Thursday, August 25, 2016

Newsy bluesy

I am on a mission to improve my hand quilting, starting with finally getting a thimble that doesn't fall off my finger continually.

I've had some good advice along the way (thank you quilter friends and bloggers).  I think it's down to these two thimbles as my favorites:

 The blue one is a "roxette" thimble, about $20.  I ordered it from Colonial Needle.  I REALLY like it.

And I ordered a new hoop...

It's a 12-inch hoop from Edmunds, smaller than my old one from the 90's, which I think I gave away.  It's lovely.   I stopped using a hoop a long time ago and have just been lap quilting.  I thought going back to a hoop might help in my quest for more even stitches.  I'm adding some stitches, for practice, to this Wandering Way that I hand quilted (just in the white areas) back in the late 90's for my grandma. I'm noticing that my old quilting stitches look better than my current stitches.  What the heck.

Meanwhile if you are participating in the Gwennie Inspired Medallion group, how is your "Star" themed border coming along???  I am almost finished... and enjoying working with this deep, deep indigo.

We will link up our progress at Lori's blog Humble Quilts a week from today, which is... SEPTEMBER 1st.  Whaatttt?  Where did summer go?  At that time Wendy will reveal our fifth and final theme!

In other news... we said farewell to Tommy last week (just last week?!) and my oh my the house is quiet without him.  The fridge is emptier.  The house is bigger.

I'm glad his "Burgoyne Surrounded" made the cut (so hard keeping suitcases to 50 pounds!), because I do believe it will be a piece of home and comfort...  it's an oldie but goodie and he has used and loved it for years.

I think I will keep Tommy's room as-is, posters and all, for the two years he's away...  That blue 4-patch is one that Tommy himself started as a little boy, and I finished in Japan.

A lot of blue in this post.

The bluesiest news I have though - more of an admission - is that... we have bid farewell to Daisy as well.  I had felt for some time that "things weren't working out" and that when Tommy left, I would start looking for a new home for her.  Tommy knew this and accepted the idea as inevitable but asked that I wait until after he left.  I had so many tears - tantrums, even - over the care and keeping of this dog over the past two years.  I NEVER thought I'd be "that lady" to give away a dog, but, there it was.  I knew it was the right thing to do for all involved, painful as it was.  The tipping point is that one of our adult daughters is so severely allergic that it started to limit her visits home - sort of a deal breaker, thinking ahead to the next ten years.

I thought it might take months to find her a GREAT home, but things happened real fast once I spread the word to my friends.

She's now in an ideal situation right in town with a family well suited for a driven, working-breed, shedding, mass of energy wonderful dog.  Their son's name is also Tommy - you can't make this stuff up.  I have no qualms whatsoever, which is a great feeling.  We made a gradual transition over the past month, and made it official a few days ago.  Still, bitter sweet.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Front Porch month 4 - watermelon blocks etc.

Time to share our water melon blocks...

I must have made some errors because nothing fit together right ... but I trimmed here and there and made it work in a PRIMITIVE way;).

This is part of another fun quilt a long with Lori at Humble Quilts.  Check it out.  Some gals are getting really creative with fabric choice - some fabulous stuff!  The pattern is by Jan Patek.

And speaking of fabulousness...

Barb Vedder (Fun with Barb) has a great swap going so check out her blog here if you are interested in swapping "broken dishes" blocks.   I am sorely tempted to go "modern" but decided on Civil War repros.


We are wilting in drought and record heat here in Massachusetts.  Our window A/C units are going full blast 24/7 and we have fans everywhere too - the white noise this all creates is deafening!

Tommy leaves TOMORROW for his mission for our church.  His fast friend Hansen is also leaving shortly for his mission.  Last night our families had an open house for the boys - for church folks, neighbors, school friends.  Many hands make light work.  Cake and cold drinks and fond farewells to two young men, one going to Hungary and the other to Brazil to serve their hearts out for two years.

Both our daughters are in town and it's just a joy to have all our kids together for this brief precious time.   There is no sweeter sound than hearing the kids laughing and talking together.  We did manage to get this snapshot before church.  We've been taking family photos in front of this old maple tree for years and years.

Time marches on and as of tomorrow we will be empty nesters.  More time for fly fishing? (David) and quilting? (me).  ;).


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Antique inspiration at Maine Quilts

The other day my friend Karen and I headed up to Maine Quilts.  Such a nice show!  Long drive but lots of talking time, and the Kittery Outlets on the way home.

My favorite part of the show was this room of antique quilts, with miniature reproductions.  It was headed up by Wendy (theconstantquilter) and Cyndi, who blogged about the exhibit in detail here.   Check out her blog post - the quilts were amazing, and hers was just a masterpiece!

This is a detail from Wendy's "Burning Leaves" quilt, which won multiple ribbons.  You can see here that it is in the potholder style.  The felt hand (so pretty!) indicates hand quilting... and my oh my, what hand quilting!  

I came home inspired to step up my game in the hand quilting realm.  In the early 90's when I learned how to hand quilt, I used a hoop.  Then I quickly transitioned to simple machine quilting.  Now that I am back to doing some hand quilting, I haven't been using a hoop.  Fairly big, not-so-even stitches.  Time to reboot.  I ordered a hoop, and YET ANOTHER style of thimble, and have high hopes!  Thimbles, thimbles... I have tried so many. 


My friend Carol was in town and

she brought me a large shopping bag PACKED with homespun goodness... 

She and her friends go to thrift stores for shirts and share what they find with each other.

I'm thinking... log cabin!