Saturday, November 30, 2013

Country Charmer Parade and Giveaway

Hello Everyone,
Today is the day of the Country Charmer quilt parade.  Thank you so much Lesley, The Cuddle Quilter, for organizing the quilt along.  Thank you Quilt Sue for designing the Country Charmer logo. 
Last Monday, Jean from Livermore, CA brought her quilt to In Between Stitches so I could see it.  I couldn't stop looking at it.  Jean combined several different American Jane lines of fabric in her masterpiece.  The printed border, so expertly and precisely cut, is the frosting on the cake.
Jean is a long-time customer at the shop and does exquisite work in all of her quilts.  She signed up for the Country Charmer class last Spring, and now this quilt is going to be in the finished column very soon.

Just look at her fussy cutting!

The next gorgeous quilt was made by my sister Gail.  I got a sneak peak while she was here for Thanksgiving.   She was without a sewing machine for six days while it was in for servicing.  If not for that, you'd be seeing a finished flimsy.  I think Gail will be enjoying her quilt year-round.  You'll be seeing more of this one while it's on my long arm being quilted.

Look at Gail's fussy cutting too!  It makes a difference when such care is taken while cutting out the pieces for the blocks.  I appreciate this attention to detail.  Gail selected her border fabrics and I know she will be working on them today.

A million thanks go out to all of you who have made, or are in the process of making a Country Charmer quilt  You have amazed and delighted me with your creations!  I appreciate all of your efforts, and have enjoyed watching your progress.  I wish I could give you all a huge hug.  Just know that I'm extremely grateful to all of you from around the world.
Lesley is having a giveaway on her blog so I think I should join in and have a giveaway on my blog too!  Just leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, December 4th by 9:00pm and I'll announce the winner on Thursday, December 5th.  The prize will be your choice of any one of my Sew'n Wild Oaks patterns listed on my sidebar, or a copy of my Patchwork Math Resource Manual.
All of my good wishes are being sent to Lesley for a speedy recovery from tennis elbow.  She's an amazing, productive, and creative quilter and blogger, and now my blogging friend.  Rest your arm Lesley so you can return to blogging and quilting soon.  We will all miss your inspirational posts and we'll look forward to seeing you again after the first of the year.  Take care my friend.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello Everyone,

The following showed up in an email that's been passed around and around.   I don't know where it came from and I don't know where to give attribution....but there's a lot of truth to if and it made me laugh.  I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving....and remember, don't take any food to someone's house that wiggles more than you do!   ~~Lynn

Dear Family,

I’m not dead yet.  Thanksgiving is still important to me.  If being in my Last Will and Testament is important to you, then you might consider being with me for my favorite holiday.

Dinner is at 2:00.   Not 2:15.  Not 2:05.   Two.  Arrive late and you get what’s left over.

Last year, that moron Marshall fried a turkey in one of those contraptions and practically burned the deck off the house.  This year, the only peanut oil used to make the meal will be from the secret scoop of peanut butter I add to the carrot soup.

Jonathan, your last new wife was an idiot.  You don’t arrive at someone’s house on Thanksgiving needing to use the oven and the stove.  Honest to God, I thought you might have learned after two wives – date them longer and save us all the agony of another divorce.

Now, the house rules are slightly different this year because I have decided that 47% of you don’t know how to take care of nice things.  Paper plates and red Solo cups might be bad for the environment, but I’ll be gone soon and that will be your problem to deal with.

House Rules:

  1.  The University of Texas no longer plays Texas A&M.   The television stays off during the meal.

  2.  The” no cans for kids” rule still exists.  We are using 2 liter bottles because your children still open a third can before finishing the first two.  Parents can fill a child’s cup when it is empty.  All of the cups have names on them and I’ll be paying close attention to refills.
  3.  Cloe, last year we were at Trudy’s house and I looked the other way when your Jell-O salad showed up.  This year, if Jell-O salad comes in the front door it will go right back out the back door with the garbage.  Save yourself some time, honey.  You’ve never been a good cook and you shouldn’t bring something that wiggles more than you.  Buy something from the bakery.
  4.  Grandmothers give grandchildren cookies and candy.  That is a fact of life.  Your children can eat healthy at your home.  At my home, they can eat whatever they like as long as they finish it.
  5.  I cook with bacon and bacon grease.  That’s nothing new.  Your being a vegetarian doesn’t change the fact that stuffing without bacon is like egg salad without eggs.  Even the green bean casserole has a little bacon grease in it.   That’s why it tastes so good.  Not eating bacon is just not natural.  And as far as being healthy… look at me.  I’ve outlived almost everyone I know.
  6.  Salad at Thanksgiving is a waste of space.
  7.  I do not like cell phones.  Leave them in the car.
  8.  I do not like video cameras.  There will be 32 people here.  I am sure you can capture lots of memories without the camera pointed at me.
  9.  Being a mother means you have to actually pay attention to the kids. I have nice things and I don’t put them away just because company is coming over.  Mary, watch your kids and I’ll watch my things.
  10. Rhonda, a cat that requires a shot twice a day is a cat that has lived too many lives.  I think staying home to care for the cat is your way of letting me know that I have lived too many lives too.  I can live with that. Can you?
  11. Words mean things.  I say what I mean.   Let me repeat:  You don’t need to bring anything means you don’t need to bring anything.   And if I did tell you to bring something, bring it in the quantity I said.  Really. This doesn’t have to be difficult.
  12. Dominos and cards are better than anything that requires a battery or an on/off switch.  That was true when you were kids and it’s true now that you have kids.

  13.  Showing up for Thanksgiving guarantees presents at Christmas.  Not showing up guarantees a card that may or may not be signed.
The election is over so I’ll watch what I say and you will do the same.  If we all stick to that, we’ll have a good time.  If not, I’ll still have a good time but it will be at your expense.  In memory of your Grandfather, the back fridge will be filled with beer.  Drink until it is gone.  I prefer wine anyway.  But one from each family needs to be the designated driver.  I mean it really!

Love Grandma

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hexie Grapes

Hello Everyone,
The hexie grapes are finished.  They just need to be appliqued to the background, and the center for this quilt is finished. 

I'm still designing this quilt called Once Upon a Vine.  I've arranged and rearranged the baskets multiple times.  I'll know the right placement when I see it......I haven't seen it yet!

The grapes and the baskets came from these, wonderful bundles of Vin du Jour fabric by 3 Sisters for Moda.  I folded and tied six of the bundles while I was working at the shop on Monday.  This gorgeous fabric has been flying off the shelves for good's beautiful!

The bundles aren't posted on the website since our new website will be rolled out next week.  If you are interested in having one of the bundles arrive at your house, send an email to the shop.  The email address is:
I'm sure all of you are just as busy as I am getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Baking, cooking, and cleaning are all happening at the same time.  Multi-tasking is my middle name this week.  Everyone has their food assignment, so I got off pretty easy this year. I can almost smell the turkey cooking now......

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Toyland Tree Class is in Session

Hello Everyone,
The following bounty of  beautiful blocks are brought to you by the Toyland Tree girls enrolled in class my class at In Between Stitches. 

Their creativity combined with their fabric selections delight and amaze me.

Judy was very creative with the hat on the snowman.  A snowstorm is swirling around to keep him from melting away.

Kia is going to machine applique her quilt.  Just about all of the blocks are ready to be buttonhole stitched in place.

Love the plaids!

Azalia is a master of tiny outline embroidery around all of her blocks.

It's all about attention to the details.  Fussy cutting the tiniest of pieces makes a huge difference in the end product.  The girls know me, and they know I will notice how they always take extra time to make their quilt special.

There are going to be some amazing quilts coming out of this class. The girls have all gone that extra mile and personalized their blocks with their stamp of creative genius.  They ALL deserve and get my highest stamp of approval!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Smittens With Mittens

Hello Everyone,
I know what you are isn't Thanksgiving yet and she's working on Christmas!  Well, if I don't start now, it isn't going to get finished.  I started making a double batch of Mittens With Moxie.

I began by making my own patchwork fabric by gathering together some of my favorite plaids, polka dots and Christmas fabrics.

After I stitched them together, I cut them all apart.....isn't that what quilters do?

Of course Zinnie had to get in the picture, and I'm glad she did so you can have a perspective on how long this patchwork became.  I need lots of mittens this year, so I doubled my pattern.  After the patchwork is made, I iron fusible fleece to the back, which gives the mittens some body.

I then pinned small, medium and large mittens down the entire length of the patchwork.  I ended up squeezing 29 mittens out of the fabric by laying the mittens out every which way.

Then I cut out all around the mittens.  They are all different!  There is absolutely no way I could ever match up these mittens.  Well I could if I really wanted to, but I don't want to.  This batch will soon be ready for backings, a cuff, yo-yo, button, and tag.

This is a picture of some mittens that I made last year.

My granddaughters make the little tags for me.  We use them on the table as place cards and put the silverware inside.  After dinner, the mittens go back on the Christmas tree.

Mr. Joe made the mitten display rack for me that I leave out year-round at the cabin.  It's always Christmas at my house.

I'm off to the shop this morning to teach Toyland Tree.  The girls are moving right along on their Christmas quilts.  So put on some Christmas music, (I am possibly the only person I know that listens to Christmas music throughout the entire year), and start in on those Christmas projects today!


Friday, November 22, 2013

A Softer, Gentler Heartfire

Hello Everyone,
I was playing around with the Midwinter Reds and decided to make some lighter Heartfire blocks without using the strong reds.  I thought I would make just one..............


....and then another one....

Six blocks later, I finally stopped! 

I incorporated the new blocks on the design wall, and instantly liked the new additions.  I like the bolder, red blocks, but I love the softer blocks as shown here in the latest arrangement.  I think the softer blocks make the quilt more interesting.  My eye tends to travel around the quilt looking at the variation of colors.

New version with lighter blocks incorporated
 Here's the older, bolder arrangement.
Older version
Only seven more blocks to make, and they are going to be "softer" blocks, then I can start putting this one together.  Check out Quilt Sue's version of Heartfire HERE.  Sue is adding special touches to her version of Heartfire to commemorate her visit with me in California.  I never thought I'd see the day when Sue embraced applique...or a-PLEE-kay as Sue pronounces it.  When are you and Nancy coming back so we can a-PLEE-kay together and frighten all of the animals in the forest with our laughter?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Patchwork Math Class is in Session

Hello Everyone,
Yesterday the girls came prepared with their thinking caps on, blocks, fabrics, and sewing machines, for my Patchwork Math class at In Between Stitches.

The whole premise of the Patchwork Math resource manual and class, is having all the basic math equations in hand, and learning how to calculate and change the size of 12 different quilting components from flying geese to square in a square.

I went over the calculations first, then the girls went to work and learned the construction techniques for the different components.  The parts and pieces started to decorate the design walls.

The girls, (and I) played with the components turning them every which way and combined, and changed, and recombined them again and again to create many different blocks.

There are three different components in this block, yet it looks much more complicated than it is.  The book gave the girls the tools to make the components any size they wanted to make. 

The components can be used in the blocks, or resize them to become sashings or borders.

Again, there are only three different components in this block.

There are only two components in this block, yet look at the complexity.  It's all about fabric selection and playing with the different components.

Using the components in the book, and applying the techniques, Candace is going to frame each Geisha block and then combine them into a wall hanging.

Wonderful selection of color.

Can you count the components in this block?  The Y-square makes a subtle, alternate pinwheel design.

The girls worked HARD yesterday.  They were delightful and made my job an easy one.  Thank you all for being great students who put the manual through its paces with amazing results.