Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011, Hello 2012

December came and went so quickly. Less time on the computer has been fruitful in many ways, but no post in December? During December, I prepared for festivities and worked, and then had two weeks off during which I... attended the play A Baby King,

baked ginger cookies and made caramel corn with peanuts,

worked on projects, I was tempted to indulge in Bonnie Hunter's mystery and start a new sawtooth star project after seeing this video on the Quilt in a Day site. Fun!

then I baked more, you see, my dear husband, Mr. IQ, is not one to make chocolate disappear. However, he's pretty good at making cookies I chopped up the candy bars (all of them!) and added them to a sweet dough (try this recipe) and made bar cookies. The texture is similar to a brownie when baked in a 10x18 pan for 25 minutes. Mmmm.

prepared for an upcoming class I will teach,

decorated a gingerbread house in a timed contest. We had teams, my niece, my brother-in-law and I decorated the one on the left. The one on the right was decorated by my mom, Mr. IQ and my nephew. They won the contest! They only finished the front, but the judge liked the 'simplicity' of it. It's okay, the losers got brownies. I am over it, was a lot of fun!

Watched lots of football and prepared for the NFL fantasy football playoffs...we are in week 17 now and I am playing another team for the championship. Wish me luck!

...and then I cleaned out the sewing loft and some closets (certainly not glamorous, but I was productive during my time away from the computer)...still working on the sewing loft and I hope to have a little giveaway soon right here to celebrate the 'refreshed' sewing loft.

Have a safe New Year's celebration and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This week I have time off work to rest and recharge.
I have been cooking . . .
Stitching . . .these blocks will make a triple irish chain variation. This pattern sews up quickly and finally I cut into an April Cornell jelly roll that has been on my shelf for two years. Time flies, doesn't it?!

Cleaning . . . well, actually, more like visiting antique malls . . . and Saturday I spotted a familiar little black box with two latches and a handle on top. Do you know the description? This is what I brought home, and I have been cleaning it . . . does that count as cleaning?! This is a Singer Featherweight sewing machine from September 1945. It's in mint condition, glossy and bright (can you see the reflection in the finish?) and I have been enjoying getting her ship shape so I can put her back into service. It's an honor to own a Featherweight and believe me, she will be treated well.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A New Mystery Begins

Today Bonnie K. Hunter announced some details of the upcoming mystery quilt on her Quiltville blog. The photo that inspired her colors is gorgeous, I may take cues from it as well and change from the colors she used slightly (depends on what I have on hand!).
The size of the resulting quilt is smaller than her typical size, but she warns "I’ll tell you right up front that I do intense piecing…..lots of pieces, many of them small. This is a labor intensive quilt. One WORTH the piecing!". So, a little tune-up to my sewing machine and space are in order before I sew this mystery.
Happy stitching!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Haunting!

My favorite Halloween costume ever was made by my artistic aunt. When I was 10 years old I went trick-or-treating as a Band-Aid box. It was a great costume: warm and gave people a laugh. Just keep in mind the little one wearing it needs space to walk, so a cut-out in back of the legs from the knees down would be good. I still remember the feeling of my legs hitting the back of the costume trying to keep up with my cousins...ouch, my aching neck! It was worth it, though, that delightful costume made for a great time.

Favorite of the day: is a sweet applique Halloween themed wall hanging by Fairfield Road Designs
Wishing you a frightfully Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October is in Full Swing...

I love all things Fall: grapes, apples, leaves, pumpkins, and a little warm beverage. Around these parts our neighbors are harvesting their grapes, this is wine country! This Fall we have had fog, along with cool, clear nights and even unseasonably warm temperatures.

What is worth mentioning: an upcoming quilt mystery by Bonnie K. Hunter. A sample of past Bonnie mysteries are available here. I believe the fabric requirements will be posted on her Quiltville blog on November 1 and the first clue will be posted on November 18. If you're not sure what to do with all of your scraps ~ this is a great way to put them to use! Warning: Bonnie makes large quilts (typically about queen-sized or larger). If desired, make one-half the number of units called for and fill in where needed once the end result is more clear. That way you will have a smaller quilt and still participate in the mystery.

My favorite free patterns are:
*Timeless Treasures features Christmas Memories - this would be great with your favorite redwork or with the convenience panel as shown. Also, there is another pattern for a Kindle cover!
*P&B Textiles has a nice pattern called Gray Matters.
*Quilting Treasures offers the Autumn Harvest pattern by Possibilities, it's lovely.
*McCall's Quilting always has many free patterns, and this time the Lodge Getaway caught my eye. Based on the traditional shoe fly block, this one is a timeless classic.
*Maywood Studio's Wyoming Star - still seeing stars and so many possibilites with this pattern.
*Note: I hope you love them too! I have no affiliation with these entities, merely passing along information to you.

Enjoy the Autumn, before you know it Winter will be upon us!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Arrival of Autumn

On September 23 Autumn arrived in the Northern hemisphere. It's my favorite time of year! I'd love to take the camera on a lazy tour of the county and shoot some old barns, pumpkins, grape leaves turning shades of persimmon into crimson shouting the arrival of autumn. But as the days have grown shorter, lately my time at work has increased ~ my days are longer! However, I have been able to enjoy the rewards of that hard work and even been able to teach a class in addition to my day job. For that I am grateful (tired, and grateful!).

To mark Fall's arrival here are some lovely Fall-themed patterns:
The Fluttering Leaf quilt pattern would make a great throw.
Acorn Autumn is a wall hanging...along with many other gorgeous free projects from McCall's.
Quilt Magazine features several projects which could be given as gifts along with Halloween accessories.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September is National Sewing Month

How will you celebrate?
Visit the National Sewing Month website
Check out Barbara Brackman's Quilt 1812: War & Piecing blog
Dream about the arrival of Rouenneries Deux
Participate in the Moda Country Fair blog hop
Solve the Mystery - Quilting is Murder

Fabulous Free Finds:
Another idea to celebrate sewing ~ make a scrap quilt based on value. It's remarkably liberating to forego all rules and place fabric only according to whether it's light or dark. C'mon, give it a try! Here are a few patterns centered on that principle:
Cindy Carter's Scrappy Maple Leaf
Log Cabin
(and Courthouse Steps, a variation)
Curved Log Cabin
Any of Bonnie K. Hunter's patterns (Scroll down, patterns are listed on the right side of the page)

Aren't they lovely? Most importantly, enjoy the process.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mennonite Quilt Center, marking, and stars

Yesterday Mr. IQ and I took a quick trip to California's Central Valley so he could attend an NFL fantasy football draft. Meawhile, I visited the Mennonite Quilt Center in Reedley, California. I had not been before and was not sure what to expect. There was no agenda, I had nothing in mind except the time on my hands ought to be spent well. Imagine my delight when I walked in and was greeted by Mary, the manager, and she graciously permitted me to take photos and then invited me to see a quilt show by their featured artist, Pat Robertson. "We have go upstairs", she said, "let me know when you're ready."

About thirty minutes later I said I was ready but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. Three ladies and I exited the comfortable air-conditioned shop and made the arduous climb up the staircase. When we entered the room we were awestruck and were literally speechless. Then I said, "wow". That was all that came out. There were no words, just the taking in of the sheer volume of space which showcased the quilts coupled with the delectable quilts we saw. Gorgeous. Striking. Spectacular.

There is something of a little miracle in that moment when you're taking in all of the colors, shapes, the minute stitches, the negative space, all the beauty of another artist's work. I began to look at each one. Which one pulls you in first? Do you remember? Is it the one you're closest to or do you move across the room to take in the quilt so spectacular it pushes its way to first in line? These were all lovely. She used applique, paper piecing, machine piecing and perhaps some hand piecing as well. Some of the quilts were machine quilted, others all by hand and still others used both methods. There was one which resembles a persian rug, a study in reds, a spiky one, dresden plate with a petal askew called He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, gorgeous appliqued flowers and vines amid pieced patchwork and actual woven baskets, and more. Our friendly guide announced that Pat does all of the steps in making the quilts herself, she works outside the home in addition to teaching at the center and creating all of this beauty. Wow, I am still captivated.

The Quilt Center features an artist every year following the quilt auction, when they have no auction quilts to display. Each April the Mennonite Quilt Center holds a quilt auction at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California. This year it was held April 1 and 2. The quilts sold are still listed here for your viewing. The auction is a benefit for the Mennonite Central Committee. More information is available at this site.

If you can get to Reedley, California make the trip if only to see the Mennonite Quilt Center. I was pleased to meet the many volunteers who work there and a few kind ladies, including Debbie, who began quilting in January and said she didn't remember to bring her phone to take photos. Of course I offered to provide a link to the photo slideshow as I usually take quite a few pictures when I bring the camera along. Reedley even has a 'quilt walk'. Traditional blocks are featured in mosaic tiles in front of several downtown businesses, including the Mennonite Quilt Center. I stopped to photograph a few of them, but in the 111 degree fahrenheit heat I decided to pack up the camera after the two block stroll, leaving about half of them for my next visit.

See the 86 photo quilt show here.

Fabulous Free Finds: This week I am seeing stars inspired by this post

*Star of the West is this week's Civil War Quilts commemorative block by Barbara Brackman
*A scrappy beauty, Star Formation, featured on the cover of the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. A smaller pattern in an alternate colorway is available here.
*Minick and Simpson's American Banner Rose pattern featuring eight pointed stars
*These star blocks will make a beautiful star sampler
*Kelly and Carol featured stars in their Simple Things Quilt Along...and they posted the quilts.
*This short, ingenious video features a new-to-me way to make a New York Beauty block and a paper piecer's dream realized in these lovely New York Beauty Patterns
*If you are in the Christmas spirit sew a lovely Stars All Around tree skirt by Darlene Zimmerman - alternately, Hannukah Lights is gorgeous
*A cute Little Wren from Fons and Porter features a feathered star.

Bow Tie blocks from civil war reproduction scraps

This week I worked on a few bow ties (26 so far and counting) and some English paper piecing (the triangle hexagons). A recent finish is this Three Bean Salad quilt (that's what the folks at Cotton Pickin Designs called it - it's their design!).
Three Bean Salad quilt

Hopefully you've had better luck than I when it comes to finding the PBS documentary Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics will be available to you locally. I may have to simply buy the DVDs in order to ensure I can see all nine episodes as I have not yet been able to find the air date and time, or even whether it will air on my carrier, despite numerous attempts.

Regarding the last post, if you want more information on marking with Pilot FriXion(R) pens Tonya did an experiment and blogged about it.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Now You See It, Now You Don't?

Many quilters are looking for the best way to mark quilts. Clearly the key is the marks stay when you want them to (for example signatures and quilt labels) and it disappears when it's supposed to, generally when marking quilting lines. There has been buzz in quilt blogs and chat groups about Pilot FriXion(R) pens, and whether they 'really' disappear. It seems they disappear when pressed (heat over 140 degrees) and sometimes re-appear when temperatures drop (put your work in the freezer and the marks come back). Though I read in one case where the quilt had been washed before being in the freezer and the marks did not reappear. Have you tried this pen yet? What is your opinon? Would you use a FriXion pen on an heirloom quilt? A utility quilt?

Recently I marked a piece of muslin with Crayola(R) washable pens and another with Crayola washable crayon. These are my 'disappearing' markers of choice.


I have used Crayola washable crayons with great success for several years, so I fully expected both the markers and the crayons would come out after one wash.

The experiment:

On two pieces of muslin, I wrote the names of the colors with a regular black Sharpie(R) fine point permanent pen (the one that says 'Not for letter writing or cloth'). This would test whether the Sharpie bled and how well it held up in the wash. Secondly, I labeled the top with IDenti(R)-pen ('Crayons' and 'Pens') to compare it with the Sharpie. Next to the name of the pen or crayon I crosshatched marks and then drew a line out to the right. They were washed in a frontloading washer in cold water, gentle cycle with mild detergent. I did not put them in the dryer and no prewash/spot treatment was used.

NOTE: On the box of Crayola washable pens it states: For Best Results: Crayola Washable Markers wash from skin and most washable children's clothing. Wash promptly in hot wash cycle. Do not use prewash or chlorine bleach. Repeat laundering may be required.


As noted above, I used cold water and the company suggests hot for best results. Additionally, in the hopes of recreating a true quilting scenario where marks may remain for several weeks before washing, I waited three days before laundering thereby not following the suggested guideline 'wash promptly' for best results. Finally, I washed only once and it states repeat laundering may be required.


As you can see in the photo below, the pens washed out quite well. Even held up against the light there is no trace of color in any of the eight areas where washable marker was crosshatched the line area. Alternately, in the washable crayon areas all held traces of crayon. This was quite surprising as I have used the washable crayons reliably (without testing first though of course that is recommended) and they have come out without fail from four quilts washed as in the experiment (front loading washer, cold, mild detergent, gentle cycle).

Recently I finished the Three Bean Salad quilt and used purple Crayola washable crayon* to mark the quilting lines. It washed out! *Please test first and use at your own risk!

Conclusion: I will continue to use Crayola washable crayons and markers for marking. They are readily available, price is good -- around here they cost less than $2 per box during back to school and ohh the variety of colors with 8 marking pens and 24 crayons! On lighter fabrics I will use the washable pen or painters tape for straight line quilting.

What is your tool of choice for permanent or temporary marking?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Arroyo Grande Centennial Quilt Show

Yesterday I had the pleasure of viewing quilts by artists of the Central Coast Quilt Guild exhibited in honor of the City of Arroyo Grande's 100th birthday. Here is a link to a few pictures. Apologies for the photo quality and awkward angles. The conditions were less than ideal for photography; it was quite crowded with people and the rows were impressively narrow, to get some shots I nearly backed into a wall of quilts in the neighboring row. I am happy to show you what I was able to capture though, because it's all about the quilts! Hopefully you'll be inspired to attend a local show or sew up something new.

This week the Civil War block is Indiana Puzzle. Curved piecing ~ I have not done curved seams for a few years, so I am pleased there is a little friendly reminder here. Hopefully you have done well with it. Mine is yet to be tackled, and I am looking forward to it. If you have finished all of the blocks you are 63% done (and congratulations)! I am about half way there at 33%, happily flitting between projects. Hmm, I think I will sew one block up, cut one out and leave it for the next time I go into the loft. Kind of like a little temptation to sew the next one up quickly before I get to another project. I will let you know how well that works!

Have you been bitten by the Cheddar and Bow Ties bug yet? Not this kind. That kind. MMMmmm. Yes, I did jump in a few weeks ago. They go together quickly, and the inspiration quilt is lovely. Don't you think?


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Fun

Lately I have been working on a few projects, finishing the Three Bean Salad quilt, attending swim meets, working a lot (I work at a college and Fall is just around the corner - instructors return from Summer break next week and students will return the following week.) and making class samples for the Autumn Leaves and Quick Trip patterns. Since mid-June I have also reflected on my progress toward my 2011 quilting goals.

This year it has been a priority to get outside the box and not be the same quilter I was in 2010. I just want to grow as a quilter, that's all...nothing wrong with the 2010 me, but I thought, 'let me spread my wings a little more'. So, I have sought out new techniques and patterns. So with that in mind I have free motion quilted on an actual quilt (not just a bit of muslin!), sketched several original quilt patterns, English paper pieced a pattern I had not done before, improvisationally pieced (so unlike anything I would typically choose -- and that's the point) and learned a new technique for making flying geese in order to keep that commitment. I have not yet done everything I set out to do, but that's the whole idea behind taking stock of my accomplishments and tweaking goals as needed. Did you make quilting goals for 2011? How are you doing?

My favorite freebies of late are:

First, the Market Tote -- to carry your late Summer harvest. If that's not enough to keep you busy, there are two Layer Cake Quilts: the Double Slice Layer Cake Quilt, the quilt top uses only a layer cake (without borders), and the 1 + 2 Easy Quilt pattern which uses the layer cake plus two yards for the quilt top. My favorite freebie accessory to date (yes, ever) is this Sewing Caddy. I use it all the time and I cannot believe I ever sewed without it. It was especially helpful in class, when space is limited. I did not make the pin cushion as I wanted the pocket to be free of encumbrance and available for my rotary cutter. If I were to tweak it, I might consider adding a button hole about half way down one slim pocket to allow my seam ripper to have a 'holster' and be more accessible. As it is I dig for it...but don't mind much.

I have been thinking about the Civil War quilt, saving patterns each week and dreaming of completing them on time...but not keeping up lately. I will get caught up eventually. Also I have been anticipating starting a new irish chain scrappy quilt, so I am collecting blues. How is that for a conundrum....I have such limited time and dreams to sew so many quilts. Such is the puzzle of an inspired quilter, right?!

Keep on stitchin,


Friday, July 15, 2011

You Can Make a Quilt in a Day

Yes, you can do it! It took seven hours to make the center of the Quick Trip quilt (I am not the fastest so certainly it can be made more quickly than that). I needed to purchase more fabric for the first border so I have only completed the center so far. Today I finally was able to get to Sew Fun and thankfully Lynn still had the fabric in stock! There is always a bit of anxiety about whether it will still be there by the time I am able to get to the shop. Now I have to add the borders and the top will be complete. Then I will make another one, they're so fast why not?!

What else have I been up to? Autumn Leaves has me captivated. I enjoy the possibilities of color combinations and I have been piecing a lot of them since the Quilt in a Day training ended. I am going to have one great Fall quilt when I get to the bottom of the pile of batiks! Below is a sample of possible groupings for leaves.

I have also been selecting fabrics for a star wallhanging called Wish Upon a Star. I call this 'homework' now that I am preparing to teach ~ sounds better to me than 'putzing around in the sewing loft'. Whatever it is called, it's a lot of fun.

Hope you're having fun sewing too!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Quilt in a Day

Nine fabrics for Quick Trip lap size

Border fabric for Quick Trip quilt

Summer is in full swing here, and for that I am grateful. Nectarine jam, walking the dogs and watermelon for dinner. What could be better?

I was fortunate to attend Quilt in a Day's Teacher Certification Training June 21-23. It was wonderful to meet so many kind and talented colleagues and to finally meet El (when I called her Ms. Burns, she said. "Aww, you can call me El.") and the talented folks at Quilt in a Day. As certified teachers, we are now ready to teach Quilt in a Day quick piecing techniques. During our training we covered the Radiant Star and Sassy Stars, flying geese, half square triangles, Day and Night, fusible applique, the Autumn Leaf pattern and more. It was particularly helpful to understand what parts can be confusing to students. I also learned first hand the remarkable detail in the books and patterns. One of the attendees shared with the group that she has a learning disability and the Quilt in a Day patterns are the only ones that make sense to her. I suppose that's because the Quilt in a Day patterns have 16 pages in them and they contain details that others leave out to save valuable space and the bottom line. Love Quilt in a Day patterns! I have to say it was truly a priviledge to have attended and I look forward to the next opportunity to make a trip to San Marcos, California, USA.

Since that time I have been in the sewing loft (when not working as an executive assistant) working on a number of things (Autumn Leaf Table Runner, Sliced Nine Patch, Quick Trip, more autumn leaves...). When I went to a favorite local quilt shop to purchase some fabrics for the Quick Trip quilt I inquired about a need for quilt teachers. Fortunately I was able to make an appointment and am really looking forward to teaching my first Quilt in a Day class (I have taught previously but not any Quilt in a Day patterns). I will teach the Quick Trip quilt, a great one for beginning quilters and seasoned quilters as well. The color selection really holds your interest so it's a good quilt for everyone!

Today I am going to make a quilt top in a day ~ the Quick Trip lap size is what I am working on. I can't wait to see it come together...fabrics are pictured above. Got to get back in the loft, please wish me full bobbins and no seams to rip!

Happy stitching,


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Faves and Winners of English Paper Pieces Giveaway

This week's favorite find is: The Take Along Sewing Pouch at Sew Mama Sew. Hmm, maybe I will make a hexagon piece for the outside?

Runners up are:
A lovely tote bag at My Patchwork (derived from the Moda Bake Shop tutorial)
A fabric basket (for storing fabric? or WIPs?) at Pink Penguin

GIVEAWAY WINNERS -- Today I emailed the two winners, Tonya and Nancy Sue ~ Congratulations!! Please send me your mailing address by Friday, June 24 and I will send your package. Instructions are included in your packet. Also, a tutorial with nice graphics showing how to do English paper piecing is here. In step 4, where Cia recommends basting only the corners of the fabrics, I prefer to baste the fabric to the paper template. Hope you love it too.

Happy sewing!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hexagons and Flag Day Giveaway

Lately I have been sewing English paper pieced hexagons from equilateral triangles in 19th century reproduction fabrics. I worked on them quite a bit while watching television programs about the Civil War over the Memorial Day weekend. If you have not tried English paper piecing, give it a go. It's really simple to do and a great way to use scraps. For example, one 2.5 inch square (say, leftovers from a strip bundle) is the right size for a one inch hexagon (the measurement of one side of the hexagon). It's also keeps you sewing when you're away from your machine or you'd otherwise be waiting (for your medical appointment, your vehicle to be repaired or any number of things). You will be surprised how fast you whip up a little table topper.

So, who wants to try English paper piecing? Comment on this post by Friday, June 17 (a few days beyond Flag Day which is Tuesday, June 14 in the United States) and I will select one winner (okay, maybe two if there are two comments!) sometime Saturday, June 18. I will mail you a little pack of pieces so you can try this wonderful technique (and other goodies too). If the winner does not reply to my 'congratulations' email by Friday, June 24 I will select another winner. (I will be out of town for a bit, so there may be a short delay in response.)

**Giveaway is closed and winners were selected**

Did you know the Just One Star project really took off? Read the Minick and Simpson blog about the latest on it! Wonderful news.

My favorite find this week is here. Read the post and at the end you will find a link to the pattern. What a generous gift ~ a great quilt pattern! There were a lot of goodies I saw that I really liked, so here are two more: a tote and a vintage bow tie quilt at McCall's Quilting (if you have not been to that site in a while there are quite a few goodies there).

Happy Stitching!


Monday, June 6, 2011

It's June??

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour passport and ribbons

Tour purchases: sweet florals, neutral tone on tones,
30's and civil war fabrics and a patriotic panel

Last weekend was the Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour - the tenth anniversary. It was my third year to tour. Because it was raining (pouring!) I left my camera in the car and dashed into shops. All I have to show is the evidence of the tour: my purchases, my stamped 'passport' and the ribbons given to each participant (a commemoration of your visit to the shop). The ribbons are sort of a badge to tie on your car antenna. One woman put them all on her glasses but I opted to tie them to a safety pin and wear it on my blouse. Those who visit every shop (evidenced by a completed passport) turn in the passport for a chance to win generous prizes. Folks come from quite a distance to participate. You should check it out in 2012!

Now I look forward to the Templeton Outdoor Quilt Show which is June 18 from 9:00am to 4:00pm in downtown Templeton, CA, USA. I just love that show, there is just something about all the quilts hung outside, swaying in the breeze. Some of the quilts are available for purchase. I will update you on that show...or you could go and see it in person!

Recently I made a little needlebook and small pinkeep for a dear friend. She loved it. Thought you might like to see it too! It's nice to have pretty little sewing notions, don't you think?

Lastly, I look forward to my trip to Quilt in a Day to attend the teacher's training certification seminar later this month. Sooo excited. I signed up last year and it's just amazing that it's time to go in just a couple of weeks. Darlene at Sew Cal Gal attended the training earlier this year and she blogged about it here. Sounds like a lot of fun to me!

Happy stitching,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Seven Sisters Quilt Show

Last month I attended the Seven Sisters Quilt Show at the Madonna Inn Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, CA, USA. Here are a few photos ~ now you may virtually visit. Enjoy the show!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


17 Comfort from Civil War Quilts

Autumn scarf

Today Taryn blogged about a lack of inspiration and I truly admire her authenticity. She's surfing the web for pictures in search of inspiration. I have been there too, and once I thought about not sewing for a month. Then I got scared ~ I don't like to make rules about / set limitations on my sewing. It's supposed to be fun and I strive to keep it that way! Her post encouraged me to think on what I have done to overcome a lack of inspiration, what inspires my creativity...and what stifles my creativity.

Stifling: lack of sleep; feeling overwhelmed by too many obligations; stress; same old projects that seem to never get finished; an untidy sewing room.

Inspiring: photos of reproduction and antique quilts (Quilt Index); dresdens; tiny pieces; my little quilt book library; starting a new project; improvisational piecing; changing to a project with different colors; going to quilt shows (Seven Sisters 2011 is April 30-May1); the show and tell part of a guild meeting; Yahoo! groups photos of finished quilts.

Renewing: visit the local library and pour over their books for a few hours (in subjects such as: nature, home decor, architecture, traditional textiles from other cultures, traditional and heritage quilts, state documentation project books); see a movie; spend an afternoon at the park, county fair, beach, lake; see an exhibit; travel (near or far).

Have you ever been uninspired? What worked for you?


Saturday, April 16, 2011

More Cambria

I enjoyed visiting Cambria last week and thought you might like to see a few more photos.


Monday, April 11, 2011


10 Richmond

5 Kansas Troubles

11 London Square

In recent weeks I have worked on a few of the Civil War Quilts blocks. I am primarily using red, blue, shirtings, and brown with touches of cheddar and pink. I can't wait to photograph them all together so I am using that as incentive to get completely caught up.

3 Seven Sisters

My favorite block in this group is London Square. Perhaps I will make up more of those for a quilt of all London Square blocks. I'm thinking about that, I have a lot of irons in the fire. I will certainly keep you posted.

Lately I have made a few little pincushions. Always great for a quick finish and so useful. I like the tiny ones to keep with handwork so I have somewhere to put my needle in between stitching. Of course, it's always a good idea to know where you stuck it. With our curious little dogs around, it's extra important!

Instead of sewing Sunday I went on a road trip with the dogs and Mr. IQ to Cambria. We walked about, saw sweet little stores and enjoyed lovely weather. If you have never visited Cambria, California, USA I highly recommend it! I most of all hoped to go to a favorite shop, Birds of a Feather. I learned she has gone online only and will miss her dear little shop for sure. PKM even blogged about the shop. We were able to visit an antique shop and see a couple of well loved quilts. A grandmother's flower garden (hexagon) quilt above with fussy-cut split star fabrics (above) and a six point star with a little bunny, just in time for Spring!

Happy stitching!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Holy Smokes!

Have you ever come into fabrics that smell of smoke? Recently 12 gorgeous fat quarter-sized scraps found their way to me sealed in quart-sized zip bags. When I opened the gift to admire the contents I was left with a sore throat after just three or four minutes of unsealing the bag. Whoa ~ strong stuff! Mr. IQ gets migraines from the smell of smoke, so it's not an option to have the smoke-scented fabrics around. What to do?

The good news: How I got rid of the odor:

I sealed them in the zip bags and sprinkled approximately one tablespoon of baking soda in each bag, then filled it with water to cover the tops of the fabrics. I then added a bit of 'odor eliminator' (Febreeze, for example, just unscrewed the top and poured in a bit) and zipped them up, agitated them (turned a few times, gently shook) to be sure the additions circulated around the fabrics and left them overnight. In the morning I opened the bags and poured out the yellow/tan water. I then filled the bags half way with fresh water and added enough white vinegar to cover the tops of the fabrics. In the afternoon I emptied the water/vinegar mixture out and squeezed the excess from the fabrics, then laundered them. The smelled great to me and they passed Mr. IQ's sniff test too.

Give this a try if you need to remove smoke smell from fabrics. Now I have lovely fat quarters to add to a scrap quilt or two.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

2011 Golden Quilter Award Winners Announced

Have you heard? Darlene (Sew Cal Gal) hosted the 2011 Golden Quilter Awards and I am excited for the winners ~ they're certainly a talented bunch.

Here is the complete list of winners:

  1. Best Designer: Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs

  2. Best Teacher/Instructor: Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville

  3. Best Author: Eleanor Burns of Quilt In A Day

  4. Best Quilt Store (brick and mortar): Mary Lou's in Gastonia, NC

  5. Best Quilt Store (online): Fat Quarter Shop

  6. Best Long Arm Quilter: Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts

  7. Most Innovative Product (physical item): AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter

  8. Most Innovative Product (software): Electric Quilt Company's EQ7

  9. Most Influential Person in the world of quilting to date (Lifetime Acheivement Award): Eleanor Burns

  10. Best Quilt Retreat: Two Wacky Women

Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to Darlene for hosting the awards. I am fortunate in that each of them, minus two, have influenced my quilting in some way...(and the two I have not encountered yet I need to make up for lost time).