Saturday, January 24, 2015

Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Update

Ada Blaney c 1848 Nebraska - used with permission Nebraska Historical Society
As it is said….all good things must come to an end. 

I will not be releasing any more Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey patterns. 

The natural cycle in the quilting business is all about "what's new", and it's time to move on to a new adventure.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of creating the PWSC club, and it has brought me the opportunity to meet many, many wonderful quilt shop owners, and so many thousands of gracious, talented quilters who have all shared my love of nineteenth century living, antique quilts, and our make-do heritage.  I am forever grateful for all of the sharing between our kindred spirits!

There is so much to look forward to in the future with new and exciting opportunities.  My creative soul will always be anchored in the nineteenth century, and I will continue to look for ways to incorporate American history into future projects. 

My Prairie Gathering Quilt of theQuarter program has four historical stories of how women "gathered" together to bring lasting change in our country.  Click here to find a quilt shop near you offering the Prairie Gathering program.

 Then, there's my new pattern series, "Tokens of the Past", with Gathering In Red as the first in the series, which continues with Civil War reproduction doll size quilts that are very do-able, affordable projects that give you the option of using my new 10 inch Prairie Gathering precuts from Marcus Fabrics or choosing your own fabrics.

And, I am happy to continue creating new and exciting things for your quilting pleasure! 

Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey patterns will continue to be available to quilt shops that are continuing with club meetings. 

Thank you so much for your support of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle club.  It's been a wonderful journey!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Visit To The Country Loft Quilt Shop

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting The Country Loft in La Mesa, CA.  Oh, yes...what a hardship for this Chicago girl to spend time in the San Diego area in January!  

Friday, Saturday and Sunday I taught workshops and spent the day with wonderful quilters!!  
 Many attending have been Facebook friends!  Always fun to meet them in person!
And much to my surprise and delight, designers Cheri Payne (Quilts by Cheri) and Kathy Cardiff (The Cottage at Cardiff Farms) attended Sunday's class.  Lucky me because I don't get to see them very often.  

I so look forward to giving workshops because I maintain there is just no better way to spend a day than with quilters!!  Everyone was so friendly, and happy to be sewing.  Shop owner, Sharon Smith, had the workshop in the banquet room of a nearby local Italian restaurant.  As you can see, the room was bright and sunny....and the food...oh...the food was wonderful!!! The only thing that would have made it any better was if I were sewing, too!!  You'll find no complaints from me as I had the best time!!  

Every chance we had, we went across the street to shop at The Country Loft.  Let me show you why!!

If you love Civil War repros, wool, antiques, folk art and country decorating, you simply must visit The Country Loft!!  
Didn't I tell you there are wonderful things in every nook and cranny?  Luscious wools and Valdani threads...

...beautiful cottons and inspiration everywhere!!
Don't they have great ideas for displaying quilts?!!

Like this display of all five of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey quilts!  WOW!!

A Prairie Gathering Quilt of the Quarter
I absolutely loved seeing my Prairie Gathering Quilt of the Quarter displayed on a bed in the shop!  
So cute with the ticking pillows and bed skirt.  Would love to take home some of the antique furniture, too!!
Sharon and all the very creative shop girls pay attention to even the smallest things, making them so cute and adding inspiration everywhere!!

 And...if all that didn't tempt you, they have more antiques in the little cottage in the back yard.'s all so much fun, it was very hard to leave!!

My heartfelt thanks to Sharon Smith for asking me to visit her wonderful shop.  To all the shop girls who made delicious treats Friday night, and who work so hard with Sharon to make a beautiful and inspiring place for all of us to enjoy, and feed our creative souls.  And, last but certainly not all of the wonderful ladies who attended the three workshop events....I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each and every one of you.  Your warm welcome will get me thru the rest of my Chicago winter!!  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Prairie Gathering Quilt of the Quarter ~ Month One

For the many quilters piecing my Prairie Gathering Quilt of the Quarter quilt, I wanted to write a blog post once a month to go over any piecing tips I may have to help you while you're piecing the quilt for yourself.  If you're not making the Prairie Gathering quilt, perhaps you can pick up a pointer or two anyway!!  

Soon, we will be making many parts of the quilt each month.  Included in your pattern pack are Zip-loc bag labels for keeping all those parts organized.  I'm organized to a fault, so I'm taking you right along with me!

The single most important tip I can give you in making this quilt (or any other, for that matter) is measure, measure, measure!!!!!!!!  The success of everything fitting properly in this quilt is totally dependent on all units, blocks and borders measuring exactly what they need to measure to fit.  Measuring at each step of construction is so very, very important no matter what you're making. 

 If a unit doesn't measure correctly, un-sew now and make it right 
while the seam you have to rip is small!!

All of my patterns list the measurements during construction so you can be sure you're on track.  Follow the measurements given in your Prairie Gathering pattern, and don't proceed until your patchwork measures what it should!  I guarantee this will make you a better, more accurate piecer, not to mention you'll be absolutely delighted with the results!!

Let's begin sewing.....
The first step is to make a Nine Patch block...easy enough, and always a favorite.  

Then, you'll surround your Nine patch with (4) light triangles.  My hint to centering the triangles on the Nine Patch is to fold the Nine Patch in half, wrong sides together.  Finger press a crease into the top edge.  Take a light triangle and fold it in half, right sides together, and finger press a crease. Now, bring both units right sides together, match the creases and pin.  Perfectly centered every time!  Sew and repeat for the other triangles.
Those light triangles might look like they won't fit, but trust me, they do.  
Next step...add (4) red triangles.  Repeat the finger press creasing to center the red triangles as well.  

Next up...Half Square Triangles (HST's).  (Truth be told, I make all of my matter how many, a wee bit larger than needed, and trim them to perfection.  You can do this, too, if you increase the size of the squares by 1/8th of an inch.  In this case, you would cut your squares to 2.5 inches and trim to 2 inches.  There are many ways to do this, and all of the tips on how to do this are in my Heartspun Quilts Book of Hints, Tips, Secrets & How-To's!!  Perfect every time!)
Make your assorted Half Square Triangles ...again measuring them to be sure they are perfect.  You have (4) assorted red prints, and one really dark red print to work with. Obviously, the darkest one is positioned in the corners.
For the (4) assorted reds, use one red in the same position all around the sides of the block.  That way, a print will never be next to itself.  
 Sew the HST's into rows for the sides, then sew to the center block.  Did you measure??
Sew the top and bottom rows, then sew to the block. 
The block is all done and looking great!  Place all of your cut pieces into their respective bags and zip them up until next month.  

If you like what you see and want to make A Prairie Gathering for yourself, click here to find a list of quilt shops offering the program and sign up!  

More piecing next month....

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Treenware & Berries Coming Soon!!

Any day now, the sample fabric of my newest collection for Marcus Fabrics, Treenware & Berries, will arrive on my doorstep.  As much as I've anxiously awaited its arrival, it's just my luck that it's coming now that I'm out of town!!  

I wanted to share at least the EQ image of the quilt I've designed using this warm and toasty assortment of yummy browns, berry reds, and creamy light fabrics.  The quilt pattern is also called Treenware & Berries.  I can hardly wait to begin!!  Don't we all feel that way about a new project?!!

You really have to take a look at all of the prints.  
Click here to go to the Marcus Fabrics website and see them all.

In addition, I've asked for Marcus to make up 10 inch precuts of the Treenware & Berries collection.  Yay!  They said sure!!  So, I've designed three awesome and irresistable doll sized quilts (I say that oh-so-humbly!!) using the Treenware & Berries precut.  

Treenware & Berries will ship to your local quilt shop beginning March 1st!  (If you're not familiar with the word "treenware", click here to read all about it.)

I promise to show you pictures when I'm making the quilts!  Doing a happy dance!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sunny & Warm California, Here I Come!

Tomorrow morning (at O'Dark Thirty!) I'll be headed to warm and sunny Southern California!!  My quilts are already there enjoying the warmth and the wonderful, cozy, and primitive surroundings of The Country Loft Quilt Shop in La Mesa, CA.  On a normal day, I can hardly wait to visit this quilt, even more so as this morning here in frozen Chicagoland, it's -7 degrees...minus 7!!!!  Ugh...Brrr...groan.

I've been periodically traveling to CA nearly my whole life as I have very special relatives that live there.  We have such a good time when we're together.  I'll be staying with them and enjoying a few days of vacation....catching up, visiting, and seeing how big the little ones have grown.  

On Friday, January 16th, Saturday the 17th, and Sunday the 18th,  I'll be commuting to teach classes at The Country Loft.  How fun will that be??  Waaaaayyy FUN.  I would love for you to join the fun, too!!!  Click here to see the classes I'm teaching.  We have just a few openings left, so if you've been thinking about coming to the workshops...well...come on!  It will be a great time and you'll learn lots of good info, too.  Not to'll be at The Country Loft Quilt Shop!!!  

I won't be blogging about my trip there until I return home, but you can follow me daily on Instagram and Facebook.  

In the meantime, since most of the country is in the deep freeze like it is here, I hope you stay cozy, and get some time to snuggled beneath a quilt and stitch.  That sounds like a mighty fine day, too!!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's All About What's New!

It's been kind of a quiet week....this week in between Christmas and New Years, which has been OK with me, that's for sure.  The hustle and bustle that always accompanies the Christmas season is fun, but we're all happy for the break afterward, aren't we?

The stack of antique quilts pictured here represents the basis of a new fabric line I'm about to send in to Marcus Fabrics.  New quilts to go with it, new this's all about 'what's new'!  Very fun and exciting stuff.  

I've been waiting and waiting for my Treenware & Berries sample fabric to arrive...and I'm still waiting!!  I just know it's gonna come just when I'm headed out the door to travel to California for my visit to The Country Loft.  I'll have more waiting to do until I can finally get my hands on it.  That will be a little frustrating, but that's just how it goes sometimes, right?!!

So, that's what's been happening here.  Not much to show or share, but new stuff coming soon.  

Including a brand new year.  I hope 2015 will bring each of you joy, good health, family time, sewing time, laughter, and prosperity.  I hope it will bring peace and good will to everyone around the world.  Seems our world can really use it!

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wishing You Happy Holidays!

Cross Stitch design by Blackbird Designs, Loose Feathers series
I'll bet your home is all a buzz with activity for the holidays.  We most definitely have been.  I received an unwelcome gift from my son in the form of the flu, which was short lived, thank God, I expect because of the flu shot we had in October.  A mild cold has stayed on though, but it could have been much worse.

I spend a little time on Pintrest.  Well....perhaps a more than a little some days, and one of my favorite things to hunt for are slow cooker recipes.  I try a lot of recipes in a years time, and boy do I have a winner to share with you.  

This recipe is by far the best recipe I have found all year!!!!  

Slow cooker or otherwise.  Trust me, I can not say enough about this recipe.  Wonderful, tasty, easy, good enough to serve for company!!!  Honestly...this is something you have to try!!

I found the recipe via Pintrest, and that took me to the Six Sisters Blog.  Fun stuff...spend a few minutes browsing their blog as I'm sure they have loads of yummy recipes.  This one, however, takes the cake.  

Their recipe for Three Envelope Pot Roast Sliders is over-the-moon wonderful!  It's made in the slow cooker, has just 6 ingredients, and best of all, all you have to do is dump them into the slow cooker and let it work its magic!!  The house will smell delightful all day....I promise!

The pot roast is everything you'd ever want good braised beef to taste like.  I do make sliders when I make this, and substitute different cheeses to shake things up.  I don't, however, make the creamy chipotle sauce, but I'm sure its good, if you like that sort of thing.  I have shared this recipe with many friends already, whom have made it and served it with mashed potatoes instead of making sandwiches.  I have saved half and popped it into the freezer, and it's just as good the second time around.  

So, after the holiday passes, and life takes on a slower pace, try this recipe and spend the day sewing.  That's what I'm planning on doing.  I hope you like it as much as I do.  It's such a good thing!!

Click here for a printable version of the Three Envelope Slider recipe! 

Wishing you all a very Merry Chistmas!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Count Down

I can hardly believe how quickly 15 days went by!  Wasn't the Primitive Christmas Blog Hop fun??!!  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and sure hope you did, too!!  If you visited Stacy West's Buttermilk Basin blog you also learned that she decided to host several more of these wonderful soirees this coming year!  YAY!!  Exciting stuff. 

Know what's also exciting?  Announcing the two winners of my blog give-away!!  They are...

Elizabeth...who posted:
Thanks for the cheese spread recipe - filing it away for this year's treat! And, those snips are really cool! Have a Merry Christmas, Pam - and thanks for a very satisfying blog.


and Quilter47...who posted:
I am so happy to see this pattern and cant wait to make it. Watching Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve is a family tradition and we even have some of the Hallmark Christmas ornaments. I missed out on buying Cousin Eddie's RV. Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks again for the fun pattern and a chance to win.
Ladies...please email me ( with your address info so I can get those wonderful Gingher snip scissors in the mail to you in time for Christmas!

My thanks to everyone who visited my blog, not only during this special blog hop, but who regularly take time to check-in with me.  I so appreciate you all year.  Most of the time, I do what I do alone, and you keep me company while I'm designing new quilts and new fabric lines, stay with me during the boring paper work, and give me a good reason to keep doing what I love.  I'm so grateful to all of you! 

To everyone who took the time to leave me a comment, I can't begin to thank you for your very heartfelt words and Christmas remembrances.  They filled my spirit with so much joy...I can't begin to express what it all meant to me.  Thank you so very, very much!!  

Some of you asked questions in your comment, and I was unable to answer you because it was sent "no reply blogger".  I would be happy to answer you, but I have no way of doing so.

Several of you inquired about the sampler shown in the photo above with the Gingher scissors, asking for the name of the pattern.  The sampler is from my collection of antique samplers, and was one I have not yet framed.  I just wanted something pretty in the photo with the scissors.  Never meant to frustrate anyone, and there are tons and tons of wonderful sampler patterns out there.  I certain you'll find some for your stitching pleasure.

Just wanted to remind you that you have one more week to take advantage of my special offer of FREE SHIPPING!  

I have bundled a kit of the three quilts from my brand new pattern, Tokens of the Past: Gathering In Red.

You will get the pattern, a Prairie Gathering 10 inch pre-cut, and the borders and bindings for all three quilts!  

Click here to read more about this special offer.  

Offer for free shipping ends December 22nd.  

As we count down the days until we celebrate the reason for the season, I hope you're not terribly rushed and stressed over all we do to make the holidays enjoyable for our families.  I know this is easier said than done.  Try to take a little time to stitch something for yourself.  Stitching always brings a sense of peace to my heart and spirit, and I suspect it does the same for you.  Oh, and by the way...I'll be trying to take my own advice!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Welcome to our Primitive Christmas Handwork Blog Hop!!

Welcome to my day of...
 A Primitive Christmas Blog Hop! 
This is my first year participating in this awesome event, and I'm so jazzed to be a part of it!  It has been such blast visiting every designer's blog each morning to see what new and wonderful project awaits.  While I adore making wool projects, it's not something I normally work with when designing, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.

I've been designing original quilts since 2006, and began designing fabric for Marcus Fabrics a few years ago.  My first BOM program with Marcus, called A Prairie Gathering, is about to begin at your local quilt shop next month.

I have a new pattern series that has just been released, called Tokens of the Past, and Gathering In Red is the first pattern in the series.  I designed three quilts for this pattern, and am super excited about the brand new 10 inch precuts of Prairie Gathering fabric that I used to make the units and blocks for all three quilts.  Click here to read more about the pattern and a special kit offer with free shipping!!  

Christmastime certainly brings our family traditions to the forefront in our lives, doesn't it?  In our home, we definitely have lots of them we love repeating each year, and sometimes begin new ones.   We live in suburban Chicago, so we enjoy (yes, I do mean enjoy...well, most of the time!) four distinct seasons, and Christmas would not be Christmas without cold weather.  We all hope for a White Christmas, too, but it doesn't happen all that often.  

Cookies have long been a part of Christmas at our home.  Our daughter, Nicole, has taken over 90% of the cookie baking now.  

And...our son, Ryan, has taken over decorating the outside of the house.  Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase's character from the movie Christmas Vacation) is my son's hero, and he'd like nothing more than to wrap our entire house in lights.  (Um...sorry, but the answer is no again this year, Ryan.)

We make lots and lots of cookies each year to give to family and friends.  One tradition we have enjoyed is dropping off large trays of cookies to our local police and fire departments, along with a big "thank you" to them for their service in our community.  We've been doing that for more than 10 years now, and little did we know when we began, that our son would one day be a fireman/paramedic!  We send lots of cookies to the folks at his firehouse all year long.  

The recipe I wanted to share with you is also a long-time family favorite.  Every year, Christmas Eve is spent at my cousin Debbie's home (who took over for her mom after more than 50 years!), and this yummy dip as one of the dishes I bring.  I know our family would be terribly disappointed if I didn't!  
It could not be easier to make, and actually feeds a crowd.  I split the recipe in half, leaving one portion at home to serve on Christmas Day, and the other goes to Deb's for Christmas Eve.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Click here for a downloadable, printable version of the recipe.

And now...for the little project I designed just for you!!

What is it about a red pick-up truck filled with Christmas trees, coming home from the Tree Farm, that just says Christmas to me?  Is it just me, or do you love it, too?  

That's what I chose to depict in my little wool pinkeep.  As always with my pictures, (sigh) the blue background of the pinkeep is much darker, more of a muted soldier blue/navy in color.  The color of the blue background looks much better in the cheesy dip photo above.  (If you knew how many pictures I have taken of this pinkeep!  All I can say is thank God for digital cameras!)  I love having pinkeeps all over the house.  Love how they feel with crushed walnut shells in them.  

They look good in a big antique dough bowl arrangement......

...or on a table vignette.  They go everywhere, and add a little, special something in design and texture, which is exactly what wool does, right?!

I'd love to have a red vintage pickup truck parked in my driveway, filled with real Christmas trees. (Wouldn't that be an awesome outside decoration for the driveway, Ryan?!)  Oh, yes Pam, that's practical!!  Well...a girl can daydream.  Since that's wholly unlikely to happen, I'll just enjoy my pinkeep, and the good feelings it brings!  

Click here for a downloadable, printable Tree Farm Wool Pinkeep pattern.

I also want to share with you one of my favorite handwork notions...these small and very portable snip scissors by Gingher.  They tuck into little bags for your to-go stitching, and snip threads beautifully.  I have two of these babies to give away!  Leave me a comment, and I'll draw winners on December 15th!  

Well, I'm so glad you stopped by to visit my blog.  Thank you for coming, and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year.  My thanks to Stacy West of Buttermilk Basin for coordinating the entire Primitive Christmas Blog Hop!  What a great event this is!!

Be sure to visit Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm tomorrow.  
I can hardly wait!  

Happy Hand Stitching to Everyone!