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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Janome is IN!

Was out of town for work.  Checked my voice mail - my Janome Horizon is ready for pick up!  I'll be able to get it in time for the weekend.  Yabba dabba doo!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Seam Allowances

Judy Martin writes, "If your seam allowance is a mere 1/32" too deep, each square will be 1/16" too small.  With 8 such squares, your strip of squares will be 1/2" too small.  A full sized quilt could be as much as 6" too small." 

My last project was to be 45 x 51".  Mine is about 1/4" bigger in both directions.  So my scant quarter inch seams are a hair too scant.  My next project (above) will require greater precision. Those 45 degree angles are a challenge. I won't be able to use the two rose bud squares in this photo, cuz there isn't enough fabric to make proper seams in the upper left corner. 

I read somewhere about dressmakers who would make a new pattern in muslin first, to get familiar with the pattern and procedures.  Only then would they cut the expensive dress fabric.  I may try that trick with this rosebud pattern.  Too bad I used my favorite red fabric on the practice squares.  Won't do that again!  :) 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Picnic Quilt Decision Time

You're probably getting tired of seeing this quilt, but its decision time:  How to quilt? With what color thread? Red binding or black? I'm always perplexed (and sometimes dissapointed) when I quilt something that has so many colors in it.  Got any ideas?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Janome Horizon - Part 2

I DID IT!!  I tested the Janome Horizon, decided that this is the machine for me, and made a downpayment.  Today the dealer was willing to take $500.00 off, and include a carrying case on wheels, large quilting thread spindles, and more.

I'll have to wait a few days for it to come in, but YAHOO!  May 1st can't come fast enough!

Of course, now I'm wondering if I was too impulsive....but heck...I got 30 years of life out of my last (and only) sewing machine.  I bought it as a teenager with my babysitting money. Even back then I wanted a Pfaff, Bernina or Singer, but had to settle for the Kenmore.  I think I've waited long enough!  :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Janome Horizon

My quest to find the "right" sewing machine continues.  Today my friend Amy and I visited a Janome dealer.  The sales rep had just been to a training session in Chicago, where they unveiled the Janome Horizon.  Here's a sneak peek:

OMG - 11" from the needle to the base of the machine!  The dealer will be getting a floor model in tomorrow, so we'll be back to try it out on Thursday.

We both had thought the Baby Lock Espire (aka The Quilter's Dream) was fabulous, but the Horizon is decidedly dreamier.  We also learned that Baby Lock machines are made by Brother.  THAT's why the March 2009 Consumer Report on sewing machines does not include Baby Lock. 
If you're looking for a good used machine at an economical price, a lot of Janome 660 owners will be trading up to the Horizon. So there will be some used 660's available soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Barbecue Sauced Kebabs

Nice weather brings barbecuing season.  Here's an awesome recipe for Barbecue Sauced Kebabs.

Combine in small bowl:
  1/2 c. hot style catsup
  2 T. brown sugar
  1 T. lemon juice
  1 t. vinegar
  1 t. worcestershire sauce 

  1 T. cooking oil
  1 medium zucchini, cut in 1 inch slices, halved
  1 lb. sirloin steak, cut in 1" cubes
  16 oz can whole potatoes, drained
  1 T. Snipped parsley
  Cooked white rice

Preheat broiler or grill.  Brush zucchini lightly with oil.  On long skewers alternately thread beef, potatoes and zucchini.  Brush with catsup mixture.  Broil 4-5 inches from heat for about 10 minutes.  Use meat fork as pictured to turn kebabs over, brush again and broil 10 minutes more.  Brush occasionally with sauce. Stir parsley into rice.  Serve kebabs on rice.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!

Hints:  Make extra sauce to serve at the table.  Other veggies that work well include: mushrooms, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, white onions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sandwich, Anyone?

Quilt top? Check.  Backing?  Check.  Binding? Check.  It's sandwich time. 

Initially, I thought the cherry  fabric wasn't gonna "work."  What a surprise when the the black squares popped out, so I'll use it for the binding as well.  But first I'm gonna go outside and play.  :)

Picnic Quilt in EQ6

Reproduced my Picnic Quilt in EQ6 so I could see what different quilting patterns would look like.  I think I've settled on the one below.  The nine patch blocks will have diagonal stitching on the light sqauares.

The REAL picnic quilt is still  in four pieces, waiting for me to join them, select a backing and sandwich the quilt.  Too bad EQ6 can't do all that for me too!

I think there's a way to show the quilting pattern so that you can still see the original block.  Just haven't figured that out yet.  Efforts to reproduce my Sun and Wind quilt have been unsuccessful.  May try a new strategy though, I figured out how to do a maybe I can subdivide it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sun and Wind and EQ6

Earth Day is coming up - that's what prompted me to make this quilt in 2008.  I entered it in a recycled art show/contest.  It didn't win, but technically, the quilt isn't done yet - so it may get entered in the future.  The background represents black solar panels.  The triangular blocks represent modern day wind mills.  The circular pattern and coloration represents the sun itself.   The quilt is made from recycled clothing and linens - with a few fabric scraps thrown in.  The batting is an old fleece blanket.   It was a challenge to find enough fabric that looked like flames. 

I stitched in the ditch so the quilt would be done in time for the contest...but still hope to quilt it in a flaming pattern with variegated thread (yellow, orange, red) against the black background.  That won't happen until I get a new sewing machine and improve my FMQ skills.  Maybe by Earth Day 2011.

In the meantime I tried to recreate this quilt in EQ6, then play with different quilting patterns.  EQ6 doesn't have a triangular block layout.  But maybe I can use two blocks to make a rectangle?  Hmmm...maybe I should try the tutorials.  When all else fails read the directions!  :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I was totally motivated to get this top assembled in time for Take Your Child to Work Day...until I learned they didn't need me after all.  That took the wind right out of my sails.  But I have a new deadline of May 18, for a Wellness Expo.  Different audience, same message - eat your fruits and veggies. 

This MAY also mean I'll get to complete this quilt on a new sewing machine.

A couple rows are missing because I'm taking them on a field trip.  I test drove a Baby Lock a few weeks ago, and the shop owner suggested I bring in a project and thoroughly test the machine. That's tomorrow's mission - I'll try doing a long seam, chain piecing and a simple applique.  Should be fun!  :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scraps by Judy Martin

This book is so engrossing, it's almost dangerous. 

Saturday my Sweetie and I took a jaunt to Iowa.  Should have been a 3 hour trip.  I knew there was a confusing interchange right after Dubuque.  But I was looking at my new book, assuming that my Sweetie would comment when the interchange came up, or if he had a question about it.  

So on we drove, blissfully unaware that we had passed through the interchange incorrectly, and were now moving further and further off course.  In retrospect there were many clues, such as the town of Zwingle, IA. Surely I would have remembered that unusual name!

We eventually realized our error, corrected our course and got to where we were going.  It took about 5 hours total.  That's the last time I'll read a Judy Martin book when I should be navigating. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Making Progress

Went visiting this weekend, so I didn't expect to do any quilting.  Then on Saturday, travel plans were delayed by 30 minutes - so I quickly pinned the Olympic Rings below.  Now its set to go for the Crafter's Luncheon at work.  

Tried to do a shop hop on Sunday, but our timing was off, and we missed an no shop hop.  But I located three LQSs that I hope to visit soon. Got home early and put the extra time to use, piecing the Picnic Quilt above.  This puts me ahead of schedule on the picnic quilt - making my self-imposed (but unrealistic) deadline of April 22 (TYCTW Day) more feasible. A nice surprise! :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Picnic Quilt Layout

While working on this quilt I had a brainstorm: This would be a great prop for Take Your Child To Work Day - but its less than two weeks away!  So I challenged myself to get all the nine-patches done by this weekend. This gives me 12 days to assemble, add the border, baste, quilt and bind.   Time for some uber-quilting!  :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Picnic Quilt Start Up

I saw this quilt made up at my LQS, and fell in love with it.  As a dietitian, we are always telling people to eat all the colors of the rainbow.  This quilt will help serve that purpose (and brighten up an otherwise boring sea of beige cubicles).  I have just 81 more nine patches, and 49 half triangle squares to go!  :)

Rose Bud Begins

After designing this quilt on EQ6 I had to try making the squares to see if they'd come out right.  The chain took 5 minutes.  The rose bud was more challenging.  Had a few false starts, but produced my first rose bud square in an hour or two.  It should be easier now that I have a block to refer to. 

I've started another project - for which I amassed far more fabric than I truly needed.  So this rosebud quilt will be an outlet for all those beautiful reds!  :) 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rose Bud Variation

Having more fun with EQ6.  Here's another option for my Rose Bud quilt.  If I'm gonna make this one, I better start immediately.  LOTS of piecing!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lazy Daisy - Quilted and Bound

  Here is the final Lazy Daisy, front, back and (high tech) border motif.

Rose Bud Quilt Design

I've had this quilt planned in my mind for a long time, but thanks to EQ6, now I can share it with you!  I hope to use a Kaffe Fassett floral for the border. This queen-size quilt will go to the annual Love, Lauren Celebration, this summer. See: to learn more about this event, and/or JBRF - Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Winter's Song - Complete!

Well, here it is at last.  I spent many months tracking down exactly the right shades of red for my birds. Though it was a challenge, I'm happy with the hand applique, tho some day I'd like to do another applique project by machine.

My original plan was to complete this earlier in the winter.  But then I got sidetracked with a Christmas Tree Quilt, oragami bags, a Tranquility runner and a Valentine the winter quilt got done in spring.  Still, I have it displayed in my living room because I'm seeing and hearing much cardinal we can enjoy them all year long.

With a litlle luck I'll have another quilt completed to share in the next day or two.

After that I'll reorganize a bit and start cutting what will be quilted picnic blanket.  The beautiful weather has insired me to get more things done so I can go out to my flower bed and dig in the dirt.