Longarm Quilting with Rulers - "Tulips, Tossed"

I haven't done much quilting since I retired because we're doing some remodeling on the house.  Because everything is so expensive, we've been doing most of the work ourselves and I've been quilting deprived!  We're on a short break from floor tiling so I finally got a chance to finish this quilt:

Creative Freedom - You CAN Color

Remember when you first learned to color and you drew purple ducks and lime green dogs? Remember the freedom you felt? 

Freedom to be Creative

Today, February 1, 2016, is an exciting day for me. It’s my first official day of retirement! I am beyond excited; I’ve been counting down for the past 18 months. In honor of this special occasion, I’ve decided to declare this month:



(from Gratisography)

The Being Thankful Challenge

I recently read about Susan Raihala’s 2015 Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge on her blog: Simplicitybylateblossom.com. She makes beautiful cards and I found her site when I started researching stamping and cardmaking.  I totally agree with her that Thanksgiving is skipped by retailers. Stopping to be thankful is super important and something that should be emphasized more. So I’m meeting that challenge and making some Thanksgiving/thankful cards to spread the message of being grateful.

My inspiration for this card came from this one posted on Pinterest from Dee's website . I love her card design! Her card was a great blue, gray & teal birthday card, but as soon as I saw it, I knew what I wanted to do with my leaf-embossed, watercolor piece. I used leaves from the One With Nature stamp.

Here's the inside:


I am definitely still learning; some of my layouts need help! But just like in quilting, you don't learn unless you "do" (create). If you wait for perfection, you won't accomplish anything.

This one seems like a much better layout and like Susan says, bling makes everything better!

I love this leaf embossing folder. I am definitely a sucker for leaves and Fall is my favorite season.

If you suffer from blank-slate phobia like me, Pinterest is an awesome place to find inspiration and get your creative juices flowing. I'm thankful for all the folks willing to share their ideas, techniques and creations on the Web.

So check out Susan's blog and spread Thankfulness!

10.13.2015 | 1 Comment | in: being creative

I Lost My Lunch Buddies and A Sewing Machine at Work?

Here’s an updated photo of the corner of my longarm room:

A great new creativity station with my Brother ScanNCut!

Two seemingly unrelated things happened around the same time: I bought a Brother ScanNCut and my lunch buddies moved and retired. Love ya both – miss ya!  So what to do at lunchtime? Bringing my sewing machine to work would probably be frowned upon, so how else do I feed my creative need?


(image from thinkstockphotos.ca)

While watching the video tutorials on the Brother website, the card making activities caught my eye. I tried a little stamping and something about it appeals to me. You can complete a project fairly quickly, you feel creative and the results can be very professional looking. And, ohh la la, you can color or paint stamped images and you feel like an arteeste!  Yay!

stamped image colored with Distress Markers

I appreciate good painting and drawing, but I can’t draw and I suffer from blank paper phobia. Stamping a design and then filling it with color is waaay less intimidating and it’s fun! It’s a great way to be creative and a bit easier than taking a sewing machine with you on your travels.

stamped coneflower colored with Inktense pencils

I have just had tooooo much fun watching youtube tutorials and have spent several weekends trying out techniques. There are so many talented people willing to share their ideas. Here are links to some websites that I really enjoy perusing:







  aren’t these neat?

I love the techniques that give the paper dimension like embossing folders, embossing powder and embossing paste. These were both done with Core’dinations paper. Use this special paper with an embossing folder and then lightly sand to reveal the different colored core of the paper.

Two Mother’s day cards using embossing paste thru a stencil and sparkle embossing powder:


A more masculine card using gold embossing power on the motorcycle stamp.


Another masculine card with a fancied-up envelope.


I got the idea for this purple card from Marit on Pinterest - an excellent inspiration resource! This was the retirement card for my friend who loves purple. Here's a link to my Pinterest board showing Marit's card - you may recognize inspirations for a few many of my cards. I found instructions for making the pretty matching envelope on the web too.

 A card to match the colors of the baby quilt I just finished.

Now I make a coordinating card to go with a quilted gift – it’s just too fun! 

Isn’t it amazing how creativity overlaps into different media and isn’t technology awesome!

Now go out and create! It's never too late to start.



10.03.2015 | Add new comment | in: being creative

Heavensent - A Baby Quilt

A few weeks ago I wrote about 2 baby quilts that I was working on; here is the second one all completed:

I used Julie Herman’s Hex ‘N More ruler to create the middle section. The nice thing about a baby quilt is that it’s a small enough size to try out new blocks without having to make too many of them. I added a few borders and a row of pinwheels and the top was completed.

Lately, I’ve been piecing the backing from the leftover top fabric:

This is a great way to use up scraps, to have the backing coordinate with the top and to not have to buy more fabric. I know: you’re saying you like buying more fabric! And that’s okay. You still can, but this is a nice option to really complete the quilt.

I like to use Hobbs Polydown batting for quilts that will be laundered a lot. Omni thread by Superior Thread in lemon cream was used as the top thread and So Fine in pastel yellow was used in the bobbin. Omni on top and So Fine in the bobbin is my favorite thread combination. There’s way less lint and you don’t use as many bobbins.

I quilted the top using an allover meandering feather. It’s like palm frondish but rounded. I love the texture it gives.


I made a matching card (which is a whole nother hobby I’ve been into lately that I’ll talk more about later!).


09.23.2015 | 1 Comment | in: baby quilt

You Don’t Have to be a Purist – Mixing Batiks with Reproduction Fabrics

The other night I went to my friend’s house for a delicious dinner and to check out her new place. It is decorated so nicely with her stained glass pieces and her beautiful quilts. On the back of her sofa is one of my favorite quilts that I quilted for her.

One of the special things I want to share with you about this quilt is that has a mix a fabrics from different categories. The focal fabric with the lime green flowers is a batik and the brownish triangles immediately next to the flower blocks is from a reproduction line. There are also some other batiks, solid and modern type fabrics.


Brown triangle is reproduction fabric        


They work beautifully together! The backing is also the reproduction fabic.

When deciding on the quilting design, ask yourself:

  • Is this about the quilting or the top?
  • Do I want the thread to stand out or blend with the top?

This is a fairly busy quilt, it’s about the top and I wanted the thread to blend so I used So Fine thread in Canopy and quilted an allover ribbon swirl design.

The next time you’re having trouble finding fabrics that play well together, try looking in different sections of the store; don’t feel like you have to stick to one fabric line or even the same fabric grouping.

Have fun with your quilts!

08.04.2015 | Add new comment | in: fabric choices

What To Do When You're Stuck - I Need Your Help

Here's one quilt in progress that I'll share with you today. (I don’t even want to count how many are in various stages hiding neatly stored throughout my studio)

It's been hanging on my design wall for a while because I've been stuck.

This was a mystery BOM done at my local quilt store. You pick your own fabrics and the store supplies a few pieces each month along with a pattern for the block. I picked several background fabrics and used them all, so in the end I didn’t feel like all the blocks played well together (lesson learned). I thought about keeping them separate and making placemats or pillow covers, but I just didn’t like some of the blocks that well. Sometimes I have a lot of trouble putting multiple colors together.

I stared at it for quite a while and tried various fabrics for sashing, but it still seemed disjointed. Then I finally decided to frame each block with a different-colored skinny sashing that went with the colors in that block.

Ah, looking better

 skinny pops of color around each block

Bright colors make me happy! Now I just have to decide on the sashing to pull it all together. I thought I had it figured out until I looked at the pictures.

I had decided on the greenish/brownish fabric until I looked at the pictures. Now I'm thinking the dark gray on the bottom right. Or maybe the light gray on the top right. Argh!  Help - what do you think?

So, when you're stuck:

  • Put the pieces on your design wall so they can percolate in your subconscious
  • Take a picture - it seems to give things a different perspective
  • Ask someone for their input

Comment on this post or e-mail me at ineedlefabric@gmail.com with your vote.  thanks!

08.03.2015 | Add new comment | in: fabric choices

Steeler's Fan Finished - The Baby Quilt

Last month I shared the baby quilts I had in progress:

 http://www.ineedlefabric.com/blog/july-babies-making-quilts-and-using-your-fabric-stash. Well, the "Steeler's Fan" baby quilt has been bound, labeled and gifted to the proud parents.

Here are the pieces hanging on my design wall when I was trying to decide on border fabrics:

I used cream colored thread and quilted it with an allover loop-d-loop pattern.

Baby quilts are a great place to try out tricky piecing techniques and to use your stash! I pieced the backing with leftover fabrics so it ties in with the top nicely. The yellow backing fabric is super soft and covered with butterflies so you get a girly, Steelers fan quilt.


I usually machine embroider a label. Especially for baby quilts that will get a lot of wear, I machine sew the label right to the quilt using thread the matches the label. In the bobbin, I used thread that matches the quilting on the quilt top.

I really enjoyed the challenge of making this a meaningful quilt for the owners.

As always, e-mail me at ineedlefabric@gmail.com with any quilty questions!

07.30.2015 | Add new comment | in: baby quilt

July Babies, Making Quilts and Using Your Fabric Stash

I've got 2 friends of the family who are having baby girls in July and my husband suggested I make quilts for them. Now, I'm always ready to make a quilt and making one for a specific person is even better! Here is each one in progress on my design wall:


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