This week marks the first of four weeks that will be spent introducing a number of wonderful quilt blogs! In earlier posts, I mentioned that I am taking part in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. There are about 70 of us in the group and for the past several weeks we have been working together to learn more about blogging and to help each other to improve our blogs. If you have come to Needle and Foot for the first time, via the Blog Hop, welcome!!
First, a bit of background.
I am one lucky person. Married to an amazing guy and mom to four kiddos, I live in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California. We have a bit more than three acres which allows us space for a large vegetable garden (which we couldn’t plant this year due to the wretched drought in California) as well as a coop for six hens. Three of my kids (the boys) are adults and are off living all over the country. My daughter is still at home and will enter high school in the fall.
I have been sewing for over 40 years now (which looks so strange when I see it in print!!) Growing up I sewed many of my clothes and when I became a mom, I sewed clothes for my kids. I started quilting when I was 17. I made three quilts over the next three years and then didn’t make another one until 2012. (If you want to read about the first quilt I made, here is a post.) When I retired from a career in Human Resources in 2012, I suddenly had time to devote to sewing again.The quilting bug (obssession, passion, craze, addiction – call it what you will) bit me hard and I have made a number of quilts over the past few years. If I were to try to describe my style, I would say that while I enjoy almost any type of quilt, I have a propensity to the modern. I love large blocky patterns – I don’t often make a very fussy block. I have always quilted all of my own pieces. It feels right to me that I make my quilt from start to finish. (I have only quilted one queen size and one full size piece, usually I make lap size or mini’s.) I use either straight line or free motion quilting depending on the project. My FMQ is absolutely a work in progress – it is challenging and requires tons of practice. With each project it improves a bit more.
This is my sewing space. Totally as it is – no cleaning or organizing before pictures! I sew on a Janome 6500P and also have an older Janome that is a little workhorse. I love them both.
Here are a few of my favorite projects:
This lap size quilt was made for my amazing daughter-in-law for her birthday. I love the pattern and it was one of the first times I used solids for the bulk of a project.
The quilt below was made for my daughter. I love it because it is the first time I took on a large FMQ project. I had no idea what I was getting into and quilted this without knowing I had to drop the feed dogs for FMQ – I fought the quilt and the machine the entire time. I remember thinking this is so dang hard, why would anyone want to do this for pleasure. See all of that pebbling and all of those spirals? No free motion there, just an amazing amount of tugging and moving. It was nuts. I’ve learned a bit since then!
This final quilt was made for my sister. I love simple patchwork quilts! This is a lap size quilt with a huge heart pieced into the lower right corner. I love the texture of the matchstick quilting on the heart.
Though my quilting projects are often leaning toward modern, I have an unstoppable passion for anything vintage. I especially like two eras. I love the fabrics from the 1930’s through 1950’s. I recently acquired quite a collection and you can find more information on that here and here. In addition, I collect vintage linens, usually from the 1970’s. There is quite the stash of these in my sewing room now. I have lots of fat quarters listed in my Etsy shop if you are interested in vintage sheets. There is also a smallish collection of vintage patterns listed in the shop.
Here is a simple blogging tip for you: Take your time with each post! Last June when I started this blog, I was learning as fast as I could by reading other blogs and trying to figure out what worked best for me. Over the year, I learned so much. Something that really helps the quality of my writing is to write ahead of time. As much as my schedule allows me, I try to sketch out a post and then come back to it in a day or so. When I come back and edit the post I will invariably find typos or phrasing that isn’t as clean as I would like. It helps hugely to look at the post multiple times. I don’t mean spending hours pouring over it. Rather, I write it, save it and read through it at another time. If I write in a hurry and publish, there will be errors. If I can let it sit for a day and come back to it, I will usually catch a few typos. Also, I can improve phrasing or move pictures around that don’t look just right. That second reading improves the post almost every time.
Finally, three fascinating and compelling facts about me that you are probably dying to know.
1. My favorite vacation I have taken was my honeymoon in 1998. We went to St. John in the US Virgin Islands. It was breathtakingly gorgeous.
2. My husband and I dated all of six weeks before he proposed. We were married five months later. While I do not recommend this as common practice, we were lucky and are happily married 17 years now. To my children, when they bring this up (usually to give me a hard time about it), I always say, “do as I say, not as I do!” (Which happens to be excellent parenting advice!)
3. I am lucky enough to be the fourth daughter in a family of six girls. My sisters are my dearest friends and you can read about them here, here and here.
Thanks so much for stopping by. If you want to follow me it is easy – you can enter your email address at the top of the page or click on the Bloglovin button (with the plus sign in the middle) and add me to your feed. This blog hop is a wonderful opportunity to meet a host of new bloggers. In the hop with me this week are three other terrific quilt bloggers. Hop on over and check them out!
Nurdan @ Hug-a-bit Quilts
Ali @ Needle Down
Denise @ Craft Traditions
It is great to get to know more about you, Bernie. I am amazed at how you just jumped right in and quilted your projects from the beginning – that is awesome!
Thanks Yvonne! Maybe I just didn’t know any better??? I do like the quilting process and sometimes wish I could just progress a bit faster. It takes such a lot of practice!
Have a good blog-reading week!
Hey fellow blog critique mate. I just love your layout. I know, you’ve read that from me before but it just resonates with me. Thanks for showing your sewing space. I can’t resist any post that starts with a studio shot. I am a bit of a sewing space snoop. Yours has a nice ergonomic flow going on. Great quilts. I’ve been known to forget my feed dogs a time or two so I feel for you. You must be pretty fit because your seemed to have wrestled those bubbles into submission.
Haha!! When I think about how difficult it was to quilt that first project – all those bubbles and spirals and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It just makes me laugh.
Thanks so much Gayle!
Wow everyone thought my husband and I were crazy for getting engaged after only 7 months but you have us beat by a long shot! We were engaged for something like 4 years before we got married and planned our wedding in a week to get married before he left for basic training.
I like your blogging tip that is definitely something I need to work on.
When I think about getting engaged after only six weeks of dating, it was pretty crazy. We are so lucky that it all worked out great for us. Makes for a funny story though!
This whole blogging thing is a work in process. There is always something to work on, right? It is a really fun project though and a great community.
I enjoyed reading this.
Every one has a story, and yours is pretty nice!
You are so right… everyone has such history and I love hearing about it. What is your story??? I am curious.
Take care and thank you for reading!
Bernie, you may not know this, but your posts almost always make me laugh out loud – you never fail to say something that I identify with and you say it with humor. I laughed and said “awwww” through your post about your first quilt! I am just amazed that you pulled that off with no instructions – I’m applauding you – and that you used it and loved it – that is a true quilt! Did you ever finish the makeover?
So fun to learn new things about you. I agree with you about taking your time with posts. When I was writing a blog while I was catering, I don’t mean to brag, but my posts were awesome – lol! I tried to write them with meaning and make them interesting to the reader. Now I just write a few ungrammatical sentences (and believe me, I’m a member of the grammar and spelling police force) so I can hurry and get back to quilting. 🙂
First of all, thanks so much for the compliments. I truly appreciate it.
For the quilt restoration, I haven’t made much progress but it is on the list for this summer. I am almost done with my June goal – just have to square it and bind it. Then I am pulling out the log cabin to figure out how to start.
Secondly, don’t sell yourself short. I love your blog and I think your posts are meaningful. I enjoy each one.
Aw thanks Bernie. I’ll try not to be so hard on myself! 🙂
Such lovely quilts Bernie! Thanks for sharing your story, I really enjoyed readking more about you.
Thank you Jinger! I appreciate the kind words. I am loving this blog hop and all the new people I have “met” over the past couple of weeks. So much fun!
You took on a very large quilt indeed for a FMQ adventure. Wow Wee! How long did that take you? Just curious. It looks fantastic. I’m sure your daughter loved it.
This took forever. Because I was struggling and pulling/pushing the darn thing around it was really hard on my neck and shoulders. I would do a little and stop. Set it aside and then do a bit more. I would say it took a few months to finish quilting it because of all the stops and starts. Yes, Julia does love it so that is all good. It was quite the learning experience, that’s for sure.
I couldn’t imagine free motion quilting without dropping the feed dogs. A nice intro.
It was sort of ridiculous, looking back. But live and learn, right?? Thank you for stopping by.
Bernie, I really enjoyed reading about your journey. You aren’t afraid of failure and that’s great! Your “struggle” fmq quilt is great, I would never know you had a hard time – well, maybe I would wonder a little bit -ha!-, because I always struggle with pebbles (I get all tense and it’s very exhausting), so I can just imagine how much work that was. BTW, I also got engaged and married in 6 months after meeting my husband and this year is our 11th anniversary. 🙂
Hey, another crazy fast engagement! Looks like we both got lucky, right?
Pebbling is tough but I love the look of it. Actually, it is just so time consuming that it gets boring after a while.
Take care Silvia,
Hi Bernie! It’s great to get to know you a little better. I’m amazed by people who quilt on their domestics, it never clicked with me. I hope you didn’t put a wrist out getting those pebbles all over that behemoth! I love your sewing space. And we all have projects on the go. Why do so many of us pretend otherwise? I’ve always got a great pile of stuff that needs binding in the corner next to my machine.
That pebbling made my neck and shoulders pretty crazy. I have yet to try a long arm – I only have used a domestic machine so I suppose I don’t know any other way. It is coming along though.
And yes, there are always piles of WIP on the sewing table. Wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂
Thanks for your lovely, lively post! I am struck by your blogging tip – it’s good advice, I’m always too impatient to press the publish button! Thanks for sharing photos of some of your quilts, I like your choices of modern-looking quilting patterns.
I totally get that Allison. I am anxious to hit the publish buttoon as well. It just seems to work better for me to come back to the post with fresh eyes.
Makes for better quality, at least for me.
hi Bernie! So nice to learn a little about you and have a sticky beak at your quilts. I am so impressed at your quilting. I was going to quilt circles on a baby size quilt and did two rounds, saw how rubbish it looked and ripped it out! Next year I am tackling FMQ (I just need to get a foot for my machine).
‘Sticky beak’ – that is a new one for me. Is that like ‘taking a peek’? I like it.
My quilting has such a long way to go but thank you for the compliment. Circles are really hard. I still don’t do them too often. I love the effect and see so many people using them in these wonderful ways. I believe lots of people use a walking foot for really large spirals and that is something I do want to try.
Take care Hayley!
I cannot believe the FMQ on your first quilt! Yikes! I’m not great at FMQ, but lately I have kept my feed dogs up while doing it. I read that tip somewhere. (On a janome 6600). Love your spirit, thank you for sharing!
Ha ha Jayne… I was just too inexperienced to know what I was getting myself into. Then when I started it, I just had to finish it. It worked out well in the end. Pretty funny though, looking back.
Thanks for stopping by!
Writing posts in advance is a great tip….and something I need to work on. The blog hop has been a great opportunity to learn great blog tips.
No kidding…. everyone has their way of doing things and it has been great to hear from each other. Thanks for stopping by Anja!
What beautiful quilts! I can’t imagine quilting that big quilt without FMQ. What a trooper! I have the same machine as you, and I FMQ with the feed dogs up to prevent the needle thread catching on the feed dogs. Have you ever had that problem.
Interesting…I have heard of people intentionally leaving their feed dogs up but I don’t get why or how. It was a mostly miserable experience for me when I did it inadvertently. Do you cover them? My older Janome has a little clear plastic plate that I can cover the feed dogs with and that works great because it is a smooth surface to move the quilt over.
Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Bernie, just popped over from the “New Bees” to say hi! I will always remember you for the lovely email you sent me when I first started blogging. It was full of encouraging words and helpful advice and I will forever be grateful! I’m really enjoying watching you practise and improve your fmq (something that I keep finding an excuse to avoid!)
How sweet Deb. Glad it helped! That is the best thing about this community – it is filled with supportive people and it seems somewhat non-competitive. I love that.
OK – no more excuses. Get out some scraps and start practicing a little FMQ.
Hi Bernie. I loved this post and getting to know you a bit more. Feed dogs; I will make a note of that as I have also made the same mistake and then forget my lesson as I leave it a very long time between FMQ projects! I love your engagement story – my husband and I mark 15 years this year and we got engaged after 2 weeks and married a few months later in a mad rush to “normalise” my husband’s immigration status! When you know you have met The One, you know!! So glad to be part of your hive!
Wow, two weeks?? That is even crazier than us. How funny. So glad it worked well for you both. I am sure we are both statistical anomalies where this is concerned. We got lucky. 🙂
I loved reading your blog… thanks for sharing. I feel the same way about quilting – I want to make a quilt from start to finish and have learned to “love” FMQ on my beautiful pfaff machine. I cannot imagine how hard quilting that large quilt for your daughter would have been but it looks amazing! I just thought I would visit – I am in the Sew Fabulous Hive.
Glad to hear someone else feels the same. I can’t say I “love” to FMQ, but I am closer than I was. I am too hard on myself and find all these little jogs in my stitching and make myself crazy. It is getting better though. Glad you stopped over and I will do the same!
agree and thanks
Hi From a New Quilt Blogger too, Sew Fabulous Hive! I love quick love story! I have two my of those myself. Thanks for sharing the broad range of quilt patterns and styles of your quilts! -Adrian
I guess I shouldn’t admit that I sometimes deliberately quilt with the feed dogs up?!
Fabulous working space!
Eleanor, I have had a few people comment that they FMQ with their feed dogs up for one reason or another. So I suppose it is whatever works best for the person!!
Thanks for stopping by.
Bernie, I can’t imagine quilting all those pebbles by turning the quilt in circles! It’s hard enough moving a quilt with the feed dogs down. That quilt is amazing without knowing the story, even more so after I read your post!
Well, I wasn’t really spinning the quilt. I was moving it like one does with FMQ but it was much harder without dropping the feed dogs. So silly!!
Thanks for your sweet words about Julia’s quilt. It is still one of my favorites.
hi Bernie , I’m in quantum quilters too and it is nice to meet you . I love your quilt for Naomi , the two tone works really well. I used to quilt with feed dogs dropped, now it seems to knock off my tension
Nice to meet you too Helen. I am getting lots of replies from people that quilt with their feed dogs up. It was so much harder. Maybe that was because I was new at it to begin with?
Thanks for your sweet words about Naomi’s quilt.
I agree with writing posts in advance, I’ve been doing the same thing. When I have an idea or thought, if I don’t write it down, I lose it. You have a lovely blog!
Thanks Johanna. Whatever we can do to stay organized, right?
I appreciate the visit and hope you’ll be back.
Hi Bernie, I see you all the time on the LNQ Club facebook page and comment on posts but I guess I never realized that you had a blog! Best of luck with the blog hop and I’ll catch you on facebook and here on your blog now!
Same here! I didn’t know about your blog either. I just read through your last six posts or so. Very nice!
I’m totally enjoying the blog hop. Thanks for stopping by!
Great stuff! I love that as a long time reader I learned something new about you. Have you ever tried a Supreme Slider for FMQ? I leave my feed dogs up, but cover them with the slider and it really helps with being able to move the quilt around. I’d kinda like my whole sewing table to be covered in the stuff! 😉
I have been wanting to get a slider and check it out. What is the point in leaving the feed dogs up if they are covered anyway? Isn’t that just like leaving them down? Just curious as this is really something I am trying to progress with. Thank Sarah. Also does the slider move around when you move the quilt? Does is have adhesive and if so does it leave residue?
WOW! I can’t believe you quilted that that big quilt without putting the feed dogs down. Now that is what I call determination! It was nice to cyber meet you. I’ll see you around the blog hop!
Nice to meet you as well! The more comments that I receive on this post, the more people I meet that actually do quilt with their feed dogs up. I think I prefer the traditional way with them down, but many disagree. Kind of interesting! So glad you are a member of the hop this year. Looking forward to getting over to your site. I have to admit I have not hit all of them yet but I am working my way through.
Take care and enjoy the weekend!
Bernie, I leave the feed dogs up because I think it makes a better stitch. There’s just something in the machine that works better with the feed dogs up. It helps my tension enormously. Plus, there’s no foot to grab the feed dogs so it hasn’t made the fabric any more difficult for me to use. I’ve done this on several machines and the effect is especially pronounced on the 1966 Pfaff. Just my two cents!
I’ll always take your two cents worth! I have a different machine since I did the quilting on Julia’s quilt. I will do some practice work and compare with the dogs up and down. You certainly aren’t the only one that has suggested this. Learning something new with each project, that’s for sure. I am ready to do some piecing after all the quilting last week. I cut all the pieces for the June Classic Stitches row and haven’t sewn even one block. Maybe this weekend??
Hi Bernie! Your post was wonderful and it was nice to learn more about you. I’m glad I got to “meet” you through the blog hop.
Thank you Sarah. So glad you stopped by!
I love your sewing space – it looks very inspiring, I’m sure you have no trouble spending lots of time in there! Great blogging tip! I’m terrible at whipping up post then publishing it right away, only to notice moments later that I’ve misspelled something. Ugh! I’ll be taking your advice for sure! I hope you’re enjoying the hops so far!
I think we have all hit the publish button a bit too fast at times! Luckily you can always edit those mistakes. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by Liz!
Hello, nice to meet you! Your sewing space is lovely – so bright and airy and with a wonderful collection of minis. I love Julia’s quilt, it’s beautiful! The quilting is amazing, especially considering you had to fight the quilt.
I am loving my growing collection of minis as well. They are so much fun to make, hang and just look at!! Thank you for the compliment on Julia’s quilt. I appreciate it.
Hi Bernie, It is good to get to know you and all the Quantum Quilters! Your quilt projects are fun and interesting. I sew and quilt with the a Janome 6500 too. I love her! lol…She is getting old and does not sew as well as she used too. I’m thinking of buying another one. Like you I jumped into free-motion quilting. I see you learning and growing with each project. The quilt for your daughter must have took a long time to quilt. We definitely learn from those kind of projects!
Thanks so much! I have been looking at your work on your page and it is crazy gorgeous! Your level of precision and detail are amazing. Love the Lion King piece that you did. Your blog is a source of inspiration.
So glad you stopped by.
Your sewing space looks much nicer and organized than mine. I love your daughter’s quilt with the spirals and pebbles. It was good to learn more about you.
Thank you Mary! My sewing space goes through stages. Some are messier than others, that’s for sure.
So glad you stopped by!
Hi, Bernie from a fellow Quantum Quilter! Good to meet you and I really like your tip. I tend to write a draft and come back to it, too. I need to get better at spending too much time. Sounds like you’ve got that part conquered. Your quilts are lovely.
Thanks so much for your comments. It is so fun to hear from all of the Quantum Quilters!
Hello! I loved reading this and so sorry for my tardiness! I have so much catching up to do! Ack! I’ve been away on a business conference and then had volunteer work… anyhow – that circle quilt is amazing and HOWEVER you got it quilted… it turned out amazing! Whatever you have learned since then I am sure is lovely but I don’t doubt your skills there either! I am a sucker for color so those solids definitely stood out to me, which is weird because I actually have a hard time working with only solids. LoL Total oxy-moron, I know. I am loving your inspiration with your family and marriage and it’s an inspiration all together and congratulations on such a successful and loving family! I am pleased to get to know you a bit through here and look forward to getting to know you more! *hugs*
*Stopping by from the 2015 New Blogger Blog Hop – New Bee’s
There are so many blogs to read, right? I still haven’t finished them all either. I am really enjoying this though. So glad you stopped by and thank you for all of your sweet thoughts!
Beautiful quilts! Love the story between you and your husband….sometimes when you know, you just know! That’s how I felt with my husband!
Thanks Cristy! I was very lucky to meet him that’s for sure. We were actually set up by a mutual friend – she was amazed at how quickly everything fell into place for us and loves to remind us that we are forever indebted to her!
Thank you for stopping by.
Bernie, you always amaze me with your go forth and conquer attitude!!! Your blog is always so great to read, your writing voice is always so strong and seems so reflective of your personality. Lovely quilts!
What a sweet comment Stephanie. Thanks so much. ?