Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines – Made in the USA

Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines - Made in the USA

Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines – Made in the USA

Happy Labor Day to the Quilting Community!

My very first blog post was on Labor Day a few years ago.  I wrote about APQS Longarm Machines which are made in the USA.  Recently I got to use another longarm machine which was also made in the USA – a Nolting Longarm.


I made a quilt for my boyfriend’s daughter to take to her dorm at college, so I had a deadline.  I had less than a week to quilt and bind it.  And this was no small quilt.  The beds in the freshman dorm are Twin XL.  I found a great chart online to help me figure out what size I should make the quilt.  It ended up being approximately 82″ by 106″.

Julie Brandon, a friend that I met through our quilt guild, was kind enough to let me use her Nolting Longarm Machine.  I’ve quilted large quilts on my regular domestic sewing maching, but I never would have been able to do this one without her.

When we loaded the backing on the rack, Julie said it was the largest quilt that had been on her machine since she got it.  Normally I would lay a large quilt out on the living room floor to pin it so I could quilt it on my domestic machine, but this one was just too big.  I could have easily spent a couple hours on just pinning it.

Things that make me smile:

  • Finding more and more products Made in the USA!
  • Trying something new – in this case, using a digital design to quilt a quilt on a longarm. Check back next week to see my thoughts on computerized quitling on a longarm.
  • A wonderful visit with my sister and her husband from Texas!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

– Melanie



American Made Fabric!

“America the Beautiful”

America the Beautiful quilt by Melanie Watson

America the Beautiful
quilt by Melanie Watson

Finally, there’s a line of fabric made entirely in the United States of America – American Made Brand by Clothworks.  This line of fabric is made in the USA from cotton grown in the USA.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Last year, the makers of the fabric had a challenge – the Farm to Fabric Challenge. The quilt pictured above is my submission to the challenge. Sadly, it didn’t make it into the exhibit. They only accepted 21 quilts. I don’t know how many entries they received, but since it was open to all of the US, I’ll bet they were inundated with entries. If you’d like to check out the 21 quilts in the exhibit, they can be seen at


My quilt is inspired by the song “America the Beautiful”. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the mountains are made with purple fabric. I stitched a different quilt block motif in each of the squares in between the rows of farm fields. I added the apple trees in plains on the side of the farmer’s field. This is my first original quilt design. All the curves are pieced. The only applique in it is apple trees. It’s my version of “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain”. I know it’s not perfect, but I still love it. I’ll share some of the techniques I used to piece the curves in a future post.

American Made Brand Fabric

American Made Brand Fabric

I really wanted to showcase as many of the American Made Brand colors as I could,  so I ordered a variety pack of their fabric. I was so eager to get started, that I bought the fabric before they had all their colors ready. I think this is about half their current colors. So far, they only have solids. I’m hoping they expand over time.

The best way that we can keep jobs in America and convince employers to make new manufacturing plants here in the United States is to make a conscious effort to buy American made products. It’s not always easy, but it is worth the time and effort! You can start by asking for the American Made Brand Fabric at your favorite quilt shop. Although nothing beats seeing and holding the fabric itself, you can check out the gorgeous colors at

Today, I’ll just share one thing that makes me smile:

  • Gratitude for the men and women who fought and continue to fight for the rights of hard working people!

Happy Labor Day everyone! Let’s spread some sunshine this week by buying American!


Question: How to Organize Embroidery and Sewing Supplies…

Answer:  A Shoe Caddy that hangs on a door!20150714_201539

In May we had a great quilt guild meeting where some of our members shared their favorite tips. This is one of the ones I brought in. Fifteen years ago, when I got my first embroidery machine, we made a caddy for our stabilizers in our new owners class. But, it only held 5 stabilizers. Well, let’s just say that in 15 years, I’ve bought more than my fair share of different stabilizers.

One of the best things about this caddy is that you can hang it inside a closet door if you want a clean looking room. I use it mostly for embroidery stabilizers, but you can use it for lots of other things as well.

I know they used to make them out of clear vinyl also.  I remember seeing one years ago that someone had sorted all her scraps by color into the different see-through pockets.

It’s easy to keep the directions in the same pocket as the product. And if you’re not real good at putting things away as soon as you finish using it, you may want to use a safety pin to attach the directions to a sample of the product.


There are a lot of similar products, especially when it comes to fusible webs, etc, that required slightly different iron temperatures. Having the directions right there every time is priceless!

Another option is to put your item in a ziploc bag and label it.

I’ll share some of the other tips soon.




I wish I could say that I’ve been sooooo busy enjoying the beautiful Buffalo summer weather, but I’ve really been locked in a dungeon for the better part of a month. Ok, well, it’s not really a dungeon; it’s a basement. And it’s not really locked. But I have spent far too much time sorting the junk in the basement because we are having it waterproofed soon. We have to get everything away from the walls so they can install drain tile. What better time to do some sorting and tossing? There’s the garage sale pile, the keep pile, and the garbage pile.

It’s fascinating to see how fast some of the “not really worth selling at a garage sale, but I hate to see it put in a landfill” stuff goes. Since our garbage pick up is Monday morning, I put anything that someone might want to the curb early Sunday morning. There’s always someone who’ll come by and grab stuff. I’ll never forget the velvet Jesus on the cross painting. We put that to the curb a couple years ago and it went within an hour! To the neighbor across the street in his 20’s none the less!

Things that make me smile:

  • Cards with good friends.
  • Being in on a surprise visit from my boyfriend’s college friends
  • The Rolling Stones Concert! That was an amazing show!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!


Mom’s Yo-Yo Coverlet Progress

Inspired by the yo-yo coverlet and runner that Kate Martin made and showed our quilt guild, my mom started making yo-yo’s. Not knowing how many she would need, she just kept making them. And making them. And making them….Mom's Yo-Yo'sI’m sure it’s been over a year, and she now has well over 1,000 in this bin. She is finally starting to sew them together to make a coverlet for her bed. Mom's  Yo-Yo throw startAlthough I Kate’s coverlet was scrappy with “sashing”, my mom is sewing hers together in a completely random pattern. lt will be the perfect bed cover for the summer.

Things that make me smile:

  • Finding the perfect fabric to make a gift
  • The scenery on the t.v. show Hawaii Five-O. The colors blue and green are so vivid on that show. Especially when it’s so cold outside here, the Hawaiian scenery makes me smile.
  • Blueberry Jello with pears

Let’s go spread some sunshine!




Quilt Retreat at Silver Lake

Last weekend the quilt guild that I belong to, the Museum Quilt Guild, had it’s third annual retreat at Asbury Retreat Center in Silver Lake, NY. 


Asbury Retreat Center
February 2013

The above photo is from last year’s retreat.  This year was more snow covered.  This is the building that we slept in. 


Asbury Retreat Center
February 2013

The building on the left is where we slept and the building on the right is where we did our sewing and eating.  It was just a short walk between the two buildings.  You can see the lake just beyond the buildings.  There were actually some people ice fishing on it this year. 

siciliano blockI spent a good deal of time making 4 blocks from a George Siciliano pattern called Glow In The Dark.  Each block is 3-1/2″ square and has 35 pieces of material in it.  Yes, you read that right, 35 pieces of fabric in a 3-1/2″ square.  They are foundation pieced, so it’s really not as bad as it sounds.  It’s part of a challenge issued to inspire our guild members to complete projects in time for this years quilt show.  We could list up to 5 UFO’s – that’s “un-finished objects” in quilter’s terms.  This is a universal term that all quilter’s get.  Non-quilters ask why I would start a new project before finishing the one I’m working on.  First, there are just so many projects out there!  Then, there are many stages of each project.  Sometimes, you’re in the mood to choose fabrics and cut.  Sometimes you want to sit at the machine sewing as fast as you can.  Sometimes, you just want to do some mindless hand sewing. 



Siciliano project is my mindless project.  If you wondering how I could possibly call this mindless, I have a system. The pattern has a list of all the fabrics and the size of pieces that you need them cut into.  I’ve cut them into the necessary sizes and put them into an organizer.  When all the material is cut for a block it only takes about an hour and a half to get one block put together.  Breaking it down this way makes it much more manageable





have 8 more of these blocks to make and 8 more larger blocks to make to finish the wall hanging.  This is what I have so far.





 There were over 20 guild members on retreat.  You can see lots of photos of from the retreat on the guild’s blog at  Martha did a great job taking pictures and udating the blog. 

I had great fun at the retreat being kept on task by Martha too since she was at the table across from me.  I have a tendency to walk around and socialize check out what everyone is working on, thereby not getting my own work done. 

Inspired by blogs written by my friends Kathi and Martha and Emmy, I’ve decided to share a list at the end of my posts.  For today, I’ll keep the list short.

Things that make me smile:

  • Sunny days

Who doesn’t smile on a sunny day?   Whether you are remembering past sunny days or enjoying current ones at the beach, on a picnic, roller skating around Delaware park, sitting under a tree reading a book, bicycling, or doing any number of outdoor activities, all these things make us smile.  Unless, of course, the bicycling is a trip “around the block” with your boyfriend in Appleton.  In which case “around the block” is actually just over 8-1/2 miles, and you are not smiling but suffering from exhaustion at the end of it since you are a city girl whose “blocks” are significantly smaller and do not include any uphill segments.  Clearly I spend more time with a sewing machine pedal than a bicycle pedal. 

For those of you wondering how I came up with the title Sunny Day Quilting and Embroidery, I stumbled on the phrase “sunny days” about 10 years ago and it just made me smile.  Can anyone guess where I heard those two little words 10 years ago?  For those of you who’ve know me for a long time, this shouldn’t be very hard to figure out. 

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

 ~ Melanie