Saturday, March 21, 2015


At the beginning of my sophomore year of college I got to take on a unique role as an Orientation Student Leader (OSL). I was a member of a team that provided incoming freshmen with a personalized student perspective, guided tours, and Western Michigan University Bronco spirit. One of points that I learned while preparing for this role was that there are different stages of team building. We OSL's were taught Tuckman's stages of team development. The first stage is forming, where each team member gets to know the other members. Next is storming, the stage where trust has been built between the team members and there is a comfort level that allows for the expression of discontent and challenging others opinions. Next, there is norming, the group comes to understand and accept the common goal of the group and may leave behind some of their own ideas for the good of the team. Finally, the team is performing, the team is high functioning and getting the job done smoothly. 

Why am I telling you all of this? Louise (my new long arm machine) and I have formed a new team. Now we are storming! We are not getting along very well at all. We forget to put down the hopping foot, we are wasting thread while winding bobbins, and fighting with each other along the way. 
Louise looks content, but I just know she is going to try to pull some tricks on me.

Louise has been loaded up with my interpretation of the Timber Quilt by Jamie Naughton and Allison Glass. I won the pattern by participating in a contest on Instagram! You can read a bit more about my fabric choices and the excitement of the win here

A nasty waste of thread. I bet there is a way to salvage this.

While winding my third ever bobbin on Louise, I noticed that there just was not much thread on the bobbin. Moments later I found that the thread was being pulled and wound under the bobbin! I'm going to have to watch Louise a little more carefully.

I can tell that the border of this quilt will be 'ruffly,' that is my mistake while piecing the top. I may have eased the border pieces onto the quilt, and I think that is why this wavy texture is being created. Another point to ponder as I learn.

I have a lot to learn as I go on this journey of long arm quilting, but I am jumping in. I am having a difficult time with this quilt because I am very proud of the piecing and the fabric choices and would like the quilting to be special. I feel as if I am making a mess of it all, but continue to remind myself that this is my first ever long arm quilt, that I have to start somewhere, and it's OK to make a mess in order to learn and grow.

Straight lines are as difficult if not more so than curved lines. I understand there is a way to use rulers while long arming, and will have to find out more as I go along.

I'm making up the design as I go along, which may be a hindrance to my end results, but I'm thinking of this as play and learning. 

Playing with feathers in the diagonal stripes of the Timber Quilt.

The lovely Carole Gold from Fresh Off the Frame was kind enough to offer some pointers, tips and suggestions. She pointed me to Suzanne Earley's Feather Boot Camp, which is a great online series about creating free hand feathers. I've begun drawing and practicing and can see how practice can lead to muscle memory, which helps build skill. Louise and I are working towards norming, and I can feel that performing lies in our future together. 

A bounty of quilting goodies from Mary Abreu's Quilt Con Scavenger Hunt!
On a completely different subject this amazing box of happy mail arrived today! The magnificent Mary Abreu at Confessions of a  Craft Addict hosted a spectacular Quilt Con scavenger hunt through Instagram and her blog. I played along, scouring the Quilt Con hashtags on IG to find all of the clues that Mary had put together. It was a fun way to experience the exposition vicariously. Not only did I have fun, but I won a mother load of goodies in the process. It's hard to see in the picture above all of the items in the goodie box that Mary put together for me, but there is Aurifil thread, charm packs of Andover fabrics, fat quarters and yardage, quilt patterns, buttons, bags notions and more. I feel like I won the lottery! Thank you Mary for adding to my stash. What a nice stash builder to share with Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash event, I'm linking up now.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Year!

Whoa! I know that I am not always good at remembering important dates, but I really slipped on my blogs anniversary. More than a year has gone by since I started sharing my quilting adventures here among the groves. I feel like I have learned a ton during this time, and I'm looking forward to the fun that lies ahead.   

Here are pictures of some of the projects I've been working on but haven't been sharing. I'm still trying to find a good balance between creation and documentation. 
Sheark with my Summer Sampler Series Quilt. 
The Summer Sampler quilt hangs beautifully over an orange tree branch.
I finally finished the Summer Sampler Series Quilt that I wrote about originally here as I listed some of my quilting aspirations. *Woot woot* I  accomplished the first goal on my list! I completed the hand quilting right before the calendar rolled to 2015. I love how bright and cheerful it is. There are plenty of pictures of the individual blocks in this earlier post

Barni models the Target Practice Blocks I made for the WERQ Bee.
I've been WERQing in a bee with men Who Enjoy Rigorous Quilting, the Target Practice blocks were the last of the lot. I will be getting my rings 'n' things quilt top together soon hopefully.

I made a quilt top for Sheark for Christmas. He loves the color grey, snow and he thought this Alexander Henry pin up fabric was fetch. I played with some Polaroid blocks and some flying geese and came up with this lay out. I'll work on quilting this one soon with a little help from Louise. 

My spectacular design wall floor and planning the layout of the Polaroid quilt.
I have a variety of these Alexander Henry Pin-up guys. I might work on a series of quilts like this.
I joined some Instagram crafters for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Swap. I have never participated in a swap until this, and didn't know what to expect. I had so much fun meeting a new friend, and creating a quilt just for her. I played with some embroidery for the quilt tag. Part of me thinks "Oh, lawd, that looks like hell." and part of me thinks "What fun folksy quilt tag!"

I put backing fabrics up for a vote on my IG account and most liked this crossword puzzle, I guess that leaves more of the hot pin-ups for other projects. 
Here is the mini I sent to my swap partner. It was inspired by a quilt from her Pinterest. I had a hard time sending this one away!

I'm linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for her Let's Bee Social party!

Thanks for stopping among the groves with me!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Stash: Major Investment

Flashback to March of 2014, when I was Getting my Sew-Jo at the Quilting Expo, [you could literally flashback with me by clicking to the previous link!] where Seark and I had our first hands-on experience with a long arm quilting machine. We've pondered and dreamed about making an investment that could propel my creative quilting experiences forward and to build a small business ever since. 

This year the Original Quilting and Sewing Expo made it's return to Lakeland, FL and so did we. Seark, my one day husband, and I had decided that if an opportunity should present itself to take home a machine then we should jump on it and make it work. Then we met Susan and Tabby from Susan's Heirloom & Quilters Fabrics who sell Tin Lizzie. There were many brands of long arm represented at the expo, each with their own-stand out features. While we pondered the state of the art aesthetics of Bernina, the flashy computing system of the HandiQuilter, the industrial nature of Nolting and Gammill, the Tin Lizzy stood out for affordability and personality of the representatives. Needless to say, that same evening Tabby and Susan were delivering a show model to our garage! 

Introducing Louise, my new TinLizzie18 ESP!
I think I'll call her Louise after my grandmother who is the first in the family that I think of when I think of quilts. I know Louise will be good to me, she already produced some fun practice doodles.

 I put some sad looking fabrics on the frame and drew out some boxes to play and draw in. I tried some feathers, some stippling, some circles, leaves, and some zig-zags, creating a happy and playful test piece.

I really like the little tropical leaf that I drew with the strange circles within a circle fruit.

I have lots to learn. I am going to jump in, make some mistakes and get to learning! Wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions or tips that might benefit a novice long arm or free motion quilter like myself, please leave me a note! 

I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles and the Sunday Stash with my new addition.