Tuesday, July 31, 2012

But keep the old ..

Make new friends .. but keep the old .. One is Silver .. And the other Gold.

We traveled on to Winterset last Friday and found Patti already there waiting for us. Let me explain ... 

We met Patti and Dave in 1975 when we moved to Carbondale, CO and rented the apartment across the backyard fence from them. We quickly became friends and spent lots of time jeeping, playing games, and eating together. Oh, there are many stories! 

Dave and Patti eventually moved down valley to Glenwood Springs - about 15 miles away and we moved up valley to Basalt - about 15 miles the other way. Well, the 30 miles didn't stop us from spending time together. 

In 1978 we moved back to the Midwest. We kept in contact for a while but as things happen, we lost track of each other when they moved back to the Midwest. We've often searched but always came up empty-handed. 

Then about 6 weeks ago, we got a message on Facebook. Actually the message was about a month old - it was in the Other folder under Messages. Patti found us! We immediately connected with each other and decided to meet in Winterset, IA  since it was about halfway between us. So the three of us spent this past weekend together. Sadly, Dave passed away about 18 years ago.


Friday there was LOTS of talking - we had years to catch up on but it felt like we hadn't really been apart! That evening we headed for the National Hot Air Balloon Classic in Indianola. It was the perfect evening to be outside. The food was good and the balloons were beautiful. Patti had just gotten a new Nikon camera and Ray loves his so there was a great deal of camera talk. We stayed through the Nite-Glow and then headed back to our motel.

Ray, me, and Patti

some of the many balloons

 the nite-glow

Saturday started with a leisurely breakfast outside. Then the Farmer's Market and shopping in Winterset. I had to stop at Fons & Porter. And I did buy the fabric I'm holding - I thought I couldn't live without it! 



We asked where to eat and they sent us to a little restaurant on the square next to Montross Pharmacy - I can't remember the name. After a wonderful lunch, we headed out to see the bridges - all of them. That would be the real bridges of Madison County!


Sunday morning after we ate, we visited John Wayne's home and his statue. Then we said our goodbyes. We plan to meet again next year - we are already looking for a place.

On to West Des Moines


Last Friday morning, as we were going through the West Des Moines area, we stopped at Creekside Quilting in Clive. 


We found out Thursday that our great nephew and his wife are expecting a girl! So, I was looking for fabric for a baby girl quilt. I found inspiration, I found fabric, I found patterns, and I found some of the nicest ladies - all at this store!


When we finally checked out, we asked where to eat lunch. After some discussion, the ladies suggested Palmer Deli for lunch. Oh Wow! It was wonderful!


Rather loud, extremely busy, fantastic selection of great food - we'd go back in a heartbeat!



A day in the Amanas

"Oh what a night..." Let's make that "Oh, what a week..."! It's been a great one! We were able to spend some time on the road again!


Last Thursday we were in the Amana Colonies. It was very warm, about 100° and sunny so we took our time wondering around. First stop was Heritage Designs, a quilt shop in Amana. 

It was very nice but I actually walked out without buying anything! The shop was very busy and I found some neat things but nothing I had to have.


We walked through part of the town of Amana.

Ragbrai was stopping  in Cedar Rapids that night and some of the bicyclists were in Amana. We heard that the riders were riding very early in the morning because of the temperatures.

These guys were out of Ohio - The Hills Angels. They gave us a patch - DWABP - Drinkers with a Biking Problem. 



We really need to get back to the Amana Colonies again. There was so much that we missed this trip.

July Quilt Square Quilt Along

The July Quilt Square Quilt Along at Jo's Country Junction was our choice from two star blocks. We are following Lori Smith’s patterns for 12" x12" quilt squares. This month is from #4 Quilt Squares.


So far, I have made all of my Quilt Squares from scraps - often using whatever is on my cutting table. This star is also from scraps but the choice was made by our weather! It has been record-breaking hot all summer so I wanted something in the 'warm color' family. And I love orange! 


There are lots of small pieces but I did not have any problems. The hardest part was keeping everything in order to sew together. I laid all of the pieces on the back of a piece of a flannel-backed tablecloth. Then it was easy to transport from cutting table to sewing machine to ironing board.


This little quilt is machine quilted in a loopy pattern.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blue and White Tablerunner

While shopping with friends recently, I picked up some blue fat quarters at the Backyard Quilt Shop. I had no idea what I would make but I loved the color.


While we were at that shop, a friend was looking at a table runner and I was explaining how the block would be sewn. That block was the inspiration for my table runner. I have no idea if I'm close to the original pattern or not. I have no pattern, no picture, no measurements - just an old mind! After I made the blocks, I decided they needed a little white flange. I know the inspiration piece did not have a flange but mine needed one!

The runner is machine quilted with a loopy pattern.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Vitamix is here!

We've been waiting and waiting for 7 days.  It finally came this morning. 

Our Vitamix.


After watching the instructional DVD, Ray wanted to try Peach Ice Cream. So about 10:30 this morning, we were eating Peach Yogurt Freeze. It was cold, frozen, ready to eat, and good when we finished mixing it!


Then we decided to have Cauliflower Cheese Soup for lunch. It was hot, ready to eat, and good when we finished mixing it!


I think it's about time for afternoon smoothies!


This machine is amazing  and we haven't even tried the dry grains container yet. I can't wait to grind some grains into flour and then make bread. 


We really need to buy some groceries... why didn't we do that while we were waiting???

Bare Branches - Free Motion Quilting Project Update

I've been AWOL for awhile from the Free Motion Quilting Project Quilt Along. I did not make the modern quilt - just too many projects already in progress! Now that free motion quilting is back, I'm also here! I have lots more to learn and lots of quilting to do!


This past week, we worked on a design called Bare Branches. First, I drew the design a number of times in my sketch book. Then, using Isacord thread, I stitched the design across the fabric. There is a lot of travel stitching (stitching over the same line of stitching).



Next, I attempted to do a more random design,



Bare Branches is a good design for me to know. I didn't have any problems with thread but I really had to think quite a bit as I was stitching! That was probably good for me!


This week, Leah Day is showing us a design called Tree Roots. It is like Bare Branches except the lines are not straight. Hmm, I might be doing a lot more thinking!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Extra-Special Day!

We went to visit my mom on Friday and met my brothers there. It was prearranged since the brother who lives up north was going to be in the area. 


The outlaws came along and we had a great time. One of the nurses, or was it the cook, wondered about calling the in-laws, the outlaws. I'm sure it is fine because they refer to themselves that way! 

Tom and Sandy, Jim, Jeanne and Ray (us), Annie and John

We had a great time and lots of laughs. We hope Mom heard some of that joy - she slept through our entire visit.

In age order: Tom, Jim, Jeanne (me), and John

The seven of us (sadly, we lost outlaw Betsy a few years ago) don't get a lot of time together. That makes days like this extra-special!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge July Update

This month at the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge, over at Insights by SewCal Gal, Angela Walters is our expert. She learned to quilt from her husband's grandfather!

This month we are doing Tiles. It is a neat design and should be rather easy to do. The filler design can be anything. 
 I just did a simple loopy design for the filler.
My only problems: 


I began using a cone of thread on a holder. The thread is a heavier Aurifil. I had a number of thread problems until I began using a size 16 needle. 


The foot pedal on my machine was fixed (I didn't even know it was broken!) and now I'm having trouble getting my speed right. The nerve damage in my foot makes the learning curve a bit higher but I'll get there. I'm shopping for a new machine and I think it will have a start/stop button!


I like this design and will most likely use it in the future - I think it will be easy to adjust to different sizes.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Placemats, Practice, a Win, and a Finish!

I've been trying to practice my free-motion quilting a bit more. One of the experts from the 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge suggested making placemats and using each as a practice canvas. 


So I made placemats using an idea that I saw and remembered(?) from a few year ago. Sew some squares together, then cut off half of the first column of squares on the left and sew that piece on the right side. Cut off half of the top row of squares and sew that piece onto the bottom row. Then cut into placemats. I used 6 1/2" squares so my placemats finished about 18" X 12".
Sorry I forgot to take a picture as I was doing this - hopefully you can get an idea from this picture.

I made 6 placemats - all coordinated but all different.
I used a pillow turn on each (no binding) and double-topstitched the edges. This one is quilted in an overall pattern of flower petals - I call it Cone Flowers.
 The next is McTavishing.
I forced myself to do one of spirals - it is the hardest for me and I need LOTS of practice.
This has a center spiral where I could practice shadowing. The edges are stippled.
Next are a couple of flowers with feathers on the edges.
 And last (why did I turn the camera?) is feathers - all free hand.
 The backs are all like this. 

I won this quilt hanger in Jo's Country Junction Quilt Square Quilt Along. Woohoo!!!
Hanging on the hanger is my square for July, all finished!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A great day with friends and I found the Quilt Police car!

A few days ago, my friend Sandy called with the wonderful idea of going on a Quilt Shop Hop. So yesterday, Sandy, Barb, Krista, and I headed out on our own little shop hop.  Sandy decided the general location would be southern Wisconsin and we would just wing it from there.

We began the day with a nice breakfast at the Sand Burr Family Restaurant outside of Brodhead.

Then onto our first shop - At the Heart of Quilting in Beloit. This shop is mostly about longarm quilting machines but I did find some thread. We also found out that one can get instruction and rent long-arm machine time - I want to do that!

Second stop was Life's A Stitch Quilt Shoppe near Janesville. The shop is in an 1863 Victorian Farmhouse.
This is a nice shop with a very friendly owner. I found a Martelli rotary cutter to replace the one that just broke. I was very surprised to find one in a shop. It is so hot, another 100°+ day, that we spent little time outdoors.  Here is Barb headed for the van.
I just had to take a picture of their barns with all of the quilts.

Next stop was Woodland Quilts in Whitewater. We looked around. The person working was having a loud visit with a friend and was a bit too busy to greet or help us so no purchases were made.


On to Fort Atkinson to The Quilt Patch - a very nice shop and owner. Before entering, we stopped just a minute to take a couple of photos. This shop did not feel like it was in the owner's huge garage.


I bought a couple of things. One was a Christmas tree by RagSpun. A RagSpun is a dimensional textured shape that can be appliqu├ęd or used alone. None of us had ever seen them before. We asked the owner where to have lunch. After finding out where we were headed, she suggested Beauty and The Bean and gave us detailed instruction. 


Off we went, through the country down more two-lane roads, onto a Rustic Road, and eventually we arrived, just as our directions said, at Beauty and The Bean in Fort Atkinson.
We had a nice lunch. My panini and salad were wonderful and the cheesecake bite was the perfect ending!

All refreshed, we headed for the Backyard Quilt Shop which is also in Fort Atkinson. 

This shop is in the lower level of the owner's home. We were all rushing to enter as the temperature was still going up!

I had to take just a second to get a photo of the darling little Quilt Police car in the window. That should have been my first clue that this would be my favorite shop of the day!
We found a friendly owner and a great selection of fabric that we all loved. We ended up spending quite a bit of time here and all walked away with treasures.


Back out in the high temperatures, but a cool car with cold drinks, we headed to Sun Prairie.  Prairie Junction Needlework and JJ Stitches are almost next door to each other. The people in Prairie Junction were very helpful and pleasant. 

JJ Stitches is a nice shop. Some members of our group bought lots of fabric here!


Time was running out as we headed to Mill House Quilts in Waunakee.  We arrived in time for a few minutes of browsing before they closed. Actually we all managed to shop, checkout, and be at the car by 4:58 PM!


As we started south toward home, I asked to stop at Greenway Station. I did my errand at Erehwon and then we all decided we needed to do a little shopping at Marshalls and Michaels. 


Shopping was followed by a relaxing dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Then we headed home.


It was an awesome day with awesome friends!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June QSQA

The June Quilt Square Quilt Along at Jo's Country Junction was the Corn and Beans Block. I like this block - in fact we have a 24" Corn and Beans 'barn quilt' on our porch.

I made my 12" block from blues and neutrals.

My block is 1/4 the size of our barn quilt and has 4 times as many pieces!


After quilting my block, I didn't like the tension on the quilting so I tore out the stitches. Then my sewing machine died. After a fuse in the transformer was replaced, I was set to go. An hour later, my machine died! Some belt has now been replaced. I have to pick up my machine tomorrow. I have started researching new machines - is the handwriting on the wall? I think I'd better be ready and informed in case I need to go shopping.

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