The Missing Link

Before we get into this week’s topic, I’d like to give you fellow quilters a quick public service announcement:  Check your thread.

 The reason for this PSA is a picture I saw on my Facebook feed over the weekend.  A long arm artist was readying a quilt to put on her machine when the top literally began falling apart.  She checked the top’s stitches and tension and both of those looked correct.  She called her customer and found out that the quilter in question had used old thread.  We’re talking thread-on-wooden-spools old thread.  My guild had a similar situation a few years ago.  A member who was downsizing had some tops she had constructed but had never quilted.  Another member (who had a long arm) took these tops to quilt for our charity quilt program.  Since the tops were several, several years old, the long armer threw the tops in her washing machine before putting them on her long arm.  And the tops completely fell apart.  The issue, once again, was the thread. 

If you have thread in your stash wound on wooden spools, put them in a pretty jar to display in your sewing room.  That’s literally all they’re good for at this point.  Thread does have a shelf life, albeit a pretty long one.  According to the Superior Thread website (if you ever have a question about thread, this should be a go-to resource), “A good quality thread produced today will last much longer than thread that was produced 15 or 20 years ago.”  So, if you’re like me and still have those gold, plastic Dual Duty or Coats and Clark spools of thread – toss them.  A high-quality cotton thread that is manufactured today will probably still be fine to use 40 or even 50 years from now.  Why?  The difference is due to the advancements in spinning, dyeing, and twisting as well as the evolution of genetic engineering in cotton plants.  Since cotton is a natural fiber, it will degrade over time.  If you have older thread in your thread stash, the best way to determine if it’s still usable is to take a 12-inch section of the thread and hold it between your two hands.  Give the thread a sharp pull.  If the thread snaps (a nice, crisp break), then it’s probably okay to use.  If it separates and pulls apart easily (like pulling a cotton ball apart), throw it in the circular file and get another spool of thread.   

However, polyester thread is different.  With this thread, the color may fade over time, but there is no evidence that it deteriorates like cotton thread.  Synthetic fibers last longer than cotton ones. 


When we started 2020, I expressed a strong desire that by the end of the year, we all could take a pattern or design and make it our own.  I want us to get really comfortable about changing a design element in a pattern or coming up with our own pattern if a quilt drifts into our imagination and won’t let us go.  In keeping with this year’s theme about advancing our quilting skills and altering designs to fit how we want our quilts to look, I’d like to hit on the topic of connector blocks — also referred to as linking blocks.  These are secondary blocks in a quilt that serve to pull the main blocks together for an unexpected secondary pattern.  Often these blocks are what I consider the “backbone” of quilting – snowball blocks, square-in-a-square blocks, four-patch blocks, etc.  Let me show you what I’m talking about.  See this quilt?

This quilt has no sashing, because it has connector blocks and really doesn’t need any.  This is the main block.

And this is the connector or linking block:

The block that is used most often as a linking block is the snowball block.

This block can transform a quilt top in many ways and gives a nice, open area to have some serious quilting stitches. 

However, while the snowball block is the most often used connector block, it’s not the only one.  There are some more complicated ones that also serve as great linking blocks.

If you want to play around using linking blocks instead of sashing or an on-point layout (personally, I’ve found the regular horizontal layout much easier to use when I’m working with linking blocks), you’ll need to do a little planning.  Take your primary design block and draw it out on graph paper or throw it into EQ8.  (Personally, I find the software the easiest to work with, because you can insert numerous blocks of the same design just by pointing and clicking.)

Primary Design Block. You could also deconstruct this block beautifully.

Then draw your connector blocks or insert them into your computer layout.  Keep in mind the connector block   more than likely will need to echo the corner of the design block.  So, if the design block has a straight edge (such as a triangle, square, or rectangle) in the corner where it meets the connector block, the connector block will need to echo that straight edge.  In other words, don’t have a curved unit meeting up with a square.  Since there are few hard, fast rules in quilting, there are exceptions to this. 

My pick for the linking or connector block.

If you don’t like what you have come up with, work with the linking blocks until you create something that makes your quilter’s heart sing with joy. 

My Christmas Quilt with the chosen design and connector blocks. See what an important role the color choice and placement plays with this?

The really cool factor that can occur when you use a primary design block along with connector blocks is a secondary design can emerge.    Of course, color placement is an important factor in this process, so you may have to play around with fabric positioning as well as block design to get this to happen – such as using the same colors in the corners of the design blocks and the connector blocks.

Jacob’s Ladder with a Nine Patch forms a nice secondary design

What I really, really want you to have this year is “Own Your Quilting Experience.”  Quit depending on kits and patterns to dictate everything that comes out from under your needle.  I really hope that at the end of 2020, you have the tools and the confidence to look at a pattern as only the starting point of your design.  If you don’t like the way a pattern calls for making HSTs, you know the most effective way for you to make the HSTs and will use that method.  If you don’t want a border constructed out of four patches, you know how to redesign that border to look the way you want it to look.  And if you have a fabric panel in your possession, you have the know-how and the confidence to cut that sucker apart, put it in a layout that you like, and make that top sing in four part harmony. 

This is not to say I’m anti-quilt kit.  I’m not.  The Alaska quilt that’s under my needle now is a kit.  But I do think that a steady quilting diet of kits can really short-change your creative ability and stunt your growth as a quilter.  Change your patterns up.  Take one small thing at a time.  Substitute HSTs for plain patches.  Change the size of the blocks.  Do something to make it uniquely yours.  Garner confidence with each change you make and learn from the mistakes that happen (because they are going to happen, believe me).  Then try it again. 

Until next week, Level Up That Quilting!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


Handle with Care

We’re living in some fearful times. While the title of the blog, “Handle with Care,” concerns HSTs, I’d like to take minute to urge you to handle yourself with care during the COVID 19 pandemic. I’m not an alarmist, but I am a realist. We’ve all heard that we need to wash our hands. And we’ve heard a lot about Social Distancing (I’d wager that may be 2020 catch-phrase). However, this is where I’m coming from…

The average age of the average quilter is 62, according to the latest statistics. If that is true, then a lot of us now have parents that are in the “danger” zone of 80 and above. I’m in that group. I need to be conscious that everywhere I go, everyone I meet, everything I touch could have the virus on it and I could transfer that to my mom when I see her. In addition, my daughter, Meg, has a compromised lymphatic system, since her lower lymph nodes were removed in 2018 during her cervical cancer surgery. While she’s only 33, she could have a hard time recovering from COVID if she were to catch it.

We can’t live in a bubble, but there are things we can do to limit our exposure. My Tuesday night Sit and Sew has decided to halt our meetings for awhile. My guild cancelled its spring retreat. Area grocery stores are closing early to allow their staff time to sanitize the stores correctly each night. If I had five dollars for every email I’ve received this week from retail/on line establishments, explaining what they’re doing to keep us safe, I could afford to go to Paducah every year for the next five years.

And speaking of quilt shows, in my area, local ones have been cancelled. Word came out this week that several of the national shows have also cancelled. I live in Guilford County, North Carolina. The ACC was cancelled. Our International Home Furnishing Show has been postponed.

This results in a lot of area stores and restaurants hurting. The vast majority of these closings and cancellations affect the small business owner. Be conscious of that in the months ahead when we are able to get out and mingle freely. If you have to purchase fabric or quilt notions on line, see if you can order from a small quilt shop.

However, in the middle of all this fear, I’ve seen really good people step up to the bat. Local Door Dashers are offering free delivery to senior citizens. The food vendors from the ACC donated their meals to needy kids and families. Utility companies have agreed not to cut off services for non-payment during this time. We’re checking up on our older neighbors and fellow quilters. I hope we can hold onto this attitude after this passes — because COVID will pass.

Handle yourselves with care, my dear quilting friends.

Remember the blog I wrote a few weeks ago about triangles?  I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback on that blog.  Most of it was in the form of questions about how to handle the triangles after they were cut but before they were sewn together.  The blog kind of took for granted folks were sewing the triangles together immediately after they were cut out.  We all know that’s often not the case.  Life happens and sometimes it can be days (optimistically) between getting our fabric units cut out and then sewing them together.  So, with this blog I want to posit that scenario and give you my thoughts about how to store and work with those triangles if there is going to be a bit of time between cutting them out and sewing them up. 

 If I thought there was going to be some time between cutting my triangles out and sewing them together (for instance, if I was prepping my fabric for a quilt retreat that was several weeks away), I would opt for the Sew and Slice Method.  I would go through every step of this process, except for cutting the square in half to make the two triangles.  A square can lie flat in a box for literally years and nothing will happen to stretch the bias.  When I’m ready to work on the quilt again, I would cut the square apart and expose the bias.  In any quilting situation where you’re dealing with bias, wait as long as you can to handle it.

In the situation where the bias is already exposed and you can’t immediately sew the triangles together, starch is your best friend.  I know lots of quilters like Best Press, and if that’s your thing, use it.  The point is use something to stabilize the bias edge.  In my own personal opinion, nothing stabilizes better than this:

When you use starch and then press the fabric with a hot, dry iron, the fabric can take on a paper-like quality, which makes it very stable. The triangles will store nicely, and the bias side won’t stretch.  The caveat to this is if you live in an area where you have issues with moths, be sure to store the triangles in a plastic container with a tight lid.  Moths are attracted to starch and may make a run to munch on your fabric.

If I knew for whatever reason I had to set aside my triangles for a while, I would also plan not to handle them again unless absolutely necessary.  The more the triangles are handled, the better the chances are the bias will become stretched.  If you know you can’t sew the triangles together soon as they’re cut out, hit the fabric pieces with some starch and a hot iron, and then immediately store them flat.  Handle them one time and then leave them alone until you’re ready to sew. 

And speaking of sewing those triangles, there are few things I would like to add in here that I inadvertently left out of my HST post. 

  • When sewing a bias edge to a straight-of-grain edge, sew with the bias on the bottom (next to the feed dogs).  The reason for this is that the straight-of-grain stretches the least and will support the bias edge.
  • If you do have to sew two bias edges together, use a walking foot or dual feed foot and slow your sewing down.  Speed is never your friend when dealing with two bias edges.  If your walking foot or dual feed foot is not clearly marked for a ¼-inch, do some test seams to see exactly where you need to position your needle and your fabric.  When you find this “sweet spot,” mark it with a dab of fingernail polish or use a black Sharpie to indicate the location. 
  • Once the two triangles are sewn together or the square is cut apart in the Sew and Slice method, press the unit with a hot iron (no steam) to set the seam and allow it to cool before opening the HST unit and pressing to the dark fabric.  This helps the unit to hold its shape better and be easier to work with.  After the seam is pressed to the dark side, again allow the unit to completely cool before moving. 
  • Don’t be afraid to pin.  As a matter of fact, I think pins are my BFF when I have to sew bias edges.  It keeps the bias from slipping out of place.
  • Eliminate all unnecessary handling.  I’ve hit all around this one, but make those triangles, sew where you need to, press them, and then put them somewhere you don’t have to move them again until you’re ready to sew them together, or onto another unit.  Store them flat – this takes the stress off the seam and the bias. 
  • Whenever possible, start sewing at the 90-degree angle.

One last thought on HSTs – if you’re still antsy about that bias, paper piece your HSTs.  Yes, you will use more fabric, but not by much.  Keep the papers on until you’ve sewn your HSTs together or onto other fabric units.  Then tear the paper off.  Even if you’re not crazy about paper piecing, this is one method that will pretty much guarantee that the bias won’t be stretched, and your HSTs are the correct size.  If you Google paper piecing half-square triangles, there are hundreds of free paper piecing patterns in every imaginable size that will pop up on your feed.  I am currently making a quilt where I wanted to use a sawtooth border (which is nothing but HSTs), and the HSTs had to be 3-inches, finished.  I had no 3-inch paper-piecing Thangles, but I did find the pattern that made eight HSTs at a time with a Google search.  Use the free internet patterns to your advantage. 

Since HSTs are one of the backbones of quilt blocks, it’s important to learn the best way for you to make the unit.  What’s my favorite way may not be yours, and that’s okay.  This is why we have so many ways to construct them.  Give yourself permission to experiment and find what works best for you.  And when they’re made, take care to keep them from stretching, whether it’s three minutes or three years until you get back to them.

Until next week, Level up that Quilting!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


Intuitive Designing

Back in 2018, this blog’s annual theme was Quilt with Excellence.  We undertook a series of topics that emphasized the basics and spent a great deal of time on them.  From a former teacher’s viewpoint, I knew the more the basics were emphasized, the better the outcome of any project.  During this time, I wrote a series of blogs about design and the Golden Ratio.  I am happy (and excited) to say that these posts remain some of my most popular, averaging 165 hits a month.  They’ve been read and re-read to the point there are some murmurings about a book. 

The issue some quilters have with the Golden Ratio is the math. The GR is an irrational numeral – 1.618….. The dots mean this number literally goes on forever, never ending, and that can be a difficult concept to wrap your mind around. We shorten it to 1.618 to work with sashing and borders, or we can half it to .618 and work with it this way. In these blogs (and I will post the links at the end of this blog), I explained how these two numbers worked ensure that the borders and sashing are in perfect proportion to your blocks.

Math can be intimidating.  It’s the language of computers and science. As a former chemistry and physics teacher, I’ve dealt with my fair share of arithmetic.  I tell quilters what I used to tell my math phobic students — “Math is your friend, because numbers don’t lie.”  However, even with calculators, a lot of quilters are just a little put off by trying to figure out how to “math” their own quilts.  I want to talk about Intuitive Design with this post and how you can use it with your quilts.  So set any math-y issues you have aside and hear me out.  No math is involved beyond this point.

What comes to mind when you hear that phrase “Intuitive Design?”  When I first heard it, I immediately thought about Art Quilts. 

Not my art quilt — this is for illustration’s sake.

I’ve only made one Art Quilt, and truly had a blast making it. Art Quilts are great because a lot of what is considered standard quilting “rules” go out the window.  These quilts may only have two layers.  They may have no binding.  They may be lop-sided.  And while quilters as a whole would frown on this in any other quilt, it’s quite acceptable with an Art Quilt.  In fact, as you gaze on this Art Quilt you may think that there is really no math or concrete design work involved at all.

And you would be dead wrong.

Let’s examine that quilt and the quilts we’re making and see what makes up design.

There are tons of tools on the market that help quilters design their own blocks and quilts.  Some quilters use graph paper.  Others use EQ (Electric Quilt).  There are the Golden Calipers for sashing and borders.  There are specialty rulers and color wheels.  But that’s not what I want to look at.  Shove all those tools back into the notions drawer (except maybe keep the graph paper out) and let’s examine Intuitive Design and how we engage it every time we make a quilt.  When we realize what it is, we can tune into it and use it better. 

First step:   Look around you.  Why are you wearing that pair of pants or skirt or top?  What makes your favorite chair your favorite chair?  Why did you choose that particular focus fabric for your favorite quilt?  Better yet, what part of the quilt store do you gravitate towards first?  If I asked these questions to 20 quilters and account for the law of averages, probably 15 of those asked would indicate color is the answer to these questions.  And choosing your color palette is one of the first steps in design.  Color in and of itself can evoke strong emotions or memories.  For instance, this red:

Brings to mind this logo:

What makes your favorite color(s) your favorite color(s) is a personal thing.  It’s no secret my favorite color is purple*, and I tend to gravitate towards that end of the color spectrum.  But I also favor either deeply hued colors or clear, bright ones.   It should be no surprise that Henry Glass and Fig Tree are my favorite fabric design houses.  I would encourage you to take note of what colors you repeatedly gravitate towards.  While I like purple, I do realize that I can’t paint every room in my house that color or make every quilt out of purple material.  When I began this process for myself, I had to back off a bit and see what colors I chose to go with the purple in my quilts.  For years I thought green was one of my least favorite colors.  Nope.  Green resonates throughout my home, my wardrobe, my office and my quilts.  Then again, it’s no secret that green and purple play well together.  Commit these choices to a written journal, pictures on your phone, or a Pinterest board – somewhere you’ll have easy access to them as you plan your next quilt.  Side note here – I do collect paint chips from the hardware store in the colors I like the most.  I don’t raid their collection, but do leave the store with about a half a dozen.  They come in handy in planning the colors for a quilt.

Second Step:  Look at what shapes you use again and again.  This one is a bit harder and you have to really think about it.  Let’s start with furniture. If we were furniture shopping for your living room right now, what kind of couch would immediately catch your attention?  Would you be drawn to the type that are more square-ish or rectangular-ish with sharp, 90-degree angles?  Or would your rather have something with soft corners and plump, round cushions?  Like color, shape can either make us happy or turn us off.  For instance, this shape:

Is not a popular one.  It’s not going to pop up in a lot of furniture or quilt designs because it reminds us of a coffin.  However, this shape:

Gets a lot of positive play.  Dishes.  Salt and pepper shakers.  Glasses.  Cups.  Cars. 

Art itself is the sum of shapes.  A flower is broken down into ovals and circles.  A sketch of a dog begins with circles, ovals, and rectangles.  All art can be broken down into rough sketches of basic shapes. The challenge we face in quilting is taking a one-dimension element (fabric) and producing a block with three-dimensional characteristics.  Applique is the easiest way to do this.  However, when you’re working with a pieced block – one with absolutely no applique – a quilter must consider how the shapes relate to each other in size, volume, perspective, and balance.

Before you start worrying too much about that challenge, or pull out a calculator to use the Golden Ratio on every part of your block – relax.  The great thing about Intuitive Design is that we do it naturally.  Somehow, wired into our brain is that 1.618 figure.  Visually, we tend to realize when a border is too narrow or that sashing is just a bit too wide.  The term most quilters use is off-balance.  Understanding and using that GR is important when designing your own quilts; however,  in most other quilt-related issues, your instincts are right.  Go with those.

The third step in Intuitive Design is texture.  Frankly, in other art forms, this is more easily achieved.  It’s a tad more difficult in quilting, because most of the time we use fabrics that are just that – flat fabric.  There are times when we can alter this.   I’ve always encouraged applique quilters to use whatever fabrics fits what they’re trying to convey – see-through fabrics for ice, wooly or furry fabric for animals, etc.  And Art Quilts can use a myriad of mediums to contribute to the desired appearance.  However, these are the exception.  With most quilts, quilters are dealing with 100 percent cotton material that is absolutely smooth to the touch.  This is where we rely on fabric manufacturers to supply us with material that gives the illusion of the texture we want.  Remember my earlier blog on ugly fabric?  How I encouraged you to look at fabric differently?  Look for material that gives the illusion of what you need – leaves, pebbles, clouds – whatever your block needs, take the time to find the appropriate fabric that gives the appearance of the texture you’re trying to convey.

By using color, shape, and texture, a quilter can add both dimension and fun to a quilt.  The best thing is most of us do in intuitively.  Go with your intuition.  Don’t doubt it.  Sure, we’re going to make mistakes, but that’s how we learn.  And how we make better quilts.

It’s here I really tried to insert the link for my blog on Sashing and the Golden Ratio, but for whatever reason, WordPress was being hard to get along with. If you’re interested, you can find it in the archives – it’s dated July 26, 2018.

Until next week, Level Up Your Quilting,

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam.                                               

*True story about me and the color purple. A few years ago, my husband was having our offices repainted. He asked me what color I wanted my office. Without hesitation, I said, “Purple.”

“That’s not a business-y color,” he replied. 

“I like purple.  It makes me happy.”

Without missing a beat, he told the painter to paint my office a light gray.  The painter gave him a long look and left to purchase the paint.  I left for the day too, determined to make a stop at Target to pick up purple office accessories.

The next day when I opened my office door, the walls were purple — a lovely shade of lavender.

That painter is one smart man.


Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Originally this blog was supposed to be about intuitive design.  I know that sounds really fancy and maybe a bit intimidating, but I felt it was needed.  The series of blogs I wrote back in 2018 dealing with the Golden Ratio are still getting lots of hits (YEA!!).  I get PMs and emails with questions several times a month.  So, my thought were that with this blog I would answer the most frequently asked questions to see if that would help fellow quilters out.

I had my outline.

I had my graphics.

I was ready to rock and roll. 

Enter technical problems.

As a whole, technology and I get along pretty well.  As soon as home computers became available, I had one (I think it was Radio Shack’s brand, back in the mid 1980’s).  I’ve manipulated software.  I was using Quickbooks for home bookkeeping back when it was in DOS.  As a high school science teacher, I would upgrade my Texas Instruments science calculators every time a new one came out.  Big Red is computerized.  My Babylock Spirit is highly computerized, as is LeAnne the Long Arm.  I have a new iPhone and Apple Watch.  Each time I upgrade something, I have a little niggling fear in the back of my mind – what happens if some of this stops?

So besides just seriously aging myself – because let’s be real, who remembers Quickbooks when it was in DOS besides me and maybe a few accountants – here’s where my issue with technology comes into play this week.  See this?

This is my present laptop screen.  And no, I didn’t program it to look like a rainbow.  It did that all by itself.  A few days ago, I was working on EQ8 when it happened.  I had left my desk to go get something to drink.  When I returned, I wiggled my mouse to bring my laptop back to life.  The screen went white, and then began to show these stripes.  So, I did what most people my age do when they’re suffering technical dilemmas – I talked with one of my kids.  In this case, it was Meg, because she can make computers not only talk, but sing in harmony —  in vivid (and sometimes colorful) detail. “Could be the screen,” she told me.  “It could be going bad.”

“What do I do?” I asked.

“Take it to your computer guy.  He can replace your screen.  It’s an easy fix.”

Which all makes good sense – except that means I have to surrender my laptop for a few days.  And you never know how computer dependent you are until suddenly you’re without one.  Yes, I have a great phone.  And an iPad.  And two android tablets (one is on LeAnne).  But I write and edit my graphics on my laptop because the screen is bigger.  I’m 58.  My eyesight can only deal with smaller screens for so long.  Thankfully my DH gave me an android with a keyboard for Christmas.  The keyboard is tiny, but hey, it’s a keyboard and it’s not a permanent way of blogging.  So, with those positive thoughts in mind, I packed up Larry the Laptop and drove him down to Archdale to my computer guy (You may notice at this point all my sewing machines have female names.  The laptop is a male.  I’m not sure what this says about me).  Time will tell what the diagnosis is.

So, while I am struggling through my laptop-deprived existence, I thought I would do a virtual show and tell so you can see what I’ve gotten done.

I have finished this – as I reported earlier.  This is the lap-sized Sunny Lanes.  I also have finished what I thought was the queen-sized sister to this one in the same fabrics.  However, it was an extra-large queen by the time it was complete and wouldn’t fit on my long arm frame.  While I have the type of  frame I can extend to 12 feet, my studio would only reasonably accommodate the 10-foot space.  And this never worried me because I never anticipated I’d ever make anything larger than a queen-sized quilt.  Anyway, the larger version of Sunny Lane is now winging her way to Missouri Star Quilt Company to be long-armed.  As soon as she’s back, I’ll bind her and she’ll go on my bed.

This is how far I’ve gotten on my second block of my Language of Flowers quilt.  I’ve gotten lots of prep work done but haven’t seemed to be able to settle down and get the rest of the pieces glue-basted on to this one to continue the applique.  Part of the reason is this:

That’s right.  We took time out to take the family to Disney World after Christmas.  We are a die-hard Disney family.  The DH and I honeymooned there, as did Meg and her DH.  My son and his DW have been there numerous times.  The big draw for us (at least for Matt and me) was Galaxy’s Edge.  We’re huge Star Wars fans.  However, we didn’t let the grand darlings know we were going until we were literally pulling onto the on ramp in Orlando to go to Disney.  Their reaction was priceless.

This will always be a highlight of my life.  Since I’m a Mimi, I knew I could do one of two things.  I could either plan and budget on spending a lot of money on souvenirs that would be broken and forgotten within six months, or I could give them an experience that they’d never forget.  I chose the experience.  We did the Bippity-Bopity Boutique. 

Oh. My. God.  I don’t know who had more fun, me or the girls, or their mom. 

So, I was a bit distracted from my quilty projects while I was plotting Disney.  However, I think I am back on track now. 

See this pile of hexi blocks?  I am happy to announce that I’ve completed all the blocks for my A Day in Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I’ve steadily worked on these blocks for a year.  They’re pieced by hand using Cindy Blackberg’s hexie stamp.  These were my constant project at my Tuesday night Sit and Sew.  The girls have helped with the layout, so now I have to put on the connectors and get the whole thing together.  When I began this quilt, I honest didn’t know if I would enjoy hand piecing.  I had a plan B in place – if I struggled with it, I’d simply make a wall hanging or bed runner and be done.  But I found that hand piecing was soothing, and I believe I’m really going to miss this project when it’s completed.

I’ve also completed my Halo Medallion top. 

And I’ve set it aside.  This quilt deserves stellar quilting and to be honest, I don’t have the long arm skill set for this quilt yet.  It may be a couple of years before Halo is under my long arm needle.

I’ve also finished this quilt:

My BFF, Janet, introduced this quilt in 2019 as our guild’s mystery quilt.  There were size options, so I settled on the table topper after seeing how many biased edges this little sucker had.  However, there was another reason I settled on a smaller size.  I’ve been introduced to embroidery machine programs by Amelie Scott that allow you to quilt on your embroidery machine.  While I will never do a large quilt on my Baby Lock Spirit, I wanted to experiment with a small one.  So those lovely feathered circles were done on Barbara the Baby Lock.  The other quilting was done on Big Red.  For me, it’s more trouble to load a small quilt onto LeAnne than a large one.  By the time I go through all the hassle of loading it, I could throw it on Big Red and have it completed. 

I’ve started this quilt:

When I saw the kit on Laundry Baskets web page, I fell in love with the muted colors. Normally I don’t purchase quilt kits – I like the freedom to purchase my own fabrics with my own color choices.  However, this quilt kit was the exception, and since I had saved some birthday money, I purchased the kit that had the pieces already laser cut.  And I don’t regret it at all.  I am having so much fun making this quilt!

Then there’s this:

I know this looks like a pile of fishy confusion, but my DH asked for a fish quilt.  I purchased a fabric panel with bass and trout and cut it apart.  I have the basic layout, but the challenge will be putting the whole thing together so that it looks good.  The great thing about the panels is they are really colorful, so I can pull everything from my stash.  I hope to have it constructed and bound by Christmas…(notice I didn’t say which Christmas – because we all know how that goes). 

And I’ve made this:

My good friend, Karen, made one of these quilt planners and showed it to me at one of the Tuesday night Sit and Sews.  Since the page was a free download that could be customized, I asked her if she would email me her layout.  She did and I sent it to Office Depot.  They printed my copies and put it on a spiral.  So now I have this great quilt planner and these:

Lots of pretty pens to keep track of my projects.  I completely finished six quilts last year – pieced, bound, and labeled.  I’d like to finish eight projects this year. 

I’m afraid there’s not a whole lot of instruction with this blog.  However, I hope I have inspired you to finish a few of your own.  Meanwhile, my laptop is at Computer Guy’s shop.  I get it back tomorrow with a new screen.  Hopefully, it’s all fixed and I can resume my regularly scheduled blogs.

Until next week, Level Up That Quilting!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam