On the Longarm–Tips for Making Flannel Quilts

The quilting group at my church received a donation of a gigantic box filled with plaid flannel triangles–all shapes, colors and designs.  We were overwhelmed.  However we started to sew the triangles into squares, trimmed them to several different uniform sizes and then sewed them together.  For some of us it was a challenge to work without a pattern, but I believe the quilts we produced will provide warmth to those who need it in during the winter months.

Here are some tips for dealing with flannel:

  1.  Clean out your machine regularly–flannel produces a lot of lint which can clog up the bobbin area.  Every time you change your bobbin, make sure to take a brush to clean out the bobbin case  according to your machine’s owner’s manual.
  2. If possible, pre-wash flannel.  Doing so will help make it less stretch-y, it will reduce lint, and there will be less fraying (because the fibers have shrunk).
  3. Flannel frays badly.  You might want to use a slightly larger seam allowance or finish the fabric edges with a stay stitch.  Before sending the quilt to your long arm quilter, stay stitch around the outer edge.
  4. Choose a design which is easy to sew–squares and rectangles are easiest.  Bias edges on pieces like the triangles are more challenging because they stretch.  Trimming to a uniform size after sewing ensures that blocks can be sewn together accurately.
  5. Blocks with lots of seam intersections should be avoided.  Flannel is thicker than quilting cotton, so it is more difficult to avoid bulky seam intersections.  Consider pressing seams open.  Quilting through bulky seam intersections threw the timing of my long arm off and resulted in several days of frustration as I readjusted it.  I am now well versed in the art of adjusting my needle bar height.
  6. Because flannel frays and stretches, allow extra border width so that the quilt can be trimmed square after quilting.

Although flannel can be challenging to work with, don’t despair.  Nothing feels better than a flannel quilt and a cup of hot chocolate on a day when the high temperature is -40°.  It’s hard to imagine in July, but we  know that ‘winter is coming.’

Have a quilty day!!

We Support You Blog Hop

Where did January go??  Usually it is the darkest, coldest, ‘put your head down and slog through it’ month of the year.  Yes it is still, dark, still cold, snow is still on the ground, but it has also been filled with beauty–crisp winter days with blue skies so intense that photos just don’t do it justice.  I’ll be joining the “We Support You” blog hop on February 5.  Here is the schedule:

We Support You Blog Hop Full Schedule

Jan 29th 

Life in The Scrapatch

Living With Purpose

What About Rheema?

Kwilt Krazy

Jan 30th 

Just Let Me Quilt

Stitch and Quilt

how arT you

Living My Dream

Feb 2nd 


Made By Me In Red

Ga’s House

Sew Incredible Crazy

Feb 3rd 

My Quilting Journey

Creativity Amongst Chaos

Peanut’s Patchwork


Feb  4th 

Kris Loves Fabric

Words & Stitches

Jane’s Quilting

Tea Time Creations

Feb 5th  

Selina Quilts

Dutchess Crazy & Sane Quilting World

Moose Stash Quilting

Lovelli Quilts

Feb 6th  

I Piece 2 – Mary

Baa’s Amazing Adventure

Quilted Delights

The Blended Blog

Feb 9th 

Stitchin By The Lake

 Tea Leaf Quilts

Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc

Seams To Be Sew

Stitchen’ My Life Away

Feb 10th  

 Creatin’ In the Sticks

The Quilting Queen Online

Everyone Deserves A Quilt

The Quilted Cat

Hill Valley Quilter

Feb 11th  

Buzzing and Bumbling

In Stitches and Seams

All thingz sewn

The Slow Quilter

Crayon Box Quilt Studio

Sew We Quilt

We’ll show you projects and ideas to support loved ones going through cancer or other medical treatment.  The “We Support You” Friendship Quilt Pattern is available for purchase for $12.00 by emailing Madame Samm directly to  madamesamm@me.com.

Have a quilty day!!

Lovelli Signature

Using EQ7’s Serendipity to Make Original Block Designs, part 1

I have been using EQ7 to design original blocks for many of my quilt designs for Quilt Design a Day (Qdad).  Each of us has committed to designing a quilt a day.  I joined originally for fun, but now I am very serious about continuing.  The discipline of designing every day has improved my designs and increased my creativity.  It has also made me a much better EQ7 user.  We get our inspiration from the two photos and their color palettes on Design Seeds.  I then convert the palettes to Kona Cottons using PaletteBuilder.  You can see my tutorial on Creating Custom Palettes on my Tutorials page.

I use EQ7’s Serendipity function (Block>Serendipity) to design many of my quilts.  I usually I start with a some kind of representation inspired by the Design Seeds photo and palette.  For example, this week we had an orange slice as the inspiration photo and palette.


I started by drawing a block, in Easy Draw,  which was a very literal translation of the inspiration photo:Slice

Next I decided to see what would happen if I used EQ7  Serendipity to change the block.  I went to Block>Serendipity> Shrink and Flip.  EQ7 then shrinks the hi-lighted block (on the left) and combines it with three copies of itself.


 The flags below the main picture determine the direction the 4 shrunk blocks will take.  I look at each block and decide if I want to keep it.  When I want to keep a block, I press the Add to Sketchbook button.  Look at the quilt below and notice that I placed the Design 3 blocks in the center, Design 1 blocks in the inner pieced border, and Design 4 blocks around the perimeter.  All of the blocks have the same components arranged differently.


The same thing can be accomplished with graph paper, crayons (or colored pencils/markers, etc).  Draw the original block, make copies, either by hand or photocopied, color them, cut them apart and rearrange.  I would take a photo of your design when you are done.  One tool which you might find useful is the Dritz design mirror.  It is a two mirror set which you can set by your design to see what it would look like multiplied.  It is thrilling!!!

Have a quilty day!!


March . . .

Sometimes a whole month goes by and at the end I wonder what did I do???  It seems that I’m in the same place and yet, a lot has happened.  March was colder than average here in Wisconsin, as was the rest of the winter.  I was sick for most of the month and didn’t get much of my own sewing done.  I finished many Quilts of Valor and have heard that they are off to Afghanistan to be given to American service personnel.  I hope that the quilts will show my gratitude for the service of each of those men and women.  I have three Quilts of Valor in my ‘to do’ list.

We had to say good-bye to our wonderful family dog of twelve years, Lucky.  She came into our lives in Warsaw, Poland and helped to raise my two sons.  She was never lacking for enthusiasm especially when it came to wearing her antlers.  She loved Christmas and birthdays and opening presents.  She was ‘tattle-tail'(sic.).  She would come to tell on my sons when they went outside without her, when they were playing in the snow without her, when they were rough-housing inside and not including her, when they forgot to walk her, feed her, water her or give her the daily ‘Greenie’.  My oldest son, thoroughly exasperated, said,  “I expect my younger brother to tell on me–but not the dog!!!”  She learned English as a second language, learned to spell ‘w-a-l-k’, and learned to speak French as a third language, ‘promenade’ (walk).  She has been a shoulder to cry on when we needed it through losses both minor and major.  She was gentle with my husband when he became sick and she grieved with us when he was gone.  Lucky ‘knew’ she could be more rambunctious with my older son and that she neededto be gentle with my younger son.  Her favorite place was where ever we were and preferably in the middle.  She loved to chase squirrels and she ‘rescued’ baby bunnies without doing serious harm to either squirrel or bunny.  Lucky thought that the UPS, Fed Ex, Post Office, Plumbers, Electricians, Appliance Repair people came just to see her and she ‘assisted’ them in their work by smelling every tool.  She helped me quilt, laying under the longarm or behind me at the sewing machine.  We even designed a quilt about her.  We miss her greeting us when we walk into the house, we miss her ‘stalking’ me to ask my sons to let her out/give her food/give her water/walk her/etc.; we miss her kisses; and we miss the dangerous wagging tail–known to clear coffee tables of all glasses.  She tolerated our silly names for her:  Lucky-dog, Lucky-duck,  duck, sweetie, fruit loop etc.  We miss her shaking her head ‘yes’, rolling in the snow and prancing.

Lucky Reindeer
Lucky 2002-2014


I will be getting back to blogging and to quilting tomorrow.  I am working on some tutorials and even have some finishes.


Finish a long 2014, Goal check up


Here is the summary of what I’ve achieved since the first of the year.  I have made a lot of progress on Crimson and Tweed, the Quilts of Valor and Pie in the Sky.  I will be concentrating on binding in March.

1.  Pie in the Sky (pattern by Kim Diehl)

Pie in the Sky, EQ7 mock up, pattern by Kim Diehl
Pie in the Sky, EQ7 mock up, pattern by Kim Diehl

The quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and the label on it and write a blog post.

2.  Flower Strip quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

3. Winding Ways–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

4.  1930’s reproduction quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

5.  Quilt the 4 9 Quilts of Valor tops which I have received, mail them and write blog posts.

6.  Finish Imperial Blooms, pattern by Sue Spargo (www.suespargo.com).

7.  Finish Crimson Tweed, pattern by Sue Spargo.  I am applique-ing the borders, but will take off time to bind other quilts.

8. Riley Blake Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  Here is part of my mock-up in EQ7:

Riley Blake Challenge

The fabrics have arrived and I am so excited to start sewing on this wall quilt.  I am so thankful for the fabric which Riley Blake (www.rileyblakedesigns.com) provided to all of the members of the Modern Quilt Guild (http://www.themodernquiltguild.com/ ).  Of course, I couldn’t resist adding some additional Riley Blake to my design.  I have quilted it and need to bind it and put on a label.  I’m so sorry it wasn’t in time for the MQG challenge.

9. Mission Triangles, this is a quilt I have made with the help of our Mission Stitchers group at Onalaska UMC from donated flannel triangles.  It will be soft and warm.  Here is the EQ7 mockup:

Mission Triangles
Oh my, will the flannel ever end?  I have sewn and trimmed half of the squares.  My buddy in this project fell on the ice and broke her wrist.  I can hardly wait to finish the quilt top(s).

10.  Log Cabin quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.


11.  Various mug rugs, place mats, and table runners–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.


Linking up with:

Quilts of Valor

The Quilts of Valor foundation delivers comfort in the form of a quilt to combat veterans.  Longarm quilters volunteer to provide batting, thread, and quilting services for quilt tops.  I’m lucky to assist quilt makers finish their quilts with quilting.  Before Christmas I quilted 4 quilts for a client.  I changed the original quilting design so that I could place each block’s individually and have my Statler Stitcher quilt from one edge to another.  I’m really thankful to Joan Knight, Page Johnson, and Anita Shackleford who taught me how to edit designs.  The design which I modified was Flower Block 6 with Star which came standard on my Statler. Modifying it to stitch from each block’s point to point was well worth the effort!