Saturday, February 29, 2020

Far Horizons Fabric

Hello Everyone,
It's time for me to put on my Madam Ambassador hat for Henry Glass & Company, and work on the package of fabrics that arrived this week.

The fabric line is called Far Horizons designed by David Shultz.  Click HERE to see the entire line up close on the Henry Glass website. The line is inspired by the colors of Australia, the country David calls home.  David made my Country Sunshine pattern, so we have a little bit of a history of commenting on each others work on Instagram.  David is very creative, and I was delighted when I learned I would be working with his first fabric line.

I knew in advance from my contact at Henry Glass, that this was going to be my March shipment.  I worked with it a bit in EQ software before I decided what I was going to make.

Then this idea came to me.  I thought the fabric would look great in my Spoken For pattern.  I knew I could do some fussy cutting and make some wonderful blocks.  I dug right in with great anticipation to see how the first block turned out.  I love it!  The pattern is a combination of piecing and applique.  I can piece during the day and applique the blocks at night so I can stay awake.

Well I have to tell you my knickers are all in a twist.  We watched the last episode of Sanditon last night.  So many loose ends!  There had better be another season in the works or I will be very, VERY sad.  I feel I was left hanging, and completely unsatisfied with the ending.  I will have to do some research and see if an author finished Jane Austen's book.  It is such a good story and I want it to have a good 'Austenesque' ending.

We are looking forward to a brief rain and snowstorm blowing in tonight.  We've had so little weather this winter.  I miss a good storm of rain, wind, and snow.

Madam Ambassador

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Writing a Quilt Story

Hello Everyone,
Sometimes I replace the Mode Block Head block of the week with one of my own.


This week I added this block to my existing Block Head 3 blocks.  This gives me the opportunity to test out a block, and see if I want to design a pattern around it.

My block finishes at 8" x 8".  All of the HST are 1".  But if you break this block down, it is made from HST's, plain squares, and 4 flying geese.  I stitched this block together piece by piece and pressed each seam after each addition.  Yes, it took extra time, but it was worth the effort.

In class, I encourage my students to put their own style into their quilts.  Make changes.  You don't always have to follow the pattern exactly as it's written.  Write your own quilt story, and make the quilt your interpretation of the original design.

Get busy writing your style in cloth!


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sew'n Wild Oaks Class Was In Session

Hello Everyone,
The mini quilt show this morning is provided by my Sew'n Wild Oaks Girls at In Between Stitches in Livermore, CA.  Feast your eyes on this hand-quilted beauty.

Here's another mini quilt.

I was impressed with the precision on the back of the quilt as well.

Here is the start of a beautiful Lil' Orphan Scrappy quilt.

Here's another great start to a Cute as a Button quilt.

This is Jeanne's beautiful finish.  For The Love of Baskets....all 120 little baskets.  Well done, and an heirloom to be cherished. 

Barbara made this quilt entirely out of her stash. Gorgeous!

Another beautiful Barbara creation with amazing precision.

Melody's quilt is done except for the binding.  This flannel quilt is so inviting!

What a fun few days we all had together.  There was a lot of chit chat, laughter, and yesterday we were entertained with singing by Paula and Susan.  You just had to be there to appreciate the fun and fellowship in the classroom. 

Over the past few days, I've been in the company of thirty of the most caring and fun women I know.  Quilting friends are the best!


Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Start of a Classic

Hello Everyone,
Last Tuesday, twelve of us gathered in the classroom at Independence Hall in Arnold and started making my Country Courthouse pattern.  The Independence Hall Quilt Guild is going to offer this quilt as our Scholarship Quilt for 2021.

Everyone is still smiling after a long day of cutting and stitching.

Our goal was to get a good start on making (401) 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" nine patch sections for the blocks.

We all had our homework assignment to make about 35, then we will exchange 9-patches in a couple of weeks and start making blocks.

I brought in a lot of fabric, and the girls got busy making strip sets.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to graduating seniors from Bret Harte High School for their continuing education.  Students have to apply, and go through an interview process before the scholarships are awarded.
This finished quilt is our goal over the next few months.  I will let you know when tickets become available for this 81" x81" heirloom quilt. 

Have a great quilting weekend!


Friday, February 21, 2020

Moda Blockheads Block #6

Hello Everyone,
It's already week #6 of the Moda Blockheads 3 program.  I'm so afraid if I get behind, I'll never be able to catch up.

Here are my blocks so far.  All of my blocks are made in fabrics designed by Betsy Chutchian for Moda.

I usually change the directions and make the components a little easier to construct.  I like to make my half-square triangles (HST) 8 at a time.  This way I'm not dealing with small triangles and bias. I began by cutting two 4" x 4" squares.  This will give me 16, beige and brown HST. I only needed 16 because I converted the red and beige HST components in the border to 1" x 2" Flying Geese that I made 4 at a time.

First, I put the squares right sides together, then marked them with a 1/4" ruler using a Frixion pen.  Then I stitched along the lines.

Then I cut them apart.

I then had a pile of 16 HST that were ready to be trimmed to 1-1/2" x 1-1/2".  This is the size I needed for my 8" block.

I used a Bloc-Loc ruler for accurate trimming.

There you have it.  16 perfect HST.  If you want to learn more about HST from the beginning calculations to the end product, click HERE for my FREE videos on The Quilt Show.  All of my videos walk you right through my Patchwork Math book, which is basic quilters survival math. My book is available HERE in my Etsy site.

I'm really enjoying this Moda program, and look forward to the new block every Wednesday. The program will help you challenge and refine your quilting skills.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Boots, the Levis, and the Barn Dance

Hello Everyone,
The hours and days just seem to get away from me and evaporate into yesterdays. 

Mr. Joe and I have been reviewing all of the names received on email, FaceBook, and on my blog.  There were over 100 names to choose from!  Thank you all for responding.

Congratulations to Quilting Babcia for the name Starlit Barn Dance.  Let me tell you why........

First, no one has a quilt by this name, and that is important to me.
Second, it is not associated with a particular color.
Third, if is wasn't for a Barn Dance, I would not have met Mr. Joe 49 years ago.

Here's my long winded story.

Let's time travel back to July 1971, when I was a sophomore at Chico State College in Chico, CA.  At that time I had a small studio apartment that cost me $50/month during the summer and $100/month during the school year. That was a lot of money for someone working part-time and going to school. 

I was dating an agriculture major/cowboy from Redding, and he started taking me to barn dances up and down the Sacramento Valley.  He suggested that I purchase some cowboy boots and Levis so that I'd "fit in" a little more at the barn dances.

I bought a pair of tall, English riding boots, because I didn't want to have pointy toes.  I also bought the tightest pair of jeans that I could squeeze my young, curvy body into.  The jeans were so tight I had to lay down on the bed to zip them up.

I was all dressed up in my best Western regalia when my date came to pick me up.  I thought we were going to a barn dance, but instead we went to watch a softball game in Bidwell Park.  Did I forget to mention that it gets really, REALLY, hot in Chico in the summertime.  It was about 110 degrees at the softball game.  I was dying and almost had a heat stroke.

My date brought me back to my apartment and dropped me off.  All I wanted to do was get my tight jeans and boots off and lay down in front of my swamp cooler.  Well, in the heat, my ankles got swollen.  I couldn't get my boots off which meant I couldn't get my pants off.  I couldn't call my date and ask him to undress me!  I had only lived in my apartment for a month, and I didn't know any of the neighbors.

There were about 20 apartments in my complex, and there was one light on in the entire place.  That light belonged to a rough and tumble "bad boy" type, with a hot Mustang and a motorcycle.  I could tell that he was a Veteran because of his camo-wearing friends.  Viet Nam Veterans weren't treated with the respect they deserved, and I have to tell you I was a little afraid.

I was desperate.  I summoned up my courage, and my boots, Levis and I walked down and knocked on the door of a stranger.  I was secretly afraid he was "entertaining" someone if you catch my drift.  The bad boy opened the door, and my heart was beating out of my chest.  I told him my name, and asked him if he could take my boots off.  He looked at me, laughed, and said he didn't like to undress women in the hallway, come on in.  I went in. 

Now I could be mean and say part 2 tomorrow, but I'll finish the story.

We talked for hours, and hours.  He asked me out to a barbeque with his friends the next night. Bad Boy and I were engaged six months later.  Now I know inquiring minds want to know if he took my boots off.  Yes he did, and only the boots!

So if it hadn't have been for the boots, the Levis, and the Barn Dance I didn't go to that night, I wouldn't have spent the last 49 years with the Bad Boy.....A.K.A....Mr. Joe.

This is our engagement picture in January 1972.  How do you like that hair!!!  It took about two cans of Aqua Net hairspray a week to keep that "do" in place.  I take personal responsibility for global warming.
Here's a more current picture of us, and we are still smiling.

Our 49 years together have been good to us.  I have no idea where the cowboy is....but I still have my boots and my Bad Boy!



Saturday, February 15, 2020

Moda Block Heads Block #5

Hello Everyone,
Here is my alternative block to the Moda Block Heads 3 program.  I felt the block offered wouldn't be a good fit with what I was trying to I made a block of my choice. I know the program is a mystery quilt, so maybe I'm not too mysterious.

I wanted to bring in more yellow, so I did. I will have plenty of opportunity throughout the year to incorporate a lot of different colors.  I love this combination of Betsy Chutchian fabrics.  When I get the time, (she says with tongue in cheek), I would like to design another new pattern and call it Betsy's Medley.

The response to my quilt naming contest has been overwhelming.  I'll never be able to decide on a name as there have been so many good suggestions.  I run all of the names by Mr. Joe and Mazey.  They either give me a thumbs or paws up or down.

I'm waiting for my thread order to arrive from Superior Thread, so I haven't put the nameless quilt on the long arm yet.  I'll finish making the backing today.  I may become super proactive and make the binding today too.

In between all of this sewing, I'm working on income taxes.  I'm pulling everything together to get to the accountant.  Insert grumpy face here.  I can only stand to work on taxes a couple hours a day. 

I'm also working on my Sew'n Wild Oaks quilting retreat in April at Snowflake Lodge.  There's a lot of planning, kit making, and class planning involved.

For those of you who are local to the San Francisco Bay Area, I am teaching Country Romance at In Between Stitches on Sunday, February 23rd from 10am - 4pm.  Click HERE for the class information.  The quilt is easier that it looks.  It's just one block that you make over and over again!  The scalloped border isn't difficult either.  It would be so much fun to see someone make this quilt in a different colorway. Come join us if you can.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Name This Quilt

Hello Everyone,
Yay, the borders are on!  All two of them plus the flange.

The little yellow flange is only 1/2"....and it packs a punch. 

I cut the borders to finish at 8" because I want to quilt "plate" feathers in that space.  I'm also doing it to drive myself crazy, because plate feathers take me a fair bit of time to quilt.  I quilted them on my Country Sunshine and Heartfire quilts and I love them. 

I learned that I can't let my mind wander when I quilt this design.  I'll have to do my homework ahead of time, and practice on paper so I can get it right.

I was contacted at the beginning of the week by a designer who told me she already designed a quilt called Red Sky at Night.  I immediately said I would change the name of my quilt.  I did a search on the Internet and discovered there are many quilt designs called Red Sky(s) at Night.....but I couldn't find the quilt of the designer who brought it to my attention.  Come to find out, she had named her quilt Red Stars at Night. 

Yesterday, Mr. Joe said I should name it Country Starburst, which I thought was perfect!  After searching the Internet, I found there are a lot of Country Starburst quilt designs.  So it is time to have a contest to name this quilt.  You have between now and Monday 2/17/20 to give this quilt a name.  In the comment section, tell me your thought on the perfect name.  Or send me an email at with your idea.  Mr. Joe, Mazey, and I will select the winner.  Your prize will be any Sew'n Wild Oaks pattern of your choice.  I will announce the winner of the contest on Tuesday, 2/18/20.  Good luck and get those creative juices flowing.  My creative juices have all but dried up!


Monday, February 10, 2020

Red Sky At Night

Hello Everyone,
Well I did it!  Red Sky is together and waiting for borders.

This quilt looks much more complex than it actually is.  There are only two different blocks in the quilt, 18 star blocks, and 17 chain blocks.  The fabrics were designed by Betsy Chutchian for Moda, and are called Nancy's Needle.

Each star block has a different paisley in the center.

There are only two seams per side that had to be matched when joining the blocks together. That makes life easy.

This week I want to get the borders on her, make the backing, and get her on the long arm.  The weather is halfway decent, so I won't have to wear my long johns, leg warmers, and gloves while I'm quilting her in the detached, unheated, garage.

Since the name for this quilt is Red Sky At Night, I think I'll name the next one Sailors' Delight.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Seasonal Hexie Table Topper

Hello Everyone,
I've been so preoccupied with so many projects that I forgot to post project #3 for Henry Glass & Co.  I made a little table topper using Country Journey fabric by Jan Mott.  These are so easy to make, and they are a great hostess gift.

I began with 1-1/2" strips, and stitched them on every other side of the hexagon, and pressed toward the strip.

Then I lined up the 60 degree line on my ruler along the seam line, and trimmed two ends at a time.

I rotated the center and just kept trimming along the 60 degree line.

I just kept adding different sized strips until it reached about 20" across.

I have enough fabric to make one for every season.  I just need more time to make them.  The pattern is available HERE on my Etsy site.
Today, my goal is to finish making all of the blocks for Red Sky at Night.  However,  I may be enticed to go outside and enjoy our gorgeous weather.  Last year, we were snowed in for most of the month of February......this year nothing.....hardly a drop of rain or a flake of snow.  It was so warm yesterday, we ate lunch out on our deck. I love a good storm while we hunker down in the cabin with a roaring fire, and a pot of soup on the stove.  I hope and pray we aren't going to be entering another drought cycle in California. We still have a couple of months when we can expect more rain.  Let's hope for some gully washers.