Two simple tools make a big difference in my quilting experience.
First, and newer (but by no means new on the market) is The Cutting Gizmo (click here) from The Gypsy Quilter. It is a weighted cutter with a rubber, non-slip bottom. It is especially wonderful to use when you are making lots and lots of chain-pieced segments (like in a Bonnie Hunter mystery or scrap quilt). Just grab the two fabric pieces and draw them down either side of the gizmo to cut the connecting thread. It saves the time of grabbing scissors, re-positioning your hands, snipping the thread, putting down the scissors… you get the idea. I keep this on the end of my ironing board.
Next, but not least, is one of the first quilting tools I purchased (so you KNOW it’s not new on the market: That Purple Thang (click here). from the Little Foot Quilt Shoppe. Its just a pointy, plastic tool with one pointed end and one squared end. It works to guide fabric under you needle, hold things in place when your fingers are two big, and turn out neat edges. I’m not sure why, but unlike other similar tools I’ve owned, I don’t misplace this one! I think it’s the cute name…
As you can see, I’ve been working on another Phoebee 2.0 made from both sides of Hoffman California Fabrics Electric Garden line!
This quilt began with a fat quarter bundle from one fabric line. Using the “Hex and More” ruler and 2 1/2″ strips, I made lots of half-hexies and proceded to lay them out to consider my options.
My goal was to create a blended quilt version (see Blended Quilts book) of the classic Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I tried many combinations but the look really came together when I started to use the reverse side of the fabrics for the outer flower rings.
Each black center and first ring are the front of the fabric. I could have excluded the lightest (white) fabric to make the changes in value more apparent, but again, I was trying for a more subtle approach.
Start your packing – it’s time to take your quilting on the road!
Below is my 2019 Quilt Retreat List. I have found that you can’t make a good list if you aren’t clear on your retreat objectives…sounds official, doesn’t it?
Is your retreat purely for productivity? Is it social? Do you spend time shopping? Going out to eat? Do you eat quick bites on location or carefully planned meals? Is your goal to relax? Did you answer, “All of the above?”
I think that’s why i take so many items on retreat – I want to pack (no pun intended) EVERYthing I can into a few days – high productivity, great fabric shopping, relaxation, yummy food, rest, movies, music, walks, and fun with friends…is that too much to ask?
I hope this “official” list helps you on your next quilt retreat – or even just a bit of quilting on the road…
*Sewing machine, electrical cord, pedal, extra light bulb, feet, manual, bobbins, Q-tips for cleaning.
*Sewing table, extra lighting.
*Fabric, patterns, projects, kits, felt-backed table cloth or other design wall with tacks, painters tape, or 3M strips for hanging.
*Personal items which might include drinks, snacks, rice bag to heat for sore shoulders, comfortable clothing and walking shoes, pain relief, charger cords, overnight bag and products, chocolate, and popcorn.
NOW for the REST of the story: a reveal of everything that is actually in my spinning work station (I use it in my studio, plus it’s ready to hit the road on a moment’s notice. Note: I’ve never really cleaned it out before!)
Top left to bottom right: Fusible web (hmmm, not my favorite kind, so it must be for emergencies only), pressing spray, mini iron, chain-piecing cutter, very cute rice bag (for sore muscle, compliments of friend Donna), various rotary blades, The Purple Thang, a gripper tool, bandages, rotary cutter, two styles of Karen K. Buckley scissors (definitely a fave), Pre-cuts guide for fabric purchase emergencies, thumb tacks, pins, cord wrap, thread, Q-tips, battery, thread and button (?), needles, a plethora of markers and pencils, snipping scissors, Fabric Fuse (never used it), the back of something which apparently held batteries, calculator (fabric purchase emergency?) guild directory (what’s her name?), obsolete business cards, note pads, another gripper tool, clips (hmmm, for hanging table cloth design wall?), True Grips (truly a favorite), and last, but not least, Martelli cutters (I am an ambidextrous cutter, so I use both left and right-handed ones). Whew!
What have I missed? Tell me in the comment section below!
I practiced with some scrap fabric, marked my ruler as indicated in the pattern directions, and off I went! It was fun to watch the curved piecing literally “come together”.
There are numerous quilt patterns available which use this ruler. Here’s the one I used. Stunning quilt, isn’t it? I love it when my brain can’t quite find one simple design, but jumps around to the various secondary patterns in a quilt.
Here’s my first try at a mix a fabrics. As you can see, I have a few bumbles for my first block, but it was fun to make! I do suggest using a fine marker to mark your ruler for better accuracy.
I think this quilt is now on my bucket list! What’s on your bucket list? Do you have a favorite specialty ruler?
To the tune of “On the Cover of the Rolling Stones”, I feel like singing! At the close of 2018, I happened onto my pattern, “Holly”, featured on the cover of a Hoffman California Fabrics’ catalog!
It began with an email asking if I (along with four or five other designers) would like to try our hand at designing with a new Christmas line of fabric. It’s my understanding that other designers use digital fabric swatches and their computers to design patterns. But since I use BOTH sides of the fabric, I need the real thing!
Click HERE to see the Winter Projects 2019 Catalog by Hoffman California Fabrics.
We had a week for the deadline – but since I needed the fabric shipped to me and then I needed to ship the finished quilt back to California, I had less than that to design and make the quilt!
Frankly, I was in a hurry! Add to the mix that it was Thanksgiving weekend, I was driving six hours on Saturday, attending our daughter’s show, driving four on Sunday, and staying in a hotel (with terribly inadequate lighting) until Tuesday AND, until I could see and audition BOTH sides of the fabric, I had no idea if my idea would work!
Working with both sides of fabric means lots of value-checking. You can’t tell from the front of fabric if the reverse will work. Some fabrics have great reverses and some just don’t. Click HERE for “The Tricky Traits of Value”.
The Christmas tree panel is gorgeous on its own – who would want to cut that apart? I certainly wouldn’t cut it to make another tree. I was also pretty certain that other designers would be designing borders around the whole panel, so mine had to be different.
I started to focus on the fat-quarter panel they sent. I had received a whole box of fabric to choose from and I knew if I wanted to use this panel, I couldn’t just use one fat-quarter of it or even half of them- I needed to use the whole panel. After auditioning many combinations, I decided I could use the panel – BOTH sides of the panel!
So…once again, it all comes down to fabric values. In classes, I have quilters audition many background fabrics and take lots of black and white pictures to see how their background fabrics “play” with their focus fabric. The smaller accents strips are allowed to be a bit “louder”, but the larger pieces need to provide interest as opposed to distraction. So take a look at this picture of the panel. Lots of dark fabric, right? Really pretty fabric…but more darks than lights.
Now look at a close-up of the quilt. Do you recognize those fabrics? …same fat quarters from the panel – just using the other side! Most of the accents strips are made from the front side. The bows, bells, stripes, plaid, and Christmas words make this an exciting background for the Holly wreath. One of the fat-quarters had two stockings printed on it. I used the one on the wreath and I embroidered the second stocking for the quilt label.
The wreath is made using fused holly leaf shapes from the Christmas tree panel. Being a digital print, the fabric has a sparkle of light to it, making the wreath sparkle as well.
Even the pieced binding is made from the fat-quarter panel!
This is a fun quilt to make and so easy to shop for if you use the two panels! While I have no official timeline, my guess is that these fabrics will be in shops by summer!
If you have Christmas yardage in your stash – you can use it! I wrote this pattern to work with the panels as shown OR using your own choices of fabrics. The same method applies to both – it’s all about the value!
Here’s how Holly look inside the catalog!
I designed Phoebee 2.0 using BOTH sides of Hoffman California Fabrics “Electric Garden” as the focus fabric -it’s available in shops now!
Shop all my patterns at my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios (Click HERE)
Don’t miss out – subscribe below! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and pin to your Pinterest boards, please!
I love nothing better than seeing quilts in nature! You’ve seen “Summer Quilting” (click HERE) to see quilts both poolside and on the beach), so I thought it’d be only fair to share some winter-themed quilts and a few with nature.
First up is a McKenna Ryan quilt pattern. I purchased the kit from Missouri Star Quilt Company several years ago – the year of the bear in our yard (Click HERE to read “It’s a Bear Out There” and see the markings). This bear was supposed to have a red cap and scarf, but I changed it up by using the wool from a sweater which was in my late mother-in-law’s stash. It makes the quilt more special for me and I feel I can keep the quilt on display throughout the winter.
Next is quilt is called Winter Blessings and was kit I purchased from Shabby Fabrics. It was so fast and easy to put together – I highly recommend their kits if that’s what you like. Everything was labeled and organized beautifully. It was kinda like a paint-by-number, only a lot more fun and waaaaay better outcome!
The next photo shows just a bit of a quilt (with a Buttercup bomb) that I made long ago in my second-ever quilt class. It was supposed to be bed-size and I actually thought I would finish it my first day in class! I only got it to the throw-size stage (and not during that class), but it’s a favorite!
Here is my latest version of JOY Quilt Pattern. I used a Hoffman panel for the tree (front side) and gifts (reverse side) on a scrappy, snowy background. See all my patterns in my Etsy Shop HERE.
Snow makes a lovely background for quilt photography.
Hope you are enjoying some warm stitching time during these short winter days.
I wanted to make a little Christmas gift out of our dad’s shirts for my sister. I couldn’t come up with ideas, so picking the brains of my Lady of the Lake (LOL) quilting buddies proved quite helpful!
Sitting around the table, we ran the gamut of ideas…a bear, a quilted Santa, an apron, a journal cover…whatever I could make from my dad’s old shirts – but it needed to be just right. One friend suggested framing a pieced/ quilted shirt quilt – she was on to something. It often takes a period of mulling…or percolating for me to round out an idea…instead of a frame, make it a shadow box… and add vinyl lettering to the inside of the glass…
I have to say, this little piece came out sweeter than I expected!
It’s not a big, fabulous quilt, but I really like how it turned out- and hope to one day make for myself one day–or maybe the gift to me was the cutting, stitching, and remembering that came with making this for my sister.
I used small amounts three different shirts. Once quilted and trimmed, I glued the quilt to the back of the box. Using Scan N Cut (click HERE for more info.), I added our dad’s name in vinyl to the inside of the glass (remember to reverse the lettering). I penned a short message on the back of the box with a Sharpie.
Do you gift your quilting for Christmas? How do you find ideas?
Please share in the comments below.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galations 4:4-5
Want to experience some old style Christmas? There are a couple of ways here locally (Southeast Missouri) and in towns all across the nation – and if you can’t find one near you, grab a Christmas themed book – the one I’m sharing includes quilts, a Christmas Walk, and antiques in a quaint wine country town.
Celebrated author and creator of the popular Colebridge Community and East Perry County novel series, Ann Hazelwood provides insight into a new community with her Wine Country Quilts series. I am currently reading Lily Girl’s Christmas Quilts (2nd book of the new series) and was fascinated to learn that the real town, Augusta, Missouri (upon which the series is based), is having a Christmas Walk (as depicted in the book), and the author, Ann Hazelwood, will be signing books at this Stone Ledge Antiques shop (I wonder if it looks like Lily’s) starting at 7 tomorrow night! Learn more about Ann’s books HERE. Take a stroll on the Candlelight Christmas Walk tomorrow night – find more information HERE.
A beautiful sight- we’re happy tonight.
Another opportunity for an old-style Christmas experience is to take the driving tour of country churches in rural Southeast Missouri counties of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, and Perry. You are encouraged to tag your steeple-chasing buddies for this self-guided tour and travel the beautiful country-side to these decorated country churches where you’ll find music, warmth, treats, and the real meaning of Christmas. This tour begins today at 2 p.m. The tours run both today and tomorrow until 9 p.m. Learn more HERE.
I hope you’ll find joy and take a break from rush of the season by going walking in a winter wonderland.
Need a last minute gift for the quilter in your life?Shop #usebothsides quilt patterns HERE.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14.
Like many of us quilters, space is at a premium, so when I find a tool or machine that has multiple uses, I get excited about it!
Let’s face it, we can’t make everyone a quilt every time we need a gift! That’s why I like to use my Brother Scan N Cut, which I mostly bought for quilting purposes, to also make unique non-quilted gifts.
Click HERE for a review of the monogrammed baby quilt I made using a phone app and the Scan N Cut:
Click HERE to see the old Italian proverb made with Scan N Cut in this Italian Row-by-Row quilt.
The Scan N Cut project I’d like to share with you today is one I made for Christmas last year – and it requires a short story…
Each year, we gather at my husband’s family farm before Christmas. We all traipse into the fields and watch as the chosen tree is cut down. The (now grown) grand-kids decorate the tree while the older grown-ups visit. Before opening gifts and eating, everyone gathers around the very long dining table while our mother-in-law leads us on the piano in Christmas carols. It’s sounds all cozy and Hallmark-y, right?
Then comes the finale, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”! Except for two assigned parts, we all do the motions for each of the days. The assigned parts? The three brothers are “Lords a Leapin'” for which they do what is supposed to be a leaping type of movement (they take this role very seriously) and any new boyfriend or girlfriend brought to the party is the “goose” for “Geese a Layin'”. This involves squatting, twisting, and flapping movements.
Fabulous Photo by Black Kiefner
Now, there is a year-long push for new geese–so each single grandchild has a bit of pressure to find a goose to bring for Christmas! Both of our daughters will say their geese have been somewhat traumatized by Kiefner Christmas!
What does this have to do with Scan N Cut? I came up with this gift idea last year using vinyl and paint on glass in a barn wood frame. The painting was very easy, just dabbing layers of green and white in the general shape of a tree (the only tricky part was that the paint is on the back of the glass so you want to paint the foreground first). Placing the letters was easy once I figured out to use a rotary mat under my glass to line everything up. I ended up making a few variations for other families and I think they were all well-received.
If you’ve wondered about using a Scan N Cut for quilting, this would be a great time of year to check them out – dealers are having sales and you need something to put on your wish list, right? (I have no affiliation with Brother or any dealers, I just like to share with you the things I like!)
“Holiday Revue” is our youngest daughter’s current dinner theatre gig at the Myers Dinner Theatre in Hillsboro, Indiana.
Our first stop in the quaint town was a visit to the old-fashioned soda shop!
Everything about the dinner was delicious and the Christmas “variety” show featured every Christmas genre: we heard beautiful spiritual music, classic carols, and youthful tunes. Featured guests included Mary and Joseph, Elvis, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Frosty, a cow girl, a giant blue bear, Linus, and a stage full of life-size toys.
And there was lots of audience participation! Yes, that is my husband on stage and dancing to Santa Baby! I got a little hug from Elvis!
The show ended my favorite way- with a wonderful White Christmas finale!
Oh, the weather outside is frightful…
It’s the most wonderful time for quilts! Do you include quilts in your Christmas decor?
You might recall JOY, made with Hoffman California Fabrics All Aglow on a scrappy background. The tree, topper, and binding are made from the front of the focus fabric and the gifts are made from the reverse.
This year, I #usebothsides of one Hoffman California Fabrics Supernova Seasons panel for the tree, topper, gifts, and binding! It’s a fun quilt pattern that makes a great gift for a quilter friend, a quick quilt to gift, or to add to your Christmas decor.