Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Poppies and Peonies

More flowers at McCrory Gardens we have had rain and wind so the old fashioned, wonderful smelling peonies have all fallen over I wish I could have picked them all and brought them into the house.  --Ann--

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


A bowl of sunshine to celebrate the longest day of sunshine of the year then sadly the days get shorter tomorrow.  And sailboats, a cousins daughter is having a baby in August the buggy barn pattern is so easy and so much fun to do in bright colors.  Happy summer solstice --Ann--

Monday, June 19, 2017

Machine quilting with a Sweet 16

 When I first got my Sweet 16 machine I was doing the same kind of quilting as I was on my Bernina only I had more space and it could sew faster.  Then always striving to learn more and do better I bought tools, big fat thick tools with straight edges and curves.
 I could quilt straight lines that were straight and equally spaced and they have improved since I did this one.  I could quilt curves that mirrored each other.
 I still did some free motion quilting when it was easier than using tool.
 I could make the arc the same for every block and sew a second line that was close to parallel then free motion the feathers and the ovals.

the right tools made the job so much easier and accurate.

I have made this quilt pattern 5 times and quilted each one different, I can see how my quilting improved with each.  Planning, practice, patience, perseverance, and a really good pair of garden gloves with rubberized fingers and palms to help you grip the tools and the quilt.  Happy quilting  --Ann--

Friday, June 16, 2017

more machine quilting

 Scrolls and waves are good for borders and all over quilting.  They can be big or small and lots of fun to practice.  Go in circles going in then go in circles going out, scrolls teach your hands to move clockwise and counterclockwise.

 Echo quilting improved with practice and was so much easier on a smaller quilt.

 I did these faces on a buzz saw quilt each of them was different so I had lots of practice, when I made these stars the faces were easier and it was especially fun to quilt the rays.
I drew the faces many times over until my hands memorized what my brain wanted it to do, I also drew many pages of the hooks and crooks before sat down to quilt.  Planning, practice and patience.  --Ann--

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Machine quilting the early days

Thirty some years ago and back in the beginning of my quilting obsession I was turning out quilts faster than I could hand quilt so the next step was to learn to machine quilt on my Elna.  At first I was stitching in the ditch but what's the point of showing pictures of that?!?  Gradually I tried free motion quilting on my domestic machine.  Puzzle piece stippling was all the rage,  just put your hands on the quilt and move it under the needle but don't ever cross a line.  Talk about a stress creator and it does very little to enhance the piecing.  But the quilts were finished and on the beds and kids were thrilled because Mommy loved them with all her stitches.

If I were to sit down with someone and teach them how to fmq I would start with loops.  I remember saying to myself as I worked on this "here we go loop de loop, here we go loop de li all on a.........." I don't know the rest of the words,  it took so much stress out of the process.  Go ahead and cross the line! Cross it this way, cross it that way.  Make big loops, make little loops, make double loops,  just make lots and lots of loops.  The loops progressed to daisy chains and flowers but I cannot find a photo of the many loopy flower borders I have done.
 Then I did loops and stars because everyone learns how to draw a star in first grade maybe kindergarten but they didn't have kindergarten in country school so I learned in 1st grade.  Make big stars, make little stars, make stars with long points, make stars with short points, make stars with long and short points, make them all different.

Sometime along the way I learned the meandering feather and concentric teardrops.  Practice drawing this on paper, a very large sheet of paper like the newspaper and a big marker, something that flows easily across the paper and use your arm to draw the teardrops and see where they go.  Machine quilting uses your big arm muscles to move the quilt under the needle. So use your big arm muscles to draw not your little hand and finger muscles like writing.  Its still my go to design for scrappy quilts.

 Another natural step in fmq is to swing arcs from point to point especially if you want to enhance the piecing.

 More arcs from point to point and loops just for fun and to fill in the space.  Practice, practice, practice and patience.  --Ann--

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Knee deep in June

'Long about knee-deep in June, 
'Bout the time strawberries melts 
On the vine,  James Whitcomb Riley

The berries are ready at the local you pick garden.  I have missed them the years we have not lived here, 2 buckets in about a half an hour and it would have taken less time if I hadn't eaten so many. But a strawberry warm  from the sun..............they dripped down my chin.
Yesterday I went to Sioux Falls and had lunch with a girlfriend.  It was fun to catch up and tell each other how fabulous we look.  I visited a couple quilt shops and the yarn shop.  I did need batting but the rest well it was there what could I do but appease my fiber addiction.  I even made a detour to the little town of Dell Rapids to their wonderful big quilt shop and found a few more pieces that I really do need for a project I have in mind.  As I was driving down a county road a string of little ducks were crossing the road.  I hit the breaks hard good thing there was no one behind me and where was mama duck?  Everything in the car went flying glad I didn't have 2 buckets of berries,  the ducklings all made it across, somersaults and all in the draft of my car.  It must be tough to always walk with goulashes especially when a car is bearing down on you.  --Ann--

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ta da da done

 The big quilt is finished!!!!  I left the very center for last because I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to quilt it.  After sewing all the other feather rounds and borders and many sketches on paper and wax paper I had the confidence to stitch the center.  Planning, practice, patience and more planning and practice. The only thing left to do is name the quilt and make a label.  It goes to its new home in July.  --Ann--