Sunday, September 27, 2009

Autumn Inspirations from DCQ

08&09-2009 009 

Good Morning!

Another busy week is behind us, and it feels good to sit still for a few minutes.  During our slower summer months, we prepare for this busy autumn quilting season... stitching shop samples, cutting kits, and planning our schedule.  Of course, we can't anticipate everything, and moments of chaos are inevitable.  But, all things considered, we are getting through it pretty well this year, and just have a couple more events ahead of us.  Next weekend, Laurie-Ann has volunteered to take a booth the the Gilette quilt show, and the following weekend we have two events: the Badlands Quilt Guild retreat in Medora, and another retreat in Pierre.  After that, we're done with events until January!

matthewbowarrow In times like this, we rely a lot upon Wesley's family to help us, especially with Matthew. Sometimes, they also help us set up or pack up, and the extra hands come in handy.  We're also blessed to have a very hard-working group of employees, and many friends at the assorted quilt shows & retreats who graciously show up at our booth eager to help.

The weekend we were in Hill City, Matthew stayed with Aunt Gayla & Uncle Roger, and his cousin Tayton.  She's almost a year older than him, and he learns a lot from her. She is a true cowgirl, as comfortable on a horse as a bicycle. She's also getting pretty good with a bow & arrow, and practices for hours aiming at a handmade bullseye in her backyard.

Auntie Gayla just e-mailed me these photos, of Tayton giving Matthew some archery tips.  I just love how she is perched on the top rung of the fence, and I can imagine her telling Matthew just how to stand and exactly what to do.  He earnestly does his best to follow her instructions, and she is quick to offer praise when he succeeds.

When I showed him the pictures, I laughed because Matthew was dressed in his "Sponge Bob" pajamas, in the middle of a sunny afternoon.  He replied, "What, Mom?!  I was wearing shoes!" 

Have a Great Week!


Cabin Award Winners: September 27, 2009

Congratulations to Jeananne Cox!

Your name has been randomly selected as this week's winners of the Cabin Award: a Mountain Patchwork pattern & a “Dress it Up” bag of mini buttons. Retail value: $14.50.

dressitupbagofbuttons mountainpatchworklogcabin

Click here to see our Mountain Patchwork patterns & supplies.

Please send an e-mail to Laurie-Ann at with your mailing address, and she'll help you redeem your reward.

The next "Cabin Awards" will be posted on Sunday, October 4th. The lucky winner will receive a Migration Charm Pack and (2) half-yard cuts of fabric from the newest Holly Taylor collection. Retail value: $17.00.


Click here to view the Migration collection.

Cabin award winners are randomly chosen from our list of blog followers. To become a follower, click on the colorful “FOLLOW” icon on the left side of this page, and proceed with the instructions.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We Got a Lot Done! ~ “Girls Weekend” 2009


These photos & descriptions show many (but not all) of the projects we worked on during our retreat at the Double Diamond B&B near Hill City.  I think you’ll agree we were pretty darn productive… but we also took time to nap, relax, visit, and eat a lot of really tasty food!

Denae worked on a bunch of different quilts, including “Due South”  (pattern by Miss Rosie, fabrics “Twiggy” by Sanae for Moda.  I think she would have finished it, but she decided to make her version bigger.

Click here for pattern, kit, and available fabrics.


Dode finished all her blocks for the “Up North” quilt top. She enlarged the quilt, making extra blocks. She didn’t sew her blocks together, because she wanted to lay them out on the bed at home first to see how they’d look.

We don’t have any “Up North” kits left, but the pattern can be found in the book “Venture North” by Gathering Friends (click here).


Barb worked on so many things I lost track of her.  She made a number of wine bags using a pattern from the book “Let’s Do Lunch” by Atkinson designs.  I forgot to get a picture of them, but she used a variety of golf prints and they turned out really great!

Click here for one of Barb’s wine tote using fabric from the Vineyard collection.



Kathleen started by making a quilt top for charity, and used a “Merry & Bright” jelly roll and the cover pattern from the book “On a Roll” by Anka’s Treasures.

Click here for the pattern book and here for “Merry & Bright”.

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Kathleen cleverly framed the embroidery from her Grandmother’s dish towels with thirties reproduction prints. Her Grandmother gave her these towels as a present at her wedding shower. She used the Eleanor Burns flying goose ruler to make the geese for her quilt.  She used left-over white fabric from the dishtowels as the background for her prints, and the effect was exquisite.

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Kathleen bought these redwork squares on e-bay a while ago, and wanted to transform them into a quilt.  She had too many squares, and not enough red & white prints, so she and Laurie-Ann arranged a trade.


Cindy worked on a whole bunch of things too, and finished these quilt tops:


I think she used a Gathering Friends pattern for her bear-paw, but she changed the pattern a number of times to suit her taste… and because she was running short of fabric!

The attic window quilt pattern is an original design by Rose. We are sold out of kits, but could still come up with a pattern if anyone is interested.  Click here for current selection of Thomas Kinkade.



Laurie-Ann kept busy finishing UFO’s.

She used a pattern by Thimble blossoms called “Wallflower” and prints from the Urban Couture collection to make this great monogrammed throw. Click here for pattern and here for fabrics.


She made a sweet little quilt using a butterfly fling charm pack, and finished quilting and binding it.


She quilted a Bistro wall-hanging, but didn’t have the right fabric for the binding.  Click here for remaining Bistro fabrics… sorry, no pattern, she just “made it up as she went along”.


She finished paper-piecing this exquisite table-topper using the “Seasonal Table Runners” pattern by Judy Niemeyer.  This photo does not do the project justice.  Patterns can be found here, and I’ll be posting a better photo on the website, along with fabric kits for the project.


I hand-stitched this wool pincushion using the pattern “Pretty Posies” by This & That.  Click here for the pattern.  Kits are also available, but not on the website yet.  E-mail if you’d like one.


I made Tuffets for everybody, using their scrap fabrics.  Click here for the “Tuffets” pattern by Miss Rosie.


I hand-pieced a nine-block “Mountain Patchwork Log Cabin” miniature quilt.  Click here for Mountain Patchwork patterns & accessories.


Last, but not least, I did some “speed sewing”, quickly piecing the “Pumpkin Party” table-topper, using a pattern from This & That.  I really wanted to finish it in time for the show.

Click here for the pattern.  I used “Gobble Gobble” fabrics… click here.  We did have kits for this at the Hill City & Huron shows, but Wesley tells me they sold out.  I think we can cut more, e-mail us at if you’d like us to save you one.


Whew… Makes me tired just looking at all this work!  But, we all agreed that we’re going back next year.  We might just stay an extra day!

Holding down the fort...


Good Morning!

It feels like a month has passed since my last newsletter, when in fact it's only been 2 weeks. We've been a lot of places, and accomplished quite a bit, and it's not over yet.

Wesley & Laurie-Ann are still in Huron today, vending at the "Quilting Through the Seasons" fall quilt show, put on by the South Dakota Quilters Guild. The show closes today at 3pm. Please stop by the Crossroads Event Center if you're in the area.

It worked out better for Matthew & I to stay home this weekend, so we've been "holding down the fort" at home and the store, trying to stay on top of things in Wesley's absence.

It serves as a good reminder to me about how much work he gets done. It's not easy to manage without him. But, we're getting along okay, and deal with the challenges as they come up... Keys locked in the car..."Ellen, can you give us a ride to town?"... Late to pick Matthew up at school... Whew! He didn't make it very far... Darn it, the cat puked, again!... "Wesley...where are you?"

I put one foot in front of the other. He'll be home soon.

Our "Girls Weekend" was wonderful as usual, and the Hill City quilt show went very well. Despite the rain, there was good attendance, and our booth was busy all day. Unfortunately, the guild couldn't set up the outdoor quilt show, but they filled the school gymnasium with a beautiful display of their handiwork.

Wesley & Laurie-Ann's reports from Huron sound great, and I'm sorry that I can't be there. The guild has worked very hard to organize & promote this event, and it has been a great success so far. We've been involved with the South Dakota Quilter's Guild since our shop opened, and have noticed increasing enthusiasm, larger membership, and better events with each passing season. Click <a href=">here</a> to visit their website.

As I expected, I took along way too many projects to our retreat, and only finished a small portion of them. But, I am especially happy with my hand-pieced miniature quilt, from the Mountain Patchwork "Log Cabin" pattern.

Two years ago at quilt market, I walked into the Mountain Patchwork booth with warmth in my heart. I fell in love with their designs, and wanted to learn more. I honestly can't remember what interrupted me, but for some reason I had to leave before I could really take it all in.

For a full year, I kept meaning to order some of their patterns for the shop. On vacation, Laurie-Ann visited their store in Superior, Montana, and came home with a couple of patterns for her own use. She reminded me that I should place an order for the patterns, accessories, and Osnaburg linen. But, I just didn't get it done.

This past spring, the Mountain Patchwork booth was at the top of my "must do" list at market, and we happily added a number of their patterns and their sweet little button packs to our shop inventory. We also purchased some completed & framed quilt art samples for the shop made by Kathleen & DeLoyce.


So, when I sat down at the B&B, opened the log cabin pattern, and assembled my fabric, it was a welcome reward after months of good intentions. As I hand-pieced the first miniature log cabin, using the primitive double stitch technique perfected by the designers, I was able to relax and enjoy the needle slipping through the pretty prints.

The technique is surprisingly easy, albeit time-consuming. And the result... simply beautiful!

I made a total of 9 little log cabin blocks, then added the borders and decorative stitching with button embellishment. I sat in the sunshine as I stitched, with a rock set upon my fabric strips so they wouldn't blow away in the breeze.

Every stitch was done by hand, although this wouldn't have been necessary (blocks could be assembled by machine, then top stitched by hand). Since I didn't have a thimble with me, my fingers were calloused from the needle pokes.

What a feeling of accomplishment!

And, after all of that hand-stitching, it was amazing to sit down at the sewing machine again, step on the foot pedal, and do a little "speed sewing". I had a whole new appreciation for how pioneer women must have felt when they first experienced the difference between hand and machine stitching!

I'm not going to give up my sewing machine... but I've already started hand-piecing the Mountain Braid quilt, and this time I'm using a thimble!

Cabin Award Winners: September 20, 2009

Congratulations to grandmarockton & Linda Hensgen!

Your names have been randomly selected as this week's winners of the Cabin Award.  Each of you will receive a “Bundles of Hope” fat quarter bundle featuring the “Inspirations” fabric collection by Blank Textiles. Retail Value: $24.00.


Click here for information about the “Bundles of Hope” project, and here to shop for “Inspirations” fabric & bundles. at

Please send an e-mail to Laurie-Ann at with your mailing address, and she'll help you redeem your reward.

The next "Cabin Awards" will be posted on Sunday, September 27th.  The lucky winner will receive a Mountain Patchwork pattern & a “Dress it Up” bag of mini buttons.  Retail value: $14.50.

Click here to see our Mountain Patchwork patterns & supplies.

Cabin award winners are randomly chosen from our list of blog followers. To become a follower, click on the colorful “FOLLOW” icon on the left side of this page, and proceed with the instructions.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company: Fruit Salad Pincushions ~ Part 2, “ The Strawberry”

Project: Strawberry Pincushion designed by Carrie Nelson,  featuring “Bees Knees” fabrics by Maywood Studios.  Click here  for pincushion pattern.  Click here for a fabric kit. Click here  for fabric collection (currently on clearance at $7.50/yard).

Finished Size: approximately 4” x 7”

Skill Level: Intermediate


  • Wool Embellishment
  • Simple Beading

Useful Supplies

  • Fusible Fleece (click here & here)
  • Aurifil 28 weight thread for machine quilting, top-stitching, and pin-cushion construction. Click here for our current selection.
  • Embellishments not included in fabric kit: Optional Glass Beads to represent the “seeds” on the strawberry.

Project Description:

A three dimensional strawberry pincushion is created from quilted layers of coordinating fabric.  Glass beads are stitched by hand to represent the seeds. added. The pincushion is stuffed with a combination of cotton stuffing and crushed walnut shells.  A felted wool leaf & stem is hand-stitched in place to finish the top of the berry.

Disclaimer: This blog is meant to illustrate the ease of pincushion construction, and demonstrate some useful tips.  It does NOT replace the pattern.  Please refer to Carrie Nelson’s pattern for precise measurements, excellent sewing diagrams, and step by step instruction.

Let’s Get Started!

Refer to the watermelon blog re: piecing strata, sub-cutting, then rearranging the squares to create a checkerboard pattern.  This technique is also used for the strawberry, resulting in a rectangular checkerboard design. 

Layer the checkerboard quilt top with a piece of fusible fleece, and a muslin backing, then quilt as desired.  Using matching 28 weight Aurifil thread, I quilted lines on the diagonal, first one direction, then the other.


Trace the template from the pattern onto freezer paper, align it on the “quilt”, and cut along the outside edge, creating a crescent (or football) shape.


For my watermelon seeds, I used “brads” from the Scrapbook Shoppe.  But, I wanted the seeds on my strawberry to be smaller, so I used an assortment of glass beads. 

Start with a length of 28 wt thread (the heavy weight sews the beads in place firmly).  Thread both ends of the thread through the eye of the needle, creating a loop at the other end:


Draw the thread through the “quilt”, almost but not entirely.  Leave a little loop protruding through the back of the project.


Working from the front side, thread a glass bead over the needle, and pull the needle to the back:


Insert the needle through the loop:


Pull the thread firmly, then take a couple of small stitches through the back layer only, knotting the thread as you stitch.  Each bead will need to be sewn in place with a new length of thread, and when you’re done the back will look like this:


Notice the top of the “quilt” has a double row of stitching, and the quilting stops there.  The area above this stitching becomes the top of the strawberry, and you don’t want it to be too bulky,. so the batting needs to be removed.

After I applied the beads, I sewed the double stitching (there’s a line on the template that shows where it belongs). I then picked out the threads that extended beyond that line:


Spread the layers open, and carefully trim the fusible fleece or batting just next to the double stitched area:


Then, right sides together, fold the crescent in half, and stitch the side seam… in this photo the seam extends from bottom left to top middle:


Press the seam open, as much as you  can:


Turn the strawberry right side out, and stuff the tip with some cotton stuffing or polyfil:


Then, sew a secure basting stitch around the top of the strawberry, completely encircling it:


Tug on the basting thread to gather the top, and insert a small funnel into the opening.  Fill with crushed walnut shells or desired filling material:


Put a “patch” of either cotton batting or fabric in the top to prevent the filling from spilling out.  I just cut a small circle of my leftover “quilt” and neatly inserted it in the top, then gathered the basting thread tightly and knotted it:


Using the template from the pattern, cut the top leaf:


Use a scrap of tightly rolled and stitched wool to create a stem.  Cut a small “X” in the center of the leaf, insert the stem through it, and hand-stitch it in place (Use matching thread & work from the bottom side so that your stitches don’t show).


Use the same thread to stitch the leaf/stem wool in place, effectively covering the top of the strawberry, and completing the design:


The strawberry & the watermelon look so cute sitting together! 


The most time consuming part of this project was hand-stitching the beads in place.  But, I’m glad I took the time to do it… they really add a lot to this unique little project, and the dark green wool looks so nice with the berry red prints.

Notice how Miss Rosie used a variety of lights and darks… creams, pinks, reds, & greens.  I’m going to start saving assorted scraps to create a few more variations!  The possibilities are endless!


The Calm Before the Storm


Good Morning!

I have a sense of "calm before the storm" this morning, as I sit in my kitchen, updating the blog and writing this newsletter. The autumn quilting season is just ahead, and we are vending at the Hill City Outdoor Quilt Show & Sale next weekend, and the South Dakota Quilt Guild Show the following weekend in Huron. Of all of the different tasks that we do, vending is the most stressful for me, as we need to be extremely organized and prepared for each event... "Which quilts do we take? How many kits do we have? Can we cut more? Do we have enough patterns? What are we forgetting?"... and so on.
The shop is a flurry of activity, and I know our hard-working staff work day and night to meet all the deadlines. I imagine them sinking into chairs, exhausted and relieved, as they see the SUV & trailer finally pull away from the shop. Sometimes, we only drive a block or two away before we have to turn around and run back in for something we've forgotten.

But, I also have some relaxation planned for the week. "The girls" will leave Wednesday, for our annual getaway in the Black Hills. We'll spend four luxurious days at a B&B near Hill City: sewing... eating...resting... and then sewing some more. It's heavenly.

Saturday afternoon we'll set up the shop booth at the show, and Sunday we'll be busy vending.

I'm making a mental list of all the projects I can get done in three solid sewing days, and it's getting pretty long. A mixture of UFO's, nearly finished projects, and a couple of new kits are already packed in my bag, and I'm not done yet. Realistically, I know that there's no way I'll finish everything that I take, but my optimism is unlimited!


As I was packing yesterday, I found a UFO from last year, and took some time to finish it. Laurie-Ann is making a friendship quilt using the cover quilt pattern from "Quilting With My Sister." Before last year's sewing weekend, she handed out instructions for everyone to make a signature block for her quilt. I think I'm the last one to get my block done. But, I found it yesterday, hand-appliqued the dress on the background fabric, embellished it with some beads, and stitched my initial with embroidery floss. I'll also sign it with a permanent marker.
Now that I'm done, I think Laurie-Ann might stitch her blocks together this weekend. The result will be beautiful, unique, and a wonderful reflection of her friendships.

Click here for the book "Quilting With My Sister".

I found an interesting article about "Friendship Quilts" posted on Click here if you'd like to learn about this tradition.

As I go through my sewing room, sorting & packing, I experience a wide array of emotions: guilt about the UFO's I haven't found time to finish; relief when I find the missing pieces to a project I thought were lost; accomplishment when I find a scrap pile left over from a finished project that is now quilted, bound, and hanging in the shop; and excited anticipation for the projects I can't wait to get started on.

For me, quilting is an emotional journey. Like a roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs, and a loop-de-loop every now and then. Starting a project is always exciting, and I can hardly wait to make the first block & proudly display it on my design wall. I sometimes get bogged down in the middle, chugging along, trying to get up the slope. Then, it's full speed ahead, rushing toward the finish line! As I happily reach completion, I'm already thinking ahead to the next journey. It's an endless passion (some might say an addiction), but I love the challenges & rewards.

So many quilts, so little time!

Cabin Award Winner: September 6, 2009

Congratulations to katinachapman!

Your name has been randomly selected as this week's winner of the Cabin Award: a “Gobble Gobble” charm pack and a small quilt pattern.

Please send an e-mail to Laurie-Ann at with your mailing address, and she'll help you redeem your reward.

The next "Cabin Awards" will be posted on Sunday, September 20th. We’re vending at the Hill City Quilt Show next weekend, so we need to skip a week. But, to make up for the lack of an award next week, we’ll choose two winners on the 20th!

For information about the Hill City Outdoor Quilt Show & Sale, click here.

The lucky recipients will receive a “Bundles of Hope” fat quarter bundle featuring the “Inspirations” fabric collection by Blank Textiles. Retail Value: $24.00.


Click here for information about the “Bundles of Hope” project, and here to shop for “Inspirations” fabric & bundles. at

Cabin award winners are randomly chosen from our list of blog followers. To become a follower, click on the colorful “FOLLOW” icon on the left side of this page, and proceed with the instructions.