Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cat needs a home.....

This handsome boy needs a home.   One of my quilting friends in SE Wisconsin has rescued him after feeding him for a month, but our bitter cold winds this week and the onset of winter soon made it mandatory for her to bring him in from the cold. 

Now he has been neutered and has all his treatments and is ready for a home.  Her house is full with other cats she has taken in and now loves, and she is so wishing a new home would be possible for this friendly and loving cat. 

"Hello! Meow!

What are you waiting for?
Kitty needs your lap!

Last night he spent an hour in my lap - happily cleaning himself and giving me kisses.

He might even be a shoulder-cruiser. I know he loves to be carried.

Please let us know that you want to love him."

And from Mr. Tuxedo himself:

"I am Tuxedo Kitty.

I am a young male. I was an outdoor kitty until October 27, when I was taken inside following those big scary windstorms.

Even though I never knew a gentle human touch I quickly recognized that petting makes me start my motor.

I love being carried and I love being petted and I love just lounging in a soft lap.

I really don’t want to live in a barn and am looking for a nice home with friendly hands to touch me.

My rescuer has 6 indoor kitties already and while I thought this would be a nice home, my rescuer takes her kitties to Florida. I can sympathize that the car would be pretty full with 7 of us plus two humans.

If you or your friends will take me, I will love you forever.


Tuxedo kitty Lake Geneva, WI October 31, 2010"

If anyone is interested, please email me at
I realize this is for a limited geographic area, but I wanted to do my part in spreading the news about this little guy. 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Skipping Along

I am back home from my wonderful time in Paducah at the National Quilt Museum and two classes for 39 terrific quilters.  The weather was amazing, the best I've ever experienced there, cool at night, dry and sunny and 70's in the day with autumn color and deep blue skies.  Lovely.

We quilted and we learned.  I always learn so much from those in class and we laughed a lot too.  One of the techniques I stressed this time was curving parallel lines, and learning to echo quilt well so that anything is possible. 

Depending on the batt, thread used, fabrics, as well as design choice, switching to a smaller needle gave a better result unless one of those things wasn't quite right, and then we had problems. 

One problem can be skipped stitches, see sample in photo above.  Everything was working fine for one student until she put in a #60 needle with a fine cotton thread.  A combination of the thin batt and the small needle caused skipped stitches.  Going back to the #70 needle solved the problem. 

Almost always skipped stitches are caused by one of the following:
  •  the needle being too small for the thread
  •  the batt being very thin and flat
  •  the presser foot pressure too low
  •  a defective needle
  •  threading done incorrectly
  •  hands too fast for the speed of the machine
Sometimes it is a combination of things, so try one thing at a time.  Re-thread, try a bigger needle, check the pressure on the foot for the thickness of the batt.

The thicker and poufier the batt, the lower the pressure on the foot should be so the quilt will glide smoothly and easily.  I switch mine to a lower pressure if I need to quilt over an island of puff without causing pleats,  increase it for doing free motion straight lines for a bit more control.  I usually decrease the pressure a bit for any free motion quilting for ease of movement, and to avoid the dreaded snowplowing of excess fabric, and the inevitable pleat that results.

Also, slow down your hands to a smooth even consistent motion.  If you want to move them faster, increase the speed of the machine to keep up with them.  Needles stop breaking and skipped stitches will be a memory.

By the way, in the photo, above, the thread tension is perfect.  You want a softly curving stitch, no visible bobbin thread, that showcases the thread, that doesn't stretch it flat and tight.  I usually recommend for all free motion quilting lowering the top tension one number.  Some of the newer machines might need less, or some not any depending on the thread, but a little leeway for the stitches to go in all directions is a very good thing.  And I didn't really have skipped stitches; I moved the needle over a bit and then continued to get a facsimile of a skipped stitch.

Try some curving, echoed lines for an interesting new way of quilting.  The bowl, above, should give you some ideas and a challenge!

I will be teaching at the museum in Paducah, KY next October in 2011, an introductory class first for quilters with free motion experience, and an advanced class for returning students to continue the adventure.  Check the museum's website for information; there are still openings in these classes, and I have not booked any more events after '11.

It's great to be home, Oliver really, really missed me and spent all day yesterday playing, attacking me, helping me unpack, scratching my suitcases, and having an ecstatic cat day.  I wish I could take him along, but perhaps his adventures will have to remain sniffing my shoes and clothes and wondering where I have been.

Keep quilting, your work gets better every day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Packing for Paducah


Halloween is coming up, pumpkins are appearing on doorsteps here, and the quilting above highlights two bat creatures emerging in some hand dyed fabric a few years ago. 

I quilted for a day at least until I saw them peering up at me, and decided to emphasize their presence with quilting rather than quilting over them.  Below, another creature that appeared in this fabric, wildly flinging his bat cape around and beckoning to me as I was trying to concentrate on my stitching.

I'm busy packing for Paducah, leaving early tomorrow for two classes at the National Quilt Museum, so hope to see many of you soon.  I will be the one with my car filled with quilting stuff.  Oh yes, I guess many of you will be in that same situation! 

Each class takes its own path, never are any the same even when I try to keep on the same agenda.  I hope to have everyone leave class a better quilter and more confident in their own skills.

The second class is for graduates of any of my classes in the past, and they already know my style, have worked on their own and now want to learn more and refine their quilting.  Hope we have some great group sharing from all the talented participants.

Recently I did an interview for so check that out if you want to read my answers to the interview questions.

Meanwhile, see many of you soon in Quilt City USA, and keep quilting, your work gets better every day!