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Boone, NC – Sew Original

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Look closely, see the rocking chair at the front entrance to this quilt shop? Had hubby been with me, that’s exactly where he would have been! Such a welcoming entrance. And I love the quilts hanging outside – how original is that?! The Quilt and Sew-In Retreats are held in beautiful Blowing Rock, NC. Just a short drive down the road from this beautiful mountain town is Boone, NC. One of the perks of retreat is the discount retreaters receive at area quilt shops. Sew Original, a big beautiful quilt shop is one of them!

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I was greeted with a smile and friendliness – always a perk when shopping for fabric. There is an excellent and varied selection of top quality fabrics. At every turn there was color and texture. Modern fabrics, batiks, traditional, flannels, solids, florals and wool – whatever a quilter would want! There was a wonderful selection of patterns, books and quilty things. What are quilty things? Fun little gadgets that we quilters embrace.

And how tempting were all those amazing sewing machines. There were basic sewing machines, embroidery and the ultimate machines for quilters. I was sure to not linger too long looking at the machines. Temptation would surely set in and I would be dreaming of a new machine for days to come!

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The staff was busy with other customers and prepping fabrics for their Row by Row. Maybe they were a little bit camera shy? They also offer quite a buffet of classes and clubs which may all be found on their website. You’ll just need to go there in person to experience all the quilty wonder and friendliness!


Quilt & Sew-In Spring Part II

Quilters beware – prepared to be wowed and tempted by the awesome projects and talents of those who attended the Quilt & Sew-In Spring retreat this past weekend in Blowing Rock.

Janet’s work is wonderfully colorful. Familiar with the Gypsy Wife quilt? She made not one, but two that she brought to Show and Tell!

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Check out the bin of itty bitty squares she was working with at retreat – you guessed it – one inch! Oh how she sewed, and sewed, and sewed!

Beverly is the resident night owl – last one at night, first in the morning. And she gets it done! This batik quilt top was just so stunning! She also reintroduced herself to “Y” seams (not my favorite!)

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Tucked in a back corner was Jean – just look what she was putting together on the design wall! And yes, she did get it all put together. In all fairness, the blocks were already done when she arrived, but it was still a huge accomplishment!

Some quilters talents go beyond quilting. Love this nifty thread cone holder Sandra made from materials she had at home. She is also Zen Tangled certified and made this beautiful lantern. I was the honored recipient and I’m still giddy about it! She blew us away with her applique quilt (all hand done). It is for her guild’s blue, yellow and green challenge this year – a winner if you ask me!

Everyone has the option to put together precut blocks for charity quilts that will be going to Hospice. I had enough block “kits” ready for four quilts – they sewed them ALL!! There was a drawing on closing night and Cathy won a cool quilt clock kit. She had also been hard at work on her “Crackers and Cheese” quilt. We could not, however, convince her to add a mouse to the mix!

Not only did Jean get a long ago block in a box pieced, she put together a backing that could easily have been the front! I am absolutely drooling over those colors!

So much more to share –

Cindy’s Sun Bonnet Sue had a history and she does love to piece scrappy!

Nell finished her QAYG quilt started in a galaxy far, far away!! She also began a rail fence from a jelly roll and boy – quite a bit of progress was made!

This was the second visit to Q&S-I Retreat for Carol’s chickens. They are just too fun. Her focus this weekend was buttonhole stitching around each applique and by golly I think she got it! We are so looking forward to it all being together next year!

Marlyn shared her purple quilt and Linda had a chenille quilt. Both seasoned quilters, it’s always a joy to see their work.

Linda worked on a project she’d had for quite a while – this is a beautiful block. This pic does not do the fabrics justice. She also showed a comfort quilt she made – so generous.

Tina and her sister Audrey worked together on their quilts. Audrey even bought a new machine the second day of the event – yeah her!

Liz had a really cute  table runner – she’s ahead of the game to quilt it for next  Valentine’s day!

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An interesting take on a row-by-row pattern – use it in a jelly roll quilt. Very clever and attractive Pat!

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Whew! I’m worn out – how about you? I’ll post a few more people pics on the Quilt & Sew-In Facebook page. Want to have this much fun too? There are still 2 openings in the Quilt & Sew-In Fall II – do join me!

Visit the retreat Facebook page for more smiles!




Pups & Kittens Top Finished!

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Oh how I love a finish! Yes, it does need to be quilted, but for me getting this top done was quite a feat! When I posted about this quilt earlier, I was just beginning to work on the setting and am so pleased with the look. Thanks again to hubby for putting this setting on EQ for me.

Here’s a close-up of a few of the blocks. And yes, there will be quite the pressing session before quilting.

You help is needed: okay my creative friends. I cannot decide on the quilting for this quilt. Overall or custom? Please weigh in with your opinions – I don’t want this to be in the to be quilted pile for too long! Thank you.

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Linking up with Em’s Scrapbag, WIPS on Wednesdays, Let’s Bee Social and My Quilt Infatuation.

Cause for Paws

An Island Batik Ambassador Adventure


February included two Island Batik Ambassador Events. The first was the Galentines, and the second is Kennel Quilts. Last year Island Batik joined forces with the Piece for Shelter Pets which supports the Petfinder Foundation. This charity works to end the euthanasia of adoptable pets by assisting shelters and rescue groups.  When disasters strike, sewing small kennel quilts for animals in need while separated from their humans is made possible by the TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team. This month IBAs (Island Batik Ambassadors) have been challenged to make one or more kennel quilts to be donated to animal shelters either locally or send to one in immediate need.

One of the pretty 6″ strip rolls of Island Batik caught my eye and became the fabric of choice along with the dark blue Aurifil thread for my 2 kennel quilts.

I cut each of the blue strips into 2 1/2″ strips, 18 1/2″ long and sewed 2 sets of 6 strips together, alternating fabrics. The yellow fabric was cut into 1 1/2″ strips. I then slashed through one of the strips sets at a 45 degree angle and joined the pieces together with the yellow strip. I then bordered with the yellow on one side. The second quilt was done the same except that the strip was not at an angle. A paw applique (not fused) gave some more life to the quilt and added a touch of whimsey. Batting and a backing were added and sewed together and turned envelope style as it was recommended to NOT use binding. Both were quilted and there you have it – two Kennel Quilts!

Both of these quilts are being sent to the Bark and Roll Rescue Companions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My hope is that they add some comfort to two fur pals in need.


Galentine’s Day

An Island Batik Ambassador Adventure



Happy Galentine’s Day a couple of days late! The day before Valentine’s Day is the day that was created for women to celebrate their best gal pals and lady friends. A great day to celebrate our fellow females who encourage and inspire us! The mission for this special day was to create a post card or mug rug celebrating Galentine’s Day. My thoughts went to my quilt retreats when in the evenings we gather to unwind, share, laugh and enjoy a glass of wine. And then there are the special moments with a dear friend and a glass or two. What more celebratory than some bubbly?!

The fabric of choice was this yummy group of reds and pinks and decided to go with a rug mug size.   I covered the background with pink on one side and red on the other using a spray fixative and quilted using a wavy stitch.

I traced my designs onto fusible web, then fused those onto the fabrics of choice. This design required cutting many very small parts – tiny really. What a mess of little scraps!


The placing of the pieces then began. Using tweezers was such a great help. Not until I was satisfied with the total placement did I begin to fuse. More quilting and a binding and VOILA! My very first Galentine’s greeting. Here’s to you my best Gal Pals and very dear quilting friends – Happy Galentine’s Day!!


Today I’m linking up with:  WIPS on Wednesdays, Let’s Bee Social, My Quilt Infatuation and Em’s Scrapbag




Why a Blank Design Wall?


For the past week nothing has gone up on my design wall. Why? It was so time to reorganize the closet with fabric yardage one more time. I emptied the closet and Hubby added a much needed shelf for me. This was not a task for the faint of heart! The fabrics are now stacked either by group or color. Visiting long forgotten collections was fun and inspiring. Of course, while sorting and folding I had a parade of pattern and design ideas marching through my head. “Be strong Joyce, be strong!” Oh how I wanted to take one of the collections and begin cutting.


The shelves extend back to the dark corners and are too filled with fabric!


I stuck to my guns and the shelves are looking very good. I even managed to eliminate one storage container! The storage containers at the bottom of the closet contain home dec , fabrics earmarked for backings, and more quilting fabric. There is still more to do, like reorganize the pieces of batting on the top shelf. I’ll save that task for another day.


For all my hard work I decided to treat myself to something for my studio – a new cutting board! It’s 47 x 35 inches. Prior to this I had two large boards but when butted against each other I could not cut across. This new board is wonderful! An added bonus is that it is green with markings on one side and black with markings on the other. It’s so nice to treat myself to something that really enhances my beloved hobby. Now…time to get something up on the design wall!


A New Adventure!


Come sail with me this year on a new adventure! I have been chosen to be an Island Batik Ambassador!! A couple of month’s ago a former ambassador posted to my quilt guild’s Facebook page about this opportunity. I completed the application right away and then pretty much forgot about it. Oh the wonderful surprise when I was notified that I was chosen!


What does all this mean to me and to my readers? First, I am not very patiently awaiting a box packed with yummy goodies – beautiful Island Batik fabrics. And I just happen to be a batik fanatic! Each month I will share with you a project complete with pattern and instructions and the Island Batiks I have chosen for that project. Lucky me – I get to design, sew and use beautiful fabrics!


February – the first project, will be a Kennel Quilt that will be donated to Bark and Roll Rescue Companions in Baton Rouge, LA. It has been so educational to read about this volunteer organization. I love pets. We no longer have a dog; she sadly passed on several years ago, but we do have Taz, a “rescue” cat from a shelter. Yup, he’s our special boy! And here he on his perch on the porch resting on the quilt pad, much like a kennel quilt, I made for him.


And who is Island Batik? “Island Batik is a manufacturer, importer and distributor of cotton batik, rayon batik and hand-printed cotton from Indonesia. Originally established in 1997, Island Batik’s mission is to share the ancient cultural art of batik and hand-dyed fabric with our many valued customers around the world.” Most importantly, their fabrics are amazing and I can’t wait to play with them, pet them, and share them with you! Hope you’ll sail with me on this great adventure!!




Oops! Forgot One!


As I was looking through one pile of my quilts, I realized I missed posting about one of my finishes – and it’s one I really like! I’ve made more than one quilt from this fabric collection and after having done a charity quilt, thought I had finished it all up. Then…I rearranged some fabric in my main closet and there it was – a bunch more!


I cut it all up into triangles, mixed them up and began piecing. For the sashing I chose a gray and white polka dot rather than plain white. It brings out the colors in the prints rather than a stark contrast. Admittedly, polka dots are one of my favorite blenders.


This past year I have been challenging myself with pieced borders to help bring out the main design. It’s a little more time consuming, but well worth it. Cindy B, my long-arm quilter, used a really fun quilt pattern giving the quilt a lot of movement.  I really do like this collection – fun and bright – a good choice for leading us into Spring!!


Today I’m linking up with Oh Scrap!

World Quilt Show Orlando


So fun to gift a quilt to an old friend!

Last week hubby and I took a road trip to Florida. First stop Savannah, Georgia, then on to Cocoa to visit a friend and gift her a quilt. Two days at Cocoa Beach and then a stopover in Orlando for several hours for the World Quilt Show. This is just a sampling of some of the fine works displayed.

There was a whole display of modern quilts. I found myself studying them and storing away ideas.

These quilts truly blew me away – hand appliqued and hand quilted – all to perfection! Amazing!!




I really liked the way wearables were displayed. It was fun to walk through the display and see all sides of each entry.


I’m always fascinated with the detail that goes into some quilts as it did with this parrot.

This row by row caught my attention – in the close-up those squares are only 1/4 of an inch!

Bright colors always catch my attention as you can see here:

We went on to visit family in two other cities and then headed home. After a week of 80 degrees it’s a bit tough being in the colder temps, but I know spring is right around the corner. Please?!!

Planning for 2017

Oh yes, it is so very close! I’ve mentioned so many times throughout 2016 that one of my goals was to whittle down the number of Works in Progress I have stacked in my studio. What better way than to join in with the 2017 Planning Linky Party at Quilting JetGirl? Linking Up is new to me and I’m looking forward to getting more involved with the great cyber quilting world!


So what does 2017 have in store for me? This is what I’m aiming/hoping for:

  1. Continue to work on my WIPs, completing at least five.
  2. Join a round robin (actually I have already – it begins in January and I’m really excited. We are a group of 4. The other 3 are truly amazing quilters so I will definitely be challenged). My center block is one I already have started!
  3. Reorganize my hoard of fabric, one more time.
  4. Make and complete 6 charity quilts.
  5. Already planned, but not yet cut, is a quilt I will make for a dear couple getting married next year.
  6. Learn and challenge myself to at least one new technique.
  7. Write a pattern for a quilt I have already made that I have had a few requests for. I have written several patterns, but this one may be a bit more challenging as I made the quilt over a year ago.
  8. This is a big one – not start any new projects except for the wedding quilt until at least five of my WIPs are complete.
  9.  2017 Fall II Quilt & Sew-In Retreat – this is already added to the calendar, making it 3 retreats a year! I’m super excited and hope you’ll join me.

Do you plan your projects or do you progress strictly by inspiration? Do you limit your Works in Progress or is the sky the limit?