Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Scared you, didn't I? Relax, it's just a pin cushion. But take a look at these little Halloween banners, below, made by Norma on our recent quilting retreat. Aren't they cute?

And speaking of spooky things, there is quite a story behind the rather large pile of thread, shown below. It was a dark and stormy night... Oh, no, that's a line from a book. Actually we were at the quilting retreat, but it was late at night. I crossed the room to deliver some blocks to a pile of charity quilt blocks. As I walked towards the pile, I was "clothes-lined" by something gossamer thin and cob-webby feeling. I pulled at my neck, and Jean, another guild member noted something extending along the room at the same time.
She followed it one way, I went another. I located the source of this cob-webby thing... it was Norma Jean's sewing kit! Apparently when Norma Jean left the sewing room headed for her dorm room, the thread she was using attached somehow to her person and trailed her for hundreds of feet, all the way to her room.
We pulled and pulled, and this is the resulting tangle of thread we retrieved. Must be worth about $5! So we put it by Norma Jean's sewing table, and Jean added a sign that said "Please detach all threads before exiting the building." Norma Jean said she felt "something" on her, and brushed it off at the door of her room. Well we recovered that "something" and here's a photo to prove it. We had a lot of laughs over this, and everyone agreed you couldn't make it happen if you tried.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On the Quilt Retreat...

I finally got these batik Drunkard's Path units assembled.
They still need a border and something more... but at least they
are this far along.

Every time I prepare to go on a 3-day quilting retreat held by my local guild a couple of times a year, I ask myself why I thought this was a good idea. It feels as if I'm packing up my entire sewing room to take with me. Actually, we kind of do that! But once I'm there, I'm always glad I made the effort. For one thing, it's a chance to move along some of the many, many, many (you may think that's too many "many's"- but not for my projects!) works-in-progress. And it is so inspiring to see the wide array of projects my fellow stitchers are working on. Several of them are pictured here.

Victoria's traditional Lone Star in
non-traditional colors! She used
the Quilt Smart foundation method.

Jean's repro-fabric Nine Patch. Love the border.

Karen's b&w Basket quilt.
She used an Alex Anderson pattern
and  kit of fabrics.
Someone always has a new quilting technique to show us, and the fellowship is most enjoyable. There is something very soothing about the industrious hum of sewing machines, and we had more than 15 of them humming along at once. And the best part is that we have nothing to do but sew. Delicious meals are provided for us at the church-sponsored retreat center. The beautiful grounds and sunsets are a bonus!

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Little Light of Mine...

This small holiday quilt (9 1/2" x 12") was made using the "Christmas Candle" pattern from Bee Creative Studio. With fusible applique and machine quilting, it was quick to sew and will make a cute seasonal wall hanging. There are 3 other designs in the series- a Christmas tree, snowman, and the gingerbread man.

It constantly surprises me how quickly the time flies by. Here we are more than half-way through October. So that holiday sewing needs to happen now if I'm going to be ready at Christmas!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Virtual Studio Tour

Cloth Paper Scissors is hosting a Virtual Studio Tour October 15-17, and members of their online community have been invited to join in. So, welcome to my work space!

We moved to Florida in 2001, and I commandeered one of the bedrooms to become my creative space. On the west wall, above, we had a closet company build in this computer work station, book shelves, and storage area. It's so convenient. And I use the area to display some of the small projects I've made or been given.

On part of the north wall is the sewing station, above, that houses my Bernina 440 QE, thread storage, and more books. My little Featherweight is hiding in there, too. I need to get it out more often. For some reason, the Featherweight intimidates me! Note the red mesh pop-up laundry tote. I used those to store works-in-progress and to carry things to classes or quilting retreats. I just got back from one, so it's full of things I worked on.

Adjacent to the sewing area is the pressing area, above, and more cabinets for supplies. The top of the cabinet is just right for display of more small projects. And there is wall space for quilts and other hanging projects. I made "The Wet Dog" quilt in a story quilt class with Mary Lou Weidman. And the fabric-paper bird strand was one I received in an exchange during the book study of "Stitch Alchemy" by Kelli Nina Perkins. The large rolling table is a cutting area and a "catch all". Things pile up there until they get put in their proper places, or until I'm ready to clear the surface for use.

On the east wall, above, is more storage for magazines, and a large glass-front quilt display unit. I have a small collection of vintage quilts as well as some I've made in there.

Half of the long closet on the south wall, above, I call the "staging area." Projects waiting for their binding or to be machine quilted or embellished reside there. And completed small quilt projects hang on the rack on skirt hangers. More mesh laundry totes are pressed into service to hold works-in-progress and various papers, stablilizers, and fusibles. Paper storage is also located here.

The other half of the closet houses the fabric stash and batting. I'm as happy as can be in my studio, and happy you stopped in for a visit. I have an extra machine if you'd like to stay awhile!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Seeing Spots?

Spots, Dots, and Circles was the theme of our recent quilt guild challenge at Country Road Quilters in Ocala. It always amazes and delights me to see how quilters interpret challenge themes in such an exciting variety of ways. Such talent. Ann-Marie's foundation-pieced entry made use of every polka-dotted fabric she owned, plus a few. Just look at all of them! She used a pattern from "Quilts With a Spin" by Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins. This quilt won the prize for best use of theme fabrics. She calls the quilt "Happy, Happy", which of course it is.

Our guild president Kay began with a bright fabric panel, enhanced it with paint, appliqued circles, and crystals in this piece. She won a creativity award for her efforts.

Beth won Viewer's Choice with this stunning piece that featured foundation pieced circles, appliqued circles, and bold fabric choices. Here's another glimpse of an element from her quilt below.

And this one was my entry. You saw it in a previous blog entry, but I wanted to show it here as well because it finally got out for an evening to hang out with its peers in the Spots, Dots, Circles Challenge. Hope these quilts brighten your day!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Paper Goods- the Term Has a Whole New Meaning...

One of the many fun elements of the various blogs I follow is the occasional giveaway they offer. Just by leaving a comment or responding to a question, you are entered in a random drawing to win various art objects, fabrics, or craft supplies. It's a generous and encouraging group of people out there in blog-land.

I was so happy to win this Cloth Paper Scissors giveaway recently. The prize package contains a mini-book filled with hand-cut Mylar stencils, samples on fabric, a laser-cut paper stencil, and more. And it was all tied up prettily with ribbon and a brush and stencil paint attached. This lovely prize was created by mixed-media artist Linda Blinn, who has an instructional DVD titled "Make it Graphic". I'm continuing to explore and learn about paper, bookmaking, and mixed media, so winning this giveaway was most welcome. Just look at all the fun stuff and creative bits!

I think I'll use the contents to make some greeting cards for Operation Write Home. I just learned about this organization that collects and distributes hand-made cards to deployed military service men and women. The deadline for making Christmas themed cards is the end of this month, and I'd like to be part of this worthwhile cause. I'll keep you posted on the results of my efforts.