Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hettie Retires and Goodbye, June!

The time between my monthly collages seems to get shorter and shorter. I cannot explain this phenomenon!

Before I get to the June highlights collage, I want to share with you our Frienzie Hettie, who as the 'baby' of our group, has at last retired. Congratulations, Hettie! We made Hettie's retirement quilt ages and ages ago, but since Hettie kept teaching well past 30 years, we were never quite sure when it would be needed! Finally, this spring, Hettie made her decision to retire, so we put the finishing touches on her quilt.

Way back in early April, I had the quilt to applique the label to the back. This one has Hettie's name above the year of retirement. When I shared it earlier, I was in stealth mode, thus the reason for the crossing out.  On the other bottom corner of the back are three additional stars to signify the extra years that Hettie taught. She almost made it to 35 years! Here are pictures of the Frienzie party celebrating Hettie.

Hettie looks happy, doesn't she? This pillow was made from extra quilt fabric; Sherrie was practicing something and this resulted. I am short on specifics because I missed attending the party! We were vacationing when the gang celebrated. (Thanks, Pam, for the pics!)

The June collage has three main themes - long-time friends, quilting, and vacations. TOP ROW: A few friends from HHS class of 1975 gathered for pizza and beer and, most importantly, fellowship. What a fun evening. The pumpkin quilt top and the Pioneer Dreams quilt top were both completed early in June. MIDDLE ROW: The vacation this month included a picturesque trip on the Skyline Drive in Virginia, a sobering visit to Gettysburg battlefield, and a stop at the historic home where Lincoln stayed to perfect his Gettysburg Address. BOTTOM ROW: My work on Lake Effect found me completing the vines on the appliqued borders; I finished off a set of 4 pillows for the family room sofa, and last but by no means least, I enjoyed hosting both Sharon and Dee for a day of sewing yesterday!! What a lovely day! I will share more about it in the next couple of days.

I'm making plans for July! So much I want to make and I'm chomping at the bit.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Family Room Pillows

 Isn't it grand when one can get excited by just the smallest victories? Today I am celebrating the completion of four new pillows for our family room sofa. It's such a small improvement in this room's decor, but it brightens things up considerably.

My journey through this pillow project began after finishing a pillow for our bed. I was so impressed by how a bit of extra time and attention in the quilting of a pillow top really makes for a more polished look. I transferred that realization into couch cushions with these four pillows.

Pillow number 1 was not intended to be a singleton, but when I went to make a matching pillow, I discovered that I'd misjudged how much fabric remained. That led me to digging out the fabric I would use in pillows number 2 and 3.

To complete the set of 4, I used remaining bits of the two blue floral fabrics and pieced an 18" block. Believe it or not, I had a pattern from an on-line sew along saved, and it worked out perfectly.

All I needed to do was to adjust the cutting for two fabrics and a background (instead of four like the pattern has), and stitch into a pillow top. Easy peasy. This pieced pillow required less quilting, so it finished fast.

Now, I will focus  my attention on new pillow for the front room sofa. I have the pillow forms; just need to pull the fabric. I am undecided on the color I want to go with, as well as the design I want. Maybe more whole-cloth pillows; maybe pieced. A mystery!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, June 28, 2021

June Travels (Quilt Pic at End)

The June mini-vacation was a full day shorter than the one we took in May, but the history was richer and the lasting images carry much greater impact. Like all our plans for 2021 summer travels, the itinerary is very loose; we plan nothing too specifically. We determine two or three 'absolute musts' and from there we pretty much wing it.

One primary goal for all the trips we take this summer is avoiding interstates. We are not interested in getting anywhere in a hurry; we want to take our time and soak up all manner of stuff along the way. So far, this has served us well. Minor state routes, even county and township roads have provided some gorgeous sights and interesting historical tidbits that we Google while we ride. (If a signal is available!) We look at houses, landscapes, farms, small town architecture, historical markers - anything that interests us. Being in the mountains this last trip, we saw breathtaking vistas both from the valleys looking up, and from the mountain tops looking down.

Another goal is to visit National Parks whenever possible. In May we bought a NP Passport book to keep a record of the parks we explore, and since we are of an age where we qualify for senior admission, we intend to take full advantage of the Lifetime Pass.

Last month we got our passport when we visited Congaree National Park just south of Columbia, SC. I didn't share much other than the Pat Conroy /Beaufort highlight from our first trip, but Congaree was our first stop on the May vacation.

On this recent trip, we visited three National Parks - Shenandoah National Forest, Harpers Ferry, and Gettysburg. And, we saw amazing sights all along the way - West Virginia, Virginia, a tiny bite of Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Just exactly our kind of get-away.

Twisty, curvy Rt. 33 through West Virginia afforded us these views of Seneca Rocks on the eastern panhandle of the state just before entering Virginia. It is located in the Monongahela National Forest, part of the Appalachians. We did not stop; just enjoyed the view from the road, and learned about it from the internet, a history and geography lesson in the comfort of the car.

One of the highlights and the first National Park of this trip was a drive along Skyline Drive from Swift Run Gap to Front Royal. What scenery. Built during the Depression, the engineers and builders anticipated that people would want to stop and take in those views, so dozens of pull-offs were built alongside the road for doing just that. We stopped at several, and were treated to the most glorious mountain views. A particularly breathtaking setting sun capped the drive as we neared Front Royal. (see 3rd picture below)

My prior knowledge of the significance of Harpers Ferry was minimal. However, the 1859 heroics of John Brown in this quaint little town located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers signaled a major step in the fight to end slavery. 

Gettysburg National Military Park was our final National Park highlight. I was not prepared for all we encountered here. Oh, my, what history surrounds and engulfs the visitor! While we have all learned about the battle of Gettysburg in our history lessons, up close and personal it becomes quite sobering. This national historic site is a tangible connection to the massive loss of life which occurred over the course of three days, and the devastation that remained for years to come for residents in this quiet place. We took in the Cyclorama (combination surround sound movie and diorama) and then the auto tour. The Cyclorama provided very moving details and helpful visuals which we drew on as we drove around the various points of interest. The entire site easily requires two days minimum to see everything, but it is so utterly overwhelming, I was content to have done just the bit that we did in one afternoon and evening. Here are some highlights.

The fields are parts of ordinary farms still used as such today, many just recently harvested of wheat and straw. Gently rolling hills are just that to the unaware passerby. Those fields, hills, and ridges have names: The Wheatfield, The Peach Orchard, Devil's Den, Cemetery Ridge, Round Top. We viewed each peaceful field or ridge or hill in the comfort of our air-conditioned car, and read about hellish battles fought by men and boys on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. Monuments and cannons are sprinkled throughout the entire area, honoring individual regiments and highlighting locations of attacks and assaults that left over 51,000 dead, injured or missing. Staggering.

Ohio erected several monuments recognizing specific divisions involved in the battles.

In the historic town of Gettysburg the site where Lincoln finalized his famous address is highlighted with a marker. The Gettysburg Address was delivered in November of 1863 at the dedication of the National Soldiers' Cemetery, also a part of the National Park. 

Well, if you have stayed with me through all of that vacation recap, then you should be rewarded with at least one quilt picture!

Long-time readers will recall seeing this quilt from 2016. I have no more creative name for it than 6-Pointed Star. I hand pieced the entire thing, and then hand quilted it, too. All the fabrics were from my fat quarter stash, and they seem rather appropriately representative of the colors and style of the Civil War times. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to a slow Sunday that announces a milestone in my ongoing work on Lake Effect. The vines are done! Started in 2017, my effort has been off and on these four intervening years;  but at last, I finally have all the vines appliqued in place.

I have chronicled my progress on Lake Effect almost to excess! If you've followed closely, you're likely wishing I'd just get on with it and be done. Hitting this mini-milestone, seems to have given me renewed interest in working on it more diligently. Hope it sticks!

The center panel is attached to the surrounding elongated hexies. My outer appliqued border is just laid on top of the center section. I thought it would be a fun little boost to my productivity to see how well it is coming together.

On to leaves, birds and berries! The top and bottom borders are done - only the sides to do, then proceed with attaching. Could this be homestretch territory? Nah, too early to get that hopeful. *grin*

Be sure to click on over to Kathy's Quilts and her weekly party Slow Sunday Stitching. In addition to featuring various quilters' slow stitching projects, she gives a covid update from her part of the world, Ontario. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Lots O' Pumpkins!

Those Frankfort Girls sure do keep a quilter on her toes! At the beginning of the month we - well, most of us - met for 3 days of sewing at Terry's house. We'd agreed earlier that we would all work on the same quilt - Harvest Pumpkins from the newly released book, County Seat Quilts. Click here for details on this mini-camp. 

Yesterday, we had our regular bi-weekly Friday morning get-together and some of these gals had quilted theirs, and were stitching the binding! Whoa! Mine still hangs from my design wall where I put it after doing my borders.

I thought I would share a little Harvest Pumpkin progress report/update. As the rest of us finish ours, I am sure I will do additional updates. Everyone's interpretation of this quilt looks so different! I marvel at how fabric and color choices can completely change a quilt's looks. This effect has always fascinated me. Maybe that is why I never tire of making some blocks over and over - all will look completely different with each new fabric/color treatment.

Back to pumpkins. Here is our first look at some finishes.

Jan has bragging rights on a total finish. Hers is completely quilted and bound; ready for fall displaying. 

Terry will be a close second place; she has quilted hers and was stitching binding while we visited yesterday. She wanted us to study hers closely to see if we could find the mistake. She didn't see it until after the quilting, so it is a permanent boo-boo.

Ever the industrious gal, Terry had extra bits cut for more stars, so she whipped up this table runner, has quilted it, too, and only needs to stitch down the binding. Way to go!!

Becky has her quilt finished to the flimsy stage. She intentionally made her borders narrower than the 5" that the pattern called for. Design choices! They are as varied as the quilters. 

Fun! We sure do have a lot of fun when we are together, and we help one another continue to grow as quilters. 

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Second Pillow

 Bit by bit, I will get all my pillows made. I now have a second one finished, fresh off the sewing machine last evening.

In this post from awhile ago, I shared my goal of refreshing some of my decor around here. Pillows offer a lot of pizzazz easily and economically.

Yes, you correctly noticed that this pillow is not an exact mate of the first. My error in thinking that my additional fabric on the first pillow was enough for a second. It was not. Durnnit! This meant I had to get creative and find equally pleasing fabric to coordinate with the first. It pays to have a sizeable fabric stash; digging commenced and have a look at what I unearthed!

Similar enough to work together, don't you think? By using the same vertical quilting, and blues that are really close in shade/hue, I believe I have sufficiently pulled them together. I DO have enough of the multi-floral print to make another pillow, so that will be next. Then I will consider using the bits left over in a simple pieced top. Hopefully that will complete a "look".

The first pillow is made with fabric by Timeless Treasure; additional information unavailable. The second pillow is made with AGF fabric by Maureen Cracknell called Flower Child.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A Virginia Quilt Shop

Our goal as we kicked off summer was to take a mini-vacation every month. Pick an area of interest, go for a scenic drive, tic some items off our bucket lists, and be back home in 4-6 days. 

In May we took a southerly route - Columbia, Charleston, Savannah, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Augusta, Gibbs Gardens of Ballground, GA, and home. Fun trip. Great weather. Gone 6 days.

June's trip has just been completed. We still headed south, but not quite as far south - Shenandoah Valley, Skyline Drive, Harper's Ferry, Gettysburg, Lancaster County, PA. Another fun trip. Some stormy weather this time. Gone 5 days.

While I love seeing all this great big gorgeous country, I don't know if I am up for more trips. I like staying home, too! Maybe July will mean just a 2-day trip somewhere. We have not decided anything, so before we make more plans we will recover from this trip while we mull over some options.

I will do a more complete vacation wrap-up later when I can have my gazillion photos sorted and ID'd. Today, I want to tell you about some vacation shopping.

On May's trip we did not stop at any quilt shops. *GASP* I know! A travesty! You can be sure I made it a priority on this trip, and based on a neighbor's recommendation, I went to a good one! 

We chose a visit to the Shenandoah valley because here in Ohio we live amongst a growing community of Mennonites who mostly came from there. Having never visited the area, DH and I wanted to see it. I asked one of the neighbor girls with whom I've gotten acquainted for recommendations - not just quilt shops, but definite must-see locations in their homeland. Kathaleen recommended a good quilt shop! Patchwork Plus, located in Dayton, VA, was exceptional.

While I have no real need for more fabric, I do have a baby quilt to make, and my supply of suitably whimsical baby-type options had become limited. That situation has now been rectified. *grin*

Fat quarters to the rescue! I just couldn't resist all these playfully fun prints of dots, numerals and old-timey toys. It will be fun coming up with a sweet quilt for this grand-nephew due in September.

Patchwork Plus looks rather small from the outside; a deception, to be sure. It seemed that the rooms went on and on! Here are some various areas to satisfy your curiosity.

I really like the way fat quarters are stored directly above the matching yardage; this was quite convenient. The displays are really scrumptious, too! I think they had a wonderful variety of fabrics to satisfy every preference a quilter might have. I did not take any pics of the Kaffe Fassett section, but it was there! And I did peruse it! I also checked out their notions, templates, and book sections. A very complete quilt shop, for sure.

It's good to explore, but it's also good to be home. Today involves laundry and household stuff. Yippee!

Happy Quilting, Friends!