Sewing With Friends

Friends getting together to sew makes for a super fun weekend.  Take a look at some of the silliness and fun at last year’s Ucross Quilt Retreat.  There’s definitely some serious work, some goofing off, some collaboration and some playtime.

Isn’t this parade of elephants adorable?

Late at night is the ever-popular and hilarious fat quarter game:  Left, Right, Center.  I actually won!  — piles of fat quarters, which I (selectively) shared with the “losers.”  What a fun activity for crazy friends to do together!



Ucross 2018

The end of this week is a special weekend that my friends and I look forward to every year — the Ucross Quilt Retreat.  To show you how much fun it is, I’m sharing some pics from last year.  The old ranch at Ucross is a beautiful setting, especially mid-winter.  Isn’t it gorgeous?


Challenge Improv

For my Color Challenge at the local quilt guild I decided to use some of the improv skills I had recently learned.  I started by choosing fabrics that matched the color chips I’d been given.

Then the plan was to make decisions on the design wall, little by little, before sewing them together.  You can see some of the ideas I tested.

The problem was that I started sewing pieces together before I was certain of the placement.  I had to do a lot of ripping out.  For instance, I decided the turquoise piece across the top (and in several other places) did not match, so I ripped all those out.

I also had the large cream-colored rectangles sewn in on the right before deciding to add slashes, and had to rip one out, along with everything around it.

I also had to rip out a lot on the left when I decided not to use the full blue piece.  But it all worked out eventually.  Here is the finished piece with the corresponding paint chips.

I had learned how to make a no-binding finish, so that is what I did with this small wall hanging.  I love it!  Next time, I hope I can make more definitive decisions while it’s on the design wall!



They Took the Challenge

Here are some of the quilts from the Color Challenge at my quilt guild.  Each one was placed on a table with a number next to it so we could vote for most creative, and best of show.

Following is a sampling of some of the projects, along with the paint chips showing what colors they were supposed to use.

Here are the winners — Most Creative:

Best of Show:

Congratulations to all participants!  I’ll show my finished piece in the next blog post!

Color Challenge

Our local quilt guild had a fun project for us last year–a Color Challenge. We were each randomly given an envelope with three paint chips inside.  These were colors we would need to use in some type of quilting or craft project.  A beautiful example was provided on the table for reference.

Several people immediately started trading colors when they saw ones they didn’t want to use, but I decided not to “cheat.”  No trading.  I had to work with the colors I received, which were not ones I would normally sew with, but that was the point of the challenge.  Thankfully, we had several months to come up with something.  These are the colors I had to work with.

I put it off for several months.  In the meantime, my friend Kathleen had been in and out of the hospital several times.  She had nearly finished her block and called to ask me to complete it for her by adding the borders, quilting it, and sewing on the binding.  I was very willing to help.  This is Kathleen’s beautiful, finished block.  I quilted flowers on each corner and hearts around the edges.

It was ready in time for the big “reveal” at quilt guild, and Kathleen asked me to show it to others, since she wasn’t able to come.

Isn’t it pretty?


Improv Fun

The second quilt I started at Quilt Wyoming with Rayna Gillman as the teacher is one I call “Improv Fun,” because that’s what it was.  The rules for the class included “no rulers” and “no patterns.”  Here is the previous post about the class.

I came home quite inspired and made several more blocks and started placing them on a design board.  I had no idea what shape the quilt would take.  I tried them straight and wonky and decided on the latter.

Then I had to try to figure out how to put sashing between each block.  It took a while to figure it out, but I did.

I did have trouble trying to plan how to quilt it though, so I took it to my friend, Virginia, for quilting.  She did a wonderful job as always.  I’m super happy with the result!

Town Hike

My final featured “hike” of the week is one I took in downtown Buffalo.  A friend had recently posted this beautiful shot of Buffalo covered in snow, silent and empty.  This inspired me to take a walk through the downtown area, though the snow had pretty much melted by then.

First I passed the beautiful display of local military service men and women.  Many friends are named here who serve presently or in the past; I’m grateful to them.

Then I passed our wonderful museum with its authentic log cabin in front (childhood home of a friend of mine that has since passed away).

This statue of local hero Nate Champion was created by another friend, D. Michael Thomas.  Nate lost his life in 1892 in the Johnson County Cattle War.

When Mike creates his amazing sculptures, he always uses local subjects (that we know) to pose for him, such as the one below (although I never can remember which identical twin was used for the subject) — this wonderful sculpture also represents events from the Johnson County Cattle War.

On my town hike I passed three more historical sites — the local war memorial, the 1884 courthouse (former site of the Lone Star Dance Hall) and a bell from the original city hall.

Now I was on our quaint but beautiful Main Street.

I popped into the historic Occidental Hotel for a moment to see the Christmas displays, which were being placed by friends David and Jackie Stewart at the very moment I arrived.  Dave was also celebrating his special new tune, “True Grass” making number one on the chart this month!  Congrats Dave!

The tree is much too big to get in one photo, but hopefully you can imagine its beauty.  All our local Christmas trees are brought down from our mountains.

I love the old (and labeled) ornaments in the windows.

Then I went outside and took a photo of the Occidental across the Clear Creek bridge.

All the downtown shops are looking great this holiday season (Margo’s Pottery, Prosinski Art Gallery, the Sports Lure, E.T. Quilts, Treasure Chest Antiques and others). This is a great place to shop and dine (check out the outstanding restaurants — Sagewood, Pie Zano’s, Up in Smoke, the Busy Bee and The Virginian!)–all owned and run by dear friends.

I also popped into the Longmire shop that sells a lot of souvenirs from the show, as well as western wear and accessories.  I love the fact that this old building still has the original floor with many holes drilled in it during the historic 1912 flood.

I paused to admire some great murals made by friends, Marchel, Jenny and others.

I turned and went west along Clear Creek past the Occidental, and ran into another friend — Ed — who walked with me for a while as we discussed his new job transporting disabled kids around town by school bus.  “It was a God thing,” he said, being able to take over the job from someone who had quit.

I concluded my short walk at another bridge that crosses Clear Creek, and made note of the fascinating historical sign next to it.

Wow, we live in a wonderful, historical area of this country, and have great friends all around!  I’m thankful for our beautiful home town and for all the friends that we see from day to day who contribute to making this a great place to live!  When I was a young girl growing up in the suburbs of Kansas City, we used to tease my mother for growing up in small-town Kansas.  Now I know how very special these places can be.

Over the weekend we enjoyed the annual Christmas parade, which followed free chili and hot drinks in Crazy Woman Square.  Various shops opened their doors and provided snacks and drinks, too.  Note the local steel drum band playing beautiful Christmas music!  Local community friends are wonderful!