Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Finish: Mini Log Cabin Pincushion

With scraps from my daughter's log cabin quilt, I sewed this cute mini log cabin block and turned it into a pincushion.  I love everything about pincushions: making, giving, using, displaying, AND receiving them!!

I trimmed some leftover strips to 1" wide; you can see what a difference that half an inch makes when you are working with 13 strips.

The back is super cute too!  I like to use a heavier weight fabric for my pincushion backs so I don't have to line them.  The stuffing is walnut shells.

Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts.  Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Gruber's Retreat 2017

Warning: this post is quilt-picture heavy as I just returned from our eighth annual quilting retreat in Minnesota. Four full days of sewing with friends!! I look forward to this get-together at Gruber's All.Year.Long! In most cases, I only see these amazing friends once a year, but we pick up right where we left off the previous year like we just saw each other yesterday.

 Once again, I traveled with my featherweight in the Sew Portable Travel Bag.  Jewell got lots of sewing hours in as I assembled the remaining 96 log cabin blocks for my daughter's graduation quilt. Listening to the machine sing stitch as I chain pieced (and chain pieced and chain pieced) each log cabin round was therapeutic.  I really should use this machine more than I do.

My goal was to have the quilt top assembled by Sunday, but I settled with having all the blocks completed and a final layout decided.  The design wall was not large enough to show all the blocks and work on the final layout (I did that digitally and then confirmed on my design wall when I got back home), but it was sufficient to see enough of the pattern to make sure I was on the right track.

In addition to our usual laughing, chatting, and snacking, there was some beautiful projects in the works.  I'll leave it to my friends to share their own photos.  Cindy was doing her magic with solids and Anna Maria Horner prints; Amanda Jean whipped up a quilt top worth of blocks and her adorable pin cushions; Doris completed TWO quilt tops, worked on Heather Ross fussy cut paper pieced star blocks, and made an adorable 3-D unicorn for her niece; Stephanie finished her Metro Rings quilt top started in a retreat from just two weeks before, kept up with her #100Days100blocks project, and made quick progress on the Local quilt; Mary made adorable owls and firebugs to add to her other Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Forest critters; and Shelly worked on THREE projects simultaneously including adorable Elizabeth Hartman flamingos.  We missed having Michelle and Terri with us this year; it's sure not the same when we are without one (or two) of our friends.

Since I wasn't sewing much before retreat, I created Lego sewing machines for my friends.

Exchanging happies has become a ritual at retreat, and I'm always amazed at what my friends create year after year.  Below is the amazing collection of happies I received from my friends this year. 

Having other quilty friends who are in the area pop by is another tradition of our retreat.  Brooke,  Victoria (who invited me to the first retreat but has been unable to attend in recent years) and her daughter Beatrice joined us for dinner at Granite City.

Maria (@QuiltMomofFive on Instagram) came by to meet Stephanie and Shelly as they all follow each other on Instagram and then invited us all to her new lake house for dinner.  Coincidentally Maria is good friends with Heather who I got to meet at our very first retreat in 2010.  

Heather, Amanda Jean, Maria, Shelly, and Stephanie, Krazina, Cindy, Doris
Amanda Jean brought quilts from her new book and we each picked one to sleep under.  I love this Remainders quilt which helped me have the best night sleep of the retreat! 

Here's a close up of the quilt made with tiny triangle trimmings.  Amanda will be teaching her Spin Class at our guild in September, and I think saving all those leftover siggy block trimmings may not have been in vain...haha!

For the last two weeks, I have received Facebook reminders of previous year retreats as they popped up in my Memories from years past.  I thought it would be fun to share them all here in one place.

2010:  Toni, Amanda Jean, Rene', Shelly, Mary, Victoria, Doris, Terri, Shelly
2011:  Doris, Michelle, Rene', Terri, Amanda Jean, Mary, Cindy, Stephanie, Toni, Shelly

2012:  Doris, Michelle, Rene'', Terri, Mary, Cindy, Amanda Jean, Stephanie
2013:  Stephanie, Cindy, Amanda Jean, Mary, Doris, Toni, Rene', Michelle
2014:  Rene', Doris, Toni, Mary, Terri, Stephanie, Cindy, Amanda Jean
2015:  Amanda Jean, Rene', Doris, Mary, Michelle Terri, Cindy, Shelly, Stephanie

2016:  Cindy, Michelle Stephanie, Terri, Shelly, Doris, Mary, Amanda Jean, Rene' 

I am so fortunate to call these ladies my good friends!!  Quilting is an amazingly creative outlet, but having such an incredible group of friends to share this passion is what encourages me to continue!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Finish: Lego Sewing Machines

This weekend is our annual Gruber's retreat in Minnesota, and I made lego sewing machines to take for my retreat friends.

I have made these little machines before, but at my last Lego store visit I discovered the option of engraving bricks so these machines are personalized.  

Each time I make a batch, I have to change up the "recipe" just a bit because of the brick availability at the time.  These machines are so much fun to make; I should just start ordering the actual parts I want from now on!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.  Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Facebook Communities Summit

I recently had the privilege of attending (with two other guildies) the first ever Facebook Communities Summit, representing Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.  What an amazing opportunity for our guild to be invited to attend along with admins of 100 other groups!

I won't go in to all that was discussed (click on the link above if you want to read the press article), but the focus was on "meaningful groups" and building a sense of community.  I will say the three day summit was an experience I will never forget.

As you can tell by the graphics, the groups were an eclectic mix.

We were in workshops all day, and treated like VIPs during the evening events!  The workshops covered topics including Engaging Your Community, Creating Shared Purpose, and Fostering Safe Community.  Mary, Michele, and I had the opportunity to share our guild story, meet other group leaders and hear their stories (including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg), and learn from an amazing array of speakers.

The venue designers Must Be quilters.  Our workshops were held in rooms such as the Hex Room, the Triangle Room, the Circle Room, and the Heart Room!  I kept seeing quilt designs everywhere I looked!
We were the only quilt group represented at the Summit, but that didn't stop us from finding other quilters!  We met Shelly on the plane who had joined our Facebook group days before the event.  Ann was at the Summit with a pilgrimage group; we discovered she had made a Quilts for Pulse with her LAMQG!

Dawn had put the word out that she wanted to meet us and could be found carrying a hot pink backpack!  We found her the last day and had a great time discussing quilts and seeing her recent finishes on Instagram.

Lighthearted workshop in the vein of late night comedy.  See the HSTs in the background?!
This got me thinking about community and quilters and how the two just go hand in hand.  Am I right?!  Quilters tend to seek each other out and instantly connect like no other group of people I have known.  It's a beautiful thing!

Look at these bar tiles!

So it seemed appropriate to start a Facebook Group where ALL quilters could connect in one place; a place to discuss anything quilty, regardless of style, skill level, or location.  If you are on Facebook, please consider joining Quilty Friends Rock and/or inviting quilt friends to join.

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Finish: Featherweight Bag

Hey and Happy Friday! 
I finished Jeni Baker's Sew Portable Travel Bag, and let me say it travels well on the airplane!  

Not being a bag maker, I was happy the sewing machine bag, as well as the drawstring pouch and tray cover, was not complicated to make.  I cut into my precious Carolyn Friedlander fabrics for this project.  The bag could have been quilted more, but I was in a hurry to finish before my trip.  The picture above shows the featherweight that traveled in the bag, but I should note that I used my Juki to make the bag.

I have wanted a way to carry my featherweight on the plane without having to lift it into the overhead bin (forget checking it in a suitcase), and I seemed to remember this pattern being described as such.  When I went to find the pattern, I did not see it described as being able to fit under an airplane seat, but it does which is awesome.

This was on a Southwest flight; I had more room on the United flight.

I brought my featherweight with me to Montana (via a quick trip to Chicago), and I had no issues going through security (no more than usual...I always give TSA a heads up), carrying the bag through the airport, or fitting the bag and machine under the seat in front of me on the plane.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me.  Soon I will travel to Minnesota for my eighth Gruber's retreat, and I am excited to have a better plan for traveling with my machine.  In the past, I would pack my sewing machine in my carryon bag and carry an oversize tote bag filled with fabric as my personal item to fit under the seat.  Well, you know how much fabric weighs!  Over the years, I have developed a pain in my left shoulder from carrying heavy tote bags and lifting suitcases (usually holding fabric and a sewing machine) in overhead bins.

Recently, I have switched to traveling with a backpack that slides on the handle of my roller carryon bag...nothing on my shoulder and seeking assistance with lifting my bag in the overhead bin.  For this trip with my sewing machine, I replaced the backpack with my Featherweight bag which had room to hold my wallet, iPad, and sweater.  My rolling bag was lighter without a sewing machine so lifted easily in the overhead bin.

On the return trip, my rolling bag had acquired some weight so I checked it in which meant carrying the Featherweight bag on my shoulder through the airport.  The structure of the bag was durable enough for this purpose, and I had no concern carrying the sewing machine around.  It was quite the conversation starter as well while waiting to board ;-)))  The funniest comment I heard was from a quilter's husband who referred to quilt guilds as "covens"!

So those are my tips and experiences when flying with a sewing machine.  What are yours?

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a fabulous weekend!