Category Archives: Long Arm

So much stuff….

I didn’t realize how many days had passed since my last blog post. I thought about posting several times over the last few weeks but each time I got overwhelmed by how many pictures I had so I bagged it. It has been a fun and busy few weeks here with the junior prom and Lindsey’s trip to Paris. She’s due home tonight and I can’t wait to see her! I’ll just jump in with what I’ve been working on. First off, I’m thrilled to say that my long arm frame was extended from 8 feet to ten feet on Wednesday. We didn’t have space initially to set it up to the full extent but after some furniture maneuvering, it does fit! I am so happy that I can now quilt a queen size on the frame. I’ll be updating my website this month with information on my long arm and the designs I offer.

I’ve been working on the small color theory quilts again and this time I worked in a monochromatic blue scheme. I wanted to continue my study of color and creating improv quilts by piecing gentle curves without pinning! GASP! I know, right? Unbelievably, I found it very easy and relaxing. The curves came together nicely even though I could have sworn they weren’t going to! Convex and concave can be con-tricky!!!

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Here is the final piece which I’ll mark for quilting next and then put on the long arm for ruler work practice. I love that by working on these small pieces, I learn color theory, improv piecing and ruler work! It’s the perfect hat trick!

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This week’s fun news is that my bunny block made the inside cover of 100 Blocks this time around!

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I will be hosting a stop on their blog tour on May 2nd! Here is the awesome thank you gift I received for being part of their magazine! I love it!

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While Lindsey’s been in France, I began working on her Love Notes quilt. I made the same quilt for Amanda when she went to France two years ago. Back then Lindsey asked if I would make one for her when it was her turn to go on the trip! I ordered the fabric two years ago and now I’m making it!

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I have the half square triangles done and in piles for 42 blocks. This afternoon I pieced the first two blocks. I love making these cute little love notes!

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and…
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For Easter I decided to surprise my mom with a bouquet she could really get into…who doesn’t love a flower pot filled with fat quarters!

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This week I also treated myself to new fine and extra fin pins! What a difference these make!

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And lastly here’s a little peek at my Lindsey and her prom date, Alex. They had a great time!
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Have a wonderful weekend, I’ll be back next week with more to share!
Sandi

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New Thread and an Easter Pattern

This week I tried out my new Glide thread from FilTec on the long arm. I had previously been using a cotton thread that was pretty linty in the machine. This one is a soft polyester thread with a sheen like rayon. It’s strong and practically lint free. It took me a bit to get the tension correct for using it but once I did, I had smooth sailing. I like it a lot.

My color play quilt is what I used it on and I am pleased with the results. This was also a practice with ruler work for me. I can’t wait to get the next quilt on the machine!

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The back…
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And some other shots of the front…

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I’m in the process of hanging up Easter decorations and I put this cute mini on the door yesterday! It’s available as part of the Seasonal Trio 2 collection in my Craftsy store.

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I’m preparing to record a new podcast episode tomorrow with all kinds of fun reviews of various items I have ordered recently. If you have anything you’d like me to talk about, let me know today!

Have a happy and quilty day!
Sandi

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Quilting Finish, Improv and Thread

Happy Friday and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you are having a spectacular start to the weekend! This week I finished up the Seaglass quilt on the long arm. I was using a feathered swirl pantograph which I love very much. This just needs binding and then the pattern drafting will begin!

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I took last week’s improv blocks that I was working on and turned them into this small piece. It is the first in a series that I am doing as a color study. This is the split complimentary piece.

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I spent some time marking the quilt and now it’s on the long arm where I’m using my new rulers to quilt it! I’m also using new thread. I ordered this box of gorgeousness from Filtec. It’s a box full of Glide thread!

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I had been using a cotton thread on the long arm and boy is it ever linty! I decided a poly might be better. I was able to order the thread right from Filtec wholesale which meant a great price on all of it. I had a bit of a struggle yesterday getting the machine tension straightened away as it was really set for cotton thread and not poly. Truly I was terrified of changing any button on the long arm since it still is new to me. After I got the tension set, I was off and quilting. I’ll have pictures of it in the next post.

I’m getting ready to record another podcast next week since everyone has been so kind and encouraging about the return of Quilt Cabana Corner.
If there’s anything you’d like me to talk about just let me know!
Sandi

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New Machine, Improv & Patterns

Yay, it’s Saturday!!! Despite the frigid temps today, I’m determined to enjoy the beautiful sunshine! Amanda is home for spring break and I’m happy to have everyone in the same place for a week. Amanda is happy to rest her sprained ankle! She rolled her ankle up at UNH this week and ended up with an air cast and crutches. Not ideal when you live on the fourth floor of a very old dorm with no elevator! Thankfully it’s feeling better now and she has a week to rest!

The mailman brought me a new machine on Wednesday! I’ve been obsessing about the new line of Ever Sewn machines that recently came out. Feeling like it was time to upgrade my travel machine, I bought the Ever Sewn Sparrow 20. It’s lightweight, super cute, full of decorative stitches and is an all around great machine! It’s not uber fancy but it’s just perfect for bringing to class or setting up in the dining room when you want the flexibility of a smaller machine. I believe these are made by Bernina for the Brewer company. They’ve been all the rage lately!

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I ordered mine through Sewing Machines Plus while they were on sale and then an additional 10% off with free shipping. Yes please. I’ll review it on the next podcast!

Yesterday I allowed myself to play with improv sewing. I’m a pinner and a careful planner so improv sewing is not my jam, so to speak. However, I made the blocks for two reasons. One is they are a study in color theory. The fabrics I chose are split complimentary which is why they look nice together!

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My goal is to make several of these type of blocks in different color schemes from the color wheel. The second reason is because I need some smaller pieces to practice ruler work and fillers on the long arm machine. I’m looking forward to quilting these and then using them as teaching tools for my students.

I particularly enjoyed piecing a block and then cutting it up to use as strips in the other blocks. It was a fun exercise!

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The rest of my week has been teaching and quilting Seaglass on the long arm. I’m almost finished with it!

I’ve also been plugging away on knitting my loom sock when I’m not playing around with the new sewing machine!

I was at my mom’s house recently and she had this pretty set up happening on her kitchen table!

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You might recognize the pattern from the Seasonal Trio series. I came home and put mine on the front door!

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I’ve been enjoying the mini quilts on the front door for a few months now. I like to pull in the driveway and be greeted with a quilt! I know, I’m a nerd. Anyway, if you’re looking to decorate for St. Patty’s Day, there’s plenty of time to make this mini. There are four Seasonal Trio patterns and each one has instructions for three projects. Check them out here on my Craftsy store:

https://www.craftsy.com/search?query=quilt%20cabana%20patterns

First Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

Second Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

Third Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

Fourth Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the weekend!

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Progress On A Thursday

Happy Thursday!

This week is flying right by! I’ve been busy meeting with students and working on my projects. I have the Seaglass quilt on the long arm finally. I chose the swirling feather pantograph and I love the design of it.
This is the quilt…

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And a few pictures of the pantograph I’m using…

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It’s an easy one to follow with generous curves…

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I’m still plugging away on my sock loom. I found the sock I made a few years back. I never made its match lol!!!! I have no idea why! It’s not a bad looking sock and it fits!

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I pulled out the various sock yarn I have accumulated over the last month and it feels as yummy as fabric..uh-oh! Another thing to collect!

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Yesterday I recorded a new episode of Quilt Cabana Corner. You can find episode #45 on Podbean or itunes. I hope you’ll join me for some quilty fun! Please leave me a question or comment on anything you want me to talk about on the next episode! I’ll be sure to mention your name! If you are unsure of how to listen to a podcast, click on the link below and just hit the play triangle. The podcast will start immediately. Make sure your volume is turned up!

http://quiltcabanacorner.podbean.com/

I’m off to get ready for Gail to come for her lesson. Have a great day!

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A Great Week For Quilts And Socks!

This was a better week for our family for sure! Amanda is all better and back to school and Leah is feeling a bit better too. It was a little hard to get back into the groove of normal life but it felt good once we were doing it!

Tuesday was the first day everyone was pretty much out of the house and so I decided to go to Joann’s and buy some yarn. Retail therapy was much needed. The night before I pulled out a book on crocheting socks and I got discouraged very quickly.

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I consider myself a beginner when it comes to crochet and everything in the book felt overwhelming. Then I remembered that a few years ago I bought a sock loom. I loved knitting the scarves on a loom at Christmas time so I thought I’d pull this back out.

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I found pretty sock yarn at Joann’s and yarn for another scarf on the bigger loom.

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I started the socks this week and it take some time but I am enjoying the process! It’s relaxing for me and I’ve been watching either The Quilt Show while I knit or shows on Netflix. I love that the yarn is self striping. This is Deborah Norville sock yarn in the super fine weight.

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By Wednesday, I was itching to get on the long arm! I’ve had Nancy’s beautiful star quilt loaded on there since last weekend and I couldn’t wait to begin the quilting. Nancy requested a large stipple as she’s wanting it to have a nice texture without being too dense. I finished it this morning and then delivered it to her door!

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Look how beautiful the backing fabric is that she chose…

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Once I get past the initial ‘heart attack’ of quilting someone else’s creation, I truly enjoy the rhythm of the work. It has a zen like nature to it. I’m eager to use the pantographs I received last week, so I pulled out the Seaglass quilt and I have that ready to load on the frame next.

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I chose the Swirling Feathers pantograph and I have a beautiful blue variegated thread for it.

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Last week when I went to my doctor’s appointment, the doctor pointed out that my spine is starting to get a slight curve to it. EEEEEKS. I said I believed that to be from years of poor posture but she thought it to be an occupational issue where years of bending over sewing machines, ironing boards, and cutting tables might be more to blame. So….being sufficiently freaked out, I ordered the Body Rite counter weight to use while sewing and long arming. I think this is the same one that Leah Day uses.  I’ve used it a few times this week and it has been nice. It won’t cure anything on its own but it does pull the shoulders back while you work so your back stays straighter. I’ve noticed I’m much more aware of my posture when I’m not wearing it than I was before. Nancy’s Notions sells this but I did find it a little cheaper on Amazon.

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I’m looking forward to the weekend! What are you all working on?

Sandi

*this post contains Amazon affiliate links

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Didn’t Love This Week!

Oh what a long, strange week it has been over here at casa Colwell. Not much quilting has been going on as we’ve been in the middle of health emergencies and blizzards and a lot of snow days!

Last Thursday Leah fainted in the bathroom while I was trimming her hair (for the first time, quite possibly the last). She slumped forward into the sink and then fell backwards bouncing her poor head off the floor tile. She looked like she was having a seizure which we later found out she didn’t but then she came to, vomited and did it again. My mama heart just about died. Greg, Lindsey, and I got her into the car and set out in the middle of a nasty blizzard and got her to the ER. She was monitored for a few hours and then we made it back home again safe and sound. We have no idea why she fainted and probably never will know but she is doing well despite a nagging headache this week….oh and yesterday we finally finished the hair cut! Here she is smiling in the hospital because they finally said we could go home! LOL!

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And here’s the latest trend…it’s called the half cut! LOL!

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While we were in the ER, I was getting text messages from Amanda who was sick as a dog at UNH. We could tell she needed to come home, go to the doctor, and get rest. Greg and Lindsey headed up to her college the next morning and brought her home. She is still sick but happy to be here with us! Hopefully, she’ll turn the corner tomorrow as she needs to get back to her classes. The college had a snow day today as they are getting 12-16″ of snow.

Last night as we were hanging out in the living room, I did spread out my hexagons to get an idea of how many I have and what I can possibly do with them. I love the fabric and I have more cut to keep going. I do love them!

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I was super excited when the mail came this week and my pantographs arrived! These are an early birthday present from my mom! I can’t wait to try them out.

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And I did manage to get Nancy’s awesome star quilt on the long arm. I’m ready to quilt this just as soon as I can get a normal working day! Isn’t is beautiful?

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So here we are with another snow day and everything has been canceled! The girls are working on a huge puzzle, Greg’s working from home, and I’m thinking about how much I love having them all home and in one place.

Have a quilty week!

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Thursday Happenings And A Tip

Happy Thursday! It’s a grey one here today. We’ve seldom seen the sun this week and it’s beginning to take a toll on me. I sure hope tomorrow is bright and sunny! Until then, it’s good napping weather!

I stopped by the quilt supply shop last week and I saw this book on the shelf. I have wanted this book for about a year because I love the quilts on the cover. I saw the author, Kathy MCNeil, on an episode of The Quilt Show and I was intrigued with her method. I decided to finally purchase it and I can’t wait to try any one of these pretty wall hangings. The book comes with a cd where Kathy demonstrates her method. I haven’t watched it yet, but soon.

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While I was finishing up my project for Quilter’s World this week, I saw a tip on the Handiquilter Facebook Page that was a huge a-ha moment for me! The black, plastic, side clamps on my long arm constantly get caught on the machine’s carriage. It’s very annoying and I have sometimes  not used the side clamps because of it. However, you really need them to help with the tension of the quilt. So some smarty pants came up with the idea of attaching the side clamps to a strip of fabric and then pinning the fabric to the quilt. The black plastic part is far enough away now from the machine that it doesn’t get caught! Brilliant! Genius! Bravo!!!

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My planner came on Sunday and I have it all set up and it’s working out wonderfully for me. It’s the DayTimer binder with a magnetic closure. This is the desk size one which is about 5×8.

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The inside cover has a space for your business card and some pockets, a pen loop, and a zippered pocket.

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The beginning pages are the monthly view calendars.

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The next section is where it all happens! It’s the daily pages and it has two pages per day. So the left side has the prioritized daily tasks, an expense and mileage tracker, the daily appointment schedule. The right page has a space for writing daily notes and also has a quote. I am loving the two per page daily thing. I should mention that these calendar pages are the Franklin Covey ones not the DayTimer ones. I like the flow of the Franklin pages better. Also, only half the year fits in the binder. So the pages come in two packages – Jan to June, July to Dec. I still use my phone for all scheduling so I don’t mind that only half the year is at my fingertips on the paper planner.

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The back section of the planner has more pockets, a note pad, and a plastic business card holder.

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I do feel this is the right system for me at this time. I like prioritizing and time blocking so this is perfect.

One more thing to show you all! At Christmas I picked out a new clock for the wall in back of my long arm machine. It’s helpful to me to be able to look up and see how much time I have left before I have to pick kids up or make dinner. Being a huge fan of photos, I just adore this clock!!!

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Each hour holds a photo and I can swap them out all year long. I currently have room for one more at 7 o’clock…I’ll need to choose one for that hour. Anyway, in a few months, I’ll switch them again! I ordered this from the Lakeside Collection catalog. They have a lot of neat things.

If you haven’t joined the Quilt Cabana Facebook Page, please do! Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=quilt%20cabana%20patterns

I know many of you are on both my personal page and this business one. In the interest of productivity and my sanity, I’m going to be backing off the personal page a bit. My feed is full of politics and negative energy that is starting to wear me down a bit. I’ll be concentrating my efforts on the Quilt Cabana page and also on Instagram. You can follow me there, my name on Instagram is quiltcabana.
Let’s connect in a positive, fun, and quilty way!

Have a great day!
Sandi

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Planners, Proms and Projects

Happy Sunday to all! I hope you had a good and quilty week! I was blessed to be able to meet with all three of my lovely students this week. I loved every minute of it! I started my week helping Priscilla with her basting of a beautiful pink churn dash baby quilt. Later in the week I saw Gail and we measured up her awesome t-shirt quilt for the long armer and then we worked on her binding of a super cute Disney Princess quilt. At the end of the week, I had fun with Nancy getting her gorgeous star quilt ready for the long arm and also planning out her next project! I love spending time with my quilting ladies! It fills my heart and soul.

This morning we are getting ready to bring Amanda back to UNH. She’s had a nice long break and she’s ready to get back at it. I’m feeling weepy and sad, of course. I love having her home and knowing my family is all together. We (the four ladies of the house) spent quite a bit of time in our living room being goofy…

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Watching Lindsey learn to embroider and give us the hairy eyeball…

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And just being with each other. When the girls were little and the mommy work was exhausting, I used to wonder what it would be like when the girls were teenagers and we’d be hanging out with each other, what kind of conversations would we have? Would we all get along? And I realize that this is THAT time! All my wondering was about this exact moment. It’s far better than anything my tired, weary, mommy mind could imagine way back then. I am completely filled with joy and thankfulness.

My own projects are moving along too. I finished my loom scarf and I’m working on getting my Quilter’s World project onto the long arm. I have finished piecing and now need to quilt and draft the pattern. The deadline is Feb. 10th. I think I’ll make it. The project will be in the Autumn issue.

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I’m also still practicing ruler skills on the long arm. I got very motivated after watching Judi Madsen’s Quiltiing Makes A Difference dvd. I loved this dvd and Judi’s methodical way of marking and quilting. It made me realize taking my time and relishing in perfection is ok! I have a long way to go but I think with practice, I’ll get this thing!

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I have been on a quest for the perfect planner as have a lot of you, I know. Sandy from Quilting For The Rest of Us has been blogging about her quest as well. There are just so many planners – DayTimers, Day Runners, Passion Planner, Happy Planner, Quilter’s Planner, the list goes on. I decided to go back to what I used when I had my first job out of college with Marriott. We all received beautiful Franklin planners and had to take a class on using the Franklin system. I did very well with that system and though it’s pricey, I’m returning to it. I ordered the Franklin pages but I couldn’t find a binder I liked, so I ended up with a DayTimer binder. It is all due to arrive today! I can’t wait. I need a planner where I can list out work things, home things and use time blocking to stay on track. What type of planner do you all use?

And lastly, my girl is going to Junior Prom in April! After much searching and dress trying on…and I mean a lot of dress trying on…Lindsey said yes to this beautiful red dress! It’s going to be a fun year!

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Have a wonderful day today, everyone!

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Finding What Feels Right

It’s so cold here in MA! It’s the face stinging kind of cold that makes you feel like hunkering down indefinitely. On Saturday our town won the ‘snow derby’ by accumulating the most amount of snow in the state for this storm. We had a whopping 19.5″ and this is what my backyard looked like. We always guess the amount of snow based on how high it’s piled on the patio table!

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On Sunday, the roads were clear but I didn’t have to be anywhere so I put Judi Madsen’s dvd in the player and watched her quilt for two mesmerizing hours. Quilting Makes A Difference is the name of the dvd and it is part of the AQS Iquilt series.

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This video was amazing to me because it made me realize it is ok to mark your quilt, it’s ok to take a long time preparing the quilt to go on the long arm, and it’s ok to take all the time you can to make sure the quilt looks good. In a hurry-hurry world, this gave me permission to take it slow. Thank you, Judi Madsen! I love the way she marks her quilt with a ruler and disappearing ink. She is meticulous and it just tickles me to see it.

Coincidentally on Saturday, I put a practice cloth on the long arm and pulled out the two rulers I own. Nothing I did felt particularly good but it was practice. I did a few clam shells and other things but now I can’t wait to mark up a cloth and try it Judi’s way. Here are a few pictures of my practice session.

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I ordered Judi’s book and it will be here on Wednesday and I’m practically giddy about it! I also tried ordering her ruler but it’s out of stock at the moment. I’ll keep trying back though.

 

So let’s talk about that hexagon calendar…I bought the perpetual hexagon calendar and felt I could handle one hexagon a week instead of one a day. Well…I did all the work for the first one as I talked about in the last blog post. This is the one I was prepping for…

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On Saturday when I was hunkered down, I began stitching the teensy tinesy pieces together and guess what? I didn’t enjoy one minute of it. Not one. I got this far…

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And now I’ve quit. I just didn’t find it satisfying in any way. I do enjoy regular hexagons that I’ve gotten so used to, it’s mindless work. I guess at the end of the day, mindless is what I want and need. I felt terrible guilt over it for a few minutes then I thought to myself that it was silly to continue to say yes to this project when it didn’t make me happy. Saying yes to this would mean saying no to things I do really like to do at night or in the car or on a plane. So the calendar will remain just that, a calendar. I like to flip the pages each day and see beautiful work and I can smile to myself that I don’t have to replicate that work.

How about you? Have you ever given up on a project and then felt guilty about it? How did you handle the feeling?

Sandi

***this post contains an Amazon affiliate link

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