Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Mountain Quiltfest or Bust!

i headed out southwest toward the Tennessee line yesterday -

This valley view is from the top of Grassy Creek Rd, about a  winding, climbing mile from the cabin. Blue skies, puffy clouds, an audio book playing -

Life is interesting in these parts.  There is ZERO GPS signal on my Verizon phone where I am due to the mountains.  So I have to go old school, watching the signs on the road pointing me toward Interstate 81 and figure the Walmart truck in front of me knows where he is going – and follow along.

And just as I had experienced a time or two before – the GPS will catch up with me and start working again within a mile from the interstate on ramp.  Tennessee bound!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Is it Monday, Already?

I had such BIG PLANS for the past weekend -

And while I tried to make the quilt on the Design Floor my main focus – real life crept in, slowly ate up all of my available time and I didn’t get done.

But you know what?  What is more important?

Real life fun with friends for lunch and antique shopping or quilting?

Real life run back to Galax for a much desired church pew and ice cream out, or getting that quilt top done?

Real life Saturday going back AGAIN to Galax for lunch with The Hubster on his birthday and watch his eyes light up over the possibilities this vintage 1950s Carolina Pride stove holds for his workshop?

And movie night – Don’t forget movie night!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Quilting Day That Wasn’t!

This quilt hasn’t gotten any further along -

It is laying in the same place I left it the last time I was up at the cabin -

Sadie has been up here with The Hubster while the window re-do, roof fixing, gas range/dishwasher/microwave install has happened over the past couple of weeks.  I am the one that is out of town while he works remotely from here.  That’s the perk of his job – as long as he has cell data, he can do his job from wherever.

This quilt has been walked around, walked on, and evidently pet-surfed into a corner:

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Twice to Galax and Back Again!

I made my first foray to downtown Galax VA!

With Toni in Tow!

We’d been talking about it for some time.  Another girl’s day out where we could wander, shop, enjoy lunch and explore.

Last time it was the three of us – Martha, Toni and myself.  Off to Boone, NC we went and had a great time.

This trip however – Martha was enjoying the company of her son and granddaughter and we know how that takes precedence – so we issued her a rain check redeemable at any time with no expiration date and set out down winding mountain 2 lane highways – past Independence, VA and on to Galax.

I’d driven THROUGH Galax before – it’s an easy drive when coming from Eastern Virginia to Southwestern where the cabin resides.  I sort of knew where downtown was and always wanted to explore, but I was always coming through at the end of a long drive, shops closed for the night.

Yesterday was THE DAY!

Friday, March 15, 2019

When Spring Comes Calling…

There are daffodils on the hillside -

Just beyond the back porch at Quiltville Inn.

Last year this time – we were still waiting to see if inspections would pass, if insurance coverage could be found, if a loan could be secured – all of those things that would allow this dream to take the next step into reality – which didn’t happen until the end of April 2018.

So I missed daffodils on the hillside.

But I found them yesterday evening as we drove over so I could inspect the new windows, the progress at both Inn & Post Office -

It’s been SUCH a crummy winter for so many, and we have had our share of it up here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia.  But Spring is Springing!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Turkey of a Day!

Spring in the mountains = Turkey in the yard season!

This photo was sent over from The Hubster who has been up in Virginia overseeing work at the cabin and meeting contractors for estimates for the continuing renovation of Quiltville Inn – each little job getting us closer to our goal of opening for Quilt Retreats in the spring of 2020.

From what I understand Sadie didn’t know what to do with herself over the sight of this RAFTER of Turkeys in the yard.  Yes.  A flock of turkeys is called a RAFTER.  Thank you Google!

Yesterday was a day of many hiccups.  I won’t lie.  It threw me for a loop every time I turned around starting with the fact that both Facebook and Instagram were down for the count – not just with me, but globally, starting in the morning, and continuing into the evening hours.

At 8pm Eastern I could finally get a post through, but going live for Quilt-Cam was not an option.  Sorry folks.  It wasn’t me.  I tried!  I even put a bra on for this -

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

When All You Wanna Do is Sew!

**UPDATE!** I am one of those users who are currently affected by the "Can't access Facebook or Instagram" issue, and the sites have been down for me since this morning.

If they don't get it fixed before 8pm, our scheduled Quilt-Cam will be moved to a future date.  Sorry folks!

There was a bit of this going on last night -

And it all started with a strip stash re-org in the Scrap User’s System!

Over the past few trips I have come home with additions gifted to the stash by others – and I haven’t had time (Or wanted to take the time) to sort them by color family and get things separated by width of strip and place them with their “like kinds” so they would be easy to use as needed.

To tell you the truth, it’s been kind of a mess behind those drawer fronts.

But yesterday was THE DAY.

And I had some help!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What Day is it Anyway?

Dresden is exploring EVERYTHING that is UP.

It’s making things in the order fulfillment department INTERESTING!

Both he and Lola are no longer satisfied to stay on the other side of the French doors – and if they see anyone within range will meow and scratch and do ANYTHING they can to get beyond and to the other side of the house.

Things are still not great when it comes to Emmy Lou being in their picture though – to them SHE is the invader, and even though she is 19 this year and moving very slowly, the growls and hisses and territory issues are still raising their fur.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Friday Night with the Bonniacs!

Nothing beats an evening like this!

It had been 6 years since I had taught for the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show – but I never forgot how special these women made me feel. 

Our time together 6 years ago formed friendships that will continue, no matter who moves where or how life changes happen.  If Quilting is the thread that binds us together, the friendship is the knot that holds the stitches in place!

6 years ago I received a welcome invitation to dinner at Wendy’s beautiful home, meeting several of these wonderful gals.  It was an evening of fun and food and much show & share – a great break away from yet another quick restaurant dinner out, and back to an empty hotel room.

This year we did it again – and I just could not wait for Friday night to roll around.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Wonky Wishes for the Win!

The snow stopped.

The temperatures rose.

The rain,and THUNDER started!

But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the quilters – Spring is on the way and we were all tucked safely and warmly inside the Monroe Convention Center for day 3 of the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, and day 3 of workshops!

And as the LAST day – we were ever so grateful that precision could go out the window and play time could really begin as we set in to make batches of wonky stars, followed by string sashing.

I was amazed at the number of quilters who were finding themselves in the midst of their very first string piecing and improv piecing experience.  THEY DID GREAT!

Sometimes it is hard to let go of things that have always felt comfortable and allow ourselves to push our boundaries and learn something new.  It can feel uncomfortable.  It can be a bit scary.

It’s like a new dance step that feels all wrong some how.

But with a bit of practice – we suddenly get it!

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Garden Party in Bloomington!

Things weren’t blooming outside by any means -

Snow flurries were still fluttering!

But they were fighting a losing battle as temps started to climb beyond the freezing point  - and we were celebrating the blossoms to come in our Garden Party Workshop hosted by the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in Bloomington, Indiana!

After Pinwheel Fancy the day before, this was a welcome respite – NO TRIANGLES!  And a whole lot of fun with 1 1/2’’ strips.

Color on color on color – any colors you want to put together – go for it!

Spring is coming soon – and we are greatly anticipating it!

All the happy busy stitchers!

Block production – this one with black backgrounds!  Whoowhooo!

With 43 stitchers it was all fun & games -
Until we blew the power to one side of the room!

Hey folks? I think 43 individual irons is just too many! LOL!

We threw in an impromptu demo session while the Powers that Be got the electrical situation sorted out.

Truly – finger pressing can often be your friend and will work until we get things back to normal “Full steam ahead.” to flatten those babies.

Hooray!  We’ve got HOT!

Oh, all the pretties!

Thanks for coming to play, ladies!

Oh yes, these quilts are going to be gorgeous!

Thanks for coming, everyone!

Garden Party is found in the Addicted to Scraps book.

You’ll find the rest of yesterday’s shenanigans in the video below.  Click to play:

Time is flying by so quickly. I can't believe we are already at the LAST day.

We are finishing up this 3 workshop event with Wonky WIshes – Strings and crumbs and Wonky Stars – oh, my!

Today’s #IGquiltfest prompt is “Finally Finished” with the request to post a recent finish that took you a really long time.  

Some quilts take more than 15 years! This is my variation of a quilt made by Jane Stickle in the 1860s. I set the blocks with a Storm at Sea type sashing and hand quilted it with Baptist Fans in pink thread.

The brown fabrics are shweshwe and all the pinks are random scraps. The background is one fabric throughout and I am 100% sure that is why it languished- boring background!

I love the quilt however, and it resides on the guest room bed at our cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains of Southwestern Virginia. I love when the light from the window hits it just right and shows off all of that wonderful hand quilted texture.

I’ll be checking out of my hotel room during lunch time with a late check out, moving my stuff down to my class room – the other instructors and myself will be shuttled over to an airport hotel in Indianapolis this evening so we can fly out at our respective times in the morning using the hotel shuttle as transport.

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Something to ponder:

While things may look perfect online, everyone has a different life behind their monitors and phone screens. Everyone is heightening the positives and downplaying the negatives. They are only showing you their A sides, not their B sides. Smoke and mirrors. Just remember that.

Most of what you see online is only what people want you to see.

Search for those who are genuine. They are out there!

I’ve reconnected with several this weekend that I am so happy to have in my circle!

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!

Friday, March 08, 2019

Pinwheel Fancy Day, the Indiana Way!

Yesterday was the kick off day of the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show!

And Day One of workshops – with Pinwheel Fancy from Addicted to Scraps as our Opening event!

Not only was I excited to teach this quilt to this wonderful group  (It has all the bells and whistles that I love: A 2 block design, and on-point setting, a strippy quilt look, no borders – and it comes from 3 simple widths of strips: 2’’, 3 1/2’’ and 6 1/2’!) but I also KNEW this day would be the bomb because I spent the night under it for hours of sweet dreaming:

Thursday, March 07, 2019

From Home to Bloomington!

I spy Indianapolis below!
Can you see it?

What a bright and beautiful day it was for flying – clear blue skies, abundant sunshine -

But don’t let it fool you – I thought I was prepared for the blast of cold air that would hit my face when Nola and I stepped outside of baggage claim and made our way to the curb where Wendy would be driving on in to pick us up -

But OH MY!!  Temps in the 20s and breezy – Brrrr, baby, brrrr!

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Indiana Bound! (And Much Show & Share!)

I am off to the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show today-

Which is a perfect time for me to share some quilty goodness from last week!

I have to remind myself that Good Fortune was revealed the first week of January – and these quilts were being shown at the end of February closing in on March 1st – that’s not quite 2 months and they are DONE!

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Inspiration at Cactus Queen Quilt Co!

Can’t you feel yourself breaking in to a smile?

Whenever I see bolts of fabric, loads of color, all of the possibilities – it’s all the good feels!

I’ve known Doris Rice for quite a few years, and had the pleasure of her company at several places that I’ve taught.  When it came down to my event with the UUMC Quilt Guild in San Antonio, she asked if I would like to stay at her Queen’s Rustic Retreat on a fact finding mission to see how her set up is.  I said SURE! Who wouldn’t want to?

You can visit my post about the retreat HERE.

What I didn’t know was that Doris’s brick and mortar quilt shop, Cactus Queen Quilt Company had just opened its doors the month before – and it is less than a mile from her retreat center in McQueeney, Texas!

When things fall into place – they REALLY fall in to place!

Monday, March 04, 2019

No Time to Catch Up!

This is how I left things when I headed to Texas 2 weeks ago.

I need to piece a back for Jewel Box Stars.  That’s why it is hanging over the rail of the long arm.

Before I left I had been kitting up basket blocks, and the strips that need to be put back into the Scrap User’s System are hanging on the rail just waiting for me to get down to it.

I have fabric folded and ready to put away, some stacks of things, some trays for sorting, it all happens here on the table side.

That white board?  I use it for photography as in yesterday’s detail shot of the items that are found in yesterday’s Quilty Box Gift-Away.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Home for a Quilty Box Gift-Away!

This was supposed to happen in February.

But the travel faeries were not in sync and the sample box didn’t arrive on my doorstep until AFTER I had already left for San Antonio!

Well, that’s okay by me – because we can do it on this first Sunday home!

The February Quilty Box contains a whole 2 1/2’’ strip pack of Christa Watson’s Abstract Garden line – full of bright and splashy prints and summer colors just ready to chase the remaining winter blahs away.

What can I say? I love purple mixed with orange and red and green!  Throw in some summer yellow and cool greens and turquoise and I am one happy girl!

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Straits of Mackinac in Denton TX!

I’ll not soon forget these happy faces and the crazy antics
that come with a heavy dose of scrap over load!

These ladies don’t even know how much they have added to MY life!

I love talking to folks, finding out a bit about them, their family, their former jobs if they are retirees, family life if they are still raising kids, or supporting kids through college – listening to the discussions of every day life with jobs, plans, grandkids, upcoming weddings, babies on the way – and usually there is a quilt in the planning or sewing stages for each of these occasions. 

Quilting is how we mark the momentous events that dot the timelines of our lives, isn’t it?

This was also the maiden voyage for Straits of Mackinac as a workshop – and starting out with 53 in class?  HOLY MOLY!!

Friday, March 01, 2019

“It Can Be Daybreak....” *Singing*

I’m blaming the earworm all on Sherry -
Second chair on the right -

To be honest, I never thought of the Barry Manilow song Daybreak when I was naming this quilt, but once she mentioned that is what the title brought to mind for her – I just can NOT get it out of my head!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Building Sand Castles, Texas Style!

From fine-tuning strip cutting -
To speedy four-patch consistency -
To string piecing our way to block completion -
We did it ALL yesterday!

My thanks to Deb for the candid shots of me doing what I do – hands always a blur in motion as I teach – It’s fun to see what things are like from a watcher’s perspective!

Each day we’ve had new faces – just as I learn someone’s name one day, there is someone else in their seat the next!  It keeps my head spinning, but so much fun to think of all the new faces as friends I haven’t met yet, coming to spend the day playing in the scraps with me.

It’s also not often that I get a soothing water feature behind me to add some ambiance to my demo table- LOL!

I’ve been doing our demo time in the lobby, breaking the group up into smaller sections so that everyone has a chance to see what I’m doing – it’s the only way to manage this group of 40+

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Xing Debut in Denton!

Yesterday’s Xing Workshop In Denton!

What do you get when you mix the sounds T with SH with CH and add a bit of Z??  XING!  Chinese is one of those things that is difficult for English speakers to pronounce because they use sounds that are not our norm.  Our tongues don’t know how to mix that all together.  You can call it TZING, ZING, SCHING or CHING and it will be half-way right each time.  

But that’s okay with me!  Just don’t call it EX-ING!  LOL!

We had an amazing day yesterday with a group of quilters ready and willing to mix crumb piecing with the strip cutting of triangle pairs for star points with my Essential Triangle Tool – and throw in a mix of string piecing for alternate blocks to the mix.  They did SO GREAT!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

From Brazos to Denton -

My rear view as I drove through the gate and hit the road yesterday.

It was a morning of packing up, of enjoying a last hearty breakfast, saying tear filled goodbyes and hitting the road -

One at a time we heard car doors shut, engines start up and tires roll down the dirt road toward the gate – each person pointing their GPS toward wherever home was.

Before we knew it – there were only a handful of us left:

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monday Morning Check Out!

73 blocks in the pile.

One still in the machine.

Not that many left to last me the rest of the trip!

This is what I call a successful round of retreating fun!  I’m so glad and grateful for the invite 2 years ago to spend time with this wonderful group of ladies who have welcomed me in with open arms. 

As an instructor, I am usually there to enjoy the ladies during the day and the class room time, but then I’m off to take care of other things and rest up for the next day while the fun continues without me.  This was just balm to my soul!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A day to just BREATHE!

There is a whole lot of sewing going on!

Glenda has been busy!

I have met several of the ladies retreating at Brazos House before – either in workshops I’ve taught in Texas, or through friends of friends – and I was pleasantly surprised, and really, very touched to see so many Quiltville projects in progress, or on beds – oh my goodness!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

From San Antonio to Rainbow, TX!

My first 2019 presentation -

With Straits of Mackinac as backdrop!

What a wonderful turn out we had yesterday for the UUMC Quilt Guild’s Quilt Show & Market!

No one can do a one day gig the way that this group can.  Vendor’s mall with a wonderful array of goodies of every quilty kind to a boutique with beautiful items made and donated by guild members, raffle and silent auction table, door prizes a plenty, and the hit of the day – the SCRAP DIVE!!

Scraps are donated all year long – and the table is full to overflowing.  Fill a gallon zip-lock bag for $5.00!  It was hard for me to show so much restraint!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Wonky Wishes in San Antonio!

And they all came to play!

I’ve learned many things over the nearly 15 years I have been traveling and teaching quilters.

We ALL learn differently.

And what comes naturally and eagerly to some – for others it can be a rather scary, completely out-of-the-box experience.

The fear of failure and “I can’t do this!” runs in waves and you can see it in faces -

Yet, they wouldn’t be here if the desire to do something different than what they’ve always been doing wasn’t encouraging them to take this class, and push those boundaries just a bit further, giving them more room to breathe in the scope of their own creativity.

We are NEVER too old to try something new – it can be the breath of fresh air that kicks us from a comfortable predictable rut – to really finding the excitement and joy in the craft we  have given our hearts to.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Scrap Crystals Day in San Antonio!

Singing “Back in the Saddle Again……”

I’m having a ball in San Antonio with a wonderful group of gals!  Our two workshops this week are being hosted by the University United Methodist Church Quilt Guild – such a long name, making it understandable why they simply go by UUMCQG for short!

Scrap Crystals from MORE Adventures with Leaders & Enders was our play date yesterday – and we had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Good Morning, Texas!

Where All things Patriotic and All things Texas are one in the same!

It was a HAIRY day yesterday – I literally could have driven here in the same time it took me to get here if I had hopped in the car the moment I woke up at 4:15 am NC time.

Trust me – this was a day of “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!” 

If you throw in more than an hour sitting on the runway before turning back to the gate to wait for another hour plus – and you miss your connection.  It’s going to be a long day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Off We Go to Texas!

This machine makes me want to sing!

“Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she wonderful…..”

Some good ole Stevie Wonder!

She came out of hiding the other day – we moved her into bedroom #4 at Quiltville Inn – mostly to serve as a small desk in the corner of the room, but I also SO BADLY want to get her sewing!

She came as a gift from a fellow quilting friend who thought that Quiltville Inn was the perfect place for her to be enjoyed by many. 

Can you believe the copper detail?  How GORGEOUS! 

I had seen a similar machine, but in black with a textured finish – but this one.  Oh, my goodness!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ice, Ice Baby!

When Ice storms happen in the mountains -
They REALLY happen!

Was it really just Friday that I was taking photos of pink blooming trees, and posting them on Saturday?  And then Yesterday THIS!

Holy moly.

The temp for the day started out at 36 and continually dropped – the rain started in earnest when the thermometer had dropped to 31 – instant ice storm.

The big question of the day – would we lose power?  Would the new generator kick on like it should if we did?

We didn’t get a chance to find out.  Evidently the fact that we installed one means we’ll never get to use it.  LOL.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Another Sew Saturday & More!

Wonderful things happen when we allow ourselves real PLAY TIME!

I reached my goal of finishing the needed Fireweed blocks.  I started playing with layout ideas – perhaps a zig-zag settng?  Maybe straight set with the blocks in strippy quilt style color rows of red and purple alternating?

I can spend a lot of time on my “design floor” just trying to figure out what I want to do.  What about on-point with red sashing?  Or what about purple?

Plain neutral was just TOO TOO much – but what if I did a pieced sashing with  squares on each end to become a secondary design?

*Side bar*  After taking this photo, I never noticed that there was one wayward bonus triangle hiding in plain sight until I was at the photo editing stage.  FUNNY!  Can you find it?

I think I’ve found what I want to do – and luckily there is a bin of recycled fabric and a bin of larger neutral scraps up here so I could dig in.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Back in the Scraps Again!

My weekend project lies ahead!

I have a very simple attainable goal in front of me.

I need to make 12 more of these.  They will be mixed with the blocks that have purple bonus triangles around the outside edges.  I am just LOVING sewing with the recycled fabrics again.  They always call me back, you know?  It’s an instantly vintage looking quilt with all of those soft stripes and plaids and muted colors.

12 more.  By going home time Monday morning.  That’s the plan.

Friday, February 15, 2019

All The Pretty 16-Patches! (And Quilt-Cam!)

A veritable mountain of 16-patch scrappiness!

This was hands down the most “brainless” quilty fun I have had in a long while – in my book things like 4-patches, 9-patches and 16-patches are just THE BEST and are right up there with string piecing.


And better yet – I am using up a bunch of OLD OLD blues – from 1980s and 1990s calicoes to florals and geometrics to recycled shirts and batiks.  It’s all in there.  And it is the mix – the complete and utter no rhyme no reason variety that makes me so happy.

By the time we started Quilt-Cam last night I only had the last batch of 10 to complete, I had 8 1/2 done by the time Quilt-Cam was over – I stayed and finished the last two after hitting STOP on the camera.  I just couldn’t leave them until they were all done and packed in a bin.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

On This Valentine’s Day, 2019

I am wishing you pretty patches and creative time!

Exactly what is on my own plate today!

More block kitting is happening – These are the Fancy Basket blocks from a 2016 Addicted to Scraps column with Quiltmaker, and I LOVE for once (or at least in a long while)  playing with a dark background in these blocks.  They feel like spring to me.  And a great way to dig in the scraps.

This block can be built in a couple of different ways.  You could use “chisels” with stitch-n-flip corners to do the long angled pieces instead of a 4-patch center, but I chose to do it this way so that my background pieces wouldn’t have any seams in them.  

Whatever method of construction your eyes see, this block comes from 2 widths of strips directly from my own Scrap User’s System thanks to my Essential Triangle Tool.  It makes kitting up the blocks so so so easy!