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  • Writer's pictureKaren

30 Minutes at a Time

I finally have my 4th of July*on the longarm. Honestly, I think I purchased the longarm just so I could take my time and quilt it. There is so much stitch-in-the-ditch (SITD) work to be done it might take several weeks of my 30-minute timer to complete it. If you're a long-time viewer of my work, you'll know that I love using my 30-minute time to reduce burnout and losing my "Sewjo".

This particular project can be so frustrating. I’ll do a perfect SITD line and the next moment it is all over the place. It doesn’t help that half of them are curves. But it is bright and cheery and that makes me smile. So I persevere...and breathe.

At home, I’m also using my timer to work on my One Block Wonder. I had started the quilt with my Sew Sisters right before lockdown. As usual, halfway through, I wish that I had known at the beginning what I know now about the construction of this quilt. The small things you learn as you go along about how to cut the fabric, how to control the fabric, how to align the pieces. I’m definitely going to try this one again.

I took a wonderful class this weekend with John MacPhail of Art East Quilting Co. I’m sure that you have seen some of his amazing patterns like Wonderful Woodland and Kidding Around. But there is this whole other side of his business making Pet Portraits and that was what the workshop was on.

John was a skilled teacher and it was more than an applique class. He made us look at our portraits differently, to bring out the personality of our dear friends.

Perhaps too much. I was working with this favourite photo of Holly, shading her fur, nose and shaping her eyes. All of a sudden, my emotions came flooding out of me. It’s been almost two years since she passed.

She was a wonderful buddy at my side for 13 years. A wonderful family pet, she kept me busy and sane during some crazy times like menopause and the kids heading off to college. We walked the trails twice a day, met up with other dog owners, many of who have become my dearest friends. And at the start, she was also an important part of my Youtube channel. If you have watched any of my videos in my first year, she is in them somewhere. Though she was never thrilled about being on camera.

So I thought I could make a quilted portrait of her for my sewing room. But judging on my tears this might be another project I need the 30-minute timer for.

*Please note that the 4th of July Pattern is by Quiltworx, and it is discontinued

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I took a class from Barbara Beasley years ago. She is known for the most AMAZING pet and animal portraits in fabric. It actually is easier to make a portrait than you might think. It definitely was worth the travel to learn from her. I highly recommend it.


Oh, I teared up reading and looking at your sweet doggie's face. My Bree passed away several years ago and there are still times when something reminds me of her so strongly, I have to take a moment to gather my emotions. My grand daughter keeps asking when I will get a new dog. I keep saying I am not ready. Thank you for sharing; good to know I am not alone.


I now have two goldendoodles. 9ne is almost 4 and then I bought another as I really thought first needed a playmate. Well now they both think I am the playmate! But they also really like each other. Mine are both black. They are half brothers but one looks more poodle like and the other golden like but they are so very sweet tempered and lovable. You cannot go wrong with a goldendoodle in my opinion and I have had quite a few dogs, purebred and mixed breeds. I had a lovely golden who only lived to be 11 but I learned I was really allergic to her. So goldendoodle and I am doing much better with these. Good luc…


Thank you for sharing Hollys story with us. The grief we feel when a pet passes is huge. They are a member of the family after all. I believe with my whole heart that when the time comes, we will be reunited with out little loved ones that have gone over Rainbow Bridge.

Let's all keep quilting, sewing, knitting, reading and everything else throughout this crazy time we're forced into. Stay safe and happy quilting. ~ Arlene

Replying to

Sorry about my typo. I meant to type "we will be reunited with our."...not "out".😏


Mar 31, 2021

One of my favorite things is to watch you on Youtube! I grab my cup of tea & it’s like you’re right there inspiring me!! Please keep the love & instruction going!! LOVE the quilt on the bed & your sweet Holly! I know my Daisy follows me everywhere & has to put her head on my lap as I sew!!


Linda from NC

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