Digging Out

Digging Out

We’re now back to weather that we  call normal.  The snow and ice are gone and it’s about 30 degrees warmer than it was a week ago.  The tulips are just starting to come up and we may survive winter.  The back of the house had lots of icicles.  One was 28 inches long!  Check out the bottom of this hanging basket:

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We’ve had wintry weather before, but icicles off the bottom of a hanging basket is a first for me.  Because we had such a lovely fall, I hadn’t taken old flowers out the the pots.  Of course, they’re all totaled except the pansies.  Those babies are tough.

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I finished Dancing Teapot today.  It came a long way from this

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to this

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And a close-up of the flowers and quilting.

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The teapot and decorations are fused, so it’s pretty quick to do.  I needed a little color to brighten up our rainy, winter days.  The pattern will be on the Shopping page tomorrow.

My next move is to make the teapot penny rug style.

Having some smaller projects that go quickly is really nice when there are some pretty big ones in the queue.  I have a couple of large quilts that “just” need to be bound.  As if that will take a half hour or something.  I also want to make some serious headway into my stack of unquilted tops.  (After all, it’s still January and we’re allowed to say stuff like this as if we have all the time in the world.)

I have one other project that’s been haunting me for many years.  Back in about 1983, I started a Christmas quilt.  I’m pretty sure the pattern was from Quilter’s Newsletter.  I finished the top and began hand quilting it.  I didn’t get very much quilting done, but vowed to finish the following year.  Cut to 2017.  That same unquilted piece has been hanging around all these years and I haven’t put one more stitch in it.  The backing is plain white and the batting is polyester and a bit fluffier than I like now.  So here’s the plan:  I take out the hand quilting (Luckily there isn’t much), and sandwich cotton batting and a more colorful backing and machine quilt it.  I really want to finish as I totally loved the fabrics and I want to use it at Christmas time.

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 I’m thinking my new mantra for the year will be “Fix it or fling it.”  This is not just about quilting, but about a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.  Because we haven’t moved in 27 years, we’ve tended to save stuff “just in case.”  I’ve decided that if I’m not using something, someone else should get a chance to.  So this will be my first “fix it.”

When I get to a “fling it” quilt top, I’ll post it here and on Facebook so that other quilters can get first dibs before I give it away.  Check us on Facebook and post any quilt top that you’d like to give away to a good home and we’ll see if we can put some “fix it” and “fling its” together.

As always, we ask you to share us with your fellow quilters.

Quilt for fun,

Candy

Happy 2017!

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year to all!  It’s time for new calendars, a resolution or two and a deep calming breath.  We made it through another year.  Was yours a bit of a roller coaster ride?  Life is like that.  Hope you finished some projects and have more in mind for the coming year.  I have bunches of ideas to work on this year and will share as I get them going.

I finished this on Dec. 30.

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It’s a kit I bought at a show 2 or 3 years ago.  This sort of project relaxes me.  It’ll get packed away in the next day or two, but did its job to bring a little serenity to a busy December.

About this time last year I posted about having a “Finished” list.  I actually hung in with it for a few months.  Then life got busy and I kind of forgot.  So, as with many good resolutions, I’m starting over.  I used to really beat myself up about not following through with resolutions.  Now I’m more into giving myself a little break.  The new plan is:  I didn’t mess up as much as I learned.  Now just do it a bit better.

This is a good time to go back and look at your first quilt.  Mine was made in 1976 from a pattern in a McCall’s Craft Magazine.  Some of the fabrics were cotton and others were blends. (In the mid 70’s 100% cotton fabric was a lot harder to find.)  It was machine appliquéd with a zig-zag satin stitch.  My little machine wasn’t really built for that and I had to stop regularly to let it cool down.  The quilting was done by hand, but there wasn’t much of it.  It was cute, not fabulous yet I was totally hooked.  How is yours?  Chances are that it’s not as good as your last one.  You didn’t quit; you learned a lot from that quilt and made the next one better (or different or more “you”).  You went on to learn new techniques, some of which you loved and some you decided were definitely not for you.  It’s how we work; it’s how life works.

So here’s a resolution that makes sense:  Take a risk, learn something new and have fun with it.  If it works, great!  If not, you learned something (even if it’s that you hate the new technique) and that’s great, too.

Here’s a picture of part of a quilt I finished earlier this year, apropos of nothing except that it’s very cheerful.

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For those of us getting an unusual blast of cold weather, stay warm.  (It was 16 here last night.  Might be setting a record.)  For those of you in milder climates, your friends in the cold may not want to hear the 70 degree details.  For everyone – check out our Facebook page.  There will be more postings this year and we’d love to hear from you.

Quilt For Fun!

From under three quilts,

Candy

Holidays

Holidays

They’re here!  It’s “the Holidays” and they include everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  All in all, that’s about six weeks of fun, stress, and stress to make it fun.  I love the idea of it all and am planning to relax and enjoy as much as possible.  If it could just look like a Christmas card of a cozy cottage with snow all around, gingerbread men waiting for Santa and a warm fire in the fireplace as opposed to chains on the tires, and a cancelled flight.  So here’s the new plan:  don’t go for perfection, go for fun.  Don’t do it all, do the parts you love.  Sound familiar?

So this happened yesterday.

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The forecast said a bit of snow in the morning.  It actually snowed on and off most of the day.  It didn’t stick and this is what it looked like this morning.

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 It did leave some serious snow in the mountains and ski season promises to be good this year.

I put the Christmas quilts up and Sweet Husband assembled and decorated the tree.  While I have some thoughts about a new Christmas quilt, it will wait until after the holidays.  I have a couple of projects with deadlines that need to be dealt with first.  With time running short, I recommend a table runner like our “Santa Says Hi” runner that can realistically be finished before the end of December.

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Depending on the colors of your fussy-cut centers, you could go anywhere from traditional colors, to coral and olive green to apple green and purple.  What’s in your stash?

This is also the time of year when we start thinking about resolutions.  This year I’m going more realistic.  I want to get some new patterns out there and have them be available in a timely manner.  A Christmas pattern that comes out at Thanksgiving isn’t going to cut it.  The best way to accomplish this is to put in on the calendar, put it on the list and write it in ink in my planner.  We have some fun ideas and are looking forward to sharing them with you.  In the meantime, see what we have on our shopping page!

To all our quilting friends, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Quilty New Year!

Candy and Barb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having Fun Yet?

Having Fun Yet?

The sweet surprise last Monday was a dry and mild day and night.  We had lots of trick-or-treaters and Toby and Ella had a great time.  They tried more than once to just amble off with the kids, but it’s hard to just blend into the crowd when you’re big and furry.

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Toby was bummed when the kids didn’t stay and play.  There’s nothing like a whole bunch of new fans that think you’re soft and cuddly.  While the dogs both loved the excitement and attention, they were pretty pooped at the end of the evening.

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I have no idea how this could possibly be comfortable, but the big guy doesn’t seem to mind.

The rest of the week was sunny and mild, which is pretty surprising for the first week of November here.  I sat out to catch a little vitamin D and for some reason, I found that nasturtiums that barely came up in the window boxes this summer, were enjoying a major comeback.

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There are also a couple of pansies still blooming.  Usually they do well in the fall but the wind blew half of them away and I’d about given up on them.  Yet there were a few hardy souls.

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I finished my Hallowe’en top this week and plan to quilt it right after the quilt that has a due date.  The pattern I used is called Giddy Gridlock and was featured in Easy Modern Quilts, Winter 2016.  I made it a bit smaller than the pattern called for, but it’s plenty big enough.  The plan was that this would make some inroads into my Hallowe’en stash.  (Insert hysterical laughter here.)  The good news is that it was fast and easy and I like it.

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I refolded and restacked the Hallowe’en fabric collection so it at least looks neater.

So now that it’s November, my question is:  are you having fun yet?  The Thanksgiving and Christmas magazines are out with tons of information on throwing the most fabulous holiday celebration ever.  Also, gift and decorating ideas for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and anything else I haven’t thought of yet.  There is lots of advice on making it  simpler (followed by recipes with 25 ingredients), taking care of yourself, gift giving and hosting the party of the century.  The very idea of wandering through the mall in the next two months, looking for a gift (I’m not sure quite what) and hoping the perfect thing jumps out and says, “Buy me,” makes my feet hurt.  I wish I had some really fabulous advice on how to have fun during the holiday season, but everybody defines fun differently, so that really doesn’t work.

I’ve given myself permission to do my shopping on the internet the last few years and that’s helped a lot.  I also let people bring food to family dinners I host.  The most helpful thing for me is taking enough fun time in the quilt studio.  This isn’t for making gifts, but for sanity maintenance.

The first year Sweet Husband and I were married, I realized that Christmas doesn’t just happen, people like my parents made it happen.  I really felt the pressure of making it happen for our new family.  This can eventually suck the fun out.  I’ve learned to spread the work around and not get nuts about it.  There was a day (before kids) when I candied my own fruit for fruit cake.  I didn’t really like the cake, but loved the smell of home-candied fruit.  Then there was the home-made divinity that the sugar ants got to.  They kind of got stuck and croaked there.  Lesson learned.

Here’s the point of this little ramble:  Do the parts you like and get help with or skip the parts you don’t.  I’ve taken this advice with quilting projects and I think it’s a good plan for life in general.

So how will you make the holidays fun for you this year?  If you have some great ideas, send them to us so we can pass them along.

Keep Quilting for Fun!

Candy

Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

This is what goes on around here at Hallowe’en.

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The “tombstone” at upper left fell over when we had some wind.  Naturally, the mums had been planted about three days before.  As you may have guessed, the center mum was never the same.

The very unfinished quilt top is all from the Hallowe’en stash.  When this is finished, I plan to go right to spring so I have some new things to show.

The little tree is decorated with fall ornaments I found at a quilt show some years ago.

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This picture is not all I’d hoped.  I took it panorama style and had to limit pixels to upload it.  It’s kind of cool, but it bends everything a little.  The table is actually a regular rectangle.  Mona and Maynard spend October having their moment at my dining room table.  The rest of the year they hang out in my office.

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And yes, this actually is in my yard.  The witch has been a Hallowe’en staple for some hard years, but she survives.

The sock is from a wool class I took years ago.  It just pleases me.

I think the last one is self explanatory.

 

Sadly, it’s slated to rain on the Trick or Treaters on Monday, but the weatherman has been wrong before and I can only hope the kids get a break.

Next time I’ll talk about actual quilting.  I have lots of new ideas to try out soon.

In the meantime, here’s Toby –

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“Only two more days until all the kids come to tell me how cute I am!”

Quilt for Fun and Happy Hallowe’en!

Candy

 

October Color

October Color

It rained here last night.  The kind of rain that actually gets down to the roots.  It’s cool and cloudy and that fall smell is in the air.  It’s a mixture of wet leaves, wet dirt and not enough sun.  In the “olden days,” there would also be burning leaves mixed in and although I totally support the idea of clean air, I do miss that smell in the fall.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees . . . well, some trees.IMG_1221   IMG_1220

Same parking lot, same day, two directions from where I was parked.  Apparently, not everyone is on the same schedule.

 

There is still color in the yard.  The dahlias are going strong and probably will for a few more weeks.  Love those guys.  The hydrangeas are doing their fall thing . . .

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Except for the one below that’s still the color that most of them were throughout the summer.

 

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I’ve never owned any hydrangeas until about two years ago.  Now I’d like a yard full.

And then there is alyssum and one little geranium (the tiny pink thing at the top) that’s trying to hang in.  I just put the ornamental peppers in as they add some much needed bright color.

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I finally got the binding finished on Autumn Sunset.  The pattern is ready and actually pretty easy.  The video on painting highlights and shadows is still on the to do list.  That project will be a learning experience for me.

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The painting part is completely optional.  I just like messing around with it.  The pattern is available over on the Shop page.

I went to the Quilting Expo in Portland last weekend.  There were lots of really great quilts and I took a bunch of pictures.  Sadly, none of them is very focused.  Usually my phone takes great pictures, but I suspect I did snapped and went so quickly that it didn’t have a chance to focus.  Here are a couple that aren’t too bad.

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I enjoyed how the spiral, above, is escaping the edges of the quilt.

Now that it’s October, I’m all about Halloween.  This week most of the decorations will go up.  The outdoor stuff will wait a couple of weeks.

 I dove into the Halloween stash and made this cutie.

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What no home should be without.  The perfect size for my rocking chair.

Drink some cider, eat a pumpkin scones and enjoy this colorful season.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy

Last Sweet Days of Summer

Last Sweet Days of Summer

Dear August,

How did you get away so fast?  I’m still waiting for those lazy dog days of summer where I sit in the shade, sipping iced tea while doing a little appliqué.  It’s such a cool fantasy and I dream it every year.  Then life happens and school starts.  Hey August! I want you back!

Okay, now for a little visit with reality.  What actually happened during August was a day at the air show, a two day class with Sidnee Snell,  (to see her wonderful work, go to sidneesnell.com, it’s really cool), a week with my mom in Southern Oregon and after a few days home, my son, daughter-in-law and their Labradoodle Finn, (age 8 months) came to visit for a few days. Sunday I canned salsa.  Yesterday, I capped off the month by defrosting the freezer in the garage.  It’s life, my friends and I can’t spend all my time in the studio.

With fall just around the corner, I want to show a couple of my favorite fall patterns.

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Harry’s Halloween came about because of the cool pumpkin and broom theme fabric.

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There are wonderful fall and Halloween fabrics out now, just waiting to be the theme of your quilt.  All of the center is squares or half square triangles and can be a great stash buster.

AUTUMN LEAVES

Autumn Leaves is a 3, 6, 9 quilt which basically means that you make some blocks and put them together any way you like.  It all fits together because the block sizes are all divisible by three and you put in coping blocks wherever you need them.  The quilt above is bright and busy because I find fall to be those things.  Use your favorite fall fabrics for a more serene look, if that pleases you.

We invite you to visit our Shopping page for a little, well . . . shopping.

The class with Sidnee Snell was really fun and a lot of info stuffed into two days.  About three quarters of the time was spent learning how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to simplify and posterize a photo and then create a quilt out of it.  We practiced on a pattern of Sidnee’s and I finished the top a few days ago.

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This technique has a lot of potential.  I’ll post a picture of the coffee cup after it’s quilted.  I just hope my notes from the class make sense so I can do more.

Southern Oregon is a bit of a trip in the summer.  Days in the 90’s and hundreds are the usual thing.  I grew up there and keep telling myself I’m used to it.  Here’s a little tip:  105 degrees, even if it’s a dry heat and you’re “used to it” is still awfully hot.  I did get a couple of cool pictures.

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I have to ask my mom the name of the flower on the left.  It’s a good sized bush that’s climbed up a fence.  The honey bee at the center top was too busy to come out and get his face in the picture.  The hydrangea on the right is such a cool color.  I’m not much into pink, but I love that shade.

My squash crop is going to town.  I also planted two of the three kinds of peppers that go into my favorite salsa recipe as well as cucumber.

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 Sadly, my tomatoes are not ready, so I had to buy some at the farmer’s market to make salsa.  It’s fun having lots of the ingredients come out of our garden.  The only thing about salsa is that there’s a whole boat-load of chopping to make this much salsa.

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Just one zucchini plant and one yellow squash make so much squash.  Must be time for four kinds of zucchini bread!

I’m almost finished with the appliqué on this top.  The piecing part went together quickly and the handwork isn’t hard, just a bit time-consuming as handwork tends to be.  I found the pattern when I was cleaning out quilt patterns and inspirations that I’ve torn out of magazines over the last fifteen years or so.  This was an insert in a magazine and I decided a few weeks ago to try it.  ( I think it’s a Fons and Porter pattern, but it’s gone missing.  It’s around here somewhere and when I find it, I’ll pass on the details.) I love the purples and oranges together and it’s a nice hanging for early fall.

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I missed the year-end meeting of my small quilt group as I was at my mom’s, but I posted a picture on Facebook (Mother on a Broomstick Designs) to show them off.  All of the blocks are from Tula Pink’s book “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  Each of us was assigned a color group and provided five fabrics to the other members and chose five blocks from the book.  Each of us made at least 60 blocks (several of us did more).  What we wound up with was pretty diverse and totally beautiful.  They’ll all be quilted this fall (some overachievers are already finished) and will be shown together early next year.

Finally, Toby and Ella had a great time with their houseguest, Finn.  At eight months, Finn is full of energy and finds that he likes to run with the big dogs.  Toby (who’s almost 13) doesn’t do a lot of chasing around.  He prefers the basic bark-off.  It’s noisy, but nothing gets knocked over.  Ella, on the other hand played chase around the house and through the mud after the sprinklers went off.  I was amazed at how much dirt came off those two during the obligatory hose off.

Toby’s taking the week to rest up.

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Ella says she doesn’t need to rest up.  She’s still looking for trouble.

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Enjoy these last sweet days of summer and as always,

Quilt for Fun

Candy

Lemonade and Limeade

Lemonade and Limeade

Last week I posted a picture of Lemonade Stand and put the pattern on sale.

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I like how summery it is and it’s one of the few times I’ve ventured into the world of pink.

This week, well actually, this morning, I pieced a new version, in runner form, called Limeade.  It’s not quilted or anything yet, but you get the idea. I made seven blocks which is just about right for a runner.

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While I generally don’t do much with pastels, these feel like sherbet which seems just right for hot August days.  The binding will be green and I may just quilt in some straws.

I was in Michael’s the other day and of course it’s wall to wall fall projects and decorations.  While I hate to wish away summer sunshine, my intellectual side knows that new fall projects, including quilts, need to get underway now.  I’ve got background done for an autumn hanging and now I’m working on some appliqué for it.  I’m finding out that one piece of fabric for background, even if it’s really cool,  just isn’t cutting it anymore.  Keeping in mind that it is background, it still needs some interest on its own.  It seems I’ve been leaning toward this for a while, but after a class with Rosalie Dace this summer, I’m recognizing it more.  Funny how sometimes somebody has to point out to me what my subconscious has been trying to tell me for some time.

The background for the quilt below came from Gloria Loughman’s book, Radiant Landscapes.  It was part of a class about working in a series and I started the day knowing just what I wanted it to look like.  I finished the top the same afternoon.  It’s called The Last Leaf.

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The background is a piece of hand dyed fabric that I cut up and rearranged to get the look I wanted.  It looks like I’ll be playing with backgrounds for a while.

Here’s a fall pattern that could be started now, so it’ll be ready for fall.  It’s called Colors of Fall.

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This was the first pattern Barbara and I created and it’s still a favorite of mine.  It features both piecing and fused appliqué, and is really easy.  Go to our Shopping Page to check it out.

I’m off to quilt my new runner and will show it off when it’s finished.

Have a safe and sunny weekend and don’t forget to quilt for fun.

Candy

Notes From Home

Notes From Home

I find I often ask where the time goes.  I didn’t have a lot on the calendar this week, so I thought I’d get a lot of quilting done.  I also thought maybe if I kept track of what I actually did, it would help me become more organized.  I wrote myself some little notes on a calendar.  Sadly, I not only wrote on next week’s pages, but half the stuff I wrote, I can’t read.

I did, however, come to a few conclusions.  Going the grocery store every day is not all that efficient.  I know people who make menus for the week and shop all at once.  I may have to give that a shot.  Explaining to an 80 pound poodle why I don’t want him to pee on the new hydrangeas might be an exercise in futility.  It turns out he really doesn’t care, listens to the nice music in his head and gives me one of these.

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There’s always a load to throw in the washer, some weeds to be pulled, pots to be watered and veggies to be picked (3 cucumbers and a yellow squash to be exact).

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Apparently, the trick is to just do it and get back to the sewing machine as opposed to reading a new quilting catalog or trying to figure out if the avocado I bought last week is too far gone to make guac.  I’ll be working on that.

Then there is the unexpected.  Who knew I would have to go collect Sweet Husband after a trip to the dentist wound up being a bit of oral surgery and I needed to go pick up his slightly anesthetized self.  And what are all these people doing on the freeway at one in the afternoon?  Not to mention the fact that Google Maps sent me to the wrong address.  These are the things that the best laid plans cannot factor in.  Buck up, Sweetie, that’s life.  BTW, Sweet Husband is fine.  We went to pick up his car this morning and on the way home I stopped at Joann’s for a new pin cushion, and Starbuck’s, and what are all these people doing on the freeway at 10 in the morning?  I think you see my problem.

Through all this nonsense, I actually did some quilting stuff.  I finished quilting this Hawaiian quilt that was a Pacific Rim pattern.  It’s hand appliquéd and machine quilted.  It’s been worked on here and there for a few years and all it needs is binding.

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Also worked on Calendula Patterdrip’s Cottage.  It’s a Crab-Apple Hill pattern that I saw made up in a quilt shop in Bend, OR four or five years ago. It’s quite large and hand embroidered.  I probably should have started with something smaller, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m excited to finish it.

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I’ve just picked these fabrics for a fall quilt pattern.  I didn’t used to like purple, but I love it now mixed in with fall colors.

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Reading this post over, I now realize that I need someone to do my errands, do the wash, water the plants and treat the dogs (also, keep Toby out of the hydrangeas).  Also, I could use some help staying on task.  If you know anyone who will work for fabric, let me know.

Quilt for fun.

Candy

Quilt Show Fun

Quilt Show Fun

Technology, yes or no.  I’m at yes, but . . . I hate it when my technology turns on me.  The computer issues of the last couple of weeks are fixed now (thank you, Laura) and it’s nice to be back.

I spent all of last week in Sisters, OR taking classes and, of course, toured the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  The weather was cooler than usual, which was actually kind of nice.  Naturally, my quilt friends and I had an air conditioned house for the first time in ages.  Quilt classes were taken, wine was drunk and a good time was had by all.  I took a three-day class on the embroidery of Sue Spargo.  Sadly, Sue couldn’t be with us, but Tonye Phillips filled in nicely and I now understand the joy of wool.  I’ve made a few pieces in the past and done a couple of kits.  Now that I know more of the possibilities, I’m hooked.  I’ve started a little sampler so I remember what I learned.

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The other two days were spent in a design class by Rosalie Dace.  Again, so many possibilities.  Now I just need a whole heap of time to fully get into this.  The block below will be part of a larger project that I can hardly wait to work on.

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The day of the Outdoor Show, my friend Judy and I got there in time to watch the local firemen put up quilts on the side of the building that houses The Stitching’ Post.

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Everyone helps out during the Outdoor Quilt Show.

Here are a few quilts I totally loved.  Actually, I loved all of them, but here is just a small sampling.

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And I met some new furry friends who found the cooler weather much more fun. Love those quilt show dogs.

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And as we were gassing up to leave Sisters on Sunday, we saw this.  Just couldn’t resist snapping a pic.

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Barb was at my house last night looking at her UFO’s and I reminded her to cut her binding or at least attach the binding fabric to a project before putting it away to finish later.  She suggested I share that tip (again) as I’ve frustrated myself more than once by not thinking of it.

As always, quilt for fun and enjoy summer.

Candy