Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stitch Supply Retreat

Several months ago I had the distinct privilege to be invited to attend the Stitch Supply Retreat in Altoona, Wisconsin. I met Ann Sandler at Sew South a few years ago when she had just started her online fabric business. In the few short years since the first Sew South retreat Ann has turned her online business into a brick and mortar fabric store and a beautiful retreat center. This retreat took place April 13-17, just a few weeks ago.

The retreat was by invitation and it was made up of almost all of our Stash Sew-ciety bee members and several of Ann's personal friends. There were 16 of us and we all had the very best time together. 
I tried to organize a bag swap but Jennifer and I were the only ones to participate. I ended up with a beautiful, large quilt as you go tote made of some of Jennifer's treasured fabrics. I made her a Gatherer's Cross Body Bag.
Ann's fabric store is beautifully bright and she has a wide selection of all the latest modern fabrics, patterns and books. She also carries yarn and several notions. It's a one stop shop for sure and if you are ever near Altoona, WI, be sure to stop by.
The kitchen is so cozy and comes complete with everything you can possible need to prep, cook and eat food. The wall of coffee mugs and the mixing bowl lights that Ann had specially made are just beautifiul.
The retreat house is attached to the fabric store, which is dangerous to the wallet, so say the least. It sleeps 16, in four elegant dormitory style bedrooms . Each room has a theme. I was in the Alison Glass room. We had our own cubby for our clothes and personal items, and an en suite bathroom.
There is a sitting room for knitting and when you need a break from the crowd. Even the mudroom was perfectly thought put with it's own entrance leading to the retreat center.
We are convinced that Ann did not leave anything out.Every detail was so carefully thought out. I'm wondering if she would consider franchising this plan, because it is perfection. Mr.Romance and I are thinking this would be a great retirement project for us...the Stitch Supply Company west coast division!

We all fell in love with the coverlets that Ann had on our beds, so as soon as I got home I ordered one for my guest room.

There were so many beautiful quilts being created by everyone. One of Ann's friends is a very talented painter. She was working on a painting of her 4 year old daughter. There were people knitting, someone was learning to make a quilt. There was so much talent and everyone was willing to share their knowledge. It really was a magical weekend.
I took my Curves not Curves quilt so I could get a photo with the bee gals who helped make it. There were 8 of the 10 in attendance. Not able to attend were Dana and Amy, and they were really missed. 

I cut out this entire quilt at home and arranged it and got it all sewn on the first full day at retreat.

I also took my Fancy Forest kit. I was able to get all the fabric cut and then pieced the first firefly. Man, these things take forever. So many sub-cuts. But, I think once complete, this will be a well loved quilt. 

I wanted to make one of each animal at the retreat but ended up making three foxes, one firefly, a bunny and an owl. I made the hedgehog since arriving home.

Ann has an electric  Go cutter, so several of us took advantage of it's availability and cut a flowering snowball quilt. I bought most of the Tiger Lily line by Heather Ross in Ann's shop and then filled it in with a few other coordinating prints. I started a few blocks at the retreat and then finished it this week at a home sew day with friends. More details when I get ready to quilt it.
I also used the Go cutter to cut the scraps from the snowball quilt into mini clam shells and also 2-1/2" squares for some future projects. There was not much waste by cutting these shapes for future projects.

There is so much more I can say about this retreat. The food was catered and every single meal was delicious. The one night we went out to dinner we enjoyed some local favorites including Poutine and cheese curds, delicious burgers, fried pickles, local beer and cheeses. We kept a never ending supply of drinks and snacks and not one person made a fool of themselves. That alone was worth going to this retreat. It's nice to be with people who don't use their time away from home to get drunk and make fools of themselves.
All in all, this was a great group, a fantastically productive and fun weekend. I huge thank you to Ann for being the most gracious hostess.  Did I mention that she arranged for a massage therapist to come on Friday and Saturday. Boy, did I need that massage after sewing for what seemed like 30 hours with nearly a break. I can hardly wait for next year.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Gatherer's Crossbody Bag Number Three

This is the third Gatherer's Crossbody bag I have made using Noodlehead's free pattern
This one is made for my swap gift for the Stash Sewciety Retreat I am attending this week.
I used the new Art Gallery Fabric Denims to make the outside of the bag.

Gatherer's Crossbody Bag

The lining is a print from Karen Lewis' Blueberry Park collection in one of my favorite colors. 
I also made a little card and cash zip pouch, with an outside vinyl pocket, for a driver's license.

Gatherer's Crossbody Bag

We are having a blind swap, and out of the 16 ladies attending, I don't think many are participating. I hope the person who gets this bag will like it as much as I do. I like smaller bags and this one is the perfect size for me.

Gatherer's Crossbody Bag

Gatherer's Crossbody Bag

I made a few changes to the pattern:
  • I quilted the back of the bag and the contrasting flap.
  • I added an inserted zipper pocket to the back of the bag.
  • Instead of tying the strap to the loops, I attached it with rivets. I like that look a lot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

March Bee Blocks

I'm a little late posting these blocks on the blog but they did arrive to my bee mates on time.
First up was Cindy in the Stitch Tease Bee. She asked for these scrappy blocks with low-volume corners. They were great fun to make and super easy. The hardest part was cutting the 2" squares.

In keeping with my promise to make each of my bee mates a pot holder this year I made this one for Cindy.

Next up is Asha in the Stash Sew-ciety Bee. She asked for the ever popular and always fun to make X and Plus block. Her color palette is one of my favorites...fuchsia, navy, citron, teal and coral.

Using the leftover HST bits from Asha's blocks I made this pot holder for her. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Curves, not Curves...a Finished Quilt

To say that I love this quilt pattern is an understatement. My only regret is that I did not make it bigger. The pattern was designed by Trudi Wood for the Sizzix blog. It's intended to be cut with Sizzix dies. With Trudi's blessing, I drew out the pattern and wrote directions for cutting with a rotary cutter.
The majority of the blocks were made by my Stash Sew-ciety Bee-mates. 

curves not curves quilt

The quilt is made up of two different blocks. Some are paper pieced and some are traditionally pieced. The combination gives the illusion that the quilt has curved piecing, but that's all it is...an illusion! 
I asked for the blocks to be made using black and white prints, with low-volume (whites, creams and greys) prints and also some dark grey prints for the center squares of block A. At the last minute I had the idea to add the aqua pop of color, so I made those blocks.
Curves Not Curves Quilt

I had great fun free-motion quilting this quilt. I won't win any prizes but I am getting better. I have more confidence to "Just Do IT"! I used a leaf like free-motion stitch through the low volume portions, criss-cross lines through the black and white parts and a four petal flower on the dark greys. I must admit, I was influenced by the way Trudi quilted her Curves not Curves quilt, but I certainly cannot imitate her perfection. Hopefully, someday, I will get there.

Curves Not Curves Quilt

For the back of the quilt I used one of Anna Maria Horner's prints from her luminous collection.

anna maria horner crosshatch Sea

The binding is Domino Dots in Black from Violet Craft's Waterfront Park collection.

Curves Not Curves Quilt

I have a photo bomber. Martha had fun romping on my new quilt, but she wouldn't smile for the camera.

Curves Not Curves Quilt

Quilt Stats:
Name: Curves not Curves
Fabric: Scrappy Black, white and grey prints with a splash of aqua, no other color was used.
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. (the blocks I made)
Finished Size: 66" x 66"

Saturday, April 9, 2016

2016 Finish-a-Long, the second quarter

I've put 7 things on my Finish-a-long list to be completed by July 7 this year.
The first is a big project that I will be starting this week at my Stash Sewciety retreat in Wisconsin. Elizabeth's Fancy Forest quilt is bound to be a favorite once I complete it.
I'd like to make a T-shirt with this Anna Maria Horner knit fabric.
This mini should be an easy finish...it just needs a binding.
This wrinkly mess of a quilt is my only carry over from last quarter. I made a little progress on it by adding the linen to the pieced portions. It now needs to be quilted and bound.
This is an old WiP, from last year's Sewtopia class with Rita from Red Pepper Quilts. I'll either make it into a mini or a pillow.
Finally, I have two pair of socks to finish. For the first pair I need to finish this sock and make the mate.
This gorgeous sock needs a mate, too. This one takes a little longer with the pattern, plus I am using double pointed needles, which are a bit fiddly for me.

I really think this list is doable since so many of the projects are closer to being finished.
Linking up with the wonderful ladies, from all over the globe, who put this group together.
2016 FAL

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Celebrating Evan

This was Evan less than two weeks ago. He wasn't feeling well then started having chest pains. Upon arriving at the Emergency room at the hospital, he had an EKG and was told he was having a heart attack! A team of doctors and nurses descended on him and they started prepping him for surgery, doing more tests and having him sign consents. His wife called me and I immediately left for the hospital after calling my husband. It was the longest forty-five minutes in our life before we heard the news that our almost thirty-six year old son was NOT having a heart attack, confirmed by the angiogram. He had arrhythmia caused by viral paracarditis. Paracarditis is an infection of the sac that protects the heart. Anyone can get it and there was nothing he could do to avoid it. It can cause heart damage if he were to get it again and again, which is more likely now that he has had it once. 
Needless to say, we are very grateful that Evan didn't have a heart attack. He spent the night in the hospital undergoing tests and observation and was released the next afternoon. He slept for about three days and grew more sick with flu and cold like symptoms before he started feeling better.
After 11 days off work, he is back and feeling well, with just a little pain and stiffness in his wrist from the angiogram.
made with the Project Life app
This passed Sunday we celebrated Evan's birthday, a few days early. It was a great celebration, even if only half the family could attend.  

I made a special cake, which I have renamed "The Three Day Cake", because that's how long it took to make it. I baked the cakes and froze them on Thursday; I made the lemon cream filling on Friday and made the frosting and assembled the cake on Sunday.

The cake was very good but to be honest I thought my own lemon curd recipe and a lighter frosting would have been better. The filling and frosting just had too much butter in them to be palatable. You can find the recipe for the Strawberry-Lemon Thyme Chiffon Cake here. (I left out the thyme from the recipe but used thyme to decorate the top of the cake).

This makes a huge cake. We served 10 and only used half the cake. The other half went into the freezer for another day.
We are counting our blessings this week for the gift of our family and most especially that Evan is well and back to good health.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Socks for Eden

My granddaughter asked me to make her a pair of socks. I don't know that she ever wears socks unless she's playing sports. Eden is a rough and tumble little seven year old who loves to play basketball, street hockey and softball. She also loves to play with dolls and gives great hugs. I don't know how long she'll be able to wear the socks because this little girl is growing like a weed. From the time I measured her foot to the time I finished the socks, I think her feet already grew a bit!

Casting on the right amount of stitches and knowing how wide to make the socks was a challenge for me. I still don't have the gauge/inch thing memorized so there were a few starts and restarts on these socks until I got it figured out.

I used Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn. It's a good sturdy wool/nylon blend to withstand running around in the house without shoes and will hold up in the wash over and over again.
I am pretty sure Eden likes her socks. 

Sock Stats:
Pattern: Basic stockinette stitch sock with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn:Lion Brand Magic Stripe 75% Superwash wool/25% Nylon 3-1/2 ounces/330 yards
Needles: Addi Turbo Sock Rockets 24" circular needle US size 1 (2.5 mm)