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Monday, October 31, 2022

Chilhowie - A Quiltville Mystery! (Introduction!)


Happy Halloween, Quiltvillians and Friends!

It's that time of year we've all be anxiously waiting for -

No, not Halloween! (though I admit I have stashed a bit of Halloween Candy in the QPO studio for times when I need a sugar rush -) 

Our yearly Quiltville Winter Mystery begins in earnest with Part One going live on Black Friday, 11/25/22.

This post has all of the info you need to be ready.

If you’ve followed along with our many past Quiltville Mysteries, you’ll already have a good handle of what happens.  I’m glad to have you back sewing with me again!

If you are one of the many, many new ones who are joining in from the land of Instagram
Facebook and beyond, I want to welcome you.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

It Was Only Friday!


What was up with yesterday?

All day long I kept thinking it was Saturday, but nope.  Only Friday!

I think it's because I am crunching on getting everything ready for the introductory post for this year's Quiltville Winter Mystery to go love this coming Monday which also happens to be Halloween.

Maybe that's it?  That I am catching the Mystery Fever rampantly flowing through social media, especially my own Quiltville's Open Studio group on Facebook?

Oh - the fervor is mounting. And that brings on SO much pressure! (And excitement too.)

Also exciting - Open Studio now has over 95,000 members - so much boundless creativity flowing in that space.

At any rate - this was my view as I sat in the stand still of a morning Appalachian Traffic Jam with Quiltville Inn in plain sight - but couldn't get there because they were working on the road and down to one lane with pilot cars ahead.

So close and yet so far!

Friday, October 28, 2022

And When October Goes...


First Things First - 

This top is DONE DONE DONE!

I have had a blast making it, and I love the freedom we have as quilters to take elements and move them around to suit our own vision for any given project.

This has always been the case in any class I've taught, any of the many mysteries I've presented over the years.  

Take your parts and run with them - I LOVE to see what other folks do with my designs.

They are simply a recipe, a springboard and an idea to get you started.  You take it from there - and go where you want to go with it!

And this is where my vision lead me.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Nov/Dec '22 Quiltmaker Gift-Away!


Good Thursday Morning, Quiltvillians!

Did the power go out yesterday?  Yes, it did.

Did we have it all under control?  Well, yes!

And it's always good to have a test run to be sure that things are working the way they should.

The weird thing was that we were told it would be from 8am - 5pm. but the power didn't actually go out kicking on the Generac until 12:30pm.

Then the question became - will they finish before retreaters start arriving?  YES! 

So it was a good thing that I set up inside the Quilting Quarters at Quiltville Inn to work instead of trying to get a quilt machine quilted on the long arm next door when the power went out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

From Where Lola Sits Watching -


Lola knew my mood yesterday.

It changed in a heartbeat.

Not right off - but as soon as I set in to start machine quilting on that log cabin quilt - 

Oh, it takes so much longer to take OUT stitches than it does to put them in!

And I was in a quandary - do I STAND there and try to reach and unstitch, or unload the quilt from the machine and sit in my comfy chair with my feet up and something on the TV to distract me while I told myself to "Just Breathe!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October Sunshine and Scrappy Sisters!


You'd never guess we'd even HAD temps below freezing earlier in the week with the jacket-less bliss in this photo!

We need to soak up these rays, baby - because it can't last for long!

It was a beautiful weekend and I'm so glad I got to spend it with Pam's Scrappy Sisters as they retreated away at Quiltville Inn.

The camaraderie just swooped me right in and as they talked about future stitching events in their own corner of Tennessee, I wished I could join in too!

I love it when a group makes me feel like one of the girls. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Scrappy Sisters Seeing Stars!


These gals were sewing string star units from dawn to dusk and beyond - all weekend long!

Did the scraps go down in volume?  Of course not!  There are always more scraps where these came from - I haven't been able to figure it out yet, but there you have it.

And I LOVE the attempt of sewing them down..even though I know it's a losing battle! (Which is really a WIN, right?)

I took a little trip on Friday afternoon to get Ivy her last shot, and while I was out and about, the quilters hit up the local quilt shops in search of more background fabric options.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Santa Fe String Star, Day Two!


If "Diamonds are a girl's best friend!" then diamonds should be a quilty girl's best friend too!

And we are having an awesome time stitching up string pieced diamonds, and then joining those diamonds into large diamonds that become the 8 pointed star in the center of this quilt.

There is a whole lot of piecing that has to happen just to get one big diamond made - and to inset a side triangle or corner square we need at least TWO big diamonds constructed.

My goal for this workshop was to have everyone have at least two of the big diamonds made so they could get some experience with Y seams - which is not as scary as it looks.

The pattern for Santa Fe String Star is found in my book String Fling.

Here are some progress photos for yesterday's workshop time.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Creativity is Messy! Embrace it!


Say hello to Pam's Scrappy Sisters on retreat at Quiltville Inn!

And this isn't just ANY retreat - they've been plotting and planning since this time last year on making my Santa Fe String Star from my book String Fling. (I shared a photo of it hanging in the foyer in yesterday's post if you missed it.)

There is much string piecing of diamonds going on - and you should SEE the scraps that are overflowing at every workstation.

It's GLORIOUS!

And even better....Pam thought far enough ahead to have acrylic trimming templates made for trimming all of the string pieced diamonds to shape.  What a time saver!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

When Circuit Boards Go Pop


Well yeah.  That's not good!

Not good at all!

I thought I had the day by the horns - ready to show it who was boss.

The quilting machine had other ideas evidently -

Because no sooner had I "mostly" loaded the backing and top of the wonky log cabin quilt on to the rollers and was in the process of basting the batting down to the backing fabric that the machine went haywire and I smelled smoke.

Well, dang!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Well, THAT was Quick!


When did I start making these? Does anyone remember? Less than a month ago I believe.

I have a wonky log cabin quilt hanging in bedroom 3 at Quiltville Inn over one of the beds.

It's a mess of scrappy everything and I loved making it.

I've made several Courthouse Steps quilts in wonky fashion - and I've started another of the half light/half dark wonky logs from strings, but it languished and is in a bin somewhere.

So tell me why, instead of getting bored working on this one I could push it through like nobody's business?

The whole premise was to sew down the bin of recycled shirt strings.  You know those pieces left behind from cutting down shirts for use in quiltmaking.

Collars, cuffs, pockets, plackets and even pieces torn along the hem to get the shirt back or fronts on grain. 

The forgotten bits.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Waiting For the Wind to Stop!


Saturday was a Mary Poppins Day.

The kind of day where Mary would undoubtedly say "I feel a change coming" Grab up her enormous bag of everything, point her umbrella skyward and lift off to who knows where.

It was THAT kind of windy.

Windy enough to blow all of the porch stuff off the back porch tables...salt and pepper shakers rolling while paper napkins took flight.

"Let's wait it out and see if the wind doesn't calm by evening..." was said with hope in our voices.

We wanted to get these photos taken over the porch rail - we were just waiting for the wind to go away.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Bristol Gift-Away!


Happy Monday, Quiltvillians!

Aren't you glad you live in a world where there are Octobers? We have had an absolutely glorious weekend weather wise, and last night's gentle rain was just what I needed for the best night's sleep ever.

I woke up raring to go to get Bristol ready to go!

I had the best time making this quilt - oh the shirt scraps that went into it!  

My bins of recycled shirt parts are definitely feeling a bit lighter - but there are still more plaid quilts to come as quilting with plaids and strips and small prints just feels like AUTUMN doesn't it?

I love how how cozy a quilt feels when we throw in some plaids!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Taking Time To Play!


You guys!

The green log cabin blocks are DONE!  At least I think so.  Unless the layout I have in my mind doesn't work, or needs more to balance things.

That means I've now got reds, blues, browns and greens in the done pile -

All that remains is purple!

And since I finished the pattern writing and PDF-ing for Monday's Bristol pattern release - I can actually PLAY this weekend.

I'm so excited.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Well, Isn't THAT a Pretty Sight!


I had a couple of visitors yesterday afternoon!

Jeani is part of the March Quiltvillians and stopped by to show me her quilts and get an over the porch rail shot!

I just love her En Provence in blue - in fact it won a blue ribbon in a recent show!  Contracts, Jeani!

She also made a scaled down version of  Rhododendron Trail, a great lap size.

But of course, the best of all was her supportive hubby who didn't mind driving a bit out of the way to encourage his wife in doing all that she loves.

What's that saying?

Oh yeah - Happy Wife, Happy Life! That's about right!

Thanks for stopping by, Jeani - it was great seeing you again and I look forward to seeing you in March!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Random Quick Time Outs & Goings On -


This is the field of white pumpkins ready for harvest just down the road from Quiltville Inn.

I have driven past this field several times a week watching them sprout from seed to seedling to vining plants of bushy green- always in the driver's seat.

Tuesday morning in between wash loads, friend Martha stopped by and kidnapped me for a quick run before the spin cycle ran out just "for a coffee and something sweet" at our little Corner Market, about 4 miles from the inn.

This put me in the passenger seat on the same side as the pumpkin field!

Even better (or slightly worse)  They are getting ready to repave this 4 mile stretch of road and they had everything down to one lane with a pilot vehicle so there was some stand-still happening.

The spin cycle can just end and sit a bit longer - we had some chatting to do, and I could snap a couple of shot-gun seat photos.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Oh, Those Sewciologists!


We had not just one - but FIVE Straits of Mackinac finishes over the porch rail this past weekend!

FIVE!

Here we are capturing a bit of afternoon sun (and shadow) on this glorious Sunday afternoon.

Of all the quilts from my book String Frenzy, this quilt is undoubtedly my favorite - and the one I tore my hair out most over.  But it was so worth it!

I was excited to see them all side-by-side for our photo op on this gorgeous October day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Epic Starts and Fine Finishes!


I wish you could have heard the cheering when Jacquie (And I've probably spelled that wrong!) put that last seam into her Straits of Mackinac quilt top.

I love this quilt so much - her fabrics are fabulous and I KNOW just how much time goes into piecing something like this.  Well done! 

The pattern is from my book String Frenzy and is a perfect example of everything I love about scrap quilting - including strings!

And hers wasn't the ONLY Straits of Mackinac quilt shared during retreat.  There are more in tomorrow's upcoming post where there are several over the rail!

Monday, October 10, 2022

A Saturday Out And About!


While some of the ladies from Irene's Sewciologists made plans to either hit up Batiks Etc in Wytheville, others loaded up and headed out to beautiful downtown Galax, VA to visit the newly opened Quilts On Main!

YES!  We have another quilt shop for quilters to visit on this side of the Virginia border, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

I wish the owners all of the luck in the world - this area has been severely starving when it comes to quilt shops.  Without Batiks Etc - Wytheville only has Walmart.  Without Quilts on Main, Galax only previously had Walmart and Hobby Lobby.

The ability to support small individually owned businesses and see quilt shops thrive is something I am really excited about.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Quilts on Main!

And what did I get up to while the quilters went hither and yon?

Saturday, October 08, 2022

From Design Walls to Drawing Boards!


Don't Irene's Scrap Crystals Blocks just look like Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice?

I LOVE this color way!

I also love seasonal sewing - but the crazy thing is I can't see myself or make myself sew Christmas things in July - or July things in December.  

I need to be sewing them DURING the right season, as part of the feeling and excitement of that season, not sewing them far ahead of time.

For me that usually means I am working on Christmas things starting in November, or Patriotic Stuff in May.  And then it becomes a UFO - and I may be sewing on that UFO during several of the "right" holiday times.

I guess I'm not like the big retail stores - I can't do Christmas in September (Or or sometimes AUGUST!)

Friday, October 07, 2022

Hanging with The Sewciologists!


This is the kind of activity you will find at Quiltville Inn this week.

Every station is busy, projects are being started, finished and some even simply needing a binding finish with feet up in a comfy chair in the Hen Den - 

Or even out on the porch as yesterday was a wonderful 70 degrees with barely a breeze.

In fact, I think it is likely the last "dinner on the porch" event for the year as temps look like they are going to go steadily down hill after this weekend is past.

It's okay!  We'll take it!

I had a wonderful time visiting with everyone and making the rounds from table to table.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Pumpkin Harvest On A Roll!


There is a stop sign at the end of Grassy Creek Road where the road crosses Highway 16.

My side of Grassy Creek is in Virginia, but if you cross the road and head up the hill you find yourself in Grassy Creek, North Carolina.

It gets a bit confusing sometimes.

Conversations also go "Virginia Side or North Carolina Side?" Just to get our bearings.

At the junction of Grassy Creek Road and Highway 16 sits the Stateline Outpost and Grub, known by locals as just "Stateline."  or "Stateline Store."  Because in today's busy world it is important to save all extra unnecessary syllables for when they are truly needed.  

As I waited for highway traffic to clear I noticed there was a bit of parking lot Tetris being played by a couple of trucks and overloaded trailers and nowhere to pull in.

And the largest one of all was LOADED with pumpkins and dried corn stalks - Harvest is in full swing, y'all!

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Getting Out & About!


I had a 5pm appointment for a Covid booster and Flu shot on Monday.

And I knew that if I got the inn laundry "Mostly" taken care of (Down to the last load in the washer) that I could skedaddle to town a bit early and take a quick peruse at the antique mall before they closed and then head on over for my appointment at CVS.

When we go to town - we do ALL the things.

For my vintage sewing machine lovers - have you ever seen a SINGER machine with a leaf tensioner?

I find this so odd! Everything I have seen does not show a leaf tensioner (the three pronged thing at the top with the thread plates fastened by the tensioner screw) at all in the Singer brand line up.

Is this a case of brand misappropriation?

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Shippenstitchers Parade of Quilts!


It was a gloomy post-hurricane rain kind of Sunday. 

We had waited out the weather hoping to give everyone a chance to either finish their quilt top, or get blocks to a point where they could be shared over the rail -

All the while hoping the sky would not open once again and rain on our parade.

It was dicey!  

The wind was intermittent, and came in gusts.  One second the quilts were behaving, and the next they were fluttering barely controlled in the breeze.

We decided to just go with it and call those fluttery photos "Action shots!"

Monday, October 03, 2022

All On A Saturday -


Weekends are made for brunching!  And one of the side benefits (and demise of my diet!) is being invited to join in at meal time.

There is something special about sitting around a big dining room table surrounded by quilters and being made to feel part of their group.

All of the chatter - talking over this and that and everything, getting to know the ladies one by one (especially the new ones!) and reconnecting with those I haven't seen since last year this time, it is just wonderful!

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel that there is still good in the world.  That no matter what happens, we've got each other's back.  

Pass the biscuits, please!

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Welcoming October In!


Check out this incredible English Paper Piecing!

I absolutely adore this line of Tula Pink fabrics used in this way, and how studying the complexity of this little quilt top put everything back to right - it centered me - after a very stomach-tied-in-knots kind of day.

Yes, it was one of those.

It all started when the Hubster left to go have his pickup worked on, and after dropping it off at the fix-it place headed out with Don and Martha to Martha's mom's place to get the hay covered before our post-hurricane Ian rain started in earnest.

If you are a farmer or have horses or livestock, you know that bales of unprotected hay is money down the drain.  They were on a mission.