Monthly Archives: February 2018

Long Arm Practice

A few weeks ago, I was visiting with friends in the office I retired from. One of the women follows my blog and Facebook page. She told me she had a quilt top she had made in the mid-1990’s. It was intended for her daughter (now in her early 30’s). Robin thought it would be fun to finish it up and asked if I would quilt it for her. I am the first to say I am not highly skilled with quilting. This quilt top was for a twin size bed which is bigger than I am able to quilt at home. After making sure she knew my skill level, I agreed to finish it up for her.

She brought me the quilt top the following week. As she said, it is definitely 90’s colors (mauve, pink and green) but she was hoping I would have a fabric in the shop that might work for the backing. I sent her several photos to choose from. She made a great choice with the Dash print from Carrie Bloomston’s Dreamer line. I love this print. It is very similar to Moda’s Grunge fabrics with the addition of a small scale print on it. The background is pink with smudges of lavender. The modern back is perfect for slightly updating the 1990’s quilt top.

I took it to the long arm shop where I am able to rent time. To me, this is such a great opportunity. I don’t have space for a long arm and don’t relish the idea of maintaining one either. Being able to rent one is the perfect compromise for me.

The gal that works there helped me load it on the frame. For the first time though, I didn’t really need a whole lot of help. (She was probably glad to see this!). The quilt top has been sitting for many years and was a bit distorted. Before I took it to the shop, I did clip threads from the back, iron it well and starched it. Even with all of the prep, it was a trick to get it to lay flat.

Because of this, I figured I should quilt it loosely and let it be a bit puffy. I think it would have been difficult to quilt it tightly without having lots of puckers.

It took little time to quilt. I used large loops and an occasional loose flower and just quilted edge to edge. I am pleased with how it looks. In previous projects on the long arm, I found it a challenge to quilt circles, they would look oblong and sometimes almost rectangular. These look like circles! I am making progress.

Never having quilted for someone else before, it feels a bit strange to just stop at this point and return it to her. When I trimmed the edges there was quite a bit of the backing fabric left over. I asked if she would like to use it as binding and she agreed. So, I cut the binding strips and sewed them together. The rest is up to Robin. She will bind it and wash it.

It was fun to use the long arm again. I think it has been since about October since I quilted there, so quite a few months. I do have a quilt top nearly finished though which means I will be back there next week. This was a win-win for Robin and I both; her long time UFO is nearly finished and I got more practice time on the machine. She did purchase the supplies and pay for my fees to use the long arm. Even though it still needs the binding, I am calling this a finish (at least for my portion of the project.). Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF and a few others. Check the top of the page under Link Ups for lots of fun places to link to.

Blogger Bundle – Kitty Wilkins of Night Quilter

This month I am excited to share a new blogger bundle with you!  It was curated by Kitty Wilkins, blogger, quilter and incredible photographer.  Be sure to check out her work at Night Quilter. I first got to know Kitty when she and Stephanie Palmer (Late Night Quilter) teamed up and created the very popular Facebook group, Late Night Quilters.  Kitty was also one of the bloggers who supported the grand opening of my fabric shop last March.  She is a very talented person and I was so pleased when she agreed to create the blogger bundle for February.

I knew I was in for a treat when Kitty emailed me with a suggested bundle.  She pulled fabric from several different lines. I believe her starting point was Tartan Field Midnight from the Bountiful line designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabric. She built from here and added two more Art Gallery pieces, Twinkle Star Berry and Sashiko Florette in Teal. I was really surprised to see the tiny orange stars twinkling across Twinkle Star Berry are the perfect match to the orange in the Tartan Field Midnight.  I had no doubt about Kitty’s skill with color but yikes!  These pieces are really complementary.  Then she added a light blue Color Weave by PB Textiles.  This blue works great with Tartan Field. Go Kitty!  Finally, she chose a piece by Alison Glass (Knowing what a fan Kitty is of Alison’s fabric, I was not at all surprised to see her pull from this line.) The green fabric is called Numbered (in Grasshopper) and it works wonderfully with Tartan Field.

Kitty knocked this one out of the park.  I love the choices she made. This is such a great learning experience for me. I am enjoying talking about color and fabric each month as the blogger groups pieces together that I may not have thought to put together.

Kitty has more to say about her choices with this bundle.  Please click here to read more about this bundle of color.  Also, she has a bundle to give away to one lucky winner.  You’ll need to check her post out to learn how to enter.

Finally, this Blogger Bundle is available beginning today in my shop.  It is on sale for 20% off through Saturday, February 24th.  No coupon code needed, the price is adjusted for you. Come over and take a look.

I hope you are enjoying the blogger bundle posts each month.  You are in for a treat in March when I share the bundle curated by Yvonne Fuchs, of Quilting Jetgirl!  See you then.

Squared Away in Purple

It is already mid-February and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month is purple. On Tuesday I set aside my doll quilt projects and pulled out my purple scrap bin. It was time to get to work on some scrappy piecework.

The second block for the Squared Away BOM, hosted by Mari of Academic Quilter and Angela of So Scrappy, was released last Saturday.  For this month, Mari chose a block called The Wishing Ring. Let me say, this is a great block – not fussy at all!  My kind of quilting.  🙂

I have decided that, as much as the scrap bins allow, I would like to use one fabric throughout each block with the same gray background throughout.  I think it will look more cohesive.  Luckily I had some reasonably large purple scraps so it worked for this month.

I had some fun playing around with these blocks. I think it would make a great quilt on its own. I have not made a quilt with just two colors but maybe someday….  I like it. ( Though I doubt I would choose purple for a whole quilt.)  There are some fun secondary patterns that appear with this block.

squared away blocks

Putting the January and February blocks together looks like this.  So far, so good!! I still have the purple bin out on the sewing table.  I started cutting three inch squares and playing with them yesterday.  Once I figure out what to do with them, I will show you. 🙂

Have a good weekend everyone. We are enjoying spring like weather so it should be a nice one!

Linking up to my favorites.  Please take a look at the Link Up tab at the top of the page.




Free Spirit — Big Changes Ahead

Like many of you, I was taken aback by the news that Free Spirit is closing it’s doors.  Wow!  How can that be?  The artists designing for Free Spirit are an amazing group; including but certainly not limited, to Tula Pink, Anna Marian Horner, Joel Dewberry, Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey and Kaffe Fassett.  It is hard to get my head around this as the news seems so sudden.

For those of you who haven’t already read this, here is the note published on the Free Spirit website:

We are certain you have heard the news. Please forgive us for delayed communication, but our first priority has been to support our employees and designers. It is with great sadness that we announce, effective May 1, we are exiting the Westminster Lifestyle/FreeSpirit fabric business. Our sister company, Coats and Clark, Inc. will continue as part of the sewing and quilting landscape just as they have always been for over 200 years.

We appreciate your support and love of our fabrics throughout the years. We’ve enjoyed bringing to you the best designers printed on the most luxurious of fabrics and watching you create incredible works. Thank you for your love of our fabrics.

For customers: We will continue to fulfill orders placed to date for delivery prior to Tuesday, May 1, with new orders for existing collections on a first come first service basis. We will not be producing new Westminster or FreeSpirit Fabrics from today onward.

I can only guess why something like this is happening.  For Coats & Clark to close this division, it must make sense for their bottom line.  Hard to imagine a company isn’t profitable with such an AMAZING team of fabric gurus designing for it, but it must be the case.  I have been reading with interest the responses from some of the designers.

There is a video on Tula Pinks Facebook page where she talks about her feelings.

The note on Kaffe Fasset’s Facebook page is shown below:

Dear Friends,
By now you have heard the news that the fabric company that we started over 20 years ago will be no longer in business by May. Coats has made the decision to stop producing the Kaffe Collective line, the Artisan line and the fabric lines of many of our good friends.

We have been caught completely by surprise and have not yet gathered our thoughts on how we will move forward, but rest assured, we will! Our fabrics and books are popular and in demand and there is no doubt that we will have a bright future.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Kaffe, Brandon, Liza and Philip

So many people’s lives are in a tizzy, I am sure.  I don’t know how many people are employed by Free Spirit but surely this will take a toll on a good number of families.  I hope they are able to land their next position relatively soon and that Free Spirit treats them well as they close their doors.

I look forward to hearing about the next path taken by each of these amazing designers. Surely the larger fabric companies are looking to pick up some of them.  I have long wanted to carry Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner and Tula Pink in my shop but had not yet created a purchasing relationship with Free Spirit.  I could see Andover picking up any one of these three and if so, I will be eager to start purchasing their lines.

Wishing only the best to all those impacted by this change. Change can be difficult but hopefully this one will lead to new opportunities for those involved.