Quilt Retreat – Strip Twist Quilt

Thursday morning I leave for Oregon to attend the first FAB Quilting Retreat. The quilt that we are going to work on is Strip Twist from G.E. Designs. This is the pattern jacket.
I started out with two fat quarter packs of soft pastel blues, greens, and pinks. I have since changed my mind on what fabric I want to make my version of Strip Twist from. While organizing my fabric cupboard, I became re-acquainted with a fabulous chicken/rooster print that was in my stash. This is a picture of that print with my rotary cutter in the picture to show the scale of the birds.

I have now decided to use this print as the border on my Strip Twist quilt. The blocks are all going to be made from the many colours taken from the birds in the print. All of the strips that I have cut for my blocks so far have come from my stash.

These are the strips that I have cut so far. As you can see from the picture, there are more green strips than any other colour. I guess that is no surprise since my favorite colour is green and I have more green fabrics in my stash than any other colour. LOL The wild rust and green print on the bottom of the picture was part of a basket of fabric and notions that I won at our guild’s quilt show last year. it is a little out there, but the colours work so in it goes. I am trying to follow some of the guidelines that Alex Anderson uses when making her quilts.
I needed to test the pattern to figure out how many blocks I could get out of a strip of fabric. The pattern says you should get 4 blocks from a strip of fabric. I tried a couple of different strips of fabric and find that I can get only 3 blocks from some strips (just a tad short) and I can get 4 blocks from others. I may run out of the chicken wire fabric (that I am using for my light) before anything else. I want to make my quilt bed size – preferably queen. Although this project is a little “planned”, it will also be somewhat driven by the number of blocks I can get out of that chicken wire print. I may pull a backup light from my stash if I need to squeeze in a few more blocks.
This is a very cute pattern and the construction is simple. The pattern is solely made from 2.5 inch strips. That narrow light strip is cleverly constructed after sewing 2.5 inch strips together into stratas of 3 strips and then making a secondary cut. The blocks also make use of the partial seam method which avoids set in seams. It will be fun to see this same pattern in the fabric choices of the other FABs.

Wednesday’s Mail

This is what was in the mail on Wednesday when I came home from work. The postcard is from Pat while she was on vacation in Michigan. The other items below the keyboard are from Pam.

There are foundation strips for doing flying geese and some Thangles for doing triangles. I am triangle phobic and Pam is determined to cure me. I believe I agreed to try triangles using her tools if she agreed to try making a scrap quilt. I think Pam is as scrap phobic as I am triangle phobic. Maybe we can come up with a scrappy triangle pattern and work on it together!

The brown paper package is my WFC–wacky FAB challenge. Pam had my name and I have Cher’s name. I am getting ready to mail my package to Cher today. Once all the FABs have their packages, we will open them all together while we are on line together. Such fun!

I love getting mail. The only thing better than getting mail is getting mail from Internet buddies! Thank you Pat and Pam for making my day!

FABs Saturday Sew-In

This morning was the FABs Saturday Sew-In. This Saturday’s project was both designed and organized by Cher with a little help from LindaJ. (Linda worked out the drafting of the pattern in EQ.) The pattern was affectionately named, CGF. I’ll leave you guessing what that stands for! LOL

The pattern was drafted first with a feature fabric square of 12 1/2″ (cut size). The alternate block was actually a rectangle that was made up of one 8 1/2″ square and two 4 1/2″ squares.

Last night LindaJ came up with an amended version–8 1/2″ square, one rectangle 5 1/2″ x 6″ and two squares cut 3″ square.

I decided to make my version of the pattern, “half size”. (That is half the size of the original pattern.) I had a bin of pre-cut 6 1/2″ squares already cut and another bin of 2 1/2″ squares. I had a few leftover partial 4 1/2″ strips that I cut into 4 1/2″ squares and I cut a few of my 5 1/2″ squares down to 4 1/2″ squares.

This was 6 of the first blocks arranged on the floor to see how this patten might look scrappy.
All the squares are now finished but not yet sewn together.

My quilt center finished at 30 1/2″ x 42 1/2″. Because I think my quilt is a little wild, I am going to add a border or two to rein in the colour a bit and tame things down. I have not yet added the border as I was debating on the colour. However, this bright green has won the most votes from the FABs so far.

My Patterns Finally Arrived

I ordered two patterns from my local quilt shop on May 3. The shop called Thursday to say that they were finally in. Whoo hoo! (That is Pamspeak for Yahoo!!!)

The two patterns were, “All About Me” from Atkinson Designs and “Charm Party Tote” from Quiltsillustrated.

This picture is not my quilt, it is from the cover of the “All About Me” pattern. I plan to use my collection of Halloween fabrics to make this quilt.

This is a picture of the tote from the cover of the “Charm Party Tote” pattern. I have 4 Moda charm packs–two from their “A Little Romance” line and two from their “Sonnet” line.

The “A Little Romance Line” is the softest purple/pink/green collection of fabrics. I started on that tote last night. I am determined to stay as close as possible to the directions on this first tote that I am making. I know the next time I make this pattern I will be making some modifications. The pattern lists fifteen 1/2″ buttons in the supplies required, but if it weren’t for the picture of the finished product, you would have no idea there were buttons on this tote. No where in the pattern directions does it mention when these buttons are supposed to be applied or where. I am applying buttons before putting the lining in the bag so I can hide my threads from the back of the buttons. Also, the pattern designer claims their motto is, “No wimpy bags!”. This bag is anything but wimpy if you make it according to the directions in the pattern–there is fusible fleece applied to the front and back of the bag, fusible fleece applied to the lining, fusible fleece applied to the inside and outside pockets. This bag will definitely be able to stand by itself when I a m done with it. Also, there is no closure on this bag. I am thinking of applying one of those magnetic purse closures to the bag this time. I am looking at other purse / bag patterns to see if there is a way that I can apply a zipper if I make this pattern again in the future.

Today, I am taking a break from working on customer quilts. I have been working on the WFC–that is Wacky FAB Challenge. I can’t show pictures as this is totally secret. It is a secret for the person that I am exchanging with and for everyone else. On the agreed upon date (or sooner if everyone is finished ahead of time), all FABs will log online at the same time and open our exchanges. This should be fun. There has been a lot of teasing and hinting going on–but no one is revealing what they are making.

Girl’s Road Trip & FABs Meet for First Time in Person

My mother and I have been tossing around the idea of a road trip to Oregon for some time now. We have always talked about it, but we never put the plan into action. One night in April while visiting over coffee, we once again started talking about going to Oregon. “We should just head down there sometime,” one of us said. I pulled out the calendar and said we should just plan it, book it on the calendar, and do it! My aunt (my Mom’s sister) was due out for a visit from May 13 to 28. I suggested we wait until she was here to make the trip. That way she could be included. The Canadian long weekend was during the middle of the time my aunt was going to be here and that would work into my work plans since I would be off work for the long weekend anyway. The planning started. We would leave Saturday morning (the 17th) and plan to be away for 5 days. I only needed an extra two days off work to make this plan happen. My Dad quickly asked if he had to go along. He hasn’t been feeling 100% health wise and travel far from home was not likely a good idea for him so we said he didn’t have to come along. My husband quickly chimed in with his request for an exemption from this excursion. Granted! This would be a”Girl’s Only” road trip!

The three of us (my Mom, my Aunt, and myself) left home early Saturday morning. We expected some heavy traffic crossing the border as Saturday was the kick off to the Victoria long weekend here in Canada. We thought if we left as early as 6:30 am, we would beat the long line ups at the border. However, that same weekend, the news was carrying stories of construction at the Peace Arch crossing. The news reporter was recommending that folks consider alternate crossings to avoid the heavy construction delays. I think all those people headed to the Sumas crossing where we were, because when we arrived at the crossing at about 7:15, the line up was long. We waited in line for approximately 1 hour before crossing the border into Sumas, Washington. That was only the first delay we experienced. Just north of Bellingham we encountered an ongoing road widening project where traffic slowed. As slow as that traffic seemed to move, it was nothing like what we experienced trying to get onto I-5 at Bellingham. We had to go under the freeway overpass and as we looked up onto the freeway, we could see that the traffic was just parked–not moving at all. Because we were stopped and waiting our turn to enter the freeway, we had time to check out the licence plates of nearby vehicles. You would have sworn that we were still in Canada–not an American plate to be seen! I think all our neighbours had decided to head south with us. At this point, I thought maybe heading south this weekend was not such a great plan. We had places to go and things to see. We didn’t want to spend our weekend in heavy traffic! After about a 1/2 hour delay, we were finally moving at a decent speed. The Canadian plates continued to travel with us to Seattle making for heavy traffic, but as the day progressed, we saw more and more American plates and our Canadian licence plate became the minority.

We did pretty good with directions (can’t go wrong heading south on I-5) until we got into Seattle. Somehow we ended up in the commuter lane and we ended up on an off ramp taking us off the freeway. After some panicked conversation between my Mother and I and my frantic map reading trying to figure out exactly where we were, we realized that we were on another highway that actually runs parallel to I-5. We proceeded along until we reached a point where we could merge back to I-5. Whew! The whole time, my mother was relaying horror stories of a prior trip when she was last lost in Seattle and she got into a section of Seattle that looked a little less than friendly. The last thing we needed was three women lost in Seattle–ending up in a part of town that we shouldn’t be in!

Because the I-5 corridor that we were travelling to Oregon on would pass directly through one of the communities where one of the FABs lived, we had made prior plans to stop and meet for coffee.

We stopped and met Cher: http://cherzoe.blogspot.com/ in Portland at the cutest little neighbourhood cafe, Marco’s. If you are ever in Portland, this is definitely worth a stop. Check out their web page at: http://www.marcoscafe.com/ Marco’s is located in the most charming little community called, Multnomah Village, “The village in the heart of Portland”. Check out some of the wonderful shops available: http://www.multnomahvillage.org/joomla/.

This is a picture of Cher (on the right) and I. You can see that we are thrilled to finally meet in person. Obviously something is striking my funny bone! LOL

Cher brought along the quilt that I quilted for her so that I could see how it looked bound and ready for use.

Cher also gave me this wonderful little package. Any package wrapped in fabric–especially green fabric has to be wonderful.

Inside was a kit to make cards complete with hand dyed buttons and colourful fabric. Cher had the privilege of working during Quilt Market in Portland and was able to attend the portion of Market where you can make purchases from the vendors. She had picked up these cute little kits at Market for each FAB member. How considerate of her!

After enjoying an early supper, we visited a wonderful little bakery around the corner of Marco’s. We loaded back into the van and with Cher leading the way back to the freeway, we were back on our way south down I-5. Thanks so much for the lead back out of Portland, Cher. Without you leading the way, we might still be driving around Portland looking for our way out! LOL

We proceeded down the highway to Salem. We were now hot and tired and looking for a room. We found out after stopping at a couple of motels that there was a horse show in town and most of the available rooms were taken. We ended up getting a room at the Comfort Inn. The room cost was a little pricey but it ended up being the best room we had on the whole trip. The pillows and bed were so comfy! The room was clean and spacious.

Once settled, we headed out to find somewhere to eat and of course do a little shopping. We quickly established the tradition of shopping in Wal Mart in the evenings on our trip. The gal in the motel told us there was a Wal Mart on just about every corner in Salem, and I think she was right. I think this was an easy statement for her to make because I think I saw a Wal Mart in almost every community in Washington and Oregon that we passed through–irregardless of community size!

The next day we didn’t have too far to go to get to our destination in Roseburg, so we stopped for some tax free shopping in Springfield. I have decided that my favorite store in the U.S. is Kohl’s! We found clothing and purses at excellent prices in Kohl’s–http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/homepage.jsp. I also found the most wonderful watch with lots of bling in the mall there. Every trip deserves a souvenir watch purchase, don’t you think?

After shopping in Springfield, we headed further south to Roseburg. We stayed at the Motel 6 in Roseburg. This motel is fairly new and very clean. The room was smaller than what we had the previous night, but less than half the price of that room too! Once we settled in, I phoned, Pam: http://mycreativemind.pamgwillim.com/ . Pam was shopping nearby and came and met us at the motel.

Look at that gorgeous blue sky! The weather was wonderful on the first part of our trip–warm (the thermometer in the vehicle had a reading of 36 C outside)and sunny!
Pam is the second member of the FABs that I have now met in person. Pam doesn’t live in Roseburg. She lives an hour drive away but agreed to meet us in Roseburg.

Of course, we posed for pictures. I am not sure if Pam is giving my mother (the photographer) directions–“Just one minute!” or what is happening. Perhaps this is the point where Pam has explained that we can take a picture together and then another picture with a space between us so that we can insert the missing FAB. See Pam’s post to see exactly what she was up to:
http://mycreativemind.pamgwillim.com/?p=1135 The fourth FAB was missing from this trip, but if you read Pam’s post, you will see that LindaJ made a surprise visit! Visit LindaJ’s page at: http://catsnqlts2.blogspot.com/
Here we are looking so serious – Pam on the left and me on the right. Believe me, we are not really this serious in person! LOL

Pam came bearing gifts–wine from the local winery, Sea Mist Winery in Bandon, a thimble bearing a picture of Mt. Hood (I loved the story about that one, Pam!), and the most wonderful packet of purple fabrics. After all, I was in danger of loosing my membership in the FABs without purple fabric in my stash. Thanks for looking after my membership status, Pam!

Pam took us all to JoAnn’s where I found all these wonderful fabrics. My mother even purchased some cute watermelon and lilac fabrics with coordinates so that I can make table toppers for the three of us. The fabrics purchased above were my purchases. The pansies were from a Debbie Mumm line of fabric that I fell in love with and the purple purchases were to further enhance my newly acquired purple stash. The red and white fabric is left over from Valentine’s Day. (We can’t get fabric for Valentine’s Day in Canada. Pam had sent me a package of Valentine and Easter fabrics earlier this year. I plan on making something for both those occasions for next year.) Pam must think we are fabric starved in Canada. I was ecstatic at the selection of fabrics at JoAnn’s. This was when, Pam told me that I HAD to go to Fabric Depot in Portland. If I thought the fabric at JoAnn’s was wonderful, I HAD BETTER STOP in Portland on the way home. Of course I can take direction very well, so we stop at Fabric Depot, but more about that later in the next post.

We also visited Michael’s. Although all three of us scrapbook, my Aunt holds the crown. My Aunt’s scrapbooks are not years behind in completion like mine!

This is a picture of my Mom and Aunt in Roseburg the following morning (Monday). (My mom on the left and my aunt on the right). As you can see, we are well rested and ready to shop! We stopped at the local mall in Roseburg where we found the most wonderful Hallmark shop. All three of us came out of there with packages! This is where I found my Laurel Burch purse and earrings.