Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Downton Abbey

Weeping Woman by Picasso
 Whoa! Sunday's Downton Abbey episode was quite the tearjerker! If you haven't seen the episode yet, I won't spoil the fun--just be sure to have tissues on hand.

While you're waiting for next week's episode and more droll comments from Maggie Smith, print out a set of these satirical Downton Abbey Paper Dolls: here

This episode was filled with one tragedy after another--curdled Hollandaise sauce and a dropped burnt kidney souffle among other things. You can make your own (non-burned) kidney souffle using the recipe found at the link below:

Links to Hollandaise Sauce repair and Kidney Souffle here
dropped kidney souffle (photo ITV)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Too much?

I had a lot of fun on Friday at Colorz for Quilts. In the morning, we had a first meeting of machine quilters from the area. In fact, we made a decision to start a group and even came up with a name: "Lakes Area Machine Quilter's". We plan to meet monthly and see how it goes. If you are in the Brainerd Lakes area and do mid-arm or long-arm quilting, we would love to have you join us!

In the afternoon, as part of the Grand Opening doings, I demonstrated all of Karen Kay Buckley's awesome applique tools. It was fun to see lots of quilters that I hadn't run into for a while and demonstrate Perfect Circles, Stems and Karen's wonderful scissors.

Another fun thing--my fat quarter pack of Indigo Crossing arrived at the shop--love it! I have a couple of things planned for this stack of yummy fabric--can't wait to start in on them.

Unfortunately this bundle won't fit in my peach crate of other Minick and Simpson fabrics.

I forgot I had that jelly roll and those layer cakes.
And there's another layer of fat quarters underneath--ack!
Since my goal is to use up my stash (I know--I need to STOP adding more!) I decided to use my Minick and Simpson fabrics to work on the Temecula Sew Along here

The particulars for the Sew Along:

Sew Along begins January 25th
New post each Friday for 5 weeks
Pieced blocks are 5" finished
Five blocks in each row
25 blocks total
(are you noticing a theme here?)
Finished Quilt 40" x 40"

Temecula Sew Along Row One using Minick and Simpson stash
 I'm also continuing to keep up with my Grandmother's Choice blocks. 

Block 22 Jack's Delight.
I happened to use a "seaweed" fabric. Barbara Brackman wrote about them today here.
Lastly, I am using some of my stash of homespun fabrics to work on the
Country Threads 2013 Free Online Sampler Quilt.

January Saw Tooth Star Blocks

Be sure to check out their blog: "Country Threads Chicken Scratch" here to find the block instructions. Also, check older posts to see photos of their big remodel. 

AND don't miss this! They have marked some of their patterns down to $1.00 and the shipping is free until February 1st--check it out here!  

You can see I've been doing a lot of piecing. 
I do have a big applique project I'm just beginning that I will have photos of soon. 
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stitch Therapy Monday

Not even below zero temp can stop us quilters from getting to the quilt shop!

It was a fun morning even though it was a bit difficult to get around the room to see what everyone is planning for their Wish Quilt. There are going to be a lot of fun versions and I can't wait to see them all finished.
The Morning Session.
(Thanks to Val for sending me photos of the group.)
This is just half of the room--just about a full house.
I was checking out Anne's fabric selection--yummy! 

The Afternoon Session
You can see there's a lot more room in the afternoon class.
I even got to sit during Susan's "What's New" presentation.
If you are signed up for the group,  your are welcome to attend whatever session is most convenient for you, BUT
you will have a lot more elbow room (and attention!) if you come to the afternoon session! 

We are working on the first section that contains the Santa block. If you finish the embroidery, you can start piecing the other components or, if you like, keep stitching! Susan is planning to have the Ultra Suede that I used for the reindeer blocks before the February meeting and I will show you how I did those blocks next month. 
Ultra Suede applique coming in February!

You can download the first block here: Santa block

Since I don't particularly enjoy working the Satin Stitch, I opted to tint those areas with crayons and colored pencils. It also saved me a lot of time stitching! (Okay, I'm just plain lazy!)

The Wish Quilt is a free on-line pattern by Bronwyn Hayes and all of the information can be found HERE

Sorry the photo is a bit blurred--my battery needed to be charged.

I did a little embellishing with fusible crystals after the quilting had been finished.
I omitted many of the French  Knots on the quilt and subbed the crystals or used them to highlight stars or trims.
I did do all of the EYES with 3 wrap French Knots--crystal eyes would be a little scary! 

My method of fabric tinting:

  • After tracing the pattern onto the background fabric, iron freezer paper to the back of the fabric block. The freezer paper helps stabilize the fabric while you are coloring. Be sure you have your block on a smooth surface to avoid "texturing" your tinting. 
  • Lightly color the areas you want tinted. It's better to go light and add more color later, if desired. You can always recolor to add more saturation to an area after pressing. 
  • I use Crayola crayons since they have a lot of pigment. There are also crayons specific to fabric but they aren't necessary. 
  • It's probably a good idea to lay some newspaper on your pressing surface just in case the wax from the crayon leaks though. Lay the tinted block on the prepared pressing surface, cover with a clean paper towel and using a hot iron, press the tinted areas without moving the iron around. You are just removing the wax (which just takes seconds if the iron is hot enough) and setting the color into the fabric.
  • Do not use the paper towel on another area--you may transfer color or wax to an undesirable area. You can guess how I know THAT! 
  • Before you remove the freezer paper from the back, you may want to shade or intensify the color with colored pencils. I have used Berel Prismacolor and Faber Castell Col-erase pencils with great success.  I can't vouch for color fastness, as I have only used them on wall hangings that I don't intend to wash. 
I hope I remembered to cover everything! If you are working on the Wish Quilt along with us and have any questions, I am happy to try to help. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prepping and Playing

It was a busy weekend getting ready for the first meeting of Stitch Therapy on Monday at Colorz for Quilts.

We will be focusing on The Wish Quilt for the next nine months and I think it will be a lot of fun. 

Our first lesson will be on fabric tinting using crayons and colored pencils. I'm excited to see everyone that signed up--we added an afternoon class because so many were interested. A lot of people that signed up said they wanted to make one exactly like mine, but I will be encouraging everyone to make the quilt their own. That's what makes the group so fun--seeing how each person puts their own spin on a pattern!

Since I dislike the satin stitch so much, I used tinting in those areas
on the quilt.
 Once I got everything in order for class, I had some time to play with my new Juki. I had read Lisa Bongeon's posting here on the machine and was seriously tempted. Mr. Moosebay went ahead and ordered it for me--so sweet!
 (I think he is softening me up for a larger flat screen TV.)
This baby is super fast!! 
 The machine is pretty easy to learn to use since it's mostly mechanical--no computer stuff to figure out. I did have a lot of trouble with the needle threader though, but guess what--there's a YouTube video demo! Yay YouTube!!
 I was trying to do it backwards--duh!

Because I was packing for retreat, I didn't have time to get my Grandmother's Choice block sewn up last Sunday so I had two blocks to work on today.

Block 20 Memory Wreath

Block 21 Parasol

Friday, January 18, 2013

Retreat Hangover

It always takes a day or two to bounce back after a retreat--staying up later than usual, getting up earlier, sewing like crazy and, of course, all the yummy food--it takes a toll!  
 It's totally worth it though--new friends and so much fun!

 The facilities at Keepsakes were great:
Each table was equipped with these sturdy wine bottle holders.
Cocktail hour starts at 3 PM !!
A "toe"st for a great retreat!!

Lois made us these adorable wine glass cozies so we could tell our glasses apart.
That is, if you remembered which shoes your glass was wearing.

(Yes, I'm talking to you Susan! )

Helen was the winner for most finished projects: eight quilt tops for her Etsy Shop
as well as some table toppers. 
Susan (a close second) got a lots of models finished for the shop including this gorgeous place mat:

Aren't they pretty? I love Dresden Plates! These will probably be a class and kits.

They're fused onto a stiff interfacing and finished by machine (and washable) 

I managed to get my Scrappy Trip together.

 I made a total of 35 blocks using two inch strips. It measures 45" X 64".
 I plan to add a border to make it large enough for a QOV.

And I made 16 more blocks for my Paper Doll quilt.

We are all signed up for the same time next year!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Scrap Happy

I'm not making a lot of progress (or making a dent) in harnessing the bags of scraps in my sewing room. Not that I haven't been working on them--I just keep getting side tracked. Big surprise there, huh?
I'm on my third can of this stuff so far this year! 
Not only have I been going through a lot of sizing, I've had to sharpen my new rotary cutting blade (that I put in my cutter on New Year's day) twice! I've been giving my new sharpener a big workout--almost the best gift to myself ever!
Don't use this thing if anyone in the household is napping--it's very loud!
It works great. and sharpens all sizes  of blades.

I had to start a couple more boxes for my cut scraps. I have added a strip box for brights/30's and a squares box for brights/30"s. They are are both already full and my other boxes are over flowing. So, naturally, I had to start using some of them up in a project.

This is one of the projects I will be working on while on retreat.

This is Bonnie Hunter's version.
Step by step instructions and tips can be found by clicking the Scrappy Trip link below.
The Scrappy Trip block has been catching on all over the internet and I have been itching to make some blocks for myself. I chose to use some of my two inch strips instead of the 2 1/2" as specified in Bonnie Hunter's instructions, so I only needed 2"x 13" pieces. My blocks will be 9 inches finished. 

You can sew your strips together completely random:
This is how the strips lined up after opening the tube.
Or you can move them around a bit to make a strong "chain" across the center of the block:
I moved the 2 right hand rows to the far left to make the darkest fabric a strong diagonal.
This is what I have so far after making twelve blocks:
Some of my blocks have strong diagonals and some don't. They are really quick and fun blocks!
I plan make more blocks,so it will be large enough for a QOV. 
My version is very scrappy, but you can make it with a controlled palette. See a green version.here.
And Logan's using 2 1/2 inch strips is finished.
Check out the Flickr group here for lots more fun versions!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Retreat Time!

FYI: I will be out of the "office" next week!

Helen Thorn (Pine Tree Lodge Designs) invited me to her annual winter retreat next Monday through Thursday. It is being held at the Keepsakes Cabin in Deerwood, MN. I've heard nice things about the Cabin, so I am looking forward to checking it out for myself. I've been busy dusting and oiling my machine, packing projects, and I even cleaned my the starch gunk off of my travel iron.
Check out those chairs! 
Yesterday I got my A Bountiful Life (aka The Courting Quilt) back from the Old Country Store in Intercourse, PA. As a consolation prize, they let me know they would be sending me a gift certificate and some charm packs of Jo Morton fabric along with the quilt.

I expected a few charm packs--not 42! 

I think I will be making a lot of Schnibbles quilts with these! 

By the way, when my little quilt was chosen by Andover as a Wednesday feature, this what they sent me:
A fat quarter pack from the Alexandria line--very pretty! 

 They also sent me one of their famous Schoolhouse bags.
Andover makes these to hand out at every 
schoolhouse they have at Market.  The bags are made from whatever designer is doing the schoolhouse, so you could end up with a big collection of Andover bags if you attend all of their sessions. I'm not sure who designed this fabric.
 The bags is lined with a fourth fabric and has an embroidered pocket . 
 If you go to a Jo Morton schoolhouse, you will get a bag made from her fabric. 

I got this bag a few years ago when I was lucky enough to attend Market.
I've been tempted to take it apart and use that lining fabric! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013


On Monday, I FINALLY stopped in at Colorz for Quilts at their new location. It is so bright and open--love it! The lighting is great, the new class room is going to be a pleasure to teach in, and, for bargain hunter's (like me) there is a little sale room. Unlike the old location, there's lots of wall space to hang models and really show them off. Also, a first for Cherrywood fabrics, they have their first retail space ever inside the Colorz shop. The Cherrywood room is chock full of their pre-cuts, tons of samples and kits. Now you don't have to wait for a show or pay shipping if you order online! 

See a brief  video here with owner Susan Lommen, and an article from the Brainerd Dispatch here.

 I managed to make it out of the shop with just a couple half yards to add to my Grandmother's Choice bin. 
Yesterday was going to be the only day this that I could hunker down in my sewing room and get some Easy Street blocks put together. Between doctor appointments, errands (and a quilt shop stop), a lecture, haircut appointment, and more doctor appointments, I was looking forward to having an entire day at home to do nothing but sew. 

Naturally, that didn't happen! 

At 9:30 AM we FINALLY (thankfully!) got a call from the dealership that our car was ready to pick up. As I was rushing to leave for a two and a half hour road trip, I luckily remembered to grab my only handwork project that was ready to go. I usually have a couple of applique projects in the works, but I have been doing so many pieced quilts that the only thing I had were my blue hexagon flowers. I only had seven left to work on that were pre-basted, so I easily finished them by the time we neared Brainerd on the way home. That will make a total of thirty--I am going to keep going with them for a while.

I don't have a plan for these yet. I better get more hexie's ready in case another road trip pops up! 
And FINALLY, I was able to check out the Noble Quilter shop in Elk River on our way home from Minneapolis. They have lots of reproduction (and more) samples and cute displays with vintage items all over the store. They also had tons of Jo Morton fabric, but I was good and only bought a couple half yards of backgrounds for my Leesburg blocks. 

I know--kind of boring! I needed more Jo lights--seems like I have mostly dark tans for backgrounds. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

An Obsessive Compulsion

I'm not sure what compels me to join in on sew-along's. I guess I just don't want to miss out on the fun?

I'm very happy with the Easy Street mystery quilt that just finished up on Quiltville's Quips and Snips blog. Well, mine isn't finished finished, but it will be in the near future. I'll report on that soon.

My Grandmother's Choice is coming along, I am up to date on all the blocks and loving how it looks so far.
Block 19 Old Maid's Ramble
Only 30 blocks to go! 
 Today the Jo Morton Yahoo chat group started a new sew-along. We are going to make the FTU (free to use) pattern from the Andover Fabrics website Scrap Basket Sampler Quilt. The pattern was designed by Candy Hargrave for the Jo Morton Leesburg line of fabric. She more often than not designs a pattern for each of Jo's latest fabric lines. I had printed out the Scrap Basket Sampler pattern quite a while ago and had been wanting to make it in my own colors, so when Candy suggested we do it as a group, I joined up. I figured it would be motivation to get to work on the quilt.

 Candy posted a schedule for us to follow in the coming months--we will do one block each week until mid August.

 Last week, I chose my Jo Morton fabrics (decided to do blues, tans, browns and, for a change-up, a little cheddar) and started cutting little "kits" since the fabrics were all out. I cut the fabrics for the January and February blocks and put them on my block boards next to my sewing machine. Then, since it was almost time to start on block one, I figured I would get a little jump start and make the first block.

This week's block is the Railroad Variation.
Railroad Variation--Scrap Basket Sampler
And then I made the second block...and the third.....I think you can figure out where this is going. 

I don't need to worry about making any Scrap Basket Sampler blocks until March because I just couldn't stop myself!  

Six inch finished blocks for January and February sew along.
I have them labeled so I post the correct block to the Yahoo group each week. 
I'm not telling the rest of the group though--just posting one block a week there! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Almost to the End of the (Easy) Street

It's been a crazy couple of weeks on Moose Bay. In between all of the holiday doings, Mr. Moosebay and I have managed to squeeze in numerous medical appointments: a mammogram, two physicals,  three trips for blood work (and a follow up consultation), an eye exam--how much more fun can two people have?
I think I know how these two feel! 
Unfortunately, we will be making a lot more medical treks since Mr. Moosebay has been diagnosed with a pretty serious condition (totally treatable if he follows his doctor's recommendations). There are going to be some big changes in our household, all for the better, I hope!

I did manage to get some sewing in though! I've been able to stay on top of my Grandmother's Choice blocks. This block had a very interesting story about women moving to the Western states to achieve more freedom.
Number 18 Cheyenne
  The two final parts of  the Easy Street mystery quilt have been posted..
 I don't have all of my blocks together yet, but I think I am going to be very happy with how it will come together. 

Part 7: Join the 64 geese and rectangles from Part 2.

Part 7 continued: Construct 4 outer corner units
Part 7 continued: Construct 12 setting triangles
Part 8: cut 16 squares for block centers.

Part 8: Mock-up of Block A. I need to make 16 of these.
Mock-up of Block B. I need to make 9 of these.
Wow! I think I am going to love this quilt.
I'm a little worried about my brown star points not popping against the teal blue and my taupe and cream four patches not having much contrast, but that's the risk of doing a mystery.
Overall, I  like the results--especially the fact that I was able to use only my stash and  mostly scraps.