Just Gotta Quilt!


Well, Ok, it was daytime.  But it was one of THOSE days.  You know, the piecing kind! LOL

I’m currently working on some new quilt tops in cool modern designs and that requires a lot of cutting and piecing before I can get to the quilting machine.  We’ve discussed this before, I know, but my piecing moods are a significant part of my quilting journey so I share them here hoping for just one tiny little bit of sympathy from just one other person out there who understands … anyone?  Bueller? (Generation X movie viewer memory required for that one)

Seriously, though, I got to thinking that perhaps the way I feel about piecing is like the way others who don’t enjoy the actual quilting feel about the quilting process itself.  And if it is the same, then I’m here to tell you I FEEL YOUR PAIN!

But I’m about to pull out the “my struggle is harder than yours” card, because you can piece to your heart’s content, make all the quilts you love, doing what you love, and then either fold them nicely to store on a shelf until you decide what to do with them or send them off to someone else – like me! – to do the part you really don’t like!  I, on the other hand MUST piece in order to quilt.  There’s no way around it for me.  Am I getting anywhere here?  Any sympathetic sighs?  LOL

So Friday was one of those days.  Sometimes I can get through two or three days before I hit the bad-mood-dark-cloud-end-of-my-rope stage – yup, it’s a real thing and you only have to ask the people around me to find out how irritable I become in this unfortunate situation – but other times, it’s just one day and I’m already nearing the edge of my sanity.

It didn’t help that I spent all morning cutting one piece of fabric thinking I would move on to the others and actually get started sewing by the afternoon and then found out that my math was wrong and I didn’t actually have enough of the other four colors to complete the job.  So the first and main color is all prepared, yes.  Did it help me that day?  No.

NOTE: to all the stashers out there now laughing or shaking heads at me for not keeping more fabric in stock:  you’re just being mean!!! 😂😂😂

After lunch I had to then start on a whole other piecing project which I had no hope of finishing that day, so all the time I was sewing I KNEW that I still wouldn’t have anything ready to quilt the next day and my mood was spiralling.  Thank God for chocolate.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I remembered the piece of rainbow striped fabric I had purchased and intended for a cool baby quilt, and the awesome thick polar fleece I grabbed on a roll from someone who no longer needed it, and I loaded it onto the frame. As soon as my needle hit the quilt and the stitching began, I was mentally stable again.

The struggle is real.

Here is a video of me having fun.  I will stitch this design out on a solid color for you at a later date so you can see it clearly, but for now, just be glad it’s safe to knock on my door again …

(I’m so glad y’all have such a good sense of humour!!!)

Do something you love today!  Life is short 🙂



Long Arm Custom Quilting – soooo much fun!


Number two came off the long arm frame over the weekend and I had a blast quilting it! I’ve been waiting to do this one, with all the custom ruler work, and after the first one with the all over geometric design came off, I challenged myself to take the plunge and go for it.  This is the biggest quilt I’ve done with the exception of the twin size I made for my daughter a while back, and that one was quilted on the sit down machine.

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This pattern is called “Mellow” and it’s from the book Modern One-Block Quilts by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting.  I’m kind of on a roll with the patterns in this book because they’re so cool!  They inspire me to stretch my custom quilting ideas from the spontaneous wild quilting style I love and have grown comfortable with to the more confined and planned designs, and these patterns lend themselves very well to helping me build my ruler confidence 🙂


I did use some of Natalia’s ideas for the ruler work, throwing in some spirals because they’re a favourite, and some figure eights because I really wanted to work on practicing those.

It’s now all washed and cuddly and available for sale in my Etsy shop 🙂


I was inspired by a conversation I had last evening and again when I watched a short video this morning; both fit in well with the ongoing reflection I’ve been doing about the importance of following my passion in the direction it takes me and have reinforced for me the need to keep my focus on doing what I love to do, in the style I love to do it.  There are so many aspects to quilting – or any other art form! – so finding what makes us happy and then deciding to focus our attention in a specific direction is not only beneficial, but necessary to our overall progress.  I can’t provide all services to all people; I can’t make all the quilts!  But I can be true to myself and honest with others.  Only in that do we continue to learn about ourselves and what we’re capable of accomplishing!  Of course, as Angela Walters often says, I am only the expert of my own opinion …

I encourage you today to start making something you really want to make but are putting off because it’s really hard and you think you have all kinds of other steps you need to try before you can dig in and make it.  You will never know until you try, and often we quite happily surprise ourselves 🙂



Fun with Feathers, Facebook Live

I finally figured out how to successfully – I hope! – share a Facebook Live video on my Youtube channel, which means I can share it here so all those reading my posts can see it.  I’m just learning to do the live videos over on Facebook, so it will take some time to get things fine tuned and since they are LIVE, it’s possible that things will never be completely right on any given day! LOL

For now, if you’re interested, here is the first one from Feb. 21/18.


A new adventure


Things got real on Saturday morning when I’d filled up my scribble sample on the new long arm machine and decided to load an actual quilt.  I’d been working on multi-directional control as I moved the machine around the practice fabric, trying to translate my free motion skills into what feels like another language, and the practicing was proving its effectiveness.  As with all free motion quilting, practice makes progress, not perfection, but definitely progress 🙂

I got to the end of the sample piece and stitched out the overall interlocking geometric design I do on certain quilt tops to give them a modern look and cool texture without quilting too densely.  It’s good for print heavy quilt tops where a lot of fancy quilting doesn’t really show up anyway, it’s pretty simple to learn (it’s part of my private free motion quilting lesson) and also a great design for quilts for guys who aren’t quite as appreciative of flowers and feathers as some of us ladies are! LOL

Once I was confident enough to take it to an actual quilt, I loaded up one of the tops I’ve had ready to go and got started.  This pattern is called “Wiggle” and it’s from the book Modern One-Block Quilts by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting.  I recommend this book for modern quilt lovers; there are twenty-two patterns and instructions for three different sizes with each one.  I love the way this pattern turned out and I will definitely be making it again!


Natalia is one of my very favourite online teachers and continues to be a strong influence on my own quilting journey.  Check out her website at Piece and Quilt where she regularly posts photos of quilts she’s working on and shares videos of her quilting process.  She does a lot of modern quilting which I really enjoy and she’s a RULER NINJA!

I used Maker’s Home fabrics from Windham for the prints, and Moda Bella Solid Prussian Blue for the sashing and binding.  It’s quilted with So Fine 50wt thread, top and bobbin, from Superior Threads.  I also tried a new-to-me batting, which you can’t see, but I’ll mention it anyway:  Quilter’s Dream Poly Deluxe.  I can’t find Quilter’s Dream battings in Canada, so I’ve imported a few from the US, but I really like them.  This deluxe is a heavier weight batting than I’ve used in the past and it has a different effect, so I’m glad I tried it and now have another great option to add to my list.

It was so exciting – and a little unbelievable – to actually be working at my own long arm machine on a real quilt and seeing everything working so well.  This is clearly the beginning of a beautiful relationship LOL

Stitching out this simple geometric design gave me lots of opportunity to practice controlling the machine in every direction, get used to the way it sounds as I go, notice how it behaves along the way, and to experience success that motivates me to get the next one loaded on the frame.  But my next one is calling for some fancier stitching work and I’m hesitating just a little …

I already have customers waiting for me to be ready for their bigger quilt tops now that I’m not limited to what I can handle on the sit down machine, but I really want to get in what I consider to be enough good solid practice time doing various designs that I’m used to already before I stitch on someone else’e beloved project 🙂  Thankfully a great piecer friend of mine is sending me a couple to practice on so I’m going to try some fun designs on those and hopefully that will get me ready for the next phase of customer quilts.

I did a short video while I was stitching this one, so if you’re interested check it out below.

Floral Train Case

I’ve got my new Handi Quilter long arm machine set up and running now with lots of practice going on while I get a feel for it.  The one thing I’m learning quickly is that I need to take breaks from standing, so an alternate sewing project was called for by the end of the week!

I saw one of Sara Lawson’s Crimson & Clover train cases done in a lovely floral fabric and while I couldn’t find the exact print I was attracted to in her photo, I did find one I liked well enough to go ahead with the project.  I’ve made the small and medium versions in the past so decided to do a large one this time.


As with any sewing project that involves some tedious work in certain areas, the larger version was easier to maneuver at the sewing machine, but it does require some extra stabilizer in the top and bottom to help keep its shape.  I used a 4.5 handbag zipper – these have become my favourite for bag making – and changed out the pulls to make it more decorative.



Stay tuned for a post about my first quilt done on the long arm.  It’s being laundered today 🙂

Pinterest Adventure Day 14

I’m still going!  HAHA

I know you’ve seen me do feathers before and I continue to look for new ways to embellish them, twist them, branch off from them etc.  I’d saved a pin with a few of these popping off a densely quilted background and decided to sit down this morning and knock this off my list LOL


Don’t look too closely at my background though, it’s only there to make the gold feather stand out and I hurriedly stitched it to pack down the batting but didn’t have any matching navy thread, which would have looked much better.  But I’m super happy with the cool feather.  Don’t you love how that Magnifico 40wt polyester thread builds up and defines areas?

I haven’t done much embellishing of bump back style feathers as they tend to be more traditional, so I wanted to see how it would look compared to my more casual feathers.  One of my goals is to get as comfortable stitching out this type of feather as I am with my go-to designs so today’s exercise proved to me that even a traditional custom feather can handle some whimsy!  I find it boring to just stitch out regular old feathers so there always has to be a surprise somewhere …

Geometric Sampler

I can finally show you my finished sampler panel quilt because my violet solid fabric for the binding arrived in the mail this week!

You’ve been seeing bits and pieces of this one in my Pinterest Adventure posts, and it’s now complete.  I’m sure you’ll agree that the binding just HAD to be violet.  I tried a few others but none worked for me.  It was definitely worth waiting for!


This is a Natalia Bonner long arm training panel, and I quilted it on my sit down long arm machine. There were so many opportunities to try different designs, especially ruler work.  I highly recommend trying out a panel like this – or piecing something with various shapes – and working around it using different stitching designs.  It held my interest and challenged me to think beyond my go-to favourites 🙂  Natalia has a class on Craftsy, called “Free Motion Motifs for Classic Blocks” where she demonstrates various options for quilting these blocks.  It’s a great class with loads of inspiration!


I looked on the Pattern Jam website recently and I couldn’t find the same panel as they seem to have changed their setup since I purchased it, but you can still create your own geometric panel from scratch using their provided shapes, solid colors, and even prints if you wish.  The panels come in different sizes and you can change things around until it looks just the way you want it to look.

I’m currently doing some time consuming piecing (gasp!) on a cool modern quilt top, also designed by Natalia, with two more in the wings.  I feel a free motion wild quilting break coming on at any moment …

Have a great weekend!


Couching on the weekend


No, couching has nothing to do with laying around on the sofa …

I made a set of pillow covers this weekend using one of the Handi Quilter couching feet, some free motion quilting, and a cool ball of chenille yarn.

The neutral colors worked well for a modern look and both covers came out of the wash with no issues so that pleased me as well!  I wasn’t sure what to expect with all that chenille, but it held up beautifully and is oh so soft to touch.  It gives wonderful texture to the cushion covers.

I recorded a short video to show you the couching foot in action – most of it is sped up so no, I wasn’t going that fast!  In fact, when couching, it seems best to run the machine faster but move the project more slowly to make sure the stitches are good and tiny securing the yarn all along the way 🙂

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Couching is really no more difficult than free motion quilting itself, just take a little extra care in keep the yarn feeding through the hole in the foot without knotting up and away you go!  I used my regular So Fine 50wt thread in the light cream color and it got lost in the yarn which is exactly what you want.


All stuffed and ready to cuddle!



Serenity = Robin’s Egg Blue


Despite the bold chevron insert, this quilt makes me think of how I feel when I’m standing by the ocean: serene.  Maybe those brighter colors mixed with white could symbolize the waves coming in and rolling back in the midst of the calm 🙂

This Robin’s Egg blue (Moda Bella Solids) is a color I could use over and over again.  It’s just the “right” turquoise and it goes with many other colors beautifully.  The prints for the insert are from Angela Walters’ Drawn fabric line.

The stitching designs on this one are, as you know if you’ve been reading my posts the past while, include a few Pinterest ideas I saved along with some of my own favourites.  The quilt idea itself came from a saved pin, and the link takes you to a page called Simple Simon & Company, where a lady named Elizabeth writes about it.  I didn’t see a pattern there to credit – and I just figured out how I wanted to do it myself from the photo – but I presume she made it so I wanted to mention that here.  Hers is lovely in a mostly white background, one of my favourite colours to stitch on!  I also liked the straight lines bordering the insert so I did that on mine as well.


I love composition quilting!  If you were to ask me for a definition, I don’t know if I could give you a good one.  I saw this term used by a well known quilter to describe her quilting technique and, because I was so attracted to the style, I’ve been trying to incorporate it more and more into my own quilts so I’ve adopted the term 🙂  It’s not the same thing for me as “wild quilting”, which is anything and everything wherever it ends up as I go.

I think of composition quilting as making it look as though certain elements are moving through other elements, kind of layering in front of or behind each other as they go, and I mark just a few lines here and there to define areas so I know where I want to break through them with other designs, if that makes any sense at all.  It’s like making a plan to break the plan, but it’s still part of the plan … yikes!

So, for example, if I mark a big square that I intend to break through with spirals, in the end there will only be partial lines from the square that are actually stitched (after the spirals) to give the illusion of the spirals “breaking” through the squares.  And there might be stitched lines on one side of the square in one place and on the other side in another place.  The end result looks more complicated than that, but it’s really just a lot more detailed stitching 🙂

Usually, the bigger areas are marked before quilting starts and then the spontaneity takes over.  But sometimes – as was the case with the area between the two feathered chevron sections on the right side – I start out with one thing in mind and then decide to make it more of a “composition on the fly”. HAHA



I actually intended to do all the negative space with tiles (see bottom left corner) but I got bored, so the plan had to change, and that’s OK by me 🙂  In fact, it happens more often than not! LOL