Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wool Club Challenge & Serious Temptation

Now that most of the hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind me, I need to start thinking about what I am going to do with this:

Yes, it's an old bedspring.  The challenge is to turn it into something prior to the January meeting.  My first thought was a snowman, but a quick search on Yahoo shows that my idea isn't all that original.  I will mull it over for a couple more days, but now that I have the snowman visual stuck in my head it will be difficult to come up with something else!

As usual at this time of year I am surrounded by temptation.  I'm not referring to food - although there is a lot of that, too - but projects.  I am such a sucker for challenges, group activities and BOMs!  My Primitive Folk Art Yahoo group has decided to do quilts based on the "Album Quilts of Ohio's Miami Valley" book.  We are to start with out own eagle block in January, and then do our own blocks along with exchanging siggie blocks the rest of the year.  I tried to talk myself out of it, but couldn't resist.  I need to choose my fabrics and get started - this project has deadlines!

I am still trying to decide what to do for Wool Club this year.  My original plan was to do a small piece based on each month's theme.  After seeing the themes, though, I am not sure I want to go that route. I also thought about a twelve square "sampler" project,  but the monthly themes are all over the place and probably won't work in a single project.  I also need to keep in mind that I will be starting new rugs in workshops in March and April, so I already have more projects on my plate than I can handle.  More to come on that one...

And even though I already have way too many rug projects, I picked up on a discussion of a Dear Jane rug challenge in my Yahoo Rughookers group this morning, and of course had to jump in with both feet!  I would love to do something with the DJ-inspired pattern I started six or seven years ago.  I had switched to wool yarn and planned to do it in three colors, but after looking at it again may switch back to wool strips.  I'll have to give that one some thought as well.  So much to think about!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On the Road Again

It's been another crazy travel week with little progress on any projects (other than work!).  I did have a chance to break away for a little fun here and there, though.  On Monday night I took a long walk to see the New York store window displays, Radio City Music Hall, and Rockefeller Center.  New York is really hopping at this time of year - the streets were full of people shopping and sight-seeing. 

On Tuesday I headed to the American Folk Art Museum to see their "The Year of the Quilt" exhibit.  The museum is fairly small - the exhibit consisted of about 25 quilts.  There were several absolutely gorgeous applique quilts in the collection.  I took a lot of pictures (it's one of the few museums that actually allows non-flash photography) and also bought the new book they have released that shows their quilt collection.  The book weighs a ton - I am probably going to regret purchasing it after hauling it through all the airports tomorrow!

Today I was in the Boston area and finished up a bit early, so I checked the GPS for quilt shops.  I don't know how I lived without a GPS!  Much to my delight, I found that I was only about 15 miles from the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA, so I jumped on the highway and headed that direction.  One of the exhibits currently on display is a collection of antique blue and white quilts.  I loved them all!!!  I need to add a blue and white quilt to my "someday" list. 

One of the things that really captured my interest in the shop was a collection of out-of-print books they are selling to benefit the museum.  They had several of Elly's books (including two copies of "Spoken Without a Word" for $300 each).  I picked up a really wonderful applique pattern book by Pat Andreatta and one of Pat Campbell's early books.  There were actually two books by Pat that really caught my attention, but I decided I needed to exhibit at least a little self-control and leave one behind.  I had never heard of Pat and am looking forward to trying to find out a little more about her.

I'm headed home tomorrow and am looking forward to Wool Club on Saturday.  Nola is issuing a challenge - I can't wait to hear what it is!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ready, Set....Sew!

I was able to spend quite a bit of time in the sewing room over the four day weekend (no shopping for me!) and managed to prep the first of nine blocks for the Antique Rose quilt.  I decided that I should prep all of the pieces rather than needleturn this one - I think because this pattern is so geomertic/symmetrical it is critical that everything be very uniform.  I used a combination of overlays and tracing on the background to get everything properly aligned and then basted the pieces in place.  I had a little bit of time to start sewing last night and was able to get a stem and leaf appliqued.  It will be interesting to see how quickly I can get all of the applique done - I'm not used to having everything ready to go like this!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trying to Focus

I spent a good portion of Saturday trying to reorganize my sewing room to accomodate at least some of the stuff that I have been dragging home from all of the quilt shows and shopping adventures this year.  I was somewhat successful, but only because I pulled the remaining rug hooking things from the closet and baskets and hauled it to the basement (a.k.a. wool dumping ground).  I threw away a couple of things, and made mental notes to get rid of a few others at the guild's yard sale, but overall just crammed more stuff into closets and drawers that are already bursting at the seams.  The whole process served to remind me just how many projects I have started or purchased fabric for - I am totally out of control.  The worst part is that I do not have a single quilt to show for all my efforts in the past year or so - lots of blocks and partially-completed projects, but nothing even close to a whole quilt.  With the quilt show coming up in June, I figured it is high time I focus on a single project in an effort to have at least one thing to enter.  I do have the Runaway quilt to finish, but I really want to have an appliqued quilt to enter since that is the thing I love to do the most.

So I spent some time looking at some of my applique projects to assess degree of completion.  Bottom line is that most will require considerable effort (like making 250 more little baskets, etc.) to complete.  My Hearts & Flowers project is close, but I am not sure how I want to finish that one.  What I really want to do is start the Rose of Sharon pattern from McCall's Jan/Feb 2010 issue.  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it, and I purchased the fabric for it at the end of last year.  Here's a picture of the project and the antique quilt that inspired it (from Barbara Brackman's blog, Dec 2009):


I realize that trying to finish something this big in six months is quite an undertaking, but the pieces are big and there are only nine blocks, so it should be feasible, right???  I'm a little concerned about the symmetry.  I will have to be very careful not to let anything shift the least little bit or it will be obvious.  I know I am completely out of my mind, but I can't wait to get started!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taking a Deep Breath

I'm just beginning to recover from the craziness of the past couple of weeks.  I still haven't tackled the gigantic mess in my sewing room (although I have to admit that my recent purchases are only part of the problem - I still have bags from Chicago, Paducah and Colorado), and I am way behind on other things like making arrangements for rug camp, installing my replacement router, etc.  I can hardly believe that it is nearly the middle of November already.  My travels and the warm weather have me totally baffled!  I took this picture of fall foilage this morning.  Trees around here usually aren't quite this brilliant in color, and the almost never have any leaves left by November!

Immediately upon returning from Houston, I attended a rug class with Anne Marie Littenberg at Nola's studio.  It was one of the best workshops I have ever attended!  We had a fantastic group of really creative people, and Anne Marie was an incredible teacher!  I am very excited about my project and was so inspired by everything I learned! 

The rug that Anne Marie is holding in the above photo illustrates one of the techniques I would like to try.  (And yes, that is Sharon Townsend in the corner - I said it was an awesome class!)  Anne Marie uses smaller and smaller cuts to create perspective as she works away from the foreground. The designer of this rug is using an 8 cut in the foreground and is gradually working to a 4 cut in the distance.  You could already see how dimensional it will look!

Here's a picture of my pattern and the hooking I got done in class.  With Anne Marie's and my daughter's encouragement I opted to do a view of the side of the Ha Ha Tonka castle rather than the view from the front.  I learned all kinds of tips for creating light and shadow.  I can't wait to get a little farther along to see how my building looks!

Another thing that Anne Marie inspired me to do is start a journal.  I have tried to capture ideas in various places in the past, including this blog and a composition notebook in my sewing room, but I have never been very serious about it.  I haven't found the perfect journal yet - I am off to Barnes and Noble in search of something tomorrow.  I want to do a better job of documenting my projects as well as the hundreds of ideas I come across, and jotting notes from my three days with Anne Marie seems like the perfect way to start!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wrapping up the Sydney Trip

I'm down to the last night...  It's been a fantastic week, but I am definitely ready to be back in my own bed!  I have just about gotten used to some of the things that are different here, but others would take a much longer visit!  For example - salads.  I've been to all types of restaurants this week, and very few serve any type of salad.  Those that do serve something called "rocket" (a type of lettuce) with essentially no dressing - lemon juice or something.  I am craving a big ol' Bread Company Fugi Apple Chicken Salad.  Actually, I am craving anything from Bread Company!

I have spent quite a bit of time touring Sydney over the past week.  I hopped on a tour bus and did the city tour at the beginning of the week.  I went inside the Opera House and toured the Royal Botanical Gardens. 

The bathroom in the Opera House had the most amazing sink!  I had to get a picture:

I saw some beautiful flowers at the gardens.  So many that I have never seen in the US!  And along the walkway I ran into this little guy - just sitting there eating his lunch! 

I have so much more to share - next time will be about my trip to the Blue Mountains.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Visiting Sydney

It was a very long trip and a close call with the connection in San Francisco, but I made it!  I left home around 4:30 PM Friday and reached Sydney at 7:30 AM on Sunday.  I did get some sleep on the plane, so I am still functioning fairly well, but I'm not all that motivated to roam the city tonight.  I did some wandering this afternoon and found some really interesting things. There's a market in an area adjacent to the hotel called "The Rocks".  They had everything - lots of jewelry, art, etc.  I already have a few ideas for souvenirs. 

My hotel is located on the water, right at the base of the Bay Bridge.  My room overlooks the bridge, and the other side of the hotel looks out on the Opera House.  It's a beautiful area, although it was cold and rainy today.  I'm hoping for better weather so I can wander a little farther tomorrow - and look for some quilt shops!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Snowman Finished

I finally finished my snowman!  I need to come up with a better name, but my brain is so overloaded with work and getting ready to leave for Australia that I am unable to think of anything the least bit creative.  This rug was made to satisfy two different efforts.  It was originally designed for a Wool Club project.  We all hooked holiday-themed projects that will be photographed to create a set of Christmas cards.  We will each receive a complete set (one of each project).  I then plan to donate my rug to my quilt guild's auction in November.  It's almost ready to go - I just need to come up with a name and create a label.

My next post will probably be from Australia - I head out on Friday.  I've prepped plenty of applique for the long flight!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shop Hop

The 2010 Country Shop Hop was lots of fun!  There were a few duds, and I wasn't all that impressed with the "special" fabric, but overall I had a great time.  I started out Thursday at Warrensburg.  I opted not to head up to Higginsville, a decision I regret since I ran short of time anyway.  The shop in Warrensburg, Primitive Stiches, is very cute and had lots of fantastic fall and Christmas wool applique projects.  From there I headed to shops in LaMonte and Sedalia.  The LaMonte shop had an excellend version of one of the x-block patterns on display.  I have the pattern and the ruler, and her sample made me want to get started on making my own.

After work on Friday I headed over to Warsaw to visit Saltbox Primitives Woolens.  I absolutely loved the shop!  I have purchased from them at shows, but had never been out to their shop.  It was really cute outside and in:

I found the perfect fabrics for the leaves in The Blessings quilt there. They had a couple of really cute rug patterns, too, but I resisted temptation.  I have way too many rugs in the works already and lots of patterns waiting in the wings.  They also had a couple of antique quilts on display that dated back to the late 1800s.  The quilts were recently given one of the ladies in the shop by someone who was clearing out a relative's house for an estate sale.  They were in incredibly good shape!

After Saltbox, I visited the shop in Lincoln and all three participants in Stover.  I ended the day with a wonderful look at fall colors along Hwy W and dinner at Panera.

I wrapped up the hop with the last three shops on Saturday.  The shop in Camdenton is a lot of fun!  I ended up signing up for another BOM there - Buggy Barn's Folk Art Blooms - beginning in Jan 2011.

I visited Ha Ha Tonka to take a few more pictures of the castle before hitting the road.  I plan to do the castle as my landscape project with Ann Marie Littenburg in November. 

I had hoped to get a picture of the castle with fall fall foliage, but found that all the trees surrounding it are junipers, so no such luck. Perhaps I will have to make a few adjustments...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shop Hop Time!

I am soooo excited - I am going on a shop hop tomorrow!  I actually have to work first, but I am leaving early in the afternoon and heading out across Missouri to begin hopping.  I haven't been on a hop in a long time, and the last few times I participated I only visited a couple of the shops.  My intent is to visit all of them this time, but I'll have to see how it goes tomorrow and Friday.

I love the hops in central Missouri.  The shops typically have creative patterns - not just a standard block - and they usually give a 20% discount on most of the things in the store.  I'm particularly excited that they have a special batik that was made just for this hop - and it's a dogwood blossom!  I can't wait to see the fabric and the patterns.

More to come on the hop, including a picture of the fabric as soon as I get my hands on some!

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Projects

Perhaps it's time to take a break from making lists and recording less-than-stellar performance... I definitely didn't stick to my plans for September!  I did make a lot of progress on the Runaway Mystery and my snowman rug, though, so I don't feel too bad about the others.  I hope to finish hooking my snowman in the next couple of days.  I have almost everything except the details on the snowman finished.

I mnaged to get the first three rows of the Runaway Mystery sewn together over the weekend.  There are tons of seams and of course since there were no pressing instructions they are all going the wrong way.  It's very frustrating!  My answer to the frustration, of course, was to start something new.  And not just one project - I started two! I finally started The Blessings quilt.  It's a little different that the usual applique - some of the applique pieces are pieced.  Here's my start on the first block (it's still missing a bunch of leaves and dots):

I love the shadow of my hands and the camera - I have to stop trying to take pictures on the floor!  I've only appliqued about 6" of the inner ring so far.

The other project I started (or re-started, I suppose) is a Baltimore Album.  I decided to go with the traditional size this time instead of reducing to 12". I chose a pattern from the Lovely Lane collection and am making it actual size - about 18".  I started with the vase yesterday, using a piece of Japanese fabric I picked up in Colorado this summer.  I'm excited about this block - I think all these big pieces will be a fun break from all the tiny blocks I have been working on lately.

I'm getting excited about a shop hop I am planning to do next weekend.  More on that later in the week.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Feels like fall!

The hot weather seems to be gone for good - finally!  I am a fall fanatic!  I haven't had much of a chance to enjoy the beautifully cool, sunny days we've been having.  Work seems to be getting in the way.  I do have a wonderful view from my window, however, and can see the leaves starting to change:

There's not a lot of color yet.  We won't see peak colors for another couple of weeks.  I'm looking forward to seeing what this tree line looks like then!

I received my confirmation paperwork from the Applique Academy yesterday.  I am so excited!  I was able to get all of the classes I requested.  I also receied an e-mail indicating that I got my first choice for Baltimore on the Prairie.  If only I could get into the class that I want at Houston!  I'm still not sure what I am going to do with myself on Wednesday before the show opens.
Work has been consuming so much of my time lately that I haven't had much time for sewing or hooking.  I did spend a little time putting together my first ring for The Blessings pattern.  I am using Jo Morton fabrics for the applique but can't decide if I want to use shirtings for the background as I originally planned or go with something a little brighter.  I placed the ring on a plain background - a Moda Bella solid - and didn't like it at all.  I should pin together a mock-up and take a picture.  Sometimes that helps with decision-making.

I am still anxiously awaiting the release of the "Stars & Sprigs" pattern.  I plan on getting my bright fix with that project.  Glorious Applique should have the pattern in the next couple of weeks.  It feels like I have been waiting forever!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Runaway Mystery Quilt Update

Time has flown by this month!  I had a wonderful time at Kinderhook last weekend.  I really need to do that more often - go on trips to work on projects rather than to shop for more, that is!  I spent many, many hours working on the Runaway Mystery quilt.  I had high hopes of getting it completely finished, and put in at least 16 hours of sewing each day, but alas came up short...  I did make considerable progress, and even started fantasizing that I might get it done in time for my friends to take to Runaway with them this year, but I think I am going to run out of time.  I have a few more blocks to finish but started laying it out on the floor to see what it will look like:

I wasn't sure that I liked it at first, but looking at the picture, I really think I do!  It is the first scrappy project I have ever done, and it's really been difficult for me!  It's going to be a big one...I think maybe a king or at least close to it. 

I've also been making some progress on my Lisa's Garden blocks.  I've had week six done for a while but hadn't gotten around to taking a picture:

I haven't made much progress on my snowman rug.  It has to be finished by October in order to be part of our Christmas card project, so I suppose I had better put away the stitching and get to hooking!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Projects

It's always amazing to look back at the previous month's "to do" list and see how far I have strayed... What is most amazing is that I even work on anything I list!  I'm really challenged when it comes to staying focused on a project - there are just so many out there that I can't wait to start!  Here's the status report for August:

1. Applique Affair block 17 - didn't touch
2. My Garden Album block 12 - Finished!  Happy dance time!!!!
3. Hook Aug flowers - didn't touch
4. Runaway Mystery (finish Mar clue) - half way through this one
5. Primitive Gatherings BOW (pieced blocks for weeks 1-6, applique 5-8) - ouch!  Not quite...
6. Falling Leaves (three blocks) - one block finished
7. Sew Ewe-nique Baltimore block 1 - didn't touch
8. Begin snowman rug - about 25% finished

Wow - I thought I did more than that!!!  Looks like there will be a lot of repeats for September - here we go:

1.  Applique Affair block 15
2.  My Garden Album (begin piecing borders)
3.  Hook Aug & Sep flowers
4.  Runaway Mystery (finish Mar & Apr clues)
5.  Lisa's Flower Garden (pieced blocks weeks 1-6, applique 7-9)
6.  Finish snowman rug
7.  Garden baskets (two blocks)
8.  Falling Leaves (two blocks)

I'm really counting on making a lot of progress on projects at the retreat - we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catching up

I've been plugging away at my Lisa's Garden blocks and the Summer Freebies but haven't taken the time to take photos in a while.  Here are the blocks from week five:
I am still completely in love with these blocks!  They are so much fun to work on.  I also finished week six:

I also love the summer freebie blocks.  I finished the second one:

Last, but not least, I finally finished the last My Garden Album block!  I had a problem with one of the fabrics bleeding but I was able to get it out by soaking it in Synthrapol.  I'll post a photo when it dries.  I now need to turn my attention to the pieced borders.  I'm not entirely sure what Homestead Hearth intended for us to use in the piecing - they sent two single pieces of fabric when the pattern calls for one plus a lot of scraps.  I don't like the idea of just using two fabrics - I think I will have to supplement with my own scraps to make it a little more like the pattern.

I'm looking forward to heading off on a four day retreat a week from Thursday.  I need to decide what to take - I certainly have a lot to choose from!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Incredible Workshop!

I had the pleasure of spending the last two days in an intermediate applique workshop taught by David Taylor.  David also lectured at our guild meeting last night.  He is a fantastic teacher and presented a wonderful program!  I only wish I would have spent the time needed to adequately prepare for the workshop.  I decided not to use my own photo at the last minute and instead opted for one of the class kits.  I still learned a lot, but I would have loved to have David's help making a pattern from one of my photos. Here he is demonstrating how he creates his patterns using tracing paper over an enlargement: 
And here is what one of the patterns looks like when drafted (this is one of the class participant's kitty):

David has a very interesting applique stitch.  I tired very hard to do it but failed miserably!  I resorted to my usual method for stitching, but did use his method of prepping the pieces.  The jury is still out on the starch prep method...I love having the edges all perfectly turned when I am ready to sew, but I sure hate getting them to that point!  I am starch-challenged.

David does incredible, extremely heavy quilting on his pieces. He showed us his stitching process on the white board - it's like drawing lots of tiny, close together flames with all different colors of thread.  I can't believe how close he gets his lines without ever crossing over!  Here's a shot of the demo:

Gee, one of these days maybe I will finish my hummingbird and give this a try...

Monday, August 9, 2010


No pictures to post today, although I have finished the first Summer Freebie block and a couple of the BOW week 5 blocks. I also started a new rug on Saturday at Wool Club.  I'll have to post a picture of it later.  It's a's kind of funny working on a snowman during a heat warning. It's supposed to be 100 F the next couple of days.

Sometimes a little whining makes me feel better...

I spent the afternoon at the machine yesterday, diligently working my way through the first step of the March clue for the Runaway mystery quilt.  The clues have no text or explanation - just line drawings that are filled with the approximate color that the pieces are supposed to be.  I use the word "approximate" because the colors aren't entirely obvious in some of the clues.  So anyway, I finish all 80 sub-blocks and press them nicely, then take a look at step two.  Step two calls for 64 green triangles.  I have 10 left after sewing the 80 blocks.  Only then does it occur to me that what I thought was green in step one was supposed to be black.  Not my happiest moment of the weekend, to be sure!  I now have 80 blocks to "un-press", unsew, and redo.  I made it through the first 10 last night.  Only 70 left to go.  The worst part was that I decided I had better take a look at the rest of the clues, including the final layout, to make sure I hadn't screwed anything else up.  It kind of ruined the fun a bit - I like a true mystery - but I am glad that I did it. If nothing else it prevented me from making a mistake on my border.  The good news is that I really like the final quilt and think it will look nice in my colors, so I guess I will bite the bullet and grab the seam ripper!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August Update

First I must mention that my Lisa's Garden blocks look better "in person" than they do in the photos... The fabric is dyed to look antique, which kind of gives the appearance of wrinkles.  The wrinkled look really comes across in the photos. Honest - I ironed all of the blocks before taking the photos - it's the fabric, not me!

I fell short on a number of my goals for July:

1.  Applique Affair block 7 - didn't start
2. My Garden Album block 12 - started, but less than half done
3. Hook June & July flowers - Done!
4. Bind Bird Party - Done!
5. Runaway Mystery (finish Feb clue) - Done!  (Started the March clue, too.)
6. Primitive Gatherings BOW (all blocks for weeks 1-4) - Done!
7. Sue Spargo BOM block 1 - didn't touch
8. Sew Ewe-nique Baltimore block 1- didn't touch

I guess I didn't do too badly for being gone a week and having way too much going on at work.  I also started a block for my first Nancy Page quilt, made a bit of progress on my Crewel rug, and designed a new rug for Wool Club. Our theme this month is "Christmas in August".  My plan is to hook this little rug to donate to our quilt guild auction.

So....time to plan for August:

1. Applique Affair block 17

2. My Garden Album block 12
3. Hook Aug flowers
4. Runaway Mystery (finish Mar clue)
5. Primitive Gatherings BOW (pieced blocks for weeks 1-6, applique 5-8)
6. Falling Leaves (three blocks)
7. Sew Ewe-nique Baltimore block 1
8. Begin Snowman rug

I have a couple of other projects that I am dying to start (so what else is new?!?), but I will stop here for now.  Too bad I have to work today - I am anxious to dive in!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lisa's Garden

I've been having such a great time with Primitive Gathering's summer BOW!  I prepped a bunch of blocks to take on my trip and managed to make quite a bit of progress.  Here are the applique blocks for week two:

And here are the applique blocks for week three - I also did the nine-patch blocks for this set, but didn't take a picture:

I finished the last of the week four blocks this morning:

I prepped the week five blocks along with the first week's summer freebie this morning.  I'm not sure which project I like better - the summer freebie blocks are adorable little baskets of flowers.  I can't wait to start on them!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stuck in Raleigh

I am supposed to be on a plane right now headed back to St. Louis, but it appears that the weather (or something) isn't cooperating and my plane has been delayed for hours.  I am still hopeful that I will be able to get out of here tonight. 

I've been in the Raleigh area since Sunday evening.  I managed to get several of my BOW blocks done while down here - I will post pictures later.  I also managed to make it to a few shops.  There were a couple of shops in Cary, one of which was mostly dedicated to machine sales and didn't have much fabric at all.  I didn't bother to go into that one.  The other, Elegant Stitches, ended up being right across the street from my hotel.  I didn't get any pictures, but it was a nice little shop with lots of really fun, bright fabrics.  I have fallen in love with Kim McClean's patterns and love the fabrics she uses - Kaffe Fasset's and other brights.  I can't wait for her "Stars and Sprigs" pattern to be released - I think it's due out in September.  I picked up several 1/8 yd pieces of bright, happy fabrics to save for that project.

The other shop I found just happened to be one of this year's "Quilt Sampler" featured shops.  Plain & Simple Quilt Shop is located in Apex, NC, and is absolutely wonderful!  The shop is located in an old house and each room has a theme.  The "cottage" room was full of Bunny Hill and Blackbird Designs-type patterns and fabrics:

Isn't it cute?  There were three other rooms and more displayed in the hallway.  One room was Civil War repros, another primitive, and the fourth was sale fabrics.  The hallway contained a couple of Moda lines and a really adorable new BOM the shop is offering:

Of course there were plenty of copies of "Quilt Sampler" available, too!  They had quite a few Primitive Gatherings patterns and a small selection of wool.  There were tons of Jo Morton fabrics.  I could have gone completely nuts in that place if I wasn't limited to what I could cram in my suitcase.  I picked up a cute pattern by a local designers and a really nice striped fabric that I think would make an awesome backgound for it.  I also grabbed a few neutral fat quarters - a quilter can never have too many! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Teri Tope Workshop

I am still struggling to get used to the new blog design...I decided to give the new Blogger design tool a try and now can't figure out how to get rid of it!

Teri Henderson-Tope spoke at our guild meeting on Tuesday and I was able to sneak away from work for part of the day yesterday to attend her "Doodle in Reverse" workshop.  Her reverse applique is phenomenal!  I loved the workshop and can't wait to work on my project.  It's certainly a lot of work, though!  It took an hour and a half just to trace the pattern onto the background.  Teri had lots of great applique tips to share, and looking at her projects gave me all kinds of ideas.  I love reverse applique!  Here's a shot of Teri demonstrating how to reverse applique perfect circles:

I also managed to finally finish my Applique Affair block assignment for June.  It was such a relief to finally have it done!  Now it's time to work on the last My Garden Album block.  I am so excited about nearly having that one finished!

I plan to spend what little time is left this evening working on week two of the summer BOM.  I'm  so far behind - but what else is new?!?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fantastic Weekend!

I had such a wonderful and productive weekend!  It's a shame there isn't some reason to be off on Monday at least once a month.  I got an early start to my weekend on Friday, heading over to Bread Company with a friend to sit outside (the weather was absolutely wonderful and completely atypical for this time of year) all afternoon and work on binding Bird Party.  I was 75% finished by the time we left for the day!  I finished whipping it Friday, stitched the binding tape down Saturday, and did the final steaming this morning. 

I finished the first week's applique blocks for the Summer BOW late last week but didn't get a picture posted.  I have prepped the applique for week two.  I haven't started on the pieced blocks yet.  I am absolutely loving this project!  The pieces are tiny but the blocks are so cute!

I also managed to finish the first sewing step of my Runaway Mystery quilt this weekend.  I was really worried about how all this scrappiness would turn out, but when the blocks came together I was very happy with them.  I took a peek at the next step thinking I would get going on it, but the first instruction involved making 80 of something - an immediate turn-off!  I went back to my applique.

Last, but not least, I did get some applique done.  I am still plugging away at last month's AA assignment.  It's an obnoxious block!  I have 27 of 45 pieces sewn.  I also took a quick break today and started one of the quilts that I have been wanting to work on for a long time - one of the Nancy Page Quilt Club patterns.  I appliqued one block but still need to add embroidery.  I will write more about the quilt and my Nancy Page obsession at a later time...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home Again

What a crazy last couple of weeks I have had!  I headed to the Ozarks directly from the airport on Thursday. I finally made it home on Friday evening.  It's good to be back in the normal routine for a while!

It's once again time to review my progress against goals...this is starting to feel a lot like work! (Which reminds me...I never did write my mid-year review!) 

1. Applique Affair block 7 - started, but not very far along
2. My Garden Album block 11 - Done!
3. Hook June flowers - didn't happen...looks like a project for this weekend!
4. Finish Bird Party - Almost done - hooked and steamed, just needs to be bound
5. Runaway Mystery (finish Feb clue) - also didn't happen
6. Primitive Gatherings BOW (weeks 1 and 2) - week one applique completed
7. Sue Spargo BOM block 1 - didnt happen
8. Sew Ewe-nique Baltimore block 1 - partially completed doesn't look like I did so well this month!  I did finish one item not on the list - the 2009 Summer BOW block.  That's about it for the month.  We were so busy on vacation that I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I hoped.

So here's another ambitious list for July...

1. Applique Affair block 7
2. My Garden Album block 12
3. Hook June & July flowers
4. Bind Bird Party
5. Runaway Mystery (finish Feb clue)
6. Primitive Gatherings BOW (all blocks for weeks 1-4)
7. Sue Spargo BOM block 1
8. Sew Ewe-nique Baltimore block 1

There's so much more that I want to work on such as my Baltimore blocks from Elly's workshops, but my list already seems too long.  I'm definitely going to make the best of the long holiday weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back in New York

I didn't have a chance to post after my second day of class with Elly.  After the class (which was wonderful!) we went back to the park for one last hike and then went to dinner in town, picking up a couple of last-minute souvenirs along the way.  I did pick up a few patterns from Hummingbird Quilt Studio, a Colorado designer, during my lunch hour on Friday.  Her patterns were wonderful and a bit unique - she has big quilt patterns that are pieced and appliqued, and then smaller (large wall size) patterns that are subsets of the original designs.  She also has block patterns that are usually two elements (one pieced and one applique design) from the larger quilts.  Her website is  It looks like only the big patterns are posted - supposedly she'll be updating the site soon.  I almost fell for the king-sized "Autumn Memories" pattern but talked myself into going with a smaller version instead.  I love the colors!

Our trip home took 14 hours with only minimal stops for gas and fast food.  We were home around 10:30 PM.  After unpacking and getting a few hours sleep, I made cookies and mowed the lawn (both for Father's Day), did laundry and repacked.  I was headed to the airport by 1 PM on Sunday.  My hotel has the tiniest rooms I have ever seen!  Check this out:
I had to stand in the bathroom doorway to take the photo.  Look at the chair at the desk - it's such a small space that even my skinny little daughter would have trouble sitting in it!  And the corner of the room that isn't in the photo is filled with a small table that contains the coffee maker and ice bucket sitting behind an upholstered chair and in front of the closet.  I have to climb over or move the chair to access the closet.  It's hysterical! 

I had a wonderful dinner - delicious Chinese food from "Six Happiness".  Excellent recommendation from the front desk...

I'm planning to start week one of the Primitive Gatherings BOW tonight.  Weeks one and two came while I was in Colorado.  I have decided that using fusible is a must.  I prepped one of the blocks from last year's project to work on in the car on the way home.  I did it without fusible and am not really happy with the final results.  As much as I hate sewing through the sticky junk, I do like the look.  I'll  be looking for wool to redo the block when I get home.  So much for trying to get something accomplished during the drive!  Oh well - live & learn!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Class With Elly

Today was my first day of workshops with Elly Sienkiewicz.  Today's workshop was the ruched rose she demonstrates in her first video.  Despite a rocky start (we were supposed to have been given a pattern and have done our prep work prior to class, but that didn't happen), the class was wonderful!  Elly did a fantastic job of improvising and we were back on track in no time.  I ended up doing an 8" block instead of 12" as planned, but I can always start over if I really want to include it with my barely-started Baltimore.  Here's a shot of Elly demonstrating how to handle the cut-away stem:

At the end of the day, Ricky Tims stopped by with his video crew and filmed a quick talk with Elly and our group.  He's apparently working on a piece about Quilt Colorado for an upcoming episode of The Quilt Show. 

I am looking forward to my second workshop with Elly, although I hate for the week to come to an end.  I still have several things that I want to do - I'm not sure that I can accomplish them all before we wrap things up tomorrow night.  I am not looking forward to the long day of driving on Saturday, but I sure can't wait to se my puppy!

Colorado Day Five

We hit the road yesterday, heading down to Idaho Springs by way of Golden.  Our final destination was the Argo Mine, where we learned about the Colorado Gold Rush and tried our hand at panning for gold.  I realized very quickly that I would need more incentive than a few tiny gold flakes to do that for any length of time - it's hard on the wrist!

I visited the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and Golden Quilt Company while in Golden.  The museum was really a disappointment.  It is very small, with only a dozen or so quilts and a tiny little gift shop.  I did get a great deal on a book about the Marie Webster museum and saw a couple of antique applique quilts that were really interesting, but the entire visit took about ten minutes - and that included lingering in the gift shop.  I am surprised they can keep it going.  By contrast, the Golden Quilt Company was outstanding!  They had a wonderful selection of batiks, including some that have graduated color across the width of the fabric.  The person working at the shop said that the graduated fabric was fantastic for ruched roses - I can't wait to give it a try!

My next stop was the Hen House in Idaho Springs.  It's also a very nice little shop, with a fantastic selection of neutrals.  I picked up quite a few fat quarters to add to my stash.

Last, but not least, Quilt Colorado opened last night.  It's a nice show although smaller than I expected - I think our guild show is larger.  They have a nice selection of vendors.  I found some very interesting Japanese cotton fabric (from a shop in Wyoming, believe it or not!) and a Colorado designer that has created beautiful applique patterns of local birds and wildflowers.  I didn't do a lot of shopping last night but may head back to the show after class this evening.

I'm off to my first class with Elly this morning.  I'm anxious to see how it goes!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another Block and More Quilt Shops

Although lighting has been an issue - I've spent the better part of the last couple of evenings huddled next to a lamp - I did manage to finish block 11 of My Garden Album:

I also managed to make it to the other two quilt shops in town in between visits to the park.  We made it almost to the top of Trail Ridge Road this morning - we decided to turn around at 12,000 ft (just short of the highest point) because my daughter's fear of heights was starting to get to her.  We returned to the park for an awesome hike to a waterfall this afternoon.  Once again, all the photos are on the camera I can't download until we're home. 

The first shop I made it to was Cottage Bliss.  What an adorable shop!  She had all kinds of cute gift items and wonderful displays for everything!  Here are a couple of pics:

The other shop, Maggie Mae's Quilts 'N (that's really the name - it looks like something is missing, doesn't it?) was small and didn't have a lot of fabric, but they did have a really nice selection of 30s fabrics.  They also had several small and very beautiful designs by Columbine Quilts (or something along that line - I can't find the patterns on the internet) but did not have the patterns available.  There is a chance they will have them back in stock before the end of the week - I really hope so, although I am not sure when I will have time to get back there.  Quilt Colorado check-in is tomorrow, and the quilt show preview is tomorrow night.  My classes with Elly begin on Thursday.  I'm very excited, but a little bummed that I will have to miss out on the gorgeous weather to sit in a classroom.  I'll have to try and get my fill tomorrow!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Today was a huge improvement over yesterday!  It was very chilly this morning - 36 F - but we had sun most of the day and it warmed to a balmy 60 F by afternoon.  It was actually quite nice for exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park.  We did a couple of short trails around Bear Lake today and at one point it was actually snowing!  There was quite a bit of snow on the ground around the lake, too.  The view up there was unbelievable!  Of course, I didn't take any pictures with the cell phone so I don't have any to post until I get home.

I made it to one of the local quilt shops this afternoon - Mountain Lady Quilts.  It was such a cute little shop!  She's done a very nice job of assembling all types of forest-themed patterns.  Lots of bears, elk, moose, etc. and some Colorado-themed fabric to go along with it all.  Here's a glimpse at some of the shop samples:

I did take a couple of pictures from the cabin today - here's the view from my Colorado sewing corner:

I'm hoping to be able to finish the My Garden Album block this evening and then it will be back to wool applique for a while.  Off to stitch some berries - ugh!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cold & Rainy Colorado

Vacation is off to a rather damp and chilly start.  According to the local media, it should be dry and around 80 F today.  Instead it is pouring, the local rivers are dangerously high, and it was 41 F when I woke up.  The rain is supposed to end today and we're supposed to see a high in the upper 50s, but there's no hope of warmth today.  I'm happy to say that they are predicting much nicer weather for the remainder of the week...

Most of Friday and Saturday were spent in the car, so I didn't get much done in the way of sewing.  I did manage to finish one of my BOW blocks from last summer - I started it last year and had picked it up recently as a quick take-along project, and have been chipping away at it ever since.  I brought the next block along to prep - I love wool applique!  I had really hoped to have the new BOW in hand before we left, but it must have been sent on the slow horse - I received the thread, but not the project.  Looks like I will be at least two weeks behind on that one! 

I'm back to working on My Garden Album block 11 now.  The lighting in our cabin isn't the greatest, particularly with the lack of sunshine, so applique is a bit of a struggle.  We're planning to brave the rain today and visit the shops in town.  The area is beautiful, and the cabin is really wonderful.  We've got a nice fire burning in the fireplace as I write.  I'll have to post a few pics later.  Back to sewing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The results are in...

And May was a fairly productive month!  Here's the final tally:

1.  Applique Affair block 5 - not finished (not started, actually)
2.  My Garden Album block 10 - Done!
3.  Bird Party progress - doing well, could finish in June
4.  Hook May flowers - Done!
5.  Applique Affair block 19 - Done!
6.  Runaway Mystery - finished cutting, started sewing Feb blocks
7.  Sue Spargo BOM block 1 - still not done

Not perfect, but not bad! June will be a crazy month - a couple of new projects to start, a lot of traveling (some vacation, some work), so planning is tough.  Here's what I am hoping to accomplish:

1.  Applique Affair block 7
2.  My Garden Album block 11
3.  Hook June flowers (this rug needs a name!)
4.  Finish Bird Party
5.  Runaway Mystery (finish Feb clue)
6.  Primitive Gatherings BOW (weeks 1 and 2)
7.  Sue Spargo BOM block 1
8.  Sew Ewe-nique Baltimore block 1

Probably a little too ambitious, but I've got big plans for vacation!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Finished With Time to Spare!

I managed to finish this month's Applique Affair block with 12 hours left in the month.  I'm not completely happy with my berries, but one of the worst is the one I made using Perfect Circles.  I was so happy to finally get them all finished...and so disappointed when I saw that there were 8 berries on the next My Garden Album block!