Stash Happens…

It’s raining here…again. I’m really trying not to complain, because I know when July and August hits this part of North Carolina, we’re going to be begging for it.  But right now, I feel like Jamestown is trying its best to become the Seattle of the South.  The ground is sodden.  If we get any hard wind at all, this will not end well.  Trees that are perfectly vertical at this moment will take a hard turn and become perfectly horizontal.

But enough talk about the weather.  Let’s talk fabric.


For some months now, I’ve teased you with the prospect that I would share with you how I manage my stash.  Please note at this point, this system works for me.  It may not work for you.  I would be the first one to encourage you to go to Bonnie Hunter’s blog or her books for tips.  Scrapstashtic Quilts by Janella Macbeth is also a wonderful source.  Scour Pinterest for ideas.

Before I retired from the field of education in 2010, I was truly the “Fat Quarter Queen.”  I only worked on one large quilt at a time, usually taking about 18 months to finish it from start to the last stitch of binding.  Between large quilts, I would make small quilts or small quilted items.  By undertaking smaller projects and completing those, I did feel like I was accomplishing something.  And those small ventures took small amounts of fabric – preferably fat quarters.  So, by post-2010, I had accumulated an impressive display of fat quarters and very little yardage.

But that was about to change.  Now I had more time to quilt and I had joined three local bees, was taking and teaching classes, and belonged to the local guild.  I began making three to four large quilts at a clip and started purchasing yardage on a serious basis.  Instead of my stash fitting on a couple of rows of a cast-off bookcase and a few Rubbermaid tubs, I had a small quilt store in the smallest spare bedroom in the house.  After I moved my quilt studio to a larger room I put my foot down and declared the kids’ old recreation room was mine I realized that I had to somehow come up with a way to see everything I had so that I wouldn’t over purchase colors that I had too many of or under-purchase colors that I needed.  It took about 18 months of re-arranging and trying different ideas, but the following are the methods that work best for me.

As far as my impressive collection of fat quarters, I didn’t want them to take up too much space, but I wanted to be able to see what I had.  At first, I folded all of them and kept them in large, shallow, clear tubs.  However, I ended up with several of those and they were bulky.  And invariably the fabric I wanted was always in the tub that was on the bottom of the stack.  A good friend of mine, Linda, gave me the solution.  She purchased the 8 ½ x 11-inch cardboard inserts used for comic book displays and wrapped her fat quarters around them and then stacked them on a shelf like books.  This was perfect.  I did this to all my fat quarters (which took about two weeks, working at night while I was watching television or binging on Netflix), and they ended up taking about four shelves worth of space on a bookcase.  However, since I can see what I have, I have used most of them and am now down to two and a half shelves.  If you want to try this, I can tell you straight up that Amazon has the best price on these inserts.  The only exceptions to this are my Feed Sacks and my reproduction fabrics.  My Feed Sacks are kept in a tub all by themselves and I have two tubs for my 1930’s reproduction fabrics and one tub for my Civil War Era reproduction fabrics.  Quilts that are made with these tend to use fabrics from each time period with little variation.  Keeping them together speeds up the process of picking out fabrics.


Now what do I do about yardage?  In my quilting world, yardage is any piece of fabric that I purchase that is more than one yard.  If it’s just one yard or less, it’s wrapped around those cardboard inserts and shelved.  This is important for two reasons.  First, yes, I can see what I have.  But also, if it’s on one of those inserts, I know that I have a minimum of a fat quarter and a maximum of a yard.  If I am shopping my stash for a quilt and find something on those inserts that would work beautifully, I know that I have a limited amount of material  to work with.  If the pattern requires more, then I have to visit my LQS or search the internet to find additional material.

What do I do with more than a yard?  If I can, I bolt it.  And when wonderful stores like Hancock’s or Dragonfly were open, I could get their empty bolts for a song and dance (most of the time they just gave them to me) and wrap the fabric around the bolts and stack them against one of my walls.  Since those stores are no longer in business, I flat fold my fabric and stack it in the bottom of my bookcase.  Like my fat quarters, they are arranged by color, so I can see what I have at a glance.   You can purchase empty bolts, but they average about $85 for 30 empty bolts.  Thirty bolts would take up a lot of wall space, not to mention I really don’t want to sink $85 into empty bolts when I could use that money for other goodies.

For me, the bookcase was a great boundary option.  I took the two bottom shelves out of my tall, narrow book case and used that area to keep my flat folds in.  Anytime I purchase yardage, I must consider the fact “Will it fit into that area?”  For that reason, I limit a lot of my yardage purchases.  Yes, I still buy at least five yards of a fabric if I absolutely fall in love with it and have to have it. But on the whole, I limit my yardage purchases to stash staples – backgrounds, blenders, neutrals, and potential focus fabrics.  This is smart purchasing.  Just like most women have that one outfit in their wardrobe they can dress up or dress down, wear to a wedding or a funeral, these are stash investments.  They’re going to be used.  They generally are not a current “fad” color or the Pantone color of the year.  They’re blues, creams, grays, greens, pinks, purples (of course), and a few reds.  This philosophy also allows me to shop fabric sales wisely.  Do I still make some impulse buy?  Absolutely.  I once purchased two bolts of a pink print because I just loved it.  I have made four large quilts with it, used it in two wall hangings, and still have about five yards left.  And I still love it as much as the day I bought it.  The lady that checked me out at Hancock’s thought I was crazy.  But I didn’t care. 

Other than fat quarters, I don’t purchase a lot of pre-cuts.  As I stated in an earlier blog, I have won a lot of jelly rolls, but can count the number of those I’ve purchased on one hand and have fingers left over.  I have purchased a few layer cakes (10-inch squares of a fabric family or a color family).  I think I have two charm packs that I’ve bought but have won three.  I keep those in a clear, plastic tub and will peruse those if I need to make a quick quilt for a friend or relative.  Word of caution here – watch those jelly rolls.  Sometimes they are not cut straight.  And I don’t purchase any additional ones if there’s not room for another in the tub.  Discipline…I’m all about it.  Not that I always follow my own rules….

So, we’ve covered the fat quarters, the yardage, and the precuts.  What about fabric specifically purchased for a project?  Let me be the first one to let you in on a secret about me – I’m a planner and a plotter.  I know at some point in my future, I will completely retire, and my income will be limited.  As well as having a solid financial plan for retirement, I also have a fabric plan for retirement.  If I purchase fabric or find fabric in my stash for a pattern or project I want to make, all the fabric for that as well as the pattern, goes into a clear, plastic project box and those boxes are stashed in a spare closet.  I also label each box with an index card, so I know what project is in it and not to pull fabric from those as it’s pre-destined for something else.  And I have an Excel spreadsheet for these my logistics driven daughter should be so proud of her mom…. 

This covers everything but scraps.  When I began quilting in 1988, I was taught to save every single scrap.  And I did. Religiously.  Because I didn’t know any better.  However, after about five years I had a spare pillow case (that was serving as my scrap bag) full of scraps.  I had so much I really didn’t know what I had.  So, I went through it and made some decisions.

First, I love to applique.  I kept the large, irregular pieces I could use.  These had to be large enough to warrant making several applique pieces out of the same fabric (such as leaves) or one large pattern piece (such as a Sunbonnet Sue dress).  The rest were discarded.  Then I made a trip to the local Dollar Tree and bought a dozen or so small, plastic baskets.  I sorted these large, irregular scraps into color families and filled a basket with each color.  The mini-quilts I’m making as part of the guild challenge this year have all come out of those scraps.  I haven’t purchased one inch of fabric, but I have made wonderful small quilts to decorate the entrance way of my home.

What about the other scraps?  Follow my line of thinking here… first, I don’t purchase cheap fabric.  I buy quilt-store quality fabric.  And I hate to throw that away.  That’s not good stewardship.  I also love…I mean LOVE … making charity quilts for our local police to keep in the trunk of their patrol car or the local cancer center to give to chemo patients or folks I know that are going through a bought of sickness and need to know just how much I love them.  So, if I have scraps left over that can be cut down, I do that.  I cut those into 2 ½-inch strips, 2 ½ – squares, and 2 7/8-inch squares.  The 2 ½ -inch strips and 2 ½ – squares I can combine.  The 2 7/8- inch squares can be used to make 2 ½-inch half-square triangles.  Other pieces can be cut into narrower strips to string piece.  I have a clear, plastic box that each size goes into.  When a box is full, I make a charity quilt.  This way, no quilt-store fabric is wasted.  It goes into a quilt that can be used.  And I’ve cut my carbon foot-print.  The only scraps I’m throwing away and that are headed for the landfill are really, really small ones.

This is my stash method.  Like I said earlier, this works for me, and it took a lot of trial and error to find exactly what was the most effective.  I encourage you to do the same.  It’s important to be wise stewards of what we’re blessed with as well as be good stewards of what we have to discard.  What works for me may not work for you and that’s fine.  But I encourage you to explore, experiment, and find what does work best for you and your quilting.

Until next week, Quilt With Excellence!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam



How My Mind Works…

I realize that with this blog title, we are venturing into dangerous and sometimes shallow waters….

All quilters, even those that tend to stick to the pattern and assigned colors, have a creative process.  I do too, although most of the times I take the pattern instructions as only a suggestion and not the gospel truth.  The more I quilt the more I like to be challenged and have part of the challenge let me be the sole designer and creator.  Hence, I am really loving our guild’s monthly mini-quilt challenge.

Let me first tell you that I had pretty much decided that my June block would highlight my garden.  I had come up with some cute, little paper-pieced vegetables and had my fabric picked out.  However, I hesitated to start on it until our vice-president definitely announced what the theme would be.  But in my mind, I had a list.  June would be the garden.  July would be patriotic stars.  August would be be vacation (I had a really cute design of a skinny dipping Sunbonnet Sue for that one…).

Then Matthew blew my neat little list completely out of the water when he said, “The theme for the month of June is your dream vacation.”

What?!  How dare he?

Well he dared and he did, and that pronouncement sent me back to the proverbial drawing board.  My dream vacation?

Honey, my dream vacation is anytime I can throw a suitcase in the back of the Tahoe and get the hell out of town for more than one night. So I began to think…instead of a destination, what would my dream vacation consist of?  I threw around ideas and looked at EQ8 and came up with a few ideas…


First, I would have to have water.  Sorry, I am just not a mountain-vacation-loving girl.  Lake, beach, or creek…I love water.  So a large body of liquid is a must.


And there must be some shade, because I burn easily.



What next?  A quilt store of course!  Can’t go on vacation without shopping in one or three or ten of these…


And then, of course, there’s the obvious.


Gotta have one of these.

And a good coffee and bagel shop.


Some tourist-y attractions.  I steer away from the chotsky tourist traps, but I love historical spots.


And lastly, if I’m in good company on this vacation, I don’t care where it is, it’s pretty darn near perfect.


I  played with the layout for awhile.  I finally decided on this one.


The width is perfect, but the the length is a little long for my mini-quilt rack.  I’ll set the legs up on a block of wood to give it more height.  I also needed to sash this thing.  I used a lot of color in the small blocks.  With that being the case, my go-to color is gray.  I like the motion in this gray that I had left over from my Firenze collection.


And last, I picked this out for the backing.  I really like this fabric and wish I had more of it.


I’m not quilting this little quilt too heavily — just outlining the items in the pictures and moving on.

Meanwhile, remember all those tiny circles I made the other month?


I did get my compass ring completed for my Love Entwined.


It’s been a busy week!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam











My Quilting Kryptonite

It goes without saying, if you’re quilter, you have stash.  The size and type of this stash varies from quilter to quilter.  There are those quilters who purchase only the fabric needed for one project, make that quilt, and immediately throw out all but the largest pieces of the left-over fabric.

There are those quilters that have never met fabric they couldn’t use, and if the material was just really ugly, they simply cut it into smaller pieces.  If there’s a fabric sale in their vicinity (read on-line or LQS), they’re there…purchasing bolts and precuts like there’s no tomorrow.  They arrive back at their studio and add those to their stash without any real plans for any of it.  These folks have floor-to-ceiling-come-to-Jesus size stashes.

And then there’s quilters like me.  I shop my stash for upcoming projects and add to that as needed to make a quilt.  I shop fabric sales (read LQS and online), and will purchase bolts of neutrals and cuts of fabric that are regularly used in applique – greens, browns, reds, blues, purples, and pinks.  My stash is large-ish, but I’m working through it and can tell you what I have and what I need.  I throw away the small scraps, keep the large, irregular sized pieces for applique, and cut up the rest in 2 ½-inch squares or strips, or 2 7/8-inch squares.  I used these left overs for constructing charity quilts (more on my stash system later).  All of this sounds terribly organized and thrifty…and it is … except for Feed Sacks.  Those are my quilter’s kryptonite.

For those of you that don’t know exactly what Feed Sacks are or what the look like, dismiss from your mind the feed sacks of today that you may purchase your dog, cat, or chicken feed in.  Now think about the 1930’s reproduction fabrics you see in LQS’s and on fabric websites.  That gives you a general idea of the colors.  Back in the 1920’s or so and onward up until about 1963, animal feed, flour, salt, tobacco, and some other grains were sold in cloth sacks.  During that period of time (and especially during the Great Depression), no one let these sacks go to waste.  Farmers used them to cover hay, tobacco and other crops that had been brought to the barn.  Women would bleach the inked labels off and use the white fabric for curtains, underwear, table linens, and other items that they may need.  Along the way, one bag distributor decided to begin making their bags out of printed material – and the feed sack economy went into full bloom.  This was primarily during the 1930’s when pennies were hard to come by and nothing went to waste.  Women found out they could make everything from nightgowns to evening wear out of these Feed Sacks.  The pattern company Simplicity produced patterns designed primarily for use with these sacks.

And there were hundreds of quilts made from them.

Even now there are websites designed to highlight Feed Sack Quilts and clothing.  In the past few years, fabric lines like Aunt Grace have come out with designs and colors to match the Feed Sacks produced and those are still great demand.  You can still purchase the Simplicity patterns (although not from Simplicity) that promote garments made from them.

And they’re my favorite thing in the world to collect.  Why?  First, I love the colors.  Since the Feed Sack boom was primarily during the Great Depression, manufacturers and designers made the print as bright and colorful as they could to help cheer up the consumer and make their wardrobe and home brighter than the economy.  There are particular colors that were only available during this time – that Bubble Gum Pink and Minty Green come to mind.  I have an entire fat quarter collection of the Aunt Grace fabric and love it, but to me you simply cannot get the same colors today as you could during that time.  They make my heart sing and my day brighter.

The second reason I adore Feed Sacks is they represent one of the biggest tenants of quilting history:  Making Do With What You Have.  Not only were the bags used for nearly everything, but folks even saved the string that the bags were sewn together with.  That string could be dyed or left plain and use for crocheting doilies and other household items.  In a world where everyone seems to be rushing towards the next best thing and the latest posting on social media, this gladdens my soul.  I think this is a principle I need to promote more in my own life.

Lastly, I like Feed Sacks because you can still purchase them. Unlike a great deal of original historical fabric, there still are quite a few original Feed Sacks out there and they are reasonably priced.  So much so, that I can chase them down  on eBay, spend less than $30 and come away with three to five Feed Sacks that are just lovely.

Some of my latest Feed Sack purchases



I don’t know if this was just a popular design or prevalent in this part of the country.  I have two Feed Sack quilts with this fabric in them, both in a large and small version of the print.  I’ve purchased two large Feed Sacks with this print.



I’ve purchased so many Feed Sacks from one particular eBay vendor that she included a ready-made label in my last order.  Talk about a sweetheart!
This is Aunt Grace 1930’s reproduction fabric.  The “bubble gum pink” is just about a dead ringer for the real thing.

And then last week I came across this:


I had a lot of fun reading this…and when I researched the patterns, I found those on a website, too.  Not that I’m going to make clothing again at least anytime soon, but it was wonderful to know that this piece of history is still out there.

The patterns shown was a size 14!  Pattern companies were way more realistic then.  The booklet sold for 19 cents.  The mailing label is still on the back.  


This is one of two Feed Sack garments that I own.  Both were found in the bottom of a box of sacks I purchased several years ago.  There are no buttons or buttonholes on this sweet little dress, and it’s not hemmed.  I wish it could talk and tell me why it’s remained unfinished.  The detail with rick rack around the neck is precious.  

So, what am I going to do with my bins of Feed Sacks?  Make quilts of course…as soon as I’m brave enough to cut them up!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam



We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post


So, let’s get back to our raw-edge applique.  I have made the pieced background and decided on my applique pattern.  Now I trace my pattern pieces onto my fusing agent.  I prefer Steam-a-Seam light or SoftFuse for applique work on quilts.  Both of these fusing agents finish without being too stiff for a quilt top.  There are two important rules to remember at this point, whether you’re using a pattern from EQ or another commercial pattern.  First, unless the pattern tells you the applique images are reversed, you will need to reverse them yourself.  You can tell EQ to reverse the images in the print dialogue box.  If it’s a commercial pattern with the templates printed on paper, you can simply flip the paper over, put it on a light box, and trace them on the fusing agent this way.


The second rule you need to keep in mind is if the templates include a ¼-inch seam margin, you will need to omit that from your raw-edge piece.  Lots of pattern templates, including those from EQ, will include that ¼-inch margin for you in case you decide to do needle turn applique, or use freezer paper, Mylar, or Appliquik.  With raw-edge applique, that ¼-inch margin is not needed, because nothing is turned under.



See the dotted lines that echo around the solid lines on these applique templates?  That dotted line is the ¼-inch margin for finished-edge applique.  Since we’re working with raw-edge applique, we need to trace the templates on the solid lines, omitting that ¼-inch margin.


Because I had a chance to purchase SoftFuse in bulk a couple of years ago, I’m using that as my bonding agent.  It comes on rolls, which can be difficult to work with because rolls, well…roll.  They can roll off the table you’re working on and generally just be a hassle.  So, I cut of small sections at a time, which are easier to handle.  If I have large chucks of the pieces left over, I stash them in a plastic baggie for later.  I also make sure that I number each SoftFuse piece with its corresponding number on the pattern.  This was especially true for this applique work because there were so many pieces involved in each flower.


Speaking of all those petals for all those flowers, I also prepped a small baggie for each flower and labeled them.


As each template was cut out from the bonding agent, I put them in the appropriate bag.  This way I could grab a bag, the fabric that I needed, and spend quality time at my ironing station instead of quantity time.  This is also a good time to re-visit my decision about using batiks.  Because most batiks have a firm weave, they do stand up to the abuse that machine applique can dish out.  However, also remember I wanted my flowers to have a somewhat realistic look, so at least two colors of fabric would be needed for each head.  With my fabric selection, not only do I have two colors for each flower, but since the dying process causes the batiks’ coloring to undulate, it gives the impression of even more hues popping through the petals.

As I cut the templates out of the SoftFuse, I made sure I didn’t cut exactly on the solid line.  Instead I left about a ¼-inch margin around them.  Then I fused each template onto the wrong side of the fabric.


When I trimmed the template from the fabric, that’s when I cut on the solid line.


I know all of that sounds like a lot of extra work, but it goes a long way with accuracy.  During the initial SoftFuse cutting, if I had cut directly  on the solid line before I fused the piece to the fabric, when I trimmed the template from the fabric, I would have had to cut just slightly inside the solid line, making the applique piece smaller than needed.  One piece wouldn’t matter that much, but when this difference is carried over lots of pieces, the applique pattern will come out smaller and not fill the background the way it needs to.  It’s attention to these little details that make your block and then your quilt really stand out.


After all the SoftFuse templates were fused down and then cut from the fabric, now it was time to determine what pieces are pressed on first.  Some patterns will tell you what is fused first.  In my case, EQ just assumes I know.  And since I’ve appliqued enough flowers to open a fabric florist shop, I can tell you that usually with those, the stems go down first because the flower has to have something to grow off of.  Let me stop here and talk about stems.  Nine times out of ten, I make stems from bias tape that I’ve produced from my bias tape makers or from bias bars.  The stems on this block vary in width, with the widest about ½-inch.  The narrowest is less than ¼-inch.  All of these could be made with either the tape makers or the bars, but I decided to go ahead and simply make them with the templates, since there are no tight curves or bends.  One thing I do with all stems, whether I’m hand appliqueing or machine appliqueing, is sew them down first.  I will get those fused on (and any leaves or other pieces that go behind them) and stitch them down.  I do this, so they won’t “wiggle” out of place as I handle the fabric.


Since we’re talking about stitching, it’s a perfect time to consider two things:  thread and the stitch – both type and length.  I decided early on in this project that the applique thread would not be used as part of the quilting process (as it had been with my Sunbonnet Sue block for April).  I wanted my fabric choices to shine and my quilting to take center stage.  The thread I chose for the applique was Mettler 50-weight.  It in no way overwhelms any of the fabric in the applique pieces and sinks quietly in the background.  With raw-edge applique, I change thread color to match my fabric.  I used two to three colors of thread with each flower (petals and centers).  One rule I have for myself is that I keep all my thread out and together until the last stitch of the binding is sewn down.  With blocks such as this, there are a lot of pieces and inevitably I will miss sewing down one of the pieces and catch it later.  To save the time of finding that spool of thread, I keep all my thread for that project in a small basket until it’s complete.


Now about my stitch.  I prefer the blanket stitch for raw edge applique.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  The most important one is that the blanket stitch will not cause “fabric tunnels” on the wrong side of the fabric.


Machine applique usually involves either the zig-zag stitch or the blanket stitch, and if your machine does not have the blanket stitch, the zig-zag stitch will work fine.  As a matter of fact, there is little difference between the two stitches when setting up raw edge applique.  However, with the zig-zag stitch, sometimes an extra layer of stabilizer must be added to the back of the applique to avoid getting those fabric tunnels on the wrong side.  These “tunnels” are sort of like little pleats that will eat up your fabric.  The stabilizer prevents this.  For me, since Big Red has a wonderful blanket stitch, I prefer to use that one.

The second reason I like the blanket stitch is pure, personal preference:  I think it looks nicer than the zig -zag stitch.

Now about the stitch length and width.  Most of the decorative stitches on sewing machines come with preset lengths and widths.  The default on Big Red’s for the blanket stitch is 2.5 length and 2.5 width – that’s pretty big for these tiny pieces, or in fact, most of the machine applique that I do.  My “go-to” settings for machine applique are 1.8 width and 1.8 length.  However, take a look at these narrow stems.


Even the 1.8 setting for both length and width would be far too big for these.  If you look closely, you can see the 1.8 stitches on the wider stem.  But that narrow one?  I lowered both the length and width to 1.2 on both of these.


I said all of that to say this:  The size of your applique pieces should decide your stitch length and width, not a pattern, or personal choice.  That also means you may have to change both the width and length as you move through the pattern – smaller stitches for smaller pieces and larger stitches for the larger pieces.

After I had the stems stitched into place, then I had to begin to think about the flower heads.  Some applique artists will trace their applique pattern onto their background in order to know where to place all of the pieces.  I’m slightly too paranoid to do that.  I am always afraid that what ever marking tool I use will leave an indelible mark that I won’t be able to remove.  I simply lay the pattern beside the area where I am playing the unit out and “eyeball” the placement.


Sound hard?  It was when I started applique, but after awhile you get used to it and become pretty good with the process.  I lay out all the pieces in one of the units I’m working on and then fuse the whole thing into place.


Then I applique the entire thing down before moving to the next unit. Let me also throw in here that I sew slowlyThis isn’t a race.  Sewing too fast can lead to sloppy work…which leads to lots of unsewing…which isn’t fun at all.  In small pieces or in tight places, I’ve literally used the need up/needle down button to sew that applique piece on one stitch at a time.  If you begin to have issues with the thread (such as the machine continually comes unthreaded or the thread gets caught around the top or bottom of the spool), consider using your vertical pin to hold the thread instead of having it lay horizontal in the machine.  Sometimes that will help put an end to any thread issues you may have.

Bobbins, needle, and lighting also need to be checked before starting too much of the intense work.  It’s a good idea to have at least two full bobbins waiting in the wings because it’s no fun to stop and wind bobbins when you’re having such a good time.  A top stitching needle works terrific for raw edge applique – just make sure the needle you’re using is either new or free from burrs.  And I cannot emphasize how important good lighting is in this step.  I’ve even wore my magnifiers while machine appliqueing tiny pieces to make sure my stitches were accurate.   And after an hour of sewing, get up.  Walk around.  Give your body some water and your eyes a rest for about 10 minutes.  Your accuracy (and enjoyment) actually improves after these breaks.

Every single petal now appliqued in place, now it was time to consider my quilting thread.  I wanted this thread to shine in my block but didn’t want it to be too obnoxious.  I chose two threads from Superior Thread to pick from to quilt with. Both are Fantastico brands.

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This spool is all blues and originally, I assumed this would be the best choice.  But when I allowed the thread to drape over the background, it was too dark.


I had assumed this one would be too limey yellow to use, but guess what?  I was wrong.  This Fantastico thread looks wonderful!  It blends well in the background and isn’t too obnoxious on the flower petals.



Since Matthew had challenged us to use at least one new technique in this quilt, I decided to try the straight-line quilting that’s seen on a lot of modern quilts.  I did the quilting on My Janome 7700 and used the walking foot.  And unlike the Sue quilt, I didn’t mark the top with a Frixion pen.  Instead I used 1-inch painter’s tape as a guideline – another new technique for me.


And here’s the finished product!


It’s a little big for my table top rack (so it looks like it’s sagging), but it really brightens up my entry way.  Now if I can get the flowers in my garden to grow as well as the ones did in this block, I’ll be a happy gardener!


Until Next Week, Quilt with Excellence!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam




We had a wonderful time at the beach with all of our family.  Now it’s back to reality and a sense of normalcy…even if it’s an altered sense of normalcy.   Meagan returned to work on Tuesday.  She’s going back full-time and is doing great!  The company she works for is so supportive and understanding.  I am very grateful for them.  Along with this new normal, Lilith-Lou has gone back home.  I enjoyed having her stay with us very much, but Sam was born to be an only fur-child and they both are happier apart.  For the next couple of years, our new normal will exist from Pap Smear to Pap Smear, trying not to worry about things we have no control over, loving each other a little harder, not taking anything for granted, and living each day to the fullest.  

This is our “new” normal.  Yes, it’s stressful, to some degree.  But it’s becoming a life filled to the brim with faith and love.  Not a bad thing.  But yes, I will breathe just a little easier after we get through the first year of post-surgery follow up.  Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers; texts and emails; phone calls and meals.  Quilters are truly the “bestest” people.  Continue to pray as we wait out the next five years.




Beach Bound and Down

Just a really quick update.  Meagan is feeling much better, so we’re taking her and the grand kiddies and the rest of the family to the beautiful North Carolina Coast for a long weekend.  The regular blog will be back up next week.


Until Then….Quilt with Excellence!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam