Lazy Saturday…

Today – along with working on new designs for Quilt Market – I’m going to set aside an hour or two to work on this!
I’m going to use my favorite Ardco Templates and trace out a few 4″ finished size Lemoyne Star blocks – just because they are so cute!
While reading and marking a blog ages ago to “get back to” when I had time – I was browsing again this morning and read Taryn’s post again and got the “bug” to just stop and make a few of these beauties!
Here’s a pic of Taryn’s blocks from her blog!
Aren’t they cute!
Check out Taryn’s Blog here to read more about these cute little blocks!

Yesterday my daughter and I played around with dyeing Easter Eggs!  What fun!  Here’s a couple pictures of our creations:

 Our Tie-Dye egg creations
 A special egg just for Daddy!
And here are the marbelized eggs we experimented with!
In other news:
2 finished Dear Jane blocks.  The one on the left is a keeper – the one on the right – well, I’m going to soak it in water for a bit longer today, but if that supposed “washable” marker does not come out all the way – it’s going in the garbage!  What a disappointment!  Beware of the blue Crayola washable marker!  I decided to try them out after reading about them on another blog awhile back!  Well, that blue one is a real evil one – hopefully a good soaking will remove that bleeding and the rest of the markings!
Have a great Saturday!

Quilt Show Visit This Past Weekend!!!

I feel out of the loop after having a Sinus Infection-Cold that knocked my socks off!  This started in the evening on Saturday while I was teaching at the retreat – which by the way was a lot of fun!  I did not get home until almost 11 PM!
Here’s the pretty building I was at:
Anyway, I still have a mild headache behind my eyes from this sinus yuckiness and I’m slightly stuffed up.  All this crud didn’t stop me from going to a quilt show this past Sunday!  My quilt guild, The Pride Of The Prairie Quilters had their Bi-Annual quilt show this past Saturday and Sunday and it was excellent as usual!
I’ll be doing a few slide shows for you from the quilts that I took pictures of.  First up today is the Dear Jane quilt that was on display. This was pieced by Sue Schwegler and quilted by Julie Karlak. This beauty received a well deserved 2nd place ribbon also!
And of course since I am so infatuated with making my own Dear Jane – I had to really study each of the blocks and the quilting!  I took several close up shots of the quilt – that way in the future when it’s finished, I can make a few suggestions to “whomever” gets to quilt it!
I hope you enjoy the pictures.  Here are a few and down at the bottom of this post is a slideshow presentation for you!
Here’s the Slideshow:
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Enjoy!

I’m off to take some hand stitching outside on my deck and enjoy the warmth and sunshine!  Hopefully the fresh air will help perk me up a bit!

Getting ready for the Retreat and Dear Jane!!!

Last night was my monthly Dear Jane Club meeting – I really look forward to this every month!  Great group of gals and it’s fun to get out and be among people too (I work from home and love to stay at home most of the time!).  Weekly trips to the grocery store and running the “Mom Taxi” gets a little old sometimes – so when Dear Jane night comes around, I’m clicking my heals and firing up the SUV to get to club!
Here are some of my yummy new fabric acquisitions from last night:
All of these fabrics can be purchased from The Quilt Merchant – better hurry though – of few of these are getting low in stock and they are definitely pieces that your stash are needing!
Sadly, the past two weeks, Dear Jane and I have not played much as I’ve been working as much as possible on getting ready for Quilt Market.  Here’s the single lonely block I’ve completed:
G-3 Four Leaf Clover
It was a fun one and my fingers are itching to do more, but alas – I’ve been playing with this pile of wool:
I’ve lost half my cutting counter space due to this pile of wool goodness – but – it’s all good!
Here is one of three projects I cut and arranged yesterday!
Today – I’m in full-fledged packing and preparing mode, because tomorrow I get to spend the day with about 25 soon to be friends!  25 wonderful quilters that I will be teaching this project too – 
Thanks to Pieceful Gatherings Quilt Shop for inviting me up to teach at your retreat – I look forward to meeting each of your retreaters tomorrow!  We are in for a good time!
If you are interested in purchasing the pattern for the project you see above, it is pattern #409 and is called Pieceful Gatherings.  This pattern is available exclusively through Pieceful Gatherings Quilt Shop from now until May 2012.  After mid-May 2012 you will find this pattern on our website and in your local quilt shop!

Moving Right Along!

It was so wonderful having a three day weekend!  I was able to finish up the little star blocks I needed for my next quilt pattern design.  
The foundation blocks are all prepped and ready for a little wool applique and today I’ll draw out the final details of those blocks, prep the templates and wool and begin to hand stitch those later this evening if all goes well!
I forgot to do an update last week on my Dear Jane block progress!
Seven more blocks completed.  Now I need to prep a few more DJ blocks so I can keep moving smoothly through assembling them!
I also jumped on the band wagon and removed the dreaded “two word verification” that blogger has imposed.  So far, everything is working fine, but I have been getting a lot of spam comments which I’ve easily deleted since I use comment approval through email.  Still – the spam comments are coming through on a daily basis and I get between 2 and 14 spam comments a day so far since I removed the word verification last week!  Ugghhh, I dislike spammers!
Have an awesome day!

Yummy Fabrics and We Need Your Help!

Look at the goodies I picked up last night at the quilt shop!
I had my Dear Jane club meeting yesterday evening and really enjoyed my time with the ladies!  It’s so much fun getting together with others that have “like” interests!  We were given a demo on paper piecing – always a good thing to watch and learn all the tips and tricks with that!  I’m not a big fan of paper piecing, but I’m determined to continue to learn and use that technique in my own Dear Jane Quilt! We were also able to view the selected blocks and the samples for the upcoming month!  Yippee!
Now, back to the fabrics I purchased shown above – are these not gorgeous!  The first three fabrics from the left are from the Prairie Crossings fabric line by Julie Hendrickson for Windham.  The two fabrics on the right are from the Bridgeport fabric line by Jo Morton for Andover.  The quilt shop received complete collections of both these fabric lines – so if you are searching for these beauties, be sure and visit www.thequiltmerchant.com   I’m not sure if either of these fabric lines have been uploaded to their website or not – but they do have them – just give them a call – they ship!  The Prairie Crossings fabric line has some yummy cheddar’s in it and I’m thinking I might be regretting not getting those last night too!
Now, I need your help today.  I’ve had two requests in the past few days for a little help and both of these items have me on a mad search to help these ladies.
See the pretty blue fabric with the tan dots and the white flowers above?  Does anyone recall what fabric line this is?  Who the designer is?  Or even the manufacturer? I posted this help request on FaceBook also and I’m pretty sure I agree with the fact that it is a Judy Rothermel fabric.  I’m digging in my stash today again to see if I can find any.  A fellow quilter is in need of more of this fabric – so any help at all would be appreciated!  Help!!!
Also…..
Do you recognize this pattern?  A fellow quilter is searching for this pattern.  If you click on the photo and enlarge it, this quilt appears to have Drunkards Patch blocks and also larger blocks with just a simple circle centered on them.  I’ve searched through a few of my resources so far but have come up empty handed.  
Any help on either of these issues is much appreciated!  And of course if we get the answers to any of these “searches” I’ll post about it on my blog so we can all find more of that gorgeous blue fabric and this pretty quilt pattern!  Leave a comment or email me – works good both ways!
Thanks for the tips on EQ yesterday.  I received a few comments and several emails.  Looks like classes on Quilt University.com are a popular source and also – thanks to a local quilter friend – there is an EQ class coming up in my area with Barb Vlack!
Have a great day!!

Moving on and Electric Quilt!

Yesterday I was able to complete five Dear Jane blocks!  The lower triangle block is TR-3 Checkerboard. Then in the back from left to right is E-8 Mama’s Maze, G-7 Indianapolis, B-1 Bachelor Buttons and B-9 Tinker Toy!
I’m working on another hand applique Dear Jane block and I’ll probably finish that one up today and get another ready to hand piece tonight while I’m at my Dear Jane club!
For most of today though, I am going to be chained to my computer and sketch book.  I woke up this morning with the urge to sketch out a few new ideas, so it’s looking to be a fun day.  I’m also going to work a bit in Electric Quilt and get a few new things drawn up.
Are any of you familiar with Electric Quilt?  If anyone out there knows of any good tutorials, please leave me a comment or email me.  I’m not that great with EQ and know the basics and that’s about it.  I’d like to learn more and become more efficient with my time that I spend using this program instead of pulling my hair out!
  

Joining The Crowd

Well, after a friend suggested I order this book, I did!
And after reading my favorite blogs this morning – I can tell I’m in good company with this book!  I read two other blogs this morning alone that were talking about this book and for good reason!  This book is awesome – lots of eye candy and good reading!
Also, this is another book that just arrived and I’m in love!
This book was recommended to me by a Quilt Shop owner and friend.  Well worth the purchase, the projects and graphics are phenomenal!
Also after reading in some of my favorite quilting forums this morning, I found this new blog!
So click on over to her blog and welcome her to blog land!  It looks like a great blog to follow!
Yesterday evening I finished up two more Dear Jane blocks:
E-5 Rising Sun
F-8 Church Window
Have an awesome day – I hope you get many things accomplished!

Just a blahhhh day!

I’m working on some of my Dear Jane blocks today.  The day started and I was in some kind of funk, but I’m slowly working my way out of it.  I came down to my sewing room this morning and just could not for the life of me decide what to work on, so I started cleaning a bit.  One of my cutting counters was just piled high with “stuff” so I attacked that area with a vengeance.  Still couldn’t decide what to do with my day, even though Quilt Market is looming in the back of my mind, so I started ironing scraps of fabric.
I’ve moved onto making this block next:
It’s going together pretty easily so far.
I think part of the reason I’m in such a funk today is because I did not sleep much last night between a child coming down with a cold, another with “growing pains” in his leg and not sleeping well and because of this:
Someone hit my husband last night while he was driving to work on a major highway at top speed.  We were both pretty upset, but thankful no one was hurt and again thankful that both parties involved are insured.  The other driver was found to be at fault and the damages will be taken care of.  Still, its disappointing to no that we will be without my husbands work truck for awhile as it goes in for repairs – rental car here we come.  I guess it’s disappointing too because we both work so hard for the things we’ve got and proud that both our vehicles are paid for and now one is damaged and the other driver involved just seemed to want to throw the blame around and not be responsible.  It always seems like when a vehicle goes in for cosmetic damages – they never come out the same.  Oh well, it can be fixed and life will move on! Thankfully, it’s not totaled and everyone walked away.
I let the stress of the situation get the best of me last night and now I’m paying the price – no sleep, upset stomach, headache – the works!  I’m telling you, stress is a nasty thing and I need to learn to not let it happen. 
I think I feel a nap calling my name very soon today!
Yesterday, I was also able to finish piecing the baby quilt and now it needs to be quilted.  I’ll just do some simple quilting on this one and get it wrapped up for the baby shower! I’ve got the backing fabric pieced and the batting is tumbling in the dryer for a bit, working those wrinkles out.  That’s one thing I don’t care for when I buy a packaged batting – but it’s what I had on hand, so I’m using it!
Here’s the baby quilt so far:
I hope you have a wonderful day today!

Hand Quilting Time Yesterday!!!

Yesterday evening after I finished stitching the center wool applique for the upcoming retreat I spoke about yesterday, I took a notion to hand quilt.
Lucky for me, I have three hand quilting projects in the works right now.  Two small quilts and one medium size quilt.  I chose to work on the one picture above.  This has been a project in the works for probably about 3 years now and will probably be displayed in my living room or bedroom when I complete it.  This quilt has traveled with me to different quilt shows in central Illinois, Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee.  So needless to say it’s a well traveled quilt for not even being finished yet.
I was a little upset with myself when I pulled this project out if it’s storage container.  Usually I’m really good about storing all the supplies I’ve used or am using with a project.  Well, this time I did not keep the matching threads with this project.  So I had to go scavenging around hunting up the thread colors I needed.  Luckily – I found each of the four colors!  Thank goodness!
An interesting question came up on my FaceBook page yesterday.  Someone commented and asked “How do you keep your stitches so perfect?”  The answer – I do not.  My stitches are not perfect.  I do not set out to hand quilt – or do anything for that matter – with the intention of absolute perfectionism.  I quilt for my own pleasure and satisfaction and for my business.  If what I do pleases me, I’m fine with that and never feel the need to please anyone else or to act like I’m perfect and “no it all” in any way.  I’m constantly learning and re-learning.  I will never know everything, nor do I desire too.  I like the models for my pattern designs of course to look as great as I possibly can get them, but to worry over teeny tiny little things, I just let it go.
For example….
The Dear Jane quilt.  Here are some of the blocks I’ve recently finished.  Each of the above blocks are not perfect and each has their own issues. Paper piecing and I do not like each other at all.  I will continue to learn the finer points of how to paper piece and not let it get the best of me.  I will be re-doing one of the blocks pictured above – because it is really bothering me.  After I finished the center purple and cream block, I’ve decided to tack that one up on the “do over” board.  I will re-do that block hand piecing everything first and then applique those center melons on last.  My spacing on that one for the center of the block was very off and it is not sitting well with me at all.  The other 3 – though they have minor imperfections – I’m ok with it. 
That’s just how I roll……
Today, I’m piecing the outer borders for the wool applique project for the upcoming retreat project!!!

Dear Jane wants to come and play today!

After spending a wonderful evening in the company of good friends and fellow Dear Janer’s last evening – I’m declaring it a Dear Jane kind of day today in my sewing room.
This poor pitiful block has been sitting in a cute little basket for months now without any attention from me.  So first on the list is to finish this one today!
But while I’m sharing what I’m doing today, I’d also like to pass on a great tip if you are working on a Dear Jane also, or a Farmers Wife quilt or whatever.
Stay organized.  Our wonderful instructor for our Dear Jane group suggested a way to stay organized and stay on top of our Dear Jane progress.  When I saw her binder of goodies – I jumped all over this idea like a fly on honey in the summertime.
Keep everything organized in one of those big huge 4″ or 5″ binders.  Use plastic sleeves to protect your project pages, keep your templates organized or hold fabrics that have patterns traced on them.
Use these pages to store your blocks – protecting those fabric edges until you are ready to sew them all together for this quilt.
Sometimes I’ll pull a certain fabric from my stash and think – man this would make a great Dear Jane block.  So I’ll take that hunk of fabric and add it into whatever plastic sleeve for the block I want to use it in. (in this photo you can see that I’ve traced my template pieces onto the fabric already – I’m to lazy today to grab the camera and walk back into my sewing room and take another picture of just fabric stuffed in a plastic sleeve – so just imagine hunks of fabric shoved in this plastic sleeve – ok?)
More than likely, if you are making a project like a Dear Jane quilt – you will need two binders as you progress.  I find myself printing off inspirational blog posts from others working on a DJ, helpful tips, charts, inspirational sayings and random thoughts and adding those to this binder also.  That way I have everything together and can store it all and file it away when it’s time to work on something else!
This is a picture of my little cubby shelf that I store all Dear Jane items – I know right where to go when I need the patterns, freezer paper, plastic for templates and Carol Doak foundation papers.
This is a photo of the 2 little cubby shelf directly next to my Dear Jane items.  These fabrics, one side for backgrounds and one side is for the colored fabrics, that I just “have to” use in this quilt and have not decided what block they will be going in just yet.
This is another great idea from our fearless Dear Jane leader. A journal.
Now, I admit, I have not kept up with this very well.  I started off with the best of intentions and never followed through.  But at the beginning of this year I decided to use this journal not only for Dear Jane information, thoughts and things that were happening in my life on any given day I work on a DJ block – I’m also going to journal about the other projects I’m working on at the time.  The photo above you see the day I decided to work on Kathie from the Inspired by Antiques blog quilt design.  I printed the picture off and taped it to the page and information pertaining to where the pattern is (in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine!!!).  Sorry about the Miranda Lambert CD at the bottom of the page  and yes it is covering something else up.  That area holds a picture that a dear friend sent to me for inspiration of a block she is working on and I decided to piece that block also in my spare time.  You understand I’m sure, but I don’t want to blab on and on about what others are working on and were shared with me in confidence.
Also in this journal, I have my ideas for new projects, drawings and sketches, random thoughts that were running through my head as I worked on a project.  I also note special little moments in my children’s lives that pop up every now and then, so years down the road I can look back and read it and remember a little bit of the past!
With all these great tips shared, I urge you to visit your local quilt shop and take a class or join a club!  Not only is it wonderful to be in the company of others that share our love of quilting, it’s also a great time to learn new tips, tricks and techniques.  Everyone can learn something new!
If you do not have a local quilt shop – start a quilting bee – ask your friends to join you at home or a designated location – or run an internet quilting bee!  Never stop learning and sharing!
Now I must get back to enjoying my day visiting Dear Jane and listening to Miranda’s excellent CD!
Have a great weekend everyone!