Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I'm sharing a painting of my oldest brother which looks just like him. Yes, I grew up with Santa!

Hope you enjoy your day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Retreat - Projects

This Quilt Retreat at Prairie Star Lodge was a wonderful break for all of us. We did listen to some Christmas carols and K wore her fantastic necklace.

There were MANY projects and I want to share a few. K's reversible apron was adorable - chickens on one side and eggs on the reverse.

K also made this pretty table runner.

B made some great tree skirts. 

P worked on her double wedding ring quilt. She is making progress but there are so many pieces...

P took a couple of breaks and worked on some small projects like this neat little table mat.

Our second B made some great small projects before tackling a large quilt. The snowmen in the snow globes are adorable on this table mat.

B also did this cute little runner. It's a good thing that we had comfy swivel chairs because B was behind me and I could easily turn and visit with her.

Our third B made this neat snowman hanging. He just needs button eyes.

B also made this darling, little Christmas hanging.

And a cute wreath that she's had in kit form for maybe 30 years a long time!

Our second P made this great bed runner. She is a quilt shop owner and sponsors one of the bedrooms at Prairie Star Lodge.

P also finished this beautiful quilt.

M worked on a gorgeous paper-pieced quilt. It is slow-going but going to be so worth her time and effort.

It was so much fun watching the parts go together.

update: M sent me an updated photo with more parts done! I can't wait to see it finished.

 G was doing some cute placemats. I love that border fabric.

I made this little 15" pillow cover. My echo quilting really showed that I haven't quilted in a while.

Then I made a doll quilt. By the time I had this quilted, I felt a lot better about my free-motion quilting.

I finally finished all 48 blocks and put them together. This is my disappearing pinwheel - friendship star/Illinois road quilt. It just needs borders, batting, backing, quilting, binding, and it will be done!

update: K sent me a better photo of our group:

December Retreat - Prairie Star Lodge

Photo from Prairie Star Lodge website

I just spent 3 days quilting at Prairie Star Lodge, a fantastic retreat center!  It is definitely the most exclusive retreat house that I have ever been to! Now, don’t get me wrong – there are other great places. It’s just that this one has all of the extra touches of elegance! It is very close to my home, too!

You can see photos on their website but I'll share a few too. I'll concentrate on the lodge in this post. 

We each slept in a queen-size bed with luxurious micro-fiber sheets and soft, cozy blankets. Each bedroom has a quilt shop sponsor that makes the bed runner, pillows, etc.There are two bedrooms on each of the three levels. My room was on the main floor - it is the only room with just one bed. 

When I looked out my window, this was the view - a beautiful in-ground pool! We will try that out when it is much warmer!

The master bedroom is on the 2nd floor - beautiful! There is a full bathroom on each floor. The one on the 2nd floor has a 2-person jacuzzi and the one on the lower level has a sauna.

The lower level was set up with 14 six-foot tables plus couches for relaxing by the fireplace.  

This was my area, along with a small side table.  

I was right next to the sliding doors going out to the hot tub and the pool.

Here's another picture of the work area. To the right are three couches and a large fireplace.

The sitting area was a great place for a little hand stitching, surfing the Internet, or just relaxing and visiting.

We enjoyed our meals at the dining room table near the fireplace on the main level. We took food and had a couple of husbands bring in the evening meal. We never left during our three days! 
Dining area from 2nd floor landing
Behind these ladies is the main living room.

The doorway at the back left goes to a large kitchen. The wide opening on the right goes to the sun room.

There were many wonderful touches. This tractor was one of my favorites.

We had a wonderful time and are already planning another retreat - at the same place!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A small shawl or is it a scarf?

Another knitting finish! 

We spent this past weekend (Friday and Saturday) at the State Volleyball Tournament in Bloomington, IL. In between games, I knitted! I had this shawl finished by Saturday noon so it's a good thing I carried my iPad because the games didn't end until well after 9 PM on Saturday night!

The pattern is Girl's Best Friend by Bronwyn Hahn. If I had knit this in a plain color, you would be able to see the wonderful diamond pattern. I did not use beads on the corners of the diamonds - you wouldn't be able to see them.

When I blocked this, I stretched it a lot just as the author of the pattern said to do!

The yarn I used was Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball

I can't wait to wear it - I'm thinking it will look great with a black shirt.

Friday, November 7, 2014

One last picnic this year!

We had lunch at Pilgrim's Pantry, a Mennonite Bulk Food Store and more near South Wayne, Wisconsin.  A couple of times each year they have a special event with a meal. Today and tomorrow is their Fall Open House. 

We had grilled cheese sandwiches grilled outside, potato chips deep fried over an open fire and apple cider donuts made in their bakery. We ate at a table outside while we talked with some members of the family that run the store. The open fire where they were making potato chips provided welcome warmth! 

I was talking with a Rachel, a sister-in-law of the owner and I think she was surprised to find that I was a quilter. We have enjoyed visiting with her before and today was no exception. The young man making the potato chips joined our conversation and we had an interesting discussion about Lancaster County, PA. He has relatives there, Rachel was there last spring, and we were there recently. 

After we ate, we did a little shopping in the store and enjoyed the many samples available for the open house! We also saw other people we knew and enjoyed ourselves. 

It's cold and overcast but it was still fun to enjoy one more picnic this year!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A couple of sweaters done!

I've been knitting but I haven't been showing anything I've done! So today, we took photos and I will share.

First is my Garter Stitch Hoodie. It is made from Rauma Finullgarn which is 100% wool from Norway. The color is Wheat Heather.
Guess I wasn't into smiling today!
This sweater is knit from top to bottom or sideways which was new to me. Then after it was finished and sewn together, it had to be felted (shrunk) a little bit. That was scary but it worked great!
I finished the sweater in mid-September and have worn it a number of times.

Next is my In Between The Rain sweater which is perfect to wear anytime! It is made from Kraemer Yarns Tatamy DK and is acrylic and cotton. The first picture is pretty close to the correct color. The spots must be from the flash of the camera - there are no spots on the sweater!
Hmmm, still not smiling!
The neck and the detail on the yoke are done in reverse garter stitch. The yoke detail and the fake side seams were not part of the pattern but I had seen them on someone's photo and decided I could do the same. It worked great!
Close up of yoke detail.
I just blocked this sweater and plan to wear it soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Seven quilts to make

I'm making seven twin-bed sized quilts - yes, seven! A friend asked me to make them for her retreat center. She fell in love with my Scrappy Trip Around the World. Beyond that, I can do whatever I want! And there is no rush. It's still hard - I've never made a quilt to sell. I make quilts for family or friends that are like family and to donate. So this just feels weird.

There will be 3 quilts in each of two rooms and 1 quilt in a different room. 

I just took pictures in our yard on this cloudy, very cool day. Ray just finished mowing/mulching leaves. The wind is blowing so I'm just happy that the tops are somewhat flat! You can see some more leaves that have blown down also.

I think one room will have 3 scrappy quilts with borders.

The quilt that started it all is a Scrappy Trip Around the World. I began it at a summer retreat and decided to make it longer and added borders.

I had this scrappy quilt top in a pile waiting to be sandwiched. I decided it would work if I just added a border. So I did!

I actually have another scrappy quilts in the works. It's on the design wall but has a long ways to go.

The second room will have three  two-color quilts.

For the red and cream Disappearing Pinwheel, I used scraps from my stash. I began this quilt at Quilt Camp in September. It's pretty much all I worked on those few days!

I have a blue and white quilt started. It's almost a fourth done. I'm not sure what the third design will be yet.

That leaves one more quilt that I really haven't thought much about at all.

Four tops to go, 7 quilts to sandwich and quilt - Oh, yeah, it's a good thing I don't have a time limit!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We are so rich!

Since I last posted, I celebrated a birthday! I've spent time with friends and family. I've had time to knit and I've finished a sweater! I've had time to sew and I've finished three quilt tops! One of these days I'll take photos.

Ray and I took a day trip to Fulton. Illinois. It was a little cool near the mighty Mississippi but we still enjoyed a picnic on a  gorgeous fall day.

Then we walked through Heritage Canyon - "a 12-acre wooded structure nature walk dotted with buildings that take the visitor back to the 1800's." It's a very pretty area and we enjoyed our time there. This church was so cute - doesn't it look like a little toy? It would be perfect for a small, intimate wedding or just some quiet reflection time.

We've taken a few walks and Ray's had a few bicycle rides. We've enjoyed some wonderful weather. The flowers are beginning to die but we are still taking the time to stop and smell them.

There's a proverb that says "If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money cannot buy.

We are very rich and very blessed!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

So what did I buy on our trip... basics!

I bought a lot! I couldn't believe my pile when we unpacked!

I did not get a photo of the blue/brown/tan jelly roll Lexington. It is the only precut I bought. 

I also did not get a photo of the thread. Around here Aurifil is $13.50 a spool. When I found it for $8.95 in Chillicothe, OH, I bought spools! In Lancaster County, PA, the cheapest I found was $10.95. All the spools are basic colors that I use. My plan was to buy thread if the price was right and it was!

We went with our son and his family to the Loomcraft Outlet in Burlington, NC. Most of the fabric is upholstery fabric and everyone gets a free piece. There was a lady choosing pieces from the 'free bin' - you could buy extra pieces for $1 each - to make tote bags which she sold. I chose two free pieces one for Ray and one for me. They may become tote bags!
Striped fabric and book fabric from Loomcraft Outlet
The quilting fabric all came from Lancaster County,PA. I thought the prices were very good so I bought some basics for my stash. Some yellows and oranges...

And some blues and one green. Not sure you can see the light blue on the bottom. It is a wide backing piece.

And some reds. The bottom piece is also a wide backing piece.

I have an idea for one small project but that's it. I really didn't plan to buy this much!


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