Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the hoilday and be sure to set aside some quiet time for stitching! - joan

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilts in a Factory

Two weeks ago, I visited the Wings Falls Quilt Guild in Glens Falls. We had a terrific time making the Stained Glass quilt in an all-day workshop. Then I presented a trunk show full of ScrapTherapy quilts. And in between I managed to visit a quilt shop or two.

Glens Falls is on the very edge of the Adirondack Park in New York State, about an hour's drive north of Albany, the state's capital. But it's also a short drive from Saratoga, where in the month of August, the story is thoroughbred horse racing. This permanent display at the Landmark Motor Inn, where I stayed, is a reminder of summer excitement.

It's always nice to visit an old building that has been given a second chance to shine. Such is the case with The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls, New York. As you might guess from the name, the building originally housed a shirt factory. The building is now home to a variety of boutique artisan shops and other businesses, including Adirondack Quilts. It was dark by the time I got to the building, so I confess to grabbing this photo off one of the website galleries.

Shannon and Bill own the quilt shop filled with all kinds of wonderful quilty treats. But I got the impression that Bailey and Goldie are really in charge! Here’s Bill along with the two canine attention-grabbers.

Look, a display of Snap Sack kits!

Wander down the hall a bit and you'll find handmade beads, pottery, and a huge variety of local crafts people who occupy their own space in the large building. On the walls, old pictures give you a fascinating history of the building! Unfortunately, I visited after dark and wasn't equipped to take photographs in the low light. You'll just have to take my word for it--or visit yourself--it's a wonderful shopping experience off the beaten trail!

Back at the guild, by the end of the day-long workshop, several versions of Stained Glass appeared.

Bright and colorful. . .

Soft, muted color, paired with gray. . .

A stack of pastel. . . pretty. . .

Tricks and treats. . .

And Christmas!

Every Stained Glass project looks so different based on the varying scrap collection. It's like each quilt is uniquely personalized.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Last Minute Goody Bag

Two weeks ago, I went on a little quilty retreat with friends. Because it was Halloween, we exchanged tricks and treats. One of the treats I received, was some fabric and a short pattern for a goody bag. The person offering the fabric treat and her guild members assemble bags like these and fill them with toiletries to be distributed to folks in need in the community. I made one up, made a couple of adjustments to the pattern,  and I thought I'd share it with you.

Wouldn't this be nice made up in holiday prints? A quick gift purchase is wrapped and ready to go under the tree, and the fabric bag is re-usable! It's super easy to customize, and you can make it up in a flash and have a few on hand for a last minute hostess gift, a little something for your hair-stylist, or for a child's treat bag. Or fill it with some soap, toothpaste and shampoo for a nice gesture at the homeless shelter any time of year.

You need an 11x26" scrap of fabric and some ribbon, about 26"--you can change the dimensions if you want something a little smaller or a little larger. If you have a Purple Thang, that will come in handy, too.

Fold the fabric in half, so you have an 11x13" rectangle. The fold will be the bottom of the bag. Measure 1-1/2" from the top edge down the sides and 1" in on each top edge. Draw a line.

Cut on the line. Repeat on all four corners.

Fold each cut end of the fabric toward the center of the bag twice to hide the raw edge.

Then fold the remainder of each 11" side down about 1/4" and press.

Edge stitch the short ends . .

 . . . then edge stitch each of the 1/4" folded seams along the top edge of the bag.

Next fold the top edge of the bag wrong sides together, creating a pocket for the drawstring ribbon. The bottom edge of the pocket should be even with the side cut. Edge stitch. Do this on both short edges to create a pocket for the ribbon-tie.

Then fold the fabric in half again on the original fold, wrong sides together, and sew a 1/4" seam down both sides.

The bag looks like this so far. The bottom fold is at the top of the picture and the drawstring-pockets are shown at the bottom.

Turn the bag right sides together, and tuck in each top corner, forming a 45˚ fold at the top of each side to hide the raw fabric edge.

Starting from the top, cut-out edge of the bag, sew down the side along the red line. Sew a straight seam, or sew closer to the edge once you get past the tucked-under corner to give the top of the bag a little shape. Repeat the French style seam on both sides of the bag.

The side seam will completely incorporate the original 1/4" seam allowance.

To make boxed corners, open and flatten the side seam at the bottom, draw a line about 1-1/2" from the corner and sew on the line. Trim the extra corner bulk, if desired, and zig zag along the edge to reduce fraying.

Cut the ribbon in half, or keep it whole and feed the ribbon through the top pockets. Pin a small safety pin to one end of the ribbon and feed the safety pin through the pocket, or insert the ribbon through the slit in the Purple Thang and feed the ribbon and Purple Thang through the pocket. Tie the ribbon ends.


Stuff with goodies and tuck it under the tree--it'll be as if you planned it all along!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Boo" Mountain Lake

Last Thursday, on Halloween, I headed to the the Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake for a long weekend of tricks and treats, great food, good laughs, and quilty inspiration. I found it all--and a little more!

To start out the weekend, the wind was whipping up a frenzy on the lake. I've been to this lake many times in the last few years, but haven't ever seen it this 'angry' with waves and white caps.

What a difference a day makes. Next morning the lake was like glass.

Since it was Halloween, spooky decorations prevailed.

And Treats! Our weekend event coordinators organized a 'Trick or Treat' exchange. Everyone brought a quilty or yummy treat to share, and we went 'trick-or-treating!' Everyone participated and we all came away with quite a pirate's booty!

Of course, there were projects to inspire. Some finished, some in progress, and some in parts. . . .

Happy Stitching!