Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snowed In

I just returned from my annual quilt retreat with my best quilting buddies, this weekend goes by soooo FAST. We go to a state park about 30 miles out of town on the Platte River. We had such a harrowing start to our weekend. The weather forecast was for snow flurries and maybe 1 - 3 inches of “sweepable snow”, not a big deal for February in Nebraska. We all left town about the same time and our short 30 mile drive landed us in the middle of sudden blizzard like icy road conditions and very heavy snow. The visibility was near zero, there were several accidents and cars in ditches, and before long two interstates in the area were closed because of the multiple accidents.

In the end we all made it safely to our cabin in the woods (one of our group of 10 wisely waited until the next day to come out and one of our out of state members was stuck overnight in Kansas City).
We also managed to get all of our sewing machines, ironing boards, Rubbermaid containers of fabrics and projects, food, suitcases, and ourselves safely into the cabin with no falls (albeit a few stuck cars that needed pushes up the hill-it is amazing what quilters can get done).
At that point we realized we were basically snowed in and who really cared, we would figure out how we were going to leave in a couple of days, we had sewing, and visiting to do.

Furniture rearranged to make room for sewing tables and machines,

couches on the edge of the room for hand sewing,

It was fun guys, I miss you all already, we will be back again next February, but I am sure we will remember this retreat for a long time.Happy Stitching,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I have been reading

Just a quick post, I am packing for a quilt retreat this weekend with my best quilting buddies. In the last couple years we have stretched our weekend to a 4th day, I know, I know, the hardship, sewing and having fun with your friends for FOUR days.

I did want to share this wonderfully heartwarming book I just read, it is currently number one on the Amazon best seller list. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. It is written by a pastor from a small town in Nebraska, my home state. He has an easy reading story telling style of small town life, but more importantly it is a good lesson on having the faith of a child, and that heaven is for real!

Happy weekend and Happy Stitching,

Friday, February 18, 2011

On My Soapbox

Next weekend is my small group's annual quilt retreat and I have been setting out some things that I want to be sure and include in my packing. As you can see my priorities are right, along with fabric and a great new quilt book to share with my best quilting buddies is the popcorn, chocolate, peanuts, etc.

Speaking of the the quilt book, the very wonderful Civil War Sewing Circle by Kathleen Tracy, I had a little moment of indignation. Last week I was shopping at a local favorite quilt store with a friend and I picked up this book. We have all been hearing for several months that the price of cotton is going up due to shortages in the cotton production the last couple years and this shopping trip proved the shortage has reached us. The price of a yard of the latest fabrics at this particular store was almost $2.00 more than the some of the previous lines of fabric that came out last fall. But, back to the book. As I was setting things out to take on retreat I noticed the price sticker on the back of the book. Being the type A personality I am, I peeled it off and then the shock.

Underneath the sticker, in the bottom corner of the back of the book was the publisher's suggested price of the book. I have my own small machine quilting business and I know what wholesale is on the price of pattern books to quilt stores. The markup for the sticker cost was over 100% (actually 115% - I got out my calculator). I understand how tough the economy is and how hard it is to run a small business. I know the increase in cotton is hurting our quilt shops, and I have every intention to keep buying quality fabric for my quilts, but seriously, 100% markup? This reminds me of every little excuse to raise gas prices at the local gas stations. I could be appalled at the price gouging, but I am actually just hurt at the taking advantage of a loyal customer.

And that is my soapbox moment,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

CWBQ Border

I have been focusing most of my quilting time on the CWBQ. I think this is going to be my arrangement of the blocks. I did replace a couple of the lighter leaves in the strawberry block - block 8 in this arrangement. I think between placing the block in the center of the quilt and replacing those leaves it does not stick out as the lightest block in the quilt anymore. I am working on the two side borders. There are probably less leaves in a border than in some blocks.
My favorite color of YLI silk thread - 235 - a muddy brown that seems to match with almost all civil war fabrics is getting thin. I can actually see thru to the spool . I have never used a complete spool of thread on one applique project.

Machine quilting on YoYoville continues, this quilt is killing me. I just can't make myself stay in the sewing room and work on this quilt. I think it is all the 4 inch blocks in the center of the quilt- 300+ that is slowing me down and all that repetetive is boring.I have also been looking into the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. I would like to make a quilt for them, and I am thinking a little Hawaiian Quilt, I have been playing around with a pineapple papercut - trying to fill in a rectangle instead of a square.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tulip Time

Four years ago this past February my husband and I went on a trip to Seattle. I was charmed by all the street corner vendors selling tulips. An hour north of Seattle are tulip fields with rows and rows of tulips, every color in the rainbow. At the Pikes Place market in downtown Seattle there was a craftsman selling these very cool flower pots - so to speak.

It is a piece of local slate with a hole drilled in the center and a small cup placed there. In the cup is a little 'frog' with multiple pins that you stick the tulips in, add water, and viola a very neat sculpture with real flowers.

These Washington tulips seem to make their way to my local Walmart every winter. They are only available from mid January til the end of February.

I love tulips, I would like to have them all over my yard and have tried to plant them. My home is built in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, the location of a former cornfield. We have LOTS of wild rabbits. They love tulips, it is salad to them. They keep the little green shoots gnawed off to the ground every spring. So every year when my yard is covered in snow with rabbit tracks everywhere,

I splurge and buy tulips. A new bunch every week for the remaining winter, red, pink, yellow. They are great.

There are lots of tulips in my quilts, as in the Civil War Bride Quilt. I substituted some of the flowers for tulips.

There are, however, no appliqued rabbits in my quilts. None of the folksy little weather vane type jumping rabbit, I have enough of the real thing at my house. I hope they are looking thru my windows and noting the fresh tulips while they are chewing on my frozen evergreen bushes.

Happy Stitching,