Thursday, February 04, 2021

Even the Cutting Counts! (Zoom Meet!)

There are some moments just perfect for cutting -

But not sewing.

And that's okay!  Because sitting at a machine (I can stand at a computer, but can't stand at a machine, don't ask me why!) causes all of those nasty back problems that I have been working for months to solve between chiropractic and medical massage appointments.

We are finally making progress - but the main culprit is sitting!  And I need to strengthen my abs to help support my back from the inside of my spine, not just the obvious back side.

It's all about balance - and isn't that what we are always working toward?

I try to stand to press (unless I'm doing paper piecing or something tiny where you press each and every seam as you go) and stand and cut so I am using different muscles.

What you see here is a growing pile of half-square triangles that I am cutting from strips while I talk to my dad in the evenings.

This basket also holds some blue and neutral strips I pulled out of the scrap user's system "everything in it" drawer here in the cabin studio.

I am also pulling in some pretty wiled "barely neutrals" with bigger, busier and more colorful prints to put them to good use.

This is a project you'll see growing over a LONG WHILE - as my Easy Breeze Leader & Ender quilt is finished, and our next Leader & Ender challenge doesn't happen until July - I'll be using these half-square triangle pairs as Leaders & Enders until we get to that point.

I'm not worried about blocks yet - I just need about a trillion and a half blue/neutral half-square triangle units on hand before I can really get going.

Once I empty that basket - I'll start working through the strips - with a focus on variety, using up the shortest strips and finding places for the lesser used "prints with a lot going on" to also find a purpose.

I love a good blue and white quilt, I've made several in my lifetime as a quilter and I keep coming back to the two-color quilts as favorites.

*NOTE*  Because someone is going to reprimand me for keeping fabric in plastic - these bags are not closed all the way.  There is about a 4'' space at the top where the zip strip isn't closed.  It is enough to allow air to circulate - and I am in and out of these bags all of the time so there is no fear of rot, mildew, mold or moisture. Thank you.

Yesterday's stop along the New River!

Doesn't this photo carry on with the blue/white theme?

Errand days can sometimes take the WHOLE DAY here - especially when it is more than an hour's drive to "real civilization."  I like it that way.

But boy, what a difference in elevation and temperature that voyage can make - it's eye opening!

It was a brisk 26゚ when I left Virginia for Winston-Salem. By the time I reached Wilkesboro an hour later temps were barely reaching into the 40s.
On my way back the car thermometer read 52 as I left Winston, 42 as I reached Wilkesboro once again, and 29 as I made it back up to the cabin.
This is all within 100 miles! I am back to the land of freezing feet. ⁣ 
I stopped to take this photo at the New River off of highway 16 out of Jefferson, North Carolina. ⁣
The floating ice should give you an idea of just how cold we are up here!

There is a lot to say about the bright blue skies and sunshine, though! Beautiful! I enjoyed a day of driving in that gorgeous sunshine, audio book playing.

And, oh yes! The Iowa Quilt Museum Zoom meet from the other day was posted!

Click to Play:

We really did have a great time, and I am hopeful I will be able to participate again in the future.

It was a major achievement with my crappy internet!  

Remember, there will be another one this coming Tuesday at noon central. Check the Iowa Quilt Museum website for more details.

Some fun Grassy Creek sharing!

I have loved seeing all of the finishes coming to fruition - each quilt is SO BEAUTIFUL!

This morning I thought I'd share a Grassy Creek block of a different variety - a BARN QUILT!

Kathryn G says:

"A friend offered to make me a barn square of any pattern. I picked a Grassy Creek square and made her a lap sized quilt in trade. Isn’t that cool! Two happy ladies! We’re dressed for volunteering at our local arboretum—explains the boots. Wood County Arboretum in Quitman, Texas. A beautiful sunny day for outside work."

I lived near Quitman Texas for a year and absolutely love the area and the people there - and I am jealous of the "Work outside, spring in full garden mode!" weather they are having.

Oh yes, I have on my boots too - but they are more for battling the snow that continues to hang around!

I also love the idea of this beautiful trade between friends - Kathryn, when you get that barn quilt hanging, I hope you'll post a photo!

Today my plan is to be at my desk - it's a writing day.  That means my Pandora will likely be playing the Stephen Bennett channel (instrumental guitar) in the background, with a yummy candle burning and a hot steaming mug of something at my side.

And likely Lola in my lap!

This week is quickly flying by - weekend right around the corner! 

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage string quilt found in North Carolina. 

These are my guidelines for a fulfilling life. 

Yes, life can still be fulfilling even in these very weird times we find ourselves living through right now. 

What are these things compelling you to do today?

Whatever you get up to - have a GREAT day!



  1. Might I make a suggestion for back issues. I suffer from spinal arthritis and a year ago found a saddle stool. It has saved my life at the sewing machine. My sister in law borrowed it to try and she ended up with one at her LA and her sewing machine. Might be worth a try for those sitting moments. Mine was under 100.00 Also I took my sewing machine out of the "hole", replaced the cutout and use the machine on top of my sewing table. I do much better and it is easier to keep my back straighter which works for me. All of these are just suggestions. I feel for you!

    1. I love the idea of a saddle stool! Just went online and found a backless one at Home Depot and ordered it. I currently use an ergonomic office chair, but when wearing long pants, find myself sliding down the chair all the time. I hope the saddle will keep me seated. I'm willing to try anything at this point....sitting all day sewing everyday. Even tried one of my dining room chairs, but with no wheels, twisting and turning within my U-shaped sewing space was not comfortable either. Thank you Dawne and Dale!

    2. Can I ask about your saddle stool? Do you have one with a back or do you feel it isn't necessary? Looking at them right now and want the opinion of someone who has one.
      Anna in IL

    3. I had to look up "saddle stool". A wide variety of choices, could you be more specific?

    4. OMG Dawne and Dale I wish I had known about these years ago when I was still a hairdresser! Not sure if they existed then. I have been using my old hairdresser office chair (20 years old now) at the sewing machine and it is just too clunky and not good for posture. Just ordered a backless saddle stool to replace it, thanks for the tip. I bet 'power sewing' as Bonnie calls it is going to be a lot more comfortable now! (Have another mountain of HSTs getting ready to go under the needle as we speak...)

  2. The Iowa Quilt Museum interview with you and Teddy and Linzee and Megan was just delightful!
    The personal interview segments were enlightening and encouraging and most enjoyable. Thank you for introducing us to this wonderful facet of quilting.

  3. "Barely neutrals"--love having a new category! One of my biggest categories is "Problematic Prints", which sounds like your "prints with a lot going on". I'm stretching my fabric-pairing muscles by trying to use both in your Easy-Peasy L&E challenge.

    I've been immersed in your Scrappy Trip Around the World lately, but today the garage is compelling me. I'm also in Texas at the moment, so the weather will be cooperative. There are few months when garage work isn't stifling hot, and February is one of them. Off I go!

  4. Your blue and white quilts are always stunning. It will be fun to see where those HST end up someday.

  5. I really enjoyed the Youtube post from the Iowa Quilt Museum yesterday!! It was so nice to be able to stop it when I needed to and come back later!
    I love looking at your fabrics, I don't zip my plastic bags closed either, then I can squish them down when I close the drawer. Those little two story houses on that one strip are so cute.
    Sewing machines have a foot pedal (or knee lever) control, so I think that would make standing at a sewing machine very uncertain and difficult. Computers do not have foot pedals.

  6. thoroughy enjoyed the Iowa Quilt Museum. I watched on UTube last night as we have a guild drop in zoom during the time it was presented live. Betsy K

  7. I too used to have horrible back pain from sitting or standing to long in the studio. After I cut way down on eating carbohydrates the inflammation in my spine went away. I feel the best I've felt in years. No breads or wheat products at all for almost 2 years.

  8. Today is errand day for me. Pick up prescriptions and get my Sienna serviced. You have to have one day to get these simple things out of the way. My friends and I got back Monday late from Cedar Hill, Texas at the 1890s House for a small retreat. It was so good to have a change of scenery. Days of quilting and fellowship. Hope your back improves. Yes on the Blue and White quilts. When I was doing Redwork patterns, mine were usually done in Blue.

  9. Hi Bonnie I have to say that anytime I "lose my sewing mojo" I just browse thru my extensive stash. This gets my creative juices going. The fabric all looks new to me again. And my brain just goes into overdrive with ideas. It gives me such joy. So as I watch you going back & forth to Winston Salem I giggle. You are getting reacquainted with your stash & your creative mojo is in overdrive! Happy to watch & share your joy.

  10. Hi,

    Wow, quilters are such caring people, we look out for one another. So nice!

    I've been a quilter for 28 years but I've got arthritis in my spine & nerve damage from degenerative discs in my neck. Massage, Flexerol, Lyrica & Meloxicam keep me going but lengthly quilting sessions still give me shoulder/back tension & thus pain. Thank you for the saddle stool suggestion, I'm going to look into that.

    I love your Barn Square!


  11. Thank you so much for sharing the Iowa Quilt Museum zoom show with us - I really enjoyed it! HUGS... and stitches

  12. Hi Bonnie,
    I'll be sure to send you a photo when I get the Barn Quilt square humg. Thanks again for the journey through this quilt.
    Kathy Goodman

  13. I just finished watching the video you shared. How lovely to hear all you ladies talking about what gives you so much pleasure. And a great swop from the 2 ladies making a quilt/barn quilt - hopefully will see an up-date on that in the future. Best wishes from a rainy England :)

  14. Thanks for posting the link to the virtual Iowa Quilt Museum visit. I enjoyed seeing the featured quilts and hearing their accompanying stories!

  15. Certainly enjoyed the Iowa Quilt Museum presentation. Thanks, Bonnie, for appreciating our beautifull Michigan water!! We live about an hour from the Straits.....hope to make that one some day!

  16. Hi Bonnie! I just love that photo of the river. Hopefully one day we will see it in it's springtime beauty! I love blue and white quilts as well. Talking about being creative every day. With February being Black History Month, I was showing my teacher a little of the history of some of our favorite quilt blocks and the meanings they had for the slaves on their paths to freedom. He jokingly suggested that I make some of them into a quilt and show the kids. ( I am a special education aide) Little did he know... That will now be my summer project and have it ready for next February! I just love the barn quilt block. That was a sweet idea. Looking for the weekend as well, it's been a long two weeks!! Have a great evening!

  17. I certainly understand the back problems and flares when sewing. After 4 back surgeries I've tried to takes lots of breaks. When I'm at the sewing machine for long periods of time, I really pay for it. I'm thinking that a break or two might help you as well. Since you are not traveling this year, you have been turning out one quilt after another and obviously have been doing what you love, but all that sewing can get to you. I notice you go to a chiropractor and I do as well, but I still have to pace myself. I long for spring so I can get out and take some breaks from the machine. Hope you will too. Loved the Iowa Museum presentation.

  18. Great Iowa Quilt Museum interview!

  19. Love the Iowa Quilt Museum sessions. Wonderful company while working on a pineapple quilt for a community service challenge. Day was warm enough for a walk, brisk but clear sky's. Thanks Bonnie

  20. Bonnie I know you will get a lot o comments on back solutions but may I ask if you have ever tried yin yoga? Yin yoga is a very passive yoga that encourages stretching and balance. It is mostly on the floor so you aren't flying around and changing positions often. I have the same issues you have from sitting. I found two yin yoga channels on You Tube that I love. I do one of them every day - first thing in the morning or right before bed. I also go to the chiropractor, but the yoga between visits keeps my back much more flexible and happier. Happy to give you the names of the YT channels I like if you want. Good luck and take care.

    1. REading all these comments as I too have issues from sitting too long. I would love your YT channels - there are literally hundreds if not thousands, hard to choose. Especially now that we cannot go in person to yoga classes. Thanks for sharing! Barb in New Brunswick, Canada

    2. I checked YT for the yin yoga. Found the Kassandra, will be trying these out because my back/knee has been acting up since I've been sewing more at the machine. Will be looking into the saddle chairs too, Holly Ann recommends them too. Love this Blog and enjoy the pictures and quotes. Thanks!

  21. Bonnie K. Hunter...I hope you get relieve soon. I have had back issues for over twenty five years and have had multiple back surgeries. (Last one 22 years ago)
    One chair I found to work very well is called a Bungie Chair that I got from the Container Store for about $120 It’s a game changer for me and hope it would be for you also. Good luck!

  22. I feel your pain about the weather.... I live in Canada and we can see all types of weather, sometimes in one day. I thought this little ditty might cheer you up on a Friday! https://youtu.be/37nGeXn2K9c

  23. I was going to suggest a saddle stool, but someone beat me to it. It works amazingly well for me. It forces really good posture. I am 75yrs old and have suffered painful lower back problems for years. I've had the stool for more than 2 yrs and sitting is no longer a problem for me. It also has helped with upper back fatigue and discomfort. Don't know it it works for everyone, but I'd say its worth a try.

  24. I bought my saddle chair about 4 years ago along with all of my sew group.
    It was from Massage Warehouse and the brand is Oakworks..mine was the premium short chair. It travels fairly easily also...

  25. Thanks so much for sharing the Iowa Quilt Museum video! It was so interesting. Plus, I was trimming up squares while watching, and it was amazing how many I got done! Thanks for that, too!

  26. Caught the latest IQM episode on the YouTube channel, so fun. This time I am putting it on my calendar for next Tuesday's installment, I was too late this week to catch it live. Just received a spray bottle from them that is awesome- it sprays a very fine mist that doesn't leaves water blobs all over your fabric. Buying their merch online is probably as close as I will get to the museum for the foreseeable future!

  27. Today I think I will gather up the ingredients to make my special luxury soap!

  28. Thank you for sharing the zoom video!


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