Top Choices for Our Favorite Irons and a Giveaway!

The holidays are coming and we have received a few questions as to what our favorite iron is. Sounds like it may end up on a few holiday wish lists!

We thought it would be fun to share our different opinions on the subject of irons with you.

Laura:  I’m not sure I’m the best one to weigh in on this discussion because I’m a bit of a pessimist on this subject. But, I’ll throw my two cents into the pot, just because I want to be honest with you. I have not really loved an iron since my first one, a Rowenta, which I purchased about 35 years ago. I still have it and use it regularly in the classroom. It’s been a workhorse and has all the qualities I want in an iron – weight, good steam, no automatic turn off and definitely no leaking or spitting gunky brown liquid that will stain my fabric.

Over the years I have purchased probably 20 or more irons for both personal and classroom use, ranging in price from $20 to over $100. Truth be told, none of them has lived up to my expectations and as a result, I find myself buying a new one in less than a year.

I am currently using this Rowenta, and certainly not just because it is red!  It gets the job done but since I’ve never been excited about the automatic turn-off feature, this is a negative for me. It seems to take a bit too long to heat up and will turn off too quickly. I seem to spend to much time waiting for it to be ready. Perhaps I’m just impatient.

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One of my local quilt shops recently purchased  Reliable irons for the classroom. I had not used this brand but I have really enjoyed using them. They are heavy in weight and put out a lot of steam. I will certainly consider this brand the next time I am in need of a new iron. Unlike my other irons, this one suggests using distilled water. If you are not familiar with Reliable irons, I suggest reading some of the online reviews. I always find it helpful to listen to the advice of other quilters when it comes to the tools we regularly use.

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It wouldn’t be fair to leave out my favorite small travel-type iron. This Rowenta is the perfect size for taking to class, I like how it fits in my hand and allows me to easily press small pieces; especially when preparing small fabric shapes for appliqué. I definitely use my main iron for the final stages of pressing but there is something about this iron that appeals to me when working with small shapes and/or pressing seams open.

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Pati: Like Laura, I have owned quite a few irons over the years. Some worked well, others were just not up to my needs and expectations. I owned quite a few Rowentas in a row because they performed so well. A few years back I was having trouble with my forearm muscle and decided to switch to an Oliso Smart Iron, thinking that it would help. I love it!

Oliso Steam Iron

My cheerful, yellow Oliso had Scorchguards technology, which actually lifts the iron off the board for you the moment you remove your hand. Which meant my arm got a much-needed rest. I have been very happy with the other functions of the iron, also. It heats up quickly, even after the automatic turnoff. It works well with dry heat, and the steam settings are spot on. I especially like the steam blast button to get the creases out of folded fabric.
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One of my favorite features of my Oliso is the way you add water. I have always spilled or over-filled when adding water. This iron is almost spill proof when you use the companion water pitcher that comes with the iron. No more saturated ironing boards in my sewing room!

I want to also add that Darci and I both had a chance to use the Reliable Iron that Laura mentioned above, while at a retreat last weekend. I thought it was really great. It had great heat, lots of steam and I really liked the feel of the iron.

Darci: I grew up using my mom’s old Black and Decker classic iron. That thing always came through, so much so that we used it for 25+ years. When I started quilting, I was pleased to see that Black and Decker re-released their classic iron, now with updated technology. I had one that lasted a few years but then conked out. So I bought another, and that one failed after a few months. Enter: my cordless iron from Panasonic.

I have a really old vintage iron that’s pre-electricity also, I thought that was a funny comparison to how far we’ve come with our tech. My two cordless irons.

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The Panasonic NI-L70SR has a retractable cord along with a heat-resistant cover which makes it a great traveler. I brought it to our East Bay Modern Quilters Retreat this weekend, and it got non-stop use for 3 days. At the end of the weekend, I unplugged it and put it right in my car without having to wait for it to cool down.

I love how there’s no cord to get tangled up in. When I’m ironing larger items, I just make sure to put it on the base frequently so it doesn’t lose its heat. I haven’t had too much of a problem with that, it seems to hold its heat just fine. I love the stainless steel plate also. I just finished a large appliqué project that involved lots of glue and heat setting, and the plate never got gluey. My only complaint is that the water chamber is small, but since it’s detachable, you can take just that part over to fill it up. It gives me the excuse to get a few more steps in.

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Hope this answers a few of our readers’ questions. If you need a few quilters tips on how to properly iron, or clean your iron, check out these links:

How to Press Quilt Seams – A Free Craftsy Tutorial

How to Press a Quilt Block Flat – This is a great trick by Generations Quilt Pattern

Accurate Pressing – Quilting.about.com

Cleaning Your Iron with a Dryer Sheet – ApartmentTherapy.com

If you love DIY, then here is a recipe for the spray starch alternative we all love.

Spray Starch Alternative Recipe

In a large container, mix together:

24 oz distilled water

3 oz. vodka

1 tsp scented essential oil (optional) Love the fresh linen and lavender scents.

You may also add one drop of food color per gallon if you like.

Pour into spray bottle, give a good shake and your ready to press.

Giveaway

 

And for our giveaway – Share your favorite trick or advice with us and we will choose one lucky reader to win a free gift to use with all of your new ironing tips we have shared.

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you all next week!

laura-pati-and-darci

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Welcome Darci Read, our new member of The See How We Sew blog team!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had some exciting news to share with you soon. Well, today is the day! Laura and I have been co-authoring See How We Sew as a duo for a while now. We are excited to say that we have a new member joining us to keep the ideas, information, and inspiration on quilting and sewing flowing for our readers. Laura and I would like you to meet Darci Read.

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Darci is a talented quilter and sewist that I met a few years back through the East Bay Modern Quilters. She is a lovely person with a unique style and eye for design. I love her work and am so excited to have her join our team. – Pati

Laura’s thoughts: Since Jennifer retired from the blog, Pati and I have wanted to add another contributor. Pati met Darci through the East Bay Modern Quilters and felt that Darci could be the perfect fit as someone who would provide a different perspective and share her knowledge and expertise on topics which interest her. After meeting Darci, I couldn’t agree more. I am thrilled to have her join our team. Please join Pati and me in welcoming Darci Read to SHWS.

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Hello! Darci here. I’m a graphic designer by day and sewist every other minute. I started sewing (again) 6 years ago in New York City. I had moved there from Minnesota to finish my graduate school. When my sister had her first baby, I wanted to make her something handmade. Enter: Quilting! I hadn’t sewn since Home Ec class but decided to take a class at the City Quilter in Manhattan. The rest is history.

(Sidenote: I feel like I might hold a world record in stash building. Looking at my pile of fabric makes me wonder if I have my “started quilting” dates wrong. My other hobby is hunting estate sales and thrift stores. I love anything vintage, especially the fabrics.)

Fast forward 6 years, I now make most of my own clothing, sew lots of quilts for friends and family and express myself with quilts that I have just started showing. I rent time on a long-arm in Berkeley and love machine quilting. It’s my favorite part of the quilting process. I’m an active member of 3 quilt guilds in the Bay Area, but my home base is the East Bay Modern Quilters. We meet on the last Tuesday of the month-I’d love to say hello!

This year I’ve started to teach sewing also. I have a group of elementary students who come once a week and are working on their first quilt. Their ability to jump in and let go amazes me. I also am working on a class that will be held at Bay Quilts about beginning garment making. Be sure to check their site for more info.

Here’s something I’m working on now. I love mixing traditional elements to modern quilts, like taking these English Paper Pieced Hexies and appliqueing them to a larger solid background so I have lots of space to quilt. I’ll be sure to share the finished project.

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I’m so honored to be part of the See How We Sew team! My passion is machine quilting and modern design, and I can’t wait to share that with you. I have my own blog at darcisews.com. Feel free to say hello there, too. I love comments.

darci

 

An October Afternoon

Fall table“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I know you have been wondering what happened to Laura and me over the past few months. The truth is, we both wanted to take a little break to renew and refresh. Before we knew it, our summer break extended into the month of September! But it is now October, with all the beautiful colors of autumn. Our summer excursions are now sweet memories, with lots of inspiration to draw from and share with you in upcoming posts. pati-and-laura-october-2016

We will be back on track with our weekly posts from now on, and who knows – we may have some exciting news to share with you soon!

Laura & Pati

Inspiration Friday!

2016-05-24 17.20.57 HDR-2Summer vacation began early for me this year. I just spent the past 10 days with a visiting relative. I got to play tourist in my own back yard – and what fun it was! My cousin Pam, is from the  small, Midwestern town that I grew up in.  It is filled with tree-lined streets, sprawling green lawns and a brick paved town square in the center of town. Pam lives in the quintessential American home, filled with lovely antiques, vintage quilts and 3 adorable Puggles. She was looking for some inspiration to do a bit of spring “freshening” to her house when she got home. And so, instead of the regular tourist attractions, we chose to focus on seeking out some of the hidden gems that Northern California was offering at the moment. Pam went home with lots of ideas, and I now have a gallery of inspirational photos to kickstart some new quilts! I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photos.

We attended a Garden Ramble through eight lovely, sustainable gardens in Piedmont. The colors and texture combinations were so interesting and unusual!

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And whimsical!

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So many lovely shades of green.

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 And a garden path to follow.

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Then it was off to Berkeley to enjoy the Berkeley Marina. Clear blue skies, reflective blue water, and cheery, colorful boats of every shape and size. I love how striking the pattern is, created by all the masts.

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The last trip was to Napa Valley, to visit Sunset Magazine’s new gardens in Sonoma. What a treat – color, texture, patterns, shapes . . . my little quilty brain was in heaven!

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Wouldn’t this be considered blue fescue on point?

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Perhaps an improvisational fenceline?

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I found more paths to meander down . . .

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And I realized that at the end of every good path . . . 

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Lies a lovely place to contemplate all that you have been inspired by.

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Have a lovely weekend!

Pati

 

 

 

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour

myblockisin13_200_68131I was excited to be selected for the latest issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks. They are hosting a blog tour this week and I am on the first stop. So welcome everyone!QM21115

The issue hits newsstands May 3, or you can purchase right now as a print or digital issue in the Quiltmaker’s shop. You will find instructions for 100 original and very unique blocks.magazine spread

My block, called Girl’s Best Friend, block #1219, is a take on deconstructing a diamond.

Deconstructed Diamonds

I used some of Tula Pink’s collection, True Colors because I had been looking for an excuse to play with them. I really like the eclectic feel of this collection.
True colors


Part of the fun that I had with this block was playing with pattern designs. I am self taught in Photoshop, so, I am always looking for opportunities to get a little more familiar with the program. So, after using it to crop my block photo, I thought I would just play with some repeats, flipping, rotating and moving around. I think this block has a lot of possibilities.

#1. This might make an interesting border idea . . .

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#2. Or a horizontal band running across the width of the quilt.

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#3. I love the zig zag effect in the center of this setting . . .

 

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#4. and the last one looks like layers upon layers of diamonds.

100 Blocks Quiltmaker
What do you think? It ‘s fun to build a virtual quilt once in a while, just to get the inspiration flowing.

Be sure to follow the rest of the block tour. There are giveaways and lots of talented designers that will posting this week about their block designs.
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Have a great week!

Pati

Visit Me at the Sew Amazing Quilt Show This Weekend!

I have about 4 days left to get ready for the Sew Amazing Quilt Show for the Vallejo Piecemakers. I’m excited, but also nervous. It’s such an honor to be invited as the Guest Artist for the show. This is something new for me and I am working hard to make sure that everything turns out perfect!
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For the past few months, I have been methodically checking things off my to-do list. I am so grateful to have Laura around with her experience as a vendor. She has had lots of tips to share with me. Here is a funny turn of events – in a different life (ok, my twenty-somethings), I actually designed trade show booths for a very large corporation. I designed the layout and floor plan, the graphics and tradeshow materials, and then followed it through from set up, to take down. Those were 1000 square foot booths, with truck loads of equipment to ship. But preparing for this show is sooooo much more nervewracking for me. Maybe it’s because I want to share everything I love about quilting, and get others excited too. Or maybe it is because I am not in my twenty somethings anymore.

But back to the to do list – The sleeves are all sewn on to the quilts for the show.  The booth layout has been decided and is currently set up in my garage :). My good friend, and the longarm quilter of all of my quilts, Kerry Reed, will be joining me in the booth and have some of her creative little treasures to purchase. I have my patterns and quilt samples ready to go, including, my new Yardstick Sewing Tote. This is a project that I have taught for years in classes, but I have yet to sell the pattern to the public.

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It will be making its debut at the Vallejo Show, with patterns and yardstick kits to purchase. Speaking of debuts. . .

Braid Trimmer Beauty Shot

I am really excited to be able to demo my brand new ruler, Braid Trimmer©, at the show! If you have ever pieced a braid, you know that the worst part is the nerve wracking step of trimming the points off. Well, that will no longer be an issue if you use the Braid Trimmer©! I will be doing demonstrations all weekend showing how easy it is. I will also have lots of samples to inspire you to incorporate a braid in your next project.

And then, just for fun . . .

Coloring Fabrics

I will be playing with color all weekend at the show. My whole shtick has always been to inspire others to try something new. So, that is going to be the theme of the weekend form me. I will be sharing tips and tricks on how to add color to all of those wonderful black and white prints on the market today, and then show a few samples of what to do with them!

If you are local to Northern California’s Bay Area, I hope you take time to visit me at the Vallejo Quilt Show. I am sure it will be an awesome show, and I would love to see you. Stop by my booth, check out my new stuff, and do a little coloring with me!

If you are not local – no need to fret. I will be posting more about these projects and products throughout the summer. As soon as I catch my breath, I will have them on my Etsy shop to purchase.

Have a great week!

Pati

 

 

 

Stitch Modern 2016 – My Favorite Time of Year!

stitchmodern2016Every year, I do a quick post to promote a month long quilt show hosted by a group that I belong to, the East Bay Modern Quilter’s. This year’s event, Stitch Modern 2016, is a month long extravaganza filled with workshops, lectures and beautiful quilts. The opening reception was last Friday, and as always, the show has proved to be amazing. If I know Carol Van Zandt, she will have lots of beautiful photos of the Stitch Modern quilts up on her blog, The Plaid Portico, soon!

Stitch Modern will be open until May 8th, so if you live in the Bay Area, be sure to check out the events calendar and show hours to visit. You will be glad you did.

I am totally excited about this Wednesday evening’s event, Global Perspectives in Quilting, Talks by Youngmin Lee & Sujata Shah. I took a Bojagi workshop from Youngmin Lee last year and totally loved her! I have not met Sujata Shah, but love her blog, The Root Connection. It will definitely be a great evening. You can read more about both of them and the event here.

Global Perspectives in Quilting, Talks by Youngmin Lee & Sujata Shah

An evening with quilter and author Sujata Shah and bojagi artist Youngmin Lee to discuss their work and their inspirations.

You won’t want to miss this talk!


Wednesday, April 13th at 7:00 pm
Piedmont Center For The Arts
$10 collected at the door
Doors open at 6:30

 Also, if you would like to see the quilt that I have been working on for the show, click over to my personal blog, Design. Stitch. Quilt. Blog. to see what I have been up to. I promised Laura that I would write a post soon on how I tackled some of the tricky parts to the quilt. Here’s a sneak peak. . .

Give Me Liberty by Pati Fried

If you live in the Bay area, I hope to see you at the lecture! Have a great week!

Pati

The Appliqué Book Blog Tour and a Giveaway!

11131_frontcover__07419.1441749387.1104.1280Today we are part of a blog tour introducing a new book! The Appliqué Book by Casey York. 1-Giveaway IconYou know what that means – lots of blog links for you to explore and be inspired by some very talented people and A GIVEAWAY!

 

I attended one of Casey York’s lectures at Quiltcon 2015 in Austin. The subject was using art history as inspiration for quilt designs. Right up my alley and very thought provoking. So, at this year’s Quiltcon, I had the opportunity to meet Casey and have time to visit with her. She is a lovely person, and so talented and inspiring! I am really happy to share her new book , The Applique Book, with you. It is  full of wonderful quilts to inspire and create, using appliqué techniques in modern quilt designs by Casey and a line-up of talented contributing designers. Here is a peek at some of the stunning photos in the book.

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Shards by Casey York, showcasing a technique she describes as free-form appliqué, embracing improvisational elements.

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Ginko Bed Runner by Casey York, using raw edge appliqué.

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Belle The Squirrel, Circa 1975 by Jennifer Dick using turned-edge appliqué.

Beautiful, right? This is a fabulous reference book to add to my quilt library. I find I am doing more and more appliqué lately. I don’t necessarily start out with appliqué in mind, but somewhere in the design process, I have a visual in my mind, and have to figure out how to create it as an image for my quilt. As with the beach balls created for the pattern, Making Waves
In my latest quilt, I really struggled to find the best applique technique to achieve the effect I was looking for . . . .

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It turns out, I am using a few different appliqué techniques to get this one finished! More photos to come soon on my blog, Design. Stitch. Quilt. Blog.  Hoping to finish it this week!

Thank you, Casey, for putting all the techniques down in one place – for me to refer to when needed! The book is a great addition to my quilting tool box!

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book for your quilting tool box, go to: Casey York’s online shop or C&T Publishing.

Or, enter our GIVEAWAY!

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11131_frontcover__07419.1441749387.1104.1280Do you have a favorite tip or technique for applique? Share it with us in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of The Applique Book, by Casey York,  (hard copy for US residents, electronic copy for international winners). Winner will be chosen at the end of the blog tour, on March 25.

The tour runs from March 14 to March 25 and features two posts per day. Be sure to check out the line-up below – there will be some great posts over the next two weeks.!

The Applique Book Blog Tour:

Mon. March 14:
Casey York | http://studioloblog.wordpress.com
C&T Publishing |http://www.ctpub.com/blog/

Tues. March 15:
Jenna Brand | http://jennabrand.com/ (coming soon!)
Adrianne Ove/Pink Chalk | http://www.pinkchalkstudio.com/blog/

Wed. March 16:
Jenifer Dick | http://42quilts.com/
Pati Fried | https://seehowwesew.wordpress.com/

Thurs. March 17:
Shannon Brinkley | http://www.thebottletree.net/blog/
Bari J. | http://barijdesigns.com/blogs/blog

Fri. March 18:
Debbie Grifka | http://eschhousequilts.com/blog
Beth Vassalo | http://plumandjune.blogspot.com

Mon. March 21:
Latifah Saafir | http://www.latifahsaafirstudios.com/blog

Tues. March 22:
Lynn Harris | http://thelittleredhen.typepad.com
Kevin Kosbab | http://feeddog.blogspot.com
Modern Quilts Unlimited | https://modernquilts.mqumag.com/category/blog

Web. March 23:
Allison Rosen | http://withinaquarterinch.com/
Cindy Lammon | http://hyacinthquiltdesigns.blogspot.com/

Thurs. March 24:
Rossie Hutchinson | http://www.rossiecrafts.com/blog
Generation Q | http://generationqmagazine.com/

Fri. March 25:
Betz White | http://betzwhite.com/blog
Casey York | http://studioloblog.wordpress.com

Happy Quilting!

Pati

Quiltcon 2016 – More Than Just a Quilt Exhibit

Pine Burr Quilt (close-up) by Tara Faughnan, photography by Carol Van Zandt.
Pine Burr Quilt (close-up) by Tara Faughnan, photography by Carol Van Zandt.

Awesome. Inspiring. Encouraging. Just a few words that pop into my head when I think of this year’s Quiltcon West, from last month in Pasadena, California. There are a lot of blogs, Instagram and Facebook sites that are covering the quilts in the show, including our own Carol Van Zandt, who will be posting photos in categories over the next few weeks. You can see her first in a series of Quiltcon posts here: The Plaid Portico. I will leave the quilt photography to the experts, and instead, share my own personal experience with this year’s show.

What I enjoyed the most about Quiltcon West, would have to be the camaraderie. The warmth and fellowship that I encountered was apparent throughout the entire show. Whether I was walking the show floor, sitting in a lecture, or standing in line for a morning latte, it was refreshing to enjoy the friendly vibe . Everyone I met was simply happy to be there, be part of the experience and take it all in. I made so many new friendships by happenstance. Each one, an opportunity to discover another spectrum of our quilting community.  And it was a lovely four days to catch up with old friends.

The vendors this year were spectacular. Each booth had so many jewels to discover. My suitcase came home stuffed to the weight limit. One booth in particular kept drawing me back in. I wanted to share a little about it. Purl & Loop, a contemporary needlecraft business that focuses on needle felting and weaving kits with the busy life of a maker in mind.2016-02-20 11.54.04

I remember meeting and chatting with the owner of Purl & Loop, Angela Smith, at Quiltcon 2015. I loved her needle felted bowl kits, but didn’t take one home, knowing myself well enough to not add another unfinished project to my list. Well – my friend, Gina Chang, of Wooden Gate Quilts did – and I have spent the past year admiring her lovely bowls every time I visit her quilt shop! Regretting my decision of last year, I was not going to make the same mistake twice.

PL bowls

So, I headed into the Purl & Loop booth, and immediately was taken back by the soothing, calming effect their booth had among the hustle and bustle of all the other vendor booths. It was airy, inviting and draped in linen. Ahhhh, breathe, relax.

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The textures and colors of the wool, aside the warmth of the wood was simply inviting. I just wanted to savor every place my eyes gazed.

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Angela Smith and her assistant Missy Bosch, were so much fun to get to know. Their work is beautiful and they truly enjoy what they are doing.

Missy and Angela

It made me remember my college days, when I would spend hours and hours on a floor loom. I used to say it was my therapy for all of my other stressful assignments.

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But wait! What is this? A Stash Blaster Birch Weaving Loom! Seriously? This is amazing! 
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This one came home with me. I can’t wait to get started! Especially when I saw the creative materials that Missy used in her weavings – paper, ribbon, tulle – this really could be a stash buster!
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While I was busy discovering the looms, Gina was busy discovering their newest product, needle felted tree kits. Word has it, you will see these for retail at Wooden Gate Quilts soon!
Angela and Gina

Oh my gosh, I better get started making bowls and weavings quick, so I can move on to these adorable trees!

PL Trees

I had better be off! I have got work to do!

Have a great week,

Pati