Tuesday, May 24, 2022

That Late-April Trip

I mentioned in a recent post that I would tell you about my late-April trip to Ohio for a quilt study day with the Midwest Fabric Study Group.  It was a long 8-hour drive for this aging body, but well worth the trip!

Ordinarily our meetings are focused on antique quilts, but for this first in-person session since the pandemic the focus was on needlework, especially as it pertains to quilt-making.  In our Friday night session we learned about tools used to create textile items.  Each session included a kit that pertained to the discussion, so our first kit was a wool needlecase.

Several attendees set about making their needlcase right away but mine is still in the bag (it's hard to sew when the lights are low for Powerpoint presentations!).

Saturday morning opened with a discussion of Tufted Work, also known as plush template embroidery or stump work.  The speaker brought some fabulous examples!

It is done by satin stitching with wool yarn over a template, then cut away to create a chenille effect.  Apparently this was so popular in the early 20th century that metal templates were manufactured and sold.

The kit we received is for a simple X worked on wool.

I have managed to get my wool in the hoop, but have yet to thread my needle.  This project will go with me this weekend when we visit family.

Broderie Perse (Persian Embroidery) was the next topic.  That is a style of applique that creates a scene or decoration using printed images cut from fabric.  It was popular in the mid 19th century when imported chintz fabric was so expensive; a small amount of yardage could go a long way when the motifs were cut away and appliqued onto a muslin background.  I chose a pitcher of flowers for my kit and will replace the flowers with others cut from another fabric.

The last presentation was about the history of penny rugs.  Generally wool motifs stitched on a wool background with a blanket stitch, these were most popular after the Civil War when economics forced women to use any available scraps to brighten their homes.  My pin cushion kit has been stitched!

Now I just need to put the pin cushion together and fill it!

We had a silent auction to raise funds for some of the projects our group supports, like the Quilters Hall of Fame and the American Quilt Study Group Seminar paper presentations.  I couldn't resist this fat quarter collection.

It's Isobel from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation by Windham Fabrics.  I had hoped I could use some of these in my Bible blocks, but the blues aren't quite the same.  Oh, well, I'll just have to find another use for them!

 If you are interested in old quilts, look for a quilt study group in your area.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Garden Tour

It may just be my imagination, but it seems like the perennials in our garden are the prettiest they have been in a long time.  I invite you to take a stroll with me.

Wildflowers amongst the spent daffodils, mountain laurel, peonies, and Knockout Roses.

We see the rhododendrons this way from the house ...

... but the boaters on the lake see this ...

I entertained this crazy bunch of ladies from our Nashville church last Saturday (I'm second from left).

I put a bouquet of Iris on the bartop where the gentlemen dined ...

... and an arrangement of peonies and rhododendron on the ladies' table.

The astilbe are blooming in the shade and we will soon have a plethora of white Annabelle hydrangeas.  I need to get the pots at the garage doors ready to receive some fresh plants so a trip to Lowes will be on the weekend's agenda.

Monday, May 16, 2022


I found some time in the sewing room!

Realizing the month is half over and I haven't even thought about the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, today I pulled out two of my projects and got to it. 

First up was my variation of a Chaser block (Cynthia Brunz design).  I managed to get one done in sage.

Then I turned my attention to Square Dance, a project from last year (or maybe even 2020).  I threw together one sage block.

While I had the box out, I saw that I had prepped a number of blocks in anticipation of future colors.  Why wait?, I thought.  So I assembled those which gave me a total of 36 blocks.  These are going with me to Devo tomorrow to work on a possible layout.  Stay tuned to see what I come up with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Where's Libby?

 Seems like I've been on the go ever since the birthday trip to Fall Creek Falls.  And in the few days I had some free time, I just didn't feel like writing anything.  Do you go through spells like that?

So just WHAT have I been doing?  Not much sewing, that's for certain.  I did take time to determine I need a different fabric for the sashing on the Bible blocks ...

... and since I will be going to Mountain Quiltfest at Pigeon Forge next month, I've put that project on the back burner.  I also spent some time cutting kits for Devo's encouragement quilts, but that will be a subject for another post.

I belong to a quilt study group that had a weekend event at the end of April and that, too will be the subject of another post.

I barely had time to unpack, do laundry, and repack for a mini-vacation in Arkansas.  Granddaughter is graduating high school and we opted to go to her final choir concert rather than graduation.

Ash is the red-head in the second row on the left.  This is the camerata/competition choir and their voices are exquisite.  Following their opening number, Pure Imagination, they were joined by the remainder of the junior and senior high choirs.  At the end of the evening's performance they traditionally sing Dolly Parton's Light of a Clear Blue Morning during which the seniors step off the risers and go into the audience to give their mothers a red rose.

It's always a touching moment; makes me tear up every time I think about it.  While in Conway we shopped for some new summer clothes, hiked in Cadron Settlement Park ...

... and enjoyed games with the family.  Ticket to Ride is one of our favorites, but this Western Expansion has new twists that I didn't totally grasp until I lost.  

I'll demand a replay the next time we visit!  On Saturday, DH and I headed northwest to Eureka Springs.   Since we had time to kill, we ventured off the highway to see Arkansas' Natural Bridge.

Lovely place, but a very precipitous drive into the canyon to see it!

In Eureka Springs we stayed a couple of nights in the 1886 Crescent Hotel.

No key cards, here!  As one would expect, the decor fit the era.

They have added a few modern amenities, like air conditioning (window unit) and a small fridge, but it's still an OLD hotel with creaking floors and pigeons on the window sill.  Our room is the top left one ...

I had to be careful not to hit my head on the sloping roof when I got out of bed!  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there.  On Sunday we drove over to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, AR,  an art museum (and more) funded by the Walton (as in Walmart) Foundation.  

I never understood why it was called Crystal Bridges until I saw that the glass-enclosed galleries are on bridges over a small creek.  While there we walked some of the many trails on the property, took an excellent guided tour about the museum's architecture (hubby's forte), and visited a Frank Lloyd Wright rare 2-story Usonian house that was moved and reconstructed on the site.

On our trip back to the hotel we made a quick stop in Rogers, AR.  If you are a fan of  HGTV's "Fixer to Fabulous," you will recognize this ...

Dave and Jenny Marrs' Welcome Inn (Air BnB) is finished and functioning!  It would be a great place for a family reunion, I'm thinking.

We took two days getting home as we both had dental appointments on Tuesday in my old home town.  We picked up lunch and ate in the shade at a little pocket park that used to be the location of the town's swimming pool.

While strolling the path around the park, we came upon a fairy garden.

It was so sweet!

All the driving and sitting the last few weeks got my back out of whack so I went to the chiropractor this morning.  I think they have fairies, too!

Monday, April 25, 2022

What I'mWorking On

Last week was the third week of the month, always my busiest outside the studio. But I did manage to make a little headway in several areas.  First, the Bible blocks ...  I failed to complete my goal of 40 in 40 days 😞 but I'm happy with what I did.

That's thirty 10-inch blocks on the board (in no particular order), there's two more that I would like to remake with different fabrics, and three 15-inchers I will use for pillows or a table runner.  A total of 35 ain't too bad, right?  I just didn't like the mix of 10" and 15" plus I didn't want to make all the little filler blocks required in the pattern.

When I asked my husband's opinion, his reaction was something like "Acckkk" (or maybe it was "Arrggg").  Anyway, I reassured him this was not the final setting; in fact, I plan on sashing the blocks so that they each shine on their own.  But here's my dilemma: thirty 10-inch blocks, even with sashing, will not fit a king-size bed.  So I resorted to my favorite way of making a quilt bigger -- set on point.

(BTW, the design wall is on a queen Murphy bed flanked by bookcases, so it's about the size of a king mattress.)

As I was testing this theory, I also began grouping the blocks by similar style -- crosses, pinwheels, HSTs, stars -- in order to get an even distribution.  But now I need to choose a sashing that is not one of the fabrics in the blocks (or at least one that does not appear on the outside of any block).  The solid cream I chose is too white, I feel navy is too heavy, and robin's-egg blue is on the edge of too many blocks.  Time to shop!  I'll be looking for a cream that is slightly darker than my main background fabric.

I did manage to fit in a lot of prepping and a little bit of sewing, mostly on the 3-yard quilt kits I'm putting together for Devo and Sew.  More on that next time ...

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Scrapbook of My Youth

My mother, known affectionately by many as The Momma (in the 60s everyone had a nickname), must have saved a scrap of everything she ever made for me -- from baby to prom dresses, and everything in between.  

Mother took up quilting not long before the 1976 Bicentennial.  Although she was an accomplished machine sewer, she did most of her quilting by hand.  I think that generation thought it wasn't a "real quilt" if not made by hand -- at least that was my MIL's attitude.  So Mother had a goal of making at least one quilt for each of us three kids. The middle brother's was entirely cross-stitched, probably a pre-printed kit, which was then quilted by some Amish women in Kentucky.  

Otherwise The Momma was strictly into quilt-as-you-go (a Georgia Bonesteel/Lap Quilting fan through and through) so my older brother and I each received a Cathedral Window.

While my brother's was made with yellow background and quilt shop fabrics, the "window" inserts in mine were mostly fabrics from my clothes alternated with a green and white polyester gingham.

This is a very labor-intensive process that requires a lot of folding and turning back bias edges and whip-stitching the units together -- beyond my pay grade!  The stitching on the curves becomes the quilting on the back. There is no batting.

Looking at this quilt is like looking at a scrapbook of my youth.  This pretty little pink is from one of the first dresses she ever made for me.

There are several  other delicate pastel prints that I can't remember, probably baby dresses.  This floral polished cotton was an Easter dress, I'd guess about 6th grade.

I remember these cowboys, but not the garment.

The red rose fabric was a shorts outfit I remember wearing to Brownie Scout Camp.

The brown in this window is from a top I made in high school to go with a suit.

And those elves just creep me out!

I have no remembrance of that fabric at all.  

Included in this quilt are lots of pajamas and a even a pair of peddle-pushers I made in high school.

Like I said, The Momma was into hand quilting, not only because it was "real" quilting, but because it was easy to take along on my parents' extensive travels after retirement.  In fact, the last column of this quilt was finished in South Africa where my folks were visiting middle brother in 1975.

(Mother heard that you should always date your handwork so that when you become famous people can distinguish your early works from your later ones!)

I am embarrassed by how dirty this quilt is.  It got lots of  use when we still had a double bed.  Because of all the hand stitching, I'm afraid to launder it.  However, no amount of washing will get rid of the pilling in the polyester background! (My dad worked for DuPont in Dacron ... 'nuff said).

Lots of memories in this quilt.  The amazing thing to me, though, is I never encountered those scrappy treasures the many times I was sneaking a peak at Mother's drawers and the cedar chest when she wasn't looking.  The scraps were probably in a box labeled "Libby's Scraps" right next to the box labeled "Christmas Presents" in the attic! (We kids knew what was in that box and we could peak if we wanted to, but I never did.)

Saturday, April 16, 2022

77 and Counting

... the Pounds! 

Oh, My, what a delightful birthday getaway!  I used very little restraint, but after eating light on Friday I find I only gained 1.5 pounds.   Anyway, here's the wrap-up.

On Tuesday we arrived at Fall Creek Falls State Park a little early and since the lodge lounge opened at 3 p.m. we decided it would be a nice time to make friends with Mary, the bartender (and it paid off in the end).  I'll just say the locally brewed Calfkiller Ale is a killer winner!  We finally got checked in and poured our first glass of wine to enjoy on the patio outside our ground-floor room.  Check out the view:

We were soon joined by our son and daughter-in-law for an early libation and they brought me a "Snip'n' Gro" lettuce bowl (colander).  

Water daily, harvest from the outside, and it's supposed to keep producing.  We'll see how soon I can kill it.

We eventually made our way to the dining room; however, since they were short of servers, we opted to dine in the bar (with Mary).  I had steak-smothered nachos (and a lot of heartburn later) -- delicious!

On Wednesday we met the kids for breakfast after their walk, then bid them safe travels home as we headed to our walk in the park (otherwise known as golf).  

My first outing of the season and I had to lie about my score on every hole, but it was great to be outdoors in the sunshine and 70 degrees.  After lunch in the course snack bar, we stopped at a little overlook ...

... then proceeded to the nature center where the falls are a little bigger ...

Again, we had dinner in the bar, this time fish and chips for each of us.  We could have split an order but it sure was delicious!

Thursday morning our plan was to see the "real" falls that the park is named for.  We woke to this view from our patio:

By the time we got to the other side of the lake, however, the fog had lifted.  We checked out the boat dock procedures for future kayak launches, then headed to Fall Creek Falls which plunges 256 feet into a pool.

Frankly, it's a little underwhelming, but it is the tallest waterfall in the Eastern US.   From there we motored on to the Piney Creek Falls.

It was a rugged walk over big boulders but our newly-purchased hiking poles helped.  It was worth the hike!

I wish you could hear the roar!  We had to head back to the lodge so that I could catch the NCAA Women's Gymnastics semifinals at noon.  I harvested some salad greens and prepared my version of a "charcuterie" tray for our lunch.

Another visit with Mary at 3, where we ordered chicken linguine to take out as the second session of gymnastics conflicted with dinner time.  Mary, knowing it was my birthday, treated me to cheesecake for dessert.  (I told you it would pay off in the end.)

All-in-all, a great birthday!