On point…

In the law, cases are “on point” when the facts of the case in the law books – already decided – exactly match the facts in your case so you can cite it as being the law.

So it follows that it kind of annoys me when folks use the phrase “case in point”… where does that come from?  It’s like “tough road to hoe” instead of “tough row to hoe”.  But then I get persnickety about silly stuff like that.  You’re shocked, I know.

But I digress – another big shock.

Oh – Happy Monday!

This is a Tip Jar post and it’s about those pointy things we use every time we stitch – needles.


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Five little letters…


You’d think such a small word wouldn’t have such huge implications.  It ought to be insignificant.  How much difference could it make – really?  Yes, I’m referring to that thing we quilters call a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  It’s elusive.  It’s cursed… much-sought-after… and occasionally incomprehensible.

Does it really matter?  I wish I could give you a definitive answer but there are times when no, it doesn’t.


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It means “money” or “cash”.  Dictionary.com.  (spon-doo-liks)

I love that website – that and Thesaurus.com – and I’m betting that learning that falls into the category of “incredibly obvious”.

So why did this come up?  Because I went to the website looking for a synonym for the word “retreat”, meaning a place of refuge.  I rather like the other words for it and when most of us think of a quilt retreat, we do think of it as being a hideaway, hideout, refuge, sanctuary.  Preserve?  Things can get a little wild at a quilt retreat… but I still think of a “preserve” as having to do with strawberries or wildebeests.

So again… why did this come up?


Because I’m “retreating” next week – to Utah, with Amy McClellan and the ladies at American Quilting in Orem. Amy has been doing this retreat for several years and it sounds like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.  I’ll be teaching three different quilts – Crop Circles, Radio Flyer/Little Red and Wee Hours.  Wee Hours will be a new pattern at Spring Market so the ladies in my class get to be the sacrificial lambs pattern-testers.  It’s a lot of nine-patches.

Do you go to quilt retreats?  Frequently… occasionally… someday?

In addition to teaching, I’m going to have the time to sew.  I’m looking forward to it but I have to tell you that sewing at retreat is usually a mixed bag for me.  I either get a lot done or very little, there is no middle ground.  I think it’s because there are so many distractions there – good ones!  My favorite thing is that most everybody there is there with a friend – or a big group of them.

So as much as I love being at-one with my own little workroom, I’m excited to go.  I’ve got plenty of pre-Market sewing to do so getting away for a few days to work on that will be nice.  I’m bringing my small machine – it fits in my carry-on – and two projects.  If I get everything done – hope springs eternal – then I can stitch down the binding for Wee Hours.  (It’ll be glue-basted until then.)

This is the fabric I’ll be bringing with me – <insert collection name here> by <insert name of designer here> and well… you get the idea.


I was wearing a pair of the Sew Red Glasses when I took this picture – I needed to see the value level of these bundles.  Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Yeah, yeah… not only did I change the image to Black & White, I fiddled with the color levels.  I know it’s not fair but I think it’s safe to say that almost all of the fabric pictures on this blog for the next seven weeks will be going through a “color remover”.

But the pre-Market catalog should be out in another week or so, and as soon as the designers start showing you their collections, I’ll give you some peeks of what I’m working on.  Deal?

So as I pack for retreat, what should I remember to bring with me?

So far, my list includes:


  • sewing machine
  • extension plate for machine, foot pedal and power cord for my sewing machine  (I put these on the list because I may or may not have forgotten to bring one or more of them once or twice in my life…
  • seam ripper
  • extra needles and bobbins – preferably already wound
  • extra foot for sewing machine – just in case… been there, needed this
  • extra thread – which usually means I’ll bring 6 or 7 spools  (I have a tendency to over-pack – and over-estimate how much I’ll actually get done.)
  • rulers – I always bring a 6″ x 6″ square and a 6″ x 12″ rectangle
  • rotary cutter and extra blades
  • small rotary cutting mat
  • seam ripper
  • snips and scissors
  • pins and a magnetic pinbowl
  • one or two pens and some scratch paper
  • seam ripper – yes, I know it’s already on the list but it’s really bad “sewing karma” to leave this behind
  • fuzzy socks – I don’t like to sew with my shoes on
  • extra pair of readers – so I can actually see what I’m doing
  • re-fillable water bottle
  • snacks – it’s right before Easter so I’ll take jelly beans

And one more thing I always take with me to a quilt retreat.  Back in 2005 or so, I taught at a retreat in Illinois for A Touch of Amish in Barrington and that’s where I met Deane Happ.  She’s a lovely woman and on the table next to her, she had a small metal “flying pig” that she used to keep pieces of fabric in place.  She’d bought it at a garden store many years before because she’d thought it was cute, though nobody had ever figured out what it’s purpose was.  Ever since then, she always took it to retreats as a good-luck charm of sorts, and because it made her smile.  As I would walk by Deane over the course of the weekend, I kept admiring it and okay, I probably picked it up a few times trying to figure out what it was for.  At the end of the retreat, Deane gave me the little pig.  I told her “no, I couldn’t… it was her keepsake.”  She insisted.  I insisted back – really.  She insisted more.


It’s been in my sewing room every since and I take it with me to retreats.  It makes me think of Deane and her kind heart, and that always makes me smile.  But I’m usually not very good about putting it out because… well, I’m not ready to give it up.  Someday.  But not yet.

So what have I forgotten?

When you go on retreat, do you have a check-list?  Or do you just wing-it?  Is there one thing that you have to have with you – the sort of item that requires you to double-check that it’s packed before you leave your house?

Stretchy pants!  Also known as “yoga pants”.  Though really, they ought to be called “sewing pants” because most of the folks I know wearing them don’t do much yoga.

Maybe that ought to be in the dictionary.

I’ll get on that right after I go circumvolve some bobbins.  (Wind.)

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