Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scary Machine Moments Force Intense Problem Solving

This morning I was eager to sit down and work on that brown and blue jelly roll quilt. I pin-basted the layers together on Sunday and even began machine quilting on Tuesday. So this morning I was ready to finish the quilting, dquare it up, and sew on the binding. I got everything ready, slipped into my quilting gloves and began quilting, but something was definitely wrong -- I had to forceably pull and tug the quilt around.

Aha! My feeddogs must be up for some reason. I checked them. They were down. OH! My bottom tension must be screwed up.....I checked it and it was fine. I re-threaded the machine -- twice. I checked the stitch quality several times and it was fine. I was running out of ideas when I noticed that my free motion foot wasn't going up and down with the needle.

FINALLY! I solved the mystery.....but then I wondered why. I adjusted the foot and tried quilting again and it still wouldn't bob up and down with the needle. So I took it off the machine and looked it over -- it looked fine except that the little arm that sits on top (this little arm makes the foot go up and down in synch with the needle)looked bent so I gently straightened it and that's when I found the problem -- the little arm was almost snapped through.

For a brief moment I panicked -- not my could I go on without my free motion foot?????? Then sanity returned and I realized all I had to do was buy another one so I called the shop and they had at least four in stock. Tomorrow I will replace my poor sad and worn out free motion foot with a spanking brand new one. Then I can finish this quilt.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Guest Blogger

Just a quick post to tell you that I will be the guest blogger on 31 March 2011 on the Quilting Gallery website: Please visit and read my blog!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taking a Break and Thoughts About Being a Lefty

Whew -- tonight I took a break from learning CS5 -- a well-deserved break. In the past week I've learned many useful things such as cut, copy, and paste, using brushes and some filters, color reduction, and I'm still playing with making repeats. Learning is slow-going, but eventually I'll know what I need to know in order to do what I want to do.

Anyway, I finished my baby quilt for the October issue of Quilter's World magazine. I tacked the binding down and finished the hanging sleeve. Whenever I work on binding, I always think about my friend Cathey. She was having trouble making her corners smooth and asked me to show her how I did it, so I did. She went home then and the next time she was working on binding, she tried and tried and tried to do it the way I showed her but after a long time, she still couldn't figure it out. Then she remembered a very important detail -- an often overlooked detail in the world -- Cathey is right handed and I am left handed. It seems that she couldn't bind her quilt trying to do it right-handed the way that I do it left-handed.

It's a funny world, don't you think? How many times do you righties take for granted that things are easy to do? What about you lefties? Have you ever struggled to figure out how do to do something left-handed that you saw a right-handed person do and couldn't figure it out? Well, you are not alone. Sometimes right-handed ways of doing things don't always translate for left-handed people. This even includes quilting. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often since we lefties are pretty good about translating a right-handed world. Still, I'll never master inside curves with a rotary cutter....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Who would have ever known (outside the textile design industry) that you can use a photo editing computer program to design quilt fabric??????? Definitely not me.

I ordered Adobe Photoshop CS5 and received it the ned of last week. I've been puttering around with the program. I will admit that I have A LOT to learn, but I think I'm really going to like working with this program. It can do just about anything you can imagine to manipulate images (photo, fabric, whatever).

Below, you'll find my very first fabric design created on Photoshop. Not very impressive is it? But that's okay, great designs will come when I know how to use the software better. Then again, polka dots rock, don't they?????

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going Crazy

Oh my goodness! I think my head is going to explode because of all the things crammed into it right now.

This month has really been crazy for me -- a good crazy, though. With all of the crazy good things going on, I've neglected my blog this month. Sigh. I'm going to have to work harder at it.

Well, I got another piece accepted to Quilter's World Magazine, as I wrote about in an earlier blog. Last week I signed my contract to design fabric for Northcott. This week, my Photoshop CS5 arrived!

If you want to be a fabric designer, this is the program to learn. And learn it I shall. I also bought a great textile design resource using CS5 and even worked through a few of the lessons. At the same time, I'm reading the book Photoshop for Dummies.

I've worked on CS5 twice now and I've already learned how to do so many things -- this program is challenging but completely amazing! Last night I created my very first quilt fabric design, using a figure from an antique fabric sample. What fun! I am totally hyped about working with this program, although I know I have a lot to learn.

Well, I'm off to design fabric! Ta Ta!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fabric Designer

Some blogs ago, I wrote about wanting to be a fabric designer when I grew up. Well......I finally have the chance. After months of communication, my contract finally arrived from Northcott Silk, .

I AM SO VERY EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been interested in fabric design since early 2010 when I attended a trunk show and work shop by Mark Lipinski, who by the way also designs for Northcott. He was the first person I'd really heard talk about designing quilt fabric and I was interested to learn more.

When I had the opportunity to attend Fall Quilt Market in Houston, I decided to see if I could find out about being a fabric designer. The first company I talked to, told me you had to have a graphic arts background. I was quite disheartened when I heard that, but later fell into conversation for a salesperson for Northcott who directed me to their design director. I finally met up with the design director later that day and we had coffee. Happily I had a copy of my book and a few quilts with me (my portfolio, I guess you would call it) and I shared them with her. Surprisingly, she was interested.

That's how it started in a nutshell. I still can't believe the way things happen. It's amazing. Of course, I have a lot to learn, like the software program Northoctt uses for designing fabric, but I'm willing, able, and ready.

My first collection will come out in August or October and was inspired by my book, Orphan Block Quilts, so stay tuned.......

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Project, New Month

Well, I am finally hand-sewing the binding down on the Star quilt that I was machine quilting last week. While I was finishing up the machine quilting, I decided that I wanted to make a brown and blue scrap quilt too. I was inspired to do this because I cut up some of the left over fabric into 2.5" strips. I found a design called "Boxed In" from the book, Let the Good Times Roll by Anka's Treasures. So I sorted my already-cut 2.5" blue and brown strips (from other projects) and cut some more to total 20 strips of each. Then I began cutting and piecing. It didn't take long to put the blocks together -- 20 blocks that will finish at 12". I decided not to add a border because the quilt is already 48" x 60" -- plenty big for a new throw for the living room. I am going to back this quilt with a piece of fleece and will quilt it in an allover design yet to be determined.

OH! I almost forgot -- I had another quilt design -- a bay quilt -- accepted by Quilter's World magazine for the October 2011 issue. I'm thrilled! If you want to see the quilt, you'll have to pick up a copy of the magazine this fall, so mark your calender!