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.


  1. Great stash, and nice to see you posting again! Full of admiration at your willingness to tackle a long-arm, the very thought scares me rigid!

  2. I hope the two of you start norming and performing soon!

  3. Longarms have a mind of their own. They are snobs (IMHO) and my Avril can be a diva at times. And yes! You have the right idea, to just do it, jump in, and, as Angela Walters says, finish the quilt, as opposed to having it languish in a drawer or closet somewhere. What a haul you got! Sounds well-deserved for all the work you did. btw Craftsy (Angela's classes especially) helped me big time when I got my longarm, as did Leah Day's 365+ quilting motifs.

  4. I think that your beginning designs on your new longarm look great!

  5. OH, good for you for taking the leap!!! There sure is a lot to learn, but you are off to a great start. I wonder if the rippling border might be tamed by basting the edges of the quilt before working in the center? Sometimes heavy stitching in one area can make it seem like things are ripply elsewhere. Great work!!!


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