Monday, October 15, 2012

iPhone-O-Gram! Lunch with the girls!

The lecture this morning in Floyd, VA was lively and well attended!

The concensus is that since we have the afternoon off, my workshop isn't until tomorrow--that we take a road trip about an hour away to Wytheville,VA for lunch and quilt shopping at Batiks Etc!

Lunch is in the 1776 log house!! So fun!!

Check out the old log cabin quilt hanging on the wall!

Pumpkins A Plenty!

And these are the ones “not good enough” left in the field!

I had no idea that this corner of Virginia was so busy in pumpkin production,  but it was fun to see trucks hauling loads of pumpkins down winding country roads --- I kept taking in my surroundings thinking “I’m on Walton’s Mountain!”

When I was explaining my wonder at the fields of pumpkins – and then being told these were the “dregs” left to rot in the fields, I wondered why they weren’t good enough.   Are they too small? not orange enough?  Mis-shapen?  All I can think about is making pumpkin pies, and pumpkin bars, and pumpkin cheesecake rolls – and maybe even pumpkin soup, and all of those roasted pumpkinseeds for snacking ---

I love pumpkins!!

On this particular country road where I was pulled over, was an old church --- and the trees were so colorful:

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Tiny little Primitive Baptist Church – who knows how long it’s been there, it looks like a one room thing!  And across the other corner was the church cemetery ----

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Pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere --- pumpkins!

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My GPS did the fail again --- farther into the mountains I had no cell phone signal at all, so that was not much help either.  The route guidance ended as did the turn by turn directions.  I had to stop where some locals were working on a pickup truck and ask where this road was.  They told me --- I was not far off, and once I was on the right road, I could find the house by reading the house numbers on mail boxes as I traveled further back away from the main road.

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When I found THIS landmark, just right where she told me it would be --- I knew I’d found my place!

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This is the view from Linda’s upper deck.  Acres and acres of mountain farmland and wilderness.  Cattle graze lazily on the still green hillside pastures.

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Behind the rise stands Buffalo Mountain, the tallest mountain in the area.

I’m only about 80 or so miles from home, it it feels completely remote and very very far away!

This morning we are headed out for a breakfast ---and to visit one of the old mills on the Blue Ridge Parkway ---it’s one of the major tourist photo op spots along the Parkway --- and with the autumn color still making a great show, I’m glad to have the opportunity to see it.

From there we will head out to set up for this morning’s lecture ----and then we will see what the afternoon will bring!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Evening Edition! Free Kindle Book!

I haven’t done this in a while ----I haven’t sat in one place long enough or had time in the evenings by myself to even go looking ---but my feet are up tonight.

An Order of Coffee and Tears by Brian Spangler is free tonight in the Amazon Kindle store and it seems to be a good one.

Angela’s Diner has the reputation of a safe haven where patrons find a moment of peace as they linger over coffee and tears. For one young runaway, Angela’s is more than a place to tell your tale – it’s a place where with the magic of chicken and waffles, and a little bit of trust, may just save your life.
Gabriella Santiago used to be a typical teenager who enjoyed the usual teenage things. That is until a single tragic day ended who she was and within hours she ran from home, never to look back.
Only when Gabby is cold, hungry and at her lowest, does she find Angela’s Diner. Gabby embraces her new life and the family she has found in the midst of strangers and obscurity.
Acceptance is what she craves, but before long, Gabby realizes she’s not the only one in the diner with something to hide. Her new family has a secret too, and some secrets refuse to stay buried.

It's free now, but double check before clicking that it still is for you!

I also was asked recently to share what I’m listening to.  Do you listen to audio books?  I often do on long car drives or while I’m flying.   They are also great to have plugged into my ears while I sew or clean house.  Sometimes the stories are so good I can’t turn them off.  And when I find an author I really like, I have to listen to or read everything they put out.
Lisa See is one such author!
shanghaigirlsdreams of joy
I don’t know anything about Chinese history ---and these stories pulled me right in.  I love her writing style.  I was able to download both books (Shanghai Girls is first, followed by Dreams of Joy) and I honestly couldn’t let these books go.  I’m on the waiting list for some of Lisa See’s others --- I download the audio books free through my library, but sometimes there is a bit of a waiting list to get them.
I’m all tucked in to my lodgings outside of Floyd, VA!
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This is what I saw as I drove up route 52 towards Mt Airy, NC – and further north into the mountains and across the Virginia state line.
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Gosh, I am loving the abundance of autumn everywhere!
Tomorrow is a morning lecture with the Old Church Gallery Quilters of Floyd, VA!  I’ll have the afternoon free for some exploring, though with the way things have been – and seeing as it’s a MONDAY – I bet everything will be closed! LOL! 
Tuesday is our workshop day, Happy Scrappy Houses.
And so we continue --- one quilt at a time!

Where Are You, Joanne!?


I tried to email you when I got home to thank you for the gorgeous and comfy hand cozies you gifted to me this week in PA while on my journey!

I must be really bad at reading other people’s hand writing because what I sent bounced back as undeliverable. 

So I’m leaving this note for you here to find ---I LOVE THESE!

I love the color, the softness, and even the ability to keep my thimble on while warming my hands if need be.

I think these yummy hand cozies will be just the ticket this winter!

Thank you so much for your sweetness and your consideration in this lovely gift!

Ways Round the Triangle!

I love half square triangles – I always have!

And in my pursuit of the method that would make triangles love me back – I have tried EVERY triangle method known to Quilters far and wide.

Except for THIS ONE!

In our Jamestown Landing class the other day, we had folks working with pairs of squares and a diagonal line, sewing either side of the line.  We had gals working with sheets of Thangles or Triangles on a Roll or printed pages of Triangulations ---Triangulations works especially great since you can print them in the size you need, and work from larger cuts of fabric like Fat Quarters ---great when you need a whole bunch of triangles from bigger chunks of  fabric.

Bonnie W was doing something I had never seen before, however!

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How many of you have seen the half-square triangle ruler by Creative Grids?  I have ---but I’ve never bought it because my easy angle ruler does the same thing, and this thing is plenty big, but it works for many.

However, Bonnie was using it in a way I’d never thought of, and this might come in handy for those of you who don’t like to sew the cut bias of triangle units.  Instead of using it to CUT the triangle pairs – she was using it as a guide to draw the cutting lines first, and then sewing on either side of that line with her 1/4” seam before cutting.

This allowed her to make good use of her 2 1/2” strips, just like using the easy angle ruler does for me, but she found it easier for her to sew because she prefers not to sew on bias edges.

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Here her lines are drawn ---she just drew a line wherever we’d normally be rotary cutting first.  A few pins in place and she was ready to sew!  It does the same thing as Thangles, but no paper to remove!

I got home and wondered if I could do the same thing with the Easy Angle ruler – it should work the same, shouldn’t it?

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I pulled out a couple of 2” strips ---that's one of the sizes I use the most.  The 2 1/2”  Creative Grids half-square triangle ruler wouldn’t be optimal for me, I need more variety in sizes.  That’s the one thing that kept me from buying it, I’d be limited to one size only.  And those rulers are NOT cheap!

I used the Easy Angle ruler much in the same way ----just as if I was rotary cutting. I just used a frixion pen instead of my rotary cutter!

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8 pairs of triangles ready to be sewn!

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I pulled out Barbie today --- feeling in the mood for “strawberry milkshake pink!” 

Here is the critical point of sewing with this method.  Your foot MUST be the correct 1/4”,   if not a bit scanter.  If you have a computerized machine that can needle over – even better, because if you are sewing with 2" strips like I am here,  your units need to measure 2” when cut and pressed, not 1 7/8”!

Because of this I took what was a 1/4” foot with a guide that came with my featherweight ---and I broke the guide off.  The guide was never accurate anyway, but the silver part of the foot gives me that 1/4” from the needle that I want.  The guide also didn’t like to run cross-country over the fabric without dragging, so I was happy just to have the guide gone.

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Here I am all sewn!

You can tell that I just trailed my tails between diagonal lines.  I think if I draw this in another manner, having the lines be zig zags instead of  parallel diagonals, the stitching would be more continuous.

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I just cut apart on the drawn lines and was ready to press.  The frixion pen lines disappear when touched by the heat of the iron.  And yes I know the argument about lines coming back in the freezer, but I’m not hashing that out here.  My quilts are washed many times over through the course of their lives, and that solves the problem.

The Pros I see to this method are ---no triangles sucked down the needle hole. The ability to work with strips cut on the half inch or full inch instead of having to add that pesky 7/8”.  Accuracy of the units AS LONG AS the seam width is where it needs to be to give me the unit size I desire.

Too scant a seam and my triangles will be too big.  Too fat of a seam and they will be too small.  Every 1/4” foot is different, so don’t trust them until you have tested them out.  Ever.

Cons?  Time.  It takes a lot of time to draw lines.  I have no trouble sewing a cut bias, so drawing lines first before sewing is redundant for me.  I love to “chain press”  so having to cut these apart into individual units and then pick up one unit at a time to press was time consuming and awkward. 

Still, all in all – I can see myself using this method in a few situations, and you might find it works for you too! 

There are morning chores going around over here in Quiltville, and early this afternoon – I’m hitting the road and heading Northward to Floyd, Virginia!

Have an awesome Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Evening Quilt Cam!

I'm in the mood for simple string piecing after the Jamestown Landing workshop in Centreville, VA yesterday.

I've cut some foundation squares and grabbed some handfuls of green strips ---I want to make simple green string blocks ---an idea is brewing.

Are you ready? Bring a project, come hang out!

Leave a comment below while watching along -- I'll try to answer your questions and comments if you leave one!

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Wanna join me?
Click Below!

An Autumn Walk ---

All the way up to Pennsylvania and back --- you cold see where the leaf-turning was taking place – the farther north I got, the more color there was!

Of course, that meant the farther south I got on my return – the more color I left behind.

That doesn’t matter – all I could think about on my drive home was enjoying TODAY and perhaps getting out there and stretching my legs for an “around the neighborhood” walk.

My hip pain has diminished --- Physical therapy has helped tremendously, and I am religiously doing the exercises that help balance my muscle function to hopefully keep things more mobile and free from pain.  It’s been a year of frustration as my body, which rarely fails me, has constantly reminded me that-- no, I am no spring chicken any longer, and the things I used to do without thinking, become things I do with GREAT thinking and some limitation. 

I think the most important thing is to keep doing what you CAN do, at whatever level that is. 

This afternoon – it was once around the neighborhood!  I delighted in the warmth of the October sunshine, stopping to linger at the bridge that crosses the creek that borders my back yard.  There isn’t much water in it right now, but when it rains hard, this little creek becomes a river.

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I looked up through the trees, watching dappled sunlight filter through leaves of yellow-green.  Soon these trees will lose their canopy of foliage, leaving only bare limbs behind through the winter.  But for today, the sun is warm on my shoulders and I walk on --- my ear buds in my ears, my music playing as soundtrack to this beautiful afternoon.

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Up a hill, down a hill.  Fallen leaves gather in the grass at the sides of the road.  Smells of Autumn on the air.  There are a few flowers still struggling to display the last of their colorful summer splendor.   Here and there marigolds and mums survive, showing forth a valiant effort on their part.  Soon they will be gone too ----and we’ll find ourselves eagerly waiting  for spring and their re-emergence.

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This is home for me ---but I’m glad I took the chance to come home for even one short day before heading out again tomorrow!

I’m going to sew a bit before dinner --- and this evening, watch for QuiltCam about 9pm Eastern.

See you then!

Jamestown Landing in Centreville!

Say hello to Polly Monica!  There is a little photo that has floated around the internet both on facebook and in pinterest ----THIS is “THE” pillow!

 Polly made this pillow and it has made the rounds like wildfire.  Now I know who made it, and held the genuine article in my hands!

She said she drew out the words on the fabric, and then “scribbled” over them using her sewing machine and black thread to make it look like it was more hand stitched.  One thing is for certain, “NEVER underestimate the power of a WOMAN with a SEWING MACHINE!!”

I’m home --- for about 36 hours!

I left Centreville about 4pm yesterday, with strict instructions and a hand written note on how to AVOID the pitfalls of the DC area, and the horrific conditions of I-95 southbound on a Friday afternoon.

I did NOT even turn the GPS on until after I had reached Fredericksburg using the "alternate route" I had been given and knew I was on the fast track to making it home.

The reason being?  Besides the fact that I’d prefer a couple nights in my own bed any day --- there were some tax related papers that I forgot to sign before leaving for Pennsylvania, and I need to sign them before heading to Floyd, VA tomorrow afternoon.  Floyd is only around 2 hours north of where I live, more toward Roanoke on the western side of the state, away from the I-95 corridor --- so it really wasn’t “That Much” out of my way to just come home, unwind, unpack a bit, reorganize ---and recharge before heading out tomorrow afternoon.

Will I sew? I hope so!

The one bad thing about leaving on a Friday evening for a long drive home is ---OF COURSE there is nothing like quilt shops or antique malls open ----and I was not going to stop for Salvation Army or Goodwill either ---just GET HOME.  It will be the same thing getting up to Floyd tomorrow – Sunday! Nothing open….no pictures of vintage machines or quilts in antique shops….

I can say ONE thing --- this trip has been good for my WALLET! LOL!

We had a great time in class yesterday.  We spent the morning sewing string blocks like crazy, and after lunch we moved on to broken dishes units and started to see things coming together. 

Jamestown landing is a fairly straight forward quilt, just a lot of little units that require loads of variety --- and the gals were working on building their variety in their string blocks, and in their half-square triangle units so when it came to putting the stars together later, they had MORE different units to pull from.

In other words, with some quilts you see results quickly, and some --- it’s all about the variety even though the units are simple. 

Take a look!

If I get everything done that I need to today ----we may have time to do some QuiltCam tonight!

I’ve got treadle on the brain – my feet are itching to find that rhythm ---and maybe concentrate on some string units after spending time watching these ladies have so much fun yesterday!

Have a great Saturday, everyone --- it’s great to be home, even for just a bit over a day!