Giggles and the Sidekick Ruler

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I found this adorable pattern from Jaybird Quilts three years ago and have been looking for the perfect fabric for it. When The Big Chill from DearStella arrived I knew I finally found it.  Of course there are many fabric collections that will work wonderfully for this design.  I have just a few tips here to show how the Sidekick Ruler is used to cut out the shapes and to put the blocks and rows together. 

Cut your background fabric into strips as instructed in the pattern sheet. In this case it is the same width as the ruler. Cut the diamonds, then cut the half-diamonds that top the rows.

Cut ten-inch squares into rectangles the same width as the background strips.  (This can even be done without beginning with squares.  Use your favorite fabric from your own collection and cut into rectangles as directed in pattern.)

Cut diamonds from these print squares. Be sure the directional prints run the direction you want them to, and the other side is a mirror image running in the correct direction.

Lay out on the table or floor all the diamonds with the alternate background pieces.  Then you will sew them together in lengthwise rows. Sew two lengthwise rows together to complete the design. The pattern instructions are excellent and will give all the information you need.

It looks great. Quilt it any way you want. It is a small quilt at 40" x 44".

Now all it needs is a baby.

Field Trip to Cockrell Mercantile Co.

John and I took a day off last week to do some antiquing, and made an impulsive detour before we reached Greenwood, Missouri.  We stopped at Cockrell, just off 50 Highway east of Lee's Summit.  I had heard about Cockrell years ago and that it is a great place to get Fiesta dinnerware, but I had no idea there is a whole group of shops.  Let me tell you about our visit.

We first entered the Cockrell Annex which has a few antiques and some garden accessories. All this time I have been looking all over for a large crock and here it is!

The Morton House is a cook's paradise.  They have just about any bakeware you can think of.  I will go back for some metal bakeware I found that is made in USA. Yay! This is a great place to get gifts for others or something for yourself.

Fiesta Cottage has the largest selection of Fiesta Dinnerware in the Midwest.  I think they must carry every piece they make and it is open stock, not just in sets.  I grew up with Fiesta which my mother began using in the 1940's.  It is still made in America.  I have never had a piece chip, and I know it is safe to eat off of.  Occasionally I use Fiesta dishes in some of our displays in the shop.

Then we headed to Cockrell Cottage that has home decor items, candles, some clothing, unique gifts, soaps, and so forth.  John walked in then walked right back out -- that smelly stuff gives him headaches.  The cobblestone walks around the shops give the place an old-time feel.

Cockrell Mercantile Company is where we did most of our shopping.  Gourmet foods, jellies, pickles, table linens, towels, aprons, cookware -- you will have to go there yourself. It must be one of Kansas City's best kept secrets.

On to Greenwood . . .

It has been a long time since I have done antiques shopping, and we enjoyed our time in Greenwood at the malls and shops.  I snapped some pictures of the quilts we saw, but there is also a lot of furniture and other items for the home.  I bought two tablecloths for my collection -- one of them has a Christmas pattern.  We just missed lunch at the tea room. 

The entire day was fun and refreshing -- we had a really good time with a late lunch out, and stopped to purchased a Christmas tree.  I wanted to share with you what a gem of a town Cockrell is--John and I will certainly go back.

Here are the directions to Cockrell, Missouri:  Travel East on Hwy. 50 through Lee's Summit. Go 3/4 mile past the 7 Hwy. exit. Turn right at the Cockrell sign and follow the road for 1/2 mile.

Spicy Pepparkakor

This recipe is one of my favorites to make around Christmas time, and I'm always asked for the recipe whenever I serve them at the shop.  If you're one of the people who I've forgotten to give the recipe to, here it is!

Ingredients

1 cup butter

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. light molasses

1 egg

3 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup

2 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

2 tsp. ginger

Directions

1.  Cream butter and sugar together, then blend in molasses and egg.

2.  Add 2 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.  Stir together and gradually add last cup of flour.  Mix thoroughly. (NB: add a teaspoon of milk to the dough after the last cup of flour is added, if needed.)

3.  Roll out thin, about 1/8 in., and cut into desired shapes.  Bake at 400˚ for 5-8 minutes. 

Use about half the dough at a time and shape into a round before rolling out.  Flour keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.  (I still use my mother's rolling pin she got when she was first married in 1938.)

A heart shaped cutter is traditional for this Swedish cookie, but any shape will do, of course.  Bake until just browning around the edge; cookies are best if a bit crispy.

Ooh, those scraps get a bit dry to roll out again.  Mix with a wee bit of milk in the mixer to moisten enough so that it does not crumble.

Enjoy!

Find a printable copy of this recipe here.

The Folded Corner Clipper

The Folded Corner Clipper by Prairie Sky has got to be one of the most practical and versatile tools you can have at your cutting table.  Many patterns call for the triangle in a block to be made by drawing a line that you will sew directly on and then trim away the seam allowance.  With the Folded Corner Clipper you can put an end to that.  Simply place this triangle shaped ruler on the square, trim away the excess leaving a seam allowance, then sew with a ¼” seam from the cut edge.  Let me show you how it's done.

I am working blocks 9 and 10 for the Be My Neighbor Block of the Week from Moda Fabrics.  Here I am making a flying geese block for block 9.  You know how that is done.  

Here my triangle begins with a 3” square, so I lay this on the 3” rectangle; lay the Folded Corner Clipper on them as shown above with the 3” line at one edge and the top of the ruler at the other edge.  

Cut along the edge of the square through the rectangle. The diagonal line you see here represents the seam line.  Remove the waste and sew ¼” from your cut edge. Press background away from rectangle.

Then repeat for the other side of the flying geese unit.  Be sure you have positioned your ruler properly, like the picture above, so that you make the geese block.  

You do not want to place the ruler on the unit horizontally like on the left, (unless that is the kind of block unit you are intending to make) nor upside down and vertically like on the right, which will put your seam allowance on the wrong side of the seam line.

With accurate cutting and sewing you will end up with nicely made units.

Putting a triangle on one corner of a square is another use for the Folded Corner Clipper. Just keep placing and cutting, lining them up on a surface you can just pick up and take to the sewing machine.

Here I am making little bow-tie units for block 9.  Whoops! I sewed the square to the wrong side of one of them. A little ripping out to do here.

The trees in block 10 can also be made with the Folded Corner Clipper.  I really like my quarter-inch foot with the ledge on the side.

Here I'm using it for the floating star, too. Notice how the seam allowance does not go to the star points. No star tips getting in the seam allowance here!  I love this technique.  Check out our Jane Austen Stars quilt pattern, or Squares Baby Quilt & Floating Stars pattern.

Here you can see what your finished units look like for the floating star made with this technique. See how your 1/4" seam allowance is a distance from the points?  Really cool!  Your patterns will not instruct you to use this tool, but now you know how to apply it and can use it in any of your patterns.    

Many quilters love the Folded Corner Clipper so much they have bought one for a friend. Now that is a true act of charity.

You can use the Folded Corner Clipper to trim the ends of your binding strips before you sew them together. Use it for flying geese and snowball blocks and absolutely any time your pattern tells you to, "draw a line... sew on the line... trim away."  The tool comes with complete instructions and Prairie Sky Quilting has many patterns designed for the Folded Corner Clipper.

Come in to Prairie Point and we will show you a demo if you would like.

International Quilt Market

I was at the International Quilt Market this week, and international it was--there were vendors and quilt retailers there from all over the world.  It was truly an amazing experience.  The convention center in Houston is huge.  Wendy went with us, and John did all the grunt work including driving, hauling our stuff around, and buying our meals.  I posted a few pictures on Facebook, and Allison has put some on Instagram as well for you all to see.  Many of you show so much interest in this retailers' event that I thought I would give you a bit of a peek into what we experienced.

Wendy and I attended a few early morning classes including Pleachet.  We'll be telling you more about this handwork technique later as we perfect it and feel ready to teach it.  We also learned more about using the Stripology ruler from Creative Grids, taught to us by the designer Gudrun Erla.  That was exciting and there is much to share with you.

Schoolhouse was super fun.  From 10:00am until 5:30pm we took thirteen classes, each one thirty minutes or fifteen minutes.  With five minutes between classes, we had to find the next classroom in this huge convention hall.  The Schoolhouse event began with a presentation by Aurifil with Alex Veronelli on how threads are made and the processes they go through.  Now I see why the better quality threads cost a bit more.

Can you find Wendy?

There she is.

Barb and Mary of Me & My Sister Designs gave a great class on their new book coming out next month -- 12 Pack Quilts.  We can't wait to share this with you.

One of our Schoolhouse classes was a presentation by Annie Unrein, designer of the ByAnnie bags.  She is offering a bag of the month class program that we will be sharing with you.

Penny Haren and Gudrun Erla shared their tips and techniques with log cabin quilting and the Stripology ruler.

If you think all the beautiful fabrics and quilts you see at Prairie Point are amazing, you should see this place.  Our heads were swimming with ideas we could implement into our offerings here at the shop.  Let me show you a few.

Cheryl Phillips showed us what she does with the 10-degree ruler.  Yes, we bought these patterns.  This will make a great class.

Elizabeth Hartman has a new fabric collection out and new patterns.  It's amazing to see the youth in her creativity.  

Jenny Pedigo and her sister Sherilyn have new patterns out with the Sew Kind of Wonderful Quick Curve Ruler®.  Yes, I bought these patterns too.

Bloc-Loc has a new pineapple ruler.  Wendy is on top of that one.  Good for her!

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Under the Garden Moon's Amy McClellan and her sister were there with Amy's Stitching Society hexagons.  She made hers into a whole quilt!

Susan Marth with the Suzn Quilts Tiny and Mini Dresden rulers showed us what is new with her: a monthly program we will offer.

Remember Anne Marie and her quilts from our own Schoolhouse last March?  She had a beautiful display. The last day we were getting tired.

Wow!  Deb Tucker is a vibrant person!  She can match Wendy in enthusiasm any day.

Moda Fabrics has an outstanding presence there as always.

Julie Hermann with her design company, Jaybird Quilts, is another young designer. 

What new trends did we see at Market?  Lots of new tools and techniques to help both the beginning and the seasoned quilter be more efficient and accurate in her or his sewing techniques.  Young designers are continuing their creativity; so many of these creative ones are not even thirty yet!  This is very encouraging for the industry.  Wool continues to grow in popularity.  Traditional is still in.  Modern is not going away.  There is so much for baby.  Cuddle, double gauze, and clothing are everywhere.

Wendy wanted a picture with Deb Tucker; I wanted one with Alex Veronelli.

The entire event would not be complete without a few trips to our favorite grocery market in downtown Houston.

The whole event gets us pumped up.  Our goal here at Prairie Point is to provide you with the fabrics, tools, and information you are looking for in an independent quilt shop.  We are so excited to go to Market and find new things for you!