I May Need An Intervention.

Let me begin by straight out saying that I am smitten with the on-line quilting community. You took me under your wing, encouraged my ridiculousness and every day you make me feel appreciated and valuable.  You always listen to what I’m chattering on about AND  you always offer your positive point of view about everything I’m sharing. You are officially THE BEST EVER.

So puhleeeze puhleeze puhleeze understand that what I say next is coming from a place of love and understanding and possibly desperation.

STOP having so many fabulous  On Line Sewing Bees, Sew Alongs, Mystery Quilts, Block Challenges, Blocks of the Month, and Block Swaps. SERIOUSLY STOP NOW!

I am addicted to Group Sew in all its formats;  Just like chocolate (or potato chips) I cannot take part in just one, or even two at a time. Nope, I have to sign up for everything that I click on.  Sigh….

Here is where I find myself today…

Gypsy Wife Sew Along.  I confess I chose to work a bit ahead on this one, because I made it before (also on a QAL, sigh) and therefore it wasn’t terribly scary for me.  However it did have its moments as we went along.   My sew-along group hasn’t seen yet and I hope they like it.  It is quilted and ready for binding on Saturday,nunless something else turns up.  Official reveal date is January 3, 2018.  IMG_5051.jpg

Patchwork City.  Right now I’m waiting for the quilt to come back from the Long Arm Quilter, so I can bind it and share with my on-line group.  I think I’m the last one to finish. (FYI I decided to re-jig the borders/sashing on this one, after I took the pic.  It’s really green and orange and I thought a bit more sashing might tone it down…NOT!)img_5079-1

Clue 4 of the PEIMQG Mystery Quilt came out a few days ago and FYI it was a doozy for me because there was improv piecing involved.  After much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, a few really wicked words and a great workout with my seam ripper,  I finally got this clue all sewn up and managed to post a pic to the Linkup.  IMG_5371.JPG

A Year of Scrappy Triangles.  These are 6.5″ blocks and I’m making two of each to ensure I have enough for a quilt top this time next year….these blocks are so pretty. I’m in love every Tuesday when Sewn by Leila posts the block of the week.  The picture after the one right below is a compilation of all the blocks I’ve finished to date.  I’m making one set of bright blocks and one set of low value blocks. IMG_5378.JPG

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Wonky Stars 2018 Swap.  I signed up for this a couple months ago and last week received an email with all the details.  Thank goodness the specifics are quite straightforward.  I just have to make 14 wonky stars (any size) between now and the end of January, 2018, mail them off after that and receive 14 wonky stars from fellow swappers in February, 2018.  At this stage I have four stars put together but haven’t posted pictures of them anywhere (against the rules to do so until mid-January), so I’m posting pics of scraps left over from each completed block.  Here is one for your viewing pleasure.IMG_5384

Make a Mini – Make a Friend – This is a swap originating with the folks who put together Quilt Con 2018.  I have not revealed this finish yet, but I started it about 2 weeks ago. It is a person to person swap.  The swap fairies took all the names and matched everyone up.  This swap’s home base is on Instagram.  FYI I made a 22 x 22″ mini quilt, and Holy OMG, I machine and hand quilted it myself.  The only thing left to do on this one is adding the label.  Her name is “Formal Dress” and it’s supposed to be sent off in time to coordinate with Quilt Con  2018 dates, so I believe we are supposed to mail them to our partners at the beginning of February.  IMG_5346.JPG

Bee Inspired Year Long Quilting Bee.  This is the one that started this whole addiction and brought me to where I am today.  We are a group of 12 quilters from all over the world, who take turns monthly being Queen Bee.  I just finished the December block for this year and mailed it off.  Next month, we start all over again. I’m very excited and proud to be part of this group, because OMG the talent here is very impressive.  Every month I learn something new. IMG_5309.JPG

…and I now must confess that all the above is just a sampling of the projects I took on in 2017.  There is another one that I cannot talk about right now because its a SECRET, but I’m very excited about it….because it involves my very favourite block ever — Churn Dash — and although I cannot give too many details right now, I will be gushing and chattering and crushing on this one in early February, 2018.  So, please please come back and visit. Guaranteed you will love it too.

So my friends, whatdaya think?  Do I think I need an On-Line Sew-Along Intervention?I’m convinced I do.  Either that or I need to shut off  the Internet and stay completely away from my computer for a few weeks;  because every day someone else has a fantastic idea for groups of  like-minded people to come together and enjoy creating these beautiful fabric masterpieces.

Oh yeah before I go, I wanted to share a picture of some beautiful fabric that arrived in the mail today from The Fabric Snob….my new favourite Canadian online fabric shop.  This is definitely going to play a part in many of the projects I am planning for 2018.

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Did you do something creative today?

 

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My Quilt Con Quilt Guilt

Today is December 6 which makes this my 6th consecutive day of blogging as part of the 3rd Annual 31 Day Blogging Challenge being hosted by Cheryl Sleboda.  Click  here  to check out the list of bloggers participating.  Guaranteed that you will find someone over there who is  talking about something you want to read about.  So Go…Enjoy…..and get back here quick to read my post too.

Do you ever feel guilty about a quilt you made for a specific purpose that didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?  I have and today I’m hosting my very own itsy-bitsy pity party.  FYI in real life I’m actually a bit shy and reserved.  I sometimes think writing a blog about the things I make and the things I think is very self indulgent and just the tiniest big braggish.  But somedays I think “Holy Heck Henrietta, I have something to say and here it is”.  So folks there is very often a war brewing inside me about what to post and what not to post.

So having shared that, please read on to find out what transpired to make me to feel a little bit sad and sorry for myself today.

Away back in June/July when Quilt Con published its 2018 calendar, I saw the Michael Miller fabric challenge and decided to enter.  Lucky me, I was one of the ones who received a little packet of “The Yard” fabric in the Cloud colorway.  The challenge rules said we had to use at least two fabrics from the line and could use as many  Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids as we wanted.  I did some research and found/modified a quilt block that I liked and thought would work great in a baby quilt.  I figured out the pattern math, chose a cute quilt name that would work with the challenge and the pattern (I called my quilt “Check out Our Yard”).  I purchased some cotton couture yardage in several colours and a bit more of  “The Yard” fabric to add into the mix.  I should add an added bonus from my perspective is that I have a new niece/nephew coming in December and I planned to gift the new addition with this quilt irregardless of whether it went to QuiltCon.

Things quickly went downhill once I started cutting into the fabric.  I realized I did NOT like the fabric colours at all.   Some were too bright and bold; some were too blah and boring; and some were just firmly outside my comfort zone.  But time was running out and I decided to persevere because I really wanted to enter a  quilt into Quilt Con 2018.  After the flimsy was pieced and sewn together, I asked my extremely talented and very kind friend Liz at Blueberry Cove Long Arm Quilting Services to quilt it for me, which she agreed to do.  Let me just say she does amazing, awesome and beautiful work,  but not even she could turn this ugly little quilt duckling into a beautiful swan/prize winner.  Sadly when it came back to me I still didn’t love it with my whole heart.  Don’t get me wrong I liked it, but every time I looked at it, I saw mistakes (lines didn’t line up, block segments looked upside down, etc.) and the colours were still very jarring to my eyes And in my mind, I didn’t think I could enter a quilt I didn’t love into Quilt Con.  Especially for my very first one.   But again I persevered and added the binding with fingers crossed (which is a very difficult thing to do when sewing binding on by hand, just saying).  All the time I was thinking and hoping maybe when it’s done it will look more like the way it looks  in my mind.

Guess what folks it did not look better to me.  In fact I think it looked exactly the same as it always did.  So in the end, the deadline to enter quilts for Quilt Con on November 30 came and went… and I did not enter “Check out Our Yard” into the challenge.  Is there a lesson to be learned from all this?….I hope so, but what it is has not revealed itself to me yet. I will let you all know when it does.

In the meantime,  here is a picture of the very first quilt in my new  “didn’t quite make it” category.

Check out the Yard. Almost made it into the Michael Moore fabric challenge at Quilt Con.

The silver lining is that this quilt will be on its way to Ontario well before its intended owner is born sometime in the next few weeks.

Do you have any quilts in your cupboard that didn’t turn out the way you thought they would?  Send me a picture in the comments.  I’d love to see them.  And of course I will send you an invitation to the very next pity party.

 

I’ll Buy That…and that….and that…

I love on-line technology generally.  Here’s why…

When I started quilting about a lifetime ago (could it be possibly 20+ years ago? Yikes, OMG etc.), I lived in a big city in Alberta.  Back in the day, it was easy as pie to go to about a gazillion fabric shops within a few minutes drive from my home.   I got into a lovely groove… which involved purchasing a quilting magazine at the grocery store and then hi-tailing it off to the high end quilt stores all around me.  I especially loved Lori’s Country Cottage in Sherwood Park where everyone knew my name. (LOL,  I’m having a Norm from “Cheers” moment).

Then, hubby and I retired, packed our bags and all our belongings, and left Alberta to realize our retirement dreams on teeny tiny, itsy-bitsy Prince Edward Island–a little over 3 years ago.  Suddenly BOOM! my quilting world imploded.  Imagine my distress to find there are exactly 3 specialty quilt shops in the whole province; and no FabricLand franchises, or Marshall Fabrics or anywhere else with a good selection of quilting fabric at a reasonable (or exorbitant, for that matter) price.  I was devastated, disenchanted and discouraged.  It was a seriously bleak time….please excuse me, I do have a tendency to be a drama queen. But I’m sure you get my point.   Holy Heck Hanna what would I do?

Well, I started spending time on-line, where to my wonderment, there was a huge, borderless, universal quilting community. They didn’t know or care where I lived; they were willing and delighted to share their ahhhsome creations and I started to feel better.  Before too long, I decided to join in.  I quickly learned to post pics of my quilts to Instagram and Facebook and started reading blogs.  Then one day I clicked on a link to a wonderful wonderful place called Pink Castle Fabrics…OMG OMG OMG, there really was more fabric in the universe then I could imagine.  Beautiful traditional fabrics, modern low volume fabrics; text and texture fabrics; animal and vegetable fabrics….you see where I’m going with this right.

Well before you could say “Honey I’m Home”,  I whipped out my magic Visa card and started shopping.  Now a short lifetime later and I’m still going strong.  I love love love this new cyber world I’m living in.  I could never have imagined just 10 years ago that I could  purchase fabrics or patterns from anywhere in the world and have it delivered right to my door within 10 days.  I am a cyber citizen of the world; it doesn’t matter to me if my fabric originates from Canada, USA or Australia.  (Although to be honest, it does matter to hubby…he’d much prefer if I reined myself in a tiny bit and confined my on-line shopping to continental North America…he’s kinda old-school that way).

These beauties came by USPS or UPS just last week…Sigh, I am SO in my happy place!

 

What or where is your favourite fabric store?  And, do you buy FQs or bundles or yardage?  Leave me a comment…I’m always looking for fabulous new places to buy fabric.

Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, Dracula…ME!

Nope,  this is not a story about mass murderers or witches, or any other terrifying things.  Today,  my friends, I’m talking about the REALLY REALLY scary stuff.   I’m talking about picking up my rotary cutter and slicing into my new Kaffe Fassett fabric.   HA! I heard your gasp of horror!  Get ready to cringe and/or hide your eyes  (wait, please don’t do that, I want you to read the rest of the story first)…because this has the potential to be worse, way way worse,  than any grisly crime scene you can imagine.

Let me explain my dilemma.  Ever since the first time I ever saw Kaffe Fassett fabrics I’ve always hoped that someday I would have the necessary skills and patience to make a fabulously bright, beautiful, stunning quilt containing only fabrics by the awesome Kaffe Fassett. Now, many years later, I’ve come to realize that my skills are not going to get to the level needed to do justice to this designer, therefore I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just make it anyway!

I am not prone to dithering and second guessing myself too much; so immediately after I made my decision, I hopped on-line and ordered a bundle of forty-two 10″ squares of  Kaffe Fassett “Classics” and a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett “Spots” from Fabric.com.  They arrived about a week ago and are sitting in my sewing room right now.  As you can imagine, they are just gawjus in shades of fuchsia, lilac,  purple, tangeriney orange, covered with chartusey green chrysanthemums and other floral bits and bobs, or multicoloured swirls and dots and just so so perfect in every way.  AND HERE I AM GETTING READY TO CUT THEM INTO ITTY BITTY BITS. O my freaking goodness.  What is wrong with me?

Needless to say I need help and guidance from my many quilting buddies.  Most Kaffe Fassett quilts I’ve seen are made with quite large blocks because nobody wants to cut up the awesome designs into really tiny pieces.  Pinterest and I spent several hours together over the last few evenings and here are some of the block choices I am auditioning for my quilt.  

The first pattern below is called Shimmering Triangles and it is pretty much the same as the traditional corn and beans block. There are a couple ways to put this block together into a quilt and it’s a real contender I think. There are lots of examples of quilts on line like this one. Don’t you just love the way it makes your eyes get all wonky.

 

Here is another very similar block (without four patch centres)  showing the way it is put together.  Looks easy enough, but an awful lot of HSTs. I count 32 in each block. Yikes.  However they are in groups of 8, so I could put them together quick using the Magic 8 method.


But perhaps I should go in a completely different direction.  Am I courageous enough to cut curves to make this Clamshell beauty (this could be done with a drunkards path block template too) 


Scary as heck but OMG I love it. And I have a curve it up ruler that would make it easy(er).  Also I own the quick curve ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful and that would work to make the blocks too. Definitely would show off  the fabrics well I think. 

But then there is this absolutely awesome piece of patchwork calling out for consideration. This pattern is called Curlicue Crush and is basically a square with simple curved blocks surrounding it.  This is less pieces than the shimmering triangles, still has curves and large enough pieces to showcase the beautiful fabrics.

Maybe I should play it safe and fast and go with a large snowball block like this one.

This picture came from a blog about a Kaffe Fassett workshop, so I expect lots of folks have already made this version.  It’s beautiful, simple and perfect for showing off the fabrics.

So what should I do?  Does anyone out there have other ideas?  Perhaps I should just put everything away before I start something and get too freaked out to finish.  Seriously. I am terrified that I will start whacking away at this fabric and have a meltdown of some sort that will leave me and the fabric in a state of ruin.   What do you think?  

I’ve got cabin fever

…and its not because its minus 4 gazillion degrees outside, or because of the wind whistling up my long johns at 90 km per hour, or even the freezing rain/ice pellets ricocheting out of the sky and into my face as I stand outside with our new puppy, crossing my mitten clad fingers that he will do his business before I freeze into an extremely unimpressed icicle. Nosirree Bob its not.

I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever because of the new quilting project I’m working on.  Its another quilt along, this time with Angie over at  Gnome Angel and Snips Snippits. This is not a quilt along for the faint-o-heart.  Holy OMG.  Here is a picture of the pattern book (please ignore the puppy chewed corners – Théo  wants to eat everything he sees).  Its 38 freaky pages long!

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Here is a picture of the actual finished quilt that may someday be mine!

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If you look closely you will see that there are 16 pineapple log cabin blocks spread over the quilt,  9 in one block on the right side about half way down, 4 on the bottom edge left of centre,  and another 3 closer to the top left.  Folks these are 5″ finished blocks. Yes, you read that correctly. The pieces are incredibly, amazingly, shockingly tiny.  There is a template on the back page of the pattern that I could scan and print (if I had a scanner, which naturally I don’t), so I decided to find a similar/same block on line, which I could save and simply print.

Lucky me, I found one.  Its a variation on the pineapple log cabin so I am happy as a pig in a puddle.  I wanted to share the blocks that I’ve finished so far with you.  Here are the 9 that will go together into one block that finishes at 15″.

I think they are adorable.  I admired them for about a day and a half before I broke down and started searching the internet again for blocks that I could modify for the 4 block piece.  Here is what I came up with so far.

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Its a wonky pineapple block.  Also 5″ finished and last but not least…so far

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A couple little birdhouses.  My plan is to make one more birdhouse for the section that has 3 log cabins in a row and 3 more wonky log cabins in other colorways.

Yikes,  I am afraid to even think about the other 4 log cabins, 9 courthouse steps or  21 churn dash blocks that I have to make after the pineapple log cabin variation blocks are done. And that my friends is only a small portion of the madness.

O and did I mention that this QAL kicks off officially in March and finishes in July which is only 4 months.  The schedule is crazy.  Check it out below or read the whole post at GnomeAngel

  1. Bow Tie – Make 2 –
  2. Square in a Square Stars – Make 1
  3. Crosses of the U.K. – Make 6
  4. Jacobs Ladder – Make 9
  5. Trip Around the World – Make 1
  6. Plus a Star – Make 1
  7. Churn Dash – Make 21
  8. Courthouse Steps – Make 9
  9. Log Cabin – Make 4
  10. Half Square Triangle 1 – Make 1
  11. Half Square Triangle 2 – Make 1
  12. Half Square Triangle 3 – Make 1
  13. Flying Geese – Make 64
  14. 60 Degree Triangle – Make 30
  15. Pineapple Log Cabin – Make 16
  16. Checkerboard

And just for a giggle I thought I’d share the scrap basket that I’m using to create this masterpiece – although my PEIMQG friends have kindly kicked in some strips of fabric for me to use.  Thanks again to Robin and Susan.

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Sigh…will I ever learn? I think not.

 

 

 

“Crosses and Xs”, A Picto-Toot’…

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This modern looking beauty is a VERY traditional block.  It is sometimes called Japanese Cross or Crosses and Losses.  Quilters like me have been crushing on it  since the 1930s.  This block was originally credited to Nancy Cabot in 1938 according to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Block Patterns.  So there you go…Everything old is new again; what goes around comes around…You get the idea.

I saw this block featured on my  Pinterest feed and I absolutely love it. It looks ahhhmazing in a pastel-y palate and just as great if you are a wild woman like me when you are picking colours for quilts.

(There are more pics and links to finished projects at the end of the Toot).

So without any more chit-chat, here is the Picto Toot that will make a 10.5″ unfinished block.

    This block requires SEVEN FABRICS in any combination. Go. Wild.  I dare you. I did!

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    Seriously folks, 7 fabrics–Absolutely No Exceptions.

    Now lets get out those rotary cutters and start having fun. Here is how I cut the fabrics for this Toot’.

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    Yikes.  Relax you can do this.  Lets start with the 8 x 2.5″ squares.

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    Use a ruler and a pencil to draw a diagonal line on the back of each of these 8 squares.  You could also fold the squares on the diagonal and press the line – or – use a Hera tool – or – if you are super confident, just wing it (I don’t have that kinda courage).

    Pick up the 4 x 4″ squares and the marked 2.5″ squares and head over to the sewing machine.

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    Place a small square on each of the larger squares (just like in the pic) and sew ’em together right down that line.  Then do it all over again on the opposite corner.  You’ll use two smaller squares on each larger square.  But you knew that already didn’t you?

    After they’re sewn on, flip the smaller squares back on the sewn line, and press,press,press…before you start cutting off the ends.  I find pressing at this stage helps to square everything up, if your stitching line tends to be a bit wonky. Sigh.

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    Now you can cut the undersides away like the above picture.  Flip the small corner triangle back into place. Then just sit for a minute and enjoy how pretty they look (and give yourself a pat on the back for your bold colour choices).

    Okay, moving on to the next section.  Confession time… I  didn’t take very many pictures of this stage… my iPad was perilously close to running out of battery life. Here is the only pic I took.

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    Its pretty self explanatory.  Pick two of the remaining teal 2.5″  blocks  and two lavender (pink?) blocks  to sew together and and sew the last two lavender (pink?) blocks to each side of the teal 6.5″ rectangle.

    Whew…you’re almost there.  Set out your block like this….

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    Sew them together in rows, matching seams if you are that kind of girl, which I’m not… but that’s a story for another day.  Then head back to the pressing station one final time.   I prefer to press the rows towards the cross because it helps to make those pretty crosses pop…but that’s your call. You could also press the seams open to reduce bulk if that’s the kinda thing that makes you crazy. 

    Prepare to be amazed and impressed with yourself.  This is what the finished block will look like.

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    Yay You.  You made a beautifully modern/traditional block.

    And now for your viewing pleasure, here are a few more pics of how this could go together into a quilt and/or what some other colour choices would look like.

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    My personal favourite Color combo–so far!

    The grouping of blocks below came from Flikr.  I love them too because this shows you that more low-key  colorways can also be very effective in this block.

    +&x blocks progress

    You can also go to my Pinterest Feed and find about another gazillion colour choices.  Here is the link for Granny Can Quilt – Modern Granny.  Just scroll through the Board and you will find some great colorways for this block (and lots of other fab-u-lous stuff IMHO!)

    or just click here; or here; or here; Gawjus…Gawjus…Gawjus.

    Update:

    Click  here for a link to a Pinterest tutorial for a 5.5″unfinished block. 

    If by chance you want to make a 15.5 inch unfinished block, here is the cutting information you need. Then just follow along with my tutorial to make a gigantic version. 

    • cut 2 squares 3.5″ and 1 rectangle 3.5″ x 9.5 from the cross fabric
    • Cut 4 squares 3.5″
    • Cut 8 squares 3.5″ for corner triangles
    • Cut 4 squares 6.5″ for Xs

    One last thing I should say…look at all the blocks on my Pinterest Page and you’ll see that you can use the 7 fabrics wherever you want in the block.  As an example, you could make all four arms in the Xs from the same fabric, or from 2, 3 or 4 different ones.  IMHO you should probably make the crosses from the same fabric, so they don’t get lost in the mix, but you could probably get away with using different ones that were very equal in tone and value. Click here to see what I mean.

    Leave me a comment if you like this tutorial; and post some pics if you make the block.  I’d love to link them up here.

    Have an amazingly creative day.

    I wish I’d said that….

    There are at least twelve gazillion bloggers out there in the cyber-universe and a whole whack of them are amazingly gifted writers. Multiple multitudes of them have ginormous audiences who hang on their every word, but only occasionally do I read a blog that speaks to ME!

    November is my month  to do “Blog, Book and Bundle” for our PEIMQG meeting and I don’t want to lead anyone astray.  FYI, this is a segment of the meeting where each month one of us takes a turn talking about a blog that inspires us; a book that changes the way we think about piecing or planning a quilt; and fabric that makes our eyes sparkle and our imaginations soar.

    So I have been surfing, poking around, reading and then re-reading the blogs I follow on Bloglovin to find one to share with my fellow Guild members.  Because we are in eastern Canada, my first notion was to find a Maritime Canadian blogger to write about.  Yikes…there is a very small pond of bloggers in the Maritimes…we’d fit into a puddle probably.  Did I find anyone? Nope I did not.  But…while searching I did have a mini-epiphany.  Here goes…

    “The blogosphere has no borders, no boundaries and no barriers.  We are free to love, hate or say “meh” about or to any blog, or its writer,  anywhere in the world.”

    so having given myself permission to search wherever I wanted,  I gleefully set off to find a blog that was a bit out in left field, a smidge hardcore and above all else, WILDLY ENTERTAINING.

    I am, if nothing else, persistent, which paid off big time when I found myself tee-heeing, snorting and sniggling away at  The Bitchy Stitcher.  This is a blog that’s laugh-out-loud funny, cynical, and edgy; and inside every snarky post Megan Doherty makes, there is a nugget of something very insightful, which is always a bonus for me…be warned though, this blog is NOT always ladylike…you will find the “f” word, along with other very creative and descriptive words.  You’ve been warned.

    Here are a couple quick links to some of her posts, in no particular order.

    This bit was taken from her recent post, A pep talk in case you need it.. And it sums up everything anybody who ever questioned his/her quilty ability must remember.

    “…I have one last point. If you make ANYTHING, you are a magician. A quilt, a table runner, a placemat, a block, even just two pieces of fabric sewn together and dropped on the floor—hell, even one piece of fabric cut out of a larger one—none of these things existed in that form until you brought them into being. You are Minerva freaking McGonagall, transmogrifying fabric and thread until it becomes something new, something that, no matter what it looks like or how skillfully it was constructed, is greater than what its parts were before you brought them together. That’s magic. That’s art.”

    Aww shit, I wish I’d said that…

    and here for my fellow guild members are a pic or two of the book and bundle that I shared with you last night.

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    A big bundle of ahhhhsome!

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    love love love those zombie couples!