Thoughts on Thursday

Please note that this does not say deep thoughts. I’m pretty sure none of those are going to show up.

The church quilt quilting really needs to get going. Between my MIL leaving this world, us traveling, and my surgery, we are way behind schedule on the quilting – and this is a wholecloth quilt! Arrrgh!

The heroes of my thyroid surgery are the anesthesia team! I felt nothing and, although I was nauseated enough that they kept me overnight because I couldn’t eat, I never vomited. This is a first in a very long time (as in any time I’ve ever had anesthesia!), and I am grateful.

Apparently when they use one of the new operating rooms in Mott’s Children’s Hospital, you actually stay in Mott’s children’s hospital (not that I was anywhere near any children, mind you!)

I really need to get busy on my nephew’s wedding quilt. The wedding is next month! It shouldn’t be too time consuming though. I hope. I really hope.

It is hard to get used to working even 2 days a week once you’ve been retired for a few years.

When you have surgery you get pretty flowers like these from your sister and brother-in-law:


College football starts tonight! Okay, not college in general – we saw the exciting finish of the Montana – North Dakota State game last weekend. Michigan football starts tonight! You know what that means – hand piecing between plays! Best sport for hand piecing. Baseball is a close second.

I think I’m married to the biggest Michigan fan ever. He has spent weeks studying the roster so he will know who he’s looking at during the game. Yes, he does this every year. Both of his grandfathers taught at the U of M, his father worked there, all of his mother’s degrees were from there, his brother’s B.A. is from there, his own B.A. is from there and our younger daughter’s MSW is from there.

I went to Michigan State. My father went to Michigan State. Still, since I always know more about the Michigan team, I cheer for Michigan most of the time. If they’re playing MSU, I just cheer for everyone.

Maybe after tonight’s game and tomorrow night’s MSU game, I’ll have some finished BOM blocks to show! We can only hope.

I think I’m done thinking now!

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Big Book of Scrap Quilts

This is the third (and last) of the books I purchased at AQS Grand Rapids. It is Big Book of Scrap Quilts by L. Amanda Owens (editor) and Patricia Wilens (editor).  This might be my favorite of the three. (Amazon Affiliate link below.)

Basically this is a book of patterns. A big book of patterns, hence the title. Most of these are quilts I want to make. As a matter of fact, the vendor stall where I purchased this had one of the quilts made up, which is what made me really want the book. (For the record, it was the quilt called Dizzy Geese on page 26.) There are 75 patterns in this book. Gorgeous scrappy patterns.

The book starts with an introduction called “For the Love of Fabric” by Patricia Wilens. Then come the quilt patterns, followed by a section called “Step-by-Step Guide to Quiltmaking.” Interspersed in the quilt patterns are some handy tips called Pinpoints.

If you are planning some scrappy quilts, this may well be the book you’re looking for.

Quilt on!

Not Really a Quilt Show Post

I learned something very encouraging about my physical condition at the quilt show, something I hadn’t actually expected. I noticed it first on the first day I walked from my hotel to the show venue.

Other years, I have had to pause part way from the hotel to the show because my back hurt. Not this time. I didn’t get out of breath either. And my back never made me sit down during all of my days at the show. (My ankle did, but that is another story altogether.) I found this extremely encouraging.

I don’t talk about this much here on the blog, but last September I decided it really was time to do something about my weight. I started counting my calories using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and I started to very gradually work up to more steps per day as counted by my FitBit. (I’m currently up to a target of only 7500 steps per day, so this one is going very slowly.) My goal was to lose a pound a week, which went pretty well for the first 20 weeks or so. Then I sort of slacked off a bit and the total to date is only 33 pounds in about 49 weeks. (And if I’m being honest here, I probably have 80 to 100 more to go, depending on how old and wrinkled I want to look.)

No one actually noticed (because I wasn’t talking about it much) that I had lost weight until I was 20 pounds in, which was to be expected since I had so very much to lose. Because most of my clothes were old and stretched out, even 33 pounds in I’m wearing the same size of clothing. It is only now that some of the newer things are starting to feel loser.

And since I didn’t really start a rigorous exercise program, I didn’t really expect to feel dramatically better. I certainly haven’t done much exercising specific muscles, which was why I was surprised and pleased that my back didn’t hurt. (I can only attribute that to the conscious effort I make several times a day to walk with my stomach pulled in and my back straight. I certainly haven’t been doing any core exercises!)

This is why I was so thrilled to realize that moving was so much better for me! It was very encouraging. I know that losing this weight at this age will not make me look better (wrinkles everywhere here I come!) but I’m excited to know that it has made some difference in my stamina and energy, even if I don’t notice it every day.

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled quilting blog!

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Wildflower Appliqué & Embroidery

This is the second of the three books I purchased at AQS Grand Rapids. It is Wildflower Appliqué & Embroidery by Bea Oglesby. Below is the usual Amazon Affiliate link.

This is a brief book, consisting mostly of the twelve wildflower appliqué patterns. And they are beautiful patterns. And I do plan to make some of them, which is, of course, why I purchased the book.

The book begins with an introduction and some general instructions, which are for hand appliqué.  The patterns follow. Each pattern includes some information about the flower. And that is all that is in the book.

If you are looking for some gorgeous wildflower patterns, this is the one for you.  If not, maybe it isn’t. But I’m looking forward to using the patterns someday.

Quilt on!

Quilt Show Shopping Part 1A (and Part 2)

Why have I called this part 1A? Because I forgot one of the books from my first day of shopping. And, yes, I will review it sometime in the future, but it’s my favorite of the books I just bought so I think it would be a shame if I didn’t add it here. So, from Yoder’s booth, I purchased this:

And, yes, it really is big. And it has lots of patterns that I like.

Okay, that ends the first day of buying.

Friday I was in class all day, but you already knew that.

Saturday I went back to the Brother sewing machine booth with the intention of telling the lovely young lady who had answered all of my questions on Thursday (and maybe Friday too) that there was really no way that I could afford the machines I had been looking at so I would come back next year. She asked me what could I afford and I named a price that was well under half the list price of the machine I really really wanted, explaining that I really needed to wait until next year. Apparently not. She called in the big boss, who asked if I had a machine to trade. And offered me $800 for my lovely pink machine (sob, I’m not sure I was ready to part with her) and the demo of the machine I really really wanted. Yeah, this happened:IMG_3124

Here is the new machine as it had to sit while we granddog sat in my daughter’s apartment. (And yes, that is one of Loki’s toys.) I so wanted to play, but there wasn’t a place to do that.

The new machine is a Brother Innovis DreamWeaver™ XE VM6200D, and it sews and embroiders and is huge. Check out the link. It is amazing. Now the question is, will I be amazing with it? Time will tell.

Yesterday, I packed up my old machine and the new machine and took them to Lansing, where I surrendered my old machine and got a little training on my new machine. (The new machine is a little intimidating! Plus, I’ve never done machine embroidery before.)

As part of the training, I made this, my first ever embroidery:


I think I need to work on that puckery thing. But I was having fun, and it was my first time, so I’ll give myself a little slack.

Tonight I got her unpacked and set up. Unfortunately, she is too big for the lovely mat I got from Katie so I guess that has to go into storage.

Here she is all lit up on her desk.


And here is her touch screen all lit up. This is the first of the utility stitch screens.


And here she is not lit up just in case you can see her better this way.


Of course, she needs a name. Anyone have any suggestions? And I need all sorts of embroidery supplies – but I don’t know what kinds of threads or stabilizers or other stuff I need, so please feel free to tell me! Please!

And if someone could tell me what on earth I was thinking, I’d like to know. Yes, I’ve been drooling over the Dreamweaver machines in magazines and my local Brother dealer since they first came out, but I’m going to have to become way more productive to deserve her.

On a side note, as sad as it made me to give up my other machine, I think if I had kept it, I might have taken the easy way out and used it instead of learning my new machine. So that’s a good thing. But I’ll still miss her! She’s been an awesome machine.


Don’t forget to give me embroidery supply ideas!

Quilt on!

Quilt Show Shopping – part one

I have decided to split this post into two parts, not that I really did that much shopping but…

My main quilt show observation and shopping day was Thursday. The first thing I picked up were these books (Amazon Affiliate alert):

and these Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Circles:


and this very sturdy bag to carry everything I bought (and which I hope to remember to take with me next year when I go):


Those were all purchased at the AQS booth.

Next, I picked up another free motion practice panel and washable bobbin thread from Custom Quilts Unlimited, Mary Smallegan’s shop.


I purchased these from Sisters in Quilting:


This next pattern came from Pineapple Press Patterns:


I visited Laundry Basket Quilts booth. Edyta Sitar’s daughters were manning the booth and there was a stunning quilt that they had draped over the stool because it was one of their favorites. Mine too, as it turns out. I almost bought the kit so I could make that exact quilt, but I have too many batiks to buy more right now! So I just bought the pattern.


Northcott fabrics had a booth, but they weren’t selling anything. They were giving away small charm packs when you spun a wheel. Each charm pack had a block pattern inside. This is the charm pack I won:


As you can see, the pattern I got was for a Disappearing Nine Patch.

I also spent some time looking at sewing room furniture. I had seen a presentation by Adam Eddy about how he started his company, Eddycrest Furniture and how he designed sewing furniture with a lot of input from his quilter mother, who was all too happy to show me her son’s handiwork. These are stunning! Check out the designs on the website. Make sure you look carefully at all the features. It’s awesome. All prices listed are Canadian, so take that into account when you are looking.

So that’s it for Shopping Part One. I hope to get Shopping Part Two up tomorrow. But I make no guarantees.

Quilt on!

Quilt Show Part Four – Friends & Food & Classes

One of the best things about this quilt show for me is meeting up with Carole and Nonnie. This is the third year we have met up, and we are getting to be old friends here!


That’s Carole on the left and Nonnie on the right. And, yes, we did plan to stand in height order. (Not really.)

I arrived at the show at around 11 on Wednesday. Carole was in an all day class, but we met for lunch and then for dinner also. Lunch was in the food court at the show. All the areas had quilt block names. Over the course of the show, I ate food from Chinese Fan, Arkansas Traveler and Garden of Eden. Oh, and dessert from Delectable Mountains. The food was pretty good.

After Wednesday lunch, I went to my first class which was a Pineapple Block by hand class taught by Pepper Cory. I love this way of making the Pineapple Block! I haven’t quite finished it yet, but here it is so far. (Please note that because hand piecing is happening, pressing has not – at least not other than finger pressing.) Please pardon the lighting.


Wednesday, Carole and I had dinner at the sports bar at the Amway Grand. They have a pot roast sandwich that I adore. (Nonnie and I ate there on Friday evening.) They also had a dark beer that claimed to have hints of dark chocolate. It did not taste quite as good as I might have hoped.



After dinner, I headed off to the All-Star Review and Carole headed off to her room. The Review actually wasn’t anything earthshaking, but I was reminded that I should really get my Square in a Square ruler out and try it out.

Thursday was my show and shopping day. I learned last year that I should not try to take early morning classes every day, so I only took an early morning class on Friday. You’ve seen pictures from the show, and the shopping pictures are the next post, so… Lunch and dinner with Carole again. For dinner we ate outside across the street from our hotel at a restaurant called Z’s Bar and Restaurant. The food was yummy and the weather was perfect for eating outside. Not too hot or humid.

Friday was my big day. Two classes, one morning and one afternoon. Both were on EQ 7 and taught by Reeze Hans0n of Morning Glory Designs. The first was EQ7 Boot Camp: An Intensive Introduction for Serious Beginners. I was very glad to have taken it as it made me feel much more hopeful about using EQ 7 in the future. (The near future, I hope.) The second was EQ7 Drawing: Appliqué Blocks and Motifs, and I don’t know that I will ever use this one. I was pretty bad at it.

Nonnie was there to meet up for lunch, so that is what the three of us did. After lunch, I returned to class and they hit the show. Dinner was just Nonnie and me at the aforementioned sports bar. Carole was visiting with a friend.

After dinner Friday, I attended Edyta Sitar’s lecture, A Evening with Edyta Sitar: Reasons for Quilting. I would not have wanted to fold up all of the quilts at the end of the lecture! She showed us several! I heard something about 50+ quilts. They were all gorgeous.

Saturday was my last shopping and show day. I only bought one thing on Saturday, but I did look at several quilts again, with Nonnie this time. We said goodbye to Carole after her morning class and then Nonnie and I had lunch. (We went back later to get Nonnie a bit of a dessert too.) I finally drove away from Grand Rapids between 3:30 and 4:00 PM and headed off to my daughter’s place to meet up with my husband and help him dogsit for our granddog, Loki!


Quilt on!

Quilt Show Part Three

I’m not planning on showing you every quilt at the show on this blog. Just some of my favorites. So today is the last day that I’ll show the show quilts here. In the next few posts, I’ll tell you about hanging out with Nonnie and Carole (including eating adventures) and, of course, my show purchases and classes. But today is still quilts quilts quilts.

There are two shots of this first quilt (Weather the Storm by Elizabeth Bauman because one is closer and the other is taken more straight on. Obviously, I love the colors on this quilt and the blocks and the appliqué. Just a gorgeous quilt in my humble opinion.



This one has some very interesting blobby things in the border. (Yes, blobby is a technical term and, although it doesn’t describe these quite as well as wormy might, it is a kinder description.) The next three pictures are this quilt, Against All Odds by Valentina Mort.





This next one is a Christmas quilt. I know this because it is called Christmas Medallion. It was made by Lynn Peck-Collins with some of the sparkly Christmas fabric I like so well. And look at the edging in the closeup.



Spiral quilts always amaze me. I have a pretty good idea of how the corners were made now that I’ve taken the Craftsy class Stunning Circle Quilt: Step by Step with Andi Perejda (and, yes, that is an affiliate link) but I have not yet figured out how to do the spiraling away pieces or anything like the center block. Sigh. Just gorgeous. This one is called Byrne’s Spiral, and it was made by Beth Nufer and Clem Buzick. The quilting is just as amazing as the quilt top. I just love it.




This next one is called Tink’s Choice and it was made by Laura Trenbeath. Although you can’t really tell, this must be a very heavy quilt it has lots of crystals and other bling.


The gold bead looking things around this motif have me stumped. Do you know what they are? Are they glued on or sewn on?


I love the corners and borders too!


And here is the center!


I have pictures of this next one in a book! This is Lace by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. If I’m not mistaken it is in her book Double Wedding Ring Quilts-Traditions Made Modern: Full-Circle Sketches from Life, which I reviewed here.


I am beginning to find modern quilts more and more appealing. Maybe all the negative space is relaxing or something. This one is Pike’s Peak by Cheryl Brickey. And, of course, the quilting is awesome.



Last for this show, is a hand quilted masterpiece. This is Reindeer-Go-Round by Tim Latimer. I follow is blog and saw many pictures of the progress on this so I was thrilled to see it up close and personal.


Look at his amazing quilting! I don’t understand why this one did not win a prize.



That’s it for my pictures of the show. I hope you have enjoyed them.

Quilt on!

Quilt Show Post #2

Now that you’ve seen the quilt that charmed me, here are some that blew me away!

This was from the Animals We Love exhibit. And, yes, I may have chosen it because it was pieced, not much appliqué. The label from this quilt follows the picture of the quilt.



Next up is a machine quilted masterpiece by Margaret Solomon Gunn, whose blog I follow. I’m not sure how it didn’t win any awards but I know this quilt has won some awards at other shows.


Here is a closeup of some of the quilting:


Another closeup view. I quilt like this in my dreams!


Here’s the official information tag!


Next up are some award winners. First up, Best of Show Award – Saffron Splendor by Pat Holly. I didn’t take a separate picture of the info tag because I knew this was one of Pat Holly’s quilts as soon as I saw it. I’m in awe.


Next up is Best Hand Quilted Award – Tulip Serenade by Barbara Clem. Still in awe here!


Here’s the tag with a closeup of some of the gorgeous hand quilting!


Here’s another award winner: Best Longarm Machine Quilted Award – From the Bride’s Trousseau by Margaret Solomon Gunn.


And a closeup of the tag with some of the amazing quilting!


This one won the Best Home Machine Quilted Award – Dazzling Dahlia by Andrea M. Brokenshire.



And here’s a closeup of some of the amazingness along with the tag.


And last of all for today, Best Original Design Award – Fern Rising by Claudia Pfeil. I’m sorry about how the colors turned out in this photo.


This next picture may give you a better idea of the actual colors. Sometimes the fluorescent lights make picture taking difficult!


I need to save some for a later date, so that is it for today. (This is my second post of today. Don’t get used to it!)

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Your Machine’s Decorative Stitches

As you may know, I was at the AQS Show in Grand Rapids last week. While there, I picked up three books. This is the first of those three. Today we are looking at Your Machine’s Decorative Stitches by Karen Linduska. The link below is the Amazon Affiliate link.

This is not my normal type of book because it looks a bit more artsy than I am. But I picked it up because I thought that maybe I’d like to learn how to use my machine to its fullest capacity. At least using more of its stitches. Maybe putting some decorative stitches on a pillowcase or using some for appliqué. I have not been using many of the features of my sewing machine, other than needle up, needle down, backwards and forwards. (In the spirit of full disclosure here, I must confess that two days after purchasing this book, I purchased a new sewing machine – but that is a story for another post.)

I found this book very enlightening and feel like I have learned quite a bit about some of those decorative stitches and uses for them, even though I do not see myself ever doing any of the projects in this book. Well, maybe I will try some parts of some of the projects just for practice. I do want to work with fancier stitching in some things. I’m just not sure why this bug has bitten me.

Here are the sections in this book with some annotations by me:

  • Introduction – This covers these subtopics: The Birth of Decorative Stitch Threadwork, What Is Decorative Stitch Threadwork?, How Is It Done?, What Stitches Can Create Surface Design?, What If My Stitches Aren’t Perfect?, Free Up Your Inner Five-Year-Old
  • Getting Started – I’m not going to list all of the subtopics here. Let me just say there is a great section on terminology and lots of  excellent illustrations. This is a very thorough getting started section that made me want to rush home and get started.
  • Next come the projects – 12 of them
  • Resources
  • Meet Karen Linduska

I do recommend this book to anyone who is looking to get started using some of their machine’s decorative stitches in projects.

Quilt on!