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Missed one

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I don’t always post about a quilt finish the minute I get it done.  I might be anxious to get another one on the machine or I might have an appointment or there might be something else that time doesn’t allow me to set at the computer.  Back in early March, right before I became ill for three weeks,  I had finished a quilt but completely forgot to add it to my quilt finishes list 2014.  I was looking through photos for something and came across it.   I’m posting about it so I can add it to my count.

Quilts and quilting 2014 059

This one was stitch in the ditch and quarter inch outline only.

Quilts and quilting 2014 061

The owner wanted minimal quilting.  I did straight lines on the outside border.  Keeping it simple.

Quilts and quilting 2014 060

Every quilt finished is a good thing.  My list of quilt finishes is mainly for me but it’s also for those who wish to see examples of my work.  Keeping count gives me a visual boost when I need one.  Sometimes a quilter needs to know she is being productive when it feels as if nothing is getting done.   Also, the pictures and their links can be used by other quilters to get some eye candy now and then.  We quilters sure do love looking at the work of other quilters don’t we?  I go looking at least a couple of times a week for inspiration.

Well anyway, this one is added to my finishes for this year.

Nancy’s quilt done

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Aww… it got away before I could take it’s picture.  Gee whiz, some quilts escape so quickly.  This is all that’s left to show it was ever here.

Quilts and quilting 2014 070


Anyway, my SIL came over and I quilted one for her to give to her great grand at a birthday party Saturday.  I helped with the binding too.  It was small and I used a pantograph so it got finished in about three hours.  I’m including it in my 2014 finished quilts count because it did get done.  I need to be quicker with the camera next time.  I want to know how productive I am this year.

This one is done too

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Bobby J’s fourth quilt is finished.   It’s a snow ball quilt embroidered with the names of fabric stores she’s visited in different states.

Bobby's quilts 2014 003

I did a swag feather type design  to carry the circles of the snowballs.  Then a straight line design along the border.  Then meandering on the snow balls.

Bobby's quilts 2014 006

Here is another view of the feather swag design.  In this picture you can see the leaf design on the corner stones.

Bobby's quilts 2014 005

I put a different design in the corners. I wanted it to be kind of round too.

Bobby's quilts 2014 008

Here is another view of another corner.

Bobby's quilts 2014 004

This was an easy quilt to do.  All of Bobby’s quilts are small and can be finished quickly.

I know that my computer is not just going to die on me because of the end of XP support but it sure is giving me fits today.  Slow…. slow…. slow….. and getting slower.  I ran three different security software on it this morning but it is still very slow.  Maybe there are a lot of people connected to the internet at one time slowing down the system?  Ok, it’s an irritation but nothing I can do about it now.  I’ve got quilting to do anyway.

Next ones finished

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Yup, I have some finished quilts to show.  First, a peek at the issue quilt from a few posts ago.  I got the whole thing stabilized.  I was quilting along doing just fine with a feather on the border.  Then I saw this tuck in the backing.  It wasn’t visible until I advanced the quilt.



So it comes off the machine for me to do some frog stitching.  I decided to do the frogging in the evening while watching TV instead of using daylight.  Daylight is for machine time.

Started frog stitching

Started frog stitching

So I put three small quilts on to quilt.  Three together for fast quilting.  Fast easy ones that will help pay a bill quickly. Here’s the first one.  It’s a Christmas Stocking to be used as a table topper.  All I did was stitch in the ditch.

Bobby's stocking quilt

Bobby’s stocking quilt 2014

Ok, this is the second one.  A bunny quilt that is also a table topper.  I did simple stitch in the ditch on this one too.  Then I did straight line quilting on the tan inside border and the background behind the bunny.

Bobby's quilts 2014 010The third one is kissing bunnies.  I did stitch in the ditch around the characters and stippled the background behind the bunnies.  Straight lines on the outside border and the dark inside border.  A feather (?) design on the pink border.

Bobby's kissing bunnies quilt 2014

Bobby’s kissing bunnies quilt 2014

Here is a view of the back of the kissing bunnies.  The backing is flannel.

Bobby's quilts 2014 017

How did I put three on the machine at the same time?  End to end.  Like this.  When you have small quilts and the backing is about the same size you can quilt more than one by floating the tops.  The tops do not have to be close to the same size but the backing does.

Backings sewn or pinned together

Backings sewn or pinned together

I sometimes will sew a temporary piece of fabric to a backing in order to fit it closer in size.  An inch or two smaller is ok though.  Bobby knows if she plans to use the same fabric on more than one small quilt that it’s best to leave it as one whole piece instead of cutting it apart.  It makes my job easier because I don’t have to sew it back together again before quilting.  Bobby has one more small quilt here that I plan to quilt tomorrow.  That way she can pick them all up together.  She drives here from the other side of Kentucky to bring her quilts to me and drives again to pick them up.

I think it’s time for me to get off the computer and back into the studio.



This and that

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I need to clear up a couple of things.  A few days ago I wrote a post about a double sided quilt.  That post reads as if I was complaining but actually I was simply explaining.  I can never be sure how a reader interprets my writing. There are a few beginner machine quilters who read my blog to learn how to handle issue quilts.  The best way to learn is to find someone who will explain or teach.  That’s what I try to do with my blog.  I’m passing along knowledge I’ve learned over the years.

The only thing I actually complained about was the “deadline” of getting it done.   I did talk with Sheila and it was explained I had it wrong.  The quilt was not for the person who passed away.  Sheila wanted that person to see the quilt but the quilt was not for them.  It was for someone else.

I love the SC ladies.  They send me the most interesting quilts to work on.  Yes, some of the quilts have issues.  Their issue quilts challenge my mind and keep me on my toes.   I love that the SC ladies experiment with new techniques and do interesting things with fabric.  If these ladies are not afraid to try something new then I’m not going to be afraid to quilt it.  Actually,  I love the issue quilts.  I prefer issue quilts over perfect quilts.  When I get an issue quilt it is the perfect opportunity for a good blog post.  I’m still working on Sheila’s quilt.  She told me it’s ok to take my time finishing it.

About my mortgage.  I am a survivor!  I’ve been in much, much worse financial troubles in my lifetime.  I always bounce back.  I did make the final mortgage payment.  It took everything I had plus a few items went to the pawn shop but it is paid now.  No one likes to be cheated or robbed or swindled but it does happen.  We pick ourselves up and go on.  Sure it will be a struggle for awhile but I CAN do it.  I won’t go hungry because I have a ton of food.  I won’t become homeless because I now have a paid for house. (smile)  I can finally say….. I’ll never be  homeless again and know it’s true.  I appreciate the thought of taking up a collection for me.  I see collections taken up all the time and sometimes I add to them too.  I think my favorite was the school bus monitor who got enough to take a nice vacation. Nice thoughts but believe me when I say…. I will survive!

Here is my plan.  (just explaining) The only thing I paid so far this month was the mortgage final payment.  None of my normal bills are paid for this month.  Thank heavens for my quilting.  I do have enough tops already here to pay all my bills plus late fees.  I’m going to be quilting the quilts out of order this month.  I’m doing them according to what bill needs to be paid first or next or next and so forth.  The first bill to pay is the gas/electric bill.  I need it to keep quilting.  A quilt I finished a couple weeks ago will be picked up this week and that money will pay the gas/electric bill.  I’m doing a set of three small ones next which will pay the phone and internet bill.  Then a quilt to pay my mother’s insurance.  Another quilt to pay the water bill.  You see what I mean?  It will be a bit of a struggle but all very do able. I have a good history of paying all bills on time so being late once won’t be too bad.  If I had not been sick almost the whole month of March I would have already earned enough to pay all the bills plus the final mortgage payment.

About my blog.  I may not be blogging too much longer.  I have windows xp which is no longer going to be supported after April 8.  ATT is also making changes which go into effect on April 8.  My old computer can’t handle the upgrade to windows 8 and I can’t afford a new computer.  It seems I will be joining the millions of others who don’t have computer access.  Heck, I’ll be just like everyone else.  I’ll keep blogging as long as I’m able.  I don’t want anyone to be surprised or confused if I suddenly stop blogging for more than a few days.  When my computer does quit working I’ll do my best to go to the library to write one final post and let everyone know.

It’s time for me to get off the computer and into the studio for today’s work.



Mortgage update

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Basically….. I’m screwed.  Every extra dime I’ve paid all these years means nothing.  All a mortgage company has to do is finagle the books a little and they get it all.  It would be the same outcome if I had paid an extra $1000 a month instead of fifty.  All they need do is tweak their bookkeeping and that extra money is gone.  The extra principle payments did not reduce the amount owed by a single penny nor did it reduce the number of years by a single month.  Really heart breaking to realize what a sucker I’ve been to send extra when I should have simply made the payments as normal.

The burden of proof is on me.  I’ve used mortgage calculator after mortgage calculator to try to duplicate this company’s figures and I can’t.  Nothing adds up right.  Of course it wouldn’t.  But, the burden of proof is on me.  Absolutely everyone, lawyers and CPAs too, look at the paperwork this company sent me and automatically  “assume” the company figures are right.  When I try to point out the mathematical errors everyone says “Where’s your proof?” and that’s it.

The appointment yesterday with the lawyer obviously didn’t go well.  She’s like the rest and can see only what the company says and not the truth.  She also said “Where’s your proof?”  The cases she does have against this company are less than five years into the mortgage.  None are in a situation like mine.  So on Thursday I’ll make the final payment and pray like crazy that this company doesn’t find some kind of excuse for more money or come at me with something else.

So now it’s over.  There is one consolation in all this mess…. I don’t have to make a house payment every month anymore.  I can live rent free from now on.

Predatory mortgage servicing

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I’ve been sick again.  More days in bed.  It wasn’t the same illness.  It was different.  It was weird.  Sort of like I suffered half an illness then went back and suffered the other half later.  Yeah, that’s weird.  I can say the illness is in part due to STRESS.  Worry leads to not eating and not sleeping, which leads to lower resistance to illness.  I’ve been extremely stressed for a few months.  Let me tell ya about it.

Every financial planning book I’ve ever read, every financial guru I’ve ever listened too, and every frugal living person says in order to pay off a mortgage early you should pay extra principle payments.  Paying extra money on the principle of a loan will reduce the amount of time and reduce the interest owed.  Even a small amount adds up over time.  Makes sense doesn’t it?

So how is it a person can pay extra mortgage principle payments, every single month, without fail, for 25 years and not reduce the time by even one single month  or the interest amount by even a single penny?  Predatory mortgage servicing that’s how.  A predatory lender sold my mortgage to a predatory servicing company and I didn’t have a choice.  This year I’ve became a part of the big mortgage crisis.  Gee whiz, who knew?

From the day I moved into this house I’ve sent extra payments on the principle.  It started out as only an extra $5 and increased over time.  During the last 12 years the amount has been either $53 or $103 extra in addition to my regular payment every month.  I rounded up to an even amount.  I sent the extra money without fail every single month all these years.  Even during times, years ago, when my daughter and I ate at soup kitchens because I had so little money.  That was the days before machine quilting was accepted by quilters.

I had one goal in mind.  To pay off the house early and live rent free the rest of my life or sell the house and move to a better neighborhood.  Well, the final payment, called the anniversary month, is April 1,2014.  Guess what.  According to the mortgage servicer, I still come up short of paying the mortgage off by over $2,000.  What they are saying is that unless I pay the money they can foreclose on my house and they will.  Can you say MAJOR STRESS?

I’ve contacted some lawyers.  All said they could help me, for a price, until they looked at the paperwork.  Every one of the lawyers assumes the mortgage company is right and I am wrong.  Why?  Why is the mortgage company any more honest than me?  I was always taught “never assume because it makes an a** out of u and me”.  The mortgage service company said when they bought my mortgage twenty years ago that I was six months behind on payments.  That’s a lie!  Ok for argument’s sake let’s say it was true.  Should it take me over twenty years to get caught up?  You see my point?

This company has done several other illegal things too.  They tried to force me to take their insurance even though I’ve always had the same policy I pay myself.  I sent my regular payment, on time, and this company used that payment to pay for an insurance policy I didn’t need and didn’t give my permission to purchase.  Ok, this meant my regular payment wasn’t made so they charged late fees and something else.  Next month’s payment is put toward the missing payment and the fees, which meant that month’s payment is missing.  I find out about the insurance thing and it takes me a few months to get the money returned.  BUT, instead of giving me full credit for everything, the late fees and extra charges are left as “owed” which means every payment after that is less than what I believe I’m paying.  None of this is included in the monthly statements.  It’s hidden from me for all these years.  This force placed insurance scam happened not once but four times.  That’s four times the late fees etc.

Yes, I did question why my mortgage wasn’t going down faster and got all kinds of replies.  All in a foreign language.  I believe the phone operators are in Nigeria or India.   On more than one occasion when I asked to speak to a person who had better English I was transferred to a time and temperature phone line here in the states.

I have an appointment to see another lawyer today.  She says she knows exactly about this company because she already has other clients with the same complaints on the same company.  Yippie!  This means I’m not the only one having a problem.  I’m not alone and not a complete idiot for it happening to me.  I had to giggle when the lawyer said she could make a whole career out of handling no other cases than complaints about OCWEN.  A full time OCWEN complaint lawyer is a great idea in my opinion.  Hey, it beats chasing ambulance cases.

Over the last year I’ve gotten myself well educated on predatory lending and predatory servicing. I know more about the mortgage bubble than I thought I’d ever want to know.  I’ve read tons of lawsuit briefs.  I’ve read hundreds of stories on blogs about how people’s homes were stolen with illegal practices.  One home was foreclosed, over less than $100, while the owner was taking cancer radiation treatments.  This foreclosure happened without warning or court appearance or anything.  The papers were filed in the court house, walked outside to the steps, and auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Ok, I can’t find the right link but here is one similar.  Be sure to read the comments too.  Read here.  There is one comment about a couple who paid 14 years on a 15 year loan and still owed $74,000 on an original $10,000 loan.  Their mortgage was going up with each payment instead of down.  Figure that one out?

If you think the mortgage crisis can’t be affecting you, think again.  Does any of these names look familiar?  OCWEN, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Litton, Homeward, American Home,  Bank of America, Ally Bank?  There are many others but these are all I could think of at the moment.  It’s been like a game of “whack a mole” for homeowners and involves just about all banks and mortgage companies.  When one place grows tired of hitting the homeowner with illegal fees it bundles a bunch of mortgages and sells them to another company who starts the whole thing over again.  The higher the equity in a home, the more valuable it is to a predatory service company or bank.  The homeowner has no choice in the matter of mortgage sale.  Senator Elizabeth Warren asks some really good questions here.  Elizabeth Warren grills bankers.

Ok, I could set here and type talk all day about the illegal practices of mortgage companies but quilts need to get finished.  I sure hope this lawyer doesn’t back out like the rest.  There’s no indication she would but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much either.  If you have an interest in learning more about this then do an internet information search for yourself. Search “predatory mortgage service” “OCWEN lawsuits” or “predatory mortgage settlement” among others.  The settlement says everyone who lost a home to foreclosure by illegal means will get $1,200.  Not, thousands but hundreds in a settlement.  Providing, of course, a person applied to get the money before the deadline of 12-31-2013.



Most horrible week

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I had started working on a very special quilt for a terminally ill person.  I really  don’t like doing these type quilts!  They are always bad, bad ju ju for me.  Yet, I get them quite often.  It’s so hard to say no to a long time customer even though I say over and over and over again…..  please NO deadline quilts.  Quilts with deadlines should be taken somewhere else.  Yes, I know, I need to practice saying NO.  When I forget, I get into trouble.

It took a few days to get the batting.  Right off there are many issues to be dealt with. Not bad piecing issues.  Bad piecing would be easy to work with.  No, this quilt is perfectly pieced and perfectly pressed yet it has several issues to give me pause.    Here is the description:

It’s actually two quilts.  One is for the back, seen here.  The picture part is printed on very tightly woven fabric made for clearer printed photos.  Makes great photos but is extremely difficult to quilt.

Sheila's quilt 2014 001This is the other quilt for the front.  Again, there are the pictures printed on tightly woven fabric.  So that’s tightly woven fabric on top of tightly woven fabric.  Oie!

Sheila's quilt 2014 002Here is the 3D raised area around the blocks.  Looks nice but will be hard to quilt around.  This makes it especially difficult to stabilize the quilt because I usually SID around blocks to stabilize.  No way to SID those seams.  The trim is sewn into the seam.

Sheila's quilt 2014 003Here is the multiple layers of fabric at the seam intersections.  Must avoid those very hard fabric warts.   Most especially avoid if one from the front falls on top of one on the back.

Sheila's quilt 2014 007She wants two layers of batting to create loft to certain areas of the quilt.  She wants a wool batting and a low loft.  The pictures should stay flat.  She wants the applique to be raised and possibly a raised feather along the border to meet up with the applique.

Sheila's quilt 2014 005She wants the pieced part of the blocks to be raised also.  To give dimension to the hexie flowers and then flatten the background.

Sheila's quilt 2014 013Here are the steps I take for quilting this special quilt all while I’m praying like crazy that I’m not still working on the quilt when that person is called home.

I know the pictures are to remain flat so those areas need only one batting.  The easiest way for me to achieve this is to individually cut pieces of wool and spray baste it to hold in the right areas.  In this photo I have completed all except the borders.  I cut the wool just slightly smaller than the area so it is not in the seam lines.

Sheila's quilt 2014 009The low loft batting will be kept whole and attached as if there were no wool batting.   Before I actually put it on the machine I find the center of the backing and center of the front.  She wants the panel on the back to be centered.

In order to stabilize I use my fingers to pull back the raised trim and do the best I can to stitch so it will be hidden.  I use monofiliment thread to make it less visible but with very tight woven fabric that’s near impossible to hide.  Tightly woven fabric causes tension issues too so I check that carefully.

Sheila's quilt 2014 018It’s difficult to keep it squared on the machine.  A fat area next to a thin area does not want to roll evenly.  Eventually I get it all stabilized and square.  Can you see the loft of the wool next to the flat of the bamboo?  Ok, it’s not so easy to photograph.  The pictures are flat and the flower blocks raised.

Sheila's quilt 2014 015I’ve been careful that no fabric warts land on top of each other by constantly checking the back as I go.  I use my hands to feel for them.  I would feel and then put a pin on the top marking where one from the back is located.

Sheila's quilt 2014 016Finally the hardest part of the quilting process is done.  Stabilizing and squaring done right means the rest of the quilting is easier.  By my estimation I should have the rest of the quilting done in  no more than a couple of days then it can be on it’s way.

Sheila's quilt 2014 011I got far enough along on the quilt that felt I could take a half day with my Ladybug.  I had promised my Ladybug I would take her to a quilt show.  She really loves quilts and wants to spend time with me.  We had a nice afternoon at the Quilter’s Day Out.  Saturday March 15.  Ladybug signed up for a children’s block challenge for the fall.  She also won a fat quarter by tossing it through a hole in a board.  Which naturally meant that would be the basic of her challenge block.  We spent about 3 hours walking around, seeing quilts, voting for our favorites, learning to make Kleenex holders, and seeing lots of my past customers.  All of them asking if I’m back to quilting full time yet?  It was a very pleasant afternoon with my six year old Ladybug.

The next day I get started on the quilt again.  I got all the applique stitched in the ditch and started doing around the edges of the hexie flowers.  I’m still using mono thread.  After a few hours of stitching my throat starts to hurt and I get a headache.  I decided take a coricidin tablet (heart friendly medication) and take a nap.  Only that nap lasts a whole week!

From the time I lay down a week ago to this morning, March 22, I’ve been unable to do more than get up to go to the bathroom, drink some water, and make my way back to the bed. I have not eaten for a week.  Eww, I had not showered either and I knew it. On the first morning after getting sick I did manage to get up and call my customer to explain.  I would get to the quilt again as soon as I could.  A neighbor called to ask if I needed anything.  She bought me a 16 oz ginger ale and put it into the mailbox for me. I got it later when I was able to make it that far from my bed.  I took a sip each time I went to the bathroom.  It did help settle my stomach a little.  That’s the only food I had the whole time.  I didn’t have congestion or coughing or sneezing.  Just pain, fever, nausea,  weakness, and feeling of complete exhaustion.

My fever broke sometime in the wee hours of this morning.  Oie!  That was a dozy of an illness.  I did sleep until early afternoon today. This time there was no pain in my sleep.  While sick I had terrible pains in my muscles.  Like they were rebelling against me.  Pain like when you hit something and it bruises and hurts.  Only this was all over my body.  It was especially painful around my lower back and sides.  Anyway this morning it finally stops hurting.

First thing I want to do is shower.  Wow, much better.  Wash the sheets too.  I’m still not hungry but I fix a boiled egg and eat it slowly.  My stomach gets only a little queezy.  I look at the quilt, turn on the machine, and take a few stitches to get myself going again.  I only work a few minutes.  I don’t want a set back.  The phone rings.  It’s the owner of the quilt.  She sounds upset.  She says not to worry about being in a hurry to finish the quilt.  The person getting the quilt passed away a few hours ago.  All I can do is say how sorry I am that I didn’t get it done in time.

Like I said before, quilts for the terminally ill are bad, bad ju ju for me.  I’m setting here typing a post because when I go near the quilt I start crying.  All I can do is apologize for getting sick and not finishing the quilt.  I’ll get started on it again tomorrow. I’m seriously thinking it’s time to quit quilting for others completely.  It really hurts when this happens.  Hurts so much that I’d rather go without the income as retired than ever go through it again.  I’ll give it more thought but at this point I think it’s time to call it quits.

I’ll post more about the quilt as I finish it.  I don’t know what’s up with ATT and Google lately but it’s like working through molasses.  Extremely slow!  Must be one of those “fixing what ain’t broke just so seniors can’t keep up anymore” things.  Thank goodness I can use Firefox instead.  I typed, edited, typed, inserted photos, edited, and proofread several times while Google is still trying to connect to WordPress.  Nobody likes to play nicely with anyone else.

Another finished

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It has been several days since I posted a quilt finish.  I’ve been living life, taking classes, organizing paperwork, researching information about mortgage fraud, and other things away from the computer.  Away from the quilting machine too.  Anyway, here is the finished quilt.

Needa's quilt

Needa’s quilt

Needa makes very large quilts.  Her quilts barely fit onto the quilting machine.  Because of the busy fabric the stitching doesn’t show much.

Quilts and quilting 2014 052I did nice flower type designs, custom fit to the blocks.  I hope you can see them.  Try clicking the photo to see it larger.

Quilts and quilting 2014 057Here is the design on this block, drawn on freezer paper when I was auditioning designs and practicing the movements.

Quilts and quilting 2014 058The designs I did are nice designs but they simply don’t show up well in a photo.  LE lace on the inside border.  (big loop & little loop, as Ladybug calls them)

Quilts and quilting 2014 055A pretty feather design on the outside border but who will know?  It doesn’t show up well either.

Quilts and quilting 2014 053I believe an overall (pantograph) design would look much better on a quilt like this but the customer wants custom.  I have several quilts that came to me in the last couple of weeks.  An answer to a wish and a prayer.  For at least the next couple of months I can count on a steady income again.

Now if only…… if only……. the neighbors would understand that  quilting is my job, not a hobby.  Because I work at home it doesn’t mean I don’t have to work.  No work, no paycheck. They can set around all day watching tv or gossiping while waiting for a government check or food stamps but that’s not my style.  Actually it’s stay up all night watching tv and sleeping all day for them.   Umm, ok, that’s a whole different blog post.  I’ll work on that later.



What’s this?

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Sunlight!  It’s so bright that it competed with the camera.  When I took a picture it made the whole room look dark but it was the middle of the day.

Quilts and quilting 2014 043The sun comes through a skylight window on sunny days.  Usually right around lunch time so that’s when I take my break.  I can’t see to quilt with the sun in my eyes. I cover whatever quilt is on the machine with a fleece blanket to prevent fading and come back about a half hour later.

Quilts and quilting 2014 041I’m so glad to see sunshine!  I was getting depressed with all the cloudy days.  I can deal with the cold and the slushy, dirty snow but endless days of no sunshine is hard to live with.  I believe all around the country people are peeking out of their hibernation to see better days ahead.  Today I’ll work on this one a little while (it’s mine) and then start on a customer quilt.  My batting order arrived late yesterday.


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