Knitting Update

Happy Monday Everyone ~

After my last post, I am going to take a turn off my journey down Sentimental Road.  I may come back to it soon, because I had several people comment that now they know where the name of my business came from (I mentioned that my first sewing machine being a hand-me-down from my Great Grandma Anka).  If I haven’t shared about my Great Grandma Anka yet, I need to take the time to do that.  I know there are lots of you who already know, but I happen to think it’s a story worth telling again.  

My brain isn’t quite up to the challenge for creative writing this morning.  Maybe after my quilt market deadlines are done – So I think I will just share a few knitting pictures.  Several of you asked why I didn’t show all the knitting that I got done in Florida (after this post).  One of the projects is still unfinished, so I will hold off on that one, but here are the other two that I worked on:

#1.  Every Last Yard by Amy Swenson of Indi Knits. 

The yarn is Dream in Color Classy in the Bermuda Teal color.   I made this project out of their sock yard and wanted to try their heavier yarn.  I didn’t really care for it as I was knitting this project up.  It felt really stiff, but as soon as I blocked it, it relaxed and felt like a totally different yarn.  I cannot stress the importance of a good blocking!  I’m not talking about a block using a little steam.  I used to do that but it doesn’t compare to a good wet block.  I give my sweaters a bath in the sink, blot out the excess water, then pin to size on a blocking board.  It takes a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it.  It has saved many projects for me.

I had to make this project because of the lace detail along the cuffs and bottom of the sweater.

I’m having a little trouble with the whole open cardigan thing.  I spend my day going like this:

And trying to hold it shut.  I may need to adapt this, but I just haven’t figured out how.  I might need to look for some buttons, unless anyone else has any bright ideas for me?

#2.  Calluna Cardigan

I wasn’t totally thrilled with the fit on this one either.  It turned out too small, but again, with a good wet block, I was able to get it buttoned.

Ah, buttons.  Much better.   It just seems like having the buttons gives the cardigan a better shape for my body type.  I think it would help to be busty when trying to wear an open cardigan.  That way you have something to hold the cardigan out in place so it just doesn’t fall to your sides and hang way open.  Lesson learned.

( By the way I’m just speculating with this opinion.  Without ever having had a large chest, it is hard to know for sure ;-)   I’m just saying it isn’t the pattern design, it’s my issue of not knowing what is best for my body shape.)

You know how I love cables . .

The cables continue around to the back.

The yarn is Angel’s Kiss.  It’s a worsted weight alpaca-merino blend.  

It’s another one of those hand-dyed yarns that needs to be worked 2 skeins at a time.  I did the same with the DIC Classy in the first project I showed.  I can’t imagine what would have happened if I didn’t do that, as all my skeins looked quite different.  I think it was worth the extra effort though, as I love the subtle color variations in the yarn.

I’m hoping that the next knitting that I have to show will be a spring project.  I am truly sick of winter and ready to try something other than wool!  BTW, my Ravelry link to these projects can be found here, if you want more info.

Back to work for me – I have new fabric showing up today.  More on that soon . . . . .

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Homespun Mums

Are you all familiar with Australian Homespun Magazine?  I first noticed them when they did articles on some of my favorite designers.  Well, guess what?

This time that designer is me!  Here’s my little spread and the project that I did for them  (perfect for those wanting to try 60-degree angles on a small-scale – BTW)

The article tells a little bit about me and how I got started quilting.  It also talks about “my mum”.  I just think it’s so cute when Australians say Mum.  When I wrote some of this for them, I know I wrote “Mom”, but it’s much cuter this way.  In fact, I had to call up my Mum to tell her about it and why I was calling her Mum.

Writing up my notes for Homespun was actually kind of fun.  I realized that I probably don’t “talk” that much on this blog, as I mostly show pictures, and I’m missing some chances to share about things that are really important to me.  Like my Mum and the things I have learned from her. 

I often wonder if I would have this job if it weren’t for her.  As I mention in the article, some of my first memories were hanging out in Mom’s sewing room.  She would always give me little projects to play on and things from her sewing room to play with.  I remember loving to play with her button stash and come up with color combinations – a skill that I still try to practice daily.  My early projects involved a gingham plaid fabric, stretched in a hoop, with a design marked out on it.  I then used a plastic needle to sort of cross-stitch the design.  Later, at the age of five, I got my first sewing machine.  It was a hand-me-down from my Great Grandma Anka.  I still remember that it had the foot petal attached to the side of the machine and you ran it with your knee, instead of your foot.  Now that I had a machine, Mom patiently taught me how to use it.  I learned how to make my own clothes, along with a few other crafty projects like making my own pound puppies and Cabbage Patch Doll clothes.  Remember those?  We discovered quilting later and I haven’t made any of my own clothing since. 

Through all of that, I think the most important lesson that I learned from my Mum, was that we can do anything with fabric.  I watched her make all of our clothes, curtains, stuffed animals, pillows, recover furniture, and craft up lots of home dec items.  I remember that she even made a covering with handles for a big inner tube that we pulled behind our boat.  See, I told you she could make anything!  I think that attitude had a big effect on me, and was highly influential in my decision to become a pattern designer.  There is a free-ness that comes with thinking that way.  I can do it.  Or at least, with my Mom’s help, I can do it. 

Here’s to being SO grateful for having such a mother !!!!

{Hi Mom!  I love you and everything you have taught me  – even when I forget to say it.  Thank-you for taking the time and being there. }

I hope that this journey has been rewarding for her too.  I hope that there are others out there like me, who have someone like this in their life.  Do you?  I’d love to hear about it.

Posted in Family, Quilting | Tagged , | 35 Comments

Artful Home Winner

I have to start out by saying Thanks for all the nice comments on my last post!  It seems there were a lot of you who could make use of a fat quarter pack ;-)  I would love to be able to give all of you fat quarter packs, but the RNG selected:

Susan Wentzel, who commented on 3/13 at 2:57

Please e-mail your shipping address to

Susan, if you are looking for a few ideas of what to make with your fat quarter pack, here are just a few.

All Wrapped Up.   It’s not finished yet, as I just started it at a retreat last weekend.  But, I think you get the idea.  It’s from our “Stop, Drop, and Roll” book.



Modern Day Diamonds, from our “Livin’ Large” book

Diamond Diva (single pattern)


Diamond Diva

Keyholes, from our book “On a Roll Again”

and this,  not yet named, and coming in a future book.

I need to wait a couple more weeks before I can share the rest, but it’s hard not to give a sneak peek!

Some of you have been asking for kits with the new fabric, so I have added a few to the kits page.  To see them, click here.

Posted in Fabric Trends, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments


Remember in my last post when I said I’d be back with something “quilty” that I thought you would like?

Remember these fabrics that I have been blogging about?

Well this finally showed up at my door.  Bolts and Bolts of Artful Home fabric!  That means it is arriving in stores now and that I have some to share.

Did I say share? 

So that also means that this could be yours ~

 If you could use a fat quarter pack,  just leave me a comment on this post.  I’ll draw a name out of the hat next week, so check back then to see if you won.

This drawing is now closed 3-17-2011

Posted in Fabric Trends | Tagged , | 565 Comments

Cooking with Joelia Child

So coming back from vacation is always a let down.  My last post explains this (the last photo says it all).  Joel and I have our ways of coping with this letdown.  In addition to leaving paradise, part of the let down is having to cook all your own meals.  Sometimes having to eat your own cooking is worse than having to prepare your own meals!  Not the case when my husband is around.  I convinced him that we needed some of his smoked pork ribs to cure the vacation blues. 

 He starts with the proper seasoning.  He likes to surf the internet looking for rib rub recipes.  If you are new to this, just buy Famous Dave’s Rib Rub.  It’s pretty tasty.

One of Joel’s tricks is to cover the ribs in brown sugar before smoking.

His newest experiment (and my personal favorite) was to slather the ribs in this:

It you haven’t tried raspberry ribs before, you need to.  They are Heavenly.  This is how they look after a little 3-2-1 (3 hours in the smoker, 2 hours in a low oven, and 1 hour resting).

While he had the smoker fired up, he also smoked up a little salmon.  He used a teriyaki marinade/brine before he smoked it.  This is for him – as I don’t care much for fish.

One other thing I tried to make this weekend was a recipe for a really unique pizza that we had in Florida.  I started with Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pizza dough, topped with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

While that was baking, I mixed up the dressing.  Yes, this pizza has dressing.  In fact, it’s really half pizza, half salad.  The main flavor from the dressing is the Balsamic Vinegar, along with garlic, thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

Next, chop of some mixed field greens (with arugula), grape tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella.

After the pizza cooled for about 5 minutes, I put the salad on top of the pizza and drizzled with the dressing.  Then comes the best part – prosciutto.

It wasn’t as quite as good as the restaurant, but I thought I came close enough.  Hey, it’s better than traveling all the way to Florida to get it!

If you’d like to try my recipe – here it is:

One Pizza Crust, topped with 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan Cheese and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.


2 T. Balsamic Vinegar

3 T Olive Oil

1 T fresh basil, chopped

1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1/4 t. salt and pepper

1/2 t. oregano and thyme


1 1/2-2 cups chopped field greens, with arugula

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped

12 grape tomatoes, quartered

3 oz prosciutto

If you try it, let me know what you think.  I thought it had such unique flavor.  Also, I’m looking for some advice on the prosciutto.  What I found in the grocery store wasn’t as good as what we had any the restaurant.  Any advice?

 I’ll be back shortly with something quilting related.  I think you might like it!

Posted in Recipes, Travel | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Back to Reality

I’ve taken a little break from blogging the last two weeks.  I had several quilts to finish for some deadlines, then I was out of town for a week, and I’ve spent the last couple days playing catch-up.   My husband had a trade show in Orlando, so I decided to go with him.  We almost didn’t make it out of town.  We left during the beginning or a huge snowstorm.  I kept thinking our flight was going to be delayed.  They loaded the plane and we took off from the gate.  It was a total white out all around us.  It took them about 30 minutes to de-ice the plane.  Then the captain announced that they had to plow the runway for us to be able to take off.  Despite all of that, we did get off the ground.    Some areas in the Twin Cities got up to 20″.  My Dad said he has never cleared so much snow off his drive way.  I have never been so happy to get out of Minnesota!

Down in Florida, we stayed at Disney’s Coronado Resort.

Joel was in meetings pretty much the entire time – day and night.  So, I spent my days sitting by the pool, eating bonbons for two days.  Actually, there were no bon bons as any snacks from the resort cost an arm and a leg.  That didn’t really seem like an even trade for some chocolate, and I really love chocolate.

They had two pools, so I could change up the scenery every so often.  Can you guess which is the quiet pool?

I’m sooooo not used to sitting around all day, so I got really bored just hanging out by myself all day.  I’m sure you feel really sorry for me!  I did get lots of knitting done though.

The setting really was beautiful . . .

and the weather was perfect.  Every single day was beautiful, sunny, and just the right temperature.  That is so rare in Minnesota, that I was just in awe of the weather.

After Joel’s trade show was over, we rented a car and drove south to Punta Gorda.  Joel’s parents are newly retired and rented a house there for the month.  The house was located on one of the canals and has this lovely view.

 We invited ourselves over and spent a few days exploring the area with them.

This little island that we visited was called Gasparilla.  The island was so quaint ~  I loved all the flowers and the beach houses . . .

It is a quiet island, with little traffic, just a few shops and restaurants.  No mobs of people, just slow-paced and relaxed.

Oh, and beautiful beaches.

The boys enjoyed fishing off this beach.

The world record hammer-head shark was caught off this beach, though mackerel was the catch of the day.

We had some company that was after the boys’ catch . .

Back in Punta Gorda, we found a spot to watch the sunset.

We get beautiful sunsets back in Minnesota in the summer, which means I haven’t seen anything like this for about 5 months.

We made a quick trip down to the Everglades for an air boat ride.

We had hoped to see some gators on our ride, but this is all we saw there.

On the drive home, we noticed that the other side of the road was a nature preserve and was loaded with alligators.  We couldn’t get close enough for a great picture, but at least we saw some.  This one was HUGE!

On our way back, we stopped at Marco Island.  I loved this little island too.

It was so beautiful and pretty swanky.  We discovered that it was a great spot to go shelling.

The beach was just covered with shells, especially right by the shoreline. 

Time to head back home. . .

Back to reality

But at least I can afford the bon bons here! 

Posted in Family, Travel | 27 Comments

Artful Diva

Happy Friday!

I thought I would start out today with the prettiest of my pictures that I have to share.  It’s a cake that I made over the weekend that I have been wanting to try.  While I am working in the studio everyday, I make the mistake of having the Food Channel playing on TV.  Episode after episode the hosts turn out beautiful things, while making lots of yummy noises. 

By the end of the day, I am craving all sorts of unhealthy things and feeling much hungrier than I should.  I’m not sure why I torture myself, but I continue to do it.  After seeing this recipe I printed it and saved it for occasion when I needed something to bring.  Last weekend we had a family meal and I got to try it out.  In the end, it looked really pretty, but didn’t taste quite as good as it looked.  (granted that is a pretty cake, so it’s “face” probably is writing checks that it’s “taste” can’t fully cash,  if you know what I mean)

That sums up my husband’s philosophy on those television shows – the food always look really good on camera, the host raves about them, but in the end, Mom’s is much better.  Maybe you guys can help us settle this debate.  Does anyone else agree with him?  We’ll put it to a vote.  (Maybe the issue is more that our Moms make some really good food, therefore we have high expectations?)

Just in case you want the info on the cake, here it is.   I love the idea of combining chocolate and coffee and the cake was good.  I just happen to like my Mom’s chocolate frosting recipe better ;-)

So what else have I been up to lately?  I’ve just come home from two quilt retreats, so I have been doing lots of sewing, machine quilting, and binding.  Much of the work has been for an upcoming book, so I will show more on that later.  I start the photography next week, so I have been busy trying to hit my deadlines.

In the meantime I made a couple more things with Artful Home.  (I promise that I will soon move on and make some quilts from something else.  I am waiting for my Christmas line to arrive next month, so then I will switch to that!)

I started making blocks for my Diamond Diva pattern.

I decided I didn’t have time to complete the wall quilt, but there are two other smaller options in the pattern, as you can see here.

So, I used those blocks to make this:


and this:

 Now I have lots of leftover blocks, but at least I have two finished projects.

The runner works well on the island in my little kitchen. Plus, it works out nicely that the Keyholes quilt from my last picture is in the background, to kind of pull things together.

I’m still auditioning the little guy in various places.

These little accessories actually got me started on my love of dark turquoise.  I already loved red, but now I love them both together.

Funny how that happens.

I’m off to quilt another quilt that needs to be done by Sunday, so I better get crackin’. 

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Pattern of the Week, Quilting, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments