“Strawberry Fields Forever”? Remember?

If not, listen to this lovely rendition of an old Beatles classic:

This was an inspiration for the quilt title, “Mulberry Fields Forever”!

However, my easy bargello-style “slice and dice” quilted throw is created in muted shades of mulberry, cranberry and grape instead of strawberry. If you can quilt at all and are meticulous about straight seams and strips, you can make this. Honestly, it is simply made of just strips and slices, re-seamed. It’s also really versatile. Not only can it be done in any color range, it’s friendly for jelly roll strips or full-width scraps, AND with minimal change, can be made as a 40″x 40″ lap quilt. Is it time to quilt again?

“Mulberry Fields Forever” (by LJ Christensen)….on the couch, well, maybe not forever…but on there for now

The sample is for sale for $149. Made with my favorite Warm-n-Natural cotton batting, it will soften with every wash. I challenge you to make your own, though. The pattern is on sale for $3.50 until the end of January.

Click here to see more or buy pattern.

As I was piecing this last Sunday, I was having trouble with my thread breaking, repeatedly. Now that happens occasionally, but by the time it happened 8-10 times, I’d had ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I sighed and immediately suspected the thread was old and brittle, which DOES happen, especially to cotton thread. So with regret (because I had a full big spool I hated to part with), I switched to a different thread.

Hello–what’s this? More breakage? AARGH! Irritated now, I thought about it and realized that it could be the NEEDLE. I changed it, and voila, no more problem at all for the entire quilt. The culprit was a burr INSIDE the eye of the needle. Most sewers don’t think about that, but it can happen; sometimes in manufacturing, there’s just a goof. So, besides tension problems or brittle thread, don’t forget to check the needle, especially if you notice the thread SHREDDING!

As I’m mentioning needles, let me add that quilters generally can be happy with just size 80 universal. It’s my “go-to” for piecing. A 90 is OK, too. A 70 may be needed for very fine or tightly woven fabric. For actual machine quilting, a quilting needle (same sizes) isn’t mandatory, but it may be preferable because it’s sharper with no ball point.

The ballpoint and jersey needles are made for knits so that they slide through without breaking thread and causing a run (yes, like pantyhose–remember those?) You can get size 100 or 110 for heavy denim or canvas, not often used by quilters. There are double and triple needles as well as wing needles and leather needles, but those are really specialized and not used too often. I do like a double needle for sports hem in knits because it actually has a zigzag action underneath that gives a little stretch. They come in different widths. I’ve also used the narrow-width double needle to make pintucks or pintucks over a tiny cording, but again, that’s really specialized.

What most quilters need, though, is plenty of size 80 universal and quilting. (Plenty because you are supposed to change your needle after every project–do as I say, not as I do.) I have to add that if you have a combination machine with embroidery, more and more common these days, you really need a good supply of embroidery needles, again generally 80, but if you’re doing a really tightly filled embroidery design, you might use 70 while thick embroidery thread could require the 90, which is bigger. In embroidery needles, the EYE is also bigger, a little longer, to provide “play” because the embroidery threads don’t have the “give” that normal cotton or cotton blend/poly core sewing thread has. The Metallica needle has a longer eye yet because metallic thread is really brittle–sew SLOWLY with much, much lower tension. The flat ribbon-style thread is the hardest to deal with, but all those hints belongs in a thread article…some day.

Before I sign off, I want to give an update. The Sewgocreate Studio is almost finished–not loaded up and organized by any means, but the construction is FINALLY–at long last– nearly done. Still waiting for drawers and doors on a desk and cabinet, plus a few other tiny tweaks……but I get to report that THIS PATTERN–“Mulberry Fields Forever” was quilted by Molly (my quilting machine) last night in the studio. Good light, padded floor. YEA!

Libby quilting “Mulberry Fields Forever” in front of “Log Cabin in the Pines” in new studio
Waiting for drawers and doors…..! Sewgocreate Studio
Organization in progress!

Next project….knee doctor tomorrow to figure out knee replacement plans. UGH! To be continued….

Put away holiday decor and china…

but get out the Wedgwood! It’s time to stop decorating and start sewing! We all know the winter months are the best for quilting, so here’s a nice little throw to consider. I based the design on the classic blue china with white bas relief by Wedgwood, using folded half-square triangles to give the suggestion of texture. They are optional, though, if you don’t care for 3D. Just twelve simple 12″ squares make a 44″x 56″ throw and you’re done, but in the pattern, I give the number of squares needed for bigger quilts as well as full instructions for half-square triangles and binding. The pattern is on sale for $3.50 until the end of January. Click here if you want to see more.


“Wedgwood Plates” cc2307 by LJ Christensen

This sample quilt is for sale for $199 if you’d like to buy it–I’ll include shipping for my followers. It’s cheaper to buy the pattern, though, and make your own!

Here it is shown in a recent art show. It’s not the right colors for my house, but I think it looks gorgeous in the art scenario! I’m doing my best to introduce quilting/fabric art to the regional art shows.

The Kelly Artists Market, December 2019

My photo on canvas on the right of the picture is for sale, too, for $99.

“‘One Is the Loneliest Number'” by LJ Christensen

Eventually, I plan to have more quilts and maybe photos for sale on my website. I just have to have build up enough I’m willing to lose. I get really attached to my designs, and I’m not going to sell them cheaply because fabric is expensive these days and even the simplest designs take a big commitment in time. But aren’t they worth it? I have some family quilts I’ll always treasure, and I love the interplay of colors, prints, textures and designs. I’m looking forward to seeing where the spirit will move me THIS week. Not that I have NO IDEA–I just have so many to choose from. Which way to turn?

Fall fell! I promised and

…now it’s here! Fall fell and so did the new pattern. I call this runner “Running to Fall”; it is the promised match to the “When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall” Platter Pad. I love how it turned out with so many colors. Every one came from my stash–the stripes only take about 5-6″ and except for backing, every color in the runner is just 1/4-3/8 yd. It’s all 2 1/2″ stripes and squares, too, so it’s “jelly roll friendly.”

On sale the rest of October for just $3.50 and if you use the latest GUILD1 , you can get it $3 off. Do the math! That is practically free for my followers. (By the way, a special welcome to Eve and Tina!)

Here’s the latest pattern. Click here for info or to buy.

Running to Fall: Runner in 3 sizes by LJ Christensen

I’m happy with the way the leaves turned out; they’re simple but evocative. Sometimes just a few leaves or even just one can speak to you, like the brilliant colors, contrast or mood in my photos:

Colored and Curled by LJ Christensen
Raining Cats and Dogwood by LJ Christensen
“One is the Loneliest Number” by LJ Christensen

Another couple of fall quilted items are in process–keep watch!