Christmas Gift Quilt – 2017

Have you ever approached a holiday and wondered why you didn’t have a neat new quilt to show off?  I decided this year, I was going to make a Christmas quilt way before the holiday so I could finish it in time.

Use up those scraps!

When I have lots of scraps, I drag out my handy-dandy Accuquilt Go! and cut them down to consistent sizes.  I usually start with the 5″ square and move down from there.  This time around, I wanted to get a head start on Christmas by making a Christmas Gift Quilt.  I searched high and low, and just couldn’t find a block online that would accommodate my 5″ blocks.

So, instead of spending more time looking, I opened up my other handy-dandy helper, my EQ 7 program. (Now I know you will all be tempted to start sending me links to this block, but to be honest, I am glad I had to start from the drawing board!)

In order to create the quilt I wanted, I actually had to design the block from scratch.  I didn’t want my gifts to float around in air.  Instead I wanted them to look as if they were sitting on a shelf or windowsill.

**note: After posting a picture of one of my finished blocks, a good friend informed me that Missouri Star Quilt Co. has a video tutorial for a similar block.  Oh well, there is a good chance that it would not work with my 5″ Christmas square collection.  Yep, they even use 5″ charm packs!!!!  The proof is below 🙂

So, anyway – The finished design looks like this; however, I used stock fabrics to get the feel for the finished product, I did not scan all my fabrics.  This is how I usually work out a project because fussing too much can take so much fun out of it all!

As soon as I had a plan, I started making blocks and laying them out how I wanted them. In the end, there were three ribbon colors over a variety of box prints.  I decided to forego the cornerstones and did simple sashing instead.  I like the clean, windowed look it provides.  Finally, I used a large print for the final border and am so happy!

Again, I did not buy any fabric for this project, it all came out of my little stash 🙂

The last part of this project is to quilt and bind it.  I love this part!  The pattern I chose for quilting is this simple tree design by Willow Leaf Studio.


I really love the simplicity of this quilting pattern for the Holidays!

As a finished product, this quilt turned out very nicely – I can’t wait to throw it over the couch this Christmas!

Have you started any Christmas projects yet?

I bet yours is bigger than mine!

I bet yours is bigger than mine – Your quilt stash, I mean.  Have you ever took a look at your stash and said….

“I really wish I could make something with this?”

Actually, this happens to me all the time.  This is mostly because I am not the average Hoard… er Quilter.  My quilt stash is TINY compared to many of the folks I know.

My Stash:

Other People’s Stash:

Yep, that’s about it and I didn’t even get it all folded pretty either.  I have some additional bolts, but less than 6 of them to add to this.  The other fabric I have is for garment sewing. So you can see, I am not like many folks that have rooms full of fabric – and totes hidden in closets and under beds too!

Because of this, I tend to create my projects in one of two ways:

  1. design a quilt and purchase a little more of each fabric than I need – the rest goes into stash
  2. quilt with what is on hand and that can get tricky indeed!

Don’t get me wrong, I DO still by fabric from time to time, but I refrain from buying just to buy. Mostly, I buy fabric in two ways:

  1. There is a project in mind, but I need one or two more elements not already in my stash
  2. There is a really great sale, so time to add in some new fabrics for future use

Also – and don’t hate me – I have no UFO’s.

Yep I said it, and I feel a bit ashamed, like I am missing out on membership to a club of super creative individuals that cannot hold back their ambitions.  Maybe my small stash size is because I have no UFO’s? Can someone help me to achieve UFO greatness?  Or am I OK the way I am?

What does your stash look like?

I would love to see the types of reserve fabric stores others have!

Spring Break – Renaissance Style

For many that know me, this post will not come as a surprise.  Each year from the beginning of April through May, my family and I spend a great deal of time at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Spring is time to break out the cloak and brave even the coolest mornings

Scarborough Renaissance Festival 2017 Week One Sunday by Bonnie Charles

Time to switch from quilting to sewing:

Each spring, I switch my focus from quilting to creating garb. Garb refers to the many period garments that serious folks wear at Renaissance Fairs. Over the years, I have sewn many of my own cloaks, dresses, jackets and associated elements. It seems that the spring is the best time for me to switch up my quilting for sewing.

Focus for Spring 2017 – The Cloak:

This year, I concentrated on an element of garb that we were sorely lacking – Cloaks.  In years past, at Scarborough, Sherwood Forest and even TRF (Texas Renaissance Festival), we have been plagued with soggy weather.  Staying warm and dry is important in the spring. The different weights and linings of cloaks helps keep us warm and dry. Below are a few cloaks that have been added to our closets.  Some of these cloaks are for sale or already sold:


We did a redesign of our website recently and actually added a section for clothing/costumes.  Feel free to check it out!  In the future, you will probably see a mixture of quilting and wearables. Let me know what you think.

Jamie Wallen Long Arm Quilting Class – March 19, 2017

Many of you may have recognized the name – Jamie Wallen.

You may know Jamie from his many Youtube Videos and/or his business – Quilter’s Apothecary.

I was aware of both and prior to taking in this class, I even purchased some of his products, specifically his long-arm rulers and I need to say that I adore them.

So, when the opportunity to take a class with Jamie, I jumped at it!  I will tell you now that I was not disappointed.  The class was held at the Long Arm Quilting Academy in Fort Worth.  Because they do not have an actual classroom for this type of thing, the chairs were set up next to a variety of long arm machines and you can also see the rest of the shop in the pictures I took.  This is not the largest quilt shop, but it did have charm.

There were many different classes to choose from; however, due to limited time I finally decided on the Sunday class “How Would I Quilt That?”  At this point in my quilting life, I find that the most important lessons are learned by listening to what others would do.  Jamie’s own quilting is beyond gorgeous, so I was excited to find out what he would do to my quilt top.

For the record, Jamie is a real straight shooter and he does not pull punches.  He also has a few one-liners that he uses to exemplify the points he makes.  One he reiterated often was:

“Learn your lines before opening night”
(Don’t offer what you cannot do)

His advice to practice, practice, practice and be sure you are good at something before you promise the technique to a customer, is well-placed.

Another mantra of his centers on the process of long arm quilting itself.  He addressed the nervousness that many of us feel when we approach our machines to start a new project.  For this he says:

Your machine is just a pencil

This is powerful as it puts into perspective the simplicity of the process when you get to the point that you are grasping the handles (lightly) and beginning to move about your quilt.

I bring up these tidbits because Jamie did more than simply tell us how he would quilt our tops, oh no!  He spent a great deal of time answering all sorts of questions and going into other topics.  Some additional elements covered were:

  • Batting (what kind and how much for different types of quilting)
  • Thread choices
  • Are you quilting this (quilt top) to make money or build a legacy?
  • You Doodle App for marking your own quilt top
  • How to quilt a hand-pieced top
  • Always prewash Batik backing to soften it
  • Hunter’s star (or pinwheel) nubs? Grab a hammer!

We talked about so much more and, ultimately, we ended up going at least an hour over the scheduled class time.  There is no question – we got our money’s worth!

Oh and I also want to mention Rich – who I believe must be Jamie’s right-hand-man.  Rich was the fella that kept the electronic boat afloat throughout the entire process.  Thanks Rich!

Sprinkled throughout this blog posting are many of the tops presented by the other attendees.  Some were just so gorgeous that it would have been criminal to do an all-over meander!

My Project

Below are pictures of the quilt top I brought along.  I consider it a silly little top as it consists of reproduction fabrics in a rainbow of colors, a very large white on white background fabric and drunkard’s path blocks that are anything but traditional. There was unanimous agreement that a purple border would work great for this quilt.

Purple fabric for the borders

As with the other tops, Jamie had some interesting suggestions.  Curved cross hatching in the circles, lines up and down the sashing and a super fun border treatment of circles.  If you look closely at the white on the quilt, these circles would mirror the pieced ones as well as the flowers in the white on white (which are enormous!)

Jamie shared both quilted and printed examples of the types of designs he loves to do and encouraged us to take pictures of everything!

As I said, Jamie was an amazing presenter and I encourage anyone to spend time learning from him.  I had a blast!  The next step is to sew on the borders and get that quilt on my frame so I can apply some of his suggestions.

Has anyone else attended his classes?  What are your thoughts?

A New Year and Lots Going On!

It’s been a while since our last post and it isn’t because nothing is going on.  Quite to the contrary – 2017 projects have made my days busier than ever!

So, let me break down what all the activity was about.


Below are a few of the quilts that came in the door in the last couple months.  Customer 2017 projects include many gorgeous quilts, and I am sure the folks who received them were thrilled!

This stained glass beauty was quilted out using a large meander and black thread! The finished product was so beautiful.


When I was not working on customers’ 2017 projects, I have had a few of my own going on as well.  The first are my entries in the Dallas Quilt Show – 2017

It is not without a great deal of excitement that I refrain from posting images, I just would rather not jinx anything. If you are as excited as I am to see beautiful quilts from artists around our area, join us March 10-12, 2017 at the Dallas Market Hall.

Due to the number of client quilts, I have had less time to finish some of my own.  Below is a patriotic quilt that did make it through the process.

In addition to quilting, I am working on some sewing projects as well. Nearly finished is this green rose cloak.  The finishing touch of adding beads to all the trim will complete this in time for Sherwood Forest Fair 2017.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival 2018 Waxahachie TX Bonnie Charles Photos Wk1

I am also mostly done with a tuxedo-style jacket for Selesti and should be finished with that in the next couple weeks.  And, of course it’s blue!

And… a CRUISE!

Yes, after over 15 years, hubby and I finally took a proper vacation and headed to the Caribbean for a 7 day cruise. I highly recommend this type of vacation for anyone who has trouble letting go and relaxing.  No phone service and limited internet coupled with being pampered every minute made it impossible not to relax!  We had a great time and hope to do it again soon!

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