My first longarm quilting

My very first longarm quilting project ended up looking like this:


Well, at least the thread is pretty, right!??

Perhaps it makes a better beard.


Where did that feather come from?? I think that’s why I’m not so big on men with large bushy beards. You never know what you attract in your chin muff.

Okay, so where did I go wrong? I forgot to check the tension!!!! The top tension looked just fine. It was beautiful. The variegated thread was gorgeous in my Kaffe Fassett quilt! I was so mesmerized by the quilting and the fact that I was doin’ it all freehand on my longarm that DUH….neglected to crawl underneath the machine to check the tension.

It was a horrible mess. I had quilted nearly 1/2 the quilt before I thought, “Hey, maybe I should see what the other side of the quilt looks like.”

I’m keeping the mass of tangled thread…..right on top of my machine. This will serve as a constant reminder to double check.


After 3 days of picking out every single stitch (on the couch while watching Game of Thrones) – I put it back on the longarm and finished it.


Ta-da! All the fabric is Kaffe Fassett. The original pattern is actually from Craftsy – Flower Garden Quilt but after cutting out some of the pieces, I decided to not follow the pattern exactly. I wanted more space in between each of the squares.

I’m loving the quilt – it’s bright, happy and best of all, IT’S DONE.

The center 4-patch is one of the machine’s designs. The rest of it is free motion. Here’s my very first feather on the quilt.


It’s wiggly woggly, but I’ve been practicing everyday!

I’ve currently got the Dizzy Kaleidoscope on the longarm – almonst done…..



Dizzy Kaleidoscope


I’m getting dizzy just LOOKING at the photo!

12019_Bruce_Seeds_003Inspired by Bruce Seeds (this guy on the right), I bought the book, One Block Wonder  and thought, hey, that looks so easy.

I should have remembered that I get car-sick and sea-sick. Cutting and sewing thing that spin – NOT GOOD.

But the worse part was the flippin’ Y seams! I had totally forgotten to NOT sew the hexagons together and to keep them as “hexagon halves” so that you can sew row by row and not have to do the stupid stop-pivot-pray.

Because the hexagons gave me vertigo, I decided to break up some of the smaller kaleidoscopes with yellow solids and then finish it off with larger kaleidoscopes.

I’m finally done with the top – but the yellows didn’t help any. I think it made the design even more confusing.


I do like the larger kaleidoscope blocks – which are made of 6 1/2″ triangles from Robert Kaufman Jewel panels. I should have just done the whole quilt like that!


The smaller kaleidoscopes were also made from Robert Kaufman fabric.


But now that I’m looking at this fabric image – I just realized that I took beautiful already-kaleidoscope fabric, cut it up and made myself all seasick just trying to put it back together again.


Hmmmm….me not happy.

Well, I’ve gotten this far, the top is completed and I’ve gotta finish. Will take Dramamine before I quilt it.

So what do you use as backing for a quilt this crazy? Maybe just a plain black might be the best. Maybe use the yellow as binding? Use the quilt for self-hypnosis?



In other news, I finally got my longarm lesson! The wonderful Pat Alderman came by for 2 hours and walked me through all the features with basic how-to. I can now choose the designs, resize, rotate, skew, etc.

The free-motion stuff is HARD!!! Have you ever tried writing your name with your mouth holding a pencil? Yeah, it’s that hard.



The longarm has arrived!

Little did I know that when we bought this property, the cottage at the back of the house would be a perfect QUILTING COTTAGE.  For the past 2 1/2 years we’ve lived here, the cottage remained empty most of the year, only getting used when guests came to stay with us.

Well, guests no more! There’s a very nice hotel a few miles away! Just kidding – I’m only doing a hostile takeover of the living room and dining area. And the bedroom closet. And the bar area. And maybe under the bed too.

Last week, my brand new Handi Quilter Fusion arrived! The floor model that I looked at was an Avante, which is 18″. This Fusion is a whopping 24″ machine (throat space) and spans 12 feet across.

I didn’t realize how massive this machine was. It pretty much takes up the entire wall. We had to remove the large “L” shaped bar in the cottage to be able to fit the longarm in. Errrrr….my husband removed it with a crowbar, sledgehammer and a lot of sweat.

No more bar:


Technician from Tops Vacuum and Sewing came to set it all up for me.


I got such a great deal on the machine from Tops. Actually, I bought my Juki 2010q from them too – much less than any other place online or offline. They are local to me, but you can give owner Greg a call and tell them that “Jaden said you’d give me the best price” which is WAY BETTER than the price they have advertised on their website. Just call ‘em.

The Handi Quilter Fusion + Pro Stitcher was $thousands less than what anyone else was selling them for. So yes, it’s worth a phone call to Greg!

But now I have a dilemma. What the heck am I going to do with a longarm other than quilt my own quilts?


I’m not interested in starting a longarm business as Steamy Kitchen keeps me busy enough.



I’ve only had time to play a few minutes on the machine – it’s quite intimidating and I’ve not yet watched the DVDs or read any of the instructions.

There are too many buttons.


Tops arranged to have award-winning quilter, Pat Alderman to come to my house next week to give me hands-on lessons. I’m patient (and intimidated) enough to just sit tight and wait. Wouldn’t want to break anything!!!

From the Handi Quilter, I have a wonderful, peaceful view of our little pond and of Scott’s greenhouse.


This entry was posted in Gadgets.

Sewing Machine Cover


Sylvia, my mother-in-law (well, actually, we all call her Mimi, because that’s what the kids call her), made this sewing machine cover for her Bernina baby that we bought for her this Christmas.

The Bernina stays here at our house (she’s got her own Bernina in Buffalo) and it’s to enticebribe, encourage her to stay longer during her visits to Florida. Just kidding, she loves visiting.

We looked online for a pattern, and found this lovely one from Bloom.


Original from Bloom $8.50 pattern

It’s got so many little details, including the buttons on the side, decorative stitching, piping trim and measuring tape fabric.


I love the linen – Roslyn of Bloom was right when she said, “ANYTHING + LINEN = SUCCESS”! I used some leftover fabric from a charm pack (I don’t remember the name of the fabric) and these were the perfect complement to the linen.

We bought the twill measuring tape from Cotton Patch in Sarasota – just give them a call and I’m sure they’ll sell you some!

I wasn’t crazy about the original stitching font on the pattern – so Mimi just hand-lettered “stitch” with an air-marker and embroidered over it. I like the cursive-y look better!



Bloom also has created a PDF pattern for other accessories that accompany the sewing machine cover for $8.50:



Our only tip is to give yourself plenty of seam allowance (I would suggest 1/2″) if you’re using linen. The linen weave is loose and difficult to keep together while sewing the piping in the curved area.

We also didn’t use interfacing that the pattern called for. We used canvas duck cloth (you can find that at JoAnn’s right next to the outdoor fabrics). It’s just a sturdy, yet flexible, medium thickness canvas that helped the cover keep its shape. It was the perfect thickness and provided “cloth” texture instead of “interafacing” texture. Actually I’m not a fan of stiff interfacing — it creases, crackles and crunches.  I hope you understand what I mean!

Playing with Paper

A couple of months ago at the Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild meeting, I got to meet Elizabeth Dackson of Don’t Call Me Betsy. She was teaching a class on free motion quilting on our regular ol’ machines. Our class got cut short by a miscommunication/mis-scheduling, which was totally fine by me – those white gloves with tacky fingertips were starting to make my hands sweat.

Someone needs to invent some kind of hand lotion that transforms your normal human hands to Spidey-hands….tacky enough to move fabric around for quilting!

I joined Elizabeth’s  Lucky Stars BOM Club 2014 - a deal at $15 for the entire program.

Lucky_Stars_2014_-_DCMB_solids Lucky_Stars_2014_-_solids


We’re 4 months in and I love paper piecing! I bought 20 (1-yard) cuts of a fabric line that was bright, bold and dotty.


I’m really having fun playing with value, color and creating dimension. Does my star look like it’s kinda comin’ out at ya? A little bit!? LOL! I haven’t strayed too far away from Elizabeth’s original designs and color suggestions…..though I’m a little worried about that bright white. Since I’m intending to use all the quilts that I make (and the fact that quilts, cuddlies and blankies are my boys’ favorite things in the world….oh and the dogs love them too) I don’t know how I’m going to keep the white WHITE.




I’m a big fan of Craftsy, being a proud owner of 57 – yes, that’s FIFTEEEEE-SEVEN classes, majority of them in fiber arts. Actually, ALL Of them in fiber arts between knitting, weaving, spinning, quilting, sewing.

On Craftsy, I’ve been playing around with the pattern market – sort of like etsy/ravelry for sewing. There are a ton of free patterns! I found this free paper pieced house pattern just a few days ago and created a house for a witddle puppy and bunny wabbit.

The background is a stripey batik in light blue and grey. I wasn’t thinking at first and placed the fabric so that the stripes were going vertically….but then it looked all sad, like it was raining fat streaks on the house. So I had to re-do it. Now it looks like the house is being attacked by a flock an army of mad snakes.


This entry was posted in Quilts.

Hello Honey Quilt


This is the second quilt I’ve ever made (I think the first quilt I ever made has now been claimed by the closet monsters…we can’t find it).

As a knitter, one of the projects that I have been working on for the past 3 years is this hexagon Beekeeper’s Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.

Each hexagon takes me about an HOUR to knit. Sometimes longer if I’m watching a really good TV show.  I knitted 60 of these babies and then got tired of knitting the same darn thing over and over again.

This fabric version came together much faster! I inserted a couple of knitted hexagons too. 


The “hello honey.” and the cute little bee were cut out from my Silhouette Cameo machine. However, you don’t need a Silhouette Cameo to make this quilt. (By the way, here’s a series of video tutorials on using the Silhouette Cameo for quilting).


If you don’t have a Silhouette Cameo,  you can still make this quilt. The bee image is from Silhouette’s online store for $0.99. See below for more details on how to use the Silhouette image as an outline to copy for applique.


Hello Honey Quilt Pattern

The bee and “hello honey!” were applied with fusible web and then hand-stitched down. The hexagons were hand stitched together with English Paper Piecing technique and then machine stitched down onto the quilt.

Quilt size: 40″x60″
This is a perfect lap quilt size! No seaming down the middle as we’re using the width of fabric.


For the quilt

40″x60″ Front fabric (1-3/4 yards)
44″x64″ Backing fabric (just a touch over 1-3/4 yards, I like to get 2 yards and use the rest for scraps or for the hexagon applique)
44″x64″ Batting of your choice
1/3 yard Binding fabric

For the applique

Freezer paper
heavy starch
Heat ‘n Bond or other fusible for sewing (for the bee & hello honey!)
embroidery thread & needle
Silhouette Cameo (optional)

HEXAGONS: Assortment of fabric scraps to make the hexagons (each hexagon will require 3″x3″ piece of fabric), 41 hexagons

BEE: 6″x6″ yellow cotton fabric
4″x4″ black cotton fabric

hello honey!:
12″x12″ fabric (tight weave fabric like batik work really well)


1. Print out the hexagon size of your choice on freezer paper (ink jet only): here’s a free PDF from Love Patchwork & Quilting. I used the 1.5″ size (each side of hexagon is 1.5″) Cut out the hexagons.

2. Iron on the hexagons to your fabric, leaving  thumb’s width space between each hexagon for seam allowance. Cut out each hexagon with 1/4″ seam allowance.

3. Time to English paper piece! There are so several methods to EPP hexagons – just use your favorite method. I like to baste with thread. The glue thing just is too messy for me while I’m sitting on the couch watching TV and eating popcorn with chopsticks (so that I don’t get my fabric all greasy).

For the top of quilt: 4 hexagons, staggered side by side

For the main hexagon section, here are the row counts:

ROW 1: 8 hexagons
ROW 2: 9 hexagons
ROW 3: 9 hexagons
ROW 4: 9 hexagons
ROW 5: 6 hexagons

(refer to the photos above in the blog post for how I staggered and placed the hexagons)

Of course, you’re welcome to replace any of the fabric hexagons with knitted ones! I’ll have to update with knitting hexagon instructions at another time.


1. Prepare the fabric: Iron the fabric with heavy starch. Iron on the Heat ‘n Bond to the wrong sides of the yellow fabric and the black fabric.

2. Cut out image: Download the image and use your Silhouette Cameo to cut out the shape of the bee and the its black stripes.

The bee image is from Silhouette’s online store for $0.99.
Link: Echo Park Bee

3.  Fuse the black stripes to the bee with iron. Then fuse the bee image to the quilt. With the embroidery thread (I used 2 strands of the embroidery thread) and needle, stitch around the bee to secure. Make sure your thread goes through the black stripes as well. You can also just machine stitch all around the bee if you want, but the little skinny feet might be tricky to maneuver with anything other than a small straight stitch.

If you do not have a Silhouette Cameo:
- Purchase the Echo Park Bee image. It’s only $0.99!
- Silhouette doesn’t allow you to “save as” image, BUT you can Pin the bee image to your Pinterest board. From there, you can “save as” to your computer.
- Use your favorite graphics or photo software to stretch out the bee to desired size. Print out and then use a light box to trace onto freezer paper. Remember to trace out the black stripes separately.
- Iron on freezer paper to the FRONT of the fabric. Cut out with NO seam allowance.
- Peel away paper backing of Heat ‘n Bond. Fuse to your main quilt fabric. Sew around with embroidery thread to secure.

FOR THE hello honey!:

1. Prepare the fabric: Iron the fabric with heavy starch. Iron on the fusible on the wrong side.

2. Download the font if you don’t already have one you like. I got my font free from – tons of fonts to choose from!

I can’t remember exactly which font I used (I have a gazillion installed on my computer) but here are some favorites:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 4.46.58 PMLakesight font

wolf in the city Wolf in the City font

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 4.55.31 PM Lighthouse font

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 4.59.48 PMCheddar Jack font

Basically, you need a font that’s bold, strong and with thick lines or it won’t cut out correctly on fabric. If this is your first time cutting script letters on fabric, Lakesight font is your best bet.

3. Use your Silhouette to cut out the “hello honey!” with the font of your choice. Make sure the letters are 3″ tall so that they will cut out on fabric easily.

4. Place and iron on the “hello honey” onto your quilt. Use embroidery thread (2 strands) and needle to outline and secure the words.

If you do not have a Silhouette Cameo:
-  Prepare your fabric with heavy starch and Heat ‘n Bond
-  In your graphics or word processor program (or even in Google docs), type out “hello honey!” Make the font big! The letters should be 3″ tall. Print out on paper
- Use light box or window to trace onto freezer paper
- Iron on freezer paper to FRONT of your fabric, cut out the words with NO seam allowance.
- Peel away paper backing of Heat ‘n Bond. Fuse to your main quilt fabric. Sew around with embroidery thread to secure.


1. Machine stitch with a zig zag or blanket stitch the 4 hexagons at top left of quilt. Do the same for the big hexagon patch on right side.

2. Create your quilt sandwich with batting and backing.

3. How you want to quilt it is up to you! I actually made this quilt before I knew how to quilt – so I didn’t quilt it :-) One day I’ll go back and quilt the darn thing!

This is such a cute bee pantograph:

Busy-Bee-quilting-pantograph-pattern-Lorien-Quilting Busy Bee Pantograph $18.50

4. Trim and square up the quilt.

5. From your binding fabric, cut out 2″ strips. Attach binding to quilt.

Video: How to use Silhouette Cameo for Quilting

I’ve owned a Silhouette Cameo machine ever since they first came out. Love the thing – I never have to buy meaningless birthday card at the store ever again!

Recently, I’ve been teaching Sylvia (aka “Mimi”), my kids’ grandma & my MIL how to use the Cameo – I gifted her a machine to share with her friend, Judy.

Actually, Silhouette gifted me a Cameo to review on Steamy Kitchen, and I re-gifted it to Mimi.

Anyways, Mimi is a computer newbie and asked for some videos to show her how to use it step by step.

There are 3 videos – but I really go into detail!