My brother and his family lives on the East coast, my mom and I both live on the West coast. Subsequently, we don’t get together very often, but this year we made a special effort t get together for a family vacation, during the kids’ Spring Break.
It was fun to get together and see the changes in the kids. After all, it’s been at least 3 years since I’ve seen them and they now range in age from 10 to almost 13. Family dynamics can always prove interesting, especially when everyone has strong personalities and stronger opinions, but we managed to compromise and everyone got to do something they enjoyed. 🙂
First on the list was a visit to the Liberty Bell. I’ve wanted to see it since I was in 6th grade, during the bicentennial, and it brought me to tears.
We were able to visit the Hershey
and Synder-of-Hanover factories, where industry of the nation was demonstrated, and where my engineer brother was able to better explain some of the technologies that impacts his daily life.
My mom has always wanted to visit Gettysburg, and we spent one afternoon at the museum, cylorama, and battlefield.
Since I’m the only quilter in the family, I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to visit any quilt shops; unthinkable for most quilters visiting Amish country! So, when my sister-in-law suggested that I put together a list of places to visit so we could fit something in, I was delighted!
Fortunately, I’d met a quilter in the Denver airport, Carole, from Quilts By Carole. Since Carole is familiar with the area, she later texted me some suggestions for places to visit, and once again I wished I could have convinced my family to make this a quilting vacation! I had a great time talking with her and and found out we had a lot in common. She offered me a bottle of water and shared that she is also an ABM Innova owner with her own quilting business, the same passion for technology and quilts, and even has the same cell phone! We simply didn’t have more time to find out what else we had in common!
There were so many places I would have loved to go, but with only one day allotted for such activities, and lots of distance to cover, I was lucky that my mom agreed to one quilt shop stop, in addition to our Amish community stop. We went on an Amish buggy ride, visited an Amish dairy farm, and found Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop where we had the best caramel rolls I’ve had in the longest time; they reminded me of the ones my mom used to make when I was a kid.
We traveled about the Pennsylvania countryside and Mom got to see the farms and scenery along the back roads, always a favorite activity of hers. Eventually we found Burkholder’s Fabrics in Denver, PA, which houses approximately 33,000 bolts of fabric….with only 40 minutes before closing time!
I met the owner who explained how the fabric was organized in each of the three rooms and started browsing. Keeping in mind my objective to finish some works in progress, I purchased a fat quarter bundle in various shades of blue that was half off so I could increase the size of the blue rail fence quilt I’m making; if not the size, at least there will be greater variety! I completed my transaction 1 minute before closing; it was probably a good thing I only had 40 minutes!
Getting together with family has definitely helped me get my mind off the stress of work, home chores, and unfinished quilts. I’m eager to get back home, see my husband, “the quilt guardians” and to start quilting tomorrow, working on customer quilts, with periodic breaks moving loads of laundry from washer to dryer.
Have you ever traveled with a family of seven??
My beloved Rosie passed away this week. She would have been 14 years old in October.
We took a trip to Montana for my 30th high school reunion in August and took the dogs with us. Rosie didn’t react well while traveling, so we took her to the vet in Helena, where she was diagnosed with stage 5 lymphoma. We decided to put her on prednisone to try to make her more comfortable in the time she had left.
Rosie liked to come up to the quilting room and lie at the top of the stairs, making sure that all who entered there had to pass inspection.
She was quite the character. She knew how to get something she wanted by using her “I’m a cute puppy” look.
She could also look at my husband with one adoring eye, and give me the stink eye out of the other…all at the same time! It was quite comical!
Rosie didn’t mind bath time, but she’d just as soon it didn’t drag out, either.
Rosie always kept us company no matter where we were in the house, and she is greatly missed.
The time since MQX West has just flown by!
While I haven’t decided on a specific design yet for my wholecloth quilt, I have completed two customer quilts.
I’ll be working on finishing a third one today.
My brother flew from New Hampshire to Montana to visit my mother the weekend before Thanksgiving, so I decided to join them. We made our own Thanksgiving dinner early, each of us choosing something for the menu that we wanted to include that we loved from holidays past. It was a very nice dinner and I even made turkey noodle soup out of the leftover carcass.
We also went to the Cat-Griz game, where the highly favored Cats got trounced. This is a big deal since my brother is a Montana State University alum, and my mother is a University of Montana graduate. I wore my neutral Bronco orange and blue stadium coat and cheered for both teams. I went to MSU for a year and would have liked to see them win, but it was dang cold and I just needed to keep warm so cheering for both teams was the best way to do that!
When I got home I spent a lot of time with my husband, including getting the carpets cleaned and going out for breakfast. Two of the dogs got groomed, and Gizmo got his first dental. Poor guy, he’s down to 11.5 pounds and needed some pain medication that evening. I’m happy to report he’s doing much better now and has even submitted to being brushed without too much fuss. The vet said to start feeding him some wet food to try to get some weight on him and I think it’s already starting to work.
We were also fortunate to have friends over the day after Thanksgiving who showed me how to make authentic Malaysian curried chicken. It was delicious and now I’m interested in finding more Malaysian recipes!
Of course, all of this running around means I haven’t been in the quilting room much. Before I left I started straightening up and working on getting the batting rolls hung under the longarm. I still need to complete that project to my satisfaction, but at least I was able to start on my customer quilt before I left.
While working on my customer’s quilt yesterday, I realized I am running out of backing, one row away from finishing! And this is a huge back! I know I measured and fussed with it a lot beforehand to make sure this wouldn’t happen. I have a TON of extra backing on the sides, but the back is about square, too, so I think what happened is that I wasn’t skimpy with where I started the quilt at the top. Of course, it’s a king sized quilt, and I’m not about to unroll it just to find that out, at this point!
I basted down the middle of the border to stabilize it, and I’m going to have to find some fabric to secure to the rest of the backing so I can attach it to the leader and finish this row. This isn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my Sunday morning!
While I’ve gotten a lot done during this time off, there are still items on the list. I supposed that’s the way it will always be, as long as we are living life. The trick, I think, is to make the quilts you really want to make a priority, not just the obligatory or “easy” quilts. It’s in the doing that we achieve that satisfaction and increase our skills. The love always shows.
I stayed up way too late last night trying to get a block done for a comfort quilt. Of course, I’m not making just one block, I have to do some production piecing! Now I’m wondering what I’ll do with the extra blocks! Hmmm… Anyway, I’ve got to pick one more strip of fabric to add to it and then I’ll post the finished block. It’s really cute!
Part of what took so long is that I’m also making this into a tutorial so I can post it on my website as a free download. I’m inspired by people like Bonnie Hunter and Mary from MaryQuilts.com, they do such wonderful work and are so giving with their patterns, talent, and time.
I took today off work to get some chores done, but the Quilt Guardians need a walk first. So, on with my day!
This is the quilt that I was working on last week. I’m really glad I went with the Variety panto on it, instead of Brocade! Anne Bright converted the digital patterns for me to paper, since I don’t have a computerized system. Wasn’t that nice of her?
I’ve decided, though, to turn it into a showcase quilt and do a few rows of several pantos so I can show customers how they will look stitched out, and then I won’t run into this problem again. Now I just need to decide if I want to use my Winline bamboo batting that I’m dying to use, or go with a cotton poly, something that would probably be used more often by my customers. Such dilemmas, eh?
I probably won’t get to it in the next couple of weeks, though, because I am going to MQX West! I’m lucky to have family in the Portland area, so I’ll be staying with them and it just turns out that my uncle will be turning 70 at the end of that week! They are going to have a family reunion of sorts, so I need to get a different project done to take with me. Better get sewing!
It’s the first time I’ve done this background fill on more than a 12″ block and it’s the first time I’ve used the non-stitch regulated mode on my machine. I want to say it’s an Irena Blum design, but I really can’t remember where I saw it first.
I’m practicing it because I’m going to put this design on a baby quilt that is just darling, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, or how to manage the size and density (that’s still a bit of a challenge), but I really like it!
I still need to post photos of the past couple of customer quilts, but have run out of time this weekend. We got a new-to-us “puppy”, Hunter, a 4 year old Shih Tzu to join the Quilt Guardian team. So, he is a Quilt-Guardian-in-Training!