Thursday, May 26, 2016

Irises and Bears' Paws

Just a short post today since I'm determined to get better at blogging as things happen rather than letting it all pile up on me.  

First off:  Irises. I have yellow irises in my little flower garden. These are plants that I rescued from the wilderness that called itself our back yard when we moved to this house 2 1/2 years ago. I dug up what I could find in the weeds and stuck them in a cleared out section of the flower bed.  A you can see, they are thriving!  I think I'll be moving and dividing some of them after they finish blooming.  I just might get around to weeding that bed if it ever stops raining!

On Tuesday, I took a road trip--by myself--to beautiful Northern Minnesota, to the Hingeley Road Quilt Shop in Floodwood, MN, about 30 miles west of Duluth.  Don't know if I've mentioned this but when I was in Maine, my daughter's friend asked me to make her a king sized quilt with a fishing/cabin/northwoods kind of look.  We emailed quilt patterns--she decided on a Bears' Paw pattern--and fabric ideas. I've been to Hingeley Road a couple of times in the past and knew they carried A LOT of outdoorsy themed fabric so I linked her to their website. She chose A Lazy Afternoon for her focus fabric and I just love it!  

A Lazy Afternoon 35673 472 Scenic Multi, Wilmington Prints

Although I know Hingeley Road carries good quality fabric and the manufacturer has a great reputation, I still hesitated to order on line. I like to see and feel the fabrics that I buy, if for no other reason than to compare the size and scale of the designs and the actual colors in the prints.  So, off on a road trip, one of my favorite things to do!  When I got there, I realized that other prints in the Lazy Afternoon line were scaled such that they wouldn't work with the focus fabric, so out came plan B. The border print in the collection was perfect for this quilt, so that was also purchased too.  

A Lazy Afternoon 35674 407 Fish Allover Light Blue, Wilmington Prints

I usually don't purchase backing fabric before the top is completed, but in this case, I decided to get it now rather than have to return some time in the future.  I chose this fish print but in a darker blue background.  I calculated that I needed 10 yards, and there was 10 yards and 2 inches left on the bolt that I'd chosen for the backing!  Luck was with me that day! When I got home, I put it in the washer and not a bit of the dark blue dye escaped from the fabric!  Whew!

Yesterday, while listening to thunderstorms and torrential rain, I labored away in the sewing room and made up a sample block. I'm using the focus fabric for the palms of the paws, and each paw will have a different colored set of claws, using fabrics from my stash.  I found a nice sandy looking tan fabric from Stonehenge for the background--it looks a little more yellow in the picture that it actually is--and I laid the sample on the pebble printed fabric I chose for the sashing between the blocks. I think I'll use squares of the focus fabric for the sashing posts when I get to that part.  

Anyway, I emailed this pic to the gal, and she's very happy with it.  If she likes it in the yellowish photo, I know she'll like it when she actually sees it!  After I got approval from her, I went ahead and sewed my brains out and managed to complete 30 of the 144 paw sections that I need for the quilt. Oh, when I finished yesterday, I thought I'd accomplished quite a bit, but now I see that I still have 114 more to go. That's depressing.  But . . . "A journey of a thousand steps . . ." So, I'll be in the sewing room again today to get a bunch more done.

I made a second stop while on my road trip the other day, to Elly's Sheared Sheep in Chetek, WI. This shop not only has a good selection of quilting fabrics, but an abundance of yarns as well so I'm in double trouble when I stop there!  I went there to get the blocks for this McKenna Ryan (MR) project, "Home Tweet Home".  Sorry, the website won't let me copy the pictures so you'll have to check it out yourself.  Anyway, I had volunteered to teach a mini workshop in my guild on the McKenna Ryan technique. I've done a couple of these projects in the past, but unfortunately have given away most of them. I was going through my collection of MR patterns and realized that somewhere along the line, I'd purchased the finishing kit for Home Tweet Home, but none of the blocks. So, I've got them now and will use one of them to demonstrate how these things are created.  I really like the completed wall hanging and will have it--when finished!--hanging in my sewing room.

The only other thing I want to share today is just a little bit of what's happening in town as we plan our 3rd "Quilt Tour" event, November 12, 2016.  This is a fundraiser for the local domestic abuse program and it's like a garden tour except it's a number of quilt shows located at the various churches here in town.  Somehow, I got involved in the planning of what's turning out to be a quilters' weekend, not just the Saturday quilt tour.  We want to draw more people to Menomonie to take in a variety of activities in addition to the quilt tour.  So, ideas are flowing out of our collective heads including a keynote speaker, barn quilt tour, classes including a barn quilt class, a play called, "the Quilters," and MORE!  I'm so excited about it! In addition to drawing more people to the quilt tour, all of the additional activities will be generating funds for the domestic abuse program as well.  So who knows how much this weekend will generate for this very worthy program!  

I'm excited about making the Bear Paw quilt, working on McKenna Ryan, AND the quilting weekend!  I can hardly "bear" it!  So, I think the best thing to do is go outside now that it's quit raining for a bit, and do some weeding and flower planting to settle me down.  

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