September 16th, 2014

The happiest place I’ve been recently?

Quilty Retreat!

A Brief Row by Row Experience

September 8th, 2014

While in Michigan, I visited few participating Row-by-Row quilt shops.

The first is Attic Window Quilt Shop in Comstock Park. This was a lovely shop with quite a good selection of Civil War & 30s/40s fabric. And the modern row at the top lead me to my next stop…


Stitched Studio in Grand Rapids is new Modern Quilt Shop that opened early this summer. Such a wonderful bright and airy place with fresh mod fabric! It would not be hard not to spend all my time and money here. Plus, I loved that their RbR kit was offered in traditional and modern fabrics.


My third stop is Smith-Owen Sewing & Quilting on Plainfield. This place was a great find in that they service machines, sell fabric and have a large workroom for classes. Chatting with the fellow behind the counter, I found out that they had run completely out of kits for their winter-themed RbR with the AQS show over the weekend. Luckily, there was fabric left.


This was quite fun and I’ll have to pay more attention next summer. 2014AugStashBesides the RbR kits, I picked up some new fabric for my growing Stash! I’m eyeing several of those fabrics for family pillowcase gifts this Christmas. Best of all, I stumbled upon those two citron/blue fabrics from my June ‘One Block Wonder’ entry. Now I’ll have to decide what to make.

AQS Show 2014

August 29th, 2014

What fun! My quilt, Labor of Love, made it to the American Quilt Society show in GR!


Although it won no ribbons, the category was listed as Bed Quilts – Quilter’s Choice. I’m happy to note that it garnered plenty of accolades from many viewers for the hand-quilting and use of Prairie Points. And everyone loves hearts!


Time to start looking for a project to enter next year.

Meet me in St Louie [Mod Swap]

August 4th, 2014

Funny story two-step:

In June, I made a simple little quilt block out of 4 squares of citron/blue print fabric and a striped yellow strip that I’d found during a de-stash event this Spring. It was very sweet, and I really didn’t want to swap it, but I let it go. I figured that if I ever stumbled upon more of those fabrics, I could make something more substantial than a potholder.

What’s funny is that I gave my block to someone, who turned it in to the organizer 2014StLouieBlockStartwith several other blocks. When she redistributed the blocks, I ended up with mine back! Since I hadn’t really wanted to part with it, I decided not to (!) and searched my ReStash Box for another block start to make into a gifty. Lo and behold, I found this little beauty:

There were several leftover strips and another large swatch of a complementary batik print, so I thought to make a variation on this Skinny Pincushion I came across recently.

With minimal sewing, I zipped together a second block (red leaf pattern w/diagonal strip), sandwiched them together and stuffed the pincushion end. 2014StLouieBlockDk2014StLouieBlockLt2014StLouieBlockDone

Voila! My Skinny Pinny Machine Pad for some lucky quilter in St Louie!2014StLouieBlockGift

Desert Chicken

July 30th, 2014

What a whirlwind week!

Once again, I wasn’t planning to take a workshop, yet after a little research on our July speaker, Ann Shaw (as well as her mentor, Ruth McDowell), I realized that the piecing techniques these women pioneered were exactly what I’ve been looking for in modern, art quilt making.

Since the workshop sold out quickly, I completely lucked out when a second day was added. Sadly, Ann’s pattern ‘Gallus Gallus’ was sold out and I wasn’t in love with any of the other chicken patterns. Instead, I decided to make the ‘Mountain Chicken,’ which is a frog! Plus, my sister is a frog fan, so this might be a gift for her.

As you can see by the picture below, I spent much of my time ‘interviewing’ fabric snippets that might work as part of the design. This is a wonderful way to utilize tricky fabric; each decision informs the next choice you make. I have the front half of the frog working, but I can change my mind at any point.


One thing I’ll keep, the title: Desert Chicken!

Speaking of which, before the workshop, Ann lead a little field trip to a local fabric shop. She pointed out various multicolor fabrics that seemed unlikely choices for our chicken, yet work wonderfully to add interest. By looking at the texture and size of print, not just color, these projects are bound to be as much fun to assemble as to view.

Afterward, the group ventured into a flower and garden center, where Ann gave insights into floral photography utilizing design techniques I learned in college and from my father. The afternoon has been a wonderfully artistic surprise.


Carpenter’s Wheel: Indigo Mandala

July 16th, 2014

With furious sewing and quilting over the past few months and weeks, I finished the 2014 Hoffman Challenge. True to form, I ran into some strange issues I didn’t experience previously.

Unlike the Magenta version, the Indigo fabric has colorful orange/pink filigree in the background, instead of subtle purple or blue. Thus, I spent much more time fussy-cutting:


Easily, I assembled the block as before. And then it occurred to me. Since ‘Magenta’ will ultimately grace another quilt (stay tuned for that journey!), when I finished the square, it was done. Now, except for simple hand quilting, I hadn’t actually planned out how to finish this! Fiddlesticks! So I spent a good deal of time thinking about the design & interviewing color border ideas. Of course, the border had to include colorful super-sized Prairie Points! Here’s my finished design:


Oh, and then there’s my crazy internal sleeve? Right. It worked fine for the Heart Quilt. However, I decided to incorporate the selvedge, so I had to maneuver the fabric and I had a strip to ‘almost’ match it. Finished the rest of the back with stripes loosely based on Fibonacci number sequence. Maybe next time, I’ll try the Golden Spiral! Here’s the back view:


I absolutely love my Indigo Mandala! It turned out even better than I’d imagined. Yay!

Carpenter’s Wheel: Magenta Mandala

July 8th, 2014

Hoffman Challenge, Part 1: Earlier this year, I stumbled on the annual Hoffman fabric challenge. My friend, E thought it might be grand to enter and I decided to give it a whirl myself.

When I saw the multi-color mandala wheels, I knew exactly what to make. (wait for it…) A Carpenter’s Wheel!

Right out of the gate, I fell in love with the Magenta version of the original Anastasia fabric, so I thought I’d try playing with that first. I’d had much luck using the magic 8 method to easily make HST on the orchid birdie blocks, but the way I was fussy-cutting this mandala fabric, that just wasn’t possible.

With everything cut, sewn & squared into blocks, I assembling my wheel.


As progress continued, I decided to use this Wheel & the fabrics in my ‘Tula Pink City Sampler, 100 modern blocks’ quilt! Look for more progress later this fall.

UPDATE: here’s the finished block!2014MagentaMandala

Maine Knockabout

June 28th, 2014

They say that travel broadens the mind. In my case, it also expanded my stash! While driving to Bar Harbor at 2am, I noticed a small fabric shop (actually, a bright Pfaff sign) and vowed to check it out after the island festivities concluded this weekend.

As luck would have it, my timing was perfect on Sunday and Sewing by the Sea had just opened for the day. I chose some fun nautical fabric of boat drawings as well as swimmy fish. I regret not buying the destination t-shirt from the island with one colored fish in a school like this, so fabric was the next best thing. Lastly, I found some adorable lobsters!


Now I’m looking for some new projects to utilize my treasures and remind me of my tasty trip. Mmmm… lobster…

One Block Wonder

June 5th, 2014

Recently, I attended a Quilty retreat and finished a couple projects and apparently start a few more! I had much fun and even tried a little Mystery Quilt action. Okay, so right now, it’s just a one-block-wonder that I turned into a pillow, but I really like it and might make some more, although I’ll run out of the print. If I make 8 more, we can play tic-tac-toe!2014MrE

Another ‘orphan’ block I pieced for the BAMQG Swap/Challenge we’re doing w/the St Louis MQG this summer. The idea is to swap an orphan block w/a fellow BAMmer, then make a nifty item (potholder, zip bag, tote, chickie, etc). And lastly, we’ll ship all the finished items all off to SL & they do the same, so each participant receives something fun in return. Of course, now that I made this one, I kinda like it and wish that I had more of the fabrics.

2014SwapSLUPDATE: While kicking around fabric shops in GR, I actually DID find more of 2 of the fabrics! Yay!

Voluptous Appliqué – a first!

May 21st, 2014

There are so many things I haven’t done in the sewing world, but this week, I crossed off machine appliqué and using transparent threads! I’m pretty excited with the blocks I’m making and what a process!2014Voluptous

Seems the smartest way to get me out of my quilting rut is to try a new technique. Thus, I jumped into Cara’s Voluptuous Appliqué Block Design Workshop using freezer paper and invisible thread. I was truly in my element designing my own block and playing with color! Pair with her easy appliqué instructions and I made some fabulous spiraling blocks. Yes! I finished five of them and decided to continue for a kaleidoscope quilt. More photos later…