Monday, August 15, 2016

Is there life beyond quilting?

 I have been working around the yard, cleaning the house and painting the garage the past few days, so haven't done as much sewing/quilting. You might remember that on my Online Buddies retreat many of them made Circle and Spin quilts. Heather got her baby version finished and sent me a pic. She quilted it on her home machine, which she is really good at. I love her color choices. She used the smaller block from Circle and Spin to the Moon as she wanted the look of the Circle and Spin but in a smaller size. Beautiful! 
I did get the labels made and sewed on to the Off the Beaten Path baby quilt and Mirages. I made the baby quilt for my sis and her husband to give as a gift. I gave her some examples of what I could put on the label and this is what she chose. How do you make your labels? I use the June Taylor Colorfast Sew in Fabric Sheets. They are easy to use and my computer prints way better than I do. You can also had pictures or clip art to them. 

I needed to take some pictures of the Swag Bag to advertise the class, so I took it outside for a photo shoot. Love the outdoor pictures. Which pic should I use?

 My zinnias are blooming like crazy right now. Evidently they like heat! It's a larger bag and easy to make. I can't wait to finish the other one I have started for a class working model.
I went on a fun road trip to Mo. Star Quilts on Saturday with friends. We wandered in and out of the many shops there and enjoyed lot of eye candy and inspiration. I spent a lot of time in the Batik store and came out with a nice plump bag full of new batiks. It was a great day for it and we had a lot of fun.

 I started scraping and painting the garage the other day. I started with the doors because it looks the worst (hit by a hail storm awhile back) and faces the street. I finished scraping and painting the first coat of primer yesterday. It took over a can of primer, so the wood is really soaking it up. I'm worked a little on the south side yesterday too, and am going back to finish it today. It didn't need as much scraping as the other sides, not sure why unless it's because it's right across the alley from a house that shades most of it. For whatever reason, I'm happy about it. I like to scrape awhile, then paint awhile so I don't get too discouraged about the scraping. I like the painting part.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some catching up to do....

 When I went to CUAQ Therapy a few weeks ago at Cut Up and Quilt, Alice brought her Happy Villages quilt for show and tell. It turned out so pretty! I still want to make a night time version....

Two of the beginners with their finished quilts last month. They turned out beautiful and just had the hand stitching left to do. I made a new version of this quilt on retreat and will start a new Beginning Quilting class in the fall.
Just for fun, we are doing a little Double Four Patch stash-busting swap during Sampler one has to participate, but if they want to they will end up with an awesome scrappy quilt!
The Wednesday Fun Club will be making the Whatcha Got? Bag beginning in Sept. so I made up a new model for it recently. I gave away all of the ones I made last time! It was a good way for me to refresh in my mind the steps to making it too. I also started another one to use during class as a working model.

I made some Boxy Corner Pouches before I went on the retreat with my online friends, but didn't want to spoil the surprise by showing them. I cheated and used quilted fabric. I put a few goodies inside too. 

With some of the leftover fabric, I made this flat bag to carry some odd size rulers I have. It would also work to carry my pattern files to class. 

I've spent a lot of time working on class paperwork and sewing models over the past few weeks getting ready for fall classes. I need to step back from it for a bit and do some work around here. I want to paint the garage before I go back to school, so I'm going to start that today. Not sure how far I will get since I have to scrape too. I like to scrape some, paint it and then scrape some more so the scraping doesn't seem like such a big ordeal. I like to paint, just don't like to scrape. Who does?

I also need to "clean and pitch" a few areas around here, the back porch being first on the list. What a mess out there! And I walk through it every single day. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Another wonderful retreat

This past weekend was my biannual retreat with friends at Stitchin' Tree Quilters Cottage. You might remember the Quilters of the Corn pictures from 2014 and 2015...we decided we needed an updated one!

My first project on this retreat was putting the binding and label on the Off the Beaten Path baby quilt. I have a  bit more handwork on the back, but otherwise it's finished. I really like the way this fabric shows up the pattern. Since this is a baby quilt, it's slightly smaller than the original too. 
Next up was making this Swag Bag by Square Rose for a class model. It's a fairly large bag with lots of room to carry stuff. I like teaching bag classes as well as quilting classes. Bags are fun to make and can you really have too many? I don't think so.

 I had to have this fabric from the Stitchin' Tree Shop (how perfect to have a shop attached to the retreat!) and have the working model for the class all prepped and ready to go. I will be teaching this class in December, just in time for gift giving.
We play  the Trader's Dice game on our retreats and our challenge each time is to make something using the "cuts" we played with last time. Last time we played with 3" squares, and I made this Boxy Bag out of mine. Always need another boxy bag. 

I also started the working model for the Kids Bean Bag class. I need to make the lining, and it will be ready for the class. Forgot to take a picture of the fabrics for it.

 Next on the agenda was making a new model for my beginners class. I've used the same model for advertising for too long, so had purchased the fabric, and cut it before retreat. Didn't take long to make this cute More Peas in a Pod quilt. Now I can retire the other one!
 I usually quilt my own quilts, but my friend Cindy quilted Mirages for me. She brought it along on the retreat to give me. I love the quilting she did!
 Hopefully you can see the details of  the quilting better on the picture below. I finished it by adding the binding, so it's ready to be hung at the shop. (It's another class model). I also prepped for the class too, plus the pattern is written and it's ready to go.

 My last project for the retreat was this pillowcase. Cindy had given me the cute house fabric on our last retreat. I didn't want to cut it up, so decided to put it on a pillowcase so I can enjoy it often. The gray is what was left of the backing for the new sampler and was just the right size. Sometimes things just work out!
 I plan on spending some time today on this house (ugh) and paperwork/prep for classes. I have a new Doing the Splits Sampler Club beginning tonight too, so that will be fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A little challenge....met!

 Last month I did a trunk show for the Piecemaker's Quilt Guild in Missouri Valley, IA. I had a great time and taught a class on making the Miss Tess quilt the following Saturday. It was fun to see their quilts start to come together during class and I promised (or did I issue a challenge....) I would come back this month to see how many finished the tops.
 Amazingly, 8 of the 10 brought their quilts back in various stages of completion. One made many blocks and made two quilts!
Jeanine's 2nd
 The other two quilters were there; one had forgotten hers and the other was still sewing rows together. She was making the larger version and said it was still on her living room floor.
 It was fun to see them again and chat about quilting. They really are an awesome group of quilters.
 I've had Sampler Clubs the past few nights and sewed with friends yesterday, so need to do some things around here today. The quilting group that I go on retreat with twice a year is getting together tonight to plan our meals...we leave next Thursday! I'm so excited, even though this is my 3rd retreat of the summer. I have been working on class models for the most part and feel like I'm making some headway. I have to do this every year!
Our first retreat was back in August of 2010. None of us had been on a retreat before, so it was our first retreat and we had to figure many things out. We went to the Farmer's Dotter Quilt Retreat in Bedford, IA. It was a cute place, and set up like a bed and breakfast, so we did no cooking. We had so much fun we decided to do it again!
 That first retreat began on Friday afternoon and we stayed until Sunday. We didn't think that was long enough, so now we go on Thursday and stay until Sunday. We have stayed at several locations over the past 6 years, but have stayed at Stitchin' Tree Quilter's Cottage ever since it opened in 2013.
It's a nice set up with a full kitchen, so we fix our own meals and best of all there is a small shop next door so we can shop when we run out of important fabric and thread! this will be our 13th retreat, the 8th one there. I need to start planning what I will work on!
Pris made a runner

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wonderful quilt retreat with far away friends....

About sixteen years ago, I joined several Yahoo Groups devoted to quilting. Back then, you chatted via emails...some days there were many and other days not so many. Most groups did swaps, and other fun challenges, but I didn't participate in many of those because of my work schedule. But it was fun and interesting to chat with people from all over the country and overseas about quilting, family and life in general.

Connie, Tennessee
I really loved one group in particular, Country Quilters USA. It was founded by Connie and Leween, who met through another yahoo group, and quickly became a popular group of friendly, chatty quilters. There was always chatter about quilting, but mixed in was also talk of our families and what was going on in our lives. So I started to feel like I knew these quilters. They would host sew-in days with us checking in periodically to see everyone's progress. We could make photo albums and shared our projects that way.
Leween, California
With the advent of Facebook, we all became friends there and were able to enjoy each other's pictures and comments about life with even more ease. We could have private chats with each other or with groups of several friends. We could comment on each other's posts and support each other in our goals.
Barb, Florida
Many of us have gone through life crisis, family changes, and moves...all with the support of each other. Sometimes we chatted more than others, depending on how busy we were at the time, but we all managed to stay in touch.
Rita, Illinois
Many, many times we talked about getting together for a quilt retreat, but with the distance between us I don't know if any of us thought it would ever happen. (I always liked to throw out the fact that I lived in IA and since it was central to all, it would be a great place to meet.)  Then last fall we decided to plan a retreat and see how many would be able to come. We decided on IA, so I contacted Robin at Log Cabin Quilting in Exira, IA to see what the availability was for July at her retreat center. I thought Exira was perfect, because it is about halfway between Omaha and Des Moines for people flying in to either airport. The group settled on a date and the retreat was actually going to happen!
Log Cabin Quilting, Exira, IA
Paula, Washington
I started a Facebook group to plan and listed all of the details of the retreat...airports nearby, other facts I thought we would need. We spent hours talking on FB messenger about it as everyone started to come on board and make their plans. Eight of us would meet in Exira on July 14!
Heather, Minnesota
During the month of June, our chatter became more and more intense as we realized that we really were going to do this! Most of us had never met each other, so the prospect was exciting. At one point, one of the group cancelled because of a family emergency, but it worked out that she could come after all. The last week before was filled with talk about what to bring, who was bringing extra machines for the people flying in, who was leaving on what day....
Angela, Oklahoma
Connie drove the farthest, leaving on Monday afternoon from Knoxville. She arrived in Lisle, Ill to pick up Rita on Tuesday and they drove the rest of the way on Wed. getting them there a day early. We contacted Robin (retreat owner) and she said the retreat was open and they could come there a day early.
Barb's flight was scheduled for Wed. so she had planned to stay in a hotel Wed. night and drive out on Thursday to the retreat. But when she found out that they could go to the retreat early, she made plans to do that as well. 
Heather started thinking about coming early, as she had a 7 hr. drive and thought it would be nice to get there Wed. night so she had a full day of sewing on Thurs. So she left a day early and arrived that night.
Sisters Leween and Paula arrived via plane in Omaha on Wed. afternoon and I met them at their hotel for a mini quilt shop hop and out to eat. We made our plans to leave in the morning. Angela had to work part of Wed. and then started packing so she could leave first thing Thurs. AM. She also had a 7 hr. drive.
We all brought our own projects to work on, but I agreed to teach the Circle and Spin technique to them as well. So Friday afternoon we all stopped what we were doing and I taught class for awhile. It was fun and since they are all accomplished quilters, it went very well.

They enjoyed the ease of cutting and sewing together these circles and tested the rulers I had gotten made not long ago. They loved the rulers! They are making various sized quilts and 2 of them finished theirs on retreat. One more has finished hers since we got home. I can't wait to see pictures of all of them, finished!

I  made the Log Cabin Star by Marci Baker during the retreat. I had cut out the pieces before I left, so it went together pretty quickly. My friend Cindy agreed to quilt it quickly since I haven't solved the issues with my machine yet. I will be teaching it in Sept. at Cut Up and Quilt.

Log Cabin Star

I also worked on a new quilt in the Circle and Spin series made using all Moda Grunge them! It is currently finished except for the borders, which I should be sewing  I will get it finished today.
As I talked about this retreat with people as it was getting closer, many were interested in the fact that we were spending 4 days together when we'd never met.  Others thought it was awesome that we were meeting after knowing each other online for so long. Robin (retreat owner) loved our story and couldn't wait to meet everyone, so as we trickled in, she greeted us with open arms and 2 bottles of wine so that we could have a toast when we finally all arrived. 

Sunday was sad as we said our good-byes to our quilting sisters, but we have already started planning next year's retreat and hopefully everyone will be able to come again. A tradition? maybe....