Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Winner x 2!

I've been on Instagram for almost 3 years. Over that time I've liked, commented, tagged and reposted hundreds of giveaways - all with no success - until now. Last week, I won not one, but two giveaways! I'm beyond excited! Today, I received the first one - Quilt-Pro 6.

Quilt-Pro is design software for quilters from Quilt-Pro Systems. It designs blocks and quilts. You can add fabrics to those designs. Then you can print strip piecing charts, foundations and templates, and fabric yardage estimates. Hmmm, if it only did the sewing too, maybe I'd get caught up on some of my projects!

Seriously, I am so extremely appreciative for this gift and can't wait to learn how to use this software. Thank you Quilt-Pro Systems!!! Now to find some time to do some binge watching on Quilt-Pro's You Tube Channel and start creating some quilty goodness! Click on the link and check out their how-to videos too!

Who else uses Quilt-Pro? Help a girl out and share any tips or tricks you know! Thanks!



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Work In Progress & Favorite Tools

This past week I spent some quality time at my sewing machine playing catch-up on my quilt guild row quilt challenge. Before the hubby and I left for our snowbirding jaunt to Texas in January, I had completed the first month's row - a 9-patch medley. But while we were traveling, my quilt guild met twice, drawing double pinwheels for month 2 and bear's claw for month 3.

thistle thicket studio, double pinwheel blocks, sewing, quilting
The double pinwheels went together quickly, thanks to my Bloc-Loc half square triangle ruler. This ruler is great for squaring up half square & quarter square triangle blocks.

thistle thicket studio, bloc-loc ruler, block lock ruler, double pinwheel block, sewing, quilting
To square up my double pinwheel blocks, I took each quarter section and laid the Bloc-Loc ruler with the center grooved edge on my half square seam (top arrow) and lined up the 3 1/2" mark on the edge of the ruler on the quarter square seam, making sure that the corners of the markings along the 45 degree angle lined up on my quarter square seam (bottom arrow). When everything was lined up, I trimmed the top and right side of the square.

thistle thicket studio, bloc-loc ruler, bloc lock ruler, double pinwheel blocks, sewing, quilting
Then I rotated my block 90 degrees and placed the ruler's center groove on the half square seam again. I lined up the two trimmed edges on the appropriate size markings - mine were 3 1/2" - and trimmed the other two sides. FYI - after I took this photo, I realized I didn't get the top trimmed against the ruler, so I trimmed it again. When you line the groove of the ruler against your seam, it straightens and flattens out the block and gives you perfect half square triangle blocks every time (if you trim correctly!). I just love my Bloc-Loc ruler! (no affiliation here, just a fan!)

thistle thicket studio, Brenda Henning, triangulations, sewing, quilting, paper piecing, flying geese, half square triangles
For the bear's claw blocks, I used another one of my favorite tools - the Triangulations CD by Brenda Henning (again, no affiliation). From the CD, you can print paper piecing patterns for half square & quarter square triangles & flying geese blocks in a multitude of sizes. It's great if you are making lots of blocks using the same fabrics.

thistle thicket studio, half square triangle blocks, triangulations, paper piecing, sewing quilting
Once I printed my patterns, I determined how many blocks I needed and cut my two pieces of fabric 1/2" larger than the pattern. With the two fabrics right sides together, I pinned the pattern on top, then sewed on the dotted lines. I used a smaller stitch to help perforate the paper to make it easier to remove.

thistle thicket studio, half square triangle blocks, triangulations, paper piecing, sewing, quilting
Once all the dotted lines were sewn, I cut the half square triangles apart along all of the solid lines.

thistle thicket studio, paper piecing, half square triangle blocks, sewing, quilting
In no time at all, I had a pile of half square triangle blocks! I pressed my blocks open, then removed the paper.

thistle thicket studio, bear's paw block, sewing quilting, row quilt
With those little 1" half squares done, the rest of the bear's paw blocks went together easily. Since my first two rows are each 6", I decided to make my bear's paws 3" then added a 1" strip on two sides of the block so that the blocks were offset along the row, and measured 4" finished (all measurements mentioned are finished sizes). Hopefully it looks like the bear's paws are walking across the quilt. Making the row 4" also adds some variety in the size of the rows and will help keep the quilt from getting too long.

thistle thicket studio, row quilt challenge, 9 patch blocks, bear's paw blocks, double pinwheel blocks, sewing, quilting
With my three rows complete, I'm caught up on this challenge. I am putting a 1" sashing between each row to separate them and I think it helps tame the busy look of the quilt.

thistle thicket studio, paper piecing patterns, flying geese, sewing, quilting
Actually, I was caught up on this challenge for only a day. Yesterday my quilt guild had a sew day and drew for the next row - flying geese. I came home & designed a paper piecing pattern for a 3" row with geese (that really look more like triangles) that will fly across the row in a wavy pattern. This is my first foray in designing my own paper piecing pattern, so hopefully it will work. Fingers crossed!

What's under your needle this week? I'd love to hear about your works in progress and your favorite tools, so share away!



Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Annual Trek To Magnolia Market

After five weeks as snowbirds in the Hill Country of Texas, the hubby and I arrived back to the farm a week ago. Unfortunately, we brought the crud home with us. I literally crawled out of the car and headed for the couch and haven't moved much since. This has really kicked my booty and still far from 100%. I've been passing my time sleeping, binge watching Fixer Upper shows, and coughing, coughing, coughing.

Speaking of Fixer Upper (you know, that show on HGTV with Chip and Joanna Gaines), one of the highlights of our time in Texas was making our annual trip to Waco to visit Magnolia Market. I've been a fan of the show from the very first episode and started planning my first trip to visit their shop soon after.

My first visit was to their little shop on Bosque Boulevard during the first season of the show. A tiny little shop in the front portion of a converted house. Through the window of their office, I could see Chip on the phone. A couple of their kids were running around the shop, and Joanna was in the backyard sorting a truck of décor items on the back driveway. As we left, Joanna said "Hi Honey!" as we walked by. Not wanting to interrupt her and seem like a stalker, I waved and walked on. To this day I kick myself that I didn't ask to take a selfie with her because I'll probably never get the chance again.

On our return trip to the little shop on Bosque a year later, we definitely were greeted with larger crowds, a tent in the parking lot with more merchandise that the little shop couldn't hold, lots more employees running around, a food truck or two, and sadly, no Chip and Joanna sightings. We also stopped by Harp Design Co. on this trip to check out their shop too (no Clint sightings either) and a couple of antique stores that have been featured on the show.

Our third trip to Magnolia Market was the second day (or maybe third) the Magnolia Silos were open. Even though they hadn't officially announced they were open, there were crowds of people who couldn't wait for the grand opening to get a peek at the new store. Although larger than the shop on Bosque, I was really surprised at how small the new shop was, inhabiting just a small portion of the front of a very large metal shed. Although the shop was finished, there was lots of construction happening outside on the grounds as they prepared for their first 'Silobration' in a couple of weeks.

This trip saw lots of changes at the silos. The new Silos Bakery was open and a beautiful courtyard had been built. A row of 8 or so food trucks lined the back of the property with several covered picnic tables and the artificial turf was full of high school kids who were spending their lunch break playing and hanging out. There was a garden area that employees were just starting to prep for the new growing season and a garden shed with seeds and other merchandise for those with a green thumb. The shop had been expanded and filled more of the big shed, featuring Joanna's new paint line and Chip's corner with merchandise for the guys. Buses pulled up regularly dropping off or picking up people visiting the silos. A neighboring church and businesses were selling parking spaces in the surrounding blocks. And a block from the silos, another décor shop with a very similar style and merchandise has opened up called The Findery.

It's been fun to follow Chip and Joanna as they've made the most of their 15 minutes of fame (I know, its been way more that 15, but that's the saying). And I look forward to my next trek to the Silos to see what new things they come up with. In the meantime, I think I better get back to my couch and binge watch more Fixer Upper.



Thursday, February 16, 2017

TBT: The Boys In Blue Quilt

This week's 'Throw Back Thursday' quilt is one that I made for my son-in-law in 2009. I've shared before that he is a police officer in Texas and when I came across this fabric during one of my quilt shop hopping trips, I had to buy it. I originally had made it for him to carry in the trunk of his patrol car, but he didn't want it to get ruined, so it is displayed on a quilt rack along with other quilts in my daughter and son-in-law's home. And this past year, it served as a tree skirt for his police-themed Christmas tree.
Thistle Thicket Studio, police quilt, boys in blue quilt, yellow brick road quilt pattern

Unfortunately, I've never been good at documenting my quilts (part of the reason I started this blog) and, therefore, I have no idea what the name of this fabric collection or manufacturer was. I am trying to do better, although I'm still terrible at putting on labels! I am pretty sure, though, that the quilt pattern is Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs.

I put an off-white stop border around the center of the quilt and wrote my son-in-law's name and police department name in the border, repeating it all the way around the quilt. I used a permanent gold pen/marker. It was quilted by a high school classmate of mine with an all-over star and loop design.
Thistle Thicket Studio, police quilt, the boys in blue quilt, yellow brick road quilt pattern

I'm sure some of you are wondering what is the purpose of these 'Throw Back Thursday' posts. My plan, once I have posted all the quilts I have made (or at least most of them as I'm sure I've given some away that I didn't get photos of), is to print my blog posts in a full-color book. There are several 'blog-to-book' sites, such as Blurb, LuLu, Blog2Print and Into Real Pages, to name a few. I'll be researching which will be the best site for me over the next few months.

Have you printed a book from your blog? I'd love to hear what site you used, the pros and cons, and any recommendations you have!



Thursday, February 9, 2017

TBT: Bird's Eye Quilt

I'm back with another Throw Back Thursday quilt. This quilt is one that started the quilting obsession for me. I learned to sew in 4-H as a child but didn't start quilting until I took a class featuring Eleanor Burns' rotary strip cutting technique back in the early 90's. This quilt also became my first official UFO as I tucked it away after the class with it only half finished and forgot about it.
Thistle Thicket Studio, Eleanor Burns, Bird's Eye Quilt, Quilt In A Day

Nearly 15 years later, I dug it out and finished it to give to my daughter as a housewarming gift in 2007. It took several years to finally finish my first 'quilt in a day' quilt. Thank goodness they don't all take me that long!



Thursday, February 2, 2017

TBT: All Stars Quilt

In 'Throw Back Thursday' fashion, I'm sharing an older quilt I made before I started this blog. I'm hoping to do a series of these throughout the year to record quilts that I've made in the past to create an online record of them. First up is this 'All Stars' throw.
Thistle Thicket Studio, all stars quilt pattern, quilts, quilting

I made this quilt five or six years ago when I was still part owner in a quilt shop. As a way to move older fabric, my mom and I made kits using Cozy Quilt Strip Club patterns. The patterns are great for scrappy quilts using 2 1/2" strips.  The quilt measures 64" x 76" and was very fast and easy to make. This quilt was made with an older line of 3 Sisters fabric from Moda, but for the life of me I can't remember the name and I couldn't find it online. I quilted this quilt with an edge-2-edge pattern called "Brocade Fans" that was a free pattern that came with our Gammill Statler long arm.
Thistle Thicket Studio, all stars quilt, strip club pattern, quilts, quilting

This is now one of my 'camper' quilts. It adds a cozy feel to the living room of our 5th wheel and I love the extra pop the aqua and pinky-red brings to the tan and brown color scheme in the camper.

I hope you don't mind strolling down my quilty memory lane as I document some of my older quilt finishes!



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Batman Meets The Lego Batman Quilt

Super heroes are rarely idle, and that goes for our little Batman. It took a day or two to track him down (he was out saving the world from the bad guys) and get him to stop long enough to pose with his Lego Batman quilt. But when he did, he posed in true super hero form. Only later, after he saw this photo did he realize that he forgot his yellow belt, so he ran into his play room to dig through his trunk of costumes to find it.
Thistle Thicket Studio, batman, lego batman, batman quilt, quilts, quilting

After a few minutes, Spiderman emerged from the play room and was off to cast his web over some bad guys on the trampoline. Never a slow day in the life of a super hero!
Thistle Thicket Studio, super heroes, spiderman

As you can see by the multiple holes in Spiderman's costume, my grandson loves his super heroes and lives in his costumes. I hope his Lego Batman quilt gives him just as many hours of joy in the years to come.
Thistle Thicket Studio, super heroes, spiderman