So much fun to be had in one box!

As you may know, I just returned from a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona.

I went from this...


back to this....


Hence, my purchase of this....


It came while I was gone so I had my first "session" with it over my morning coffee. I do feel more vibrant today, normal trip exhaustion aside, but at this stage that has a lot more to do with hangover effect from Phoenix sun than one day with a light therapy box. However, by the time the Phoenix sun wears off the light therapy box "sun" should be kicking in. So hopefully February won't be as much a miserable-mood month for me as it usually is. (I am pleased, however, that it's a nicely sunny day out today so that helps, but it's clouding up fast.)

Adding to my joy today, however, is that I also came home to my "12 Pound Scrap Box" from Fat Quarter Shop waiting for me. Look for it on their website. If you're an adventuresome sort, it's a box full o' fun! It's also a very inexpensive way to pick up a wide variety of stuff to play with.

A whole lot of fabric scraps are stuffed in that box! I sorted as I pulled them out of the box: large scale florals, geometrics, solids, traditional/Civil War, one fabric with gold layering, novelties, pinks, modern prints (which probably could've been included in geometrics), and a small stack in the back of flannel and batik scraps.


This stack (traditional/Civil War) has colors and styles I don't normally work in at this stage. However, I've been wanting to make more wheelchair quilts, especially those that are more suitable for elder men, and it's very hard to find charm packs that have mostly masculine colors. So my plan is to chop these up into pieces of a size to make Disappearing 9-Patches for that purpose. I might even tackle the cutting today--that's something that doesn't require a lot of mental acuity. Sun vibrancy aside, I'm still Travel Stupid at this point so that's just the kind of job for me!


I made this stack of everything that was mostly pink or flowers and hearts because I'd just been saying to my daughter recently, "I should really make a table runner for Valentine's Day or something. We have no Valentine's decorations in this house!" I don't trend towards pink or hearts when buying fabric so it's very useful to have this stack of scraps now!


These two were a nice surprise after this weekend. We have an auction every summer at our conferences and proceeds benefit our girls' ministry. The leadership team of our girls' ministry (which includes teen girls on it) was the team I was with this weekend. They choose a theme for the auction--and this year, they chose "Oh, The Places You'll Go," based on Dr. Seuss' book of that title--my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book, by the way. So I said, "That means I should make a baby quilt out of Dr. Seuss fabric for the auction!" Of course, these scraps aren't enough for a baby quilt but it was fun to see them in there, anyway. Sort of confirmation, if you will.


And this one was my complete, total, absolute favorite in the entire box. It just makes me grin. I have no idea why a bird is wearing a crown, and why is he standing next to a deer (reindeer?) with a scarf on. But they're adorable. I'd never seen this line and now I want to know more. The selvedge just tells me it's from Andover Fabrics, so if anyone can tell me what line this is, I'd be grateful!

 My next job for today--after I clean this all off my cutting table and figure out how to store it--is to choose fabrics for ... yes ... another mystery quilt. While I was gone and, might I add, quite vulnerable, some tweeps talked me into doing the

Kimberly Einmo Mystery Quilt available through Craftsy

. I was willing to give the whole mystery quilt thing another shot before I determine once and for all if it's for me, and this one has some real benefits to it: She gives you information for a variety of sizes, as well as a ton of information on how to choose fabrics that will work. After watching her fabric selection session I feel very confident that I'll be able to find fabrics that I'll enjoy working with and like the finished product at the end. to shop in my stash!

Rewarding Myself

I took Easy Street and Poppies ("You're Getting Sleepy") off to a quilt shop for their longarm services today.  I don't particularly enjoy quilting larger quilts on my home machine. Easy Street is gi-normous, at least, for what I usually do. Poppies is a little more manageable--it's about 55"x70"-ish. But I figured I may as well have someone else working on that one while I move on. I should have them both back in a couple of weeks.

Then I decided to reward myself with just a little new fabric. How can we walk out of a quilt shop without taking something home with us, really?

I've been eyeing that top fabric in magazines for awhile: Earthtones: Art in Motion by Norman Wyatt Jr. for P&B Textiles. The quilt shop only had about a yard and a half left on the bolt. Finish the bolt, get the whole amount for 20% off. Sold!

And, of course, I had to get something to coordinate. The blue is a blue I don't already have in my stash so I decided better safe than sorry. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Yesterday, a local quilt artist was cleaning out her studio and had a huge studio sale. I wasn't able to go myself, but my friend Lori hustled on over and had my permission to buy me anything she thought I'd like and I'd reimburse her. Lori and I have done enough fabric shopping together now that I knew she'd be able to hit the nail on the head. Sure 'nuff, here was what she handed over to me today.

These three large ziploc bags were filled with scraps of a variety of fabrics that the quilt artist had experimented with or used parts of and so forth. She was selling them as bags so it was pretty much pot-luck, but that was the fun of it. There were some real treasures in there! Hand-dyed silks and cottons, stamped fabrics, organzas, other fabrics I couldn't even identify (not being much in the garment world you get me too far beyond cotton and I'm lost), but they'll be fun to play with.

This evening, I had the very cathartic experience of dismantling my Easy Street project bin and cleaning off my cutting table. I ended up putting a lot more fabrics back on my shelf than I'd thought I would at the beginning of this project--I was hoping it would use a lot more stash. Oh well--I can always make pillowcases!

Maine, Meetings, and Merchandise, O My

I was here last weekend...

...and sometimes it looked like this.

Other times it looked more like this.

And during some particularly stunning moments it looked like this.

Lots of people walked all over this beach and created great designs in the sand. 

At one point, we went to visit this.

And I sat here for awhile.

And then we ate dinner here. With this view. As the tide came in.

I had to say goodbye when it looked like this.

So yes, I was at meetings all weekend.
But I was in meetings on the coast of Maine.
I can handle that.

I did get out quickly one afternoon for a fast trip to an area quilt shop. Normally I don't have or take time to do that when I'm on a working weekend, but it was the best thank-you gift we could think of for the woman who had volunteered to do all our airport pick-ups and drop-offs. She's a quilter. Great excuse.

I thoroughly enjoyed the shop. Lots of options, rooms full of fabric that kept appearing as if by magic as I turned corners. Nice batik selection. I got our volunteer four fat quarters.

And two for me. Just doing my part to support a local business.

And then, on the way home, I decided to detour through New Hampshire to visit the quilter's pilgrimage destination.

Keepsake Quilting.

Lovely shop. I had to laugh at myself because I inhaled deeply as I walked in the front door. You can smell the pretty, pretty fabrics. Mmmmm.

Unfortunately, it ended up adding three hours to my already 8-plus-hour drive home. I'm still working out the kinks.

But I bought these.

And these. (They had samples of the Gloves in a Bottle in their bathroom. I tried it, and was absolutely sold. I also bought a small bottle to keep in my purse. Soft hands, no grease or detectable smell. FTW.)

And these.

Four of these are for a thank-you gift I'd like to make one of the other volunteers who provided a ton of food and the world's best homemade chicken pot pie for our team's dinner one night. I'm thinking I'll do some more of those candle mats, maybe.

Not that I needed half a yard of each to make a candle mat. Gee, dang. I think I'll have leftovers.

I'm home for all of three days this week. Bully. Might not get much blogging done. However, I'm going to be posting a podcast episode tonight, so get ready. Jaye's back!

Photos to go with episode 98

 Here are the photos of fabrics I talked about in episode 98 In Which I'm Alive, posted Saturday, August 4, 2012.

(I already posted the pictures of fabrics from The Fat Quarter Shop here.)

One set of eight 10" squares of South African fabric. 

Second set of eight 10" squares of South African fabric.

Third set of eight 10" squares of South African fabric. 

Fourth set of eight 10" squares of South African fabric.

Fifth set of eight 10" squares of South African fabric. (Which means yes, there are forty squares altogether.)

Notice how the last square is folded--it's distinctly two-sided! Although others in this set could also be used right or wrong side, this is the only one that actually looks like two completely different fabrics. Pretty dang cool.

Thanks to Vickie, my friend that gave me these. They're definitely the best quilty toys ever!

Carol Doak Mariner's Compass Star block done!

Finally! It's done!

After several ill-fated attempts at a Mariner's Compass block using one book, I finally called it a day on that one and pulled off the shelf one of my beloved Carol Doak books.

Mind you, I've never actually made a Carol Doak block before. But between what I had purchased myself and what I'd inherited from my Mom, I'd guess I probably have most of what Doak has published over the years. I own and use her DVD on paper piecing quite frequently. Her directions are so clear and straightforward, she doesn't leave anything to guesswork. So when I couldn't make it work with the other designer, I decided to give Carol Doak a shot, and it worked. This was so much easier!

First, she did the math for me. Always a plus in my book. Rather than having to try to expand a smaller design to get the size block I needed, Doak's designs happened to be the right size already. Doak also gives cutting lists for each of her designs, so I didn't have to try to figure out what size fabric piece would cover the needed space. Third, her compass blocks are done in square quarters rather than the traditional circles, which just make them easier to handle.

(As a note, I'd already determined my color choices and placements before going to Doak's book. It just happened that I ended up choosing the Africa block from the book, which has very similar colors and placement! I was just looking for something that had roughly the same number of pieces that I'd been doing before so I could use the same fabrics. Go figure.)

This isn't quite a traditional Mariner's Compass block, which is why I refer to it as a "compass-esque" block. Still, I was able to use the same fabrics I'd intended to use the first time around and get pretty much the same effect, so I'm a happy camper.

Isn't that Stonehenge line just absolutely gorgeous? I'm in serious love.

Now, by my next guild meeting next Tuesday night I really should have two more borders done. Maybe three. I forget how many, I'm so far behind now. The first border is supposed to be pieced. My original thoughts were a very complicated applique but the center block turned into such a saga I'm thinking I'm going to cut myself a whole lot of slack and do something much simpler. But that's a problem for tomorrow.

BTW, the picture makes the light green in the center look a little more neon than it does in real life. Everything blends better than it looks like it does. The darker green on the other half of the center also has splotches of purple in it so it really pulls everything together. Mmmm. Stonehenge. Yum.

And just because I could.... I had to make a stop at a quilt shop yesterday and they had these stacks of gorgeous batik fat quarters, so I picked out a bunch in teals, aquas, greens, & turquoises, and paired them with blacks and grays. I'm thinking maybe disappearing nine-patch, but don't hold me to that. Right now they're just seducing me from their stack on the cutting table.

So all that's to say, I've decided I'm sending Fortunate out to my long-arm quilter because I have too many other projects I want to get to!

And also by the way, my sister and niece just came back from a mission trip to Ghana and she informed me tonight that she bought me fabric. Yay! Can't wait to see it!

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival--Early Report

Here's the haul. You'll be hearing about all of this in more detail in the days to come, once I wake up and can put two coherent sentences a row, even. I'm a little non-verbal today so I'm making an intentional decision to communicate as little as possible* and simply take the day to regroup. I will quite possibly be posting an episode that requires very little communication on my part to put together. Here's a sneak peek of things to come, not necessarily in this order:

  • A conversation with the Waterfall Gals.
  • An interview with Karen Lee Carter, quilt teacher and listener.
  • An interview with a new quilt shop owner who came at quilting from another artistic field and conversation about how that design training affects her quilting.
  • My own reflections on the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.

OK, I think those are all the words I have in me at the moment. Time to go play with my new toys.

(*Today's Slow Quilt Monday post, posted just prior to this one, was written last week before I fried my brain at the quilt festival. I'm thankful for technology and the ability to take care of business ahead of time!)

Post-ABFSI Breather

This is it. The last official hoorah of Thanksgiving dinner at my house. My first ever homemade Turkey Pot Pie. Leftover turkey, leftover peas, leftover corn. I was going to use the turkey stock I made on Friday but forgot to take it out of the freezer and since I still had gallons of chicken broth in my pantry I went the store-bought route on that instead. (Also store-bought crusts. I'm basically pasty-lazy.)

I don't own ramekins. They'd have made this so much easier. The crust is all ugly because the innards were spilling out all over the counter and I was trying to clamp it's escape route down, aesthetics be darned.  I'll also adjust the recipe next time and play more with seasonings. My nephew (who always knows just when to call and get invited over for dinner!) loved it. I thought it needed more something. Not sure what something yet. Just more of it. And, apparently, ramekins. But still, good way to clean out the fridge. No more Thanksgiving in the Kenmore!

And this is as close as I got to fabric tonight. One of the things I had taken from Mom's stash as we were cleaning out her studio after her passing was a full-size, Cotton Theory quilt kit from The Quilt Yard. Something like $140 worth of fabric. The pattern had gotten separated, although I have a vague tickling memory that I did eventually track it down and it's lurking in my pattern files somewhere. I had kept it together for nearly three years because I had originally thought, "Sure, I'll make that." That eventually morphed into, "Well, I don't think I'll make that, but Mom would probably have a fit if I separated everything," But I don't have much interest in doing a full-sized Cotton Theory quilt, so tonight I decided I really ought to break down the kit and let the fabric pieces go live with the rest of my fabric in one big happy family, rather than sequestered off in their own little gated (or tied-with-twine) community. Mom was all about family. She'd like to see her fabric making new friends. And by now, she's probably tapping her foot in mild annoyance and saying, "Oh, would you just get on with it already? Just use the dang fabric!"

Lots of fabric, by the way. More than I'd thought when it was all tightly folded and bound. Most of the ones on the upper left are 5/8 yard pieces, some a little bigger. Most of the near stack are a yard and more--one 2 1/2 yards. That one in the middle? Well, that's a wierd one. Something like 82" long by 22" wide. Basically, slightly over two yards of fabric, cut in half lengthwise. Maybe meant for borders? Not sure. Odd, but then, all families have that eccentric aunt or uncle. She fits right in.

There's something so very relaxing about folding fabric, isn't there? I love it.

I've got a fairly open weekend coming up, so I'll get back to my sewing machine then. Apparently after my super-productive mode of last weekend, I just needed a breather. So I spent an hour petting fabric. Mmm.

Fabric Mysteriously Appearing on My Shelves

I have nothing to do with just keeps showing up, somehow.

The first few pics are from my most recent purchase at The Quilter's Daughter during my quilt retreat weekend. (They don't have a website yet but this link gives you their info.)

Picked these out as rough coordinates but may not keep them together. A couple are from the "Swanky" line by Chez Moi for Moda. It's a couple of years old now so I couldn't find any good links to use--sorry! (Yellow dots is from Deb Strain's "LoveU" line for Moda. The green floral had no selvedge on it to label it.)
 General blender fat quarters. Always helpful!

 Another collection of bright, fun fat quarters. One of these (the trees) is from "Summer Song" by My Mind's Eye for Moda; the print with flowers and butterflies is from Deb Strain's "LoveU" line for Moda. Neither of the other two had selvedges so I can't identify them for you. Apologies!

This was my souvenir from Stitch, the fabric and yarn shop I found in Jordan, Ontario. I got two identical charm packs from the Modal "Little Apples" line, and then bought a half yard of the fantastic dog fabric--it coordinates with the Little Apples line but it's from a previous line. My family-of-birth raised English Springer Spaniels when I was growing up so these little spaniel-esque doggies are very nostalgic for me.
 And this grouping was my souvenir from Ye Olde Fabric Shoppe in Stratford, Ontario--I talked about that in episode 60. I love the fact that these are holiday fabrics without being overtly traditional Christmas colors of green and red. I put some green and red in there with the coordinates I chose, but they're still more muted than typical. And I love the neutrals and gray-blues.

I have more Christmas fabric than I know what to do with. Some year I'll just have to do a year-long holiday project challenge to clean out my collection!

A Test and a Shop Hop

My daughter's driving test today went swimmingly, despite several indicators to the contrary. Threatening rain, a 90-minute drive to the test site, having already failed one test.... I took the day off from work to focus on getting her through today as successfully as possible. We spent a little time on some last minute practice, then made the drive to the town the test was in, had a relaxed lunch, hung out for a bit. And then--yay! She passed! Only 6 days before leaving for about squeaking it in under the wire!

I took advantage of the fact that the town we had to do her test in is right in the middle of Amish country. Good food, great quilt shops. There's one I particularly like--an Amish family farm where she's set up a fabric shop in a shed in her driveway. It's bigger than that sounds, and she has a lot of nice fabric in there. I had recalled that she had several of the Moda Essential Dots collection last time I was there, and I'm a fan of those. Yep--still there! And more colorways than I recalled! So I bought colors I often use--a yard of each, except the one on the far right. I got three yards of that one because I'm planning on using some of it as sashing for an upcoming project.

After dinner tonight, baby girl took her first solo flight in the car, asking me if I wanted anything from the grocery store. Sure--we can always use another gallon of milk. Off she went! To keep my mind off her being out alone in my car, I spent a little more time prepping for an upcoming project from the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt. Playing with fabric--the best therapy!

Lolly's Fabric Purchase

OK--just a quick post because once again I'm sleeee-eeeepy. Still adjusting to time changes. It's only an hour difference but man, does that still wreak havoc on your internal systems!

In any case, on my way home from Wisconsin I took a side trip to Shipshewana, Indiana. One store clerk there said, "Wow, that's really out of your way, isn't it?" Hmmm.... Maybe a half hour off the expressway? When I'm doing a 30 hour round trip, half an hour doesn't sound "out of the way." It sounds more like, "Take the opportunity as long as you're in spittin' distance!" I joked with her that quilters will travel almost any distance for a nice quilt shop. Since I suspect Lollys brings the vast majority of the business in the door of their "mercantile of shops," I'm guessing she's used to that response.

Lolly's was amazing, as usual.

Here's what I buyed. Well, you'll see the stack in the bottom left that were from the Quilt Foundry. Everything else was from Lollys. The three fabrics across the top (purple, teal, cream) have a purpose. I just need to come up with a design, but I've got a year to do it.

The two packages in plastic with fabrics arranged in diamonds are sets of 5" squares, 40 0f them. Not by Moda so they can't call themselves a charm pack. Don't recall what they were named. But they're all batiks. Gorgeous batiks.

The four charm packs altogether (I can call them all charm packs without getting a cease and desist, can't I?) I bought with something in mind...

I have one "Little Charmers" pattern from designer Heather Mulder Petersen (I think that's her name--it's way too late for me to go dig the pattern out and check. If I don't correct this later, that means it's right) in her Anka's Treasures series. I made several table runners from that one pattern--it has three options in it--for Christmas gifts a couple of years ago and then made myself one this year. I was thrilled to see that Lolly's had several other in the series--I really like these. Hence, picking up a couple of charm packs as well. I see more table runners in my future. I only have so much wall and bed space, right?

The other two patterns at the bottom are the Five Yard Quilt series that I mentioned in my episode about the Quilt Foundry. The fabrics I bought will be used in the pattern on the left--it'll look really wonderful in all spa colors.

OK--I'm dozing off over the keyboard so I'll have to wait until later to post pictures of the physical shops themselves.

By the way, I did finally manage to get back to my sewing machine for the first time in weeks tonight. Got the backing pieced together for a UFO I'm sending off to a long-armer. Woohoo! I'll be so glad to see that one done--it's been hanging around for a little over three years!

The Quilt Foundry fabric purchase

If you're interested in the background story to this fabric, listen to episode 55: In Which I Visit the Quilt Foundry (posted this evening). This is the P&B Textiles Sausalito line* that I purchased today at The Quilt Foundry, with the intention of using it for the Five Yard Quilt pattern #506, "Shadow Boxes."

I'd write more, but I've been on the road for a long time today and looking forward to a l-o-n-g night's sleep. So g'night, catch y'all later!

(*with apologies for bad hotel-room lighting that's graying out the colors but good. Trust me, it's really pretty!)