Category Archives: Miscellaneous

NYC and a Long Arm Finish

It’s been a few days since I blogged but I have a good excuse. Leah and I took a trip to NYC with her dance studio. We had a fabulous time traveling with friends and seeing the sights. This is the second time we’ve done a weekend in NYC with this group and we all travel really well together! We arrived in Times Square on Friday afternoon and we shopped a bit, had dinner at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, and then we saw Get On Your Feet which is the broadway show of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s story. It was amazing! It was at the Marquis Theatre which is just beautiful.

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Saturday the girls attended a workshop with a cast member from Get On Your Feet then we shopped til we dropped. We had dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and then we pretty much fell asleep. While we were walking around we came upon the ballerina balloon that is currently displayed at Rockefeller Center. We knew it was there, we just didn’t know it was so huge and amazing.

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Sunday morning the girls had another workshop at the same dance studio. We picked them up and headed to the 9-11 Memorial before heading home. It was a strange experience being there with so many kids who weren’t even born when that tragedy occurred. I think they all appreciated seeing it. I was in awe of this national quilt that was hanging on display. Every victim has a block. It’s very large and evokes all kind of emotions when you see it.
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We got home late Sunday night but it was worth it! It was a great weekend.

Last week before I left, I finished the quilting on the Hawaiian flower quilt. I used a hibiscus pantograph and I love how it came out. So now it needs binding.
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Yesterday I spent time getting these Love Notes blocks sewn into rows. If I have time today, I’ll stitch rows together. This one is for Lindsey.
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For Mother’s Day, I ordered Judi Madsen’s new dvd on background quilting for applique quilts. She has so much information in her dvd’s. I just love them. I’m a little more than half way through as it’s pretty long – 158 minutes. Hoping to catch the rest of it tomorrow morning.

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That’s about it for today. What are you all working on?
Sandi

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Fillers, Favorite Rulers and a Selfie

I’ve happily spent the last two days working on quilting the blue monochromatic quilt. I had to laugh at myself that I finally got the long arm machine extended by two feet and then I put a super small quilt on it! LOL! One of the reasons I made this quilt was to practice ruler work and fillers. The other two reasons were to play with color and to figure out improv piecing.

Because this piece is small, the quilting also had to be small. I had a few doubts as to whether my machine could handle going as slowly as I needed it to. That might sound weird because typically you see long arm quilters buzzing around at a decent pace. But when the mission is accuracy and you are using rulers, you have to go slow. The slower I went on the machine, the happier I was with the results and I’m thrilled to pieces that my long arm can work well in a slower speed.

Using Cindy Grisdela’s improv style and Judi Madsen’s methods of marking and quilting, I was able to tap into techniques I haven’t done before. I keep wanting to call this quilt Small Blue for some reason so that shall be its name and here she is…

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Each pieced curve has a different style of filler quilting. I used several designs including wishbones, geometric squares, pebbles, meandering, half moons,  paisleys, swirls, and continuous line curved squares. The top and bottom borders have curved lines.

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In deciding whether to use the continuous line curved squares on that last bottom strip, I knew I had to go very small. I marked a half inch grid and then set about quilting in between the lines. It was exhilarating to quilt! Each row was inspiration to keep going.

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My favorite rulers so far in this long arm journey have been the ones you see here in the picture. The A1 Straight Edge which is yellow and has the
handle on it and the set of Mini Curve It rulers. Both of these were ordered from Judi Madsen’s website, Green Fairy Quilts.

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While I was quilting, I knew my face was holding a very serious and focused expression. I started to wonder if I might be one of those people who sticks their tongue out or something while they work lol!!! Curiosity got the better of me and I set my phone up on a timer for a selfie. No tongue is wagging so I guess I’m good!!!

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The black straps on my shoulders are the straps for my back weight. I try to use it when I’m long arming or piecing for a long time at the sewing machine.

If you listened to the last podcast episode, you’ll remember I mentioned having joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals led by Morna McEver Golletz. One of the benefits of belonging to this organization is being in contact with like minded individuals in the craft business world. This week I started up with an accountability partner. Her name is Janice. After an initial phone call where we got to know each other and get a feel for each other’s businesses, we set up our weekly goals and plans for how to achieve them. We will talk again on Monday night to check in and share how we did on meeting those goals. I have four areas to work on this week and I’m feeling pretty good about them. One of my goals includes getting 10 hours on the long arm and I’m halfway there. Getting time on the machine gets a little bit difficult on teaching days but I will have to work around that to get to ten hours. I find myself thinking about Janice all week and wondering how she is coming along with her goals. Hopefully we’ll both hit the mark this week!

Have a super day today!
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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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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Tired Monday!

As most of you know, I live in New England so last night was a late one for us with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl!!!! What a crazy game that one turned out to be. I had a feeling it might go like that since Brady and company love to give us all heart attacks and then really deliver at the end! It was exciting for sure! We had our friends over and really had a great time eating all of our favorite foods and it was the first time I’ve ever made chicken wings! I used a recipe that I found online for honey bbq wings and they were so good! I would definitely make them again.

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Here is the link for the recipe:
http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50019/honey-bbq-wings-recipe/

On Friday I was thrilled to have Gail, Nancy, and Priscilla over to sew. I had been wanting to start a monthly patchwork group and luckily I have fun students who were willing to pack up their projects and hang out for a few hours to stitch! We had a great time chatting, eating, and of course, talking about and sewing our projects. Here they are displaying their latest creations!

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It was a very fun day and I can’t wait to do it again!

Hope you all have a quilty week! I think I need a nap now! Go Pats!

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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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