Fifteen minutes

This week brought a fun surprise on page 19 of the latest issue of Quilty magazine (Jan/Feb issue):

Quilty magazine 1

The second “n” was left out of my last name, but that’s me! (It’s spelled right in the URL at the bottom of the page so that’s what matters, right?!)

I had a few emails asking about the quilt I’m holding in the photo; I did show it once here on the blog, but the photos were not great (taken quickly before the quilt was gifted).  Since I borrowed it back for the photo shoot, I took the opportunity to snap a few better pics…

Chrysanthemum Quilt


Chrysanthemum Quilt 2

Chrysanthemum Quilt Detail 2

It’s a traditional block, Chrysanthemum, in scraps of greens, border is an Erin McMorris print, and Espresso Brown solid on outer borders.  Yes, it is on the list for making into a pattern for Row House Creations.

This weekend, the Des Moines MQG had a sewing day, 12 uninterrupted hours to sew… heavenly!  I worked on quilting a table runner that has been pieced since JULY– it’s still not completely quilted, but I made good progress.  And I made a new ironing board cover, with a simple elastic casing to hold it on:

Ironing Board Cover Elastic Cut & Sew Fabric

And I just happened to find this matching pincushion on a quick run to JoAnns (could not resist!):

Ironing Board and Chair Pincushion Cut & Sew fabric

I’m such a fan of that Cut & Sew fabric line, it’s adorable and the colors are yummy.

One of my sewing goals for 2013 is stash reduction, and this project helped use a little of it up!  So far this year, I have only bought one charm pack (Posy by Aneela Hoey) and I have used 5 yards for a quilt back that went to the longarm quilter last week, and 1.66 yards for this project (to get the length of the ironing board, with some obvious waste that went to the scrap basket).

Stash Stats year-to-date:

Acquired — .75 yards

Used — 6.66 yards

-5.91 yards


…and keep it company


Anyone who lived through the 1970s in America probably remembers the coca-cola commercial with the theme song “I’d like to buy the World a Coke, and keep it company…”, originally aired in 1971 (when I was 2, but I remember it well so it obviously stuck around for a while– here’s a refresher of the Christmas version:

I kept humming this song while I made this mug rug for Jill, in October’s Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild Swap:

Jill doesn’t drink coffee or tea, Diet Coke is her liquid of choice.  And she happens to be a big fan of foundation paper piecing.  I started by sketching the Diet Coke logo, and then free-hand, hand embroidering it:

Then I drew up the bottle, transformed it into a paper pieced foundation and got to piecing.  I tweaked it as I went, it’s not perfect, but it looks pretty good.  Then I cut into a Munki Munki coca-cola nightshirt I’ve had stuffed in my closet for a few years, and started piecing patchwork around the fussy-cut double decker bus:

The back:

Giving this to Jill was such a joy.  She made me this fabulous pillow in our last Guild swap, so I wanted to really wow her with something made especially for her.

FREE PAPER PIECING & EMBROIDERY PATTERN for the Diet Coke bottle Coming Soon!!

Share your Quilts


I’m always impressed at our MQG meetings with the “beginner” quilters that show these wonderful examples of their work, and are often timid about showing them off.  A lot of new quilters lack confidence in their own skills, it seems.  We all had to start somewhere, right?!?  So, no matter your skill level, I think if you create quilts (or artwork of any kind) you should share them with other people, including other quilters.  Constructive criticism can be a valuable learning tool.  And, well, that other kind of criticism isn’t worth wasting your time on.  (Believe me, I overheard plenty of that other kind while walking through the show last weekend.)

Several of our Des Moines MQG members are also members of DMAQG, and submitted projects to the show.  It was fun to see MQG member’s names jump out at me as I walked around the show.

This is Katie’s snails trail:

Penny’s New Wave quilt made primarily from Denyse Schmidt fabrics:

Tricia’s Wonky Log Cabin quilt:

Her pillow, made for our Pillow Swap this Spring:

Lola Z’s pineapple mini:

My twin-size Modern Fortune quilt:

Janeen’s very fun Dr. Seuss Christmas quilt:

And this beautiful art quilt, by Janet, entitled Hawaiian Hospitality:

And, I know there were others…but these are the few I managed to get shots of.

There were several quilts in the juried AQS exhibits that were of a very modern aesthetic.  At least two wonky log-cabin style quilts, and a few pieces with the feel of a Gees Bend quilt.  Modern or Traditional, the theme for the day was superb craftsmanship and well-executed quilting!

(If you read yesterday’s post early; last night, I added an update with a photo of the delivered and installed sewing table.  You may want to go back and take a peek!)

January 2012 Sew-In

Our group at Sew-In by artistdoris
Our group at Sew-In, a photo by artistdoris on Flickr. 
(Back l-r; Emily, Sherry, Jill M, Penny, Doris, Jill G, Linda H–front l-r; Crystal, Marny, Beth)

Friday evening and Saturday I spent with these lovely ladies at our first Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild Sew-In/Retreat.  We found a converted 1918 Church building that now serves as the Waukee Arts Center to house our two days of sewing; great lighting and lots of space:

We had a few more registered to come that couldn’t make it, but ten of us got together to haul in a few tables, ironing boards and irons, and a design wall, and just spend an evening and a day sewing, collaborating, learning from each other, and most importantly, getting to know each other better!  What a talented and fun group…

Jill M made two baby quilts, start to finish and sent them off to her sister on Monday via FedEx!  TWO BABY QUILTS in ONE weekend!  

This pick Jill took on her swing set at home, borrowed from her blog

Jill G and Marny, of Modern Quilt Relish fame, made a new version of their “Bowtie Pasta with a Twist” pattern.  It was fun to watch them work together and chat with them while we sewed.  

Linda worked on these fabulous paper pieced Circle of Geese blocks, check out her post for her layout!

Linda gave us all (even those of us who have quilted for YEARS) a lesson on how to row piece by creating a web and then sewing your rows into columns (unbelievably easy, and yet, none of us had ever tried it!!!)

New-ish quilters Emily and Crystal were fast learners and each finished baby quilt tops using her method.

There was a lot of chain piecing, lots of rearranging on the design wall, a trip out for lunch, lots of sharing, laughing, and planning.  Overall, a relaxing and fun time!

Here is a shot of what I worked on (not quite finished here), and I’m going to write up a pattern for it, so stay tuned to this space for more on that…
Readers, you know how I love a retreat– now only 25 more days until my next sewing retreat!!!

Happy sewing,


Some college friends and I try to get together monthly for a Girl’s Night Out.  This month there were only three of us, and our night fell on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so we stayed in, and had a pie-making night. 

We made TWO pumpkin pies with pre-made roll out dough, and the recipe from the Libby’s Canned Pumpkin label… I had a helper when mixing my pumpkin pie:

The baked Pumpkin Pie looks so much better than the “raw stuff”–and it tasted even better!

and we made FOUR oatmeal pies with “from-scratch” crust (recipes for both Oatmeal Pie and our Pie Crust, below)  What?!  You’ve never had Oatmeal Pie?  Tastes a lot like Pecan Pie… and the recipe was adapted by my best friend after trying Oatmeal Pie at a restaurant, Mondo’s.  It also doesn’t look so good before baking:

..but after?  Yummmmm….

Recipe for Pie Crust:
3 C flour
1 C Crisco
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
5 Tbsp Ice Water
1 tsp vinegar
Work Crisco into the flour with pastry cutter or knife/forks.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well with fork.  Divide in two and roll out.  Makes two 9-inch pie crusts.
Recipe for Oatmeal Pie:
3 eggs
1 C Sugar
1 dash salt
1 C Dark Karo Syrup
1 C oatmeal
8 Tblsp margarine, melted
unbaked Pie Crust
Mix all ingredients together, pour into unbaked pie shell, and bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees(f). 
Delish.  It is best served with Blue Bunny brand Cinnamon Ice Cream (only available at the holidays!) and, yes, Blue Bunny brand is the best!
I’m getting excited to decorate for Christmas… at last week’s Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild meeting, I received these fun towels and picture frame from Marny in our Holiday Swap.  Just my kind of Christmas colors, bright, with pink and lime green included! 
Marny provided a simple tutorial for making these towels (using 5″ Charm squares!!) on her blog, Modern Quilt Relish.  Thanks, Marny, I really, really, like them!

I Must"ache" You a Question

What our dear Emily asked her husband when he came home from work yesterday, using the prop she whipped up for Show & Tell at last night’s Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild Meeting….

Too cute!  It was a fun meeting, we revealed the items we made from our One-Fourth Ugly Fabric Swap.  The rules: bring at least 1/4 yard of “ugly” fabric in a paper bag, grab someone else’s bag (not knowing what you’re gonna get!) and in two months time, make something for yourself utilizing the ugly fabric.  This was the fabric in the bag I grabbed:

c. 1970s brown and orange floral, an odd shaped remnant left over from someone’s handmade garment.  Not something I would buy, but not that ugly either… it could have been much worse.  I made yet another wristlet!

used some Urban Chicks, American Jane and Amy Butler to jazz it up, even stuck some “carrot” fabric from my scrap bin in there, and some linen… and lined it with my “ugly” fabric as well:

I rather like it!  Might even keep this one for myself.  Leila’s skirt she made for her daughter:

Her fabric was those candy colored elliptical shapes (also not so very ugly…)  Linda’s quilt, I only got a photo of the back.  Her ugly fabric was much bigger than a 1/4 of a yard, so she made a good sized quilt from it… and it was really not ugly!

Sherry was the first to reveal her quilt, her ugly fabric was a sunset colored batik (certainly NOT ugly), and it inspired her to create this amazing art quilt she titled “The Repentant Sinner” with the crosses of Calvaryon it.  She decided to experiment with quilting stitches from Leah’s site,

Which made her back as impressive as the front!

We had a Holiday Swap, too, we each made something to gift to another member in a seasonal or holiday theme.  The UGLY fabric I took to the meeting in September was SO ugly (I took this challenge to heart!–sorry, Lola!), that Lola had to use it as unseen lining in her Holiday Swap Pillow!

It was an older Moda fabric with a cream background and the logos of their then designers printed all over it.  Seriously, I don’t even know how it ever got into my stash in the first place!!!

Our swap made it very clear that Beauty is definitely in the Eye of the Beholder.  So my question to you is. what fabric/colors/prints/styles are ugly to you?

More pics from our meeting, including some of our Holiday Swap items here.