Sunday, July 26, 2015

Happy Halloween Village!

Last weekend, you will remember, my friend Noell Phipps and I went up to Sugar Pine Quilt Shop in Grass Valley. While I was in a fabric frenzie, I notice that Anne was cutting several fabrics and she had a book open on her counter. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was getting fabric ready for a class. I looked at the book and had to have it!  Happy Villages by Karen Eckmeier.

The outside of the book didn't peak my interest, it was what was inside that caught my eye. I never would have picked this up if Anne hadn't had it open to a very cool project. Thumbing through I noticed the Halloween Village and the Christmas Village...CUTE!

This weekend, my friend Brenda Allen came over, she needed some help finishing up the mitered borders on her quilt, so we worked on that and just sewed the day away.  Sometimes it's just great to have that creative synergy of another person to sew with. Anyway, at the end of the day I showed her the book and said...what do you think? Well we were off and running! I was pulling halloween colors last night and so was Brenda, we made our templates and got to cutting...I jumped the gun a little but she caught right up!

Last night I was playing with the bits and getting the basics laid down...this morning I scrapped it and started over...haha!  Fickle.

Brenda came over after church and we really got busy. Scissors flying!

My kitchen is thrashed!  But we are having a ball. The beauty of this sewing, you glue the bits down. There is a process and I would suggest that you get the book and read thoroughly the basic instructions. You are using basic shapes and if you ever played with Colorforms as a kid you will be right at home! Don't be afraid to move things around!  

As you get the basic shapes down and start to embellish them, that is when the fun begins. Here is Brenda's quilt:

The beauty of this's only 16 inches square. You probably have everything you need to make it in your scrap bins or your stash. It goes quickly and you will have immediate gratification. Putting the roofs on is when the fun begins because you start seeing it coming together.

This was the Happy Halloween Village from Karen Eckmeier's book, you can see how much fun you can have embellishing, the sky is the limit.

Finished for today, I'll be adding to this after work each evening I'm sure, as the inspiration hits.  Check back to see the finish!

Don't forget to visit our Facebook page to enter our giveaway this month!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Where to find The Real GOLD In Placer County!

Placer County in Northern California is famed for the 1849 gold rush, 49er miners would come from all over the world to try their hand at placer mining in the hopes that they would get rich...although those days of golden glory are gone, there is still plenty of REAL GOLD to be found for quilters at the Sugar Pine Quilt Shop!  This quiet unassuming little building is packed to the rafters with a wonderful eclectic mix of fabrics.  You will never be disappointed and I challenge you to leave their shop without purchasing a basket full of fat quarters!  It cannot be done!

Located in historic Grass Valley the home of the Empire Mine. You can find them at 452 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945.  They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm.


The Empire Mine operated for 106 years, from 1850-1956, producing some 5.8 million ounces of gold from 367 miles of underground workings. The Empire Mine was the richest individual gold mine in California

George Roberts, the original discoverer of the gold, on what became known as the Ophir vein,  soon sold his interest and by 1869 William Bourn Sr. owned controlling interest. The Bourn family maintained control of the mine until 1929 when it was sold to Newmont Mining. Newmont also purchased the North Star Mine, resulting in Empire-Star Mines, Ltd.

By the 1950s, inflation costs for gold mining were leaving the operation unprofitable. In 1956 a crippling miners strike over falling wages ceased operations. The mine was officially closed a year later on May 28, 1957 when the last water pumps were shut and removed.

In 1975 the State purchased the surface property as the Empire Mine State Historic Park.

There is no need for you to get dirty and ride underground to 

find the treasures that abound at Sugar Pine!

Do you like Kaffe and Jacobs...they have it, like batiks....they have it, like Michael Miller...they have it, like contemporary...they have it, like traditional...they have it...oh, I could go on for hours but you get the idea.

Everyroom, every nook and cranny has quilter's notions, rulers, pins, patterns, ideas, inspiration.  If it's not here, you don't need it. Each room that you walk into, invites deeper exploration.

"Why yes I am purchasing more of that cute little house fabric and what is it that you are cutting fabric for right now?" I asked Ann as she measured my fabric..."We are teaching a class in Happy Villages by Karen Eckmeier " she said.  "Let me see that book, I think I need that, that looks like fun!"  She explained the technique and the book flew into my basket.  It's like that at Sugar Pine, it's contagious creativity at it's best!

Every room has just a little different flavor, exciting unexpected patterns, books and fabrics are at every turn.  Your mind will be spinning very quickly.  There is even a little window seat where you can sit quietly and look through the quilt books and baskets of patterns.

Sometimes you just want a fat quarter of that special fabric, you may be collecting for a particular project or just love that one fabric...well, no problem!  Ann will cut you a fat quarter of absolutely any fabric in the store!  Often you will find the fat quarter already cut and on the shelf under your selection or rolled up and poking out the top of the bolt.  Your wish is their command.
You never need to go home and say, I wish I could get a fat quarter of that fabric I loved but they only cut a  1/2 yard minimum...not here! You want a fat quarter of that fabic, well by golly, that is what you will get!

Cheerful corners await you filled with treasures!

Sample flimsies and beautifully finished quilts are at every turn.

There are fun projects for you above every shelf of fabric.

Fabrics are somewhat color coordinated for your viewing pleasure, just know that you will be easily side tracked by flickers of color everywhere. You've heard of the legendary Gold Fever...well that is nothing compared to the Fabric Fever Frenzie that will bite you when you enter!

Precuts, jellyrolls, layer cakes, sale's all here waiting for you.  As you enter the store, be sure to grab one of their little baskets, it can get cumbersome balancing all your bounty!

The gals are happy to help you put together a run of fabric for the project you are working on.  I get carried away everytime I go into their store, I just love it! So here are my purchases for today...I added some white and black.  The dot and the bees I have in my stash but I wanted a little more.

These pinks and this aqua were singing to me...they also will go in my stash.

This gray and this yellow are going to be a table runner, mostly gray with pops of colored squares and rectangles, the yellow may or may not make it into this project, but it's in my stash now...

This batik with the blue dots will be the background in a winter wall hanging that I am collecting for.  Originally I was going to get some white fabric and dye it, but this batik is absolutely perfect for what I am doing...More to be revealed.

And of course, I had to purchase some more of this little house fabric.  Crazy for it...I used it last year to make a table topper and I am in love with it!

And finally these little penguins were dancing and singing to me...I could see them out of the corner of my eye and they danced their way right into my basket!  After all, Christmas is coming!

If you have the opportunity to get to Northern California, be sure to take the time to visit the Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, you will NOT be disappointed and you will surely discover the Real Gold in Placer County!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

#GIVEAWAY, A Quick Tutorial on EPP Hexagons and Some Fun Links

This month on our Facebook page we are giving away the book, "All Points Patchwork" by Diane Gilleland. This is an excellent book if you would like instruction in how to accurately create different shapes using English Paper Piecing (EPP).  It is not loaded with patterns, so if that is what you are looking for you may be disappointed.  It does gives you clear, concise, well photographed, step by step instructions for a broad variety of shapes.  Available in both digital and paperback, your choice. (please check out her link by clicking on the book title above, there are several fun patterns there and tutorial I think you will really enjoy)

In addition to Diane's book, I thought it would be fun to give away this Fiskars Easy Squeeze Punch!  It truly is very easy to use and you will be popping out the papers for your Hexies effortlessly!  

To enter, visit our Facebook page, LIKE our page, COMMENT on both posts and SHARE on your Facebook page...Nothing ever to purchase!  No tricks and no gimmicks. Drawing for both the book and the punch will be held on July 31st, 2015.

English Paper Piecing is all the rage...again.  We can trace paper piecing back to the 1700's.  The technique allows one to accurately piece complex angles utilizing paper pieces as stabilizer.

In the United States we have quilts using this technique that date back to 1807 and 1813.

Photo:  State Museum of Pennsylvania

Because of it's portability, English Paper Piecing became very popular during the migration west. With paper scarce on the journey, pioneer women would use old letters, newspaper clippings or catalogue pages as their foundation. Often these papers were left in the quilt, acting not only as the pattern but as insulation. 

So everything old is new again! With a resurgence of interest in English Paper Piecing we see both traditional and non traditional methods come into play. So many fun things you can do with English Paper Piecing and you can take it with you anywhere!

Here is my quick little tutorial on making Hexies.  This is the way I do it, Not the "right" way or the "wrong" way, not the way illustrated in the book, just the way I do it.  There are lots of techniques out there, if this works for you, great!  If not, try another.

Here is what you will need to get started.  You probably already have these items laying around your house.

A small pair of sharp scissors.
A sharp hand sewing needle.  
Some thread, it doesn't matter what color.
Paper to create your hexagon paper patterns.
A hole punch.
Some fabric scraps.

First part to tackle is creating your paper pattern you can purchase these by the bag full, ready cut for you and you can just jump right in stitching.  Or you can print out a template the size that you wish and cut your pieces.  Or you can use the gizmo that we are giving away from Fiskars and just pop out a bunch when ever you need them.

What to use for paper: I like a card stock, only because it holds it's shape when you are working with it. You can use left over cereal boxes, file folders, thick catalogue covers, old Christmas and Birthday cards are fabulous!...what ever you have, you don't have to run out and purchase "special" paper to accomplish your goal of trying out this technique. Some use plastic so they can reuse them, just make sure you don't iron them and melt them to your fabric. You can purchase heat resistant plastic templates, I do have some and I do love them.

Notice that I punch a hole in the middle of the will want this for later when you are all finished piecing your bits together and want to remove the simply insert a knitting needle, crochet hook or a simple wooden skewer and pop them right out, ready to use again!

So you have your paper piecing templates cut and you are ready to start sewing some Hexies!  Grab your fabric and cut squares with your rotary cutter.  The size of your square will depend on what size Hexie you are making.  Here is a good rule of thumb: set your paper hexie in the corner of your fabric, now measure a square that is 1/2 inch beyond any of your paper tips.  See below:

This is a 2 inch hexagon from tip to tip so I would use a 2.5" strip of fabric and cut it into a 2.5" square.  The actual measure of the hexie is a 1" hexagon, you measure just the side.  For measuring how much fabric you will need to adequately cover your hexie...just measure 1/2 inch beyond the tips as shown. 

Thread your needle but do not make a knot. Lay your paper hexie on top of your fabric square.  Carefully fold the fabric over on one edge, then fold the fabric over on the next edge to create a neat fold.  Take your needle and thread through that corner, fabric only, I don't sew all the way through the paper, no need.  Use your thumb to hold things in place while you take a little bite with your needle as shown making sure to leave about a 1 inch thread tail.

Circle back through with your needle in the same place, taking another bite, this will lock your thread.  Move onto the next corner, carefully folding your fabric and repeat the process of taking a bite and circling back through.  Continue all the way around your hexie finishing in the same corner where you started, taking a bite again and circling through, leave a one inch thread tail and clip...There you go!  Look at you!


Mind you, they are addictive.  Go slow at first, you will pick up the pace once you get the hang of it.  

Get a couple Ziploc bags, one to put your completed hexies in and one to store your kit.  You can keep this in your purse and whip it out anywhere you want!  Ready to quilt at a moments notice.  

Aren't they pretty, like little jelly beans in a bowl!  Now imagine what you can do if you fussy cut your fabric...

Some of my Hexie collection.

These beauties were created by Lois and blogged about here:

Get ready, you are going to have boxes full of these in no time! And the great thing about them, you don't have to make a quilt, nope, you can use them to embellish pillow cases, towels, put a few together for some hot mats, maybe sprinkle a few down a table runner or on place mats, on a purse or a tote or a little makeup bag, across a little girls skirt, on a T-shirt...oh the possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination!  

Here are some links for you to check out.  Fun ideas for how to use your hexies.