WI Quilt Expo 2012

10 09 2012

This past Saturday, I attended the 2012 Wisconsin Quilt Expo with Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts, two relatives of Sandi’s (Karen and Sharon), and a new quilting friend of Sandi’s, Kathy. Part of the experience of attending the WI Quilt Expo for us is tailgating (sort of) and having lunch in the parking lot. Between the five of us, we had a table, chairs, and plenty of food! Karen and Sharon brought the innards for the sandwiches (cheese and sandwich meat), along with some snackables like Pringles, black olives, grapes and tomatoes. Sandi brought bread, plates, chairs, and plastic tableware. Kathy brought some absolutely amazing  home-made pickles and cherry tomatoes fresh from her garden. I contributed chips, dip and some veggies.

Wisconsin Quilt Expo Haul

I was very restrained in my shopping while at the show. It’s not that there
wasn’t pretty fabric to pet. I was just genuinely not feeling the urge to buy. I’ve been very focused on using the stash I already have, and that feeling is still holding true, at the moment.

There were things I needed – needles, for one. I stock up annually at this show, because $1.59 for a five pack of universals and $2.39 for a pack of quilting needles is just too good to pass up.

I also picked up yet another seam ripper. I’m obsessed with finding a nice sharp one, and the blue-handled one I picked up at Joann’s last month just isn’t cutting it.

More Sewline refills, though I debated trying the Bohn brand, since they were almost a dollar cheaper. Just in the gray and white this time, since I really just need a light and dark for marking. I’ve been known to have all the colors on hand, but again, showing restraint.

The fabric is fabric is three yards of Urban Garden by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit. I was quite drawn to the very clear colors in this and now need to figure out a design to complement this fabric. I have a few ideas already, but so many projects in the works that I’d really like to finish up some of the things already in the queue. Still, I’m thinking I’ll be picking up a selection of solids to go with this print. I don’t want to distract from it too much, but I might see what else was offered in this particular fabric line before I make a final decision.

I also picked up two Perl cottons for hand-quilting a gift-y project I’ve been working on. They’re Presencia, No. 16, and don’t exactly match what’s in the top, but I think I’ll like that. In the photo at right, the Perls are sitting on the backing fabric for this particular little project.

Sorry about the blurriness… It’s late, almost 3:30 AM, and I couldn’t see that it was blurry until I dropped it into the blog post here. And really, I’m really too lazy to take another shot.

These are the things that happen when I’m woken out of my post-second job nap, when the nap has gone from being a nap to being camped on the couch for the whole night.

And because I can’t mention the gift-y item without showing a sneak peak of it:

Sneaky Peek
I made use of some of my scraps, and some solids from my stash. This design would work really well for an I Spy quilt I think. This is one that I think needs to be made up into a tutorial or pattern. I’ll be working on that in the near future, too. Especially once the fall semester settles out and I’m not freaking out at the number of Helpdesk tickets that are awaiting resolution!


Goodies and Fun with Free Piecing

7 07 2012

Back in April, I donated to the Generation Q Kickstarter project to issue a print magazine. Yesterday, I got my ‘thank you’ package. Included were:
Generation Q Kickstarter Package

A signed copy of Jake Finch’s book, and a copy  of the first issue of the magazine.

Generation Q Kickstarter Package

I also received a fat quarter bundle of Dear Stella fabrics. The prints are very girly, but I like the colors. I’m going to have to set these to the side and let them percolate. I’m not sure what I want to do with them, especially since I’ve started yet another project.

And that project would be ‘Fun with Free Piecing’. At least, that’s  what I’m calling it for now…

I wanted to make signature blocks for the Scrappy? Sew Bee It! Swap, but I fail utterly at making simple things. I seriously could not write a few words on plain white fabric and be happy with its appearance. My hand-writing, normally neat and upright, Frankensteined into jagged half-shapes that bore  a passing resemblance to letters. I gave up. I’m cross-stitching my info.

However, I started playing with how to actually make the blocks. I started with the idea that I’d just make some scrappy string blocks:
Fun with Free Piecing, 1

Fun with Free Piecing, 2

These all measure 2.5″ X 6.5″. I figured these would be the top and bottom thirds of each signature block. And that’s still what I want to do with these. But others became these:
Fun with Free Piecing, 3
Fun with Free Piecing, 4
Fun with Free Piecing, 5
Fun with Free Piecing, 6

I think I like the effect so far. We’ll see how long this goes.  I bought two yards of Kona Charcoal Gray, and when it’s gone, this project is done. Bonus – I’m burning through some scraps.

I Fail at Fabric Dieting

9 02 2012

It’s that magical time of year, far better than Christmas or birthdays or anniversaries (at least for me).

It’s tax rebate time!!

Now, I was a good adult and paid off all of the credit cards and got caught up on the bills. I bought a (truly awesome) dining set for a steal because we needed a real place for us to gather as a family and eat together. We bought our son a new Cars bed and a Cars toilet training seat, because he’s currently obsessed with Lightning McQueen. We replaced headlights in cars.

So, in short, we’ve done all the things we should have done with our refund money.

Then, because there was a little money left over, and I really, really, really want to make Erin Russek’s My Tweets (the link leads you to Erin’s Etsy shop for the patten for the center). This was Erin’s Block of the Month for last year, and I faithfully downloaded all of her patterns (which are now also available in her Etsy shop).

Anyway, I digress from the point of this post, sort of. In my quest for the perfect fabrics for this pattern, I went on a little buying fling… Well, more of a spree.

Okay, honestly?

I went crazy.

I started at Joann’s:

And found this really nice blue solid, a whole bolt of it. And I had a 50% off coupon. So I bought everything on the bolt. There was something like 9 3/8 yards. I also found the print on the right, which I decided went perfectly with the solid, and bought three yards of that.
Cotton Crack

There was a 30% off the cotton prints sale about a week later. I treated myself to a half yard each of the fabrics pictured above. There’s sort of a plan emerging here.

But it wasn’t enough!!

Because I realized I was super low on white thread. Connecting Threads to the rescue:


Ten spools of white in my cart later, and I still needed more in the cart to make the minimum for free shipping. So I hit up the clearance fabrics:

Connecting Threads Order

I ended up with a half yard of each, except for the last fabric. I got a full yard of the gray and yellow scroll fabric.

And, still, not enough!!

I paid a digital visit to Fat Quarter Shop. BIG MISTAKE! Not that I could be dissuaded from hitting the ‘Buy’ button. I’ve never purchased so much designer fabric in my life:

Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 1

The orange is Happy Mochi Yumyum. The two on the right are from Joel Dewberry’s Heritage Line. I can’t remember what line the gray came out of.

Everything else pictured below, I got a half yard of. Apparently, I’m experiencing an obsession with Pat Bravo at the moment, because I ended up with a ton of her prints.

Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 2
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 3
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 4
Fat Quarter Shop Order, Part 5

There is now a ridiculous amount of fabric on my table waiting for me to get busy and start cutting.

I can’t wait to get home!

Stuff and Things!

11 09 2011

I spent the day at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison with Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts, her mother and two of her aunts. Yes, as has been pointed out, I am the baby of the group. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. These ladies are a blast, as proven by Sandi’s mom started our day with some risque comments! I call it a winner of a day when I can spend it looking at quilts and fabric and laughing with some good friends, then enjoying good and (wonderfully) simple foods.

Speaking of food, I made some awesome (!!!!) and super simple cookie/toffee bar things. The recipe was called “Popularity Cookies”. I highly recommend them!


35 soda crackers or club crackers (I used club crackers, and I have no idea how many I actually used. I simply covered a 13″ X 18″ walled cookie sheet)

1 cup of non-salted butter

1 packed cup of light brown sugar

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup of milk chocolate chips

1 cup of blanched, slivered almonds (a 4 oz package is exactly what you need, though I’d recommend giving them an additional rough chop or putting them through a quick whirl on a food processor after having made this recipe once. Additionally, you could really use whatever nuts you like. I’m thinking cashews would be heavenly on this! Regardless, I might also try toasting the nuts prior to putting them on the cookie bar thingies.)


1.) Preheat the oven to 400°F (or 205°C). Cover your walled cookie sheet with a layer of tin foil and line the crackers on the foil (I took the additional step of spraying the tin foil with non-stick spray).

2.) Combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and boil for about three minutes. Pour over crackers completely; spread with a spatula if necessary.

3.) Bake for 3-5 minutes; watch carefully. (That’s verbatim from the recipe. I’m honestly not sure what I was watching for. I pulled the tray from the oven when it looked like the toffee layer had gone solid.) Remove cookie sheet from oven, place it on oven door and sprinkle chips over baked crackers. When chocolate gets soft, spread over crackers with back of a spoon. Sprinkle slivered almonds on melted chocolate.

4.) Place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Break into cookie-size pieces. This recipe freezes well.

And since the Wisconsin Quilt Expo is a quilt show with the prerequisite vendors, I came home with loot! I’ve been a very good girl with finances lately, paying off credit cards and school loans, and, in general, not buying much for myself. So yesterday was a bit of a splurge.

Now, before I show off the loot… I did go home with money left in my wallet, so I was a very good girl, and very restrained. Really.

WI Quilt Expo 2011 Loot, Photo 1Nancy’s Notions got the lion’s share of my money, and mostly in fabric. From left to right, a one yard cut of Iron Quick Fabric, 2 yards of Rocket Scientist by Kari Beyer, Daydream in the green colorway by Bernatex, #7914 Stripey Tiger by Maywood Studios, and two charm packs of Plume by Tula Pink. I was so excited to see the charm packs – I LOVE Tula Pink’s fabrics, and I’m not normally comfortable buying a) designer fabric at designer prices and b) pre-cuts. However, the charm packs were $6 each, and I’ve not had a chance to pick up ANY of Tula Pink’s fabric before, so I grabbed it.

WI Quilt Expo 2011 Loot, Photo 1Again, from left to right. Perl cotton in four colors and one yard of a Kaffe Fassett cross weave cotton in goldenrod. These are for the Urban Worm. I’m so glad I found what I was looking for at the Expo, rather than having to troll through websites and hope that on screen color would accurately reflect what would arrive in my package. One yard of Ellie’s Emporium by Sue Penn. This will be the binding for the Test Your Skills Sampler. A new combination seam ripper and clipper. Needle grabbers for hand-quilting. Two packages each of universal and quilting needles – they were on sale for $2.39 a package! Embroidery needles. Pink and yellow leads for my Sewline Mechanical Pencil, and a new thimble.

Oh, and not pictured: the free tote I got from Nancy’s Notions for spending enough money in one go with them. *facepalm*

By the way, after spending the whole day walking a concrete convention floor, guess what I did? Take my son for a two mile walk to downtown Janesville because he wanted to see the river.

Yeah, I’m insane.