Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Shipshewana Retreat and New Projects

The last week in April was our semi annual Jane Stickle Retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana.   We have a lot of fun, and we count the days until we can return to do it all over again.   It is always fun getting together with friends I've known for years and making new friends.  On my last day at the retreat right before leaving for home, I met a new friend Barbara who is as obsessed with English paper piecing as I am.  She is doing her Dear Jane quilt using EPP.  Wish I had gotten a photo of what she has done so far.   I'm looking forward to seeing her projects and visiting with her when we return in November.

There are horse and buggies everywhere you go in or out of town.  This horse and buggy sits in this covered area right outside the Blue Gate Restaurant and is available for rides through town.

My friend, Pam and I went out southeast of town to the Copper Top.  As you can see she had a salad.  It had a cheeseburger underneath all of the veggies, but it looks pretty healthy.  I went off the deep end and had their signature burger and homemade chips.  They won a Burger War at some time, and their hamburgers are wonderful.  Mine had a breaded, fried pickle and onion straws plus the regular toppings.   

I always try to head over to Middlebury to visit the Joyfully Said Home shop.  I've bought a couple of their signs, and I love what Chelsea has done with the shop.  They have expanded and have a nice selection of home goods.  You can order from them at


No trip to Shipshewana would be complete without a pretzel from Jo-Jos.  There is no way to explain their pretzels, but those of you that have had them understand!

I also stopped in the shop across the street from the Blue Gate.  They sell Christmas things back in the corner of the shop, and one of my smaller Christmas trees had lost part of the lights.  I really did try to shop with a bit of focus...…

I also stopped in to Lollys for a bit of Stash Enhancement.  

I also went to Yoders another day for a little more fabric.  I also went out to Caroline's Cottage Cottons one day but have no photos.   I came out with a bit of fabric there, too.   

This quilt is in progress by Connie.   I really love this.   It was nice to have Connie, Janet and Donna at the table right next to ours.

My birthday was the Friday we were at the retreat, and some of the girls bought me this cake along with cards and presents.  Thanks to you girls for making my birthday so special.  You know who you are.

This quilt top belongs to Judy that does Design Wall Monday.  She blogs at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts       Each retreat we have some sort of a challenge quilt that many of us try to reproduce.  Our inspiration usually comes from Rebecca that owns Rebecca's Arts and Antiques in Shipshewana.   Rebecca always comes to our Friday night show and tell and most always brings a quilt or two to show us.   One retreat she brought an antique basket quilt, and that was all it took for some of us to start another quilt.  Here is Judy's top.  She was showing it to me, and as she unfolded it a little cheddar basket fell out.  She handed it to me and told me that now I have one.   I love it!

Here is Judy's last basket and my first!   You can see just how small these baskets are by comparing it to the dime.  They will finish at 3 1/2".

Since Judy gave me one, I've made a few more.  Connie helped me out by making a few of my handles while I was away from my machine.   And, almost ten years ago when I had knee replacement surgery my friend, Vicki from Minnesota sent me a little box with scissors, thread, needles and this same little basket pattern.   The pattern isn't in the box, but I had cut several baskets while I recovered.   Some of them are shown in the photo below.   I don't know how many I will make.   At show and tell some showed basket quilts with 12 baskets, and some had made 300 baskets.  I'll keep you posted.

I've also joined the Circa 1800 club at my local quilt shop, Back Door Quilts in Greenwood, Indiana.   I knew about half of the girls in the group, and I am enjoying making these tiny blocks.   These finish at 2 1/2".   As I read through my pattern I saw Janet's name.   She blogs at Rogue Quilter.
She traded some of these tiny blocks with several quilters including Pam Buda that drafted the pattern for this incredible quilt.

One of my posts wouldn't be complete without showing hexagons.   Here are the last few I've made.  I have 24 completed so far.   I have block kits made for a few more, and then I'll see if I can put them together somehow.   I have a big stack of quilt tops that I really need to get busy quilting.   I'm thinking about trying a bit of hand quilting.   I am practicing on smaller quilts now.   

Since Judy gave me one of her baskets, and those are on my Design Wall this week, I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday over at Judy's blog Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hexagon Sewing Tutorial

Hello Everyone

I promised a hexagon sewing tutorial quite awhile ago.   This is just the way that I sew my hexagons; it's not the only way.   In a lot of cases I try to play mind games with myself when sewing.  An example is when I'm hand sewing binding.   I start close to a corner, so after I turn that first corner I feel like I'm a quarter of the way finished.   I know that's not true, but if you can trick yourself into thinking you are closer to the finish than you really are, you get more of a sense of accomplishment and don't feel discouraged at trying to complete the task you are working on. (or at least that's the way I feel).

Hexagons do take awile to sew together, but it's like anything else --- the more you do, the faster you get.  

There are several ways to baste hexagons:

(1) Take a whip stitch at the corners folding one corner over as you are stitching. (photo below).
(2) Whip stitching the corners sewing through the paper piece.  (I feel like this one is hard on my hands.)

(3) Glue basting using the Sew Line glue pen.  This has become very popular and is my choice for basting paper pieces right now.   You simply baste your hexagon shape over the paper piece using a light line of glue.  Be sure to put the glue on the paper and keep it away from the edge where the fabric is folded over.  That way you are not trying to stitch your hexagons together through the dried glue.  These glue pens and refills are sold at most quilt shops.  I buy mine at Back Door Quilts.  

The first thing I do is sew my hexagons into pairs.   That is pretty mindless sewing that you can do while talking or watching TV.  I just put two sides together and stitch.  The only time you have to watch the orientation of the hexagons is if you are sewing fussy cut hexagons.    You can read my Fussy Cutting Tutorial here.  The link can also be found under my blog header.

   Sewing hexagons into pairs is part of my mind game.   Once they are in pairs, the whole hexagon comes together pretty quickly.

Here are my pairs of hexagons.

To sew these hexagons together, I first put the two hexagons right sides together and take 2 or 3 stitches.

Then I sew using a flat ladder stitch (photo below) to finish sewing.  This helps to hide your stitches on the right side of the hexagon.

Next I sew the pairs into hexagon rings.   (I sew the six hexagons together leaving an opening to form a ring as shown below.)  The arrow shows the opening.

 I have always done it this way because that is the way my Grandmother sewed her hexagons.   Here is a photo of one of her hexagons below.  The difference is that she sewed the entire ring and then sewed the inside ring together.   You can see that her template was the Joker from a deck of cards.  Her hexagons were all hand pieced and cut with scissors.  (She lived from 1888-1980 so this fabric is pretty old.)

I have a box full of her hexagons that I need to put together.  You can see that she has cut enough hexagons for a block and held them together with a thread knotted at one end and then a stitch through the stack.

I sew my hexagons this way because I can thread the needle once and sew the center into the hexagon ring with this one thread.   Start sewing at the start arrow and go around the center ending by sewing the last two pieces together by sewing your way out of the hexagon ring.   

Here are some of the hexagons that I've fussy cut.   

The hexagons in the above photo were cut from the fabric shown below.    

I keep a container like the one below full of 1" bright hexagons that are basted.  I also have a container of 1" reproduction fabric hexagons and a third container of 3/4" reproduction fabric hexagons.   

Below are several photos of 3/4" hexagons that are fussy cut from reproduction fabrics.

When you have a few hexagons sewn into flowers, you can either join them together with a background fabric (a path), or you can hand or machine applique' them onto a background fabric.  I've done quilts both ways.   

If the repeat in a fabric is like the one below - kind of a tossed flower pattern - I will take one hexagon that I've fussy cut and place it on the same flower in the fabric and trace around it.   That way you are sure to always get the exact same shape in each hexagon.  

Happy Hexagon Sewing and English paper piecing.   If you haven't already tried English paper piecing, I hope you will give it a try.    If you have any questions, email me or leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.   

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Double Hexagos and Dresdens

Hi Everyone

You are probably tired of coming to my blog and seeing hexagons.   Honestly, I'm running out of titles to use on my blog.  I never tire of looking at hexagon blocks or quilts with hexagons.   I seem to always have a hexagon project of some kind on the go all the tine.

These double hexagons below are part of a plan that I have for a quilt.  I think once I have enough hexagons (right now I'm not sure what that number is), I plan to add a plain border that is off white and then do some broderie perse.  Right now I'm planning to do the border applique' on opposite corners of the quilt.  

  Some of these hexagons are left over from my Road 66 quilt (pattern in Di Ford's Primarily Quilts first book).   I cut 6 hexagons at a time - usually fussy cut - and put them in a tote for later.  I have a good sized stash of basted hexagons.  

Here is my finished Road 66 quilt.  

I love doing these double hexagons.  Each one is a surprise.  

I think this is my favorite with the Di Ford and Jo Morton fabrics.

I also like using stripes.  

This is my 1797 Revisited quilt so far.  I posted about it in this post.    And, like I wrote in the post, I think I'll continue with this smaller size.  

I'm also chain stitching some Dresdens.   These are cut at 3 1/2".  More on those later.  

For those of you here in the US, this is a Public Service Announcement.  Have you renewed your driver's license lately?   In order to be cleared to fly or enter some federal agencies, you have to have a Real ID driver's license with a special symbol.  This goes into effect in October 2020 for all states so there's time.....Well maybe not.  You have to prove who you are.   The males have a pretty easy time of it. They have the name that they were born with (hopefully), so all they need is their birth certificate and social security card plus 2 documents that prove residency.  And those residency documents have to have a date that is 60 days or less.  A passport will cover some of this if you have one.

So that all sounds pretty simple, right?   Well, not really.  For females that are married, and/or divorced, you have to have your marriage license and/or a divorce decree.  The marriage license has to be one that has the embossed seal.  

Ask me how I know this...…..

I've been there 4 times, and today I finally had it all right and will have my new license mailed to me.  My first trip I had my birth certificate and social security card.  My birth certificate didn't match my married name.  I should have known that.   Trip #2 I had my marriage license, but it wasn't the embossed copy.  So I made the trek downtown to get that.  That was enough for that day.  Trip #3 I had my birth certificate, social security card, and embossed marriage license, but all of my documents (including my old license) have LuAnn all together as one word.  I guess technically Ann is my middle name, but everybody calls me LuAnn.  That time they just told me everything didn't match.   So today I went back to a different branch (with current documents that provide residency), and I made it.  I was beginning to panic because my birthday is at the end of this month, and my license would have expired.  

This is probably more than you wanted to know.  Some states have probably already gone through this.  But if you show up at the license branch and aren't aware of this, that is just the first trip.  And, you have to keep getting documents and going back until you get it right.  

OK.  Now back to stitching.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope that you are finding some time to stitch today.  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dear Jane Quilts at the Stickle Retreat

First of all, I want to apologize for the post that went out yesterday if you subscribe by email or just happened to look at my blog.   I had the post written, and it was in my drafts folder.  Then I added and changed a few things and hit the publish button.   When I went to look at it on line, I noticed that it already had 11 comments.  I had posted that same  post about a year ago, but somehow it was back in my drafts folder.  I'm not sure how that happened.

I take photos with either my iPhone or iPad and then email them to my blog where they save as a draft post.   I intend to get back in here and write something to go along with the photos and then post.  That doesn't always happen, and that's how I ended up with 57 posts in my Drafts folder.   I've cleaned that out only kept a few things that I really want to post.

NOW...….Dear Jane 

Last November we celebrated our 20th year getting together for the Jane Stickle Quilt Retreat up in Shipshewana.   I have only been going 18 of those years, but I've made friendships that will last a lifetime.   We had a very large crowd last November (I think around 130), so we had a separate night for just Dear Jane show and tell.

Here are the quilts that I showed:

My Dear Jane quilt.  There are 169 blocks that finish at 4 1/2, 52 triangles and 4 corners.  I worked on this quilt off and on for about 10 years.  I had it long arm quilted.

There was an internet Dear Jane list, and we had a signature block swap.  Some of the blocks have hand sewn beads and buttons and embroidery.

The blocks in this quilt are from a Spring Fling swap.  I bought the center applique block at Rebeccar Harrer Arts and Antiques in Shipshewana.

When I first became part of the Dear Jane list and retreat, whenever someone said the word swap, I asked where I should sign up.  This quilt is made up of swap blocks from some of the girls that come to the retreat.  I'm not sure what I was thinking with that bright yellow sashing, but it definitely brightened up all of the dark blocks.

These blocks are from a Christmas Jane swap.  All of the blocks in these quilts are taken from the Dear Jane book.  The feathered star in the center of this quilt was a block that I made for a round robin I was in.   I think I changed my mind on the fabrics for the round robin and used the feathered star for the center of this quilt.


At some point, a second Dear Jane list formed.  I'm not sure now what the reason was for that.  But, I signed up for this list, too.  They had a Christmas signature swap, and this is the quilt I made.  I love arranging the signature blocks in a colorwash pattern.  All of the blocks have Christmas fabric on the corners.

This is a photo of all of us that were at the November retreat that have completed the Dear Jane quilt. I'm the only one in the photo wearing red  (I didn't get the memo!)

I've made enough swap blocks that I could have made a second Dear Jane quilt.  There are some in our group that have made 5 or 6 Dear Janes.   I've thought about making a second smaller quilt.   I think there is kind of a withdrawal when you finish a huge project like this.  After this I moved on to the Nearly Insane quilt and finished it.  You can see that quilt by looking under my header at the My Quilts tab.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Hope you are finding some time to stitch today!

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