Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back from my retreat at Bear Creek Farms

Here we are. We are all covered in threads. We all have great memories of such great food, friendship and a great sewing area.
Bear Creek Farms in Bryant Indiana goes all out for our comfort! The food is wonderful. The workers there all seem to bend over backwards for us. And we leave their lovely private dining room's carpet covered in so many threads we worry about how they will remove it all!!!!

I am the third from the left in the front row.

One of the BESTEST waitresses there. This little lady was handed 18 cameras and asked to take the group's photo! Every camera has issues and different buttons. And quite a few had dead batteries! HA! But she was a brave soul and achieved the task at hand!

 I did not get as much sewing done as I wanted to. But isn't that the way retreats are???? Too much visiting and food!!!
I did make a good sized stack of partial blocks. These 1 1/2" strips feel so big compared to the 1 " strips I have been using.

 I also got some retail therapy. A new pair of really soft and comfy slippers.
 Some pretty pink beads to make myself a stiletto as per Our Bonnie's tutorial.

And here is my table mate and friend Laura W. This was her first sewing retreat. She really had a great time. And she got more sewing done than I did!!!!

Seated is Ellen who only brought hand sewing along. She really has the right idea. Traveling light makes it so much easier to set up! She finished her Mystery quilt!

Seated are Linda and Deb and standing is Gladys. These ladies are all so very talented. Deb is our connection to Project Linus. She and Linda can really crank out those quilts!

Look at Donna's perfect posture!!!! She just recently retired and she is so pleased that she is able to finish more projects now.

I had issues with the table height. I am not short (5'6") but the tables are tall and the chairs are short (even with a full size pillow underneath me!). So, I moved my machine to the TV tray and ironed on the table. I want and am going to get one of those Sew EZI tables. This setup really hurt my back. I am sure I would have gotten more done if I had been more comfortable.

Here are Gladys on the left and Peg on the right! Peg is another Bonnie Hunter fan. You should see her container of 2" squares. It has to weigh 20 lbs!!! A scrappy quilter's dream. I am sure I left some drool at her table!

Rita is our quilter who makes the best dimensional quilts. From Prairie points to 3-D flowers. Lots of tiny pieces. And her Singer sewing machine just pounds away at all those thick seams. There were times it sounded like a jack hammer from that side of the room!!!!! We all had to laugh at that!!!! Rita is a quiet lady but her Singer makes up for it!!!

 Mary is one of our Ohio members. She is also a quilt teacher for two other guilds in Ohio.  Her DH crafted this sewing machine table for her from a folding table. This is what I want need.

Oh my...I cannot remember this lady's name. She is also from Ohio and is being tutored by Our Mary. For a new quilter she has a great color sense and made a lovely quilt top this weekend. And she used my favorite colors...Autumn hues.

Deb W. to the left, back of Donna and on the right is Deb's mother, Sara. Deb and Sara make the most beautiful applique' quilts. Then they drive them to Pennsylvania for Amish hand quilting. Their finished projects are true works of art!!
I am glad to be home. All the kitties missed me. DH kept busy. He painted the bathroom!!!  A big surprise for me!!!! Nasty job as a wall paper border had to be removed. And I had done the paint job using a sponge method and there were great gobs of color that needed to be painted over. He says he had to put three coats of primer before the wall was ready for the final color. Now we just need to decide what color we BOTH want. What a man!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A new flavor for M & M's Raspberry w/dark chocolate

Oh my! I bought this for snacking at the retreat but I have already broken into the bag! They are good!!! Almost too good to share!!!

I now have all 300+ of my 4 1/2" Log Cabin blocks made. I still have strips left and cannot decide whether or not to make a few more blocks or to add another round (4 times) to the blocks. Decisions decisions!!!

  The last 36 went by real fast today! And packing those 1 1/2" strips was great but they seem HUGE!!! compared to 1" strips. I am gonna miss sewing on my big machine. But my Janome DQC 3160 has all the features of my big machine except for the knee lever. (which I love!) Thread trimming, needle up/down, needle threading, adjustable needle drop...

Here are my 4 1/2" Log Cabin blocks. I am gonna miss sewing on them!!!


 These got used up today. I am so glad I save bits and pieces of fabrics!!!

I swapped out 18 swapper's 2 1/2" green strips this last Monday. I did it in three hours!!! And I got them all to the PO on Tuesday. And one swapper got her strips already!

Everyone gets their own little basket. I go through each package and count their strips to make sure all is even. It is not fun to get to the end and find you are short!!!

I had them all around the room. 
I love these little baskets. 
They make it so easy to keep all the swapper's separate.

WHOOHOOO! All mailed out.
And my laundry is all done and I am mostly all packed. I am thinking I might take my main machine in for service. But then again I was thinking of bringing it along and keep the QDC 3160 in the truck in case someone needs a machine.

Please talk me out of that!
QDC 3160 weighs 12 lbs.
6600P weighs 42 lbs!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

More progress on the Log Cabin blocks II

I cannot help myself. I keep telling me that I need to save this project for the retreat that is coming up on the 20th of this month. Then I park myself in front of the sewing machine as soon as DH leaves for work (6:15 a.m.) and I sew until he comes home!!!!!
I did compromise with the manic me.  I will save all the 1 1/2" strip Log Cabin blocks for the retreat and continue with these tiny ones. Sounds good to me!

So today I finished up more dark/light blocks and then made 30 all light blocks. I can almost see this quilt in my mind's eye with the center in the smaller blocks then exploding into the larger blocks on the outside.

Dark ones are all counted and bagged up and I just finished pressing the all light blocks. I am still in love with these blocks. And with making these blocks too!

 Early this morning...

Can you see the little pile on the machine bed? Some of my strips were not long enough to add to a block, so I snip them and then I can use them when I start another block.
So I am halfway through making 288 7 1/2" blocks that I have decided I want. And I have 252 centers started for the 4 1/2" blocks with 114 made.
I bet I can take them with me on the retreat too...I love making the small ones!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What is on my bed!

This Virginia Bound has been on my bed since I made it a couple years ago. Honestly it was near to the first experience I had string piecing. Once bitten I was hooked!
Thanks to Our Bonnie Hunter ( for this great pattern.
I used Quilters' Dream Wool as the batting. I quilted it in three sections and then joined the sections. They fall at the edges of the bed and make it so easy to align when making the bed.
I love this quilt!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More progress on the Log Cabin blocks!

I have been on an amazing journey through my oldest fabrics. I have been in love with neutrals and browns since my first fabric collecting began. I saved every tiny scrap back then. And nothing has changed in that area. I am more organized now but I still have way too much fabric.
I have been inspired by a lecture and some books by Edyta Sitar. She was so great to listen to and her colors seemed to call to me. I have those great quantities. ( But buried somewhere in my storage areas.)

 I have a great collection of 1 1/2" squares and as I cut those for swaps I do cut extra strips and save them. 1 1/2" seems to be my "go to" size. I use them up as fast as I cut them. Our Bonnie Hunter seems to favor  the 2" size. That drawer in my cutting area never gets open much...
I started making some Log Cabin centers over the weekend. Somewhere I decided that I need to make 288 blocks. Seems small hunks.
As I depleted my strip supply I kept digging deeper and deeper into my stash. I am so happy that I am doing this Log Cabin project in "hunks". That way there is a great variety of fabrics with no repeats. And I got reacquainted with my golden oldies.

I use lots of containers and baskets are pretty to look at too. So all 288 centers are fed into that basket behind my machine.
I pull a few out and make about ten blocks at a time and then begin all over again with a different set of strips. No repeats...remember?

I switch up the combinations as I sew yet still keep a good control over the blocks to be HAPPY with the fabric combinations. I did add some deep blues and greens in the first group of blocks but I am not totally happy with them in there. So I have decided to not use those blocks in this current project. They will get used in another even more scrappy Log Cabin quilt. I can assure you that I am totally addicted to making these Log Cabin blocks.

  And in between strips I am doing my Cheddar Bow Tie as Leaders & Enders per our famous Bonnie Hunter. (

 Yesterday I had 70 7 1/2" dark/light and 40 all light blocks done.

Today was laundry day and as I waited between loads I HARVESTED more strips for the next set of blocks.

 Lots of strips...I am planning on taking this project with me to my guild's sewing retreat on April 20-22 at Bearcreek Farms. I am trying to not sew too many before I leave on that trip.

So....I cut some 1" strips. 1 1/2" strips look and feel ginormous next to these tiny strips. I tied them in bundles this way eons ago. And the fabric is a fresh as the day I cut it 15 years ago.
I added more from the newly harvested fabric. I did not generate any strings doing this. These were my strings. HA! I used the same batik pink as the centers. I have 42 centers started...that is how many I was able to cut across the width of the fabric strip. I am thinking I will want more so I have ripped another hunk from that batik pink. It still needs to be pressed and cut.
Do any of you rip instead of cut off bolts of fabric? I know it does bruise the edges. But those get cut off anyway. And ripping gets the fabric totally on grain when pressing before cutting.

  And here is the result of just a couple hours of sewing. I have 42 teeny tiny Log Cabin blocks made. They still need many more rounds added. But I could not resist comparing the two size blocks!!!!

Aren't they cute?????

Saturday, April 7, 2012

40 light Log Cabins blocks done!

I love making Log Cabin blocks. And I love looking at my light Log Cabin blocks!!!
I have 40 of these done now. So far the blocks are 7 1/2". I am ready to start on the 248 light/dark Log Cabins.
Yes I know, I am a manic sometimes. I am not even sure if this quilt will be for me or a giveaway. Only time will tell.

See the mass of containers below? I really made a good sized dent in all my pre-cut 1 1/2" strips.
But NOT using the really light strips is a bit limiting.
I will have to go harvest a few more medium lights before starting the the light/dark combinations. That is the safest way to make sure there are not too many repeats or like fabrics close to each other.

And I am not sure if 7 1/2" is going to be the final size or not. It will be much easier to add more rounds later than to have to remove rounds! Not gonna happen here!!

Our guild has a three day retreat this month. I am really thinking that if I just start cutting massive amounts of strips and then container them up, that this could be a good retreat project. Not too much thinking needed and not too many supplies needed either. I really need to try and travel much lighter to retreats. Last year I was smarter. I had things I never removed from the truck. But it was still good to know it was there if I wanted to change what I was working on. Last year I made 6 Project Linus quilts. I am going to save making those for marathon home sewing.

 I sew the blocks to the strips and then cut between the blocks. Be careful or you can ruin a block if you are not paying attention. Ask me how I know!!! I allowed three extra all light blocks. I ruined one with miss cutting. So I have a cushion of two extra. I should not need them as I did say I think the blocks have all the rounds I want on them.

Here are ten green fabrics (washed) all sorted into 10 stacks and ready for packaging for the swap I am hostessing over on Yahoo's Quiltvilleswap.

I figured out a cool way to neatly fold them to they are all the same size and fit into the baggie perfectly. I wrap them around my 4 1/2" ruler, slip it out and stuff into the snack side baggie. Slip in an address label and I am done!!!

Below are sets all folded and ready for their baggies....

And here are my two different sets of ten greens for the swap. And check out the basket of green strings for paper piecing!!!! Pre-sorted by magic!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I love 1 1/2" squares!

I have several of these cake carriers holding my 1 1/2" square collections. And a special shout out to Our Bonnie ( for this great idea for carrying and storing quilt related items. There are so many kitchen gadgets that work so nice for quilting too!
And also Our Bonnie won four (4) quilting awards!!!! Way to go Bonnie!!!!!

The other containers full of squares are not sorted by color. But the OCD in me just had to have some of them sorted by colors. And of course as you sort there are colors that are light, medium and dark. I ran out of "stack" spaces. HA!

And since I have been swapping with the postage stamp group on Yahoo for maybe 10 years and hostessing for the last three years, I have lots a bagillion of these squares. We swap 1,250 squares 4 times a year. we only swap three times a year because of postage and fabric costs. Do the math...lots of squares!!

So after doing my normal de-linting of the bobbin area and a fresh needle I dug out the container and made a few 16 patch blocks. They ended up being a sweet 4 1/2".

This is my normal cleaning after an intense three days of sewing three Project Linus quilts. From cutting to quilting and binding, I finished 3 quilts in three days.
So of course my machine wanted some tender loving care.

And before sewing I had to wind some bobbins up. I feel so good having lots of bobbins wound ahead of time. I never know what I am sewing on next. So I cover the color spectrum.

The top bobbin drawer holds the bobbin boxes and all my size 60 threads that work very well for bobbin filling.

And this drawer is the top on to the left of my machine. And yes, it always looks like this. I cannot help it. My house is in shambles but my sewing stuff isn't!!

I made three of these quilts for our local Project Linus. My good friend, Gladys, donated the fabrics and I donated my time.

They were all alike but I did use three different fabrics for the backings. And I feel these are kinda unisex. Peanut fabric with polka dots and I hope they can use these quilts. I did piece all the battings from leftovers. That almost makes them free!

These fabrics are the three backings I used...