Friday, January 17, 2020

Retreat Time

Once a year...we have a special retreat. Anyone is welcome to attend...all you need to do is register and get yourself to the Reteat site near Cullman, AL during the dates of the retreat (24 through 27 April 2020)

We do everything else!
Cost is $350 and covers Lodging, All meals, 2-classes w/supply kits...a super deal!
{Classes this year are Stumpwork Dragonfly w/needlelace body & Applique Magic} I think you'll enjoy both of these classes.

Plus, there are gift bags for everyone and prize drawings throughout the Retreat.
Thearica is going to come and set up her CQ Shoppe again this year be ready to shop for lace, trims, beads, charms, and so much more!

You do not have to do crazy quilts to attend...there is time for you to work on other projects (any type) if you like.

We drive up on Friday afternoon (or fly into Huntsville, AL and rent a car). Then we play with fabric Friday night, all day on Saturday, all day on Sunday...(and eat, eat, eat)...then after breakfast on Monday we head home.

So, if you fly...get flights on Friday morning...and Monday afternoon as the BEST times. We will of course work around anytime that you decide...and you'll need GPS to find the Red Rooster Retreat Center as they are located on a County Road in the farm country surrounding Smith Lake, outside of Cullman, Alabama.

Here's their website link: Red Rooster Retreats

If you are interested...just drop me an email at


Monday, January 6, 2020

Basic CQ Course - Open for Registration - 5-7 January 2020

Registration for This course is not CLOSED. (The next open registration will be 5-7 watch for that post here during that timeframe).

Please read the ENTIRE post before you email your registration information. Thank you :)

Basic Crazy Quilt Course (BCQC-1) is open for REGISTRATION until midnight on 7 Jan (Central Standard Time) 
NOTE: I do not accept late registrations for need to register within the dates of the open registration period. I'm sorry, but I just have too much going on to keep up with early or deal with late registrations.
This is a FREE online class. It is self-paced, and expected to take 4-8 weeks, depending on the time you have available to complete the 12 assigned Tasks.
Above is an artist illustration of the block we'll be working on in this course. 
These 12-Tasks include:
1 - How to Use the Class Blog
2 - Selecting Supplies
3- Design Principles of CQ
4 - Sewing the Block
5 - Surface Beading Techniques
6 - Template Seams
7 - Shape Seams
8 - 11 Various Silk Ribbon Flowers
12 - Finishing (lace, charms, etc.)
The class is FREE, you will not be charged anything for the instructions. You will need to obtain your own supplies as I do not sale kits.
Link to the Basic Supply List 
Basic CQ supplies include silk ribbon, pearl cotton threads, tiny beads, etc. as the photo above indicates. None of these are in large quantity for a single block that measures about the size of a sheet of print paper.
You will be required to use a quilting hoop (Q-snap is fine).
You WILL be required to access the private class blog (upon an invitation sent to you) and post photos of your work as you progress through the class. This is an ON-LINE course, so basic computer skills are needed (printing documents, uploading photos, etc.).

  If you are interested in taking this course, please email me at and provide me this information:
Your first name
Your last name
You country of residence
Your state of residence IF you live in the USA
The email address you wish me to send class instructional handouts to.
After you register, I will send you a Welcome Email AND Google/Blogger will send you (at my request) an Invitation to join the Class Blog where the class will be held. Watch for BOTH of these emails, check your spam folder.
Because this is an ON-LINE internet class:
You will need to follow some simple instructions to register and gain access to the private class blog. Your name and email will need to be entered; but NO social security or credit card information is required. Just basic information to "recognize" you as a class participant.
You will need to be able to take a photo of your work, and upload it to the class blog. You will get instructions on "blogging" so don't worry if you don't currently do that now; you will learn.
But, you DO NEED to have an operating camera and be able to take photos.
You do need a basic understanding of how to save these photos and then retrieve those picture files. IF you use an IPad to take will need to email them to yourself, download them to your computer, and then upload to the class blog. If you use a phone or camera...follow the instructions for that specific camera to upload photos to your computer.
NOTE: You will be given class handouts/instruction in the form of emails and pdf documents.
 The pdf files can be opened with Adobe Reader (free software on the site)

 You need to be able to open these handouts/instructions and save them.
You can also print as you desire. In total, the course contains dozens of pages of paper/printer will be required if you want to retain a hard copy of this information.
Hugs, and I hope to see you in the class! 
This Basic CQ Class (BCQC-1) is a REQUIRED course...before you can sign up to any of the other crazy quilt courses offered through this blog. You begin with this course...
After you register...expect an invitation to the course site before the morning of the 8th.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Changes to YAHOO Groups

Good morning everyone...

Yahoo Groups is making HUGE changes to their platform. So, I'm forced to make huge changes to the SHAWKL Files Group site. In the next couple of days...Yahoo will "delete" all FILES from every group site.

SO, if you want the "retired classes" get over to Yahoo Groups (Shawkl Files) and finish downloading the ones you have been putting off.

I'll try to find a new site for these...but it will take some time to get that done. When it is, I'll post here on the blog to let you know where you can then get the older class information.

If you have not yet gotten around to joining the Yahoo Group (and now is it almost too late)...just scroll down until you see the rose at the RIGHT SIDE BAR. Click and request to join...I'll approve when the email comes to me...and you can then download all of the files. Don't only have about 2-3 more days before all is gone.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Review: Heirloom Embroidery from Brian Haggard

Technically, this is a group of iron-on transfers...not so much a "book" although it is book format.

The transfer designs are all on single sided paper, so you just need to cut apart; press to fabric...and embroidery over the lines that appear then.

The designs are based on vintage quilt designs; but have a very modern and romantic feel to them. My only issue with the book (as with any iron on pattern) is that you have to live with the scale of the objects. So, the best way to use them is to plan your crazy quilt blocks "around" them...they become the main focus. You could also "re-imagine" them by adding silk flowers or buttons or such!

Also, it will be fun just to prepare a few pieces of fabric with these designs...and stitch. Later, they can be incorporated into blocks even if I don't know "what block" they will live within in at the moment. So, these would make really great quick take-along project ideas. A few skeins of floss, small embroidery scissors, needle book, and fabric with printed design...should fit into just about any size purse! I can see these being worked while waiting in the doctor's office (and don't you just ALWAYS have to wait)...or just sitting and listening during most any group meeting or function. If you have a few minutes...on a train, on a plane, in a car, at the bar (okay, maybe not at the bar)...ha! Dr Suess got to me for a moment...hugs!

Anyhow, this is a great collection...and has over 225 images for you to play with! Totally recommend it to all crazy quilters!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Book Review: The Storyteller's Sampler Quilt by Cinzia White

This is one hefty about twice the width of most books these days. But, that extra space is needed to document the 359 block designs included in this catalog of inspiration! Each block is a tiny pieced wonder (most hand sewn due to their size). Each has a full size pattern and detailed diagram on how to pieced. None of these are overly complicated...but the bits are too small for my old eyes to want to actually sew. While the author hand pieced the blocks; she has included paper piecing instructions on many of them (which would make it easier to do these with a machine). There is some applique and some embroidery peppered throughout the blocks as well. 

While I will not be making this quilt, the book is so worth space on my shelf; and will remain there for years to come because it is so inspiring. Sometimes, I need books just to pull down and look at to remind me that when the "tedious" gets overwhelming, there are still OTHER quilts out there that are so much more detailed than the one I happen to be trying to finish at the moment...and while THEY were done...this one can be done too! A little "pep talk" to myself at times...ha!

Some of the blocks are very manageable, even using fabric strips or fabric with stripes rather than teensy parts. Also, many of the blocks within this quilt are designs that could be done in satin stitch embroidery...especially since the pieces ARE so small. It would be interesting to interpret several of few dozen perhaps. That's going to be on my list of future idea projects as it is intriguing me and I have a vision of the results already. So, best begin a new Project Sheet for the idea before it leaves my head!

If you love small hand pieced projects this is certainly the quilt for you! If you just want to be inspired by the glorious work of other quilters, this is the book for you!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Applique Inspiration in Books!

I'm a huge fan of books...and can spend hours just browsing them and dreaming of things to create! This past week, I've been playing with some applique and that has caused me to pull several inspirational books from my shelves.

Thought you might like to get a quick look...and explanation of why I love these specific books.

Hand Applique with Embroidery, by Sandra Leichner - This first book is the source of the little rose & bird in the above project that I'm presently working on. It is a wonderful book. The author, combines embroidery...detailed embroidery...into her applique items. Not just the standard "stems and such" either...but in-depth additions to every applique piece that really makes her work awe inspiring!

Little Brown Bird by Margaret Docherty - Similar in style to a Baltimore Album type of quilt, this book documents the create of a single...amazing...quilt. The border alone makes me drool as I'd love to recreate this. It is "once in a lifetime" kind of project that I dream about working on. While I'm not a real fan of BA style applique quilts...this border just is the stuff of fantasy.

Floral Applique by Nancy A. Pearson - An older book but my first one that resulted in a love of applique. While no longer available unless you find a copy in a second hand book shop, it is a wonderful source of designs that are large enough for a beginner to attempt. I'm a fan of the style of applique and have used it to create my own "logo" for Shawkl Designs. 

Piece by Piece Machine Applique by Sharon Schamber - While this is a machine applique book...the preparation of the applique pieces is very similar to what I do myself today for hand applique. Just the method of attaching the applique to the fabric background is the real difference. So, the quilt in this book would be a very cool project to do by hand or hand/machine. The colors are vivid and just make me happy to sit and review the photos alone! Plus, Sharon is a "Master Quilter"...seriously, she has been awarded that title (one of few in the USA that has it), what better source for a "how to" reference too!

Do you have favorite appliqué books? I'd love to know what they I can always add to my library. Ha!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

New Templates Available!

Embroidery Shape Templates

are here!

Note: Don't be confused...these are NOT the Stitch Templates that have sold out (we have those on back order and I'll post just as soon as they arrive back in stock).

These are NEW and will be the accompaniment to my next book "Dazzling Diamonds" which releases this spring (or before). They are not STITCH templates but rather are SHAPE templates. If you took the BCQC-101 course, you'll easily understand the difference. (and if you missed that class...check out "classes" under the top tab here on the blog for the schedule of courses to begin again next year). :)

This set is a grouping of 5 plastic marking stencils. Each one is 6 x 6 inches in size and contains a variety of shapes to trace...that then become Base Seams in crazy quilt blocks (or other crafts). Just embroider along your traced line to create...curved seams, Holbein seams, etc. There are plenty of seam ideas...PLUS an entire alphabet and numbers 0-9 to help "write" on blocks to embroidery over.

 Here's a seam design with a SHAPE as the base seam...the "curved" part. This would be drawn using these templates...than every thing is stitched on top. In this example the curves were done in Back Stitch..then wrapped in a second color. The French Knot flowers have 4mm ribbon leaves in Straight Stitch; and the large flower is a Woven Rose done in 7mm silk ribbon with 7mm silk ribbon leaves created in Japanese Ribbon Stitch.

Hoping we can keep these in stock...but not sure what the "demand" will so get yours soon! ;)

The template set is available at Creative Impressions and at my Etsy Shop.

Hand Applique like a dream....

I was so happy with the quality of the Clover silk threads that I posted about this week...that I jumped right into an applique project. It will be a wall-hanging...and while I can't share the entire look of it here is a beginning look just the same.

Working with silk threads for applique is the same difference as working with crochet cotton rather than rope! One is so much more pliable than the other...and easier to get into tight corners. The needle I like to use is a #10 milliners because it is thin but sturdy.

While my goal is always to have stitches that don't show at eyes are not what they used to be so I do get a few tiny stitchers here and there. The silk makes this much forgiving than working with cotton...even the thinner 2-ply variety. These photos are REALLY close up, so from a normal distance the work looks even better. Ha, maybe I should stand across the room...and I'd be really happy then. :)

I hope Janet gets these up on her site at Creative Impressions soon! Or, just call her at 1-719-596-4860 to talk with her about which colors you need.

If you are wanting to begin an applique colors that match as close as possible to the color of your applique piece(s). But, if you want to economise...purchase a medium gray, light gray, and cream. These will be close enough to just about any color to hide sufficiently. Then buy a couple of colors each month..until you have the entire set! I'd go with black next...then greens (there are always leaves to applique)...and then work through each main primary color.