Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bringing you up to date with my life

Hello, everyone.  I realize it's been a few days since I last posted, but believe me, I've been a little busy!

A 3 day weekend with kids and grandkids--that'll do it!  But throw in a party day with assorted relatives coming and going to say goodbye to Dan before he makes the big move to Washington.  It was a lot of work, entertaining all these people for all those days, and on Monday afternoon, when the house was cleared out of visitors, I simply didn't have any energy for anything other than playing games on the computer.  Yes, I'll come clean.  I am addicted to computer solitaire and usually spend half an hour (or more!) playing every day, but on Monday, it kinda took over my brain and I was unable to get out of the computer game trap. Just one more hand!

By Tuesday morning, I was pretty much back to normal and I was able to run the errands that needed to be done, and I made it into the sewing room for a couple of hours.  I took the brown borders off the wall quilt for my customer, shown here:

and put on the 1" white stop border before reattaching the brown outer borders.  I think it looks much better with the white, so I proceeded to sandwich it and begin the quilting. By the time I had to quit yesterday, I had all the ditch stitching done, had FMQ around each of the 5 flower blocks and had quilted up several of the colored strips.  I don't think I'll get any more done on this project until I return from Washington.

After dinner, Pat and Karen from the guild came over and we sorted out the library show quilts and got the calendar set for when we'll change out the quilts and who will be doing what as far as the exhibit goes.  As usually happens, we got everything set and late last night, I got an email from the one person who signed up to have a quilt in the show but never responded to my emails asking her to bring it in.  She said she has it ready but can't get it to me before I leave!  WTF!  She's known about this deadline for at least a month!  Her procrastination has thrown a wrench into our plans for the show and now we have to reorganize.  Grrrr!  But, "bear" with me.  (LOL) I simply responded that she'll have to get it to either Karen or Pat since I'll be gone.  So she can make the arrangements and take care of it.

Image result for cartoon images of road trip

Tomorrow I leave for my road trip with my favorite (and only) son, Dan. Right now, I'm sure he's packing up his car and he should arrive here sometime around dinner time, I think.  We'll be leaving early tomorrow morning, and hope to have crossed into Montana by the time we stop for the night. Today, I have laundry already started, baking to do--homemade cookies are a necessity on a cross country road trip, don't you think?--errands to run, and an easy dinner to make up.  I've already got my "busy bag" ready to go--embroidery and knitting--and packing my overnight bag will be easy, just jeans and a couple of shirts, plus undies and so forth.  I already downloaded a half dozen audio books for us to listen to as we cross the plains.  Whoo Hoo!  I can't wait to get going!  

Friday, March 24, 2017

No sewing again

I didn't even step foot in the sewing room yesterday. I was cleaning, shopping, working on the library quilt show, and in the evening, Don and I went to hear the candidates for school board in the upcoming election.  I thought it would be easy to decide on which ones I want to vote for, but they all made excellent points on where they want to see the district go. It's going to be a difficult choice on April 4 when we have to choose.

I received a response from my customer about the inner border. She thinks I should put one in, and I agree.  After this weekend of visitors, I'll go downstairs and take off the brown borders and insert the 1" stop border.  Should be sandwiched and maybe even quilted up before I leave on the 30th.  

My preparations were interrupted when the doorbell rang and the florist delivered this gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses!  I had no idea who would send them and why, until I opened the card. From my Best Friend of 40 years as a belated birthday gift!  She is so sweet and thoughtful!  I can't remember the last time I got a bouquet of roses--except from the Rotary Club sale!  Thank you, Bonnie.  I love you--you are the sister I always wished for!

And an update on the backyard swamp. Don got it all drained off except for about 1/2" of water, and was feeling very pleased that it was done. This morning, we woke up to a gentle and steady rain! Swamp's filling up again--just like in DC!  Well, at least my swamp is easier to drain and clean up than that of the politicians, I think.

Today, I have to run the vacuum over the rugs and then begin cooking.  I'm going to get as much food prepared ahead of time so I won't be stuck in the kitchen all the weekend.  I want to enjoy the party with the rellies too!  My son Dan and his family are arriving this evening. This is his last day at work before he moves to Washington, and he's feeling quite happy about that.  He had a fairly good job with a law firm, but it was pretty much a dead end for him, career-wise.  Not the case with the new job.  The job is more in his line of work and there will be lots of opportunities for him to advance in the future.  Just like my daughter who moved to Maine, Dan's taking a chance but there's every reason to think this will turn out to be a good thing for all of them.

So this weekend, we'll be having a good by celebration for him, and then on Wednesday, he's coming back with a car loaded with stuff and he and I will begin our road trip, with a train trip to bring me back home a few days later.  I hope Don and I can take the train to have a visit with him in the fall, but it's a little early for planning that, I think.

So, I'm off to get the cleaning finished, and then I'll be hidden in the kitchen the rest of the day.  Probably won't have time to post until maybe Sunday afternoon when everyone has left.  Have a wonderful weekend yourself!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just more of the same

I've always been a quilter who likes to work on one project at a time and I think I get too distracted when I have too many quilts in the works. One of the down sides to this way of working is that it's day after day of the same thing. I get bored with it, and I'm sure my readers get bored as well.  Right now, I'm working on the customer quilt, Jo's T shirt quilt, and the 182 day Solstice Challenge, and right along in my brain are thoughts of the Farmer's Wife quilt that was started and put aside after 8 blocks were made last fall, and the plans to work on the Pony Club quilt for Lily.  OMG!  I feel overwhelmed!  Way too much stress for me!  I think I'm better off with one project at a time, with a leader/ender quilt to work on as I go.

So, I apologize for how boring my posts have become, but that's just the way my life is.  Yesterday I didn't post because I didn't do anything quilty or sewy related.  I read all afternoon, and loved it. I've begun a new book, something by Jane Smalley, one of my favorite authors.  It's just yummy!

The day before, however, I got the borders on Jo's quilt and set it aside until I return from Washington.  I'll make up the back and get it ready to be pinned into a sandwich and quilted up when I get home.  I also took out the customer quilt and cut the border strips out of the fabric she chose.  I got the two long sides stitched on . . Oh Oh!  I see a problem here.

I sent this pic to her but haven't heard back yet.  The problem is I remember discussing whether or not to insert a white stop border before attaching the brown "frame" but I don't remember what she decided.  It's not a big problem to take off the borders I've already stitched on and put in the white, but until I hear from her, I'm not going to go any further.  

Yesterday, another Solstice block was released, but I didn't bother to even look at it, much less make it up.  It's called Honey Bee block and it's another 12.5" block so I'll go ahead and make it up. This one calls for some applique, so I'll get a chance to practise some needle turn applique, something I've been wanting to master for some time now.

Today is a cleaning day for me with a trip to the grocery store as well. Guests are arriving tomorrow night for the weekend and I have to be prepared. I also have to do some more work on the library quilt show and that will take some time.  While I'm doing all this, Donald has decided to "drain the swamp."  

While I wish the Donald in DC would really drain the swamp out there, my Donald here in WI will be draining the "swamp" in our back yard.  :)  In the fall, we put a tarp over the swimming pool to keep leaves, sticks, and so forth out of the water that stays in the pool all winter. Snow and ice accumulate on top of the tarp and in the spring, when it's melted, Don siphons it off so it doesn't get in the pool water when he removes the tarp.  So that's his big job of the day. When he's finished with our "swamp," I'm going to sent him out East to take care of things in the capital as well.  I wish it was so easy!

Time to get out the vacuum and get a move on. Lots to accomplish today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not much today

A very brief post because there is really nothing to write about from yesterday's activities.  By the time I was finished with the computer and had done my minimal housekeeping chores. I only had an hour to work on Jo's T shirt quilt. I measured--three times!--the length of the quilt and then proceeded to cut the border strips 1 1/2 inches too short!  How does that happen to me?  I swear there's something wired wrong in my brain!

There wasn't enough time to begin plan B because I had to leave to meet my customer at the fabric store.  Today, I'll begin piecing the too-short border strips together and hope to get that done and out of the way.

At the fabric store, first of all, my customer really liked what I'd constructed so far for her wall quilt.

She auditioned several orange fabrics but didn't seem satisfied. Then we went in a new direction and looked at black, dark gray, and brown fabrics which would seem like a frame. She decided on a brown with gold flecks in it, that I also think will look very nice.  It'll really set off the quilt against the wall. She also told me to do lots of quilting in the spaces--not just stitch in the ditch--so I'm happy that I get to play and practice my skills.

Today, I tackle a mountain of laundry and work in the sewing room.  Oh, yes. I took a long look at my tulips and daffys yesterday, and they grew a little, I think,(wishful thinking maybe)  and more of them have poked up through the dirt. I'm really ready to see them grown up and ready to bloom. I'll post a pic when they do!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring! Happy Equinox!

Image result for happy spring pictures

I think I've been  a bit whiney recently about what a gloomy and dismal time of year this is, but today is a day to celebrate!  No more whining from me!  Today is the first day of Spring! And it's the Equinox! Equal hours of light and darkness, and from now on, the days will get longer and longer until the middle of June when here in WI we'll have daylight until nearly 10 pm!  Love those long summer days, don't you? By the way, the apple blossoms are not in my yard. We have to wait at least another month before the apple trees are in bloom, but then they are just like the ones in the picture.  So pretty!

Yesterday I managed to make a trip to the grocery store, finish the book I've been reading, AND spend some time in the sewing room!

I finished deconstructing Jo's T shirt quilt, and sewed it back together in a square 4 by 4 block layout instead of the original one.  I took 2 pictures to get all the blocks in for your viewing pleasure. ;)

The 4 blocks on the left side of the quilt.

The four blocks on the right  side of the quilt.

You may notice the block in the lower right corner is longer than the others which are all 12" square.  This is the extra T shirt Jo wanted me to put in the quilt.  Turns out the design is long and this is the only way I could make it fit. I hope she's okay with it like this. Jo doesn't want to see the quilt until I have it finished for her, so she'll have to take what she gets, right?

I have the fabric for the borders, backing and binding, but I kind of ran out of time and energy to work on that yesterday. Maybe today.

I also began copying the embroidery designs for the project I'm taking along on my trip to Washington with my son. I know I can't embroider in the car--the roads are far to bumpy for that--but I'm taking the Amtrack back home and I think I'll be able to stitch on the train.  

I'm making this wall hanging called "Bless My Garden" wall quilt.  I saw this made up with a variegated #12 thread from Superior Threads, and it looked very nice.  I found a thread in golds, browns and greens that I'll use for my project and I'll use the same colors in the fabrics.  I have the perfect place to display it in my home.

Martingale - Patchwork Loves Embroidery (Print version + eBook bundle)

It's from this book by Gail Pan.  She's an Australian and I love her embroidery designs.  Everything I've made that she's designed has turned out better than I expected. I only have this one book of hers but I think there are more heading my way in the near future!

Martingale - Patchwork Loves Embroidery (Print version + eBook bundle)

Today the only thing on my calendar is to meet my customer this afternoon to choose a border fabric for her wall hanging

and then tomorrow I can get that project finished or nearly finished.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dreary springtime here

Image result for maple syrup images

Yes, while the temps are struggling to reach into the 40's and 50's, the sky is overcast and all day yesterday, it looked as though a downpour would come any minute. But it never did.  This is the most difficult time the year for me, and I suspect the same for many others who live in the Northern tier of the US, when I am so anxious for spring to be here, and yet Mother Nature teases and teases every day.  My tulips and daffys survived the recent cold snap we had and don't look as though they got frostbitten, but with the clouds and the chill, they haven't made much more progress in their growth. I'd post a picture of them, but it's basically just dirt with a couple of green sprigs mixed in.

The upside of this kind of weather is that it's perfect for the maple syrup farmers. While we normally associate maple syrup with the state of Vermont, actually, Wisconsin ranks 3rd in the nation in syrup production, after Vermont and Maine.  Here, however, syrup harvesting is a bit of a sideline for most farmers, and it's perfect for "real" farmers, since the season comes at the end of winter and before the spring planting season.  Getting a good flow of maple sap requires nights with temps below freezing and days with temps above freezing which is what we're having here in WI right now.  So, while I'm longing for warmer weather, the syrup farmers are just fine with things the way they are now.  I won't complain the next time I pour real maple syrup over my breakfast pancakes, will I?

Image result for maple syrup images

Why, you ask, is she prattling on about maple syrup?  Because yesterday was a very boring day, that's why. And I want to post about something positive every day. Maple syrup came to mind, and I challenge anyone to say that maple syrup isn't something positive!

Yesterday morning, I decided to do a "little" work on organizing things for the library quilt show and before I knew it, several hours had passed by.  I got everything done that I could for now and since it was getting late in the day, I decided to skip working on Jo's T shirt quilt.  Instead, I made up a pot of (really good!) chili for Don and his friend so they could keep up their energy while watching basketball, and then spent some time reading a book that I'm anxious to get finished so I know who's committing the murders in Victorian London.

Well, that's how my quiet and boring day went.  I think I may have something more exciting to report tomorrow--squirrels scampering across the lawn, maybe!  LOL!

Let's hope your day is exactly how you want it to be, even though that may be a bit boring, okay?

Image result for funny quilting memes

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Just more of the same here

I was busy all day yesterday, mostly cleaning the house. We're having guests for the upcoming weekend and I wanted to get a head start on the cleaning so I wasn't overloaded at the last minute. So, unfortunately, cleaning took precedent over sewing.  Sigh! 😒

After I finished all my chores for the day, I spent a couple of hours sewing. This is the last Solstice Challenge block that I'm going to be making for now.  Next Wed. Pat Sloan will release a new block and I'll take a look at it to see if it's the size I want to make.

This block uses the same pale green fabric which is the constant in all the blocks, and a red and green plaid I found in my shoebox of old Christmas fabrics.  At first, I had doubts about using this fabric but I think it looks pretty good now that its all finished up.  I should begin making plans for the sashing for these quilts and get started on assembling them.  It will take some thought to making a decision about the sashing, and then the border. I'll probably make a scrappy border using bits of all the fabrics in the blocks, and if I can decide how I want to make it, I can begin making the units as leaders and enders as I stitch the blocks.  We'll see what my brain comes up with.

After this block was done, I took out Jo's T shirt quilt and began unstitching it. I had worked on it while in Alabama for the month of February and I'd laid it out 3 rows across and 5 down.  

Then Jo told me she probably would be hanging it and not using it as a couch throw. That meant it was too long and narrow for her space, so I decided to take off the top row of blocks and put those 3 along the side, but doing it that way meant I was short one block. Well, Jo had another T shirt that she wanted in the quilt and brought it to me last weekend.  Yesterday, I got the top 3 blocks unstitched, and today, I'll make up the extra block and get the top sewn together again. It still needs a border and I found a very nice fabric in Pensacola to use for that as well as for the binding so I'll try to get that on before I leave on the 30th.

 As soon as I return from my trip to WA, I'll be sandwiching the T shirt quilt and this aqua throw quilt top I finished while in Alabama and will get both quilted up. 

As well as finishing the wall quilt for my customer.  I think I'll be a little busy for awhile, don't you?

In the meantime, I have to prepare an embroidery project to take with me for the train ride home from WA.  I have just the thing in mind. Just have to find some fabric and get the designs traced out.  

That's it for today. I have to find time today to make a pot of chili. Don's friend is coming over to watch basketball  (while I sew!) and a bowl of chili with some grated WI cheddar on top will be just the thing for their supper.  

I hope your Saturday is filled with wonderful things that make your heart sing! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Solstice blocks and Irish as well

Yesterday, I worked on the press releases for the upcoming guild quilting exhibit at the local public library.  Today, I'll do some more work on organizing the show.  But I also managed to squeeze in some time in the sewing room, making blocks for the 182 Day Solstice Challenge by Pat Sloan.

These blocks are so quick and easy, anyone can do them I think.  I'm liking how they're turning out and I think the quilt will be something very nice.  I have 10 blocks done, I think, and I still haven't decided if I should make more to have a bed sized quilt or make up two throw quilts. Actually, I'm leaning toward making the 2 smaller quilts because they're so much easier to quilt up on my domestic machine. I have a closet full of bed sized quilt tops that have been waiting for several years to be quilted up so why would I want to add to that?

Anyway, here are pics of the 3 blocks I made yesterday.

The red fabric in the two blocks above was in the unfinished project that I unstitched yesterday. It has a bit of gold outlining the design and I really like how it looks against the pale green. Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough for any more blocks, darn! Unless I find some hidden away somewhere in the stash. ;- ]

I wasn't sure of the lime green block but decided to go ahead with it. I found bits of that fabric in a container of old Christmas fabrics that I'd collected when I was a quilting newby.  I actually had them in a plastic shoebox! Can you imagine how naive I was back then to think I could store all my fabrics in a couple of shoeboxes?  Hah! Anyway, I think the splash of lime green will help the quilt have some pizzazz, and there's enough of the lime green to make one or two more blocks. 

I have one more of these Solstice blocks to make today--a 12" Jacob's Ladder to substitute for the 18" one Pat made up. I want to stay with the 12" blocks and have a row by row layout, or maybe I'll do a diagonal setting, not sure yet.  

These are all made up of Christmas themed fabrics I already have in my stash. I may have to buy some sashing fabric--I don't know yet--and probably backing and binding fabrics, but otherwise, these quilts are "free!"  

Speaking of green . . .

Image result for st patrick's day images

And a joke to make your day go well:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Irish who?
Irish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Solstice block

I spent yesterday afternoon in the sewing room, doing more un-sewing than actual sewing. I knew I had some Christmas fabric with cardinals in it that I wanted to fussy cut for the Solstice Challenge blocks that have a center focus.  So, first I had to find the fabric, and I actually was able to put my hands on it quite quickly.  The downside was that I'd already fussy cut it and sewn it up into an "I-have-no-idea-what-I-was-thinking" project that was left only half done. Easy enough to take it apart, but it took time.

At any rate, I was able to pick out the fabrics I wanted to use for the next Solstice block and make it up.  Take a look for yourself.

The dark green fabric was also in the original pieced thing and I think it looks quite nice in the block.  I had planned on making the next block as well yesterday, but ran out of time before I had to work on dinner.  Maybe today that one will get done.

I've realized that in the Solstice Challenge, Pat Sloan has thrown in several larger than 12 1/2" blocks that I don't really care for.  I'm leaving them out of my quilt, and if I find I'm short a couple of blocks, well, I can easily make up more of the 12 1/2" size. I usually turn to Quilter's Cache when I need directions for a certain block or if I'm looking for something to fit into a quilt idea I have.  So, no worries. I'll make this Christmas quilt happen!

I also want to share with you, the purchases I made while at the Stitch Supply Co. yesterday.  I found 4 fat quarters that will go in my stash of neutrals. Each one has cartoon animals on it--I guess I was in a critter kind of mood! I especially like the leaping cats!

I found this gadget in the knitting area of the store and picked up one for my friend who's a phenomenal knitter.  It's a needle sizer, in case you don't know the size of your needles. Single point needles are marked with their size, but not double pointed ones. With this little sheepy thingy, Bonnie will always know the size of her knitting needles. And if she already has one, I'll keep it for myself!  

I bought a spool of thread for quilting up the brightly colored wall quilt I'm making for a customer, but that's too boring to show.  This is the last cutesy thing I found  at the store--ribbon!  With bumble bees!  You may remember that I was involved with the Bee-utiful quilt along last summer and made this embroidered quilt.  Well, I took this image off Pinterest since I seem to have overlooked taking a picture of the one I made. Mine is similar.  

Bee-utiful QAL {Block 20 – Bee Friendly} and Wrap-up! « Moda Bake Shop:

My quilt is still in the flimsy stage--but high on the list of quilts that I want to get finished this year! When I saw this ribbon with the bees, I knew I had to have it for this quilt. I think I'll use it in the embroidered label I'll be making one of these days.  

A little house cleaning is calling to me today, and then it's into the sewing room to make Christmas blocks and to begin revising Jo's T shirt quilt.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New things to share!

I got busy yesterday, cutting and stitching the center of the wall quilt I'm making for a customer.  I've shown you the drawing I made for her approval, and here's the quilt as far as I got it yesterday.

I've emailed the picture to her for her approval and if she's satisfied, we'll get together to choose a border fabric.  I don't have enough of any of the fabrics she'd already purchased to go all the way around, and personally, I don't think a border using more than one fabric would look very good. If she want to to it that way, I will, After all, it's her quilt and she's the one who'll be seeing it everyday,so I want it to be what she likes. So that project is on hold until I hear from her.

This morning I had to get up early to get the the doc's office for a pre-surgical exam.  Just to refresh your memory, I injured my thumb last May when I indulged in a marathon knitting session.  When I woke up the next day, I had extremely piercing pain in my wrist.  Fast forward past the various things I've tried to get this thing to heal to the conclusion that I need surgery to really and truly fix it.  It's called DeQuervain's Syndrome and it's like carpal tunnel at the base of the thumb. Day surgery is scheduled for the middle of April and I'll be very happy to get my hand and forearm out of the stinky hot brace that I've been wearing for months now!  Freedom!  My wrist wants to be Free!

After the very quick and easy medical appointment, I decided I should stop at a new quilt shop in Eau Claire that I'd heard about. I'm so glad my phone was able to give me directions, otherwise I never would have found it.    It's called Stitch Supply Co. and it's actually in Altoona, WI which is a "suburb" of Eau Claire.  ;o) 

I was simply struck down when I opened the door by the amazing colors in this shop! First of all, I can't find a picture of the exterior of the shop on their website, and I forgot to take one myself.  Oh well, it's a rather humdrum exterior but Oh the goodies contained inside!

Today is a cold but very sunny day and this shop has windows galore!  The sun was streaming in, making it a little hard to get clear pictures so bear with me, okay?  The gals in the shop said it was okay for me to take some photos--didn't we used to say "snap pictures?"  Whatever happened to that phrase?  Anyway, the shop carries modern quilting fabrics of all kinds of designs and colors.  I found a few fat quarters that needed to come home with me to live in my stash of neutrals, and I'll definitely return when I have a pattern that fits the modern trend.

This is a picture of one side of the fabric area of the store.

In addition to fabric and quilting supplies, they also carry an assortment of yarns and knitting supplies and this is a pic of the seating area for knitters.  

More of their gorgeous yarns.

And a display of their perle cotton collection. I forgot to see if they had wool for sale but I suspect they do since they have all this perle cotton.  I'll have to check the next time I visit.  See what I mean about all the colors!

They also have a really, really nice retreat center in the back half of the building. They can take up to 16 people with 4 beds in each of the 4 bedroom/bathroom suites.  A kitchen so we can prepare our own meals, a lounge and an outdoor patio for the summer time.  All of it is really nice and beautifully decorated.  I think my guild should check this out for our next spring retreat.

After I left the shop, I made a quick stop at Target and headed home with a new coffee maker in the back seat of the car. And yes, I did pay for it before I left the store!  

What a good day I've been having!  Blue skies and sunshine!  Passed the medical exam! (I'm still alive and kicking!) Beautiful fabric and yarn eye candy! New coffee pot! I think I'll just go to bed for the rest of the day to be sure that nothing negative happens!  Alas, I can't do that. I have Christmas blocks from the Solstice Challenge to work on this afternoon, so off I go.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nothing to see here, folks

Move along, move along.  Nothing to see here--that you haven't already seen before.  I'm talking about Among the Pines, which I'm happy to say is totally, completely, 100% finished!  I did all the hand sewing last night--even the label--and it's done!  I'm sure you're as bored hearing about it as I am writing about it.  😊

Today I have a couple of things to get done before I can get to the sewing room and begin on something new.  I think it'll be the wall quilt I need to make for my customer, sketched here

but before I begin, I think I'll make a couple of the blocks for the Solstice Challenge that I started when I was in Alabama. Working on the Pines quilt has set me back a few weeks and I really would like to catch up, and keep up if I can.  

I also got a question from my daughter Jo about her T shirt quilt.  That requires some un-sewing and then re-sewing and I can begin the unsewing in the evening since I have no embroidery projects made up yet.  But Jo's quilt will have to wait until the customer quilt is done and out of the house. Then, I'll concentrate on it.

Got to get going--busy, busy day!  At least we're not having the snow that folks on the east coast are getting. If you live in that area, stay home and stay safe.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Soooo close to the finish line!

Today's post is much later than usual, but for a very good reason. I had to meet my lovely husband at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport at 11 this morning to bring him home after his 11 day visit to Maine. He was supposed to come home tomorrow but with the huge storm predicted for the East Coast he decided to change flights and come home today. We had a couple of inches of snow overnight but not enough to keep me from driving to the airport to get him. I think he's happy to be back home--although he says it was the best father-daughter-granddaughter visit he's ever had. And I'm glad to have him home too.

I have projects for him to do. I want him to put up the quilt rack in my sewing room so I can hang up Among the Pines.  Oh, didn't I mention it?  Yes, the quilting was finished on it yesterday and today I made the hanging sleeve and stitched it on, and I also machine stitched the binding, leaving only the hand stitching of the sleeve, the binding and the label left to do.  And, as luck would have it, tonight is the meeting of the guild's hand stitching group so I have the perfect project to take with me.

So, I guess you might like to see the (nearly) finished quilt?  Here you go.  (Drum roll in the background)

This is it--quilted but not bound. The binding is the same fabric as the background in the pine tree border.  I wish I could get a good photo of the embroidery and the quilting, but with just my camera, I'm not having very good luck.  All I did for quilting was stitch in the ditch on all the seams of the framing around the embroidered blocks and around each of the pine trees.  I also stitched an outline of the pine tree in each corner--I didn't like to leave those cornerstones so plain. 

And here's the embroidered label I made for the quilt. Tiny, tiny stitching in the lettering, resulting in a wonky like of text. I don't care--I'm a little wonky myself so it reflects my personality.  😊

I tried a different technique to make this label.  After I'd stitched on the border fabrics. I cut a piece of batiste fabric that I had leftover from something and laid the two pieces on top of each other, right sides together. I cut a lengthwise slit in the center of batiste before I stitched all four sides. That way I could turn the label around to the right sides.  I poked out the corners, gave it a quick pressing, and Voila!  A label was born!I can stitch this onto the back of the quilt anywhere I please since all the raw edges are enclosed instead of making sure 2 raw edges got tucked under the binding and the other 2 sides got turned under and stitched down.  I think this will be a bit easier to stitch on.

When I showed Don the quilt, his comment was that it was me--it reflects my values.  I've loved the Northwoods ever since my first family vacation to Lake Superior's North Shore when I was about 10 or 11, continuing through my college summers at a wilderness camp on Lake of the Woods, MN, 12 years living in Duluth, MN where the wilderness mingles in harmony with the neighborhoods, kayaking trips in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, and multiple--but never enough--canoeing and camping trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern MN. I love the wilderness and when I saw this design by Beth Ritter of Wellington House Designs, I knew I had to make it. Little did I know how teensy weensy some of the stitching would be. But I really like the (almost) finished quilt, and I think it will bring me great pleasure every time I see it hanging in my room.

Wow!  I just checked the time and it's getting late!  I always get a little confused when we change the clocks forward and backwards.   I'd better wrap this up and get ready for the hand stitching group.  Til tomorrow.


Sunday, March 12, 2017


Two posts in one day!  Wow!  After I posted my update, I settled in to read the blogs I follow and the first one was Sarah's at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Today is the sign up to participate in this charity challenge. Quilter's from all over the country and I think even internationally make quilts that they donate to one or more of the several charities which are participating.  Sarah has accumulated a number of great sponsors, and that means she will be having lots of giveaways as the challenge proceeds.  All the information is posted on her blog so you can check it out yourself.  

This is the first time I'm participating and I'm excited to get a quilt made up for the charity I chose.  It'll be a scrappy one as I'm on a mission to clean out some of my stash of scraps--it's waaaay too big!

The challenge runs until June, so there's plenty of time to get signed up and get a quilt made up--or more than one!

I can see the finish line!

I really cranked it out yesterday and am nearly finished with quilting up Among the Pines!  Take a look. This is the finished top laid out on the floor.  I was a little worried about the light colored background on the pine tree border, but I think it helps the framed blocks stand out.  In the pattern, the pine tree border was made with a darker, rust colored background, but I'm satisfied with my choice.

Some of the left side of the quilt.

The center of the quilt with the title, "Among the Pines" at the top.

The pieced border went on perfectly!  I'm always a little nervous with a pieced border fitting since even the slightest error in the 1/4" seam throughout the piece can cause a problem. But, once again, my seams must have been okay.

I had the perfect pine tree fabric in my stash to use for the backing and after I'd cut it and the batting, I realized I didn't have a table large enough to lay it out and pin it together.  I usually take my larger quilts to the Rec Center where I can use the tables pushed together.  But I have to get this one done soon, so that meant that I'd have to crawl around on the floor to get the sandwich pinned. Well, my knees and back weren't too happy at that thought, but I forced them to do what needed to be done, and they didn't scream too much about it.  Good boys!

I immediately put the walking foot on my machine and began stitching along each seam line--in the ditch. That's all I'm going to do on this quilt, including stitching in the ditch around each of the trees in the border.  This is a display quilt so I'm not concerned about laundering it and securing the batting as I would be with a quilt that would be snuggled under and slept under. 

I'll finish up the quilting today and get the binding sewn on so I can hand stitch it tonight or tomorrow.  I also have to finish up the embroidered label--about 2/3 done!--and make a hanging sleeve for it. In addition to working on the quilt, I have to gather together everything for the tax preparer and be ready for our session tomorrow AM. A stop at the grocery store is called for, and I need to finish up the laundry--I always procrastinate folding and putting away--and I think that's all that's on the agenda for today. Time for me to get going. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I'm literally "Among the Pines"

Yesterday was dedicated to making the pieced border for my stitchery project. I got all 40 of them made as you can see . . .

The tan is the background fabric I picked up on the journey to the prison and I think it's working out just fine.  I used 5 different dark greens--I'd also used them in the framing of the embroidered blocks--and pulled a brown from my stash.  Today, I join them together--10 on a side--and stitch them on together with corner posts..  If I'm really ambitious (and I think I need to be in order to get this done!) I'll begin the quilting as well.

In addition to making the trees, I also copied the embroidered label and began stitching it as I sat in front of the tv last night.  I have about half of it done and hope to get it finished up tonight.  

Besides this, I had an impromptu visit from a neighbor who also is a guild member. Carol is retired but has a long arm in her house so she keeps very busy quilting other people's quilts as well as making her own.  She came by to drop off a Dr. Seuss quilt she made for the library quilt show, and we had to have a cup of coffee and a chat as long as she was here.  I don't know her very well, but she lives around the corner from me and I've invited her to come over for a visit whenever she has time but yesterday was the first time she stopped by in the 3+ years we've lived here. Every time I speak with her, I realize that we have so much in common, we should be BFFs, but it doesn't seem to happen.  Oh well. I guess it's not to be, but I did enjoy her visit very much.  

I also did some organizing of the quilts that have come in for the library show.  We will be displaying one quilt a day at the local public library for the first 2 weeks in April and all the quilts are related to books in some fashion. I have to make up a page describing the quilt, the quilt maker, and the book that's associated with the quilt.  For example, my entry is called "Among the Pines" (as you well know 😊) and it's from a pattern by Beth Ritter of Wellington House Designs. Hand embroidered, pieced and quilted by me.  It reminds me of a book I listened to on "Chapter a Day" on Wisconsin Public Radio several years ago and more recently read on my E-reader called "Return to Wake Robin," a memoir written by Marnie O. Mamminga of summers spent at her family's cabin at a lake near Hayward, WI in the 1950's and 60s.  So I'll write up something like that and on the day my  quilt is displayed, the page will be displayed at the book checkout desk as well so library patrons can learn a little about the quilt and the book. We're having a bed turning on April 8 and these descriptions will be used at that event as well.  All the quilts are coming to my house, so I'm in charge of taking care of this.  That reminds me I also have to send a press release to the local papers about the show. It's all written up so I'll take care of that as soon as I'm finished here.

Today requires that I give some attention to house cleaning and laundry. I'm wearing my last pair of clean socks today, so I absolutely have to do laundry.  Since this post is shy on photos, I thought I should include this one to keep you entertained.   😉   

Image result for image of laundry

Friday, March 10, 2017

Back home

I made is safely back home after my journey to the prison. I took 7 trash bags filled with felt, fleece, and wool fabric to the prison rehab program. They'll turn these unwanted bits and pieces into toys, mittens, and who knows what else that will be donated to various agencies in the local community. It's a triple win--closets are cleared out, prisoners have meaningful work to do, and charities get what they need for their programs.

Before I ramble on, let me clarify something. I've been joking about being locked up in the prison, but I know it's not a joke at all. Being a prisoner is no picnic.  While I've never been in a prison or a jail as an inmate, I have visited quite a few in my career as a social worker, once having to see a client in a maximum security prison. Let me tell you, the echoing sound of the doors closing behind you as you're escorted into the heart of the prison is spine chilling to say the least. So my joking about my trip to the prison is being said with full knowledge that prisons are with us to serve a purpose but it's really not a joking matter.  

I hope this clears up where I'm coming from as far as this trip goes.  After I dropped off the bags, I headed to the local quilt shop to find some fabric to use for the pine tree border of Among the Pines.  And I found something that I think will work just fine. Haven't seen it up against the piece yet--I'll bring it down to the sewing room after I finish this.

I also headed to Eau Claire to get some things at the office supply store and to see if I could find a pair of shoes that would fit me.  And yes, I did!  And they're BLUE!!!

I've always had white running shoes back in the day, and more recently, walking shoes, and some of them had some bright accent colors, but BLUE!  I'm delighted to have such pretty shoes!  I'll have to go somewhere today so I can where them.  In the house, and especially when I'm sewing, I leave my shoes off.

I never did get back into the sewing room yesterday. By the time I got home, it was time to get some dinner fixed and settle in to an evening of Hulu, so that's what I did.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Going to the Big House

I got as far as this yesterday on Among the Pines.  Finished embroidering the last block and framed up the 2 side rectangles. Then I was able to join all the pieces together and I got the first border attached. The second border is pieced--it's little pine trees made with flying geese units attached to a tree trunk.  I have the greens for the trees and the brown for the trunks, but I don't have enough of anything for the background.  That means a trip to the LQS today--Yea!  If everything goes as I want it to (Yeah, right!) I'll have this baby finished and quilted up--and maybe even bound by Sunday night.  I'd offer to take bets, but "as usual, no wagering."

I'm getting impressed with the size of this wall hanging. The pattern says it finishes at 42" square, but laid out on the floor, it seems bigger than that, even without the final border.  I already know it's too big to hang where I'd planned, so I guess it's time to put up the large quilt rack that I bought at a garage sale last summer and display it on that one.

It looks as though I'll be on the road for a bit today.  In addition to going to the quilt store, I want to get a new pair of walking shoes, make a stop at the grocery store, and I have all this stuff to take to the area prison.  

Yes, indeedy, I"m going to prison--well, not for too long anyway . At least, I'm hoping they won't want to keep me there. I wouldn't quite fit in--I'd be Jonesin' for my sewing machine and fabric, and quilting withdrawal is not a pretty sight!

These garbage bags are filled with fleece, felt, and wool, all leftovers from projects.  My friend cleaned out her mother's house and had no use for these things. Well, I know of just the place. Selected inmates at the nearby prison work on making dolls, teddy bears and other stuffed animals, knit hats, scarves, and mittens, and so forth  to give to the community. The toys go to the hospital and ambulance crews and police officers, and the hats. mittens, and scarves go to the area schools.  This is a rehab program for the inmates and they are prohibited from making any money off these items. They're always looking for donations, and today I think they'll get something to keep them busy for awhile.

Before I do any of these things tho, I have to get to the local Sprint store to get my phone working again. I had arranged to have the bill taken out of my checking account via my debit card, and it's worked very well until today. I got an email saying there wasn't sufficient money on the card to pay the bill. Well, that's because my card was hacked and I have a new one now that they don't know anything about. I tried calling and the electronic menu wouldn't do anything for me until I gave them my PIN, which I have no idea what it is. So, I have to make a stop in person at the store to get this fixed.  Electronics are wonderful except when they're not, and today, they're not.   

But shopping and errands await me, so I'm going off the computer to start preparing for my visit to the prison!  Oh, yes, I nearly forgot.  I also have to get a new supply of cat litter for Mr. Clem. 

If I don't he'll make my life so miserable I'll be wishing to be in the prison instead.  

Hope you're day bodes well for you.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Guild night

Fabric Shopping:

Last night was guild night, and while everything went pretty well, I realized that I'm getting tired and I actually counted how many more months before I can turn it over to someone else.  It's 5 months. For some reason, for the last two days, I've simply been feeling worn out. I thought a little eye candy might help, and yes, it definitely does!  However, I think following his suggestion and making a trip to the LQS might be the additional boost I need to get over this slump. Unfortunately, Pretty Boy won't be coming with, Darn it! But that will have to wait a day or two while I work on Among the Pines.

All I did yesterday was work on the embroidery and get everything ready for the meeting.  I've only got a little bit of embroidery left to do and then I can get the blocks completely assembled and then start on making the pieced border.  In the evenings, I'll be stitching the little label that will finish off the entire thing.

I only have about a week and a half before I head out to Washington with my son so I have to get this finished before then. The two commission projects will have to wait until I get back home.

So today I'll be stitching and sewing and working my hiney off to get this finished!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Groovin' Along

I think I'm finally getting back in the groove as far as sewing goes. Yesterday was quite productive. Besides spending a couple of hours searching the interwebs for a pattern to make this quilt . . .

 which I was unsuccessful in finding. Nuts! It appears that this quilt is one that's custom made by an Amish community in Pennsylvania.  I've been finding many similar designs, but nothing with a pattern.  I ended my search by emailing my favorite quilt shop and asking for help.  I've got my fingers crossed that they will be able to locate a similar pattern.  If not, I'll have to help the customer find another design that they like.

After I finished wasting time on the computer, I went downstairs and worked on Among the Pines and this is as far as I got.  I have one of the side panels finished and strips cut to frame it up, but the other side panel is being stitched yet. That's the one that I overlooked until the other day.

I'm quite pleased at how this is turning out. The fabric framing really sets off the embroidery.  I'm thinking that I'll follow the designer's lead as far as the quilting goes--simple Stitch in the Ditch along the seams of the strips and none in the embroidery blocks.

Last night after dinner, I continued to work on stitching the for-certain final block of Among the Pines.  For awhile, I listened to the talking heads going on about the day's political events and then turned to Hulu and caught a couple of episodes of McLeod's Daughters.  This is an Australian series which is a little old but still good. A nice diversion.  I think there are 8 seasons with 20 +/- episodes each season.  I began with Season 1 and am now about halfway through Season 4.  I like this series because it's about strong confident young women running a ranch in Australia and I like to see women portrayed like that. I'm sure I'll finish my embroidery project long before I finish this series.  :)

I got an email this morning from my other customer saying she likes the newest layout for her wall quilt, so I can get started on that today, I hope.

But before any sewing gets done, I have to make a run to the library.  The guild is holding a quilt exhibit at the public library next month to celebrate both library week and quilting week.  I was going through a stack of papers the other day and discovered the contract that I'd received before we went to Alabama and totally forgot to fill out and take to the library. I MUST get that done today!  

I also have to gather together everything I need to take to guild meeting tonight.  I'm giving a demo on the proper way to attach borders to a quilt--several of the members have wondered why their borders wave and ripple so I thought a tutorial was called for. Besides, it never hurts for experienced quilters to have a refresher.  I can tell you that I must have been wearing my smarty pants yesterday when I decided to email everyone in the guild a copy of my hand out instead of printing 40 copies of 4 pages each.  Maybe this old girl can learn a few tricks after all!  I think I saved a tree with that decision, or at least a small bush.  LOL

It looks like I have another full day facing me.  What's on your list to do today.