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Monday, February 27, 2012

Paperwork Purgatory

It seems like I've been lost in paperwork purgatory for the last week or so.  It's tax time, don't ya know, and it seems like I have a lot more tax prep work to do this year.  BORING!  I only have one more calculation to do and I'll be ready to see the accountant.  Gosh, I'm always so happy when my part is over.  I just hope I'll be happy when his part is over!  Enough whining about that!

I'm also deep into writing new patterns this past week.  Some are my patterns, and one that I'm working on is a pattern for a ginormous project for Spring Quilt Market ~ a brand new sampler quilt pattern that 15 designer friends and I have worked on creating together!!!  It's been a wonderful experience.  All of us are well-known Civil War designers who started collaborating on this project before we even left the convention hall at last Spring's market in Salt Lake City!  I can't say anything more right now, but don't worry.....I'll be posting a lot about this project in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned.

Thankfully, paperwork isn't the only thing happening around here!  I recently asked a friend of mine, Debbie, to come and work with me since I have big plans for many new patterns, am also working on Journey Four of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle, and have a few other surprises brewing for market, and just can't do it all myself.  Ya think??  Thank goodness for girlfriends!!  So...Deb and I dove into the pile of fabric above, which became this.....

While I'm finishing my paperwork, Deb has been working on piecing 90 Cross X blocks for a new quilt.  I adore the Cross X block so much that I've designed two new quilts with it.  I'll show you our progress in my next post.  In the meantime, I'll get back to my paperwork and hope that soon I'll be able to spend some time with my other good friend, Bernina!! 

So nice to spend a few minutes with you today!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Just For Us Prairie Girls

 I thought we'd talk books today.  I found a copy of this sweet little book while on my last visit to
Mill Creek Settlement Retreat, and, as a bonafide Prairie Girl, just had to own a copy.  It's quite delightful.  It's a fun little read about how you  "may not have to truss a turkey or embroider a pillowcase on a daily basis, however, it pays for a modern girl to posses the skills of a pioneer woman, especially in a challenging urban landscape"!  The book contains all kinds of advice and how-tos on a variety of subjects relating to life.  Some of my favorite parts of the book are how to speak the "old-time slang", such as using the saying "huckleberry above a persimmon", which means 'a cut above', used as follows: "Sam thought Minnie's pie was a huckleberry above a persimmon, but he couldn't bring himself to tell her so."   Would you like to know how to spin yarn?  Make a rhubarb pie from scratch?   Lace a corset?  Do you need to know how to braid you hair to fit in any bonnet?  Well...this book is for you!  {Grin}  It will bring a smile to your face.  I bought my copy thru Amazon.

Ok....before you head over to Amazon, I wanted to share more historical fiction book recommendations with you:

Here's a trilogy by author Nancy E. Turner -

These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901
Sarah's Quilt: A Novel of S.A.Prine and AZ Territories, 1906
The Star Garden: A Novel of S.A. Prine

Come Spring by Ames Williams

The Independence of Miss Jane Bennet by Colleen McCullough
(a fictitional follow-up to Pride & Prejudice)

Rasputin's Daughter by Robert Alexander

Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

Pilate's Wife by Anbinette May

The Old House at Railes by Mary Pearce

And a series by Vilheim Moberg
The Emigrants
Unto a Good Land
The Settlers
Last Letter Home

One of my favorite historical fiction books is The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

And, I don't think we can ever go wrong reading the
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder!

My thanks to all of my readers whom shared their book recommendations with me.  My blog readers are a huckleberry above a persimmon, to say the least!

I'm knee deep into the construction of another quilt for my Vintage Stitches series.  This quilt features the Cross X block, and I'm madly in love with that block.  I've loved it for a long time and have designed two new quilts using it.  I'll have pictures in my next post - so please stay tune - and I hope you have a most enjoyable day!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tussy Mussy

Meet Tussy Mussy.  The name comes from the 17th and 18th century and is another name for a
Nosegay bouquet.  Women often received a Tussy Mussy from their gentlemen callers.  Each flower in the bouquet had meaning and the women referred to a book called The Tussy Dictionary to decipher the floral message her suitor was conveying!  I just love that!

Since I chose the traditional Nosegay block for this quilt, Tussy Mussy seemed a natural choice for the name!

This is a terrible photo of the quilt.  I almost didn't show it to you, but I promised that I would....and I keep my promises.  The color is all washed out for some reason.  Very frustrating!!  I'm not a great photographer, as you can see, but trying to get better....so please forgive the atrocious photo.

The quilt measures approximately 33 x 40.  It was great fun piecing it.  I hope you like it.  It's off to the quilter now!  That's such a good feeling, isn't it?  The pattern should be available sometime in March.

I've had several emails in the last few weeks asking if I am willing to visit quilt guilds to give a lecture or workshop, and I most definitely do!!  If you'd like me to visit your local guild, please pass my website along to the program's chairperson.  You can see the full list of my lecture and workshop offerings and contact information by clicking here.

Another terrific source for speakers is The Quilt Trade Association.  They have a wonderful list of teachers and you can peruse the list by state to see who may be close to you.  Check out the Speakers Forum - new speakers are added often!

Next week I'll be starting a new quilt and will have more photos to show you.  (Hopefully, they'll turn out better!!)  As always, thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day!!


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

Monday, February 13, 2012


I've always adored the Nosegay block and finally got around to designing a quilt featuring this traditional and stunning block.  It looks alot harder than it is.....really!  I've included two piecing methods for the cone unit.  One is Connector Corner style and the other paper pieced for sure-fire perfection.  The rest of the block is made using modern piecing techniques we all know.  Hopefully, in a day or so, I'll have a photo of the completed quilt.  Gotta run....I can't wait to sew it all together!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Making Progress

I'm still in pre-quilt market crush, but am making progress.  That's a good feeling!  I'm excited about the quilts I've designed and am creating, but hate the pressure of the deadline.  Does anyone like deadlines?  I hear some people say they like them because they're forced to complete the work, and therefore, feel more productive.  I don't need the deadlines to make me finish.....I finish most everything I start.  For work, that is.  Now, I don't want anyone out there to be thinking that I don't have any UFO's sitting around here!  No, no, no!  Oh, I've got UFO's but they're my personal "wanna-do's", and it's because I finish my work that I don't finish my other stuff.  Sigh.....ya know what I mean?? 

Well, enough of that....on to more interesting stuff!

Last week, I spent four days with all of the fabric in my stash pulled out of the closet and spread all over the place.  It was a lovely mess and so nice to get reacquainted with them all.    I was choosing fabrics for four upcoming quilts.  Here are the fabs I chose for the quilt currently in production.  It's funny how often you just don't have enough of a certain green or pink or.....  Feed your stash!!  There's always a need for more fabric!!!  (Despite what non-quilters may think.)

I chose to use one of my newest favorite neutral fabrics.  I'm crazy in love with this fabric.  It was designed by my pal, Lynne Hagmeier (Kansas Troubles for Moda) and I can't tell you how much I love it!!  Well....so much I had to have a whole bolt!!  The photo about shows how great the print looks, but isn't a good representation of how lovely the color really is.  You see the color better in the first photo.
Anyway, it's from Lynne's Cattails and Clover collection in stores now.  The things I love about this fabric are the picotage leaves, the black on the warm beige, and the multi-colored dots.  Picotage (which is the effect of creating a motif from a bunch of tiny dots) softens the look of the leaves, and I think that  coloring them black makes this fabric the perfect mate for country folk art and Civil War quilts alike.  

All of the blocks have been sewn and it's up on my design wall.  I just love it when you can put the blocks on the design wall and you get your first real look at how the quilt is coming along.  So far, so good.  I'll give you a look at the blocks in my next post, and hopefully, the finished quilt soon thereafter!


Oh....also....a whole lot of you have been emailing me with more historic fiction novel recommendations  to add to my reading list, and I will be sharing them with all of you as well.  So, stay tuned, and as always, thanks for taking a moment to stop by here today! 


PS.  Lynne just launched a brand new website!  It's wonderful!!  Click here to check it out!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Quilty License Plate

About a month ago, I asked for photos of quilty license plates.  I see them around town and they bring a smile to my face, knowing that a kindred spirit rides in that car.  Is she on her way to her favorite quilt shop?  Is she on a fabric mission?  I smile and nod...been there....done that.... many times!  Here are photos from my sisters-in-quilting, showing off their passion in license plate form!

This plate belongs to Carol M.  The QLT obviously represents her love of quilting, and the MEMA is the name her grandchildren call her.  How cute is that? 

Linda from California sent me a photo of her plate - which says it all, doesn't it?


Maureen wanted to send me a photo of her plate, QLTR99, but she can't because she's in AL and the car is in IL!  She says she added the 99 because she can easily remember what year her car is for all of those pesty forms that ask for that info.  Great idea, Maureen!


Kathy L's license plate covers a bevy of needle-love!  She knits, works counted thread embroidery, and quilts.  For the last 24 years, she's been living in Texas, but part of her heart is still in Illinois, hence the Bears plate frame.  Love it!

Fellow quilter, Jean T. sums it up nicely, don't you think?

As does the plate on my good friend Tara Darr's (of Sew Unique Creations) SUV. 

The next time you pull into the parking lot of your local quilt shop and see a line-up like this, I know you'll smile and nod...knowing kindred spirits are inside, and you're exactly where you belong!

Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for taking a moment to stop by. 

I have many new projects in the works and will post my progress, so stay tuned!


P.S.  If you're in the Chicagoland area, I will be teaching my most popular workshop class, "Practice What I Preach", in Steger, IL on Saturday, February 11th.  If you're interested in attending, please email me and I will put you in touch with the folks at the Pieces 'N Patches Quilt Guild who can get you signed up.