Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work In Progress Wednesday-#21.

Written by Laura Chaney Gerth, Daughter

This week for Work In Progress Wednesday I'm sharing work on my never ending project of making Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks. This is the block that's most often thought of as the "traditional" English paper-piecing block and is the one that got me hooked on on the technique. (And led to the technique in our book, Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories!)

Getting set up. Set up Netflix, grab some sparkling water,  and get nail polish to give myself a pedicure!

English paper piecing grandmother's flower garden

 In progress.
English paper piecing grandmother's flower garden

Finished flower. Yes, I was watching Mean Girls. Don't judge. Eventually I'll figure out what I'm going to do with all of them, but for the moment I'm just enjoying the process and taking the time to slow down each evening I work on this project.

English paper piecing grandmother's flower garden

What have you been working on lately? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tatting-An Introduction.

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

I was talking with my friend, Christina, about tatting when she asked me an interesting question:  Did I learn to embroidery and do needlework before I learned how to crochet and knit?  Yes, I did.  Her next comment was more fascinating and perhaps explained some of the problems I was having with my tatted samples.

She was informed by a professional instructor many years ago that if you learned embroidery/ needlework first, then you'd have more problems with controlling tension when you crochet or knit because of the little extra tug you tend to do with embroidery or needlework.  In my case, that was definitely true with my crochet and knitted work.  It appears to also apply to my tatted work!

My first tatted sample, as shown in an earlier post, was definitely very tight.  So it appeared that I would have to concentrate on not pulling those stitches so hard and leaving a bit more "space" between stitches. Perhaps a better explanation is being able to create every stitch as the same size and see every stitch clearly.


Breaking habits is much more difficult, and as more tatting posts appear, I think you may see an improvement in my work!  It certainly involves being extremely conscientious about stitch tension.  My ultimate goal is to make tatted samples  to display on the sides of our containers.  A few pieces of tatted jewelry may also appear - there certainly is some beautiful tatted jewelry shown on the internet.

I found patterns for Knazashi flowers and a butterfly (Stitches of Life Blog).  I made each of the patterns.

Tatting Knazashi flower and a butterfly

Lessons learned:  how to read patterns and working on controlling my stitch tension.

Momcat Monday
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Quilt Stores-Fabric Bliss.

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

Today I'm talking about my visit to Fabric Bliss. This cozy shop is found in the arts district in Denver, Colorado, and was the location of my needle tatting class.

Don't be surprised by its size - this boutique packs a lot into the space. I found fabric- 100% cotton and knits;  yarn; tatting thread/needles; patterns; and quite a few samples already completed, some ready to sell.

Fabric Bliss in Denver Colorado

There is a sewing area in the back where classes are taught and a small seating area in the front where various needlework classes are held. It's a delightful store and one to visit if you're in the Denver area.

Fabric Bliss in Denver, Colorado

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Work In Progress Wednesday-A Completed Project!

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

I'm excited to share a FINISHED project from one of my previous Momcat Monday posts-the Versatile Wave Interchangeable Purse! As I shared in that post I took this class at Cut Up and Quilt in the midst of working on the final proofs for our book, Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories. I definitely needed the break from the book, so this class came at the perfect time.

I like long straps, and these are the perfect length for me.

Versatile Wave Interchangeable Purse

You'll notice how the outside can be reversed to give a different feel - perhaps one casual and one dressy.

Versatile Wave Interchangeable Purse

Versatile Wave Interchangeable Purse

Here's a peek down inside where you can see the pockets along each side.

Versatile Wave Interchangeable Purse

What projects have YOU finished lately? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Missouri Star Quilt Company

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

I was driving to Paducah this year (for the 2014 Paducah Quilt Show by the American Quilter's Society) via St. Louis and realized that I could go through Hamilton, Missouri, home of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Mural in Hamilton, Missouri

It was truly an amazing experience. There are several stores along the main street, all with quilt fabrics! The thought was that by dividing up the fabrics into categories and setting them into their own space, the shopping experience would not be so overwhelming.

Missouri Star Quilt Company Sew Seasonable

Missouri Star Quilt Company

Missouri Star Quilt Company

Missouri Star Quilt Company

Missouri Star Quilt Company

I think they have succeeded with this type of presentation. Although Jenny Doan, whose YouTube presentations I always watch for her different ideas, was not in town, I was able to see where the taping was done and also noted her collection of irons around the perimeter of the room.

Jenny Doan studio, Missouri Star Quilt Company

If the other goal was to revitalize the town of Hamilton, Missouri, I think this store has definitely hit the mark!  Of course, I bought fabric - tough to resist with the number of mouth watering choices. And the small restaurant serving salads and scrumptious pies was also irrisistable.

Hamilton, Missouri

This town was also to be dear to my heart since it was the location of my first sales of Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories that I had just received from our editor at the American Quilter's Society 12 hours earlier.  But more about that in another post.

Missouri Star Quilt Company, JC Penny Sign

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Festive for Friday-Summer Lovin'

Written by Laura Chaney Gerth

We're in the full swing of summer now, and coming up on my one year anniversary of living in San Francisco. Summer in San Francisco is...interesting. It's VERY unlike the "traditional" summer that I grew up with in the midwest. Where Mom (in Omaha, Nebraska) is fighting the regular heat, humidity and bugs that come along with Summer, I'm breaking out my sweaters and drinking hot chocolate to try and beat the damp, foggy weather we're having here in San Francisco. 

One of the quotes we like to use out here is the one oft attributed to Mark Twain. 

Although this might not really be something Mark Twain ever said, it definitely has a ring of truth to it. My solution-visit the midwest a few times over the summer to enjoy the "true" feeling of summer! 
 "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
On my way to Minneapolis to visit my good college friend, Brandon, when I discover the wonder that is internet on airplanes! I spend the four hour flight working on blog posts (and checking Facebook, of course).

In-flight internet on Delta

If you follow me on Instagram (prairiesewn) you've seen this picture. As we sat outside to grill cheeseburgers I worked on a cube container from our book.

Sewing a cube container outside in Summer

And nothing says "summer" more in America than drinking a cold beer at a baseball game. 

Twins baseball game

We also got out on Brandon's motorcycle a few times. It was fun to ride around the countryside and see all the cornfields, something I don't get to see anymore in the city. I didn't actually get to drive the motorcycle, but it's still lots of fun to ride along behind. 

Laura Chaney Gerth on a motorcycle

And just in case you think I'm not being completely fair to California in the summer, here's a another instagram picture from earlier this summer when I went to Lake Tahoe for a weekend. This picture doesn't do it justice; it's absolutely gorgeous there.

Lake Tahoe in the Summer

What's made YOUR summer festive? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meeting Up with Marie Bostwick.

Written by Laura Chaney Gerth, Daughter

One the highlights (other than seeing Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories on the shelves, of course) of the 2014 Paducah Quilt Show was the opportunity for me to  spend a few minutes talking with one of my all time favorite authors, Marie Bostwick.

Marie Bostwick
Photo from

I first met Marie  six years ago at the very first American Quilter's Society Paducah Show that Mom and I ever attended. We signed up for her lecture and were even more excited to find out upon arrival at the show that she was also selling and signing books in the expo hall!

If you haven't read any of Marie's books, you should drop what you're doing and go buy one immediately. As a quilter, I first found her through the first book in her Cobbled Court Quilt Series,  A Single Thread.

A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick
Photo from

This book, as all her Cobbled Court books do, features a strong woman who turns to fabric, quilting and friends when dealing with a challenging time in her life. For me, this first quilt show was at the end of a tumultuous year due to a family medical emergency. I'd found and devoured all of the Cobbled Court Quilt books out during this period, as I strongly identified with Marie's characters and found comfort in her words.

When we first walked up to Marie in the expo hall, clutching my bag of books that I'd brought with me, plus her latest one that I'd just purchased for her to sign, I was a nervous mess. This was a celebrity! And then when I got to the front of the line I promptly burst into tears. Marie gave me a big hug and listened as I explained how much her books meant to me. She was so kind and full of grace, and made me feel like I was't completely crazy for having been impacted by her work.

Marie Bostwick and Laura Chaney Gerth
AQS 2010 Paducah Show
At the lecture the next day, Marie remembered me (and Mom!) and asked us to stay after the lecture for a few minutes where she introduced me to her daughter-in-law who is about my age. It was so nice to meet another quilter my age (this is also the year at the show where I was interviewed by the local newspaper for being one of the younger quilt show attendees), and again wonderful to have a few minutes to speak with Marie.

Marie Bostwick Paducah AQS Lecture

Over the last five years I've stayed in touch with Marie through social media (she posts hilarious anecdotes on her Facebook page) and have had the opportunity to see her again in person each time she's been able to make it to the Paducah show.

Marie Bostwick and Laura Chaney Gerth
AQS 2012 Paducah Quilt Show
It's been another tumultuous year for my family and we're all juggling lots of things. And so what have I done? I read the Cobbled Court series again. I actually have both the paperback copy and a Kindle copy of A Single Thread, so that even when I'm traveling and away from my bookshelves I always have something to read that comforts me and makes me feel like I'll get through the hard times.

We were lucky enough to meet up with Marie at the 2014 Paducah Quilt Show and spend a few minutes catching up and eating strawberry shortcake. I was so proud to talk to her about our book and about what a positive role her books have continued to play in my life.

Laura Chaney Gerth and Marie Bostwick
AQS 2014 Paducah Quilt Show
I'm planning a series of posts sharing some of my favorite quilting, sewing and crafting fiction books, so keep an eye out for more detailed reviews of all of Marie's books!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Threads.

Alex Vernonelli of Aurifil Threads at Country Traditions, Fremont, NE

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother.

One of my goals has been to learn more about threads used in quilting, embroidery and sewing.  An Evening with Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Threads at Country Traditions in Fremont, Nebraska, certainly enhanced my knowledge of thread production and tips on the best uses for each weight.

The evening started with a sip of champagne and a delightful selection of pastries and fruit smoothies.  This set the tone for a wonderful presentation by Italian born Alex Veronelli.

Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Threads, Country Traditions, Fremont, NE

He started with a video, taken at the production center for Aurifil threads in Saronno, Italy (about 20 kilometers north of Milano). The video was enhanced by Alex's comments.  It was amazing to see:  the number of steps required to produce that final spool of thread; the use of trained employees to carry out every step (automation is definitely limited); and the length of time - no speeding in this process - required to carry out the production.

Following the video presentation, Alex showed several quilts using Aurifil threads.  These samples provided the visual cues needed to see how each weight (50, 40, 28, and 12) contributed to the final quilt.

Aurifil Threads

For me, seeing the quilt with the four different threads repeating the same design in four quadrants really showed how these different weights contribute to the design.

Aurifil Threads

Best of all was the take home gift of spools of thread in the same color but all the different weights as well as wool thread and floss.  I can't wait to make my own sampler!  Be sure to check out their site to learn more about Aurifil thread.

Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Threads and Linda Chaney of Prairie Sewn Studios

Linda Chaney, Contain It! English Paper Pieced Style Accessories
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Quilt Stores-Golden Quilt Company.

On Wednesday Mom shared a snippet of her visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum,  and today she brings you a quilt store in the same town.

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

Not only is The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum found on the main street of Golden, so is the Golden Quilt Company. Of course, I had to check out this quilt store!

Golden Quilt Company

Nancy Swanton, the proprietor, and her staff were busy selling yards of brightly colored fabrics. Hopefully, they may also be interested in carrying our book, Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories!

Golden Quilt Company

Golden Quilt Company

Golden Quilt Company

At the back of the store is one entrance to Make It In Golden! The space was currently being renovated. Although separate from the quilt shop, the two owners appear to interact with each other. Perhaps I'll be able to return one day to teach a class on our containers.

Check out all of the quilt stores that we love!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

On today's post, we read about another part of Mom (and Dad's) road trip through Colorado this year and their visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

As we continued our journey through Colorado, leaving Denver and heading indirectly to Estes Park, we were thankful that the roads were clear and we could enjoy the beauty of the snow covered mountains.

Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Golden, Colorado

Golden, Colorado, is the home of The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. This museum is nestled in a small building on the main street of Golden.

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

Although the museum space is small, it held a special exhibit - Quilts Made by Men - that was outstanding. Quilts by John Plutchak, CJ Baar, David P. Charity, Timothy J. Latimer and Ricky Tims as well as others were on display. It's difficult to say which one was my favorite because the themes and quilting were so diverse.

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum Manifestations

What's your favorite quilt museum to visit?