September's arrival brings with it a taste of cooler weather. Sad to see that summer has unraveled before us. No more greenhouse to talk about, sad but true, it was my "go to" place when feeling blue. Many adjustments since the last ramblings and I can see many more in our future. Downsizing to such a small living environment has been a learning experience that I am still struggling to adjust to. Contractors have been hired to extensively renovate our small cabin to tighten it up a bit and add a small addition of living space. Certainly can't hurt.
Still working on the quilt I started when sewing with a group of friends last month, I would like to think I will have it complete before Carol and I attend Fall Quilt Camp with Michelle Hiatt and Lynn Wheatley at the Rangeley Inn next month. If not, I guess I'll be finishing it there. I try not to have more than one project in progress at once. My brain has enough problems keeping one straight. When no pattern is followed and my processes are variations of the normal ways of using the tools, multiple projects at once get confusing as I try to remember just what I did.
As I write this, Lena the Longarm is running in the background providing it's own music of sorts. I think that it's song is one that will be heard often up here in the loft. There are a fair number of tops that will be fed through the quilting and finishing up process to get them all from tops into useable quilts. With the current size of our stash I can see the need to create a whole lot more tops to feed Lena. The only problem lies in the fact that just the bins of small pieces could keep me busy for a year or two with the stash keeping me busy for another 50 years!
Sew many tops, too little time. Have fun ~ keep stitching.
Mid May 2019
May’s arrival marks the beginning of the end. The last day of Threads Galore Quilt shop’s existence is rapidly approaching. As you can well imagine Carol and I are both quite busy with cleaning out, packing, rearranging and to use the Maine term “chucking” stuff. It is rather liberating to get rid of lots of stuff. Frustrating as well, because experience has shown that I will go look for a lot of it later only to remember I chucked it.
Carol and I currently have 2 quilts hanging at Quiltfest Lancaster. A couple of old favorites, SPOTLIGHT ON THE STARS and LOTSA LEMOYNES. Although neither ribboned, LOTSA LEMOYNES received the award for best use of color in it’s category.
With the sale of the house, I guess at least for the time being, my days as a gardener are behind me. I will say some of the most fun (and most work) I’ve spent were creating my multiple flower beds and veggies for the table and to give away. Time moves on, as will we.
Hopefully, we will see a few more of you to take advantage of our final sale before we shut it all down. Remember to keep creating, I know I will.
March… still looks like January but there is hope, I feel it in the sunshine that is present occasionally on my daily walks. Don’t remember the last time that we got the amount of snow that we have had this year but I have faith it will melt at some point. I just hope it is before June.
Our quilt ORDER IN CHAOS was accepted into MQX so it will be headed there soon for next month’s show. Can’t wait to see the talent that will be displayed there. I pieced it from scraps to try and eliminate some out of the bins. I know that I must have depleted the stash somewhat but I still don’t seem to find any room to put leftovers.
We are currently on our winter/spring break. Don’t really know which to call it, there is still a lot of winter left but we are hoping for spring to arrive before we reopen. Some melting of snow and drying up in the parking lot and paths would be a really good thing. I have an idea that the vacuum will get a workout as the outside gets brought in along with any customers.
We have listed our house and the shop with a different realtor, an old band mate from junior high and high school who works for the Bean Group Realty. We have high hopes that there will be changes in our future. As Carol talked about in her part of the newsletter we have decided that the time is here. When we re-open at the end of March it will only last for a short time as we will close the doors for good on Monday, May 27th. I stated a couple months ago in my ramblings that change does not necessarily mean that something bad is happening, only something different is happening. The retail end of our lives, although interesting, is no longer where our interests lie. While not looking forward to the transition, I think both Carol and I are looking toward the next stage of our lives.
As I write this I am between projects, but I’m sure that won’t last long, although there will be less a need to create new projects with no need for samples and I may limit myself to a couple quits a year and utilize them as show quilts. Since starting writing this a couple days ago I am already working on the design phase of a new quilt. Who knows…. Once this craft gets inside you it can be hard to remove.
Keep quilting, hopefully we will see some familiar faces during our last two months as a fully functioning quilt shop, maybe one them will be yours. Till then.
February arrives as the shortest month of the year and after this past January, which seemed like the longest, I’m ready. January was really cold, with a sufficient amount of snow, making it easy to look outside and see that it is winter. It always amazes me that all the snow will melt come spring. Snow pack is 3-5 feet in places and I’m sure we will get more.
MQX and VQF entry, ORDER IN CHAOS, have been processed for April and June shows. Still waiting for our quilt CERTIFIABLE to get back from it’s trip to California, it did not win a ribbon but I heard lots of nice comments from people who saw it hanging there.
I am almost finished with my latest quilt top. You may remember it started as a mini and has grown up to be a king. I have over 200 hours in it now. I started it just before Christmas ~ should be done in a day or two. As is usually the case in a top I design as I make it, there are parts that I wish I had made differently, but it is what it is. It’s not being altered now. Thinking that at this point in time Carol is stumped regarding what will be quilted on it. As in all things, time will tell. I haven’t decided what will be started next, something new or a repeat. As I just said, time will tell.
No shadow was seen by the rodent so they say that Spring is only 6 weeks away. That translates into 8 - 10 weeks up here, but I have faith it will get here. I miss my greenhouse and getting started on summer plants, in the past I would have tomato plants well on the way by now. Sigh, life goes on.
So, I will spend the rest of February in hibernation, except for my daily 5 mile walks and periodic bouts of snow relocation. Much of that time will be spent sewing. We are still waiting for the new attachment for Carol’s longarm. When it arrives and we learn how to use it I will possibly be using it as well. Repeated again, time will tell. Carol seems to have become good friends with the Innova and is working on a large wall hanging, an older creation of mine. There are plenty of tops in the closet and in multiple drawers to keep the Innova
Sew, stay warm and have fun.
2019 ~ the beginning of a new year always makes me reflect back on the previous year to see what if anything I accomplished. I have a hard time remembering what happened during 2018, it went by so fast. CERTIFIABLE was what we called our quilt that went through the cycle of the three quilt shows we usually enter. It did well, with 2 blue and one red ribbon. It is in California now for the Road to California Quilt Show the end of the month in Ontario, CA. Time will tell whether it is liked on the other side of the country.
Managed to get 10 quilts (plus the one I am working on now ) completed. Carol has quilted several and is in the process of working on one now. All were original designs except for one of Michelle Hiatt’s called Bloom. I made both the throw size in the pattern as well as a mini of the same pattern. I then pieced a small and large version of what we are calling Chasing Memories. It uses a block from our Chasing Points pattern and another from our Memory Lane pattern. I combined them to get Chasing Memories. Made these out of nice and bright Allison Glass fabrics. Thinking out of the box playing on the computer next I came up with something I called Number 9. It is a more modern design and very different from my normal traditional repeated blocks type of quilt. During our Last Spring Quilt Camp I made a mini of our pattern Chasing Points, not my best mini and was certainly a challenge.
At this point I decided that the quilt studio needed some straightening, some clean up time was definitely needed. It was during this process I decided that while accumulating lots of small pieces was “OK” in a OCD kind of way, I needed to find something to actually do with them. I started using the 2” cut squares to make 4 1/2” finished nine patch units. I made several hundred of them. Then realized that to actually get rid of the fabric scraps I still needed to use the nine patch blocks and tie them together somehow into a quilt. My first attempt was to leave them as the nine patch blocks and add a double sashing with four patch corner stones. By the time the quilt had grown to a queen I still had a lot of nine patch blocks left. So I started again to think about what to do to get rid of the rest. For this attempt I decided to shatter or make the nine patch disappear by cutting them horizontally and vertically. I then added sashing strips and four patch corner stones and grew it to another queen. This one is named ORDER IN CHAOS. Carol has this one on the frame as I write this. That got me out of scrappy thinking and I moved on.
The next quilt grew from an evening playing on Electric Quilt 8. Very different from my usual. It actually started as a prank where I thought it would be cool to make a mini quilt and place it on the baby Jesus in the manger I walked by everyday. He looked cold. However, taking a different path on my walk revealed another manger scene and decided that to be fair I would need to make more than one. After realizing that it took about 14 hours to piece one, and who knows what the reaction would be, decided to abandon that idea. So I took the mini I had completed and started growing it into a larger quilt. Am still growing this one, and will be working on it for a while longer.
The point is there are a lot of cool quilt ideas out there. Many of these ideas, others have written down into their patterns. I prefer to look within and see what comes out of my head. I suppose some appeal only to me, others are liked by many. The process is the same, it gets the quilt out of my head so that I can move on.
So find a pattern or something out of your head and see what you can create in 2019. Remember there are few hard and fast rules in quilting. Trust me, if there were I would probably find another creative outlet. So have fun and get a project growing. Enjoy!
December, don't tell me 2018 is almost over. I think I say this every year as I get older ~ I have no idea where this year went. We celebrated our last Quilt Camp along with other lasts. The greenhouse that started these ramblings is long gone and more of the flower gardens have become lawns. Unfortunately, the house has not sold so we have not been able to move on to whatever is next.
November brought several wet heavy snowstorms. If we only had our current amount of snow in mid-January I would think we were having a good snow year. I don't remember a season that had plenty of snow before snowmobiling season even started. Looks like it will be a long season. Hopefully, I will be able to keep up with my winter job as President in Charge of Snow Relocation and still get some quilting done.
The scrap quilt top that I was working on during Fall Quilt Camp is complete and I am well into the next top. Unfortunately, when you design on the fly, changes get made in the design. This time the changes resulted in a fair amount of un-sewing of blocks so I could reuse the units elsewhere. I am pleased with the changes, but at times am having difficulty wrapping my thick head around following the design.
Exciting news: our quilt CERTIFIABLE was juried into Road to California Quilt Show to be held in January. Kinda wish I was going to California with it. Maybe someday we will be able to travel to the more distant shows. Maybe someday.....(see paragraph 1)
Hopefully Carol will be working on a couple of show quilts before too long. It's a long process between coming up with the idea, piecing the top and then the quilting process. Entry deadlines approach. Time will tell which top will get done in time for the different deadlines.
Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season, whatever your reason for the season. Enjoy family and friends and remember the season is about presence not presents.
Remember, if we all keep sewing we can piece something together.
Talk to you next year ~ Dan
November arrives. Our final Quilt Camp is over. It was fun, now to move on to whatever is next. The end of October brought us snow and cold weather. The slushy snow that fell froze to concrete much like a mid-winter snow storm. Wait a minute ~ it's only October. A frantic effort was made to get most of the leaves raked up before the storm and I was fairly successful in doing so. I only hope that this is not a warning of what is to come. Oh well, it will be what it is. If snow falls I'll clean it up, if it doesn't, I'll sew. It could be worse.
Still working on a scrap quilt that I started a while back. FINDING ORDER IN CHAOS is it's working name. Still a long way to go on this one. The quilt is at the deceptive stage right now. While the bulk of the top is complete, an awful lot of connector blocks need to be assembled. I may be hallucinating, but I think I see a little space in some of the scrap bins. This will complete two big tops made entirely from the scrap bins.
Have no idea what the next project will be but it quite probably will require yardage and not be made from scraps! Whatever you are working on, have fun. The next thing you know we will be talking Christmas. Hopefully, we get to enjoy some of November without freezing in the process.
October, for a lot of years, has meant Fall Quilt Camp, this year is no exception. Our 18th and final Quilt Camp will be upon us very quickly. That's right, OUR final Quilt Camp. Camp has changed a lot over the years with a variety of instructors ~ each with their own perspective and way of quilting. None necessarily better than the rest, only different. Much like our quilts, all different ~ all starting the same by cutting fabric and sewing it back together with different results. Thus it will be with Fall Quilt Camp 2019, it will be different. That's right, this fall camp is the last that Carol and I will be hosting here in Rangeley. Going forward, any camps will be run by our good friend Michelle Renee Hiatt, the instructor we introduced to the Rangeley experience. Change happens, life goes on. Good luck Michelle!
Many things change as we develop and grow older. My life is evolving. I survived a season without a greenhouse. It wasn't the same, it was different. Not better, not worse, just different. As I get older the gardens became and are becoming more work than enjoyment. That means it is time for a change. That's right ~ more gardens are destined for lawns. Not the same, not better, not worse, just different. I have no idea what I will do in the time I would have spent gardening, but I do know it will be filled with something.....different.
The gardens have almost been put to bed for the season. There are more plants to be cut back as I decide what will be eliminated next. To date, I have not had a killing frost, but by now the plants are tired ~ they have accomplished what they were intended to do and they did it well. Time for the compost pile.
I am still working on scrap quilts. I finished one and am working on another ~ all fabric coming from the boxes and drawers that are full of scraps ready to be the pieces needed for the next project. The drawers contain many, many more quilts than these two. The fun part of these scrap quilts is that until I get started I don't really know what the pieces will form and what the quilt will look like. That is part of the process, part of what makes the process interesting. Part of what makes each quilt different and unique.
Enjoy your Fall, take the time to enjoy the change of the season because the next one will seem to go on forever! It's time for quilting.....
September, oh CRAP, where did the summer go? It seems that I got so busy getting between events that I suddenly realized it's LABOR DAY! I guess that explains why the beans are about gone and the flowers are looking very tired and used up. That is also one of the reasons why I am looking froward to finding a buyer for this property so we can move on to a different daily routine. A paradigm shift. I know there has to be quilt in there, I'll just have to find it.
The deer were kept rom eating my lily so that I finally got to see it in it's glory. Seven blossoms. Unfortunately, the first was almost gone when the last finally opened. Still beautiful.
The quilt that I started working on while sewing with some friends and instructors is moving right along. It is using the nine-patch units that I talked about last month. Five rows left, no border, definitely scrappy.
More gardens are on the docket for removal, with them comes the need to get rid of the sculpture in the horney garden and my 20' copper flag pole. Anyone interested?
August means that the summer is in full swing. This summer has been a hectic one for the Rangeley area. Area businesses are very busy and are beginning to look forward to having their quiet town return to its slower pace. My gardens are producing food for the table and meals consist of many vegetables. The flowers are doing great and so far I have been able to keep the deer from eating all the buds before the flowers arrive
The passing of July also signifies that the Maine Quilt show is over. Our quilt CERTIFIABLE was awarded a first place blue ribbon in the large pieced category. Many, many beautiful quilts were hanging there. Saw many familiar faces and if you stopped by the Sew on the Go booth to visit us and shop, we thank you.
As Carol discusses in her newsletter, please don't listen to rumors regarding our shop and homes here in Rangeley. Our house is for sale. We are not trying to sell Threads Galore Quilt Shop, just the house and property. The shop will remain open until we are sure the sale will truly happen and then it will be closed. In other words, WE ARE OPEN AS NORMAL until then. August hours are Tuesday thru Saturday, 10AM to 4PM. At this time, the rental house, or what we call Quilt Inn is not for sale. Hopefully, this will dispel a few of the rumors. Unfortunately, probably not, because the people spreading the rumors don't really care whether the information they spread is correct or not. More of what we are all exposed to today ~ fake news. Say anything with authority and it must be true.
I am currently working on cleaning up some 2" scraps and have been making them into nine-patch blocks. I don't have a solid plan for the blocks yet but so far I have over 300 of them. Time will tell, they will get used in a least one, probably several, quilts. They will be scrappy ~ that is all I really know at this time.
Enjoy your summer. Go swimming (I may even go), kayaking, hiking, camping or just sit on the porch and enjoy the weather! Time will fly by and we will soon be doing cold weather activities all over again. Find time to sew and at least get your project ideas ready for the months to come. Enjoy!
The ending of June means that summer has arrived, at least according to the calendar. Very cool still most nights, but the days warm up pretty quickly. The arrival of July also means that Vermont Quilt Festival is over. I spent most of last weekend at the festival where our quilt CERTIFIABLE received a red ribbon for our efforts. Talked to a lot of quilting friends and acquaintances and, as usual, met some new ones. That's what I enjoy about quilting ~ for the most part quilters are friendly people, willing to share ideas and methods even with people they just met. Saw some beautiful quilts and received some much needed inspiration to get the ideas flowing again.
July also means that Maine Quilts will be happening soon. CERTIFIABLE will be hanging in the show. Stop in and see Carol and I, we will be in working in Michelle Hiatt's Sew On The Go booth (#5). Stop in and see what's new.
Most of the vegetable garden has been planted except for some later plantings of peas and carrots which will probably be planted as soon as I find the time. Even as dry as it has been, things seem to be growing OK. The containers and ground plantings around the entrance to the quilt shop are starting to fill out as well. Seemed odd to go buy all the plants this year instead of just pulling them out of the greenhouse but they are doing well and I must say I found something else to do when I would have been tending them all spring. Hopefully, they continue to grow and the deer stay out of them.
Enjoy your summer, find some time to quilt and enjoy the warmer weather, hopefully it finally arrives and hangs around for a while!
June's arrival means that the full blown summer season is almost here. It also means that Vermont Quilt Festival is due to happen soon. I have mailed off our entry CERTIFIABLE, lets hope the judges are kind. This is the same quilt that MQX awarded a blue ribbon to. It will then head to Maine Quilts in Augusta so if you can't see it in Vermont come to Maine Quilts to see it there.
The area around the shop entrance has been planted along with the hanging baskets of geraniums on the porches. It sure seemed weird going to a nursery to buy the seedlings needed rather than just bringing them up from the greenhouse. Less work, less expensive, more variety possible but no where near as much fun. As I grow older I do like the less work and less expensive part and it is fun to go through all the greenhouses and come home with a truck full ready to transplant and a few hours later ~ all done ~ hopefully not to be utilized as deer food.
Carol has been pleased that I have not been sitting at my sewing machine of late. After completing the last top, I artistically hit the wall. Still thinking of creating something different but so far the imagination has only given me glimpses of what the quilt could look like. The frustrating part is that I have grown used to just drawing the design in EQ8. Unfortunately, I haven't mastered the section on placing multi-sized blocks into the same quilt. So to move onward with that quilt I would either need to learn that part of EQ8 or go back to graph paper. Or, I guess there is a third option ~ move on to something else. That is what I keep doing. Oh well, I guess that is why there is later ~ I'll create that quilt later.
End of my rambling for now so enjoy June, the month of new beginnings. Try to find some time to quilt around the gardening and the cook outs. 'Til next time....Dan
May means Machine Quilter's Exposition (more often called MQX) is over. A lot of really beautiful quilts were displayed, I was only there for a short time but enjoyed viewing all the quilts. Our quilt, CERTIFIABLE, was proudly displayed with the blue ribbon that it was awarded. It's next show will be in June at Vermont Quilt Festival. Maybe I'll see you there.
Am currently working on quilt top #6 for 2018. This one is a little out of the box for me ~ my attempt at a more modern design. Don't know if I nailed that, but it is different and the layout is challenging to say the least. Fun to try something a little different every once and a while. Working up the courage for a project with Y seams, it hasn't come to the top of the list yet so for now keeping with Studio 180 shapes.
Spring Quilt Camp is this week, this year I have no official teaching duties as they have been transferred to Michelle. That said, the game plan is to find a project and sew along with everyone else and see what I can get done. I have yet to figure out what that project will be.
The snow is disappearing from the yards. The vegetable garden is empty of snow, but I'm sure it is quite muddy ~ think I'll wait a few days to find out. The day lilies are popping up out of the ground, unfortunately the deer are eating the new growth as fast as they appear. Probably for the best that I have resigned to the fact that the deer have taken over my yard and I have given up gardening to feed them.
I would have enjoyed working in the greenhouse these past few nights. The ice went out of my little pond down back and I could hear the "quacking" of the tree frogs as they begin their mating ritual and fill the pond with polliwogs ~ always liked hearing them as I was transplanting seedlings. The peepers will be next, Spring is slowly showing her face. ABOUT TIME!
So, if you are missing our Spring Quilt Camp, remember there is still time to get signed up for one of the few remaining spots in our final Fall Quilt Camp. Bittersweet that they will end, but it is time for changes so if you ever wanted to attend one.......last chance!!
Keep quilting, enjoy the emergence of the new green shoots celebrating the end of another winter. Enjoy.
April arrives with us still having an overabundance of snow. Kind of glad we are not a Maine Shop Hop quilt shop this year. Rules state that if your business is for sale you can't participate. Oh well, we will be here and open much of the time, just not 7 days a week. (April hours are listed here) So stop in, if you are so inclined, on your way to or from the shop up the road a ways.
April also brings us to the season of Machine Quilter's Expo in Manchester, NH, April 11th ~ 14th. Always a great show. One of my new creations, expertly made better with Carol's quilting, will be on display at the show. I will be there most of Friday and Saturday, if you see me say HI! (just remember I'm terrible with names) Just finished another top, I think it's number 4 for 2018 but who's counting! Very pleased with how it came out. Now to see if I can make it again 1/2 scale.
As the snow disappears, there is an uncovering of the projects left from last fall. Though, I must say, no where near as many as there were in past years because of last year's clean up and purge of crap (technical term) of not needed items laying around. I do miss my greenhouse which I eliminated last summer ~ I miss my evenings playing in the dirt and transplanting seedlings. I thoroughly enjoyed it but it is time to move on. Has made for a lot more quilting time. Carol will probably have me put it back up to cut down on the quilt tops waiting in the closet.
Hopefully Spring is showing her face where you live ~ it will be here eventually. At least it always has. Enjoy the rest of the cold season and take time to experience the new growth the season change will bring. I love the changes as everything turns green changing from the dull winter colors and the now brown snow.
Enjoy, keep quilting and hope to see you soon. As always, comments, though seldom received, are always appreciated.
March's arrival means that we have made it through the brunt of this years winter. Cold at times, snowy at times, wet and rainy at times ~ overall a normal Maine winter. February found me testing another of Michelle Hiatt's new patterns. I made the throw size then made it in the smallest size the tools allowed me ~ instead of 9" blocks I made it in 3" blocks. No harder and as usual, the smaller one took a little less time to piece. Think about it, every seam is pretty short with all the other processes about the same, I find making a smaller version of most quilts is quicker than the full size. I am between projects right now. I have one on the drawing board (actually in the computer) but haven't firmly decided on the colors.
Although slow to arrive in Rangeley, spring will get here before long. I am already missing my greenhouse. In the past I would normally have seeds started and well on the way by now. Even the last couple of years when I did not run it all winter I would be getting ready to fire it back up by now and get it going. Don't really know what we will have for flowers around the property this season, I'm sure I'll buy some. However, for me, the enjoyment came in the greenhouse part of the growing process. Change....not always liked but usually different. Probably why they call in change.
MQX is next month. Carol will be there a day and I will be there for one or so as well. The verdict is still out on whether we get our quilt completed to display there. Hope so, time will tell.
Enjoy the rest of this seasons cold time and hopefully where you live at least some of March will be spring-like. Keep quilting! Dan
February, the shortest month of the year, or as I read in a comic strip ~ February is the shortest month so we can get to spring quicker. Let's hope so! Been cold, been snowy, basically been winter in Maine. Just came in from cleaning up another minor snow event. They are about as much work to clean up after as a decent snow storm. In some ways, maybe even more so, because it seems like such a waste of time.
Finished quite a quilt project recently (hopefully destined to be this years show quilt). Over 8900 pieces with 1284 of them 1" x 2" flying geese. My Wing Clipper got quite a workout that's for sure. Top's done, Carol's turn. I'm satisfied with my part. Anxious to see what Carol does. It will be on her new longarm that is scheduled to arrive next Monday. Hopefully, it's enough like her old one so they can become friends quickly.
Have another quilt underway already. It is a test run of Michelle Renee Hiatt's latest not yet released pattern, BLOOM. It's a fun project, only two tools required and is moving right along. Should be another good one.
No bites on the house/shop so everything is business as usual. A reminder though to check our webpage to be sure Carol and I did not have to go out of town at the same time. (which is why we are closed this Thursday, the 8th) Not everything can be scheduled for the first of the week.
So, enjoy February, it will be gone before you know it. Get some quilting done while we are all still in hibernation mode. As always, comments and questions are welcome to email@example.com
January, usually our coldest month, will find it hard to compete with the sub-zero temperatures of the the end of December. Not supposed to warm up much as we roll into the new year so I guess I'll need to think warm thoughts.
January also brings us to the deadlines for sign up for our final Quilt Camps. It's looking like our camps will not go out with a bang, but more like a fizzle. I realize we are being more stringent this year about having the needed number of sign ups. We ran several over the years that were not profitable for us but we put the event on anyway. Running the event at a loss just doesn't work. While it makes for an intimate setting for the attendees, it makes absolutely no sense for us to do so as we are no longer interested in breaking even in hopes that next year will be better. So, Spring and Fall Quilt Camps 2018 are intended to be the end and in all honesty are looking like they will not happen. That's right, we have not met our minimum enrollees and with time running out it looks doubtful we will. It is not fair to our instructor Michelle or to those that have already enrolled to drag out the sign up period.
I have been continuing to work on my mini piecing, still haven't figured out how I am going to tie them all together and again, being honest, the scrap pile has not been reduced by a great amount. Seemed like a good idea, but mini's don't use a lot of fabric, therefore scraps go a loooonnng way. I have designed a new quilt top and am piecing a practice block to see how the piecing goes. Looking good so far, anxious to get on to a real project. The mini's project is still too vague in my mind and has no complete direction to go in, at least not enough to get me into overdrive mode.
Enjoy January, remember for the most part 2018 will be what you make it so have fun, keep quilting and hope for warmer weather.
December is upon us. Even if it has not arrived where you live, winter is rapidly approaching. We have had a small taste here and as I look out my window sitting at my sewing machine the ground is white. I have begun the season of always being cold. Not my favorite time of year and to be honest one I was in hopes to be about over with. We have not had any takers on the sale of our two houses yet and are moving on to plan B of the process. We have decided to remove the rental house, or as we call it Quilt Inn, from the market for now. Although the intention is still to sell it as well as the house used as the Quilt Shop, the one we live in. The current emphasis will be on selling our house where the quilt shop is. This means rentals at Quilt Inn will continue for the foreseeable future. If the house sells there may be no quilt shop next door but all else could remain the same. NO, this does not mean we have closed the Quilt Shop. As before, we are fully operational until the property sells. Carol has ordered several bolts of fabric to add to our Hoffmann 885 dots and the new Studio 180 Four Patch Square Up just arrived.
Change is inevitable, sometimes it is easier to ease into change rather than to change all at once. We shall see. A new long arm has been ordered and I am looking forward to seeing if I can develop some degree of expertise in using it. As Carol and I have decided that quilting is embedded in our lifestyles so we might as well begin the changes with a new (big) tool to play with!
Quilt Camps for 2018 are still in limbo waiting for the necessary registrants to sign up ~ there is still time to get your spot. A fabulous time is had by all, many relationships are created that extend well beyond the camp attended. The tools that are obtained can be used over and over ~ an excellent opportunity to brush up on your skills or create new ones. I highly recommend taking classes from Michelle Hiatt whenever the opportunity arises. I’m sometimes tempted to take one myself. Remember, Michelle is also teaching at Maine Quilts in 2018.
Carol and I have just come out of a week of sewing with a great group of Studio 180 Certified Instructors. A fun and productive time was had by all, with some of us getting more done than others. I worked on a few mini versions of some patterns that will hopefully end up in an upcoming quilt. Time will tell. Always a challenge to work with small scale designs and small pieces. I like when I am working with 1” finished blocks ~ the seams are short and the bobbin lasts a long time. That's always a good thing. I had the chance to try out the new Four Patch Square Up tool during this last week of sewing. I had thought, before trying it, “why do I need such a tool?” After seeing the exactness of the block size compared to what I sewed as a 4 patch, I will be using it for 4 patch blocks much like I use the Tucker Trimmer to make 1/2 square triangles. I personally like the concept of making my blocks larger than I need them and trimming them to be what they were supposed to be. Now in a block with a 4 patch unit in it the 4 patch unit is the exact size needed, just like my Corner Beam or V Block etc. Makes assembling blocks from my units a lot easier.
The coming of winter is pushing me into sew season. Personally I like sew season better than snow season, but I was not chosen to be the one that determines how much or how often it snows. Probably a good thing. Sew season for me means lots of sewing happens. Some days sewing all day and well into the nighttime after taking a break for supper and some TV shows. I still have to figure out a design for a quilt to be used as a show quilt for 2018’s round of shows. It is really a pain when shows only will accept quilts made during the last year. Machine Quilters Expo now allows quilts to be entered if completed within the last 3 years. Not really much help though, where Vermont requires quilt to have been made between lasts years show and February 1 and both entry deadlines are at the same time. I’ll figure something out. Maybe I’ll like the new long arm enough and enter one I did myself. Unfortunately, snow season takes place during the same time as sew season. This means that if it snows then snow season duties take priority over the fun of sew season. Lets hope that it doesn’t snow every day this winter and then we will all see what I sew.
Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and a Happy New Year. Keep sewing and show me what you sew.
WOW! January is over. Busy month. I like our new hours though of having Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off ~ almost reminds me I'm supposed to be retired. The bathroom project has started and is moving along quite well. The room is now empty, gutted and is beginning to come back together but it is a slow process with each day bringing new obstacles. Almost makes me want to go back into construction again.....NOT! While so far it has been "fun", I almost hope it will be the last one I ever do. So many steps. Almost like making a quilt! See how I got to where I am today? I have always thought that there was a lot in common between construction and making a quilt, especially when designing it is part of the process.
Had fun testing one of Michelle Hiatt's new patterns that she is currently working on ~ a variation of a storm at sea quilt she is calling "Calm Seas". She is working on several new patterns to be available in the coming months, three of them are projects you may choose at our Fall Quilt Camp 2017. I am working on a miniature "Calm Seas" now.
Carol and I are teaching a workshop this month ~ remember your group can hire us to come and work with you as well. Learn precision piecing that can be reproduced again and again. Studio 180 Design Tools allow this to be possible. It is often commented that I must paper piece my projects, but the precision is achieved through the use of these tools. It certainly has made my quilting experience more fun.
Only a couple more months and I will turn the heat back on in the greenhouse for what will probably be the last time. I have had a lot of fun in it, but the times they are a changing. The gardens have been shrinking and will continue to shrink more. This reduces the need for the greenhouse. Sadly, I am sure I will miss it, but won't miss all the shoveling and snow clearing it requires.
So keep quilting and create something beautiful. Hopefully, in March's newsletter I can tell you about the completed bathroom project.
January and the beginning of a New Year is usually a reflective time of year for me. I look back at the last years achievements and in many cases lack thereof. I say that, because like many of you, what I set out to accomplish does not always reach fulfillment. Try as I may, I usually find I lack the effort to fully follow through on some of my “lists”. I have stopped writing down my long term lists, they were too frustrating to review later. I have found if I leave them in my head many of them just get forgotten. I guess I look at it that if I forgot it, I must not have really wanted (or needed) to get it done anyway. A large chunk of the gardens behind the Quilt Shop were removed last summer and quite probably more will be this season. While looking through some older pictures of gardens past, it is a little depressing to see all the beautiful flower areas that were maintained and no longer exist, but I honestly have no idea where I found the time to create them or maintain them in the first place. I have come to accept that as “they looked pretty” the emphasis now is on the “looked”. Time moves on and things need to change for us to live our lives.
Speaking of changes, one of the big changes this year will be the reduction of the shops hours. We are starting the New Year with January and February having those reduced hours. The new hours will be Thursday through Saturday 10 - 4. Hopefully this change of hours will allow Carol and I some time for completing some other not necessarily quilt related projects, although those as well. One of these will be the remodeling of the bathroom in the Quilt Shop. This is a project that has been on the back burner for a while and the time has arrived. It will mean that the bathroom will be out of commission for a period of time. So if planning on visiting the shop in Jan/Feb (remember Thursday - Saturday) best not to plan on the bathroom being functional. I used to get excited about a new project like this, these days ~ not so much. One disadvantage of being a DIY/handyman and a Mainer, I know how to do the project and therefore am too cheap to hire someone else to complete it for me. I am in the process of replacing the pedestal lavatory in the Quilt Inn large bathroom that was damaged. With this project I am reminded that although I spent most of my adult life as a plumber, it is a part of my life I would gladly refrain from doing anymore. Sigh ~ to be honest, I would prefer piecing a new quilt project or just reading a book.
The annual growth of Mt Bumpy, (the snow pile created when clearing the parking lot) is well under way. Over the past few days tunnels and cavities have been created within the pile. I honestly think I have more fun than the kids.
I am currently working on the piecing of the Maine Shop Hop Challenge quilt. This year the design is one of Carol’s. We are calling it Memory Lane in honor of Carol’s Mother. Coming right along, its only a wall hanging so won’t take long. Then if the DIY projects don’t get in the way too much I will move on to who knows what! Regardless of what else I will be working on, a quilt project to work on in the evenings will be a must.
Enjoy the New Year ~ it will be the old one before you know it. Find a quilt project to make that maybe takes you out of your comfort zone, that is where we learn. Never be afraid to try something new, it is within the changes we find the pathways that allow us to grow. As always comments are welcome when sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.