Cue Rocky Theme

After all the whining and complaining about my shoulder yesterday, I still managed to finish the final two blocks for the Cats of a Different Color yesterday. There was only a little housework to do to get ready for today's visit from the kids, and so I had almost the whole day to sew. I took advantage of it by sewing in 30-minute stints, and my shoulder settled into it with no problems. I've been sitting on the heating pad this morning, just to be sure, but I think I've tamed the angry shoulder problem.

So, do you wanna see the quilt? First, I quilted the left corner...

And then the right corner...

And then it was finished. Here's the final row.

And here's the whole quilt!

This is how it looks from the back.

Sadie wanted you to see how well her furs blend in with the colors. She thinks this quilt could go a long way toward ameliorating the problem of store-bought blankets in the trailer. (Ew.)

It was a lovely day here yesterday, and so I used my break times to get outside and walk. It was helpful just to stand up straight and tall, and my shoulder and neck were thanking me for it. The pink echinacea is fully opened now. You can see that there is another bud coming on the right there.

In spite of the howling winds and driving rain we've had, the Cheyenne Spirit is still blooming away. You can see that it has a bud that is going to open within the next few days.

And I wanted to show you how beautiful our red-leaf maple trees are looking right now. Their leaves are red all the time, but they turn a bright iridescent red in the fall.

And I was so excited to get started on the Sunflower Sampler free motion quilting project that Lori Kennedy is doing right now, so I got to work on that too.

As I've mentioned before, I'm trying to branch out a little with the threads I'm using for quilting. This time I'm using a polyester variegated thread on top, and a Bottom Line thread in the bobbin. Before stitching the flower, I worked with getting the tension correct. Since I'd been using a 100 weight silk on top and a monofilament in the bobbin, it was a trick getting it right. Here's where I started. This is the back, and the top thread is too loose.

Also, I was getting birds nests...

Here's another one...I was starting to wonder if I could pull this off.

Then, I took a look at my top thread and realized I had the machine threaded wrong. Duh. I rethreaded it the right way, and there was a major improvement. Go figure!!! So this is the quilt top now. And there was something not right. Top thread too loose???

Top thread too tight...a little bit, I think.

And ahhhhhh...it took a bit, but I got it dialed in. 

I can't say enough good things about my TOWA bobbin tension gauge. It has made all the difference. If, like me, you're wondering how it can help, it's this: If I set the bobbin tension so that it is consistently in the "200" range (don't ask me what the numbers mean), then I know I'm only needing to work with the top thread tension. The bobbin remains consistent from quilt to quilt and thread to thread. When I switch to a new thread in the bobbin (or rewind it, or whatever change I make), I check the tension in the bobbin, and adjust it if necessary. Then, if the tension is still off, I know it's my top thread causing the problem. I hope I'm explaining that well enough.

So anyway...happy with my tension, I stitched the center of the flower (this week's assignment). Because the flower is an oval, I realized about halfway that I was going to run out of room on the sides before I filled in the top and bottom, and so I started squishing the rows together more on the sides and spreading them out on the top and bottom. In the end, it all worked out.

Next week, we'll start adding the flower petals. 

So it's an all-day cooking extravaganza today, although I'm hoping I'll have enough time to machine sew the binding on the Cats. For now, it's spread out on the table downstairs. Smitty likes it.

Kind of looks like he's claimed it, doesn't it?


  1. I LOVE the cat quilt. It is so adorable. Is it a pattern you can buy? And I think Smitty & Sadie feel a kindred spirit with it. Lol. And that maple tree is so beautiful. Living in S. Texas we don't get much fall color. Enjoy your family today & thanks for taking us along for the ride.

    1. Lana, you are no-reply, and so I'm sorry I can't respond. No, the pattern was free on the internet, but it was taken down following the designer, Pam Bono's, death. I have the free pattern, and I would be happy to send it to anyone who wants it. Just email me. My email is at the top in my right side bar.

  2. So cute. Too adorable. The quilt looks wonderful.
    Great job with explaining your tension technique, you have got it down to a science!

  3. I think I missed a few posts - my read feeder gets lazy I think. The cats are just wonderful, beautiful job on the quilting. Yes, we slouch when sitting at our machines, too long and we pay the price. Just love the red maple - windy today so probably all our pretty leaves will be gone by tomorrow.

  4. Congrats on the finish! The quilting looks great. It's such a fun quilt. No wonder both Smitty and Sadie want to claim it. Glad the shoulder problems have gone away.

  5. SO cute- the different colors make it fun. What are the cute little cats as cornerstones?

  6. The cat quilt is predictably adorable. And the sunflower project is going to be stunning! You continue to be my hero.

  7. The quilt came out beautifully, and I am sure you are glad you finished it, so now you can enjoy using it. I love the colors of the tree, that must look beautiful in the yard. My trees are just starting to turn.


  8. Your maple tree is gorgeous. So nice to have those last late fall flowers show up, like fall raspberries they're food for the spirit. You may need to make another cat quilt so your furry buddies can each have one!

  9. the cat quilt looks puurfect! congrats, now it just needs binding

  10. THe cats of Many covers is awesome! I am so glad you shoulder is doing better!

  11. That shoulder pain can be rough. I get it from time to time. Still haven't figured out what causes it. The cat quilt is adorable. But knew I would like it. I will email you. Your tree is beautiful, wee have no color this year to speak off. Spring and early summer too much rain and none after that. Enjoy the week and be safe.

  12. The quilt is fabulous, but it's a shame it set your shoulder off hurting. I love the way you've quilted it.

  13. It looks to me like Smitty is thinking, "She didn't take my suggestion and put in the claws." ;-)

  14. Your kitty quilt looks purrfect. I think Sadie and Smitty will have to toss a coin to see who gets it. Glad your shoulder is better. The explanation on the tension made perfect sense to me. I down't have a Towa Tensioner, but know how they work for long arm bobins.

  15. You have some mad quilting skills! And I mean that in the very best way! This looks fabulous! I see another ribbon in your future! Love seeing the kitties too. I love all your musings...