Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Of blood, frogs, and wild beasts...

I am making a table runner with blood, frogs and wild beasts. And did I also mention locusts, lice, hail and boils? Fortunately these disgusting things are not in my Studio, but printed on the fabric. I am making a table runner with the ten plagues for Passover. This will be a gift for my sister-in-law Susan. I think that the kids will get a big kick out of it.

The ten plagues from top left, read vertically: blood, lice, cattle disease, hail,
darkness, frogs, wild beasts, boils, locusts and slaying of the first born.
It is bordered with a matzo print.
I ordered the table runner as a kit last year from 1-800-Dreidel. It was back-ordered, so I wasn't able to get it until after Passover of last year. 1-800-Dreidel features a wide selection of fun and unusual Judaica including craft supplies such as Jewish-themed fabric, patterns, and kits.

It has been quick and easy to make. I put the top together on Sunday and layered and quilted it last night. All I have to do is add the binding. I ordered extra matzo fabric, so I may make some pillowcases for my nephews and my niece.

Hope there's no wild beasts in your studio!

Pugs and kisses,

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rangeley Maine Quilt Retreat

This weekend my husband Mike and I journeyed up to Rangeley, Maine for a romantic vacation of skiing and quilting. Mike did the skiing while I did the quilting. We stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast, the Pleasant Street Inn. The proprietors, Rob and Jan, couldn't have been nicer and the Inn was just fabulous. Jan is also a quilter, so I peeked into all the guest rooms to see more of her quilts and dresser scarves. Our room had a super comfortable king size bed, complete with a nine-patch quilt and a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, perfect for soaking away aches and pains from a long day of quilting or skiing. The bathroom even had a heated tile floor! We saw deer in the back yard every morning. Rob is an accomplished cook and we had yummy waffles and blueberry french toast for breakfast!

Mike went skiing at Saddleback. He is having fun trying out different mountains each time he takes a ski trip and he thought that Saddleback was one of the best mountains he's tried so far. He had a blast!

Best of all was that I was able to go with him. Sometimes I go on Mike's ski trips and just sew by myself in our hotel room, which can get kind of lonely. Mike went web surfing and found the Cabin Fever Reliever Weekend for me at the Threads Galore Quilt Shop, owned by Carol and Dan Perkins, so I was able to spend my whole weekend sewing with a group of other quilters. What fun!

Threads Galore is a full service quilt shop and they also have a retreat center next door. Your quilt group can rent the retreat center and hold their own quilting weekend. There is a full kitchen and several bedrooms upstairs. The retreat will hold up to nine quilters comfortably.

The work space is great, spacious and full of natural light. We sewed every day from 9 to 5. The retreat also included lunch, home-made daily by Dan, Carol's husband and business partner.
Everyone got their own table and design wall.

There was a large cutting table and three ironing stations.

My workspace at the retreat.

Our project for the weekend was Galaxy by Deb Tucker.

Here are the different size units for the different block sizes, shown below. The itty bitty one at the top finishes to one inch and is NOT part of the pattern. Dan is making a quilt with one inch pieces, which I will show you towards the end of the blog.

You can make the quilt in three different sizes, simply by choosing a different size block.
Shown at top is the small block, then the large block, and the medium block.
I chose a palette of black and blue inspired by the blue and black print shown second from the left.

This was one of the beautiful class samples. This is the small size quilt.

This is the other class sample, shown in the medium size.
Our group had seven people, plus our instructor, Carol. The shop is right next door, so we could take a break at any time and shop. The inventory is fairly traditional in nature but they do have a small room of batik (one of my favorites). Carol also sells the full line of Deb Tucker's patterns and rulers. They had lots of samples made up in the shop that inspired me to purchase a few new patterns. It was great to see all the bag samples so I could easily see the finished size. I bought some really pretty black and white fabric to make the Tahiti tote. The fabric will be featured in the Maine Shop Hop in April.

Here I am with my new quilt in progress. I got a lot done!
Sue's quilt, using the large size blocks

Ella's quilt

Peggy's quilt, a wedding gift for her son.

Betsy's quilt, a gift for her granddaughter.
Our instructor Carol was working on these
wonky star blocks, made from her scrap stash.

Dan came in to show off his star quilt in progress.
Each star block is a tiny three inches finished.

Here is a close-up. Each individual piece in the block finishes to one inch!

Larry Pug, Mike and Elvis (Romeo is sleeping in his crate).
Today is Monday, February 18th which is Presidents' Day in the United States, and also the day that Mike and I went on our first date five years ago in 2008. We both have the day off from work and are going to eat lunch at Minerva, which is where we met and also where Mike proposed. On Wednesday, February 20th, we will celebrate our first year of marriage!

Happy Anniversary Babe! Love You!

Happy Presidents' Day!

Pugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In the mood for Valentine's Day

I don't remember what I did for Valentine's Day last year, probably because Mike and I were busy getting ready to get married six days later on the 20th. I can't believe that our one-year anniversary is almost here (Love you, Mike!).

This past Sunday night, as per my New Year's quilting resolution, I went shopping at Nancy's House of Fabric (aka my fabric stash). I found some really nice Valentine's Day fabrics, fortunately not as large a stash as my Chanukah fabrics. I pulled out a few to play with. Aren't they pretty?

Next, I went to the basement in search of something completely different, and found this instead.
These were a bunch of heart blocks that I received in an Internet block swap back in 1997. Yes, that makes them 16 years old. They were very happy to leave the basement and jump on the design wall. I pulled out three of my favorites and have decided to make a skinny wall hanging with them for the back of my door. Which order do you prefer?
Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

My preference is running between Option 1 and Option 3. I am going to put some pretty sashing between the blocks and add a border. It probably won't be done by tomorrow, but I'll be ready for next year.

Joannie came over on Monday night and she decided that she could use the other blocks to make a Valentine's Day wall hanging for her Mom. I'm sure that hers will get finished before mine.

Joannie's wall hanging layout
Although I'm really happy that the blocks are finally going to be used, there's just one problem. The bag they were in was labelled Set 2, which means that there must be another set lurking somewhere else in my house!

I also found this Valentine's Day panel which I just had to have, so much so, that I ordered it from an Etsy shop in England back in 2009.
So far, it has also taken up residence in the Home for Unfinished Projects, but I vow to make something with it this year.
Here are my three little puggy Valentines, Romeo, Elvis (in back) and Larry.
Here I am with my #1 Valentine, my husband Mike. This is on our honeymoon in Hawaii last year.
My first February finish: Mike's Valentine's Day pillowcases, made from 100% fabric stash!

Mike's favorite candy, a gift for tomorrow.
Hope you have a great Valentine's Day!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Girls of the Cape (Part 4)

A blog post in photos.
At lunch with Joannie, Marion and Sue.



Kim P






Sally shows off her coveted Golden Iron award for excellence in pressing. She is the President of the Ironing Club.






It's not a quilt weekend without cake

Me, Marion, Sue and Joannie

I brought Mike a 64 oz Growler of home made beer from the Cape Cod Beer works.

The view from Joannie's thread box.