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!
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)
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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.
b) me learning about the first-time discount was what it took for me to finally subscribe. I want to share my discovery with YOU!
I remember as a teenager subscribing to a make-up club. It was so fun to get different products in the mail to try each month. I figured, what could be better than make-up? Fabric, patterns, notions, thread, and more, all mailed in a cute little teal and brown box and delivered to my mailbox!
Options: They state there is a Quilty Box for everyone – and there is!
Classic: This is the original box which features a different artist each month, 2 yards of fabric, a spool of thread, pattern, one or two notions or tools, and a mini-magazine. The price is $48.00 but if you prepay, you can get discounts on that monthly rate.
English Paper Piecing: In partnership with PaperPieces.com, this box includes a pack of 5 x 5″ fabrics, thread, templates and paper pieces for the pattern, and a mini magazine. This starting price is $34.99 with discounts applied for prepayment.
Mini: Inside this little package you’ll find a full-sized pack of 5 x 5″ fabric and a small spool of thread, the mini-magazine, three patterns, a mini-pattern, and an English paper-piecing pattern all for $23.99 (with discounts for prepayment).
First-time discount? Receive $10 off your first box!
So what are my thoughts about Quilty Box?
I loved it! It was so fun to get in the mail. I saved my box to open until I could give it my full attention! My box came with eight fat-quarters of Tula’s new line. This was especially fun because when we heard her speak this fall in Paducah, she explained how she designed that line of fabric. Also inside my box was Aurifil thread, a cute pattern for zippered pouches which I would actually love to make, zippers for the bags, and large piece of Soft and Stable for the bags. The Bundles of Inspiration magazine is high-quality and I’m looking forward to reading it cover-to-cover. It features an article about Tula, several patterns, history and how-to’s for English paper piecing, and more!
Need a gift for a quilter friend? Send them a Quilty Box!
Shipping is free in the USA.
One thing you need to know about Quilty Box is that your order begins an automatic subscription. You can easily and promptly cancel your subscription with a simple email to email@example.com . I did it and received an email confirmation of the cancellation immediately.
So why did I cancel my subscription? ONLY, ONLY, ONLY because I am already overwhelmed with projects, new patterns designs, my Etsy shop, and my teaching/program schedule! If I were wanting a fun way to treat myself, get inspiration, and learn about the latest in the industry, I’d definitely continue my subscription!
By the way, I hereby reserve the right to order Quilty Box again!
In fact…maybe (on behalf of my readers), I should really order at least one of each TYPE of Quilty Box – so I can report back, of course. What do you think?
Here is my Tula Pink version of Aria (expressive music heard in opera – she’s a “singer”…) Quilt Patttern. See Vintage Machine Quilt Pattern for more information.
For the next six hours, I auditioned 42 fabrics (both sides of each) trying to get just the right mix of color, contrast, values, and feel that would be worthy of this new line by Hoffman California Fabrics.
Phoebee is the pattern and Electric Garden is the fabric line. Of course, I took tons of pictures, mostly black and white, and still this was a challenge…and a gamble! Not seeing the reverse of a fabric before-hand made me a little nervous – some fabrics just don’t have usable reverse sides.
Well, Electric Garden rocks! Vibrant color with a soft, contrasting reverse side was just the recipe I needed. I flipped several backgrounds to their reverse as well, so they wouldn’t compete with the bee or flowers. The next step was cutting out Phoebee and her flowers.
I slept on this mix so I could get a fresh look the next morning. Yes! I began fusing and quilting (on my Handiquilter Avante) right away. Next came the prairie point hanging method, binding, label, photos, writing and producing the pattern, and Phoebee was flying to California on Tuesday, August 7th!
My new friend in California let me know Phoebee arrived safely! Now for the waiting game…
Quilt Market in Houston was November 3 – 5. I was fortunate that several kind quilter souls saw Phoebee hanging in the Hoffman California Fabric booth and shared their pics with me on Instagram! Thank you, friends!
This morning I am shipping Phoebee 2.0 patterns to a very fun quilt shop in (wait for it) Canada!
Original Phoebee and Phoebee 2.0 quilt patterns are available in my Etsy Shop HERE.
Jacq O’Lantern has a happy little ghoul popping right out her top like a jack-in-the-box! The first mini #usebothsides quilt pattern, Jacq O’Lantern is too much fun to make!
She’s a pint-size lesson about value but when you make her, you’ve learned the easy tricks for using value to make any of the patterns using both sides of one focus fabric!
I was never real big on halloween decorations. I preferred to use that money to buy more Christmas lights and decorations. We didn’t avoid Halloween with our kids, but we also didn’t make a big fuss about it. So…why is it I LOVE Halloween fabric so much?
As a kid I only had a couple of drawings I liked to do – over and over. One was a beach scene with a palm tree (are you surprised?). The other was a witch on a broomstick.–she always had a long chin that jutted out and a big ole wart on her nose. Maybe these Halloween fabrics take me back to my childhood or something. Several of my favorite quilts and projects are Halloween themed. I’m sure you seen them before but, well, ’tis the season!
Black Kitty Punch Needle
Instant Bargello Quilt
If you like Halloween fabrics like I do, chances are you have everything you need in your stash to make this little gal. So grab your stash – and turn it over! #usebothsides
Our youngest daughter’s name is Jacquelyn. We’ve always had nicknames for her such as
Da Jacqinator (at the age of two she could “destroy” a room in minutes)
Jacqqity Jacq (don’t talk back)
and, among others,
Jacq O’Lantern Quilt Pattern makes a mini (a mere 12″ square) to hang perfectly on wire hanger.
Hovering Hawks is the eighth block in our mystery quilt, River Heritage. As you know, most of the blocks in this quilt are classics. Such is the case with this one.
The Hovering Hawks quilt block has been around a long, long time. There’s an interesting history lesson by Barbara Brackman HERE about the block and it’s symbolic meaning with the civil war.
I think you’ll find this quilt fun to make. You’ll arrange half-squares with single blocks, so piecing will be easy. The challenge for me was deciding where to place my fabrics.
Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt
Month 8 Hovering Hawks
Welcome to the eighth month in the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt!
Hovering Hawks is made from sixteen squares, ten of them made from half-square triangles. This block has been made over the years using lots of different fabric and value combinations. I played with my fabrics quite a while before making my final choices for this block. Use your own color scheme to make your block. Remember to check your values by taking a black and white picture of your fabric choices.
From light fabric: From dark or medium fabric:
Five – 4-inch squares Five – 4-inch squares
Four – 3 ½-inch squaresTwo – 3 ½ inch squares
RST = right sides together
Half-square triangles: Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the five light squares. Layer one dark/medium 4-inch square and one light square, RST. Likewise, layer the other pairs, RST. Stitch ¼ inch from the diagonal line for each set (chain-piecing method). Remove and clip the threads connecting the sets. Stitch ¼ inch seam on the other side of the drawn line. Clip apart. Cut on the drawn line. Press. Trim/square each set to
3 ½ inches. Makes ten half-square triangle sets.
Assemble block: Position the sixteen squares according to the picture. Take a black/white photo to double-check your layout using value.
Turn each piece from Column 2 onto Column 1, RST. Chain-piece a ¼ inch seam on the right edge. Clip apart and press odd rows to the right, even rows to the left.
Repeat with the next section by turning Column 4 onto Column 3, RST, stitch and press.
Repeat with the final two columns, stitch and press.
Nestle seams and pin Rows 1 and 2, RST, and stitch. Press open.
Nestle seams and pin Rows 3 and 4, RST, and stitch. Press open.
Repeat with final two sections, stitch and press open.
Trim and square your block to 12 ½ inches.
Share your block using #riverheritage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Photographing actual hovering hawks proved to be quite a challenge. First, from what I’ve read, the red-tailed hawk which is likely what lives here might not even hover. They might be doing something that appears to be a hover, but, according to the experts, isn’t actually a hover.
Also, I could only find single hawks hovering/not hovering. Any grouping of birds that I thought might be hawks were actually turkey buzzards. So, kinda like the glimmer of “river” in “Eagle’s Nest”, we’re gonna say this is a hawk and it is HOVERING! Have fun with this block!
Get a bird’s-eye view from Inspiration Point and Month Seven in the River Heritage BOM mystery quilt block: Eagle’s Nest.
This is one of my favorite blocks! It has a few more pieces and variety than the last two month’s blocks. This block has a nine-patch in the center which is set on-point and is surrounded by flying geese sections. Like the “inspirational” pictures accompanying this post, this block will have a high perch in the River Heritage quilt setting.
Inspiration Point, in the rolling hills of the Shawnee National Forest, provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the Mississippi River valley. It is located about 30 miles from Cape Girardeau, MO, near Wolf Lake, Illinois.
Approaching Inspiration Point
Love the reflection of the tree below.
The hike to the viewing rocks is short and pleasant from the upper lot. (The lower lot looks like a pretty tough climb.) If we hadn’t seen people on the rocks, I’m not sure we would have ventured out to them, but the path isn’t as treacherous as it looked from the trail. (I don’t advise taking little ones as there are no safety rails.)
My darling hubby taking me on another adventure to get pictures for River Heritage.
Somewhere in the distance, one of those glimmers of water is the mighty Mississippi River, I am SURE of it! Since we made the trip and the climb to get these pictures for Eagle’s Nest, despite a bit of fear on my part (snakes and heights), we are going to go with it!
Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt
Month 7 Eagle’s Nest
Welcome to the seventh month in the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt! Eagle’s Nest has lots of pieces, but they are not difficult to make. If you go one section at a time, you’ll master what might appear to be the most difficult block in the quilt, first time around! Follow the instructions for value (light, medium, and dark) and use your own color scheme to make your block. Remember to check your values by taking a black and white picture of your fabric choices.
For center nine-patch: For cornerstones:
Five dark 2 5/8” squares Four light 2” squares
Four light 2 5/8” squares
For triangle points:For flying geese border:
Two medium 5 3/8” squares, cut diagonally Twelve light 2 x 3 ½” bars
Sixteen dark 2” squares
RST = right sides together
Nine-patch: Lay out squares according to picture. Chain-piece column 2 on column 1, RST, pressing the top row to the right, middle row to the left, bottom row to the right. Repeat by adding column 3 to column 2, RST. Turn top row down onto middle row, nestle seams, pin, and stitch. Press open. Repeat by turning assembly onto bottom row, nestle seams, pin, and stitch. Press open.
Add points: Fold each triangle in half and press a center mark or use a pin to mark the center. Likewise, fold each side of the nine-patch and press a center mark or use a pin to mark the centers. Match a triangle center with a nine-patch center, RST, pin, and stitch. Press towards the triangle. Repeat for other three sides. Trim and square to 9 ½ inches.
Outer Border: Draw a line from corner to corner on the wrong side of each 2-inch square. Make flying geese by laying the square on the right side of a 2 x 3 ½ inch bar, with the drawn line starting in the center of the bar and going downward to the right. Stitch on the line. Press. Open the layers and trim the center layer using scissors, leaving about a ¼-inch seam. (This leaves the original rectangle and the new triangle on top.) Repeat process for the left side of the bar. Trim/square if necessary to 2 x 3 ½ inches (same as the original bar size). Make eight.
Assemble block: Lay out flying geese, bars, and corner squares around the center block according to the picture. Stitch one flying geese on each side of one bar. Press to the bar. Make four sets. Now add corner squares, one on each end of two sets. Press to the squares.
Pin sets without squares to left and right sides of center block, being careful to match seams. Stitch and press open. Pin sets with corner squares to the top and bottom of center block, being careful to match seams. Stitch and press open.