Thursday, January 20, 2022

Quick Answers to Quilting Questions!

I've just about completed the hand quilting on 2 borders - keeping my stitching to evenings and weekends.

Being "HOME" for nearly 2 years has given me the time to spend with "big" handwork (as compared to small EPP hexie projects that travel easily) and I am thrilled that hand quilting has taken up much of my evenings through this winter.

There is something so satisfying in the rhythm of the needle as it rocks through the fabrics, leaving stitches in its wake.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Start With Something Scrappy!

I'm closing in on close to 130 completed Churn Dash blocks.

I'm nowhere near done yet, but the variety in each and every one of these keeps me going -

I am continuing to sort through bags of scraps gifted by the daughter of a long time blog reader and scrap quilter after her mother's passing. 

Pressing and cutting, mixing and matching them with my own scraps along the way, I find myself wondering what OTHER projects these fabrics came from.

I have sorted through bags and bags, and there is still more to go (Again, see HERE!) rejoicing when I found a piece just big enough to get the 4 matching small squares around the center, or big enough to get the 4 half-square triangle corners.

These scraps came from so many projects over several decades.  It's a treasure trove of fabrics-gone-by.  Styles, colors, manufacturers - I'm walking a timeline backwards to the beginnings of my own quilting journey.

Little gems - each and every one!

The purple in the as-of-yet-to-be-assembled block is ALL that there was of this piece in those scrap bags.  I love the free flowing dandelions on it - it has me thinking of spring.

What other quilts did this fabric show up in - made by she whose hands are now still?

And then my mind wanders - I'm turning 60 in a few days.  How many more years are ahead in my quilting life until my hands are also still?

Why was turning 50 so freeing and amazing, yet 60 terrifies me?  

I didn't feel old at 50 - but 60 - that's definitely over the hill on the downward slide.

There is still so much fabric to sew up!

And so much lint to clear out!

After so much sewing I knew my trusty 301 needed a spa break.  I had used up the last of the bobbins I had wound previously.  I needed a new needle.  And the machine definitely needed a de-linting session and a good drink of oil in all the right spots.

Have you checked your bobbin area lately?

Cleaned, oiled, needled, reassembled, and a seam test taken so I could replace my seam guide in the right spot and I was good to go.

After many up and down trips with the tractor to clear as much of the drive as possible the van was chained up and slowly driven down and parked at the end of the drive.

Down is one thing - trying to go back up is another.

Until the drive is cleared from all of that ice that was covered with 8'' of snow, I will be leaving the van at the bottom of the drive.

Our drive is about 1/4 mile long, and since getting the tractor we've been able to maintain it well.

It's the best it has ever been - except when it comes to ice/show on top of mud/gravel.

There is nowhere at the bottom to build a second garage - Off to the right side of the photo is a huge ditch with a creek running in it. (Grassy Creek!) The mountain is in the way.  There is no flat spot to be found anywhere.

We are talking about the inconvenience of only a couple of weeks in the winter that parking off mountain is needed.

This is just how we have to do things.

A spreader has been ordered for the tractor, and we'll be picking up truckloads of sand from the quarry for future storms.

Salt is not recommended on dirt - it's good for concrete or asphalt, but not dirt as it just makes things more slippery. Salt is also not good for the native plants that grow here.

The truck has chains.  The tractor has chains.  But it is much easier going down than getting back up and that is all there is to say about it.

Anyway - just for kicks, I recorded us going down in the truck (with chains) so that I could take the van (already at the bottom) to the QPO Studio and check in on things, spend time with Lola, and get a start on the weekend's mail order that came in during this snow event.  Click to Play:

It's a bit hairy at times.  But it's only a couple/few weeks a year.

Today temps should reach into the 40s.  I'll be able to get to the QPO and back and continue to leave the van at the bottom until the ice clears enough for me to drive it to the top once again.

I have Yaktrax for my boots. And spring is only 60 days away!

Those who have lived on mountainsides through all seasons over several years will understand what I'm talking about. Flatlanders may not. I was born in Minnesota and Minnesota knows NOTHING about this kind of mountain living. It's topography. 

Yes, it's a bit of an inconvenience, but the benefits of the rest of the year make up for dealing with any amount of ice or snow that comes our way.

Did you see this release in Saturday's Post?

Quilt Size: 67'' X 75''

The introductory price for Cherry Crunch is marked 25% off in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.  No coupon needed!  Price reduction good through 1/31/22.

And while that is exciting on its own - it's even BETTER if we throw in a Gift-Away, don't you think?

I will be drawing for ONE lucky winner and THEIR FRIEND who will each receive the printable PDF pattern for Cherry Crunch along with a Facets of Red fabric roll from Cotton to Quilts

(Fabric prize must be shipped to a USA address only.  If you are outside of the USA we can ship it to a friend within the USA who can then forward it on to you.)

You gotta be in it to win it!  Click to Saturday's 1/15/22 Post to enter.

And it doesn't end there.  I have placed some OTHER Winter themed patterns ALSO at 25% off with no coupon required!

Forever Mine PDF pattern includes the runner too!

On sale at 25% off through 2/13/22

Warm Hands, Warm Heart & Winter Blues are both 25% off through 1/31/22.

If this is your first time downloading digital patterns from my store to a computer click HERE.

If you intend to download to an iPhone/iPad click HERE.

Time for a bit of breakfast, and then over to the QPO for a busy work day ahead.

What plans do you have for today?

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Mad City Mama quilt from my book Adventures with Leaders & Enders available in the Quiltville Store.

It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.
It's necessary!
Remember, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can assist others around you!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Captive Hand Quilting -

It continued to snow, just lightly, all through yesterday.

The drive has been plowed, and plowed again, but only down to the ice layer that remains.

What else is a girl to do but accept that she can't go anywhere, and she should just stay in and quilt?

I've had questions on the border design I've chosen, and how I am marking things.

Monday, January 17, 2022

MLK Day - Snowed In!

We are snowed in on the mountain, and there is no going anywhere.

And I'm okay with that!

There is plenty of food, the power has stayed on, and I have more fabric that I know what to do with so I'm kind of excited about hanging out for a couple more days until we can get safely down.

Of course, the hubs and tractor are on duty!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Cherry Crunch Gift-Away and MORE!

It's the weekend!

And not just any weekend.  It's a Martin Luther King long holiday weekend here in the US of A, and we are in the midst of preparations for a huge winter storm that is about to dump up to 12 inches of the white stuff on us starting tonight and continuing through Sunday.

As  quilter, one thing I love about winter storms, is the plethora of quilting rulers I see through my social media feed shoved down into the snow to measure snow depths. These are my peeps, and we know how to measure snow.  LOL!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Rhododendron Trail Mystery Part Eight - The Big Reveal!

It's Rhododendron Trail Reveal Day!

The time has come to put it all together - 

We've got just about EVERYTHING ready to lay out, with just some surprise setting triangles to assemble from pieces you've already cut.

And most of all - this is where you get to see that aqua come into play!

Rhododendron Trail has so much going on, it's so fun to look at!

We've got diagonals.  We've got verticals and horizontals. We've got rotation. We've got mirror image.

It's a delight for the eyes!

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Only a Detour!

Pipe replacement has been happening on Grassy Creek Road.

There has been one of those blinking signs warning us that the road was going to be closed starting a couple of weeks ago.

Due to last week's snows, that roadwork didn't happen.

I noticed this week that the dates on the blinking sign, which continued to bear the passed over dates long after those dates were gone, had changed to two days this week.

"Road Closure for Pipe replacement" the sign said. 1/11 - 1/12.  I guess the time had finally come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Running Stitches -

"I cannot count my day complete, 'til needle, thread and fabric meet."

I know that is a little ditty from somewhere.  I have no idea who first coined this phrase, but I certainly can lock elbows with that maker in solidarity when it comes to our shared passion for stitching - no matter what it is.

I'm closing in on the center of my Oak Leaf & Reel quilt - where fans will run into other fans and end where fans end, somewhere in the middle.

The one thing I love about Baptist fan quilting is the sheer unknowingness of which fan is going to end up where.

Did you know that fans are quilted from the outside edge inward to the center of the quilt?

There is a reason this quilt filling pattern was (and still is!) so popular amongst quilting bees.

Imagine if you will - the old fashioned quilting bee, with a quilt top, batting and backing stretched flat out on a wooden frame, chairs placed strategically around the frame -

Fans are marked on each side - the first side going edge to edge across the whole, starting in the bottom right corner and running off the edge of the left corner.  This is Quilter #1.

Working clockwise around the quilt, to the left of Quilter #1 sits Quilter #2 - who has started up where Quilter #1 left off - marking fans all along their side until it runs off the far left edge of that side.

That's right - they just run off the edge. There is no "making it fit" or having things be symmetrical.

While Quilters #1 & #2 are quilting away, Quilter #3 is at the top of the quilt opposite of Quilter #1, and they are busy marking fans along that quilt edge from right to left - starting where Quilter #2's fans ended, and marking all the way from right to left until the fans run off at that last corner to their left.

In comes Quilter #4, marking their fans on the 4th side, starting where Quilter #3 left off - all the way to where Quilter #1 began.

Can you see it in your mind?  

When the first round is completed, there is another inner round worked on top of the first round, moving the stitching toward the inside of the quilt.

The two quilters on the sides (Quilters #2, & #4) can only work as far as their arms will reach toward the inside.

When no one can reach any further, the C clamps are removed and quilters #1 & #3 will roll their boards so they can reach the next area to be quilted.

I have used this method free hand, with no need to mark any lines on several of my projects.  For further explanation, click to my Free Hand Fans tutorial HERE. It's been linked under the Tips & Techniques tab at the top of the blog since 2010!

I'm not quilting on an old fashioned wooden frame. I quilt in a hoop.  This one is 14'' which is pretty much my go-to size.  It fits my arm span for easy lap quilting.

Much like the Free Hand Fans tutorial, as the only person quilting, and quilting from a hoop, not a frame, I first have to baste my quilt layers extremely well.  That's important when quilting from the outside in, or you can push fullness to the center of the quilt - and then where is it going to go?

I use a basting length stitch on my longarm to make the job extra quick.  Basting stitches are removed as I move the hoop from area to area.

Since this quilt was extra fussy (pretty formal) I chose to mark my fans with a stencil and chalk. Because the chalk brushes off as I quilt each area, I am only marking one hoop's worth at a time.

What you see in this photo is the CENTER!  I'm getting close. And  I may finish quilting the center within the next week or so as we have THIS happening this weekend:


Approximately 2 1/2'' of the white stuff expected on Saturday, followed by nearly 12'' more on Sunday.

Remember last year when I had to park down at the bottom of the hill because of all of the ice and snow?

I may be parking my van at the bottom of the hill on Saturday.

And I'm already making a list of everything I'll need here at the cabin studio so I can sew sew sew - 

And I have a movie list planned out so that I can sit with that hand quilting project in my lap while the snow falls outside.

This happened yesterday.

More x-rays were taken of the suspect tooth and surrounding area.  It seems to be holding its own for now, but if it acts up again its going to need a root canal.  Dang.

I have an antibiotics back up prescription should anything happen over the weekend. And I have a referral to an endodontist should we need to go that route.  It's worth it to save this tooth, but my hope is that it was just an odd event that won't recur since we adjusted the bite on that tooth to not be so close.

(Sorry about the medical stuff - but you know? It's a pandemic, Omicron is raging, and going to the dentist is considered to be an "outing" you know? LOL!)

Guilty Pleasures.

Yes, I know it's instant.  And yes, it has a gazillion calories - but it has been SO cold that all I wanted to do was get this into my bloodstream.  It's really not that bad!

Behind the scenes:

I'm pattern writing for Cherry Crunch!

If everything goes right - look for this pattern to be available on Saturday, January 15th! Perfect quilt for Valentine's Day Scrap Happiness! Get your strings ready - no matter which color you envision your version of Cherry Crunch to be.  I can't wait to see what you make!

And yes - there will be an introductory price.  And yes, there will be a Fabric Roll Gift-Away with Cotton to Quilts!  And a couple of other exciting things up my sleeve to go with it.

I hope to finish up the pattern writing part today (along with some photography while the sun shines) and then jump right in to writing Rhododendron Trail Part Eight, so it's going to be a desk day in the studio for me.

How about things where you are?  Are you closing in on some quilting finishes of your own?

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

I LOVE the hand quilting on this one!

Looking for the one positive thing in any situation can help push you through to the bright side with valuable lessons learned.
Don't sit on the cactus!
Another life lesson - though parts of us may be worn through (like this quilt) we are still exceptionally beautiful on the inside!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday, everyone -


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Hijacked Monday (Frozen Pipes Happen!)

I'm going to start this post with something quilty -

Because it goes downhill from there.  LOL!

This lovely pile of little Churn Dashes (Or Monkey Wrenches or Holes In The Barn Doors) is the cumulative effort of the past several days starting before the weekend and continuing on through yesterday as situations beyond my control completely threw my Monday plans under the bus -

Or should I say - Threw A Monkey Wrench into it?

Monday, January 10, 2022

Stay In And Sew.

Another Monday.  Another week ahead!

And another weekend behind.

I've been kitting up and sewing blocks and I love how various aspects of my Scrap User's System come into play. -

See that box of squares?  I'm pulling from this box for the centers of my Churn Dash blocks. Already trimmed to size and stored in plastic shoe boxes, I am pulling from these ready-cut squares in different sizes all of the time for this job or that one.  

It's the VARIETY in these boxes that makes these pieces so fun to play with.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Crazie Mazie - Where We Last Left Off!

This was Thursday at the QPO Studio.

The day of the "Wintery Mix Event!" that had schools closing at half-day, making traffic insane (in this one stoplight town of Independence, Virginia) as lines of parent-driven cars and school busses vied to get out on the road and headed home - 

Right when I was thinking it would be a good idea to stock up on a few things from the newly reopened Food City - a gloriously new building so very much needed in this small rural community.

Only it was packed.  it was INSANE.

And there was rarely a mask in sight.  

Friday, January 07, 2022

Rhododendron Trail Mystery, Part Seven!

Happy New Year, Quiltvillians!

We are a week into 2022, and I hope it is unfolding with happy creativity for you!

Our weirdly warm weather has turned quite cold here in Southwestern Virginia with our first week of 2022 giving us our expected January snows.

As long as I don't have to be out in it, I'm perfectly happy to leave the weather outside while I throw yummy things into the crock pot to cook all day so I can spend the day at the sewing machine playing with my fabrics.

I have heard from so many of you, excited that we started in on block assembly with Rhododendron Trail Part Six.  The block photos I have seen are wonderfully awe inspiring, and I especially love seeing all of the different colorways you are making your own quilts.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Quilting at the QPO!

This was my view yesterday afternoon!

It took that long to really get going on this.

There was mail order to take care of, graphics to get drawn for tomorrow's Rhododendron Trail Part Seven release (Are you ready?) and other normal "another day in the office" kind of activities before I could really settle in to making some progress on Crazie Mazie.

There was a backing to piece.  And there was a quilting design to decide on.

And what about thread color?