To Market to Market……

Part of being a shop owner is the purchasing for the shop. Fabric vendors (Moda, Hoffman, Andover, Art Gallery, etc) will come to us. They bring multiple stuffed suitcases and show us “strike offs” of fabrics that will be available in the coming months. We  order fabrics that we will not see for three to four months.

Market is different. We have the option of fall market in Houston every October, or spring market in varying locations (last year Portland, this year Pittsburg). Market is filled with pattern designers, book authors, new notions and more. It is four days of shopping, shopping, shopping. We take classes and look at EVERYTHING trying to pick the things that our customers will find interesting. We have to choose our upcoming BOM patterns and sift through all of the new ideas to see what is smart… and what is not….

This year we started by visiting some of our favorite people…



Terri Atkinson has the distinction of authoring three patterns on the top twenty in the U.S.   We love all of her stuff.  Super smart designer.


Tula Pink is showing her new fabric line. Beyond fabulous!! We ordered every piece… every color…. can’t wait for it to arrive!!


And of course we had to see what Sue Spargo has been up to. We are working on a workshop with her – she said she would love to come to our shop (her son went to college in Ellensburg!).


We are going to start a “Bird of the Month” Stitchery class in October… but for now that is a secret! I have to get started on the sample first…


We are also going to do a “Towel of the Month” club. I think that sounds like a lot of fun. We are going to laser cut the fusible appliques with our newest purchase… the Silhouette!

Here is a close up:


In addition to the applique, each towel has a cute little sewing technique lesson, this one features the folded ridge.

At the moment, we are crazy with at least 10 boxes coming in every day. It will be a challenge to display everything well enough to see what is new, interesting and intriguing. This means it is “clearance time”!! 24 new bolts in clearance yesterday, 14 so far today.

Rainbow Garden Block #2

This is our second Rainbow Garden Block. I thought I would post a few quick pictures for those of you that are doing the block at home. We mailed the kits out last week so you should have yours by now if you are doing this block of the month with us. I don’t have many stitches on mine yet, but at least you can see how it goes together.


As with the first block, I trace the pattern pieces onto freezer paper then iron them to the wool.  I cut everything out using my teflon Karen K Buckley scissors, and layer the pieces on my cotton backing that has been cut to 13″ x 13″.


Start with the petals and stems.


Then the center.



IMG_0615[1]Then the accent.

For the next step, I took a little creative license. I think the pattern called for another oval then a little circle, but I thought that looked like an eyeball. So I left the little circles off. I thought it would be a good place for some beads and french knots!

Last step is to add the leaves, then have fun stitching things down! Next block will be on it’s way in just 3 weeks!

Rainbow Garden Block #2
Rainbow Garden Block #2

Wool Flower Pincushion




This sweet little wool flower pincushion was our featured “Pincushion-of-the-Month” for our last class. We typically have seasonal pincushions (Christmas trees, bunnies, pumpkins, etc) and now that we are finally having some nice weather, I wanted to do something with flowers!

This pattern is pretty simple, we have a free template for you at the bottom of the post. It is a simple pdf file you can download, print off, and use to make your own Spring Pincushion! We also have a few kits available on our website for just $8.99. The kit includes the linen fabric for the top and bottom (in lime green or red), the template for the flowers and all of the wool to make your bundle of fresh flowers. We don’t often offer the pincushion club pattern/kits to those not in the class, but we had a little too much fun with this one. And since it was my drawing, I can give it away if I want!

The kits will come like this…. with lime green or red linen.


So let’s get started!! It was pretty simple to make.

I started with two pieces of linen, 4” x 10”.



This is Moda’s linen, it retails for only $12.99                                                                                  and comes in quite a few fabulous colors.

Next, take the  drawings and trace about 15 flowers onto freezer paper, all varied sizes (there are four flowers and a leaf on the template).  To use freezer paper with wool applique  you put the plastic side down and trace onto the paper side, then rough cut around them before positioning them on the color of felt you would like to use.

Then take them to the iron and iron the freezer paper to the wool.  The purpose of the freezer paper is of course to make a cutting template, but it will also stabilize the wool while you cut it.


I always use Karen K Buckley’s Teflon scissors when I cut wool. The blades have a nice serrated edge that prevents that occasional “slipping” you might feel with regular scissors. If you can’t find these in your local shop, we sell them for $19. They are a must have for all of our wool classes


After you have cut out all of your flowers, just throw the left over stack away. In theory you can use the iron on templates up to three times, but I find with wool, you really want the stabilization of the cutting line, So I don’t often reuse them.


  The next part is the BEST PART!!! Flower arranging!

Just layer your flowers, grouping colors and shapes, beads and maybe some french knots. You will want to stay at least 1/2″ away from the edge so that the flowers don’t get caught in the seam.

Then layer the other piece of linen on top, right sides together, and sew around the edge, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave an opening for turning and filling.


Next comes the four box bottoms. Pretty simple. You just line up the seams, making a point, measure in 1/2 inch and sew across, then clip off the tip.


When you have done all four corners, turn your pincushion right sides out. Carefully.

image (1)

Final part… the stuffing. I poured in about a cup of walnut shells (my favorite pincushion filling), then I topped it off with a tiny pit of poly fiberfill. I do that so I can stitch it closed without the walnut shells falling out!

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This was our class making their pincushions…..

And these were their finished tops!!

Have fun making your own spring pincushion!! 

CLICK HERE to get your PDF flower template







I finally finished the quilt that was on Pinky. This “Log Cabin Garden” is a great pattern from the Woolen Willow. We did this as a block of the month. It is made of wonderful flannel (“woolies” by Maywood Studio) and wool applique.

Each log cabin block is a 12″ block, so the wool applique section is 24″ x 24″. That black cat is 19″ tall!!!

I took the picture with the quilt laying outside in the backyard. I hope the light is good enough for you to see the lines and the echoing. I still have to remove some of the chalk, I like the iron-erase chalk, so removing it will just take a second.

My next quilt loaded on the machine is one of the quilts for the retreat house. It is a half log cabin pattern that features a center block, it is my pattern, I call it “Crackers”.


It is a pretty easy to make using jelly rolls, or in this case, bali pops. The center blocks are wonderful fabric images from Tom Murphy photography.


This little guy is my favorite!!! I will post a picture when it is quilted, I am heading to quilt market in Pittsburgh, so it will be a week.

Happy Quilting!!!

Too Much to Do!!

Such a busy week!! Lots of late nights, and still too far behind!

I teach 15 classes/month, five are this week and I have only done the preparation for two of them. That may not sound so bad, but three of the five are hand stitching. Yikes.  Maybe I need to step it up by adding earlier mornings to my late nights!

One reason I am so busy is because of our new venture. We bought a beautiful five bedroom, two bathroom house that we are turning into a retreat center. It is a beautiful home, but it needs a little work, and unfortunately, we closed 7 days later than anticipated.

We already scheduled the open house… which is just 3 weeks away.


Does this yard look like it is ready for an open house? Two sore days later, it is starting to look better, even the grass is starting to green up. But we still have to re-tile the bathroom, fix the grout in the kitchen, fix a kitchen cabinet, replace the kitchen sink, put in the bathroom pedestal, install all new appliances, fix some dry wall, paint, install window coverings, shampoo the rugs, clean, and of course, furnish.

In addition, we are making 10 new quilts for all of the beds. Yes, I do have LOTS of quilts. Just none in the size I need!!

Worse yet… I am leaving for quilt market next Monday. Brianna and I will be gone for a week, we’ll get back just four days before the open house for the retreat house.

But I am not panicking. My life is often like this. I just have to slow down and focus. Prioritize and complete thing at a time. My favorite quote is wisdom from India: “To consume an entire elephant, you must take one bite at a time.”

So tonight, I am finishing up a quilt on the machine and working on one of the upcoming classes.

I have three customer quilts to get done before I can start quilting the retreat house quilts. This one is called Log Cabin Garden. It was a block of the month we just finished up. It is flannel log cabin blocks with wool applique. The original pattern had 6 different applique patterns, I drew up 3 extra so we would end up with an 84″ x 84″ quilt.

log cabin gardenThis is the original pattern, I added a goose, a saltbox house and a tree (pics tomorrow when it is all the way done). We cut a few more kits after the class due to it’s popularity in the shop. The flannel, pattern (plus the extra three) and all of the wool is just $280. We have three left. It’s a very good price considering the amount of wool that is in the kit. The cat pictured is 14″ tall!

IMG_0557[1]The hardest part about quilting is the planning. Feathers? Outline? Filler? Edge work? Stencils? Too many options for a busy brain. For this quilt I am going to do a random primitive feather in the border, diagonal lines, echo and a filler.

The feather is the easiest part. I love feathers. I always have to be careful – not everything looks good with feathers on it.



I always start with a line. I feather around the line, then stitch my center line last. I think that may be backwards, but if I don’t do it that way, I end up with a very thick, scribbly center.


I like primitive feathers, they have separated plumes.IMG_0558[1]For the diagonal lines I first need to draw the lines. I am using a chalk pen and a basic ruler. I am not guiding the machine along the ruler, I am just using the ruler to mark the lines, one inch apart. I like to use the chacoliner filled with the iron off white chalk.



IMG_0561[1]This was my last picture, but I was actually halfway done when I stopped. I like the way it is turning out. My machine is a trooper. Flannel back, wool batt, flannel top and sometimes three layers of wool. No problem for my 18g needle and 50 wt thread. Full picture tomorrow.

On to class prep for A Rainbow Garden. WONDERFUL quilt!! Our new wool block-of-the-month for this year. We just started on our first block.




This block is wool applique on Diamond Textiles wovens. We’ve added Kathi’s embroidered suggestions and my favorite… beads! I have a bunch of the french knots done, but lots of embroidery left!

But it will have to wait…I have to head to bed. Up early tomorrow to finish the machine quilting, make a pincushion for pincushion club, cut the blocks and type the handout for Prairie Women’s Sewing Circle and piece the shower curtain for the Retreat House.

IMG_0443[1]Fred is unconcerned with the amount of work that has to be done. He heads to bed by 8pm every night (wish I could do that). He is our blind lab. You’d never guess he was blind. He gets around just fine. His nose is beyond perfect.  And no.. that is not a staged picture. He sleeps in the spare room with a pillow, a cat and a teddy. He doesn’t get a quilt… he sheds too much for that.

So it’s time for me to make like Fred… and head to bed.

Good night!

Late Night of Machine Quilting

Even though every spare moment is filled, I find I am not half as stressed as when I was working in medicine. And although I am often running behind with my projects… there is a tiny bit of joy in the fact that it is my job to quilt. Tonight I worked on an upcoming class, spent some time planning the quilts for the new Retreat House (soooo exciting!), and now I have to finish a customers quilt.

I love to longarm. I have been machine quilting for 16  years. I started on a Gammil Optima, but now I have an Innova, in fact I have the first Innova. My serial number 001 (there is a 2007 in front of it). I bought his first machine and I was his first dealer. To date, we have sold 372 machines. I’m not sure if that sounds like a lot or not. It seems like a lot…. it was a lot of 2 day owner classes! IMG_0542At home, I have Jordan’s old bedroom converted into “Pinky’s” room. Interesting fact… the Innova was first called the Pinky, and it only came in 18″ pink. The name was changed to Innova the second year, and the 26″ was added in the nice “champagne” color we know today. The 22′ model didn’t come until a few years later and it is now our top selling model.

The quilt I am working on as a lovely “Raining Cats and Dogs” pattern by Bunny Hill. We did this as a block-of-the-month and just finished up in February. IMG_0546


I love mixed daisies.


Really fun quilt. Many opportunities to add filler after outlining with the ruler. There are lots of starts, stops and knots, but I always hide those in the seams so they’re not noticeable.

All done. This quilt is all finished up. I thought I would share these few pictures, but at the moment I don’t have a great way to hang up a quilt and take a better picture. I will figure something out before tomorrow night.

In the meantime, before it is too late, I still have to complete quarterly taxes, check e-mails and write the pattern and sales sheet for tomorrows class.

But as I said before, no stress, just a lack of time.I love my job, I just wish I had 48 hour days!