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She said I could play…

So what happens when you take a well pieced, interesting little quilt top…

Add permission from the piecer to “go ahead and play with it”…

Spoon in the 2nd edition of “Mastering the Art of McTavishing”…hot off the presses…

 and the desire to see just what I can get the new stitch regulator to do…

Yep…You guessed it… Over the top quilting!

 And yes, I had lots of fun playing!

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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Want some cheese with that Whine?

You know it’s been a long week when it takes 3 days to get 1 hour of quilting done on a baby quilt! That’s the way the week went. Nothing tragic, just appointments and bizarre interruptions. I finally got the baby quilt quilted  Friday night (still need to do the binding(Edit: the binding is now done) and was planning to start bright and early Saturday on the sampler from the same customer. (Pictures of the sampler will be posted soon)

Well, the dogs had other ideas, and after cleaning up THOSE messes, I’m at the shop ready to go… Machine cleaned, threads chosen, there will be a new color on the back, so I’ll wind some bobbins and get quilting… But the bobbin winder has other ideas…

OK, how hard can it be to find a little rubber widget? Harder than you think, and to order one from the company will be a hideous amount of money, plus a $5.00 handling fee, $6.00 shipping and at least a week in the mail… What’s a girl to do? Improvise…

This is automotive fuel line… A 1″ piece seems to be working and at $1.50 per foot I can replace it as often as I need to. So, I only wasted half a day with pesky stuff and of course soothing my frustration with chocolate was also allowed…

Chocolate Raspberry cake from our local bakery Bohemian Mama’s will certainly do the trick. So, by 12:30 I was FINALLY settling in to quilt. Geez… some days! (Edit: I got most of the sampler quilted on Saturday and finshed it on Sunday. Just the binding left now)

On a brighter note, the girls in the Wednesday night Quilting 101 class have half their blocks done so it’s time for a little show and tell. Two of them got out before I got pictures, I’ll get them next week.

Paula’s squares are laid out on the fabric she plans to use for the sashing. The dark pink and green look great together.

Bethany is fussy cutting from some cute Labrador puppy fabric. This is her very first quilt.  We may have brainwashed interested another quilter.

Hope there were lots of chocolate eggs in everybody’s Easter basket and lots of thread in your bobbin!

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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Saturday Sumation

Another week has whooshed by, but I do have a few things to show for it…
These are the blocks for the Tuesday night class quilt.

I always make several blocks as I’m writing instructions, but I don’t always get all of them done. The girls are really good about being my guinea pigs  pattern testers, but I have an embarrassingly large stack of class PhDs (that’s Projects Half Done)

Sheri’s quilt “Gypsy” is hot off the machine today

Tera’s Ribbon Stars quilt went home on Tuesday- No one does “bright” like Tera.

And Pat’s Jamestown Landing that she did in class last semester. This is a Bonnie K. Hunter Quiltville pattern, so there are bazillions of pieces. But they look so good when they are done.

I have officially started the quilt for Mikey and Becca (my nephew and brand-new niece-in-law). The first four blocks are done. I have until their first anniversary to get it done, right? 
And I even got to release my inner Martha a bit. We were celebrating a birthday at  our Thursday night quilt group- Quilt-a-rama- and as the February birthday, I was in charge of the cake. Well I couldn’t decide what type to get so I went off to the local bakery and got an assortment of goodies.
And what is a quilter to do with a bunch of squares in different colors?
Who says you can’t have your quilt and eat it too? Happy Birthday Brenda.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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Quilters Blog Hop Party

Hello to everyone hopping around the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party! And thanks to Michelle for setting it all up. My name is Leslie and I do hand-guided longarm machine quilting. It’s almost the 7th anniversary of starting to quilt professionally so what a great time to celebrate with a party and my first give-away. When you are done here, keep hopping along and see what all the other great blogs have to offer.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways 

Quilting got into my blood back in the early 1990’s when I took a beginners class- hand piecing, hand quilting, scissors and *gasp* cardboard templates. I really enjoyed it- very relaxing and satisfying, but not quick. 


Fast forward to 2000 when my husband’s first grandson was born. I really wanted to make a baby quilt, but wanted it done before the child went off to collage! Thanks to Alex Anderson and Simply Quilts I became much more comfortable with machine piecing, rotary cutting and all the amazing quilting that could be done on your home machine. Diane Gaudynski made it look so easy! I quilted three baby quilts on my DSM and knew there must be another way. That better way arrived in April 2005 (wow how is it 7 years already?)


After a 2-day workshop from a local dealer I was hooked on longarm quilting! I needed a second job that would be flexible around my “day job” and this would be perfect. That’s not to say it has all been easy. I have picked out an insane number of stitches, worked until 2:00 AM to meet a deadline and had to deal with some “creative piecing” by customers. But I learn something new every day, and don’t regret my choice for a minute. I have met wonderful people, both in person and online, made friends all over the world, and gotten to work on a variety of quilts that I would never have had the skill or the interest to make for myself.
Like Carmen’s Kaffe Fassett quilts…

 Or Mrs. Foster’s traditional ones  This is a detail And I may have gotten carried away with the quilting, but I love my job…  

You may not know this, but longarm quilters have a secret. Besides loving fabric, and color like all quilters, we need thread…lots of thread…thick, thin, matte, shiny, solid, variegated, polyester, cotton, silk and metallic. There’s always a need for one more color…one more cone or spool. Yep, my name is Leslie and I’m a Thread-a-holic. Once you try the good stuff, it’s hard to go back. For me, the good stuff comes from Superior Threads. They have a great product and a wonderful education collection- Hints, tips, classes, videos- No, I’m not affiliated with them, other than being a happy customer. Superior is where I get most of my thread…and I can go through some thread. One year I threw all my thread cones in a bag as I finished them. This was the collection at the end of the year.

Those white cores are 3000 yards each, which is about 37 miles of thread. Plus the pre-wound bobbins and spools, and there were still plenty of open cones on the rack… See…

My main thread stash

And then there is the Glide thread that has it’s own shelf, since it won’t fit on the rack (for several reasons, like there’s no room)

 And the “back stock” of my favorite Bottom Line on another shelf. The little plastic boxes to the right are bobbins. I wind several when I start a quilt and if there are any leftover, I just keep them for the next time I need that color.
 I realize there are people with much bigger thread stashes than mine, but I have hopes of catching up. I’m also willing to drag help others along with me. When I gave a friend a sample of the new Omni thread to try on her longarm she said “yeah, every good dealer gives out the first taste for free”.   OK, maybe she has a point… one of the new opportunities here at The Crafty Unicorn Quilting is the Thread Co-op. Once a month we place a combined order and all the members receive 20% off most of the retail prices. Anyone is welcome, local or not, it’s very informal and the rules are here Thread Co-op.

For this blog hop giveaway I really wanted to corrupt another thread-a-holic … I mean help the winner expand their thread stash. And since I couldn’t possibly decide what types or colors the winner would like, my prize is a $25.00 Gift Certificate for Superior thread to use directly on their site or through our co-op.


For a chance to win, leave a comment by midnight March 23 and ‘fess-up… Do you ever buy thread just because it’s pretty and you may need that color some day? Winner will be chosen on Saturday March 24 by Please leave contact information in the body of your comment if you are posting anonymously.
Now HOP to it…(Sorry I couldn’t resist)…

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!


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Better late than never

Yep, I’m running a bit late today. I could blame Hurricane Irene, or any of a number of other things, but the truth is, I just forgot today was Thursday. 

In my defense, I got involved last night in a cute customer quilt and a good audio book. I love audio books. It just amazes me that something this small can hold a full book and still have room for my somewhat eclectic collection of music. And it isn’t even a big MP3 player- only a measly 2 GB. Tiny in today’s terms. And best if all- it’s red.

And this is the quilt that distracted me…

Dianne’s Bits & Pieces- adorable, yes? And the quilting (that is hard to photograph) is interlocking circles in a pattern called 7-Treasures. It worked great.

So that’s my story…and I’m stickin’ to it…

Just a quick note about this week’s clue.. it isn’t difficult, but it does take some paying attention, so be sure your caffeine level is topped off first.

1. From your light fabrics, cut 32 rectangles 2-3/4″ by 5″

Get out 32 accent/light HSTs from step 1 and 32 of the small control/light HSTs from step 3

Sew each accent HST to a control HST to make 16 pairs.

******* Note the mirror image orientation******
Add a light rectangle to one side of each double HST unit. Press to the rectangle.

The finished units should be 5″. Square them up if necessary. See, not hard,
See you next week.

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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Happy Thursday

Are we all ready for Step 6? I know back to school is starting for some folks and as we can all sing with the  Staples commercial … It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for parents at least! So there is another pretty easy week this week

But first I’d like to give out a bit of eye candy. This quilt had lots of visitors before and while it was on the frame. It is made from the book Japanese Taupe Quilts: 125 Blocks in Calm Neutral Colors by Susan Briscoe .

To give you an idea of how amazing this quilt is… those are all 9″ blocks! It was hard to pick my favorites.

The light part of the Greek key is only 1/4″ wide. I think there was more seam allowance than what actually showed.
There is lots of quilting in the center blocks, but it is all stitch-in-the-ditch so it doesn’t show unless the light is just right.

The whole style of the quilt is so elegant and understated the only place that the quilting shows is in the borders.

And in the pillow tuck

Now, wipe the drool off your keyboard and click through to get this weeks clue. And after seeing this piecing, the clue is a walk in the park…

Short Clue:
Using 64 of the HSTs from step 1, make 16 four-patch units. See the picture below for the orientation.

Long Directions:

1. Find the HSTs from Step 1. Take out 64 and put the remaining ones away.

2. Make 32 two-piece units. Press to the right on 16 units and to the left on 16 units.

3 Join the two-piece units into a four-patch units.

4. Square up to 5″ if necessary.

Now you can help find pencils and the perfect back-to-school backpack or go drool over Susan Briscoe’s blog. I know where I’m headed! See you next week.

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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Scrap Basket Mystery Step 5

It’s Thursday again! Everybody caught up? It’s time to start putting some of those pieces together…
But first, (and above the jump for people who don’t want to see the clue) is a bit of quilty goodness compliments of  two customers.

First is Joyce’s Starry Sampler from class last spring.

I love seeing a design that started in my head actually turn into a quilt. And in class, even though everyone does the same pattern, the quilts are all so different. This quilt is so cheerful and spring-like. I used a new quilting design on this. It’s actually an oriental design called 7-Treasures, but overall interlocking rings looks good anywhere.

Fran’s Autumn Butterflies is another recent one. It’s a great quilt, but I’m not ready for fall quite yet. There’s butterflies in the fabric and quilted butterflies in the border. I’ll try to find the detail picture.

OK, so now for this week’s clue…

Short Directions:

Using the 3 ½” dark and light squares from step 4 and the 3 ½” HSTs from step 2, make 33 units that are Light-Dark-Dark; 33 units that are Light-Light-HST and 33 units that are Dark-Dark-HST. Check the diagram below to be sure the HSTs slant the correct way. Press the units with HSTs toward the center and the all square units  away from the center.
More Details:
  • No cutting this week- you have it all done!
  • Find 3 small paper bags-lunch size is good

Set aside 34 dark and 16 light 3 ½” squares from step 4. And 4 of the HSTs from step 2. This is part of my pile of parts. Some just “lovely” fabrics in there huh?

This is the part where more is better. Put the remaining dark squares in one paper bag, the light squares in another bag and the HSTs in the third bag. BE BRAVE… Assemble 33 of each of the following units by picking a random piece from each bag as needed. The only time you can throw back a square is if it matches the square to which it will be sewn. Be sure to watch the orientation of the HST.    Let yourself go…You can do this!
Unit #1- Light-Dark-Dark.
Press seam allowances away from center.

Unit #2 Light-Light-HST. Watch the direction of the HST. Press these seams toward the center.
Unit #3 Dark-Dark-HST. Same reminder as above, watch the HST direction and press seams toward the center.

Yes, the yellow can be a dark, when compared to the white in the HST.
And you’re done for this week. Got any ideas yet?

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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What I’ve been up to

So you know Faye and I went to MQX last month (is it over a month already???) and then I kinda fell off the planet. Well I have been busy. Really. Really. Busy.
One of the customer quilts waiting for me when I got back was a birthday gift for a Guitar-playing grandson.

 His Grandma really worked her embroidery machine hard on this one. Around each large picture are names of bands or musical phrases.

Then there was Carmen’s quilt for Japan. I got to use my new clam shell pattern for this one.

And finally, Mrs. Foster’s Field of Daisies.

This is the raffle quilt for the Roques Bluff Community chapel this year and as usual, she let me do what I wanted. I used some of the toys tools I got at MQX and several of the ideas I saw there. Hey, I have to have some justification for buying all this stuff.

So here are the details on Field of Daisies…

The little diagonal feather was inspired by Linda Thielfold’s Almost Amish quilt. The echo around things is a technique that Ronda Beyer uses a lot.

This medallion in the border is actually one stencil drawn sideways and then mirrored- a Karen McTavish trick. And the curved cross-hatch is from Karen McT. & Ronda Beyer.

 This is the back. And the pictures all came out really well thanks to a product photography class put on by Downeast Business Alliance that got squeezed in there the Saturday after we got back.

So now you know, I’m not just lounging around eating bonbons. And I need to get back to work. Another quilt is almost done so there will be more pictures to share.

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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UFO Challenge Progress

NOTE: this post may be dated Jan 15, but never got finished… UFO’s are EVERYWHERE!!!

It’s the middle end of the month and I am (still) only one third of the way through my UFO #6. But never fear, I have been working…

There have been customer quilts…

Some small ones…

Some not so small

That I could just go wild on

Yep, right on over the top

And of course there was snow to clear

(I had help with that… What a guy)

The good news is that my orphan spools quilt- now known as the “Ends and Pieces” quilt is quilted and ready for binding bound. This poor little top was found in a yardsale or auction years ago. It isn’t terribly well pieced, but I just thought it was fun-

Spools UFO #6

I got lucky and found the perfect border and backing fabrics and never would have imagined the red border would work, but it does. A friend calls me the “Queen of the Accent Border”.

Ends and Pieces Quilt
It’s become the E and P quilt because I used odd pieces of wool batting and then used partial bobbins of thread in the quilting. It really is coming out cute. The yellow binding is all cut, just waiting to go on done.
The other two quilts are pinned and ready to load on the longarm. Hey, there is still 30-some hours left of January right?

I don’t feel bad about this UFO having been on the shelf since 2008. A quilt I just finished for a customer is pushing 20 years! Joan started this quilt in a class in 1991. The blocks are all pieced by HAND! She put it together with the help of a couple of friends and last Thurday it went home ready to go on the bed.

Joan’s Sampler
And I have finished some things not on the “official” list…
That grey yarn really didn’t want to be socks, but it is now very happy as fingerless mitts. 
And not just plain ones either…Mitts with CABLES… it took no time at all and went so well. I may have to try and knit more.
And a little tote bag kit I won in 2009 is now finished.
So that’s the update. We will see what February brings. 

Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends

Tell me where to get more wax!

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That’s the way the pages are now loading on my laptop! I just installed an additional memory chip (all by myself) and it works!!! There are no pictures to accompany this feat because I was a bit nervous about messing with the computer inerds and all. I only added the 512MG chip, I can only guess what it’s like with the 2 gig chip…can you say Ferrari? But hey, this will do for now.

Just so this is a quilty post and has something pretty in it, here are pictures of the customer quilt I just finished. Mrs. P.  found this in a trunk in her house.

She doesn’t know who made it or when. All I can say is someone was a whiz with a needle. The decorative stitching on this is amazing.

In case you are wondering, there is no real machine quilting on it. I didn’t think I could do anything to improve the top so it is simply tacked or tied in less obvious spots about every 4 inches.

If you click on a picture you can get upclose and personal with the stitching.

 I know, I could lose my machine quilter’s license, but if I can’t improve the quilt, I’m not gonna do it. Call it “artisic morality”.

So, tonight the plan is to take this increased computer speed and see if I can FINALLY get the the new website up and running. If I do there will be an announcement tomorrow.

“Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends