In Town Retreat Details

Our In Town Retreat is approaching.  It is being held at Four Seasons Quilt Shop on September 27th and 28th.  To see photos of the space and find out how to sign up, read this previous post.

For those of you that have signed up (Thank you, we have met our minimum!) here is a bit more info.  When you arrive that day, go into the shop and check in. You can park in front of the store to unload.  You will be directed through a door in the shop that will take you to an office type entry with stairs and an elevator going up to the second floor workspace.  After you have unloaded, please park your car to the north of the shop (left of the entrance) to leave open the closer spots for their weekend retail traffic.

Here are the no drive options for sustenance to keep you quilting strong through both days:

A reminder the shop has soda/water available on an honor system for $0.50.  They also have a fridge and microwave for our use with lunch seating, too.

In the same strip mall there is a Subway.  Subway's hours are 8am to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday 9am to 9pm.

In a neighborhood mall across the street, is Pizza Man.  Saturday they are open from 10:30am to 1am and Sunday from 10:30am to 11pm.  Here is a link to their menu.

In that same neighborhood mall is Henry's Cafe.  Here is Henry's menu. Henry's is open 7am to 2pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday.  The quilt shop ladies gave their cinnamon rolls rave reviews.

And if you need a jolt of some power drink or something chocolate there is also a BP Amoco is the same area that should have some convenience store items.

The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, which is less than 3 miles away just off 494/61, is a very large shopping district that offers a wide variety of restaurants if you're looking something more.  There are some fast food stores that are not listed and also a Byerly's which always has great deli/take out options.

I hope many of you will be able to join us for the retreat!

Saturday series: Show us your sewing space!

Hi! I'm Kristin L. from over at a little crispy. Today I am going to show my sewing space--immortalized forever in a clean state! It is usually messier, but I was not quite brave enough to post it as is. I was very motivated the last couple of months to spiff up my space for this post and I'm so glad I did.

I have a pretty small, old house. There are five of us and only three bedrooms so I have no hope of having my own studio for now. I have pretty much taken over my dining room instead, which works well as I can sew and still be in the middle of things and supervise the children. It is nice to be able to sneak in a bit of sewing when they happen to all be behaving nearby.

Below is my sewing desk. When we moved in we created a built-in desk that my machine now sits on (it used to be for the computer). The cupboard still houses the printer and our files. I have my little ironing board usually tucked all the way under the side. 

My "design wall" is more of an "inspiration wall" or "UFO guilt wall" and is the biggest I could manage. It is just a piece of wall insulation from Menard's wrapped in fabric, and sits on a picture rail from Ikea (fair warning--Ikea features a lot below). The mystery quilt needs to be finished soon, so I thought I would put it up there to motivate me! The other blocks are the start of Bonnie Hunter's "Orca Bay" quilt. I don't have wall space in my house for a design wall, so I usually use the floor when I need to lay out a quilt.

On the desk I have a small cutting mat for cutting things on the fly. Both of the white shelf things on the desk are also from Ikea. Right behind my machine is an old computer so I can listen to Spotify, Pandora, or Netflix while I'm sewing.

There is not a lot of storage space in this tiny dining room. I wanted to use a lot of vertical space, so to the left I made a bunch of little fabric buckets to hold all of the odds and ends that should be handy, like zippers and extra sewing feet. They sit on a wall shelf from Ikea. I modified the size of the buckets from an online pattern so they fit the shelf well. I dyed a rainbow of Essex linen for these because I wanted a giant, cheerful rainbow on the wall.

Below the buckets is some kind of rail with hanging cups (from Ikea) that I keep all my marking pens, tools, cutters, and scissors in.

Close up of the corner. Yes, I have lots of scissors because other house members keep making off with them.

I have a small ruler holder on the desk to hold my most-used small rulers. The blue bucket is my thread catcher. The black flower container with red dividers is two levels and holds bobbins, a couple of feet, and more needles, and underneath holds extra rotary blades. I also got a small magnetic plate to hold full bobbins. My glue and machine oil are also right there and handy!

In the white bins behind my machine is my current leaders & enders project (Spoolin' around by Bonnie Hunter).

So when we made the desk, we did not think through the ergonomics very well, and it is pretty high. I didn't want the hassle of changing it, so I got a wheely "drafting" chair. Most wheely chairs don't go up nearly high enough, but this one goes up very, very high. I also use it to give the kids a "salon experience" when I cut their hair :)

Then, because I am now high up, my foot pedal also needs to be up a bit. This was a rummage sale find.

A more recent addition to my sewing area is a fancy new cutting table (yes, from Ikea, stained dark). I would have liked one a little bit deeper so I could have a giant cutting mat on it, but that is a narrow doorway to the kitchen and I couldn't have my cutting table obstructing it. 

Under the cutting table are my scraps, sorted by color. I just did this in the last month or so, and my goal is to reduce them by half by next summer. They got kind of out of hand because I kept shoving them to the back of a closet and ignoring them. And they multiplied.

I haven't done it yet, but I am copying Tracy and adding a magnetic knife rack to the wall to hold my cutters and a pair of scissors, too.

On the wall next to my cutting table is thread storage. These are spice racks (yes, from Ikea). I figured if I have the colorful rainbow of thread, I'd like to look at them too! Most of the thread is from Connecting Threads, and the bottom rack is Aurifil.

On the cutting table are three large glass jars that were my Grandfather's from the '50's or earlier. One had a lid that said "Pickled herring", so they were probably all food jars. They hold my scraps, selvages, and recycling. (Like Jen, I also compost all my fabric waste.)

Yes, I have a bit of a selvage situation. That is going on next year's to do list.

I added felt sliders to my cutting table, so I could slide it out and drop my big-a$$ ironing board on top when I have a quilt top to iron. I removed the wood brackets from underneath so it is now just a flat piece of wood. I like this much better than when it was resting on the ironing board. It is so much more stable!

I have also taken over the top of the buffet. I started keeping most of my in-progress quilts in these project bags (from Amazon, and they come in several different sizes). They are great for keeping all of the stuff together, and then I can just grab a bag for retreats or sew-ins as well. I also have the mystery quilt stuff, a few finished tops, my Grandma's treadle Singer (removed from the treadle cabinet, and to which I added a hand crank so the kids could use it), and my larger square rulers.

When I actually need to quilt something, I move my machine over to the bottom right corner of the dining room table, and use my ironing board for support on my left side.

Ok, so I waffled back and forth as to whether to show my stash. My stash is a bit, ummm... large. I have reasonable quantities of each type of fabric--the problem is that I have about 5 types of fabrics.

Most of the more "modern" stuff, prints, solids, etc. are in the closet beside the kitchen. It is not nearly as full on the other side.

Upstairs, I have two large bins of hand-dyed fabrics. I so love these, but have been distracted lately with making patterns and want to be able to tell people exactly which colors I used, which is impossible with these.

I also spent a bunch of time last summer ripping up close to 150 shirts from Goodwill Outlet. These are just the fronts, backs, and sleeves. I also have a few bins of the bits and pieces like collars and cuffs. I have two quilts so far in progress using these, but they are slow going.

And lastly, I inherited my Grandma's stash. Lots of calicos. I am still trying to figure out what else to make with these. I am likely to just incorporate a bit at a time into scrappy quilts as they should blend in ok.

So, hope you enjoyed the peek into my sewing space! I hope more of you sign up because I have loved reading what other people's spaces look like.

In Town Retreat

When an In Town Retreat was scheduled, I volunteered to check the space out and share my findings.  The retreat is being held at Four Seasons Quilt Shop in Maple Grove.  Above their quilt store, they have a large space for day retreats.  When you walk into the room this is the view.  In the center of the room is a raised cutting table with mats for use.  Around the perimeter of the room are sets of tables that make a station for 4 sewers when the room is at full capacity.

This is the left side of the room.  On each side of the room is an ironing station and you can also see extension cords on the tables.

This is the right side of the room.  There are additional sewing stations and an ironing stations not pictured, along with these round tables that are generally used for lunching.

There is a kitchen area that is a pass through to the retreat space for our use, and water/soda are available at a reduced cost/honor system.

So now that you've seen the space, here are the particulars:
  • Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild In Town Retreat
  • Dates: Saturday; September 27th, 9am to 9pm AND Sunday; September 28th, 10am to 5pm
  • Retreat Cost: $30 for the weekend
When the space was originally reserved there was a bit of a confusion as far as semantics of $15/day vs. $30 for the weekend, if we were booking Saturday only or both days, etc. so unfortunately misinformation relative to the fee was passed along.  We are sorry that happened. The $30 fee to the quilt store is for the retreat, whatever days or hours you choose to attend.

To sign up for this event please do these two steps:
  • Complete the guild registration form, link hereThis is so we can keep track of registrations to be sure we meet our minimum needed to hold the retreat and keep you all posted on availability.
  • Call Four Seasons to register & pay for your retreat at (763) 557-5899.  (They will take your name and information when you are ready to pay, they do not keep a list of unpaid attendees so that is why we ask you complete the guild form also.)
In next week or so I will write another blog post sharing sign in/ unloading/parking AND local restaurant options.  Below are a few photos of the quilt store.  They have a broad selection of 30s prints, brights (dots!), several traditional lines and as well as civil war fabrics. (Plus lots of patterns and supplies!)  I hope many of you are able to attend the retreat!

Saturday Series: Show us your space

Hi!  I'm Vanessa from Punkin Patterns.  I'm here to share my sewing space with you!

I work from home balancing stay-at-home mom adventures with sewing, blogging, and designing and writing sewing patterns.  Since we have lived in our house for the last 9+ years, my space has moved around a bit.  When we moved in, I had a ground level bedroom which eventually became my daughter's bedroom.  It had great natural light.  From there I downsized to a small desk in my husband's office. I got about half the space in the room, but it wasn't nearly enough. I ended up spilling over into the family room and with little kids, it just wasn't working out well.

Then I finally moved into the unfinished side of our basement.  It is fabulous!  It is one large room that is the length of the entire house (plus a little more) and half it's width.  So it is very spacious.  We do have some storage in spots there, but we have been downsizing and minimizing our "stuff" we store.  So as that happens, I get more and more space. 

my sewing space

My sewing machine and serger sit on the same table.  This is a great spot, because I'm right off the family room, so I can hear the kids play and be right there, but I have the great option of having a door between us so I can close it when I need to.  The white board behind the table is my large design wall.  (You can read my tutorial for making your own on my blog).

The waste basket to the left of my chair is for all my fabric scraps and threads that are too small to use for anything.  Those get recycled by my local recycling program. (Yay! -- that's Ramsey county for you locals.)  The basket next to that is the mending.  It's a nice single spot for everyone to just place something in there that needs fixing instead of all over my space.

To the right of my sewing table is a workbench (which my awesome husband designed and built). It is a shared space but more often than not, my husbands projects are covering the table.  I really only do hot gluing on that space, so it's all good.

On my table I usually have my netbook (a small laptop) open which I use to reference my digital pattern instructions or my iPad watching something on Netflix of course!

Netflix is almost always on in my space

As you'll see, almost all of my supplies and materials are kept in clear containers. It keeps them clean and pretty for when I need them.

thread rainbow

Opposite my sewing table, I have a second spare sewing machine.  It was my mom's and she doesn't use it at all, so I'm "machine sitting" until she needs it.  It has been unused and neglected for several years.  (She does a lot of hand work and embroidery.)  So it needs a little attention before it can be used on a regular basis.

My mother's sewing machine

It is stored in the table most of the time.  This is the machine I learned to sew on. You can even still see an indentation in the wood from when I tried to close up the table and there was a pin in there and I didn't know (no fancy pin ends on that one to make it easier to see).  I was about nine or so, and I just pushed the table together even though it was sticking up a bit and oops.  Pin mark!

pin impression

Next to that is my bookshelf, ironing board, then cutting table and more storage.  (In the photo my white board is "whited out" so you can be surprised about some of my future projects.)

the rest of my space

On the bookshelf, the top two shelves are my favorite sewing/crafting books and the next two are my favorite cook books and the bottom are some fun books that are mine.

The ironing board has a spot to put it away, but it's usually left out (all the time).


My cutting space is perfect.  It is the perfect height and the perfect length for two 24" wide cutting mats to sit end to end. The best part was that it was free!  It is a piece of cabinet we obtained from a friend (it's matching top cabinets are in our garage).  I love the three drawers - they hold my cutting rulers, marking tools, rotary cutters, and more.  Under that in the cabinets is fabric.  The window above lets in quite a bit of natural light for the last two hrs before sunset.

cutting table + fabric storage underneath

Next to that is fabric.  This shelf is mostly quilting fabrics, fat quarters, and the large bottom bin is all scraps which need to be sorted... one day.

quilt-wt fabrics, scraps supplies

The one downfall of working in the basement - in the winter it's colder (especially the floor), but add a few sweaters and some slippers (maybe a scarf and a hat too) and I'm good.

Finally we come to the extra storage space, which is just around the corner from my work space (slightly hidden, across from the pantry).  Here is where I store the non-quilt weight fabrics like fleece, flannel, apparel fabrics, and anything else.  I also have a variety of other crafting supplies and yarn - lots of yarn.

excess crafty and non-quilt wt fabric storage

Lastly, my desk and computer where I spend a lot of time designing and writing up patterns, editing photos and blogging.  This is in my bedroom (next to a window).

where I write

Hope you liked my tour!  Can't wait to see more of our member's sewing spaces!

MMQG Mystery Quilt-along month #9

Hi again! It is Kristin from a little crispy and today is month #9 of the MMQG Mystery Quilt-along! If you are just joining us, check out the previous posts here. This is the second-last month of blocks--we're almost done!

As we go along, save your scraps and bits and pieces of fabric together. They might come in handy later in the mystery.

So this month we are going to make (24) 4" finished blocks. These are really easy, I promise! And I got a new cutting mat. Yay!


If you want the pattern of the block to stand out, make sure that your Accent fabric contrasts well with your background fabric. I made all of mine the same, but if your quilt is scrappy, you can make these all different if you want.

For 24 blocks you will need:

Background: Cut eight 2.5" x WOF strips:

Accent: Cut four 2.5" x WOF strips.

(photo below shows half of the amount of strips you actually need)

Assembly (make 24: 12 normal, and 12 mirrored):

Sew together strip sets that have two background strips on the outside and one accent strip in the center. Press either to the dark side or open. You should have four strip sets like in the photo below.

Cut the "normal" blocks: If you have a 4.5" ruler, line the bottom left corner of it with the bottom of the accent strip, and line up the top right corner with the top of the accent strip as shown in the photo below. Cut around all sides to make one block.

If you don't have a 4.5" ruler, put some masking tape on one of your other rulers so the 4.5" line is just inside the taped line. Cut out squares as described above. You will need to turn the ruler around to cut all four sides.

Slide your ruler along your strip and, matching the previous angle and instructions, cut out 12 squares. You will need to use two strip sets, and you will have a little bit of the second strip set left over.

With the other two strip sets, cut out 12 squares that are the mirror image of the first ones as shown in the photo below. Do this by aligning the top left corner of the ruler or taped area with the top of the accent strip, and the bottom right corner of the ruler or taped area with the bottom of the accent strip.

Keep sliding the ruler down the strip set, matching angles and cutting until you have 12 mirror image blocks.

Four of each block are shown below, but don't sew them together yet, as this is not how they are going to be in the final quilt.

Don't forget, there are a few different ways you can share:

Instagram: use #mplsmqgmysteryquiltalong and then share to Flickr--

Flickr: upload to the group pool

Embed: your photo in each month's post! Here's how:

Your photo first has to be uploaded onto the internet somewhere--that could be your blog, or somewhere other than Instagram or Flickr. Then, in the comments section of the block post, type [img]http://your_photo_url.jpg[img]

Can't wait to see what you all do! See you again next month.

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