Archive for the ‘“A” is for Applique’ Category

Unfortunately not a lot got done in happy longarm quilter land today. I feel like I’ve been chasing my own tail most of the day. Actually, this morning went quite well. I ran a few errands with great success but from lunchtime onward things started to go downhill rapidly.

My sewing room is well on the way to being tidy. I donated a whole lot of scraps to Quilts for Comfort which of course made room for other things. The room feels more spacious already. I plan on spending another hour or two sorting and shifting tomorrow morning.

My plan was to load Sue’s quilt in my longarm quilting system today so I could start stitching in the morning but the backing is a bit short in one direction. So after supper I phoned Sue and discussed it with her and we have come up with a solution.


The backing problem happened after I tried to do a printing job with my A3 printer that just didn’t want to work for me. So I gave it up for a bad job until tomorrow. I know a workman should never blame his tools but in this case my printer just didn’t want to work. I was so frustrated because things just didn’t progress as I had planned. Never mind tomorrow is another day. I just hope things work better tomorrow.

After spending the afternoon moving from one disaster to another, I decided I deserved a treat. So as soon as my kitchen clock read five o’clock I mixed this drink. On warm sunny days like today five o’clock is Pimms o’clock in happy longarm quilter land. My drink was really rather refreshing. I think Pimms is a very civilised drink to have while making our evening meal.


So although I had a frustrating few hours this afternoon, I tried to make most of my sunny day. The weatherman says tomorrow’s weather should be much the same as today. Today’s sunshine has given me lots of extra energy so I’m hoping to get more tidying done in my sewing room and perhaps I might even do some Freemotion Quilting done. I’m having withdrawal symptoms …. I have several blocks stashed away from my “A” is for Appliqué challenge that need joining but I think I will use the quilt as you go type method to join them together which means Freemotion Quilting the individual blocks. Projects such as this are perfect for fitting in between longarm quilting.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some appliqué work. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something that you really enjoy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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It’s been yet another busy day in happy longarm quilter land. I kicked off my day with the usual morning routine which consists of walking the dogs and emptying the dishwasher. Once that was done I disappeared into my sewing room to start longarm quilting Brenda’s quilt ……

Brenda's Quilt 1

Brenda's Quilt 2

Brenda’s chose the very funky Buzz quilting design by Hermione Agee. It’s one of my favourite designs because it stitches out beautifully every time. I used a lovely fine rich sand thread to stitch it out.

Brenda's Quilt 4


I have a little bit of “A” is for Appliqué news for you today. I received photos of Donna’s beautiful January and February blocks. The theme for January was I Love Hearts and here is Donna’s block …..

Donna's I love Heart January copy

Click on the photo to zoom in.

The theme for February was On the River and this is Donna’s block ….

Donna's On the River Block February copy

Click on the photo to zoom in.

While we’re thinking about “A” is for Appliqué I will announce the March theme…… A Basket Full of ….. So it can be any basket you like and fill it with your favourite thing. So mine basket will be full of flowers. I guess I better start drawing. This is block #12. Once March’s block is done I’ll have enough to make a good size quilt. Yippeeee. I am planning on using the Quilt as You Method on my blocks. And I hope to start the quilting soon.

Now last evening I ran trial. I wanted to find out if Bohin Milliners Needles are as good as quilt makers are reporting for English Paper Piecing. So I threaded my needle and started joining my diamond shapes together. I did a whole hexagon shape worth of diamonds and I can confirm that my verdict is yes the Bohin Milliners needles work really well for joining EPP shapes together.

EPP using Bohin Milliner Needles

I was a bit sceptical about using such a long needle but it worked beautifully. So guess I guess I will have to purchase a few more packets of Bohin Milliners needles from The Contented Cat. I believe they are the only stockist in the UK. I started buying needles last summer after hearing that they were really good. And I’ve been using them ever since. I’ve been quilt making for twenty years and now I really appreciate good tools. Bohin needles are at the top of my really good sewing tools list.

So it’s been a pretty good day in my little world. I enjoyed working on Brenda’s quilt because everything went well. I managed to load the next quilt into my longarm quilting system. I hope to get that started in the morning. And I also chose a background fabric to appliqué my little houses onto. I even traced the stitchery lines using my little light box. I look forward to getting that started.

To all my Irish friends, I wish you a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.  

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some appliqué work and perhaps drawing a block for the March “A” is for Appliqué block. I hope you have a super cosy evening working on something that makes you happy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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What a fabulous day it’s been in happy longarm quilter land today. I got loads accomplished at a quiet speed. I did a few household chores but I spent a huge chunk of my day sitting down at my hobby table drawing blocks for my Festive Whimsical Applique & Stitchery Quilt project. I managed to draw all but one block today ……


Then I traced all the shapes onto freezer paper ……


And ironed it onto fabric …..


I can’t believe how much I got done today! I just worked quietly and methodically while doing other bit and pieces around the house. I answered the phone and replied to some emails. I had a flying meeting with Susan to hand over her lovely finished quilts. And I loaded the next quilt into my longarm quilting system ready to start stitching in the morning.


This quilt was pieced by Molly who has chosen a lovely vintage looking quilting design. I can’t wait to get started.

I just realised that I forgot to announce the theme for February’s “A” is for Appliqué block. I’m running out of ideas so I thought I’d go with On the River. So the same rules apply, which is there are no rules. Just piece a block that represents your idea of On the River. There’s one more month to go now. We’ll soon have 12 block to join together to make a quilt. I haven’t decided if I’m going to join mine in the traditional way with sashing or perhaps go off piste and do something funky. So watch this space.

Anyone who reads me regularly will know that I have been teaching beginners for a while now. I thought I’d throw in a tip for all the beginners as well as experienced quilt makers tonight; when taking your sewing machine to classes always bring your user manual. You never know when you’ll need it.

Well it’s been a brilliant day for this very happy longarm quilter. I feel good about all that I have accomplished today. I got so much done on my Festive Whimsy. This means I have loads of evening armchair hand sewing to do. It’s pretty exciting to see my own design grow into something interesting.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some appliqué work. I hope you have a splendidly cosy evening working on something that makes you happy to be alive. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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Has anyone experienced good weather this weekend? Well for the most part it’s been horrible here in the UK. Some of our southern counties are still experiencing flooding and the rain is set to carry on for another few days…… Perhaps February will bring drier weather.

I’ve had pretty productive weekend. I did loads of planning and plenty of Freemotion Quilting. It’s been brilliant bringing my doodles to life by stitching it on fabric. I think I can honestly say that I have surprised myself with what I was able to produce. I have been working on a Freemotion Quilting Sampler which I hope to teach beginners and intermediate quilt makers who want to learn how to do Freemotion Quilting using the quilt as you go method. Here’s a little sneaky peek …..

Freemotion Quilting Test Run

Freemotion Quilting Sampler Block Test Run

Freemotion Quilting today

The fabric and wadding just happens to be scraps leftover from bigger projects. I have loads of Wonderfil 50wt thread and here you can see the simple tools I work with……

Tools for Freemotion Quilting

Now earlier today Pam asked me what kind of sewing machine I use for Freemotion Quilting. Well the short answer is that I prefer my Bernina 550 and 750 for Freemotion Quilting. However I can do FMQ with any machine with a bit of a warm up. When it comes to Freemotion Quilting practice is always your best friend.

You might have noticed that in amongst my simple tools is a needle. It’s an easy thread needle which I use for sewing in any loose threads. You will notice in this next close-up shot that the top V of the needle is open making it super easy to thread. This makes it so easy to get the job done.

Easy Thread Needles

It’s been a great weekend in happy longarm quilter land. I really enjoyed my extended Freemotion Quilting sessions. I did a little bit of drawing related to the quilting designs which I stitched. Tomorrow it’s back to longarm quilting. I loaded a quilt on Friday ready to get started on Monday morning. So I’ll have a good rest tonight and tomorrow I hope to meet the longarm quilting challenge.

I have a wee bit of progress to report on my latest my December “A” is for Appliqué block. All the components are ready and just need to be joined together and that’s me finished. My January block is ready for fine hand stitching.DSCN9234


So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some drawing and appliqué work while watching Call the Midwife. I hope you all have a super cosy evening doing something fantastic. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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Okay. So that’s another week finished. We’re three weeks into the New Year. Is everyone having fun yet? Well I think I am. I’ve done a lot of crafty creating over the last few weeks. And of course you all know how much I enjoy creating. I’ve designed new projects and tried new techniques. Long may I be able to carry on in this fashion.

This morning we all stepped out for a bit. On our travels we stopped for a delicious coffee and we purchased a few art supplies for my Sarah’s college assignments. Sarah’s really enjoying the subject this term. And she’s producing some really super pieces. I hope to post a few progress photos before she hands in her assignment.

This afternoon while my Sarah was working her magic with her new art supplies and hubby was ruling his empire from his workshop I disappeared into my sewing room.  In between running up and down the stairs doing laundry, I started preparing to work on my next workshop sample. I started by auditioning two different kinds of wadding ……



In the end I opted to use my very favourite Warm & White. It happens to be a little denser than the Quilters Dream Angel that I tested first. Don’t get me wrong the Quilters Dream Angel is lovely but I felt happier working with the Warm & White for this particular project. After making that decision I could move onto making my sandwiches …..


Twelve sandwiches to be exact. I will be working on a Freemotion Quilting Sampler. You all know how much I enjoy Freemotion Quilting. In fact it will be quite a treat for me to work on this project. I hope to start stitching tomorrow. And of course I will be drawing the quilting designs on paper for the booklets to be handed out in class. I put a lot of effort in devising classes. My goal is still to be sure that anyone who takes a class with me knows more at the end of the day than when they joined us in the morning. I believe a light hearted atmosphere is conducive to learning.

I have spent a little time working on my “A” is for Appliqué blocks just lately. Last week I worked on my December block by doing the fine hand stitching that holds the patches securely to the background fabric and a wee bit of embroidery to embellish it. This is how it looks at the moment ….


I have some words to add to the block; if friends were flowers I’d pick you. The theme for December is Your Favourite Quote. There are two more months/blocks to complete the challenge. I look forward to joining all my blocks to make a pretty quilt. There were months when I didn’t think I would be able to find the time to make a block but somehow I managed to catch up. It’s quite fun to work on a project in a slow and measured manor.

I’ve had a rather good week. I have that great feeling of satisfaction after getting on nicely with several projects. I longarm quilted two quilts, loaded a third into my longarm quilting system. And put the finishing touches on a couple of other projects that appear on my workshop list. My gentle goals 2014 are progressing nicely. I hope next week unfolds in a positive way.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some embroidery work all the while keeping my notebook close to hand to record any Freemotion Quilting designs to be included in the sampler I am working on. I hope you have a super cosy evening working on something splendid. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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It’s been another very good day in happy longarm quilter land. I guess you could say that I’m really back into the groove after my good long Christmas break. I say it was a long break but I spent lots of time working on project samples for classes. I got lots done during my long break.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the quilt backing that goes with the quilt top that I planned on longarm quilting today ……


Well I did work on Sue’s quilt top today and it looks great. I truly believe this is a special quilt. And I’ll tell you why. Sue pieced the centre blocks of this quilt using shirts that belonged to her friend’s husband who passed away a while ago. This memory quilt will most likely be cherished by Sue’s friend for many years to come. The quilting design chosen is Hearts in Bloom designed by Irene Steele, which is a very popular quilting design. And I used a cream colour thread. And it looks great and I have no doubt it will bring comfort in difficult times. I think this concept of a memory quilt is a super idea. Well done Sue. What a lovely friend you are. I would love to think that someone would do for me what Sue did for her friend.


Click on the photo to zoom in

It was really rather cold but bright here today. I stepped out to run a few errands. I got a lift into town with my hubby and walked back after I had done my shopping. The air was fresh and did me a whole world of good. On my return I loaded the next quilt into my longarm quilting system. I’m looking forward to working on the next quilt possibly tomorrow. The quilt tops are coming in steady now. And I’m spreading the work over weeks instead of days. I’m adding the quilt tops to my gentle goals 2014 list.

I did get to play with my “A” is for Appliqué – I Love Hearts block for a bit this afternoon……


I plan on tacking the patches in place this evening. I was hoping to get that done last evening but I didn’t work as fast as I had hoped. Never mind the block is well under way now. And besides it’s not a race.

Well the week is almost over. I’m looking forward to the weekend. For no other reason than it’s the weekend. So far it’s been a good week. I’ve been productive enough to satisfy my To-Do List. I’m still doing battle over the repairs to my sewing machine but at least now we know where the machine is at the moment. Something we didn’t know yesterday.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some appliqué work. I hope you have a super cosy evening working on something that makes you happy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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Well we’re just about the hump of the week. Wednesday has come and practically gone which means we’re more than halfway thru the work week. However it was my first day back to operating my longarm quilting system.

I loaded Frances’ quilt onto my longarm yesterday afternoon ready for start stitching this morning. This simple little cot quilt was a pleasure to work on. Frances chose a lovely brushed cotton fabric as her quilt top and between us we chose a Stars & Loops design by Vickie Malaski of Designs by Vickie. I stitched the design using a lovely fine cream colour thread. It looks fantastic. I also squared off the quilt and machined the binding on leaving the hand finishing for Frances to do. I had a lovely time working on this wee cot quilt today. I envy the little baby who gets to use this quilt.



While I was in the sewing today I loaded the next quilt into my longarm quilting system. Those of you who have had a quilt top longarm quilted before might know that each layer gets loaded in separately. So I started by loading this backing fabric ……


I love this wide back. It’s quite unusual. I don’t think I can purchase this here in the UK. Tomorrows quilt is pieced by Sue and there is a story to tell but I will save it for when the quilting is finished and I can show you. It is an interesting story so be sure to come back tomorrow so you can read about it.

Do you remember the block I designed yesterday for “A” is for Appliqué January’s theme? Well while my supper was simmering on the cooker I went back into my sewing room and traced the appliqué templates onto freezer paper. The whole process of tracing and cutting didn’t take very long. I always imagine that it will take much longer to get to the point where I tack the patches to the background fabric but it doesn’t. And it’s a nice quiet pursuit; quite a relaxing occupation really. So if you haven’t tried freezer paper appliqué please do. I think every patchwork technique is worth exploring.


Last evening I went shopping. And look what I purchased …..

JSPANTO113 Fastasy Flame 2

CSPANTO46 simple texture



Yes I have been meaning to purchase a few new longarm quilting designs for a while now. So I finally took the time to peruse my favourite designer site last night and took the plunge.

Well it’s been an interesting day in happy longarm quilter land. I thoroughly enjoyed my longarm quilting session. I had a few disappointing/concerned minutes while trying to find out exactly what’s happening with my Bernina 750QE which I sent away for repair last week. I hope for some positive news tomorrow. Either way I will let you know how things work out for me. I can tell you one thing for sure; nothing is ever easy or straight forward.


So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be working on some appliqué patches. I hope you have a lovely cosy evening working on something that makes you happy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥


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So it’s Tuesday. Isn’t it? I’m still having a hard time keeping track of what day it is. I’ve kept the week relatively free of appointments but perhaps if my diary had more dates taken up with meetings I might have a better idea what day it was! Never mind next week is going to be a pretty busy one so I have no doubt things will start falling into place.

First thing this morning I went back to the task of adding the borders to my beginner’s sampler quilt. However the job was interrupted by a little trip out for some DIY supplies for hubby but as soon as I got home and after a cup of coffee I went straight back to the job and worked at it until it was finished. It looks fantastic. Now I’m really looking forward to longarm quilting it. That’s another gentle goal that I can tick off my Gentle Goals 2014 list.


While I was working in the sewing room I did something I had never done before. My hubby treated me to a new tablet for Christmas to which we downloaded an app which enables me to watch catch up TV. So while I worked I watched Father Brown mysteries from the BBC. I find it amazing that I could watch TV shows that were playing last week on my tablet. Now I’m sure there are plenty of you reading this thinking OMG it doesn’t take much to make her happy! Well the reason I’m amazed is that technology quite often defeats me. Nothing is ever easy. And there are times when I think I just can’t be bothered if I have to struggle to make something work. Today was a really good day because things just seem to fall into place. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but for today I’m not going to worry about it.


I bought this flannelette/brushed cotton sheet a few days ago. I have washed it and need to iron it and then I’m going to turn it into another design wall. Hubby purchased a couple of long lengths of wood to hang it with. I already have a smallish design wall which is very well used; there’s always something sitting on it. So the natural progression is to make a larger one for my scrappy creations. So I’ll let you know if my design wall recipe works.


At the end of my creative session today and while my supper was simmering I sat quietly and started to draw out my “A” is for Appliqué January block. The theme is I love Hearts in honour of Valentine’s Day next month. It’s quite amazing what you can do with a ruler, pencil, eraser and a few basic templates. My black and white drawing doesn’t look very exciting but add a bit of colour for the patches and a lightly printed background and it will look great.


So once again it’s been a delightful day in happy longarm quilter land. I got plenty of creative crafty stuff done for one day. Tomorrow I kick off the longarm quilting work. I’m starting with a wee cot quilt and working my way up to larger quilts over the next few days. I have a bit of sit down Freemotion Quilting do to sometime soon which will be a sample for a class at Stitchin’ Heaven. I can’t wait to have another Freemotion Quilting play. I will eventually post photos of my work. This evening I plan to do a little shopping for one or two new longarm quilting designs.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will also be doing some stitchery work and perhaps working on hexagons. I hope you have a splendid cosy evening working on something you really enjoy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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I hope you’ve all had a brilliant weekend. Happy longarm quilter land was a very relaxed place to be over the last few days. I could feel life speeding up again and I needed to put the brakes on. I really enjoyed the slower speed that the Christmas holidays offered so I’m going to try to find a midway speed that feels comfortable for this happy longarm quilter. Running in six directions at once doesn’t help get anything finished.

I can hear you saying what did you do over the weekend? Well I along with doing some chores I worked on a few different projects. So I made some Prairie Points …….


Click on the photo to go to the post that shows how to make individual Prairie Points

I played with buttons …..


I did some binding work …..


Click on the photo to go to my post that shows how to attach the binding to your quilt.

And I played with my hemostat clamp …..


I did a wee bit of appliqué work …..



And I added the finishing touches to the last two blocks of the beginner’s sampler quilt which I will start teaching at Stitchin’ Heaven starting in March. I will soon be longarm quilting the sampler making it ready for viewing by anyone who is interested in joining the classes. I will be posting a photo of the quilt once it is completely finished, hopefully no later than next week. Making a sampler is a super way of learning the quiet are of quilt making. This beginner’s programme includes a variety of useful techniques to quilt making while having fun. As a rule I am a patient light-hearted person and my goal is to make sure that at the end of any class you know more than when you arrived in the morning.

I started planning the longarm quilting I will be tackling over the next few weeks. The requests are coming in pretty steady now that everyone is back to normal after the festive holiday. I think it’s time for this very happy longarm quilter to go shopping for some new quilting designs. I try to add a few new designs to my inventory of quilting designs at least three times a year. I’ll let you know how I make out with my set task.

Today has been a pretty busy day in my world. I spent most of the day adding sashing to my current project. I just managed to squeeze in adding the border to one side of the quilt. Tomorrow I hope to get the rest finished and I plan to load the first quilt of 2014 into my longarm quilting system. It’s just a wee cot quilt which is a great way to kick off my longarm quilting year.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some “A” is for Appliqué work. I’m currently working on my December block. I just realised this morning that I have forgotten to announce the theme for January’s “A” is for Appliqué challenge. So I have decided that since next month is February and Valentine’s Day is February 14 we should do something with Hearts. So let’s call it I Love Hearts. As always, anyone is welcome to join in. I hope you all have a superb cosy evening working on something that makes you very happy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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What happens when a quilt maker and an artist get together? This is what happens. The happy longarm quilter girls joined forces today. My Sarah decided she wanted to make some fabric. As most of you already know my talented Sarah is an art student. She asked me for some calico which she planned on printing. So I gave her some calico and she disappeared upstairs to her bedroom studio and carved out some lino to use as stamps. Here are the lino stamps……


My Sarah has always had plenty of art supplies available. Because she’s always been able to have a good play with such supplies, nowadays she’s not afraid to use anything that comes to hand. Here’s the first piece of fabric she stamped……


My brief was to turn her first piece of fabric into an art doodle roll. I’ve made loads of these rolls for different purposes. So I set to after spending all day working on my own samples. And I have to admit I felt a wee bit tired but the whole process just fell into place and went a lot better than I anticipated. Here’s what I turned Sarah’s first piece of fabric into ………



You’ve heard me yack on about the fact that it’s so important for old timers, like me, to pass to art of craftiness/sewing/quilt making and so on, onto our newbies otherwise all these old fashioned pursuits will die out. Well today is the perfect example of passing it on. Today I worked in collaboration with my daughter. Sarah will probably store her art pencils etc. in her new doodle roll to take on the road.

As well as my collaboration project I disappeared into the sewing room to work on a couple more beginners’ sampler blocks. One block was pieced and will eventually have some appliqué on it and the second block is this one……


The Dresden Plate block is definitely on my list of favourites. I love making them because they are so simple to make and yet so very effective. I love doing the fine hand stitching that anchors the Plate to the background. Now all the pieced blocks have been pieced and whatever blocks are left are appliqué blocks with simple backgrounds. I’m zooming along now.

I can also reveal that all the stitchery work for my Mystery Appliqué & Stitchery Quilt project is now finished. Tomorrow I plan on joining the last long border and that will be the quilt top done. It will be ready for quilting. I haven’t quite decided how to quilt it yet. I’m not sure if I will go the hand quilting or the machine quilting route. I think if I hand quilt it there’s a chance I will never get it finished but on the other hand I’ve put my heart and soul into this quilt so far perhaps to be finished by hand. I read the following on Pinterest yesterday ….. Done is better than perfect. And after all this is a whimsical quilt. So on Thursday I will post a photo of the finished effort and ask your opinion; hand or machine quilting????? I can’t wait to show you.

A few days ago I came across something interesting…..



Most of you will know that I dabble in lots of crafty pursuits. I love fabric crafts the best but I also like paper crafts too. And as my Sarah is an art student and after a long discussion I decided ordered this box set of art journaling type books. In the end we decided to share these books out. I gave Sarah first pick and these are the books I ended up with.


These books are perfect for me. They will teach me to colour outside the lines. They will teach me to let go. As a quilt maker I follow the ¼ seam allowance in everything in life. I will step outside the box and have fun. I look forward to having five minutes to get started on my books. My doodle roll is packed with pencils and art supplies of all description and I look forward to do exactly what I was always taught not to do; society tells up to looks after our books, not disfigure or alter them. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I think someday this experience will help in my quilt making……

Well I guess that’s my report for today. Once again it’s been quite a productive day. I got most of my washing done, visited my local news agent and purchased the latest issue of Popular Patchwork which contains a fabulous report by Mandy Munroe about the International Quilt Festival in Houston worth reading; not to mention lots of patterns for lovely quilts. Now that I have finally all but finished my Mystery Whimsy project I can work on other things. I’ve met my deadline and that feels so good. Yippeee. I feel like skipping all over the room! I so look forward to working on my other gentle goals which will be teaching samples for upcoming classes; details to come as soon as and when dates are confirmed. I’m really looking forward to what 2014 has in store for me.

So for this evening, this very happy longarm quilter will be doing some appliqué work. I hope you spend your evening cosy and working on something that makes you want to skip around the room. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching. ♥ ♥

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