Friday, March 28, 2008

Attack of the rotary cutter

In my many, many years of quilting ... after using a rotary cutter since they were first introduced (in 1979), I've finally had my first serious accident. Envision a new sharp blade, a distracting podcast, a tired quilter who had spent the morning doing a software lesson, and ... well, you get it. I'm very lucky that I only sliced the very tip of my thumb off and won't have any permanent damage. It is hard to sew now, though. I've not tried knitting.

The project was a digitizing exercise using the applique tools on my Designer software. I was finishing the project when the accident happened. Here is were it is at the moment - binding to be added tomorrow.

Now, after looking at the design carefully, I've decided my "leaf" is so misshapen that it actually looks like a thumb - Freudian slip? Not sure how or if I will fix it :)

Anyway, this was one of those learning projects and I think I learned more than just the program - like KEEP YOUR BODY PARTS AWAY FROM RAZORS!

till later ~~ Dene

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Life is too short ....

To read all the blogs I subscribe to ... ACK!!@@@!!!

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

I just checked my Bloglines feed and found I'm subscribed to 123 blogs and have 1,625 unread posts. This is split between several categories (and I know it doesn't add up but I'm not counting again)

Knitting blogs: 78
Quilting/embroidery blogs: 12
Church blogs: 5
Travel/Technology/ Misc blogs: 17
Cooking blogs: 8
Photo albums: 2 (family)

The only reason there are more knitting blogs is that I've been following knitters longer than any other category. I find I'm adding more quilting and embroidery blogs lately and taking some of the knitting ones off.

But *REALLY* - do I have time to read all these?

till later ~~ Dene

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Done Dogs

The embroidery on the Calico Dogs quilt is done. I still have to put the back on both and quilt. I'm glad to get the embroidery behind me as that was the time consuming part.

Notice that one little doggie got turned around :)

till later ~~ Dene

Monday, March 10, 2008

Keeping the Past Warm

I've been working hard on getting 2 quilts done for babies that are now 8 and 6 months old. I won't talk about the one that is 2 1/2 years old and still doesn't have her quilt. All it lacks is some handwork to tack down the binding.

Anyway, I finished up piecing the 2 tops while waiting on this:

And after they both were pieced, I marked the blocks for embroidery. I need the chalk lines to be able to center the designs in the embroidery hoop - not an easy process since the tops will already have the batting in place.

Oh, and why wait on the box? Inside was the thread I needed to do the embroidery. Behold the lusciousness of thread (all you non-sewers can be excused now).

After 3 days of embroidery, I have the Sunbonnet Sue's embroidered in place and the top is ready to back and do the quilting. (click to embiggen)

And I've started on the calico dog quilt - the sample motif is pinned over the top to give me an idea of what it will look like. At the time I was taking pictures, I hadn't started the actual embroidery but now have 5 done. More pictures later.

And yes, I know it was suppose to be the gingham dog (vs. calico cat) but I don't have any gingham scraps and I'm trying hard not to buy extra fabric. So the kid will be scarred for life for having calico dogs :) I love the 30's reproduction fabric and these projects have reduced my stash of this type of fabric by a little over half. I still have 2 more quilts to make using this fabric.

I'm trying to get all my embroidery out of the way so that I can take my machine in for an overdue spa treatment and firmware update at my Bernina dealer later this week. I'm heading up to Dallas on Thursday to attend the Dallas Quilt show so wanted to have the machine in before I leave. I can do the quilting part on my backup machine.

Till later ~~ Dene

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Delectable Mountains Quilt

Project details
Pattern: Delectable Mountains (Quilt in a Day publisher) by Eleanor Burns
Size: 68 inches square
Fabric: various cotton prints
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20
Details: Free motion machine quilted in a rose pattern with a leaf border design. The rose design was chalked on using a stencil before quilting.

This was a "languishing" project from about 2-3 years ago. Originally, this was to be a shop sampler for a now out-of-business quilt shop. The top was easy to cut and assemble using Eleanor's special ruler and there wasn't much challenge to the piecing. The quilt has actually been almost done for about a year - I just needed to get the binding on it which is what I just completed. I used a rose print in the center for extra interest. Detail (click to embiggen)

I used the top to do a test run on a friend's HandiQuilter 16 sit-down machine that was on loan to me for a year. This is a small long arm machine that sits flush in a table and you move the quilt under the needle for the stitching. Although it did a nice job, I don't think I'll be purchasing the machine in the future. I'm just too spoiled by stitch regulators which it lacked. I'm not real happy with my freemotion skills and my inexperience shows in the quilting on this project.

I think this quilt will end up on our living room wall for now. I need to put a hanging sleeve and a label on it first.

Till later ~~ Dene

Embroidered Table Runner - Class Project

I took a class at It's a Stitch to learn how to embroider on quilts using my Bernina. Although I already knew the basic concepts, the class was fun and it was great to interface with other quilt and embroidery fans. The project was to piece a 3 block table runner and then use the embroidery module to do the 'quilting' part of the project You can't really see the design in the blue section of the piece but the blue contrasting thread on the yellow turned out nice. The thread was King Tut 40 wt which I purchased at the Houston Quilt Festival at the Superior Threads booth. The fabric was from my stash. Overall, a fun class and I actually FINISHED something!

Till later ~~ Dene

Hankie Blankie Pets

The Bernina Dealer (It's a Stitch - Champions) had several of the Hankie Blankie pets made up as store samples and I fell in love!

The fabric is Minkee which is a super soft, cuddly knit that make perfect baby items. I wish you could feel how soft this mini-blankie is. The face and lettering were done on my Bernina 730e.

Not having any grandkids (yet), I made one for my niece's baby Ian. I also have a kit for another that I plan on making for a friend at church. I think I'll do the dog next time.

till later ~~ Dene

Savannah Socks


Project details:
Pattern: Savannah Socks by Lisa Parker. Published by Wildhorse Farm Designs
Yarn: Opal Uni in turquoise
Needles: size 1 bamboo double pointed.

Easy knit with the lace just on the cuff and the ribbing extending down the instep for a good fit.

Much better ... but still

The top is pieced with the mistake corrected ... but then I find others that are not quite in the right place. But you know, I'm leaving it as is. The Sunbonnet Sue appliqué on the right is what will be added to the large white boxes once I get it marked and the batting on the back. I'm trying a new technique where I put the batting on first, do the appliqué and then add the backing and finish the quilting. This will give some dimension to the appliqué without the 'ugly' side showing.

It is a bright sunny day in Texas and should be in the lower 70's today. I am going to try to get some of my finished projects photographed and posted.

Till later ~~ Dene

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

Current progress on first baby quilt. The top 1/3 is pieced with the other 2 strips partially pieced. No matter how long you stare at something, inevitably you miss something "major" or at least you think it is major since you know it is there and your eye goes to the mistake immediately.

This quilt is random scrappy blocks. It sounds easier than it actually is because you don't want the same piece of fabric grouped together. I stared at this setting and totally missed the error. Can you see it? Check here:
Still can't see it? Try this:

Yep, the same fabric 4 times in one row. Arrrrrgh! (stop laughing Lauren and Pat!)

So, I'll do a bit of "unsewing" and insert 2 different blocks to make up for my mistake. But that will be tomorrow after I get some sleep. I can be taught not to tackle mistakes when tired!

BTW - the larger white blocks will have Sunbonnet Sue embroidery in them eventually :)

till later ~~ Dene

Monday, March 03, 2008


I'm enjoying quilting again and spending way too much time and money on the embroidery module of my Bernina. I'm also taking loads of classes and making new friends. I'll post some pictures of my completed items soon - I'm on a roll!

What I accomplished this weekend:
Wait .. those are the trimmings :)

Try #2:
These are blocks for 2 baby quilts done in the 1930's reproduction fabrics. On one quilt I'll embroider Sunbonnet Sue's and on the other baby motifs. The embroidery area will be 8 inch plain blocks framed with these quarter square blocks.

You might wonder about the pile of trimmings. I like my blocks to be a perfect size and thus I cut my fabrics just slightly larger than I need them to be and then trim once they are sewn into blocks. For example, for these quarter square triangles, I should have cut the fabrics 5.25 inches for a 4" finished block. I instead cut them 5.5 inches and then trimmed them exactly 4.5 inches when pieced. This ensures that the quilt top will lay perfectly flat when seamed and I won't have to beat any blocks into submission to make them work. At least that is the theory.

I've finished a Delectable Mountains quilt, a pair of socks, a shawl and a table runner in the past few weeks. Another baby quilt is just lacking tacking the binding down. I'll get the camera out soon!

till later ~~ Dene