Sunday, February 28, 2010


After finally stitching together the spool blocks, I was able to get out my Pink/Brown and Blue/Brown SBS swap blocks. Well only one set fit, but I do plan to mix them in my quilt. Possible fabrics for sashing, etc. are below.

There's lots to do before I get to this project, but I love walking by them on the wall. It helps with ideas spinning in my head for how to set the blocks and which fabrics to best show them off with.

Friday, February 26, 2010


This week I finished 16 nine-inch Churn Dash blocks for the Amish Swap. I think it took almost as long to make and tack on the fabric labels, one for each, as it did to sew the blocks. Can't wait to see the blocks everyone is making!

Friday, February 19, 2010


A lovely siggy arrived all the way from the Netherlands. Dorine used a machine-applique fleur de lis for her center. It represents the French lily, because of the town she lives in, Lelystad. I love the bright, perky orange.

My stack of siggies to send out is getting low, and I think I'd better get busy and sew a batch of 10 or so.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Two siggies from Germany arrived in my mail the other day. Both are just beautiful. The top one is a hand embroidered goat, from Anne. I think that has to do with her life, but the letter was from Sylvia. Her nick-name is "Fliederhexe" which translates to "Lilac Witch", the good kind she assures. Her lilac fabric and embroidered witch surely reflect that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Continuing my post about my quilt retreat with Harriet Hargrave, this is her newest book, just out. It's the first of 4 in her Quilter's Academy series, Freshman Year. It's all about the basics of quilt making. It's for anyone just starting out, and for anyone wondering why their blocks aren't perfect every time. Why is it a tad short, wide, or wonky? While there are patterns in this book, it's really a skill builder, step-by-step.

She wrote the book with her daughter, Carrie, a new quilter. Carrie was the first guinea pig, and they did change some things as Carrie worked her way through, editing the book.

How fun to be doing a mother-daughter project like this!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


This is my February DJ SS gift. What a wonderful secret sister I have this year. She send me two Dear Jane blocks, a 4 Patch Posie pattern, a magnet, the new wide Tiger Tape, lip balm and chocolates, as well as the yummy pink FQ it is all spread on. Then closer to Valentine's she sent the hand-stamped card. I make Stampin' Up cards too, so it was really fun to be on the receiving end this time, LOL!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


These are the books we used at retreat. Several of you have asked for tidbits of what we learned. Well..........
  • There's no correct batting for all quilts - each has unique needs.
  • Thread for piecing needs to be 100% cotton, thin, and strong.
  • Blocks need to be starched, pressed, measured each step of the way. Starch, not Best Press or sizing. You are going to finish the top, quilt the top while it's nice and stiff, and then wash it all in short order. No worry about bugs.
  • It's impossible to do nice quilting unless the top was perfectly pieced.
  • No, you don't need a long arm.
  • No, you don't need a stitch regulator.
  • You don't need a larger area to the right of the needle on your machine, but it does make it easier to machine quilt.
  • You'd be better off putting your $ into a proper fitting sewing table, cutting table, chair, good lighting, etc. than continuing to buy FQs or jelly rolls. Yes the good stuff is expensive, but look what we put into more and more stash and kits, etc. It adds up too.
  • More quilting in the quilt makes goofs show up less, yet beginners often quilt as far apart as possible.
  • Use pins to baste, not spray baste. Then anchor it all with some ditch quilting. Remove pins as you can, and do more intricate quilting.
  • Invisible thread is good for quilting, but you need the right brands.
  • Don't wear shoes while you do patchwork. You can't feel the machine as well.
  • Become good friends with your machine. You should be able to feel and hear how it's going.
  • Before buying thread, bobbins, etc., do some research. Who came out with it and why? If it's an art quilter, and you make baby quilts, what works for them won't work for you, etc.
  • Some of the older machines are the best. You don't need the bells and whistles. The fewer the better.
  • Harriet's daughter, Carrie, is doing the first ever comparative study on thread for her Master's Degree. She is using equipment to simulate aging, judge strength, ability to hide in the fabric, etc. Some of the thread companies aren't too happy about it. Others are all for it.

I could go on forever. Three days of straight information and guidance. If ever you have a chance to take classes with Harriet Hargrave, go for it. She is the one who invented quilting on your home sewing machine. Her applique is wonderful too. She truly does create and teach how to create heirloom quilts made by machine and all by you (in case you're like me and must do the entire quilt yourself -- not just the top!).

If you can't take classes with her, her books are excellent. Very step-by-step details, super photos, etc. They are older and can be harder to find. But the information is still current and she thinks it would be nuts to reprint them.

She does have one new book out, called "Freshman Year." More on that later.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Here we are at the brunch on Sunday. I'm on the left and Carol is on the right. Everyone brings what they've worked on to show off, there are drawings and winners of various things, like the block lotto and challenge quilt. It marks the end of a very tiring, but fun, and super-educational long week-end. Next year's theme is Quiltopoly, as in the game.

I'll post about what I learned soon.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Carol brought my Valentine Swap gift to Honeybee, to give to me. She made the Humbug Bag, back - left, and included socks, a love bug, notecards, and a heart-shaped box. The bag it all came in (back) is neat too! Thanks Carol. Very fun!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here I am at the Honeybee Retreat with teacher, Harriet Hargrave. I'm the old, tired, perplexed looking one, seated, trying to wrap my brain around these ideas. Harriet is the younger, perkier one, who quilts expertly on a home sewing machine.

Honestly this is the most intense class I've ever taken. Harriet is a slave driver! We start half an hour earlier than posted, take half the posted lunch time, and no breaks unless you sneak out!

Mind you, I'm not complaining. The class is excellent, and Harriet gives 200% and expects the same of her students. But, phew! I'm tired. And I'm with her for a third day tomorrow!

Carol, my dear friend who's here with me, had a hard time getting this picture, as Harriet is glad to take a photo, but she is not happy when anyone wants to take their mind off the quilting. Keep your mind focussed! Pictures distract. Yikes! Retreat has always been fun. This is intense! I've barely seen Carol, and I don't think the fun will start until after 5:00 tomorrow, when Harriet releases us. Well it will be more like 5:30 or 6:00 or whenever the guild comes in and says the next group needs the room!

I'm not complaining! Really the class is EXCELLENT! She just has so much to offer in so little time, my brain is spinning!

Off to enjoy a glass of wine in my pj's.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This wonderful siggie arrived in the mail from Australia yesterday. Helen hand embroidered the koala on a limb, and used an Aussie print for the block. She also included a letter and this wonderful card depicting native Australian designs. Just when I was thinking maybe I was done with the International Siggie Swap, this one arrives, and of course I'm staying in now. If you are interested, there's a link scrolling down on my sidebar.

Monday, February 1, 2010


The last of the batik Autumn Leaves Swap blocks arrived from Canada in today's mail, so I had time to swap them out before leaving for Honeybee. Here are all 61 sets. I'm eager to get going on my quilt. I have the pattern all picked out and the coordinating fabrics are ready to go. Now a quick trip to the Post Office tomorrow to mail these out to their owners.


The theme for the Honeybee Quilter's Retreat this year is 'Quilt Safari'. I'm getting ready to leave on Wed. morning, and today rounded up some of my gear -- my ape, Hairy, my Sigfried and Roy tiger, 'African' noise makers from Disney's Animal Kingdom, and of course my blue pith helmet! You never know what you might encounter on safari so the helmet might come in handy. Now to get the quilting stuff ready..............