Monday, September 22, 2014

A Multitude of Projects!

We are inching our way along through so many beautiful quilts, bags, tablerunners, etc.  What I have here is a small sample of the fun things we are working on.  This is a retreat that is not centered on teaching a specific class.  Instead, everyone is working on their own ideas and patterns.  Some are starting entirely new quilts.  Others have unearthed a few "oldie but goodie" projects that were started sometime in the past, but set aside in favor of something else.  There can be any number of reasons to file a project in the UFO (UnFinished Object) bin.  A missing fabric, a shortage of fabric to match, a misprinted pattern that requires re-working, a loss of interest, or just the allure of something else sparkly and new.  Whatever the reason, it can take a lot of discipline to control the urge to start new things while the old ones sit sad and forlorn in the closet, just waiting until someone kind will bring them out into the light of day and release them from the plastic bag prison.  I swear that sometimes I can hear them calling out to me, but usually so faintly that it is easy to ignore!

These pictures will show you some of the things going on.  If you follow us on Facebook, you will catch more glimpses of our ideas.

Judy brought along a quilt she recently finished to show.  All of the pictures and words are done by machine embroidery.  The designs come from Anita Gooddesigns.

Marlene finished all of the blocks for this beautiful pineapple quilt, named for the layered pieces.  This was a pattern by Edyta Star.

This little purse was made from the hedgehog fabric shown above.  The pattern is Bucket Bag from Kenzie Mac & Co.  The jute webbing really makes a nice finish.  I made this for a store sample, and there are some kits available.

This small tablerunner is a free pattern on  It is called the Scrap Lab Tablerunner.
Debbie gave each person a bundle of 5 coordinated fat quarters to make their own souvenir of retreat.

Marlene made this eye-popping tabletopper from a pattern called Triangle Frenzy by Bunnie Cleland.  This pattern, and others like it, are some new best-sellers and are offered in a class at the store.

Eileen made this quilt and we have named it Sea Glass.  Actually, the pattern is named Flora by Valori Well.  But it will be forever Sea Glass in our minds!  I don't see it listed as available on their website, but it was originally from The Stitchin' Post in Sisters, OR.

I did a little assembly line sewing and made 8 of these zipper bags yesterday.  They are really fun to put together in interesting fabric and color combinations.  It's a good way for me to use some of the things that I collect and think are precious.  The front is clear vinyl, letting the inside of the pocket show through.  The pattern is Bridget's Bagettes by Atkinson Designs.

Last night a few of us actually had a sewing break long enough to watch the season premiere of The Good Wife.  Some knitting was going on, but I really had to pay attention to what was going on with the characters so the knitting was not serious.  We all loved the plot, and we are worried about Kerry.  I won't say any more so I don't spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched it.  But I can tell you that when the closing credits came up, we all let out a group cry of anguish because we didn't want it to end!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

More City Sampler Blocks and Retreat

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A bit of a gap here with the block pictures, I'm really just giving you time to work on your own collection!  

This weekend is our fall retreat at Bridge Creek Cottage, and yesterday a great group of gals descended upon the sewing room.  Now it is overflowing with good vibes, the hum of machines, creativity and threads all over everything!  

Debbie and I came a day in advance to get everything just right for the quilters.  One of the things on our to-do list was recovering the ironing boards.  The sewing room is equipped with standard ironing boards and "big boards".  The big boards are rectangular wooden enhancements to the usual ironing board.  Those narrow ended ironing boards are great for pressing a shirt, but not so functional for our purposes.  The big boards are a little wider and longer without the narrowed end.  They get some pretty heavy use here, and sometimes need a little spiffing up.  Easy to do with some durable fabric and a staple gun.  However, the staple gun that I brought stopped working on the second board, so we visited the local hardware store.  The fellow helping us did get it to operate again, but not consistently, so I invested in a new one.  In the meantime, Debbie was wandering the labyrinth of narrow aisles, discovering that this was much more than a hardware store!  For example, they have Gumby and Pokey and Percy!  Perfect for some little guys I know--

I used some of the leftover fabric from the big boards so cover my own personal little board--

 The black binding strips are ready to sew onto more pages for this little soft book made from a panel print by Jenn Ski for Moda--

Half of the pages are made of chalkboard fabric, so it comes with a zipper pocket for chalk.  Can't wait to see how it actually works in the hands of a 2 year old!

The night before everyone arrived, I pulled out a project from a few years ago.  I had actually designed this for Quilt MN in maybe 2011?  I had all of the blocks together and necessary fabric, but hadn't finished the borders.  So I managed to get 4 borders sewn together and now it's ready for the quilter! (That would be me!)  And I like the look of the design, and discovered that I had done all the math for the quilt in multiple sizes, so maybe it will be a good pattern to publish for 2015!

And, oh yes, there snacks!  This is one I made, long story short, I have discovered the tasty goodness of the elusive caramel bugles, so I made my own from a caramel popcorn recipe.  It's energy food!

Stay tuned for more retreat pictures!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Paper Pizzazz

55, 56, 57, 58
 Now I am going to be self-indulgent and use this platform to tell you about some things I have been working on for classes!  All of our fall class samples are on display, and our registration day is Saturday.  I hope to get back to the store to get pictures of everything and put up a slide show here soon.  There are pictures on the class listing on the website, but sometimes we use the pattern cover picture there and it's fun to see what it looks like in the fabrics that our teachers use instead.

For quite awhile now, I have been wishing for the time to appear in my life when I would be able to do more with English Paper Piecing (EPP) as a class for the store.  Not only a class, but a support group, too!  Two years ago, we (myself and some other interested quilters) embarked on English paper piecing project that spanned about 12 months.  It all came together with blocks that made a small quilt or wallhanging, designed by Sue Daley of Patchwork With Busy Fingers.  I really enjoyed the project and new skills, along with the monthly camaraderie of a fun group of ladies.

What I have decided to do is set up and host a new group for lovers or beginners of English paper piecing --Paper Pizzazz.  We will meet monthly (mostly) and the fee is very reasonable-- just $10 per session!

Now, what do you get for that?  Well, you get the chance to sit down once a month for a few hours for just some plain and simple hand sewing.  You get to join others with the same interests, and make new friends or keep up with the old.  And, you get my sparkling wit, whether you like it or not!  I, personally, can't wait for this to begin because I don't know all that many people who like EPP, or are willing to admit that they really do like doing something else in addition to the absolutely fabulous machine work that they also love.

Each person will get a little starter project to practice on, and instructions and coaching to get going if this is new to you.  We will share handouts and tips that will help you along the way.

I will feature a different "shape of the month" with some hands-on learning to put that new shape to use.  Class members will receive a starter pack of the appropriate papers for that month.  And I hope to have a finished project that involves the use of that shape that you will receive instructions for (exclusive to Paper Pizzazz members).

And more than likely, there will be a snack or treat shared, along with coffee, tea, water or soda.

Here are the projects that we will start off with on October 14 and November 11.  So please stop in the store and take a look at them, and then sign up for Paper Pizzazz!  You won't regret it!
October's clamshell pillow
November's tumbler zipper pouch