Thursday, April 30, 2015

Crazy Countdown

I'm headed to Minneapolis in a couple of weeks where I'll be exhibiting at Quilt Market  - the quilting industry trade show where your local quilt shop does their shopping! Oh man! I'm sooo not ready! I have quite a few details yet to complete, so please pardon me if this week's message is short and sweet.

Here's a little preview of my booth - number 100! Right up front in the very first aisle! The pressure is on to make a great first impression!

I'm starting with these booth number Mini Mug Mats! Of course, the show provides signage for each booth, but how boring is that? I don't have a pattern for the numbers, so I just winged it with some scrap fabrics and -- you guessed it, some of that new Little Scrap Grid Interfacing I keep talking about.

With any luck, you'll see it (the new interfacing) showing up at your local quilt shop shortly after Quilt Market. AND both sizes will be available to purchase from the website shopping cart as well--coming soon! AND projects! Woot-woot!

In addition, I've been working on a tutorial for the two new grid sizes that will be on the website right along with the Mini Scrap Grid How-To. So stay tuned, and please be patient with me as all the nitty-gritty deets come together.

You see, I've been crazy busy! But still having fun in the process.

In the meantime, you can find me at the Wings Falls Quilters Guild Show this coming weekend in Queensbury, NY.

See you there?

Happy Stitching!


Friday, April 24, 2015

You Gotta be in it . . .

 . . . to WIN it!!

Last week Pat Sloan and I had a nice chat about my new book When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilters. This week you have a chance to WIN a copy of that very same book! 

All you have to do is jump over to Pat's blog entry and make a comment. But you gotta do that before May 1, 6pm East Coast Time. From Pat's blog entry you can click over and listen to the April 13th conversation right on your computer. How cool is that?

After you listen (or even before that!), if you just can't wait and gotta have the book now, you can buy it here. AND if you still can't wait to start using the concepts from the book, you can download a FREE pattern extra right now, right here

Now, go! (and good luck!)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If Quilts had Arms. . .

. . . then they'd all need sleeves!

But my quilts don't have arms, so only a few of them have sleeves for hanging. When the Vermont Quilt Festival invited me to display several of my quilts in their annual show, I couldn't resist! However, to be hung, about 20 quilts need sleeves.

Since it's quilt show season, and you (and your quilts) might find yourself in a similar predicament, here's how I add a temporary sleeve to my quilts.

First, a quick assessment of the quilt size and backing fabric. This lap-sized quilt has a pretty blue on cream print.

adding a quilt sleeve

I always like to check the (messy) stack of leftover backing fabric chunks on the shelf. Just in case I have any of that same backing material left. Or maybe something close. No luck this time.

adding a quilt sleeve

Since I like to come close to matching the color of the temporary sleeve to the backing material, I chose a cream-on-cream print. Not an exact match, but since it's only a temporary sleeve, I'm not going to stress over an exact match.

I need a strip that is about 10" wide. So I can either cut a length-of-grain piece of fabric from my stash or cut a couple of width-of-fabric (selvage to selvage) strips and piece them end to end. My quilt is about 60" wide, so I need a sleeve that is about that long, or just a little less than that. I use the quilt to estimate the right sleeve length. The beauty of sleeves is they really don't have to be too precise on any of the measurements.

adding a quilt sleeve

Since I have a lot of this particular cream fabric, I'm using a length of grain strip. I fold each short end over to create a hem and sew.

adding a quilt sleeve

At the work table, I fold the 10" sleeve in half lengthwise, raw edges at the top . . .

adding a quilt sleeve

 . . . and fold under the last 1/2" or so. Both layers together.

adding a quilt sleeve

Then pin in place, start and end 1-2" away from the sides of the quilt, and that folded-under edge is aligned with the edge of the quilt binding. The pining and folding are all part of one movement. I pin like a crazy person, with the pins sticking out the top edge.

adding a quilt sleeve

Back at the sewing machine, I set my stitch length as large as possible, 5.0 on this machine. Since this is a temporary sleeve, I'm really using a basting stitch, assuming that after the quilt is back home from the show, the temporary sleeve will be easy to remove. Then stitch in the ditch along the binding seam. Pull out the pins as you sew happily along! This goes really fast because the Paul Bunyon stitches move you right along.

adding a quilt sleeve

My stitching goes just a bit past the sleeve. Looks good! Now I'm ready for some hand-stitching.

adding a quilt sleeve

With the quilt and sleeve lying fairly flat, I pin the sleeve fold to the quilt. I like to pin this part to keep the sleeve from getting wonky, distorting the way the quilt will hang in the show.

adding a quilt sleeve

If you do this next bit, your quilt show staff will love you forever. . . . start sewing the sleeve at the binding edge along the lower layer of the sleeve side, then sew the fold to the quilt backing.

adding a quilt sleeve

Travel through the batting like you would when sewing the binding down, but take big-gulp stitches. Again makes for easy removal later if the stitches aren't your usual itty-bitty dainty stitches.

adding a quilt sleeve

Done! By having the bottom side layer sewn to the quilt, the person hanging the quilt will have no question about where the hanging pole will go. And you have less risk that the quilt will be damaged as the pole is set in place.

adding a quilt sleeve

As tempting as it might seem to save time, never EVER use safety pins to secure a temporary sleeve. It's so very easy for the pin to snag and pull, risking major damages to the quilt. Your beautiful quilt is worth the extra effort.

Once the show is over, remove the sleeve with a few snips of thread.

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Mug Full!

Last week I received a special treat in the mail. A copy of Mug Meals by Dina Cheney. Look at that cover photo! Anything that drools over the edge of the crock is bound to be a winner! The cookbook full of fast and easy single-serving meals is published by my friends over at The Taunton Press.

Mug meals book

The book is loaded with yummy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and (most importantly) dessert! All in single-serving, mug-sized portions. Earlier this week, I had just taken a morning walk, I was in the mood for a fast but satisfying breakfast to get my day going. I chose this "Kitchen Sink Eggs with Vegetables."

Mug meals book

The recipe called for eggs, cheese, some simple spices, and whatever veggies turned up in the refrigerator vegetable bin--in my case that was some frozen peas, sweet onion, carrots, and (I cheated on the all-vegetable part here) some cubed ham.

Mug meals book

Mix up everything in a small bowl . . . and toss it in a super-sized mug.

Mug meals book, breakfast

Cook it in the microwave, add some fruit or toast, and I had a fast, yummy breakfast.

Mug meals book

And tasty too!

Mug meals book

Needless to say, the book is a winner, and I can't wait to try some of the other muggy-treats! Hey, a quilter's gotta eat!

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Ides of April

Seems like a lot is going on in the middle of April! For Easter dessert, I made a Juniors cheesecake! Super yum!

Juniors Cheesecake book and recipe

The day after Easter, I headed out to Perinton Quilt Guild in Fairport, New York. What a fun bunch of quilters! Say, CHEEEEESE!

Speaking at Perinton Quilt Guild

They are making baby quilts like crazy for a local community service project!

Speaking at Perinton Quilt Guild

And Charlotte showed me her finished Runaway Thread quilt. Love her variation on the border! She wasn't spoolin' around! (Nyuk-nyuk!)

Speaking at Perinton Quilt Guild

Then of course, there's tax day in mid-April. Ew, let's move on from that subject pretty quick. . .

And it seems like I've been spending a fair amount of time this month creating some patterns for this Summer's Row by Row Experience event!

Row by Row Experience pattern writing

With all these water-themed ideas being tossed around, I turn to my little ducky friend for inspiration. He doesn't say much, but he's a good cheerleader!

Rubber duckie

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


A little something light for the Spring holidays.

Consider the egg. It's a miracle,
  A thing so diverse for its size
That we hardly can help growing lyrical
  When given the Pullet Surprise.

The scope of this peerless comestible
  Must drive other foods to despair
Since it's not only fully digestible
  But great for shampooing the hair.

It's boilable, poachable, fryable;
  It scrambles, it makes a sauce thicken.
It's also the only reliable
  Device for producing a chicken.

                      by Felicia Lamport

whimsical pin cushion

(This super-sized chicken pin cushion was made, not by an egg, but by Laurie Waddell and given to me as a gift a couple years ago! Thanks, Laurie!)

Happy Spring! Happy Stitching!