Show Stoppers!

CO Sister id tag FL Sister id tag                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A rare opportunity indeed! Both sisters are in the same place at the same time and stitching on the same project!  All this fun (work) leads to a brand new pattern — just in time for the Colorado Quilt Show.   (Guess which sister had to fly in? ) So here it is for your viewing pleasure, the next project in the Linens and Old Lace Collection…..(drum roll) Legacy of Lace! It is a show stopper!

Just in case you want the whole back story,  or not, I’ll give it to you.  We thought it would be fun to do a round robin quilt together that incorporated our love of old linens and lace.  The post office was kept busy with our shipping back and forth until the end result of Sister 1’s quilt was transported to Colorado via airplane.  No, she didn’t put it in her checked bag.  She carried it as her “personal item”.   It arrived safely in Colorado just in time for the show!  Now that’s special delivery.


That blank space is where it will hang.


A blended booth space with the Colorado antique shop.


Mother’s Medallion Quilt & all 12 projects

Sister 1 has a presentation on the Mother’s Medallion e-book and extra projects on day one.  Sister 2 has a talk on the old linens using the new quilt (and taking full credit for it) on the second day of the show.

We see old friends and get new ideas at the quilt shows we do.  We would love to see you there as well.  Stay tuned as Sister 2’s round robin quilt will be ready before the next show.  Spoiler alert–sneak peek is below.


Legacy of Lace


Legacy of Linen

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Stitching with Marci Baker

FL Sister id tag

It all started at the Colorado Quilt Council’s show two years ago when Marci Baker’s booth was across from us. We were both entertained – in fact, the Colorado sister was mesmerized – by the way that Marci manipulated strips into triangles and triangles into dimensional blocks and cubes. We quickly became fans – and that was before we learned about the “unsewing” technique she has!

Because she had way more hot tips than we could gather while we were working at that show, Cindy arranged to have Marci come to lead a workshop at the Calico Quilters in Brush, CO. And, due to her organizational skills, I was there for a visit at just the right time. So, we got to do that class together.

When I got home with the news of the fun we had and the great stuff we learned, the Pensacola Quilters guild invited Marci to visit Florida and I got my guest room ready to host her. (It also motivated me to clean my studio!) That is the story that leads up to my week Stitching with Marci Baker!


Here’s the proof: Marci at my cutting table!

Some of the guild officers and workshop leaders came for lunch to start the week off right and then Marci gave a presentation on foundation paper piecing for the evening guild meeting.


Her techniques are available in print as well.

Then she taught an all day class from her book ABC 3-D Tumbling blocks.


Looks difficult – but’s it’s done in strips so it’s not hard!

The next day I offered her several field trip options but her response was, “If you wouldn’t mind, could we just spend the day in your studio sewing?” Are you kidding me!?!?! Don’t you just dream of company that will make that request? And that’s what we did.


It really works! More on this later!

In the process of working on a project for her next book, I gleaned some great tips on sewing strips together, using that wonderful little purple strip (Sewing Edge) to sew a consistent 1/4″ seam, and … you can get some good stuff HERE.


Sewing on her top secret project! My lips are sealed!

Then she gave a color workshop which was wonderfully interactive and informative.


Her color exercises were fun and nurtured friendship as well as knowledge.

As we sorted the fabric samples we each brought, we learned that a black and white photo can help you determine which fabrics fit into different categories. It is so much easier when you aren’t distracted by the colors!


Here’s the full colored version. Can you pick out the pieces that are out of order?



See how much easier it is in the black & white version?

Her last presentation, at the Thursday morning guild meeting, included some of her quilts.


This Honeycomb Waffle is sewn together in strips! No set-in seams!

We celebrated the completion of a full week with dinner at the beach – including a view of the sunset. (Thank you, Dietz, for being such a good sport during a week so saturated with all things fabric!)


A new friend – the best find of the week!

Marci is such an easy guest to have and such an easy teacher to learn from. We recommend her and appreciate her personally and professionally. You can contact her for workshops and presentations HERE.

PS -The greatest achievement of the week was that I was finally convinced of the benefits of “starties and stoppies” (you may call them spiders or tags or …). She had 25 reasons to use those little fabric pieces but the reason that finally got through to me was the fewer times I will replace the bobbin!

Thanks for coming, Marci! Come again!



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Sun, Summer, & Sewing

CO Sister id tagSummer fun really is winding down but you just can’t tell it at our house. When school starts things are supposed to go back to a “schedule” right?  Guess we missed the memo because when sister called to say she was sending her round robin quilt to the quilter I was taken aback that a month had passed (August) and I wasn’t sure what I had done with it.


I checked the photos on my phone and discovered where I had spent my time.  Yes, here is my list of summer vacation photos.  (Insert patience smile from you)

  1.  We all know the benefits of a good neighbor with a bountiful garden.  Yes, please, I’ll gladly take your abundance of produce: corn, beans, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and the “Oh, I’ve died and gone to heaven!” Palisade, Colorado peaches.  Some things actually made it to the freezer.

Palisade Peaches – makes your mouth water.

2.  There were more than a few tea parties in the gazebo.  Grandpa has taught all the grands the importance of a good coffee break.


Tea master, Perrin.

3.  I was fortunate to spend a couple days getting to know the newest grandson, Henry, and we had sooooo much fun that I had to come home and take more than one nap.


Lillian & Henry

4.  If you haven’t ever seen a “living history” presentation it is great fun.  We went to the mountains for a day and meandered through a wonderful cemetery while the spirits told us their true stories.  The picnic afterward was a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.


A loving memorial

(This young woman’s story included murder and mayhem!)


Sisters through history

So literally on the 31st of August I sat down to do my assigned portion of one of the Sister’s At Heart projects, my own round robin.  But I may have been in a bit of a hurry because when I tried to explain to sister that I had met the deadline with a “new & creative” arrangement, she just flat said I did it wrong!


You’re doing it wrong!

She may have been right; so I technically may not have met the deadline but it is now on correctly and I’m working on the final (?) round.  This sneak peak will let you in on what is happening later this fall.  Turn the calendar page and get back to some hand work, fall is just around the corner.


Now you’ve got it right!

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Topsy-Turvy Patterns: double the fun

The same yet different – that’s the way we roll.

sister sign

And that is definitely the approach we took when we tackled this Bloomin’ Wool, Bloomin’ Fall runner project.

We started with a basic runner layout featuring a large square in the middle and two side rectangles. One sister put a vintage block in the middle square and a wool pot filled with bloomin’ flowers on each side.

blooming runner

The other sister divided an antique block for the two side panels and filled the center square with the blooms of fall – wool acorns and autumn leaves.

Bloomin Fall Wool Runner

Our goal is to give you options – lots of options – for using the vintage linens and lace that you find at estate sales, uncover in boxes at the top of your attic or rescue from unwitting purging friends and relatives.

final bloomin wool sm

Any block can be used in the center of the runner

So, to give you a double dose of options we have packed these two patterns together.

Blooming Fall runner for printing

Most blocks can be made in two sections for the side panels

Think of it like you would the old topsy-turvy dolls. If you hold them one way you will have this …

topsy 1 sm

Little prairie Miss

Or if you turn them over you will have this …

topsy 2 sm

and her friend…

The same, yet different. And double the fun!


The patterns for the Bloomin’ Wool runner and the Bloomin’ Fall runner include the instructions for making both the vintage blocks as well as the template drawings for cutting all of the wool pieces.

Blooming Wool pkg front

We are not sure of the name for the vintage block we rescued from an estate sale box for the Bloomin’ Fall runner – we are calling it Falling Star. But, any block that divides up the middle will work just great in those side panels.

fall stars 2 sm


And the center block for the Bloomin’ Wool runner, made up of half square triangles and flying geese units, is quick to make. Or you can substitute in whatever you find in your own stash of vintage blocks.

center block

Here are some close-ups of both the projects:

autumn acorn sm

Flannel will also work well for parts of the acorn.


bloomin flower sm

This is the perfect project for using the smallest of wool pieces.


bloomin flower 2 sm

The final touch is the embroidery stitching to accent the wool.


And, if you would rather, you can get them in the PDF version. You will find them HERE in our Etsy store.

Blooming Fall Wool PDF front


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Design Challenge: Someone else’s Favorite Things

FL Sister id tag

Sometimes I think I’m forgetting more than I ever knew in the first place. So this week’s foundation paper piecing project made me feel really good about myself. Not because it is prize-winning work (although the points do match pretty well) but because I realized how long ago I first learned to foundation paper piece – and I still remember how to do it!


Back in the days we lived in Utah I went to a foundation paper piecing class in Logan Canyon – one of Utah’s many beautiful spots. The teacher had great handouts, a logical and methodical approach to her explanations, and it worked! Wonder of wonders, I finished the project!

apple paper piecing

I hand quilted this one. With four kids at home at that time, I’m not sure how that happened!

And if you judge a teacher by how long the information sticks in the student’s head – she was a success.  Because here it is 25 years later and I’m still remembering the process! I wouldn’t say that it is my favorite method, but sometimes it is the only way to get where I need to go!


This month I needed this knowledge in a real way in order to “kill two birds with one stone” on my To Do list.

First goal was to prepare for a quilt show entry. The Pensacola Quilters Guild will host a show in the spring of 2018 and they have chosen Feathered Star as their theme block. You can be sure that the only way this stitching sister is going to do a Feathered Star is via foundation paper piecing! Before I commit to a whole quilt featuring a Feathered Star I needed to do a practice block. So some friends from guild met for a sew day to help each other get started.

paper piecing

It’s kind of like paint-by-numbers, only you use fabric. And PS – this is not a feathered star, it’s a tree.

At the same time,  my Red Hens sewing bee friends had started a design a mini-quilt challenge. This challenge is meant to stretch our quilting resume to include a project based, not on our preferences, but the preferences of another person – kind of a widening of our quilting perspective. We drew a name out of the hat to determine who we were designing the quilt for. In order to design the quilt we were to interview that person to find out their quilting history, their preferences, how they made quilting choices.

diane and vernell Christmas Party sm

Diane Carson and Vernell Savage, our Red Hen sewing bee leaders, at our Christmas party.

So, I interviewed Diane Carson, one of the fearless leaders of our Red Hens quilting bee. This is what I found out:

What color scheme to you like? Not pastel, no brights or primary colors; Blues; Batiks

What style of quilting do you like? Not modern – more traditional with a twist; Applique is good; Dimensional is good

What scale of prints are you drawn to? Medium prints rather than large;

What was your first quilt choice? Log cabin

I learned a lot by asking what had influenced her as a quilter. She said: Dixie Hayward influenced her and changed her tastes


As I plotted and schemed I realized that I could achieve these two objectives in one project – a 24″ mini quilt for Diane with a Feathered Star center made from (not bright) blue batiks with a simple border that would accentuate the points of the Feathered Star.

I used my trusty EQ7 to print out the 12″ block that I wanted. There are plenty of choices since the middle of the star leaves space for lots of different options.

foundation pattern sm

Marking the squares with D for dark, L for light, etc. helps me remember what fabric goes where.

Using batiks added to the challenge because my batik stash is not huge. So the design of the sashing and border was determined by the amount of fabric left after the center was stitched.

f star ready for border sm

Now it’s ready for the border – simple so it doesn’t distract but still needs to echo of the center block.

And here are some of the other design challenge entries….

embellishments sm

for the embellishment lover

Herbie owl sm

for Herbie who loves owls

sunshine and flowers sm

for the quilter who loves sunshine and gardening


yellow and blue sm

She requested blue and yellow

linen lover

For the one who loves old linens.🙂

final star sm

And now I know I can do a feathered star!


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Hanky Folding – Origami Fabric

Tutorial Tuesdays header

“No! Stop! Wait!” When Sister uses that expression I know it is time to put down the scissors and listen.  I heard it when I was going through a pile of vintage handkerchiefs.  Not her cigar box treasures but very similar. I also heard, “DON’T use them for their intended purpose; launder gently; practice your pressing; and make them pretty.”  So I did my research and went to folding origami-style dresses.


Origami dresses


These are photos of my “in process” work but the best tutorial I found was here. She has full photos and good tips.



The folds and creases will guide you as you make each dress.


Take it step by step – side creases and center creases coming together – the dress takes shaper easier than you might think.

I did use spray starch before I began and it helped the pressing a lot.  So now what do you do with a dozen of these darling wardrobe items?  I began putting them into a birthday quilt for a precious princess who turns one this month.



To applique, I sprayed with quilt basting spray and then used invisible thread and a straight stitch along the edge and across the middle.  I liked the “dimensional” part of the skirt and bodice; had this quilt been for anyone but a baby, I would have embellished with ribbon, pearls, buttons, etc.  Best tip: use handkerchiefs all the same size.

The background block was an 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ rectangle.

Sashing was a 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ (10 1/2″) strip with a snowball type corner.

Setting stones were 2 1/2″ squares to form a Friendship Star.

Baby’s mama wanted white in the border for birthday guests to sign each year so I extended the sashing and stars out to the edge.  It is lightly quilted with an echo around each dress and diagonal lines to mimic the angle of the star arms.




Done and Done!  (even before the birthday!)

hankie quilt sm

Which one is your favorite?

God Bless you, and please pass a tissue.


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Birthdays and Babies

CO Sister id tagFrom my perspective, birthdays come too fast and too often.  I’m not even talking about mine.  I have earned every one of those and I’m just looking for an excuse to celebrate.  I’m talking about the birthdays of the next generation or even their kids’ generation.  I barely get to see or hold the “baby” before they are off to school.  A few more birthdays and they’ll be driving!  Slow down!  Which happens to be the title of a song with my new philosophy.

Just a couple calendar pages ago I flew to sunny California to be with the grands as their mama went off for an overnight “hotel” stay.  They came home with this wonderful bundle.  Eden Orion is the “star” of the day!


Eden at birth

Now a blink of an eye later, she is ready to celebrate her first birthday.  Sweet mama asked for a birthday quilt that the guests could sign each year; one that Eden could love and grow with each year.  We all know who gets to pick colors and pattern (mama) so we went with the 1930s  reproduction fabric and began to work on the hanky quilt.


Selection is the tough part



Origami folded dresses

The complete tutorial will be given next week, but wanted you to share in the delight of working on a special gift for a special girl right away. Her cousin thought he was just as wonderful and he had already received his special quilt a few months before.


Eden & Perrin (Cousins)

So we folded and pressed and stitched and now we are ready for cake and party time.  Happy birthday, Beautiful. Eden is now the proud owner of a quilt selected by her mom and stitched by her grandmother.  Wish I had one, too.

hankie quilt sm

Hanky quilt with Friendship Star



Eden-1 year



Categories: Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: | 2 Comments

Plan Ahead!

CO Sister id tag

The best intentions pave the way to …  well in my case they lead to panic!  I know I’m not the only one who does it (because even my sister does).  I’m not alone in my procrastination.  They even make a sign to tell you to plan ahead.  It didn’t really print so well but gets the idea across.  I’m putting away the unfinished 4th of July project (until June of 2017) and I AM planning ahead for fall.  Maybe because it reminds me of cooler temps!

tempI got out fabrics for the whole color palette and just feel cooler touching fabric of the yellow-orange-gold to brown color family.  OK, so they really aren’t in the same color family but it all says fall to me.  If you are looking for inspiration to begin  a project, check out our Etsy store here.  I’m going to start with the smaller items first (casserole cover and bread wrap) and work toward dressing up the table.

TG bread wrap

Don’t you love those pilgrim figures?  They are the cutest!  I just wanna put on that hat and buckles on my shoes.  Guess I’ll settle for the apron.  I’m not sure I’m ready for the whole primitive life style thing.  final TG apron photo for printing

If I’m ready and the bread is ready to eat, let’s take a look at the table.  The cutest combo would be a runner in the middle and mats along the edge.  Oh wait, we have that too.TG table runner

TG place mat

The thermometer isn’t going the direction I recommend yet but I’m feeling “thankful” that it is coming soon and I’ll be better prepared.  Besides I heard that this heat wave should be treated like a blizzard.  You just bury yourself in the sewing room and don’t come out.  While you’re in there, you might want to start on a wool project that won’t make you overheat-like this fall runner.  Use those vintage orphan blocks or make a new one on your own.  Blooming Fall runner for printing

Last but not least, if you only have a moment between swim lessons and mowing, then check out the free coaster pattern under the brag book tab in our PS Projects.  Happy Fall, Ya’ll.


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Extended Contracts & Cigar Box Treasures

FL Sister id tag

I’ve decided to extend his contract indefinitely. The list of reasons for the contract extension is very long. And this summer the list has just grown longer and longer.

You may already know about Dietz and his amazing feats making and setting up quilt racks

quilt rack Jim

He can make it happen – and he smiles while he does it!

and the old sewing machine he turned into a vanity

vanity m

He does amazing things to bring concepts into reality!

and the blue bird bath he found at an estate sale.

bird bath sm

He offered to paint it any color I wanted but somehow the blue was just right!

And now this summer he raised the bar way high with a road trip through the Smokey Mountains

which took us through Pidgeon Forge,

pidgeon forge

Look closely in the lower left corner. Yes, outside our restaurant that is a pigeon at Pidgeon Forge.

the Biltmore,

biltmore library sm

They didn’t have a sewing room so the library was my favorite room.

zip line adventures …

zip line sm

Yes, I did close my eyes the first time and after that I did scream.

and a lake boat ride.

boat ride sm

And the day ended with ice cold watermelon!

And I brought home a hummingbird for my back door.

humming bird bell sm

The perfect souvenir!

I need to mention the quilt shop stops along the way, too.

quilt shop sm

They had wool on sale!


quilt shop1 sm

This one was right next door to a quilt retreat venue!

And now in the middle of summer’s heat, he caps it all off with a cigar box.

box sm

I couldn’t wait to open it!

I know nothing about cigar boxes, Cuban or otherwise. But this box is valued because Dietz found it for me (of course!) – and because of what is inside.

box full sm

These are a few of my favorite things!

This treasure box is filled with hankies of all kinds! He knows what warms my heart!

hankie sm

Bouquets of flowers!

puppy sm

A cuddly puppy!

mono sm

Delicate simplicity!

What will I do with more hankies? Oh, the possibilities are endless. And the Colorado sister is giving me inspiration as she works on a quilt for her smallest granddaughter. It looks like a dress-up fashion show to me!


Photo cannot be viewed at this time by order of the Colorado sister. Check back in a couple of weeks.

I plan to sign myself up for a hankie project as soon as I finish the Sisters round robin and the August class I’m signed up for and the To Do list for the fall show …

But most important, I’m signing up for 41 more years with this guy!

jim small

I think he’s saying, “What is she going to get me mixed up in next?”

You can see more inspiring ideas on our Pinterest Old Linens board.

Categories: Inspire Me!, Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Purged and Prepped – Story of a Stash

CO Sister id tag

We have all seen it.  The sign that promises total organization for your crafting area / sewing studio.


Great ideas

I’m all for it.  I have tried several methods, several times.  I just can’t seem to get past the purge your stash steps.  How small is too small?  How big is big enough?  Which pieces do I pile and which pieces do I fold?   Do you put your pieces aside that “might” work for a project? And heavens-to-Betsy, “only keep what you’re working on right now” was the worst idea ever!  Has no one ever heard of a fabric “stash”?  The very word suggests a controlled type of hoarding.  I can’t give up the stash!


No, it won’t fall. It is crammed in too tight.

I would consider myself an organized person.  Not really over the top OCD, but I do like to know where something is once it is put away.  My spices are alphabetized in the cupboard, my shoes are separated by season and style, and the medicines are in color coordinated containers.  But the fabric….well, there is no real way to describe it.


Not mine, but she is creative!

I have a pinterest board for helpful ideas for storing fabric.  I have a friend willing to give most of it a good home.  I have little boards to fold the remainder onto.  But no success story here.  I’m still waiting for the perfect solution.  Creativity can be VERY messy.

My daughter folded hers onto neatly hidden hanging files.  If I did that it would look like an old fashioned file room at the IRS office.  Not that many file drawers let in America.


File folded fabric.

I saw a cute color coordinated system that fit on one shelf.   LOL



The only one I thought might work suggested you empty everything out and only put back what you love.  I actually opened the cupboard doors to start that and realized I would never be able to get out of the room until it was put back.  That would take days!


No creativity here.

I tried the “take one out when you put one in” method.  But when I put in a 2 yard piece of fabric, I was only taking out a fat quarter.  It didn’t seem to make much difference.  Go figure.

So I start to justify the importance, nay, the necessity of having a fully stocked stash.  Where else would I come up with setting fabric for the 3 odd blocks I got at the guild rummage sale?  Only in my stash.


Who knew?

Or where else would I get just 2 tiny squares of batiks in order to finish the baby quilt for grandchild number ten?!  Only in my stash.


It could be the signature block.

I have come to grips with the fact that my sewing area will always look like I’m in the midst of moving in (or out). And as long as I can find the latest project pieces it will pass the organized test.  (There have been times when it couldn’t!) I’ve come to love the security of having a stash to choose from and it feels like a warm, comfy blanket…er, quilt.

Sister wants to know your best organization tips in an effort to help halt the hoarding.



Categories: Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: | 2 Comments

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