Saturday, September 18, 2021

More from the Smokies

I was not alone at the LAB Retreat.  

You might enjoy seeing what the other gals were working on.  So grab a cup/glass of your favorite beverage and take a gander.  

Roughly half of the group was working on Feathered Lone Star and many felt accomplished when they only finished the lone star portion.  This first one is Gail's in progress -- lovely batiks and that unique light batik will be her background.

Teresa's in-progress.  I remember hearing someone's diamonds all came from a gradation fabric and I think this is the one.  What a great idea!

This is Caroline's -- looks like a twin to Teresa's

Kim is a relatively new quilter, yet she was brave enough to tackle such a complex project.  She kept her nose to the needle and got her feathered lone star completed.  Waytago, Kim!

Cathy, like Kim, was learning a new technique using Donna Lynn Thomas's On-Point Ruler by Omnigrid and she persevered.

Here's Nancy's version.  Notice the placement of the black diamonds yields a "fractured" look to the lone star.

Becky (a/k/a Ms. Teal) used the progression of colors in her star to make the feathers.  It creates a completely different effect.

My apologies to those whose star progress I failed to record.  Sometimes we were carrying on so much that I failed to get pictures.

The other half of the group was working on Woven Log Cabin.  There is a lot of strip sewing and cutting in that one, so not many progress photos to show.  

Pam II (or was it Pam I?) got her fabrics cut and grouped for sewing but only finished a few blocks.  I love her fabrics, all from the same collection (which I don't usually endorse).

Ruth was using a lovely combo of lavender and green.  She is making a queen and finished a LOT more blocks after this photo.

Shirley did get her lap size WLC together.  I love the blue and yellow combo.

Sena finished her lap-size top, as well.  She used a lot of scraps in hers.  Here we are auditioning borders.

And, as a reminder, my unofficial project on the guest room bed.

Cindy Williams (a/k/a The Math Whisperer) is a great designer and teacher.  I always learn so much when I am with her.

Friday, September 17, 2021

A Week in the Smokies

 Well, a part of a week, anyway ...

I headed up to the Tuckaleechee Retreat Center in Townsend on Monday, packed to the gills for the 6th edition of the Life's a Bear Retreat led by Cindy Williams (The Math Whisperer).  Two projects were on the bill -- Feathered Lone Star and Woven Log Cabin.  As I said in an earlier post, the last thing I needed was another UFO, so I took along two of my own WIPs that at least paid homage to the theme.

I spent the first day and a half making the blocks for On the Fence -- hey, at least it's woven ...

I spent a whole day making Cindy's 15" Feathered Star to replace the framed star within-a-star.

FYI, those green/white HSTs (feathers) finish at 1 inch!  Just sayin' ...  So here's the top, sans borders ...

I think I'm going to keep this one!

If I had time, I had planned to work on Summer Solstice, a Judy Niemeyer lone star design (staying within the theme).  But at least I did get it out to make some design decisions with Cindy's help.

You'll just have to wait and see what happens with that!

The retreat center is nestled in the mountains ...

... with spectacular sunrises and sunsets ...

Loads of laughs, lots of hugs, memories and friends for a lifetime.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Second Honeymoon

Forty years ago Alex and I headed to Seattle, Washington on September 5 for our honeymoon.  It was more a budget decision than a bucket list decision.  You see, one of the airlines (I think American) was offering a one-price ticket to anywhere in the continental US and Seattle was as far as we could go on that deal.  We stayed at a low-rent hotel downtown for the Labor Day Weekend and then rented an RV from Tin Can Rent-a-Car to circumnavigate Olympia National Park. 

Budget was definitely a determining factor in 1981; not so much today.  When we had the great inspiration to revisit Seattle on our 40th anniversary, we flew first class and stayed on the waterfront.  About the only thing we repeated from our original trip, however, was a visit to the Space Needle.

Whereas in 1981 we had an elegant dinner in the revolving restaurant, that is no longer an option so we chose an early morning ticket to beat the crowds.  Silly me!  Other than a crowded elevator on the way up, though, it was easy to socially distance.  We were impressed that Seattle has mask mandates and almost everyone seems to be complying without complaint.

Near the Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.  Oh, My!  Not to be missed.  Chihuly has done amazing things with glass and other art forms, as well.  The museum is chock full of his works ...

... as is the garden ...

If you are ever in the Seattle area -- or if you hear of a Chihuly exhibit in your area -- do not miss it!!!

Of course, our trip would not have been complete without a trip to a quilt shop!  At Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island I found this Charley Harper design for birchfabrics:

Yes, it's squid, but the tentacles remind me of the glass in the photo above.  I want to do some kind of remembrance piece with it.

We did a lot of other things that I won't bore you with.  I just want to applaud the citizens of Seattle and the state of Washington for taking as much precaution as is reasonable in this pandemic.  Everyone at the airport and on the plane was masked.  The only ill effects I have suffered (so far) is dry eye from my breath getting trapped under my glasses, and a sore ear from wearing the mask all day.  Not to mention my blistered feet from forgetting to wear socks on a 15K-step day!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Life's a Bear

 I'll be heading off to Cindy Williams' LAB retreat later this month and with other travel intervening, I've pretty much got myself organized in advance -- totally not my style!  There will be two projects taught this year: Woven Log Cabin and Feathered Lone Star.

With so many UFOs and WIPs, the last thing I need is a new project.  Instead I will be doing my own thing, but sticking with the theme.  See On the Fence?

It has woven elements similar to the log cabin project.  And I am replacing the star with a re-run of the feathered star I made in Cindy's class a couple of years ago.  But what about the Lone Star?

I will try to finish Summer Solstice, a Judy Neimeyer project I started about four years ago.  The New York Beauty blocks are all done, but I had hesitated at paper piecing the lone star when I had learned an easy strip piecing method on another project.  So I will be strip piecing that part.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Mild Panic

 The second instruction/clue for the Macaron Mystery by Meadow Mist Designs came out this morning and I got busy right away making 54 HSTs with fabric A and a background.

When I got to the next step, however, I had a mild panic that I had reversed backgrounds 1 and 2.  

It would probably make no difference in the final design, but I have far more of BG2 than I do BG1. 

All is well, though.  I have now color-coded my instructions so that I will panic no more -- at least that's the plan.

I spent most of yesterday planning and cutting a lone star.  More on that later.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Slow Stitching Week

 That is, a slow week for stitching. The only slow-stitching I've done is the binding on a table runner (which I hope to finish before church this morning).

Before I get into my week, though, I have to say that after all the destruction and deaths in last week's flooding in Middle Tennessee, my comment about getting out of retreat just in time sounds a little flippant.  But at that point last Saturday, we thought only Garner Creek had crested.  Little did we know that the neighboring county got over 12 inches of rain.  

I appreciate all the comments of concerns from my blog friends about our situation here on our bluff in The Glade.  The flooding was 50 miles west of Nashville and we live 100 miles east of Nashville.  And we are situated high enough above our lake that the water would crest the dam before it rose to our level.  

Needless to say, I have been distracted -- not only by concern for my friends, but preparing for a visit from my sister-in-law.  I did manage to stitch up a little braid runner from a pack of charms.

I had volunteered to make a door prize for today's church golf scramble and I thought the colors in this charm pack were neutral enough to fit anyone's decor.  I did it quilt-as-you-go style and forgot to allow for a border when I cut the back and batting.  It's only about 7" wide!  It might fit on a mantle ...

SEW I went back to my original plan of using some golf-themed fabric, using the same technique but bigger pieces.  Well that one was going to be huge, might even cover a table.  I finally decided to fall back on a tried-and-true method for  coasters:

SIL arrived Tuesday, we played 9 holes of golf on Wednesday, went to a Playhouse performance on Thursday, shopped in Knoxville on Friday, kayaked on Saturday, and will be playing in the scramble this afternoon.  I think I did pretty well with the little stitching time I had, don't you?

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Flower Friday ... on Saturday

 ... and a retreat update

I recently -- well, maybe a month ago -- bought two hanging baskets to brighten up my front garden.  I was so proud of them, but never got around to taking a picture.

About a week ago the deer discovered this one.

I was beyond depressed so I moved both up on the front stoop until I could face the situation.  Look at what I discovered when I returned from retreat ...

Even the impatiens are regenerating. That is the same purple vine!  I've been calling it sweet potato, but I wasn't sure so I googled it and, indeed, it is sweet potato vine.

Apparently the deer don't like mandevilla, as they never touched it.  

After getting complacent about the deer, we have started to apply Deer-Off again.  Gosh, that stuff stinks!  

Looks like the S'mores got out of retreat just in time.  This is the dining hall this morning.

As I said in an earlier report, we no longer use the dining hall for meals.  The lodge building we were in is uphill a bit from the dining hall.  The wall that is referenced was built a couple of years ago after two major floods.  Looks like they didn't build it high enough!  So sad.