Winter 2017 Sewing Retreat

It was an amazing weekend full of laughs and of course some sewing thrown in.  These are my people, they get me. Many of us had been commenting how much we were looking forward to the weekend.  It did not disappoint.
In addition to our own projects, we played games and shared laughs.  So many laughs.  We played two tense rounds of Left, Right, Center for fat quarters.  Quilters are ruthless despite what some may think.  Game one was intense and Lisa walked away the winner.  Game two things got serious.  Fat quarters were quickly getting throw into center.  One of my rolls included a C going directly into my wine glass on the floor.  Of course it did.
I was out of fat quarters but some were still floating around me.   Within a couple of rolls I was back in and suddenly I won.  I won!  So many lovely fat quarters for me to enjoy.  I almost cried I was so happy and surprised.
This weekend was really a chance for me to get through some WIPs that have been lingering.  I wanted to cross some stuff off my self-inflicted to do list.
Solids String Quilt
Good thing no one took video or recorded our conversations this weekend.  Lots of cursing and general dislike for the process with this quilt.  I will dig more into it later this week.  It was the first project I tackled and felt good to get this scrappy quilt done and bound on the first night.  Scrappy string quilts are on trend right now.
Botanica Bee Quilt
Talk about an old WIP.  Back in 2011 the guild held a bee.  I picked large log cabins using this lovely Botanica fabric.  Most of the fabric I had left was destashed last year, but I kept a couple of pieces in case I ever finished this.
My big goal for the weekend was to try free motion quilting for the first time.  Without Darcie and Rachael pushing me out of comfort zone, I wouldn’t have tried it.  Being true to my word from our goals meeting in January, I decided this was the quilt.  It’s smaller and not on the bias like the string quilt.  I wanted to tackle this first thing Saturday morning.
Holy camoly.  I was a sweaty nervous mess to take my first few stitches.  After a few hiccups I got the hang of moving the quilt around and the speed of my machine that worked the best.   More practice is necessary but the overall process went well.  I have another WIP almost ready to keep up my practice.
Note:  my arms, shoulders and back were SORE from it.  Something I didn’t expect.
V&Co HST Quilt
Quilt by committee is a wonderful benefit of retreat weekend.  I had all of these HSTs but really unsure the layout I wanted.  As I started to lay it out, others jumped in with suggestions.  This wonderful layout was the winning choice.
Blush Charm Quilt
Let’s go back in time again to another overnight sewing adventure from 2011.  IMQG traveled to one a member’s house for a night of sewing and games.  I started a charm quilt with lots of white from the Moda Blush line.  It’s been a bag ever since in my WIP cabinet.  No more.  The top and back are both done.  It’s ready to be basted and quilted.
A couple of people brought their scrap bins for everyone to dig around in.  We were like vultures if I’m being honest.  It was fun to pull out scraps from their projects and envision them in your stash.  Lisa even ironed and color sorted her scraps.  Too much work for me but her scraps were to enticing like that.  I snagged a few to help round out upcoming projects.
There are about 3-4 more projects I wanted to tackle this weekend.  They are newer ideas and I chose instead to focus on older items.  Look for upcoming series…Busting through old WIPs.
So many wonderful projects were worked on by everyone.  It’s invigorating to be around other like minded people for a weekend and accomplishing so much.  We sprawled our projects across the banister to get a better look at what we had done.  I am lucky to know many wonderful and talented sewists.
Does your guild host a retreat?  Have you ever gone away to just sew and hang out with friends?  I definitely recommend it.

Winter 2017 Sewing Retreat Prep

You guys, I’m going to be sewing all weekend with my IMQG girls.  AHHH!  One of my friends noted, “It’s like Christmas Eve. But better because I don’t have to deal with making anyone else happy!!!!!”  Exactly.  

Sorry that I have been a little more quiet on here this month.  There is secret sewing going on that I can’t reveal.  It’s a big project that is taking more than I anticipated.
This weekend is going to be glorious because I’m only taking scrap or personal projects.  No commissions, just fun time to sew.  Well chat, drink, and then sew.  Best part is spotty wifi, so we all get a chance to disconnect.  I have lots of tutorials and inspiration stored to Pocket.
Here are some projects I’m thinking about taking for the weekend.
Shabby Chic Granny Squares
Scrappy Irish Chain
Yes another one.  I loved the one I made last year and want to work on another.
Solid Diagonal Strip Quilt
This has been a project in the works for a while.  I just need to sew the back and quilt it.
Diagonal Strip Quilt
I have a V&Co jelly roll that I have been hoarding.  This would be a great project following this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew.
HST V&Co quilt
HSTs are cut, pressed, and ready.  Now I just need to decide a layout idea.  I’m thinking something like this.  Maybe a bit scrappier.  Thoughts?
Scrappy Love
I have been pulling out pink, red and purple scraps lately to create something.  I’m toying with the idea of a big LOVE project.  Maybe baby sized, but using some scraps and stash.
Older WIPS
In all transparency there are some OLD works in progress that I should take and finish this weekend.  They are stuffed away in baskets and cabinets so they don’t sit there reminding me.  “Hey, we aren’t finished yet.”  Maybe it’s time to finish the one from our overnight sew in from five years ago.
Whatever I bring it all needs to fit into my giant IKEA bag.

My Charming Plus Finished Quilts

If you’re having a bad day or need to see some amazing colors, take a look at the #charmingplusquilt and #charmingplusqal tags.  Those that participated created delightful versions of the quilt.  Go check it out when you have a chance.

Scrappy Version

Can I be bias for a minute?  This is one of my favorite versions of this quilt so far.  These are my colors.  Go look in my closet, most of my clothes are in range of this palette.  Best part is that I had forgotten about this scrap stash I found hiding in a box.  It’s the perfect baby size and is available for a new home.  It’s available on Etsy.

I pondered what to back this quilt in and remembered there was an Amy Butler gray print in my destash box.  It was the perfect size and really compliments the front.

Kona Navy makes for a binding that coordinates well with all the colors.  Quick and easy straight line quilting and machine binding.

Bundle Version

At first I was scared to dig into this bundle and put it to use.  However, it feels good to have finished something with the bundle and know it’s waiting for a new home.  This quilt is currently available on Etsy as well.

The backing on this version was a bit tougher to select.  I almost went with the golden yellow, but couldn’t find the right shade.   Crimson Tate had this Follie print in stock and enough to piece a back.

In my stash was less than a fat quarter of the black and gray dots.  Seriously, when I was adding the binding the last bit had just enough to make a seam.  Cut that one close :).


Having made this quilt a number of times I’m digging the 3″ square size for blocks.  I have some 1.5″ squares in my scraps.  Wonder what they would look like in this quilt?  Or mixed together with larger squares?  Guess that means I will be making more in the future.

Flying Geese Baby Quilt

This was one of my last projects in 2016.  The binding was finished on New Year’s Eve.  Since then I have been working on some items around the house and projects.  Plus, I really wanted to wait to show off this quilt after it had been gifted.

More geese made from stash and scrap fabrics.  Ahhh….except

There are a couple of OOPS .  Can you find them?

It could have been the burn out from working on a bagillion geese blocks between the two quilts.  See the previous quilt here.  Maybe it was the fabrics that were “straightened up” on a random day.  I think it’s important to be honest note not every project is “perfect.”  I’m okay with that as a maker.  Honestly, you probably wouldn’t notice unless I mentioned it and you did zoom in on the above photo.

The last 5-7 sets of geese on this quilt were just a creative roadblock.  In the end I love how it turned out.  For the backing I dug into my vintage sheet collection.    It’s a great selection especially if you knew the parents, they may be into sports.

Orange solid binding was a great way to wrap up this quilt.  That is hand sewn binding on the back.  No machine binding this time.

It’s now gone to our friends that are expecting a boy very soon.  I hope they use it and enjoy the quilt.

Another Flying Geese quilt click here

December Fabric Budget

I did it!  I did it!  Honestly, when I set out with this crazy idea I didn’t know if I could meet it.  There have been outliers to the budget for various reasons during the year.

After gift it some thought and reflection, I want to push forward with this and challenge myself again.  My friend Katie, brought up an idea to add another $100 for completing a year.  Then I went to clean up my sewing room.  I found more projects and fabric than I care to admit.  UGH!  There are some colors and small things missing that I would like to have.   I think the best bet for now is to move forward with the limited budget to keep my original intent in place.


Clean sewing room?

Should I be embarrassed that this is cleaned up?  Also what do you do with scrap batting?

I can make this work and maybe will renew my focus.  My goals for 2017 are not solidified yet.  There are some details I need to work out before they can be shared.


PS…I barely avoided the post holiday fabric sales

How To Work On Multiple Quilts At Once

The headline isn’t just click bait.  It’s the truth.  These are my tricks to work on multiple quilts at once.

  1. Keep the plan simple

  2. Similar color palettes are helpful

  3. Batch work for cutting and sewing

  4. Optional:  wine or adult beverage of your choice, along with something to binge on Netflix.

If you have been a reader for a while, you may not be surprised by my tricks.  However I wanted to highlight the process for those that may be curious.  Currently, I have a commission for three baby quilts.   Here are the details:  all are for girls, simple patchwork, and two are for twins.

After discussing with my client, she wanted something similar to this.


I had a bunch of pink and purple already cut into 2.5″ squares from this quilt.


She opted to go with the smaller squares which makes more seams and work but the overall effect will be great.  The color choices for both quilts are very similar:

Lilac, gray and white (1)

Pink, mint, gray and white (2)

Keep the plan simple

All 2.5″ squares.  First, I head to my scrap bins and pull any 5″, 3″ and 2.5″ squares already cut in these colors.  Then head to uncut scraps and start pulling out larger pieces in the various shades.  I pulled a variety of purple and pink colors since I’m not sure if I want to add more variety to the layout.  In digging through the scraps there were some softer shades of orange that I thought could play will with both color palettes.  Prepping everything now into 2.5″ squares will save time if I need to add more later.


I did also select a few new fabrics during a shopping trip to make sure the quilt had enough variety.  It was important to pick out fabrics I knew would compliment my stash and be able to use again.

Keep a few prints, solids, and colors nearby in case you need them.  I had pulled out some khaki/tan prints thinking I wouldn’t use them with the twins’ quilts, but they added a nice break up in the colors.


Similar color palettes are helpful

To complete these quilts I will need big stacks of white and gray. Scraps were sorted through first, then on to the larger cuts of fabrics.  To assist with color selection I spent some time at Crimson Tate picking out backing fabrics.   I was able to get the backing and binding options selected for all three quilts before I started sewing.  This helped me with planning colors to pick and draw from.  Full disclosure:  the fabrics purchased were not apart of my fabric budget for November.

Batch work for cutting and sewing

This is truly the secret right here.  However, I needed the first two steps to prepare for this.  As noted above everything is cut to 2.5″ squares.  Each color is sorted and stacked.



  1. Put in a new needle, clean your machine, and oil if recommended from your manufacturer

  2. Have a few bobbins wound

  3. Keep a small pair of scissors nearby

  4. Turn on a movie or show

  5. Relax your shoulders and stretch a bit

Get sewing.  Keep it random and don’t overthink combinations.  You have already picked colors that work together, just sew and worry about the placement at the end.  When you think you’re done, sew some more.  To make a baby sized quilt you need about 320 squares.

Take breaks if needed.  Break it out over a couple of days or sessions so you don’t overthink it.  I have found overthinking my selections really slows the batch sewing down.  If you feel like you want to add in something else, grab from your extras you already have set aside.  You can always remove them as you are laying out the quilt.

Once you have completed all your squares, I find it helpful to press the seams open to help everything lay flat during layout.  From here I just start sorting into piles.  I sorted any pieces with gold metallic into a pile and then broke that into two.  In the end I had three piles, one for each quilt.

During layout of the quilt, I grab some batting and just start laying out pieces.  Generally I put the top row middle(ish) piece in first and then work my way down in a zig zag.  Then I just begin filling in the quilt with my 2 block sets.  Moving pieces around and exchanging for others if needed to complete the look.

Using my left to right sewing method I stack up each row and continue chain piecing until all the rows are finished.  I do label the rows as I’m sewing them for ease later on.  After each row is completed I press the seams in opposite directions to nest easily in the next piecing steps.


Quilting in simple straight lines takes no time.  Plus machine binding.  Throw those quilts in the washer, with a Shout color catcher of course, and dry.

Three baby quilts done at once.

Excuse me while I got stretch and move for a bit.




Finish It Up Friday