Saturday, August 26, 2017

Last Stitches, Quilts, and Bears–Oh, My!

I arrived back at Quilt Villa late last afternoon with one agenda on my mind for the evening.

I was bound and DETERMINED to finish the hand quilting on my 10 year UFO project, which really doesn’t have a name.

I figured that by the time I had finished it something would have come to mind, but after 10 years?


However, I love this quilt for so many reasons.  The quilt was made from blocks that are much older than 7 years - it was a way to clear out a bin of orphans that had been growing for a long long time.

And I only had a space about 14’’ x 6’’ to fill with Baptist fans….the end was in sight!

And as I write this I realize that I should go through this process AGAIN.  The bin is once again full of pieces and parts.

But next time, let's MACHINE QUILT IT!  I don't think I could handle ANOTHER 10 year project! (There are still two hexie quilts and a Jane Stickle to finish with hand quilting.)


See the center of the hoop?  Time to fill in that gap!


The LAST needle full of stitches!


I am often asked about my thimble, and it is likely the best purchase I ever did for myself.  It’s from TJ Lane, and I love it to bits so much that I am about to get another one.  One for home, and one for my busy bag.

Several years ago I did a post about them in comparison with other thimbles in my collection.  If you missed it, you can catch it HERE. The post was written in 2012, and is also linked under the Tips & Techniques tab at the top of the blog.


Front view.  Manicure needed!

The style of this thimble is known as the LIZ on the TJ Lane website.  It’s a shorter thimble which is great for me as I have really knobby  clunky knuckles.  It fits comfortably and allows me free range of finger motion as I stitch because the thimble doesn’t go below that first knuckle joint.


Side view with style number and size.

I’ve had this thimble for many years, having picked it up during Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge.


The last view from my hoop!


And the big photo finish!


On the grass, shot from above.

This post is a bit later this morning because we have had another adventure.

I could go into wordy descriptions, but I think the video below will tell you EVERYTHING!

Not one but TWO!  After the appearance on the trail cam of the bigger bear last week, I knew the deer feeder had to go. I was having a hard time convincing Mr. Wildlife Watcher that once we had been discovered as a source of “fast food” for these guys, they would keep coming back. Sometimes you just shut up on the argument and let “nature” take its course.

When I arrived yesterday the feeder was on the ground, the corn all around it, and the lid had been wrenched off – completely twisted.

NO MORE FEEDER!  I rest my case.

Now let’s just hope they don’t come wandering through when I am enjoying a late night hot tub!


A man and his camera!


Fat and lazy bears.  I hope they have belly aches!

The deer feeder is gone.  The corn is cleaned up for the most part – the deer and the squirrels will take care of the rest.  That was more excitement than I ever thought I’d see around here.

Let it be said that after over 3 years at the North Carolina cabin with a deer feeder with no bears in sight, and the fact that we moved in here in March and haven’t seen anything in the 5 months that we have been here, we were unaware that there WERE bears in the area.  Even after talking to Barbara at the end of my drive, no bears had been seen here for years.

Could they have migrated in from somewhere?  Or has my 42 acres been a bear haven all along?  Who knows.  No longer will we be inadvertently feeding the bears.

Time to get this uploaded and get sewing!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

This is the orphan block sampler I finished quilting last night!

've been up since about 4:30 a.m. Spending time doing this very thing. Sewing helps with all of the above.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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  1. they will be sorely disappointed no doubt...lol

  2. Best to not have any bird feeders up for awhile, either. They like those and hummingbird feeders. We don't have bears, I THINK!, but a cousin in Minnesota had them come on the porch and rip off the bird feeders. Be careful out there!!

  3. Good pictures, thanks. And yes, it is time for the deer feeder to go. I lived in the Colorado mountains for years and appreciate and respect nature, as you do. The quilt you just finished is beautiful. Thanks for all you do to inspire us.

  4. Bonnie, your orphan block sampler quilt took my breath away. It is fantastic, awesome, superb, beautifully balanced in design, and I am confident expertly constructed. Such a fantastic outcome. But glad you feel you have enough hand quilting lined up to satisfy--we love to see what designs you will come up with next.

  5. Congratulations on a fantastic finish! What an amazing quilt!
    I hope this will be in the new book with your tips on how to put a wide variety of blocks together into a quilt top!

  6. Google on how to bear proof your cabin. Yes, it is nice to see the wildlife, but they will find their own food. I love your scrappy block quilt, it looks so comfortable.

  7. I have the same thimble! Got it a few years ago at the Indiana Heritage quilt show. I like to hand quilt sometimes so a good thimble is worth the investment.
    Bears are scary! Hope they stay away.

  8. thanks so much for sharing the video of the bears - I hope you have no more trouble with them and aren't too hesitant to enjoy your walks anymore - might want to get a can of pepper spray to keep with you!

  9. Love your orphan block quilt, great finish. From the first photo I thought criss cross garlic knots, but seeing the next photo, Oh so much more, more block play.Yes, goodbye bears!

  10. Bonnie I absolutely live your orphan block quilt! It's so warm and comforting to look at. Someday maybe I can get brave enough to go out of my comfort zone and make one as well! Enjoy your time and family at Quiltvilla!

  11. I have been watching a series on the Brown Family in the Alaskan Bush. They had no desire to kill the surrounding bears but if a bear came into or near their camp they fired flares in the bears direction which they said set boundaries and scared the bears away. Worth a try anyway.
    You might could call your quilt "An Orphan No More" It is beautiful.

  12. Beautiful quilt. I love Nature and was intrigued by the video. But I'm with you. Staying inside 😉

  13. I've heard to spray amonia around trash cans. We have a neighbor who we think has a den of them on her property.
    I had a cub crawl in my sun roof (I had a 50# bag of dog food )Long story short he ripped all my wiring out of my VW GTI the headliner ect. My car was never the same the leather was ripped from claw marks. I've never left a sun/ moon roof open again. That was around 2005. Rember like yesterday. Today I smell a snuck. Part of living in the country. Nevada City , Ca.

  14. We had a bear 2 weeks ago. Completely destroyed the bird feeder. Since our garage was still under construction he got into the garbage. What a mess. No more feeding the birds until hibernation. They also left their footprints on our porch floor. Too close for comfort. West Jefferson Nc Bald Mountain.

  15. Very pleased we don't have to worry about bears in the garden here in the UK - just foxes! Love the Orphan Blocks quilt, so much colour and so much to look at.

  16. Bears have keen sense of smell. They are always out there. Your neighbors may be feeding or careless with garbage and I know you think you're remote but a bear has a really long travel cycle from 3-5 days depending on the available food source. The largest males command more and ANY territory. Even scent from bearproof dumpsters.

    Pepper or bear spray is iffy thing to use. You have to be accurate and most people are too startled to endure you aren't spraying yourself. Carry a airhorn. They hate loud noises. Be aware when you walk. They will watch you from long distances. Be aware.

    I was a wildlife biologist. I had bears in NJ in metropolitan area. I currently live in far north Wisc and they are everywhere. Only time I dint walk is during bear hunting season as the dog packs make the bears quite scary. Normal activity is interrupted. Check with your DNR to see when your area might have bear hunting.

    I know lots if info. You have a great location. Your hubbie will need to give up feeding. Bears wake up sometimes during hibernation. Won't list reasons why I have to....Go Quilt!!!

  17. Beautiful, beautiful quilt! Congrats on a spectacular finish! Scary having bears in your yard!

  18. Bears are fun to watch in nature preserves but not so much in your backyard! I love the quilt. I suggest naming it "Little Pieces of my Life."

  19. I have been enjoying the progress of this quilt through your various pictures.over time. it is a conglomeration of so many individual parts and groups. Blend and integrate are other words that come to mind. Good luck with naming it. I would also appreciate information on how you put these various pieces together. of course, it helps dramatically that you have a system in place so all the 'parts are interactive'. That allows the blocks to be interactive too. While it might not work easily into a book, the process might make a great stand alone download.

  20. As a person who lived 15 years in Alaska, I can tell you that you may have to get animal control authorities involved. These bears may soon be joining you on the deck or trying to get into your house, just following their noses! This should be interesting... good luck!!

  21. Love your quilt with all the different blocks! Absolutely gorgeous! I am not a bear fan as I have backpacked in upper Yosemite in a tent and had one roaming the camp all night! Someone left their toothpaste behind a rock instead of putting it in a bear canister!!! My ONE backpack adventure, first and last!!

  22. The bears would be too much excitement for me. But I do LOVE that quilt. Not I know what to do with my orphan blocks. thanks again.

  23. You could name your quilt with the line on the top border "Little Pieces"

  24. I, too, have a TJ Lane thimble. I have short, stubby fingers and could never find a comfortably fitting thimble. I picked mine up at a quilt show in NC years ago. I spent hours stitching and trying different sizes and styles. Too say I love mine would be a gross understatement. So...when I lost it last year I went in to full panic mode. I'd heard a rumor that they were no longer being made. Thankfully, the rumor was false and they were still making the same style. I had luckily kept my original paperwork so knew what size to order. Got the new one and days later, the old one appeared. They are not inexpensive but considering the panic I felt at losing it, I decided to keep the new one as backup just in case!

  25. What a feeling of accomplishment to finish such a lovely scrappy quilt; congratulations! As for the bear, they frequently visit my daughter's yard in the small city of Franklin. They have been spotted and photographed by the neighbor lounging on the front entry step into her house after having knocked their wrought iron light post (which was cemented into the ground) over at a 45 degree angle. It must have looked like a bird feeder to them even though it had 3 arms with globed lights. Their frequent visits are evidenced by the "scat" left behind. The game commission reply to her phone call was "no one has been hurt" and they have refused to work at removing it. Be cautious as your instincts have already told you, but don't let that hinder your enjoyment of your cabin! Stitch on!!

  26. Bonnie, you may already know this but thought I would mention it just in case.
    You can make a lot of noise to make your yard unfriendly to the bears. Bang on pots,
    yell and generally scare them away, from a safe distance of course. If all else
    fails and you are feeling threatened you can have the state wildlife guys remove them to another area. Discontinuing the feeding is very wise on your part. Wishing all the best.

  27. Oh Yikes! I would not want to see a bear in my yard, let alone two! My understanding is once a bear discovers food in your yard, it often returns looking for more. So glad you weren't outside barbecuing or "hanging your Wash"! You might have to let your local ranger know the bears found your yard...

    And of course, the reason for your post...as usual, your quilts are wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing and Bear-Ware! :)

    Loretta McGinn

  28. Your quilt is beautiful! Go to the dollar store and buy an air horn. Bears hate the noise they make. We camp a lot and I always have one to scare bears away. The bears will return many times looking for the food source they have found. Be careful and be safe.

  29. I love your quilt, somehow all those blocks together makes sense!!! Be careful of the bears 🌽🐻

  30. Your quilt is precious - and I have been duly entertained by your tale of the Virginia Bear Invasion!

    I have actually seen a bear wandering in my back yard - in MIDLOTHIAN - a suburb - but only once!

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  31. "Adopted at last!" It is beautiful as are all your quilts.

    Naomi in Kentucky

  32. My husband would have shot them! He is a hunter and we live in the country in the panhandle of Florida. He would love for a black bear to walk up to the back of our house, his deer feeders are in our back fields far from our house.
    Marie Bernadette

  33. No bears here - so I enjoyed seeing yours! Now all I can think of is you running in the house like John Candy in The Great Outdoors! Maybe they really want a ride on your off-track vehicle! They seemed to enjoy playing with the container.

    Lovely quilt - and what fun borders to it!

  34. Your quilt is absolutely beautiful. Makes me want to do one one day. Love your thimble as well. I do have one and may have to get another. Be careful of the bears and nature. You do live in a beautiful part of Virginia.

  35. Love that you admit to more UFOS Bonnie! Your orphan block quilt is so nice. Almost makes me want to drag out my box of orphans!!

  36. I just read your story about the Singer 99 in the cabinet. My husband and I have our grandmothers' 1929 knee operated Singer 99s and I love them! They are the best machines for piecing and I've quilted on them as well. I'd love to have a cabinet, but my husband did the next best thing and made an extension table. I've had people ask me why I don't use my much newer machine, but there is no comparison. The 2012 Brother is fine for clothing, but the 1929 Singers can't be beat for quilting.

  37. The quilt is beautiful Bonnie. I don't think I will trade my kangaroo after all!!!

  38. Bonnie, your sampler quilt is wonderful. So much to look at! Eye candy! Nice to get an old UFO done! Great feeling!

  39. Two young, very well fed cubs. Your house is not the only fast food stop on their trail. Others in the area need to cooperate to discourage them. I think the suggestion of getting law enforcement to relocate them is a good one. Where are those ferocious, protective dogs?

  40. Recommend googling " yellowstone bear cooler testing". It is pretty amazing and funny. Of course they are using brown bears rather than black bears as testers. We saw a black bear crossing the road about 1/2 mile in front of us this year. I'm not afraid of them if using common sense. My husband and I are both in our 60's and have always lived in NH or VT and have never heard of a black bear hurting anyone. However if a dog started harassing a bear I imagine it might be killed. We live very near Hanover NH with Dartmouth college and the town has a well educated population. Residents are told to take down bird feeders when the bears come out of hibernation yet there are sometimes residents who, for all their education, leave the feeders out. The bears come in and the mom's teach the cubs about bird feeders and trash cans. The bears become a nuisance and may have to be destroyed which is a sad and cruel ending and does not need to happen if people listen to recommendations. So my feeling is enjoy having black bears around but be aware of what might serve as bait for them.

  41. Name the quilt - Goodbye Bears Little Pieces-- Love the look of the quilt and congratulations on finishing it
    Lorri ( remember the Phaff says to wear High Heels when sewing)

  42. Amazing, i thought for a while there i could hear your voice in the background while reading this post!!! is that possible??? I couldn't make out what you were saying, but it certainly sounded like Bonnie Hunter!!!

  43. Hello Bonnie,
    I follow you on your blog which, as so many others have said, is informational and very inspiring. I work in the public school system as a high school administrator and am an out-of-control quilter. Many times I wonder why people are nasty and hurtful, and comment on things they know little to nothing about. You are a strong woman in the spotlight being true to yourself and sharing your life...this must make many others uncomfortable as they try to minimize your generosity and enthusiasm. Keep your power and know that the thousands of us who are out here sending you love and positive thoughts are proud of you and support you. Hang in there with your brother.

  44. That quilt is just stunning and I love your thimble I've never been able to get on with one as they impede my finger movements but if this one is shorter it might be a great idea will n Ed to see if I can get one in the UK

  45. Definitely going to look for a thimble like that. You don't need to do much to entice those young bears, I had one come and raid my tomatoes
    Thank you Bonnie.

  46. What a great quilt! I love the modified nine patches with the puss in the corner alternate blocks and the cheddar singing along! Hope the bears leave you alone now and never bother Sadie, whom we all love dearly!

  47. Whoa Bears!! LOVE your quilt!!

  48. Congratulations on the finish! How about Just "Bearly" Done for a name for it? That way you would remember the quilt and the bears! LoL, just a suggestion. I love it, all the color and the words... great quilt!!!
    Hopefully the bears won't come back any more... or it they do, the will realize there is no more gravy train! I feel the same way about snakes and mice.... which of course are much, much smaller than your visitors.

  49. I LOVE your orphan quilt. I have several boxes of blocks that I would love to use in a quilt. Have you ever done a tutorial on it? If not, would you consider just posting photos and some of your excellent thoughts and comments?


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