Archive for December 2008


Yikes! The Weather!

As much as I hate SNOW, I’d rather have SNOW than the ice that is currently coating everything.

Good grief.

And as much as I’d like to have everyone pile into the shop today, I’d really rather you all stay home and stay safe.

You can shop online, instead!


End of the year sale and shopping spree giveaway!

We were shopping at Sam’s Club last weekend and the gentleman that checks your receipt on the way out asked if we were ready for Christmas.  At that point, we were just beginning our marathon day of Christmas shopping, so we had to say no.  He said “It’s too bad they don’t schedule Christmas for the same time every year, so that everyone would know when it was coming and be ready for it.”

I’m feeling the same way about the end of the year, too.  I knew it was coming, but suddenly, it’s here!

All of this is a round-about way of telling you that I’ve been planning on an end of the year inventory reduction sale, but have to apologize for not actually telling anyone about it any sooner than RIGHT NOW.

In-Store — Today and Tomorrow ONLY (12/26 and 12/27):  everything’s 25% off.  The store in Traer will be officially closed from 12/28 through 1/4 (open again on 1/5).  If I’m in town, I’ll probably be here at some point, so you can try to catch me at the shop, or call my cell (319-231-1197) to see if I’m around.

Online — 12/26-12/30 — Everything’s 25% off.  {I can extend the savings online for a few extra days, but I won’t actually be here to ship anything until the end of the week, we’re going on a short trip!} <excludes the online class, Creating and Using Texture in Quilts>

Fine print: sale is limited to in-stock items only, if you order more yardage of a fabric than what is on hand, I’ll e-mail you to let you determine if you want what I have or if you’d rather cancel.  Notions, books and patterns should have accurate inventory (i.e. the shopping cart won’t let you order more than what I have…) but please bear with me if we have to make adjustments after the fact.


For every $5 you spend from now until the 30th (including your shipping charge), I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a $100 shopping spree!!!!

For an extra entry in the drawing (and you don’t have to purchase anything to get this entry…) post about the sale on your blog or website (and either post a comment here or send me an e-mail with a link).  I have to be able to visit your blog/website to find the link in order to give you credit!

The winner will be draw at random and announced on or before January 4, 2009.

Go Shopping!

Happy holidays!



Double 9 Patch Tutorial

I’ve been promising this for several weeks, and I hope the final result isn’t a letdown…

small9patchI want to start by saying that I have no illusions about the originality of this pattern.  This is a Double 9 Patch, folks, and it has been around forever and a day.  What I want to share with you is the MATH that I did to figure out the yardage and details for this particular version of this quilt.  I’ve made (or helped others make) several of these lately, and since I went to the work to do the math, I thought others might be interested, for a time when they need a simple, but effective quilt.  And for some day in the future when I want to make another one and don’t want to have to RE-figure out the math…

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School Letter Banners

Ack!  Busy, busy, busy — sewing and stuff, and updating the blog with that stuff hasn’t made it to the top fo the mental to-do list.

I mentioned a day or so ago a project I was working on for a customer, and I’m finally done and have pictures:


Apparently, kids (around here) these days don’t wear letter jackets, and so their Varsity Letters have nowhere to hang out.  (I’m shocked.  On Smallville the athletes all wore their letter jackets, so I assumed that Kids These Days still did that.  That’ll teach me to get my learnin’ from the box with the moving pictures…)


My customer had me make two of these.  Oon eof the boys just has the Sports Letter, the other also has music insignia.

Twenty years ago, when my husband went to school here, they got a separate Jazz Band insignia, so when I make one of these for him, I’ll have to make it bigger.  (He didn’t get a letter jacket, either.  Apparently the North Tama jackets are wool with leather sleeves and he told his Mom not to bother, since he didn’t want to mess with having to take care of a leather jacket.  Practical, even at an early age.  Me?  I would haven’t asked for the jacket and then cursed about the sleeves the whole time.  *My* school jacket was all wool.  Haven’t the slightest clue where it ended up…)

As it is, these banners are big enough that they can pin on whatever other medals they receive, or add on their numbers for their graduation year.

They were pretty simple to make.  I drew the triangle out first on the white muslin (our school colors are Red and White).  The top end of the triangle is approximately 16 inches.  The length is 24 inches, as measured from the center of the top to the bottom point.

The quilting was done in a 1inch grid.  I drew the entire grid out on the muslin with a wash-out marker before tsitching, in order to make sure it was as accurate as possible.  I did the stitching on my longarm quilting machine, but this could be pretty easily done on a sewing machine with a walking foot.

I chose to do a double-fold binding.  The mitered corners were…interesting, but they seemed to turn out pretty well.

I did add a small hanging sleeve to the backs of these, though I’m not sure how my customer is planning on hanging them.  I think they could use some additional embellishment (i.e a tassel hanging off the bottom), but these were for boys and she wanted plain (and I don’t blame her…).

All the materials were out of my stash — if you were to purchase new for this project, you’d need 1 yard for the banner, plus 1/4 yard for the binding.

I think that’s all for tonight — double nine patch tutorial tomorrow — I promise!

Happy Holidays!



Quilt tester

Every quilter needs a quilter tester like this.  Mine happens to be of the canine variety, I won’t hold it against you if prefer the feline brand of quilt tester.


These were fresh out of the dryer


I’m sure she thought I’d put them there expressly for her.


“Mom, will you stop taking my picture so I can take a nap?”

If my Internet connection doesn’t drive me completely batty, I’ll finally post the tutorial for the Double Nine Patch quilt later, since the 2nd sample quilt is finally done (and has apparently passed Katie’s approval).

Happy Quilting!



Faux Applique — another new project!

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Just what I needed today, more new projects…

Look at what the UPS guy just brought:

I have had the privilege of actually having met Helen — one night at MQS (2006?) she did a little workshop on her Colorque technique for a few lucky souls.  We were in the lobby of the hotel we were staying at — I remember the lighting leaving something to be desired, and I think that some of the girls were drinking and being a little bit rowdy, making it hard for Helen to actually teach us anything, but she did, and we had fun, and somewhere, the little sample I did is still sitting, waiting for me to do something with it.

Her new book, Faux Applique was just released by  the American Quilter’s Society, and it is a very beautiful book.  I’ve flipped through it once, and can’t wait to look again more thoroughly.

It is full of eye candy, and what make it all even more fun is the fact that I’ve met Helen’s wonderful sister, Tracey, too.  In fact, Tracey has actually BEEN to Traer, Iowa.  Her husband is a farmer (albeit in Australia!) and spent several hours with my father-in-law while Tracey and some Iowa quilters had a visit at my house.  The combination of Tracey’s exquisite machine quilting with Helen’s beautiful color work makes for a very drool-worthy book!

The book is available in the shop, click the picture above to learn more about it (and get your copy!).


The weather outside was frightful

So what was a girl to do??

Why, start a new quilt of course!

I’ve not been able to figure out what to do with this fabric:

Quite frankly, I’ve been scared to cut into it.

Last night, though, I had an epiphany — I discovered that one of the quilts for the Machine Quilter’s Showcase Bread and Butter Category was the Four Patch Stacked Posie.  And as soon as I discovered that fact, I KNEW exactly which fabric I wanted to try.

Keep in mind that I don’t actually own the pattern (yet), I’m just making this up on my own:


Voila: I have 38 blocks done and a bunch more cut, waiting to be sewn.

This could be addictive!

(I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to set them, they were just sitting on the floor posing for their picture in this configuration…)

The irony is that I had actually intended to look for a more complicated quilt project to start — everything I do lately seems to be super-simple get it pieced as quick as possible kind of stuff.  My plan was to find something I could sink my teeth into, and look where I ended up???

A four patch, of all things.

But don’t worry.  I think I know what my complicated project is going to be, too.  More on that later.


p.s.  No, I don’t really NEED new projects.  I’ve got itchy fingers.  Or something like that.  The new blocks were a reward for getting the bindings sewn on my 2 double 9 patch quilts…


Kimono Quilt, done

The full size picture isn’t great (nor does it actually show the entire quilt), but hopefully it gives you enough of an idea of the look of the quilt.

Aren’t these little kimonos adorable?  The blocks area  combination of piecing and applique.

You can still see some remnants of my purple air erasable marker.  I marked lots of registration and guidelines to keep me organized.

I really struggled with what to put in the green triangles around the kimonos.  I wanted to frame them, but not overpower them.  But didn’t want to underquilt.  Or clash with what I had chosen for the sashing.  In the end, the simple Continuous Curve won the debate, and I’m happy with the final result.

Now, to finish that second double nine patch (the top is done, but the quilting is waiting) and then I’m ALMOST done with the must-be-done-before-Christmas-quilting.

I also have a fun last-minute project for a customer that I’ll try to share later, too, as I think some of you  might be interested in it, not necessarily as a Christmas present, but maybe for those high school graduations coming up next Spring!




Almost done…

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I’m not positive, but I think this particular quilt is taking me forever.

I’m still not done, but I’m close — just have to finish the outside border across the top, plus the other sides of both green borders.

The quilt is adorable, but the kimono blocks are smallish (and there are 28 of them), so it has taken awhile to do all of the blocks and sashing.

I’m almost done with my last double 9 patch (and thus the tutorial) and hope to get that posted tomorrow.  If I can get this quilting done…

Until then — happy quilting!



Simple pleasures

Look at what the UPS Guy just brought!

I’ve been using a mat that was 23 by 35, and finally decided it was time to get one that extended past a full yard in length (ya think?)

I hadn’t done it sooner, because all of the larger mats I had seen were not just longer, but also wider, and as you can see, I don’t have room…(the counters I use are actually intended as garage/manly workbenches.  Got them froM Sam’s Club, they are awesome.  The top is two inch thick Maple, and so pretty.  Wait.  Not pretty.  Very Manly. Very Sturdy.)

I had thought about just getting a second 23 by 35 mat, but the corners are rounded, and I’d have to deal with measuring and number across the gap.

I saw this set on my distributor’s website a week or so ago and decided to get it — it’s actually two mats that butt up against each, and the numbering continues from one mat onto the other.

I’m not sold on the clips they sent to hold the mats together, though.  I’m thinking I might have to get some tape involved in order to hold them together.  The screws on those clips look like something I’m going to scrape myself on about a million times a day.  Know thyself, right?

Thanks to everyone that has visited me here, I hope you’ll find it interesting enough to keep coming back.