Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's been awhile!

Really?  It's the end of August?  How did that happen?

Hot and humid summer days seem to be the perfect time for brightly colored fabrics and fun designs.  I've been wanting to make Great Granny Square blocks since they popped up all over quilt blogs... two years ago!  And so it goes... I'm usually the last one to the show!

 I found a cute pattern for mini GGS blocks, using charm squares here.  I got busy over a long stretch of evenings after work.  Once I started I couldn't stop!  The charm packs I'm using are Potluck and School Days, both by American Jane Patterns for Moda.   
I have a plan... but I'm not at liberty to reveal it... yet.   
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 
The annual fall retreat with my Threads group will be in October, a month later than in years past.  Instead of the 7+ hour drive to the northern woodlands of Minnesota, we opted for a 2 hour drive to the spacious Iowa lake home of one of our members.  In the next couple of weeks we will get together to plan our 5 day agenda... naturally it will be the usual sweat shop of sewing machine tables and a grid of extension cords and power strips criss-crossing the floor.  Meals will be planned, but the option of dining out will be ever present.  (Especially on the night Carole and I are in charge!)  We'll venture out at least one day to visit quilt shops in scenic northwestern Iowa, most likely visiting a few antiques shops as well.  Did I tell you I can hardly wait???   

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Am I lucky or what !!!

Earlier this month I was one of five lucky winners from Pam Buda's Heartspun Quilts blog, introducing her new fabric collection, Prairie Gathering!   Who wouldn't love checking their mailbox and finding this...

A charm pack of 27, eight inch squares... Prairie Gathering Collection
by Pam Buda.  The picture makes them look pinkish, but they are
beautiful, rich, reds!

Simply irresistible!!!
Take a moment to visit Pam's blog, and read about a new approach to a year long Block of the Month program starting in January, 2015.  Or should I say, Non-Block of the Month???  Pam's creativity will take participants down a different path, creating a Medallion style quilt... curious???  Read more by clicking here!
Thank you, Pam!  I'm looking forward to the Medallion Quilt project!

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Summer is racing by and I find myself jumping from one EPP project to another.  Blog reading has taken a back seat to evenings spent in my comfy chair, needle and thread in hand, as I secure fabric pieces to paper hexagons, diamonds, and honeycombs.  I enjoy it so much!
I'm making progress on three EPP projects...

Stars in the Garden -  3/8 inch hexies... the paths are taking shape. 
You will notice that I secure the fabric to the paper with more stitches than necessary.  It's a me thing... I really like my fabric pieces to be taunt on the paper shapes, and the extra stitches help achieve that!
(from Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine -  Spring 2013)

Thirteen, 2 inch, 6 point diamonds... making these with floral fabrics.  I'm
not sure how these will be used in a project... looking to Sandra, (in my
quilt group) for some ideas!
Six Lucy Boston blocks, working on seven and eight!  The fabric in the background is my main path fabric.  The path pieces are sewn on the block in the middle of the bottom row, because I wanted to see how it would look...
I like it! 
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

I can tell already, as this Saturday afternoon rolls along, that the housework will wait for another day... I'd rather read blogs, (way behind), and sit in my comfy chair with an EPP project!  What will you be doing with your time this afternoon???

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hurray for the RED, WHITE, and BLUE!!!

Last week while visiting favorite blogs, I was inspired by Janet, Rogue Quilter, and her RED, WHITE, and BLUE post.  I told her in my comment that I was probably going to copy her idea... a RED, WHITE and BLUE post of projects recognizing the colors of our country... my way of complimenting her on a great idea!  You can visit Janet's post by clicking here!  Be prepared to be awe struck!
I gathered patriotic wall hangings, mini quilts, pincushions, cross stitch projects, and a few other goodies that were on display in my home.  I really wanted to take outdoor pictures, so out to my partly cloudy patio I went...  hot cup of coffee, trusty camera, and R,W, & B beauties.  It was a bit windy outside, so my planned photo shoot proved to be a challenge...  I'm sure some of my neighbors watched me with raised eyebrows and confused looks on their faces.  They must not be quilters, or bloggers.  (And they have no idea how much they are missing!)

While placing the larger quilts I realized I can only take credit for four out of the five, and the newest of the four I made is two years old!  I'll have to remedy that soon!  (Or I may hear from JoAnn at Patriotic Quilter!!!)  On the back of the chair is a "made it up as I went along" challenge from 2012.  The seven members in the Bowtie group all purchased the same charm pack, and had three months to create something using it.  The only additional fabric allowed was for backing and binding.  The fabric is Minnick and Simpson, Clemont Farms.  Since log cabin and crisscross are two of my favorite blocks, I combined them with piano key borders for a scrappy table topper.  Draped upside down on the arm of the chair, is a table runner I made 6-7 years
 ago.  That will explain why I don't remember who should receive pattern credit.

The nine unfinished blocks on the left are paper pieced blocks from Rosemary Youngs "Quilts from the American Homefront."  There are 121 quilt blocks in her book, inspired by letters written by servicemen and their families during WWII.  (I see them now and wonder why I haven't been piecing more of these lovelies as of late!)   My dad fought in WWII, so this WIP is dedicated to his memory, his years of service, and the strong patriotic feelings he instilled in me to this day.   (The book is available from 

The framed cross stitched design, Americana Star Sampler, is my design,
featured in Better Homes and Gardens 2004 Keepsakes Cross Stitch
Calendar.   The mini flag is a freebie from the blog of Temecula Quilt 
Company (July 3, 2011 post...couldn't get it to link).  The stuffed,
 elongated America heart is soft, red suede fabric, with a sash of stars
 from old Jo Morton fabric, and simple embroidery.  The blue alphabet
sampler is a Blackbird  Design.  It's a pin cushion, but I don't have
the heart to stick pins in it!  I wish I could remember the designer
 of the God Bless America mini door knob hanger.  I stitched this in
early 1990's... it's always been a favorite.   Lastly, the large pin cushion is one
of the first EPP projects I ever made using diamond templates, and it's reversible.
  The underside is also patriotic fabrics.


An absolute favorite is this large scrappy flag that my sister gifted
 to me for my birthday last year, which happens to be the same
day as Flag Day!   It's a beauty!!!

Another table topper that I made 6-7 years ago.  It may be a Kansas
Star pattern, using R,W, & B fabrics that I had in my stash at that time.
  I hand stitched around each of the center stars, machine stitched in
 the ditch on the narrow borders, and used homespun for the
wide borders.  I hand quilted random stars in the wide border as well. 

I would love to see more RED, WHITE, and BLUE posts from my fellow USA bloggers!   I joined Janet's parade, and now it's time for you to do so too! 

This will be my last post before the weekend so

H A P P Y   4 TH   O F   J U L Y !!!

Make it a fire crackin' good time!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mini Spools Quilt and Growing EPP projects!

It's a finish!  After several nights of tediously removing the tissue paper from the back, and a few undecided moments of border fabrics, my blue spools mini quilt is at home, gracing a wood slat bench in my living room. 

In late February I was the lucky recipient of a giveaway for participating in Humble Quilts Midwinter Blues sew along... six gorgeous blue fabric fat quarters, and I've been hoarding them ever since!  I used the brightest blue in the bunch for the narrow border and I love the pop of blue framing the spools together.  I must have auditioned at least 15 different fabrics for the wide borders, finally deciding on 4 different muted gold prints, simply because I didn't have enough of any one of them to border all the way around.  The binding is black with a bit of red in it.  Simple cross hatch machine quilting, a quick run through the washer, a tumble in the dryer, and I can check off a June finish... just in the nick of time! 


The bottom of a mesh waste basket holds the evidence of several nights of tearing off the tissue paper foundation pieces.  The Band-Aid played a role as well.  I use sharp tweezers to remove the pesky little pieces from underneath the pressed seams.  I got a bit close to my index finger...

The finished size of my new mini is 20.5 inches by 23 inches.  This fun little pattern is Scrap Happy Spools, a Little Bits pattern by Cindi Edgerton.  Click here for more information.

I cannot lie... EPP has taken control of any spare stitching moments I can muster.  I'm still working on the paths for my Stars in the Garden project.  The 3/8 inch paper hexies and the path fabric precuts (precut by me), are easy to take with me and work on when the opportunity presents itself.  Slow and steady progress... 
I'm a member of a small group of 1st Saturday of the Month stitchers who dedicate the time to the production of Lucy Boston Blocks.  The arrival of summer has altered those Saturday plans... vacations and busy lives don't always make room for scheduled get together time!  I have four Lucy Boston blocks completed, one with the path fabric honeycombs sewn around it, because I just couldn't wait to get a glimpse of how it would look!  Four more blocks are ready to piece together... perfect for evening hand sewing!
Each of the containers holds the honeycombs for a block.
  My color theme consists of primarily brown, red, and beige.
I have been admiring the EPP diamond stars that Sandra, a stitching friend, has been making.  Every month she comes to our Threads meeting with more beauties to share.  Some are fussy cut and some just simply show off the beauty of the fabric without the need for fussy cutting.   I have several half yard cuts of Judie Rothermel's Dressing Gown fabrics, purchases on line last summer.  I used just small bits of some of the prints for a mini nine patch quilt you can see here.  I've been searching for a pattern that would show off the loveliness of these fabric prints.  After drooling over Sandra's diamond stars since the first of the year, I decided to steal her vision... one of the best ways to feature fabrics that don't require fussy cutting, is EPP six point, two inch diamond paper pieces.   

The four diamond stars on the right are prints from the Dressing Gown collection...  the two on the left are from my stash of floral prints.  Only the blue diamond is fussy cut.  There is a plan... I want to use floral prints for each of the diamond stars.  Another on-going EPP project... lovin' every minute of it!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Scrappy Spools

A Sunday of sewing and I'm closer to a flimsy of scrappy spools. 

At this point it measures 16" x 20" without two narrow and one wide border the pattern calls for.  I may or may not add the three borders... we'll see!   Ahead of me now is the task of removing the tissue paper foundations... I like paper piecing, but I don't enjoy tearing the paper off the back.  I don't know anyone who does!

The pattern is Scrap Happy Spools, a Little Bits pattern by Cindi Edgerton.  (For more information on this pattern and others by Cindi, click here).  Cindi offers two variation... 9 or 20 spools.  I opted for the 20 spools version, with each of the spools in a different blue fabric.  Mission accomplished!   The coming week nights will be occupied with finishing this small quilt... that's the plan anyway!

I hope you find time to spend in your sewing room this week, too!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

AMB Fat Quarter Give-away!

It's time to draw for the lucky winner of the eight AMERICAN MADE BRAND fat quarters.

But first I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who visited IOWA while riding along on the American Made Brand Road Trip of the 50 States!  I have been overwhelmed by your sweet comments, and I have enjoyed reading about some of your own experiences and connections to my current home state of Iowa.  Thank you all, so much!

It was truly a pleasure to have the opportunity to design a license plate representing Iowa for this event.  And it's not over yet... the road trip continues until June 20th!  Click on the AMB button on the top of my sidebar... 16 more blogs are waiting to reveal the license plates they have design for their states.  You won't want miss them, or a chance to win 8 AMB fat quarters!

Let's get to the drawing... the winner of the AMB fat quarter bundle is...

True Random Integer Generator 135 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
# 135 is Deb, of Shenandoah Valley, VA
Congratulations Deb!  I will contact you by e-mail!!!
All of the 50 designers will be mailing their fabric license plates to Clothworks in Seattle, WA, by the end of June.  (AMB is a division of Clothworks).   The blocks will be used to make one large quilt.  The quilt will be featured in the AMERICAN MADE BRAND booth at the International Quilt Market in Houston, TX, October, 2014. 
I am looking forward to returning my attention to the numerous WIP's I have ignored for the last 3 weeks!  It's time to get back to my 3/8" hexie Stars in the Garden project, and the spools mini quilt that charmed its way into my heart in early May... not to mention a few new patriotic patterns that somehow appeared on the top of a pile of "to do" patterns!  I think a magical fairy quilter must have visited my sewing room when I wasn't looking, and POOF!  Let the fun continue!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Welcome to I O W A !!!

I'm so happy that the next stop of the American Made Brand tour has brought you to my adopted home state of  I O W A! 

Iowa became the 29th state on December 28th, 1846.  Iowa is bordered by the mighty Mississippi on the east, and the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers on the west, making it the only state whose east and west borders are formed entirely by rivers. 

Des Moines, Iowa's state capital, is the largest city in the state
 and the political and economic center.

Iowa is generally not flat, as it is often thought of.  Most of the state consists of rolling hills.  Rich in agricultural production since the introduction of railroads in the 1850's and 1860's, the Farm Crisis of the 1980's caused a major recession.  Iowa's economy became less dependent on agriculture and presently has a mix of manufacturing, biotechnology, finance, and insurance services.

One can enjoy all four season if they live in Iowa.  I use the word "enjoy" loosely... winter can be brutal!

Iowans are proud of the Hawkeye state!  Whether one is a fan of the Iowa State Cyclones, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, the University of Northern Iowa Panthers, or any of the other colleges or universities spread across the state, we support them enthusiastically.  The states gets considerable national attention every four years because it holds the first presidential caucuses, making it the starting point for choosing the two major-party candidates for president.  Every August we flock to the Iowa State Fair - 10 fun filled days of carnival rides, livestock shows, local and national entertainer performances, and eating whatever can be served on a stick!   Iowa continues to attract the Hollywood movie industry, allowing us to showcase the beauty of the state in blockbusters movies like "The Bridges of Madison County," and "Field of Dreams."  ("Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa!")   I'm especially fond of our state parks, with their endless walking and biking trails, cavern exploring opportunities, campsites, and scenery that can take your breath away... a photographers dream!   I feel fortunate to have been able to raise my children here, and now watch them as they raise my grandchildren here.  Life is good in IOWA! 

I enjoyed the design process for this project, although I will admit that transferring a design from graph paper to fabric isn't as easy as I thought it would be.  I had several drawings in the works, some more intricate than other.  I wanted my license plate to depict the strong agricultural side of Iowa.  After all, one Iowa family farm grows enough food and fiber to feed 279 people!  And Iowa ranks near the top in the production of corn, soybeans, and grain production every year.

Here is my Iowa license plate, made with AMERICAN MADE BRAND 100% COTTON SOLIDS. 

Nestled among my pretty patio blooms!
Laying flat for a better look!

My design incorporates paper piecing, machine piecing, machine applique, hand applique, prairie points, embroidery, and the luck of finding metal tractor buttons at my local sewing center!  If you are interested in the pattern, send me an e-mail, ( and I will e-mail a PDF file back to you.  (Please keep in mind I am NOT a pattern writer!) 

Now for the opportunity to win a bundle of 8 brightly colored fat quarters from American Made Brand!   I'm keeping it simple... leave a comment telling me where you live.  If you are a no reply commenter, please provide your e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win.  International comments are eligible for the drawing.  I will draw the winner the evening of Tuesday, June 10th.

Imagine the pretty something you could
make with a bundle of these!!!

The WISCONSIN license plate is also being revealed today.  I was tickled when I found that out... I was born and raised there!  Make  your next stop on the road trip!   You can also visit the 27 states that joined the union before Iowa, by clicking on the AMB button at the top of my sidebar.  Click on their large AMB road trip button for a list of each blog featuring a license plate design beginning with Delaware and Pennsylvania on May 19th, and ending with Alaska and Hawaii on June 20th!  Have a great road trip!!!
Thanks for stopping by, and come again!!!