What I’ve been doing when I wasn’t quilting this past year

This is my afternoon post for December 4. I promised to tell you why I have been “dormant” on embroidery and quilting for the past year, so here it is.  And it’s a short explanation—I wore out my hands. 2018 was a year when I made quilt after quilt and did very little machine embroidery. Those quilts were very pretty, but were mostly for AccuQuilt’s free pattern library.  Most of them had seams that were pressed open and used the unusual shapes in the Companion Qubes.  That and crocheting some afghans for my children and grandchildren ended up leaving me with very painful arthritis/tendonitis in my thumbs. So with delivery of the last quilt at the end of November 2018, I have neither quilted nor done much machine embroidery.

I did try a few things—I love breadmaking and became a semi-expert on pizza dough and made some great artisan pizzas. But it’s hard to eat that much pizza. And kneading pizza dough is not great for the hands.

Another thing I did was sign up for software classes at a couple of online training sites and spent time honing my skills in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Procreate. In addition, I have taken a number of classes in Machine Embroidery Digitizing and have learned a lot from those.

After a trip to Biltmore at the end of May and a review of the photos from the trip, it was apparent that I needed to lose some weight. So at that point, I threw myself into a daily exercise routine and cut out all the extra snacks that were so enjoyable. By the end of October, I had lost 20 pounds and that still feels so much better than where I was in May.

And that’s all there is to it—I took a year off from quilting and two years off from machine embroidery and now I’m back. Even so, it has been a very productive time for me.  My hands are much better too and knitting and sewing are easily done without constant pain. 

Holiday Stitching Time is Here – New Projects and a Freebie

Some might say that the time has past, but for those of us who don’t get into the holiday spirit until the holiday is almost here. . .it’s the perfect time to start stitching. I’ve been working on a couple of projects the past month. Since the blog and embroidery shop have been fairly dormant for the past year, I thought it would be the perfect time for a giveaway. (And I’ll tell you why I’ve been away for awhile in tomorrow’s post).

These are my projects. They are quilted in the hoop table runners. The giveaway is a Christmas Tree and Star Table Runner.

EDIT: I found a service that will allow you to download the file directly without leaving a comment  although I must say how much I love to see your comments. It also means I can spend time responding to your comments rather than creating an email with a file attachment.

Click here to download the file. It will require you to leave your email address but rest assured that will only be used to send you more information from time to time. I won’t clog up your inbox with lots of email and you can unsubscribe any time.

NOTE: I love your comments, so if you have trouble finding a way to comment, click on the title so that only this post is on the page and the comment box will appear at the bottom.  And if that fails, send me a private message on Facebook. 

This is the completed table runner and the star and tree designs shown below. I used a metallic thread to stitch the tree stars and it really makes the whole table runner sparkle. The quilting is done using an echo stitch and works beautifully on the embroidery machine. Assembling the blocks into the runner is very easy. I have tried many methods for assembling quilted in the hoop blocks and finally feel like this is the easiest thing yet. All you have to do is comment on this blog post and then have fun stitching this embroidery.


This is the snowman table runner and it definitely has more moving parts and thread changes. But it still stitches in a flash and those snowmen are just plain fun as they come to life. You can get the snowman table runner from my web store and will be priced at half price ($6.00, regular price $12.00) for the entire month of December.  



Christmas Stockings

Quick update on December. My sewing activities have consisted only of making these few stockings–actually there are three more–two for the parents and one for a friend with a newborn.

These stockings were made with the AccuQuilt stocking die (Studio). Love that die as the stockings turn out perfectly and are so quick and easy. They are unlined, except that I cut four pieces for the cuff and lined the cuffs which make them much more stable for holding the machine embroidery. The snowflakes have been in my files for many years–not sure their origin, but think it may be Embroidery Library.  The lettering was done with my Art & Stitch Plus software—that works so well to adjust lettering to get all the names in the same space.

My stitching has been so limited because of the arthritis in my hands. Thought I would do some baking, but found that worked quite well except that using a cookie scoop for portioning and especially the cookie press are not easy with these hands. Maybe machine embroidery will be my focus for awhile.

Christmas is only a week away. Are you ready? 

Let It Snow Wall Frame

This blog post was published on the AccuQuilt blog yesterday and has the machine embroidery for the lowercase alphabet die that was recently released as well as my Holiday Elements machine embroidery design set.

As always, if I made this again, I would make snowflakes that showed up just a bit more—a darker thread for the stitches around them would give that little bit of additional contrast that is needed. But I absolutely love those cute snow people as well as the lettering.

This is stretched on a 20″ x 24″ canvas frame and has batting underneath, but does not have quilting stitches through the layers.


Baby Quilt with Spring Medley Applique Machine Embroidery Tutorial

This is a quilt tutorial that I wrote for AccuQuilt for their blog. It was a lot of fun, but is very simple to do. The Spring Medley applique is cute, but this can also be made with a lot of the other different applique dies.  I used the 10″ Qube, but it will also work with the 9″ and the 12″ blocks too.


Bear’s Paw Table Runner Tutorial

AccuQuilt has another new die–they just keep releasing more and more–it’s hard to keep up with trying out each new one. This one is a Bear’s Paw die that is a Block on Board (BOB) which means one run through the cutter and you have a complete block ready to stitch. The quarter block of the Bear’s Paw looks like a maple leaf so I used that idea to make this table runner. You can go over to the AccuQuilt blog to see the full tutorial.


Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt

I just finished this Crazy Quilt Star Throw Quilt made with the AccuQuilt GO Crazy Quilt die. I love the Crazy Quilt dies (both Studio and GO!). They are just incredible. There are so many different layouts that one can create with it–and the blocks stitch up faster than almost any other block. I used Square in a Square (aka Economy Block) blocks alternating with Crazy Quilt blocks.  Read the full tutorial on the AccuQuilt blog.

Crazy Quilt Star
Crazy Quilt Star

Vortex Mosaic Throw Quilt Tutorial

The new 10″ Qube die set from AccuQuilt is a great size because multiples of 10 are so easy to make. And there’s no math to think about. Obviously 1/4 of 10 is 2.5 which is not an even number—but with the Qube set, there’s no math involved except the finished size of the quilt. This is a tutorial I wrote for the AccuQuilt blog. And this is a picture of the quilt. I really loved making this. The blocks are simple even though it looks much more complex than it is.


Pineapple Quilt BOB Tutorial

I’ve had a lot of fun this year doing projects for AccuQuilt. Here’s a blog post published on the AccuQuilt.com website for the new Pineapple Block on Board (BOB) die. The Pineapple block is not one I would have chosen to make but with the new die and the way it’s laid out, I can see many more pineapple blocks in my future. This made a quick and easy table runner. You will find the tutorial here on the AccuQuilt blog.


Triangle in a Square Dance Quilt Tutorial

The 10″ Qube Mix & Match along with the 10″ Qube Companion Angles made this quilt incredibly fast and easy. And I love, love, love the Watermelon Collection (by Daniela Stout) Fat Quarters from Timeless Treasures. This quilt is made with rectangles and triangles—both of which go together with great ease. The full tutorial can be found on the AccuQuilt blog. Imagine how this quilt would look in a different colorway—think Christmas OR Spring!