Where Do All the Samples Go?

24 10 2015

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the samples at your favorite quilt shop?  At Ruth’s Stitchery if we make it, it is ours when it has run its course.  After working and teaching there for over four years I’m starting to have a fair collection of samples that have come home.

My house is finally decorated for Fall and a large number of samples have found a spot this year.


The table runner draped over the top of the ladder was a sample for the wool felt class I taught for 3 years.  (The pattern can be found at Nutmeg Hare.)  The quilts rolled in the egg basket in back weren’t samples, but were class projects at some point in time.


Another table runner from Nutmeg Hare found its way to the top of the buffet.


Here’s a better photo.


A table mat from Brandywine Design made it home, and onto the top of a can turned end table.


The turkey (pattern from The Wooden Bear) was just something to keep me busy while I went to watch my boys in a soccer tournament.  The penny rug below it coordinates perfectly, and that was a sample (the pattern is from Annelle’s Originals).


This Harvest Moon Penny Rug (pattern from Penny Lane Primitives) is sitting on my Martha Washington sewing cabinet.


This wall hanging found a home on the wall in the stairwell.  (Pattern from Wooden Spool Designs)


This pumpkin table runner which I used at one point in time to teach fused applique now resides on the kitchen table. (Pattern from Bloomin Minds)


Finally just a shot of the fireplace mantle.  No samples here, just playing around.  You’ve heard of time in a bottle, how about kids in a jar.  OK, I doubt they’d appreciate it, but they are away at college so I can do what I want.

Now you know where some samples go.

The Reveal

3 09 2015

Are you a person who likes a surprise, or like me do you read the end of the book long before actually progressing to that point?  I admire the people who sign up for a mystery quilt with little to no idea of what to expect for the end result.  I may admire them, but I’m not one of them!  I want to know what I am making!

All this leads up to how I am involved with a mystery quilt.  It’s simple, I choose them and lead them, so yes I do know the  end.  Today is the big reveal .  It is very different from the one we did last year, and the colors might not be for everyone. But, I love how it turned out.


I took the photo in a classroom with flourescent lighting so the colors aren’t true.

It seems there are other people wanting to “read the end before it’s time.”  I loaded the tutorial video for putting the whole quilt together last night and when I looked at 6 am there had already been 20 views.

We will be having another mystery beginning Oct.1 and today is the deadline for sign-ups at Ruth’s Stitchery.  Next year’s mystery is quilt blocks A to Z, the only applique is optional at the end, and the fabrics will be mostly from Civil War reproduction lines. Here’s a sneak peek–

First Thursday Sneak

Finally to give credit where it is due, the pattern for this year’s mystery was “Little House in the Garden” by Under the Garden Moon,.

First Thursday Mystery

3 07 2015

I’m running the First Thursday Mystery at Ruth’s Stitchery.  Yesterday I did a power point presentation rather than cutting up fabric for a block every half hour.  As I promised the group, here is that presentation as a pdf. Just click the title to view it. First Thursday Mystery Month 10

PS, in the event a measurement in the presentation conflicts with one in the pattern go with the one in the pattern except for the one I called out as incorrect.

4 05 2015

I continue to live life at a frantic pace, but rarely slow down enough to write about it lately.  This year I’m teaching Stitching Society at Ruth’s Stitchery.  Which means I’m making lots of little motifs and working on learning some new hand embroidery stitches well enough to teach them to others. I also spend a little time researching the history of various things — needles, thread, pins so far. It’s fun, but overwhelming at times.

This month for the small project I made the binder cover.


I chose to add pockets to the inside, they are not included in the pattern.


I promised my students I would upload my pictorial guide, I am including measurement because that information is available in the pattern. Here is the guide as a PDF Binder Cover.

First Thursday Mystery Reveal

17 09 2014

Based upon the number of posts I’ve made this year, one could assume all I do is going to work then come home and collapse at the end of the day.  And while that is often the way I feel, it isn’t in reality the case.

One of the things I’ve been doing over the last twelve months is leading a mystery.  Participants enrolled last fall and paid for the first block.  After that as long as they brought their finished homework on the next first Thursday of the month they got their new kit for free.

Big deal you say, all you have to do is construct the block each month.  Not so, I chose the fabrics each month, cut and packaged the kits for each participant (yes, the cutting was mostly at work, but eventually the packaging came home with me).  I had to make my sample (before class — what would I ever accomplish without deadlines?) as well as demo pieces.  If that wasn’t enough, I decided to do video tutorials for anyone that missed the demos in the store.  So if you’ve missed me, you can actually go watch the videos on the Ruth’s Stitchery Channel on YouTube.  I sound like I’m in a water tank because I removed background noise with software, maybe the background noise would be better.

I demonstrated several techniques that were not included in that pattern.  For instance, the pattern used starch and press exclusively, but I demonstrated starch and press, fused, freezer paper, facing and back basting applique over the months.

The mystery started in October 2013 and the reveal was this month.

First-Thursday-MysteryNow that it has been revealed, I can say the pattern is Blackbird at My Window by Under the Garden Moon.  I am starting another mystery in October.  It is the same concept, but a completely different quilt.  If you are interested, registration is open until September 21, 2014 at Ruth’s Stitchery in person or by phone.  The kits can be mailed, but in that case they are $5 per month plus postage.  Anyone that doesn’t come in on the day of the demos also must pay $5 for the new kit.

Polka Dot Pinwheel Quilt — Free Pattern

3 04 2014

I’m thinking Spring, although the several inches of snow today would make the season questionable.  I love polka dots and wanted to do something with a few of them.  Polka dots are a happy print, and  pinwheels are a happy block.  So I combined the two and added an alternate fabric to come up with this baby quilt.  I finished the binding this morning.


Once again I had a piece of fabric that was almost big enough for the back.  So I pieced scraps from the front to get it wide enough.  I don’t try to space my pieced strips evenly.  I just pick a spot and slice the large piece of fabric.  I added the squares and it still wasn’t quite wide enough (because there was a hole I had to cut around in the striped fabric), so then I really was down to the last of the fabric and just put together anything I could.

polka-Dot-Pinwheel-backThis will hang at the store and many quilters could figure out how to make it with out a pattern.  However, I did write directions and the hard copy will be free at Ruth’s Stitchery with a fabric purchase.  But because you are special, you can download it here by clicking on the title!

Polka Dot Pinwheels


Five a Day

2 04 2014

These adorable Needle Keepers were made from the pattern Fruit Salad by Wooden Spool Designs.  The ones in this first picture were my samples for the Monthly Wool Projects group I lead.  The covers for the apple and watermelon were made from hand dyed wool and pretty much everything else is from National Nonwovens Wool Felt.


Cathy decided to take these along with the pattern to the Quilt and Stitch Expo of Pueblo this weekend.  She decided to only take the Wool Felt and I said I’d make new samples for the watermelon and apple.  Now because I work best under pressure (insert a touch of sarcasm), I waited until this morning to start on them (they are packing up for the show tomorrow morning — hey I still had more than 24 hours).


I ran into the store this morning on my way somewhere else and grabbed the buttons.  I got a little bigger this time and I think I’m going to need to change out the one on the watermelon, but that can wait for later.

These needle keepers have several layers for storing your pins and needles.


I told my group these are fast and easy (not everyone agreed).  I made the first five in just one evening.


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