived this week. Let the La Passacaglia commence! La Passacaglia is a Millefiori quilt pattern that is all by hand, and has many small pieces. Here is my start. I am going to try to work with much directional fabric. As I have been studying this concept, I am fascinated by the movement of fabrics and fussy cuts. There are many of these that people use the same fabric for the whole rosette. I am going to refrain from doing that. I think it looks muddy. So much work for the eyes not to see from across the room. Yup mine is gonna be loud!

I have the hexi’s ready to sew the next round. I have not thought past this round. I will enjoy figuring that out this week as well.

And my stitches, even though I am only taking two threads worth of fabric with my needle, my stitches still show. A long time English Paper Piecer commented about the stitches. She said “my stitches are lovely and very rhythmic and even. This is a hand project, show off those hand stitched pieces”. I have been reading much about this and have found out, once the papers are removed and you quilt this, those hand stitches that you see now, disappear. I tried to do the ladder back stitch, nope not happening.

Goals for the upcoming week:

  • Finish binding the Elizabeth Hartman quilt
  • Gift the Elizabeth Hartman quilt and the churn dash quilt
  • Get one round sewn on the rosette for the La Passacaglia
  • Select fabric for the next round of the orange rosette above

Long Standing goals before me now and will work in the upcoming month:

  • Work on the last round of the tatted doily
  • Bind the Midnight Alaska quilt
  • Sew the hexagon quilt top
  • Start quilting on the Me and My Sister Designs quilt top
  • Work some on my 365 Quilt Block Challenge

The deeds before me are many. I know I can pull them off. How soon is the question. Weekend, here I come!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

A WIP Surprise

Happy Easter Readers!

It is a beautifully pleasant day in paradise. Not too hot, not too cold, not too humid. On this perfectly pleasant day, I am indoors doing some household chores. In between washings in the laundry load dept, I have the rosettes done on this round of the doily, one more round to go.

I did not iron this before I snapped the photo, it is a bit unruly in places. That could be because I just plopped it down and snapped the photo not taking care of what was turned which way.

And I am working on the binding on the quilt below. I had to get into the thread bin to match the blue backing/binding I am using.

And there on the shelf, in front of the thread was a quilt kit I was gifted from my Mom and Dad for Christmas. The kit is to make two twins size quilts using the Lust Have and the Basic Grey fabric line.

This is beautiful fabrics! When I opened the pattern, the quilt shop it was purchased at, figured out a way to make a quit twice as big tweaking the directions. Mom was very excited to give this to me. After looking at the instructions, I was a bit flummoxed. Did not like how complicated it was. And technically there were two jelly rolls, and some white grunge as well as 16 more jelly roll strips. Ah-ha, the quilt shop did not really figure out a way to make the pattern with twice the quilt power. It figured out to sell a kit with double the fabric in it. I have the pattern but will probably not ever use their pattern.

A few weeks back MSQC showed a video of a spinning star that I KNEW I wanted to make. I got the template in and when I reached for the thread to do the binding, I thought, there is probably more than enough fabric in the kit, I could make this spinning stars quilt top pretty easy.

And so last night and some of today, I made that happen. An unplanned work in progress (WIP).

I cut and sewed my strip sets last night. And then subcut into 10 inch squares, and then subcut two more times how the video said. Here is their clever video explaining this in detail.

And As much as I like the pattern, I am a bit disappointed by the waste.

Each strip set I can get 8 sections of the pie. This leaves two sections not matching up. I suppose you can make this scrappy. And now wish I would have slowed down a bit and pondered that extra un-needed pie section 10 inch subcut.

A few tips for those of you who do make this. Two thirds of the cuts are on the bias, so either use starch or be careful not to stretch your seams. I learned when sewing the pie wedges, if you place the non bias edge on the bottom when making the seams, it eliminates some stretch. When you press, have the non bias edge on the top and press towards it. This helped my piecing all come together better at the center point.

Here is the stack of left over stuff. The triangle blocks themselves can be made into another quilt, no biggie on those, but that 3 to 6 inch pieces….not liking that. And not a fan of the pieced back.

I especially do not like the gob of cutaway on the right. But I suppose the geometry of the design negates this waste. It is a quick thing to make. Time is money, fabric is money. That scale I suppose balances itself.

This is the layout in MSQC video.

I am liking the second layout better. I will have to cut some muslin triangles. And I will make this a hexagon shape quilt, kind of round like. I certainly have enough of these strips left I could do some kind of strippy triangle accent in the center of those. I am currently brainstorming. The ruler certainly would do that trick easily enough.

If I use the second layout I will need to make 4 more blocks. I have those strip sets made, I just need to start subcutting. But I am afraid I have ran out of time this weekend. It just wasn’t in the stars.

I am off to do more laundry and get supper going.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Must Haves for the New Longarm Quilter

Readers, I have learned a few things along the journey of Longarm ownership. This post will contain some pointers for anyone about to purchase a longarm or a new longarm owner.

Things the longarm industry does not tell you before you buy your machine. This list is important and highly un-communicated.

1.). Protect your investment!

  • Whether you are hobbying or gaining an income from your longarm, protect that machine. How do you protect your machine? Purchase a surge protector. Are all surge protectors the same, NO. Find a surge protector that has a high rating for Joules. Joules is the measurement for energy, not electricity. Energy can be in the form of lightening. After spending thousands of dollars on your machine, please spend $50 on a highly rated Joules surge protector. Not only are you protecting from a spike in current, you are also protecting in a spike in energy. Two somewhat different things.
  • You may want to contact your insurance company and get the policy that will cover your machine. Because these can cost the amount of a car, it would be a good idea to ensure you have coverage if something were to happen.

2.). Points to know before purchasing your longarm

  • Test Drive All different kinds of set ups.
    • Questions to ask while test driving
      • How does this handle and steer? Is this smooth or bumpy? Is it easy or hard? Is it heavy or lightweight?
      • How are my ergonomics and comfort? Does this hurt my shoulders? Does this hurt my back? Do I have the stamina to do this all day?
      • How is the durability? Will this withstand for what I will be using it for?
        • Commerical grade for working everyday
        • Hobby grade for pleasure
      • Does the machine fit in my house/room?
        • I have heard stories of ladies just wanting one so bad (I can relate!), and the the day of delivery to find out that it has to hang out the doorway of the room and the only way to access to back of the machine is to crawl under the table.
      • Do I need to upgrade to a new dedicated circuit
        • This somewhat happened to me. If I chose to run the freezer (which kicks on with no notice) and the heater at the same time while running my machine it would trip the breaker. Research out expense. Ask your dealer how many amps does your machine pull, they will have answers. If they cannot answer this question, you may need to eliminate them as an “expert” in this field and move onto another company.
      • What kind of thread investment will I need to make
        • I regret not asking this question before I bought my machine. Two purchases were made and became useless because I did not do my research. Find out by asking the dealer what thread the machine loves. Learn with the thread the machine loves otherwise the learning curve becomes kind of overwhelming. Control that with the known. Venture out later with different thread.
      • Ask your dealer how long they have had their machine. A lot of the traveling salesmen at quilt shows do NOT EVEN OWN THEIR OWN BRAND. Would you trust they really know the machine? They are there to make a sale. If you ask this question your trust relationship can flourish, you must be able to trust your dealer/saleman.
      • When test driving pay attention to durability. The more durable machines and frames are engineered to last and last. Some of the more recent commercialized machines are kind of whimpy. If you are like me and have a tummy, and you lean on that belly bar, does it give? This will push in the quilt top you are quilting and cause it to be quilted in a less than square environment.
      • Ask the dealer where a good place to purchase thread and batting. If they have been in the business they are going to know sources that may not be online and may be cheaper.
  • Know yourself
    • Many personality types in life. Know yourself. If you are confident you will not be too afraid to run this machine, purchase it knowing! I have read many things out there where a person buys one of these machines. And then all of a sudden is having to go to the doctor because they are experiencing fainting spells while using it. Yes, it can happen to any of us. This particular person was so nervous and scared she was forgetting to breath and fainting at the machine. If you are intimidated by using a drill, woodworking equipment, or even you are afraid to clean and take out a couple of screws on your daily sewing machine. A longarm is probably not for you.
    • Time. This will take a good chunk of free time out of your schedule. Do not buy one if you can only quilt on holidays. Your muscle memory in training has to train regularly for you to be any good at this free motion or even pantograph stitching.
  • Needed supplies
    • Ask your dealer beside batting and thread what tools will help you most
      • Play with your machine and get to know it. This will prevent you from stitching a whole row of pantograph with incorrect stitches or non-existant stitches. Yes, ghost quilting is part of the learning process. You will learn the difference in sound when you are stitching and your bobbin runs out. You will also learn and see the difference in the quality of stitch you are producing and your machine sound can alert you to what you cannot see under the quilt.
        • After that initial learning curve, start seeking out the toys for the machine
          • Acrylic templates
            • These require a special foot. Do not assume the foot installed on your machine is the right foot. I had to purchase a new foot.
              • The special foot also required an adjustment for the hopping mechanism. Do not assume, always ask the right questions when you are driving your machine down a different path
            • Acrylic templates size is key
              • Do not go on a buying frenzy. I know too many women who own oodles of these templates and do not use but a few. When purchasing a template get the template that is the work horse. Find one that will stitch in the ditch or stitch straight lines. Find one with measurement increments for those straight lines. Find a template that also has an arc or a curve or preferably both. The more the template does, the more you will use it
              • Templates that are bigger than your hand are hard to use. Your bars at the rear and front of your machine become problematic for moveability with a larger ruler. Anything longer than 10 inches I would not recommend. Large rulers tend to fall off the base. This causes kick, which can make you accidentally feed your acrylic template over your hopping foot and damage your machine.
              • With acrylic templates also has the cost of a ruler base. You will need to get a ruler base before you can use any templates.
                • I leave my base on my machine full time whether I am using templates or not. Travel of the machine may be impeded by this device. It may hit the bar at the front of the machine. Know this before hand
  • Do NOT compare your apples to someone elses’ oranges.
    • We are our own worst critic. Quilting takes practice. You WILL make mistakes along the way. You WILL figure out how to overcome those mistakes. Your learning journey is different from everyone elses’. If you are looking repeatedly at design inspiration on pinterest from Angela Walters, Natalia Bonner, or Judy Madsen, keep in mind they have perfected their craft and have been doing it for YEARS. Think about when you started to learn cursive writing. Was it pretty in the begining? No it was purely mechanical. It took about 6 months of using it everyday to be really better at it. And now you have been steering that pen or pencil for 20+ years you are really good at it eh? Unless you are a doctor LOL. But that is something to consider too. Doctors are always in a hurry. That is why their penmanship is so illegible. Speedy may not work as pretty. You may want to practice speed vs slow. See how your garlands change and in what direction they look off. I have learned there are certain swoops I can make fast, and in a different direction I have to take that same fast swoop slower.
      • The speed thing also needs to be researched when purchasing your longarm. When you test drive one and make your loop-de-loops how fast can you go? Find out your stitches per minute on each machine. Usually the higher stitch counts the machine can go, the faster you will be able to quilt eventually. If you are one of those people at your regular sewing machine who can not piece your tops with your foot to the floor on speed, perhaps a longarm is not for you. The right speed is key in making the muscle memory leap from shaky to smooth. I sew and quilt like I drive with the petal to the floor and go as fast as I can.
  • A quilting tool holder
    • When I began longarming I found a use for my extra 24 inch ruler. It was perfect to lay across my bars and acted like a try where I could keep some tools. I know of people using curtain rods that hook over the bars and then place cardboard or wood over those which also make a nice portable table to work from while at the machine. This method failed for me. It would cause those to fall off during the advancement of the quilt top.
    • The tool thing put lots of extra legwork into my day. If I was at the back of the machine, I was constantly setting the tools down back there. I would then walk to the front of the machine to work and find the tool I needed was at the back. My solution was an apron. I have templates, cleaning brushes, chalk, extra bobbins, and my good cutting scissors all in that apron. So many steps saved from these tired feet.
  • If you wear glasses but dont wear them regularly, probably a good idea to keep a pair at the machine. Because mine is offiste this was a big deal. My distance vision is good, my reading vision is poor. It never failed to go and quilt and forget my glasses and then I could not even thread the needle.

3.). Lighting

  • One of the most important tools for your machine is lighting. Yes, you can purchase expensive lighting. What ever works for you. This did not work with my budget. This tip I learned from observation of the famous quilters. They either are near daylight (window) or have a nice overhead track lighting system. I find that daylight can be a curse. If you are near an east or west window, this can be blinding at certain times of the day. Light is best from a north or south window.
  • Utilize all the light you have by installing a wall of mirrors. Mirrors do three things, they reflect light, prevent shadows, and they allow you to see the image you quilted in reverse. Notice in Angela Walters Studio, she has a whole mirror of wall that she faces while at the front of her machine. This is one of those helpful things that costs little but the impact it can have is tremendous.

I am certain there is more I am forgetting. I will save what I have forgotten for a post in the distant future. Please if you have any questions I would be delighted to try to help you out.

And now for the textile part of the post….

You know, much of a blog post is an amalgamation of a weeks worth or more of what has transpired under the needle. Because I had a migraine last week, it directly affected what I can post about this week. There was stuff happening this week, but not much.

Did you know that April 1st was National Tatting Day? I tatted a bit. I have about two chains and two clover leafs to tat and then I can move onto the next round of my doily. Sorry, no new pictures. And this thing has grown to the size of trying to figure out where to take that picture. This is a goal of mine for the weekend.

And back at the end of December I joined a quilt along called Holiday Mystery Seclusion Quilt Along hosted by The top has been finished since then with the goal of the end of January to quilt. Well, it was just too cold in January and February. But I finally have it quilted. I tried one of the newly purchased pantographs. Because I was unsure of the spread of my machine, I now know it is 13.75 inches. I have learned if I use this panto, it will have to be on a small project and I cannot use my red snappers.

This was a fun sew-a-long and ended up being cute! Lots of texture! I enjoyed this whole process immensely. I look forward to more of this kind of stuff. It is now all quilted and ready for me to bind. I will probably work on this in the next week.

Looks a bit wonky doesn’t it? Sorry, need to mow the grass for even appearing edges. This was about 6 blocks shy of using a floral charm pack that I purchased a while back for a bargain price. I whipped out the bolt of muslin for the accent. No purchase necessary at all for this little gem. Found some blue floral backing in my stash too.

If I ever start quilting for income, this will be a panto saved to the 3 cents per square inch category. It is a very easy pattern, but the amount of time it takes is less than stellar as far as dollars per hour are concerned. I cannot remember how big this is, but I did not have to piece a backing for it. I am thinking this is 36 inches square. One M bobbin pass for every 36 inches in the row. Massive thread drop!

The quilt above was quilted last year in April, I have yet to bind it. This hopefully will happen as well.

My supplies have not showed up for working the La Passacaglia. Dang covid slowing it down. My anticipation of starting this is very HIGH…..soon enough I guess.

Well, this wraps up this post. Thanks for reading along! Please subscribe!