Welcome!


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Welcome to In A Stitch Quilting!

Nestled inside my archives are helpful tips on quilting techniques, suggestions for useful notions as well as information on my favorite shops, patterns and fabrics.  Also included are stories about myself and many of my life experiences.

While sewing projects for my own use is one of my many passions my main focus is offering long-arm free-motion quilting services to my customers.  If you are seeking someone to provide this service, you may reach me at cindy [at] inastitchquilting [dot] com for further information.

So sit back, relax and enjoy!  Then tell your friends all about me.

What Makes A Button Special?


I have belonged to a local quilt guild for several years. To give newcomers a chance to meet other newbies they offer an opportunity to participate in a day of sewing. The date, project and fee are all predetermined by the hostess. Even though everyone makes the same item the quilters choose their own fabrics. This freedom gives them the chance to personalize their project to suit their own taste.

It wasn’t until I was in the group for more than a year that I decided to go. Not knowing anyone from the guild I felt it would be an excellent opportunity to meet new people.

The hostess for the group was a vibrant, fun-loving lady with a heart as big as the universe. You know the kind of person that can put anyone at ease. Even though I had very little direct exposure to her I just knew she would turn the day into a wonderful experience.

So I made my reservations, purchased the pattern and supplies then waited for the time to arrive. IMG_0617_newThe project we worked on was the above tote bag. I blogged about it here.

Throughout the day the hostess circulated around the room making everyone feel welcome while offering her assistance. She just happened to stop by my table when I discovered I had made an error. With her wealth of knowledge and her experience, having previously made the tote, she helped me trouble shoot my options. In no time I was back on track and proceeding.

As a kind gesture the hostess brought with her a small gift for each of the students. Unfortunately she had miscounted and wound up one item short. I just happened to be the one person that did not receive a gift. Having missed out really didn’t make that much difference to me. I had a wonderful time and went home with a very pretty tote.

After returning home I never thought about missing out on a gift until one day I found a mysterious package in my mailbox. At first the name on the return address label didn’t ring a bell. Being curious about what might be inside I turned my attention to the package. I reached for my letter opener and carefully sliced through the upper crease of the envelope.

With the envelope now open I peered inside. There, in the darkness, was yet another envelope. This one was the size of a standard, everyday envelope; one you would use to mail a check. I tipped the envelope upside down to free the interior contents from its confines.

Out, into the palm of my hand, slid the small white envelope. On the outside of the envelope were written these words, “Sorry I left you out the other day.” I instantly knew exactly who the package was from.

imageA flood of emotions washed over me. Never, in my wildest imagination, had I ever expected this. I had all but forgotten about being left out.

After overcoming the shock of receiving the package my curiosity took over. What on earth could possibly be inside the envelope. Not wanting to waste anymore time I retrieved the letter opener and sliced through the uppermost fold. Not sure what was inside I carefully opened it. To my utmost surprise was a button

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and a small typed note. The note read:

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“The original hand crafted segmented lathe turned buttons were made by Ross Daniels. The woods have no dyes or stains. Most of the wood is milled in Wisconsin with some exotics mixed in. Do not wash or dry-clean.

Each limited edition button is given individual attention with gluing, sanding and finishing. It is a work of art, and we hope you will enjoy the hidden treasures of the beautiful wood grain that God has made!

Ross at: info@danielsstudios.com”

As I read the words, tears streamed down my face. This was no ordinary button and the lady that sent it was no ordinary lady. I was so overwhelmed by this one small gesture. The gift was so unexpected and so unnecessary. Yet I would never even think of surrendering it. In fact I can’t even imagine doing anything other than keeping it in a safe place where I can see it on a daily basis. This button will always have a very special place in my heart.

To this day every time I look at that button I fondly remember the lady that so thoughtfully sent it to me. If only she knew how deeply she touched my heart. By the way, although the note was signed by Ross, the remarkable lady that mailed me the button is Eileen Daniels.

Thank you Eileen Daniels for being such a special lady!

Step One: A Quilt Reinvented


Way back last summer I shared a sneak peek of an upcoming project.  On that day I finally faced the struggle I’d had between myself an old unfinished quilt? The inability to fall in love with it had haunted me for years. Finding the nerve to turn the quilt into something I would love was my biggest obstacle. After all, quilts are not made in a day. Many hours of labor go into the planning and execution. The thought of re-purposing it almost seemed unheard of yet on the other hand it seemed a shame to continue to hide it away in a closet.

My oldest daughter has no problem re-assembling projects she finds unacceptable. Every attempt is made to turn an unpleasant specimen into an eye appealing creation. I have had the pleasure of watching her achieve success in an area I have often avoided. I’ve occasionally dabbled in this arena, sometimes with a pleasant outcome and other times not. My most recent experience was the quilt I refer to as Flowers in the Garden. The other two items were my Spinning Wheels quilt and the quilt I call Main Street.

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Flowers in the Garden
Spinning Wheels
Spinning Wheels
Main Street
Main Street

You can read about the Spinning Wheels quilt here.

Not to long ago, while browsing through the books at one of my favorite quilt stores, I came across this one: create your own free-form quilts written by Rayna Gillman and published by C&T Publishing.

IMG_6700The non-traditional piecing illustrated on the front cover, grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. I thumbed through the pages with great enthusiasm. Passing up on the opportunity to add this publication, to my arsenal of resources, was not an option. Zip, zip went my credit card in the machine. With my new-found resource in hand, I walked out of the store eager to return to my studio and begin digesting its every word.

Create your own free-form quilts was the catalyst for my Main Street quilt. I used the tips and instructions to guide my exploration into the free-form world. So often the book lay open alongside my workspace as inspiration and encouragement. The words at times jumped off the page so clearly that I almost could imagine Rayna at my side guiding my hands as they worked. Idle, but not forgotten, the book has resided in my studio ever since.

When I moved to my new home I found it necessary to sort through and weed out many of my vintage quilting books. I knew there simply was not room for everything I owned. The purged books were donated to a resale store. This book, however, was sparred from the chopping block. After unpacking my many treasures I made certain create your own free-form quilts held a prominent presence in my new studio.

Ever since placing it on the shelf I’ve had the urge to retrieve my copy of create your own free-form quilts. Acknowledging the urge has spurred me on to once again explore the world of free-form sewing. This time I’m jumping in with both hands and feet. Unlike the private journey I took creating Main Street this exploration will be shared with you. I hope you are as excited as I am. Let’s get going!

My Mind Is Racing


I think I have a touch of ADD. Do you ever have that problem? You know the inability to focus on one thing at a time. It seeps into all aspects of my life. For example: when I’m cleaning the house, rather than starting in a room and staying at it until it’s finished, then moving on to the next, I find myself starting tasks all over the house. Finding my way back to what I originally started eventually happens. Although it may not occur for days. I’ve often thought I have the makings of dementia or Alzheimer’s but then when I remind myself of the rabbit trail I have been on I realize it’s simply a huge case of multitasking out of control.

The same holds true for sewing. I easily get energized by new and different projects which leads to oodles of unfinished or never started items. This inability to stay fixed on one area has filled my storage drawers with stacks of projects waiting for my attention. They kind of fly under the radar, always in the back of my mind but never my number one focus.

The birth of this post is another example. My original goal for this morning was to go into my quilting studio and work on a project.  Not long after crossing the threshold my mind began spinning. I struggled with the endless list of possible projects. I couldn’t decide if I should work on one of the two items glaring at me in the back corner of my studio, start a new project or reinvent something that’s been hanging in my unfinished objects (UFO) closet since the early 1990’s. My thoughts were like spaghetti simmering in a pot of water. Untangling them to find a central focus seemed almost impossible. The churning thoughts inspired me to write this post.

So, here I sit, spilling words out on to this electronic page hoping to somehow sort out today’s priorities. Who knows where my wandering mind will lead me? My heart secretly hopes reinventing one of my UFO quilt tops is where I land. But then again maybe……

Here’s a sneak peek at one of my candidates

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I Must Confess


I am an addict!

That’s right, an honest to goodness addict. Well not in the chemical sense. I mean I am a fabric, and all things related, addict. I simply cannot pass up the opportunity to purchase the latest and greatest fabric, pattern and/or gadget. Even though I have told myself, on a daily basis, I absolutely must stop feeding my addiction I just can’t help myself. There’s something I crave about the aroma and texture of fabric, not to mention the visual appeal it adds to my stash. The thrill of acquiring new patterns tickles my fancy and keeps alive my thirst for inspiration. Each new ruler or gadget I add to my arsenal of supplies provides yet one more opportunity to improve my quilting skills.

This addiction has been known to spill over into my everyday life. I’m an artist at heart. What artist puts boundaries on their studio? I certainly don’t. My environment is my studio and when I’m in my studio I’m always creating, always looking for a new way to add color or texture to the things that surround me. Thus, I have at times accumulated a few too many decorations as is evidenced by the boxes of items now awaiting a future garage sale. Some of the excess was created by the downsizing we did earlier this year so I’ve cut myself a bit of slack in that area.

So how does one successfully overcome their addition? There are organizations that provide support for those with chemical addictions. They follow a predetermined set of steps to manage their afflictions. They also have a mantra that encourages them to focus on the traits or things that can be changed. I’m not sure their program would apply to my situation.

I figure I have these options:

1. Remain home at all times.

2. Disconnect the internet.

3. Destroy all catalogues and mailings before they even enter the house.

4. Accept my addiction.

Here’s my reaction to those options:

1. No Way!

2. Absolutely Not!

3. Perhaps.

4. Sounds more reasonable.

I figure since I have openly confessed to my addiction I have taken the first step toward conquering what ails me. Progressing beyond that step would take every once of strength I could muster, my creative juices would suffer severely, and, well, I just might wither away from the lack of inspiration. So, at this point I’m going to put recovery on the back burner. I will, however, make an honest attempt at curtailing my expenditures. Though I will have to ease into this new way of life gradually. Quitting cold turkey would be unbearable and devastating to the economy. I figure as long as itsy bitsy teeny tiny progress is made I will be happy.

P.S. Do you think my progress would be thwarted if I use the earnings from my garage sale to add to my collection? Just kidding! :D

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Evidence of My Addiction :o)

A Challenge It Is!


I belong to the national Modern Quilt Guild as well as the Madison Modern Quilt Guild. For the past three years the Modern Quilt Guild has held a members fabric challenge. This would be the first year I had the opportunity to participate. Fabrics for this year’s challenge were provided by Michael Miller. A bulk shipment of fabric was received by the local modern quilt guilds and then distributed to the members. How awesome to have the privilege to receive FREE fabric. I can’t think of any quilters that would want to turn it down.

The fabric line for this year was Petal Pinwheels. The rules of the challenge were pretty simple. Create anything you want, provided it is quilted, using all or some of the fabric pieces received. Solids from other manufacturers could be added to the project but no prints. Additional yardage of the Petal Pinwheels could be purchased at your own expense.

To be eligible for the prizes a photo(s) of your item had to be posted in the Modern Quilt Guild Forum. The deadline for posting your photo was July 25, 2014. Three lucky winners would be chosen by early August. To recognize their achievement each winner would receive a year of free fabric.

The Madison Modern Quilt Guild received and distributed six fat eights to its eligible members. I consider myself to be lucky to be one of those participating. The real challenge was deciding what to create. Originally I used the fabrics to make a simple but pretty table topper. Although I was pleased with the outcome I wasn’t quite sure it was putting my best foot forward. I set the project aside for a while to ponder its fate. After much contemplation I arrived at the conclusion that my project needed a bit of tweaking.

The best way I know to make improvements is to lay my project on my cutting table, grab my rotary cutter and begin zipping away. Some people wouldn’t have the heart, even though they might not like what they see, to subject something they had made to such drastic measures. Instead they might give it away or hide it in their UFO (unfinished objects) box. As far as I am concerned, if I don’t like my project’s current status I have nothing to lose by changing it. Zipping my rotary cutter through the fabrics and seams is the best way I know to accomplish an improved outcome. Besides, I tend to like free form quilting better anyway.

I labored at deconstructing my original creation until I was satisfied with the pieces. Then I set about re-assembling the various segments into a new design. The rehabilitation process was slow but fruitful. What eventually transpired was a brand new wall hanging.

Watching the flower, as I prefer to call it, unfold was pure joy. I was so totally pleased with its appearance and so very thankful that I had made the decision to press on towards perfection. I chose to surround my new blossom with a solid border fashioned from fabric I had on hand. Having fabric in my stash that complimented my project was a bonus.

After quilting my refashioned creation, on my long-arm quilt machine, adding binding and a label I declared my project finished. I paused a moment to step back and admire my wall hanging. A big smile washed over my face. This was one project I was proud to say I had made.

Not much time was wasted taking photos and uploading them to the Modern Quilt Guild website. There was no way I was going to miss out on the opportunity to gain recognition as well as compete for one of the three prizes. Although I certainly would love to win, in my heart I already consider myself triumphant. I have a brand new wall hanging to add to my collection.

Now the big reveal…..I present to you

F L O W E R S   I N   T H E   G A R D E N

An Original Design Sewn and Quilted by Cindy Anderson

Using Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels Fabric

July, 2014

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It’s Going To Be Close!


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My daughter and I have occasionally participated in the Wisconsin Shop Hop. It’s an annual event occurring during the month of June encompassing 50+ quilting shops all over the state. To visit each merchant it would take days of traveling and thousands of miles. Typically we manage to visit 4-5 shops. Finding time to extend ourselves beyond that has been difficult.

This year, however, was the exception. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that we managed to visit every shop on the tour. Good heavens, I think I would need my head examined if I were to contemplate tackling that challenge. Our goal was much more realistic. Visiting all of the shops in one whole section was the plan. That’s 14 irresistible opportunities to snag the best and very latest morsel of fabric, sure to please any quilters pallet.

We began our journey at 9:00 a.m. with loads of enthusiasm, a detailed map, money in our pockets and the determination to successfully attain our goal. The rules of the Shop Hop required the participating businesses remain open until 6:00 p.m. Somehow we thought 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. was enough time to achieve our goal along with a stop for nourishment and refreshment.

One by one we methodically checked off the shops on our itinerary. As the day wore on, the miles racked up and our pockets became lighter, our energy as well as our enthusiasm faded. What started out as fun had morphed into a mountainous climb. Since we are not ones to admit defeat, quitting was not an option, although the thought did cross our minds.

Late in the day it became obvious the miles yet to travel and the number of shops yet to visit were greater than the hours left on the clock. With that realization came the sense of defeat. The light at the end of the tunnel just wasn’t coming quickly enough. It was obvious that finishing what we had set out to do was going to take one more day.

The merchant at the last shop we visited encouraged us to attempt one more stop. She informed us the distance between hers and the next was short. Her encouragement provided enough adrenaline for us to press on. After completing our purchase we swiftly headed back to our vehicle. We set off in the direction we had understood the shop to be. Miles passed before we realized we had made a wrong turn. The reality of our mistake hit us hard. What little enthusiasm we had left escaped like air from a balloon. All that was left was the ride home and the reality that we had missed our mark.

The ride home was at first quiet. We were, after all, exhausted. But as we progressed the thoughts of adding one more day to our adventure were tossed around. Just because we were not able to reach our goal in one day didn’t mean we couldn’t accomplish what we had originally set out to do. A good nights sleep was sure to refresh our spirits and provide the shot in the arm we would need to visit the remaining shops.

The second day of our Shop Hop was tackled at a much slower pace and as a result way more relaxing. As we were to discover it actually was a blessing to have not reached our goal on the first day. One of the shops we had missed turned out to be a real gem. We had never been to the shop before and were amazed to find it only 30+ minutes from home. The fabric selection fit our tastes perfectly. How sad it would have been to have hurried through in order to meet our One Day goal.

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Our 2014 Wisconsin Shop Hop excursion came to an end after traveling well over 300 miles, visiting 14 shops and acquiring wonderful specimens of fabric. With that accomplishment came the satisfaction of qualifying for the drawing of a prize, and the discovery of new and exciting opportunities. With the experience we gained, plans are already being made for the 2015 Wisconsin Shop Hop. Our plan next year will be to divide our travels into two days. Who knows what mischief we will get ourselves into.

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