Designing with 20-Degree Fabric Wedges

Hi everyone! I just re-read Pati’s previous post (BTW don’t you just love her new work?!) and noticed in her last sentence  that she is curious as to what Darci and I have been up to. So, Pati, to answer your question, I will share with you and all of our readers what’s up here in Laura’s studio. I chuckle as I write this, as currently “my studio” is a very small section of my living space. Things have shifted a bit since the kids have moved back in with us. Let’s leave this for another discussion. All is well . . .it’s just an adjustment. I love having them here!

A few months ago I purchased a Kafffe Fassett Collective Fall 2016 20 piece Sweet Design Roll. The 6″ wide strips were the  perfect size for cutting fabric wedges with my new 20-degree wedge ruler.

 

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My new class, 20-Degrees of Fabric play inspired me to make some new class samples.  Here’s the (almost) end result.

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I say almost because, as you can see, I have not yet filled in the centers of the pieced hexagons. The obvious choice might be to appliqué circles. Instead, I decided to try cutting and fusing leaves from these beautiful fabrics, Maple Stream by Westminster Fibers.

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I fused a green one to the hexagon in the upper right-hand corner just to see if I liked the look. The interesting thing is, my students saw it as a marijuana leaf! How funny, I didn’t see it. Oh well, I’m in California and decided I’m going to use them anyway. They are maple leaves . . . and I love them : )

While teaching the construction of this quilt,  I had an opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics, grain line. Here’s a little tip that will help not only with this design but any other pattern that uses equilateral triangles (all sides being the same). The triangles are arranged as shown below and then joined together in horizontal rows.

straight-grain

Tip: In an equilateral triangle, there will be two sides cut on the bias and one side cut on the straight grain of the fabric. To prevent the rows from bowing and stretching, it is important to always place the side with the straight grain of the fabric even with the outer edge of the row (top or bottom). The other two sides of the triangle which contain the bias edges (lots of stretch) are in the center rather than along the outer edges. This is a simple detail but can save lots of grief during construction.

Thank  you all for your patience in announcing the winners of the fabric bundles from the giveaway in my last post. I will notify the following readers shortly to get shipping information.

Shirley Schmeyer – Batiks

Carol N – Benartex collection

Sandy A in St. Louis – French General

Until next time, happy creating everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

Hitting the Reset Button at Craft Napa

It is a rainy, rainy week in Northern California. I see rainy days as a great time to hunker down, do some organizing, planning, scheduling, and catching up. That’s the agenda for my day. January is my wrap up month for unfinished projects. February finds me excited to plan out all the projects and ideas that have been brewing in my mind! On that subject, I thought I would share some of my creative goals for the upcoming year with you.

The short list: journaling, sketching and exploring ideas.

The long list: This one is a bit tougher. I am hoping to stop dragging my feet on a few big projects. Working on a book idea, entering more exhibits and getting more focused on lectures and workshops. Maybe if I put this out to the social media world, it will pressure me to make it happen!

One of my projects for the year has already began. I joined a group last September that would commit me to producing a 12″ x 12″ piece each month for 12 months. As a supportive group, we meet, we talk, and we encourage each other. I am so glad that I joined, but have not exactly been thrilled with my work after the first few months. My plan was to explore new techniques, textures, and alternative ways to manipulate fabric. All to be used later in larger pieces. To be honest, I haven’t been as worried about the finished 12 x 12 pieces, as much as where the explorations would lead me. As I said, things haven’t gone quite as well as I had planned, so I felt like I needed to hit the reset button.

So, I went off to Craft Napa 2017. (If you are not familiar with this event, I did a write up on this event last year, In Search of My Creative Spark.) It was perfect timing for me. I look at Craft Napa as an opportunity to explore new techniques in a week of creative play. I took some awesome classes this year and am now busy applying them to my 12 x 12’s, with much more success!

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My first workshop was with Jenny Lyon and machine quilting. It was a great class for me. I have taken many classes on machine quilting in the past, but the machines we used in the workshop were very similar to my new Bernina that I bought last year. This was a great chance to ask lots of questions, try some new stitches, and really get comfortable with the whole process. Jenny is a wonderful teacher. It was a great day.

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The next two days I spent with Judy Coates Perez. This brought a lot of “aha” moments for me! I had done a lot of fabric printing in college, and had wanted to be a fabric designer at one point in my life. But, this was the first time that I thought about taking advantage of these processes to create original work. Wow! It was so much fun!
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I even brought along some vintage lace to play with. I dyed the lace, then placed it on fabric to dry. I might have to go back and play with this idea a bit more.

After painting, stamping, scrunching and swirling for two days, I came home with some amazing, original fabrics that I can’t wait to cut up and sew back together! To be able to mix my own colors and create my own patterns was really eye opening to me. It is a great way for me to bring my love for drawing and painting into my quilts. I am so excited to get started. I have already bought a lot of the supplies and am planning to spend this year creating fabric to incorporate into my work.

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The big plus in all of this? I immediately started cutting up my samples and incorporating them into my 12 x 12 projects. They are now beginning to emerge into what I had envisioned. Thank you Judy Coates Perez, for opening my eyes to a whole arena that I have not explored since college. I think I am going to have a busy year full of exciting new projects!

Levanto, Italy

I have a mix of hand dyed fabric, along with a few solids and “Grunge”. I love the way the hand dyed fabric have a luminous glow to them.

Cinqueterra, Italy

Murano, Italy

Burano, Italy

As for other projects? I see more work playing with selvedges. I love the striated, line work that can comes from this technique. I have been playing with some images from a beautiful botanical book that my son gave me a few years ago. Who knows where this will lead.

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I am also intrigued by pairing modern design elements to traditional and classic prints. I have been sketching out ways to get back to my Civil War reproductions, but in a more contemporary aesthetic.

I think it’s going to be a great year for me, creatively. As long as I don’t allow myself to get wrapped up in what I can and can’t do. Just do it! In my world, if I forever remind myself that it is the journey, not the end result, I am always happier with my finished product. And that, my friends, is what I love to share with you, the readers and my students! Enjoy the process and you will enjoy the end result.

I hope that you find inspiration in my plans for 2017. I wonder what Laura and Darci are up to?

Pati

 

 

Laura’s Recap of 2016, Looking Ahead and a Giveaway!

calendar“tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

 

 

 

Here we are, folks, it’s January!  Where did it go? In the blink of an eye, another year has passed. I’m ready for the new year, how about you? Are you feeling the same?

Before Pati, Darci and I jump in with new projects for 2017, we thought it would be fun to share with you some of the projects we worked on during 2016. You will be correct if you quickly notice a theme running through my projects. I suppose it was inevitable that when I learned there would be TWO grandbabies arriving in 2017, I would quickly begin making projects for their arrival. Not twins, in case you are wondering, but instead, both daughters are expecting . . . one in March and the other in June.

In no particular order, here are some of my projects. Interesting to note that only a few are quilting related. Looks like I did more knitting in 2016. Hmm, obviously I enjoy both.

socksAfter many attempts, I have finally been able to successfully knit a pair of socks. I’ve tried using both circular and double-pointed needles and find that the double points are easier for me. The best part of using this Heritage Print yarn by Cascade is that the interesting design is naturally formed simply by following your favorite sock pattern.

 

 

 

 

I used a Baby Cashmerino yarn by Debbie Bliss for this knitted blanket. I modified the free Treasured Heirloom Baby blanket a pattern by Lion Brand Yarn.  Since baby’s last name will be Berry I couldn’t resist making a strawberry cap using the “Kids Fruit Cap” pattern by Ann Norling.mollysknitted

 

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If you are looking for a super quick and easy project for a baby gift, this Stretchy Carseat Cover by seekatesew.com is the perfect choice. A free downloadable pattern is found on the website. I used jersey knit fabric and since it was extra wide, I was able to make two covers. Not only are these covers, adorable fun to make, they also double as nursing aprons. Note: You can use either one or two fabrics, as I have done in my sample.

carseatcover

 

When my girls were young, I bought large pieces of foam, cut them into different shapes and then covered them with brightly colored corduroy fabrics. They played with them for years, stacking, jumping, making forts and just using to rest against while watching movies. This Christmas I decided to make a similar set for two of my favorite little guys. As you can see, they seem to be having a great time playing with them.

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All four of my regular classes has an end of the year party. We each bring a yard of wrapped fabric for an exchange. Actually, it’s more like a stealing game as we pass the fabrics around trying to end up with our favorite one. This year I fell in love with these Darling Little Dickens Sheep fabrics by Lydia Nelson for Moda Fabrics. Unfortunately, I was not the lucky winner of the bundle, so I marched myself to my local shop the next day to purchase enough to make a small quilt. I’ll be sure to share photos as soon as it returns from the quilter.

sheepfabric

Here’s a sneak peek at the baby quilt I am working on. I am using both hand and machine piecing techniques, and thoroughly enjoying the process. In my next post, I would like to share with you some tips for drafting, cutting and piecing the shapes for this quilt.

baby-quilt

 

Giveaway

 

Finally, in an attempt to purge some of the way-too-many fabrics taking up space in my stash, I am offering a giveaway to three lucky readers. Note that there are three groups of fabric – left is French General, center is batiks and right is a collection of prints by Benartex fabrics. If you are interested in receiving one, simply leave me a comment by end of day January 15th, telling me which collection you prefer. The winners will be announced in the next post.

giveaway

 

 

Until next time,

Laura Signature

 

 

A SHWS Alum Stops By + A Giveaway!

Hello SHWS readers, Jennifer here! It’s been many months since I’ve been in touch. These days I’m trolling the crafting and quilting resources of the great Southwest from my new digs in Arizona. Believe me, it’s challenging to leave the abundance of the San Francisco Bay Area where artists and craftspeople are setting trends, but it’s invigorating to jump into the unknown and explore who I am when I don’t have my posse of creative types for input. (Lordy, I miss Laura’s know-how though!)

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In my adventuring I’ve come across a wonderful pattern designer called Carrie Payne of Believe Magic. As I explain in a post at my blog Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, I discovered her work at Scottsdale Quilts in Arizona. I don’t typically fall for charming figurative designs, but something clicked with her illustrations that celebrate young womanhood. It’s a case of right place/right time and a sudden need to make something special—my eldest son was about to propose to his girlfriend! As a mother-in-law-in-the-making I realized I needed to welcome my prospective daughter-in-law in an appropriate quilter fashion . . .

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Giveaway Details

And so, if you click over to my blog Chasing BSOZ, you’ll get the lowdown on my Carrie Payne adventure and the opportunity to enter a giveaway to win one of Carrie’s patterns. The deadline is Monday, November 14th.  Leave me a comment and I will draw random winners. There’s a question to answer, but you’ll find that at the end of the post.

What’s Better Than One Bridal Project? Two, Of Course!

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but once I made one engagement gift, I couldn’t stop. Maybe it was the fabulous vintage ribbons available at Scottsdale Quilts, or perhaps I’m building up good will with my other son’s girlfriend. Her only sister is about to marry and she’s the maid of honor plus organizer of the bachelorette party. We decided she needed a bride quilt bedecked with charms from all the girls attending the party.

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screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-4-09-41-pmI didn’t fly as blindly this time with the little quilt. This bride-to-be was months into preparation and had an official color scheme and a wedding gown. Carrie’s pattern is very flexible and I was able to style that bride to match her plans. Don’t you just love Pinterest? I took her special color board to the quilt shop and craft store and found just the right embellishments.

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Carrie’s pattern allows for styling, and so my son’s girlfriend and I played with different hair designs and decorative elements. We ended up with her hair down and a fascinator carefully snipped from a length of vintage lace. Those roses could have formed a bouquet, but all told, that was too much when elaborate lace layers alternated with white print tiers.

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These are some of the finishing details. I told her I’d sew the charms on once the bachelorette party is over and there’s a blank label on the back for the guests to sign.

Your Official Invitation

Do come over to Chasing Bright Shiny Objects to check out my latest creative adventures and please enter the drawing for a Carrie Payne pattern.

My best to the wonderful readers of See How We Sew!

Jennifer

Monday Morning Musings

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I woke early this morning with thoughts of what to write in this post flitting through my mind. So much time has passed and so much has happened in the 4 months since I checked in with you.

Do I let you know how over the moon excited I am that I will welcome my first grand baby, a sweet little boy, into the world sometime around March 1st? If so,  I could share with you some of the many projects I have already started working on for this little man!

Knitted with love from Grandma!
Knitted with love from Grandma! Pattern is Cashmere Treasured Heirloom Baby Blanket by Lion Brand Yarn. 

Or perhaps, I will tell you all about my summer road trip to Thermopolis, Wyoming where I took a Road Scholar course at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center learning to become a Certified Dinosaur Bone Preservation Specialist?

Hard at work chipping away matrix from a 50 million year old dinosaur bone.
Hard at work chipping away matrix from a 50 million year old dinosaur bone.

Oh, and yes, let’s not forget my new electric pressure cooker,  The Instant Pot has quickly become my new favorite kitchen toy. I know you would love reading about all the yummy recipes I have been experimenting with.

Delicious Dulce de Leche - 20 minutes in The Instant Pot
Delicious Dulce de Leche – 20 minutes in The Instant Pot

Finally, I’m thinking you might enjoy seeing photos of the new quilts I am designing in preparation for teaching on an upcoming Cruise to Hawaii. This is just a start . . . as lots of fun sea creatures will be added.

The background for an underwater scene.
The background for an underwater scene.

I am anxious to share all of these and more with you, but honestly, I feel I will save these for later posts.  Today I just want to say thank you ALL for being here, for supporting SHWS.

I hope you know how much you are appreciated.

I hope you are well.

I hope you are happy.

I hope you are finding time for some joyful creating.

I send you all my best this first day of November and I hope this little tree with its heart shaped leaves brings a smile to your face, as it does to mine.

heart-tree

Please check in with us next week as one of our original contributors, Jennifer Rounds will be sharing a guest post.

Until next time, Happy November everyone!

 

Laura Signature

 

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

 

 

 

My One Hour Challenge – Part 2 plus a Giveaway

It’s curious to me that sometimes I have to schedule a play date in my sewing room in order for things to get done. I guess this is just a sign of busy times. Fortunately it’s not always like this!

I’m just now getting back to playing with the charm packs and floral fabrics that I started in my last post. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap and details of my process.

I started with a charm pack (5″ squares) of solid Kona Cotton fabrics by Robert Kaufman. I separated the solid fabrics and then paired them with some floral fabrics from my collection.

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I set aside one of the six solid fabrics from each group. Then used my new 20-degree wedge ruler to cut the remaining solid squares into fabric wedges. I got 2 fabric wedges from each square. There was a bit remaining that I decided not to use in this project.
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charmcut1

charmcut2

 

After cutting, there were 10 fabric wedges from each group. I arranged nine and then sewed them together to make half of a circle.

Wedges

The next step is to make a straight cut along the edge of the three inner fabric wedges. I placed the completed half circle on my cutting mat and used a ruler to determine the distance from the straight, left-hand edge of the circle to the outer edges of the three inner fabric wedges.

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Cut the excess.

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Turn the fabric on the mat and make two additional cuts, as shown.

 

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It will now look like this.

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Next, I straightened the top edge even with the lowest point of the curve.

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charmwedges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cut the squares that were set aside earlier, as shown in the photo.

corners

These are sewn to the bottom corners, and then trimmed to size.

Trimming

 

Next, I cut a floral piece of fabric for the top of the block and joined the two halves together.

Fullblock

 

I did the same for the remaining combos. Here are the finished blocks. My next step will be deciding what to do with them. . . I see another play day in my future.

Finishedblocks

I must share with you that after my previous post on this challenge, I received a comment from my friend Anita Grossman Solomon, that she too had been playing with the charm pack of Kona solids that she received in her goodie bag at the same Craftsy event. Not only was she playing with the solids, but also combining them with large floral prints . . . what are the chances?

I asked Anita if I could share her blocks with all of you. Here you can see another simple use of the solids squares combined with beautiful floral fabrics.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 9.37.57 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Like myself, Anita too has a new class on Craftsy, “Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches, Stars and Twists”. She shares lots of innovative tips for cutting and block construction. If anyone can simplify the process, it would be Anita . . . that’s the name of her game. Please visit her website to learn more about her books, patterns and workshops. To preview her online class with Craftsy, simply click here.

1-Giveaway Icon

 

 

 

My new 20-degree wedge rulers just arrived. I’d like to send one along with my new table runner pattern to one of our readers. Please just leave me a comment by Friday April 22nd, letting me know what you would like to play with wedge rulers. I will announce the winner with my next post.

Ruler

 

Blooming Wedge Table Runner by Laura Nownes
Blooming Wedge Table Runner by Laura Nownes

Until next time, happy creating everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

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.

PL sample 4

PL sample 2

PL sample 1

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.

PL sample 5

But wait! What is this? A Stash Blaster Birch Weaving Loom! Seriously? This is amazing! 
PL lg loom

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!
PL sample 3

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