Only in Minnesota

I am a bad wife.

Yes, that is Joel sewing his own buttons onto his favorite, really old, really ugly coat.  This coat has been safely hanging in the closet for the last several years.  It has been missing buttons and my refusal to help sew them on has kept it there until now.

Joel has decided to take matters into his own hands and sew the buttons on himself.  It took him 28 minutes to sew on two buttons.  I did end up helping a tiny bit.  I felt guilty enough to help him tie off the knots.

Now he is all happy again, back to wearing his favorite old coat.

My buckiness over this coat goes beyond my disdain for Joel’s wardrobe at times or fashion.  (I will be the first to admit that I am not fashionable at all)  The problem is it reminds me a little too much of this – Do you recognize it?

It’s Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in Grumpier Old Men.  And yes, Walter is wearing pretty much the same coat.

And guess what – Joel has the hat to go with it.

(Actually, I should say DID have the hat to go with it.  The dog got a hold of it and chewed it up – and No, I did not pay the dog in doggie treats to do away with it (though I would have liked to). )

I watched this movie years ago – before I even met Joel – and found it to be a cute movie.  Now I realize that I am married to a future Walter Mathau – He already has the coat and hat.  Somehow, the movie doesn’t seem so cute now.

This is another typical outfit from the movie and Joel would love to wear this.

He is obsessed with ice fishing.  (These are fish houses, out on a lake.  I hate to point out the obvious to anyone else from Minnesota, but if you are from Florida, you may have just thought it was a typical neighborhood)

Like many other men from Minnesota, this is Joel’s favorite way to spend a weekend – out on the ice, wearing one of these fashion-forward outfits.

Look like fun to you?

Joel also wants Walter’s vehicle from the movie – this very classy Scout International.

1974 International Harvester Travelall

Wouldn’t I just love to go for a ride with him in this beauty – um No!  For those of you who have seen the movie, you may remember Jack’s character hiding a dead fish in the backseat.  Joel has been known to do the exact same thing to his friends.  Have you ever smelled a rotting fish?   Try getting that smell out of your car.

Before I know it, Joel will have turned into this – trying to stab his fishing buddy with a fish.

Please pray for me ladies.  This could be bad.  Can I also point out that Joel is only 37 and appears to have quite a head start on turning into a Grumpy Old Man. 

I believe that the coat is just the tip of the iceberg.

What am I going to do now?  Anyone else feeling my pain?  Also married to a typical, Minnesota ice fisherman? 

We could start a support group.  Anyone?

Posted in Family, Minnesota | Tagged , , | 56 Comments

Aran Wrap Cardigan

Yesterday we woke up to a snowstorm.  It’s really only our first or second storm this year, which is highly unusual for this part of the country.   I know I have complained about too much snow in the past (especially last year), but I have been waiting for this for months!  We have pretty much had a brown winter, so I am enjoying the winter wonderland.  All the schools are closed and I am content to hole up in the studio today.  I would also like to get out and snowshoe at least once before it melts away.

In other exciting news, the strike-offs for my Seaside Cottage line arrived.  This is the first time I have seen the prints on fabric, so it is always interesting to see how they look on fabric, compared to just seeing the digital files or the cads.  As you can see, I have been going through and making a list of the changes I would like worked on.  They always need a little tweaking, so this is just part of the process of getting the colors right.  Sometimes they need a lot of tweaking, so I am glad to see the list is short.

I also have a knitting project to share.   I think it has probably been 3 months since I have blogged about any knitting, so that is quite a dry spell for me.  I usually do my knitting at night, and early on in my pregnancy I was tired and headachy by about 8:30 and it really seemed to cut into my knitting time.   It’s pretty pathetic, I know.  I have never been the type to just sit around at night or just do nothing, but I have to admit that’s what I did many of the nights.

When I did start knitting again, I decided I needed a bit of a challenge.

One with just a few cables . . .

I decided on this cardigan – with both horizontal and vertical cables.

The yarn is Vintage, by Madelintosh.  The colorway is called Tart.  It’s a beautiful hand-dyed red, with some black dye added in for depth.

The pattern is the Aran Wrap Sweater from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008.  (Ravelry link here).   I loved all the cables across the back of the sweater, which is what first drew me to the design.

My only issue was the front of the sweater.  It is really cute styled with a belt, as shown in the pattern.

But, when I started looking at everyone’s projects on Ravelry, I could see just how much excess fabric is hiding under that belt.  I knew that would drive me crazy – as I would constantly be rearranging everything.

This issue kept me from starting the pattern, until I saw the September Sweater on Ravelry – I particularly liked this link on Ravelry.  The following pictures are from that link.   The back is quite similar to the Aran Wrap Cardigan.

But look at the front – cute and simple, without all the excess fabric.  I decided to try to combine the two patterns.  This turned out to be much more challenging than I thought.  After several false starts, I finally got the stitches cast on.  It was quite slow going, as I had to re figure everything as I went along.  It took forever and many times I put off working on it because it just hurt my brain! (remind me never to do this much changing to a pattern again!)

So, after something like 5 months, I finally have a finished sweater. 

It’s hard for me to tell if I like the sweater, because of the bump.  I can’t tell if it fits or not – and a large, cabled sweater and a baby bump don’t exactly flatter each other, if you know what I mean.

This side profile shows just how far that bump sticks out and the cables seem to make it look even bigger!

I’m guessing I will end up adding a button closure, but I will decide next fall when I can start wearing it.

This picture shows a close-up of the cables that wrap up and around the neck.  I have since taken the left side apart and redone it.  This is a 16 stitch cable, which means it isn’t symmetrical.  I was wondering about it as I was working it on, but once it was done I could see that it needed to be redone.  The cables now match so you don’t see that awkward line of purls along the left side as shown below.

I am SO glad to finally have it done, so I can start something smaller . . .  and blue.

(I’ve already started two baby sweaters and finished one hat.  They are so quick and addicting that I am really enjoying the smaller projects – and it won’t be three months until my next knitting post😉 ).

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 49 Comments

A Tutorial on Scallops – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my last post – a tutorial on binding scallops.  You might want to read that first, if you are interested in scalloping the edges of a quilt.

In this post, I want to give a few hints on figuring out what size to make your scallops and a few tips on making the process go a little quicker.

This is the first quilt that I scalloped the edges on  (BTW – many of these pictures are of older quilts, so my photography leaves a lot to be desired).

Sweet Dreams, found in the book "Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures"

I learned a LOT on this quilt – several of the things I mentioned in my last post – I cut the curves and then tried to sew along the curvy, stretchy edges.  This is also the quilt that I didn’t tack the inside of the miters when I was doing the hand stitching, so many of the miters have pulled out.

The other major thing I learned, was not to use such small scallops.  It practically took me all day to get the binding on this quilt (and that doesn’t include the hand-stitching).  These scallops are so small that there are about 40 curves and miters to make going around this quilt.  It took forever!

This is the second quilt that I scalloped the edges on.  There are a few less miters, and I did a much better job on it.  I guess that practice on the first one helped out a little!

Pattern: Raspberry Jelly from the book "On a Roll"

On my third quilt, you can see I made my scallops even bigger, and I still liked them.  It went much quicker, but still gave me the look I was going for.

Pattern: Meadow Lane from the book "Fat Quarter Cottage"

With that being said, there are still some tricks to figuring out what size to make the scallops.   Sometimes it is based on the size of the quilt.  For example, you can hope that your quilt ends up a nice number like 60″ x 70″, where both sides are divisible by the same number.  In this case, 6 – 10″ scallops on the width and 7 – 10″ scallops on the length (depending on how you want your corners to look).  I will say that this hardly ever happens!  Most often, you end up with something like 7 7/8″ long scallops on one side and 8 3/8″ long scallops on the other.  You can then use a tool like the Easy Scallop Tool by Darlene Zimmerman to mark a scallop just that size.  I have this tool, and it comes in two sizes.  Both are easily adjustable to meet your desired size.

(If you don’t happen to have a scallop tool, you can always bring your quilt into the kitchen and find a plate or cover that is the right size.  You might be surprised by how many size options you find in there!  You can see which plate I used to mark this little runner!)

I also have another option for selecting the size of your scallop.  The nice thing about this method is that you don’t have to do ANY math!  It’s something that I use most of the time now.  I just make my scallop the size of the blocks in the quilt.  For example, see how the scallops below line up with the length of the block from point to point?  That makes the size of the scallops the same for both the length and width of the quilt and eliminates the need to do any math.

This works great for all four sides of the quilt, but you sometimes have to make a few adjustments to get a nice curve on the corner.  It works best if you only have a skinny inner border like the quilt shown above.  Multiple borders can throw this theory off a bit.

However, I sometimes like what happens to the corners when you have a wider inner border or if the width of the combined borders doesn’t work out with the size of the scallop.  The quilt below is a good example.  I think the little pointed corners are cute!  Another thing to notice on this one is that my scallops line up with the red squares, which is equal to the length of TWO blocks put together.  I could easily have made the scallops the length of one block, but in this case, I liked the look of the elongated curve.  It also meant about half as many inside points to miter – making the process much faster!

Pattern: Strawberry Shortcake from the book "The Sweet Life"

To make the process even faster, you can choose to scallop only two of the sides.  I prefer to do just the top and bottom of the quilt, as you saw with the quilt from my last post.

Pattern: based on the pattern Hopscotch from the book "Fat Quarter Five"

I have also used this option on a baby quilt, for a little added interest.  Notice how the stripe really makes the scallops show up!

Pattern: The Baby Collection (single pattern)

This option even looks cute on a tablerunner, as shown below.  It’s a great way to try scallops, without a huge commitment.  If you end up hating it, you only had to do four miters😉

Pattern: Pickety Sticks from the book "On a Roll Again"

I have two more options for scalloping, if you really don’t want to try miters – The first is to have rounded inside corners, as shown below.

Pattern: Candy Apple Blossoms from the book "Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures"

Instead of mitering the inside curves, you have to pull on the fabric slightly to make that inside curve lay flat (again, a thing that takes a bit of practice – just like the outside curve).   I happen to think the mitered scallops are a little bit more dramatic, and therefore, cuter and worth the effort!

Lastly, I have one quilt that I appliqued a scallop to the border, kind of giving the look of scallops, but requiring no curved edges on your quilt.  Again, not quite as dramatic, but still a fun option.

That’s all I can think of to add on scallops right now.  I hope you found the information helpful and feel inspired to give scallops a try!

Posted in Binding Tips, Quilting | Tagged , | 19 Comments

A Tutorial on Binding Scallops

I finished this quilt well over a year ago and have never gotten around to blogging about it.  Isn’t that bad?   I made it for my office – or should I say, my husband’s office.

It’s nice and manly right?  Actually, my poor husband doesn’t have any  of his own “manly” rooms in our house, as I can’t bear to give up any quilt/decorating spaces!  I guess this room will have to do until we finish up a man cave in the garage.

The reason I am bringing up this quilt, is that I have wanted to do a quick tutorial on binding scallops.  I have done tutorials on lots of binding techniques and I have had some requests to cover scallops as well.

I begin by MARKING my curved lines on the quilt, as shown by the yellow line in the bottom of the photo (more hints on marking the curve to come in my next post).  The key here is NOT TO CUT the curve, just mark it.  If you cut the curve, then you have to sew next to a stretchy, bias curved edge.  NOT FUN.

Begin sewing along the curve by lining up the raw edge of the binding with the drawn line.

Sew until you reach the top inside point of the scallop.  This point will be a seam allowance width above the drawn line.   It is easier to show this with a photo of how it looks after it is sewn.  See the red dot on the top inside point of the binding?  That is where you will stop and pivot.

Now, back to that pivot point – be sure to stop with your needle DOWN, as shown, then turn the quilt so you are ready to sew along the next part of the curve.

Next, use your fingers to swing the binding over to meet the drawn line.  The key here is NOT to get a tuck along the left side of the needle, but you will have one along the right side.

I usually use the point of my seam ripper to assist in getting the tuck of the fabric underneath the foot of my machine, like this.

If you have done it correctly, it will look like this:  See – there is no tuck in the fabric above your sewing line, but there is a tuck to the bottom side.

Still with me?

This is how it will look after you fold the binding  fabric over the sewing line.  See that nice little mitered corner?

If your binding looks as shown so far, you can continue sewing along the drawn line, making the swoop along the large outside curve.  The trick to this part, is to work in a little excess fabric along the bottom of the curve as shown.  See the slight excess fabric ripple along the folded edge of the binding?

This part takes a little bit of practice.  You need to get just the right amount of extra fabric for the curve.   With really round curves, you will need to work in more excess fabric than if you have a flatter curve.  I usually sew one curve first, then cut off the excess fabric so I can fold the binding to the back side and see if the curve lays flat.

Repeat until you have bound along all the curves as shown.  Now you can cut along the drawn line, so you are ready to hand-stitch around the curves.

There are several little tricks that I use for to doing the hand sewing on the binding.

First, you can refer to this tutorial for my hand-stitching technique for bindings.

Secondly, you will need to take a few extra steps for making the mitered corners.

Before you get to that inside mitered corner, flip the quilt over so the front side is facing up.   Pin the miter in place from the front side of the quilt as shown.  (this is a different quilt and a different angle, but it is still the same technique)


Turn the quilt over so the back side is facing up and stitch to the miter as shown.  Notice how the pin is still in the front side of the miter, holding everything in place while you are stitching.


Bring the needle up inside the point as shown and do a couple of tacking stitches.  If you don’t do this, the miter will just pull out after the pin is removed and you will never get it back in place!!  I have learned this from personal experience ;-(


This photo shows doing  the tacking stitches  from the front side of the quilt.  After the tacking stitches are done, continue toward the next miter.


This is how the back side looks after the hand stitching is completed.  See how the curves lay nice and flat?

Next, I added a rod pocket to the back side  of the quilt and hand-stitched it in place. (I cut this piece 5″ wide – Fold in half with wrong sides together, sew the long side with a 1/4″ seam and turn right-side out).

Slide a curtain rod through the pocket, hang and enjoy!

This quilt pattern was based on the Hopscotch pattern from my Fat Quarter Five book. The fabric used is Sanae. The chevron runner shown is from our On the Run book.

In my next post I am going to share some hints for figuring out the size of the curves, plus a few ways to make the process go faster.  Faster is good when it comes to scallops, trust me.  I have learned from experience, so I am anxious to share these tips with you also!  (I just didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much info in one post).

Edit:  Click here for the link to Part 2 of Binding Scallops

I am off to finish one of my boy baby quilts.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Posted in Binding Tips, Decorating, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Baby/Bump Update

Once again the last couple weeks have flown by without a blog post.  I have been busy “nesting” and working on lots of quilt projects.   My nesting has involved cleaning out closets (which doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post), taking down the Christmas decorations, and freshening up my decor with a few brighter quilts.  I have also spent way too much time on the internet looking at baby nurseries (which once again, doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post).

Gypsy Girl from the book Fat Quarter Five. Fabrics from the Verna collection by Kate Spain

(click here to see the Gypsy Girl Pattern)

I started the nesting process last fall when I needed to keep myself occupied while we waited for test results.  I was really craving bright light and colors at the time, so I repainted several rooms in the house, including my front entry.

Both the yellow and the red have been lightened and brightened.  I ordered a new rug from Company C.  I find it really hard to find rugs that are just the right colors, so I was excited to find this one.  I wanted it to match the Secret Garden fabric (by Sandi Henderson) that I had been collecting, with the intention of making a new quilt for my entry.  After getting sidetracked several times, I finally got the borders on the quilt and it will be the next quilt on my quilting machine.

I added a few colors to the original Secret Garden line, just to make it blend better with my rug.  I added the darker red, darker blue dot, and the browns.  It added the extra pop of color that I was looking for.

(BTW – the pattern is called Modern Day Diamonds and can be found in my Living Large book.)

As I am working on my quilts, I am continually taking pictures of the process – either to remember the placement of the fabrics or to audition different design elements.  I find that if I don’t have a picture, I won’t remember it!  Lately, all of my pictures have had a funny addition at the bottom of the shot ~

Yes, that would be the “bump”.  Remember a few weeks back when I was trying to get it to show in the photo?  Not a problem anymore.  What a difference 4 weeks will make!

I am currently at 22 weeks and we just had another ultra sound yesterday.  We are so happy to say that everything looks really good!  I was shocked to find out that the baby is in  the 90th percentile for weight  (though of course, that can change).  I guess there was a good reason that the bump has expanded so much in the last month!

We also found out what we are having – the doctor is 95% sure that it is a boy.  The baby didn’t give us a” perfect” shot of the goods, but there were several shots that can really only be explained by being a boy.

So, in case you were wondering, on Joel’s side, we will have a total of 6 girls and 2 boys (counting just the grandkids.  Joel has 3 sisters and no brothers, so that would skew the numbers a bit).

On my side, we have just the opposite with 2 girls and 6 boys.  The slightly scary fact, is that all 6 of those boys will be 5 and under when our baby is born!  Life is gonna get crazy!!!!

Either way, we are just so excited to have good news to report and didn’t care what it was.  We couldn’t wait to share our news with all of you!  (and start taking name submissions, if anyone has any good ideas😉 )

Posted in Decorating, Family, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 92 Comments

Seaside Cottage

After about 7 or 8 months of not having any new products to show you, I finally have something new to share!  I have gotten the go-ahead to spill the beans on a new fabric line that will be coming out later this year.  I painted the line up last summer, so it seems like I have been waiting a while to show you! 

My inspiration began with all the images of cute cottages I had been seeing on blogs like House of Turquoise. (one of the best decorating blogs, in my opinion.)  I loved the cottages with weathered grey siding and a turquoise front door.  Isn’t it a great combo?

Love it!!!!  I could just move right in . . .  It makes me think of ocean waves, beaches, quaint cottages, white picket fences, sand in my toes, and cupcakes with extra thick frosting.  (Ok – maybe that last part is the bump talking, but you get the idea)

It makes me want to change the siding on my house or repaint – which of course I can’t do. 

But couldn’t I create a fabric line with this same feeling? 

 A cottage look with fresh colors?

I really wanted to do another line with more grey.  Last year Mom and I put out Whimsy, with one grey print, just to see how it would go over.  It was the first print to sell out!  So, I started mixing paint, adding more grey and using some of my favorite colors.  I came up with this line:

A look inside the sales card:

It’s a little hard to photograph off of a shiny sales card, so here is a closer look at the CADs of each color grouping

The grey prints:

The blue prints:

The cherry red prints:

The ivory prints:

The chocolate brown prints:

And lastly, the pink and green prints:

If you are quilt shop owner, now is the time to place your order for this line.  It is hitting the road with the Henry Glass sales reps this month – And if you don’t get in on the order with the first printing, you more than likely won’t be able to get it at all, so now is your chance!

If you are a quilter, this line will be hitting stores in June.  I will keep you posted when we get closer to the actually shipping date.  In the meantime, if you are interested in this line, you can let the quilt shop owners know!

I am really excited for this line to come out.  It seems to take forever from the time I paint it up, to the time it comes out . . . but I was anxious to show everyone.  I hope you like it!

Posted in Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , | 68 Comments

Thank You!

Where do I begin?  I can’t thank everyone enough for all the nice comments, encouragement, prayers, e-mails and support that have been sent my way since this post last week.  I really was nervous to share it all – but somehow just saying that we were having a baby left so much out! 

I kept waking up during the night, thinking about how I was going to tell everyone.  After several nights, I finally got up and just wrote it all down.   Shortly after posting it, the comments starting coming in.  I couldn’t believe how many people were praying for us.  I also couldn’t believe how many people had already sensed that something was up and had started praying for me without even knowing what was going on –  Even though most of us have never even personally met.   It just goes to show, that quilters are some of the best people around!  (You too knitters, crafters and other blog readers!) 

Joel and I have read each and every comment, and even though I can’t send each of you a personal e-mail, please know that your encouragement has meant so much to us.  We have been blown away!   I know I will go back to these comments in the future and reread everything that has been shared.  It’s amazing how many people have been on similar journeys or know someone who has been through this.   We feel for those who have been through a similar process.  We are excited to continue on in this journey.  I am grateful that the (evil) drugs are now out of my system and I am feeling more like myself.   It is getting easier to forget all of the past year and just be happy for today and the future. 

On a lighter note, Joel and I also enjoyed reading about how many of you got the Gandalf reference in my story.  Who knew quilters were into fantasy novels!  It sounds like many of you use LOTR quotes regularly.  For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, here is an image from the scene I referenced in my story:

If you have never seen the movies, it’s on TV practically every other weekend and would give you about 10 hours of sewing time if you wanted to watch the whole thing!

And on another lighter note, do you think Joel’s Beloved Daisy knows that she is about to be dethroned?

Posted in Family | Tagged | 26 Comments