Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Remember the Alamo: Why Your Longarm Quilter Won't Let You Use a Bed Sheet for Quilt Backing

Oh my gosh, you guys -- this "easy pantograph" charity quilt is finally done and off my frame.  I'm battered, bloodied and traumatized, but I learned a lot and I survived.  Let's call that a win.  ;-)


"Remember the Alamo," 60 x 80 Charity Quilt Finish

Why Bed Sheets, Drapery Panels and Shower Curtains Make Bad Quilt Backings

I used to think that longarm quilters who refused to accept bed sheets as quilt backings were just being picky quilt snobs, but now I totally understand why a longarmer would have that rule.  The backing for this particular quilt was a cotton/polyester blend, either a sheet or an unlined readymade drapery panel.  It was a tighter weave and a heavier weight than quilting cotton, and no amount of changing tension settings, different size threads, different size needles, begging, pleading, or cursing could coax this fabric into cooperating for consistently balanced stitches.  What's more, the quilt top itself is comprised of lots of different types of fabric, with many of them a heavier weight and tighter weave as well.  If I managed to get the tension looking good on one patch of fabric, it would be off again as soon as the quilting stitches traveled onto a patch of a different kind of fabric.  


Directional Tension Trouble on Bed Sheet Backing: This Is the Best Stitch Quality I Could Achieve
I spent days fiddling with settings, trying to get decent stitch quality with the combination of fabric challenges in this quilt, and I was never able to get something I was truly happy with.  I ended up just doing the best I could, and hopefully that will be good enough.  


Here's The Skinny On Directional Tension Trouble:

Here's what I learned this week!  When your tension looks great in some directions but you have unbalanced tension only when stitching in certain directions, that indicates that your needle is flexing -- bending as the stitch is formed, so the top thread is not meeting up with the bobbin thread in exactly the right place to form a good lock stitch.  What causes needle flex, you may ask?


  • The needle is too small.  Thicker needles bend less than skinny needles do -- which is why longarm machines quilt with larger needles than you might use to quilt on your domestic sewing machine.
  • The quilt sandwich is stretched too tight on the quilting frame.  This is a common newbie mistake -- the quilt shouldn't be flat and taut like a drum; it needs to drape down around the machine bed and, as you move the machine around on the quilt, it should look like a critter is tunneling around under there.
  • The quilter is trying to quilt way too fast and needs to slow down.
  • Stitch length is too long.  Longer stitches allow the needle to bend more than shorter stitches.
  • Thread Composition: The APQS article I found on directional tension says that cotton thread pulls harder on the needle than a smooth polyester thread does, especially if it's also having to pull through cotton batting.  My So Fine thread is a lint free 100% polyester thread with a matte finish that looks like cotton.  My batting was polyester, but my atypical fabrics were giving resistance to the needle already -- perhaps switching to the slippery-smooth Glide polyester thread would have helped the needle "glide" through this challenging quilt more easily, with less flexing? 
  • Batting: Again, according to the APQS article, very dense, like a 100% cotton, is more difficult for the needle to penetrate, and if the batting doesn't have enough loft, there isn't much room for the longarm machine to form that locking stitch.  I don't think my Fairfield low loft polyester batting was a contributing factor this time around, but that's definitely something I'll keep in mind when I'm selecting battings for future quilts.  
  • Fabric type and thread count -- this is what was killing me on my charity quilt!  The needle just had to work too hard to punch through that thick, tight fabric weave.  Bed sheets have a much higher thread count and tighter weave than quilting cottons, but beautiful batik quilting cottons have a tighter weave than regular cotton prints and they can be challenging, too.  APQS suggests trying a smaller needle and/or a slippery polyester thread in this situation -- again, maybe the smooth and shiny Glide thread would have been a better choice.  Then again, I was dealing with a very tight weave/high thread count, AND a heavier fabric weight overall with my backing, as well as a quilt top that had some dress weight, bed sheets, and even drapery fabrics.  So a smaller needle would have a high risk of BREAKING, especially since I was quilting "blind" from the back of my machine and couldn't see whether I was approaching bulky seam intersections...    



I chose to use So Fine thread for this project because I thought the matte finish would make my beginner quilting stitches more inconspicuous than the shiny, showy Glide thread, and because I don't happen to have a nice neutral shade of Glide on hand that would have complemented this particular quilt top.  I am realizing that there is more that goes into selecting the best thread for each quilt than just the aesthetics of color and sheen preferences!  Even monopoly invisible thread would have slipped through these tight weaves better than the thread I used.  I'm learning, so it's all good -- and when you look at it from a distance instead of sticking your nose up to the bobbin stitches like you're the Chief Inspector for the Quilt Police, this quilt looks fine:



Floral Meander Pantograph, Front of Quilt
I feel like I did a good job of spacing the pantograph rows so they blend together into one overall pattern instead of quilted "stripes" with obvious demarcations between each pass of stitching.  The back looks okay from a distance, too:


Backing (Bed Sheet) Side of Floral Meander Charity Quilt

It Had To Be A Solid Color to Show Every Imperfection, Too...
This pantograph design is called Floral Meander.


Smoother Curves Than My Last Hand Guided Pantograph Attempt
I do like the way the neutral colored Superior So Fine #50 thread I used blends with most of the fabrics in the quilt top, and I'm getting much better at quilting round shapes from the back of the machine than I did on my first pantograph attempt back in January.  



This charity quilt is only my second try at a hand guided pantograph, and I can see that I'm getting better at staying on the design lines -- the round parts of the design are starting to look rounder and smoother and the "ogre toes" are going away, and as Martha Stewart would say, that's a good thing!


First Pantograph Attempt.  Compare Oval Inside Hook to More Rounded Shape In Prior Photo
Incidentally, the above photo is of a Popcorn LG pantograph that I stitched on a quilt made of all quilt shop cotton fabrics with Quilter's Dream Poly batting.  It's a very similar pantograph pattern to the one I used on the charity quilt, yet you can see in this backing-side photo that I was able to stitch the design with beautiful, balanced stitches in ALL directions with my APQS Millenium without any of the directional problems I experienced on the charity quilt.  (The tiny dots of black between stitches are the black batting showing at the needle holes, by the way -- the holes closed up when I washed the quilt).

And so, in my own mind, I have named this charity quilt "Remember the Alamo" because it was a bloody battle (figuratively!) but I fought a good fight and even though I wasn't successful, I never gave up.  Also I will REMEMBER my Alamo and never, ever load another bed sheet/drapery panel/shower curtain on my longarm frame EVER AGAIN!

So I have one more of these charity tops waiting to be quilted that was pieced by the same church group.  It has the same 1/2" seam allowances and the same variety of fabrics in the top, and I'll be using the same low loft poly batting.  However, for this top, I purchased a length of cotton quilt backing from JoAnn's with a nice, busy paisley print to camouflage any oopsies from the back side.  My wonderful APQS dealer suggested that, instead of following a paper pantograph from the back side of my machine, I quilt this one with a freehand allover meander from the front of the machine instead, so I can at least avoid stitching through bulky seam intersections and see what's happening while I'm quilting.  I think that's a great idea.  What I have NOT yet decided is whether I'll tackle the second charity top right away.  I might decide to load up a sample quilt with just plain muslin top and backing, "normal" batting that I would typically use for one of my own quilt projects, and use that practice piece to get my tensions tweaked again just so, practice that allover meander a little bit, and rebuild my confidence after my Battle of the Alamo...


Meanwhile, I'm linking up with:
Let’s Bee Social at www.sewfreshquilts.blogspot.ca/ 
Midweek Makers at www.quiltfabrication.com/
WOW WIP on Wednesday at www.estheraliu.blogspot.com 
Needle and Thread Thursday at www.myquiltinfatuation.blogspot.com/  
Finish It Up Friday at www.sillymamaquilts.com 
Whoop Whoop Fridays at www.confessionsofafabricaddict.blogspot.com 

Finished Or Not Friday at www.busyhandsquilts.blogspot.com/ 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Taking a Break From Longarm Tension Tantrums -- Because I Needed a Win

I needed a break from playing Sherlock Holmes with the longarm machine over the weekend, and APQS Tech Support was closed anyway, so I dug around my studio looking for a small victory, something I could cross off my list easily without pulling out any of my hair or screaming profanity.

Remember This Quilted Machine Cover for My Bernina?
I started this quilted machine cover for my Bernina 750QEE back in 2014, and you can read about how I made it in this post.  The fabric was heavily free motion quilted on the Bernina (this was before I was even considering purchasing a longarm machine), then the monogram was machine embroidered on the Bernina.  I added some bead bling by hand.  Unlike the (boring gray) cover that came with the machine, my cover was designed to fit the machine when it's recessed into my cabinet, and I incorporated a cutout at the back to slip around my multiple spool holder.  

No, This Is Just Not Cute Enough For Me
But I didn't like the way it gaped at the back opening, so I ordered a vintage 1950s frog closure from an Etsy seller...  and, when it arrived, I realized I had NO IDEA how to attach it to my sewing machine cover!

Well, after four years of not using this machine cover at all because it wasn't finished, I decided to go ahead and just DO IT on Saturday afternoon.  First, I hand basted the edges of the opening together with huge slipstitches, plain old all-purpose polyester thread, and then I basted the two halves of the frog closure in place with the same thread, using big, ugly stitches and trying to keep them away from where the "real" stitches would go.

Tacking the Frog In Place With Embroidery Floss
I found the right shade of turquoise DMC cotton embroidery floss in my stash, and just tacked the frog in place at the inside and outside points.  Two strands of floss at a time, three stitches at each point.  It's not going anywhere.  It sure felt good to FINISH SOMETHING!  

YAY!  I Finished Something!!!
You know, there are so many people who love to sew but shy away from trying any kind of hand stitching because they think it's too hard, it takes too long...  Well, when your machines are throwing tantrums and you're contemplating chucking them out the window just to watch them smash when they hit the lawn, there's nothing like the total control of hand stitching to clear your head and fill your confidence bucket again.  The needle goes exactly where I want it to go, every single stitch.  The tension is perfect, every single stitch.  No thread nests.  The worst thing that can happen in hand stitching is a knot, and the solution to that is simple -- cut a shorter length of thread next time!  

Yes, It Matches My Chair...
I also cut, joined, and pressed binding strips for my Paint Me A Story bear paw quilt over the weekend. 

Binding Ready to Go For My Bear Paw Quilt
After pressing the binding in half lengthwise, I wrapped it around one of my acrylic rulers before sliding it into a zippered plastic storage bag that came with a set of pillowcases.  I also included the binding thread spool and bobbin, because why hunt around for it later?  Now I've got the top pieced and pressed, the backing pieced and pressed, and the binding all ready to go for that project, all hanging neatly together in the guest room closet until I'm ready to quilt it.  That feels pretty good, too.

See How I Label Things Now That I'm Organized?
And remember how I told you all that I've joined the Charlotte Quilters' Guild?  Well, I noticed at the September meeting that everyone was wearing a handmade fabric name tag, so I've been thinking about making one for myself before the October meeting.  I have a few orphaned sawtooth star blocks made from beautiful hand marbled fabric that I was unable to use in my bear paw quilt because the red fabric was bleeding horribly, but I couldn't bear to toss them because I love the fabric so much...  Well, armed with the knowledge I gained from the Victorious Bloodbath of my Jingle Blocks, I decided to try soaking out the excess dye with hot water and Dawn dish washing liquid.  It worked!  

Bloody Orphan Blocks, Rescued and Redeemed
Aren't they cute?  The two larger blocks are 4 1/2" with seam allowances, and the smaller block is 3 1/2" including seam allowances.  Of course I like the baby-sized block the best, but if I'm going to hand embroider my name in the star I'm better off with one of the larger blocks.  Too bad my name is REBECCA instead of ANN or PAM!  

My plan is to baste additional fabric strips around the star block so I can hoop it properly and embroider my name, probably in white perle cotton.  Then, depending on my mood, I may or may not add some bobbinwork, additional hand embroidery, beading or whatever.  There needs to be some kind of batting and stiffener.  And I want to poke around Michael's and see if I can't find those super strong magnets for pinless badges, because I don't want my name tag to hang around my neck on strings like a feed bag.  But at least the blocks are ready to play with now.  Another itty-bitty win!

Pinned and Ready to Sew
Oh, and the other thing I got done over the storm weekend was pinning two more sets of pineapple blocks together, ready for machine stitching.  OH MY GOSH, pinning all those seams is a pain in the arse!  None of the seams nest and it takes me three or four tries to get each pin right through the seam line of both blocks.  I am starting to wonder whether it wouldn't be faster and more accurate to tack those seam intersections together with hand stitches.  What do y'all think?  I only have three out of six rows stitched together, and then there will be just as many seams needing to match when I join rows together.  This top would be done by now if the pinning wasn't so tedious!

Well, it's Monday now, the skies are Carolina blue again and the sun is shining.  APQS Tech Support is open and my APQS dealer has reached out to offer her help as well.  It's time to confront my enemy!  Wish me luck.

Today I'm linking up with:

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/2018/09/design-wall-monday-september-17-2018.html  
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts http://www.cookingupquilts.com/ 
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt http://lovelaughquilt.blogspot.com/ 

Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag: http://emsscrapbag.blogspot.com.au/ 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Longarm Learning Curve: Directional Tension Troubles

Good Morning, Lovelies!  I've had both teenagers home from school since Thursday due to the Red Cross taking over their high school as an emergency shelter for Hurricane  Tropical Storm Florence evacuees.  Here in Charlotte, we're expecting heavy rains and flooding, and I'm hoping we don't lose power because I need to do some SEWING!


Charity Quilt is On the Frame, Ready for Quilting
I've been stalled out with some Technical Difficulties for the past week.  I know we learn more from these challenges than we do when it's all smooth sailing, but it's still frustrating when something is obviously set up wrong and I can't for the life of me figure out what it is.  I volunteered to quilt a couple of tops for the charity quilters at my church, thinking that it would be a great way to serve AND get some more practice with my longarm quilting machine (which I have not touched since I finished my Tabby Mountain Disco Kitties quilt at the end of May).

So I picked up two tops from the church quilters over a month ago, including batting and backings for each, and then I proceeded to panic about them because:

  1. The backings they gave me are sheets.  One is a cotton/poly blend and the other is definitely synthetic, with kind of a microfiber silkiness to it.  I know right off the bat that, because bed linens are woven with a much higher thread count and much tighter weave than quilting cotton, these backings are going to make it much harder for me to get a decent looking quilting stitch.
  2. Since this group normally ties all of their quilts rather than quilting them, the batting they gave me is a high loft polyester, and what's more, the batting has a really uneven consistency.  In the thickest spots, the batting is nearly three times as thick as it is in the thinnest spots.  I have never seen anyone use batting like this for machine quilting and I worry that it is one of those "not suitable for the longarm" battings that, like the bed sheet backings, will introduce all kinds of additional challenges with shifting quilt layers as my presser foot snowplowed through the slippery, super puffy quilt sandwich.
  3. As for the quilt tops themselves, they are not quite like the quilts I piece myself.  Not all of the ladies who serve in this ministry are quilters, so the tops have 1/2" seam allowances instead of 1/4", they are not quite flat and square, and although seams have been pressed to one side, there are places where a more experienced quilter would have done a different pressing plan to reduce bulk where seams intersect.  But my biggest concern is that, like the quilt backings, many of the fabrics used in the quilt tops appear to be sheets, drapery fabric remnants, or scraps of garment fabrics.  
After a couple weeks of agonizing and consulting with several more experienced longarm quilters, I decided to take advantage of the JoAnn Fabrics Labor Day 50% off coupons to give myself a fighting chance with these projects.  I bought two Fairfield Low Loft Polyester battings to replace the thick battings supplied by the church group, and I bought an inexpensive extra wide cotton quilt backing fabric for one of the tops so I wouldn't have to use the slippery microfiber sheet.  I have enough of a learning curve as a beginner without further stacking the odds against myself, right?


Pinning the Quilt Top to Canvas Leader, Occasionally Stabbing Myself With Pins
So I loaded the first quilt on my frame with the new low loft polyester batting and the cotton/poly sheet backing, threaded up my machine with a neutral cream colored So Fine #50 quilting thread, and proceeded to do some test stitching off to the side of the quilt top, on the excess batting and backing.  Stitches looked lovely from the top side, but look at what was going on below deck:


Bobbin Thread Flatlining, But Only When Quilting In Certain Directions
Aaaarrgh!!!  Folks, I am not a woman who is afraid to adjust needle or bobbin tension on a sewing machine.  I understand the science of balanced lock stitch tension, and if I needed a refresher, there are a ton of tension troubleshooting videos and tutorials online to refresh my memory.  This is a different beast -- directional tension problems that only happen when I'm moving the quilting machine away from myself and/or to the left.  After an entire day of fiddling around with top and bobbin tension, I could not see ANY improvement whatsoever.  

The Internet was able to tell me that directional tension problems have nothing to do with top or bobbin tension -- this problem is caused by needle flex and/or bobbin backlash.  I'm using a lightweight cardboard prewound bobbin in a size L bobbin case with the check spring in place just as it should be, so my bobbin shouldn't be spinning backwards when the machine switches direction.  And, as for needle flex, the only recommendations I could find online were to make sure the quilt wasn't stretched too tight on the frame and/or to use a larger needle.  I was already using a size 4.0 needle initially and I had loosened the quilt tension to the point that it was dragging around with the machine head.

I had read that tightly woven fabrics such as batiks and bed sheets can behave better with a SMALLER needle, so I took a couple of new needles out of their packs and just did an informal "stab test" to see how easily each one could penetrate my quilt sandwich.  Sure enough, the 4.0 that performs so beautifully with quilting cottons had some significant resistance trying to go through this charity top made of sheets and drapery fabric.  When I stabbed the needle straight down on top of the quilt, there was a slight hesitation before the needle punched through the fabric.  The size 3.5 needle went right through easily.  And I have to say, after struggling with this project for a few days, I enjoyed randomly stabbing it with needles.

But the needle change didn't solve the directional tension problem, so I finally broke down and put a call in to APQS Tech Support on Wednesday (which I should have done a LONG time ago!).  The first thing they had me do is check that my hopping foot was centered, level, and set at the correct height -- approximately one business card thickness from the stitch plate when the needle is in its lowest position.  I would never in a million years have thought to check that, but my hopping foot was set so low that it was touching the stitch plate in its lowest position and there was no way I could have crammed a business card or even a regular piece of paper underneath the foot.  So we got that set correctly in a matter of minutes with the help of Tech Support, but then I had to run kids to activities before I had a chance to do any further test stitching.

On Thursday evening, I fired up the longarm, said a little prayer, and stitched the following test squiggles:

Most Recent Test Stitches, Top Side View
Lovely stitches from the top side, right?  But this is what the back looks like:

Same Test Stitches, Backing Side View
AAAAARRGH!!!!  It is maddening that the stitches can be so beautifully formed and then just flatline randomly like that.  Well, it's not really random; it's happening only when the machine head is being moved to my left and/or away from me.  

Well, the VERY KIND AND PATIENT woman at APQS Tech Support said that checking the hopping foot height was only the first step on her list of troubleshooting, so I'm not giving up yet!  I just haven't had a chance to call back during business hours yet.  So far in Charlotte all we've seen from Tropical Storm Florence is wind and steady rain.  I'm going out for a walk with my husband as soon as I finish my coffee, and then I'm headed back up to the studio to get Miss Millie straightened out.  I've got her plugged into a hefty UPS so no worries about damaging the machine if there are power irregularities from the storm.

But one thing I really must do is make myself a larger test sandwich off to the side of the quilt that's loaded on the frame, because these little 4" swatches are way too small and I'm running out of room with the excess batting and backing at the sides of the quilt top.  Also, I'm going to make that practice sandwich out of 100% cotton top and bottom, NOT sheets, and scrap batting that I would normally use in one of my own quilts.  Getting beautiful stitches with high quality materials is really my goal, and if the stitch quality is compromised somewhat when I'm quilting through sheets on a charity quilt, so be it.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Because Quilters (Like RAMONA!) Are the Nicest People, I Am FINALLY Joining a Quilt Guild

I'm starting today's post with a shout-out to Ramona, who blogs about her quilting and other needlecrafts over at Doodlebugs and Rosebuds Quilts.  I have never met Ramona in person, but she is one of the many kind and generous quilters I've had the pleasure to connect with on the Internet through the various quilting linky parties in which I participate.  So Ramona read my last blog post  where I mentioned that I'd given up all hope of finding anymore of the leaf fabric I needed to complete my eight remaining FrankenWhiggish Rose needle turned applique blocks.  And then Ramona, out of the sheer goodness of her quilter's heart, took it upon herself to hunt down my discontinued, out-of-stock fabric and FOUND IT for me on eBay!!!


This Project Has Been SAVED By the Kindness Of a Stranger
Can you believe that?!  Of course you can, because if you're reading my blog in the first place, chances are good that YOU'RE a quilter and you have heart of gold, too.  I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am.  Of course I had done every Internet search I could think of when I first discovered the fabric shortage a few months ago, but at that time I came up empty-handed and it didn't occur to me to keep checking since the fabric was so old to begin with.  I started working on this in 2014, so the "Sandy's Garden" fabric was LONG since discontinued.


YES!!!  New Yardage From eBay Is An Exact Match to My Strip From 2014!
Seriously, you guys -- my heart runneth over.  And Ramona, if you ever need a kidney or anything, please give me a call.  I owe you one!

I'll probably give this quilt another name if I ever finish it, but for now I'm calling it the FrankenWhiggish Rose because I cobbled the pattern together from different sources like a Frankenstein monster.  The traditional Whig Rose applique pattern was very popular with 19th century quilters, there are lots of variations, and I love every antique Whig Rose quilt that I've ever seen.  The quilt pictured below is a stunning example of an antique Whig Rose quilt from the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum:
Whig Rose Quilt Attributed to Del Patterson circa 1895-1905, International Quilt Museum Collection
Isn't that gorgeous?  Quilter Kim Diehl reinterpreted the traditional Whig Rose pattern in 2004 in her book Simple Blessings:
Kim Diehl's Country Whig Rose Wallhanging, from her Simple Blessings Book (affiliate link)
I hadn't seen Kim's original quilt when I started mine, though -- I was smitten by another quilter's adaptation of Kim's pattern when I saw it published in the September 2006 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine:


Joyce Stewart's Village Gardens Quilt, Adapted From Kim Diehl's Country Whig Rose Pattern
So I started with Joyce's pattern from the QNM magazine, but I am not a fan of hearts so I swapped those out for reverse appliqued tulip and leaf templates that I got from an antique quilt reproduction pattern in another magazine, and then I added the stuffed berries because stuffed berries are fabulous, and the broderie perse rose buds that I decided to put around the center of my main flower were because I'd never tried needle turned broderie perse and wanted to see if I could do it...  See?  An arm from this pattern, a leg from that one...  If Dr. Frankenstein had been a quilter, I'm sure this is how he would have put his quilts together, too.  

Anyway, that's where my quilt block came from, and then after making one complete block, I imported a photo of my actual quilt block into EQ software, using that photo to color plain blocks in my quilt design (the same way you'd import a photo or scan of a fabric and use that to color patches in your design).  I like to work this way, making a single block out of real fabric and then using the design software to try it out in different settings so I am sure I really love what I'm seeing on my computer screen before I go ahead and make all of the blocks, especially when it's something really time-consuming. 


My EQ8 Design for My FrankenWhiggish Rose Blocks
When I made my first block, I didn't have a whole quilt design in mind and didn't know whether I'd be making one block or several.  Once I finalized my design and knew I'd need eight more blocks just like the first one, I decided to do them assembly-line style for efficiency.  So, by the time I realized I had nowhere near enough green fabric for all of my leaves, I had already spent hours and hours and HOURS appliqueing the stems, the large layered petals, and the stacked centers onto all eight remaining blocks.  When I discovered the fabric shortage and wasn't able to locate anymore of it, I got so discouraged that I shoved the project in a bin and stopped working on it.

Now, do you understand why Ramona's gesture of kindness, taking the time to hunt down discontinued fabric for a fellow quilter she's never even met, means so much to me?  I am so excited to get this project back in my fingers again!

And the kindness of Ramona got me thinking about ALL of you wonderful quilters that I've come to know online.  My Internet quilting buddies are the best -- when I asked for help, you have emailed me lengthy tutorials, mailed me samples of your favorite products, notions, etc.  Someone made me a beautiful embroidered needle book and mailed it to me from New Zealand when I broke my collar bone in a bicycle accident a few years ago, just to cheer me up -- from NEW ZEALAND!  

And so an introverted, secretive closet quilter named Rebecca ventured forth to last night's meeting of the Charlotte Quilters' Guild, thinking that if quilters from all over the country and all over the world who've never even met me can be such wonderful people, then maybe it's worth the risk of walking into a room full of strangers to meet some of the quilters who live in my own town.  I'm going to have to play hooky from choir rehearsal on the first Wednesday of the month so I can give this quilt guild thing a try...  Wish me luck!


Do you belong to your local quilt guild?  Any advice you'd care to share with me in the comments? 

 I'm not even 100% sure that I know what one does as a member of a quilt guild besides paying the dues and showing up at the meetings.  But for now, if you'll excuse me, I have 128 leaves to cut out of my green fabric!


Today I'm linking up with:

Let’s Bee Social at www.sewfreshquilts.blogspot.ca/ 
Midweek Makers at www.quiltfabrication.com/
WOW WIP on Wednesday at www.estheraliu.blogspot.com 
Needle and Thread Thursday at http://www.myquiltinfatuation.blogspot.com/  
• Whoop Whoop Fridays at www.confessionsofafabricaddict.blogspot.com 

• Finished Or Not Friday at http://busyhandsquilts.blogspot.com/ 
Slow Sunday Stitching at http://kathysquilts.blogspot.com/  
Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com  
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts http://www.cookingupquilts.com/ 
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt http://lovelaughquilt.blogspot.com/ 
Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag: http://emsscrapbag.blogspot.com.au/ 

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