Showing Posts From: Quilting

02 Nov, 2014

Hand Sewing with Hand Pain

/ posted in: Quilting
Slow Sunday Stitching

I’ve had to take a break from my hexagon quilt from April until a few weeks ago because I injured myself hand sewing. I ended up with tendinitis in three areas of my right hand and brewing problems in my left. I lost my grip strength and had tingling in the fingers of my right hand. I had injections and slept with a splint on for months. I’m better now and here’s how I’m going to try to avoid hurting myself again.

Support Your Work

This spring I started sewing my hexagon quilt together. Once those hexagons got all together they got heavy. I’m left handed so I was using my right hand to hold the pieces together. I was gripping hard and incorrectly.

Now when I’m sewing rows together I have the bulk of the quilt sitting on a pillow on my lap so I’m not holding the weight in my hands. I can just have the two hexagon edges I’m working on held in my hand so I don’t have to use so much force.

Keep a Neutral Thumb

My hand doctor told me that I have increased laxity in my thumbs that can lead to incorrect grip and eventually arthritis. It is seen mostly in women. This is an instance where being bendy isn’t good.

Wrong Way

Right Way

When I grip small things like needles my thumbs want to collapse in instead of staying straight. The doctor told me not to grip small things. That isn’t going to work. I was thinking one day that it would be nice if I could think of a way to hold a needle with a bigger grip. I looked at my hand held in a neutral position.

And then I laughed and considered how much of an idiot I am. I’m a veterinarian. I don’t do surgery anymore but I spent years doing that. Looking at my hand brought it back. I needed needle holders.

I brought home some needle holders and surgical needles. The needles didn’t work so well because they are triangular instead of round. The needle holders held the regular sewing needles fine though. My thumb stays neutral and I can sew without pain. Previously I could sew for about 15 minutes and it would hurt for 2 days. Now I’m good.

It goes a little slower than hand sewing but with practice it is getting faster. I can also do tighter knots at the end now because I just tie suture knots with the instruments that are much more secure than hand sewing knots. (If anyone is interested I can show those. They work great for tying quilts too.)

You can get needle holders in farm supply catalogs and on eBay. Fancy ones can be really expensive but you don’t need ones that are going to hold up to being sterilized a lot. Cheap ones work great. Hemostats can work too. They are even cheaper.

Needle holders on the left, hemostats on the right. Hemostats are made to clamp vessels and come in lots of sizes. Some needle holders have scissors on them. Don’t get those if you have a choice. It seems like a good idea but every time you accidentally cut your thread when you are trying to grab your needle, you will cuss them.

I also got some thumb supports at the grocery store. It is difficult to hyperextend your thumb with them on. I’ve worn it on my right hand to keep myself from gripping so tightly. After I sew now I put a topical arnica and menthol gel on my thumbs too.

Does anyone else have any tricks?

29 Oct, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I feel like I’ve posted a hundred versions of this photo. (That’s why I tried to get Freckles to pose with it but she’s tired of it too.) I’ve been stuck on this hand pieced quilt because of hand injuries all year. But now I finally have the first three rows together! I put them back in the sewing room so I can quit looking at them and pulled out row four to sew together.

I started a baby quilt for my boss’ wife. The baby is due in December so I figured I better get a move on. I am impressed with the fact that the quilt coordinates so nicely with the kitty litter box in the photo.

24 Sep, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

So after my husband decided to stay in the land of the living, I turned my focus to an event that we had been preparing for. There is a small town festival near here that has been turned into a huge veterans’ event because of their police department’s Facebook page. Basically, the Facebook page is crazy popular. I think it is the 3rd most popular police Facebook page in the country. The police chief decided to focus the festival on veterans and invited everyone to come to it last year. This year it is bigger.

Quilts of Valor had a booth for 4 days and did a public presentation with the police chief on Saturday.

We were supposed to present 17 quilts. I’ve been scrambling for quilts so I was glad to pick these up from the Purrfect Quilters on Wednesday night.

At our booth we had info for quilters and info for people to nominate veterans for quilts.

Here are some pictures from the presentation.

Remember that I said that this was a social-media driven event? I posted those pictures to the police Facebook page and they have gone all over the place. They’ve been shared like crazy. People have been joining the Quilts of Valor Ohio Facebook page. Over 1/3 of the page likes are now from this weekend. The album page of these pictures have been seen by over 42,000 people. The requests for quilts are starting to roll in.

During it all I managed to do some sewing. I picked up my hexagon quilt again. I haven’t done any hand sewing since I gave myself tendonitis in my hand. I sewed together the third row and my hand got a little sore but it was management by just doing a little at a time and changing the way I hold the pieces together.

10 Sep, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

Would you look at this? Actual quilting going on at my house.

There has actually been tons of boring quilting all summer. It has been my summer of backs. I’ve been making backs for a lot of Quilts of Valor tops that I had donated and sending them to quilters.

We have a big presentation coming up next week and I got worried about our quilt count. I wanted some backup quilts so I pulled out this giant star and started quilting it. I did some straight line quilting, some meandering, and used this stencil with hearts surrounding a star on the corners.

Sorry for the black on black picture but you get the idea.

I worked for days on this. I was dedicated. Then I realized that we were fine on quilts and … I haven’t done anything for a few days. Yep, I’m an emergency kind of quilter.

28 May, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

There was a whole lot of quilting going this week. Nothing focuses you like a deadline.

We did a Quilts of Valor presentation on Sunday at a church in Cleveland. We gave quilts to 14 veterans.

I had several quilts that I had worked on in the presentation.

This quilt was made of the 10th anniversary blocks made by a local quilt store. I put them together into a top and finished the binding the day before the presentation.

My anchor quilt finally got finished. It has a lighthouse panel on the back. It went to a Navy veteran of course.

I made this swoon quilt.

This top was made by Colorado volunteers and I bound it in my week long binding odyssey.

This is another Colorado quilt.


We made a bunch of 4 hour star quilts and Star Spangled quilts for this presentation.

24 May, 2014

NQA Show

/ posted in: Quilting

My mother and I went to the National Quilting Association show in Columbus yesterday.

The quilt I found most amazing was this icon-like quilt. It is done with gold lame and paint. There are semi-precious stones on it too.

Christ in Gold by Laurie Tigner

If you make a quilt with animals on it, I’ll probably take a picture.

Dress Your Pets Up Day

Noah’s Tree of Life by Linda Pool – Appliqued animals in pairs and if there is sexual dimorphism it is shown. The cow and the bull are different for example.


CATS!! Just Garden Variety by Jane Anderson

Nos-y Neighbors by Sherrie Cahill


Crime Scene Investigation by Pauline Salzman

Bunny Day

The Quilt with the Dragon Tattoo by Nancy Arseneault

Some Assembly Required by George Siciliano – Miniature!

From NQA 2014
From NQA 2014
21 May, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

My quilting this week involves binding. Lots of binding. We have a Quilts of Valor presentation this weekend and we are putting finishing touches on quilts. We had a sewing day this weekend to get a lot done. My machine quits after sewing for 4 hours. I’m not sure why. I’ll be sewing along and all of a sudden the tension goes totally loose. I haven’t changed anything and there is no fixing it. You have to shut down the machine and start again tomorrow. This isn’t a fancy machine with lots of computers to get confused either. It is just tempermental.

I think this is the scariest thing we do as quilters, especially with these red, white, and blue quilts. This one turned out ok.

The Navy anchor quilt is on its second go round in the dryer. Then I just have to do a final go over for threads.

I have 1 and a half more bindings to put on.

I picked up my hand sewing again after a few weeks off.

I have 3 more seams to sew and I have the first two rows together.

I met an amazing lady this week. This is Ruth.

Ruth is 94 years old. She’s made over 500 quilts in her life. She has Parkinson’s Disease and is prone to falling. She figured that if she had to sit a lot then she might as well sit at her sewing machine. She heard about Quilts of Valor last year and made 12 tops for a local event. Since then she’s kept sewing. She gave me 35 tops that she’s made since January.

Here’s a sample of what she made.

14 May, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

My quilting this week has been of the boring but necessary type. I made a back for a donated top. I’m working on quilting my anchor quilt. I just decided that I need to pull out the entire center section of the quilting because of tension problems. I had the horrible realization yesterday that Memorial Day is next weekend and not in 2 weeks. The anchor quilt is part of a presentation on Memorial Day weekend. Crap. It is crunch time now!

I did have one Quilts of Valor presentation this week.

This one started out as a presentation for a Medivac helicopter pilot from the Vietnam War. Then we found out that his grandson who is currently in the Navy was going to be there. We gave quilts to both of them.

From May 14, 2014
23 Apr, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I got two rows finished and started sewing them together. I’m still trying to get the hang of working with the bulk of the quilt. I was gripping it too tight when I started and ended up straining some muscles in my thumb. Yeah, that’s me, lift weights all the time and then injure myself sewing.

I think I’m going to try paper clipping the section I’m working on together so I don’t have to hold it so much.

I’m quilting the words U S Navy into a quilt border. It is going to take forever with the technique I’ve chosen. It is going to be very subtle once the chalk marks are washed out. Hopefully it will still be noticeable.

In Quilts of Valor news, these three quilts were donated by a local guild.

16 Apr, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced I started sewing together the first column on my hexagon quilt!

I immediately sewed one of the hexagons onto the wrong spot!  Now I have to get the seam ripper out to fix the purple one.


I finished a few more of the fox fabric hexagons this week. I wanted to have a nice cute picture with hexagons and animals but apparently my models are completely over posing with quilt blocks and I’m embarrassing them.

If they want to be that way, fine. I’ll take my fox pictures without them.

12 Apr, 2014

EPP Progress

/ posted in: Quilting
splish splash stash

I knew I was within a few flowers of having the center of this quilt ready to be put together. I laid it all out today and was confused by the fact that it seemed like I had too many flowers even without finishing up the last few I had calculated that I needed. I was feeling like quite an overachiever!

I should have known better. I realized it when I went to bundle them up.

I had forgotten to lay out the whole last row. I’m off to finish up by last few flowers that I need and I’ll start trying to sew the rows together!

09 Apr, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I feel like all I’ve done is work on quilts this week!

I finished 2 flowers this week. I’ve only got 6 left before I start putting my top together!

I had a big, busy Quilts of Valor week!

On Friday I got representatives from as many groups in the state as possible together to go through the free fabric available to nonprofits at a fabric warehouse in our state. We all left with bags and bags of fabric to use for QOVs. It was nice to be able to put faces together with email accounts.

On Saturday we had our second northeast Ohio sewing day. We have a big, sort of spur of the moment presentation coming up and we worked on getting tops together for that.

Stars were appliqued on 6 of the striped quilts and we made triangles and started putting together the 4 hour star quilt tops. I’m loving this pattern from

We may need to change our event name. My mom was there from Pennsylvania and one quilter brought relatives from Michigan. Her granddaughter had sewn but never quilted before but now she can make half square triangles like a champ!

When I got home from the QOV event on Friday night this was waiting for me. I knew that I had to get it to someone I would see on Saturday night so I hurried up and got it bound and had my mother make a pillowcase for it. It will be presented soon.

This quilt came from a group in the Toledo area. It is going to a veteran in central Ohio.

Our Akron group donated this top made from anniversary blocks collected last year.

I have to get a backing made for that and get it sent off to a quilter.

I got two quilts back from a quilter yesterday. She surprised me by binding them and making pillowcases for them too!

I’ve gotten my mother involved too. She brought me her version of the 4 hour quilt top.

I think I have 3 more quilts coming back from quilters this week. That should temporarily take care of the backlog of individual requests we have here. There are other states that are swamped with requests and don’t have enough quilts to get to everyone. If you would like to help out, check out Quilts of Valor’s website.

02 Apr, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I finished 3 more flowers. I only have one more to go in this fabric and then I’ll be moving on to my last fabric.

The turtle quilt is quilted and bound. I quilted it with straight lines in the black and free motion on the turtles to help hold down the fused applique. It is just a wall hanging so that should work.

I started making this four hour quilt top. This is about 2 hours in so I suspect the timing is about right.

We have a couple of Quilts of Valor presentations coming up and we have a backlog of quilt requests so fast patterns are appreciated.

26 Mar, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I finished my Honus of Hawaii top. (Like my socks? I didn’t notice them since this was an instagram photo and they didn’t show up there but they sort of match. They can stay.) My goal is to get it quilted by Saturday when I am going to my parents house. They did the same Hawaii trip. I am going to casually say, “I finished this up less than a year after the trip. Na na na na na na.” That last bit is important. Even if I don’t say it it will be implied. My mother makes lovely scrapbooks but never in a timely fashion. This came back to bite her when she finally got around to working on her Grand Canyon scrapbook and realized that many of the pictures included my ex-husband. That’s why you should get things done so you aren’t stuck working with pictures of people you don’t like anymore. Free life lesson for the morning. (Wow, I’m really free associating today.)

Of course immediately after taking that picture, this happened because quilts without cats are an abomination.

It is a wall hanging but he makes it look so small. A friend on instagram did note that he is actually a mountain lion so it isn’t truly representative of scale. The turtle blocks are 9 inches square. The quilt is around 40 inches square. The cat is very long.

In EPP news, I finished up the seven text fabric flowers and moved on to the ninth of ten fabrics – the pink polka dots. At this rate I’ll be done making flowers in less than a month and then I have to figure out how to put the top together.

Quilts of Valor news – There is a new program where you can buy bolts of patriotic fabric for $3 a yard to use in QOVs.
Here’s a link to the PDF of how to order. PatrioticQuilt-SalesSheet

The 2014 Block Drive Pattern is here too.


Linking up to One Flower Wednesday.

19 Mar, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

After I finished off getting six Quilts of Valor tops off to various longarmers around the country and all the quilt back making that that entailed, I was at a bit of a loss for what to do. I decided to work on some stuff of my own. Crazy, I know.

I started working on a quilt pattern that I bought when I was in Hawaii in June.

It is a wall hanging with 4 sea turtles. I got the first two together. I still need to applique the shells. They are fused right now. I’m not even going to try to applique all those details. Cutting them out was bad enough. I think they are just going to get heavily quilted.

I signed up to take a Craftsy class on machine quilting. I’ve done a bit but I figured more practice was good. Now I have to make a top to quilt before I can start. They give a pattern that is cute.

I also made 4 and half hexy flowers this week.

The husband finally grasped the implications of all the time sewing these. We were in the car and he said something about how he couldn’t understand how I could sew those all the time because it would make him crazy. I said that everyone thinks that until they do one and get addicted. He asked if making the flowers was the point. I said no, it was a quilt and I was getting close to having all the flowers. I was around 50.

He was shocked. 50? I said that it was 7 flowers from each of ten fabrics and the text fabric was fabric number eight. I think he thought I just made flowers and shoved them in a drawer. Actually given the number of UFOs I have that isn’t a crazy assumption.

Linking up with One Flower Wednesday.

12 Mar, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I pulled out my anchor quilt to work on the quilting again. I was just doing wavy horizontal lines to suggest waves. I got the body of the quilt finished and now just have to work on the border.

Piecing oversized blocks totally defeats me. I can’t get seams to match for anything. I covered the horrible seam intersections with applique for this quilt. I still don’t know how I feel about it.

I’m still moving right along on my hexy quilt. It needs seven flowers from each of ten fabrics. That text print is the first flower from fabric number 8!

Linking up with One Flower Wednesday.

08 Mar, 2014

EPP Link Party

/ posted in: Quilting
splish splash stash

I’ve gotten a lot done on my English Paper Piecing this month.

I’m incorporating some hexagons onto a Quilt of Valor top. I found out that I haven’t been ending my stitches firmly enough when I took the paper out of these and they started to open up so I’m working on that.

I’m still working on my HexyMF quilt. I have 42 of 70 flowers done. I swear that last time I counted I thought I had 42 too and that was many flowers ago. I hope I just estimated last time and I’m not actually stuck in some kind of quilt vortex where no matter how many you make you still have the same amount.

There are spots open in our 1 inch hexy swap. You just swap the basted hexies. No sewing required. Right now it is hosted on Flickr but Flickr crashes my browser every time I open it now so I’m going to be moving it to Instagram. Here’s the Flickr link.The monthly themes:

March – blue and yellow
April – purple
May – green
June – anything goes!
July – red, white, and blue
August – pink
September – red and aqua
October – novelty/I-spy
November – orange and brown
December – red and green

05 Mar, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I finished the binding on the Star Spangled Quilt.

It will being mailed out to be used in a presentation for Quilts of Valor in Dayton.

I’m still working on my 15 minutes a day project. I got the top all pieced.

Now I’m starting to applique some of the hexagon flowers in place.

Here are some other flowers I’ve made this week.

From Drop Box

One is for the QOV and the other two are for my hexy quilt. Linking up with One Flower Wednesday.

26 Feb, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I was traveling last week and took some of these hexagons to sew together. They are two different project. The small ones are for applique accents for a Quilts of Valor top and the large ones are for my HexyMF project. I got addicted to making these again and kept sewing once I got home so I have a lot of flowers this week!

12 Feb, 2014

Quilting Wednesday

/ posted in: Quilting

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I’ve got row 6 of 8 done on the quilt that I’m making for Quilts of Valor. I’m only working on this one 15 minutes a day. I’m on day 21 today.

I also started the Animal block from Fandom in Stitches’ Muppet series. I think he looks sort of sinister with just one eye done.