Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rug Hooking with Maggie Bonanomi

As usual I am behind in getting a September update posted. Life has been crazy busy lately!

A couple of weekends ago I attended a three day workshop with Maggie Bonanomi at Nola's studio in St. Louis. We did two days of rug hooking and one day of wool applique. It was really fun to hook again and the workshop gave me the hooking bug.  Maggie has some beautiful designs and I love her color palette!  Below is one of her rugs that I am absolutely in love with. She told us it was her first rug (note the "97"). The colors are beautiful and I love the squiggly line around the border!

I hadn't done any hoking since the beginning of June and was reluctant to start yet another rug, let alone another huge one. I had purchased Maggie's cabin rug (I can never remember the actual name) last year while out at Janice's so I had to decide between starting another giant project and buying another pattern.  I decided to stick with what I already had and thus now have three ridiculously large rugs in progress. I am loving this rug so far!


I actually have a little more completed than shown in these pictures.  I have a bit more of the greenery hooked and have started filling in the background.  I also have the cabin below completed.

I will be attending Janice's Birthday Bash in November and plan to keep working on this one.  I need to get at least one of these big ones finished before I even think about starting another one!

I thought that September might be the month that I finally achieved my orange peel goal (one per day).  I was going strong the first half of the month but fell behind once I started traveling. I managed to do 20 in September, which when combined with the pathetic 7 I finished in August but never counted brings my grand total to 163. 

I had also hoped to catch up on my Magic of Christmas blocks last weekend but fell just a little short. I finished two each of blocks 6, 7 and 8 and one of block 9. By the time I had those done Lisa had published blocks 10 and 11.  I wouldn't be surprised to see more posted before the weekend so I will be spending a lot of time at my machine again this weekend. 

I have a busy rest of October - a business trip followed by some fun.  I will be attending the MQX show in Springfield next weekend and then will be hosting Irene Blanck for a two day workshop the following week. I am really looking forward to both (but not so much the trip to New Jersey)!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

BOTP 2016

Baltimore on the Prairie 2016 is now one for the record books!  This year's conference, in its second year at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, was inspirational as always. I can't really say that I learned much but it is unbelievably energizing to see all of the incredible work done by the participants and instructors. There was one very exciting tip I picked up from one of my classmates - she takes her quilt backs to the dry cleaner to be laundered and ironed. I'm embarrassed to admit how long I have had quilt tops sitting around here waiting for backing to be ironed, Complete genius!

I don't have any pictures of my own work to post this week but want to share some photos of the beautiful quilts that we saw in show and tell and Jeanna Kimball's trunk show. I unfortunately didn't keep track of who did what - there were so many beautiful quilts and they moved pretty quickly!

First, our class photo from Barbara Burnham's three day workshop:

And here is just a sampling of the gorgeous quilts we saw:

I am always amazed by how much these ladies are able to accomplish!  If only I could focus my attention on one project long enough to actually finish something...

Monday, September 19, 2016


FNSI ended up not happening for me this month for various reasons - getting home from NY a little later than planned, one of the fur babies not feeling well, and my daughter deciding last-minute to come home for a visit with her new puppy in tow. So the only sewing that happened Friday was four orange peels on the flight home.  I've been trying to get back to the orange peels after a couple of months of neglect.  I've done quite a few so I will be able to take credit for at least a little progress at the end of the month!

I finally made the trek to Eataly while in NY last week.  It was crazy busy but well worth the trip!  I went to the original store by the Flatiron Building.  The Empire State Building was feeling Italian that evening too.

They have a whole section of the store devoted to Nutella!

The fresh pasta looked incredible but the wait at that restaurant was over an hour.

I decided to eat in the center area between the meat, cheese and wine counters. It was crazy busy but I was able to get a seat after a short wait.

Almost everything on the menu looked incredible (except the wine)!

I decided on the meat and cheese selection.

It was so yummy! I'm not even sure what the toppings were on the plate but I thoroughly enjoyed them! 

I had planned to stop in this section before heading out but I was too full.  I will definitely have to go back.

Most of my sewing room time this weekend was spent preparing for Baltimore on the Prairie.  We head out to Nebraska first thing Tuesday morning.  I did manage to get a second block four and one block five of Magic of Christmas finished this afternoon.  Here's the new one:

I will be back next week with a BOTP update.  Lots of fun classes and things coming up over the next few months - I can't wait for the fun to begin!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Truman Lake Hook-in

The Truman Lake hook-in took place a couple of weeks ago.  It seemed a little smaller overall this year, perhaps due to it being a couple weeks earlier than normal, but Patty and her crew put on a great event as always. I think there were more rugs than ever before - and there were definitely a few show-stoppers!

I only took a few pictures and none of the hook-in itself.  I fell in love with this tree skirt, however, and took plenty of pictures of it. It is gorgeous!

I have been trying to finish the binding on my Garden Album quilt to take to Baltimore on the Prairie next week.  I'm almost finished so I should have a picture to post soon.  Other than that I have mainly been working on my Magic of Christmas blocks.  Blocks 3 & 4 were posted last week and are making me re-think my decision to make two of each.  They both had a LOT of pieces for 6" blocks.  Here is block 3 before it was assembled:

That star in the center - 2.5" square when sewn. Surprisingly it went together pretty well! Here are my two #2 blocks and one each of blocks 3 and 4.

I have both of the others cut and have started sewing so hopefully I won't get too far behind.  Block 5 is supposed to be posted today!

Monday, August 22, 2016

FNSI Weekend

I did manage to spend a lot of time in the sewing room Friday night and most of the weekend although it really doesn't seem like I accomplished all that much!  I received my fabrics for Lisa Bonjean's Magic of Christmas Stitch-Along on Thursday so that was the first thing I worked on. This stitch-along project will have 25 six inch red & white blocks. The setting is still a mystery. I chose to do the "country" version (red & cream/tan) and decided I would try to make two of each block for a larger quilt. The first block was nice and easy and went together quickly.

I couldn't decide what to work on next so I thought I would dig out my APQ UFO and see where I stood on that one.  The answer?  Very,. very far from being complete. Really only barely started. I assembled a couple more blocks just to say that I at least worked on it this month even though I can't claim much in the way of progress.  This is one of those projects that cries for a nice weekend retreat. 

Our local TAS chapter met on Saturday morning and we had a guest (and hopefully new member) that brought along a collection of 23 album blocks that she and her late sister had been made starting as far back as 1990.  She is working on finishing a few more blocks to bridge their two different color palettes and will then assemble them all into a quilt.  The blocks are beautiful!

I spent a little time cutting and sewing hourglass blocks for my first Clarissa block. The colors aren't very true in this photo but I really like how this came together.  I'm envisioning an off-white sashing and border. I plan to do the rest as leaders and enders - this one was just to get a feel for the project and help me plan for cutting.

The remainder of my sewing time this weekend was spent trying to catch up on SBOW prep work.  I assembled three more of the freebie blocks and three My Crazy Life blocks.  There were a lot of little pieces to cut out!

I am headed out of town for the Warsaw hook-in this weekend and hope to get some of these blocks stitched.  I am so far behind!  I think I have enough wool applique in the works to last me several lifetimes...

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Project - Ruby McKim Patchwork

I was able to spend quite a bit of time in the sewing room this past weekend and managed to finally complete week 2 of my Among Friends SBOW (yes, it is now week 10...). I went "old school" on this set and cut my HSTs from squares rather than using the paper. That gave me 1/4" seam allowances that behaved better with pressing, and I pressed all seams in alternating directions to enable nesting. It might have taken a tiny bit more time to cut my triangles and trim my squares but I felt like the large squares went together much easier this time.

Once I had week 2 behind me I gave myself permission to take a break and start something new. I know that the last thing I need right now is another project but this one has been on my list for a long time and my guild has started it as a BOM so I had to jump in.

The pattern is Ruby McKim's Patchwork Quilt first published in newspapers in 1930. Here's the drawing of the quilt that originally ran when the pattern series was introduced in newspapers around the country:

I'm a huge fan of the old newspaper quilt patterns and acquired a copy of this pattern quite a few years ago. I've been following the preparation for the 2016 Celebration of Ruby's legacy from the beginning and had hoped to participate in some of the activities but haven't been able to thus far. 

I was discussing the Patchwork Quilt pattern with the ladies from our guild who are now running it as the BOM at our quilt show last June and decided then that I had the perfect plan for it. I had been trying to decide on a pattern to use the fabrics I received at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival 40th Anniversary Ruby Jubilee celebration.  I attended the Ruby Jubilee luncheon at Festival and the tables were beautifully decorated with Moda fabric tablecloths and napkins. I managed to choose the chair with the secret marking at our table and was the lucky winner of the yardage used as the tablecloth (the red below).  The other two pieces are my and my friend's napkins. I had been wanting to do something special with them and decided this would be the perfect use for them.

So, fast forward another year and my guild friends have prompted me to actually get this party started!  I caught up on the first two blocks over the weekend.  I am planning a predominantly red & white quilt using fabrics that match the Houston fabrics.  I plan to use the red piece for the border and will incorporate the napkin fabrics into my blocks. 

The first block assigned for the BOM was the Double Nine Patch. Ruby's original directions used solid red blocks for the four corners but in one version of the pattern published there is a note that it could be made a little more challenging by using five nine patches. I decided to go with that option. 

This month's block is Crosses and Losses. this one went together very quickly. It was nice to start with some of the simpler patterns from the quilt.  There are a couple that are pretty intense!  

The most entertaining part of making these was trying to get my mind around the HUGE pieces!  These blocks finish at 12" which isn't really that big - but clearly I have been working on much smaller stuff for a while because I was getting really tripped up by how enormous everything seemed.  

I finished off my weekend in the sewing room with cutting and sewing a few more hourglass blocks for this year's leader and ender project.  I intend to use it as a true L&E project but would like to get at least one "inspiration" block together to give me some direction. I was able to make a little progress on it before calling it a day. I hope to get the block together over the course of the week - maybe during the August Friday Night Sew In.  Want to join in the fun?  Click on the button below to sign up!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


After playing around with a few charity quilts and a blank piece of fabric I decided it was time to try a "real" quilt.  I figured I would start on my Quatrefoil quilt because I like it less than the other one that I have ready.  It was definitely not as easy to load this one as it is the smaller ones but after a few course corrections we (thankfully I had help) got it onto the frame. 

I decided to fire up the machine on a Saturday night when I could spend the evening in the basement keeping an eye on it and advancing it along. My husband decided it would be a good night for us to watch the new Star Wars while the machine ran. Not that being distracted by Star Wars has anything to do with what happened next... Everything was going along well.  I had quilted three complete rows and advanced on to the fourth. It was looking great.  And then the thread broke. I re-threaded, restarted, and noticed that the tension looked a little odd. Then the thread broke again.  Re-thread, restart.  The tension started looking really bad.

When the row was finished I rolled the quilt forward to see how bad it was. And it was BAD. Very, very bad.

I will have to rip out the entire last row of quilting, reload the quilt and try to line things up to begin where it left off. And figure out what the heck happened and correct it. So far I have taken the quilt off the frame and made a start on ripping. I started at the end before things went bad and it is not going well. It may take a month - or longer - to get all the stitches out!

I've been distracted from making progress on any of my UFOs by my SBOWs and Panama Pyramids.  I didn't touch my Rising Sun this month (the APQ UFO selection for July) and didn't even do enough orange peels to warrant a count.  I did finish two more Pyramids (I love those stamps!) and two more Clara's Stars.  

And then another shiny object came along and grabbed my attention....

Kathy over at Kathy's Quilts shared that she decided to use this year's leader and ender project to make the Clarissa Quilt. She shared pictures of the quilt and it is very cool.  She's planning to host a sew along of sorts to make it.  So of course I want to join!  I ditched the red and cream hourglass blocks I made last weekend and made a few smaller ones using fat quarters from a collection I have that I think will be perfect for this quilt. I will have to do some planning and cutting to have this ready to use for leaders and enders.

I have a couple of other projects I'm itching to start but more on those next time.  I'm quite confident I will give in and start them very soon. In the meantime I have been making progress on my basket.  I replaced the pear and like it better now.  Quite a few of the pieces below are only basted but I am loving how it is coming together.

That basket was a bit of a hassle but I am pleased with how it turned out. I'm still a bit hung up on the fact that the basket is see-through and looks empty with stuff floating on top. Yes, I definitely have issues!