Monday, August 18, 2008

Slowing down, but still accomplishing things

Today was such a marvelous cool day, with several marvelous periods of rain. I was awakened by thunder, which continued off and on throughout the morning. As I sit here this evening I can hear the rain pattering on the rhododendrons outside the open window. How wonderful to have said goodbye to that intolerable heat!

I didn't get into the longarm room at all today, so no more tops were quilted. I have three more set out, but must make a back for each of them before they can have their turn with Gandalf. That's on my list of things to do tomorrow. I also must finish laundry, buy some groceries, and straighten up the house. I've really been neglecting everything else while I've been running the UFO finish marathon.

Today I bound and labeled the two items I quilted yesterday. I believe this brings my total to eight finished quilts in just over eight days. I couldn't be happier with that accomplishment.

The first is called "The Case of the New Jersey Triangle", and was a mystery quilt done by my Tangled Threads group - in 1995! Mine remained an unfinished top until last fall. It's a quilt like many I made years and years ago from a focus fabric and a few other complimentary fabrics. The focus fabric is a Hoffman floral - I bought many yards of those in my early days as a quilter. I've given away some of what I never used, and the rest of it is waiting to be made into quilt backs. I've moved so far away from this kind of quilt that they strike me as really rather boring. This one will be given to Cher - along with the Double Irish Chain I finished in June - for Wrap Them In Love. I'm so glad someone else will be able to use them.

The second quilt includes the blocks from the churn dash exchange I mentioned yesterday. Note the alternate stepping stone blocks. They are the same block as is in yesterday's quilt, but made with medium-toned only slightly contrasting fabrics. These blocks allow the churn dash blocks to take the staring role - unlike the stepping stone blocks in yesterday's quilt which totally overwhelmed the churn dashes.

I want to give a public thank you to my DH, whose hairy legs can be seen below most of the quilts I've pictured in the last few days. He is a most tolerant and patient quilt holder. Tonight he commented that I must be close to running out of UFO's. A pleasant thought, but very far from the truth!

1. Cool breezes blowing in through the window
2. Raindrops to sing me a lullaby tonight
3. Increasing energy as I continue to lose weight
4. A new quilt book to peruse - Better Homes and Gardens "Quilt Pink for Hope

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm still at it . . .

Today I stitched labels and bindings on the other two quilts I showed in the picture a couple days ago. I also finished quilting two additional quilts. I hope to bind those two tomorrow.

The first quilt is Carolina Crossroads. It just barely qualifies as a UFO, as it was started last December. This is the first quilt of Bonnie's that I've done - I just love it!

This "Stepping Stones" quilt is a happy accident. I pieced these scrappy blocks to use as alternate blocks with churn dash blocks I received in a swap. When I finished them I put them up on the design wall with the churn dashes, and these blocks just took over. The entire thing was so busy that the churn dashes just faded into the background. So I made the alternate blocks all over again - not scrappy this time (that quilt is one of the quilts I quilted today). I cut plain alternate squares for these blocks and this is the result. I really love this quilt!

I've also decided that I'm madly in love with this pantograph, "Chestnut Swirls". I used it for the first time on the long cabin quilt I showed yesterday, on this Stepping Stones quilt, and one of the quilts I quilted today. It is most definitely my new favorite pantograph!

1. Our hot weather has gone - at least for this week
2. A safe trip to the beach for Joseph and his parents
3. A caring husband who may not understand my love for quilting, but accepts it unconditionally
4. No more pain in my knees!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two more bite the dust

In spite of the stifling heat I managed to hand stitch the bindings and labels on two quilts. Hip, hip hooray! (I'm really not at all excited about finishing these UFO's LOL!)

This scrappy log cabin was pieced for a class sample in 1993. At that time reproduction fabrics were very few and hard to find, but that was the look I was going for. Now that we have amazing riches when it comes to reproduction fabrics I realize I didn't hit the mark with this one all that well. Nevertheless, I love how it turned out and love the quilt. This will be part of my seasonal decorating sometime - not sure for what season however LOL! I'm guessing next summer.

This quilt is the result of an "Ugly Fabric Challenge" with my PINS pals (online group that retreats together twice a year). I was thrilled with the ugly fabric I drew from the bag - I didn't think it was ugly at all! In fact, I'd already purchased a piece - which I've since used in a Civil War Diaries block. My "ugly fabric forms the background in the top center block and the third block down on the right. I finished the top in time for the challenge revelation - 2004. Now it is finally finished and can become part of my fall decor. This design is by Terry Atkinson from her book Nine Patch Reunion. It's a great pattern, and very quick to piece.

I'm creeping closer and closer to my goal of having less than 20 unquilted flimsies by the end of the year. Of course the only catch is this - if I actually reach my other goal of having less than 10 unfinished tops by the end of the year I will be creating a bunch more flimsies that need quilting!

More UFO progress

Here are four more quilts needing only hand stitching on the binding and labels. I have another half loaded onto the longarm, and several more waiting in the wings. I just can't describe the marvelous way I'm feeling about finishing so many quilts. It's like a drug . . . as soon as one comes off the longarm I want to load another one.

Unfortunately we've been having a spell of recording breaking hot weather. The longarm room is the only room with an air conditioner - a little portable that sits on the floor and has a slinky-like tube that runs to the window. It keeps the room cool until about noon or 1:00 when the sun moves to that side of the house. By then the heat is just too much for the little air conditioner, so I turn it off, open the window and head downstairs. The upstairs temperature reaches in the mid-90's while the downstairs temperature is in the low to mid-80's. So I've been quilting in the mornings - and machine sewing bindings since the Pfaff with walking foot is up in the longarm room, and then doing other quilty related sewing downstairs in the afternoon and evening. We are supposed to cool off by Monday - thank goodness!

I imagine at least one or two of these will be finished by the end of the evening - I'll post pictures as each is completed.

1. Fresh peaches, strawberries, cantalope and grapes - yum!
2. Subway salads - LOW in points and great on hot days

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whee! I'm on a roll now . . . .

I finished quilting my second Burgoyne Surrounded - also pieced in 1992 - on Monday. Yesterday and today I sewed on the binding and the label. This blue and white version is a little bigger than the red one because of the pieced border. I love how the border turned out but I remember it being a BEAR to get all the piecing correct. Both of these were done from an old, old Trudie Hughes book called "Even More Template Free Quiltmaking". I've since given the book away, but I think it was published in the very late 1980's. I quilted this with a Jodi Beamish pantograph called "Waterworld" using a pastel variegated King Tut thread. I love how it turned out!

This morning I also quilted Carolina Crossroads. I have the binding strips cut. I hope to show you another finished quilt tomorrow. Tonight we are spending the evening with Joseph and the kids.

Did you hear me cheering for joy this morning about 7:45 a.m. PDT? According to my weight watchers weigh-in I lost another 5 pounds this past week. That makes for a total of 12.5 pounds - over 25% of my way to goal. I really think I'm going to be able to do this!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quilting report

It felt like I'd not touched my sewing machines in about forever, so I promised myself I could focus on quilting Friday through today. And that is exactly what I did! I've accomplished a great deal, and I'm still not finished.

The first thing I did was make several dozen tiny 3" nine patches from reproduction prints and Kona Bone. I'm exchanging blocks with my online friend Kathie and I needed to make both July's and August's blocks. This occupied me most of Friday. Friday evening I continued big stitching Somebody's Home.
Saturday saw me finishing up the nine patches. When Fred returned from golf and reminded me that the Olympics were on I headed upstairs to Gandalf's room to load a quilt while I watched. Much to my surprise I not only got the quilt loaded, but I also got it quilted. Yesterday I made the binding and label and finished the quilt. It's a red and white Burgoyne Surrounded, lap size. I pieced this in 1992 as part of my demo during a beginning class I was teaching on strip piecing. The backing is pieced from two novelty prints - I have NO idea why I thought I needed to purchase so much of each of these fabrics! They are both bright prints on black - one is balloons and the other is giraffes. For some reason they look very washed out in this picture. It sure feels good to get this OLD ufo finished!

I loaded a second quilt onto the machine ready to quilt during the next Olympic broadcast. When it got too hot upstairs I came down to my sewing room and prepared the backs for six more quilts! I was really on a roll! I've decided I just want to get these finished, so I'm going to settle for doing pantographs on all of them. Besides, I need some practice doing pantographs.

Today I quilted the second quilt and made and attached the binding. This evening I'll do the hand stitching. When it's finished I'll post a picture of it also.

After my Joseph day tomorrow I'm back to focusing on UFO's I hope to have five more quilts finished by this time next week!

English Tea

One of the fun reasons to visit Pomeroy Farm is to partake of the delightful English tea that is served daily on the second floor about the gift shop. The menu changes every month so one is always treated to something new. Tea is served three times a day - 11:30, 1:00 and 2:30. Since Kim and I were attending the quilt show we decided to also treat ourselves to tea.
The highlight of this tea was a chilled strawberry soup - yum ! Plus scones - of course! - finger sandwiches of three kinds and three tiny dessert treats. Plus a pot of the tea of our choice. I made sure to save all my extra Weight Watchers points for this outing so I could enjoy every bite!

Pomeroy Quilt Show

On Saturday August 2nd my friend Kim and I went to the outdoor quilt show at the Pomeroy Living History Farm a bit north of here. This is the first time I've ever gone - we always seemed to be camping on the first weekend in August until this year. There are both old and new quilts on display, including the quilts from the farm's collection. The theme this year was "Butterflies in the Garden", so of course there were lots of butterfly quilts - mostly from the 30's. During the Depression the butterfly became the symbol of hope and new life. Quilters used scraps of fabric, often taking them from the floors of textile mills, to fashion their butterflies. They then stitched them onto blankets and quilts, frequently using a buttonhole stitch. This was a way for people to help keep their faith, hoping and waiting for better days to come.

The speaker was Karen Snyder, owner of Anna Lena's Quilts in Long Beach, Washington, author of several quilt books and designer of several lines of fabrics including Washtub Prints, reproductions of 30's fabrics. Unfortunately Kim and I didn't get to hear the talk - it conflicted with our tea reservations - but we spent some time talking to Karen and seeing some of the quilts.

I can't possibly show all the quilts here, so I'll focus on the antiques for the most part:
From the farm collection. I love the pink and brown combination and the simplicity.

From reproduction fabrics by Juanita Wells, a member of Clark County Quilters. Her ten year old granddaughter embroidered two of the butterflies - her first embroidery.

A row quilt by Juanita Wells. From an online block exchange. Juanita did the row with Overall Bill.

An Ebay purchase by Karen Snyder.

"All Hugs, No Kisses". Made by the grandmother of Charlotte Sappington, owned by Cheri Drudge.

A funky quilt owned by Cheri Drudge. Bought in Hermosa Beach CA from an elderly woman who was cleaning out her house. It was handmade by the woman's grandmother in Ohio.

Made by Maureen Orr Eldred, quilted by Janice Jones. Made from scraps. Sewn during quilting retreats all over the country.

Farm quilt.

Farm quilt. A great use of orphan blocks, Finn!

By Janet King - one of her first quilts. Made from old cotton prints and feedsacks. Patterns were shared with her by friends.

The next quilts are from Karen Snyder's 1920's-1930's collection.

The last quilts were displayed in the Log House - the original Pomeroy home. They are from three generations of the local Heisen family - grandmother, Ida Lily Dresser Heisen; mother Lillian Heisen Linn and daughter Betty Lynn Davenport. They span the years from 1920's to 1980's.

Egad! Where has the time gone?

I can't believe I've not posted for 10 days! There has been so much going on that I've not had a minute to turn around. I do want to catch up with my posting so I guess I'll need to write several posts.

Let's see - the last time I posted we'd just arrived home from Mt. Rainier. The next three days were Joseph days, then a quilt show day, and then we left again for a three day camping trip back to Wind River. Between watching Joseph, going to the quilt show, doing laundry and grocery shopping for the next camping trip I hardly had a moment to sit down to relax. This was our last camping trip of the summer and the weather was perfect. Very relaxing. Read a couple books, played a lot of games with Fred, and hand quilted on Emma's Quilt. I took the camera but didn't take a single picture!

Tomorrow Joseph and I are heading south to spend the day with Sophie and Chelsea - I can hardly wait!

I've been enjoying the Olympics - at least what I've gotten to watch. That opening ceremony was just incredible!

Fred starts back to school a week from today - I just can hardly believe it! It will be very nice to get back into a normal routine, however.

1. Good progress on my weight loss
2. Tasty new food ideas that are worth saving
3. Great progress on my quilting goals
4. Fantastic summer weather
5. A nice summer evening rainstorm

Friday, August 1, 2008

Peg's Challenge

I didn't finish five UFO's by the end of July, but I'm very happy with what I got done. Thanks so much, Peg, for providing us with this challenge. It was a great deal of fun, and a great motivator!

Here are the three UFO's I finished:

Winter Dazzle - A Thimbleberries quilt

Perennial Patchwork - Design by René Plains

Double Irish Chain - a class sample from 1992

I've finished hand quilting the background of the center appliqué block in Emma's Quilt by Jo Morton. I've started quilting accents in the appliqué pieces. I hope the two pieced borders tell me how they want to be quilted by the time I'm done with the appliqué. I plan to put a simple cable on the final border.

I'm also hand quilting "Somebody's Home", a design by Country Threads. I'm using a big stitch and a gold brown Cébélia. Since this is a heavier thread - usually used for crochet - I'm using a large eye embroidery needle when quilting. I big stitch without a hoop, and use the fingers of my left hand to feed the stitches onto the needle. I'm not brave enough - not yet anyway - to do the fans freehand like Tonya does. Someday I will after I get a good feel for this. In the meantime I'm using a stencil and Magic Chalk for marking the quilting lines.

I also hoped to quilt, label and bind Carolina Crossroads by the end of July - but you know what they say about good intentions. Surely I can finish this one in August!

1. Extra Joseph time
2. A few actual raindrops falling today
3. Another pound lost in spite of being a little careless while camping

Paradise at 5430 feet

Paradise is the highest spot accessible by car on the south side of Mt. Rainier. Many climbing parties heading for the summit begin here. The Paradise Inn was built in the early 1900's and just celebrated it's reopening after refurbishing and a bit of remodeling. We stayed here for two nights in July 2003 and had a marvelous time - very different from camping!

The current visitor center at Paradise was built in 1965 - an innovative design that was typical of architecture from that time. I've always felt it looked like a flying saucer that had landed on the side of the mountain. The second floor provides a panoramic 360 degree view of all the surrounding mountains. This is the last summer for this visitor center as the new center will open next summer. This building isn't energy efficient - it takes 500-600 gallons of diesel fuel per day in the winter to keep the snow melted off the roof! The ramp to the second floor is too steep to be wheelchair accessible. The new building fits into the surroundings beautifully and is styled similarly to the Inn and other old buildings. It is somewhat smaller but the space is used much more efficiently. This building will be torn down to provide parking - always a problem at Paradise where more than 2,000,000 people visit the mountain annually.

James Longmire and the Trail of the Shadows

Note - I've taken this information directly off the signs posted along the trail.

Longmire, located at 2700 feet, is always our first stop once we enter Mt. Rainier National Park through the south entrance.

In 1870 James Longmire served as guide to the base of the mountain for the first two parties to reach the volcano's icy summit. During an August, 1883 ascent of Mt. Rainier Longmire found this lush grassy meadow with numerous bubbling mineral springs. His dream of developing the area into a resort and health spa soon became a reality.

The Trail of the Shadows is an easy three-quarter mile walk that circles the meadow and wanders through the surrounding old forest. There are many historical signs like the one pictured above that tell the story of the area. Though we have taken this walk dozens of times over the years we never tire seeing it again.
"Longmire's Medical Springs" was founded in 1884. By the next year hardy travelers were lodging in a small log in and bathing in cedar tubs sunk into the springs. Tourists came to partake of the alleged curative powers of the springs and left captivated by the beauty of Mt. Rainier. The Longmire springs hotel was built in 1890 - it was a welcome sight for weary travelers who had journeyed many days over rough roads by horse and wagon to reach the resort.

Soda Springs stone masonry was constructed about 1920. It's water contains soda, magnesium, iron and sodium chloride. Longmire told John Muir, ". . . drink at these springs and they will do your good. Every one's got medicine in 'em. A doctor said so - no matter what ails you." If you enlarge the picture of the sign you can see the warning - which always makes me smile - "Please don't' drink this water. It could make you very sick!"

James Longmire's son built this cabin in 1888. Shaded by the old growth forest, it was mainly used to house the Longmire's helpers. This son continued to develop the resort after Longmire's death. At this same time more and more people were pushing for protection of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding countryside. On March 2, 1899, Mt. Rainier was designated as the nation's fifth national park. By 1907 the Longmire era began drawing to a close. The sale of the land was completed the year following Longmire's son's death in 1915.

The reddish-brown color of the water provides the Iron Mike spring with it's name. A cold rushing stream flows closely nearby. At one time a shelter build over part of the stream provided a cold place to keep milk and meat fresh for the visitors to the mineral springs.

The rustic National Park Inn provides modern day visitors a place to stay in Longmire. A wide porch full of rustic rockers faces the meadow and Mt. Rainier rising beyond. We can vouch for the food in the dining room there - we ate two lunches at the Inn on this visit. There is also a museum, a circa 1920's gas station (no longer operational) and a great gift shop. In keeping with our tradition, we both bought ourselves new Mt. Rainier shirts the first afternoon.

Leaving Longmire, we headed up the highway about two miles to Cougar Rock campground, our traditional home-away-from-home when visiting this incredible park.