Thursday, February 28, 2013


Debbie has been working on a new quilt that just might be a future "Easy as Pie" class for summer or fall.  Nice big blocks, lots of potential for playing with colors.  Now it's off to the quilter--that would be me!  How would you quilt this??  Any ideas??

Tortilla Strips by Atkinson Designs
This retreat is like Machine Embroidery University!  For a novice like myself it is perfect.  I think I stated before that I am learning to use the embroidery features on my Bernina 730.  This is an interesting niche of the sewing world.  I signed up for a class to get me motivated and on track to learn about it, which is just what I needed.  I have worked today on embroidering these 9 little blocks, each 5" square, that will be sewn together (after Laurel shows me how!) to make part of the wallhanging.  This is really interesting to me, playing with colors and threads.  Speaking of threads, you would not believe the amount of thread that is in this sewing room!  Hundreds of spools in every color of the rainbow.  And maybe some new colors that were just invented!

I have started on my next set of squares for another block, this block requires 3 more squares just like the one below to make a star.  The other 3 sections are on hold until I get some more thread to match the stuff that I just ran out of.

We are living it up with catered brunch and dinner from Jason (Sweet Clarisse Catering).  Usually we do most of our own cooking, but now that we have experienced the pleasure and convenience of catered meals, there's no going back!  

If any of this sounds like something you would be interested in, make sure you let the staff of the Sewing Center know about it so we can start planning for our next retreat!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring 2013 Machine Embroidery Retreat

The Machine Embroiderers' Retreat has begun!
We are hosting 20 ladies at Bridge Creek Cottage in Augusta, WI, for a long weekend of sewing focused on machine embroidery.

We are having a few little snow flurries, but that won't last long and it is warm enough that nothing is accumulating.  It just makes for a very pretty view of the creek behind the house--

Some prize-winning icicles adorn the eaves--
I wouldn't recommend standing below them!

Debbie and I made the 2 hour trip here yesterday afternoon, with stops for lunch and 2 quilt shops on the way.  After settling in, I pulled out a sewing project to work on and used my BSR foot.  This is an amazing little piece of technology.  Notice the little black plug and cord in the top left of the picture.  It is plugged into the machine's computer, and activates a sensor mechanism on the bottom of the foot.  As fabric is moved beneath the foot it changes the needle speed faster and slower to match the speed of the fabric movement.  This adds a whole different dimension to the possibilities of quilting.  It is similar to the feature that my longarm quilting machine uses to help get a consistent stitch length during free-motion quilting.  As with any specialty features, there is a learning curve, and really is easy to learn.  If you are interested, make sure you test drive the BSR in our Sewing Center.

The Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) foot

Friday, February 15, 2013

It's All About the Bag!

Fresh new bag samples stitched up for you and on display!

Book Club Bag by Around the Bobbin

Sassy Swing Bag by Around the Bobbin

Saffron Bucket Bag by Around the Bobbin (on the left)
and Ship Shape by Green Bee Design

Pen Pal by Prairie Sky Quilting 

Margo by Lazy Girl 

Sassy Tote Bag by Around the Bobbin

Karen's Tote by Totes by Sandy

Button Up Rick Rack Tote
from the pattern Six In the City by Artful Offerings

The Classic Clutch by Anka's Treasures

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Web of Inspiration

Last Saturday the Bear Patch Circle of Quilters gathered for some fun.  This is something you should mark on your calendars and sign up for because it is a great time at a very reasonable price--only $5!  You even get freebies and discounts for attending, so you will come out ahead in the long run!  Our next meeting is April 13 at 9:30.  

We talked about new things happening at the store and had a great show-and-tell.  The group got first viewing of 8 great new purse samples that are now on display in the window.  Jeanne brought Valentine's cookies for everyone and her little itty bitty granddaughter, Piper, even helped make them.

I was present to talk to the group about sources of inspiration from the internet--places that I visit to get new ideas or help me get inspired.  One of those places is Quiltville.  This is Bonnie Hunter's website and blog, and if any of you are familiar with her books and designs, you will know that she is a master of scrappiness!  She has a whole list of patterns that you can use for making up scrap quilts.  One of them is Scrappy Trips Around the World, and it has become a popular project out there among bloggers and quilters.  There is something appealing about using simple random 2 1/2" strips to put together a quilt top with repetitive rings of colors.  The people in the group on Saturday each received a little pack of pre-cut strips, enough to make 2 blocks if used alone.  The challenge is to add some of your own into the mix and continue assembling the blocks using the Quiltville instructions.  You can make many or only a few blocks, depending on how the mood strikes you.  It is up to you to decide what size you want to make.  I hope to see many blocks back in 2 months for show-and-tell!

So even if you didn't make it to our February meeting, you are more than welcome to jump on the Scrappy Trips bandwagon and see what you can come up with before our April meeting.  If you want to see more examples, you can see many examples, including the 2 below, on the Flickr group.  And now Bear Patch has our own Flickr group so we can share pictures that way, too!  You don't have to be standing in the store to enjoy show and tell anymore!

Here are examples of sample blocks that I made.  The first one was done with random colored scraps from my own stash.  Kind of fun to see how the layout plays with the eye.

The second one was done with more of a plan.  I picked 4 greens, 4 yellows, 4 reds, 4 whites, 4 blues and 4 oranges.  Then I placed them in the same order for the 4 blocks.  

So, depending on your preferences, you can do it either way.  Or, use alternating light/dark strips.  Or shades of 1 color from dark to light.  Or children's novelty prints.  Or Christmas.  Or Halloween.  Or Valentine's.  Make some blocks and show me what you can come up with!

Keep stitchin'!   Pam