Oh My Red Stars!

My friends better sit down for this post.  I’m finishing quilts.  Don’t faint.  It’s a whole new me.  Funny what a brand spanking new quilting machine will do for a person’s energy and motivation levels.  And a clean and organized sewing room!  I love my room.  I could put a pallet on the floor and sleep in here and never leave.

But oh, my!  Finished quilts?  It’s a whole new Barb.  My friends will be amazed.

I started this quilt back in the dark ages.  At least 17 or 18 years ago.  And it languished in my sewing room as other projects seemed to get pushed ahead.  Or maybe I just like to start things and not finish them.  Something like that.  Pappy is checking it out.  He’s amazed that I’m finishing quilts too!

I had fun with this one.  Started the quilting on my day with Angela Walters.  So there is quilting by Angela on this one.  How exciting is that?

Angela quilted this star.  I should have had her sign it, right?  Oh, well.  I know.  I did one to match but hers is much better.  Hey, she’s been quilting a lot longer than I have!

I decided to quilt each row of stars differently.  For extra practice.  This one was fun.

And I like this one a lot!

Another one using Angela’s dot-to-dot techniques.  She’s doing another challenge soon using rulers and this technique and I’m ready to learn more.  Such fun!  (It’s not just for longarmers either.  She shows all the techniques on a domestic machine too.  Check it out!)

I like this one too.  The wishbones in the center are fun to do.

Swirls and paisleys in the border.

And a few leaves here and there.  I needed to practice leaves.  I like them now!

I did continuous curves in the Irish chain part.  That was fun to practice too.  Can you tell I’m loving my new longarm machine and quilting?  Hard to believe from a gal who early in her quilting life thought she would hand quilt every quilt.  Then I woke up from that dream world.  I wanted to complete more than 2 quilts in my lifetime! I still do enjoy hand work.  But I’m loving machine work more and more all the time.

I had to entice Pappy away from the quilt so I could stitch the binding on!

And I did that totally by machine too. Front and back.  I know my friends will be shocked to read this.  I used my new HQ Stitch machine.  It is awesome when it comes to binding!  And this machine was a free surprise when I got my Amara!  How cool is that?

Look how great it stitched in the ditch!

I even made a label.  And washed the quilt.  And now all the cats are taking turns trying it out. Pappy got first dibs and he’s on it again now as I type this.  The fabric is brushed cotton – pretty close to flannel – and they sure love how cozy it is.  If it ever gets cold in Texas, I’m gonna cover up with it and I bet it will be a cat magnet in my lap!

I’ve also finished two quilts for customers.  And have another loaded and ready to go.  Hard to believe.  I’m even having a hard time believing it!

It’s a whole new Barb.  Look out quilting world.

Hugs and happy quilting!

Posted in longarm quilting, Pappy | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Pappy, The Quilting Cat

So you saw him at the machine in my last post.  He was up to more shenanigans and I thought he might need a post all his own.  He really is a sweetheart.  Really.  No really!

He looks so in charge sitting on my quilt behind the machine, doesn’t he?  He thinks he’s in charge of the whole house.  Wait a minute.  I think maybe he is!

He loves to lay on the table by the machine.  And I can’t tell you how many times he’s climbed right through the throat area.  Thankfully, not while I’m stitching.  At least not so far.  And I’m happy that he mostly lays on the ends.  But one day if I’m quilting along and it feels like the machine won’t move?  I’ll know that Pappy is on the other side, blocking the machine.  Well, maybe I’ll know.  After I’ve pushed and pushed on the machine and not gotten it to move.  Oh, I’m sure it’s gonna happen.  I just hope it’s not at a critical time in my stitching!  And that I can hit the stop button quickly.

Shortly after I’d taken that last pic and finished quilting for the night, this happened…..

I had moved the machine to the other end.  And unhooked the latching mechanism on one of the poles, thinking that if one of the cats decided to lay on the quilt “hammock,” it would not stretch out the fabric but would just unroll.  But I was not prepared for Pappy to jump over the back poles onto the quilt and slide all the way to the floor, unrolling the quilt backing all the way as he went!  And then he just laid there, covered up with the batting and quilt top.  Even after I had pulled it off and snapped this pic, it took him several minutes to decide that this comfy quilt backing was not what he wanted to lay on after all.

This had never happened on my old longarm machine.  But the table sat more under the quilt and I was able to release the tension on the quilts, cover them with a sheet and then let it all lay on the table beneath.  There is more open air beneath the quilt itself on this machine.

Well, this is never going to do with customer quilts, right?  I mean it’s one thing for my beloved cat to mess with my personal quilts, but customers?  This could be the shortest longarm business in history. So I set about finding a solution.

I can’t just close the doors and keep the cats out.

See that open window to the kitchen?  All the cats know how to go around and come through that window.  My sis suggested putting shutters or some kind of doors in front of that window that I could close at night.  But I’m not sure I really want to deal with closing off the kitchen.

So for starters, I moved the drawer units so they are under the quilt instead of under the table part.  That at least would keep the poles from unrolling all the way to the floor. In this pic, I’ve lowered the quilt to rest on the drawer units.  And I would also cover the quilt with a sheet so that no cat could lay directly on it.  This worked well with my old machine.  And in time, the cats really didn’t bother things at all.  I think there’s something about this being new.  And Pappy is very curious about it.

But then I came up with the best solution of all.

This is a piece of foam board that was used as a design wall.  There is batting on the other side of it.  I could wedge it between the two back poles and on top of the front one.  Even with the overhang, I could not push on that and make it fall off.  Pappy could sit on this to his heart’s content and not be on the quilt or stretch anything!  Yahoo!  A solution I can live with!

I’m probably going to cut that foam board a bit narrower so that it doesn’t have that large overhang.  I think it would work even better if it’s just the right size.

Silly Pappy.  Ever the Entertainer.  And always, always getting into some kind of trouble. Gotta love him!  And today is his birthday!  He’s 5 years old today.  Happy Birthday, Pappy!

Pappy’s Mom

Posted in cats, longarm quilting, Pappy | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

My Amara/Angela Adventure Day – Oh, My!

It’s impossible to describe such a fabulous day.  Thus it’s taken me several days to write about it!  I hardly know where to begin….. maybe the beginning?

Angela Walters came to my house.  I just need to pause here for a minute.  Like wow.  She’s a quilting celebrity to me and I’m one of her, no wait, I’m her biggest fan.  And she came to my house.  Sigh.  I’m still pinching myself.  And she’s wonderful and amazing and so fun and full of laughter.  She made the day the most special it could be. And please take note of our shirts.  Together we are one of her favorite sayings.  Of course, hers is also the name of her quilt shop in Liberty, MO.  I can hardly wait to go visit my newest BFF.  If you don’t know about Angela and you are a quilter, you are missing out and you absolutely need to know about her.  Check out her Midnight Quilt Show.  It’s awesome!

And then there’s this guy.  He made us laugh all day.  And yes, he is sitting on my quilt.  Absolutely stretching out the fabric and looking for all the world as if he’s going to turn on the machine and start stitching.  But here.  You need to see him in action.

And some more Pappy action.

He apparently just wants to be involved in everything.  But that’s my Pappy!  Always the Entertainer around here.  And Helper.  In the broadest sense of the word.

But back to my Big Day.  And Angela.  And the new HQ Amara (my new baby!)

After Angela’s sweet hubby and his bro set up all the big stuff and we sat in the kitchen chatting away, Angela took this new baby for a spin.  I thought I was gonna have to hog tie her to get to quilt myself!  But here….. you need to see……

Quilting is definitely Angela’s happy place.

But she did let me quilt too.  Can you tell I was excited?

And then she flitted around the room and took pics with my phone from every angle.

 Did I say every angle?

Even up close stuff!

But I think this one is my fave!  Love the look on Angela’s face!

And she got video of me too….. on my very first drive.  And you need to see it, right?  Please humor me.  I have 158 pics and 32 videos to show you…<grin>

Do I look like I’m clutching the handles?  I think I am.  Ha!

Then after all my training with Angela one-on-one was complete, my JSS friends dropped by to meet her.  Doesn’t it look like I’m teaching a class or something?  Like I’m the expert after 2 hours on the machine.  Right.  They were very attentive students.

See how attentive they were?  They wanted me to stitch something so they could watch.  No pressure there.

Such encouraging friends.  As I’m learning.

See how encouraging and attentive my friends are?  Everyone needs friends like my JSS friends.  They are the best!  And I did say 32 videos, didn’t I?  Thankfully they are pretty short.  I’m sure you attentive blog followers will watch every one, right?  Right?

By the way, for those of you who pay attention to such things, we did raise the level of the machine up just a bit after these videos.  After watching me, Angela felt like I was a bit hunched over and needed it higher.  She’s the expert!

One of these wonderful friends also brought champagne so we could toast the new machine.

And we had popcorn and M&M’s in tribute to The Midnight Quilt Show.

JSS gals toasting in my kitchen!  What a fun day!

Angela and I decided to have a toast in front of the Amara with our matching shirts on.

And that’s when we discovered this guy had taken over the machine.  He was checking it out thoroughly.  And sitting right on my quilt!  Oh, that Pappy is incorrigible!

Then we went outside for a group selfie with Angela.  What an amazing, fun-filled day! (The t-shirt/pillow in Annelle’s lap says “Angela’s Fan Club” with the shape of Texas behind it.  We are truly her Texas Fan Club!)

After everyone left, I sat in my room admiring my new toy.  And thinking about how that cord was stretched across where we could trip on it.  And thinking that I loved all the space under the machine and that I should probably get up and move those drawer units under the machine table.

Because see how crowded it is behind the machine?  I never intended to leave those drawers there.

And look how roomy and nice it is with them moved!  Come back, Angela!  We should have moved them sooner!

There is tons of space underneath even with the drawers there.  Notice Pappy is still checking everything out.

So I’ve moved things around a bit, tucked the long cord up under the machine and plugged it into a different outlet where I wouldn’t be walking as much.  I took this pic tonight.  Notice that the quilt is off the machine.  I completely finished it last night!  More to come on that in a future blog….. tease, tease……

One last pic from another angle in the room.  I love my sewing room!  And my new baby.  And Angela.  Such fun to be trained by the best!  In addition to The Midnight Quilt Show, check out her personal YouTube channel where she has loads of instructional videos on free motion quilting, including challenges and loads of fun stuff!  I have learned so much just from watching her videos.  She’s awesome!  And she doesn’t just do longarm stuff either.  She gives equal time to training for free motion quilting on a domestic machine!

So was that about 158 pics?  And 32 videos?  Give or take 1 or 2?  I’m glad you stayed until the end….. more to come!  So exciting to have this sweet new machine!

Hugs and Happy Quilting!
Angela’s new BFF, Barb

Posted in longarm quilting, Pappy | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Yikes! Tomorrow, wait Today’s The Big Day!

My new toy gets installed tomorrow today! And Angela Walters and her crew are coming to do it!  A celebrity in my house.  I hardly know how to act.  My room overhaul is complete.

I had helpers all along the way.  Pappy never met a box he couldn’t fit into.

The room went from worse to more worse.  Worser.  The worstest.

See?  Every angle = not good.

The mess spilled over into the living room too.

See?  not getting any better.  Well, maybe a bit.  I see an empty shelving unit there!  So much to do…..

Things got moved around and lots of sweeping and mopping happened.

This Helper thought he wanted to jump to the top of the shelves.  Thankfully, he made a better choice.  Pappy really likes helping.

And he never met an empty shelf he couldn’t fill.

No room for Pappy now!  That’s one full closet!

Better.  But still not good.  Not enough room for the fancy new toy yet.

These two were really big helpers.  Not.  Unless napping is helping.  Wait a minute.  In Pappy’s case, napping is helping!

Somehow I made it through the week and got everything accomplished. Or hidden under a bed somewhere.  One of those.

See?  I think there might be enough floor space for a new longarm!  Yippee!

Another angle……

And one last pic.  I considered doing this blog with just two pics.  But when have you ever known me to be a blogger content with just two pics?  Couldn’t do it.  You had to see it all.

And now tomorrow is the big day.  Or today actually.  It’s 1:00 a.m. as I’m writing this.  So I guess I should have titled this “Today’s The Big Day,” right?  Maybe I ought to change it.  Hmm….  I’ve always said it’s not tomorrow until I’ve slept.  But there might not be much sleeping happening tonight.  Such excitement in my little humble home!  A real celebrity coming for the day!  Yikes!  I might need to go run the vacuum one more time……


Posted in longarm quilting, Pappy, Pebbles | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Homesteader

I told you the other day about the new toy that is sitting in a box in my garage.  Which made me think that you needed to know a little of the background of how this all came to be……

About 2 years ago (my how time flies) I bought a longarm quilting machine from a friend who had upgraded to a new fancy schmancy machine with a computer and all the bells and whistles.  This machine is a very, very basic one.  No stitch regulator.  No needle up/down position.  The needle just stops wherever it wants to stop.  Very basic.  But it was a such a good price that Dear Hubby and I thought we couldn’t lose.  And it would give me a chance to see if I even liked quilting on a longarm.

And here it is!  I’ve actually said that it’s sort of like a featherweight on steroids.  The pretty cover on the end makes me think of a FW – and of course, the black color too.  I must admit that the first few months Dear Hubby played on the machine more than I did.  He was determined to learn to quilt feathers and he practiced and practiced.  Let me just say that our feral cats in the backyard are totally spoiled with quilts in their shelter!

When I finally took possession of the machine from Dear Hubby <grin>, I went to town with practicing myself.

I learned to do loops with stars……

And loops with daisies.

I made a quilt for a friend’s Great Dane complete with dog bones.

I did swirls…….

…..and Dear Hubby helped me set up the machine to do pantographs on the front side of the machine.

And although my first practice feathers leave a little to be desired and I thought I’d never get them right…….

…. I’m pretty pleased with the feathers I did on this practice piece!  Along with wishbones and swirls and paisleys and pebbles.  I’ve come a long way and I’m having such fun!

I’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos on free motion quilting and that got me hooked on Angela Walters’ videos.  I became a big, make that huge, fan of hers.  And in July……

…. my quilting journey took me to Alaska, where I took classes with Angela along with my sweet sister, Pam!  See?  We are her biggest fans!  And we have the shirts to prove it!

So my journey has taken me to a longarm quilting business and now a new machine.  That will be set up in my house soon by Angela and her hubby (shhhhh…. don’t tell anyone.  I fear the quilting paparazzi will show up at my house!)

In the meantime…… this sweet machine that got me started really needs a new home.  When I got home today, pulled into the driveway and opened the garage door…..

……I was greeted by the sweet Homesteader…. moved to the garage to make room for the new machine.  It truly needs a new home!

So if you want to try a journey into longarming and need a sweet starter machine, please let me know.  I’d love to give this one a fabulous new home with a quilter who will have as much fun learning as I did.  It’s really been a fabulous, fun ride!

And it’s only just begun………


Posted in longarm quilting, quilts | Tagged , | 44 Comments