Monday, May 29, 2017

Shot Cotton Star Quilt - planning the quilting

As a drafter, I prefer to use my computer to experiment with different quilting design layouts before I start stitching.  My motto has always been "If I can draw it, I can quilt it".

Once I came up with a design I was happy with for this Shot Cotton Star quilt, I then had to figure out the most efficient way to quilt it, with the fewest stops and starts possible.  That's what all the numbers and arrows are for - kind of a "road map" for quilting.  If I follow this diagram without taking any wrong turns, I should be able to quilt all of the main arcs around the stars (traveling through the stars) in one continuous path.  Of course, I'll have to break thread for each of the cross-hatched diamonds.
(I'm not sure about the piano key design around the outside edge yet - I'll figure that out after I get the inside quilted.)

First, I pinned all three layers of my quilt sandwich to my styrofoam basting wall, then I marked the quilt top with a white ceramic mechanical pencil and a mylar template that I made for drawing the curves. If I had the correct size curved ruler, I would skip the marking and use my ruler foot on George, but I don't... so marking is the next best option (assuming I can stay on the lines when I'm stitching... we'll see how that goes...)

Once all the marking was done, I basted the three layers together with safety pins, and now it's ready to quilt!  Check back next week and see how far I get with the quilting.

Monday, May 22, 2017


It's been a busy week!  I finished the 4" Christmas Star blocks (all 68 of them) in a few long sewing sessions.  Now all the blocks for this quilt are finished, and I hope to start assembling them into a quilt top soon.

 Aren't these little guys just the cutest?

I would have had the assemby started already, but I got side-tracked...  I'm trying to decide how I want to quilt this one...

,,, the wheels are turning and I can't wait to start quilting this one on George.
Check back next week to see what I come up with.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Christmas Star Quilt

Yes, I know it's only May.  I have a few Christmas quilts on my to-do list, so I'm getting an early start.
This quilt was published on-line as a quilt-along called Oh My Stars! by Thought & Found.  It's perfect for the fabrics I have to work with (from my daughter).

The quilt-along calls for many different types of star blocks, in three different sizes.  I'm sticking with the three different size blocks and the original layout, but decided to make them all Sawtooth Star blocks.  Keeps it simpler and works better with the amount of fabric I have on hand.

I finished the 12" stars and the 8" stars at a retreat this past winter and now I'm working on the 4" stars.

The flying geese units for these 4" star blocks finish at 1" x 2" and I have MANY of them to trim.  My little Quilt In A Day Flying Geese ruler works great for this, but tends to slip.  I saw this trick on Pinterest and it works great!  Just put a little Nexcare Flexible Clear First Aid tape on the back of the ruler.  No more slipping!!!  Yay!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's New? George?

It has been a LONG time since I've done a blog post and I've made some changes to my business plan.  As I approach my 60th Birthday (gasp!) I ask myself "how do I really want to spend my time?"  - and the answer is "CREATING".  My passion is the creative process, not worrying about how to entice buyers to buy my work.  It takes an enormous amount of time (for me at least) to photograph a quilt, edit the pics, write the descriptions, etc. etc. etc....  and quite frankly, I don't enjoy it.  I would rather spend my time creating.

I analyzed my customer base and found that the majority of my clients find me through word-of-mouth/personal referrals.  Yet I was spending so much time on my on-line listings.  Obviously, that's not the most efficient use of my time, so that's why you have heard and seen less of me on-line over the past year.

I am still actively quilting, and I will continue to do so.  However, there won't be as many new listings in my Etsy shop.  I will post quick pics (unedited) and updates here on my blog from time to time, so you can still follow along and see what's new in my Cotton Cellar.  Some of what you see might be for sale, some might be custom orders for clients, and some might simply be quilts I'm making just for the pure joy of making them, for me or my family.  If you see something you are interested in, or want something made, don't hesitate to contact me and ask.  I love hearing your comments and questions!

I've made some changes to my studio space lately too, as you might have guessed from the title of this post.  I finally gave in to my years of dreaming and bought an APQS George.  I have always wanted a longarm machine, but don't have the space for a frame.  I'm used to quilting on a domestic machine, so George is the perfect choice for me - the benefits of a longarm machine, in a smaller footprint.  We are getting along nicely and getting to know each other.  Of course, that meant a serious cleaning and reorganizing of my studio to make space for everything, but we all need to do that once in a while anyway.  George just gave me a good reason to "get it done" now.

Here are some pics of my new "roomie" and the first 2 quilts we've done together.  (To give her some much earned credit, the fabric selection and most of the piecing on the Hourglass Quilt was done by my daughter.  She started it several years ago and asked me to finish it for her.  She's a young working mom and elementary teacher who hopes to get back into quilting one of these days when her life calms down a little.)  Both quilts are custom orders for one of my long time customers.  This makes 14 quilts I've made for her over the years...  hopefully there will be many more.