Monday, January 21, 2019

Quilting Retreat


It's time for my annual quilting retreat with my local guild. Every January we travel to a retreat center in the middle of nowhere. It's completely free from distractions (and sometimes hot water and often wifi) allowing us to focus on fabric, friends and fun!


I've been attending the annual retreat with this group for over 20 years. How can that be? Surely I'm not old enough to say that? Sigh, it's true though. I'm so blessed to have these women in my life. I love how quilting connects us. Between us we have spent our lives as a nurse, a chemist, a flight attendant, a teacher, business women and moms and now grandmothers. Kind of crazy isn't it?


We've worked on everything from "Dear Jane" quilts to block swaps, hand quilting to strip piecing, you name it, we've stitched it. That is of course when we weren't talking, eating, laughing and generally just having a good time.


I've got plans to work on my guild challenge quilt, my sew along quilt, another version of my spool quilt from Strip Quilt Secrets, and maybe even a little handwork if I can get it prepped. My list is ambitious but I always manage to get a LOT of sewing done.


I also plan to read these books, or one of them, or part of one. Whatever happens is fine with me. It's my retreat and I plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Do you go on a quilting retreat? If so, I would love to hear what your favorite part of  retreating is. If not, what keeps you from going? Share in the comments please.

Here's some advice on how to pack for a retreat, and some tips for a great experience.

You can read my other retreat posts HERE.

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Thank You Friends!

   
Click HERE to see them all!

I'm so honored to be recognized again by this amazing community! My free download pattern Old Money has been chosen again by the readers as one of the top 100 patterns. I really think I need to make this quick and easy quilt again in another color option. What colors should I choose?



And not only that, I've been selected as one of the top 25 quilting blogs again. You guys blow me away with your support and encouragement and kindness. I'm so pleased that you find what I'm sharing worth a visit every once in a while. 


Click HERE to see the list.

I'm truly thankful for each and every one of you that allow me to share my passion for quilting on this blog. Your support means more than words can express.

XOXO
Diane



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Better Choices 2.0

Quilt I made for my son Danny for Christmas.
Quilted using a maze design on my HandiQuilter Amara.


I wrote a couple of posts last year about making better choices and trying to reduce stress and increase health and happiness. My first post is HERE and the update is HERE

I've come to some conclusions so far and I'm ready to make some MORE better choices. Here are a few of the highlights.

My Health

1. The eat better and move more has been a positive change overall. I've increased my energy levels and I've lost some weight (17 lbs so far). I was really happy to not have regained any weight during the holidays. Yay!

2. I am going to add a little variety to the exercise because of the rainy season, so yoga and treadmill will have to replace some of the walking and hikes. I'm not willing to do anything outside when it is wet and cold. Forget that!

3. I am going to refocus on going to bed earlier again. I feel so much better when I stick to the routine of early to bed and early to rise. 

4. Seriously considering getting a daylight lamp. The gray days without any sunshine really get to me. It's probably going to be one of those investments that I will ask... why did I wait so long?

My Work

1. Limiting computer time continues to be an issue for me. So I think I will move the computer to a corner of my bedroom (out of the main living area) and see if that helps.

2. I'm going to reduce the tasks I try to accomplish on the computer. No more newsletters because they are lots of work! Fewer blog posts and fewer social media posts, hopefully on a more regular schedule. Simplifying the blog and website hopefully.

3. Cutting back on travel. I love to teach and meet quilters, but the travel is exhausting. I am going to be more careful about how much I schedule and the frequency of the travel.

4. Just like most folks, I got dumped by Craftsy. I guess writing content for their blog for 5 years wasn't enough to get me any special treatment. Oh well, easy come, easy go. I do still have my own website with shop, still thinking about my Etsy options. 

Quilt I made for my son David. 
Both quilts feature Mammoth flannels and Essex linens.

My Quilting

1. I want to make some quilts just for fun. Not for a book or pattern or publication. Just for fun. I made two quilts for my boys for Christmas and I really enjoyed the whole process.

2. I am going to try some new things on my longarm. Just to explore some options. I'll be travelling to Utah in June to attend the Handi Quilter Academy. So thrilled to be learning more about my longarm. 

3. I want to finally learn how to use EQ8, I keep going back to the old version, and I know I'll like the new one if I just take the time to get familiar with it. But that will require more time at the computer which is in direct conflict with #1 above. Ack!

My Life

1. I joined an online book club. I'm so excited about all of the suggestions and reviews I now have access to. Who knew there were so many people who are as crazy about reading as I am?

2. I subscribed to a Book Of The Month club. I'm so excited to see what new books I will discover. My gift to myself for the new year!

3. We're making some fun family plans that I know are going to be awesome. I'll share those as they happen. I don't want to give away any info too soon.

4. I've a few projects around the house that are going to be good for the house and good for me. We are getting a custom closet build out for the master closet this month. It will make better use of the space and finally give me enough room for all of my shoes! LOL

I'm really more focused now on transitioning away from the things that aren't working so great and replacing them with things that work better. Just being more intentional overall is the best way I can describe it. 

I'm not fooling around with resolutions or goals, just making better choices one by one. It's a kinder gentler way of taking care of myself. I hope you will consider making some kinder choices for yourself this year as well. I would love to hear about them in the comments. We can encourage each other along the way! We all deserve to take better care of ourselves.

Diane


Monday, January 14, 2019

And the WINNERS are...


Thank you so much to the thousands (literally) folks who visited the blog hop and commented on the blogs for chances to win a copy of my new book. The winners have been chosen and contacted. The signed copies of the book will be shipped today!

Friday January 4 - C&T 
Saturday January 5 - Tanya
Sunday January 6 - Val
Monday January 7 - Lori
Tuesday January 8 - Heather
Wednesday January 9 - Audrey
Thursday January 10 - Susan

I would like to offer my sincerest appreciation to the volunteers who so kindly took the time and energy to write such wonderful reviews and host the blog hop. I don't know how I got so lucky to make such wonderful quilting friends but I feel truly blessed.

Please visit each of their blogs and see what amazing things they did with ideas from the book.

And while I am most grateful to those of you who have purchased a copy of my book here on my website, I am still really thankful for those of you who purchased copies online. Could I ask a huge favor? Please go to amazon.com and leave a review of my book. Every review helps and I would be so grateful for the support.

Blocks made from One Way Ticket pattern found in Strip Quilt Secrets.


I am constantly reminded by each of you how blessed I am to be a part of this quilting community. Thank you so much for your love and support and encouragement. It's slightly terrifying to put your heart in print and offer it to the world. Thank you for making that giant risk feel so worthwhile.

I love each of you.

As part of my appreciation for you, I am working on more book reviews, future steps of the sew along, new patterns, free tutorials, and lots more tips to share. Your support allows me to spend time offering all of these fun things that keep us all inspired (hopefully!) So thanks for letting me pursue a career I love and still get to quilt every day.

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Strip Quilt Secrets Blog Hop Continues!


Shimmer quilt pattern found in Scrap Quilt Secrets

If you've been hopping along with us to celebrate the release of my new book Strip Quilt Secrets, then you are probably as impressed as I am at the creativity of the lovely quilters who are helping me celebrate. If you haven't visited each of these blogs, it's not too late. There is still time to comment and win your very own copy of the book. Here's the schedule:

Friday January 4 - C&T 
Saturday January 5 - Tanya
Sunday January 6 - Val
Monday January 7 - Lori
Tuesday January 8 - Heather
Wednesday January 9 - Audrey
Thursday January 10 - Susan

I will be announcing the winners next Monday so scoot along and get busy hopping! Leave some love in the comments for each of these amazing quilters while you are there. 

Happy Hopping!
Diane

Friday, January 4, 2019

Strip Quilt Secrets Blog Hop Begins...



Here's the schedule for the blog hop to celebrate my new book Strip Quilt Secrets! I'm so excited to share the quilts in the book as well as seeing what these bloggers have to say about it! 

Friday January 4 - C&T 
Saturday January 5 - Tanya
Sunday January 6 - Val
Monday January 7 - Lori
Tuesday January 8 - Heather
Wednesday January 9 - Audrey
Thursday January 10 - Susan

Visit each stop along the blog hop for a chance to win a signed copy of the book! The winners will be announced here on Monday January 14.

I am so thankful to each and every one of these fabulous bloggers and friends who have willingly volunteered (with only minor bribery) to help me celebrate this book. It's been a year since I mailed all of the quilts off to California, and now I have both the quilts and the books! 

If you missed the posts about the techniques and quilts in the book you can find them here:

Technique 1     Strip Sets
Technique 2     Triangles from Strips
Technique 3     Resewing Strips
Technique 4     Individual Strips
Technique 5     Piecing Alternatives

Happy Hopping!
Diane

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Sew Your Stash Along Step 5



Sew Your Stash Along Step 5
(76 blocks that are 2 ½'' finished)

Cutting Instructions
From each of the 2 fabrics (fat quarters will work) or scraps- Cut 11 strips 1 ¾’’ x 18’’

Sewing the Blocks
Select one strip from each fabric.
Sew the strips together lengthwise.
Press the seams to the dark strip.

   

Cut across the strip sets every 1 ¾’’. Cut a total of 152.



Make sure that one unit is turned so that the same fabrics are not facing each other. 
Arrange these units into four patches by placing two right sides together.
The finished four patches will be 2 ½''. Make 76 blocks.
        
Adding to the units to the quilt

Arrange the blocks as shown and sew them into 2 rows of 18 blocks each.
Arrange the remaining blocks as shown and sew them into 2 rows of 20 blocks each.
Sew the rows of 18 blocks to opposite sides of the quilt.
Sew the rows of 20 blocks to the remaining two sided of the quilt.
Press the seams toward the sashing strips.

The quilt will now be 50 1/2'' square. Trim if needed.


Step 5

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