Saturday, February 29, 2020

Leap Day Quilty Box Gift-Away!

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

And have I ever got a Leap day way to celebrate today – the last day of February 2020 Quilty Box Gift-Away!

The beauties in this box are more than simply beautiful – it’s a great way to chase my winter blah’s away – we got another 4’’ of snow overnight!

These colors and fabrics have really inspired me this morning as I’ve prepared the photos for this post.

They are going to go right into one of my current projects – I just have to stitch some spring into my life – like RIGHT. NOW!!

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Sisters of the Stash!

Quiltville Inn welcomes the Sisters of the Stash -

Home base, Louisville Kentucky -

But we’ve got Mary from Boston and Michelle from Colorado and Karen from Missouri with us as well!

Several of the ladies made their way to Louisville, and drove down in a rented 15 passenger van with Irene at the helm – but as quilters know how quilters go – the van only held the reality of 8 ladies, all of their quilting and retreat gear, and don’t forget the chips!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

From Once Upon a Time -

This is the 2004 version of Quiltville Inn.

What a difference 16 years makes!

In fact, things have kind of flip-flopped.  The general store is now falling down – way beyond repair. The only thing to make it better would be to raze the whole thing.  And then do what with this corner?  I have no idea.

At least in 2004 there was still a sign over the front door of the store. Windows weren't broken.

My Quiltville Post Office stood empty, covered in vines.

And check out all of those bushes in the front yard of the house?  Holy. Moly. It looks like a jungle. Clearing that must have been a huge undertaking.

And it looks like there is a “no trespassing” sign on the front porch post.  Was the house vacant at this time?

Over the past 3 years I’ve been in love with this place (First seen when we made our first visit to check out the cabin with our realtor) I have appreciated even more what the previous owners did for this place – they did all of the heavy stuff.  

The rebuilding of the porch, the interior drywall where it was most needed, the kitchen remodeling – all of the blood, sweat and tears stuff that brought it to where it was when we bought it.

What we have done to the place has been minimal as compared to what they did while they lived there.  This house has had plenty of people who have loved it over the past 135 years it's been in existence.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Accomplishing of Little to Nothing -

This was my day yesterday -

I had  hoped to tune up some machines in the hopes for finding new adoptive parents for them.

Five machines came up with me from Wallburg on Sunday – I grabbed the 5 that I thought would be easy enough to get going.

It was a day of fits and starts, and disappointments as one by one each machine had something so wrong with it that I was unable to get ANY of them going. 

This 15 with the potted motor?  Something is wrong with the motor and I don’t do electrical.  It stitches SO SLOWLY even after oiling it a bunch and letting it sit.  It seemed to go SLOWER the longer I tried to get it go. SIGH.

Which means – as it is a potted motor (Gear driven, no belt) If I want it to work it needs to go to the fix-it guy, and that’s going to cost me at least $75.00  if not more to bring it up to the point where I can re-home it to someone else.

I’m thinking this one needs to be a parts donor.  Come to think of it – wasn’t this machine given to me for parts anyway?  I couldn’t remember. It’s a pity.  She is a beauty.  I may at some point just take her in and get her fixed – but as far as having her on hand for one of my Quiltvillians to adopt?  Nope.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Making All Ready!

Some moving around and moving in happened yesterday.

This is the turret space in the dining room at Quiltville Inn.

This corner used to hold a small collection of quilt history books and other needlework books that were not really patchwork related – embroidery, needlepoint, cross stitch, etc.  There wasn’t really enough of any one of these genres to fill the space, and there was room where the other quilt books were located, right outside of the Quilting Quarters.

The seed that had been planted a few months ago finally found time to come to fruition, and I spent yesterday afternoon placing many of the items found in the Quiltville Store in this little nook – along with some other needful things that I don’t currently ship, but may be needed by retreaters who come and stay.

I have spent the last few weeks just wondering how to deal with the “But what if I’m not here?” scenario  -  and just like that it hit me.  BAR TABS!

I often start a “bar tab” or an index card for students in my workshops so they can shop, add to their tab, and then settle up at the end of the day.

Why wouldn’t that work here?

Monday, February 24, 2020

All the Beautiful Showing & Sharing!

This is Karen and her Punkin’ Patch Table Runner!

There is nothing more fun than sitting back while OTHERS share what they have made – I don’t care if it is from one of my designs, something they have made from a class with someone else, or something they have designed on their own.

It is so inspiring to see the abundant creativity coming from every corner when we gather.

I started doing an “impromptu” show and share at the end of our lunch period many moons ago – and it has since become a tradition of sorts.  I look forward to it as I know so many others do –and we had two days of terrific quilts to enjoy and savor while we were with the Peaks & Pieces quilt guild in Bedford, Virginia this past weekend.

“I think I’ll take up quilting!” she said -

And Katherine dove right into Frolic as her FIRST QUILT EVER!!

And she pieced this mini from her leftovers!

Isn’t retirement GRAND?  We get to explore new avenues and take up new hobbies and learn new skills while making new friends!  Katherine was DOCTOR in her previous life as a pediatrician.  Welcome to the Quilting World, Dr. Katherine!

Kevin's Frolic quilt – using grey as a neutral.

I love how this came together!


I love the turned border triangles and the additional border!

Gail’s Frolic!  Full of plum goodness!

This is also a reminder that Frolic has now been retired from the blog and completely rewritten into standard pattern format.  You can grab the 21 page full-color PDF pattern booklet in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store at HALF-PRICE through February 29th.  It's a bargain at $6.00.

Along with Frolic, you'll find all of our other previous mysteries also on sale for the same low price of only $6.00 each.  No coupon needed - but prices go back to normal on March 1st so hurry!

Gail brought so many show stoppers!

Take a look at her Wild & Goosey from the Addicted to Scraps book!


I love her use of black!

Chris and her Pineapple Blossom from the Free Patterns Tab!

Yes, there is this much fun happening!

(I wish I could remember what was said, we were laughing so hard!)

Vintage hexagon with a special story.

I hope I don’t screw this up as it is coming from memory, but Chris was asked to make some repairs on this special vintage quilt owned by a friend who was dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

The quilt was made by the friend’s grandmother, and she had received it as a birthday gift in her teens and it had been with her for many decades, showing signs of wear and tear from so many years of loving the gift the grandma made with her hands.

The friend unfortunately passed away while the quilt was in Chris’s care being repaired.  The plan now being to finish the repairs and present it to the friend’s husband so the loving hugs this quilt gave to his departed wife may continue to bring him comfort as well.

And so the quilt will live on to comfort others.

There are SO many more quilts to share, so pour yourself a cup of your favorite and enjoy the show.  Click to Play:

Does that inspire you to head straight to your machine and sew something?  It does me!

Beauty from the cabin’s front porch.

I arrived up in Virginia yesterday afternoon – a lovely drive with temps nearing 60 up here.  NICE!  Trees are still bare of course, and it was hard leaving the daffodils back in Wallburg that had started to bloom – it will be several weeks here before we catch up. 

That’s so amazing to me as I am only 100 miles away, but much higher in elevation.

This happened while I was away!

The Hen Den at Quiltville Inn is now cooking with gas!

Click to Play:

At the end of our first winter of actually hosting retreats (Okay, one beta test retreat, two charity quilt sew days and one official retreat!) we have come to the conclusion that dealing with the wood required and always wondering if there is enough, and having to start up the fire in the morning, feed it through the day, empty the ash, deal with the soot and the mess and debris – we are getting TOO OLD FOR THIS!

And so are my guests. 

This is a Napoleon stove and it was installed by the gas company on Friday.  It has a remote control and thermostat.  We have an add-on fan on order and that will help move the heat around.  It is ventless.  I am over the moon happy.

Another side benefit – we got to remove nearly half of the hearth so the room has more walk-around space in it.

I enjoy a wood fire, there is nothing like it- but we will save that activity for the outdoor fire pit to come, and enjoy the ease of a beautiful gas log stove inside the house.

Just in time for our next retreat group arriving from Kentucky on Thursday!

And yes, this means that the beautiful enamel wood stove that WAS in this place is in the garage and will be for sale.

It’s a beautiful stove for another place.

And as I type this – I’m looking out my windows – and it is snowing again.  February??  You are so mixed up!!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Orca Bay quilt from my book String Fling made by Kevin Womack.

And all at once it hits you, it's time to leave the rat race and simplify and reconnect with those who really matter.

This quote of the day image came up from my memories feed in Facebook and I needed to share it again after spending time with the fun Bedford folks this past weekend!

Okay.  Time to grab Monday by the horns and get down to it – snow or no snow.

I’ll be making way my to the Quiltville Post Office and begin to tackle things that came in over the weekend, and consider unloading the van – maybe after the snow stops.

What’s up for your Monday?

Have a great one!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Straits of Mackinac, Bedford VA Style!

Oooh, yeah baby!

You know what really gets my happy train in motion?  When folks change up the colors and layout plans to suit what their own vision requires.  Change it up!  Switch it around – play with the colors, the shapes and the units – dig in and don’t let what I made force you into making the exact same thing if your ideas are leading you in a direction that is more YOU.

Blue and Orange?  YES PLEASE!

Yesterday’s Straits of Mackinac workshop hosted by the Peaks & Pieces guild was full to the gills with abundant creativity, chatter and laughter.  I could feel it the moment I walked into the room – that this was going to be a day to remember.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

All in a Day of Crumb Block and String Quilt Play!

I just love little scrappy gems like this!

Our Xing workshop from my book String Frenzy was off to a grand start – and some were extremely grateful for our one hour class start delay due to weather from the south.

Those coming up from the Raleigh area had to deal with 2 to 4 inches of snow and ice, which might not sound like a lot to those in Northern climes, but down here where we don’t have road crews and plows, and the modus operandi is just to “Sit tight and wait for a thaw!” would have trouble making it 150 miles up the road safely if it weren’t for that one hour delay start time.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Long way to Bedford, VA!

How cool is this old Ford dealership building?

I headed out through the falling snow that came pretty much right on time as was predicted – It was falling heavily as I made my way from Mouth of Wilson toward interstate 81 to make my way northeast toward Roanoke before getting off and taking country highways to my destination.

It’s only 130 miles or so to Bedford from Mouth of Wilson, but how long did it take me? 5 hours.  And not because of the snow which had come to a halt by the time I was an hour up the road -

There are places I have always stopped on this route, and I decided to change things up a bit this time.  I had never exited at Christiansburg!

I am so glad I did!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Sew Many Blocks!

I did the deed!

Last night while enjoying a long phone conversation with a friend, I emptied my basket of Shoo Fly Shoo Leader & Ender blocks and began to pin them in sets of 10.

“There has to be at least 100 blocks in this basket!” was my thought.

And then after we had made our goodbyes and talk-to-you-laters I counted the little pinned up bundles.

There are 283 blocks here!  TWOHUNDREDANDEIGHTYTHREE!!

Well okay then.  It’s DEFINITELY time to do something about them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In a Scrap Conundrum!

It’s this time of year that I start to think about settings -

We’ve been working on our Shoo Fly Shoo Leaders & Enders challenge since July.

I have amassed a stack of blocks – and I am LOVE LOVE LOVING them!

I love them so much I can’t stop making them.

But it is time to think about how I’m going to set them, how big the quilt is going to be – and start working toward that end – All the while thinking about our NEXT Leader & Ender challenge down the line to start this coming July.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Oh, What a Monday it Was!

This is what we call an Appalachian Traffic Jam!

Monday morning, Grassy Creek Road.  3 cars in a row (I am car 3) NEVER happens here.  Even the cattle, who outnumber people per square mile in this area stopped to marvel.

The entirety of Grayson County is under 16,000 people making us the 95th LARGEST county in Virginia.  LOL. (In other words, dead LAST.)

With 19 people per square mile out here - who would think there would be a Mouth of Wilson traffic pile up (HA!) on President’s Day Monday?

One turned left at the intersection, the other turned right – the first of only TWO stop signs I hit in 7 miles on my way to Quiltville Inn and the Quiltville Post Office.

Pokey Joe in the front was in no big hurry.  The highway speed limit is 55.  Going 40 mph in a 55 mph zone doesn’t cut it for me, so that passing lane came up just when I needed it most.

What was the big hurry on a no-mail day?

Monday, February 17, 2020

Gathering Happy Thoughts…

Kitting in the wee small hours helps me think and process.

There were many smiles while cutting up these wee scraps.  Spring is getting closer.  I can feel it.  Yes, we had extreme cold (For us in the south, anyway where 20 degrees is considered bitter here!) and we have weeks yet to go until spring is official, but every day is one day closer.

The retreaters started departing two by two just before lunch time.  When I arrived in the morning, luggage and sewing bins were already on the back porch and being loaded into wagons to transport to awaiting cars.

I have genuinely had the best time, and I was sad to see everyone leave so soon!  How fast can these days fly by?

Some stayed for lunch so they’d have full bellies for the 5 hour drive home to Augusta, Georgia.

And before I knew it -

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Just a Bit of Retreat Hooky!

Aren’t these gals the cutest???

Angie and Pat have been stitching up a storm, and we both agreed that making a red and white Double Irish Chain quilt with ONLY TWO FABRICS is the perfect retreat project.

You can sew and sew and sew and not get fabrics out of order or upside down as they are solids.

You have friends to talk to, laugh with, and grab snacks with.

Sewing a two-fabric quilt in the company of friends keeps you moving forward, instead of winding up stuffing it into a bag due to complete and utter boredom.

But it is going to be SO WONDERFUL when she is done – it’s going to be a king size monstrosity fit for a queen.  It’s going to be the perfect quilt to show of wonderful quilting textures, and it is going to look fabulous on the bed.

And it will have all of these retreat memories sewn right into it!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Valentine’s Day of Fabric Play! (Pattern Sale!)

Bright and sunny, but oh so chilly!

We gathered on the front porch at Quiltville Inn as late afternoon sun moved to this side of the house, hoping to warm our faces and avoid shadows and breezes!

What is a Valentine’s Day without heart antennas for all?  Can I just say how thrilled I am with how HAPPY everyone is?

Oh, there have been some minor things – like the front door knob falling off.  (Lock-tite has been applied, we will see how it goes now!) A towel hook on the back of the downstairs bath door was requested – frankly it never entered my mind!  The other baths have hooks. This one didn’t because it had never been a full bath before.

The dining room rug STILL doesn’t want to lay flat and we will be looking into alternatives, but for now – that spot at the back edge? Just know that it is there and be careful until we can do something about it.

Just LITTLE things!

And the food – oh, my goodness!  I never thought that my diet would be in danger from all of the invites to enjoy meals and goodies!  Believe me, I’m not complaining – I’m just going to have to step up my walking routine and get more active – but temps need to climb a bit higher first!

Friday, February 14, 2020

New Kids on the Quiltville Block!

Things in your Organizing World are about to get more QUILTY!

There are a couple of things we have had going on behind the scenes that I haven’t talked about, because I didn’t know when they would finally show up on my door step after many months of waiting!

These two little spiral bound babies may be small in size at only 5’’ x 7’’ but they will make your life SO MUCH BETTER!

Why would you need a hand written password keeper?  Because not all things in life are safe in digital.

Take for instance the password keeper -

Thursday, February 13, 2020

All Those Loose Ends!

Yesterday was Cleaning Crew day at Quiltville Inn!

And the story behind FINDING these folks is one that still gives me chills.  And the story kept running through my mind as I let them do their thing at the retreat house next door while I trimmed the Cairdeas quilt and sat down to apply a binding, SO grateful that the feed-dogs fix of the evening before had this machine purring like a proverbial kitten.

Or more like Dresden and his audible deep purr from his perch in the flyers box on my counter top while observing everything I was doing!

He loves that box.  Of all the bins and boxes, this one is his favorite.  Crazy boy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Bound, Binding and Ready to Bind! (And Instant Pot Recipe!)

Moving this one to the completely done pile!

The “Jack’s Delight” blocks were SO much fun to make.  Have you tried them yet?

I used a selection of recycled fabrics paired with a great variety of favorite neutrals from my Scrap User’s System.  The center squares  in the blocks were also pulled from my pre-cut scrap drawers and I had a wonderful time deciding which fabrics were going to play together in each block.

Those sashings?  They also made a huge dent in my stash of shirt fabric strips.

What really adds to the texture of the whole quilt are the block corner triangles and the cornerstones, all from scraps of Essex linen left from cutting quilt kits for my Quiltville Travelers.  I needed a way to put those margins of fabric to good use, and they do here.  The combination of the Essex linen and the recycled fabrics brings an “instantly vintage” feel to the whole.

This is also why I decided on plain wider sashings and cornerstones.  It just needed a classic setting so the blocks could show themselves off and be the main focus.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Out & About Road Trip.

What do you see when you look at this photo?

The first thing that most say is “Oh, how sad.”  I agree!  I would love to see this place as it was when it was new.  Fresh coats of paint, shiny metal roof, chimneys wafting smoke as fires warmed the rooms inside.

I like to envision the sounds of voices.  Conversations. Laughter.  Children playing.  Weddings, births, funerals.  Christmas.  Easter.  Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Perhaps a dog running in the yard, and a mama cat with new baby kittens mewing from under the porch.  Life.

My friend Martha has the twin to this house.  Or quadruplet? It seems there were 4 identical homes built by one family in the area – and the houses are not all that close to each other so you’d never know it.

I guess you only had to settle on one set of house plans that way!

Monday, February 10, 2020

From That Project to This One -

This was under my needle yesterday.

The “Green Irish Thing” (Yet to receive official name and shown in yesterday’s post) is begging to be completed.  And it will be. Soon.

But yesterday’s agenda necessitated spending a bunch of time between Quiltville Inn and my Quiltville Post Office.  I remembered right away to pull the green and neutral 1 1/2’’ strips from the Scrap User’s System drawers and put them in my van so I wouldn’t forget for evening sewing time.

I have plans this morning to play hooky with my friend Martha.  We are heading out to go look at a treadle machine she is interested in, and that meant getting all mail order caught up yesterday so it can just be dropped off this morning on my way to meet her.

And I had Andrea and her hubby come from Yadkin Valley Quilts in Elkin, NC come up in the afternoon to tour the inn and to make plans for the retreat the shop is hosting in April. 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

A Little Bit of Irish Luck!

This happened yesterday!

As temperatures remained well below the freezing point, and snow fell silently in the finest crystals possible, I gave up every idea of going to the Quiltville Post Office to do some long arm quilting and declared it a stay in and stay warm kind of sew day.

I could have easily just dug right into the Sugar Loaf block kits that are waiting for me in a basket next to my machine, but another deadline crept into view the closer we get to March.

March is going to be VERY busy for me – I’ve got two back-to-back sessions to teach at Empty Spools Seminar in Asilomar, California.  There are retreats also scheduled at Quiltville Inn, so deadline quilts need to be pushed forward a bit.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Quilts of Valor Day and More!

Quiltville Inn was a busy bee hive yesterday!

Quilters from the Alleghany chapter of Quilts of Valor in nearby Sparta, NC and surrounding areas gathered at the Inn and filled the Quilting Quarters with the hum of machines and quilt production.  ALL going to a good cause!

Many of the members live as I do, straddling the state line between North Carolina and Virginia.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Bind This, Bind That!

Let the evening binding activity recommence!

It’s been a while since anything has been in my lap for binding.  I’m trying to think, but I believe it’s been more than a month.  Right around New Year’s Eve I believe.

What’s a girl to do with an empty binding queue?

I found myself needing to readjust a couple of things in my Quiltville Post Office work space.

Vintage sewing machine cabinets (Like some vintage folding card tables for sewing machines that I posted about last month) didn’t all come in a standard height.  The further you go back, the shorter the people were, and the shorter the sewing machine cabinets were as well.

Brainy moment and a quick fix:

Mid-century cabinet containing my 301.

(Has anyone seen my hotel room key seam guide? I can't find it anywhere! LOL!)

I love this cabinet (And yes, it came with the stool you see to the side, too – which is still too short for me to sit upon!) from the 1950s.  That blonde oak is so indicative of that time period, isn’t it? Bit it sits far too low for my 5’ 9’’ frame.

I sit in an ergonomic task chair, and while I can lower the chair, to get the chair to the correct height for the table top, The chair seat is too low and the reach of my legs too long to be comfortable for my knees.  It’s not as simple as raising or lowering a chair.

I braved the rain, went out under the side porch at Quiltville Inn next door, and grabbed 6 bricks.  I used 3 for each cabinet so they are the same height. (One machine stays with a walking foot specifically for the task of binding.

This will do for now.  It’s a much better height for me.  It will keep me from bending over a machine in too short of a table.

I can now have my chair at a comfortable height so there is no strain on my knees and I can reach the foot pedal comfortably.

They aren’t pretty – but the fact that these are site made bricks, circa 1880s makes me smile! I will come up with something better in the future.  It was just what I needed to comfortably tackle the job at hand.

While I was in a binding mood – this also happened:

The last of the tulip cushions also received binding!

I stitched it up first thing so it was done.

And then I proceeded to bind the Jack’s Delight quilt.

Yes I bind backwards from most folks.

But this is the way I am most comfortable.

I also don’t need any pins or clips to hold my binding over the edge as my left thumb holds it in place as I stitch to the left. (My hand is  holding the phone and taking this photo )  I just fold the binding over, hold it in place with my left hand and stitch with my right.  I use a ladder stitch for nearly invisible stitching.  38 years of binding, and this is what works for me. I am happy with this binding fabric choice!

With today’s Quilt of Valor group coming for a Sew Day at Quiltville Inn, and not knowing how many sewing stations will be occupied, I brought this quilt with me this morning so that I may just pull up a comfy chair in the Hen Den and enjoy some friendly stitching with other folks.

The wood stove is already fired up, warming and making things cozy.  The gas fireplaces in the Quilting Quarters are also lit – ready for quilters to arrive.

It rained all night – there was even a bit of snow this morning as I made my way to the Inn about 6:30am.  Clouds have now blown away – it’s still quite wet and windy so the big challenge will be getting everyone’s stuff into the house without having to walk across the soggy grass. That means front steps.  I’ll be on hand to help carry things in and out.

Framed and ready to hang!

And you can see, Dresden is curious as to what I am doing with this envelope in a frame.  It’s going to hang here at the QPO.  I’ll find the right spot.  It’s too precious not to keep this way.

I’ve been asked if I’m going to do a half-price pattern of the month for February. Yes.  And it is coming. I just have a few more things to do first – and we will only be running it for 2 weeks. But it is a special you won’t want to miss, so hold on to your hats!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

I love what Sandra Kring wrote:

"The Tiny Seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered with darkness, and struggle to reach the light."

Keep pushing through the dirt and reaching up!

Have a Fabulous Friday, everyone!