Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Gift Quilt

Do you ever feel the need to just finish something? This quilt top has been nagging at me for quite awhile now. Work on me! Work on me! The summer is over already--unbelievable! Which means that it's getting close to the time that I wanted to be able to gift this quilt to a friend.
The wildlife gift quilt (made from a friends quilt blocks)
Yesterday I sandwich and pinned. And today it's time for a little of that machine quilting that I love to hate. I'm using some tan thread from Connecting Threads that I've been wanting to try. It's not Aurifil, but so far it's working really well.
Looking at in on the floor
Machine quilting is not something I'm particularly good at, so my mantra is KISS {keep it simple stupid}. The cowardly part of me wants to figure out an excuse to hand quilt the insides of the blocks, but I'm refusing to listen for once. It's a quilt that will likely get a lot of use, especially snuggle time on the couch--extra stitching won't make the recipient like it any more or any less. I'll just do my best and try to give it with a smile.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Welcome to my little corner of the blogging world! Nina, a wonderfully, talented Norwegian quilter tagged me to answer some questions for you. They go along with this 'creative' blog hop currently making the rounds around the globe. This was after Debra (she of the gorgeous pictures blog) tagged me back in July and well, you know how my July and August went. 

1.What Quilting thing am I working on?

Wowsers, do I have a lot going on around here! Never content with project monogamy, I tend to bury myself in enough projects to induce eye twitches in the more practical minded. I believe every project deserves the very best from me and that often takes time. Time to simmer. Time to breathe. Time to talk. And really, the best use of my time during the 'down time' is for me to work on something else entirely. Which often gives me an answer to a /question/dilemma/problem on yet another quilt--and around and around we go.... 

This is my Pickle Dish/Wedding ring quilt, started approximately two years ago. I just recently pulled it out again to start sewing the background fabric onto the melons. Apparently it involves ironing with starch, pulling the foundation paper off the melons and carefully lining up and pinning all the bits. It's gonna take awhile 'cuz I'm definitely not a fan of tearing off foundation papers.
Pickle Dish/Wedding Ring
This next quilt (Geese Tracks) is actually almost finished. A little more applique work on the border and wallah! I will be back here exclaiming over a finished quilt top. I am so very glad I forced myself through the I-really-don't-have-a-clue-what-I'm-trying-to-do-here pains that I kept experiencing with this project. It's starting to feel very exciting in terms of being better than I ever planned or dreamed. Always a good feeling.
Geese Tracks
The lovely little blocks below are a result of following along with Wendy's Basket Galore BOM. After I persevered through some terribly complicated piecing efforts, I wanted to make sure this quilt had a little distraction from my ahem.. (minor!) mistakes. And also that it reflected how special I really think the baskets are. There are still four flower blocks I need to get figured out and sewn together before things can move along toward a completed quilt top.
Red/Green flower blocks and Basket Galore BOM blocks
This orange and blue quilt is made from partial St. Paul blocks. I liked the simplicity of leaving out the added piecing and was really looking for an excuse to use up some of these fabrics. I loved seeing them all stacked together but didn't know quite what to do with them as a whole. It still needs a border added, but so far the quilt is not being very communicative. Talks will resume later.
My St. Paul quilt
I started making these cactus basket blocks after completely blowing the piecing on one of the Basket Galore blocks. I could not believe how badly I had bungled that little 8" block! Being the stubborn sort that I am, I immediately started making plans to 'better learn' a proper technique (in this case, hand piecing). Somehow it morphed into making 13 of these blocks, making other blocks to play along, and now I'm waiting on a pattern from Karen before I move on. I'm seeing applique added onto the quilt top and other fun stuff in this quilts future.
Cactus Basket quilt
Okay, this quilt is still obviously in its infancy but I have most definitely committed to making it. Check out our blog over at Quilt Like an Eagle if you want to play along. By July of next year, each of us on the list intend to proudly display a completed eagle quilt! You are going to be so jealous....
My Eagle quilt
My Sunburst quilt is very much a long term project. The main part of the quilt is going to be entirely appliqued and each step is, quite frankly, a bit mind boggling in our present state of controlled chaos. Mostly because I over-think everything I'm sure. It's a blessing and curse.
The Sunburst quilt
I almost didn't include this UFQ because it's been so very long since I've done anything with it. The thing is, I rarely truly abandon any project and I don't intend to leave this one behind either. The rare times that I actually take the time to reacquaint myself with this project, I always melt at the colors and style. It could be a really great quilt right? That's why I keep it on my UFQ list. It helps keep me accountable.
Random Sampler quilt
2.  How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I'm reminded of the comic where there are hundreds of penguins and the one is dressed sort of clownish--definitely standing out from the crowd--saying 'I just wanna be me'. Everyone of us out here in the big bad quilting world is doing our level best to make quilts that appeal to ME. When other people like them too, that's just bonus! I used to make quilts in a kind of whimsical fashion, making quilts for gifting, from patterns that caught my attention and for other various reasons such as including myself in a group challenge with friends. At some point I realized that I had gotten very far from my original intention--which was to make quilts that were deeply satisfying to ME. Through a lot of trial and error, I have slowly, slowly learned how to include the important elements that make me fall in love with my quilts{often many times over} throughout the process of making. Are they different from other peoples quilts? Sometimes I think yes. Other times, eh.. not so much! And yes, I still include myself in challenges etc. but only when it also coincides with something I'm currently trying to learn/make or do.

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?

I write because I wanted to have a journal of what was being made and the journey it takes to get there. So many of my quilts have an 'emotional' start or maybe an unexpected detour. Then there are the oh-my-goodness-I've-ruined-this-quilt! type of hurdles to get through. After awhile the details start to blur together and I didn't want to forget about those important moments. So mind boggling during the making, but really kind of funny later.

I create what I do because it's important. To my sanity. And to the well being of my immediate family! I'm a much nicer person when I'm involving myself in creating and I'm not the least bit ashamed to say so. I can't even fully explain what it does to soothe the ragged edges of what life does to us just by being a full participant. Playing with fabric and color is incredibly rewarding don't you think? And how wonderful to pour ourselves into something beautiful, then fold it up and give it to a special someone.

4.  How does my writing/creating process work?

I write when I have something to take a picture of. If I can take a picture (of whatever progress I've made) and not feel like I'm 'reaching' to find something to say, then I just go for it. I used to worry that I'd run out of things to say about quilting, but so far that hasn't happened! It must be true love.

My creative process is almost always about DOING. That is absolutely key for me. I keep a lot of projects going so I don't get bored or stuck on any one phase. Apparently I have a low threshold for both of those particular problems and I discovered a long time ago that I can seriously jump through three (or more) quilt projects in one day lickety split--making up really good excuses for why I can't work on any one of them. Having more than three UFQ's makes it much more likely that I'll cue in to my little avoidance issue and finally settle down with something. It does take actual progress to get to a finish and sometimes that progress is quite tedious ie; easily avoidable.

I make time to get in the quilt room almost daily (even if it's only for 15 minutes). I allow myself permission to play with fabric if that's really all I feel there is to give on that day. I try to remember that there's always something to learn. Always! Why not learn before it's vitally important to the outcome of any one quilt?

Occasionally I make a new list about the things that I LOVE to see in a quilt, whether it be a particular block, color, style or feeling. This helps keep me a little more focused and if I get to feeling like I'm just recycling old stale ideas? I find time to lay out every single quilt top waiting in the drawers. Some times I have to do the same thing with my finished quilts--sort of like shaking off the blues. By viewing one quilt after another I can usually see that my quilts are ever evolving and changing, even if it's a subtle thing. It helps tremendously to see that I'm moving forward, ever progressing toward a more personalized style. {See, now I'm being that clownish penguin I talked about earlier!}

The other important thing about my creative process is that I try very hard to make time to include slow quilting in and amongst all the other quilting I do. I always have a quilt in the hoop. And I always have a hand work bag prepped and ready to go. These two things make sure that no matter what is going on in our busy, crazy life, I can also choose to pick up a needle and thread at a moments notice. I sometimes stitch when I have company, in the car, at the basketball game or even when I'm helping out a sick friend or family member. This 'lost' time then becomes cherished time because the outcome (in quilty terms) doesn't matter any longer and I'm able to keep my hands busy and thus enjoy the moment.

Okay, enough with this endless post about me! In order to keep this Blog Hop moving I chose to tag two other talented ladies who each agreed to write a post next Monday the 22nd. Interestingly enough, I met both of these gals through the Bloggers Quilt Festival!

First off, I'd like you to meet Anne who has a fascinating way of making the kind of quilts that I'd love to own. I am always intrigued by her 'process' and her fearlessness in admitting to changing her quilting/sewing plans. Then there is Diane who is one of the most enthusiastic quilters I know. She is the reason I dared to start my Pickle Dish quilt even though I was so apprehensive about it, that I chewed all my fingernails off for steps 1, 2, 3 and now 4. For some reason she thinks Pickle Dish quilts are EASY and they are NOT. lol  So... please go check out these ladies wonderful blogs now and then, hopefully next Monday too. I know you won't regret it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pics From the 2014 NCW Quilt Show

This is a photo heavy post, but I thought I'd show you some of the quilts that caught my eye. The quilt below was just fun and happy. I seriously wanted to haul it home with me in my bag! After seeing Kathie work her magic on that quick little baby quilt I wonder if I should start gathering fabric for one of my own?

There were quite a lot of quilts in the style made below--applique heavy and very detailed. They always draw my attention and make me feel like a slacker with my own applique work. lol

This next quilt is quite horrifying in that large butterfly motiff so commonly used in the seventies, but the fabrics... I am in LOVE with that wonderful chrome yellow and those fabulous odd prints used! Kudo's to the quilter for being bold in her choices!

My mom and I stared at this particular quilt for a long while. The entire centerpiece of the quilt is an upcycled vintage tablecloth which is a really, really great idea. Pinterest and this quilt = true love! The quilter just added a very nice border onto the quilt and then quilted it very complimentary to the tablecloth print. Genius. I am going to be trolling the 2nd hand stores for vintage tablecloths now for sure!

I couldn't resist the quilt below. Not all the fabrics used are my 'style' but I love the cheerful look to the quilt. The appliqued flowers on the bottom are totally up my alley and the trees above made my mom smile. We both enjoyed getting to see this fun little wall hanging. She needed the eye candy to distract her from the reminders of what she lost in the fire. She would point out various quilts and say, 'I made one of those' or 'I was working on a similar quilt to that one'. It made me so very sad, but she was obviously enjoying the quilt show regardless so I'm glad we went together.

I don't have the patience for Sue Spargo like stitching, but I sure appreciate looking at it! What a sweet little mini quilt!

I wish the picture could adequately convey what this quilt looked like. The color was just amazing the way the light made your eye want to dance around the quilt. We actually had a hard time viewing this quilt as there was a woman in front who would NOT move away from the quilt. We finally left and came back around later.

This little note was hilarious. Something to remember if you're having a hard time gifting one of your quilts...

I don't have many solid fabrics, but I always love the look of a Gee's bend style quilt.

The quilt below was actually a 70's kit with a very uninspiring white background. The applique however, was wonderful.

This quilt was made by the featured quilter whose applique work was beyond amazing. She always uses needleturn which is my absolute favorite method as well. I had to take a picture of this one (my favorite) because of the use of plaid fabrics (so sparky) for some of the flowers. All her other quilts were much more detailed and obviously took an enormous amount of time just in terms of handwork. We chatted with her for a moment and got to look at her current project. Wowsers, does this woman know how to do her thing. I left feeling very inspired.

There was quite a few Quilts of Valor on display which is always wonderful to see. I really love the red/turquoise combination of the quilt on the left.

And then there was the vendor booths. Mom teased me quite a lot about stocking up on the used quilt books (I bought 15 to her 10). All her quilt books had burned so she obviously needs to restock, but me? I was just being greedy. lol  At $1 a book, I don't think so!

We also managed to time getting through the quilt show perfectly, allowing us to sit in on a little applique class. Would you believe it was the first quilting 'class' I've ever been to! Thank goodness for good quilting books, the internet and of course my good quilting friends who have helped me all along the way. I learned a couple 'of course' things to remember about working with applique and quite enjoyed the presentation. Very interesting to sit in the small crowd and realize that I'm not a complete bumpkin about the technique after all (no matter what my insecurities always want to tell me)! I've graduated from beginning applique somewhere along the way without even realizing it. Funny how that happens with age, great passion and dedication.*wink

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hand Quilting and Precision Piecing {or not}

It took me a couple evenings with the hoop to settle back into my 'zone'. At first the needle felt really small and my fingers were a bit fumbly. The correct rocking motion was eluding me and it doesn't help that my thimble is mostly worn out. Occasionally the needle actually slips right through a hole in the leather {ouch!}.
Hand quilting the Worry Baskets
I finally found my groove late one night after everyone had went to bed, leaving me alone on the couch doing my thing. Ahhh.... Just me and some little baskets, the silence, my thoughts and the soft swooshing noise of the thread moving in and out of the fabric. Complete and total peace. I do love that. Couldn't hardly put it down at the end of that 'last' frame but I'm far from the finish at this particular point. No point in ruining my next day over a silly lack of sleep.
Back in the bag until next time
In good contrast of different quilting methods, I've been working with my Flowering Snowballs a little every day. So glad I went ahead with this challenge, but getting through this particular phase isn't exactly fun. All the seams are pressed in the same direction and it makes for a tough time getting things to match up properly.
Sewing the Flowering Snowball row
I saw a tutorial for using glue, but I just can't quite bring myself to do that yet. Even I know it's a great idea. Fabulous really. And everybody is using glue these days. Except me. Which just makes me stubborn or old fashioned or maybe even... cautious? I mean, what if the glue loves my quilt so much it never wants to wash out? lol
Matching up the seams {or not}
Don't worry. I'm sure I'll get through this rather awkward period in my quilting life too. You know I always have before.

So basically, (by looking at the picture above) you can see what I have to deal with in about one (out of four or five) sets of the piecing match-ups. The seam on the left is just a smidge off. Which is why I baste a small area at the seam before I do the real seam thing. Still....test, test, testing doesn't always eliminate the issue at hand. Every single time I get these results, there is a decision to be made. Yippee skippee. Why does there always have to be decisions? Be fussy flossy and rip it out? Allow for margin of error in my quilt and move on without using the seam ripper? {I am a devotee of the galloping pony test afterall.} And sometimes I just pretend I don't even notice. Which, of course, is always a fun option, but don't kid yourself. It IS a decision too.  ienie mienie minie moe......

Well, this time I came down on the side of fussy. Mostly I'm trying to fix the 'smidge' if it's obvious--a seam width or so. After all, this is a challenge. I might as well try to get it right the first time and LEARN something right? Ahem, all it really means is that I'm learning to pin a little better. Just don't think I'm quite ready for that glue yet.*wink

Monday, September 8, 2014

Trying to Find My Way Forward

My summer quilting sort of went off the tracks with me having to fit the odd moment of quilting into whatever empty second I found.  Imagine my surprise when the Flocks of Geese quilt managed to get made into a top, in spite of the fact that I was supposed to be packing for the trip and doing stacks of bookwork.
Flock of Geese quilt top finished
Believe it or not, I had agonized over putting the blocks together with the flat brown. Most people would have went light or busy. But not me. Oh no. I didn't feel like I had the luxury of time to weight all the pros and cons and I desperately wanted to be quilting. So I went with my gut. Just started in with the cutting and sewing and then ended up with this. It felt very 'bleh' and I was truly disappointed. You really have no idea. My triumphant little blue birds had lost their special little spark and it felt like a betrayal of sorts. Like I had let them down, all the way into obscurity.
Not as wonderful as I had imagined.....
Then we left on our trip. Ah, my routine of quiltiness--where art thou? We wandered in and out of peoples homes for the next couple weeks and when I saw a quilt I would always perk up. Can we talk quilts? Please say yes! And over and over again I discovered that I am much too much into quilting. I have hours of quilty talk bubbling up inside me that starts to feel kind of obsessive when the other party has quietly moved the conversation onto other polite topics.*sigh  Other than my quick trips into quilt stores and fabric love, I started feeling a bit disconnected with the whole process. A bit mad in my head if you know what I mean.
Red & Green applique blocks with the Basket Galore Bom blocks
So lovely to get home and reacquaint myself with the quilting room. Except that I felt oddly nervous and unsure of myself. What were these strange quilt projects cluttering up my quilt room all about? Too, I had company in my home while I was gone and one day in total boredom (apparently) they decided to iron some of my fabric. And fold it very precisely and very neatly into stacks. Ack! My quilt room didn't feel completely right anymore. Somewhere along the way, I seem to have gotten a bit lost.

I made quick little trips in and out but other than some hand quilting late in the evening I didn't do any quilting for several days. I was starting to wonder if my 'passionate' interest in quilting had maybe burned up with the fire when it came to actual implementation.
Playing with some border fabrics
Then, on Friday afternoon, I finally got a grip on myself (it probably helped that the laundry was done and out of my face). I decided to start small--with my red and green applique blocks--putting them on the wall next to the sampler baskets. Ahhhh... I could literally feel my shoulders lose some of their tension when I saw them all nestled together on the wall so sweetly. YES. Even though I had hurriedly thrown the idea together, it was exactly what I had hoped would happen. I played around with border ideas for a bit and then moved on to another project.

To my partial St. Paul blocks. Such a troublesome project. I love the blocks and I hate them. I love the rich colors of my quilt top and yet I don't. Where is the energy? I have had it in my mind for months now to put a 5" tumbler block border around the outside and still, I question how it should all go together. And no, it's not finished the way it is. Even though I rarely finish a quilt sans borders, I have and I will, if it truly feels finished without. This one obviously just needs more time to simmer.
Trying to figure out a border solution for the Partial St. Paul quilt
I played with some fabric stacks piled around the quilt room and pulled some new fabrics into the mix, put some away. Piddled my way through several projects, ideas and what-ifs. Eventually I could feel myself slowly settling into the familiar 'I am a quilter' zone. I knew for sure when I pulled out my cactus basket blocks and started looking at the current progress.

The entire quilt just looked wrong to me. Much too forced, out of sync and kind of flat if you want to know the truth of it. After playing with lots of different layouts and looking at several border possibilities, I found myself sitting back and grumbling under my breath in disgust. Such great little basket blocks and everything made them look terrible together. Puh-leeze. I so do not want to end up with 13 throw pillows instead of a quilt! But suddenly I had a crazy, scary thought. What I if put them together in a asymmetrical layout? Emphasized the difference between the very light and that stupid black I thought was such a great idea back in July? Hmm hmm, maybe.....

I'm starting to think this quilt is going to be very different. It might even turn into my 'surviving the fire' quilt and who cares what anybody else thinks about the end result! I have ideas people, IDEAS! churning in my wacky, obsessively, quilty brain and let me tell you it feels amazing. Whew! Such a relief to have a glimmer of creativity creeping back in again.
Don't think this will be the layout for the Cactus Basket blocks
Ahh... quilting. What would we do without it? Later that evening, once again immersed in my hand quilting, I thought about my Flocks of Geese quilt. Was it really ruined forever or could it possibly be rescued? Stitch after stitch I contemplated what had went wrong with my brilliant quilt idea. And quietly, it came to me. In the chaos of my summer I had completely forgotten. All along, the plan was for that particular quilt to have lots and lots of Perle cotton stitching in the calm, 'boring' areas of the quilt. I was intending to use lots of thread color and those wonderful chunky stitches to give the quilt texture. Another layer of interest and a beautiful backdrop for my sweet little bluebirds.

So there you have it. It may or may not turn out to be as wonderful as I imagine in my mind, but I feel so much better about the entire matter. Flocks of Geese was just one {of many} of the quilts that I was feeling an odd disconnect to. But now I feel a bit more confident that I can find my way back. As long as I don't lose my hand quilting hoop, that is.*wink

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Own Personal Quilt Shop Hop

This was my own personal shop hop so it might seem kinda boring to you, but wowsers was it exciting for me. About 10 seconds before we left on our trip my husband told me to find a quilt store in every state we intended to drive through. Gasp! Hello? These things take time and planning you know!
Nobody comes out of a quilt store empty handed....
So I did the best I could and of course, not having the time to properly plan things out, I ended up missing out on a state or two. Such a shame. It was the timing! Quilt shops close by 5 or 5:30 pm. and rarely open before 9:30 or 10 am. I missed getting to a quilt store in Wyoming by a mere 30 minutes. Oklahoma was a mess of commitments made with family so by the time I found a quilt store close enough to check out, my options were extremely limited. The one I finally made it to had permanently closed its doors, which made me want to kick them. Oklahoma, you seriously need more quilt stores! hehe I had to make do with a vintage quilt block bought from an antique store. Maybe I can make a throw pillow out of it in memory of our trip?
Love the shirting fabrics
Quilt shops listed in order of attendance--not how wonderful they might or might not be:
1.  Quilters Corner in Deer Lodge, Montana:  A fun stop because the guys were doing the car museum thing so I actually had time to kill. Sadly it wasn't really my kind of store. Too much wild animal, lodgey type stuff so I made do with some beautiful batiks.

2.  The Quilt Rack in North Platte, Nebraska:  A bit more out of the way than my husband liked, but a great store. Well worth the stop. My eyes about popped out of my head from all the fatquarters that were readily available and stacked literally everywhere. I loved the mix of civil war fabrics, florals, geometrics etc. and I could have spent hours looking for treasure. There was one bolt of fabric that caught my eye on the way out the door... it haunted me for hours. Why oh why didn't I get a piece of that fabric?

3.  Prairie Point Junction in Cozad, Nebraska:  A gem of a store. You lucky, lucky quilters. It totally felt like coming home and I flitted around the store with a big ol' smile on my face. When I spied some Kim Diel fabric lurking under the cutting table, the lady in the shop cut me a couple fat quarters without even wincing. I bought some amazing Clover applique pins there too.

4.  Material Girls in Witchita, Kansas:  A store I've wanted to go into since forever. (Jacquie Gering was always raving about it on her blog.) I don't see how 'moi' could possibly be considered a modern quilter, but I love blending some new fabrics into the mix just to see what happens. This store has a really fun vibe, making you want to grab up a little of everything. Very open layout (which is inviting) plus the gals working the cash register were super friendly. Points for that.

5.  Ladybugz Quilt & Co. in Montrose, Colorado:  I wish this store was right down the street from me. It's so not fair. What a great balance of different lines, colors and styles of fabric! I ignored the apron and bag patterns that my cousin was swooning over and went straight to the good stuff. It's stores like this that help keep us quilter people checking back in on a regular basis.

6.  Sew Many Quilts in Bend, Oregon:  When I lived in the area many years ago, it was my absolute favorite store. While still a wonderful store (and I mean that sincerely), I did find that my tastes have changed a bit in the convening time. I'm still very drawn to several lines of fabric they carry but I didn't feel like I was about ready to hyperventilate from all the good choices. Sadly, it's the competition that probably makes this store feel less special than it used to. Wouldn't we all love to have 5 or 6 quilt stores in a 35 mile radius? Okay, I'd personally settle for 3.

7.  BJ's Quilt Basket in Bend, Oregon:  I didn't 'get' this store years ago and honestly felt a bit intimidated once I was inside, no particular reason why that I could figure out. This time I gleefully wandered around the store picking up random bits of interesting fabric. I do so appreciate finding unique bits of fabric to add into my stash! And I really wish my travel weary family hadn't been waiting for me right outside in the car. I could have used some more time without feeling rushed. Or not. My wallet was starting to feel very empty.

8.  Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon:  An icon. Something for everyone and obviously they were all looking. I had two ladies practically push me out of the way while I was drooling over the fatquarter table. Seriously, I was quilting while they were still in kindergarten! You do not want to mess with a quilter attempting to make agonizing choices over wonderful pieces of fabric. Also, the merchandise stocked by the cash register is extremely distracting, practically mesmerizing if you want to know the truth. I might or might not have left in a fugue state just trying to resist temptation.

9.  Something to Crow About in Springfield, Oregon:  Yep--four stops just in Oregon! A little extra because my birthday was September 1st so my husband was spoiling me. What can I say about this store except that it's simply fabulous. I've been going there every chance I get for years. Someday I'm probably going to unload the reproduction/ civil war bolts right onto the cutting table and ask them to cut me a piece of every single one. It's just that good. And they gave me a percentage off for my birthday too! Love that store....

Obviously there's a lot of fabric to buy online these days, but I guessing some of us are very tactile people at heart. I love seeing, feeling, absorbing, even smelling fabrics. Yummmm...  It gets me revved up like nobodies business.*wink  And while I felt a bit guilty for buying more fabric in a three week period than I ever had before, it was an amazing experience. And now, I more fully appreciate the best of the local quilt stores available to us in our area: Woven Threads in Chelan, Washington. It definitely holds it own amongst the others with a great balance of lines and styles of fabric offered. We can't always find the exact color or print we're specifically looking for, but we can usually find a great substitute. It's so very important to keep on supporting our local businesses isn't it? I'll tell you what, I'll do my small part to help keep the local quilt store open (so hopefully you can pop in on it someday during your travels) and you just promise to keep doing the same with yours. lol

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Yes, I Still Quilt Occasionally

I'm not sure I even know how to do this anymore! Taking pictures, blogging--it all feels kind of odd after taking so much time off this summer. We left on our trip August 13th thinking we'd be back home again on August 27. haha Life had other plans for us tho as we only got back last night. So good that I had my applique bag all prepped and ready to go or I'd have probably went (more) bonkers.
Getting the project bag ready to go.
No time for details, so I prepped the bias vine,
chose some coordinating fabrics and just went
with a freehand applique look.
We left Washington state, headed east thru Idaho and then Montana. Jumped down into Wyoming and then took a fast road through Nebraska to end up at some cousins in Witchita, Kansas by Saturday night. We left there and headed to Oklahoma where we spent the next seven days, visiting with family and friends and getting to see our son graduate from OSUIT. Woohoo! Big smiley face moment right there, let me tell you! Somewhere in the middle of all that, we also made a flying trip to Missouri to visit some of my mothers family. Whew! The things we do for family and do we ever have a lot of that between my husbands and my own family. We were hopping busy all week long but got in a bazillion good visits and ate way too much good food.
16 blocks down, 4 to go!
I'm making these up as I go along, can you tell?
The plan is to put these with my Baskets Galore blocks
Got our son all packed up, had a nice celebration at a Texas Roadhouse and then back down the road we went once again. We headed out to the panhandle of Oklahoma where we loaded up a 1925 Model-T to bring back to Washington state for some good friends of ours. (My husband is very nice that way.) Anyway......., things went well through New Mexico and then even part way through Colorado when we finally realized that the transmission in our Suburban was dying. Yes, dying. Those good ol' Rocky Mountains totally did us in. Thankfully we weren't terribly far from some cousins in Olathe, Colorado who were very good to come rescue us. Can you imagine being stranded in a resort town for a week without a driveable car, three kids to feed and entertain plus a valuable old car to keep track of and make sure it didn't get stolen?
A little closer look at what I'm doing, all without a pattern.
The only thing pre-planned was the background block size
and the fact that I'm working with a red/green flower theme.
Finally we were able to hit the road again on Friday morning, drive across the state of Utah and then on into the edge of Oregon where we stopped again for the night (only one driver after we started hauling a trailer). My husband and I badly wanted to go straight home, but Saturday evening found us in Creswell, Oregon being the good parents, getting our sons stuff unloaded and temporarily settled into my sisters house. He already has a job lined up in Eugene and lots and lots of family around to help keep him honest. lol  It took a little extra time to line him up with a runabout car before we left town though. His back up car in Oregon wound up with serious problems at the last minute and he needed a way to get to and from work. Gotta be able to make some money to pay back the parents and those lousy school loans!
The 1925 Model-T
Traveling long distance with an antique/vintage car was very interesting at times. Fun, but interesting. We certainly aren't used to all the attention it garners and plus, the road time increased by a serious margin just hauling a trailer up and down all those mountains between Oklahoma and Washington state. We had to make several unscheduled stops just to check straps and make sure parts weren't about to fly off into the ether. So nervy being responsible for somebody else's toy! Also, in our past life experiences, whenever someone passes our vehicle and starts making hand gestures or smiles real big it probably means we have a flat tire/something billowing black smoke or other imminent disaster. This time it meant things like 'cool car' so eventually we were able to stop panicking and just do the smile and wave thing.

I'm not sure how we're going to recover (financially) from this trip, but it sure took our mind off of things back home. I'm raring to get back to my quilting, maybe even catch up on some quilt blog reading if I can find the time between doing endless loads of dirty laundry.  Next time I post, I'm hoping to tell you about all the wonderful quilt stores I got to buzz in and out of on our very long trip!

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