Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Peaceful Quilting"

     Hhhhmmmmm........this is just what I need. I need some "Peaceful Quilting" in my life right now. I need to be able to go into my studio, shut the door and just grab fabric and stitch it together. I need to sew without a plan, without a thought, without an issue running crazy like in my head. I need my passion to heal my soul, my nerves, my emotions and my thoughts right now. Quilting does that for me--it is my therapy, it is my muse, it is my happy place, and it is my passion. I am sure many of you can relate to this and feel the same way.

     Life is so darn crazy right now, the world is moving so fast...... Thoughts and opinions from everyone are everywhere. I have the joy and blessing of knowing many people and being able to call them my friends. I am even blessed to say that my family members are like my friends also. I love my brothers and their wives. They are a true blessing and without them-my life would not be good. On the flip side-most of my friends and family members are so similar to me. We are strong willed people, we stand up for ourselves and others, we are free to offer our opinion. Isn't that one of the rights and privilege as an American citizen?! Yep-it sure is: Freedom of Speech. I love this privilege and bask in it often. It is wonderful that many people are taking advantage of this freedom also. But..... I feel like I am being bombarded by so many thoughts and opinions from every direction. I have family and friends (that were loving before to each other) fighting and arguing constantly. So sad, so stressful. I feel like I am stuck between them. Not a fun place to be. Know that I love you all.

     That is why I am going to go in my studio and shut the door. I am going to turn on my music and go to my over flowing scrap bins and just do piecing. I love 4 patch blocks. There is just something about them. They are cute-they are versatile. You can make them in any size and they will fit in and complement many quilts. I do two different types of 4 patch blocks. I like to make them with an obvious dark paired with a very light or white fabric..or... I like to do a dark tone paired with a lighter tone. Both choices feed my soul. Both choices play nice together. Ha---what am I going to do with all of these scrappy 4 patch blocks you ask?? I have to just grin and say--" I am not sure yet". I know, I know---I seem to say that a lot lately with all of my scrappy blocks. I assure you- I have a plan, I just don't know it yet! 😏


     These are just some of the many blocks I have pieced together. They are still in their raw stage. These 4 patch blocks are made with 2 1/2 squares. I just cut them and throw them into a bin. I then randomly reach in and pair them up together. then I press them and sew them to another random pair to create the 4 patch.

     I have been doing this for some time now. I have even taken my bins to Quilt Retreat and sat down for hours sewing them. For me, it is very therapeutic....It helps to calm me and raise my vibration in many wonderful ways.

     So while the outside world is bumping horns and expressing their freedom...... I am going to go into my comforting studio and do some "Peaceful Quilting" to express my freedom. Thank You  Creator for this gift. I wish peace and love to all of my family and friends-- and yes---to the whole world. God bless AmericaπŸ’“

Saturday, January 28, 2017

T Shirt Quilt

    Today- I have the honor of showing you a special quilt. Don't get me wrong, I think all quilts are special in their own way, but this one has a little something-something if you know what I mean. πŸ˜‰. A few months back I received a call from a former co-worker. I thought she was calling just to chit chat, soon into the call, I realized the real reason. Her dad had recently passed and she was wondering if I could make her a T Shirt quilt. I was like--Oh my gosh, Yes!!!! This is were I personally think that quilts help comfort and heal. "T Shirt Quilts" fall under the category as a "Memory Quilt". Very important. We talked a bit more on the phone and made arrangements for me to get the t shirts.

     Once I received them all- I laid them all out on my studio floor and looked them over. I had my pen and paper out and I started to make notes and write down what ever ideas came into my head. I was not given the usually amount of t shirts to work with that you see in many of these types of quilts. No big deal---I just knew that I would have to be creative. We had decided on a nice size lap quilt. Now...... I just have to say this...I do not like little lap quilts. I fully expect a lap quilt to cover me from my chin and down over my toes. If you want to cuddle with your quilt, why would you want your toes peeking out? Am I right?--of course I am!

     I took my time with this quilt. I would draw a plan and then change it, this happened a few times. Oh was I happy the day that I finished the plan and could go to the store and buy the supplies. I couldn't wait to start on it. Got home and scurried into my studio, shut the door and went to town. I ironed Pellon on the the back of all the shirts, I cut them down to the size that I wanted, I arranged them all out on the floor on how they were to be placed. In the mean time, I was washing the background fabric first. I had chosen a really nice soft  flannel. I know that flannel shrinks terribly, so off to the washer and dryer it went. The flannel was ready to be cut once my t shirts were all cut. Great timing! Measure, measure--cut, cut and then repeat. That was the theme in my room that day. Remember I said earlier that I would have to be creative because I did not have many t shirts? I was only given 11 shirts. I used the scraps of the shirts and made quilt blocks. I planned on using them as fillers so that it would brake up all of the background material I was planning on using. 

     When it was all cut out and the blocks were all sewn--I had it all laying out again. I was getting so excited. I could see it taking shape. Now came the time to start sewing in the background fabric---stitch after stitch after stitch....a couple hours later...Wha la!!!!! The whole top was pieced. I loved it!!! It was just as I had pictured in my mind.

     Looking at the shirts that her father wore, I had gotten the sense that he may have been a  former military man---or at least, a very patriotic man. Given that knowledge----I choose a red background fabric and a dark blue backing/binding fabric. I used a batting that was mostly cotton but some polyester to give some loft. I loaded it all up on my longarm frame. I used Superior Threads Magnifico #2151 to quilt. I did an edge to edge free motion meander on it. Near one of the shirts that I could tell that he wore frequently- I wrote his name into the quilt.

     The binding went on pretty fast. I sat in the living room and watched a few movies. I had already sewn in the label. I like to do it in the bottom corner. Labels are very important! We as quilters need to archive our quilts so that the future generations know all about them. Plus, the label allows you to put more then just information on it. You can write your feelings, your emotions, hand sign your name---all things that help breath life into the quilt.

     Finally, the day came to deliver it!!! I drove to my old place of work--excitement building in me with each step. Well fate is a funny thing----as it turns out, Susan was in a meeting. That just meant I had to sit and be patient for a bit. When I finally saw her--I could not open it up and display it fast enough. Now, of course you know me--I made her close her eyes until it was open all the way. She loved it!!! You could see her happiness in her face in every way. That totally warmed my heart!!! πŸ’—
Here it is!!! Ta Da!!! Isn't it wonderful?! I can just picture Susan wrapped up in it and feeling surrounded by her Dad

This is a close up of the meander stitch. I love this red flannel---it is like a mottled red flannel. So soft and fun to fondle and cuddle with!

The picture does not show the true blue color of the backing---or the color of the thread as I would have liked. But I do like the way the quilting is shown.

P.S.- She loved the Label!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Treadle String Blocks Galore!


   Good morning- Good morning-Good morning! Nothing like waking up and walking into your sewing studio to put you in an instant good mood! I love it---I feel so fortunate that I can do this. This is the first thing I did----well, after I let the dogs out and I made my cup of " morning jump start", aka: coffee. The sun is not totally shining in all of it's glory--but it is out there enough to shine through my sky lights in my studio to greet me in a warm and fuzzy way. I walked right over to the treadle that I have been working on for the past couple of days. I have been working on a different WIP.  I have been shuffling between my crumb blocks and my paper string blocks. I just love it.

    String blocks are the best! They are so fun, simple, mindless, relaxing and of course- addicting! I have been working on my string blocks for some time now. I have a little over 200 of them. I have made mine 5 1/2 by 5 1/2.  I am not going with any particular color scheme--just plain ole scrappy. Now, I do have in mind down the road to do a string block quilt with a certain color scheme order. I have seen pictures of them and they are just so darn stunning. I can not really explain the draw to them-- it is like I become mesmerized and I just drift off dreaming about them. I know- crazy right?! Guilty as charged. I can't help myself.

    My scraps for the string blocks are a mix of my own and a whole bunch that are donations from my friends. You can call my friends my enablers. I think it is so darn cool when they drop off bags of scraps for me. I tell them---no scrap is too small, let me decide if it is usable. They always get a chuckle out of it. My scraps are like candy to a baby. I have always had a hard time tossing them in the garbage. When I was a new quilter, I didn't know what to do with them. Then I discovered Bonnie Hunter---that is when my whole quilting world changed. I have to say that it changed for the better. I took off with her ideas like a bullet out of the gun and never looked back. Thank you Creator!!!

    My way of doing it is not as organized as my wonder teacher Bonnie. My way is to--open up a tote of scraps- dump them out on the floor next to my feet and just randomly grab a piece and sew it on. There are times I have to snip the width or the size to make it the way I want it to be.  Like her, I sew it onto a piece of telephone paper. I use a stick glue to hold the first piece in place.  I don't worry about a quarter inch seam allowance---I just sew where I want to. I do make my stitch length shorter because it does help when I rip the paper off the back and it doesn't stress out the piecing. I like to keep my ironing board next to me while I do scrap blocks. For me, I find it helps to press the pieces into place before I sew on the next piece. When I am ready to trim it down, I like to use spray starch , press with a hot iron, let it cool and then block it. Works like a charm.

    When I do string blocks, I really love to do them on one of my treadles. I love my treadles so much. These iron beauties are such a treasure and a blessing. I love the stitches that they produce-excellent. I love the sound that they make as they are sewing. Their sound is so different from the modern electronic machines of today. Sometimes I sew in silence, but most times I play music in the background. Because I do not worry about a seam allowance--I don't mind switching up what machines I use. I like to share the love with all of my machines.

    Recently- I have been working on my oldest treadle. It is a White. It is a coffin top. It is my only coffin top. It does have a vibrating shuttle. I believe it is called a White VS II. The bobbin winder is really different from all of my other treadles. I had to do a lot of searching on the net to figure out how to wind a bobbin. I bought it from a local antique store for $100. It did not come with many attachments--but I do have 3 bobbins for it--that is fine by me. The table itself is in great condition. The decals are a bit worn and rough looking, but considering her age---I think she looks great. I believe she has been around since the time of the Civil War. Not exactly sure of her age. When I sew on her, I think about the previous owner or owners. I wonder about them: who were they, where did they live, what type of sewing did they do, did they like to sew? If only we could time travel and observe--that would be so cool. Maintenance of these machines are pretty easy. Keep them cleaned and oiled. Treat them with love and kindness and they will remain loyal and work hard for you for years to come.

    What do you think? Want to come join me? I promise you will have a ball!!!

 My White VS II. Isn't she a beauty?!!! Do you see my doily under the thread? I made it. I think it just adds to the charm. I am using Coats and Clark thread-- for some reason , my older machines work better with it

This is the back of her. Because she is a coffin top- she doesn't go inside the table when done sewing. Do you see the wood peg there behind her. That is to hold the wt of the treadle head when cleaning and oiling the underneath.

I use these sliders under all of my treadles. The treadle legs have wheels on them, but I do not find them easy to move. Plus they make an awful noise while moving. These sliders help me to slide on rug and floor. I like to move my treadles around my studio when sewing or even to move outside.

These are just some blocks cut up from telephone book paper.
I like to glue down the first piece so it doesn't slide on the paper. When I sew, I don't worry about the seam- I just make sure I don't have a too narrow of a seam.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Treadle Talk And Itsy Bitsy Gems

    Today I wanted to show a WIP that I have been doing since this past summer. This past summer was so darn hot for me. On top of that- we had the Amish at my home doing repair work on roofs, ceilings and doors. They were here for a good couple of weeks. If you have ever had work done in your home-you know that dust and dirt come out of know where and go everywhere. There is no fighting it and no getting angry over it because it doesn't help. You just have to wait till it is all over and then bust your hind end cleaning it up. And need I say that my Sewing Studio was greatly effected during this whole ordeal. Well.....at one point during all of the work, I became anxious and fidgety because I could not get to my machines. I didn't sew because I did not want all of that yucky stuff to find it's way into the inside of my machines and ruin them. As I was walking around my studio picking up chunks of plaster and wood, and other untidy things- I saw....... no, I heard my one treadle calling out to me! Ha---I know, you think I have lost it- as I am grinning while typing this out. I have 5 treadles and there was one that was only partially covered--that was the one calling to me. I swear she said: " Nadine--come play with me today, this messy boy stuff will not bother or hurt me". I don't know about you- but when my treadle talks to me-- I LISTEN!!!!πŸ‘‚πŸ‘‚πŸ‘‚

    The treadle that was calling out to me is my beautiful Franklin. She is so darn pretty. She sews like a dream. Her art work is of the Egyptian style. Her cabinet is different from all of my others. From what I have read on it-it is a cabinet that was for apartments. The iron treadle wheel and foot pedal are all housed on the inside of the cabinet, so when the front door is closed---nothing is visible. Simply beautiful. Who ever owned it previously to me must have loved it a great deal. You can clearly see that she was used a great deal, but she is in great condition. Back to my story- I saw her and the bright idea of moving her out of the studio and onto my deck outside with some scraps of material, my iron and ironing board was larger then life in my head. So, without paying attention to the questioning looks on all of the hard working Amish men---I wheeled everything past them and out to my deck.  I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. I love Bonnie Hunter and she has mentioned a few times how she has taken her treadle out on her deck and sewed the day away. That day I did just that and let me tell you---it was FABULOUS!

    I did not bring a current project out with me, mainly because they were all packed away safely. What I did was..... I grabbed a bunch of scraps, my cutting mat, blade, scissors, ironing board and iron. I decided to do something that I have wanting to do for awhile. I wanted to make " Crumb Blocks". I so love Bonnie Hunter's quilt that was made out of crumb blocks. I thought I would give it a try. I decided to make mine 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 square. I just grabbed what ever little piece of scrap that I saw in the heap. It didn't matter the size, color, shape or width. I just grabbed it and started sewing them all together. When I thought it was big enough---I squared it up. I used spray starch on it before I trimmed. They are so beautiful! This type of sewing is so relaxing and mindless. Literally hours went by in a snap of a finger. When I had about a dozen, I laid them out on a table and admired them. So darn pretty.

Here are a few of the Crumb Blocks that I have made so far.
   I have a bag filled with more. I am not sure as of now what I will do with them. I know that they will be put into a quilt top. I just have not come out with a clear plan for the design of the top. For now, I will continue to work on making more. To me, this is a project that I will do here and there between other projects. I will slowly let my bag fill with more blocks. I will keep you up to date as I move along with these. These are small crumb blocks- in my minds eye, I see bigger ones in the future!

    Have you made any crumb blocks? If not---let loose and give it a try. I promise you that you won't regret it!πŸ˜‰

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Design Concept Of Family Love

    I woke this morning cuddled under one of my favorite quilts. I love the quilt that is currently on my bed. I love looking at it and I love sleeping underneath it. The quilt is special to me in many ways. One of the things that makes it so special is that I designed it. I crack up when I say that because I am by far not a Pro Quilt Designer. I am just someone who loves fabric, cutting it up and sewing it back together in a way that pleases me. There are many great and wonderful patterns out in the Quilty World that we can use. Those are great---and they were designed by someone else. To me---the way my mind works------If you design it, then that quilt becomes extra wonderful, extra special and A+++! Between the planning, buying, cutting, placement, piecing and then quilting it-I have poured myself on every level into the making and then presenting of the quilt. When I am piecing it, I get lost in my world of thoughts and emotions. I tend to go down memory lane and have conversations in my head about it. Time goes by quickly, the sun rotates from the east and then down in the north. Day after day the cycle continues until it is finished. That is what happens to me when I make most of my quilts. So, I do wonder if it is like this for all Quilters?? I kinda think so- at least all of the ones that I have ever met.

     Today I want to show you a quilt from a customer of mine. I call her Rebecca the Quilter. Do you recognize that name?? You should- I have mentioned her a few times on my blog. She makes wonderful quilts. To me they are unique and special. Special because most of them seem personally designed to me. Meaning---most of them have been her creation. I love that. I can tell when I am quilting them that she puts time, thought and effort into her quilts. This quilt today has meaning- it has" Family"meaning. I would describe this quilt as modern meets scrappy meets family.

    The blocks are scrappy log cabin against a white back ground. What brings emotional meaning to this quilt is that each block represents a family member and the blocks are placed in the order of how a family tree would be. People who are special in her life. Does that not hit you in your heart?!!! It definitely does mine. This was made for a special woman in her life. Not only do the blocks have meaning- but so does the quilt design that she picked. She picked an edge to edge meander stitch with white Glide thread. This stitch was used often by the person this quilt was made for. While I was quilting it, I had to smile and agree- the meander stitch was a good choice. In this picture, you can see that the quilt is still attached to the top leader cloth of the frame---but can you see a bit of her backing material? It is black and white with words printed on it. Perfect backing for this quilt. I love her choices for backing on a quilt. They are pretty neat.

    To me- this quilt is so wonderful. It is jam packed with loving meaning and emotion. I can't wait to see it with the binding on. I can't wait to hear that she presented it to that special someone. It makes my heart swell. 

     Today I have another quilt top to go on the frame. It is another top with much meaning. It will be a good day working on this. It will definitely put me in my happy place like the one I am showing today. Later on, I want to play with my machines and fabric and see what I can create. Happy sewing everyone!😊

Thursday, January 19, 2017


   Ahhhhh..... it is so nice to be able to sit and blog this morning. I have to apologize for the lack of consistency with this blog. I am having some big time issues with my computer and being able to connect to the Internet and stay on. This has all been happening since my bank account and my computer were hacked into a month ago. Very frustrating to say the least. OK,enough of that- on the the good stuff!

   Well, the weather here has been very rainy and chilly. It has washed away all of the snow we had a few weeks back. I am not so much a snow lover, and I would rather it rain then snow. I especially would rather drive in rain then snow. That is what actually happened the other morning. I was signed up for a class at Creekside Quilting in Arcade. That is a very long drive for me. Most of it is all back roads through the country side. It is a very pretty drive when the weather is sunny and warm. I had prepared for the class the night before and even spoke to Rochelle ( our grand leader ) about the weather the next day. There were warnings of an ice storm that was to hit us. The only thing I could do was say my prayers and wait to see what the morning was. Thank you Creator, it was just a very rainy and gloomy looking day. I can handle that. My husband packed up the car for me and away I went.

    I love taking classes. I love learning new things and playing around with fabric and notions. I love sharing the time with like minded people. I love going to Creekside. I arrived an hour later and greeted by many smiley faces. All good! My spot was clear and waiting for me to set up. Some of the faces of the other ladies I knew--and the others are now familiar to me. That is another upside to going to class---you meet new people. I had to smile when I looked around at everyone's machines. We all brought a Viking Sewing machine to work on. They were all different models. Kinda cool.

   The class was from a project from Kim Diehl in her "Simple Christmas Tidings" book. I love this book. This is the second project that I have made from her. Love, love, love it! We made the "Button Blizzard Pillow". It is a pillow with an applique of a Snowman made from different wool pieces and surrounded by buttons acting as snow against a background of your choice. The picture is of black material-that is also what I choose to do. Let me tell you- this class was so much fun. I enjoyed myself so much. We broke for lunch and then continued on. The time flew. We talked, laughed, shared ideas and supplies and gave each other encouragement. It was awesome! To know me is to know that I love snowmen. Not the real ones---the crafty ones. I also love buttons! I have such a collection of them! This project was perfect for me. I was able to go through my assortment of buttons and just grab and use. Thank you Rochelle for showing my how my machine will sew on a button for me. It makes putting on buttons a breeze!
Here is our Fearless Leader to help with every step along the way- Thanks Rochelle!

This is Rochelle's pillow. She is showing it off during our lunch break.

Focused and hard at work

Everyone is working hard. We all learned new tricks. Look at these Viking machines hard at work!
The day really was such a treat for all of us. It was such a good feeling knowing that we were all going home with a finished project. And would you believe it----when we were all done, the sun decided to come out and grace us all.😎
Here they are!!!! Aren't they so darn adorable!!! Can you guess which one is mine? Mine is the only one with a bunch of buttons and red rick rack around the outside. I love how they are all different and unique.

I was so motivated after class that when I went home---I just had to make up this table runner from scraps. It was another convenient moment for me to use up more buttons.  I just love them!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quilting Pleasure

   Well Good Morning to all! It is off to a good start in my neck of the woods. I have not been able to blog for a few days because my computer has not been playing nice. I am not sure if it is still under the weather from the cyber attack a few weeks ago or if this is something new. Either way, it is working now so I am going to go for it.

   Even though I have not been able to connect with everyone on the net, I have been very busy here. I am down to one child still home-but will be going back to college today. We have all been plagued with some sort of virus/bacteria for weeks non stop. My youngest son has literally not been totally well since Thanksgiving. I think that at college and living in the dorms--it is just one big bacteria fest and everyone passes everything around to each other---and then---they bring it home to share with their families. Lovely, just lovely. Well---the good news is that Joseph is finally healed, and the rest of us are on our way. So-- me being totally busy??----- that is a Big Fat Yes! I have been playing Nurse to everyone. I have also been working hard on customer quilts. I was able to accomplish much with them and shipped them back to their anxiously waiting owners. I will be able to share pictures of these quilts now that they are back home.  
   One of the neat things on quilting other people's quilts is that I am able to see different patterns, colors, fabrics and sewing styles all different from my own. It is educational and fun for me at the same time. No two quilters are the same. I love that!πŸ’“ I love that everyone is different and their design concept is all their own. I feel very fortunate to be able to take some part in their creativity. It opens my eyes up to different possibilities. It makes the gears in my head turn to things that I want to try for myself in the future. When I receive quilt tops from my customers---I really take my time looking at them. I like to look at all the different fabric. I like to see how people put blocks together to make an all over quilt top. So far--none of my clients are the notorious " Quilt Police". That is a really good thing! Quilt Police squash creativity and love of sewing. They are not welcomed in my studio.

   I want to share this quilt that I recently finished for my customer who I call Quilter Rebecca. She is the lovely owner of the "White Modern "quilt that I shared earlier in my posts. I love her style. This top of hers I have had for a bit. One of the things that I love about Rebecca's quilting style is that she takes her time and puts thought into picking out her backing material. I wish I had a photo to show you of the back. For some unknown reason-I don't have that photo any longer. I love the unique fabric that she chooses. This block is kinda cool because it is made up of a plus sign and an X. One of those blocks that are two for the price of one sort of thing. She seems like such a free spirit to me. I love it!πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Isn't this just so much eye candy?! I love the total scrappy look to it. I love the aqua boarder. Rebecca wanted  an edge to edge flower design. We decided on Khaki colored Glide thread. I decided not to use my robotics to stitch it out. This was done all free hand. I just love to do free motion quilting.

I love the texture in the quilt. I think that the Khaki colored thread went very well with it. It just seems to play nice with all of the fabric colors. It blends so well. It is my go to color of thread for many quilts.

Can you see the flower stitched out in the middle of the "X"?

The flower design really showed well on the aqua boarder. It made me smile as I was stitching it out.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

There's No Place Like Home!

   Here it is---one of the posts that I have been waiting to write and share! I am soooooo excited to share this!!!! I had to wait to give it back to the owner before I posted anything on it. I am so excited to share this quilt that one of my customers pieced-Rochelle. It is a pattern from Bonnie Hunter. It is the scrappy house quilt. It is beautiful in every way--- and I have to say-Rochelle, you did an awesome job on this quilt top!!! This is Rochelle's first scrappy quilt. I remember when she was starting it and she was trying to let go and not control the color combinations of each house. When you are starting to be scrappy, there really is a switch in your brain that has to be flipped, because we as quilters are so used to being in control and being specific on what goes where. I think quilting scrappy really helps to allow your creative juices to flow. Rochelle and I spoke about this a few times. I had suggested to throw the material scraps in a bag and just reach in and grab. What ever you have in your hand, then use it no matter what. I am not sure if she used that suggestion, but for me, it does help.

   I was given this quilt top a couple of months ago. I was so thrilled to receive it. I love this quilt.So many different scraps of fabric, so many colors. It is so darn cute! There is something about the house block that I love.  And of course, with me loving Bonnie Hunter and this is her pattern---well, it is a match made in heaven!!!! I myself. have a House Quilt on my "To Do List". Rochelle worked diligently on this quilt top. She put in a great deal of time and effort. Slowly the top grew. It was such a delight to visit her in the shop and see how her house blocks were coming along. If memory serves me right, she had other ladies come to the shop and sew house blocks for their own quilts. I would love to see their quilt tops. I bet they had so much fun getting together, sharing fabric and ideas and watching each others houses grow into beautiful neighborhoods!

   Well, when I was given this quilt top- I was told these sweet 5 words: "Do what ever you want". As a quilter, as a longarmer, I can not tell you what that does to your whole complete body to hear that from a customer. It is like all the neurons,atoms and protons are firing off in your body at once. Like a virtual Forth of July going off in your head. My mind started going in a million directions at once on all of the possibilities---not to mention if I wanted to use matching thread or contrasting thread. Oh decisions, decisions, decisions....! I can not tell you how many times I would lay the top out and look at it. I would get my doodle pad out and start drawing designs. I bought several shades of various colors of Glide thread to start off with. There were so many thoughts floating through my head, I think it would immobilize me, because I would catch myself standing in my studio just starring off- stuck in my own little world of creativity. This happened more then I want to admit.

   When I read what Rochelle had appliqued on the top: "There's No Place Like Home". It set me off into a sort of a Wizard of Oz type of thinking. I was sort of thinking of all those houses in Munchkin Land--the brick pathways, the flowers, the trees, the house trimmings. With that in mind, I knew I wanted real type of flowers, and then not so real type. I wanted pathways, I wanted a sun in the lighter colors, and none in the dark-as if it was night. I wanted smoke coming out of the chimneys. I decided on using matching and slightly contrasting color of threads. I was thinking of various custom quilting designs I could use in the sashings and boarders. I recently purchased my robotic system for my Long Arm- so I knew I wanted to incorporate that also. So.......... with all of those thoughts and ideas running crazy in my head....I started with all the stitch in the ditch in the sashings and boarders first. I then used the computer to do some block stitches in 3 of the boarders and in all of the corner stone blocks. In the sashings, I used matching thread and did a variation of a ribbon candy stitch. I did a "lacy" type of stitch surrounding the appliqued letters to help make them pop. I then did my free motion style of feathering around the whole boarder of the quilt. After all of that--the top was pretty much sewn to the backing, so I felt confident to move the top back and forth on the frame so that I can start in on the house blocks.

   I can't say that by stitching the house blocks was were all the fun began---because truthfully, I was having fun from the start. I loved combining my computer program with my free motion. Awesome!!! But, I can honestly say, that my creative mind was really "running full speed ahead" while doing the blocks. Out came my doodle book and all my different colored of threads and away I went. It took me awhile to do it all. I did not rush, I enjoyed the whole process. It took me almost 2 months to do this quilt---but and I mean BUT----I had two big holidays in the middle of all this and kids coming and going from College. Trying to balance all of this was a bit tricky.

    I remember the feeling of completing the last block. I couldn't believe it was done. I stood in awe just looking at the whole top---moving it forward and backward on the frame. I stopped counting bobbins after the 15th one. To me, the quilt is beautiful. With the scrappy piecing from Rochelle, and the custom quilting on the top---this is a truly one of a kind quilt. It is special. It is unique. Oh--I want one! Here are some pictures that I took. I wish I was a much better photographer because these pictures don't do the quilt justice. These pictures were all taken with the quilt unbound. I can hardly wait to see it with the binding on it.
Here it is... all of it's scrappy goodness!!!

This is the top of the quilt with all of the appliqued letters. Can you see the lacy stitching I did around the letters?

Love the teddy bear in the window. Great fussy cut job Rochelle!

This house has a whimsical inspired landscaping

Outside capstone block with matching thread. Design is from my computer.

These stitches are from my computer also. I put them in the middle of the outside boarders with the free motion feathering to the right and left of it

Some of my free motion feather stitch on outside boarder

More feathering. I love to do feathers.

More whimsical block stitching. It is very difficult to see the design in the grey blocks. I used  matching thread. Those designs are from the computer also.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Sewing Winter Wonderland!

   Wow- oh- wow!! Those were the first words out of mouth this morning. I had such a view waiting for me when I opened my door to let the dogs out. Behold--- A Winter Wonderland! I went to bed last night with the snow coming down yet again. I knew that it was snowing pretty hard at that time---but I did not expect this. I have to admit-it is very pretty. There is something mystical about a fresh snow covered landscape. Don't get me wrong--- I would much prefer a beautiful warm spring/summer day. But that is not the case. It is January and I live in upper western New York state. So for now, this is my scenery--it is my winter wonderland.

   I have been making plans these past couple of days to meet up with some friends that I have not visited with in a while. Life can get crazy busy for all of us, especially around the holidays. Now that all of the madness is over and we can get back to our normal lives, I want to see some of my favorite people that have been missing. I have some of the best people as my friends. They are all different, smart, intelligent, kind, powerful, loving, confident woman. They add so much to my life for just being themselves and being my friend. I guess you can easily say that they enrich my life. It feeds my soul on all levels when I am able to spend time with them. That is what I was hoping to do yesterday and the next couple of days. I just need mother nature to work with me on this. I had to cancel a lunch date yesterday--very disappointing. Now, after looking out the door and watching more snow fall, I am loosing hope of meeting up with anyone today. I live out in what my mother would call " the country". Houses are not close together, there are no street lights, I live on a road-not a street, there are no sidewalks. There are many farms around me, along with wooded private property. It is beautiful and peaceful. That being said, I also have to admit that as far as snow plows from the village coming through---it is very infrequent. So, that makes travel adventurous at times.

   I had hopes of driving out to Forestville and visiting with one of my dear friends- Margaret. In fact, she is the friend who has helped put this website together for me. I would not be here if it were not for her and her daughter's support. I was looking forward to talking, sharing, coffee, and laughing for a couple of hours with her. Well.......I think I will have to go with plan B for today and make plans another day with my friend. I have been working hard in my studio on my customers quilts. I have not returned them yet to their rightful owners, so I can not show any pictures yet. No worries----it will be soon that I can share them. With it being the weekend, I think that I will give myself permission to go have play time in my studio and sew some creative pretties for me. I have a few projects that I work on a little at a time. They have been pretty ignored lately, so it is time to dust them off and work on them. It makes me excited to think about a day of just play in the studio. I will play some good music, have coffee and fondle fabric all day. Time to get the crock pot out and fill it--this way, I will have a wonderful dinner cooking with no stress on my play day.

   I wonder.....what is everyone's plan "B" for today???
My poor fur baby -Bongi is trying to find his way through the snow. What remains of my garden is hidden under all of the whiteness

The backyard is so beautiful with all of the trees covered. 

OK---I am not looking forward to shoveling off the deck.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Why Do I Sew? Why Do You Sew?

   As I was going through my email this morning, I came across a post asking : "Why do you sew?". I found that interesting. It made me sit and think while I was sipping on my morning cup of coffee. I asked myself--why do I sew? Where did this desire come from? Why do I like it so much???? Before I knew it, one cup of coffee turned into 3 cups of coffee. I was doing a lot of thinking on this one.

   I think that I have always been around sewing to some extent. When I was younger, my mother had a beautiful sewing machine. She was always sewing skirts and dresses for herself. She would often make dresses for me with matching ones for my dolls. I always loved that she did that. My mother did many other crafts also. From her, I learned a few of them. As I grew older and then on my own, I would keep on with those crafts or eventually come across some new ones and try my hand at it. For a long time in my teenage years and early adult hood, I loved to Crochet and to do Cross Stitch Embroidery. These kept my hands busy while I was raising my children. I never really felt a desire during those years to sit and learn sewing. I wish I had, my mother would have been a great teacher.

   It wasn't until after the death of my mother, that I turned to the sewing machine. I truly believe that in all of my grief and sorrow that I was led to my first grown up machine of my own. Maybe my mom was helping to sooth my grief from heaven. I remember weeks after the funeral- my husband wanted to take the kids and go see his parents in Long Island. I was very depressed and lost in my own thoughts and feelings. I just could not bring myself to driving over 8 hours and then spend a week with happy people. It just was not something I could wrap my head around. I had been surrounded by people who were so heart broken for me and my family. I had so many people stopping over to help in any way. There was a constant flow of people in and out of my house for weeks. So, when my husband decided to travel, I thought--OK, I need this quiet time. I need this time to just be.

   So I did. For the first few days, I just sat outside in my yard and looked out at the woods. Silently thinking. Going through all of my emotions. Talking to all of nature and venting my grief. Eventually, I had decided to go in the car and go towards the mall. For what ever reason, I found myself walking into a Joann Fabric Store. I felt like I was on auto pilot. I went straight back to where all of their sewing machines for sale where. At that time- the Viking Dealer was there. I walked up to the dealer and spoke with her at length. She showed me all of the different machines and what they could do. I was amazed!!!! Well....... an hour or so later, I walked out with a new purchased sewing/embroidery machine. I remember sort of being in shock all the way home with this new machine in the back seat of my car.  I could not believe that I bought it. I did not know how to sew--I could not even sew a straight line. I also could not believe how much I spent on this machine. It was seven thousand dollars. I never discussed this with my husband. I figured he would find out about it once he came home.

   The next few days that followed, I poured myself into the machine. I read the directions. I put thread in it, did the bobbin, put fabric under the needle and then pressed on the foot petal. Away it went! I fell deeply in love with the sound of the machine. I started to frequent the Joann Fabric store and buy all sorts of fabric and different color threads and stabilizers. I found out that I loved the embroider aspect of my machine, but....that I loved to quilt. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I soon discovered Quilt shops, Quilting magazines, On line sites, You Tube videos, etc.....

   Flash forward to the present. I am now the "Black Hat Quilter". I have 14 different sewing machines-many are vintage. I own a wonderful Serger Machine. Best of all--I own my Long Arm Machine. I have been retired for a year now from Nursing. I have loved every moment of stepping into my studio to create. I would never have thought this would be the path that I would follow. Who would of thought that in the deepest despair of sorrow and grief for the loss of my mother--that I would find sewing and sewing would find me and together- I would heal. It has been wonderful and beautiful every step of the way. I feel totally blessed. I know in my heart that my mother is aware of my sewing and that I am feeling better-though I still miss her greatly. I believe she is with me and watching me sew and she is happy with that.

   So with that being said...... I wonder about everyone else. How did you come to sewing? How did you acquire your sewing machine? Who influenced you??

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome 2017!!!!!

Wow----can you believe it-----it is 2017! I don't know about everyone else, but for me-2016 went by very fast. What a heck of a year. I am not going to say it was bad----I had many wonderful things happen for me, but it was not what I had envisioned it to be. I spent my New Years Eve with family and friends. It was wonderful. I did a great deal of thinking of past celebrations. I took stock in what I had accomplished in 2016. I said many prayers of gratitude for all of the blessings that I had. I am grateful. My family and I were blessed with many wonderful gifts this past year. The Black Hat Quilter was blessed in so many ways. I am so thrilled for all of the upgrades I was able to do. It is not to say that there were not any sad moments--because life is life and there were some. BUT---and I mean a big BUT- I am not going to focus on those moments. I am not ready to decide on any New Years resolutions yet. I do know that I want to truly welcome 2017 in with open arms and hope in my heart and spirit for not only myself but to all of my family, friends, and customers.

 Is it possible to have a one day resolution???? I hope so---because I am going to state this " one day resolution"! For today----I will only concentrate on good vibrational thoughts and actions. I want to start a ball rolling down the proverbial hill for me. I hope this ball gathers speed and weight through out the year. If you think good things--you will become a magnet and draw good things towards you.

I have people to visit with today and a wonderful dinner to make before I send people back on the road to their homes. Not sure if I will be able to sew at all today. It has been many days since I was able to get to my machines and create joy. The holidays have been all too consuming. I am sure many people can relate to that.

So---- for today. Let us all just be: be happy, content, joyful, hopeful---and together!
My family---the most important people to me. Without them---I simply would just not be. The Black Hat Quilter would not be.  I love my family. I love my customers. Happy New Year to everyone!