Monday, February 27, 2023

The Big Reveal

 Hello Everyone,

The big reveal arrived early!  Marcus Fabrics posted on their website, so now I can finally show you what I've been working on for weeks.....if not months.

The wait is over to see my new BOM and fabric collection for Marcus Fabrics! The quilt is called 'Bridle Path' and the fabric collection is called 'Hearthstone'. The sashing represents the Packhorse Librarians travelling along trails and paths in the mountains and hollers of Kentucky delivering books and spreading literacy to remote areas during the 1930's. The plaid fabric is called 'Highlander' which represents the Scottish influence in the area. The name 'Hearthstone' is the center stone in a hearth representing family, fireside and home. I am currently writing a fictional story about a Packhorse Librarian. A short chapter (very short) will be released each month beginning in September when the BOM is released and will continue for 12 months.

This is all so exciting! I LOVED working with the wonderful, artistic staff at Marcus Fabrics. Their guidance and help made this all possible and fulfilled my dream of having my own fabric collection.

Please contact your local quilt shop if you are interested in the BOM, or the fabric collection. The sales representatives will be contacting shops in your area soon.

You can see other new releases on their website located here:

I got off the mountain yesterday to escape the blizzard bearing down on the Sierras. The graphic published by NOAA says it all.  The cabin is at the 4000' level and 60 to 80" of snow is now beginning to come down on top of the two and a half feet of snow we already have!  I hope my poor little cabin doesn't buckle under the weight.  I was afraid if I didn't get the h-e- double toothpicks out of Dodge that I'd miss my flight to Chicago Wednesday morning.  The blizzard is accompanied by high winds which means trees and limbs will be toppling and blocking roads.  This isn't our first rodeo and part of me is glad to be gone, and the other part is worried about the cabin defending itself against the onslaught of wind and snow.

I'm at our son's house in the SF Bay Area and I'm watching the rain and looking at giant puddles forming in the backyard.  When I left the cabin, I had the feeling I'd forgotten something......and I did. I should have listened to the little voice nagging me in the back of my brain.  It was a very expensive shopping trip this morning replacing everything that is sitting in a carryon bag at the cabin.  Luckily, I have all of my teaching materials and quilt!  There's absolutely no way I could have gotten back to the cabin.  I just hope I have everything I need.  Undergarments are highly overrated! 



Saturday, February 25, 2023

Cabins in the Woods

 Hello Everyone,

I'm on a real cabin and cottage kick.  This block is a block which is in my new block of the month called Bridle Path which is my tribute to the Packhorse Librarians in the 1930's.  So this is a cabin in keeping with my woodsy theme.

The block finishes at 10" x 10" which is humongous compared to my little cottages.

Here's a recap of what I've shown you so far.  You are probably wondering how they are all going to go together.  Not to worry, I have that figured out and you will get to see it on March 1st.

As you've probably heard, parts of California are buried in snow.  It has snowed and snowed itty bitty flakes since Tuesday night.  If the flakes had been the normal size, the entire umbrella would be covered to the tippy top.  The picture below shows the day-to-day accumulations.  I really don't know how much snow we've had so far......all I know is I'm ready for Spring.  The snow is so fine and powdery, we could almost use a leaf blower instead of the snowblower. I'm sure the skiers are loving life.....if they can get to the slopes.

I took the picture below this morning.  I'm seeing a window of opportunity to get out of the mountains and down to the Bay Area to catch my plane to Chicago which leaves out of San Francisco on Wednesday.  Another big storm is coming on Sunday and lasting to Wednesday, so I'm fleeing driving out of the mountains Sunday.  The snowplows have been working non-stop since Tuesday night.  They clear all of the main roads first before they get into the neighborhoods.  Once in the neighborhoods, they clear roads that have a double yellow line.  We have no line out in front of our house, so we are last, but not least on the snowplowing list. 

The power has stayed on which surprised the heck out of us.  Today is packing day of clothes, class materials, and the tools I need for teaching.  I'll be so glad to get into my seat in the plane and snooze my way to Chicago.  Pieceful Gathering Retreat, here I come!



Thursday, February 23, 2023

Pieceful Gathering Retreat Preparations

 Hello Everyone,

While we still have power during the great snowpocalypse of 2023, I've been preparing all of my teaching materials for the retreat hosted by Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop in Fox River Grove, IL.  I'm teaching Calico Cottages during the 3-day retreat.

I have all of my teaching materials created and nicely organized in a binder.  I've sent boxes of quilts and tutorials back to Illinois, and hopefully everything will arrive on time and in one piece.

I've been using my own fabric collection called Hearthstone for teaching.  I'm just having way too much fun creating with my own fabrics.

In preparation for the roll out of my new BOM and fabric line on March 1st, Marcus Fabrics posted my bio on their website HERE.

Here are some more snow pictures.  We've added a few inches since the yesterday's picture.  Tomorrow should be substantially different.  The MAIN EVENT is coming in tonight when Mother Nature will be adding a foot of snow to this photo instead of inches.

I took this picture of the icicles outside our bedroom door to the deck.  Last night we had thundersnow which is a bit of an odd weather event.  Thunder, lightning, wind and snow lit up the night sky.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of that!

I'm trying to get everything done on the Internet that needs to be completed.  We are actually quite surprised we haven't been knocked off the grid yet.  I have all of the Etsy order ready for shipping, but it is just too dangerous to head down to the post office.  The orders will have to wait until it's safe to leave the warm and cozy cabin.


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Bridle Path Teasers

Hello Everyone,

Here are a couple of more teasers of my quilt blocks made from my fabric collection called Hearthstone from Marcus Fabrics.

I named the plaid Highlander.  If you look closely in the first picture, you will get a peek at the sashing which incorporates the plaid.

We are preparing for Snowmageddon.  The forecast is saying that we are going to receive measurable snow for the next 100 hours!  I'll take the same picture every morning so we can watch the snow totals grow.  Snow is predicted at very low levels and our area is predicted to receive 3 feet by the weekend.  Then on Monday a new storm will arrive. 

I just hope I can get out of here by next week so I can catch my flight to Chicago for the Pieceful Gathering Retreat.  What a fool I was to be worried about Chicago weather, never dreaming what was going to happen in my area.  If you don't hear from me for a few days, it means we have no Internet.  I mailed all of my Etsy orders out today and I don't think we are going to chance a trip down to the post office in the next few days.

I've been working on my tutorials for Calico Cottages.  I'll post them tomorrow.....if I can.



Saturday, February 18, 2023

It's Almost a Wrap

Hello Everyone,

I finished machine quilting Calico Cottages the other day.  It is so interesting when I take quilt off the long arm and get to view the entire quilt instead of just the 16" under the needle. 

It seems as though this quilt was on the machine forever since the machine had a mental breakdown.....which made me close to breaking down. Elk Grove Sew and Vac had me back up and running within a week.  My long arm is in my garage, and I nearly froze to death in the 30 degree temps outside.  The warmest I was able to get the garage with my little heater was 44 degrees.  I'm probably the only machine quilter who quilts in their snow clothes complete with snow boots, gloves and beanie.  I always feel like the little kids who get their snow clothes on to go out and play then has to pee.

As you can see, I like a densely quilted quilt.

The power was out for almost the entire day on Friday which was attributed to an equipment failure.  We cranked up the generator so I could continue my quilting and put the binding on the quilt.  I moved my sewing machine out to the dining room table so I could have more space.  The sun was streaming in the windows, and it was just so pleasant soaking up the rays.  Snow is in the forecast beginning the middle of next week.  It's been a very cold and snowy winter. 

I hope we don't get too much snow as I still have a lot to do in preparation for teaching Calico Cottages at the Pieceful Gathering retreat in Fox River Grove, Illinois the beginning of March.  If you are interested in attending the 3-day retreat, contact Katie at Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop.  I was at the retreat last year and we had such a wonderful time.  The ladies at the shop really know how to host a great retreat. I'm really looking forward to seeing the retreaters who were in attendance last year.  My sister Gail and I are flying back to Chicago with two of our California quilting friends Debbie and Kristi.  I can just imagine the laughter and the fun we are going to have. Sew much fun!




Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Behind the Scenes

Hello Everyone,

I've been given the go ahead to post a 'teaser' about my new fabric line and block of the month for Marcus Fabrics.  Here's one of the blocks in the quilt made with seven of the fabrics in the line.

The fabric line is called Hearthstone and I named the quilt Bridle Path.

The fabric has a look and feel of Autumn and will be released in the Summer just in time for Fall projects.  The BOM will start in September.

All of the blocks are finished, the sashing is almost finished, and it's about 3/4 of the way together.  So, when you thought I was slacking off and not posting, I was busily quilting the hours away in my sewing room while it was raining and snowing outside to beat the band.  Luckily, we haven't had many power outages this Winter.

The fabric collection and quilt are my tribute to the brave women of the 1930's American Depression era.  These women were hired through the newly formed Work Progres Administration (WPA) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; with the purpose of putting Americans to work during and following the Depression. Eleanor Roosevelt sought to create jobs specifically for women, beginning with the Packhorse Librarian Program, the first traveling 'bookmobile'. Women were paid $28 per month to transport books deep into the hollers and mountains of Kentucky by horseback and mules.

Throughout the coming weeks, I will be posting a lot more pictures of the blocks and the fabric line.  The big reveal of the entire quilt won't be for a few months yet, but there will be a lot of teasers!

I know two shops for sure that will be carrying the BOM.  Cloth and Quilts in Hilmar, CA and Pieceful Gathering in Fox River Grove, IL have this scheduled as a BOM. Both of these shops are wonderful, destination quilt shops with fabulous, knowledgeable staff and owners who have become my friends over the years.

Of course, I will have tutorials posted on my blog for this quilt when the program becomes available.  

Today is machine quilting day for me.  I have to finish Calico Cottages so I can take it with me to the Pieceful Gathering retreat the beginning of March.  I'll either be working on the binding on the plane or chalk it up to binding is overrated!




Monday, February 13, 2023

Foundation Paper-Piecing Tutorial

 Hello Everyone,

You quilters are keeping me busy shipping orders for Calico Cottages!

The pattern assumes that you know how to paper-piece the little cottages.  I've posted a tutorial for foundation paper-piecing in Google Docs on how to make the cottages. I use my tutorial all the time as a refresher course on paper-piecing.  You can find and print off the tutorial HERE.

If you want to have the front door facing a different direction, then just turn the roof section over and you have a new orientation.

When I paper-piece I make the same section over several times using different fabrics.  For instance, I will make 10 roof section at a time.  Once you wrap your head around the process, it makes it easier to make them in bulk.  Then I will make 10 front door sections, etc.  

I usually begin by selecting the fabric for the roof section. This helps me select the fabrics for the rest of the cottage by keying off the colors in the roof.

I would suggest you make one complete house first, and then move on to making multiples at the same time.

I'm back in business as my HandiQuilter is all fixed and good as new.  I just have to machine quilt the setting triangles and three borders then I'm done!  I'm directionally challenged on my machine, which means I have to turn the entire quilt to work on the borders.  There's a light at the end of the tunnel and I'll be able to finish her up in the next couple of days.  Of course, now the weather is going to turn frigid while I'm trying to machine quilt up in the garage.  My poor little over worked heater can't do much to warm up a 35 degree garage!  It's supposed to be 22 degrees tomorrow morning. My little machine quilting fingers are going to snap in half like a stick! 

I must get smarter about this quilt making and machine quilting and focus more on getting things done during the Spring and Summer months when the temperatures are tolerable in my garage.  The only problem with quilting during good weather is that I open the garage door and watch the bears stroll by.  My only defense is my seam ripper!

I'm off to my guild meeting this morning for the annual Valentine's luncheon.  Susan, the owner of Quails Nest Quilt Company is setting up a little 'shop' today for the meeting.  We can shop until we drop while grazing on the potluck lunch at the same time.  It will be a great pairing of food and fabric.  We are supposed to bring a wedding picture, and I suggested we have a contest to see if you can name the person in the picture. I guess the prize could be a bottle of hair dye!

I have to sign off for now and make a Chinese Chicken salad for the potluck.  


Monday, February 6, 2023

Calico Cottages

 Hello Everyone,

I just listed Calico Cottages in my Etsy shop.  This is the quilt that I'm teaching at the Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop Retreat in March in Fox River Grove, IL.  You can purchase the pattern HERE.

The quilt isn't quilted yet since my machine is spending some time at the spa at the Elk Grove Sew and Vac for a little R & R and an overhaul.  I guess I've been working her too hard.  I hope to get her back this week and I can finish what I started.

This is the only picture I have of the entire unquilted quilt.  I had to put this picture on the front of the pattern even though the quilt was covered in snow.  I have to send the patterns to Pieceful Gathering so they can distribute them to the 60 attendees prior to the retreat. 

I love selecting the fabrics for these little cuties, I usually begin by selecting the roof and go from there.

I'm working with two quilt shops to assemble starter kits for this quilt.  I will let you know when they are ready for prime time.

I have to scoot and go fill the orders that came in yesterday.  This is one popular quilt!



Thursday, February 2, 2023

A Total Breakdown

 Hello Everyone,

There I was, just zipping along on my long arm when it started acting up like a petulant little kid.  All progress on machine quilting Calico Cottage came to a stop as my thread started to shred.

I bought my HandiQuilter in 2006 and it has been a reliable workhorse.....until yesterday.  I performed every maintenance procedure I could think of from changing the needle, the bobbin, and the spool of thread.  I cleaned her bobbin case, oiled her, and patted her on the head a few times, and she still persisted in thread shredding.  Say that 3 times fast!

I called HandiQuilter and was immediately connected to technical support.  It's not terminal, but she needs to go in for an overhaul.  Luckily there is a certified dealer not too far away down in the valley.  She will be in intensive care for about a week before she can come home, hopefully good as new.

This is the quilt that I'm teaching at the Pieceful Gathering in Illinois next month.  I'm leaving on a jet plane (you are welcome for the ear worm) on March 1st.  So, once I get my long arm back, I should have just enough time to finish quilting.  I just might be working on the binding on the plane.

I do have Plan B just in case my long arm is terminal.  I called Susan, the owner of Quail's Nest Quilt Company in Sonora and asked her if I could use her HandiQuilter which is set up in her shop.  She graciously said yes.

So, we are headed out this morning to become 'flatlanders' and deliver the patient to Elk Grove Sew and Vac.  They actually make house calls, but they are 6 weeks out......which is too late.