Friday, June 25, 2010

Shipshewana Quilt Show

Here are the photos of some of my favorite quilts from the Shipshewana Quilt Show that I promised you!

The quilts are absolutely beautiful, my photography leaves a bit to be desired. You may have to tilt your head a little this way or that way to view them, but I hope you enjoy this tiny glimpse of the show.

This tall ship masterpiece was hand appliqued and won the hearts of the judges. It is stunning in person and believe it or not, it is a block-of-the-month quilt!

Anyone looking to start a new project?

This contemporary piece was my personal favorite. It is a large quilt and when I read the description, it said that the woman that made it collected the fabrics, which were all silk, by purchasing silk shirts from thrift shops!

You have to love a person that can walk into a thrift shop and envision THIS!

I couldn't resist taking photos of these large quilts with mini blocks. Our First Friday/Saturday club was based on 4 inch blocks this year and there was a fair amount of whining and complaining from the participants. I wanted to prove that some people LOVE working small!

The quilt with the blocks on point in the border has 1/2 inch sashing. Those inner borders are made up of 1/2 inch triangles and 1 inch squares on point. I would love to own a quilt like this. I doubt that I will ever get around to making one like it, but I would like to think I might...... a girl can dream can't she?

Talk about small, these next few are really, really small!
This is an "Inchy" project. The tiny squares are each one inch square. The more colorful squares are individual works of art. The squares are stitched, embellished, beaded and have satin stitched binding and then they are appliqued to the pieced background.
The Inchy idea isn't original, there are lots of books and even Internet swap groups for inchy projects.
This quilt is really, really small..... this Lone Star quilt was created in the folded pineapple technique. That is difficult enough to do with precision, but this quilt maker took it to the extreme! Those "logs" are about 1/8 inch and the whole quilt measures 9 inches!
In the next photo you can see it hanging in the bottom right corner under some of the other quilts in the small quilt category. What I don't understand is why it didn't have a ribbon on it! - WOW!

From small to bed size. These wonderful pieced wheels are 15" blocks. It was one of the most unique scrap quilts I have ever seen. The pieced centers were made up of every fabric imaginable and they were all tied together with the backgrounds.... and why not add a hand appliqued border while you are at it?
Every show seems to have a selection of Stack and Whack or One Block Wonder quilts. This one was huge and was meticulously put together. The fabric selection was a unique color combination, the pinks and yellows seemed to glow against the red background fabric. Well done!

There were more, but it is much better to enjoy them in person.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shipshewana Quilt Festival

I'm "working" out of town for a few days as a guest speaker in Shipshewana, Indiana. You are probably thinking "yea right, tough gig", but I really do have to work tomorrow. I'm teaching 4 sessions of Schoolhouse here at the Quilt Festival. Normally I would also have a booth for this 4 day event, and would be in the booth when I wasn't teaching and wouldn't have time to enjoy the event. That wasn't in the cards for this trip. So here I am "stuck" in a quaint Amish town filled with quilt shops and quilters on a beautiful summer day.... what is a girl to do? .....SHOP!!!

I had great fun today! It took a bit more than 6 hours to get here, but that included a stop at Checker Distributors, our wholesale suppliers warehouse to pick up a few goodies. Checker makes the Creative Grid rulers that I love and it would be a shame to drive right by their Ohio warehouse and not stop in to see what was new. They are conveniently located 1 tank of gas from home and they have a clean bathroom so I stopped by, got gas, and made a quick trip through the warehouse..... and spent a little over $500! It would have been cheaper to pee at the rest stop - but not as much fun!

It was a little after 3pm when I checked in to the Festival registration and received my packet. It included admission to the quilt show, vendor mall and shop hop passport. The quilt show was in the same building so I went right there. WOW!!! The show was wonderful! Naturally I had left my camera in the car, but I couldn't resist snapping a few photos with my phone. When I realize I had taken almost a dozen photos in just the first aisle, I decided to just enjoy the show and take the good camera when I go back tomorrow morning.
After enjoying the show I decided to do a little shop hopping. I have to say that it was great fun to be on the other side of the shop hop counter.

I headed straight for Yoder's, the Amish department store that is hosting this event. The owners are lovely people that are doing a fabulous job with the event as well as having a great store.

I snapped this photo in the middle of their fabric department (there are also shoes, food, housewares and a dozen other departments in the building). I know it is hard to see, but the crowd of people in the distance are all in line waiting to have their books autographed and a photo taken with Eleanor Burns. The place was packed and even though I have a 5000 square foot building full of fabric in Pennsylvania, I managed to find 2 pieces of rayon batik that just had to come home with me.

My next stop was a short trip away (it is within walking distance!)to Lolly's Fabrics inside the Davis Mercantile. I was lusting after their beautiful Amish made fixtures and displays when I turned the corner and look what I found! My BeJeweled Table Runner!

It is a great looking sample, as were all of the samples in the shop. This Indiana Amish community has lots of displays, and Lolly's even has another storefront in the mercantile featuring finished quilts and wall hangings. I thought they were reasonably priced, especially for hand quilting.
I still had a bit of time left before the stores closed for the evening so I stopped by Home Spun Treasures in LaGrange on the way to my hotel. It is a small shop with a limited amount of fabric, but look what was on display! - My Reversible Table Runner! I really felt good to see my patterns included in the samples of these top notch shops.
The staff at Home Spun Treasures was very excited about tomorrow's event. They are getting up very early in the morning to hang clothesline around the courthouse and display their donation of 1000 pillowcases for the pillowcase challenge! ONE THOUSAND PILLOWCASES! That is something to be proud of! I hope I have the chance to see the display before my class. I also want to stop by the quilt show again and possibly squeeze in a few more shops .... so many shops, so little time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Easy Sewing + Fabric Stash = Great Project

Are you making 9 Patch blocks?

If you aren't familiar with the project you can scroll down through my blog posts and read about where the idea originated from and how the whole thing works. It is a simple concept and everyone is welcome to join the fun. There is nothing to buy and no "rules" to follow, all you need to do is make one 9 patch block each day from now (by "now" I mean today, the day you are reading this) until August 20th. Those of us that started on June 1st will have about 80 completed blocks by the end of the summer. If you started a bit later, you can either get caught up by making more blocks per day or make a smaller quilt! The blocks can be any size and I suggest that they be made from your fabric stash. If you want to join the Facebook group, log on to Facebook and search 9 Patch Project, we would love to have you!

I have chosen to make 6 inch blocks that start with 2 1/2 inch squares. Some of the almost 700 Facebook participants are starting to worry about how they are going to put these blocks together. Personally, I think it is a bit soon to start fretting over setting ideas, I'm still enjoying the gorgeous colors of the batiks that I am using. I do realize that some people like to plan. Others are wondering how many blocks they need to make to make the project queen size and how much border fabric they need....
My advice - relax! Enjoy the process! On the other hand, maybe dreaming about the finished project is the part of the process you enjoy....

Later in the summer I will be providing sashing and border suggestions for the blocks, but I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the other setting options in finished quilts.
Karen Snyder has this beautiful 9 patch quilt featured on her blog. You can read her post about "leaders and enders" at:
This quilt is obviously set on point and has 13 rows of 13 nine patches. If you do the math, this quilt requires 169 nine patch blocks - that is a little more than double the number that we will have by making one per day! For those of you that are looking for a large quilt (Assuming that those are 6" finished blocks, this quilt would measure 110" square) you will need to kick things into high gear and start making at least TWO blocks each day. (If you aren't familiar with bed sizes, I consider 110" as a generous queen or a skimpy king.) This would be a great project for the over achievers in the group!
One of the things that makes 9 Patches so irresistable is that they can look so totally different! Believe it or not this quilt, my Daybreak pattern, is also a 9 patch project! The blocks are sewn side-by-side without sashing to create the overall pattern. I used solid batiks for the Daybreak quilt, but I have customers that have translated the color chart in the pattern into prints and even packed florals for a watercolor look - beautiful! The pattern is available on our website at and you may also have seen it featured in the Hancocks of Paducah catalog.
Now I'm off to finish my husbands Father's Day gift... it is not a quilt, just a bit of custom framing!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Western PA Shop Hop

Let's go to the hop, ba da da dum,

Let's go to the hop, ba da da dum......

If you are a quilter and live anywhere near Pittsburgh PA, you were probably in our store at some point over the last several days. We just hosted the Western Pennsylvania Shop Hop and had a record number of hoppers.

This year the hop had a dance theme and we hosted the Sock Hop. Not all of the stores get as "in to it" as we do, but we figure if you are going to do it, do it right! It was great fun dressing in 50's gear, listening to the music all day and having fun with the customers. We even purchased hula hoops. We considered offering them to customers that were waiting in line so that they could entertain themselves - but then we discovered that we can't do it anymore either! (Here is a tip for you: the LARGER the hula hoop the easier it is to use. We are blaming the smaller hoops on our inability to keep them going. That is our story and we are sticking to it).

We packed official Bazooka bubble gum in our goodie bags and offered our hoppers the chance to help themselves to our penny candy selection and bottled water before they went on their way to the next shop.

Our hop always has a progressive quilt. The hoppers pick up one pattern at each of the 12 shops, another pattern is in the shop hop booklet, one is on the internet site and one was available on kick-off day when the passports went on sale.
Each shop owner has a designated job for the hop and this year I designed the quilt. Our version features cherries to fit with our 50's theme. The background is bright white even though it look funky green in this photo.
In a month or two we will have the pattern and kit available to purchase. I will add it (with a better photo) to the website.
Now all the shop owners have left to do is attend a meeting tomorrow morning so that we can draw all of the prize winners from the passports that were turned in and call the lucky winners!
Then we start the planning for Shop Hop 2011. Do any of you hoppers have ideas or suggestions? Feel free to comment, we are always looking for great ideas!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Home from Vacation!

Hi Everyone, I'm home!

We had a great vacation last week! I think that it would have been impossible not to. The weather was perfect, the travel was relaxing and the company couldn't have been better. This ship, the Celebrity Summit was our home, docked in Kings Wharf Bermuda. You can see our room in this photo, up on deck 8 mid ship, two floors above the lifeboats.

This is the view from the balcony of our cabin looking out over our temporary backyard! Not bad, not bad at all.

Not that I saw much land in Bermuda. The boat was just a way to get to the island. This trip was all about the scuba diving. It was a dive trip for my husband and myself, just the two of us for an entire week.

I think we spent as much time on a dive boat headed for a wreck or a reef or 40 feet under the water as we did on land.

You might be wondering what possesses a woman of my age to strap on what feels like 100 lbs of equipment, including a weight belt, to make her sink to the bottom of the ocean just too look around. I do it because it is great fun and because my husband LOVES to scuba dive. I also do it because I can, and I know that someday I won't be able to say that.

That is my gear at the back of the boat and that is my husband standing in the middle of the boat watching the island get smaller and smaller. (Martin is the other diver on the right side of the boat and at this point I am praying that he doesn't loose his breakfast all over my gear. Martin was a bit queasy on the boat.)

Before you begin to think that I am a fabulous self-sacrificing wife, I should point out that this photo is of Julio, part of the Dive Crew on the boat. Behind those Ray Bans are some of the most gorgeous eyes Mexico has ever produced. He and his wife travel, island to island, season after season working as crew on dive boats. They have been all around the world. Great life! No 401K, but he didn't seem like he was worried about it at all.
He also has a great personality and really knows his stuff. It is nice to feel comfortable with the people in charge of your air supply!

There are absolutely NO photos of me from this vacation. I made absolutely sure of that. We were at the dive boat at 8:15 each morning after a 20 minute moped ride from the ship. Then I spent 15-30 minutes on the boat getting to the dive site, almost 2 hours on the ocean floor and another 15-30 being whipped around on the boat retuning to shore. Then it was another 20 minutes back to the boat on the moped before I could hit the shower. It gave new meaning to "bad hair" day.
If it OK with you, I will just insert this publicity photo of Jacqueline Bisset from the movie The Deep. I look exactly like this when I dive...
OK, I look nothing like this when I dive. The only thing I have in common with her is that we actually explored the sunken ships that the movie the deep was based on.... and I was cold too.
Now it is back to reality. The Western Pennsylvania Shop Hop starts this week and I have to get busy with my 9 Patch Blocks!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The 9 Patch Project

June 1st! Time to start the 9 Patch A Day Challenge!

It isn't too late to join in. There aren't any real "rules". The goal is to use up some stash and have something to show for it at the end of the summer.

Here is the plan:

Make one nine patch block each day using your stash. Just one block each day. Any size, any color, using any method (although sewing 3 rows of 3 squares together seems like the simplest method to me!). There are no 9 Patch Police, so if you prefer to sit down and make a weeks worth of blocks at one time, that's OK too. I'm recommending a 6" finished block, but you can choose any size you like. Bigger blocks mean bigger quilts. If you have some leftover squares from another project, put them to good use!

If you want to make the 6 inch finished size you will be making your blocks using nine squares that are cut 2 1/2 inches. Stitch those squares together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, in three rows of three. Press the seams in the top and bottom rows toward the center block. Press the seams in the center row away from the center block. Stitch the rows together, your seams should nest. Your finished block should measure 6 1/2 inches including the seam allowance. That's it. Sleep and repeat, every day until mid August.

Later on in the summer I will provide you with simple sashing and setting instructions. Right now the important part is getting started on the blocks. You can use just 2 colors in each block or you can use 9 different colors. I'm leaning toward the 9 different colors. I have a beautiful batik stash and no scrap quilts to show for it. I'm making scrappy 9 patches, but I think I am going to keep the center square light, or at least the lightest of the nine in each block. You can feel free to make yours anyway you like, and I do mean ANY. Although it is hard for me to do, some of my favorite quilts are true scrap quilts. The color arrangement is what my Aunt Jean refers to as "the dogs breakfast". Lime green next to brown, blue and orange, next to pink polka dots - ANYTHING GOES, and I love it when it is done! I just have a hard time getting there. The scrap quilts I make tend to be more organized, and it doesn't look like this one will be any different.

We are working on the honor system here. You don't have to report in to tell me how many blocks you have done. You don't have to confess if you fall behind. You can catch up later or make a smaller quilt! To be honest, I'm not actually making MY blocks this week. While you are reading this, I'm off scuba diving with my husband in Bermuda! I promise to post photos of my blocks when I return. In the mean time I have set up a Facebook page so that everyone can report their progress and encourage others to keep sewing or join in - the more the merrier! You can link to the Facebook page below or search "9 Patch Project" on Facebook.

That way we can interact with each other and the blog stays - well it stays the blog. Now get started on those blocks and I will catch up with you when I get back from vacation.