another rag quilt

I finished another rag quilt. This one is for my son. These squares started as 8 inches, and I sewed with a 1/2 in seam allowance. He seems to like the fabrics. How cute is his shirt?


funny face w/rag quilt

Rag quilts

My husband’s boss (and friend) is a super nice guy. He’s very supportive of my husband, really takes his time to make sure that my DH has what he needs to excel at work. In turn, his boss has an employee that does an outstanding job for him, is willing to work long hours, etc. They have quite the little partnership going. They even wear matching shirts sometimes :)

Anyway, so the boss’ mommy has cancer. She went into the hospital last week for her first surgery. I think it’s ovarian, but my husband is terrible with details. I read in a magazine that a good gift for someone going into the hospital is a blanket – since it’s always cold. I certainly remember that from my c-section recovery. So I made her a rag quilt.

If you’re looking for a new hobby, and wanted to give quilt making a try, this is the best pattern. There’s actually no “quilting” involved, but it’s a great exercise in learning how to use a rotary cutter and sew even seams. The best part is that it’s really forgiving, so if your seams aren’t perfect, or your squares are a little off, the big seam allowance makes up for it. Here are some pictures. I added a little pocket to the front of one of the squares so that she could keep her glasses or the remote close by.

rag quilt front

rag quilt pocket

rag quilt back

I also stumbled onto this blog by a crafter in the Netherlands. Check out this great idea to fancy up all those free canvas bags you have laying around your house.

A finished quilt…

cheeseI’ve finished one more of the quilt tops that had been stored in the garage. This one is earmarked for my sister…hope she likes it! It’s called a cobblestone (although I’ve also heard it called a brick road – I think the rectangles are smaller on the cobblestone.) It’s made mostly of the Wuthering Heights line from Moda, with some remnant fabric for the border and backing. It’s also my first go at freehand machine quilting. I attempted the squiggly lines down each column of cobbles – some came out better than others. I probably could have done a much better job if I had drawn guidelines, but that seemed a little like writing a rough draft – which I’ve never had the patience for. Sadly, my impatience shows – especially on the darker fabrics. But I doubt you can tell in these pictures, so just assume it’s perfect!

cobblestone quilt

cobblestone quilt back

Quilt Run, Pt. 2

Today marks the end of the Southern California Quilt Run. I am sad. I was sad on Saturday as I shopped in the last five stores. But, in order to make this appealing to all my readers (thanks, you two!), I’ve decided to tell you the best shops and what you’ll gain by visiting – quilter or not.

Top Three stores, in no particular order:

  1. Sowing Sisters, Carlsbad, CA. First of all, come to Carlsbad. It’s the best little vacation beach town going. You may need to be wealthy to afford the trip, but it will be worth it. Carlsbad is a little jewel located north of San Diego by about 40 miles. There’s a gorgeous beach with plenty of parking, nice sand and freezing cold Pacific Ocean water – so don’t forget your wetsuit. You’ll probably see some dolphins and maybe even a whale. About four blocks from the beach, right across from a great little bar called the Cantina is Sowing Sisters Quilt Shop. They claim to have the largest selection of Amy Butler fabrics and patterns in all of Southern California. I would denounce this seemingly huge claim, but since I have in fact been to (almost) every quilt store in Southern California, I can honestly say they DO have the most Amy Butler fabric. Plus, they’re really nice. But don’t take your quilting to the beach – it will get dirty. Take it to the pool. By the way, this store is so cool – they even have a blog.
  2. Quilter’s Coop, Temecula, CA. They don’t have a website – that I could find, anyway, but the store is wonderful. First, Temecula is chocked-full of wineries. You’ll need a driver, so you can get good and schnockerd. Start at Old Town, visit all the cute little antique shops, be sure to taste some Olive Oils, and then go to the best group of shops ever. In one building is a quilt store, a stamp/scrapbooking store, a crochet store, and a jewelry store. Plus, there’s a jail (forbleeker street dots show – or for husbands…not sure.) Anyway, Quilter’s Coop has a huge selection of fabrics and patterns. They were the only shop on the run to carry Anna Griffin’s new line of fabrics or the Bleeker Street line. Sadly, they were sold out of the cool dots by the time I got there, but they’re pretty close to my house, so I can go back anytime. Then, get a driver and head over to Rancho California Drive. There are at least ten wineries – maybe more. Have fun with the tastings, then take a load off at one of the spas. Sounds nice, right?
  3. Monica’s Quilt and Bead Creations, Palm Desert, CA. I’m not going to lie – this place was HOT (the desert, not the store). But, Palm Springs is just a stones throw away, and according to that new show Hidden Palms, exciting things are happening there all the time. Monica’s was my very last store, and boy, did I end on a good one. First of all, I’m also a jewelry maker, so I was drawn to her huge selection of beads. But even though I lingered over the huge assortment of Swarovski crystals, I was very disciplined. Instead, I only purchased three new patterns and about 10 fat quarters. It really is a beautiful store with tons of options, great classes, super friendly staff, and especially friendly owner. I was happy to turn in my passport and get my “I did it!” bar for my quilt run pin – although there are no spaces on the bar, so it looks like “ididit”…that’s right, idiot. Well, I did drive 1,100 miles and spend a lot of money – so it might not be far off.

I also found this fun virtual shop hop called FabShop Hop. It’s a hop through virtual quilt and fabric stores – good idea, right? When you find the little pink bunny, you click it and enter to win prizes!

Happy Quilting! Completed project pictures coming soon!

Quilt Run, pt. 1

The Southern California Quilt Run commenced last week (Thurs – Sun) and concludes this weekend. I spent Friday evening, all day Saturday and most of Sunday “running”. Basically, I covered about 700 miles and shopped in 27 quilt stores. Some great, some not so. My buying limit has been more than surpassed (good thing I saved a little in preparation), and I now have more projects than I could complete in a year. But still – that’s the goal, to complete them all and start again next summer.

freshcut colorway 1My favorite finds so far (still have 7 shops left, to be completed on Saturday) are Amy Butler’s new home dec line of fabric, all of her patterns for purses and clothes, and Denyse Schmidt’s book. Other favorites include Heather Bailey‘s Freshcut line (colorway 1 pictured) and any and all 1920s and 30s reproduction fabrics (old news, but I still love them.) I got a bunch of cute patterns for purses, aprons, and of course, quilts.

In each shop we get a charm – most are quilting related. Some signify the store in some way. These are a little annoying. What am I going to do with a penguin charm?

One cool shop was Quilt in a Day -that’s right, the same as the show on PBS. Turns out the shop is actually the studio for her show! You know, not when she’s in a fishing boat or in front of a log cabin, but when she’s constructing the quilt pieces. The shop was annoying though because I got there right at 9:01 pm (closing time) on Friday and had driven over 150 miles that day, and they wouldn’t stamp my damn card, so I had to go back to that store on Sunday. I even called in advance because I knew I was going to barely make it and the lady said, “oh, you’re not going to make it – we will be closing at exactly 9 pm.” Which sounded like a dare to me, so I DID make it, only she pretended not to hear me knocking on the door as she counted out her drawer. So I didn’t buy anything from them when I returned – their loss. But besides one other store with no parking, I had only happy experiences in each shop.

It was fun to keep running into the same ladies as we traveled the same path along the freeways. Lucky for me, I had my brother-in-law’s trusty TomTom One GPS device. I tell you, that thing is a marvel of convenience! I’m not sure if you’ve ever driven on the freeways in California, but the exits are often not where you’d expect. The TomTom warns you – it tells you which lane to get in! Amazing! I chose the Austrailian guy’s voice, and listened to his fun accent for every exit and turn. Very pleasant. And no furiously and dangerously looking at mapquest directions to figure out what comes next! I highly recommend TomToms to everyone!

At one point, I was in gridlocked traffic on the 405 freeway in Orange County. I hit “Alternate Route”, “Avoid 405” on the TomTom, and the Aussie (whom I assume is very handsome) told me to exit right away and proceeded to take me on a lovely scenic route through Topanga Canyon and along the Pacific Coast Highway. Couldn’t get any better than if someone else had been chauffeuring me around, paying for all my fabric.

So, this Saturday, I have to hit the last seven shops to be entered to win wonderful, fabulous prizes. I’ve also been entering all the guild opportunity drawings for gorgeous quilts I could never construct. Wish me luck!

all in a day’s work…

I made my first attempt at a mary jane’s pattern, and halfway into the first one, I realized I must be using too-chunky yarn. Even though I was using the G crochet hook, as the pattern specified, my mary jane was easily the size of a snow cap. WAY too big for any foot. So I unraveled it. I’ll start again with finer yarn and see how it goes.

little tom tomMy quilt run starts tomorrow, and I can barely contain my excitement. My husband has agreed to give me one full day of freedom each weekend so that I can travel all over my portion of the state visiting quilt shops. I’ve decided to map out a few scrapbook, yarn and bead shops as well – might as well get them all in, right? My brother-in-law even lent me his tom tom, so all I have to do is have the addresses, and Mr. T (or the voice of my choice) will tell me how to get to each shop!

In TV news, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying The Closer and Army Wives. Cable really has some excellent shows. I saw a promo yesterday for a miniseries on Sci Fi called Tin Man – looks like a retelling of the Wizard of Oz (with Richard Dreyfuss and Zooey Dechanel and Alan Cumming!). Coming in December – Very exciting!

Anyone watching Days of Our Lives? I’m getting a little fed up with the crazy-awful Irish and Italian accents they’re coming up with recently, but I like the current storylines. Any thoughts?

In book news, I’ve been reading Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. I’m on the 4th book, and I really like it. I plan to do a review of all six books soon.

Hope all is well in your worlds!

A scarf and a QUILT!

That’s right, folks. Not only did I complete another scarf, but I also finished a quilt that I started almost two years ago! The quilt was super easy, using 8 fat quarters and a quick cutting pattern from the Pincushion Boutique. Here are photos for you…

my little helper

quilt front


And my new scarf…using the same pattern as all the other skinny scarves, but using two yarn colors this time.

brown and green skinny scarf scarf on handsome model

stroller wars

doggy strollerI was reading a quilting magazine (Mark Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home) today and there was a survey asking, “should strollers be allowed in quilting stores and at quilt shows?” I have to say, I was a little incensed at this question. As a stay-at-home mom, who’s husband works from sun up until sun down, it’s either use a stroller or go nowhere. You try carrying an 18-month old who isn’t walking yet everywhere you go.

I would have to say that the problem isn’t so much the strollers, but the people pushing them. I’ve played my fair share of chicken with women pushing humongous strollers. I always seem to be the one that veers off course to avoid collision – often muttering “excuse me” with a mix of sarcasm and disdain. Some people just think they own the universe. They are totally unaware of their surroundings. These people are the ones who should be banned from all stores – stroller or no, and from all roads for that matter.

You know who I’m talking about. We’ve all played chicken with them. Just once, I’d like to ram ’em.

But, I would be super pissed if the quilt stores I go to said I couldn’t come in with my stroller. I’d say, “well, I guess you don’t need the $100 I was about to waste on fabric I don’t need.” I doubt that it will ever happen, but I don’t think the survey should even be out there.


I encourage all mom’s with strollers to log onto the Quilter’s Home website and “voice” their opinion!

So Cal Quilt Run

The Southern California Association of Quilt Shop Owners (whew – that’s a mouthful) is hosting the Quilt Run on the 2nd and 3rd weekends in July. I don’t have anyone to carpool with, but I’m super excited anyway. Here’s a link.

Return to crafting…

My crafting desires ebb and flow. When I started rubber stamping, I would sit at my desk every night for hours (before I had a son) and make cards for any occasion. I was tireless. This went on for months. My interest began to wane as my stamp collection and paper supply grew to colossal proportions.

Then I started making jewelry. Again, I worked tirelessly, creating necklaces, bracelets and matching earrings. I gave away almost every piece I made, and somehow was never smart enough to take a picture of my designs. Now I have bins and bins of semi-precious beads, wire in all sizes, every kind of clasp you can think of, and I haven’t made a piece of jewelry since mid-2006.

When I was 6 months pregnant, I took a beginning quilting class. I quickly completed five quilt tops and one complete quilt. Machine quilted, of course. Otherwise, that amount would be ridiculously unattainable. Towards the last month of my pregnancy, and for a good 8 months after I had my son, my hands were so swollen that I couldn’t do the final hand-stitching for the binding, so I stopped quilting.

My son is now almost 18 months old. With the exception of the odd last-minute gift, I haven’t crafted anything since he was born. This shames me.

Recently, I pulled a half-finished afghan out of the closet and kept it near me as much as possible. I worked on it a few nights a week, and I’m proud to say that I finished it a week ago. It’s not very big, but the basket-weave pattern came out so thick and warm and snuggly. My son loves to lay on it on the floor – and he doesn’t really lay down on the floor, so this is really saying something.

A few days ago, I pulled my big plastic bin of quilt tops out of the garage. Last night, I sat down and quilted one of them – I made it almost all the way through, when my bobbin ran out. Then, as I tried to wind a new bobbin, my bobbin-winder wouldn’t spin! So – I finally get back to sewing, and my machine gives up on me!

But I will not be deterred. I will take my machine to a repair shop this weekend, and hopefully, I’ll be sewing by Sunday. The good news is that the noise doesn’t wake up the baby or my husband, so I’ll be able to quilt at night. I’d like to get all the quilt tops sandwiched, quilted, and the binding sewn on, so I can do the hand-stitching anywhere anytime – like out in the yard while my son swims in the baby pool or whatever. I’m finding that mobility is the key to productivity.

Now, if I could just get motivated about running!