Thursday, April 28, 2022

And a fun time was had by all - again!!

 Just back from a four day retreat!!  Oh man, oh man – it was great and worth all the hassle of remembering everything you’ll need.  And then packing, driving 4 hours, unpacking, then trying to find the fabric / tool / thread that you KNOW you packed!!  It’s always crazy - but oh-so-worth-it!

Retreats are my favorite thing.  Just the time alone with your quilting peeps and your favorite activity.  They cook for us. The phone is rarely for us.  Giggling 24-7 with friends,  even without the benefit of Mike's Hard Lemonade!!  Not much money spent unless you go shop-hopping!  And win-win – you get stuff done!

On Wednesday, we arrived at the Big K Ranch in Elton OR in the afternoon – first project:  I started repairing my DGD’s Halloween quilt.  What a pain in the patooty!  So, after hours - a whole side border, I called it good until I got back home.  (Today’s update:  All broken quilted lines are sewn over.  I only have 4 squares to tack down by hand.  Tonight during tv!!)

Thursday, I started the funner(?) stuff!!  My machine was already threaded with orange … so what better time to stitch up “Peek a BOO!”  A Jenny Doan pattern for a twin sized quilt.  P made the twin quilt earlier, it was darn cute, but P and I reduced those 4” squares to 2 ½” and me 2”.  Makes a mighty fine wall quilt!  Together they look like big brother and baby Boo!!  Too cute!  L got a kick out of how we were making the same project but with totally different processes!!  All was well for me, until I forgot about the column of “Peek” resting on the table and kept sewing!  Yep, P helped by ripping that seam out and I got the errant column in.  Much cuter!!  And yes, there were games, or photo opps!  A Scissors headgear was a huge success - "Now where did I put those scissors?"


Friday, was the ‘funnest’ stuff!  We bought Applique with a Twist from Meg Manwaring.  (we meant to buy Daily Dose of Applique in the same set up!  It’s hard to keep your focus when you are excited to find it and you’re 69 years young!)  But the pattern is practically the same!  Kind-of, sort of!!  The sashing is scraps sewn into ‘ticker tape’.  Yep, that’s what I call it and I’m keeping it!  Ticker tape is FUN to make!  You chain stitch, of course, just add another strip of whatever color attracts your eyes!

The final ticker tape (in our version) is 2 ½”.  So we sewed!  P’s scraps were longer, mine were from an age old project of mini log cabin blocks. I’m sure you remember the grocery bag full of ‘pieces too little to use, but too big to throw away!’  I moved them to Oregon and had a ball with them.  I have enough log cabin blocks made to create a KING-size bed quilt!!  That sucker is going to be    H-E-A-V-Y!

No need to make more, so I magnanimously donated my log cabin scraps to ticker tape!  Still so fun to see all those favorite fabrics!  Sigh!  We each pieced ticker tape until we had a dozen or so – laid them out on a table and took turns picking out strips.  Ended up with a pile each!  And yes, we have as many scraps left as we took!  Scraps are famous for ‘fluffing’!

That evening I wanted to get started with a Boro wall quilt I’ve wanted to do since before COVID.  P and I went on a QuiltTour trip to Japan in January 2020.  Yes, COVID was there, and we were touring around with crowds of tourists.  But we were lucky, got to come home as scheduled; and I don’t believe anyone in our group ended up with COVID.

It was a grand tour, ending up at the Tokyo Intl Quilt Show.  We bought a few fabrics (not as many as we’d liked to – big hassle to get them home.)  So time to gather those beautiful fabrics, some we bought from Yoko Saito herself!  I played with what I’d brought, but I needed more lighter fabrics.  So took pictures of the arrangement so far, and packed it all up again.  P thought we were going to work on Kantha – also from the Orient, but very different. You think you are communicating but sometimes you’re not!  Mostly my fault, I’m sure!

I made an improv forest wall quilt earlier this year for ModSquad – I love it!  But I ended up with lots more trees than needed.  Yes, they are that addictive!  The Newport Guild has a Charity Benefit silent auction at their August Quilt Show.  This year there is a ‘tree’ theme for donations for Re-Foresting.  You can donate a small quilt for the silent auction OR you can display it and make a donation.  This is going to be a close call – it’s still in 3-5 pieces, but I already love it!  I was going to donate the 'second favorite' tree quilt - …. But I may go with a donation!!  I’ll keep you informed!

ModSquad Challenge

Retreat edition - in pieces!

P, L and I had been working on improv birds this spring.  We all brought them to the retreat.  They are stinking cute!  So cute that 2-3 more retreaters started them too!  I cut so many stripes so we would have a choice of stripes for bird legs.  Well, we couldn’t use them all - so I sewed them end to end and made a border I dearly love!  You just can’t go wrong with these birds!!  Here are the online directions!  Start on a free day … it’s addictive!

I'm thinking I could add one more row - there's almost enough border!  I do like rectangle quilts more than square!  We'll see.  There IS a possibility that I just want to make some more birds!!  Yes, they are that fun!!!

Can you believe we fit all that into just 4 days??? This week I'm going to watch grandchildren compete in tennis and baseball.  It may be in the rain ... but it's always good to see the 'Mids'!  They used to be the 'Littles' but now in their teens!  I have no idea how that happened!

Good books lately - 

The River by Peter Keller  Two college friends camping and canoeing in the Boundary Waters.  Tested by fire, white water and violence.  But this softie loved meeting the main characters. 

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey  A real cutie and who doesn't love Tom Hanks!  Kerry Winfrey has written several light romances - you know, the kind you long for.  She also has a newsletter that's fun to read.

The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni  A book about serving in Vietnam.  It was heart-breaking but not too brutal for this softie.  Very good

The Book of Lost Names by Kristen Harmel  A WWII resistance in France novel.  The characters came to life and it was hard to put the book down.

See you next time!  Rain or Shine!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Quilt Fest Part 5-6

 It's spring - even on the calendar now - and I'm enjoying the fresh breezes (when it's not a gale!)  And the flowering trees and bushes.  We're having a quilt show in May for the first time since 2019.  I'm even enjoying the rush toward that.

Quilt Fest -  last 2 groups - maybe I'm getting tired of answering or maybe I never saw anyone else's answer of these - at any rate - let's finish it off!!

Most Loved Quilt:  Now that's a hard one.  I love Holiday / Seasonal quilts because each year when you get them out to display, it feels like seeing an old friend again!  I actually forget about them between seasons!  Yeah, I'm worried a little about that too!


But I do have my 'comfort' quilts too.  For the last few years it's been "Shhh - it's low volume"  This quilt was shown on the web.  A quilter in a Scandinavian country was making it - I had to have it!!  I'd been collecting neutrals "Beige-ings" is the nick-name for them.  And 'conversation' prints - their name before 'text' fabric,  Anyway, I loved adding my few bright fabrics for the pluses.  And collecting brights for the next ...

It's been my extra quilt on my bed for a couple of years now.

Quilts in the Wild:  I never saw anyone's post to this prompt.  But ironically, when I give away quilts that have been languishing in the closet - I call it "releasing them into the wild!"

New Skill:  I wish I could say it's organization!  But, alas, still trying to correct bad habits - unfortunately, ignoring resolutions is one of my bad habits!!

Whoops:  Over the years, I have to say I have not gotten better at actual counting during prep work!!  What does that mean, you ask?  

I'm famous for having twice the number or half the number of components needed!!  I think it all comes down to dividing the block into the sub-units and then getting the 'blocks' counts mixed up.  I just go with it, grumble when I'm under and giving the extra away when I don't feel like making another one with them!

Binding Technique:  Boy, I'm struggling with this right now.  My Janome, after a decade, bit the dust during COVID.  It had the best little stitch to machine bind.  It took a 'divot' to the left; a stitch forward; and a divot to the right ... repeat.  It made a sturdy hem stitch which was very forgiving - it didn't create a solid line, it was softer to the eye.  My new Ever Sewn Quilters' Edition has many things going for it, but not this stitch.  Darn! I'm trying to find a replacement I can live with.

Current WIP:  Oh boy, I'm in a mess with this one.  I have 5 family quilts planned for this year - 3 tops are finished and 2 almost so - (one is in time out!)  And only one is going to be quilted by a long-armer.  How I'm going to get those other quilted and out, well I'm still pondering that.

Texture:  I get my Texture fix from wool applique and simple embellishments.  I love doing that, but I back away from 'fussy' techniques.  Partly because my hands have become problematic at 69 years old.  I can't hold small parts securely anymore - so working with a large amount of - let's say, ruching is problematic.

Favorite Finish:  I love making Quilts of Valor, a national association. (  I love seeing 80 yr old veterans looking like they are going to start jumping up and down like a 3 yr old when they receive their quilt.  I'm an active member of our local chapter and usually make 2 QOV quilts a year.  It feels like you are actually making a difference in somebody's life.  I won't start preaching their cause, but check into it - it makes such a difference in someone else's life and in yours!

Must Make:  While, once again, following some program to organize the chaos that is my sewing room ... I admitted to hundreds of WIPs.  A WIP is a quilt in progress.  Although, in this case, they counted projects that you have the supplies, or the pattern worked out, or you've become obsessed with even if not a stitch has happened yet.  So I claimed all the ones on my extensive lists (I love a good list!) but I did explain I didn't count all the ones on my Pinterest Pages!!  

Right now I'm inactively working on(!?) Monkey Business by Bonnie Hunter; StashLab strip projects; several quilts in line for quilting; #scrapsnap - 4 color sets cut; new small holiday wall quilts for the gallery wall ... but wait - there's more!!!

And Many Many UFOs too!

Favorite Post:  I love the small modern quilts people are making and often selling on IG.  I started "ModQuad" 6 years ago.  A local group of quilters exploring the modern quilt techniques.  And I love the graphic statement a quilt can make - always have.

Thanks for putting up with me waxing poetic about my life in Quilting.  I hope I'm 'preaching to the choir'.  I can't imagine it not in my life.  My kids complain about being buried in quilts.  But I was told the baby quilts are still hauled out when we're not feeling good.

When my DS & family were in Panama for two years, their storage unit was destroyed by the Almeda Fire.  They lost 27 quilts.  Does anyone that isn't a quilter or isn't related to a quilter even have 27 quilts?  I replaced 5 of them last year to welcome them back home.

Quilting keeps your mind busy - and no, I'm not referring to that 'where did I put my scissors' problem! Creating and organizing ideas; putting ideas into action; involving all levels of the brain - it's got to be good for you.  Being that involved in life.  Not just sitting like a bump on the couch.  Although, we do do plenty of sitting too!  It has been a good life.  People I love know I love them - they have proof in the quilt gifts.  People I hang out with share my interests.  We always have something on the burner and are busy sewing, laughing and living.  How can you resist?  I can't!!

Friday, April 1, 2022

Instagram Quilt Fest Part 4

The wind was whipping thru here yesterday.  Almost felt like I was back in Nebraska - but of course, that wind was either 100 degrees or 30 below!  

Quilts of Significance:  I started quilting in 1974 - a denim patchwork quilt with hand embroidery on it for my son!!!  Yep, a definite case of not knowing what I was in for!!  But it wore well and I even 'updated the backing' for his first son!  Good memories all around.  Honestly, all the first quilts made were significant for the lessons learned, the enthusiasm building and being able to say, "I Made it!!!"

In 1997 I made  'School Daze' for ME!  Our youngest was graduating from HS.  She used to be in the jump rope club!  This pattern tugged at my heart!  It was definitely the end of an era.  My good friend asked where my son was on the quilt.  After hemming and hawing I said, "Probably behind the school smoking!"  We got the giggles so hard that we just had to applique smoke rings!  And of course, I'm glad my DS has a sense of humor - when we told him, he just laughed along with us.

In 1998, Linda Brannock of Red Wagon Quilts, came to teach at our retreat.  She's very good and I love her folk-art style.  But I remember her saying, "Just because designers make the quilt a certain size, you certainly don't have to!!"  The whole room went still, hearts a-flutter and brains working thru it!!


I loved one of Red Wagon designs, a donkey pulling a cart, but it was huge.  So I went right home and made a "Small Fall Wall" 22 x 28"  And I still love it that size today!  

My last "significant quilt" that comes to mind was made in 2018.  "Welcome to the Neighborhood".  My friend and I followed the QuiltMania Mystery quilt by Yoko Saito.  I love houses, so this was a pleasure to make.  But ... we didn't like the final design. (Sorry, Yoko!)  

First of all, what village doesn't have a school??  Then, you have to square it out and then you get silly and fill in a spot with a cheater fabric house!!  True! There was a lot of rearranging and redesigning the neighborhood.  A good friend, long armed it for me.  She put in all the little details that we brain-stormed and it turned out gorgeous.  

It won the First Place Ribbon in the Azalea Quilt Guild Show in Brookings Oregon, First Place in the Newport Oregon Guild show AND was accepted into PIQF - the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara.  No ribbon, but seriously, accepted into an international show??  My first time! 

Workshop / Class:  Well, you read about a class with Linda Brannock above, I've been fairly lucky to be able to take classes.  Paula Nadelstern came to the New Jersey Guild I belonged to.  She told us about having her sewing space on the kitchen table in the NY apartment.  And to always wear clothing that matches your project ... we were trying to think why - eye strain??  Nope, so the threads don't show as much!

Jo Morton is a great teacher in Nebraska.  I took a few classes from her.  Love her style and the fabric she designs.  I have quite a few of her books.

Bonnie Hunter is an entertaining teacher.  Queen of scrappy.  Great sense of humor.  At a Portland Conference she told us, "Don't be worried about 80+ pieces in the block - be excited!!"  And don't you worry - most of her blocks aren't that 'crowded'.

Pam Holland taught us on a CraftTour Cruise.  I love her style and her art is amazing.  Sue Spargo is so-o talented and patient.  She will demonstrate a stitch to group after group without making you feel that you're bothering her.  AND both Pam and Sue have those wonderful voices that is so soothing to listen to.

One of my favorites was a class with Jinny Beyer.  It was after a CraftTour cruise and we were making a block with diamonds.  During the class, while teaching us and walking around she actually hand sewed 2 blocks!  Then raffled them off to benefit Libby Lehman.

Thread:  I'm not as picky as some quilters about thread.  The poly - cotton debate doesn't sway me!  I first started machine piecing with Molnlycke thread.  It's poly but right weight and not much fuzz.  They were bought out by Mettler and that's what I usually use for machine piecing.

Shhh!  Don't tell anyone - not fond of Aurifil,  And silk sewing thread just makes me sad about the state of my cuticles!!

I like DMC thread for machine applique.  I match it to the fabric color when I blanket stitch applique.  They have a million colors that stay consistent in dye color.  If you have an embroidery thread that you'd like for machine stitching - it's the same number!!  and vice-versa!

Machine quilting I like King Tut.  Hand Quilting, my preference is YLI. 

What was I thinking?:  Most of those 'grab a Mike's Hard Lemonade' moments are all about deadlines.  I need to add a week (month?) to anything I think I can get done.  I used to add 10 minutes to any drive - to get out of the driveway!

Favorite Step:  Definitely the moment the top comes together.  The design shows, the colors interact.  I almost swoon!  It's not a great time to love - a lot of work yet to get done!  But better than some friends who love the shopping the most!!!  

Here's some tops, patiently waiting to be finished.  Okay, maybe not SO patiently!  For some of them, it's been years of neglect.  And I love them all!!!



Today I was working on putting up a design wall.  We got 2 wall insulation panels from Home Depot.  1/2 x 4' x 8'.  First problem was my ceiling isn't quite 8' tall.  So, laying a cutting mat on the floor; getting out the exacto knife and a rotary blade ruler - check!  Problem solved.  I then covered the cut edge with packing tape.  There were just enough Styrofoam dribbles on the floor to drive me crazy.

Then I tucked the flannel wide backing under the edges to take out any slack.

Why do hardware store clerks always make you feel like an idiot?  Next time I'm taking a photo and showing them.  I just wanted a few nails (boxes of 100!) to secure the panels to the wall.  I don't need them to fly off when the window is open!

I'll let you know how the saga ends!