Thursday, January 31, 2013

One and Done!

Can you believe it? It's already January 31st??? The end of the first month of the new year.....which means I am officially a month into my word of the year : FOCUS. I must admit that I haven't been as focused as I would have liked, I have been a bit stretched this month at work, and at the quilting job, and in my quest to completely overhaul the quilting/sewing room and the house in general. But my progress just proves that this focus thing really, in tracking my goals, here's the current status...

This years quilty goals....

1. Finish a new pattern every month for QQ. That's 12 new patterns released in 2013. -- 1 completed, 2 at the quilter, so this one is looking good!!!

2. Finish a new Judy quilt every quarter. That is 4 quilts this year. Specifically, I will be working on Coxscomb, Farmer's Star, Feathered Star and Celtic Wave. And the Glacier Star -- because I need to get that one done for teaching purposes. - I was busy on this one as well. I got all of the papers prepped for all 5 of these (as well as two others), and I picked fabrics for Farmer's Star, Feathered Star, Celtic Wave and Glacier Star. I'm still working on fabric selection for Coxscomb. I also did ALL of the cutting for Glacier Star, as well as sewing the drunken geese units. Next up is the sewing of the Feathered Star Components and the New York Beauty Blocks. So, relatively on track for this one. 

3. Attend 2 Judy events -- Asilomar in March, and Montana in August. - on track, all paid up, only the August flights to book.

4. Teach 2 Judy classes or retreats each month. - 5 teaching days in January. 4 scheduled for February.

5. Finish up a bunch of Judy quilts that just need final touches -- quilting, binding, borders - Touch of Spring (quilting - just got a message from Tammy via FB that this one is finished and ready to be shipped my way), Cappuccino Party for 4 (quilting - see note on Touch of Spring), MiniStars (quilting - same), Summer Solstice (Borders), Amazon Star (borders), Pepperdish (applique), 3 Ducks in a Row (borders).

6. Blog more regularly -- I finally figured out the scheduling feature, so that should help!! My goal is three times a week. This post is #18 for the year, so I'm doing pretty good there.

7. Learn how to use instagram. Done. You can follow me at queeniequilts

8. Learn how to code in XML for the website. Not doing so good here, would it count if I hired someone??? Maybe I should look into that, or maybe I should focus more? Maybe I'll just wait and see how this looks next month and make a decision.

9. Sew every day -- even of it is only for 10 minutes, or one section of binding! I really should do some binding prep work to have some projects ready to go for this!!!! This one should probably be amended....I really want to do some type of sewing, knitting, crochetting every day, for relaxation purposes, or perhaps I should drink more wine??? What do you think???

How are you doing on your 2013 goals??? Did you pick a word???

Testing 1, 2, 3

Is anyone else out there a gadget collector??? I like to test all of them, the specialty rulers, the needle threaders, the scissors and reverse tweezers...I like to test them all, even if the only reason is to confirm something I already though (ingenious!!! waste of money!!!). Mainly, I think that as an instructor, I NEED to know what works, and for whom. Not all tools are created equally and not all work for everyone, but I do think that I have a responsibility to try them, so I often do......for example...

1. The Bag Bit -- this is the technique of separating everything into bag units before sewing and putting them back in the bag once complete. INGENIOUS this is, keeps everything nice and need and no pieces go missing when you put a project away for a short period.

2. The Angler 2 -- a plastic sheet that you place on your machine so that you don't have to draw all of those half square lines on the backs on your background. SCORE!!! Works a charm. No more time wasted drawing.

3. Sewline Glue Pen -- for gluing paper piecing pieces (especially long ones). Genius!!! For gluing binding in place before sewing (and making it portable without pins or clips). Fantastic!!! For teaching kids to sew. AMAZING! -- seriously, awesome.

So, now that you know I have a fanatical need to test things, you should know I have a new challenger.....a new thread that is on the market that I have been looking at and investigating for a while now. I check it out at every show and I have almost bought it at least a dozen times, but this weekend at Road, I broke down and got some from my friend Alicia -- of the infamous Batty Lady. It is made by a company called Wonderfil, and it is one of a series of threads, everything from 12 weight to 100 weight, in standard colors, and verigated, and best off all they have great line names --- Tutti, Spaghetti, Deco, Dazzles, Razzles, etc......I will be field testing the 100 weight poly (seen here in cream and tan) and the 60 weight all cotton. Now most of you know that I am a strong proponent for the Aurifil thread that I so love. For various reasons, is has been up to now my favorite, due to it's weight, spool size, low lint, it has become my go to thread for piecing, and an all out requirement for paper piecing, since it can handle small stitches as high speed and has enough strength to withstand paper removal. But I have promised to give my opinion on these, so I will be working on some stealth projects this week to show you how it all turns out.

What's your favorite gadget??? Thread???

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On the needles

So, I've been learning to knit for a while now...and it seems that I am not particularly good at it (though I must admit that I don't particularly care, since it is a bit like wine without calories (i.e. relaxing)). So, I've been working on a scarf, for like 6 weeks. Seriously it's kind of boring mindless knitting, and when I say knitting, I mean the knit stitch on right side rows and wrong side rows, so it is quite boring. About the only thing that makes it not boring is the yarn....a lovely verigated (surprised?? you shouldn't be) squishy in shades of blue, turquoise, green and black (again, this should be no revelation to anyone).....It's coming along okay, just slow, as the yarn is really slippy since it is a chenille.....see, my 6 week progress report? sad.

So, in an effort to not go crazy, I picked up a large crochet hook this weekend and got to town on a crocheted cowl. Now, I am no expert crocheter either, in fact, I know only a few more crochet stitches than knit stitches (which is to say that I know two: chain, and double stitch). And since I have only ever made scarves on the length side, I thought I would stretch out and try something new, sans pattern (because I can figured this s**t out!!! I am a quilter, I can do math!!!). So, I pulled out this lovely wool that I had bought a couple of years ago to make a felted bag -- back when felted messenger bags were the rage, and I had one job, and tons of ambition. I made the swatch and I felted it, and it was BAD. Like horrid kinda bad. There is about a ten stitch repeat in the yarn, but when felted, it just became a gray/taupe blahness, so I put it away in my yarn stash, with the intention of making my next scarf out of it. But somewhere along the way it got forgotten, or put away never to see the light of day....but since I have been reorganizing my sewing room and getting everything out of hiding, I found it and fell in love with it all over again. And since I was a bit bored with the above mentioned project (because six weeks is way to long to get to completion), I started a cowl (did I mention without a pattern??). SO, I crocheted 210 singles, and then in circular needle fashion, I joined them together (which was not an epic fail, but did create an issue) know that part where they tell you to make sure you don't have a twist when using circulars.....let's just say I know why, because while the cowl is turning out lovely (and quite quick I must add), it is now an infinity scarf, with a twist. But its still cute and apparently the rage at the moment (why do I always find out after)??? So, here she is in all her 3 hours of glory. At this rate, she should be done in another 12 hours or so. Which makes her a 15 hour cowl!!! In comparison to my knitting speed, this is much improved, when compared to my crocheter friends, this is abysmal. Oh well, I go back to the relaxing comment....and the no looking comment, you can feel it, so you can do it while watching TV, and still pay attention to the football, so any idea what I will be working on on Sunday during the commercial of the year bowl????

What will you be working on during the Super Bowl????

Monday, January 28, 2013

A weekend full of blah

So, I had an exciting and busy weekend planned....and awoke on Saturday with a cold and the, I hung out all day watching Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Contagion....and generally doing very little on Saturday. I did get some work done on my Glacier Star (yippee), and a little knitting goodness, but it was generally a blah kind of day, a whole lot of nothing getting done....

Some center geese from my Glacier Star were accomplished....more on the knitting later this week.

On Sunday, I awoke feeling marginally better, and ventured out to recreate my Saturday plan...going to Road to California. It was a great day at Road -- I have always been on a Friday or Saturday, and never really experienced a lazy Sunday at Road, and it was great. Not crowded, no aisle fighting, plenty of time to visit with friends, and vendors, and take in the show without stepping into someone's picture, or inadvertantly stepping into scooter traffic. I think I will go to Road on Sunday from now on.

I managed to obtain some new fabrics -- not the ones that I went there for, but ones I am pleased with none the less.....some browns, golds, and a couple of rusty oranges for my Glacier Star -- not any of the greens I was looking for, but you know how that goes....

I'm spending the rest of my week working on Glacier Star and keeping an eye out on a package from Montana....I heard it might be here later this week!!! Can't wait!!!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Palm Springs, Anyone???

On Sunday, I taught at Monica's Quilt and Bead Creations in Palm Desert. We had a great time, but I seem to have no pictures from class...I think we were too busy creating great stuff, plus the classroom was packed and we had seven different projects going on!!!! A Glacier Star, a Mariner's Star, a Weeping Willow, a Tropical Rainbow, A Touch of Spring, some finish up on Nellie's Touch of Spring from last fall, and 3 lovely ladies working on the Mini-Stars. We had fun, and we're ready tackle some bigger items next month, at the extension class...So, stop by and see us on February 24th or March 10th!

Since I was teaching on Sunday, I went to Palm Springs on Saturday afternoon and stayed with Monica, and got to see the town, so often I am busy teaching and I never see the sights of the places I visit, so it was nice to go out to dinner, do a little shopping and drive the main drag and see Palm Springs at night. Their film festival started this weekend (and goes to next Sunday), so we had our eyes peeled for any Hollywood stars, but we didn't see any....bummer!!!! We also did a little a boutique called oh-la-la and shoes, but I did find this really cute clock for the sewing room.....

I got it home and was SO excited, only to find out that I didn't have any of the right batteries!!!!! Why does this always happen??? Usually I need AAAs, and have only AAs, this time, I needed a double, and didn't have any!!!! So, off to Costco today for some essential shopping.

Once back, I got to work on Glacier Star -- a fall edition!!! These are my backgrounds, 1895 Latte, and 1635s in two different I just needed to pick my 10 accents (yes, there are 10!!!)

I didn't have enough options in the right colors, so now I NEED to go fabric shopping, but in the meantime, I was able to get bags 3 and 4 (center star and uneven geese at the center) fully prepped and ready to go....until I get some more browns! That should keep me busy for a couple of days at least....working late tonight, but hopefully I will get home with time to spare to sew!!!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hello Monday! Er, Sunday...

Hello new did you get here SO fast?

Hello Water Resources Seminar!

Hello design work for work work, and picking new commercial kitchen appliances  and fixtures!

Hello email and phones calls.....I owe some people some answers.

Goodbye teaching for a few weeks, and welcome to a few weekends of sewing, so excited to see you.

Hello Glacier Star.....I have been working on your color schemes all weekend.

Hello warm weather, I had forgotten how spoiled we are here in Cali, until last weekend, when it was 17!!

Welcome new week full of inspiration!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cotton and Chocolate, Thousand Oaks, CA

So, most of you know that I am a Judy Niemeyer Certified Instructor, and teach several of her patterns around Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and occasionally in my hometown of Memphis, TN. I had the pleasure of teaching this past weekend at Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Shop in Thousand Oaks, CA, and we had a blast!!! The shop was adorable, Marilyn and Jerry were great hosts, and the shop was full of fun samples, great fabrics, and a knowledgeable staff -- it doesn't get much better than that....Here's some pics from my visit....

The view from the classroom (how exactly I managed to leave without a picture of the classroom itself I will never know)....

I think they had every color of Auriful on the market (and you know how much I love it for piecing). Check out the left side for the selection of DMC 50wt. (aka my fave thread for applique, in 180 colors). Super excited to have a new source of DMC, since there are only a few places that carry it on the spool in the US. 

Batiks!!!! She had 6 cabinets full, great selection.

I loved the vintage dress picture on the left, I'm thinking of making something out of some baby clothes for a friend??? what do you think???

And this modern braid was super cute, and looked easy, with some simple applique to make it special....maybe this could be a quick weekend project?? 

We had so much fun over the weekend that we decided to do it again!!! We're going to do the Glacier Star starting in June -- so once a month from June to November we'll have a group sewing day on the first Saturday, to work on this bad boy......

The Glacier Star......sign up quick there are only a few spots available. Now, I must go pick colors for mine!!!!

Happy Quilting!!!!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fethered Goose, Oh How I Love You....

The first ever Judy Niemeyer pattern I completed was the Feathered Goose. That was in 2010,sometime in July. It was the beginning of my obsession with paper piecing. I took my first class with my friend Kelly at CWAP, or Camp Watch-A-Patcher, hosted by the Orange County Quilt Guild at Vanguard University. Before I had finished my first day of class with Judy I was hooked. I called her office that afternoon and booked into a retreat in Montana a few weeks later (I got lucky, someone had backed out and they had a last minute opening!). That was a little over 2 years ago, and I am now 14 quilts in, and a certified instructor. I've been to Montana 3 times, and will go again later this year. I've attended classes with Judy in Las Vegas, Asilomar (CA), and Dallas, and essentially become a Judy groupie....and yet, at the end of the day, I still love the Feathered Goose the's still the one I go to for technique teaching, and it is still the one that I love to teach.

So, without further adue, a few samples of the Feathered Goose from the class I taught this weekend.....oh how I love seeing these combos.....

Judy used the kit that Marilyn and Jerry (who own the lovely Cotton and Chocolate) built... full of yummy greens, blues and purples, on a creamy background with a navy band.

This one belongs to Wendy, who did shades of purple and turquoise on a pale pink background. 

A limited color palette version. This one has all red geese and border units, with turquoise and black arcs, and tiny turquoise centers. I'll be really excited to see this one finished since it's a really modern interpretation of the pattern. 

Debbie's is shades of fall, on a pale cream, will be the one that most resembles the sample on the front of the pattern.

Vanessa's is all made in shades of purple, so we did some finageling and made sure that her lightest fabrics were in the points of the arc, so that they would pop. I'll be super excited to see this one all finished, since it's essentially a values quilt. Plus, she gifted me her rejects, for my "Pieces and Parts" quilt.

This one is made of Primitive Gatherings, with an orange band, and is another than I can't wait to see how it turns out, since it will be super traditional..... 

These are shots of Wendy's with her arcs, and showing a few more of the fabrics from her large selection.


Hope you enjoyed show and tell, I'll do a quick tour of the shop tomorrow....

Happy Quilting!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Do good intentions count???

Because they should, seriously, I had a post planned and everything, but I woke up with a headache and a general bad mood. I made it through work, and now I am going promptly to bed. But I promise a thorough blog post on the class I taught this weekend at Cotton and Chocolate this weekend, and some pics of the lovely blocks that were made. Really they are quite lovely. And the ladies in the class were a hoot!!!! We had a great time, and even booked another series of classes!!! but now I am off to some Nyquil and my nice comfy bed.

Happy quilting!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Lost my Mojo....

So, I had a resolution to blog more and take more pictures for the blog, and I did a pretty good job the first couple of days of the year, and then work got a little busy, and I taught for a long weekend, and I didn't post. But have no fear, I will be back shortly with lots of pics (because I did at least take them).

It was a great teaching weekend, I had 10 lovely students, and we generally had a great time -- I was a little concerned on Friday when we talked about dismembering fabric, but it turned into being nothing more than cutting large pieces into manageable chunks, and became a bit of a laugh for the rest of the weekend....

I also booked some more classes, and worked on a bunch of schedule updates, so there will be lots of busy work this week around the blog and the website, but I am determined to get them done. Wish me luck, there is a lot to finish.

That's all for now, I'll be back soon with details on the class this weekend.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Finding Inspiration and My Mind

Where do you find inspiration??? Do you lose yourself in pinterest (yes, I am guilty!!!!)? Do you love facebook? What about Instagram??? Or any of the new social networks...I think there are ones popping up every few days??? Or do you find it in blogs?? Or is your inspiration from more natural sources, a morning walk, a bolt of fabric, a drawing or painting you saw? You see, I'm curious, as I find inspiration stop lights, in movie theatres, in children, in shops, even the grocery store.....and I'm wondering if this is normal....I talked to my Mom last week and I was trying to describe a quilt I was working on, and I called it granny smith green....because that was the closest thing that I knew of that was the right color, and which she might have as a reference point (though her comment was something to the effect that she had bought galas that week)....Does anyone else use food to describe color??? More specifically produce???  or have I lost my mind???

Just wondering....

If you want to know more about the daily musings or see some of the inspirations, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @queeniequilts or on facebook at Queenie Quilts.

Happy Quilting

Monday, January 7, 2013

And the Winner Is.....

Patty Young is the winner of the Cabin Fever Pattern......just drop me your real address to my email ( and I will drop it in the mail to you this week!!!

And since this is my 100th's a new giveaway.....Comment on this post and tell me your favorite color and why it is your favorite, and the random generator man will do his magic...and you could win this pattern.....Confetti by Judy Niemeyer.....because I booked a class to teach this one. For those of you that are Judy fans, this uses the same techniques as Touch of Spring and Pepperdish, and is made from (drumroll please) : Bali Pops, yes, that is right Bali Pops!!!!!

This contest will close on Friday, January 11th at midnight!

Happy Quilting!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

In the Nick of Time

Well, it has happened again. As I write this post, it is throwing it down outside. Serious, ugly big rain drops of the cold variety. Now, I love a good rainstorm, they are great ways to avoid leaving the house, and provide great excuses for sewing, knitting, crocheting and reading, which happen to be some of my favorite activities, so I'll take a good rainstorm anyday. Unless, I have to be out in it, and then they might as well be snow, sleet and ice, because people in California don't know how to drive in them!!! Luckily, before the rain started falling this morning, and after last night's frost evaporated, I got a chance for some outside photos, nothing really new new, but a few new looks.....

1. A Design I will be offering as a sew along in February -- currently called Key Lime after the Bali Pop it is made of, because I simply have run out of idea if anyone has some ideas for a name..... It's a cute wallhanging or baby size quilt at 50 x 50, and I do love this color combo. Shawn did fabulous meandering quilting for me in a verigated turquoise thread, with a lime green on the back. I didn't get a pic of the back, but it is the same print as the border on the front.

2. A Jelly Roll Race quilt that I made in October out of an older collection -- I'm not actually sure what the line is called, it's by Moda, and all of the prints have either breast cancer ribbons, or words like courage, and love on them. Super cute and made for a dear friend as a celebration of the end of her chemo sessions. I finished it with a lovely striped binding which I love (because, really, who doesn't love a striped binding?).

 3. Another view of my Golden Harvest quilt, mucho better in sunlight than in my dark apartment.

4. A quilt made from a GE designs pattern....which I cannot remember the name of, and I gifted the pattern in the BIG MOVE OUT! I made this last summer and it's just been waiting for binding, which I finally located during the big move out. The fabric is from the Serendipity line by 3Sisters for Moda....when I was in my "cottage garden  phase". I was also in a frugal phase at the same time, and pieced the back out of the fat quarters than didn't make the cut for the top. The quilt is actually a large throw, and perfect to snuggle under, except for the fact that it doesn't match anything in my house...perhaps I will gift it to Rachel Ashwell it will be great in her Shabby Chic house (although I am sure she has houses, and does not need it).

5. And some pics of the 3 Ducks in a Row that aren't quite so bright, granted the quilt is bright, so it's still pretty bright, but at least it's not completely offensively bright.

And that completes the pictures for the weekend, for it is raining outside, and it's time to get back to the sewing machine.

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Finish #1 and Post #98

Yes, we are only 5 days in and I have finished one of my goals (it helps to set those interim goals!!!). This is a new QQ design, which I can't quite share yet, but I was so excited to get it done, that I had to let you know!!!!

Pretty Boring, huh??? I'll do a big reveal as soon as I can, I did this one out of the new G6 Bali Pops from Hoffman, in Licorice, shades of black and white (okay, grey and white)....

And since we are counting, this is post #98, which means we are just two away from my hundredth post, and a new giveaway!

Happy Quilting!!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Getting Accountable -- Tools

So, how do you "monitor" your resolutions??? Do you make lists? And post status reports in your planner or iPhone? Do you know where you should be at all time??? Do you drive yourself crazy?? That's kinda my style, jump right in with both feet and plan it all in the beginning. It works for me. Otherwise, I just get a little lax, and slowly start eating the wrong things, not exercising, not moving, since I have some pretty significant financial goals for the year, it was time to revisit the budgets, check on the expenses and monitor my spending a little more tightly.

So, I went to the place I always go when handling money, my Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Binder. It's years old and tattered. It was once a workbook (before it was online and fancy, it was a softback book that you wrote in, and it wasn't called the TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, it was the companion to Financial Peace), but a few years ago (okay, a decade ago) the spine broke, and pages started falling out, so I cut the spine off with a Xacto knife, punched holes in it and put it in a binder. An ugly plain black binder (from before they had the sleeves on the front and could be personalized). This is the binder that I used every time I needed to pay a bill for 10's old and ratty, and the information is all common sense, and I've read it a bazillion times. But reviewing it and getting clear about my financial goals for the year is always inspiring. Breaking it down to how much to save per week makes you realize that it is doable, and not really as inconvenient as it is in your mind. BUT, the binder, well it's just ratty, and yuck, and there are so many better options out there now, whether it be Dave's Gazelle Intensity Online Program, or, or even just a simple spreadsheet. Dave's plan is envelope based, which kinda freaks some people out, but it's awesome!!! If there is no money in the envelope, then you can't spendy. That simple. You plan all of your spending at the beginning of the month, and then you just check it all off. And you know me and lists, I heart lists.

So, I updated my budget, and got ready to make my envelopes....and what should I find on pinterest but an ADORABLE pdf to make your own envelopes...just like the ones you get from the bank, but with a spending log printed right on them......needless to say, the ones online were cuter than any paper I had in the house (pola dots, stripes, etc)...and since I hadn't allocated myself any $$$ for crafts in January, so I couldn't spendy, I had to make due. I first printed on some astrobrights from the shop -- plum, and vertigo green, and a dark teal, they were really fantastic colors, but you couldn't read your writing on them, so they had to go. I replaced them with these, in shades of sunrise....a new dawning for a new era. I'll go with that, why not???

aren't they cute???

What tools do you use to resolve your resolutions???

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winner Winner -- Chicken Dinner

Does anyone know where that started, it's always sounded completely corny to me, but yet I use it weekly.....

So, without further adue, the winner of the Tokyo Rocco is : Barb (Pink) and Ta2Jewess (Blue). Please send me your addresses to : and I will drop these in the mail to you this week. Congratulations!

Happy Quilting

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Bonus

Did anyone get something super special for Christmas -- not expensive or extravagent, but special to you? I got a few that were just super special to me not because they were expensive or extravagent, but they were "me". For example, see picture's a Ragnok cart from IKEA, courtesy of Shawn, and is the coolest thing ever. These came out last spring in limited quantities, and there were literally a dozen in southern California. I saw one in the San Diego store literally the day after it came out, but I didn't get it, as it was in grey, and I wanted the turquoise one. What a mistake that was. I went home, sure that I could just order it and have it delivered and I was wrong. I got the "This product is not available online, please contact your closest IKEA store." So, I drove back to IKEA the next day, and they didn't even have the grey one anymore, and they weren't going to get any more. It is a "seasonal promotional item". Needless to say, I was disappointed. In the meantime, Shawn from Rusty Crow Quilts (my friend and co-conspirator on way to many projects) found a grey one in her travels and snatched up the last one in California. Literally, I called every IKEA in California looking for them. Yes, I was obsessed. The magic fairy left one under the tree, and the best part was it came with a coupon for assembly!!!

Isn't it cute???? It's perfect. The baskets are 9x12 -- making it perfect for pattern assembly, or stacking piecing (both of which I did this weekend.) Thanks Shawn. Love you bunches!!!!
I also got these, yesterday, technically they were a Christmas present from the notorious Jared (Shawn's son). He got me a gift certificate for Barnes and Noble, and this is what I bought. Cookbooks, cooking commentary, and a journal. Quite fantastic so far, and if the smell in the office is any indication, dinner tonight will be fabulous (yes, there is a crockpot in my office, with the Pot Roast recipe from said book bubbling along).
Thanks Jared!!!
That's the wrapup of Christmas for me, I'll update everyone on the giveaway winner tomorrow, along with what I did on New Years to Organize my finances.
Happy Quilting!!!