Row by Row Experience: Sew a Season

sew a season quilt

The theme for the Row by Row Experience was “Sew a Season.” Each quilt shop chose a “season” and created a pattern which you could pick up for free at each of the shops. My intention was to make a project from each of the quilt shops I visited, so 8 shops 8 projects. So far I had made a tote bag using the pattern from Blue Crab Quilt Co., and a pillow cover from The New River Fiber Co. Next up on my list was Creative Quilting Connection, located in Roanoke, Virginia. Their block was called, “Autumn in the Star City”.

The fabrics reminded me of the quilt pattern, The Grove, by Carolyn Friedlander.  I purchased it some time ago:

The Grove

I made four trees with the batiks, and of course they look like “Autumn.” Now I needed the other seasons: Summer, Winter and Spring and maybe Football Season because it’s always Football Season at my house.

During my Row by Row by Experience, I traveled across almost all of Virginia from the city to the valley to the mountains and to the sea. We visited Chincoteague, Virginia, an island on the Atlantic Ocean, and I got the kit from Quilts by the Sea. The fabric was perfect for my “Summer” row of trees:

quilts by the sea fabric

After making a few “Summer” row trees, I didn’t like having to add a border in between the blocks so I flipped them. The blocks are mirror images left to right anyway, so up and down seemed like the perfect solution:

season in progres

I had “Spring” fabric from the kit I purchased at Sew Biz, located in Radford, Virginia:

sew biz fabric

I liked the idea of white trees for winter, and I made “football season” in school colors: black, blue and white. I plan to hand quilt it.

sew a season quilt

Just a quick note on our trip to Chincoteague Island. We ate the most heavenly ice cream at The Island Creamery.

island creamery

Raspberry — my favorite!

Row by Row Experience: The New River Fiber Co.

dogwood pillow

The New River Fiber Co., located in Blacksburg, Virginia, was a great find during my Row by Row Experience. It had a modern vibe, and I just loved the “Spring” block they created for this “Sew a Season” shop hop:

The New River Fiber block

The photo, taken from their Facebook page, does not show how beautiful the fabric was. I bought the kit:

dogwood fabrics

The New River Fiber Co. had wonderful quilt fabric as well as lots and lots of yarn. They also had really soft pillow forms. I bought one and made a pillow with this quilt block.

The “dogwoods” were easy to make, basically a snowball block with one background corner missing:

almost a snowball

I made two big, one medium and two small “dogwoods.” I machine appliqued the centers using decorative stitches:

dogwood eyes

I played with the arrangement until it pleased me:

pleasing dogwoods

I initially did not have the “half” dogwood on the right side, but when I squared up the block it just seemed like that part needed a flower. I used the part cut from the top dogwood. Thank goodness for seam rippers.

I used the leftover fabric to make the back:

dogwood stripes

I added an invisible zipper, and it was done.

This pillow is feminine, and I’m going to use it in my small home office/corner.



This shop was worth the drive: 880 University City Blvd, Blacksburg, VA 24060.

Row by Row Experience: Blue Crab Quilt Co.

Blue Crab up close

As the summer winds down I am reflecting on my Row by Row Experience, a shop hop with over 1200 quilt shops from the US and Canada participating. The theme was “Sew a Season.” I traveled to eight shops in Virginia.

I was at one of my local quilt shops, Blue Crab Quilt Company, a few days after the shop hop began on July 1 and was purchasing fabric for the pattern, White Labyrinth by Zen Chic. I noticed the shop’s block for the Row by Row Experience:


I bought the kit (the pattern was free), but soon decided I wanted the blue crabs to pop against the background. And, I wasn’t going to make a quilt with this block. I used a solid navy for the crab and a white background to make a block for a tote bag:

BlueCrab block

The photo above shows where I “big stitch” quilted the block. I used fusible fleece on the back of the block. I marked it using Sewline’s fabric pencil. This is the best marking pen I have found. 

I adapted the pattern, Mini Bow Tucks by Quilts Illustrated. I made it longer. It’s more of a tote bag than a purse. I also didn’t add a pocket on the outside or inside the bag. I used cording to make the bow tucks on the side:

Bow Tucks

Nautical is very fashionable right now, and I’m loving this finished project:

Blue Crab finished

The shop hop ends September 2, so I still have time to visit at least another shop. I enjoyed all the shops I visited, and I have more projects in the works from each shop.

“Aerial” is done.


I finished “Aerial,” a pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.

This was the first time I used the method, low-fat quilting. I had purchased the book, Machine Quilting in Sections. Don’t Finish Another Quilt Until You Read This Book, to learn how to reduce the bulk of the quilt. And I’m happy to report it worked. I was able to quilt the quilt in sections on my sewing machine. The only problem I had was re-assembling the batting. I had to be very careful to get the pieces to join without overlapping. Using the 2-inch strips of fusible tape from Marti Michell, I was able to attach the two pieces without any trouble. You can’t tell the batting is pieced.

As I quilted, my free motion skills improved and my circles started looking much better:

Aerial close-up

I also like the back of the quilt:

Aerial Back

I had added an airplane to the back to go with the aerial theme:

Aerial airplane

My daughter loves the quilt and will be taking it back to college with her. I’m very happy she loves something I have made and wants to use it.

Mini Charm Challenge

Mini Charm Challenge Pocketbook

The challenge from Quilting Adventures quilt shop was to take a pack of mini charms and make something. The mini charm pack included only batiks:

I laid out the mini charms, and they had a water/ocean feel. One looked like a fish. I then attached them to some blue fabric in a wavy manner, using my machine’s feather stitch to applique them to three different strips of fabric:

Wavy batiks

After staring at it for awhile, I realized I would never hang this on my wall or use it as a quilt. Plan B emerged. I’d make a small pocketbook. I used instructions from May Chappell blog. I liked the finished pocketbook, and I took it to the Atlantic Ocean, Chincoteague Island, Virginia this past weekend:

Mini Charm bag

(The fish inspiration is located on the left side in the middle.) I like how the mini charms add interest with the piping across the front of the bag:

mini charm bag closeup

I added a small pocket inside the bag. The instructions did not include a strap, but I wanted one. I used the rest of the piping for that. I used embroidery thread to make the zipper pull/tassel.

mini charm bag inside       mini charm bag other side

There were a few snippets of mini charms left and I created a Project Pouch to store my Row by Row Experiences patterns. I’m planning some projects from my recent shop hop excursions. By the way, one of the shops, Quilts by the Sea, was located on Chincoteague Island, and this gave us a good excuse to visit there for a weekend getaway. More later on my Row by Row Experiences.

project pouch

Road Trip: ‘There’s No Place Like Home’.


The Wizard of Oz is the ultimate road trip. My husband and I took a road trip this past week to see our daughter in Southwest Virginia, traveling five hours by car. She’s working at The Barter Theatre this summer in the marketing department and taking summer classes at Emory & Henry College.


On any road trip, potty breaks are the most interesting. My husband says I have the bladder of a four-year-old. We stopped at Goose Creek Market. They are located off Interstate 64 in Fishersville, Virginia. They have donuts made fresh daily:

Goose Creek Market


After stopping in Fishersville, we soon entered one of the worst interstates in America for traveling because of the concentration of trucks and very few three-lane stretches. It is like avoiding Flying Monkeys. Our second stop was off Interstate 81 in Pulaski at the Exxon gas station. I did goof off some:

Pulaski Exxon


We arrived in Abingdon, Virginia, safely, and around 5:30 p.m., we took our daughter out to dinner. While there, my husband ran into a friend he hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. We haven’t lived in Southwest Virginia since 1997, but we still call it our “home” when anyone asks, “Where you from?”


The Barter Theatre is a wonderful place, and we saw The Wizard of Oz that night.

Outside The Barter Theatre

Inside The Barter Theatre

The creation of the tornado was inventive with the use of fabric and dancers. The Munchins were entertaining and just so darn cute. Of course before we see the Wizard I needed to pee and was grateful for the intermission.


My husband, waiting for me:

Husband waiting for the show to start

Overall it was a very fun experience. It was a great road trip with a happy ending. Spoiler Alert: Dorothy makes it back home from the Land of Oz.


The gift shop was packed with people the night of the performance so we went back the next day to buy a t-shirt and take some photos. This “cardboard toto” was located inside the lobby:

cardboard toto

On the other side of the street from The Barter Theatre, they had taken the LOVEworks art from the Virginia is for Lovers and added OZ to promote the show:


I modeled my new t-shirt:

OzShirtBack of Oz shirt

We eventually made our way home. It was a great road trip with a happy ending.

Two Machine Quilting Projects

I have two Machine Quilting Projects in various stages of completion.


I previously posted about my first attempt at low-fat quilting, and I’m about one-third of the way completed on the Aerial quilt:

I'm trying to make circles but I'm struggling once the circles start to get bigger.

I’m trying to make circles but I’m struggling once the circles start to get bigger.


In the middle of working on the Aerial quilt, I agreed to make a “boy” quilt for the charity, Margaret’s Hope Chest, a quilt-a-long hosted by Crazy Mom Quilts. The pattern was a rail fence:

I used all scraps. Each strip is 2.5" by 6.5".

I used all scraps. Each strip is 2.5″ by 6.5″.

I had some “robot” pieces left over from another “boy” quilt I made.

robot print

I was inspired to create a “robot” for the back and to use a “circuit board” for the quilting:

rail fence circuit board

I used orange thread in the bobbin.

I used orange thread in the bobbin.

I really like how this looks.

I really like how this looks.

I’m about one-quarter through the quilt with the “circuit boards.” It needs to be completed and delivered by August 1. Calling technical support?



It’s a wrap. I finished the quilt and shipped it. The final product was one of my favorites: