Friday, June 29, 2012

June's FMQ Challenge Piece

I was so excited to see Cindy Needham's challenge on SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilting Challenge. This "divide and conquer" design is part of what started my FMQ internet search 9 months ago.  I have been absolutely blown away by the support, growth and talent shown on the associated Facebook page. 

Some of these folks have been quilting on satin-type fabric.  Those pieces have looked phenomenal, but I figured that the slippery fabric would be too hard to work with.  But when I came across a large piece that had been water stained and was good for nothing else, I thought, "What the heck, why not?"

So, without further ado, here is my piece for the June Challenge.


I am absolutely thrilled with how this turned out.  Not only was the silky fabric easy to work with, but it hid a multitude of mistakes - places where I had wandered when I traveled, not quite round circles, and just plain "oopses."  

As I said, Cindy's challenge was perfect for me. I have doodled these designs my whole life.  In fact, within the last year I had done this one:

Now I find out that someone has labeled my type of doodling "Zentangles."  Who knew?  If I had just thought to publish my doodles I could be rich and famous!  I had shown a couple of my friends this particular one, and both of their reactions were, "You should quilt that!"  Riiggght...Sure... I'll get right on it. NOT!!  At the time I couldn't see any way, short of working with an overhead projector and tracing the doodle onto a large piece of fabric, to quilt this.

Enter Leah Day and her wonderful Free Motion Quilting Project with 365 designs and I had a glimmer of an idea.  Then this month Cindy shows up and voila!  I'm off and running.  I started with some more doodles, this time done in color.  My future son-in-law gave me some great pens for Christmas, I just had to use them!

And then I started on some practice sandwiches.  I wasn't very happy with the results.  I was using "normal" Coats & Clark sewing thread and found that it had a tendency to break when I sewed over the same line multiple times.  Since these were practice pieces I just trimmed the threads close, rethreaded, and kept on going.

first practice piece

My second piece was on scrap fabric, which was quite busy.  You can see the design better on the back.  It's not filled up yet, so I will go back to it and practice some more.  I'm finally learning to move my hands slower.

second practice piece - front

second practice piece - back

Here's some more close ups of my silky satin piece.  And one with a pen in it for scale.  I used some tri-lobal polyester on it in a matching gray. I think it was 40 wt, but the label has come off of the bobbin.  I don't think the thread broke once!  I just keep "petting" it.  It looks and feels so neat!

Thank you so much, Cindy, for showing me the way!  I can't wait to get back to my new machine and do some more!

Happy Quilting, if you're a quilter.  If not... just ooh and ahh over your friend's quilting projects!

Kathy R.

A Six-Letter Word

This week marks the anniversary of my receiving the news that I had breast cancer.  Cancer is a six-letter word that has much more impact than any four letter word that I know.  Of course, when you hear that six-letter word applied to yourself or one of your loved ones, more often than not, several four-letter words ensue.

I am very happy to say that I have been cancer free for nearly two years (that anniversary is July 30th!).  But I wanted to share a special event that I recently took part in – The American Cancer Society’s “Relayfor Life.”  This fund-raising event is a “relay” event that lasts 12 hours, with someone walking at all times. ACS Relays are held in towns throughout the United States.  The ACS provides support 24/7 for people affected by cancer.  They also fund a great deal of research.  In the past two years not only myself, but two sisters-in-law, my father, and four friends were diagnosed with cancer.  My father passed away.  I walked in this relay in honor and in memory of them.


I am not a fundraiser.  I hate asking for money.  But thanks to family and friends that supported me financially, and those that joined me at the relay, our team, named “Survival is NOT Enough… Find a Cure! raised more than $1,800.00!!  I was thrilled to have to keep raising my goal because we kept meeting it!  The “Relay” in Honeoye Falls, NY raised nearly $62,000.00. 


Our team "tent" with Matt, Chandra and Chris

The "Survival is NOT Enough" Team!
Front: Sue, Joan, Lisa, Chandra, Chris, Barb, Jo, Katie;
Back: Scott, Brandon, Matt, Kathy (Me), Bruce, Steve, Eric;
Missing: Kaitlyn and Tyler

My husband Bruce and daughter, Lisa, surprised me with team t-shirts.  I think they helped us win the “most team spirit” award.  That and my sister, Chris, and I played one of the games in which we were the only adults that took part – we kind of stood out as 50+ year old “youngsters” amongst the kids!  ;-)   

My sister-in-law, Sue, walked the “Survivor’s Lap” with me.  Quite an accomplishment considering that just a year ago her sacrum (the bone that connects the hip to the spine” was removed and she had reconstructive surgery.  My friend, Chandra, brought us chocolate-covered strawberries.  I think my son, Matt, had two strawberries for every lap he took!  Chandra kept track of the laps she walked and figures she walked about ten miles!! 


the luminarias in the staging area - this is only about half of them

At dusk we lit luminarias in honor of or in memory of family and friends, and then walked a candle-lit lap.  It was very moving.

Chris and Matt lighting a luminaria - what teamwork!
The reason we keep Matt around is because he can reach the top shelf (that and we love him)

only a few of the lined up luminarias
more luminarias

As I said in an email I sent to friends and family, I am sick of the slicing and dicing, the chemotherapy and radiation.  There has got to be a better way.  I think it is time to eliminate that six-letter word and find a new four-letter word… C U R E!!  Please consider supporting the American Cancer Society, either through support of a friend who is taking part in a “Relay for Life,” or by donating directly to the ACS.  If you wish to support the “Survival is NOT Enough” team directly, you can do so by visiting this website and entering either our team name or my name (Kathy Rosier) in the appropriate box on the right hand side.  If you’re not able to help financially (believe me, I’ve been in that boat!), support us with prayers, hugs, uplifting words, or even chocolate-covered strawberries.  It is all very much appreciated!

We all need hope.

Ladies, do your breast self-exams monthly and get your annual pap smear.  Don't be afraid to call your doctor and say "it's not exactly a lump, but it's different than normal."  The life you save may be your own! 

Okay, getting off my soapbox now and getting back to the regularly scheduled program.  :-)

PS Sorry about the weird picture layout. I keep trying to get more than one picture on a line (pictures side by side) but it messes everything up.  If anyone had suggestions I'll take them!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Martin's Quilt

It's about time I get caught up here - like that's ever going to happen.  I never could write regularly.  Do you remember getting a diary for Christmas - the one with the tiny gold key?  I remember thinking, "I'll write every day!"  It never happened back then, I usually managed to get a week's worth of entries written before losing interest.  And I'm sure I'll continue to be lagging behind here too.

Anyways, I thought I'd post pictures of the baby quilt I made for my great-nephew, Martin. 

He's a real cutie! (I made the bib too).
I promised it to his parents at his baby shower in January 2011.  I managed to get it done for his first birthday this year in March!

I saw the pattern at my local quilt store, Mt. Pleasant Quilting, and thought I could figure it out myself.  It is, after all, just squares and rectangles.  I wish I had written down who designed so that I could give them credit!  I searched my stash for brightly colored juvenile prints (as opposed to pastels which the parents didn't want), and found some really fun ones.  Of course, I had to make a shopping trip because I didn't have enough variety (I can come up with any excuse).  The border fabric is all ants and the backing is cars and trucks - perfect for a little boy!

my husband said we need an exterminator

On some of the squares I used the "stack the deck" method of piecing.  It was really easy.  Stack 5 squares; cut them randomly; shift 1 piece, 2 pieces, 3 pieces, 4 pieces, from the top to the bottom of each stack; sew them back together; and trim.

I put my new found free motion quilting skills to good use and quilted loop-de-loops in all of the sashing.  I left the squares plain.

Martin seemed to really enjoy his quilt. He, and it disappeared later that evening.  His mom said he was cuddled up under the quilt, fast asleep, upstairs!

Martin and his Uncle Fred

I love it when my quilts are so appreciated.

Until next time,


The Power...

So, my old sewing machine finally bit the dust.  It was a Singer that was nearly 30 years old and it had been a floor model before I bought it.  I made a t-shirt quilt and quilted it myself - my first foray into free motion quilting.  Then I pieced and quilted a baby/toddler quilt for my great-nephew.

She's a goner :-(

I finished that one, but when I went on to the next project - practicing for the Free Motion Quilting Challenge, the machine just wouldn't work.  It was making a horrible grinding noise and I couldn't get the tension set right.  I had just had it in for service to the tune of $100.  I don't think the machine is worth that much!

So I went shopping for a new machine and have purchased a beautiful, new Janome 6600 from Marie's Sewing Center in Lockport.  Linda, one of the sales girls there, let me play with one for more than an hour.  I took my own sample fabrics and sandwiches and tried a bunch of different stitches.  It took me another two weeks to decide to plunk down the money, but around Mother's Day, I brought my new baby home.

My new baby!

Now, true to form, I sat down next to my new machine with my 93 page instruction book, and went through everything, step by step.  I got all the way through the table of contents... the parts list... how to plug it in and turn it on... when I came upon page 7, and one of my most hoped for features - the automatic needle up/down button.  Of course I had to try it out so I pushed the button and heard a loud ka-thunk!

Oh no, what had I done?!!  I looked down to find that the needle had, very neatly and easily, penetrated 86 pages of the instruction book!  What power! The needle didn't even break!  I think this machine will have more than enough punch for whatever I'd like to do.

There's a needle hole right above the "i" in finishing...

...all the way through the back cover!

I did tell my husband that it was now impossible for me to return the machine (like I was going to do that!) because I had defaced the book ;-)

I've had the machine for a couple of months now and it is working beautifully.  I did purchase the blue arrow bobbin case for free motion quilting as I was having problems with shredding and breaking threads and I didn't want to mess with the bobbin tension all the time.  It has helped to clear up those problems and I would definitely recommend it.

Now, if the weather would just cool down so my sewing room isn't 100* I could go play.  

Until next time,
Kathy R.