I love trains! When I was a kid we had an awesome old train set, courtesy of my paternal grandfather, that my parents would put around the Christmas tree each year. For a while I collected model trains and I’ve always loved riding on trains whether short distance or longer distances (for example see post – Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part IV).
So I was over the moon when our friends set up a trip to the California State Railroad Museum. I am not sure how long we spent in the museum (time ceased to exist while I was in there) but I remember them telling me: “Tierney we have to go now, we have other things to do…”
I took SO MANY PHOTOS of course, but alas it was quite dark in the museum so the photos are not my best. We began our time in the museum with a tour from a retired railroad man (the museum was staff with retired railroad people, likely volunteers) and then each wandered off on our own because there was so much to see.
Here is a sampling of some of the zillion photos I took:
Upstairs there was an amazing display of toy trains (oh my heart) – a family had donated their father’s extensive toy train collection, it was mind blowing!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know I like to pretend I am a real photographer and take photos in B&W. Here are a couple of the B&W photos I took inside the museum:
Of course none of my photos do justice on how awesome the museum is to visit in person!
SOME MORE LAB LOVE
It was great to visit our friends and one of the best part of the visit was to spend time with my “dog goddaughter” Riley, the chocolate lab supreme!
Here is Riley and I in April 2019 when I first met her and we fell in love (they had just adopted her):
And here she is in November 2021 in all her grown up cuteness:
Here is an update on the second granny square blanket I am working on (the first post on it was in January – Granny Squaring Again!).
The weather has been weird in the Denver Metro area. We get teased with Spring with 60 degree Celsius days, and then the next day it is 20 degrees Celsius and a blizzard! I’ve been spending some of those blizzard days staying warm with a cup of tea and crocheting granny squares for my second granny square blanket.
I completed 63 granny square squares so it was time to lay out what I’ve made so far on the “Design Carpet” so I could decide how many more I need to make for a decent sized blanket:
I decided to make the blanket 10 x 10, which is a 100 blocks, so I needed 37 more blocks.
I also realized I need some additional combinations to keep the blanket visually interesting. It is made from thrifted acrylic yarn (I paid one dollar or less for each skein) and I worked with what I had so it is very “scrappy”.
Here are the combinations I have so far:
Since taking these photos, I’ve started working on new combinations and here are some of the centers I’ve made:
I still haven’t decided what color I am going to set the blocks in (like a sashing crocheted between them) but I am still leaning towards brown. I made sure not to make the outer color of any blocks brown so they will not blend into the setting yarn color and look smaller than the other blocks.
I just love working on these little crochet squares and it is mindless perfect crafting for in front of the TV in the evening or even sitting around visiting with friends.
Included in our MSQC retreat was a trip to the Missouri Quilt Museum (which is housed in an old school), and this post will share photos from that visit! There was so much to see, I’ve curated my photos to just share my favorite exhibits at the museum.
When we first entered the museum, we spent a bit of time in the Miniature Quilt Exhibit! The work that went into these tiny doll size quilts was amazing!
The photos above has a lap size quilt on the wall and to the right of it, the miniature version of that quilt!
FULL SIZE ANTIQUE QUILTS
There were many antique full sized quilts displayed around the museum, here are a couple samples:
ANTIQUE SEWING MACHINES
There were endless examples of antique sewing machines. I especially got a kick of the antique Bernina sewing machine.
TOY SEWING MACHINES
Even more amazing that the exhibits of antique sewing machines, was the exhibit of TOY SEWING MACHINES!
NATIONAL QUILT MUSEUM GALLERY
The also had a gallery of quilts on loan from the National Quilt Museum:
Here are a couple of my favorites from those quilts. The second one has dogs incorporated into the trees in the quilts, so look carefully.
COOL “MODERN” QUILTS
They also had some cool “Modern” style quilts on display include the head of Albert Einstein, a quilt made entirely from fabric selvages, and an amazing denim quilt:
It was amazing, strange and interesting to see such a jam packed museum of quilting history in a small town!
Thanks for joining me on the six part series about my visit to Quilt Town, USA!
Now to share with you what it was like to attend the retreat at MSQC and stay at the retreat center.
The retreat center, known as the Sewing Center is in the middle of downtown Hamilton, MO and is an old building converted to the retreat center and accommodations. I have photos below but if you want to see the official photos/info here is the link from the MSQC website – Sewing Center.
Here is the retreat sewing area:
Our group of 6 sat by the front windows. Here are photos of our assigned sewing area for our group when we arrived, and then when we got settled in!
We rented BabyLock Sewing machines from MSQC for the retreat since we were all flying in from various places across the country (Denver, CO; Seattle, WA; New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Sacramento, CA) and did not want to deal with lugging our sewing machines to the retreat via airplane.
The retreat center sewing area has a large kitchen and a snack table area. The photos below include the snack table at the beginning of the retreat. I should have taken a photo a couple days in as it was packed with all the snacks quilters brought and put out to share.
Our meals were served at the kitchen and they were nothing to write home about, but they were okay. They did have some great desserts a couple of dinners. But here is an example of one of the meals:
You could also go out to eat at various restaurants around town. We went out a couple times to eat, and several of my quilting friends discovered an amazing Mexican restaurant in town.
We also discovered a brewery in town, Levi Garrison & Sons Brewery and several of my quilting friends and I had a nice pint while chatting with the wonderful bartender who told us stories from her life and town history.
The brewery did not serve food, so we picked up food at a local eatery and brought it in to have with our pint.
In addition to a couple meals out and a visit to the local brewery, we also had a delicious ice cream treat at the local sweet shop one day!
It was like 17 or 19 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but it is never too cold out for ice cream! (We did eat it inside the sweet shop before re-bundling up to go back to the retreat center).
The sleeping accommodations at the retreat were upstairs. The twin beds had very comfortable mattresses. The main challenge was you had to like going up and down stairs – lots of stairs. (The retreat center did have a stair lift in the back in case you were “differently abled” and needed assistance to get upstairs).
I thought it was funny they had a chair on the landing of the first flight of stairs, in case you needed a break.
They also had a seating area at the top of the stairs when you finished your second flight of stairs to get to your room:
The bathrooms were lined up dorm style – they had plenty and they had decent showers (but no soap, you had to bring your own soap):
Here is an example of one of the rooms, it is the room I stayed in:
Here are a couple more photos of the upstairs sleeping accommodations areas:
One evening we were treated to a glorious sunset outside our window of the retreat center:
Everyone was out taking photos and of course it was cooler than my photos show.
During the retreat, we would periodically head over to the Main Shop and put stuff in our boxes to be shipped home. As I mentioned in previous posts in this series, they provide free shipping (of unlimited boxes) of whatever you purchase and any projects you worked on during the retreat, to retreat attendees.
I’ll close this post with a picture of me, taken by my friend Kathy, as I am leaving the retreat to take the shuttle back to Kansas City, Missouri to fly home:
This post continues my series of posts on my trip to Quilt Town, USA to attend a Missouri Star Quilt Company (also known as “MSQC”) quilt retreat with my long time quilting friends. The previous three previous posts in the series are:
First of all, do not judge. I have a fetish for fabric scraps – ha! Okay that sounds a wee bit weird, but I would rather make things from fabric scraps than cut into yardage. I only buy fabric by the yard when I absolutely have to or the fabric is so amazing I cannot leave it in the shop (and it looks at me with puppy eyes saying “Tierney take me home…”).
So when I heard that while I was at the MSQC week long retreat there was a “Scrap Bag Sale” at the Penny’s Quilt Shop I shivered with excitement.
This not my first rodeo as they say, I’ve been to lots of fabric scrap sales where you fill a bag for a specific price, with as much fabric scraps as you can fit in (and yeah, I am ALWAYS up to the challenge to see how much I can fit in the bag they provide without it breaking).
But, I’ve NEVER been to a “scrap bag” sale where 1 yard, 2 yard, and even 3 yard pieces are considered scraps!!! Yes there were a couple pieces here and there that you might call “scraps” – like quarter and half yard pieces, but most of what was in their bins were larger pieces that I definitely would not classify as “scraps”.
What I heard from another quilter during the feeding frenzy (photo below) was that Missouri Star will pull pieces off the bolt that are 3 yards or less and put them away for the scrap sale.
What you are about to see was what could be considered a “super spreader event” as no one was wearing masks, but luckily the pandemic is tapering down in my part of the world.
Here is the FEEDING FRENZY:
And yes I was right in the middle of it. I stepped out to take photos.
Actually everyone was so patient, thoughtful and kind. It was the nicest frenzy you could imagine. Quilters would yell out what they were looking for and we would pull for them and toss to them what they were looking for. I got so much Kaffe Fassett fabric this way from the bins.
Also people would take a break from being in the bins and make way for other quilters waiting in queue. Actually you had to take a break for a while as it was sort of exhausting sifting through all those yard pieces of fabric and a bit claustrophobic.
You also needed a break to stuff your bag!
Besides finding AMAZING top quality quilting fabric (of like every fabric line you could imagine) one of the most fun parts of the whole experience was laughing with everyone there as you tried to stuff your bag as full as possible.
Here were the early stages of packing bags with “scraps”:
Notice how no fabric is reaching over the top of the bags.
Here is my pile of bags starting to grow (I did stop at 4 but later got one more) as I left them among the pile of coats (it was getting warm from all those people foraging through all those bins of fabric):
Then we heard that the shop did not really care how full you got the bag as long as all fabric was “touching” the inside of the bag. So things got creative…
Here are a series of photos on my quilting friends and I engaging in “creative scrap bag stuffing“:
We were laughing so hard! It got to be a real game of “what else can we fit in there?“
Here are a couple of my long time quilting friends and I resting after our scrap foraging. We were exhausted but happy! (Note, not all our group attended the scrap sale, some were back at the Retreat Center being productive working on their projects!)
And here I am with another expression of “pure joy” like in the previous post (and note it was not just because of the amazing deals but that I was hanging out with friends, lol):
When we returned to the Retreat Center, Jessica, one of the Retreat Coordinators, challenged us to see how much yardage we had inside one of our bags.
One person had 27 yards of fabric inside ONE of their scraps bag. Yes that was 27 yards of fabric for $10.95! Most people had between 20 and 26 yards of fabric packed into ONE scrap bag.
One of the attendees actually ironed and folded her finds (show off, ha!):
I did not. I took all my scraps from the sale to the Main Shop for packaging up to send home to me! As I mentioned in the first post in this series (I think), MSQC will ship whatever you bought or worked on for FREE to you if you are attending a retreat so you don’t have to figure out how to get it home. (Yes they are encouraging attendees to shop to their heart’s content).
So, a couple days after I returned home from the retreat I received two boxes in the mail:
And here are the “scraps” I got from the sale:
I won’t tell you the total amount of fabric, because I did not even count the yardage.
I just ironed the fabric and incorporated it into my stash…while giggling…
I tried to make the first post in the series about what I worked on during the retreat, trying to make you think I was oh so productive during the retreat.
Actually I spent a lot of time with my friends wandering around the 13 specialty quilt shops they have in the town (if you’d like to see the full list see this link – MSQC Quilt Shops), in addition to the non quilting shops (like the yarn shop)! Here are some photos from those wanderings.
…and there might have been some purchasing involved…
FIRST STOP: THE MAIN SHOP
Our first stop was the Main Shop where we picked up our badges that got scanned with every purchase.
The Main Shop has numerous little “vignettes” previews of each of the 12 other shops, which are specialty quilting/craft supply shops, so you can see a sampling of what you might find in each shop. Here is a vignette of the Modern Shop inside the Main Shop as an example:
The second day of the quilt retreat, they sent us on a scavenger hunt to see all the shops and get a little treat/prize at each shop. Some of the photos below are from the scavenger hunt on the second day and some of from our first day wandering (as soon as we got into town, our feet hit the pavement to shop!)
They gave us cool bags as part of the scavenger hunt, at one of the shops, to hold our goodies from the scavenger hunt.
THE YARN SHOP– ONE BIG HAPPY YARN CO.
A couple photos from inside the yarn shop. I was well behaved as I have a decent stash of yarn and I am not a proficient knitter or crocheter (I get by), but it was fun to look!
Yes are you into the fiber arts, I bet those photos above were “yarn porn”, at least they were for me!
Now pretend you hear the below statement read by Rod Serling writer/narrator for the classic TV series – The Twilight Zone…
Imagine if you will, a quilt shop, that only has batik fabrics…in every color and style you can imagine…
Here are photos from our wander around “The Batik Zone“!
I just realized, it would be too much to share photos from every shop so I will just stick to some of my favorites.
They had an area connected to the Machine Shed shop called Man’s Land where husband’s could hang out while their wives went crazy shopping around Quilt Town, USA!
Here are some photos from Man’s Land. It was quite cozy, but no they did not serve any “adult beverages” there, even though it looks like it would be a nice comfy pub to hang out in!
THE MACHINE SHOP
The Machine Shop connected to Man’s Land was a cool shop where you could buy sewing supplies. Here are some photos from that shop:
PENNY’S QUILT SHOP
One of my favorite shops was Penny’s Quilt Shop, which was the old JCPenney’sDepartment Store (Hamilton, Missouri is the birthplace of James Cash Penney who founded J.C. Penney Company) into a quilt shop.
This quilt shop specializes in solids and blenders, and here are some photos from that shop:
It is also the shop that on Thursday of the retreat had the Scrap Sale, so I spent extra time in this shop. I share more about the dream Scrap Sale in another post in this series.
The most beautiful and serene shop (in my opinion) was the Florals quilt shop. The photos I share below do not do justice to how lovely this shop was decorated.
Here is my friend Judy making some yummy selections in the shop:
Thanks goodness I had recently re-organized my fabric stash at home and gave myself a limited budget for shopping (as I do not really need anymore fabric), otherwise I would have gotten in my trouble in this shop!
I have so many photos that I had to cut it off somewhere so the Modern Shop is the last shop I will share photos of from our wander. As the name implies it was filled with “modern” fabrics with lines such as Cotton + Steel, Ruby Star Society, Riley Blake, etc.
Hope you enjoyed virtually wandering about some of the shops with me (or you are now really tired and need a nap).
Next post I will talk about the amazing Scrap Sale and the “aftermath” when my boxes of my purchases arrived home post retreat!
I am planning to continue my series of posts on the quilt retreat I attended at the Missouri Star Quilt Company but I thought I would throw in a quick post to show a hat I knitted for my partner John.
It’s the first hat I made him. He asked for a gray hat and I thought I was knitting him a gray hat but a couple rows into knitting it and finally in direct sunlight with the yarn, I discovered the yarn was actually dark green with grayish undertones. (Oh I better explain – it was yarn someone gifted me – a beautiful soft nubby wool – and pulled it out of my stash in a semi-dark room).
He was still happy with it so I finished it for him. Here are some photos, and yes it’s my one and only hat knitting pattern I know. There might come a day in which I try a new pattern…perhaps!
In the first two images below, you can see the dark green:
But in this image below, which I guess was in a different light, it looks gray:
So it’s like I knitted him TWO HATS (ha!) – a dark green one and a gray one (smile).
I am pretty excited about the yarn I am using for the next hat I am knitting (which is for me!) and will blog about it sometime in the future.
Now I will return to reading the blog posts of the knitters I follow that are busy making quadruple layered cabled (I made that up) Fair Isle Icelandic sweaters with wool they spun and then dyed themselves…lol…
In early 2018 before all of our lives would change, my quilting friends and I first discussed the idea of doing a cool “bucket list” thing: visiting the Missouri Star Quilt Company, also known as “MSQC”, in Hamilton, Missouri. It wasn’t until 2021 after a year and a half into the pandemic, we decided: “let’s do it, not just visit but attend a quilt retreat there!”. I have to thank my friend Judy (the one who got me into quilting back in 1999) for her amazing facilitation and coordination of our adventure.
If you are not a quilter, or just never heard of MSQC, there is a wonderful story behind it.
Basically a quilter moved to an economically depressed small rural town in Missouri, opened a quilt shop which evolved into a quilting empire, essentially a “Quilter’s Disneyland” and saved the town.
It’s a pretty amazing story and you can read more about how MSQC came to be on their website at this link: About Us; or read one of these stories below from other sources:
My long time quilting friends and I have ordered from the MSQC website over the years and have been familiar with their story for about six years. So it was pretty exciting when we arrived in town on the shuttle van we took from the Kansas City airport. Here is what we first saw from the shuttle van and then immediately walking around when we arrived in Hamilton, MO:
The “downtown” is filled with speciality quilting shops. Here is the map from the MSQC website page MSQC Quilt Shops:
There are 13 specialty quilt shops, plus a yarn shop and other little gift and boutique shops. We did a scavenger hunt the second day of the retreat which took us to all the shops (well we did explore most of them on our own the first day) as well as several local businesses.
Once you visit Hamilton, MO, you will see why it’s called Quilt Town, USA!
Well that is enough for this post (I think there will be a lot of posts in this series, ha!). Next post I will share photos from my adventures in the shops with my quilting friends.
II’ll also have a future post coming up on the Scrap Sale we attended (fill a bag for $11 to the brim with scraps…that were not really scraps – they were 1 yard to 3 yard pieces!!!); and how they will ship all your purchases (and anything else you can fit in the box they provide) home for you for free – OH TROUBLE FOR THE WALLET! (but good trouble…)
As I mentioned in the introduction in the past severals posts, I recently returned from a nearly week long quilting retreat with my long time quilting friends at the Missouri Star Quilt Companyin Hamilton Missouri. My next series of posts will be about that retreat. It was one of those “bucket list” experiences.
For this first post about the retreat, I thought I would do a follow up to my February 8, 2022 post Preparing for Quilt Retreatand show you what I actually worked on during the retreat – one thing – the first 20 blocks for the Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt:
As I shared in the 02/08/2022 post Preparing for Quilt Retreat , I cut out the fabric from my scrap collection for the first 20 blocks and made them into little packets to take to the retreat:
I had so much fun at the retreat opening up each packet and working on it. Each packet was like a surprise as I forgot what specific fabrics and colors I cut for each one.
Here are the blocks in progress on the design wall I sat next to at the quilt retreat:
And here are the completed 20 blocks which took me a couple days to complete (because there was a lot of shopping and wandering around “Quilt Town USA“, but that is another post), and it was all that I worked on despite the other projects I had prepared and brought:
Now I have the blocks home and up on my design wall at home (each block measures 6.5 inches by 6.5 inches), and it will be time to try to make another 20 to get me closer to the 100 I need to complete for the quilt!
I am daydreaming about the day I complete all 100 blocks and then have to decide on my block setting options – the end of the book has so many awesome setting options!
Before I headed out to a week long quilting retreat with my long time quilting friends at the Missouri Star Quilt Companyin Hamilton Missouri, I made a Juniper Basket to transport some of the projects I was bringing to the quilt retreat.
A group of quilting friends and I’ve been purchasing patterns by s.o.t.a.k. handmade and exchanging fabrics with each other to make her bags. The Juniper Basket was our latest group project:
The pattern has two size options: SMALL – 9” x 7” x 6” or LARGE – 11” x 8 ½” x 7”.
I think I should have made the small version but I made the large version. It was larger than I expected and a little floppier than expected, but there is plenty of room to hold stuff! It has an outside zipper as well as an inside pocket.
Here are the photos of my finished Juniper Basket (my friend Dana gave me the fabric and cord for the bag):
The thing that did not do it for me in this bag/basket were the handles on the end. It would have been more functional if they were in the middle like a tote bag. I wonder if I should try and make the smaller one and see if the side handles make more sense.
If I make another large Juniper Basket I am going to set the handles in the middle.
I was looking at the designer’s Etsy shop – SotakCo, and I see she has this tote bag, which I think I could recreate by just making larger handles and moving them to the center:
I do love her designs and I love that if you purchase her pattern, she licenses you to make items to sell in handmade shop situation such as an Etsy shop or at craft fairs! She really supports the small business handmade community, so I like to support her!