Sunday, July 17, 2016

Connecting With Pieced Quilting (Mount Vernon, WA)

I have been in a WiFi black hole for the past three weeks.  No cell phone service and very little internet connection.  Even satellite TV was iffy at times. The campground in La Conner is a great place to be if you want to get away from it all,
 I love La Conner for the scenic views, the small quaint towns, and the delicious food, but the charm of being disconnected from the world is short lived with me.  I'm happy to say we are sort of connected again even if it is on the slow side here in Mount Vernon.  We move tomorrow (Monday) back to Blaine, WA.  I hope to do some catching up in the next week with everything I have been doing lately.

On The Cutting Board
And while I'm on the subject of feeling disconnected.  It has been a long time since I sat down and did some serious hand-pieced quilting.  Sales have slowed down in my shop and my inventory is overflowing with Mug Rugs, so I'm taking the quiet time to finish two retro quilts in 1930s design fabric.  I love this fabric so much that I have a Rubbermaid tub filled with just this fabric.
So far, all the work has been by hand.  From marking the fabric for cutting and for the quarter inch seam line to cutting each piece out with scissors (no multi-layered cutting here) and sewing the pieces together by hand.  
Still working on the Nine-Patch
Time consuming? Yes.  One of the best ways to stay entertained while disconnected?  Absolutely!  Okay, I cheated a little by listening to books on my iPod.

The thing is that I did not realize just how much I have been missing the process of making a quilt by hand.  The anticipation of marking/cutting the fabric and dreaming of what the quilt would look like while sewing the pieces together.  Granted, most of the pieces were cut out a long time ago, but it turned out the I was short a couple of blocks, so I did have to go back to the start with templates and pencil.

The feeling of seeing a top finished and knowing it all came together with no help from a machine is so satisfying.  If I do need to use a sewing machine, it will be to sew on borders.
 I finished the Lover's Knot top and I do believe that it is time to blow the dust off of my quilting hoop for a quiet time of hand quilting.  The nine-patch will take a little longer to finish since I am thinking it will need some applique work as well.  Hmmm...
Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Go West (Blaine, WA)

We have moved from central Washington to the west side of the Cascades.  Going over the North Cascades highway never gets tiresome.  Of course, we have only gone through this mountain pass a couple of times.
North Cascades Highway
We spent a couple of weeks in Concrete, WA.  We enjoyed eating at a few of their restaurants and viewing the first and longest all-concrete bridge built in 1918.  I could not get a good photo so click on the bridge link to see a photo.
Concrete's Historic Byway
Concrete is a small town not too far from Sedro-Woolley where they were celebrating "Blast From The Past" with a car show, a downtown street festival, a quilt show, and many other activities.  We could not have asked for nicer weather to enjoy the outdoors.
Despite the sunny day, I preferred the indoor activities a lot more.  I did mention a quilt show, right?
The "Blast of Baskets" quilt show was put together by Woolley Fiber Quilters (love their name!).  They did a fantastic job of displaying over 200 quilts inside the Three Rivers Inn Restaurant.
Not a whole lot of floor space, but enough to be comfortable for viewing quilts and taking photos. 
 It was hard to take straight on photos of the larger quilts, but I managed from different angles to get most of the quilt into the frame.
I'm posting only a small amount of the quilts that I enjoyed viewing.   To see more quilts, click on the Woolley Fibers Quilter's link above.
 I love this "COW-LENDAR".  I spent some time looking at each cow.  My favorite was the June Bride.
Below is the People's Choice.  I can see why.  Beautiful color combo and applique!
You know that I love to do most of my work by hand, so I really liked the little 'Hand' displayed on the name and description tag.  It made it a lot easier to find the handmade over machine work.
I wish I could have got better photos of the following embroidered quilts.  It was a little dark in this area.  I was so surprised to see the same pattern I had bought hanging in front of me!  While getting my nose close to the stitches (forgot my eyeglasses) and discussing the quilt with another guest, the assistant mentioned there was a second one further down the row in blue.  She could not decide which one she liked better.
Not just one, but two "A to Zzzz Snowman" Quilts!  Oh My!  I got stuck in my own loop when I kept going back and forth between the two.  Which one did I like better?
I finally took a photo of both to put them side by side when I got home.  I still can't say.  How about you?  Do you like one more than the other?  I love both of them, but for me to make this quilt in only one color would be a major challenge so I will stick with my multi-colors.  By the way, I have only finished the "A" block.  I have a lot of embroidery to do before this one is finished.
It is bad enough that I already own two quilt patterns with detailed snowmen to embroider.  Then I saw this one.  Isn't it adorable?
It is probably a good thing that I have not been able to find this pattern online.  The quilter named her quilt "I Can Build a Snowman".  So far, I haven't had any luck finding these cute guys online.
I like the way the quilter added sparkling snowflakes into her quilting.  It looks like they are falling all around the snowman.  I never thought to quilt over the embroidered design, but it seems to work quite well with this quilt.

On The Cutting Board
While in Concrete, I finished a few more Happy Campers.  The first one I finished was a custom made for a wonderful Camp Host back in Crescent Bar.  We used some fabric that she was using to decorate her motorhome.  Her sample fabric is a lovely piece with a fruit orchard theme with many colors.  We had no problem matching fabric colors from my limited stash.
I wanted to represent Florida in some of my Happy Campers so I came up with this design with a Flamingo and a palm tree.  The aqua stripes with the pink polka dot came out the best.  Now, I wish I had bought more than a fat quarter of this fabric.  I have just enough for one more in this size and a top for another camper.
Of course, the blue and yellow one looks pretty good as well.  Reminds me more of the sunny hot days of Florida.
I also made two new horse trailers.  Here's one of them.
And another bear with a dreamcatcher.  I was lost as to what I should make with this dark chocolate fabric.  I think I finally found the perfect match for it.
I plan to list the new Happy Campers in Etsy this week.  In the meantime, I am trying to finish a few UFOs that have been taking up space.  Time to get them done!
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Visiting Our Old Hometown (Concrete, WA)

We are in Concrete, WA after spending almost three weeks in Crescent Bar on the Columbia River  Not too far from where Dan and I spent most of our teen life in Wenatchee. So it was interesting to go back to see the changes.  There's plenty of new growth with businesses and new home sites.  Even my parents old house was gone having been swallowed up by the old elementary school's growth expanse.  A lot of the old orchards are gone in the city limits, but we were seeing new orchards and vineyards sprouting up all over the valley.
A view of Columbia River during one of my walks
While sitting in the campground surrounded by the canyon wall, I could not get over how still everything felt.  It was so quiet compared to our winter in Key West.  I guess I got use to the constant motion and noise such as ocean waves, jet skis, birds or all the above and more.  People were moving around, but I think the canyon walls soaked up most of the noise.  Not to mention the ever present view of the sky-high walls giving me the feeling of being solid and unyielding.

We drove up to Lake Chelan to see where Dan grew up in Manson before moving to Wenatchee.  It is a beautiful place to grow up as a child.
Lake Chelan:  ducks resting in the shade of birch trees
There are more homes on the hillsides, but the downtown area maintains the small town atmosphere.  Below is a photo of the old library now owned by the local dentist. 
The sign out front invites people to walk around the old library and enjoy the garden.  We were careful around the backside of the old building when we noticed bees moving in and out of a hole in the wall.  From keeping books to keeping honey, it looks like the library has become a new home for the work-a-bees.
Large poppies in the Library's garden
On The Cutting Board
I finished several projects during the last few weeks.  All of the finished Happy Campers are now listed in my shop.  I have already sold a couple of them!  Summer is getting an early start this year.
I finished two of my new bear designs.  On this one, I added a dreamcatcher.  Making the dreamcatcher was a lot of fun, so I am hoping to make more.
I have other bear designs in the works.  At least, I managed to finish these two.  I call this one "A Bear in the Woods".  It is nice to be among the pine trees again
Only one Happy Camper with a puppy, but there will be more to come.  You can count on that!
And of course, I made a few aqua and red combos.  They are the favorites with a lot of my customers.  I love this aqua polka dot fabric.  I love it so much that I bought two yards of it.  Now, I wish I had bought more so I can make a quilt from it as well.
I finished two wall hangings.  One of the witch ringing the bell and this one below.  Perfect for a warm welcome this summer.  I haven't listed them yet.  I'm trying to setup Etsy's new shipping system.  Once I figure out how to ship them, I will get them both listed.
A Spring's Welcome
But, that will have to wait.  I want to finish my latest custom order for a wonderful camp host.  So, I better get to it.  I promise to post a photo of her cute motorhome when I am done.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Best Laid Plans (Spokane, WA)

..........often go awry.  Yep, that's the way the last couple of weeks have been for me.  First, it was the sudden attention our cats wanted during our travels along with bad weather.  So, not a whole lot of sewing going on during that time.
With two weeks in Spokane, I planned to catch up on my sewing projects, take photos, and get some items listed.  I did not plan on turning into a......a shuffling, snuffling, wheezing, sneezing Zombie moaning for more Tissues!  Those lovely trees outside our motorhome were dumping super-strength mutated pollen.  Usually, I can take a Claritin and be fine the next day.  Not this time.  I spent over a week fighting allergies so I did not get a whole lot done the first week.

On The Cutting Board
I'm happy to say that I am back among the living and getting a few things done.  I have twelve Happy Camper tops embroidered and ready to sew together.
I have two new ones with a black bear profile that I'm in very excited about listing.
Here are three smaller Happy Campers in different colors.
And of course, four of the all-time favorite color combo of red with aqua or teal Happy Campers.  I have more to work on and hopefully, they will all be finished before June which is not too far off.
Oh, and here's a photo of a T@B trailer.  It was parked next to us for one of the nights while we were in Montana.  Isn't it adorable?  You can see where my inspiration comes from for my Happy Campers.
T@B Trailer
As soon as I started to feel better, I started working on some projects for myself.  I have been wanting to finish my SW pillows since last winter.  Ta-Da!  All four are now done!  If you like the Native Flair pattern, you can order the epattern from QuiltWoman.  I'm tempted to make a lap quilt to match the pillows.  After, I finish a few other UFOs.
Speaking of UFOs, my armchair sewing caddy has been on the To Do list for a long time.  I finally had to make a new one because the other one was falling apart.  The fabric had faded from exposure to the sun, over stuffing it to the point that the seams were popping, and the straps were frayed from moving the caddy from one chair to the another chair.

This time, I made the new one a little wider with deeper pockets.  Now Dusty will not be able to chew on my pens and pencils sitting in the top pocket.  To make the pockets stronger, I used one long tube of folded fabric and sewed down sections instead of separate squares of fabric.  I'm quite happy with the way this one came out considering I only spent a couple of days working on it.  I just wish I had used a heavier interfacing for the back.  I'll have to remember that for the next time.
Tomorrow is a travel day.   We plan to stay a few weeks in mid-Washington at Crescent Bar before we start our move towards the west coast.  
In the meantime, I think I am going to enjoy something I have not been able to do since we left the NW area.  I'm going to have a cup of hot Wild Huckleberry Tea while I read through Mary Janes Farm before I do a little more sewing this evening.
Happy Quilting!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Traveling Cross Country(Spokane, WA)

We made it to our destination - Spokane, WA.  I did not realize how much I missed seeing snow covered mountains until we crossed over into New Mexico's northeast corner near Raton.  Seeing the mountains on the horizon made me feel like I have come home.
Rest area - Trinidad, CO
We are not the only ones happy to be settled in one spot for a couple of weeks.  Four days into our cross-country travel, the cats started caterwauling their protest.  Max started the protest.  Soon Hitch would jump onto the back of my chair to howl in my ear while Dusty walked around my feet mewing his protest.
Time for a nap - Squirrel
Only Squirrel seemed content to sit and sleep in my lap.   He was in and out of my lap throughout the whole trip.  None of our cats use to ride near the front while we were traveling.  Usually our sofa is filled with loose items, but now I set it up for the cats.  Don't they look happy?  Well, for the moment anyway.  ;)
Nap time
With all the protesting, we stayed an extra night at Lathrop State Park with hope that this would settle the cats down.  They went out for walks, soaked up the sun, and ate grass.  According to Max, it was not long enough.  So, the protests continued on down the road.
Beautiful view from our site in Lathrop SP
We stayed one night at Terry Bison Ranch in Wyoming.  We ate dinner in their restaurant.  We were worried about finding something to eat when we read that they would substitute any flavored hamburger sandwich with a veggie burger.  I wish more restaurants offered this kind of substitute.  It would give us more of a variety than just the vegan plate.

After a delicious dinner, we walked around the ranch.  This ranch is setup to entertain the whole family with train rides, horseback riding, small carnival rides, and a variety of animals.  Here's a few photos of the ranch's animals that I manage to get during our short walk before sunset.
I say it looks like we have some visitors.  Let me get a closer look...
Do you like my new hair style?
Hey Neighbor!
The colt was my favorite.  He was full of energy when we were watching him.  He was moving so fast that I could not get a clear photo of him.  I think he wore out his Mom with his bucking and kicking in circles around her.  Maybe he made her dizzy.  I know I would have been if my kids did that around me.
New colt giving Mama a kiss
After we left the ranch, the weather started turning colder with precipitation.  Rain turned to slush.  Slush turned to snow and visibility became dangerously low for the highway.  We decided to stop at a pull-off for lunch.  According to AccuWeather, the cold front would blow through within a couple of hours.  We had our fingers crossed since we really did not want to spend the night in the middle of nowhere.  The snow did stop and we were able to get back on the road...for a short time....
We go outside now?
We did not get far when we reached the Sheriff's department and State Troopers blocking both lanes while clearing a rolled over truck from the highway.  By the time we drove by, we could not tell if more than one car had been in the accident.  We can only hope the travelers made it through the accident with minimum injuries.  

We were south of Kaycee when the snow started again with a vengeance this time. We had planned to spend to night in Sheridan visiting with friends, but between the snow, side winds, and the accident, it was time to call it a day.  The snow did not stick, but we found out later that the highway south of Buffalo was closed due to bad weather.  We made the right choice to stop early
Biiiig snowflakes!  Kaycee, WY
I wish I could say our trip was uneventful with a relaxing time despite the weather issues.  The motorhome had quite a few problems.  Two major ones were the exhaust brakes were not working and a hose burst to our air bags.  Dan was able to fix the exhaust brake problem.  The air bag leak was more major and we were very lucky it stopped working while we were parked at a truck stop.  Dan called it our lucky breakdown because if it had happened on the mountain pass in the construction zone, we would have been blocking the pass for hours.  When the air bags are deflated, the motorhome does not move.  I'm not sure if we would have stopped suddenly or if the motorhome would have coasted to a stop.  Not something I would want to experience that is for sure.  Both were a very scary thought  of what could have happened while we were on the mountain passes.  Dan was able to get a mobile RV/Truck service to repair and replace the burst hose within a couple of hours. 

I'm happy to say we made the rest of the trip without any major mechanical problems or cat protesters.

On The Cutting Board
New design - Dreamcatcher
Due to Squirrel's sudden change of heart to spend more time in my lap, I wasn't able to do as much sewing.  I tried to make up the time in the evenings, but that wasn't easy to do either with cats wanting out, trying to prep things for evening, dinner, and just too tired to even look at a project.
Road Runner
Anyway, I did finish the custom order for our Pensacola friends.  I'm very happy with the Road Runner.  He came out very well.  I had to be careful with making the morning glories.  I love making them so much that they would have been climbing all over the trailer.  Just like they do in real life!
Southwest Vintage Trailer
Making this design was a lot of fun.  You can bet I'll be making more!  In the meantime, I need to get back to all the others that were suppose to be done by the time we reached Spokane.  I hope to have some photos of progress to post soon.
Happy Quilting!

Popular Posts