Sunday, March 24, 2019

Back Trackin’ To Sand Castles!

Oooooh!  We had so much fun in this class!

This day was full to the brim with two of my favorite things – 4-patches and string blocks.  Is there anything better??

When events double down on the number of workshops per day – things get a little bit out of whack in the posting of class updates.

I had a wonderful time leisurely flipping through and editing the class photos this morning from our Sand Castles workshop. I always wonderful when releasing a new workshop if it will be the right one that students are happy to sign up for – or was there something else from the book that they would rather have me present instead.

I mean, after all – this is “just” 4-patches and string blocks, right?

But there is SO MUCH MORE that goes on in class!

Pressing Matters!

Feed your strip pairs through the machine with the DARK fabric on top for easy pressing.  When possible, PRESS before you cut pairs apart – it’s easy to keep the continuous pressing going down the ironing board this way.

When pressed, sub-cut wherever there is a “join” in your piecing. (Where one strip ends and another begins.)

Chain, chain, chain baby!

But before you chain, ALWAYS DO A SEAM TEST!  Especially if you have hauled your machine to class, and you are sitting with a different table height, and not the same chair – you will be surprised how your visual perspective can change.  In turn that will change where you align your fabric to sew.

Always measure the WHOLE UNIT to tell you if your seam is correct.  Never just measure the seam allowance by itself.  There is much more going on with the fabric than the seam alone.

I just love the smiles of those happy to learn something new!

Save yourself HALF the cutting time, and have ZERO “match up time” by cutting 4-patches with two strip sets right-sides together, light on dark, dark on light – seams opposing and nested. 

Make sure the line you are using on your ruler is ON the fabric at the edge of the fabric, not sitting on the mat.  Line on mat will result in units that are too small.

Use a SMALL RULER for cutting across small strip sets for less shifting and better control.

When feeding 4-patches through the machine BE CONSISTENT with keeping the seam allowance on the top pair pointing up toward the needle. This will facilitate seams STAYING nested with no “gap” in between the seams in the middle of the 4-patch.

Before spinning all of the seams on the back of the 4-patch, be sure the pattern you are creating will WORK with seams that way.  In this quilt we DO spin the seams because 4-patches at the top and bottom of the center “lozenge” shape will be touching each other and the spinning of seams makes for wonderful nesting.

If you are making Idaho Square Dance or Moth in the Window from the Addicted to Scraps book – DO NOT SPIN THE SEAMS!  they will not work with the rail unit they end up next to.  KNOW YOUR BLOCK before you spin.

More info on SPIN THE SEAMS under the Tips & Techniques tab at the top of the blog.

Along with the DO’s for a beautiful workshop day at Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN – be sure you take the opportunity to get some fresh air at lunch, clear your head, feel the sunshine (and avoid the goose poop!) on your lunch break.  

Click to play:

String piecing in the afternoon!

It wasn’t long before our toasty/taupey string triangles were ready to be added to our lozenge centers!

Ooooh….just beachy!

Oh how terrific!

So happy to be Christina’s 30th birthday present!

I love how she plans ahead!

As it turns out it was a FABULOUS birthday for her – she and her hubby came all the way from San Diego to also spend time with his family while here.  Along with spending time in our classes, Christina won one of the grand prizes for the festival including a brand new Janome sewing machine – and a bunch of other stuff.  A very happy birthday indeed!

Great job, everyone!

I loved spending this time at Mountain Quiltfest with you!

Click to Play for the rest of our day:

Two more half-day workshops followed this one - Moth in the Window and Box Kite as half-day Saturday workshops.  Those photos are still to follow.

I left Pigeon Forge by 5pm last evening after packing what remained in the back of my van.  I pulled up the lane way to the cabin by 8:30pm – where I promptly assumed zombie status and after a long hot tub soak and one episode of Blue Bloods promptly hit the bed for what I hoped would be a long sleep.

I was up due to both bird calls and nature calls (lol) by 6am.  But it’s okay.  Waking up without an alarm is bliss compared to an alarm going off at 5am during a busy event.
I caught the sunrise for you just in case you missed it. 

Click to play:

The plan today is to do little more than NOTHING.

A bit of puttering at Quiltville Inn, and then a return trip to the Blue Ridge Movie Lounge where they are playing the original Dirty Dancing, digitally remastered.

There will be a nap in between.  And maybe I’ll get that Fireweed quilt off the floor.

I’ll head home after breakfast tomorrow and spend the day flipping my suitcase with what is needed for Louisiana on Tuesday – Mail order doesn’t need to be to the post office until closing time tomorrow.

And Tuesday – I fly off to New Orleans.

But today – there is no need to think of that.  Today is just for resting.

It’s a glorious sunny day and I am just going to soak it all in.

Quiltville Quote of the Day.

If your cup is empty you have nothing left to share.

Take time to fill your own vessel! 

Taking a break is not the same thing as giving up.

Give yourself a bit time before you jump back in.

And I shall do the same!

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!


  1. Enjoy a well deserved day of rest!

  2. yes yes yes, rest and recharge, soak in all that nature and family provide... rest is merely an abbreviation for restoration... and the best part of creativity is re-filling that cup over and over... Happy Sunday to all. Cats in Carlsbad CA

  3. Time for the essentials of rest and Slow Sunday Stitching :)

  4. Lol, Mother Nature wakes me up earlier than I want to be up a lot of the time. It's part of getting older. Enjoy your rest day!! Great tips on Spinning seams!

  5. See you Wed & Thurs! And not only do I get to be in class, I won the coveted slot of teacher's helper for Wed. Packed and ready to hit the road on Tuesday.

  6. Thank you Bonnie I love all the photos and the tips you are the best get some rest. Love you always

  7. Thank you so much, Bonnie, your photos and tips inspire me to get quilting! And I love reading about your experiences. You work very hard! So I'm glad you can rest. Love you!

  8. Sand Castles is one of my favorites from the new book - on the bucket list for sure. Lovely work, quilters!

  9. So fun to "attend" your classes! Lucky Christina! What a wonderful birthday presents...those blocks are wonderful...I have your book but can't make a "fun" quilt until I finish the last charity quilt. Love all of your books, Bonnie, and I hope to some day meet you at Quiltville Inn!

  10. Ladies I need tips on how you organise yourself to work with so much in such tiny spaces round your sewing machine , i fail fail fail when I try at home

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  12. Bonnie- I hope you have had a restful day. You deserve it, You have had a very busy/challenging week. Thanks for the tips on the spinning of the four patches, the walks in nature and the beautiful sunrise.

    Have a Great Week!

    Kasilof, AK
    Where spring is coming earlier this year. But we still have lots of snow and it is freezing again at night this week.

  13. Have a peaceful, restful day. You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing!

  14. I am loving the Sand Castles blocks - so fun and lovely... I so wish I could come to a workshop, but I'm close to done with my "Good Fortune" (need to finish the borders) and I do have a couple of your books. I guess that's the next best thing. I will get to work on those when I have a chance after getting back home again.

  15. As I read your blogs and watch the videos of your workshops, it makes me want to go upstairs and pull out one of your books and gather fabric to make one of your quilts! I have all of your books, but haven'y gotten "brave" enough to start a quilt from them. Someday....
    I was amazed that the geese didn't seem to be concerned with you walking down the path and talking about the. I don't know if our summer geese visitors will allow people to get so close!
    Thank you for inspiring me, just not tonight.


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