Thursday, May 28, 2015


A funny thing happened to my plans.  You know that saying..... "Man makes plans and God laughs"?  Yeah.  That happened.

Remember when I talked about moving?  That was funny, wasn't it?

We did plan on moving.  We put the house up for sale.  There was a sign in the yard and people came at all hours to look.  Then we took the sign down.

While all this was going on we packed up lot of stuff and moved it into storage units.  We gave a whole bunch of stuff away and we threw truckloads away.  What we soon discovered is that we liked our house when it wasn't cluttered with my sewing stuff.  It's a nice house with a backyard for Gibby and it's close to everywhere we want to go.

What you may not know is that our house is a duplex.  We live in the upper level and our laundry room was downstairs.  There was also a Mother-in-Law apartment downstairs.  There have been many good tenants over the years, one bad one, and one TERRIFIC one.  Now the apartment was empty.  The thing I have wanted through all this was an un-cluttered house and a separate place for my fabric and sewing - and now we might just get it.

The apartment is being renovated into a sewing oasis for me.  Whee!!!!

All I have to show you today are the scary BEFORE pictures.  I hope to have some AFTER pictures soon.
 This will be the laundry room.  You know how you see pictures of those luxurious laundry rooms on Pinterest? This won't be one of them.
 This once was the living room of the apartment.  It will soon have a design wall, a comfy chair or loveseat, and a huge cutting table in front of that window.  This room, I hope, will be a bit prettier than the laundry room.
 The living room moves over into a L-shape kitchen.  Or what was once a kitchen.  I hope to have room for a computer desk, a printer, sewing machine, ironing table, and my vintage drafting table.
 The bedroom will be bookcase after bookcase of fabric storage and the closet will have shelves of quilts.
The original 1952 bathtub has been torn out and will be replaced with a tidy walk in shower.

The only beautiful thing I have to show you is this......

It's a gorgeous mini fridge that will hold my fizzy water and diet cokes.  It waits patiently in the garage to be installed into it's new home.



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Month 6 of Austin Bluebird Sampler

 I started Month 6 of the Austin Bluebird Sampler a little early.  Knowing my schedule coming up next month, I thought it wise to get it done this holiday weekend or not get it done at all.  What we have here is right side of month 6.  The Crossed Canoe block is actually 4 identical (2 positive and 2 negative in color) paper pieced blocks.  I wish I could tell you I used some nifty paper made especially for paper piecing.  I actually own some, but it is somewhere packed in a storage unit.  I just used what was in my printer. I figured I could fudge it with just these 4 small blocks.  It worked perfectly.  Someone on Instagram accused me of making these super-duper points with just regular machine piecing.  Nope.  Paper piecing it is.  This sampler has you do a little bit of everything.

There were 2 appliqué blocks in Month 6.  The large bluebird block and the melon, or orange peel block.
The melon slices are English Paper Pieced.  I have used this technique before in my Saint Germain quilt.
There are templates provided in Month 6.  I cut the larger template out of plastic and used it to cut out 2 light and 2 dark melons out of the blue and white fabric.  I used the smaller template provided and cut out 4 paper melons.  I glue basted the fabric to the paper.
 You can't see it, but I put glue all along the edge of the paper melon.
 Next, I just noodged the fabric up over the paper edge.  It isn't perfect on the back, but pretty spiffy on the front.
These are the easiest appliqués to stitch down as your edges are all turned for you.  I stitched all the way around the melon then cut a slit in the back side of the background fabric behind the melon and pulled out the paper.
The bluebird block is the exact block we copied from the original antique quilt.  Almost exactly.  I added the cherries. It's goofy, but charming, and it was our starting point of this quilt.  Thank you to the anonymous quilt maker who made it over 100 years ago.

Tomorrow I leave for a lecture/trunk show and 2 classes in Grand Rapids for the West Michigan Quilter's Guild.  I hope to see you there.

Everyone have a peaceful Memorial Day with your loved ones.

P.S.  I just heard from Karen and Paul in Australia that some new Star-A-Day patterns are shipping soon.  I just put them back up in the Etsy store and I will be able to ship to you when I get back from my road trip.

P.P.S. Polly wants me to remind you that our American Summer Sale will start on the14th of June - Flag Day.  There will be lots of red, white, and blue things for you to get for your summer festivities.  



Monday, May 18, 2015

Back From Minneapolis

We're back. We're exhausted. We had a wonderful time.  We had our priorities in order.  Once we hung up the quilts - we started to charge our phones.
The theme seemed to be Buttons!  I believe every one's luggage clanked a bit when it went through security.  

The new thing that was unveiled was this new Moda pre-cut/beautiful thing.  It's called a Frivol™.  It's a 7" square pre-cut, a pattern, and some other wonderful things.  This is the Minick and Simpson Frivol™ and we will be offering them in our Etsy store in October.  The quilt in the background can be made with the Frivol™.  

I came home to mounds of mail and loads of laundry.  I also saw that we sold out of several items in our Etsy store.  I loaded up more of these.....

And these......

We now have these back in stock.  I know a lot of you have been waiting a long time.
Mrs. Billings Coverlet Patterns

Karen at Somerset Patchwork, who produces these patterns, showed me this new one - it's called STAR-A-DAY
This pattern, which has the acrylic templates included.....
lets you make adorable, teeny LeMoyne stars.  These are great for hand piecers.  The idea with this pattern is that you make one 3" LeMoyne star block a day - for one year - and you can make this 345 star quilt which finishes to a stunning 81" square. 
Karen has talked me into making this.  I'll start sometime next month as I have a boatload of other work in front of me right now.  But a star a day?!?! I can do that.  So can you.   I believe my scrap box is calling for a project like this. You can find the pattern HERE in our etsy store.

I'll have more soon.  I'm also supposed to remind you of our upcoming event.  We are going to have a American Summer sale starting on June 14th - Flag Day.  This sale will run for 1 week and we will have books and patterns on sale, special items, and even very special auctions for one of a kind stuff.  



Monday, May 4, 2015

Month 5 of The Austin Bluebird Sampler

This is the Month 5 addition to the Austin Bluebird Sampler quilt I am making.  You know that this version is from my scrap bin and it is all blue fabric.

What tips do I have for you on this section? Well, I found my 3 1/2" square ruler very, very useful.  Everything but the 2 flying geese and that one large half-square triangle are made up of 3 1/2" square unfinished units.  That makes sense since I designed this quilt on multiples of 3's.  All the pieced blocks finish to 3", 6", 9", or 12".  I made all these 3" half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles a bit large.  The instructions have you cut 3 7/8" squares and cut in half diagonally.  I just oogded it up a bit and made them 4" squares (you will have plenty of fabric in your kits to do this).  I cut the 4" squares in half diagonally and made just like the instructions say.  I then took my handy dandy 3 1/2" square ruler and trimmed them all to be perfect.  That, people... is the only way I get perfect piecing.  Make a bit bigger and trim to size.

The quarter square triangle instructions have you cut a 4 1/4" square and cut twice diagonally.  I oogded it up to 4 3/8" square, cut twice diagonally and trimmed down.  Easy peasy.

This is months 1-5 laid out.  Month 1, 2, and 3 are sewn together in 1 big block.  Months 4 and 5 are still separate.  After Month 6 is done - then this will all be in one piece.  It will be the left side of the quilt.



Friday, May 1, 2015

Blog Takeover

 Hello, my name is Annie and I live in Florida.  I work all the time. Because of that I am often exhausted. Naps are my favorite hobby. 
My name is Gibby and I live in Michigan.  This is my favorite picture of myself.  Everyone says I looks handsome.  I do!

The main part of my job is to make sure this nice man stops every day and delivers and takes away boxes.  Lots and lots of boxes.  I have this nice man trained so that he even stops on days that there aren't any boxes. Here he is giving me a treat.  He's a genius.
I also never stop helping! Here I am supervising the packaging of something called a quilt pattern.  Do these people not know this huge ottoman is for me and my comfort?

Nothing goes to print without my okay.

These swishy things are pieces of fabric. The decisions never are easy, but I try.  If I had my choice, I would spend my day dancing.....


Annie and Gibby

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April Installment of the Austin Bluebird Sampler

This has been my project the last couple of days.  This is the appliqué block from Month 4 of the Austin Bluebird Sampler quilt.  I am re-making this quilt in my blue scraps.  The pieced blocks are quite easy, flying geese and half-square triangles (I'll show those soon).  This part of the installment gets the most questions.  In particular - the wreath.  It's very easy.  It is the first thing you appliqué.

Using the template provided in the pattern you draw a circle onto freezer paper and then iron the freezer paper onto the right side of the wreath fabric.  You cut out the green circle (or dark blue in my case) and center it onto your 19" square background fabric.

Appliqué the circle down leaving openings at the dots.  You can find these "dots" by laying a ruler corner to corner of the block and where the ruler touches the circle - these are your dots.

Using the template provided, press the smaller freezer paper circle template back onto the green circle and draw around this freezer paper template.  Trim the green center circle 1/8" away from your drawn line (being careful not to cut into the background block).  Applique the inner wreath making sure to leave openings at North, South, East, and West on your circle for the birds feet to tuck under.
Once you have this sewn, you can appliqué the birds (tucking their feet into the openings that you left) and the leaves and berries.  The last thing is to sew the cherry stems using a stem stitch and 12wt thread - or floss.

Here are all the parts of Month 4 - along with the Months 1-3.......

As you can see - it is still in chunks.  Once I get to Month 6 - this will be in one piece and will complete the left side of the quilt.  That genius construction is from Lisa C.  I drew this pattern out and appliquéd all the blocks of the original quilt.  Leigh Ann pitched in and pieced many of the blocks.  Lisa looked at my drawing and figured out how to break up the construction into months.  And month after month is added to what you previously have - so by the time you get to Month 11 - your quilt is in 2 pieces - and you only have one seam to sew.  This quilt will never hang around in your closet or your shelves among the WIP's.  It will finish quickly.

Have you heard about this?

The next blog post on Friday will be written by someone else.  Come back to see who.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Polka Dot and Paisley Quilts

I sewed the last of the binding down on these quilts today and loaded up the patterns in our Etsy store.  May I introduce.....
From left to right.... Sweet William, Harbor Springs, and Polka Dot Garden.

 Sweet William is half-square triangles, strips, and the centers are from our printed bandana fabric from the Polka Dot and Paisleys collection.  The printed bandanas are a cheater cloth than can be used whole as a great backing for quilts - or cut up and the bandanas used separately.  They were from a collection of a woman's bandanas that were all polka dotted in some way.  We love them. Sweet William is 82" x 82" and the physical pattern is HERE and the digital download is HERE.
 Harbor Springs is our version of an antique quilt.  Isn't she lovely? Pinwheels and baskets all go together quite easily.  She measures 68" x 85" and the physical pattern is HERE and the digital download is HERE.
 Way over on the right is Polka Dot Garden.  This is both an applique quilt and a pieced quilt.  I made it entirely from my scrap basket.  You can use all your Minick and Simpson scraps too.  It measures 65" x 74" and the physical pattern is HERE and the digital download is HERE.  We will have kits of this - or the selling of pre-kits - in June.  Sadly, all the shirtings I am ordering won't get here until August.

 I don't know if you can see my hand quilting, but I quilted it in close rows with big stitch quilting.  The quilting rows are spaced randomly (just to bother some of you.  I'm talking to you Leigh Ann) I used a light blue Aurifil 12wt thread.  I will be stocking this thread in the Etsy store.  I will stock some basic colors that I use - red, cream, light blue, black, and some others.
This is my blue and white Austin Bluebird Sampler in progress.  This is months 1, 2, and 3 sewn together.  I wish I could give you some wisdom on month 3 (the pinwheel, the sailboat and the modified 9 patch on the bottom section).  It is all basically strips, squares, and half square triangles.  No secret tips to pass on - except my personal preference.  I press seams open.  Yes, even for strips and half square triangles.  I know to press to the darker side is easier and faster - and you can nest your seams when you do the 4 patches - but..... I find I do better piecing when I press my seams open.   It the less bulk I think.  That's as much wisdom as I can possibly pass on today.  I'm a little tired.

We hope you like our new additions.  



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