About Gretchen

I am a retired public school teacher and media specialist and University lecturer. Total retirement is new to me, but I’m adjusting.

Books on Monday – Free Motion Meandering

Today we are looking at Free-Motion Meandering: A Beginners Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters. It is available for Kindle as well as in paperback and the second link below is to the Kindle version. Both links are, as usual, Amazon Affiliate links that help support this blog.

This book was one of my quilty Christmas gifts, and my original plan was to post a review with photos of me trying these things out. That was before a bout of a cold hit and operating heavy machinery became a terrible idea. (Rotary cutters too, actually so only hand quilting has happened over the last day or so.) So you are getting the review, but not the demo pics. I think you’ll survive.

One could argue that there should come a point when one should stop buying/reading free motion quilting books and just do it. (This might have been one of the reasons that I was going to actually do some before writing this review!) However, the whole idea of just covering meanders of various kinds was one of the things that drew me to this book. I like the idea of just looking at one style of quilting at a time.

If you’ve ever read one of Angela Walters’s other books, you are already acquainted with her light (and relaxing) tone. This book is no exception. She definitely puts me at ease with her “you can do this” tone of writing.

The book starts with an Introduction and then a section called “Why Meanders?” (This seemed like a very good question to me!) Then she moves on to a few basics of how to get started followed by a section called “First Stitches” that includes a few Frequently Asked Questions. Then it’s on to the various types of meanders she covers in the book. These are: the Basic Meander and the Loopy Meander (the two that I usually think of when the word meander comes to mind), the Swirl Meander, the Swirl Hook Meander, the Paisley Meander, the Leafy Meander and the Feather Meander (yes, I know, I don’t normally think of feathers as a meander but I can see how these are kind of). Her last section is Improv Quilting, which combines the previous designs. Each section has a few FAQs at the end of it, which I find very helpful.

I will admit that this is the second machine quilting book that has made me want to jump right in and get started. (The first was Walk.) I’m not sure why that is, but I’m pretty sure that within the next few weeks you will see some samples of meandering on this blog. Angela’s approach seems to be what I needed to get inspired and brave enough to try.

Quilt on!

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

Whoopee! I wasn’t sure there would still be a Finish-A-Long this year. I know it must be a lot of work and I am incredibly grateful to the lovely ladies who run it. Imagine my delight when I saw Leeanne from She Can Quilt had a post to link up first quarter goals. Now to make some!

I usually hope for 5 finishes and, if I’m lucky, get one or two. So, here goes in the order I would expect to finish them.

  1. Christmas Jelly Roll Race – I have the inner border on and need to decide on and add an outer border, quilt and bind.
  2. Disappearing Pinwheels – I may have enough blocks already completed to make a throw sized quilt. We will see.
  3. Layer Cake Explosion – All the blocks are completed. Now I need to cut the rest of the background fabric and get it put together.
  4. The 2011 Designer Mystery BOM – All the blocks are completed. Next up would be cutting the finishing kit and putting it together.
  5. Getting to Know Hue – This is a huge reach. I have the gold blocks to make, the four appliqué blocks and the center star in addition to getting it put together, etc. Big reach. But I’ll try! 

So there’s my official list. Stay tuned to see how it goes.

Quilt on!

Deep Thursday Thoughts

Not really. Don’t be shocked. Deep is not me. It really isn’t. And not much progress has been made around here on anything.

My Clue #2 of On Ringo Lake is all done except I need to press and trim up 60 more of the flying geese. I should get that done today. Then I think I will take a short pause before moving on to Clue #3. It’s not like I’ve been keeping up or anything like that.

I need to cut the fabrics for Charlotte’s Mystery Quilt, Summer Stars on Fawn Lake. I haven’t even started that yet, although I do have a project box waiting for it. I think the first clue comes next week, Tuesday maybe.

Jaye from Artquiltmaker asked a question about the 2009 Designer Mystery BOM. I finished that top before I ever began this blog, or shortly thereafter. You can see a picture and read about it here. It has been patiently waiting on my quilting frame to actually be quilted. It made it onto the frame shortly before my youngest daughter got engaged in 2012. That meant it had to wait for the wedding quilt to be hand quilted and then it also had to wait through parts of each year as the church quilts took precedence, but I hope this year is its year.

I fell in love with a knitted shawl kit on Craftsy a month or so ago. It was less than $20 and came with teal yarn if I wanted that color so I purchased it. I do not consider myself a knitter. I don’t even really like to knit, but this quilt was so pretty and I know exactly where to go for help so I bought it. It is not an easy pattern (do I ever like easy?) and I have cast it on and knitted and ripped it out three times now. I was sure the third time would be the charm, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. I’m not sure how many times I will do this before I look for a crocheted shawl that I like almost as well. Sigh. Here’s a link to the kit, not an affiliate link though. Just a link. It is stunning.

And those are all my deep thoughts. All of them. Care to share some of yours?

Quilt on!

2018 Quilting Hopes and Dreams

Here are my Quilty Resolutions for 2018. You will be able to find them in the sidebar throughout this year in a little less detail!

  1. UFO & WIP Finishes – at least two of these:
    1. Disappearing Pinwheels – I seriously need to do this!
    2. 2011 Designer Mystery BOM – I think this is currently my oldest UFO.
    3. The Christmas Jelly Roll Race – I don’t know how I didn’t finish it last year!
    4. The Jinny Beyer BOM – I either need to finish this or let it go.
    5. Getting to Know Hue – I’d like this not to be a long term project.
    6. On Ringo Lake – I don’t want this one to get to be a UFO.
    7. Layer Cake Explosion – I should be able to finish this one soon also.
    8. The 2009 Designer Mystery BOM
  2. Start (and finish if possible) at least one of the kits I have around the house.
  3. Make at least two bags.
  4. Organize all the patterns I have pulled out of magazines.
  5. Make some serious progress on La Passacaglia.

That’s it for the Quilty Resolutions. I don’t know how realistic these are since one never knows the future. But a person can dream!

What are your quilting hopes and dreams for 2018?

Quilt on!

2017 in Quilting

What a year this has been! I feel like I’ve been very productive this year, more than any other year. I have completed more quilts this year than I ever remember finishing in a year. I finished some longtime UFOs and I began and completed a few other quilts. I took part in a blog hop. One of my starts was a Saturday Sampler and I was able to keep up with it. I did some machine embroidery on a project, the Quinceañera pillows, which wasn’t exactly a quilt project, but new to me in many ways.

Before I get to the month by month diary I’ve kept, let’s look at the 2017 Quilty Resolutions.

1. Finish UFOs. Not necessarily all of these and not necessarily in this order:
2012 FQS Designer Mystery BOM – DONE
2014 FQS Designer Mystery BOM – DONE
Disappearing Pinwheel 😔
Two quilts from Kimberly Einmo classes – Lone Starburst is DONE. I decided to scrap Spinning Stars.
The Chrismas jelly roll race quilt. 😔
The Jinny Beyer BOM 😔
La Passacaglia – I never expected to finish this one but I’ve made some progress
2. Make the Craftsy kit quilt that I bought for our bed. 😔
3. Make some bags – at the very least one. 😔
4. Use some jelly rolls and layer cakes. (Started Layer Cake Explosion. Also started a jelly roll race.)
5. At least start the supersecret project I’ve been designing in my head for years.😔

January

  • Assembled Birds in the Air quilt top
  • Assembled Birds in the Air backing
  • Cut out fabrics for Surrounded by Scraps

February

March

  • Continued Getting to Know Hue
  • Began Clue Three of Surrounded by Scraps
  • Finished blocks for 2014 Designer Mystery BOM
  • Assembled center for 2014 Designer Mystery BOM
  • Second 2017 Finish – My Birds Are Geese (AKA Birds in the Air)

April

  • Completed Clue 3 of Surrounded by Scraps
  • Continued Getting to Know Hue
  • Two Layer Cake Giveaways

May

  • Started Layer Cake Explosion
  • Finished Surrounded by Happy Scraps
  • Finished the 2014 Designer Mystery BOM top
  • Made the backing for the 2014 Designer Mystery BOM

June

  • Made the binding for the Designer Mystery BOM
  • Continued Getting to Know Hue
  • Completed the 2014 Designer Mystery BOM and gifted it
  • Attended the Shipshewana Quilt Show with Amy, Carolyn and Stephanie

July

  • Started working on the Kimberly Einmo Lone Star
  • Worked on Layer Cake Explosion

August

  • Began Quinceañera Pillow planning
  • Continued working on Lone Star
  • Attended the Grand Rapids AQS Show

September

  • Started the Jolly Bar Jazz quilt
  • Brushed up on the machine embroidery skills
  • Made Quinceañera pillows
  • Bought a new, smaller sewing machine
  • Completed the Jolly Bar Jazz quilt
  • Took part in my first blog hop
  • Made a fall table runner
  • Started several other table runners

October

  • Completed four more table runners.
  • Cleaned and sorted the quilt studio/sewing room

November

  • Finished Lone Star Explosion
  • Finished the Nativity Wall Hanging
  • Made another table runner
  • And continued working on Getting to Know Hue and started adding borders to the Christmas Jelly Roll Race quilt

December

  • Began the Bonnie Hunter On Ringo Lake Mystery
  • Continued to work on Getting to Know Hue, started preparing the appliqué blocks
  • Used the cutting table as a wrapping station, thereby derailing much quilting
  • Began a knitting project. Yes, I know. I hate knitting but this shawl is gorgeous and the kit was on a great sale. Sigh. And I can get lots of help with it.

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Craftsy End of Year Sale

Yes, this is an ad for the Craftsy End of Year Sale. This is a supplies sale of up to 70% off your crafting supplies. It lasts until Sunday, December 31st at 11:59 pm MT.

Click here for the sale and to help support this blog!

And, yes, the big question is “Can Gretchen avoid spending money on this?” I guess time will tell. I’ll get back with you on that!

Quilt on!

Odds and Ends

As we approach the end of this year, I hope to ramp up my sewing and quilting efforts again. I had a couple of weeks off, caused by the use of my cutting table and a dull rotary blade for present wrapping. (Jaye, just so you know, we still have rolls and rolls of wrapping paper from my MIL’s stash to use up before I feel like I can switch to cloth bags, but I am looking forward to that concept.)

Christmas brought some quilty goodness – a puzzle, Angela Walters’s most recent book, a Jaybird Quilts table topper pattern and the Mini Pineapple Trim tool. Yay! My daughters and sister provided some awesome future quilty fun. (And that is without mentioning the awesome puzzle board that my sis sent along.)

And then yesterday there was the gift of sewing time! I started Clue 2 (yes, I am that far behind) of Bonnie Hunter’s On Ringo Lake mystery. I got 70 of the 200 flying geese done but I haven’t taken pictures so you’ll have to settle for the pieces before sewing. (Just a note, a fat quarter of that pink fabric provided those 70 quarter square triangles.) In case you’re wondering about all those little pieces, I used my Kimberly Einmo Flying Geese ruler.  It may not be as fast as some methods, but it is very accurate – and when have I ever worried about fast?

What have you been up to lately?

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Patches of Blue

I almost called this Books on Monday, Christmas Edition because that is what today is, but I have a naming convention for these posts so here it is. I hope that you are having a very happy Christmas today, if in fact you are reading this today. If you aren’t and you celebrate Christmas, I hope it was a very happy one!

Today we are looking at Edyta Sitar’s latest book, Patches of Blue: 17 Quilt Patterns and a Gallery of Inspiring Antique Quilts. Although Edyta’s color taste and mine are frequently very different, I like her designs. And of course this book is blues, so our taste differences don’t apply here. And, yes, the link below is the usual Amazon affiliate link.

There are some beautiful quilts in this book. Following the Introduction, there is a 30 page Gallery of Inspiration, blue and white or off white antique quilts. There are many gorgeous quilts of different styles here. Stunning!

This is followed by the 17 gorgeous patterns. Each pattern is well illustrated and the directions are easy to follow. I will admit that sometimes I wouldn’t make some of the units the way Edyta Sitar does, but following her directions on other patterns has always worked for me. And so many of her patterns have my favorite little pieces in them, so there is that. And who doesn’t love blues and neutrals? I certainly do.

The patterns include both tiny piecing and appliqué patterns. And some that are a mixture of both. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know that I love quilts that include both piecing and appliqué. And, yes, I can see myself making many of these quilts or using parts of these patterns in other patterns. I’m especially fond of the two table runner patterns on page 110. I can see myself making both of those.

So this one is two thumbs up!

Quilt on!

 

Progress on Something or Another

I did get a couple of other things done besides purchasing items.

First, I did the blocks for the Getting to Know Hue for the November month so that I could go down and pick up the last blocks. November’s were the green blocks.

I need to change the rotary cutter blade before I get on to anything else quilty, so that makes this the ideal time to use my cutting table and rotary cutter to wrap Christmas presents, so that is in the plan for today.

Here is my best nine from Instagram, complete with guest appearances by Kathy and Nonnie.

Quilt on!

I Succumbed to the Craftsy Sale!

Yes, I did. I try not to buy kits, but I bought three yesterday. Three!!!!! Here are links to the kits I bought so you can see how much I caved.

First, I bought a Judy Niemeyer kit. It was a pretty good sale price and I really liked the colors. Here’s a link and the picture.

Next, I purchased another kit I’ve had my eye on the 2016 Summer Amish Medallion Block of the Month.

And finally, I bought a knitting kit. I am not sure if I’m actually knitting this myself or begging/bribing Carolyn to do it for me, but it is a shawl I really like. So.

None of these links are the kind that benefit the blog. I just wanted to share my foolishness!

Quilt on!