Creative Clips-Leap Week

Last weekend I attended a quilt retreat, approximately 80 miles from home.  I went Friday and stayed until noon on Saturday, and I only accomplished one thing: cutting out the rest of the pieces for my Candied Hexagons quilt:

and those pieces look like such a small pile, but it isn’t small at all.  There are at least 18 half blocks, and 30 full hexagon blocks represented in that photo.  Lots of tedious cutting, using Mari Michell Templates (set H) and a Clover 28mm Rotary Cutter.  I spent much of my Grubers retreat weekend last July cutting pieces for this quilt, too.  It’s probably best I didn’t keep track of the hours (cutting or hand-piecing), it is by far my most time consuming quilt to date.

I brought this home, along with a borrowed Go! Cutter, to make another, far less time consuming hexagon quilt!

I bought a few end-of-the-bolt goodies at the shop that hosted the retreat, and she had a buy one-get one free book sale, so….  

You can probably tell by my photos here that I have yet to read that top book (HA!), and I’ve already made a project from the bottom book (blog post coming tomorrow!!).  Both of these had been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so I couldn’t resist the BOGO special.

What else have I been doing this week?  Getting to know my new acquaintance…

I think we’re going to be great friends.

Creative Clips

It’s been a month.  A month of quiet; A month of busy.  A month of reading books; A month of prayer.  A month of work… of appointments… of meetings… of housework… of meal-planning and cooking… of illness and exhaustion… of tears and of laughter… and a break from feeling obligated to journal here.  Resolutions were made; and kept (still going strong!).  Change (improvement?) was made in so many ways, and excitement and anticipation of the next few months is high. 

When I started my blog, I posted (nearly) weekly “creative clips” showing small things I worked on or did, that didn’t necessarily warrant an entire blog post.  Sort of like my friend Cindy’s “Really Random” posts–only not as amusing as her posts.  😉  I’ve decided I’m bringing Creative Clips back in 2012.  So here goes:

Creative Clips, Weeks 1, 2 & 3!

My SIL is making a 100 Wishes Quilt for the son they recently brought home from China.  I surprised them at Christmas by giving them two special blocks, hand embroidered and sashed to match her quilt blocks, with dates to represent their trip to China, his birthday and adoption date (“gotcha day”), and the date he became a citizen of the United States–all within an outline of his two countries:

On December18th, my Sweetie and I went to meet our new nephew, and then, a few days after Christmas, he and his big brother spent a few hours at our place while Mom went on a lunch date and ran a few errands.  It’s amazing, they are truly brothers, as if they have been since birth.  His first trip to Dairy Queen with uncle and auntie:

I didn’t sew any gifts to give this year, however I did have a customer request for a set of Mother/Daughter aprons… using this sweet cupcake fabric from my stash, I made an apron for a 3-year old girl and her mommy–who enjoy baking together:

Like Katy, I sometimes resist cutting into “precious” fabrics in my stash because I’m saving it for something “special”.  Silly, huh?  Well, I opened a Good Fortune layer cake and started sewing last weekend… on a sewing day at my place with two awesome friends:

Seriously, I have to get over that–the stash is there to be used, Amy Butler and Heather Ross and all…

It just felt  good to sew again…. and have I ever mentioned how much I love to chain-piece?

I did a little hand-piecing on a short road trip over the holiday week; a little progress on the hexagon quilt:

I enjoyed twelve days off from the job at holiday time, and spent much of that time sleeping (even though I had grand intentions of spending it creating!)… I guess your body knows when it has reached a certain point of sleep deprivation, and my body decided to revolt and take the sleep it needed no matter what the right side of the brain was demanding. 
Life is indeed good, and I am blessed,

Blogtoberfest Day XXIX–October Stitching

I’ve made 28 straight days of blogging–crazy.  (I missed October 1!)  Lest you think I’ve only sewn up Halloween themed things this month…

I completed a few more hand-pieced hexies for my Candied Hexagon Quilt:


I think that makes 71 completed hexagons now.  (33 to go…or something like that).  To view the rest, see my flickr set.  I made this tasty BEE block for Megan for One Block Over:

It’s only 6.5″ square, she asked for birthday cake blocks she is making a quilt of 60 of them for a friend’s 60th Birthday–isn’t that awesome?  Paper-pieced, of my own design–I embroidered the little flames on with my new obsession, Aurifil Wool 12 wt:

Here’s a sneak peek of my costumes for my sweetie and I, sorry sneak peeks only until after the party tonight!

Maybe you can guess what the ‘guise is with just this little peek?  I’ll be very impressed if you do…

Caribbean Tiles Complete!

The pattern is Spanish Tiles, but with these fabrics… I say Caribbean Colors! 

The fabrics are all Art Gallery, Modern Affair Collection.  It’s a shop sample, which will be available as a kit from Quilters Cupboard.  If you don’t see it available in the online store, I’m sure you can call them and place a credit card order over the phone.  The back and binding is all from the same collection:

and I love the quilting (courtesy of my good friend, Trina):

I managed to finish the binding on our car trip over Labor Day weekend.  And I had enough car time leftover to make one more hexagon for my Candied Hexagon Quilt…

Wow, I can hardly wait to see this quilt finished!  Patience is a virtue, right?

September? Already?!

Today is Fresh Sewing Day over at Lynne’s. Lynne and Gayle are hosting a Hex-A-Long, loosely based on the Candied Hexagon Quilt.  My quilt IS the Candied Hexagon pattern… and this month I made a dozen more blocks:


I’m planning to have this one constructed and quilted by Spring!  (I’d say it’s about time, I first blogged about this quilt in June 2009!)  But, in my defense, I only started cutting the quilt in June 2010!  Every one of those hexagons is hand-pieced… so hand-quilting might be in order for this one…

I finished the top of my Art Gallery Spanish Tiles quilt, which is now quilted and will get bound this weekend:

and most exciting…my studio makeover is now complete!  Recessed sewing table and new worktable projects are done!  You can see the details here and here.

Click here to go visit the other blogs for Fresh Sewing Day.

Relax and Recharge

Typically my relaxation getaways, and recharging my spirit, involve quilting buddies and retreats… but this time it was our annual northern Minnesota lake trip, with two wonderful families, one of whom generously shares her family cabin with us one long weekend a year. 

We didn’t do much the three days we spent there, really… slept A LOT, swam a little, took a long walk with my sweetie every morning, ate home cooked meals that are way too good to be considered camping fare, took the paddle boat out for a long ride, road the ski boat and motor boat at least once a day; but mostly, relaxed and breathed deep.  On the last day we drove slightly north to Duluth to retrieve sweetie’s youngest, who spent her summer as an interpreter in Manitoba, and we paid a visit to my favorite quilt shop, Hannah Johnson Fabrics:

This was only my second visit, I first went there LAST August, but knew I needed to return… the shop is so colorful, full of inspiration, and potential projects:

I walked out with just a few yards of fabric and a new bag pattern, and thinking it’s probably a good thing (for my pocketbook, at least) that I live over six hours from the shop! 

The day before we left on our trip, I ran to Ames to pick my Janome Horizon up (finally had her cleaned!) and stopped in the antique mall across the street.  I bought a few vintage sewing patterns for practically nothing, a vintage embroidered luncheon set, and this gem:

It’s a plastic sewing box, c. 1950, (in my favorite color, no less!), that worked just perfect to hold my hand-piecing tools as I sewed on the drive North:

The pegs in front are meant to hold small spools of thread, but this time kept my thimble and scissors from sliding off my lap.   There is an intergrated pin cushion on the left, and a magnetic shelf on the right to hold my needles…ideal!  What a find for $4.00!  I made eleven more Candied Hexagon blocks on the trip, for a total of 67 completed hexagons (37 to go!)

A closer look…


Coming home is always hard, it’s not that I don’t “like” home, it’s the idea of returning to work and everyday life not-next-to-a-lake-in-the-woods.  However, finding a mailbox full of Bee blocks as lovely as these helped to soften the blow:

(notice Kato in the corner trying to decide which area of the new quilt to “settle in on”–he went for the yellow block)  Still waiting for my red, orange and green blocks… and looking forward to sewing this top together!