Thursday, December 31, 2009



I am still quilting on my entry. While doing this endless, or so it seems, quilting I keep thinking of tips I should pass along. So here are a few thoughtful tips when machine quilting.

1. Clean out the lint in your machine bobbin area often. Lint quickly accumulates and can cause many problems while quilting. Routine cleaning and oiling is very important to the longevity of your quilting machine. Brush out the fuzz from around the hook and foot. A tiny amount of lint can cause poor stitches. Use a soft bristle bush to wipe out the bobbin area. Canned air only blows the lint around. Use oil if your machine requires it.

After each project, and during a large project, I take the time to remove my metal throat plate and clean out the bobbin area. Even using polyester threads you are probably still using cotton fabric and cotton batting  these will create lint in your machine.


2. Change your needle regularly to avoid thread breakage, tension problems and needle breakage. A worn needle can mean skipped stitches, shredded thread and a weakening of the needle itself. Use the old needle to make sure the new needle is firmly in place. Place the tip of the new needle in the eye of the old needle and push up until it stops. Then tighten the screw.

3. Use the right needle for the right thread. Check out different needles for different kinds of thread. At Superior Threads you can download a chart of what needles to use with what thread.

4. Dispose of your old needles in a safe way. Keep an old lidded container of some kind by your sewing machine and mark it with OLD NEEDLES. Place the used needles in this until it fills up and then discard the whole container. Get a new container with a lid to start saving the old ones again. This way when the container hits the land fill they won’t just be floating around for little critters to get stuck with.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last of the free thread


Just two days left to get a free spool of rayon thread with every $20 order on my website Friestyle. I use this rayon thread in all my quilting projects and love it. Now you can try it out if you haven’t already used it, just order $20 worth of yummy fabric or patterns and get a free spool. 2010 here we come!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009



I received great gifts from my new daughter- in–law to be and my new daughter-in-law. The first is a little pig pin cushion. It looks like it is made from an old ceramic flower vase, stuffed with felted wool where the opening to insert flowers is. The second is wonderful shell and bead jewelry. This bodes well for the future with these great gals.IMG_3394 IMG_3364

Monday, December 28, 2009



When I am working on a project that has many different threads, I do two things to help me keep track of the colors I am using. First I wind multiple bobbins for areas that I know I am going to use a lot of quilting, that way while I am working and I run out of bobbin thread I can just grab another one and change it out quickly. Second I keep all of the thread in a bowl next to me so that I can easily get the colors that I need as I work. I often change back and forth with my colors depending on where I am in the quilting process on the quilt

IMG_3396 IMG_3395

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My friend Margot



My friend Margot Cusimano (second from the right) passed away last night, after a short battle with ALS. I will miss Margot so much, she was a curmudgeon, an outspoken red headed pacifist, a swearing liberal, a loyal friend and always fun and ready to go someplace and do something adventuresome.

I meet Margot at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin in a program called “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven”. I was immediately taken with her frank speech and willingness to tackle difficult subjects. Over the years we became good friends and in the last twelve years we worked together on a yearly raffle quilt to benefit our church programs.

I will miss her very much and her absence will leave a large hole in my heart.2001

margo2001 quilting2000

Good bye Margot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AQS entry


I have been quilting away on my entry for the AQS show in Paducah this year. If you noticed I have had an extremely busy year working and traveling. I only stopped traveling right before Thanksgiving. I had planned on getting the rest of my quilt finished to enter in the AQS show during this time. But my sewing machine decided to stop. I had to take it in for repair and it ended up needing a new circuit board. The lights came on but nothing moved. That took awhile. I needed to quilt so I got out my older (2o year old 7500 Janome) and started quilting. I mean I have made many a prize winning quilt on this machine. I found that it still worked great, but I was really struggling with the smaller opening between the arm and the needle. I was so grateful when my new 6600 Janome came home and I was able to continue quilting on this much larger machine. I realized how much easier it is to do a larger quilt with more room to maneuver. I also can not say enough good things about having a really large flat surface to support the quilt top. The quilt just glides along with out all the pulling and tugging.  I would like to comment at this time that I really HATE the two January deadlines of AQS and IQA. Both of them should be at the end of January. I know I should plan ahead more, but please who can do that! If anyone out there is listening move the dates back a bit! AQS is due January 4th POSTMARKED.IMG_0029

6600 Janome – not my entry for this year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009



I am thankful that I have a job that I love. I am thankful that I have a job. I am thankful for my healthy family and warm house. I am thankful for good eyesight. I am thankful for a good year and good friends.

I had a tremendous year of teaching and traveling in 2009. I had over 25 teaching engagements around the country and in the UK and am looking forward to another productive year in 2010. Thank you to all the quilt guilds and groups that hired me, I made so many new and I hope lasting friends. Here are just a few pictures from my adventures this year.

IMG_1344 Edmonds WA – Laughing Leaves class


Lars and Megan’s Wedding

colorful F&L Laura and I in the IQA booth in Chicago trying out new fashions. The princesses of fabric.


Quilting Arts TV with Pokey Bolton

IMG_0204 Dyeing class in Battle Creek MI – now there is a book by me “Fabric to Dye for” from C&T that will be out in January if you pre order  you will get a free spool of #30 rayon thread.


Peco’s National Park, New Mexico


Festival of Quilts, Birmingham  and  our trip to Scotland


Quilting Adventures, TX


The Quilt Show with Ricky and Alex, look for it in 2010.

And I hope to see you next year!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2010 Calendar’s are ready



My 2010 calendar is ready and waiting for you to order. These calendars are printed on glossy 8.5” x 11” paper with HIGH resolution color so you can really enjoy the pictures of my quilts. You can order them on my website on the notions page. As a reminder for every order over $20 this month you will receive a free spool of #30 weight rayon thread. This is my favorite thread to machine quilt with. Email and let me know what color you want, or I will just send something to match your order.

On a colder note, we have had our first major snow and the temp’s have dropped accordingly. But that doesn’t keep George and I out of the woods. It just means I have to bundle up. I may break down this year and buy George a coat. He is getting older, but that doesn’t stop him from jumping through the drifts.



friedahat I dug out this great hat that Melody Johnson made me and have been wearing it to help keep me warm! Thanks Mel.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wait and See

Several people asked what kind of new machine I am getting. It will be a big surprise and I will blog all about it when I get it set up. Anyone who wants to come and give it a try is more than welcome. Wait and see. And please who has time to post pictures to sell stuff!!! I mean really. I am taking a bunch of stuff to PAQA on Wednesday and hope to get rid of it that way. I am still trying to get too much done in a day.

Never enough space




There is never enough space. I have a new sewing machine arriving in two weeks and I have to rearrange my studio space. I am very fortunate to have "studio" space, before taking over the lower level of our house I was in a spare bedroom. But now I am making space for yet another necessary tool. I am going through all my rubber maid drawers and tossing out stuff I haven't touched in over two years. It is always hard for me to get rid of things, I always think I will get to that project, or how much I love that fabric, or I will need to use that paper or tool someday. But in reality I need to cleanse. This is very hard.
At the same time I am trying to wrap Christmas presents and get them mailed out, work on a quilt for the spring shows, and take my mother shopping. It is a very busy time in my studio space.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

So Happy


Home again, recovered and so happy. Tiny Purple Coneflowers is home again and very happy. Thank you all for your concern and best wishes.IMG_0057

Friday, December 4, 2009

One of a Kind Show


We love the One of a Kind show in Chicago and go every year. We love seeing some of our favorite artist like Susan Hinckley of Minnesota and MiMi from Chicago. If you are in the Chicago area this is a must do event each December. Judy Perez, Trish Williams, Gretl Kramer, Laura and myself went this year. Before going to the show we stopped at the Met Cap Bank on E Ontario and saw an exhibit of Jane Sassaman's quilts. It was so lovely to see so much of her work up close and personal. Jane does such a beautiful job with machine embroidery, I am envious of her imagination with use of stitches.

IMG_3312  .


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Clean Studio

This is what a clean studio is suppose to look like, mine looks like this once a year, MAYBE.
Does anyone else have that problem of getting rid of the clutter and keeping everything in it's place? I really struggle with throwing out and organizing.



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So sad


I am so sad, this year I have had two little quilts disappear while I have been working. One was at the Jacksonville quilt Festival and one was just recently in Keller TX. I am going to have to start numbering my quilts and counting them before I pack up to leave anywhere. I am posting pictures of the quilts in case anyone out there finds them they can send them back.

dancingpc This is a little 4” x 6” post card quilt


This quilt is 8.5” x 11” all made in silk.

Monday, November 30, 2009



We had a great time with all the relatives at the house for Thanksgiving. Here are a few shots of everyone. I hope you all had a great time too. I am waiting now for my Christmas presents to myself to arrive.  A new work table from Tracy’s Tables and a new sewing machine from Tin Lizzie. I will post pictures when they arrive.

IMG_3246 Lars, Wrigley and my mom

IMG_3250 Mom and my brother in law Scott cooking

IMG_3288 Dinner out in the city at Hugo Frogs, after seeing an amazing play “The Million Dollar Quartet”

IMG_3283The new and the old. Wrigley the princess baby and George the grumpy old man.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Using silk in your work


I am using more and more silk in my art quilts. I love the luminosity that it brings to the pieces and I love the way the colors blend together in much a milky way kind of  blend on the silk. Here are just a few examples of recent pieces.IMG_2418


IMG_1855 IMG_1853

Of course all of these are fused, but aren’t they just yummy!

Friday, November 13, 2009






Laura loves to have her picture taken with statuary. These steel structures were at a rest stop along the way to Des Moines. I am so mad I just threw away the artist name, but they are very cool. Maybe some one out there knows who the artist is. Anyway I love to take pictures of the landscape while I am driving and Laura HATES it, so she took the camera away from me and shoot a few more, I'm sure she missed something spectacular.
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