Tag Archives: teaching

Quilting On

Lame title, eh? I wanted to pick something real cute like Springing Ahead but it’s snowing here and this is our 4th nor’easter in about 12 days or so. COME ON. I’ve got all kinds of beautiful plants in the living room trying to push me towards that fresh, spring feeling but I’ve got nothin’. So we talk about what ALWAYS cheers us up and that is quilting! My favorite topic aside from bunnies!

So…I had my wonderful ladies here last week for open sew day. It’s great fun for me to transform my first floor into a sewing retreat for the day. We have multiple cutting and ironing stations set up, lots of good food, a lot of laughs, and room to comfortably work on our projects. The hours shared with like minded people are not only enjoyable but inspirational as we cheer each other on and bring new perspectives to this hobby we all love.

Here are few pictures from our day…
Priscilla and Gail working hard…









Nancy measuring and pressing her borders…









Sharyn opening her prize for winning quilt trivia…they were excellent sports about my strange need to have organized games and goody bags at my events, lol!!! Must put that hospitality degree to good use!









Priscilla and Gail sharing a laugh over coffee and tea…









My week wasn’t all play…I did finish up a bargello wall hanging that I will be using to teach a bargello class with next month…









And I finished long arming Gail’s quilt…it’s a beauty!








And I started a portrait art quilt of my daughter Amanda.









I explain more about this process in the following youtube video. Many years ago I had a youtube channel called Quilt Cabana Corner and I posted 9 videos to that channel. Sadly, youtube won’t allow me back on the channel because it’s been too long since I posted. I started a new channel this morning called Quilt Cabana Corner With Sandi Colwell and it will be a biweekly video cast of different crafty things I’m working on. The videos will be 15 minutes or less. I’m nervous in this first one and speaking too quickly and forgot a few names…sorry about that. I do hope you’ll join me for this adventure and subscribe to the channel although I will be posting the links here as they are uploaded to youtube.

I think that about does it for the week! I hope spring has found you and that it finds little o’l Massachusetts sometime soon!

Have a great day, everybody!


Color Wheel Fun!







Friday was such a fun day around here! Four of my students came to learn about the color wheel and how it relates to quilting. We learned basic color terminology and how to use color recipes by seeing them used in existing quilts. We also played a game to reinforce our new knowledge of color recipes and talked about how we can tweak our current fabric buying habits to incorporate use of the color wheel for successful quilt making!









The remaining time was spent sewing and answering questions about current projects. We also had snacks…of course!

Gail and Nancy admiring Gail’s current project with luscious batik jelly roll strips…









Sharyn working hard cutting strips for her beautiful quilt…









And Priscilla getting ready to bind her adorable Valentine runner…









I can’t help but think how blessed I am to have these wonderful quilters in my life! Not only are they all talented but they are always willing to try something new and share what they are learning with one another. I’m a lucky girl!

Last week Priscilla’s gorgeous quilt was on my long arm. The mocha thread and swirling feather pantograph only added to the beauty this quilt already was.

















This week I have Amanda’s sorority auction quilt on the long arm. I have just a few rows done but I’m hoping to work on it this week. It’s school vacation week around here though so no promises! It’s also my birthday week and I’m planning on being kind to myself! LOL!!

What’s under your needle this week?


Getting A Jump on January!

January has arrived and we are cruising right through it! How are you doing on your goals for the new year and paying mind to your guiding word? The word I chose was ‘yes’ and my goals are basically to focus on long arming and teaching. I’ve been full steam ahead with both of those things as I remind myself daily to stick to the plan. In the newsletter that I mailed out last week, we talked about how to take steps toward achieving those goals. If you’d like to join the newsletter email list, please sign up in the menu bar to the right.  I have beautiful student quilts on the long arm machine this month and plenty of side projects to share. And of course the cute bunny photo at the end of the post!

The first quilt on the long arm this year was Gail’s beautiful 1930’s vintage Christmas jelly roll race quilt. I used green thread and a holly berry pantograph and it came out so cute. We worked on the binding together during class time and she finished it up on her own earlier this week.










Now I have Priscilla’s beautiful card trick quilt on the machine. She did an incredible job piecing this stunning top. Linen colored thread and a swirly pantograph will be the perfect touch for it.








and a close up…









I pulled out the mosaic quilt last weekend that I was working on in the fall. I decided I had been making it too complicated by not just using one piece of fabric per square but actually trying to fit 2 or 3 fabrics on a square and I was distressed by it all. I tore up what I had and began again. Now it is an official mosaic and it’s starting to come along. I’m excited by it again and that thrills me. The photo is from a lavender field we visited on Maui last summer.









I put the final stitches in Lindsey’s afghan this week. She reminded me daily that I wasn’t working on it and now I’m done! Feels good to have this one wrapped up….









My intention was to use purple on the finished edge but I ran out so I finished it with yellow and I like it well enough.









I did a little bit of embroidery one night during the week on the bunny door stop. I’m hoping to do a bit more this weekend but I think I’ll be knitting. When the Patriots are in the playoffs, superstition dictates that I have to knit in order for them to win! Those in my circle know that I have a job to do during playoff season and I take it quite seriously! It’s worked pretty well so far!









And now for the obligatory cute bunny post of my baby, Ginny….


Let me know how your goals are coming along and if you have any crafty things you do during playoff season? I’d love to hear about it.


Winding It Down & A New Word

Here we are almost at Christmas time! I had to look twice to be sure that I read the blog right. I haven’t posted since Dec. 1st! Time sure got away from me this month. It has been a busy season with classes, long arming, and being involved with the Nutcracker performances. I wish I had some photos from the Nutcracker of Leah to show you but no photos were allowed and it will be another month or so before we see the professional ones. I assure you though, she did a wonderful job as an angel and also as a Chinese tea dancer.

I’ve been busier than ever on the long arm machine and finishing up my own projects as well as student ones. I finished up the blue and white quilt and wanted to show you how it is being packaged as a gift. I read online recently that someone was using large cake boxes with windows as a beautiful way to give a quilt. I love the idea so much and found that Walmart carries the Wilton brand boxes. They run about $5.50 for two of them and they look so nice.








This month I was working on two quilts for Gail. I long armed her Minnie Mouse quilt and her Harry Potter quilt. We affectionately called these quilts Minnie and Harry. Gail pointed out to me that we were referring to them as living creatures. I had to laugh because she was totally right! It was fun to be that involved with them though. On the Minnie quilt, I stitched in some mouse ears on the four corners for her.















Here is the Harry Potter quilt…









Earlier this week I picked up Priscilla’s beautiful card trick quilt and I’ll be working on that come January.









Last night I finally finished a complete pair of socks on the sock loom!!! It took me a long time but I’m really so happy with how they came out.









The yarn was so saturated with color, I just loved working with it. I’m keeping these as it’s the first real pair but I’ve already cast on with some pretty pink yarn for a pair for Amanda.

I’m looking forward to spending next week with my family. I know I have some crafty gifts under the tree and I can’t wait to share those with you.

So January is almost upon us which means it’s time to choose the guiding word for 2018. My 2017 word was “focus” and I believe I succeeded in getting my business focus down to teaching and long arming. This year, I’m choosing “yes” as my word. Yes to myself, yes to my work, yes to becoming a healthier version of myself. Next year 2 out of 3 kids will be living away at college and I think it will be a great time to see what saying yes to myself will bring. What is your word for 2018? I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments below.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday with your families and I hope your hearts are filled with peace, love, and joy.


A Fun Foot, A Finish, A Christmas Quilt

Lately I noticed that I am having trouble coming up with titles for my blog posts! Now I just list out what I’m planning on sharing with you all. Kind of lame but it gets the job done, lol!! So let’s unpack the blog title item by item…

I saw a very cool presser foot being advertised on Facebook last week. It’s a guide foot that allows you to keep your decorative stitches in line as you sew. It was advertised for $19.95 and I was totally ready to purchase it but then I took a look at Amazon and found it for $6! What??? So I bought two! One for my mom and one for me! Check out how cool this is-the link takes you to Amazon and from there you can see the photos of what it does…

I had the pleasure of finishing and delivering one t-shirt quilt to a special young lady! Here are the photos of the finished quilt. I ended up buying a photographer’s backgroud stand so that I could get a picture of the finished quilt! It’s giant.



















Two more…









and lastly…









Now that this one is done I am in the process of longarming this awesome Christmas quilt for my mom. I’m using a holly and berry pantograph with gold thread…


























I’ve been busy catching up with all my students and everyone is coming along so nicely with their projects! I’ll have more to show you of that next week when I see them all again!

What are you all working on this week? Feel free to share your projects here! I’d love to see them.


*post contains an Amazon affiliate link


Maria Shell Workshop and Projects

This past week has been so full of quilty goodness, I can hardly stand it! I had several teaching days, I attended a guild workshop, and I was busy in the studio all week long. It felt so good!

Saturday was our guild’s monthly workshop and the presenter was Maria Shell. Maria has found her niche in improv quilting and has done some truly beautiful work. She is the author of Improv Patchwork which is coming out next month. In our guild, the teachers do a one or two day weekend workshop and then they lecture at the regular meeting on the following Monday night. So if you’re coming to teach at our guild, you better pack for a few days! My mom and I signed up for the Saturday workshop back in May and then we promptly forgot about it until the supply list showed up in our emails! I wasn’t even sure I could make it because Leah auditioned and received a role (actually 2 roles) in the Nutcracker production by the Braintree Ballet Company and rehearsals were supposed to start that day but got pushed back a week. So…I was free to travel to Bentley University where our guild is held and sew all day! Truthfully, I didn’t really care what we were making in the workshop, I was just excited to spend a day sewing with my mom! This is the classroom and sadly, we blew several fuses as soon as the irons all got plugged in. We had to get maintenance to fix it and then limit ourselves to just two irons for the entire room! Yep, 2 irons for a whole bunch of people who needed to press after every seam. We made it work though!








And my mom contemplating her fabric choices!









The idea of the workshop was to choose a color palette and then using Maria’s technique, stitch pieces together and make a new piece of fabric. I ended up going with a Halloween theme and made this little piece which could be a mug rug. Of course, I want to stick a little applique pumpkin on there or something. Lol! It’s not a quilt til it has some applique on it!










When I got bored with those colors, I did a technique called a bead string with a palette that reminded me of a Maui sunset. I didn’t have time to finish it but this is as far as I got…









My mother didn’t really get her projects off the ground. She didn’t like the colors she first chose and couldn’t quite find her rhythm. In the end, she decided improv quilting isn’t her cup of tea and that she really more enjoys traditional quilting. We packed up our stuff and had a lovely dinner together afterwards.

The t-shirt quilt for my friend’s daughter is nearly done now. I took it off the long arm yesterday and now I am working on the binding. I chose a loopy stitch design for the sashing on the quilt. I love how it looks with the black on black. It’s a great texture and doesn’t detract from the t-shirt logos.










I’m also working on the start of a mosaic landscape quilt. I have all the fabric selected and the cutting has begun!









The fusible grid is marked and ready!









So it’s been a full week and a weird and sad week. Hurricane Irma coverage has been very hard to watch as we have several relatives living in Florida. Most have been lucky but we are still waiting to hear how a few made out and if their homes are intact. There’s been a lot of praying going on. It is quite a thing to see how people help people in times of trouble. There are good people everywhere.

Have a wonderful week,


New Projects and Student Work

Hello September! I honestly never thought we’d get here lol!!! What a crazy month August ended up being. We started the first weekend of August with a wedding that Greg was a groomsman for then we headed to Hawaii for 11 days, came home and moved Amanda into University of New Hampshire, got the other two kids back to school, and spent this last weekend in Vermont touring three colleges for Lindsey. I’m ready to quilt now.

In between the craziness I did get the top of the t-shirt quilt pieced. I just put the top and bottom borders on this morning before my lesson with Sharyn.









This afternoon I’ll piece the backing and get it ready for the long arm.

Earlier today I was helping Sharyn with her quilt projects. She has several going at once which eliminates boredom and gives her plenty to work on in between her lessons. Today we were auditioning border fabrics for this pretty quilt.








Sharyn had started this one many years ago and wasn’t sure she had all of the directions as she had begun it in a local quilt shop class. We figured out the block measurements and the on point setting and here it is nearly done! Way to go, Sharyn! She has a few more unfinished projects that she is about ready to turn into beautiful finished pieces. It’s so fun to be involved with her process and many finishes!

Once the t-shirt quilt is finished I’ll be using this photo from our Maui trip to make a mosaic landscape quilt a la the style of Pat Durbin.









I have everything I need to begin and I hope I chose well on the photo. Time will tell…I also have a few quilts to bind and one that needs long arming. I also started a Halloween jelly roll race quilt. So I’ve definitely got enough irons in the fire at the moment. Mostly I’m looking forward to being back with my students! I’ve missed them so much!

Last week I ordered a poncho from Jenny Boston Boutique. It’s a shop that advertises items for sale once a week on Facebook and you just comment  “sold” and your size and they send you an invoice. I pay with Paypal and the item is on the way! This is the second item I’ve ordered from them and I really like their stuff. It’s good quality and decent pricing.









This month for my business book club, we are reading Uncontainable. This is the story of the CEO of The Container Store and how their business philosophies have made them so successful both in sales and in corporate culture. It’s pretty interesting so far.
Here is the Amazon description of the book:

“You’re going to sell what? Empty Boxes?”

Back in 1978, Kip Tindell (Chairman & CEO of The Container Store) and his partners had the vision that people were eager to find solutions to save both space and time – and they were definitely onto something. A new category of the retailing industry was born – storage and organization. Today, with stores nationwide and with more than 5,000 loyal employees, the company couldn’t be stronger. Over the years, The Container Store has been lauded for its commitment to its employees and focus on its original concept and inventory mix as the formula for its success. But for Tindell, the goal never has been growth for growth’s sake. Rather, it is to adhere to the company’s values-based business philosophies, which center on an employee-first culture, superior customer service and strict merchandising. The Container Store has been named on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” list for 15 consecutive years. Even better, The Container Store has millions of loyal customers.

In Uncontainable, Tindell reveals his approach for building a business where everyone associated with it thrives through embodying the tenets of Conscious Capitalism. Tindell’s seven Foundation Principles are the roadmap that drives everyone at The Container Store to achieve the goals of the company. Uncontainable shows how other businesses can adapt this approach toward what Tindell calls the most profitable, sustainable and fun way of doing business. Tindell is that rare CEO who fully embraces the “Golden Rule” of business – where all stakeholders – employees, customers, vendors, shareholder, the community – are successful through a harmonic balance of win-wins.

For my regular book club, I just finished reading The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware which was more of a mystery but I didn’t care for it much. The book was repetitive and a bit boring.

That’s about it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful and quilty week!

*contains an Amazon affiliate link


Long Arm, Site Update & Give Away Winner

Happy Friday and congratulations to Margaret M. who was the winner of my 100 Blocks Blog Tour stop! Margaret has won a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 15!

The sun is shining today which seems like a giant prize for the cruddy weather week we’ve had around here. It has been conducive to quilting which is nice! I was able to get the borders on the Hawaiian flower quilt. I have it loaded on the long arm and ready to be quilted with a hibiscus pantograph and one of these pretty threads!









So many pretty ones to choose from!









Yesterday my Red Snappers came in the mail. They are a Mother’s Day gift from my mom! For those of you who are unaware of what these are, they are a quilt loading system for the long arm machine which eliminates having to pin the quilt layers to the leaders. The snapper clamps hold the quilt tight where it should be. That being said, I installed them yesterday and this Hawaiian quilt will be the guinea pig for using them. I’m pretty sure it took me longer than pinning just out of ignorance today though! Wish me luck! It typically takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to load a quilt so cutting that time will be a big help.

I spent the week trying out pantographs to see how I like them. I also practiced a bit of custom work.























I also updated my Quilt Cabana Patterns website this week. It was in need of a facelift and boy did it get one! I added a menu tab called Long Arm Service which has information about how I can help you get your quilt tops quilted! Pricing and design information is all there and I’d love to help you get those tops done!

Last week I had a such a fun day teaching fusible applique to Nancy and Priscilla! It was by far the best morning of the week! Nancy and Priscilla learned how to make the Sail Away Mug Rug using paper backed fusible web and the blanket stitch technique for finishing the applique. They are fast learners and I can’t wait to see how they finished their projects up. Here are my ladies hard at work! If you’d like to learn this technique, contact me at colwellsg@comcast.net.










That’s all for today! Be sure to check out the newly updated website!


Planners, Proms and Projects

Happy Sunday to all! I hope you had a good and quilty week! I was blessed to be able to meet with all three of my lovely students this week. I loved every minute of it! I started my week helping Priscilla with her basting of a beautiful pink churn dash baby quilt. Later in the week I saw Gail and we measured up her awesome t-shirt quilt for the long armer and then we worked on her binding of a super cute Disney Princess quilt. At the end of the week, I had fun with Nancy getting her gorgeous star quilt ready for the long arm and also planning out her next project! I love spending time with my quilting ladies! It fills my heart and soul.

This morning we are getting ready to bring Amanda back to UNH. She’s had a nice long break and she’s ready to get back at it. I’m feeling weepy and sad, of course. I love having her home and knowing my family is all together. We (the four ladies of the house) spent quite a bit of time in our living room being goofy…








Watching Lindsey learn to embroider and give us the hairy eyeball…

















And just being with each other. When the girls were little and the mommy work was exhausting, I used to wonder what it would be like when the girls were teenagers and we’d be hanging out with each other, what kind of conversations would we have? Would we all get along? And I realize that this is THAT time! All my wondering was about this exact moment. It’s far better than anything my tired, weary, mommy mind could imagine way back then. I am completely filled with joy and thankfulness.

My own projects are moving along too. I finished my loom scarf and I’m working on getting my Quilter’s World project onto the long arm. I have finished piecing and now need to quilt and draft the pattern. The deadline is Feb. 10th. I think I’ll make it. The project will be in the Autumn issue.









I’m also still practicing ruler skills on the long arm. I got very motivated after watching Judi Madsen’s Quiltiing Makes A Difference dvd. I loved this dvd and Judi’s methodical way of marking and quilting. It made me realize taking my time and relishing in perfection is ok! I have a long way to go but I think with practice, I’ll get this thing!


























I have been on a quest for the perfect planner as have a lot of you, I know. Sandy from Quilting For The Rest of Us has been blogging about her quest as well. There are just so many planners – DayTimers, Day Runners, Passion Planner, Happy Planner, Quilter’s Planner, the list goes on. I decided to go back to what I used when I had my first job out of college with Marriott. We all received beautiful Franklin planners and had to take a class on using the Franklin system. I did very well with that system and though it’s pricey, I’m returning to it. I ordered the Franklin pages but I couldn’t find a binder I liked, so I ended up with a DayTimer binder. It is all due to arrive today! I can’t wait. I need a planner where I can list out work things, home things and use time blocking to stay on track. What type of planner do you all use?

And lastly, my girl is going to Junior Prom in April! After much searching and dress trying on…and I mean a lot of dress trying on…Lindsey said yes to this beautiful red dress! It’s going to be a fun year!









Have a wonderful day today, everyone!


Crossing The Finish Line, Finding A New Word

So do we all feel like we’re running a race about right now? The shopping, wrapping, baking, Christmas carding, and goody delivering are in full swing! I feel like I’m headed for the finish line  and in a few short days, the big day will be upon us. Hallelujah! I could use some focusing on that beautiful baby in the manger. The timing between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems super short this year, I haven’t gotten loads done in the way of quilting but I did finish this gorgeous quilt for my mother on the long arm. I used a pantograph called Pipeline which I like very much. By the time I finished it, I almost couldn’t believe that I had done that work! It was hugely satisfying and now I am hungering for more time on the machine.




















It didn’t come out perfect but I learned a lot doing the quilting. I have several pantographs here and I’ll be adding to them after the first of the year when I can really take my time looking at what’s available and what will work best on my long arm.

It’s almost time to choose a new word for the year! My 2016 word was ‘wisdom’ as in listen to it and seek it. It wasn’t an easy word choice but it made a difference in my year. My 2017 word for the year is ‘focus’. I’ve chosen this word in years passed but this coming year it will guide me through learning the long arm business and expanding my teaching and designing schedule. I’ve been home with my kids for many years and I’ve always set aside most of my time for doing the mom things and kind of waiting around to see what everyone needs me to do. This year, I have an opportunity to really expand my business and do more with it. I’m excited about that but also really have to retrain my brain to focus on the business and to give myself permission to focus on the business more. I need to recondition my thoughts so I don’t always feel guilty about it. That’s the big thing. That’s the hold up for me. That is what I need to focus on for 2017.

The second part of my word choice is to focus on health. I’ve had crazy migraines the last month and as usual, I don’t really know why. I’ll think I know what’s triggering and then I eliminate but they come back. The worst of the headaches last year were between Thanksgiving and Christmas and here it goes again. So of course stress but also not enough exercise and too much sugar rules the day. I’ll be focusing on eating less sugar and exercising more in the coming year.

Have you thought about your word for 2017? Please share what your word choice is, I’d love to hear!

I’ll close with a picture or two of my favorite girls! We are thrilled to have Amanda home from college! She is happy to be reunited with her bunnies! Here’s Amanda and Leah with Nala and Daisy who are doing just fine in their new garage location! They are in for a visit in this photo.








And here’s Lindsey in the holiday spirit awaiting her friends to arrive for their annual Christmas party!









One more thing! I just ordered this daily hexagon calendar for myself for next year. I’m thinking it will expand my English Paper Piecing skills with some pretty new patterns. Check it out on Amazon! There’s still time to get one before Christmas!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

*this post contains an Amazon affiliate link