Sunday, March 30, 2008

Road Trip!

The Posse was on a mission again yesterday! I joined Nancy, Leisl, and Maggie for departure at 6 AM to get to Country Threads by 9 for their rummage sale. If you haven't visited this shop in northern Iowa, you must try to do so. It is a unique spot on a farm with very nice people and lots of animals. It does kind of feel like going home to the farm for me. There was a big table of rummage sale stuff in the garage, some bargains to be found there and in the shop, too. Leisl was a better rummager than I was, she found a couple bags with partially finished projects that I know she will put together into something great. It was a nasty windy day there and just about freezing, so we didn't dilly dally outdoors at all. The wind turbines were working overtime. I forget how continuously windy it is in that area. When it is nicer, you can mingle with the dogs, cats, goats, chickens, and whatever other strays are around. They run some nice camp experiences there which I have attended and enjoyed.

During the drive, I knitted up a good part of a pillow top made of fabric strips for an upcoming store project. Remind me not to do that again! The fabric strips are hard to handle, made my hands sore. It's almost done, I worked on it some more last night while watching Akeelah and the Bee. A nice wholesome tale about a young girl and the Scripps' Spelling Bee. The night before Bob and I went to see "21" at the theater and we liked that. The odd part for me was that Lawrence Fishbourne (not sure of the spelling) played a very bad guy in 21 and a very good guy in Akeelah, so it was a little confusing.
I will be loading up a quilt of my own on the longarm this afternoon since it is on a deadline to be included in the next round of classes at the store. I thought I would include a few sewing and related tips here from time to time, so I am showing you something that I use for helping organize some of my storage. I purchased IKEA cardboard magazine files (pretty cheap) and use them for stabilizers, papers, fusibles, interfacings, etc. They really work well and thanks to Maggie for that one. Labeling helps a lot to keep things fairly well sorted.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Sorry about the weird layout on the post I made yesterday. I don't seem to be doing something right with inserting the photos and arranging the text. The post you see is not the way it looked on the composition page. But it's all there, just rearranged a bit!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pretty Little Pincushions

Without even knowing it, I have become a collector of pincushions! They just seem to accumulate so I thought that rather than feeling bad because I wasn't using them, I would put them on display! That way I can justify having more! All of these have a little story about where they came from, who they came from, etc. That is the best part of assembling them like this. They are a visual reminder of good times and good friends. There are more around here and there, and I cycle them into use at various times. I also have been inspired by looking at the pincushions up for sale on Etsy. Very creative people. So I
hope you enjoy these pictures. A few I have made myself. I can think of several other people who have made and/or given them to me: Jan, Nancy, Leisl, Debbie, Maggie. Many thanks to all of you!

I have had some good hours on my big machine, Emma Nems. I had been frustrated by what I felt was a lack of creativity and progress on skills, but yesterday stumbled onto a good website with videos of longarm quilting that really inspired me. Just from that little bit of instruction, I found I felt much more comfortable with what I am doing. It might seem like a little thing, but just understanding why and how to knot off my threads has made a big difference. My work looks much neater and professional, even though it takes longer to do. I am 75% done with a quilt for Deb M., so not too much further to go on that one. I think she is going to like it. Better get back to the machine before she cools off!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's in the Works?

I thought I would report on what I am currently working on. For some time now, I have been hesitant to pick up on much new, I just did not have the urge to create very much new. But I feel the tide is turning, and my creative lull is ending. So here goes:

  1. an embellished denim jacket inspired by Vintage Workshop's book Art to Wear. I have used an Asian theme with fabrics, graphics printed from their CD onto fabric, and beads. It is mostly done but I still consider it a work in progress. And yesterday I found another jacket just like the one I used on clearance at Gander Mountain so I brought that one home in case I feel moved to do another one!

  2. needlefelted sewing case from Sweet Summer by Blackbird Designs. Wool roving felted onto wool fabric, it is mostly done but still in pieces.
  3. Posh Tot baby quilt pattern by Blue Underground in the City Girl fabrics by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex fabrics, it just happens to be in the sage green and brown colors that will be in the nursery for an expected family member!
  4. a star pattern and Haussmann 1800's fabric collection by Sharon Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics, it is a striking old-fashioned design that I can't wait to cut out. Similar to some of her Blended Quilts I have previously made.
  5. need to put binding on Olivia the Pig quilt from the Roll Over pattern by Bean Counter Quilts. This will be on display in the next window display at the quilt shop and then sent on its way to another expected family member!

worsted weight knitted socks for Brita, one done and one to go! I am trying out the pattern for this heavier weight yarn instead of the usual sock yarn, and these are too small for me. Nancy found some great yarn for me on her WI travels last week to use in the next pair that will include modifications to make them fit me!

    hand quilting on the Winterberry table rug by Sue Spargo, it is an oversized tablerunner in flannels and wool applique. I pieced together fabrics for the back last Sunday night and now plan to do a sort of primitive stitch to finish it off.
That's mostly it for now! Better get busy!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Greetings from Augusta, WI

Good evening all! I am with a retreat group on our last night away from home. We are 22 quilters total (it takes 4 of us to retain some kind of control) staying 3 nights in this lovely house in Augusta. We have a wonderful large sewing room with plenty of tables, plug-ins, windows and lights to keep our machines humming. Sleeping accomodations are comfy, our meals are sumptuous, and our libations are plentiful! Many of these women have been here before but we also have some newcomers--special Hi to Brenda, Sue, Jeanne, Cindy, Danielle, and Cindy. We have one attendee who came from South Carolina, and usually that would win the prize for farthest distance, but she was handily beat out by our new friend from Chile (moving to Arizona). We have some wonderfully creative souls here, the beautiful quilts, etc., just keep coming one after another. Some of the group visited a local Amish woman, Mary, on her farm today to visit with her about her quilts and life. Others have had a good time shopping the nearby gift and furniture store, they have amazing Amish-built furniture. We had massages today to ease the aches from our strenuous work huddled around our sewing machines! Lots of laughs and friendly jokes--got that Posh?
Will update with some photos when available. Now back to my knitting!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Go Green

In the interest of helping the environment, I have written a pattern to replace your paper and/or plastic grocery bags. At least one at a time! I took the size directly from our standard paper grocery sacks. This picture shows the use of patchwork (5" squares) to create the bag, but it can just as well be made of one fabric entirely. I just made one at retreat but it's not quite finished yet so I will post a picture soon. Now if I can just remember to take the bag with me for groceries!

Another pattern that I have designed and titled "Cameo" is finished. It developed from a project that I started at the Kaye England seminar last August in the Milwaukee area and features fabric she has designed. Although it was made for that specific fabric, it could easily be translated to be used with other types of focus fabric. Maybe you would like to give it a try, I would love to see what else could be done with it. Let me knnow what you think!
Exciting day tomorrow! Brita comes home! Can't wait to get a hug!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

On the Road Again!

Good thing my sewing machine has wheels!  It is definitely getting the runaround lately.  I'm back in Cumberland, WI, for more retreating and fun.  Waiting for the lasagne to finish cooking for tonight's dinner, sipping a little margarita while knitting and watching National Treasure.  We are 11 here tonight, with a much younger average age than usual.  It's fun to have some new faces and talents among us.  And a few different topics of discussion along with that.  
Have been working on an interesting new project--making a floorcloth that is covered in fabric.  It has been quite a process so far, but looks good.  Just finding all the required materials was like a scavenger hunt!  Artist's canvas, gesso, floor wax, polycrylic finish and a bunch of mod podge.  If this works out it would be fun to teach as a class at a retreat.  
Missing Leisl this weekend, unfortunately she couldn't make it and she is undoubtedly wondering if she will ever get to take a stitch again!  She will have some catching up to do!
Not too much else happening at the moment, we are settled down for a long winter's night here.