Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hot off the Press

Woo Hoo! Look what UPS delivered yesterday afternoon. My book! This is a real dream-come-true for me and I can't tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity to try my hand at an honest to goodness book.

Of course I CAN tell you that my work on this book was only one small part of the project as a whole. The book looks as good as it does only because of my wonderful editor, Judy Pearlstein, a photographer, a technical editor, a book designer and many other wonderful folks at Kansas City Star Publishing. Thanks to all!

I've got the book up at buttonsandbees.com and it's in stock at the Hennig House Quilt Shop. Hopefully it will also be at your local quilt shop soon--please ask for it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kudos to Connie

Connie made this wonderful quilt as a sample for Hennig House. I had regretted my purchase of the Fig Tree brown--I bought only one bolt of FT brown and, although it was lovely, it didn't seem to go with the rest of the Hennig House's Fig Tree collection. But in Connie's hands that lonely brown made this little quilt sing.

Even after all these years of sewing, I'm amazed at how something that doesn't seem to 'go with' the rest of the group will be the one fabric that will turn a so-so quilt into a fabulous quilt. I imagine there's a 'life lesson' in there somewhere.

The pattern is called Crazy Eighths and it's an easy sew, but sure looks good. We should have the pattern (and some kits) at Hennig House by Friday.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ready for Spring

Aaahhh Springtime! I can't wait for Spring to get here. Lately the weather around here feels like Spring, but really Spring's still a ways away. -- Central Texas can be kind of tricky like that.-- Here's a FABULOUS quilt that Barbara Williams brought into the store last week. I love the Springtime color combination she used--and the fabrics go so well with the pattern design. Beautiful!

Anybody gardening yet? Mark got our potatoes in on President's Day and planted our
English Peas plus some extra beets and spinach. The real Spring gardening season is still a little over a month away, but it's nice to get the 'early stuff' started. The highlight of our weekend was borrowing my father in law's dump trailer and hauling some composted horse manure to our place. Only four more trips to make.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Great One from the Victorian Ladies Group

I love it when someone brings a project into the Hennig House. There's nothing better than a little show and tell to get the creative juices flowing.

Here's another great crazy quilt project from the Victorian Ladies Quilting Bee--this time from Sharon Kunkel. I wish all the detail showed up in this picture. I should have taken a close up so you could see all the wonderful lace, embroidery and sweet charms that adorn this quilt. It's amazing how much goes on in a crazy quilt. Great job Sharon!

The colors of this quilt really fit my mood too. I'm ready for a Springtime sewing project!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Finally Finished (almost)

I finished the little table topper I was working on--well almost--at least I finished the top of the topper. I still need to quilt and bind the thing. Maybe I'll even do a little bit of over-dying if I'm feeling ambitious.

The fabrics I chose are from a Jo Morton line called Crimson Bouquet and I've had so much fun working with them because although the palette is a little 'out of the box' for me, I'm crazy about how it looks. There are also some yellows, blues and a wonderful cheddar color in the fabric line that I'm looking for just the right pattern to use them all in. For the next quilt, I think I'll try for something without applique.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Reading

I don't think I'd get half as much sewing done as I do if it weren't for audiobooks. Mysteries are my 'go to' genre when stitching--I can sew well into the night if I'm on an exciting investigation--but over winter break I enjoyed listening to a couple of memoirs.

Who could resist a book called The Bucolic Plague? I couldn't. It's about two city guys (one the former resident 'guest physician' on the Martha Stewart show, the other an advertising exec) who buy a mansion in upstate New York and practically kill themselves trying to create a 'show' farm and goat milk soap business, all while maintaining their busy city life. It was an entertaining story but their quest to create the perfect-looking, photo shoot ready sort of mansion/farm made me feel kinda sorry for them--so much work to sell a dressed up of image that is only 'kind of' real.

The other book I listened to is about another move from the city to the farm. In The Dirty Life Kristen Kimbell writes about leaving her Manhattan life to join her fiance in Lake Champlain where they start a CSA. Ambitious and young, they set out to provide not only seasonal vegetables to their members, but also milk, eggs, chicken, pork and beef--and instead of tractors, they decide to use draft horses. Her's is a messy, working, living farm and it made me tired just listening to it. But I gotta say, any gal that can hitch a team of draft horses, plant til after dark, can tomatoes, butcher a chicken, and weed 5 acres, is my kind of gal.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back Basting Applique

While the kids were home for winter break it seemed a shame to spend so much time alone in my sewing room, so I thought I'd start a hand applique project I could work on anywhere--even on the couch with the kids. I'd been wanting to sew a store sample from Jo Morton's new Crimson Bouquet line so I picked out some fabrics and picked an applique pattern from her book, Coming Home. I even decided to try a new-for-me applique technique called Back Basting.

Here's how you do it:

Trace the applique design onto the back of your background fabric. Lay the applique fabric on top of the background fabric (wrong side of applique fabric to right side of background fabric) and baste stitch with smallish stitches on the marked line using a larger needle (No. 9) and quilting thread. You use a large needle and thicker thread because you're trying to perforate the fabric so it will turn easily where you stitched. After you've completed the basting stitches, leave the project alone for a day to set the stitching holes.

Cut away the excess applique fabric, leaving a little more than 1/8th inch seam allowance.

Using applique thread that matches the applique fabric and your applique needle of choice, needle turn the raw edge under and whip stitch down. Use a pair of small sharp scissors to cut the basting thread in front of your stitching. You can use your needle to 'pull out' the little bits of basting thread. (Eww . . . don't look too closely at the stitching below. This was done while watching a rerun of 30 Rock around 11:30pm. I think I need to start going to bed earlier.)

After stitching a few blocks, I can tell you that although this isn't my way to applique, it's the perfect technique for doing this type of block--one with the tiny stems that meet in the middle. I don't think I could have gotten the center 'cross' to line up very well had I been using my regular needle turn method.