Monday, March 25, 2013

It Just Doesn't Get Any Better!

The trip to Kansas City was absolutely wonderful.  It wasn't nearly long enough - although it was really quite fortunate that we beat the weather, being stranded there another day or two wouldn't have upset me at all!  We began our visit to the KC area with lunch at the Salty Iguana.  My chimichanga with lizard sauce was absolutely delicious!  We then  headed over to Quilter's Station (quite possibly the best quilt shop in the country...maybe even the world!) to burn off lunch through power shopping.

Quilter's Station has an unbelievable selection of threads, embroidery flosses and pearl cottons. I didn't realize that they carry Simple Arts floss and wool threads (the brand Sue Spargo uses). Unfortunately I didn't have my lists with me so I couldn't really supplement my collection.


They have tons of fabric and fantastic samples to inspire!

I was so inspired that I picked up kits for two new wool applique quilts (crazy, I know).  I actually have both patterns but absolutely loved the colors they had done them in.  Here's what they will look like if I ever get them finished:

And that was just the first afternoon!  We headed to Janice's after dinner.  Her shop is beautiful. It's what I dream of for my own sewing/hooking room.

Can you believe all that wool?!?  It's amazing.  I managed to fall  in love with a huge new pattern Thursday night.  Although I tried to talk myself out of it, I ended up color-planning it on Friday.  I am really excited about the pattern and the colors we selected.  I resisted the urge to start it, though - I stuck to my kaleidoscope and, after hooking one square three times, finally landed on colors that will work.

The group we hooked with was lots of fun and the food was plentiful and delicious as always. The time flew by and the retreat was over way too soon. We are already thinking about going back.  It can't be soon enough for me!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kansas City Here I Come!

Just 24 hours from now I will be on my way to Janice Johnson's for a short hooking retreat.  I can't wait!  I am resisting the temptation to start another rug and will instead work on the Kaleidoscope rug I started when I was there last year.  I am hoping I can figure out the last of the color combinations (I think I still need one more medium) and make a lot of progress on it.  Hmm....wonder if I could finish it in time for the hook-in?  That's probably a little too ambitious...April 2014 might be a bit more realistic.

I went to a quilt show over the weekend and saw an X-block quilt that was absolutely gorgeous.  I didn't get the name of the gentleman that made it, but if I remember the description correctly it was his first quilt (amazing work for a beginner, isn't it?!?).  I have wanted to make one of these for quite a while.  Seeing this version inspired me to move the project at least a little higher on my "one of these days" list.

I am trying hard to complete my hand-piecing homework for this month after falling short last month.  I am getting a little burned out - not that I am tired of working on the blocks because I do truly enjoy it, but it is somewhat frustrating that keeping up with the homework means that I don't have any time to work on applique or to hook.  That being said, I really love my first block this month:

Just one more day....I can't wait to hit the road!  I will post progress on my rug and hopefully a few pictures of our hook-in at Janice's next week.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Where Does the Time Go?!?

I can't believe it's almost half way through March already!  This year is flying by and I certainly don't seem to be getting much accomplished! I am only able to report some success in chipping away at my February goals because I waited so long to post!  So first the good news:

February goal #3 - I finished my January Sue Spargo blocks a couple of nights ago.

I didn't add all of the suggested embellishment stitches to the tail of the bird in the middle - I liked him better without. I find that I am not a fan of doing bouillon stitches...I like how they look, but they are certainly hard on the fingers!

February goal #6 was to prep the next two Prairie Peony blocks. While I didn't completely finish prepping these, I did get the piecing done (the part I like the least!).

As far as goal #7 is concerned - finishing my hand-piecing homework - I really fell short on that one.  I finished one of the two 12" blocks late last week.  I haven't even started the second one.

I did manage to make a lot of progress on the Easy Street mystery quilt at a guild retreat a couple of weeks ago.  This is my stack of finished blocks:

I have two more blocks to finish and then can begin assembling the quilt.  I would like to finish the top in time to have it quilted for the show.  That would be three quilts that need to be quilted for the show.  Hmm... that's a LOT of binding!

So now for my list of goals for March:

1. Find a quilter for Lisa's Garden 
2. Finish Easy Street top
3. Finish February Sue Spargo blocks
4. Catch up on Wool Club hooking (Jan-Mar)
5. Finish March hand-piecing homework

I'm keeping it a little shorter and more realistic given the month is half way over and I am heading off to a rug retreat in the Kansas City area in a little over a week.  I still have to decide if I am starting a new project there or working on an old one. I have an awesome sampler rug I would love to color-plan, but really should go back to my Kaleidoscope and finish figuring out the colors on that one. Decisions, decisions!