Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mind Games

We constantly hear that as we get older we need to exercise our brains. We should take a class to learn something new. We should work puzzles--crossword, Sudoku or Numbrix (I LOVE those! Anyone else like working them???). Even line dancing is great for the brain!

We quilters know that quilting is also excellent brain exercise, especially reading the pattern and figuring out how it is to go together!

As I was doing some scrappy piecing yesterday (working on a UFO--Hooray!), it dawned on me how great SCRAP quilting is for the brain. I found myself constantly asking "How old is this piece of fabric?" and "What did I use THIS fabric for?" and "Where did this scrap come from?" I remembered a quilt I had made for a long-ago friend and found myself wondering where and how she is today. I'll need to check up on her. Does working with scraps have the same effect on you?

Tomorrow I'm going to Wisconsin to check up on my elderly parents. I'll be gone for about a week, so I might not blog until I get back. I will be stitching, however. I already have my projects packed!

Happy Scrappy Stitching! Carol :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Great Little Trip!

My quilting buddy and I had a whirlwind two-day trip! We left early Friday morning with Shipshewana, IN as our destination. We both had shopping lists with us, but when we hit the quilt shops, we had a hard time sticking to those lists! Lots of things to tempt us. We certainly helped the Indiana economy as we filled our heads with new ideas and filled the car with lots of fabric! :) Friday evening we showed off our purchases as we met with some of my Fort Wayne quilting friends.
The Gathering of Quilters on Saturday was our real destination. There weren't the 1000 quilters that they were planning for, but there were over 600 quilters in attendance! The farthest one came from St. Louis, MO. It was a fun day--a chance to renew acquaintances, hear a great talk from Kaye England, do some more shopping of the vendors, and view quilts on display made by area quilters (including some great ones made by MEN!). From time to time during the day there were "bed turnings"--various quilt groups put together 10-12 quilts on a certain theme. The quilts were stacked on a bed. One-by-one they were held up from the bed and talked about. We especially enjoyed the one that featured 1920-1940 era quilts.
When it first began, the Gathering was meant to be a way for quilters in Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan to connect and share ideas. I was disappointed in the "sharing" aspect this year. Part of the day's activities were events like Show and Tell, Charm Square Exchange, and a Block Exchange. With over 600 quilters attending, I expected LOTS of show and tell. I took 2 quilts to show, but in all, I think fewer than 40 people had things to show! I am really into using charm squares right now, so I made up 8 packets of charm squares to exchange, excited to get a new variety of fabrics to use in my quilts. So few people brought charm squares to exchange that I came home with 5 of my own packets! And I saw very few blocks turned in for the block exchange. WHAT IS WITH THIS???? Was this event unique, or are quilters not SHARING these days??? I hope that is not the case, because sharing is a big part of what quilting is all about!!! Let me know your thoughts!
I'm off to sew...Carol

Thursday, March 19, 2009

National Quilting Day

What are you doing to celebrate National Quilting Day on Saturday? Are you or your quilting group doing anything special?

I'm heading to Fort Wayne, IN for the annual Gathering of Quilters. Organizers say they are planning for 1000 quilters that day! Wow! The event certainly has grown from its beginnings in Elkhart, IN in the early 1990s!

Stay tuned for a report on the event! In the meantime, Happy Stitching! Carol :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Off to the Quilter

Tomorrow my charm quilt goes to the quilter! I spent the afternoon getting the quilt top all cleaned up and pressed. I couldn't believe how many threads I had to trim from the back! Have any of you noticed that a lot of today's fabric seems to fray quite a bit? (If so, how do you handle this?) It seemed the more I trimmed, the more it wanted to ravel! I finally just gave up. I'm hoping any remaining threads won't show through once it is quilted. We will see.
Now that this quilt top is finished, I'm ready to move on. I've been thinking about my next design and am anxious to make a trial block. It is a string quilt of sorts, and I am using some of the 1940's and 50's fabric I have collected. I have my templates made and some fabric cut--ready to sew! It looks good on paper--hope it works out with fabric! Happy Quilting! Carol :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready To Tote!

It's done! My scrappy tote bag is ready to be "toted"! And it was made completely from scraps and leftovers I found in my sewing room. (I'm pretty sure the quilted muslin is at least 20 years old!) Carrying this bag around at quilt shows will be a fun way to advertise my work and my patterns!

Right now I'm fighting a cold, so not much actual sewing is getting done. I'm doing planning instead. Once I feel better, I'll put the final touches on the charm square quilt I've been working on. Then I can move on to the next project! My sewing machine is getting a real workout these days. Sew Much Fun!!! :)

Happy Scrappy Quilting! Carol :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Out of Focus!!!

Do you ever have one of those days when it is hard to focus on just one task? Today has been like that for me. And it started even before I got out of bed! My head was spinning with new design ideas and new ideas for the designs I'm currently working on! I had to grab a pencil and some paper and write things down before I forgot them!!!
The other day I told you I had 3 projects going. Well, I finished the tote bag, but I looked around at my sewing area, and I actually have 5 projects going! No wonder I find it hard to focus! Sometimes I just need to fold up a few projects and put them out of sight in order to relax a bit. Can anyone relate?
How I envy those people who start one project at a time and don't begin another until it is completely finished! But I know I'll never be like that. I'll always have UFOs. That's just me!
I'm sewing the rows together on my small charm square quilt and I think I have the design worked out to my satisfaction. A picture will be coming soon.
Back to the sewing machine! Hope you are having fun with your stitching today! Carol :)
P.S. If you need some new ideas for scrap quilts, check out my patterns at Search under "Carol E. Loessel"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Border Design Problem Solved!!! Hooray!

Just wanted to share my excitement with you! The border design I've been trying to figure out has come to me! No, not in a dream (although a lot of new ideas do just appear in my head!). I used a technique that helps me get a good idea of what the final design will look like, without sacrificing any of the fabric I'm using in the quilt.
I cut my shapes out of construction paper and lay them on the quilt top! In the photo, both of the the light green leaves and the red circle are construction paper. The colors aren't exactly right, but at least they are in the right color family, so I can truly "see" the design. This works especially great for applique.
Yes, I have a collection of construction paper scraps, too! But if YOU don't, packs of assorted colors of construction paper can be purchased anywhere you would buy school supplies. Give this idea a try next time you are trying to figure out a design or a color scheme. I've even used it to do paste-ups of pieced blocks when deciding on block size or color placement.
Back to stitching...Carol :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a beautiful day today!

Wouldn't you know it? The one day that I have a large block of time in which I can sew turns out to be the warmest (60 degrees+) and most beautiful day we have had all year! The kind of day we have been waiting for! I couldn't stay inside! I took a nice long walk this afternoon and realized that it is starting to smell like SPRING!
All was not lost, however. I got up early this morning and was able to get quite a bit of stitching done before I was "called" outside! And I went outside at a time when I needed to do some thinking and planning. I don't listen to music when I walk. I tried that once, and the wind noise in my ears was louder than the music coming out of the ear buds! So, I use that time to meditate. Today I needed to figure out the next steps of some projects, and by the time I got home, I was ready to sew again!
I'm currently working on 3 different projects--two quilt tops and a tote bag. I came across the leftover scraps from my Shoo, Flies! quilt (pictured above, pattern available, 56" x 76") and decided to use them (and some leftover quilted muslin I found in another box) to make the tote bag. It's turning out pretty cute! I just have to add the handles (for which I dug in my strips box!). I'll post a picture of it when I have it finished.
The two quilt tops are progressing. I'm designing the border for one of them and appliqueing flower centers for the other before putting the blocks together. The rainy weekend they are predicting means I can applique while watching basketball games and not feel like I should be doing something else!
Today I sent off to Pattern Peddlers a supply of my patterns #11-14. So, by next week at this time, you should be able to see my entire collection at their website: . Just search under "Carol E. Loessel". It's a site where quilt shops can order patterns. If you see one you'd like, you can ask your quilt shop to order it for you, or you can purchase from me via e-mail ( I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about any of the patterns via e-mail, also.
Back to work for me...Happy Scrappy Quilting!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Every day I learn a bit more!

I have been going on the Quilt With Us community for the past couple of days now and each day I make a new friend and find something new to do there. It is fun! But how the time flies!

I got quite a bit of the embroidery done on my latest quilt--I hope to finish it up tomorrow! I really would like to get a couple of new patterns written and published soon. I am planning on attending some big quilting events in the next few months and it would be great to have some new designs to show off! Guess that means more sewing and less chatting on the computer! We will see!

As you can see, I figured out how to add pictures to my blog! This is the very first pattern I published, called "Now Starring: Leftovers". I had fun piecing my scraps together and then cutting them into squares to form the centers of the Variable Star blocks. (Finished quilt measures 52" x 78")

I really enjoy writing and publishing patterns. It is kind of like scrap-booking. I know that if I weren't really into quilting so deeply, I would be a scrap-booker. When I taught elementary school, I thoroughly enjoyed creating bulletin boards!

Enough of this! I need to get back to my stitching! Hope you are working a project that you enjoy! If you would like to purchase this pattern, please e-mail me ( for the details. Happy Stitching! Carol :)