Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quilty License Plates

I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas holidays with your family and friends, and that Santa was good to you!  We had a great time.  Thank goodness no one was ill like last year!!  The weather was unseasonably warm, which unfortunately meant we didn't have a white Christmas, but that also meant that no one was driving in ice and snow either!

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Every now and then, I spot a car sporting a quilty personalized license plate.  Truth is, I (sort of) have one too.  If you have a quilty license plate (or know someone who does), I thought it would be fun to ask you to send me a photo of your quilty license plate, and I would feature them in an upcoming post.  Sound like fun?  If you are a quilter, pattern designer, long-arm quilter, or have a quilting related job, I'd love a photo of your quilty license plate, or one the has the name of your quilt company. 

Email your photo, and the state or country where you live, to pam@heartspunquilts.com.  I'll post them at the end of January for all to enjoy.  Please help me and spread the word to your friends! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry, Merry Christmas!




Wishing you all a wondrous Christmas holiday! 


The Prayse of the Needle
To all dispersed sorts of arts and trades.
I write the needles prayse (that never fades).
So long as children shall be got or borne,
So long as garments shall me made or worne,
So long as hemp or flax, or sheep shall bear
Their linen woolen fleeces yeare by yeare,
So long as silk wormes, with exhausted spoile,
Of their own entrails for man's gaine shall toyle,
Yea till the world be quite dissolv'd and past,
So long at least, the needles' use shall last.

John Taylor  1620

Pam

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Little Something Merry for Me!

Do you have a place in your home where you put things so you know you can find them later?  A place that holds all kinds of treasures that you can't find?!!!  That special place is holding many of my favorite things hostage, or playing a wicked game on me, because I can't find things I've deposited in that special place!  Namely, a favorite Christmas tablerunner, that, for the life of me, I cannot find this season!!  I sure wish I knew where it was!  I've been looking for weeks.  It's not packed with all of the other Christmas stuff because I remember having the wise idea that (because I love it so much) I'd like to get it out first thing next year...meaning this year, and so I put it in the "special" place so I could get to it easily.  Hmmmm.  That will teach me.  I'll probably find in in July.

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I bought myself a little something for Christmas and thought I'd share it with you.


1862 Battle Hymn

The wonderful fabrics you see in the photo are from Barbara Brackman's newest fabric collection (for Moda) 1862 Battle Hymn.  I'm just loving the prints, the colors....well everything.  The photos show some of my favorites, and I'm itching to cut them up and work with them.  I bought a few charm packs so I can cut them into hexies and tumblers right away.  I thought that you might like to see them, too.  To see the entire line, which is due in quilt shops in January,  click here

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On another note, if you're like me, then you like to read about what life was like in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, both fiction and non-fiction.  I'm reading (actually listening) to a wonderful book of historic fiction called The Kitchen House, written by Kathleen Grissom.  It tells the tale of a little immigrant girl who became indentured while making the voyage to the United States, and was brought to a plantation to work in the kitchen house in 1790.  She is raised by the women who work at the plantation.  I won't give any more details away so as not to spoil it for you, but know that the book is full of rich detail about what life was like back then.  Word on the web is that this book will be made into a movie!

If you like historic fiction, then you may enjoy The Widow of the South, a fictional book about the true life Civil War battle that took place in Franklin, TN. 

I've been told that the Wagon's West series by Dana Fuller Ross, is also wonderful historic fiction, although I haven't yet had a chance to begin reading those.



Do you have any recommendations for historic fictional books?  I'd love to hear from you!




Saturday, December 17, 2011

Almost Ready

The decorating is finally done, and we've been enjoying the house with twinkling lights, in all its red and green glory.  Our son, Ryan, has totally taken over decorating the outside of the house.  Did I mention his idol is Clark Griswald (of Christmas Vacation fame)?  If we let him have his way, our house would illuminate the entire neighborhood!

Our daughter, Nicki, has taken over the cookie making, and the house smells delicious every day.  She's becoming quite the baker.  I love to bake, and the problem is, I also love to eat it all.  It gives me great joy to see our kids enjoying the season, and taking over some of the jobs my husband and I no longer wish to do.  Passing the torch, if you will.  

I promised some pictures of the house all decked for the holidays....


These little red stacking tables are in our family room and I enjoy changing them with the seasons.  You may remember seeing them filled with wool strawberries over the summer.  The framed cross stitch piece, called Blessings be Thine, is one of my all-time favorites from Blackbird Designs.  I made the two snowmen on the floor, what seems like eons ago, when my kids were still little, and I was vending at craft shows.  You may not know this, but I made thousands of dolls like these over the ten years I did craft shows, and had a different pattern business featuring my original doll designs.  Seems like ancient history now.


I love collecting old dough bowls (this one's a reproduction) and filling them with all kinds of goodies.  I have three or four of them around the house.  There's just something warm and wonderful about filling these bowls!  Am I weird, or what? 


I love collecting the Jim Shore Christmas Santas.  This was a new acquisition in the after-Christmas sales last year. 


We have three Christmas trees in our house.  This is the largest (its not really that large, but the others are pencil trees, so ergo its the largest.)  I let my kids decorate this tree.  They forgot to dress the tree with garland this time.  Oh well....next year!

Question....am I the only one who buys wrapping paper that matches your home?  I think because the presents sit under the tree for weeks, that the paper should compliment your home decor.  I found really wonderful folk art style paper at Target this year.  They always have stuff I like.  Hhmmmm....I've got to move that bright blue gift bag to a different location....its messing with my color theme.  I know.....I'm anal about these things and  I'm totally OK with it!  Teehee!


Of course, Christmas quilts have a big presence in the house.  The gingerbread girl is another doll from my dollmaking days and is one of my favorites.  She is sitting on top of my quilt design called Small World.  The two quilts in the crocks are also my designs; Winter Retreat is on top, and No Place Like Home is in the foreground - both made with wonderful Kansas Troubles winter fabric collections.

I want to thank all of you whom offered advice on what to do with my quilt label.  I decided to add a footnote to the label that says pieced in 2008, and quilted in 2011.  That's its story, after all!  I know how busy everyone is this time of year, so I thank you for visiting! 

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Join Lynne Hagmeier and me as we cruise to Alaska on The Great Girlfriend Get-Away!  Click here to find all of the details!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Odds and Ends and UFO's

I've been enjoying a kind of catch-up, purge, and clean phase amidst the Christmas decorating (which is still not complete) and shopping.  With the completion of Journey Three, I can allow myself a few weeks to do some things I have put on the back burner for a very long time.   Yes, very exciting things indeed, like tackle the piles of fabric that I pulled for possible inclusion in a future project, do battle with the enormous dust bunnies growing under my sewing machine table, and wrangle the various papers I have in a holding pattern waiting for file folders.....yes, exciting.  I just don't know why I waited so long to do this?!  It does feel pretty good to get things in order.  I'm an organizer at heart, and the rest of the house is maintained daily, but my studio....well....enough said.

Jingle All The Way by Renee Plains for Liberty Star patterns

This quilt went with me to the Mill Creek Settlement Retreat a few weeks ago as a UFO, and came home a UFO as well.  Sigh.  Initially, I cut fabric for four of these quilts, and made three right away, giving them to friends and family as Chistmas gifts......in 2008!  My blocks were sewn, but never put together.  That's what I did at Mill Creek.  I intended to finish the quilt there, but failed to notice that I didn't have my border fabric in the box, so back home it came, still a UFO.  The borders went on this week and it's finally finished.  Exhale!  While the quilt is red (smile), green, and black, you might be thinking Christmas quilt....but no....it doesn't have a Christmas print in there.  These are the colors of my family room, so it will be a fine addition to the cuddle quilts available to the family for the coming snowy Chicago winter. 

There is an interesting dilemma with this story....of good intentions...and real life.  When I made the three other quilts (in 2008), I made the backings for all four quilts (that's the good intentions part, thinking I would piece mine right away), and promptly put labels on all of them.  That means that the backing for my quilt has been ready long before the quilt top was completed (that's the real life gets in the way part).  Here's the dilemma....do I use the backing with the label, dated 2008?  Or, should I remove the label, replacing it with a 2011 date?  Or should I be creative and alter the 2008 label?  I thought perhaps I could add a c. - circa symbol?  Or should I add another label, and addendum, if you will, telling the world my woe begotten story?  Hhmmmm.  What do you think?  Who knew quilting could be so complicated??


Thimbleberries
 Another UFO that's even older is this Thimbleberries quilt.  I think I made this top in 2003....had it quilted in 2009, and its been waiting for binding since then.  Shameful!!  It now has its binding!  Yay!
Gee, that feels good.  Has this happened to you, too?  Oh, I hope so....I don't want to be the only one with quilts waiting for their binding for years!!




I addition to sewing a few UFO's, I've worked on several new quilts for special projects that are coming up in the spring.  In the evening, I've also been working on cutting more Tumblers for my on going work-in-progress (not UFO!) Tumbler quilt........and.......



Lots and lots more of these cuties!  Yes...I'm already working on Journey Four!  My Prairie Women's Sewing Circle class has been trading hexagons, thus increasing the scrappiness of our quilts.  For me, sharing our hexagons, and fabrics, like the Prairie Women did centuries ago, makes the quilt very special and meaningful! 


In the meantime, between cleaning and sewing, sorting and purging, I'll be celebrating the reason for the season.  Once I get everything all done and cleaned up, I'll share a few photos with you.  I'm not sure its all that great to look at, but I know how much I love seeing other people's homes decorated for the holidays, and am happy to share an idea or two. 

Thanks again for taking a few moments to visit with me, and don't forget to leave me a comment about my quilt label dilemma, if you're so inclined! 

Pam

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Join Lynne Hagmeier and me as we cruise to Alaska on The Great Girlfriend Get-Away!  Click here to find all of the details!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  It seems the very moment you put the leftovers in the fridge, and say goodbye to your company, that preparations for Christmas begin!

We packed up the Thanksgiving decorations in record time this year, immediately hauling out the many boxes of Christmas decorations (I won't confess exactly how many!) to begin the holiday ritual of Decking our Halls.  A funny thing happens at our house during this time.  It kinda looks like we're moving.  Boxes are everywhere.  There are big empty spaces where nic nacs and quilts used to be.  Our little dog, Bella, wanders around looking a bit unsettled and confused.  She's not the only one.

Years ago, I organized our decorations in separate boxes, one (a-hem.....or more) for each room.  I try to tackle a room a day.  We also have our respective jobs to attend to, so.....sometimes it's a room every couple of days.  My focus isn't on getting it done in record time anymore, I really want to enjoy the ride, lingering over the things the kids made when they were little, or a Santa I made years ago while sewing with my friends. 

Then there's the discovery that while unpacking these boxes, I don't like some decorations anymore.  I want to pare down.  What to do with this stuff?  The kids want me to keep it...."we've had it for years, Mom.  It's part of my childhood!"  Sigh.  It was something that Great Aunt So and So gave to us.  I never liked it all that much!  I was only being nice when I displayed it all those years.  I don't display it anymore and can't get rid of it, so back in the box it goes.

Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to Christmas shopping at the mall with my kids, who are now all grown up.  I might steer them in the direction of Santa, and see if they'd be willing to sit on his knee again.  Good memories and funny pictures.  My goal is to have the house decorated by Sunday.

So, what does all of this have to do with quilting?  Nothing...except it's what is keeping me from sewing and having something more interesting to talk about.  It's what we all do this time of year, and no doubt, some of you are doing it, too!  Are you making Christmas gifts this year?  Planning special get-togethers with friends?  What special traditions do you celebrate?  How is your shopping and decorating coming along?  Any advice on what to do with those old, unwanted decorations?

Hope you enjoy decking your halls!  Pam



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Counting My Blessings


Every day, I am so grateful for the many blessings that are bestowed upon my family, friends, and of course, myself.  I try not to wait until Thanksgiving to count them and appreciate them.  I think there's a whole lot of truth to the addage that living a grateful life is a happy life!

As I stated in my last post, I have my share of troubles, challenges, and worry like everyone else.  Through it all, I try to keep my humor, and learn lessons from the experiences.  I don't always like it, but I try!

Thankfully, the blessings and good things are more plentiful than the unpleasant stuff.  I love my family and they are always there with and for me.  I am so blessed to have the very best friends in the world, and I know I'm lucky to have a job I love.  Working and living in the quilting world has enhanced my life in countless ways.  Piecing brings me peace of mind, heart, and soul.  It's a wonderful outlet for my creativity, and has brought me the best quilting pals, and work I truly enjoy, allowing me to meet other kindred spirit quilters.

It is my sincere hope and wish everyone reading this will have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.  May your life be filled with people you care about, good health, and the little trials and tribulations that come along be few and far between. 

Each one of you, dear readers, are among my blessings!  I thank you very much for taking the time to visit with me today.

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Stitching!  Pam

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Little Work ~ A Little Play

As many of you know, about a week ago I experienced a nightmare problem with my computer when Windows 7 did an automatic update leaving me unable to access any files on my computer for about 5 days.  Many of you left me very supportive and hopeful emails which really helped!!  Microsoft was very good with their tech support, and worked with me to resolve the problem.....I thought.  I did get a good four days work in, and was able to finish Journey Three before it happened again last Wednesday!  Different problem, but still no working computer.  I must have a computer gremlin in here somewhere!  Ugh.

For better or worse, I was scheduled to leave home early Thursday morning for a two day trip, so I sent an email to tech support at Microsoft, and packed the car, resolved I would handle my computer problems when I returned home.  I'm so glad I had the diversion of the trip to take my mind away from the frustration!! 

I headed to Ottawa, IL, a destination not too far from home, to meet with one of my bestest quilting pals, Lynne Hagmeier (of Kansas Troubles fame!).  She drove a whole lot farther than I did (thank you, Lynne!!) so we could meet and catch up on quilting news, family stuff, do some work together, and have some fun.  We spent the entire day Thursday antiquing, and boy did we find some good stuff! 


Here's my favorite find from our day of shopping....this sweet red doll quilt!!  The very simple design is quite striking, don't ya think?  The blocks are hand pieced and it's hand quilted (it doesn't have any batting.)
It was just sitting there waiting for me!  My hubby was happy to find out that I did his Christmas shopping for me, too!  Thanks, sweetie....you knew just what I liked!

That evening, Lynne and I met with our Alaskan cruise director over dinner.  We heard a lot more about the awesome destinations we will visit, what fun excursions are offered, and we shared more about our project ideas with her.  She loved what we have planned so far, and gave us new ideas and tips for how to proceed.  We're very excited and happy with how things are coming along. 

The remaining hours of the evening were spent in our pajamas, drawing sketches, and tossing fabrics around, continuing to design our joint project.  We're loving how it's coming together and its been a real kick working with Lynne!

We still can't believe that we're headed for Alaska next summer.  I remember when I was a kid... thinking about Alaska, and how it seemed such a far off, exotic place where Eskimo's lived in igloos, and where the sun could be out 24 hours, or never be seen at all.  Not only has Alaska been a bucket list destination for hubby and me, it's also a requirement of another bucket list item I have....to have stepped in all 50 of these beautiful United States! 

Lynne and I would sure love to share this experience with you!  If Alaska is on your 'want to visit someday' list, please think about joining us on our "Great Girlfriend Get-Away" aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's ship The Pearl (although my kids and I would really love it if it were the Black Pearl!! Teehee).  Click here for cruise info.

Friday, Lynne and I said our good-byes, and she started her trek home.  I spent the evening with the lovely ladies of the Illinois Valley Quilters Guild.  Quilter's are the best people to hang out with any day, any where (like on an Alaskan cruise!), and the IVQG ladies were no exception!  They all gave me a warm welcome as we shared a meal, and at the guild meeting as well. 

Saturday brought a return to reality.....unpack the car and face computer problems.  With help from my family, we unpacked the car.  With continued help from Microsoft, which took 2 more days, they helped me solve the computer problems.  Life is full on all kinds of trials and tribulations that come and go.  While it felt like the weight of the world was on me with the second round of laptop troubles, it was great to leave it all behind, and have some fun with Lynne and the guild ladies.  All is well now (I hope!), and I can hear those words my mom says all the time...."this, too, shall pass". 

As we all approach our day of thanks, I focus on what I have to be grateful for.  I hope I can say, over the next many months...that I'm grateful that my computer problems didn't return.  Only time will tell!  Keeping good computer thoughts!!

Pam

PS....I'd love to visit your guild!  Click here to see my lecture and workshop offerings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Retreat to Mill Creek Settlement

Have you ever been to a quilting retreat?  If not, you owe it to yourself to experience the wonderful gift of spending time with your girlfriends, in a beautiful setting, where you can quilt the day (and night) away!  If you have, then you know all too well what I'm talking about!  And... have I got a place for you to retreat to!!!

About a week ago, my friends and I packed the cars and headed for Wisconsin (the Madison area), to the Mill Creek Settlement Retreat, owned by Theresa & Ross Halverson.  What a wonderful time we had at their totally awesome country home!  And....I do mean country home!!

This turn-of-the-century house is located on 67 acres of land, situated at the top of a hill, and surrounded by farm fields, livestock barn, chicken coop, and grain silos (although there were no livestock or chickens at the moment!).  Theresa & Ross restored the house themselves, where it initially was a Bed & Breakfast, and is now (lucky for us!) a retreat home. 


The Halvorsens are very talented at restoration!  Their workmanship is masterful, and creative, making the house comfortable, warm, and inviting!


You truly feel like you've taken a step back in time to how the house may have been in the early 1900's.


I'm a Prairie Woman at heart, so I spent a lot of time walking thru the rooms imagining what life would have been like then.


The house is full of antique furniture and fixtures.....


.....along with beautiful reproduction pieces, and country, primitive things from......


.....The Halvorsen's primitives store called Yore Primitives (as in....days of Yore!). 


Yore Primitives is located just a short distance from Mill Creek, and you know we all went there and bought lots of goodies for our homes!!  It was wonderful!


Theresa has decorated the house with lovely vignettes......


......giving us lots of creative inspirations everywhere you look!


Mill Creek Settlement has five bedooms......


......with enough beds to accomodate 14 retreaters.


There's only one problem.....


.....deciding which of the 14 beds you want to sleep in!


Is this not the lovliest old-fashioned bathroom you've ever seen? 


The house also has several sitting rooms where you can read, or chat........


...curl up to watch a movie.....


....or do some stitching.


The work space is large and comfortable with excellent lighting.  I brought several UFO's to work on and completed a few.  My friends were very productive as well, in between bouts of "Patchwork Sing-a-longs" and other fun activities that I just can't talk about.  You know how it is....what happens at the retreat, stays at the retreat!  Vegas....eat your heart out!

Some meals are included at Mill Creek Settlement, and the warm, make-yourself-at-home welcome is free of charge!  Theresa and Ross made sure we were happy, comfy, and well fed, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company!!  We've already booked two return trips next year!

If you'd like to know more about the Mill Creek Settlement Retreat, and/or view pictures and get more information about it, click here!  I think when we find good things in life, we need to share them, and Mill Creek is a very good thing!

Thanks for taking the time from your busy day to spend a few minutes with me! 

Pam


Friday, November 11, 2011

Faithful Circle & Elizabeth's Prairie Garden ~ Journey Three

It bears repeating that I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments!!  Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to comment these past few weeks.  In my last post, I asked about what skill level you look for in a quilting pattern, and found your answers delightful and familiar. 

Like so many of you, I love a challenge, and try to expand my quilting horizons each year to learn or make something totally out of my comfort zone.  Generally, I look for a more complicated block, but love the easy classics, like a Nine Patch and Churn Dash, just the same.  I'm totally a traditional quilter at heart, and enjoy the entire process of piecing, no matter what the block may be. 

Getting to the important part of today's post....I give you the winner of the Frontier Foundations pattern!  Being that today is 11-11-11....I just had to choose comment number 11...... Lesley!! 

Lesley wrote....

Pam, Frontier Foundations is gorgeous. You are so talented! I have been quilting for over 30 years, and would consider myself intermediate skill level...I'm not too willing to create anything new, but I can follow most patterns. I hand quilt, but not very fast so I try to keep a few projects on the go...one to piece, one to quilt, one to embroider, and projects to cut...of course, that just delays me from finishing one, but it keeps life interesting! I would love to win this kit!
 
Congratulations, Lesley!  Please email your address to me and I'll get your kit out to you.
 
On a side note, I have major computer problems here.  Yesterday, I opened my laptop to find that Microsoft Windows 7 did an automatic update to my computer (even though it was completely shut-down!), and in so doing, wiped all of my documents, pictures, EQ drawings, and iTunes completely clean!  My computer sits here as if it were brand new and never used with absolutely nothing on it.  Needless to say, I'm devastated.  (Sob, sob, sob)  I know what you're asking....did I have a back-up?  Yes, but it's from September (which is waaaayyy better than nothing!)  I've been working very hard writing the patterns and shop guide for Journey Three, feeling the pressure to get it done, totally forgetting to back-up all of that work!!  A mistake I promise I will never make again.  Thankfully, all of the Journey Three patterns were saved to a flash drive!!  I took the patterns the printer that way, so those I can install again (Sigh!).  Not so lucky for the shop guide, although I did make hard copies of part of it so I could proofread them.  That's a little something, too!
 
The reason I share this with you is two fold....to emplore you to do whatever is necessary to save your work!  Don't be so busy that your back-ups are not a priority!  (I say this more to me than you, while I shake an index finger at myself!)   The other reason is that all of my professional Journey Three quilt photos are gone, too (temporarily - I can get those again!) ....so I quickly took a few pictures with my camera to show you the last two quilts from Journey Three.
 
Quilt Six ~ Faithful Circle
 
 
Faithful Circle is another quilt that features the Churn Dash block.  This classic block can really change its look depending on where you place your fabrics, which is so fun!  Simple, scrappy, and easy is what I had in mind for this quilt.  Like Frontier Foundations, I chose the border fabric first, and then pulled the block fabrics from that palette.  You can go crazy with scrapping this quilt up, add lots of Make-do's, or choose to make it from just two colors.  Lots of possibilities and a quick quilt to make!! 
 
Elizabeth's Prairie Garden
 
 
Elizabeth's Prairie Garden is the bonus project for Journey Three.  When last you saw pictures of this quilt, it was waiting for the applique design.  After playing with several ideas, I decided on this little flower motif.  It doesn't overwhelm the light blooms, and adds "just a little something different" to the quilt, which is exactly what I was looking for!  I chose to make the applique flowers with wool for the added texture that wool gives, which I love, and because it's so easy to work with!  I chose wool that was not overdyed, and found just the right colors that work beautifully with Civil War reproduction fabrics.  You can order a charm pack of these luscious wool colors from my website by clicking hereI'm very happy with how the whole quilt turned out, and smitten for life with hexagons!! 
 
I am very happy with how Journey Three turned out, and thoroughly enjoyed writing six new stories about life for Prairie Women in the 1800's.  As soon as I'm able to get the last of my work finished for Journey Three, I'll begin work on Journey Four.  I want to thank all of you for your continued support of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle club!  Without you, I'd just be stuck in the 21st century dealing with computer problems!! 
 
In my next post, I'll show you the photos of my recent trip to Wisconsin, and a brand new, absolutely wonderful retreat home.  (Thankfully, those photos were still in my camera!)  Until then, enjoy your weekend, and send me good computer thoughts! 
 
Pam

Monday, November 7, 2011

Frontier Foundations ~ No. Five from Journey Three

I so enjoy reading all of your comments!!  Reading thru them all told me we love our lap and throw sized quilts the very best!!  I am in total agreement.  You can never have too many throws.  Most of you enjoy making the doll size or wall hanging quilts, too.  They give us a chance to play with blocks and fabric without a heavy investment of time and money.  Since we are drawn to making so many different blocks, and there's a never ending supply of lovely fabric, the doll size quilts seem to be a perfect match!

Please help me congratulate Heather Potts!  She's the winner of A Light in the Window quilt kit!  Here's Heather's comment....

I love a bed size quilt. I want to be able to wrap myself in it! There is something soothing about being wrapped in a quilt. Heather Potts

Heather is in my own Prairie Women's sewing group at The Quilt Merchant and happens to be one of the founding members!  Heather has possibly made all of the PWSC quilts and does a lovely job!  (In case you're wondering, my husband, Ed, chose the number for the give-away...so it was all on the up and up I assure you!!)

Quilt Five ~ Frontier Foundations


This little quilt combines two of my favorites....the Odds & Ends block, and that oh-so-wonderful red border print that is one of my all time Judie Rothermel favs!!  I had a blast creating this quilt, pulling the block colors from the feature fabric in the border.  I think it will be really cute made in two or three colors, and all scrappy fabrics as well.  To me, it's just a happy quilt.  As with all of the other Journey Three quilts, the block is tiny, but easy to make, and there is an alternate pattern to make the block and quilt larger for those who are looking for that. 

This is your last chance to win a Journey Three kit.  To enter, please leave me a comment about the hardest difficulty level you feel you can acheive in a quilting pattern.  That is to say, generally, would you tackle a beginner, confident beginner, intermediate, or advanced pattern?  What is the quilting skill you most want to learn? 

Three words about my weekend retreat.   OMG!  It was just over-the-moon wonderful!!  I took gobs of photos.  It may take me two postings to show it all to you.  I'll be writing about it at the end of the week, so......stay tuned! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Light in the Window ~ Quilt Four of Journey Three

What fun it has been to read all of your comments about your favorite color combos!  So many of you love red...all girls after my own heart!!  While I do so love red, it's not the only color I love, and like you blue, green, and black are among my other favs.  Many of you are very fond of cheddar, and I'm really trying to get there!  Thanks again for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts.

The winner of the Lockridge Mill quilt kit is.........(drum roll please!)

Sally from Ca....who said....Since it is fall, I enjoy working with a brown and gold combination of colors. I'm making a scrappy one right now, with cheddar thrown in. It kind of depends on what season it is as far as what colors I like to combine. For year round, though, I love red and white. I absolutely love your colors in Lockridge Mill and would love to win the kit!

Congratulations, Sally...please email your address, and I'll get your kit in the mail next week.

A Light in the Window ~ Quilt Four


A Light in the Window combines two more of my favorites......a quilt made of blue and green fabrics, and a Churn Dash block.  Playing with the values of the fabrics and putting the blocks on point made this simple quilt a bit more interesting.  The blocks are itty bitty, finishing at 3 inches, and cuter than heck.  Did you crinkle your nose when you read 3 inches?  Not to worry...remember....the pattern now has cutting instructions for a larger size block & quilt!


I so love the combo of blue and green that I decorated my living room with it and I love it very much.  For me, it's very restful and soothing. 

Our "conversations" about what blocks you like, and what color combos are your favorites, has me thinking about other things I want to ask you.  What size quilts do you make most often?  Do you like runners, wall hangings, table toppers?  Do you make quilts for your bed, or a lap/throw size for your favorite comfy chair?  Do you have a preference regarding rectangular quilts, or are square quilts OK, too? 

If you're interested in winning a kit for A Light in the Window, comment about all the quilt sizes you prefer.  Post your comment by midnight, Sunday, November 6th.  I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Tomorrow morning I'm taking off on a road trip, headed for what I call the 'holy land of quilting" (tongue in cheek, of course!)  I'll be visiting my favorite away-from-home shops in Illinois & Wisconsin - The Quilter's General Store, J.J. Stitches, and The Country Sampler - and retreating with girlfriends at a brand new retreat destination that looks to be just over-the-moon wonderful!  I'm gonna try to post lots of pics on Facebook, so you can follow along with me on my adventures.  That is IF Facebook and Wi-Fi Hot Spots cooperate!!  Don't worry if you're not on Facebook as I plan to post photos on the blog in the next week or so. 

Until then.....enjoy the extra hour of sleep, or use it as a bonus hour of sewing!!  And, as always, thanks so much for taking a few moments to visit with me!!  Pam

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Continuing with Journey Three

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment!  I loved reading about all of your favorite blocks.  It turns out they're mine too, as they were all the traditional blocks with the good 'ol Nine Patch taking the lead as most popular.  There's just something about this classic, simplistic block that we all love. 

Running very close seconds were any type of star block (who doesn't love stars??!), Four Patch, Churn Dash, Log Cabin, and Basket blocks.  I adore basket blocks, too, and have been very enamored with the Odds & Ends block of late (which I used in the 5th quilt for Journey 3).  I have to admit that, lately, I'm very drawn to anything that presents a piecing challenge.  Some of my friends and I signed up to take a Dear Jane class, and I love that because it combines two of my favorite things....a sampler quilt, and small blocks (finishing to 4.5 inches!).  Dear Jane allows me to use a bevy of quilting skills, and the opportunity to learn new ones.  For instance, I stitched my first hand pieced Dear Jane block this month.  Here's a photo of how it turned out.

 


Hand piecing is wonderful...not nearly as hard as I had imagined.  Not surprising, it's all about the hints and tips that make the job easier, and you get those hints and tips from attending classes!!  Never stop taking classes!!  (Are you surprised I chose to make a red and light print Dear Jane??)

On to the important news.....the winner of the Windy Hill Farm quilt kit is.........Karen W. who says...

My favorite blocks are the Ohio Star, Churn Dash and 9 Patch. Love, Love, Love Journey 3. Thank you so much for all your hard work and creativity! I look forward to reading your blog every day. Karen W.

Congratulations, Karen W!!  I'll send you an email and get your kit out to you right away!!

Quilt 3 ~ Lockridge Mill


I love the simple design of the Lockridge Mill quilt with it's bands of Flying Geese.  Like the Nine Patch blocks we love so well, there's something wonderful about how graphic and stunning those triangles are, all "flying in a row".  I think this quilt, made large or small, is a "must have" in the collection of a traditional quilter.  I really love the border fabric (Cocheco Mills collection by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Bros.) as it looks so very vintage to me, and am very happy with the way it turned out.  While I was making this quilt (which took only 3 hours), I thought it would look great made with a variety of scraps too, so I'm sure I'll be making another one.  When?  Hhmmmm.

Hoping you like the Lockridge Mill quilt with its Flying Geese and red ~ green fabric combination, and if you do, please comment for a chance to win a kit of the exact fabrics I used.  Tell me what fabric color combinations you love the most, and post your comment by midnight, Tuesday, November 1st.  I'll post the winner on Wednesday and show you quilt number four. 

Until then......Pam

P.S.  Cathy left a good comment asking for clarification about what the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle is all about.  I apologize, Cathy!  I get to thinking that everyone already knows!  My bad :-(

The PWSC is a monthly club, best experienced at a quilt shop.  Each Journey lasts for 6 months and Journey Three is about to be released.  While attending the club, you do a little hand sewing of either Yo-yos or hexagons, depending on what Journey the shop is running, receive anecdotal stories about what life was like for American "Prairie Women" in the 1800's, and receive monthly patterns for do-able, affordable quilts that also teach you about Making-Do.  Many shops offer the club through the mail.  If you would like more information about the club, visit my website, and/or email me for a list of participating shops in your state.  Better yet, tell your favorite shop owner about the club.  A lot of them don't know anything about it!! 

 



Friday, October 28, 2011

Take a look at Journey Three!!

At long last!!!!!  I am ready to show you the quilts for Journey Three!!  It feels soooo good!!  (Pardon my over use of exclamation points, but I really needed to do it.  Teehee!!) 

There are two big changes to Journey Three and I hope you like them. 

First, we are changing our hand sewing project from Yo-yos, which I still adore, to hexagons, which I absolutely love!!  I wanted to keep things fresh and fun, and boy are those hexagons fun!!  To buy a Hexagon Starter kit, including a finished sample hexagon, click here.

Secondly, I am adding alternate sizes for all of the quilts.  In my own Prairie Women's group, we talk about how some of us (me included) love small blocks....but not everyone does!  I don't want anyone to feel left out, so I decided to offer alternate sizes, giving options.  In this way, I hope there's something for everyone.

Quilt One ~ Contrary Wife


We start our Journey with this quilt called Contrary Wife.  This is a replica of an antique quilt that I own.  I've always loved the reel block and thoroughly enjoyed every moment making this quilt.  There are three alternate patterns for the Contrary Wife (two with no applique)!  This is the only lap/throw size quilt in the series.   The quilting on this quilt is stunning.  I can say that 'cause I didn't quilt it!

Quilt Two ~ Windy Hill Farm



I never get tired of the classic double pink and indigo blue fabrics!  This is an easy quilt to make featuring our most traditional blocks - the Nine Patch and Pinwheel. I love the motion the
Pinwheels give the quilt without over taking it.  I had a great time choosing the fabrics for it, too.
And when I did....I cut a kit one for one lucky quilter to win!!

As promised, it's time for our Journey Three kit contests to begin!!!  Yay!!

To enter, leave me a comment about your favorite blocks, and/or your least favorite block, and why.  It is very helpful if you include your email address in your comment.  Be sure to comment by midnight, Saturday, Oct 29th.  I'll choose a winner for the Windy Hill Farm kit (which includes the Windy Hill Farm pattern) on Sunday.

There will be three more kits coming, so visit often!

Good Luck!!  Pam

P.S.  Lynne Hagmeier and I have received news that our quilting cruise to Alaska is beginning to fill nicely!  We'd love for you to join us on The Great Girlfriend Get-Away!!  Don't forget to check out our cruise brochure.....click here!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Loving Scrappy Quilts!

Do you love scrappy quilts?  I'm crazy for scrappy quilts!  I think it's because I love fabric, and making scrappy quilts gives me the opportunity to include tons of the fabrics I love.  It also allows me to play with fabric I'm not so crazy about.....dare I say "ugly" fabric.  In the mix of scrappy heaven, you can use an "ug" here and there, and then it's not so bad.  I'm trying to warm up to using some of the reproduction standards that I'm not so crazy about, such as poison green, chrome yellow, and cheddar.  I've begun using cheddar, although I'm choosing pieces that aren't very bright, prompting my friends to say that, techinically then, it's not cheddar at all.  Sigh.  I'm trying!  I did make a few cheddar, poison green, and chrome yellow hexagons, but in the end, I only used a few of them.  Baby steps...OK! 

For those of us madly in love with scrap quilts...have I got a book for you!



This awesome book contains patterns for 29 quilts, chosen by the editors of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine as their favorites!  There's a wide variety of styles from some of your favorite designers.  I'm very partial to many, whom I am very lucky to call my friend, such as Julie Hendricksen of J.J. Stitches, Kathie Holland of Inspired by Antique Quilts, and pal Tara Lynn Darr of Sew Unique Creations!  Oh...and I'm very honored to say I have three quilts in this book!!

Many of the patterns in this book were only available in the original magazine issues in which they appeared....until now!  That's true for two of my quilts....



Mix It Up, made in 1930's reproduction fabrics, features one of my favorite blocks, Jacob's Ladder.  It's such a simple block to piece, and puts on a big show!  Depending on how you postion the blocks, you get very fun secondary designs!  I'm also very fond of the playful border!




Scattered Leaves made the cover of American Patchwork & Quilting and has remained a favorite of quilters all over the world.  It's a favorite for me as well, not only because it was my first "Cover Girl", but also because two of my best friends dug into their fabric stashes and helped me piece this quilt!  It wouldn't have been the same scrappy-wonderful without them! 


Color Rich is a new version of my quilt Blueberry Pie.  The Color Rich version is constructed in the same way, but uses a palette of warm earthy toned fabrics, which are quite lovely!   Blueberry Pie, which is also pictured in the book, uses a wide variety of blue fabrics.

So...take my word for it.....if you're a scrap quilt lover, you'll want to add the Better Homes & Gardens Scrappy Quilt book to your library!!  Look for it at your favorite quilt shop, or you can order it from me by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by!!  Pam

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Show-n-Tell from Me!

In my last post, I wrote about my recent visit to a quilting retreat, and told you how I brought three projects with me - quilts that I've wanted to make for myself, for our home.  In other words - no "work" projects for Heartspun Quilts.  The truth is, I brought a lot more than three projects....in case somehow I got to sew'n at the speed of light.  What could be worse than being at a retreat with all kinds of time to sew and nothin' to work on, right?  God forbid.  All in all, I was pretty happy with the progress I made with my Tumbler quilt, which is about half way finished now.  I have to trace and cut more tumblers before I can finish it, which will take some time.  That's ok....I rather like the journey of finding just the right fabrics.  I starch and iron the scraps, then while I'm watching TV with the family, I trace and cut them.  It's really relaxing.  Anyway...I digress.

Both of the quilts I finished in Wisconsin were small quilts.  The first one was a quilt I just recently saw in the August 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, called Sweet Carolina, designed by Annemarie Yohnk (of Quilts Remembered).  The moment I saw this quilt I wanted to drop everything and make it NOW!  Has this ever happened to you?  Well, unfortunately, I couldn't drop everything to make it right then and there, but I didn't have to wait all that long! 




Here's how my Sweet Carolina turned out....not bad, right.  Well, as I was piecing it together, I began go hate my fabric choices for the pieced and applique stems.  The leaves were a good choice, but the other greens were too weak.  I placed it on the design wall and began to work on the next project, but the more I looked at it, the stronger my feelings were.  I began to voice my concerns to my friends.  Actually....I voiced my concerns a lot.  I decided I would have to make another one...I just wasn't happy.  One of my girlfriends, truthfully I'm not sure which one, suggested that I spray the quilt with Instant Antique spray (by Primitive Gatherings) to darken the fabrics.  I thought that was an excellent idea!  What did I have to loose?  I had already resigned myself to making another one! 



We went outside and I laid the quilt on the grass and began to spray....


and spray, and spray, and spray.......


I kept spraying until the fabrics were completely saturated.  I let it dry outside a bit and then pressed it with an iron to dry completely. 


Here's how it turned out!  On the left is the before, and the right is after.  The Instant Antiquing spray darkened the greens just enough that I'm very happy with them now.  If I wanted to make the fabrics darker still, I only need to repeat the process, and apply the spray again.  I thought perhaps you'd like share this experience with me, so if you're ever in the same pickle, you have an option.  I know several quilt shop owners, designers and friends who use this product regulary.  It's very easy to use and permanent, too.  Contact Primitive Gatherings if you'd like to buy Instant Antiquing for yourself.


The second quilt I finished is this little cutie called Stepping Stones, designed by Phyllis Paul of Cozy QuartersThis quilt measures 11 x 14 inches with the blocks finishing at 3 inches.  It was such fun to make!  I wanted to make it to use in my summertime display of assorted folky strawberries!  I love how it turned out.  I think I'll try to quilt it myself....or not.  We'll see.



Over the weekend, my friends I attended a Feathered Star workshop with world reknown teacher, Marsha McCloskey.  This was my first attempt to piece a feathered star.  I was able to finished my block before the workshop ended, with 15 minutes to spare, and am very proud of how it turned out.  Marsha's techniques were awesome!  If you ever have the chance to take a workshop with her, do it!!!  You won't be sorry.... I learned so much.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Well, that's it for my non-work show-n-tell.  Stay tuned for the big reveal of all of the Journey Three projects.  The quilts are on their way back from photography, the cover will be at the printer, and I'm putting the finishing touches on all of the patterns. 

Don't forget, there will be several contests to win the pattern and kits 
(containing the exact fabrics I used in the
 quilts) of some of the Journey Three quilts...so stay tuned!!

And as always....thank you for taking a few moments to visit with me today!
Pam