Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alright, Already!

Well, it's ready. It's done. It's all yours. I think this one turned out especially nice. Home Town Holiday contains directions for a table runner, wall hanging and a throw. It uses the Tri Recs tool set which makes it easy. And you know me - I don't write difficult patterns because I don't want to teach difficult patterns!
As always, the pattern has full color diagrams, ALL pressing directions and measurements at each step.

So, let me know what ya think. And if this is too late for your holidays this year, next year will be here before you know it!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Retreat At The Harbor Star

I just returned from a fabulous weekend in East Tawas, Michigan. Six of us spent the weekend at the Harbor Star making table runners and wall hangings from my new pattern HOME TOWN HOLIDAY.

Jan B. and Lana Q. (front row) and Val O. and Suzie S. are pictured above with their quilts. Linda D. had to leave early. Since they are all still smiling, I think they had a good time.
Look for the new pattern on the website by Friday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Pattern!

Some of you know that I have been working on a new pattern for Christmas. And it's late. I know. Story of my life. If it wasn't for the last minute, I wouldn't have any time at all.
But I really have a good reason this time...

I actually started this in July. Right before the fire. After the fire we lived in the hotel for a month and a half. Then I had to put my house back together. Whew.

So, it's almost done. I just thought you might like a peek. This is a partial view to tempt you.

Keep watching - Home Town Holiday should be ready very soon. The pattern will contain directions for a table runner, wall hanging and a throw. Stay tuned....

She's Baaaack! And she brought free stuff!

Okay. I know. I've neglected you. I haven't called or written in months. Forgive me. I promise to do better.
I have something for you... Yes, I'm bribing you to take me back. I admit it.

Many of you have asked me to write a pattern to use the leftover half blocks from the Mad for Plaid pattern. And since I always do what you ask, (sorry, I think I'm choking on that last one...) I have the pattern for you:

This pattern contains the instructions for making a basket block from the leftover half blocks. There is also a suggested setting for putting the blocks into a quilt. Yardage requirements are included. You will also find the formulas for figuring sizes for setting and corner triangles.

You will find it on my website. Just click here download the free pattern.
Have fun!


More Show & Tell

I love to get pictures from you. I am always amazed by what you have done with my patterns. Often I think "Now, why didn't I think of that?" You guys are so creative. I just love it.

This is the Hip to Bee Square, Baby quilt by Colleen Richards of Ortonville, Michigan. Don't you love the softness of her fabric choices?

This is Helen King with her Stars & Stripes quilt. Helen was one of my students when I visited the Piecemakers Guild in Saginaw, Michigan. We had so much fun that day. Great job, Helen!

My dear friend Linda Davis made this Weekend at the Harbor Star quilt. WOW! I love all the reds. I think you should give me this one, Linda!

This is the Quilt of Many Ribbons free pattern made by Glenna Duggar. Here's her email:

This is the quilt that I made and donated to "Breast Friends" as a fund raising project which will be given away at the Relay for Life in May 2009. I am a breast cancer survivor 12 years today Oct. 7, 2008.
I really enjoyed making this quilt and Had so many ladies wanting me to make them one..I entered it into our Fair this past september and won 1st place with it.
Glenna Duggar

Nice job, Glenna. Thanks for all you have done.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Show & Tell

My local guild, the Town Hall Quilt Guild met recently. I wasn't able to attend but I did get some wonderful pictures from their Show & Tell. This guild has the most amazing quilters and it's always a treat to get to see their quilts. I was very flattered to find that a few of the quilts were made from my patterns. (grin)

The quilt above is the Hip to Bee Square quilt made by Mariel Broadwater. She used fabric from her father's shirts to make it. Nice job Mariel!

Detail of Mariel's quilt.

This is the Star Garden quilt made by Janet Howse. I love the fabrics she used. I wish we could see the quilting - Janet is an amazing quilter.

This is a Mad for Plaid that Alma Henderson made for her husband Dennis.
It has a nautical theme. Nice job, Alma!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Aftermath

If you have ever had a fire you know the terror we felt Tuesday morning. I woke to the smoke alarm and a house filled with toxic smoke and fumes. In my confusion, I actually tried to put it out before I realized how dangerous it was and that I needed to get everyone out and call 911.

We live in a small town with a volunteer fire department. I think they ALL showed up to put out the fire. Bless them all. They did a great job.

The fire itself was confined to the laundry area of our basement. But since the central air was on, the smoke was moved through the house. Everything we own is now covered with a layer of black soot.

The fire marshall was summoned to determine the cause of the fire. Seems it was faulty wiring on a water pump.

All I can say is thank goodness for smoke detectors and volunteer firefighters.

Now many of you have asked about my quilts and fabric. I am happy to say they all made it through safely. On the other hand, many of our clothes were destroyed. Darn, we will have to buy new.

One thing I learned about myself during the fire: I am willing to risk my life to return to a burning house to retrieve my bra. No one was gonna see me without it. Please don't try this at home. Even the risk of frightening the firefighters away by the site of me without my undergarments is no reason to risk my life. I think.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I can't believe I'm writing this. My life is upside down. But my family is okay. Everyone is okay. Thank goodness for that. And my quilts are okay.
We've had a house fire. It's not too bad. The house is still standing and for the most part, in tact. But everything and I mean everything, is covered with black soot. So, for the next little while my life will be upside down.
It was an electrical fire. Most of my basement is charred. All I can tell you is keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors. It saved our lives.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Need Help

Okay you guys, I need your help. I want to make this blog something that works for you. It should be a place where you can find good info and fun tips about quilting. Let's hear what you want on this blog. I have a lot of good quilt knowledge floating around in my head, but I don't know what you want. So, let me know. Feel free to comment or write me directly: amy@humblebeequiltworks.com

Let me know if you want to continue to see posts about my life in general, too. I like to keep you posted on my misadventures, but I can stop if it's not working for you.

Thanks for the help!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Power Failure

Wow, I sure am a wimp. I need my creature comforts. And I don't want to compromise. Ever.
Many of you who know me personally know that my husband Charlie is only home once a month. Yep, that's right. He only comes home one weekend a month. This does leave me a lot of time for my work. And we also have a great marriage. You know - absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that...Okay, get to the point, Amy!
Anywho, this is usually a good situation and I enjoy not having to cook and pick up after my dear husband. And when he is home, I usually have a Honey Do list for him. He's pretty sweet about doing most of the things on that list.

In fact, he put this fence up for me last Saturday. In the 93 degree heat. What a guy!
We also attended my daughter Sara's high school graduation this past weekend.

Here she is with her brother right after the ceremony. Everything was going great. We were all so happy. Then it hit...

About 5 pm that evening, we had a terrible storm. Thankfully everyone is fine. I am very grateful for that. I really am. But, the power went out. Now I know this isn't the end of the world. And I know my life is pretty great most of the time. But THE POWER WENT OUT! And the power company said it wouldn't be back on until THURSDAY. This was SUNDAY. SUNDAY!

And then there is the little fact that the basement will flood in a matter of minutes if we don't hook up the generator. The generator that needs to be fed every two hours, 'round the clock UNTIL THURSDAY. CRAP. But then I remember that Charlie is home. Anything that requires gasoline is his job, right? I mean, he's the guy around here. When he's here. And I really hate the generator. It's stinky and loud and stinky. And loud. And I hate it. A lot.

And you know what he did, that wonderful guy I'm married to? He left and went back to work. He really did.

So I fed the generator every two hours for three days. And I did nothing else - because there was NO POWER. I can't begin to tell you how much I wanted it to come back on by Wednesday. I think I might have been a little hysterical. And finally the power was back. 70 hours and I lived through it.

I still hate the generator.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Free Pattern

Last time I posted, I told you about the Mystery retreat at the Harbor Star last weekend. The quilt we made is a table topper/wall hanging approx. 43" square. If you would like to make this quilt, the SPOOLIN' AROUND pattern is available on my website for FREE. Not too many things are free these days. In fact, most of the things we use everyday are now costing an arm and a leg. So, today you can download my newest pattern and keep your arms and legs.
Have a great weekend!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Torturing My Students

I just got back from a wonderful weekend at The Harbor Star in East Tawas, Michigan. The Harbor Star (above) is a lovely retreat house surrounded by beautiful gardens. I love it there.
I was asked to design and teach a Mystery Class. I love to teach mysteries. In case you don't know, a mystery class is a class where you have no idea what kind of quilt you are making. Often you will have a supply list that gives you a vague idea of the final size and some fabric requirements. Then once the class starts, the teacher will hand out steps or clues one at a time. If all goes as planned, no body knows what the quilt will be until the last clue is revealed. I find this kind of student torture to be very satisfying! They have to trust me and blindly follow my directions. Hee hee. This was made even more fun because my Mother was one of the students. For me, there isn't anything more fun than my Mom having to listen to me, do what I say and not argue. Ahhh.

Okay, I'm just kidding. I don't enjoy torture. Much.

We did have fun. We made a wall hanging with sewing theme. And no one guessed what it was until the end. Except for Kathy. She guessed, but I lied and told her she was wrong. Forgive me, Kathy. It was only to preserve the fun for the class (really for me).

Here's a drawing of the quilt we made. There were also some sewing related applique shapes around the border.
Above is a photo of the students from a previous retreat at the Star. They made the Glory Quilt. This wasn't a mystery, but a regular class. Every one's kit was provided per their color choices. Suzie Sage, the owner of the Star does a fabulous job of picking the fabrics and preparing the kits.
I will be teaching there again in November. See the Harbor Star website for details.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In My Backyard

If you haven't seen the new Quilt Sampler Magazine yet, you're missing out. And I don't say that just because one of my favorite shops is in it. (Well, maybe...) It's a great issue.

It features Lake Street Mercantile in South Lyon, Michigan. In fact, their quilt is on the cover. And it's beautiful. The quilt, Paisley Parade and the fabric were designed by Laurie Simpson.

My son Matthew was very considerate when he chose to attend college at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. There are actually 2 or 3 quilt shops between our home and his. So, last week when I visited Matt, I stopped by Lake Street.

To start with, it's a gorgeous building. It's a restored bank and the town of South Lyon is lovely. Inside, you will find an astounding assortment of quilt fabric. If you love Moda and reproduction fabric, this is heaven. They also have a great selection of wool. So, if you are in the area, stop by Lake Street. And if you are going through Goodrich on your way, pick me up!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pressing Issues, Part 2 - No Rainbows In My Quilts

As promised I am going to give you some more tips on pressing. Pressing is so important to achieving good piecing that I think it's worth taking the time to do it properly. Also, if you put your ironing board across the room, you will get a little exercise. And if you keep your ironing board two floors down, you'll be thin by August. Bonus!

When pressing long strip sets, it really important to keep them as straight as possible. If you're not careful, you can end up with strip sets that look like rainbows. While rainbows are pretty, they are a real bugger to sub cut. In the following steps, I'll give you my tips for keeping them straight and easy to cut.

The first thing I do is set the seam while the strip set is still closed as it was when I sewed it. Careful not to distort it - keep it as straight as possible.

Then I push the top piece open with my fingers - careful not to move the bottom piece. Follow your fingers with the iron, but don't jam the point of the iron in the seam.

Continue this way until the strip set is pressed open completely.

Now for the cool part: Leave the first stripset on the ironing board and lay the next one on top. Line the sewn edge up with the seam line. Set the seam and open it with your fingers like you did the first one.

The strip set on the bottom will act as a stablizer for the second one. Keep this up, stack one on another until it is too high. Then start again. Cool, huh? Thought you might like it.


Monday, April 28, 2008

New Friends

This past Saturday I taught a class at Mabelena's quilt shop in my town. This was the first time I taught my new pattern, Hole In The Wall. Teaching a pattern for the first time is always a nervous time for me. I love to get the feed back on the pattern. But I HATE it if we find a typo or error. It's a real "cringe" moment for me, no matter how small the error is. Because I have my patterns tested before they are published, it's rare to find a real error in the pattern. Usually it's a typo or missed letter, etc. Still, I feel foolish if we find one. My patterns are like my children, they are a reflection on me when I send them out in the world. So, this class was no different. We found a small typo. Shoot. Darn. Cringe. Seems 7 rows of 7 blocks equals 49 blocks, not 48. Who knew?

We did have a blast in class. There were four students of varying skill levels. A small class leaves lots of time to get to know each other. And this was a great group. I feel I have made four new friends. I really do have the best job in the world.

Here's a photo of one of the finished tops. Isn't it gorgeous? I love the fabrics Dayna Hughes of Davison Michigan used. What do you think?

Remember, any time you make one of my quilt patterns, send me a photo. I will put it on the blog with your name. I love to see what you are doing out there, so send 'em in!


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gone too long

Sorry... I have not posted in a while...I'm out of breath and red as a beet...as you can see by the picture. Yes, this is the real me.

See, I have been dieting and exercising the last two weeks. This is all very new to me...
I just walked three miles.

Even the dog is pooped.

So, I will post something quilt related very soon.

As soon as I catch my breath. :)

Oh, and I lost 10.4 pounds so far. Yeah for me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pressing Issues

Pressing properly is one of my favorite (rants) issues to share with my students. I think it can make or break your piecing. You would be surprised how many people press incorrectly or (gasp) NOT AT ALL. So, if you are interested I have a short tutorial for you:

1. Cotton fabric is wishy washy - it can be pushed around. Be careful not to distort the fibers when you press. If you remember to move the iron parallel with the selvage, the fibers will stretch less and stay straighter.

2. Streamed? Well, as a matter of fact...I am. I do use steam when I press. Did you know most irons rely on steam to heat fully in the cotton setting? It's true. So don't be afraid to use steam. Just remember #1.

3. I always prewash and use spray starch or sizing when I press. I think I get much better results this way. Once I start pressing pieces I have sewn, I have a few tricks...

4. When pressing Half Square Triangles, I set my seam first with the unit still closed.

5. Then I open the seam with my fingers.

6. Then I carefully press, moving the iron parallel to the weave of the fabric so I don't distort it. (Don't push the point of the iron into the seam. This will make it wavy).

7. Now comes the time saving cool part...Lay the next HST unit right on top of the first one. Line the edge of the top unit up with the seam line of the first one. (Do a better job than I did). Continue on setting the seams and pressing until the pile gets too big and start a new one. You'll find this is quicker and keeps your seams straighter!

Next time I will show you some ideas about pressing strip sets. I know you can hardly wait!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Taming Fabric and Stripping

This weekend I was working on a mystery quilt I am teaching at the Harbor Star in May. I like to teach mysteries because I get to torture my students! Ha

Anyway, I needed to use a lot of different fabrics for this one. So I needed a way to keep them in some kind of order and easy to get to as I pieced. Since I am so organized (NOT) I came up with this:

It's just an old fashioned drying rack. You can fold it up to store it. I use it all the time to hang fabric as I iron it, too.

You can see how easy the strips are to reach from my sewing machine.

Just remember how tall your dog is and hang your strips a little higher. Ask me how I know this...


Saturday, April 12, 2008

You'll find Me Here

Well, this is my first post. I thought you might enjoy seeing where I sew. I used to be in the basement. The dark damp unfinished basement. Then I gradually moved into the living room. Last summer I decided to just move all of the living room furniture out and take over completely. And I got away with it. I'm still not sure how I got away with it...

Doesn’t it look nice? Clean huh? Yeah, it’s always like that........NOT!

Here’s the other side of the room. And that’s Rocky sticking his head in.

This is my cutting table. It’s really a kitchen table that has been raised to a comfortable height. I love my cutting table. My Dad made it for me.

This is where I write my patterns. And play Peggle. Don’t ask.

This is where I store my fabric (most of it) and quilts.

Here it is with the curtain off. I keep those curtains on there to protect my fabric from the light. The shelves are wire and very strong. I could get even more fabric in there...

Here’s my printer. If you have one of my patterns, it was printed here.

And this is Rocky. Even though he thinks he is human, he is really a Yorkie/Jack Russell mix. You will hear much more about this little guy in later posts.