Friday, February 2, 2018

Back from Retreat... to a couple problems

I had a very nice time in Plymouth, Mass last weekend at the Red Barn Sewing and Yarn Center retreat. They have been in business 40 years this year, and this is the 20th year they've run this retreat, to this same hotel. I think it's changed ownership several times, but it is now the 1620 Hotel. We had a nice large room with 3 or 4 people at a grouping of 4 tables each. We each had a 6 foot table to ourselves, so there was plenty of room to spread out your projects. I spent several days prior to the retreat cutting fabric with my new Accuquilt Go Big cutter. I was all ready to sew!

I have had subscriptions to Quilty Box and the Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler since last spring. I've been making the projects, with a couple exceptions, as I receive them. I just happened to get a Quilty Box last week with a nice line of winter themed batiks by Kathy Engle for Jackie Kunkel of Canton Village Quiltworks. I cut everything and brought it along. And I completed the top while in Plymouth. The fabric is called Blue Moon and the pattern is by Jackie Kunkel. The fabrics are snowflakes, tree branches and pine branches. Very pretty colors, too!

The only Quilty Box I haven't finished recently was the October box with 2, 1 yard cuts of a panel from Leah Day. They are meant for you to practice free motion quilting with Leah's lessons. I guess now I should get them out and give it a try. The Blue Moon quilt is about 40" square so I out to be able to quilt it myself. There is a nice example of what you can do with these panels on Leah's website. Here is a photo of the blue:

I found it very tiring spending all day sewing for 3 days. I took a couple days to rest and read. Then on Wednesday I lost the hot water. I've had plumbers in and out of the house for a couple days. One did something on Wednesday that seemed to work for a while. Then Thursday 2 guys came in the morning, and another 1 late in the day. The last was after the serial number for a warranted repair. Now, I should mention that my old house has a dirt cellar with stone walls, so it's not very nice down there. I haven't gone down in years. The last guy came back up and wanted to know why I set the water heater to vacation mode. Well, I didn't. I can't explain it. Gremlins? Oh well. I don't know when it will be fixed because they had to order a part. But I have half hot water. I showered with the knob all the way to hot. But at least I could shower.

I also managed to crack a filling in the last few days. It started to hurt on Wednesday and I saw my dentist today. I hope that's then end of trouble for a while. Now if the computer support scammer will just stop calling, things will be good!

I found, although probably saw it before but didn't remember, Finished or Not Friday on the Busy Hands Quilts blog. She does a linkup on Fridays for anyone to share an unfinished quilt project, so I've linked my unfinished Blue Moon project. It's fun looking at what others are working on. Have a visit when you can take a few minutes to read about other's projects.

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Hope you find time to work on one of your unfinished projects!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sew Sampler Box

I've been getting the Sew Sampler monthly box from the Fat Quarter Shop since June of last year. Every month I mean to share it and every month I forget. So it's a new year, and when I got my box this month I finally remembered!

This is the box that comes in the mail. I was talking to a friend recently and she says she waits a couple days to build anticipation for what's inside. Not me, I open it asap.

When you open the box, there is a cover telling what the theme of the box is.

When you remove the cover, you can see the jumble of items included. This month's box is from Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet.

This Cute Cuts ruler was right on top. It is 1-1/2" x 6-1/2". The half inch margin in pink is textured and helps keep the ruler from slipping. This is handy size to keep by my machine. I am working on a paper-pieced project right now with lots of small cuts, so this is perfect.

The fabric is a 21 piece, 10" Stacker from the Butterflies & Berries collection from Riley Blake Fabrics. I love all of Lori Holt's fabric lines - they are modern but I think they have a retro feel.

The Flitter lap quilt an be made with the addition of background fabric using the 10" stacker. I think this is so cute! I'm a fan of 30's era fabric and quilts and butterflies were hugely popular. The pattern has a twin version that requires a second stacker and more background fabric. I've already ordered this because I have a twin bed.

Also included in the box are Bee in My Bonnet Bandages by Lori Holt. These are average size bandages in four sewing themed prints. There is a package of Just Pins with three cute tops. Finally, there is a needle carry card by Emma Creations. It has six slots to hold needles and would be perfect in your traveling sewing box.

There is also a monthly block pattern from Lori Holt. Since April 2017 the pattern is a basket block. I had every intention of making the block each month but there are just too many things I want to sew and not enough hours in the day!

Visit Lori Holt at Bee in My Bonnet and see her fabric lines at Riley Blake Designs.

I am heading out for two retreats over the next couple weeks. I hope to get lots of sewing done, and relax with friends. It's so nice to be able to focus on your sewing and let someone else do the cooking and make the bed. Hope you get some sewing time!


PS. I've waited a couple days since I received my box so as not to spoil the surprise for anyone.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Toy

I signed up for a Saturday Sampler block of the month today. Each month, you bring the previous block completed and you get the next one free. I've participated in this program at Knight's Quilt Shop in Cape Neddick, ME, since I closed my shop in 2011, with the exception of last year. This is the quilt we will be making this year.

I bought a new Accuquilt Go Big Cutter the beginning of January. There was a package deal with the electronic cutter and 6", 8", 9" and 12" basic block die sets. Plus it came with 2-1/2" strip cutter, a 6" flying geese cutter and some Edyta Sitar applique shapes. It just arrived on Friday so this was the first time I used it.

The block to be made for January is all half square triangle units. I pulled the die for that shape and size from the block set. It was very easy to use because the kit had strips of fabric already cut. 

I folded the strip till it was the correct number of layers needed. The die has two triangles on it so I needed half the number of fabric layers as pieces needed.

Place the cutting mat on top of the fabric. (not the same fabric but you get the idea.)

Then run it through the machine. I love that you don't need to crank it through. You just push it against the rollers and it pulls it through.

Remove the cutting mat and you have your pieces. So quick and easy. And my arm won't hurt from rotary cutting any more!

The pieces are notched, making them super easy to sew together.

My block was made in no time. I'm very happy with the cutter so far. It hasn't really been put to the test yet, but it was easy to use and worked great.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I'm taking a class!

I want to share one thing I've been sewing in addition to the Quiltville Mystery. I saw this quilt, Enchanting Stars, in an email from a local quilt shop, Compass Point Quilts in East Kingston, NH. I've known Lisa for a number of years, having met at a quilt guild meeting. I finally stopped by her shop one day last fall. Wow, I've never seen so many batiks in one place. Heaven! There was a quilt hanging on the wall that I fell in love with. It was the sample for this pattern.

It is being offered as a 6 month class meeting once a month. I missed the first class while at a nephew's wedding, and the most recent class due to illness. So I'm going for an open sew day on Saturday, and I wanted to make some progress before I get there. I'm able to piece the sections; it's the assembly that's tough. 

This is the first section assembled. I had completed everything except putting the center star into the block at the last class. It's sort of like inserting a sleeve into a shirt. Not too bad with a lot of pins and patience.

This quilt has me hooked, and I've enjoyed the process so much, that I've signed up for a retreat with the author of these patterns in April. Take a look at the new kits and patterns coming here. I can't wait to tackle the next one!

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy 2018!

Just a short post to show my first Quiltville mystery block. I'm still working on the steps but jumped ahead to see how it would look. I'm happy with how the colors go together and can't wait to assemble the whole top. It will definitely be bright and cheerful.

I have been sick since Christmas with a cold. Just when I think I may be getting better, I get worse again. And then there's the weather. We've had weeks of frigid temps, going way below zero with the wind chill. And we have a lot of snow piled up outside. More than I remember in several years. I managed to find someone to plow my driveway, but no one wants to shovel. So whatever has to be done is up to me.

Since I am retired, and I've been sick, I haven't been going out. Till Friday when I had a doctor's appointment and had to go out. Snow had blown in around my back door. Well, after prying it open it wouldn't shut. I have a locking screen door but I wasn't thrilled about leaving the back door open. I texted my nephew two states away for guidance. He ended up driving up Friday night and changing the door on Saturday. He thought the old one was probably original which dates it to 1900. I'm very thankful he would drive three hours up and back to do this for me. I never even got to the point of calling around to find a handyman.

Forgive me for the poor lighting on this bag but I just finished it and wanted to share. It is from Sue O'Very Designs and is made with your embroidery machine. The blue top and corners are cork fabric. This zippered bag was so easy to make. It took me a couple hours between choosing fabric and ironing it, then cutting everything. Sewing was a simple step by step process with very detailed photo instructions. The next one will go faster now that I know the process. Love it!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Quiltville Mystery Starts

Hello everyone,

Sorry to have been missing for so long. I've had ongoing back problems since 2007 and spent this year to date going downhill. After having four different procedures every other week for the last two months I've decided it's not going to get any better than this. So I'm not going to wait to feel better any more. I am using the Quiltville Mystery, "On Ringo Lake,"  to get back in the game.
En Provence

I did make the 2016 En Provence mystery and showed the quilt at my guild show in October.  It was fun to see it hanging. When you are making a quilt you have pieces in front of you and you don't get the full effect. Nor does it look the same when it is spread out on a bed. 

This year's mystery, On Ringo Lake, started the day after Thanksgiving with the first step. We had received guidance on color and yardage before Thanksgiving. To make it easier to choose fabric, Bonnie shares paint chips to use as a guide.

(All posts relating to the mystery quilt are linked from here:

These are the colors that Bonnie suggested, pulled from the wonderful photo she took of Ringo Lake. I am working from my stash of reproduction fat quarters and half yards. My husband, who passed away last year, gave me fabric as a monthly anniversary gift for the 16 years we were married. So I had a lot of fat quarters that worked well last year. The only issue this year is I have plenty of neutrals and chocolate brown, but no teal or coral. So I decided to do my own color palette based on a package of fat quarters that I just received, called Jamestown from Windham Fabrics.

I am using purple for teal, yellow for coral, and green for brown. I have completed the first week's clue, right before the next one comes out tomorrow.

I have Bonnie's Essential Triangle Tool and have purchased the recommended Simple Folded Corners ruler for this year. These are not required and techniques for making the units of the quilt without the rulers will be covered. But, Bonnie uses the mystery quilt as a teaching tool, and will show how to do things quicker and more accurately, using these tools. Why not give it a try? Both are available directly from and other quilting sources.

I am very excited to be doing this quilt again this year. I like using the fabric that Mark gave me, and remembering him as I sew. If I can keep up and take each week to do the clues I'll be very happy. I have some other projects that I've been poking at that I'll share as I work on them, too.

Don't forget to visit and see all of the completed week one blocks that are linked. It looks like most people are using the recommended colors, but there are some different ones.

I plan to get going on the Ruby McKim 101 Patchwork Patterns quilt again, but maybe not till the new year. This is a busy time for everyone with Christmas coming. Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Stash Storage

Happy Wednesday,

After posting about my sewing stash storage several of my local friends asked about it. And I just happened to get new boxes, and a new fabric line in the last couple days. So I thought I'd share photos.

Here is the fabric that came, called Bally Hall by designer Di Ford-Hall. I bought a bundle with a yard of each of the large bird prints and fat quarters of the rest, from Reproduction Fabrics. As you can see it has a lovely color palette and is dated mid-nineteenth century. I don't know what I'll do with it yet. After making Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Mystery this year I'm ready to use more of my fat quarters for scrappy-like quilts.

The boxes I use are from Snapware and measure about 8" tall, 9" wide and 16" deep. You can find them at Amazon, or World Kitchen where they happen to be on sale right now for $6.74 each, and shipping is free if you spend $99. They are also offering 20% off your order if you sign up for email. I really like them because they are a medium sized box, and don't get too heavy if you fill them with fabric. They also have a handle on the top which makes them easy to carry.

I fold the fat quarters selvage to cut edge, then again. Fold in half lengthwise and you have a perfect fit. You can do the same with half yards and they fit fine, but larger than that takes up too much space in the box. I also don't stash larger pieces of fabric. When I buy yardage it is for a specific purpose or project. These boxes make good project boxes, and they cost a lot less than the ArtBin boxes. 

Lastly, I have a Brother label printer, model QL-700, that uses rolls of labels. I have the size visible on the boxes, which is the standard 5160 address label that comes in sheets of 30. On a roll like this I can print as many as I like. I also have a roll of file folder labels, and you can get several other sizes. 

I was a computer programmer back when I held a full time job so I do love my technology. In addition to the label printer I have a color laser printer, an inkjet photo printer/scanner, and document scanner that is super fast and scans both sides of the document as it feeds through. All very useful! Really, I need 4 pieces of equipment. 

I also have a Brother Scan 'n Cut and I need to learn how to really use it. Maybe after the coming guild quilt show, which I'm doing the program for. My quilts for the show are done, yay!

Back soon with  a 101 Patchwork Patterns block.