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May 2010

A hunting we will go!


Well ... this pic tells it all ... this is where I feel I've been living for the last week! It's hard to believe that quilt market began just seven days ago and now it's a memory. To sort of begin the transition back to reality, I met up with some of my market friends at Hunt and Gather to show them why I'm totally in love with this store! I have way more photos than I can show but look at some of my favorites.

How can you not love a place that staples oil cloth curtains to the outside of their windows?


The way they display things makes you just stop ... and look ... and touch, too! I'm constantly finding myself sorting through trays and boxes to see what's at the bottom. I can barely handle the flash cards thinking about what kinds of combinations of phrases I can make.

The volume of items and the colors are beyond belief. I wanna shop where they do!

I bought these ... I thought the phrases were interesting.

But I did not buy these ... there's something about dental impressions that just creep me out ... even when they're my own. Who buys this stuff?

There were a bunch of 'how to catch a cold' posters ... looks like the H1N1 prevention methods aren't that new!

Pre - Wii ...

Boy ... I love hunting and gathering! It's like Disneyland for me!!


Progress on the pincushion!


Ok ... I have an excuse for totally forgetting to post my pix about the pincushion round robin ... I had over 300 visitors to the Cottage in the last day or so! The quilting industry's annual Spring trade show is being held in Minneapolis this year and we've been inundated with people coming to White Bear Lake to see the town. We had two full tour buses today ... so I'm feeling a little bit nuts. But here's the start to my pincushion using Joanne's base that I got in the mail. She wants a Fall theme and its been fun deciding what to put on it. Here's auditioning a few things to see how they look.

And here it is with more stuff added! I thought it needed some colors so added little bittersweet flowers ... later I connected them with a vine but you'll see what I did when Brenda shows what she's adding ... I was in such a hurry to get it in the mail that I forgot to snap a final picture! And that one was barely dropped into the mail slot when the next one arrived! Yi yi yi ... they're coming fast. So Pat Sloan's the next one on the work table. What should I do?


Scrappy ... strippy ... sewing!


Sometimes you just have to park yourself behind the machine in order to get something done ... and that's exactly what I've done this week ... churning out fun projects that any motivated quilter could do. It's hard to believe that shoving 2 1/2" strips under the presser foot is going to yield ...

... this ... a fun and scrappy baby quilt called Steamy Windows.

It's in the Strip On book by GE Designs. I'm ashamed to say I didn't look closely at this book before and we've had it in the store for awhile ... but the other day I had the opportunity to examine it again and saw the potential for this oblong checkerboard quilt. So on Friday morning, I cut 18 light colored strips and 18 darker strips and got to work pushing them through the machine. It went fast!

Pretty soon I had them stitched, pressed and cut into segments for the blocks. I cut the leftovers into units as well thinking I'd do something with them someday. Magically ... the crib quilt was done so I turned my thoughts to the extras.

I started pushing them around and realized that I could get a pillow AND a skinny runner out of them! Bonus projects ... how fun is that? Found some leftover strips of batting for the pillow and quilted the top of it in a simple grid formation ... then when I went to put on the backing, I grabbed a hoop and traced around it to round the corners. I layered up the runner with batting and backing to be quilted on Monday.

Three projects almost done! Doesn't that make you want to shout HOORAY? After I stuff the pillow, I'm going to use perle cotton and sew that through from the front to the back to indent it a bit. I have a pretty brown fabric for the binding on the baby quilt ... maybe green binding on the runner? I'm going to hang the crib quilt on that wall way at the back of the store by the hallway ... it'll be perfect there!

As a shop owner, everyday I hear quilters say they've got so much fabric ... they don't know what to do with it. Well I'm here to tell you that if you pull it out and cut it up, it doesn't take half your life to make stuff from it! For a cute project like this, the fabric really doesn't have to match ... plus I know so many have jelly rolls stuffed in their cubbies waiting for the 'perfect' project. In my book the 'perfect' project is the done one that I can look at and enjoy.

I'm looking for some stash busting quilters who want to cut up their fabric and make one of the Steamy Windows quilts in Gudrun's book. If you're that person, give us a shout at the Cottage and we'll come up with a sewing date. Don't need a baby quilt? It would be just as darling as a table quilt! Betchya you want to go and pull out some fabric now, huh?


Were we crazy?


You know I have some crazy friends in my life ... so it shouldn't be a surprise to learn I've taken on yet another crazy project with a few of them! Pat Sloan, Brenda Murcado, Jo Ann Mullaly (who I'm really blaming (indirectly) for all this craziness) and I are doing a round robin crazy pincushion project. I don't know about you but there's just something so cool about pincushions. Maybe because it's tied in to what women have been doing for ages ... stitching is such a way of life for so many and you have to have a place to keep all your pins and needles! And ok fine ... I'll admit it ... it was my idea but none of these girls said "no" when they were asked to take part in the round robin.

The only thing I've decided so far is that my pincushion is going to be round and it's going to have sides. The first thing I had to do was find something round that was just the right size. So I had to audition vessels. Like this candy dish which on first blush looked fine but then when I traced it, it seemed on the smaller side. So off to find something more suitable.

So just like Goldilocks, I finally found something that was jusssttttt right ... a paint can! Its about 6 1/2" across ... gave me a seam allowance if I decide to machine stitch it. Cuz right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. Better to be safe than sorry. I traced the can on some freezer paper and cut it out.

Next I had to find the right wools for the top ... little bit of light and a lot more dark. I had made a base with cotton batting and homespun on top of it. I held my wool pieces in place with fork pins ... one of my favorite tools! Everything was whipped stitch with one strand of dark brown floss and I trimmed out underneath each seam so it wouldn't be bulky.

When I got done, my base looked like this.

I pressed my freezer paper circle on to the crazy piece, making sure there was batting underneath all the edges. What will it look like when I cut it?

Surprise! There it is!! They always look so different once they're trimmed up.

Now this is what happens next. I haven't decided if I'm going to add anything to my top  or just send it on. I'm always going to be mailing my things to Brenda in our rotation. I'm kind of thinking it would be fun to see what would happen if I let her take the lead with the first shape! I really haven't chosen a theme because I like it all. There's time to decide what to do ... the post office closes at one o'clock. No sweat.

So you have to stick with us for about six weeks or so as our pincushion tops travel around the USA and get more added to them with each stop. This is going to be so fun! Watch the progress on each of our blogs. I love round robins like this and truly enjoy the surprise of getting mine back. This is my second time doing one with Pat so I know what I'm in for ... and it's all good!

Here are the rest of the gals ... go see what they're doing with their pincushions. BrendaPat, and Jo Ann.  I'd love to know if our round robin inspires you to do one with your pals ... if you do, let me know how it goes. We're all just crazy, aren't we?