Monday, November 05, 2018

Tumelo Trail For the Finish!


I miss these girls already!

The Excitement of driving 5 hours to Ripley, West Virginia last Wednesday, the happy arrival of quilters on Thursday morning, bright and early – setting up for 4 days of workshops ahead.

Thursday afternoon it was pedal to the metal as everyone set in to sewing Box Kite from the Addicted to Scraps book, followed by an evening lecture open to the public.

Friday morning they were up and at it bright and early for our Talkin’ Turkey workshop from String Fling – and more evening and into late night sewing.

You know how retreat goes – get in as MUCH machine time (And talking and snacking!) as you can -

Saturday morning…..well….some slept in, some straggled in later, but the machines were still running and blocks were happening in our Tulip Fields workshop also from String Fling.  Some of those Tulips were taking their time to bloom, and some required an afternoon nap! LOL!


Oh Sunday, you kicked our hind ends!

But still so many wonderful blocks!

I’m glad we saved a nice and relaxing easy scrappy one for the last day.  Some folks had long drives and needed to head out at noon, others – started packing up around 2pm after lunch – just finding themselves retreated-out and running on empty.


Confession time - I set my alarm on Saturday night believing that my phone would "instantly" change to the new time, falling back an hour as it always has done.

The alarm went off, I got up, got dressed, ate my breakfast, headed in to town to set up my morning mobile office at McDonald's where I had wifi for the laptop.  But I never hooked my phone up to that wifi. 

I got the blog post out, answered emails, sent off some other important stuff that needed taking care of (The office stuff doesn't stop simply because I am on retreat - I just have to squeeze it all in before class starts) and closed my laptop.  I got back in the car, drove 5 miles back to retreat.

I walked into the sewing room to find it empty except for a couple of other quilters.

What the heck?  It's 9:20 and we were supposed to start at 9:30am!

It was then I looked at my phone that had now connected to the measly wifi in the sewing room.  OOPS.  It was only 8:20.  Not 9:20.

My phone never fell back an hour, because I had no cell service until I got back from town!  Oh well - better early than late!


First things first – sew ONE strip set and measure it.

If it doesn’t measure what it should, FIX THE SEAM ALLOWANCE.

Nine-patches have a lot of seams.  And so easily they can turn out a different size than the half-square triangles they are being matched with – so we pumped up the fine-tuning of technique to make sure that things were coming together nicely.

We will go over this during our upcoming Good Fortune mystery as well, but you can start practicing now.  Patchwork is ALL about the unit size, and the seam allowance is only the vehicle that gets you there.  It isn’t the only thing to measure.  In fact, measuring your seams tells you NOTHING – you have to measure the unit to tell you if the seam you are sewing with is doing its job.

SAVE TIME AND ENERGY – For these nine-patches we paired a strip set for row 1 with a strip set for row 2 with right sides together and cut “SOME” matched sets ready to sew – no matching time, and half the cutting time when done this way.

Because we wanted to build variety quickly, don’t cut too much of the same thing – take the strip set tails and match them with something else so you are building variety while you cut.

Adding a different row 3 to these already matched pairs after sewing will increase the scrappiness without a lot of time or effort wasted.

Seams that press up and fold over other seams can add a lot of bulk – and the height of the seams as they press up and over the thread can also be a unit-shrinker.


Spin Seams where you can!

See the little “four-patches” in the pressing of these nine-patches?

They eliminate all of the bulk from the middle that can shrink up a nine-patch in size. The trick is in knowing which way they need to spin.  Some practice will have you spinning in two directions at once with no snipping, clipping, or cutting of anything. 

But OH, how flat!  And it is amazing how a nine-patch that is “just a hair short” of reaching its unit size will instantly measure fine once those seams are dealt with in this way.

Things to watch for – KNOW what unit your nine-patches are going to end up next to when you do this.  Ultimately seams need to play nice with their next-door neighbors, and if I were putting this next to something where seams ended up fighting each other, I’d have to deal with the seams on either unit a different way to make them behave.


Half square triangles and nine-patches – a definite favorite!


A lot of laughter coming from the giggle corner!


So well done!


And I spy Good Fortune paint chips in the house!


There were also not just one, not just two, but THREE Bonnie’s in the room!

(This never happens – it’s so rare to have more than one!)

We were three times lucky to be in such good company.

You’ll find the rest of our last day’s workshop fun in the video below.  Click to play:

It was a retreat to remember - and because it was within driving distance, I'm planning on coming back in October of 2020!  That gives them 2 years to finish 4 UFOs started this weekend.  Better get sewing, girls!

We were done and packed up by 4pm – and instead of staying the night and driving home today – I made the executive decision to just load it up and go home and be in my own bed by 9pm.  

There was supposed to be rain coming in overnight, and that brings a lot of fog and hazardous conditions to the mountain areas with low visibility and slick spots on roads.  I also thought that Sunday night driving might not have as many semi trucks on the road, and I am glad that I made the choice to come home early.

On the home front:

I received some really good news yesterday - 2 of the 6 windows have been replaced at the Quiltville Post Office in Virginia! 4 more to go. We are hoping they will be done by next weekend.

Then some painting and some flooring and I can start really moving my mail order side of things into my new space and out of my dining room.

I have one more teaching gig this year - I leave Thursday for Indianapolis. And then we head straight into Thanksgiving time and the release of part 1 for our Good Fortune mystery!

Also happening in an extremely big way, the release of my new book String Frenzy is right around the corner. I plan on opening pre orders as soon as I know they are on the truck headed this way. Likely about the time I put my dad back on a plane bound for Arizona when Thanksgiving weekend is over.

Thank you for bearing with me while all of these big things are swirling around. It's not easy keeping all of these plates spinning!

This will be our first major holiday without Mark and that feels a bit overwhelming, too. Emotions are on a roller coaster.

Today I start filling the more than 400 orders that started flooding in the morning I left for West Virginia. I will get as many out as I can before I leave for Indianapolis, and resume when I get back. I thank you for your patience.  The Hubster is on a biz trip to NY and Jeff is working his landscaping job, so it is back to just being me here for a while.

More rulers are on order and I will enter them in the store when I get back from Indianapolis.

Doing what one person can do, the best that I can!


These two keeping me company!

November 05, 2018 at 06_15AM

Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Vintage coverlet found in Virginia.

Look inside yourself and you will find it!

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!


  1. Your quote is so true and something we would all do good to remember. Love your administrative assistants in your office! Thank you for a very memorable weekend! Have a good week!

  2. of course you are doing the best you can do... be easy with yourownsweetself...sounds as though you might be in a little bit of overwhelm... breathe darlin'... in and out,, btw what happened, who got, where are the scraps???? Cats in Carlsbad doesn't have 'em.. LOL <3

  3. Glad you had a fun, four day Retreat with workshops. Lol on the time change. No alarm needed to wake me up for Church. The Sun woke me early enough. Happy Monday!

  4. Looks like the kitties have fully adjusted to,living at your house!

  5. Thank you for all you do and the wonderful blog where you share your passion and talent also the talents of so many others.

    Thank you ,

  6. I love retreats. Nothing at all expected of you. Sew, sleep, eat! I go to at least 4 a year, nicely spread out between October and May. And I love spinning my 4 patches, which is a good thing, as I am still on the checkerboard leaders and enders - makes me feel like the Sorcerer's Apprentice! Will they ever end?

  7. Bonnie, you are rocking it all the way! You get more done on your off days than I do on my busy day! So glad to be part of your online family!

  8. I learned SO much about cutting accurately and seam allowances during the mystery last year. The quilts I've made this year have all been better because of the skills I learned---a big THANKS!

  9. Your amazing Bonnie, I don’t know know how you manage to fit so much into your days!
    I love the quilts from your workshops really pretty, those ladies work so hard and achieve so much with your guidance. I’d love to come to a retreat hosted by you one day at Quiltvilla, I fly to the US just for you lol.
    So chuffed your windows are being sorted it must be so exciting knowing that you’ll soon have your dining room back.
    It’s really nice that the two cats have now settled so well for you and are keeping you company.
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  10. the first holiday without someone is always hard... so sorry (hugs). One of these days I sorely want to come to a retreat you are at- it looks like so much fun. I am looking forward to Black Friday for your first clue. I never go out shopping if I can avoid it. Though I do try to spend some time with my husband who is the one traveling for his job in our family. Take care of yourself- we'd rather wait for you to recuperate than to see you so worn out that you decide you are done with us. (I may have to have my name put on a list for those who need an "extra" when your retreat is open for business.)


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