Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trouble with Backing (Knoxville, TN)

Great Smokey Mountains - Elijah Oliver's Place

I received my extra wide backing in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  I was a little disappointed in how stiff it felt.   I could not see anyone wanting to cuddle under a quilt with this stiff material as its backing.  So I washed it …..and a second time….then three times.  It still felt stiff.

I turned to my friends on Quilted Paradise Message Board.  Many of the quilters said it was probably the sizing that was causing the stiffness and one suggested I wash the fabric with Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda.  It was amazing the difference in the fabric after one washing.  I could actually feel the difference.  I washed it 2 more times and I am a lot happier with the fabric.

Now I get to iron all that material on my table top ironing board…oh joy….


Done!   It only took me two hours.

New fabric

Great Smokey Mountains

Smokey Mountains album
We spent an afternoon at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  It was beautiful, but not very relaxing.  We made the mistake of going on a Saturday afternoon and it was very…..very…very busy! We decided to do the one loop with the old homesteads.  The best part was the freedom to walk around and explore the nooks and crannies of the homesteads.  It gave me more of a feel of what it was like to live in the 1800’s.  It’s quiet, serene, and simple with a lot of hardship as well.  Yea, I like living in this century better.

I wanted to visit Gatlinburg’s 8 miles of Arts and Crafts.  You guessed right.  There’s a quilt shop there too and another one in Sevierville.  But that wasn't the only reason.  I wanted to see the traditional mountain artwork too.  I use to read the Foxfire series.  Have you heard of them?  If I remember correctly,  students would interview the local mountain people.  There was a variety of art, stories, how to's, etc.  I found them fascinating.  I should look the books 96up.....and I'm off the subject.... 

Anyway, we started getting into heavy traffic in Sevierville.  Crawled through Pigeon Forge, and came to a complete stop on Gatlinburg’s main street.  We stopped for a quick lunch and decided we better visit the national park first.  By the time we finished the Cades Cove loop, it was after 6 pm.  So, I never made it to the quilt shops, but I can leave you the links.  The shops look very nice.

The Cherry Pit  in Sevierville  This site has a list of the artists along with their own websites if they have one.

Oh, in case you are wondering why I did not go on a different day.  Between running errands and Dan installing a new kitchen faucet, we ran out of time.  I can definitely give up a trip to quilt shops for a very nice stainless steel kitchen faucet. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Mug Rugs!

I have more coming!  Santa, reindeer, pumpkins, and black cats!  Oh My!
Thanksgiving Turkey
Tom Turkey is dressed as a Pilgrim for Thanksgiving dinner. His autumn colors of orange, brown, and red will help dress up your table.

Size: 7.5 x 11.5 inches (19.1 x 29.2 cm)

Snowman with Bird #1
This whimsical Snowman is showing his friend his new home. 
This cheerful mug rug is a wonderful addition for your table or in the kitchen all winter long.

Size: 11 x 7 inches (27.9 x 17.8 cm)

Snowman with Bird #2
Snowman is showing his friend his new home. This cheerful mug rug is a wonderful addition for your table or in the kitchen all winter long.

Size: 11 x 7 inches (27.9 x 17.8 cm)

All mug rugs:
I use all cotton scraps. All embroidery is hand-stitched with DMC 100% cotton thread. All quilting is hand-stitched around design. Appliqué is fused with Steam-A-Seam2. 

Batting is Insul-Bright. A heat-resistant batting. 
**Do not use for holding HOT dishes** 

This cute pattern was designed by Nancy Halvorsen from Art to Heart. I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Art To Heart.

Discount on shipping if you order two mug rugs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Sale! (Knoxville, TN)

I’m so excited!  I got my first order yesterday!  I sold a Witch Mug Rug!  I mailed it today.  I am officially open!  Yea! 

Of course, this order took place while we were on the road for over 7 hours yesterday.  And…I forgot to put that in my last blog or on Facebook.  We got to see a little of the Allegany Mountains from the highway.  I’m hoping to see the Smokey Mountain National Park before we leave the area.   We are now in Heiskell, TN just north of Knoxville.  We plan to spend the week here.

Near the Tennessee/Virginia border
I have joined Twitter, Pinterest, and I have opened a QuiltinCats Fan Page on Facebook.  My head is spinning with all the information out there. Oh, you can become a Fan of QuiltinCats Facebook Page by clicking on the link in the left column then click “Like”.  I have been brainstorming with my daughter Misty and she has some wonderful ideas. So, you will be seeing some changes in the future.  She has been a great help in getting me started and her support has been very encouraging.

I don’t have any new photos of my projects so I will leave you with some of my 365 Project photos.

On the lake
Stay cool and happy quilting!

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Seasonal Mug Rugs Listed Online

These were originally potholders, but I thought they were too cute to use under a hot dish.  I plan to hang my collection on the kitchen wall for seasonal decorations when I am not using them to as a Mug Rug.

With all this extreme hot weather, I am looking forward to cooler weather and a nice cup of hot tea in the Fall.  I'm ready with some Autumn colors of orange, red, green, and brown in these cute Harvest Acorn Mug Rugs.
Acorn Harvest Mug Rug

Harvest Acorn
Check out my new Mug Rugs in my QuiltinCats Shop

Description of all Mug Rugs:
I use all cotton scraps. All embroidery is hand-stitched with DMC 100% cotton thread. All quilting is hand-stitched around design. Appliqué is fused with Steam-A-Seam2. 

Batting is Insul-Bright. A heat-resistant batting. 
**Do not use for holding HOT dishes** The buttons are NOT heat resistant and may melt if a hot dish is placed on them. 

This cute pattern was designed by Nancy Halvorsen from Art to Heart. I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Art To Heart.

Isn't this cute!  As soon as I saw the pattern, I thought of Bugs Bunny and that crazy Witch Hazel! And that laugh!  She was hilarious!  She always cracked me up!
Witch Mug Rug

Holding my brew!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Appomattox Court House (Lynchburg, VA)

Law office
We spent a couple of hours visiting the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  We did not stay long because of the sweltering heat was almost unbearable.  Standing in the shade watching sweat pour off us just wasn't our idea of entertainment.
McLean's Home - Grant & Lee agreed to surrendering terms
It was interesting to see the place where the Civil War finally came to an end and heartbreaking descriptions of the men’s reactions to the surrender.  The McLean house gave great insight to how they lived back in the 1860’s.   The kitchen and the ice house are still separate from the main house and the slave’s quarters were nearby. I did see some old quilts, but there was no information about them.

The local weather man says this heat will break next week.  I hope so because it is not fun spending all day inside the motorhome.  I hope everyone is staying cool during these hot days.

received an email from Borders about closing their doors.  I love visiting Borders.  When we lived in Albuquerque, I would drive an extra 15 minutes to a grocery store just because their neighbor was a Borders.  I know there are still other bookstores but for some reason, Borders was my favorite.  I will miss them.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Virginia Quilt Museum (Harrisonburg, VA)

Crossed Laurel Leave (c. 1836)
My visit to Virginia Quilt Museum (museum link) was very inspiring and fulfilled my quilting needs...well, for a month…okay, for a couple of weeks....hmmm, maybe.   It has been too long since I have talked quilts with another quilter besides online or to view other quilters art work.  It is such a wonderful feeling.

Oh! And talk about a small world!  The receptionist (and I’m sorry I did not get her name) had lived in Los Alamos, NM.  It was nice to talk to her about New Mexico, Virginia, Harrisonburg, and quilts.
Chiquita Banana by Carolyn Lynch
I picked a good time to visit, because the museum’s exhibit featured a non-conformist quilter Carolyn Lynch.  My kind of quilter!  I have seen her work off and on over the years, but I have never read about her dilemma with quilting rules.   Carolyn did not follow the rules; she followed her heart and her sense of humor.  Carolyn’s quilts did not fit into any of the judging exhibits when she submitted her unique work.  That’s when they created a new category: "Articles of Merit Not Listed".  I have linked the museum’s write up on Carolyn’s story, but it will only be there for the time of the exhibit which ends on 3 September.

The result of years of quilting showed a very diverse and entertaining quilt exhibit.  If I did not know that the quilts were all made by one quilter, I would have sworn they were made by many different quilters.

“Puff’s Revenge” is my favorite quilt!  Two of my favorite things: Dragons and quilts – together even better.
Puff's Revenge by Carolyn Lynch
The second quilt that caught my eye and I spent a lot of time looking at was the “Ode to Candle Salad”.  I have never heard of this salad so I was very curious about it.  Have you heard of the candle salad?
Ode to Candle Salad by Carolyn Lynch

Another exhibit I thoroughly enjoyed was the Civil War quilts.  Beautiful quilts with such tiny stitches.   It is amazing the great condition they are in today.
Friendship Star Pieced Quilt (c.1856)
This is the Greene Family Album Quilt.  Mary Ware Greene found the original quilt in her late husband’s trunk.  It had been stored in the attic for their entire marriage.   One block is signed Cinnie C. Pearce.  I think it is such a shame that this beautiful quilt spent all that time hidden away in a trunk.  At least now, it is on display for all to admire.
Greene Family Album Quilt (c. 1882)

Okay!  Time to quilt!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shenandoah National Park

Wild Flowers along Skyline Drive

I’m back!  WooHoo!  I missed my internet!  It is amazing how much I need my internet connection.   With a few strokes of the keyboard, I have information, news from family and friends along with entertainment.  Instant gratification!  Oh yea!

Well, the good news is that I did get a little more quilting done in the evenings.
2nd Pumpkin and 2 more snowmen

Started Garden Nouveau

Since the last time I blogged, we have been busy exploring the Shenandoah National Park and some of the surrounding area.  We stayed in Loft Mountain Campground inside the Park.  I felt like we were on top of the world.  All the scenic views were spectacular. We had to drive 25 miles on Skyline Drive to get to the campground.  I wasn't so sure about this drive in the motorhome since I had read a description saying the drive wound around on top of the ridge of the mountains.  But it wasn't that bad.  Most of the time it was a tree covered road with wide and very spacious overlook areas.  We could fit our motorhome towing the car with plenty of space for many more cars.
Great views from Skyline Drive
We had just settled in to our new home when the park received a good downpour.  I don’t think it lasted more than an hour, but it certainly made a difference in the temperature.  The weather stayed cool most of our stay.  Which was a big plus since we were dry camping (no hookups) during our stay.  It was so nice to be able to sleep with the windows open.

For our first full day in the park, we did a 3.5 mile hike on Doyles Fall Trail that was described as being “moderate”.  I felt so out of shape!  It felt more like “difficult” to me.  It took me two days to recuperate from that hike.  The next hike was a little over 4 miles on Rose River Falls.  Two friendly Rangers advised us that the trail was an easier walk than Doyles and better because it followed the cascading river.   I did not feel as wimpy on this trail, but I still need to get back into shape.

I’ll try to get my photos uploaded to Webshots in a couple of days.

Next blog:  Virginia Quilt Museum

We move to Gladys, VA.  Not too far from Lynchburg.   I’m not sure how long we will stay here before moving west to Tennessee.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Traveling to Shenandoah National Park

Travel Days!

We traveled yesterday from Camp Lejeune to Gasburg, VA.  Today, we are heading for northern Virginia's mountains.  We plan to stay at the Shenandoah National Park.  We will drive the whole length of Skyline from one end to the other.  I hear the panoramic views are breath-taking!  I can't wait.

I hope to see Virginia's Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg.  I have waited a long time to see this museum and the one in Paducah, KY.

While Dan was driving, I was edging one of the pumpkins with button hole stitches.  I might try to get another one done today.

**There's a good chance that I won't have internet while we are in the national park from 13 - 18 July.**

Our Hitch - Hiker

Hitch riding on his scratch post over my right shoulder.

I posted this photo in my Day 6 for 365 Project.  I thought I would share it with my blogging friends.  If you look over my right shoulder, you will see Hitch in his favorite spot on his scratch post looking out the window as we travel down the highway.  He is quite a traveler!

Many of you know Hitch's story, so I'll keep it brief.

We first saw 6 month old Hitch hanging around a campground in South Dakota.  He was wandering from one rig to the next and finally ended up under our motorhome.  With a friendly purr, he managed to move into our hearts.  After spending a couple of days looking for his owner, we came to the conclusion that he had been left behind. 

The first time we started the motor, Hitch became excited.  He ran up and down the aisle!  Jumped up on the dash and did head bobbles!  He even helped Dan to navigate by standing on the steering wheel!  And that is how Hitch Hiker joined our family.

Every once in a while, we will hear stories from other cat staff about how their cats love to travel.  Does anyone have a travel-loving cat?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seashells by the Seashore (Camp LeJeune, NC)


On the Camp LeJeune beach map, the above picnic shelters are labeled as "Seashells".  Perfect!  I love the seashell colors.  I like them so much that I dug through my little stash and found some similar colors to make a new quilt.  I wish I had more pastel yellow, but this will just have to do.  I know I have too many projects on the sewing machine already, but what's one more?

Mmmm, I can't wait to start this quilt project!

Monday! Monday! Monday!

I can't wait for this evening!  Both Eureka and Warehouse 13 will be on SyFy and I will be able to watch them!  WhooHoo!  Yea, I'm a geek at times.  We rarely have cable in the campgrounds so this is an extra treat to have cable and be in the right place at the right time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Seasonal Potholders or Mug Rugs

Summer has barely started and I am ready for some cooler weather. Well, I certainly don’t want to rush Father Time so I will be patient. While I am waiting, I will start working on some seasonal items.   In-between my quilt projects, of course.

I have been fusing fabric together with Steam-A-Seam2, but I’m find this fusible hard to get the needle through. It’s a little hard on the fingers and hands. Especially when there are 3 layers!  I think I’m going to try a lighter weighted fusible. Any suggestions? What do you use to fuse fabrics for appliqué work? 

Pumkin parts are ready to be cut out.

Tracing the pattern onto Steam-A-Seam2

I find using a pin to score the paper in the center works the best.

Peel towards edge.
Appliqué Pressing Sheet

I like using the appliqué pressing sheet.  The pressing sheet goes over the design. I can see the design for placement and iron on the sheet.  The fusible webbing does not stick to the sheet.  I start ironing the smaller pieces together.  I go backwards as I add the larger pieces.  This makes it easier to place each piece in its proper spot.  

3 more ready for embroidery

Working on Snowman.

Button Hole Stitch

I finished the Snowman and I am thinking of selling these as decorative mug rugs instead of potholders.  The reason for this?  I have been embellishing the 'potholders' with buttons and they might melt if a hot pot is put on them.  I think they will make a very festive mug rug, don't you?

Mug Rug?
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sweetgrass Hand-Woven Baskets, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Yesterday travel day to Camp LeJeune, NC.  We moved from Charleston, SC to Camp LeJeune, NC.  We took Hwy. 17 for most of the journey.  North of Charleston while passing through Mt. Pleasant, I started seeing old flimsy looking side stands.  Most were empty, but a few had some unusually beautiful baskets on display.  The signs said "Sweetgrass Baskets".  I had to Google!  I'm so glad I did.

Photo from Charleston Sweetgrass
Handmade Sweetgrass Baskets
According to the Charleston Sweetgrass website:  Slaves from West Africa have been weaving Sweetgrass baskets for over 400 years and there is little information or written instructions on how to make them.  I borrowed a photo from this website so you can see why I like their baskets so much.  The website also gives a little history about the makers and the baskets.

My wrist has finally healed!  I am back to quilting and I feel a lot more relaxed.  sigh! what a relief!  I have some extra wide fabric on order from Equilter.  I ordered 4 yards (108"wide) of black for the SouthWest Kokopeli top.  I need backing, borders, binding.......and a little left over for some applique work.
Back to Happy Quilting!
Sketch of applique

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Silly Me!

I forgot to tell you about Savannah, GA.  I loved walking the downtown area.  The historic homes are so lovely.  I kept thinking I would see gentlemen and ladies dressed in 1800's attire among tree lined sidewalks and streets.  The people were friendly and helpful.  The food was great.  I hope we go back someday.

Forsyth Park
We walked through Forsythe Park where they filmed John Cusack in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".   Very nice and very big with a water park for little ones to cool off.  Large grassy common areas with lots of big old trees filled with spanish moss.  Seeing so much water everywhere is so different from most citys now.  The effect was very relaxing.

Here are the links to two albums:  Sights of Savannah and Historic Liberty Trail/Ft. Stewart

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Need My Therapy! (Charleston, SC)

My Quilt Therapy that is….ha! I had you going, didn't I?

funny pictures - neurotic kitteh is on the shrink's couch

see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

I had to take a break from quilting this week.  It has been a rough week without my quilting therapy….sigh…. I had to go to Urgent Care on Monday after accidentally wounding my wrist.  I bled a little and thought no big deal until the next morning when the wound was swollen and red.  I knew the infection was moving into my muscles when my fingers started twitching.  There’s nothing like having my own fingers waving back at me as if they have a mind of their own. 

Hmm….anyway, I ended up on antibiotics, got a lecture on NO sewing for at least a week, and I had to keep my wrist elevated above my heart.  Yep, I got real good with surfing the TV and websites with my left hand, but I really missed relaxing with one of my projects.  The rhythmic motion of the needle going in and out of fabric, the wonderful feeling of accomplishment as the blocks come together and even ripping out stitches can be therapeutic at times.  Groan!

 Isn’t it amazing how one hobby can keep a person feeling sane and relaxed?

Kokopeli SW Lap Quilt
Well, before I got put on rest detail, I was working on a SW Kokopeli lap quilt and I was just starting on another lap quilt using Laura Burch’s Cats fabric.  I love the cat fabric so much that I have decided to keep this one for myself.  This will be the first quilt I have made just  for me.  I have made one large quilt for Dan and I, but never one for me.


Cat Quilt
Happy 4th of July Everyone!  I hope all is well with your family and your hometown.

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