Sunday, February 28, 2016

a long time coming

Many years ago, before I realized I was a modern quilter (and yes, it was in me all along! as soon as I discovered modern quilting I knew I had found myself) I was active in a traditional quilt guild in our community. I learned so much from the ladies there and I'm thankful for the start they gave me in quilting.

At one time we held a strip swap. We each brought 2 1/2 inch strips of Christmas fabrics and someone mixed them all together and gave us each back an assortment of strips. We were challenged to make a quilt from them. I have to be honest, I was not terribly inspired by the fabrics I received! They were of assorted quality (that's code for "some of them may have come from Walmart") and the prints themselves were anything but modern. Some of the ladies made amazing quilts from the strips! I, on the other hand, did not. After staring at them for quite a while (months?) I finally just did a jelly roll race topper. 
I hated it. I folded it up and shoved it on a shelf. Every now and then when I would straighten my stash, I would pull it out, look at it, fold it up & put it back. Occasionally I would think "I should do something with that topper" (something other than throw it in the trash that is). But I never did. Two years ago, we moved to a new house. I did a lot of purging at that time, got rid of fabrics I no longer liked (GASP!), donated much of what I had collected. For some odd reason, I tucked that ugly quilt top in a box and moved it to the new house.

Last October, we were challenged at our Modern Quilt Guild meeting to dig out three of our works in progress and pledge to get them finished by our February meeting (truth be told, I was the one who issued the challenge). I don't know what got into me, but I pledged to finish up that ugly Christmas strip quilt.

After much debate (mostly in my own head) I decided to appliqué some big, solid, modern trees over the top. And guess what? I actually like it now!
It was quilted by my friend Diann. I did NOT get it finished in time for our February meeting. BUT..... it is on my first quarter finish along list and it's done! Thanks to my trusty assistant  handsome hubby for trucking out on a photo shoot today!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

woven dishtowels

This morning I finished up my first two woven dishtowels on my new loom. They are a tad wonky and have some issues, but I love them and I will use them until they fall apart (which hopefully will be a long time.)
I ordered 8/2 mercerized cotton yarn from WEBS  at my friend Kathie's advice. I got a cone of natural because it goes with everything, and a cone of turquoise because, well because it was turquoise! Duh. I used both colors in the warp and the weft of my towels creating sort of a plaid design.

I learned a lot working on these....
In the end they were two different sizes, not evenly woven and, more wisdom from Kathie, it is "weft faced" meaning the EPI (warp/ends per inch) does not equal the PPI (weft/picks per inch). ah the things I am learning!
I decided to try hemming the towels on my machine and it actually worked great! I used my walking foot and the hems don't ripple at all. So that's something, right? 

Thursday, February 18, 2016


I've already been having fun with my 2016 word of the year. The first big thing I've been exploring is weaving, which I'm really enjoying! And on retreat this past weekend, I put together the quilt top for my Explore quilt. Today I put the final stitches into the label (I'm getting better about labelling my quilts folks! Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.) I think this is my favorite quilt in the word series so far....
Those arrows..... I used the tutorial over at Grace and Favour. I've made them several times before, always for other people! I'm so glad I finally made some for myself.  This quilt is 18x20 just like the others in the series and I have a plan for hanging them all together.... stay tuned for that!  Oh, also, this is my second finish in the 2016 finish-a-long so yay for that!

I had a lot of fun with the quilting on this. My straight line quilting is more, umm, straight! Ha! It's about time.
So, this is the fifth word quilt I've made, but actually my sixth word of the year. I'm still struggling with how to depict "trust" for the first quilt. Thoughts? That also explains the blank space at the beginning of my word of the year quilt montage....
wow, the color is really off in this photo of explore!
And here's how my loom looks right now....
I'm exploring weaving dish towels, which is going much slower than the scarves did. And that's just fine with me! What have you explored so far this year?

Monday, February 15, 2016


This past weekend, the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild held a retreat at the wonderful Sunset Retreat Center. I had not been to Sunset before, and I have to tell you, it was delightful! The facility is spacious, clean, and inviting, the employees are friendly and cheerful and the food.... well, for a girl who has to eat gluten free, let me tell you, the food was AWESOME! 

When our guild didn't fill all of the spots, we opened registration up to the Dallas and Fort Worth Modern Guilds too. Yay for new quilty friends! It was fun to meet gals from both of these guilds (and some other tag along friends/moms of our guild members too). I especially loved getting to know Trish, who I had befriended on Instagram. She's Trishlovesquilts over there.... and she makes some amazing quilts! Do check her out if you haven't already.
don't you love the awesome name tags Alice & Catherine made for  all of us?

Some of us had a zippy pouch/fabric basket swap which we had prepared for in advance. I brought this pouch.
I had English Paper Pieced the arrow using the same pattern as my Valentines Pillow, only half the size (yes I'm crazy like that!) and thought it made up into a fun little Lola Pouch. My friend Paula chose it and was happy to take it home with her!

And check out the awesome One Hour Basket I got to bring home with me....
My friend Catherine made it and I couldn't resist choosing it. The bright happy colors really spoke to me! It's really big too, I can't decide what should live inside it just yet!

There were so many beautiful finishes on retreat and I worked on several different projects which I'll be sharing with you soon. My daughter, Ally, asked me last night if I was exhausted after retreat and my answer was NO! I feel totally energized and inspired! It was just what I needed. Have you been on quilting retreats?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Birthday surprise

Last Friday was, quite possibly, the happiest birthday I have ever had! Just after breakfast, hubby loaded me in the car and drove me to the airport, where this sweet girl arrived from New York! What a delightful surprise. It had been several months since we had seen Leigh Anne and having three full days to just hang out with her was an awesome treat!
The day was filled with greetings from dear friends and family and phone calls from Steve and Ally to wish Mom a happy birthday. These beautiful flowers from Ally were delivered later in the day too.

In addition to wonderful meals all weekend (breakfast tacos, gluten free french toast, omelets, I could go on and on!) hubby, Leigh Anne & I decided to check out the Perot museum of nature and science on Saturday. It was fun to wander into Dallas for the day and explore! 

 The museum was lots of fun, lots of interactive displays and interesting exhibits.
Throw in some shopping, church, and just some downtime, it was a fabulous weekend and it went way too fast! Luckily we'll be seeing Leigh Anne again next month.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Simplicity 8052 pattern review

One day recently I saw this pattern featured on the Simplicity Instagram feed. I really liked the look of it, but given recent failed attempts at making decent looking garments from big box patterns, I was hesitant. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to give it a go!

I had picked up some beautiful Moda lawn at Stitched with Love without a real plan. A little searching yielded a nice quality cotton knit with similar weight and drape and I decided to take a risk and combine the two fabrics into one garment. Success!

I thought using the knit for the outer panels would create a cardigan effect and it did! The two fabrics played very nicely together, the pattern stitched up quickly and easily and IT FIT! Big bonus! I love the way it dips down in the back, and continues the contrasting panel theme (although I think next time I make it I might do it in all one fabric just for variety. Yes, there WILL be a next time!)

I recommend this pattern highly! It's a win. Guessing soon there will be several in my closet!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello February!

I love February. Mostly because it's my birthday month - woohoo! Also, I love it because I live in Texas and it's much milder here in February than in, oh, say Cleveland where I spent most of my life!  If you've been calendar journaling along with me, here's a link to a blank February calendar for you to use. Happy February!