Sunday, February 27, 2011

Retreat -- Part 2

The definition of fun is 17 women in a room full of sewing machines and quilting supplies!
I just got home from the Sew Snow Retreat hosted by the Red Rooster Quilt Shop in Fosston (  It was a weekend full of fun, sewing, food, sewing, laughter, sewing... you get the idea.  It was GREAT!  One of the highlights of the event had absolutely nothing to do with quilting.  There was a pajama contest and we were all encouraged to come up with the most outrageous jammies we could.  Accesories were suggested but not required.  One of our quilting friends to the accessory suggestion to heart and came up with a spectacular pajama outfit.  Check it out!  This is Connie Strom from McIntosh, MN.  She won the prize for the most outrageous pajamas.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Retreat! Retreat! Retreat!

I'm getting stuff ready to spend an entire weekend quilting with friends!  I'm attending a retreat with our local quilt shop and I'm so excited!  An entire weekend sewing while snuggled in a peaceful setting at Sand Hill Lake Bible Camp.  Someone else will cook for us, do the dishes,etc. and we can just sew, sew, sew!  I have already done the cutting part of the quilt that I'm going to make.  I think I can get the entire top completed during the retreat.  I'll take my camera and snap some pics when I'm "forced" to take an occasional break!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Free Pattern for National Craft Month!

Sewing Machine Applique
March is National Craft Month.  To celebrate I have designed an applique pattern to honor my favorite craft -- SEWING!  Check it out and download the free pattern at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Virtual Shop Hop

I love a shop hop as much as any quilter -- maybe even more.  Unfortunately, we've had a seriously harsh winter up here in the great white north and people (including me) have been sticking a little closer to home.  Fortunately, that hasn't kept me from hopping around the quilt shops.  I have become a great fan of virtual shop hops... you know -- hopping and shopping around in cyberspace!  And you can win prizes without getting out of your pajamas!
I want to share two online shop hops that I have thoroughly enjoyed.  The first appeals to me on two levels -- my quilting passion and my love of mysteries.  Quilting is Murder can be found at and it consists of about a dozen shops -- referred to as Killer Quilt Shops. 
There are weekly deals on the websites and a clue is revealed to get you a super discount after visiting the shops.  Also revealed weekly is an installment to a quilting mystery.  There are weekly prizes and some fantastic grand prizes -- as in sewing machine, etc. --  The current shop hop is almost over so check it out soon!
quilting is murder    fabshopbunny
The other online shop hop that I enjoy is at and this is a HUGE hop.  There are over 100 shops participating and you go from shop to shop to find the FabShop bunny hopping around.  You can find super deals and get wonderful inspiration during this process.  This is a month-long hop and they have them several times throughout the year.  As you hop around, you will reveal the patterns to a complete quilt.  You can download the quilt pattern for use at your leisure.  The last one I did was a wonderful quilt with houses and other buildings that comprise a village.  The current patterns will make up a fantastic cupcake quilt.
So don't let the weather keep you from checking out the latest and greatest at the quilt shop.  You can do that from the comfort of your recliner with your laptop.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paper Piecing Fun!

This is my favorite paper piecing project ever!!!!
Yesterday I spent the afternoon teaching a friend to paper piece.  She did a great job and, even though she started out thinking that this was not such a great idea, she was zipping right along making her own blocks with no assistance from me by the end of the afternoon. 

I had a great time and decided it may be time share a few paper piecing tips with all my friends.  Click on this link -- Paper Piecing Tips -- to get some, you guessed it!, paper piecing tips.  I'm not sure where I got these tips.   I found them in my notebook and I have no idea who wrote them.  There is no author listed, but I have found the information invaluable when paper piecing.

I love paper piecing because it virtually guarantees that you get perfect points EVERY time!  Anyone who knows me can attest to how crazy I get about my points.  You can also construct complex patterns with ease using paper piecing.  The picture above is part of a windmill quilt that I made using paper piecing.
If you love my pinwheel quilt, email me at and I will email the paper pattern to you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fast and Easy Blocks Video

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
You have got to check out this video!  This gives instructions on how to make the easiest block ever than can be used to create many designs.  Jenny Doan is one of my new favorite quilters by the way.  She also has an online class called Quilting Quickly that focuses on how to use the precut fabrics like jelly rolls, charm packs, etc.

Spectacular Class!

Yesterday was a very productive day.  Housework done, check.  Quilt delivered to customer, check.  Next quilt loaded on frame, check.  Ending the day with a spectacular class with many quilting friends, check.  Told you -- productive day.  Now I'm at my daughter's house spending some quality time with my granddaughters while my daughter, son-in-law and grandson do some ice fishing.  We prefer to spend our free time indoors!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Big Green Monster!

I got my new-to-me quilting machine just before Christmas.  It took a little while for my DH to get it all set up for me and even longer for me to figure out how it all works.  I've used some of the newer machines, but this gem is actually 18 years old.  I call it The Big Green Monster!monster 1
This machine has no computerization -- no stitch regulator and is totally quilter driven!  Prior to getting this setup, I was quilting on a Grace Pinnacle Frame with my Janome 6500P.  I also had the Grace Surestitch regulator.  It was actually a pretty sweet setup except for the lack of throat space.  Purchasing a new midarm or longarm was cost prohibitive for me so I started looking for a used machine and frame.  A quilting friend found this setup in a farming newspaper and got it for a song!  When she got it home, she decided that she didn't really have room for the 12' table so she sold it to me.  I've been practicing on it throughout the month of January and I've been running customer quilts on it for about 3 weeks now.  I love it!  I still yearn for an APQS longarm -- and someday I'll have it -- but for now The Big Green Monster has proven to me that I don't need all that technology to be a quilter.  My love and talent for this craft is really all I need.

Monday, February 7, 2011

OMG! Check out the 2011 Quilt Minnesota Fabrics!

quilt minnesota focus
I just came across the 2011 Quilt Minnesota fabrics that will be available for this year's annual Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop.  I LOVE THEM!!!  I have been an avid Quilt Minnesota fan since they started and I have spent waaaaay too much on the different fabric lines -- until last year anyway.  I didn't really care for the monochromatic look of last years line.  They made up for it this year!!  I am so impressed I think I will probably spend twice as much this year!  Check the fabrics out here --

Super Good Pasta Recipe!

I've had a satisfying day in my studio.  Spent part of the day on a customer quilt and then spent awhile on one of my own.  I took a break to do a little thread shopping at my favorite thread website --  I'll be carrying these threads on my website soon!  Anyway -- before I knew it my stomach was tickling my backbone.  I forgot to eat!!!  Talk about having a good time!  So I rambled into the kitchen to find something quick and easy.  Pasta is one of my favorites and since I was in the mood for something creamy I pulled this recipe out of my recipe box.  I got it from awhile back, but it's delicious!  It's also quick and easy so it was exactly what my tummy was demanding.  Give it a try sometime!
Creamy Penne Pasta


  • 1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Stir in garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, tomato, salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until melted. (Add meat, if desired, at this time.) Heat through, toss with cooked pasta and serve.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Never too old or too experienced to learn something new!

I found the most spectacular online quilting course online.  The teacher is Jenny Doan and she's really good.  She has been quilting for ages and has lots of knowledge to share.  This particular set of ten courses is based on pre-cuts.  You know, charm packs, jelly rolls, etc. but the tips, tricks and information are useful on any project.  The thing is that you can sew along with these lessons and actually end up with a quilt top.  One lesson results in a tote bag!  If you use this link to get there, you can get all 10 lessons for 50% off.  That's only $25 for 10 lessons!  And these are REAL classes!  Once you're registered, you can go back whenever you want for as long as you want!  I'm including a link below to a 2 1/2 minute tip clip so you can see Jenny.  Remember -- this is just a tip clip.  The lessons are complete classes!  Check it out!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Free online quilting magazine!

Since we are all doing the blogging thing -- either reading, writing, or both -- we are obviously well aware that the computer has become an integral part of the quilting world.  I guess I didn't realize how much I depend upon it though until yesterday when I couldn't find the cord to my laptop and the battery was dead!  How was I going to get to the pattern I needed in my Fons and Porter magazine?  What?  I had to go search through my stacks of magazines for the ACTUAL magazine?  I can usually just log on to my computer and find my pattern in a snap in the digital magazine.  Now I find I'm dependent on my virtual copies of my magazines.
Trust me, I still love my good old fashioned magazine.  I get a tingle down my spine every time I open my mailbox and see a beautiful quilt picture snuggled in with the bills and advertising.  I leaf through the pages and enjoy the feel of the paper and the smell of fresh ink.  I drag it to my friend's homes for coffee gatherings to show them the latest projects I'm dreaming about, I tag the pictures that inspire me -- you know, all the things we do with our lovely quilt magazines.  But when it actually comes time to use a pattern, I find that I love to use the digital version.
If you haven't yet experienced the digital quilting magazine, go to this link and sign up for a FREE online subscription.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No quilting done today, but lots of fun anyway...

I left early this morning with my friend to do a little shopping.  Now where I live this is no small feat.  It's a one hour drive to get to a REAL shopping town but where there's a will there's a way.  Thankfully Mother Nature was cooperative today and we had good weather and good roads to go.  We had a good visit in the car and then our local HQ dealer showed us how to use the new gadget to reduce the time it takes to load a quilt.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the darn thing but it was pretty slick.  Did our shopping, went to Applebee's for lunch and visited for another hour on the way home. 
When I got home, I did a litlle practice quilting and then decided I needed a little more people time so I quite literally hung out at the Red Rooster (our local quilt shop all afternoon.  It was great fun!  I got to see all the new fabrics and hear the details about the upcoming retreat. 
Now I'm home -- gonna have a bite to eat and work on my Dear Jane quilt for awhile.  Tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oriental Obsession

I call this quilt Oriental Obsession.  It is one of the quilts that was on my UFO stack so I am one project closer to fulfilling my New Year's resolution.  There is a story behind the name of this quilt.
Several years ago I spotted this gorgeous fabric in a ginormous fabric store.  It called my name so loud that I heard over the other 10,000 bolts of fabric in this store.  That's no exaggeration!  Gruber's Quilt Shop has literally 10,000+ bolts of fabric.  I weaved my way past the many other fabrics that were teasing me and found my way to the rack where this fabric was displayed.

It was love at first sight and I HAD to have it.  The problem was, I had no idea what to do with a large print like this but I didn't let that stop me.  I purchased this focus fabric and a quarter yard of all of the coordinating fabrics.  A very helpful quilter suggested that I also purchase enough of a coordinating fabric for backing since I had no idea what I was going to make with it.  So I went home with my very first oriental print fabric.  The first thing I did was hang the focus fabric on my wall above my workspace so I could find inspiration and perhaps decide what to make with it. 

This fabric hung there long enough to get dusty and I finally decided that I just couldn't cut it up so I decided to make an 8" piano key border to frame it.  I finished the top and it eventually ended up in my UFO pile waiting patiently to become a real quilt.

I kept the backing and binding fabric with the quilt and this week I finally put it on my frame and quilted it.  I used an allover clamshell quilting pattern because I didn't want to detract from my Oriental Obsession fabric.  I finished the binding last night and I just took it out of the dryer.  I hope this may inspire others to pull those poor little UFOs that have been waiting for years.  Maybe this is the time that they get to become REAL quilts!

Keeping my New Year's resolution!

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions.  Mainly because I stick to them for about 10 minutes.  This year though, I have made a serious one that I am determined to stick to this year!
I recently purchased a longarm and as a result had to do some serious rearranging and reorganizing to make it fit in my studio.  As a result, I ended up with a stack of UFOs that made me cringe.  This all happened at Christmas time and and I walked past this stack for a couple of weeks before the new year began so... my serious resolution.  I WILL finish these UFOs this year... PERIOD!  And I have already made a pretty good start.  Here are pictures of two quilts that I have finished since January 1st.
mocha meringue quilt