Friday, August 31, 2012

Another PSA!

Burkholder Fabrics is celebrating Gene's (the owner) birthday with a discount coupon of 25%.  You cannot use it on already discounted items (like the rows of fabric discounted to $4.99 a yard or specially priced fat quarter bundles).  The sale runs through September 11th.  They will be open on Labor Day.  If you are nearby (or relatively nearby) you will need a coupon.  Contact me for information about securing a coupon for this sale.  If you have not signed up for their newsletter, do it!  There are discounts every month.  They do extend an every day 15% discount to guild members or sewing circle members but that is only available for walk in customers.  (Burkholder Fabrics does not pay me to say nice things about them or promote them on my blog...but they should!!)  

Have a wonderful, restful weekend.

It's either them or a fairy godmother...


I have not touched a sewing machine since last Sunday.  I hand stitched the binding on one quilt and finished the binding on another.  I played with charm squares last night but still have not quite had the urge to put them under the needle.  "Show" season begins tomorrow.  I am sadly lacking in inventory.  I need to get into the studio and sew!

Some days I wish there were sewing mice in the those in "Cinderella".  It was my favorite Disney movie.  I am pretty sure it was those mice that started my interest in sewing.  Those little critters just made it look so easy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Self imposed moratorium

Several months ago, I stated in my blog that I was not going to buy any additional fabric unless I absolutely needed it to complete a project.  I lied.  My pants should be on fire.

At "Our Gathering Place" in Montoursville, they had some old Christmas fabric discounted down to $4.00 a yard.  They also had some small pieces at reduced prices.  I bought these 3 pieces.  All are 3 Sisters for Moda.  The aqua fabric is from Vienna Nights.  Do you remember this line?  It was already out for a while when I started quilting 8 years ago.  The other two pieces are Christmas fabrics.  One is from "Peace on Earth" and one is from "Roman Holiday".

Three different lines and they play together beautifully.  How could I walk away?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another successful S4 weekend!

Laughter, sharing, eating and sewing were all part of a wonderful weekend that went by much too quickly.  The weather at Bear Hollow was beautiful so we decided to set up our sewing machines on the screened porch that is just off the dining room in the back of the house.  Two of the women in our party did hand sewing this weekend so they sat at the far end of the porch on some comfy chairs (and I don't have of them sitting there 'cause I am such a slacker!)

This enormous puppy is a rag quilt.  I know!  Isn't it darling?

And that is the only photo of anyone's projects.  Though I had my camera fully charged and at the ready, I only managed to take a couple of photos.  Here is one of our mascots

We always take a group photo just before we leave Bear Hollow.

Thanks, ladies, for a fabulous weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Society of Sexy Sewing Sisters

It's that time again.  The occasional annual summer retreat of the Society of Sexy Sewing Sisters (S4) is this weekend.  We are leaving early Friday morning and returning home on Sunday afternoon.  There will be much laughter, talking, singing...and that is just on the ride to the mountains!  We will be making a stop at Wegman's in Williamsport (simply because we must) and probably side trips to Needles quilt shop in Wellsboro and The Gathering Place quilt shop in Montoursville.  Sadly, the lovely little quilt shop in Coudersport closed recently so we won't be seeing one of my favorite people, Mim.

This is our destination - Bear Hollow in Potter County.

I can't think of anywhere I would rather spend a long weekend!  The weather promises to be good with night time temps in the upper 50s and low 60s.  Days will be in the upper 70s and low 80s.  I love to wake up early, make a pot of coffee, wrap myself up in an afghan and hunker down on the porch swing.  If I am really quiet I can watch the deer come down the hill and into the meadow.  It really is a charmed place.

When I go on a retreat I seem to take every project that comes to mind.  When traveling alone or with just one other companion, this isn't such a big deal.  If you are cramming 6 women with all their "stuff" in 2 cars, space becomes precious and I decided to do a little editing this year.  In addition to my bag of clothing and toiletries, the insulated tote containing all that I need to prepare breakfast on Saturday,  my sewing machine, and one relatively small bag with these projects and tools.

I have everything organized in zip bags (2 wristlets - all cut with all the pieces & parts, a bag with everything I need to make coasters and table runners, 4 packages of charm squares and a small package of batting), all my tools (threads, bobbins, markers) in a tall stackable, a small cutting surface and an 8-1/2" square.  I am also taking a mostly completed quilt that just needs the binding hand sewn.  Everything fits in my hippy bag.  I cannot tell you how impressed I am with myself!

One of the members of our group recently took a spill down the steps and sustained a concussion.  Though she is feeling better she will not be going with us this time.  Norma, we will miss you!! you have any special plans for the weekend?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Off the frame

I swore.  I muttered.  I stamped my foot.  I sighed.  I did it.

Because there is not an outside border attaching the binding may prove to be difficult.  I am going to have to be very precise and meticulous.  (I am not noted for either thing.)  The quilting is a rain drop shape that is echoed.  It is very heavily quilted and took nearly 3 hours.  I loved this quilt while I was making it and I love it even more now that the quilting is completed.

"Spring on SW 185th Street" is fairly small.  It is so small that it surprised my sister when she saw it.  She said it looked bigger on my blog.

(That is the reason you will never see a photo of my hips here!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I love this thing!

I am messy when I sew.  I clip threads and snippets of fabric and they end up on the floor.  It would be nice if I didn't have carpet in the studio.  I could easily zip the Swiffer around the mess and it would disappear.  With carpeting, I end up with thread wrapped around the beater bar on the vacuum which in turn has to be cut off resulting in more mess.  I purchased something at Joann's on clearance a couple of years ago made by Scotch-Brite.  I could not find the refills for that any longer so I was on the hunt for something similar.  Here's my solution.

I found it at Target.  It is a large,  heavy duty lint roller on a long pole and it works great in the studio.  A couple of zips around the room and about 4 sticky sheets later, my floor looks great and I didn't have to drag out a vacuum.  It isn't deep cleaning but it makes the room presentable.  (Truth be told, I have used it a couple of times in the living and dining room for a quick pick up before guests arrive.)  I use it also before I vacuum to prevent beater bar issues.

The Speed Roller doesn't do anything about world peace but my world is a little better because I found it.  If you go looking for it in Target, I think it is in the cleaning aisle though it could be in with the pet stuff.  (I am old and I forget things.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Head banging kind of day

When I arrived at my sister's house yesterday I discovered that I had never made the back for one of the quilts I wanted to put on the long arm.  I had plenty of fabric and thought it would be a piece of cake.  An hour and a half later the back was finished.  Good grief!  Thank goodness it loaded easily and after a short tension test I started quilting.  I wanted my borders to have loops - large and small - to give the feel of twisted fishing line.  Over the body of quilt I wanted wavy lines to represent the flow of water in a stream.  It took much longer to quilt than I anticipated because the quilting is fairly dense.  The quilt is called "Catch and Release" and is for an avid fly fisher.

By the time I was finished my knee and back were aching and I was getting very tired.  I was,  however, bound and determined to get "Spring on SW 185th Street" loaded.  It is a narrow quilt that is only 40" wide so it fits within a single cut of baking fabric.  Yahoo!  All I had to do was press and load.  That process went very quickly and I thought maybe I wasn't as tired as I thought so I would try, at the very least, to get the quilting started.

This is when I got totally frustrated.  All I did was change thread color, top and bobbin.  I used the exact same brand of thread (So Fine on top and SuperBob Bottom Line in the bobbin), did my test patch and could not believe the tension issues.  The bobbin was so tight that I thought I must have had just a bad bobbin and pulled out another.  Exactly the same problem..  Rather than drive myself crazy with the bobbin I just tightened the top thread until I had a balance.  Someone at Superior Threads is going to have to explain to me why there is such a deviation from one bobbin to the other.  The ONLY difference is that the beige bobbins I used for the first quilt were wound on cardboard with a glossy coating.  The gray for my second quilt were on plain, non-glossy cardboard.  This actually is not the first time we have had issues with pre-wound bobbins.  I don't know what the batch failure rate is but two in a row seems significant to me.  Because I am doing a fairly thread intensive echoed raindrop quilting design, I wanted to use pre-wound as there is so much more thread on the bobbin than you get when you wind your own.  At any rate, that quilt is still on the frame.  I decided it would be a good idea to work on it when I was in a better frame of mind.

I drafted an email to Superior Threads but decided to wait to send.  I will probably change the wording just a bit.  I was pretty annoyed when I wrote my first draft!  Has anyone else had these kinds of issues with SuperBobs?  I hate to give up convenience but I am also not happy about the idea of spending money for something that I simply cannot use.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

As promised

First up is "Mazed".

or at least the portion for which I have blocks made.  Obviously some are going to have to be moved around.  Tanking a photograph and looking at color placement actually is a pretty good tool.

Next is the wild table runner.  Why, yes, it IS busy.  Very, very busy.


I actually see this one on the table of a family with children...messy children.  The fabrics will totally distract the attention from food spills!

By comparison, this one is very tame.

It should go to a very staid and traditional older couple.  It is  pretty and won't make you think you have entered a fun house at the carnival.

The last thing I am working on is a mug rug.  I am hand stitching the binding and it is on another floor.  I am too lazy to go photograph it.

You may notice that the quality of these photos is pretty horrible.  My beloved Canon is eating batteries.  For some reason it doesn't like recharged batteries any longer.  I had to break out my old Kodak EasyShare  this afternoon.  Usually I can edit the photos to make them look decent but there is no helping these bad boys!  Before I take any more pictures I am going to have to head over to Target or CVS and pick up some additional batteries.

Tomorrow I am heading to my sister's house to put a couple of quilts on the long arm.  One is a birthday gift and I really need to get it finished.  The other is my "Spring on SW185th Street".  I am anxious to try a new quilt design.  Hope I don't make a mess of it!

FNSI Update

I was just about a zombie when I finished sewing last night so I didn't post these photos.  This is part of the pile of fabric for runners and coasters

And here are a mess of blocks for "Mazed"

As soon as I get myself totally awake and organized I will post pictures of a couple of table runners and get my blocks up on the design wall.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Night Sew In

Just realized the Friday Night Sew In is tonight.  For the first time in ages, I don't have any other plans so I am going to grab a couple of movies on the way home, make up a big container of iced tea and head up to the studio.  I am definitely going to work on "Mazed" and a couple of table runners.  If I get really ambitious, I will start another set of coasters.

Click on the button on the right side of my blog to sign up!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book love!

Have you seen or bought this book?

I love this book!  There are so many wonderful scrap quilts and the book is really well written.  The authors are Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison.  I have been reading Amanda's (crazy mom quilts) blog for years and did a star sample quilt along with her several years ago.  I am not attempting to advertise for Amazon but they do have it for just $14.71 and if you combine it with something else that totals up to $25 the shipping is free.

That's my PSA for today!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


As usual, I am in the throes of a bad case of quilter's attention deficit disorder.  I have my squares of Kona sitting next to the machine for Mazed.  I have strips ready and squares of cotton cut to make coasters.  I have two charm packs of pretty Christmas fabrics and white squares of Kona cotton cut to make table runners.  Last, but not least, I have fabrics pulled and zippers ready to make a couple of wristlets.  I have been working on all projects this weekend.  I am making progress on some more than others.

Looky! Two finished wristlets!!

And a 4 pack of coasters!

"Mazed"?  Not so much...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I have been cutting and cutting and cutting

then I started piecing, piecing and piecing

12 blocks done - so many more to do!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Flashback to 1969...

Last post, I told you about my hippy, bohemian, "starshine" project.  I had recently seen a M'liss Rae Hawley bag pattern (Fat Quarter Gypsy Bag) that intrigued me.  I wanted something similar but also different.  The FQGB is a pretty simple bag - no lining, no pockets and the handles tie together which I think would be really uncomfortable - especially considering the size of her bag.  I decided to start digging around in my batik scraps and see what I could throw together.  This is the result

I made my bag much smaller than the Gypsy bag.  (I still think the bag is bigger than it needs to be!)  I also used some "ShapeFlex" in the bag so that it wouldn't be so floppy.  I made extra long handles so that it can be worn cross body.  My handles are stitched together and then the seams are pulled to the inside of the casing.  I also put a series of inside pockets front and back.  This bag is really very close in size to my Weekender bag and I know I could get darned close to everything I would need for a weekend in this one.  Someone asked what I would charge for a bag like this and I had to tell her that I honestly could not charge enough!  Cutting and piecing the outside of the bag took so much time.  I just knew I needed to see what it would look like and I am fairly happy with it.  If I were to make it again, I would skip the elastic on the sides, gather everything together and sew out a complete seam on either side.

Actually, the more I look at the photos, the more ideas I am getting.  Wonder how many more batik scraps I actually have...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My granddaughter left on Sunday morning.  Life is back to "normal" and I could not be more unhappy about it.  It is such a joy to come home from work to a sweet voice asking about my day and wanting to help with dinner.  Yes, I did much more laundry and tidied up more but every minute of having Emily with me was so worth the extra tasks.  I discovered that I am a much better teacher than I thought I was and even when I don't mean to do it, I hover just a bit when someone else is sewing!

So helping to chase away the blues I am back in the studio working on a new project.  I have a bee in my bonnet.

I am thinking "starshine", bohemian, hippy.  I am using all blue/green batik prints.  Wanna guess what I am making?

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