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Stashing Fabric – A Retreat Especial?

My partner in crime, Kayla and I hosted our first ever quilt retreat in September for a group we formed from people we have met in the quilting community.  For lack of a better name, we called ourselves the “Fabric Stashers”.

To tell you the truth, when we identified a location that had a minimum requirement of 10 people, we were not sure if we would be able to fill 10 spots since we are both newer to quilting.  However, The Quilting Community is just that;  A trusting, fun loving family!  Our little retreat filled to our maximum of 15 fast, with a waitlist.  I was amazed and daunted as I had never planned anything like this before.

We hosted the retreat at a remarkable bed and breakfast, the Blackberry Creek Retreat B&B in Rogersville, MO.  If you have not visited, I highly recommend it.  With location alone, we have set the bar high!  (Thanks to one of our Fabrics Stasher’s, Cathie,  for capturing some fun pics of the grounds! Can I make you the official photographer?)

After a 3.5 errrrrr, 7 hour?,  road trip (including the stop(s) at quilt shops and delightful lunch stops on the route) we were greeted by the sight of this lovely retreat.

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No one was brave enough to take a dip in the pond…

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I did the best I could with planning, and if anything, overplanned.  It turns out Quilters are pretty good at entertaining themselves!

Features of the 1st Annual Fabric Stasher Retreat;

  • Secret Sisters (a lead up to the retreat); Kayla Walker graciously organized this.
  • Themed T-Shirts for our group
  • Favors for a fun introduction & ice-breaker.  I loved hearing everyone’s story.  We were all rolling with laughter at points.
  • A Joint Charity Project with the KC Modern Quilt Guild, and our generous fabric donor, Massdrop
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  • Some ladies participated in Saturday outings to a local quilt shop, Merrily We Quilt,  and others to a local winery, Lambs & Vines, for wine tasting and a peek at the local wool yarn.  (We even had a special treat of meeting the Innkeepers, Mark & Dixies, new twin grandsons!)
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  • Show & Tell
  • A lively game of “Strip” poker
  • Goody Bags on the beds and Door Prizes donated by quilting industry business
  • Door prizes donated by members of the Fabrics Stasher Retreat
  • Two hand toile painted quilt racks donated by Tom McGowan @CivilTom.com
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  • A Deb Tucker demo (Kayla Walker)
  • A demo of Cake Mixes for the charity event (Kayla Walker)
  • June Tailor Charming Circles Demo (@duelingthreads)
  • Sew Kind of Wonderful Quick Curve Demo (@duelingthreads)
  • Massages by a licensed massage therapist – The Therapeutic Touch
    (I think some of us plan to stop through again just for a massage! Thanks Brandy.)
  • Fabulous breakfasts, dinners, and deserts! by our outstanding innkeeper, Mark!
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  • Amish baked goods
  • And last but not least, sleep?… no, but

QUILTING!

In hindsight,  we could have spent a little more time on the last one, but who could resist all of the other fun!  I’m not posting any more photos here, but you might find them on Facebook and Instagram.  The retreat was Sew Successful we have already set our date for next year… and have a waitlist!  I received some constructive feedback from the ladies, and while next year will be scaled down slightly, it is sure to be another outstanding experience!

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.

A Special THANK YOU to all of our quilting business and community supporters this year! Your generosity is not unnoticed.

 

 

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Curve It Up – Finale

At long last, finally, or call it the Finale, my curve it up quilt is completed.  It has been waiting a while for quilting.  The pattern is called “Curve it Up” and also uses the Quick Curve ruler sold by Sew Kind of Wonderful.

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If anyone out there actually followed my blog starting back in March of 2015 you will have seen some of my self-learned tips and tricks while learning to use this ruler.  I highly recommend the sampler pattern as it lets you practice with several curve sizes and layout.  Each of the blocks would make beautiful quilts if used individually in layouts.

I’m looking forward to sharing the ruler and technique at the Fabric Stasher retreat this September.

I hope you will go check out my blog posts if you missed them.  They are all linked to this special page on my blog called “Curve.It.Up”.

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Sunny D

Did you know that Vitamin D activates the genes that release Dopamine and Serotonin, two of the neurotransmitters “responsible” for your happiness?   Me neither, but you can find anything on the internet these days!  In the end,  we are responsible for our own happiness.

But seriously,  sunshine does provide us with Vitamin D, and happy memories (seratonin release my friends! I’m learning… ) have a funny way of making me feel warm on the inside.

I found this kit at Stitch On Needlework & Gifts on a fun adventure to Mass Street in Lawrence, KS with my two kids.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to make it.  The “You Are My Sunshine” embroidery in the middle of the Dresden plate reminded me of my mom singing that song to all of her babies.  As the oldest of 5 and a 12-year difference between me and my baby sister, I heard that song for a long time, and it still makes me smile.  Mom has never thought she had a good voice, but she is wrong.  It always sounded pretty and I’m sure it calmed the babes.

Since the plan was to gift it to my mom for her mini quilt holder, I sized the pattern down to fit a 12″ mini quilt frame.   If you want to give the Dresden a little “3D” look,  try not stitching down the outside of the wedges, but tack it with a circle towards the center. In this case, I fused it in place with the embroidery circle, then stitched it to the quilted background when I blanket stitched the center circle.  Does that make sense to you?  It gives the appearance of a flower with petals sticking up.  The other mini with the red flower (in the featured image) was made a similar way.

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I would not do this on a quilt, but for mini quilt or wall hanging, it will last for many years.

I needed some happy today, so I’m glad to share this with you !
I hope this made my mom as happy as me when I made it.

Happy Quilting!

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Stripes with Stars

I decided that I should post what has been distracting me from most of my large projects lately.  These mini quilts are addicting, quick to finish, and simple to wrap your head around.  They also make great eye candy gifts.  I’ve been making some of these in threes so that my mom, my grandmother and I all have one to match!

These were the last two finished, and made it to their new home not long after posing for the photographs below.  I LOVE the fabric that I found at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival to build the flag. It is called Marblehead Valor Wavy Stripe Red/White, by Fabri-Quilt.  This mini is my own design!

Which background do you like best?  Night or Day?

The wavy stripes provided the perfect movement and scale for my patriotic mini’s.  (I wish I had bought more, but I think I have enough left to make one of these mini’s for me too.) The flagpole is bias binding, and the star section was cut to match the stripes using a light box and a chalk marker.  All applique is attached with fusible web and blanket stitched to the background.
They are quilted in variegated Red, White, and Blue Floriani thread using a fireworks design that I had in my Library from Wasatch Quilting.

My latest approach to mini quilts has been to longarm the background before completing the embroidery or applique.  This allows me to have intricate quilt designs all the way up to the embroidery and applique features without any backstitching.  It also lets me easily incorporate 3D features.

I have found that I can digitize any font using my embroidery software, Embird.  Once all of the embroidery and applique is completed, I spray baste a facing over the back in decorative fabric, and sew it on at the same time as the binding.  It just covers up the side underside of the stitches.  Does this make sense, or do you need photographs?

If I make many more of these, I might have to start hanging them in my cubicle at work to give the place some color…

Happy Quilting

 

 

 

 

 

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“Made”

Today, I was a “Maker”.  I transformed and created using technology! In December, I heard that the Johnson County Library had access to 3D printers that people could use.  This was intriguing but wasn’t enough to get me up there to take a look.  However, when I browsed the website,  I discovered that the offering was much more than 3D printer access.  The Johnson County Central Resource Library has an area called the “Maker Space”, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and Black & Veatch and generous donations by Ewing Marion. IMG_1074  Anyone can reserve or walk-in to use equipment ranging from small CNC routers, Vinyl cutters, 3D printers, Die cutters, Audio Visuals, and my current favorite, LASER CUTTING!  I wish I had one of these in my basement.  I doubt I could justify the cost, but I can think of a hundred things to do with it!

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My daughter and I decided to check it out this afternoon and took some stemless glass tumblers and my latest blog logo (in greyscale) to see what we could do.  The schedules are packed, so be prepared to reserve in advance or wait.  But, it’s a library.  There is plenty to do while you pass the time!

The attendants on duty were awesome and helped us get a jump start on showing us how to set up our file and to run the machine with appropriate settings.  It was a fun satisfying way to spend my afternoon!

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For those that are attending the quilting retreat in September, I plan to have a special giveaway…

Make Happy!

 

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A 1980’s legacy! – Quilt Week- Part 1

If you are a quilter,  you have likely heard of the AQS Quilt Week in Paducah, KY.  Some of my quilting friends have asked me to tell them about my trip so that they can scout out what to do when they visit Paducah for Quilt Week.  If you are not a quilter, then you probably wonder what drove me to take a vacation to Paducah, KY…

What is the history of quilt week?   How did it begin?

A bit of research might lead you to the American Quilter’s Society website.  This is what I learned.  AQS was established by Meredith and Bill Schroeder in 1983.  The first Paducah, KY quilt show was held in 1985!  It boasted 5000 visitors.  Since then it has grown to around 37,000 visitors.   This quilt show has been running for 32 years!
Now, do the math.  If each visitor is there for 2 days minimum, spending $100 or more a day, then the economic impact is 7.4 million dollars.   Other sites have indicated that is is more like an economic impact of about 25 million for quilt week.  WOW!

During that time, AQS has expanded to other states as well.  Every show boasts a plethora of gorgeous fiber workmanship from all over the world!

My friend Kayla Walker and I decided to meet in Paducah this year for a week of bucket filling exploration of the legacy quilting show.   We were “all in” for the week and stayed at the lovely Paducah Inn bed & Breakfast.   It was only about 1 mile from the historic downtown area.   Since we booked less than a year out,  ALL of the hotels were already 100% booked.  The B&B had a couple of openings, but only if you were willing to book for the entire week!  We figure a week might be a stretch, but we would give it our best!

This is the home that we stayed in.  Our room was upstairs in the “Presidential” suite.

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Paducah Inn Bed & Breakfast

 

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My Childhood Home

It tickled me how the home was set up, for I grew up in a house that must have been from the same time period.    Take a look at my childhood home (courtesy Google Earth).
The biggest difference?

 

The ceilings are a lot lower in Kansas!
It was more than just shopping and quilt eye candy for us.  We took the week one step further, and set up our machines at the B&B!  This allowed us to spend some great sewing time together in the evenings and to spend some time planning our retreat we are hosting later this year.

Next up?  The Awards Ceremony.  The Best of the Best…

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180 Baby

 

 

This is known.  A new baby, especially the first is a life changing, schedule changing, priority changing event.  The smaller the package, the bigger the change! You might say life takes a 180-degree turn.

When I saw geometrics with these colors on a colleagues registry for their first child, I just couldn’t help it.  Instead of well wishes of diapers, I couldn’t resist “just” making a quilt!  The idea for “180 Baby” was born.

I was heading to a quilt retreat with the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild at the “Disneyland of Quilting”, Missouri Star Quilt Company.  This quilt presented itself as a perfect excuse to shop and sew a project that I could finish fairly quickly.  Another friend and colleague, Randy,  thought it sounded fun and offered to go in on it with me, so we made it a dual gift.

I laid out the colors, and size ahead of time in EQ7 and was able to get an easy estimate of yardage required for each color.   After applying colors in the expecting couple’s registry, I decided that it needed something extra.  A “pop” of non-symmetrical color is used often in modern quilts, so I wasn’t surprised when I landed on the peachy-orange triangle and binding.

I had fun at MSQC Modern, and selected fabrics from Cotton+Steel, Timeless Treasures, Moda, Red Rooster Fabrics, Robert Kauffman, and Michael Miller.   I don’t think that any two of the fabrics were from the same line.   This was a very fun combination to select.

Triangles for this design were cut from 8 1/2″ strips using Jaybird Quilts Super Sidekick Ruler.  I’m looking forward to making their pattern called “Gravity” later this year!

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The only trick to tumbling these triangles is to make sure that you get the 1/4″ seam allowance accurate and line each up over the other before sewing.  If you do this, then you will not cut off the points of the triangles when you sew your rows together.

The new design wall at the Missouri Star Quilt Company Retreat Center was a perfect canvas for laying everything out.  I really enjoyed the weekend I spent with my wonderful Mom!  Here are some pics soon after we arrived.  Ignore my mug, and take a look at the new design wall.  Also, if you look above, you can see details of the restored original ceiling tiles of the building.  I love how MSQC uses some of the existing architecture when possible to add historic interest to the main street buildings!

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I was able to finish the top late the first evening, and then worked on the back early the next morning.   My friends at the retreat snapped some images of my reveal.  I laughed when one friend said “What happens if we like the backside better than the front?”.  The back was put together with yardage and leftover triangles.

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After bringing it home, I quilted it on my longarm.  The batting is 100% cotton Dream Angel.  I used a larger spaced quilt design to keep it soft and cuddly.  The finished quilt is a little larger than a typical crib quilt, but would be perfect for a day at the park, or snuggles with dad…   Congratulations Daren on your new baby girl!IMG_0678.jpgIMG_0678 (1).jpg

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A Feathered Friend

She weathered the years and the miles.
She has a new look.
With some adjustment and a few new parts, she’s ready for the big reveal!

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Before                                 and                                            After

Now,  before you start singing the Stevie Wonder single “Isn’t She Lovely”, let me tell you about some of the special needs she had as well of some modern features I added!

  1.  The machine that I purchased had finish issues and was missing all of the decals on the front and middle of the machine.  Water damage perhaps?
    My Fix;

    • I purchased new reproduction waterslide decals in silver from Keeler Sales in Lakeland, Florida.  They have lots of decals for sewing machine restorations.
    • My friend Teresa knows a machine angel.  He works on and helps restore vintage machines.   I requested that it be stripped and refinished in the color of my first truck.  You can look up automotive acrylic enamel paint colors online.  I think that I used something like Auto Color Library.  You can search colors by year, make and model.

      He did a beautiful job, complete with a clear coat over the decals.

  2.  When the machine arrived, it had a bent spool pin. This might have occurred during shipping.  These pins are press fit, and with some minor adjustment using a rubber mallet, protective batting, and a vice, the spool pin is now straight, and I have added a spool pin spring to help.
  3. Old machines have old rubber feet.  Some of hers were missing, or so smashed down or brittle, that they were worthless.  I was able to easily locate replacements for both my machine bed and foot controller at The Singer Featherweight Shop.

    While I was there I also picked up some reproduction screws, new felt for the oil drip pan, and pin, and some awesome new accessories!

  4. The oil drip pan was this machine’s main source of musty “old” smell.  It is an easy replacement and I recommend doing it first thing to make it more pleasant to work with your machine.  Mine needed some motor grease, oil and general cleaning.  There are great videos on how to do that at The Singer Featherweight Schoolhouse.
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  5. The chrome plating is peeling off of the needle plate at one corner and around the needle hole.- I found a graduated needle plate marked 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, and 3/4″
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    Note:  I missed the little gem of advice when I replaced mine.  Be SURE to do this! 
    To get the new throat plate to work, I had to adjust the springs that create the notch.  I’m guessing that the new plate sits jsut a hair higher than the original, or that the springs are slightly narrower.  When I first tried to use it, the bobbin position finger (A2) slipped out of the notch.  

    IMPORTANT — When the throat plate is removed for cleaning the stitch-forming mechanism, etc., make certain, when replacing the throat plate, that the position finger (A2 in figure image above) of the bobbin case base enters the notch (B2) of the position plate attached to the underside of the throat plate.

Now,  for the fun pieces.
– a new thread stand (to handle cones of thread)
– a snap on adapter (to let me use many of my snap on feet from my Brother & Babylock)

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– an LED lightbulb!  (Now the light won’t get HOT!)

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Add a little bit of cleaning and polishing, and she is like new and stitching along a perfect straight stitch for piecing and retreating from computers!

Now, she is all ready for fun!  Maybe she will travel with me to Paducah for a warm up.

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Special thanks to my friend, Teresa, for all her help!  Teresa, if you are reading, please share these photographs with your machine angel for me!  He does beautiful work.

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Scraps for a Friend

What’s the story…

I am typing this post from the KCMQG retreat at Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Yeah!  Look at the wonderful design board that have been installed for retreaters.   By tomorrow they will be full of beautiful fiber artwork!

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Every time I retreat, I meet so many wonderful people.  Everyone has a story and their projects are extensions of that story.  I just had to share the smiles of some of my new friends.

I met one such friend at another MSQC retreat a couple of years ago.  Last year we met there and she stayed with me at my home.  Before she came,  my friend said;  “You like, batiks, right?”.  I think this followed making my first quilt from batiks.  I said;  “Yes, I do!  They are easy to work with, and I love the “waxy” smell when I iron them”.   (Are you with me, or am I just nuts!?)

That was just the opening she needed.  Friend told me that she was going to bring me some scraps she had leftover from a quilt, that she just wasn’t really “IN” to batiks.   I said;  great!  I’m sure I could use them.  🙂

What was delivered was a disposable grocery bag full of batiks.  Later when I sorted through them, I discovered that the scraps consisted of half paper pieced blocks from a Judy Neimeyer quilt and small accompanying yardage.  SCRAPS?  What’s the story?

Well,  I’m sure we have all had projects that, part way through, just stopped being fun.  Either something goes terribly wrong, or it just doesn’t encourage us to continue with it.   If that ever happens,  by all means,  give it to a friend!

This quilt is the result of those scraps.  I just couldn’t bear to see all of the beautiful paper piecing go to waste.  Curved piecing is cool with me, so I salvaged all that I could and came out with an alternative layout for the pattern and added a border.

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THEN, from all of those scraps, I pieced a backing too…

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and binding…
and five mug rugs…

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and I still have fabric left!

Those are my kind of scraps.

So my friend,  I will be sending your scraps back to you, with the watery depths of fabric quilted with golden fish.  It is appropriate I think, for the Goldfish in Chinese legend is a symbol of surplus and wealth, and a GIFT of goldfish is a blessing in the hope of good fortune.   Send me your scraps anytime!  I feel rich having a friend like you.

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Whisp of a mundane life?

Today’s entry is not quilting.  No pattern, no stitches, no machines.  I’m taking a quick breath while I finish my morning coffee and our home sits under the clouds of a morning rain.

Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day activity of surviving.   Occasionally there is an opportunity to       pause     , and rest, like you would at the top of a long hard climb.

When I get winded, journaling is one way that I do that.  I happened across a journal entry that I spontaneously decided to write last year when I was sitting on an airplane that was boarded but held waiting for takeoff.  Grammar or any comments of “why” put aside,  it represented my mundane life at that moment.  I was leaving Kansas City on a business trip.   The best description I have for how I felt was “Calm” like I had just let out a deep breath after a scurried race through madness.

Here is what I wrote:

“We sit on the runway, the lights blinking yellow out the second-row window.  I sit middle sit in a capacity plane.  We roll on the tarmac, with the roar of the engines, toward San Diego.  A destination of respite after a half a week of antiquated equipment issues and developmental product delivery schedule issues.  A haze hangs over the city, still green, despite a summer in the Midwest.  The landscape is a puzzle of suburban sprawl and rural charm, fields breaking the horizon until we lift unto the clouds, pure wisps of moisture.

I sit writing, on a whim of fancy, while attempting to muffle the buzzing drone of the engines.  
My neighbors are quiet, one from a weeks work on recycling equipment, headed home to Tiauna, the other immersed in a novel.”
The entry had no purpose, no moral, no decision to make.  Months later, the words take me back.    Do you ever re-read old journal entries?  How do they make you feel?
Well,  the pause is over.  Back to living!