Row by Row: Suburban Virginia

July 12, 2016

Did you know that there are groups on Facebook for swapping patterns and rows? One is Rowed Warriors Swap Shop 2016; another is Quilter’s 2016 Row Kit-Swap; there are others. I searched for “row by row swap”. Be careful, it is way too easy to get swept away in the frenzy of wanting every row you see. I restrained myself and only ordered two row kits so far. A couple of people will be swapping some patterns with me.

Saturday was Jinny Beyer Club meeting day so I figured I might as well leave early and visit a few shops before club. Patty doesn’t belong to club but decided she wanted to go with me.

Our first stop was the Hollin Hall Variety Shop in Alexandria, VA. This store was new to us and it is their first year in Row by Row. This is like the dime stores of my youth or a general store, they have a little bit of everything. Someone who works there must be a quilter because that’s the only way I can figure that they even knew about the Row by Row Experience. Their row features George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.

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I got a kit for me and a kit and free pattern to swap as well as a squeegee for the shower. As I said, a little bit of everything. Patty found a fabric she liked but decided not to get it. Of course, after we left she regretted not buying it.

Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria is another store that is sort-of new to us. We’d never been to the store but we’ve seen their booth at a local quilt show. If you want Australian prints or Indonesian batik prints, this is the place to go. You might find a few elsewhere but not the selection here. I should have taken a picture of their hand-made batik pieces – I wish I could remember where they’re made. They have quite a large selection. This is also the place to go if you’re into the artsy-fartsy side of quilting with fabric painting, stamping, embellishing, and other exotic techniques. This is the kind of place I would go if I had a specific project that I needed supplies for. Our friend, Linda, would be so excited we might have to call 911 or she might have to rob a bank to pay for her purchases. Good thing she wasn’t with us.

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The quilt below shows all the color ways of their 2015 row, using some of the batik pieces I was talking about. Because last year’s theme was water, they chose fish.

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I only got the free pattern. I didn’t care for the colors of the fabrics they used in the kits.

We headed to Fairfax, Va for lunch at First Watch which is a few doors down from The Quilters Studio. With the new maps for my GPS, She Who Must Be Obeyed had a different idea of which route was the easy route than I did. Maybe there is something new in the settings that I need to change.

Quilters Studio is the place to go if you want “modern” fabric (don’t get me started on that term). They’ve also got small selections of repros and a good selection of batiks; lots of novelties; a wall of Kaffe Fassett collective.

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Their row is appealing but they wanted $29.99 for the kit. Yikes! If the pieces were already cut, it might be worth it but they aren’t. I asked one of the workers why it was so expensive but, either she didn’t hear the question or was ignoring it.

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I refused the kit but found a nice book print. The colorful things on the right go around a spool of thread to keep the thread from unwinding. I wanted to try them. I think they’ll be great if they don’t get stretched out after being used on a fat spool.

Our next stop was Jinny Beyer Studio in Great Falls, VA for the club meeting. Jinny is an Olympian in the quilting world. I love all things Jinny and have been her student since 1997. Unfortunately, Jinny was on the west coast so wasn’t there for club this month.

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Jinny’s design incorporates the bald eagle and the Pentagon. If I remember correctly, the batik fabric inside the pentagons is one Jinny designed for our local shop hop a couple of years ago. It contains images of various landmarks in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia). She has had it printed in other colors for her shop since the shop hop exclusive ended.

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I picked up a kit and license plate for me and one to share and a free pattern to trade. If piecing could bring peace, what a wonderful world it would be.

From here I expected our next stop to be Patty’s house but as we approached the 270-Beltway split, she asked if we could go to Capital Quilts. Although I’d given her their pattern, she’d decided she wanted a kit, probably for the little quilt blocks on the fence. I wrote about the Capital Quilts row here.

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I picked up some of the Row by Row license plate print for this year. Also had a chat with Annie about my experience so far with my new Janome 9400.

I have done some sewing in between road trips but don’t have pictures to show.

Yesterday was Mimi’s Grad School class at Bear’s Paw Fabrics in Towson, MD.

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Their row is the vertical row on the left. For the quilt on the right, they added a branch and did the row horizontally.

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Their kit as everything die cut and ready to fuse. I’ve collected quite a few license plates over the last couple of years so I was happy to see this pattern. They also have another similar pattern from the same company. I need to find my other patterns that use license plates and put them all together.

No road trip this week – just recuperating and sewing.

Row by Row: Maryland and Delaware

July 12, 2016

Before I proceed to the next Row by Row travelogue, I want to recommend this product for the back of plastic templates (home made or commercial) and rotary rulers to reduce slipping.

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Nexcare flexible clear tape, available at drug stores in the bandage section. I think I got mine at Walgreens.

Patty and I took another row by row trip this week. This time we headed up I-95 north, over the top of the Chesapeake Bay, down through Delaware, then across the Bay Bridge toward home.

Our first stop was Glory Bee’s Sewing Center in Fallston, MD. This store opened a few years ago but we’ve never been there until now. It’s a good size store with plenty to choose from.

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Glory Bee’s 2016 row. The multi-colored letters are cut from the Row by Row house print.

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Nothing special in the kit so I got the free pattern and the license plate.

From there we headed further up I-95 to Aberdeen, MD to Hoppin Bobbin, another store we’d never been to before. I really like the feel of this store. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, except for the quilt block mural, but the inside is divided into rooms with a very homey feel.

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We actually passed it up and had to turn around in the parking lot next door. What you don’t see on the left is the building that juts out and hides the shop from that direction.

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Above is the batik room. Wouldn’t you like to sit down and browse through the magazines on the table? If you look to the right, just behind the bookcase with the blue and white quilt, you can see the edge of a dog dish. You are likely to be enthusiastically greeted by this little charmer, Tootsie.

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I had trouble getting a good shot of her because the flash from my first attempt scared her. Apparently, she is quite a wimp, afraid of everything except people.

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We weren’t quite sure how a snowman related to the Row by Row theme. They must like snowmen because last year’s row also had snowmen, according to Patty.

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Again, I got only the free pattern.

All of the shops in Delaware were new to us. The next stop was Blue Hen Quilt Shop in a Newark, DE strip mall. This shop is very new and quite small, owned by Erin Underwood, who used to be a Baltimore area long-arm quilter. Erin is also a pattern designer. I liked this idea for an ironing table. It’s hard to see the big board on top of the dresser against the white wall behind it. If I had space for a non-moveable ironing station, I’d do this.

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Her row on the left. On the right is the display showing what all is in the kit.

I picked up the kit and the license plate. Way more buttons than you need in the kit.

This display in the bathroom an interesting take on the clothesline bowl technique. Just make circles of varying sizes and hang them on the wall.

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Lil’ Country Shoppe in Wilmington, DE is out in the country in what looks like a farm house. My GPS didn’t quite have the correct location and wanted us to continue for another half a mile or so. We spotted it as we passed so had to find a place to turn around. It’s not a huge shop but had a nice selection, including a fairly large wool applique section. The picture of their row display is blurry. I forgot to check to make sure I got a good picture.

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I got the pattern, license plate and found some food fabrics I couldn’t resist. As if I needed any more – I have a large overflowing bin of food fabrics. I’m afraid to think about how many quilts can be made from that bin. I’ve already used about 40 fat quarters worth for a quilt and the fabrics still won’t all fit in the bin.

We planned to go to two shops in Dover, DE but Shady Lane Selections is closed on Thursdays. I didn’t know that when I suggested to Patty the week before that we go on Wednesday instead. She didn’t want to change the day so I didn’t bring it up again after I found out they would be closed. Then, on the day, she says, “We could have gone yesterday.”Sigh. I really wanted their row because it reminds me of growing up near Illinois Amish country.

We headed on to the Delaware Sewing Center in Dover, DE. This is in a very old looking strip mall. Tired is the only word that comes to mind. The store is quite large, an old-fashioned all encompassing sewing store like the ones we used to have everywhere when I was growing up, rather than the specialty quilt shops we’re accustomed to these days.

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I got the kits for this year’s row (on the left) and last year’s row (on the right) as well as this year’s license plate.

Now we had a dilemma. It was about 2:40 or so and the last shop on the list, Village Quilting in Rock Hall, MD was an hour and 10 minutes away. Could we get there before they closed at 4 pm? It was going to be very close. We started out with that intention but with heavy traffic and several miles of stoplights, it became clear that we probably weren’t going to make it. We considered calling and asking if they’d stay open for us but we’re both too shy to do that. We implemented plan B which was to stop at Peggy’s Sewing Center in Centreville, MD where we went for the first time last year. It’s a nice store that our guild members visit while going to retreat but Peggy’s wasn’t on our row by row list this year because their row is not very interesting.

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Do you think they’ll sell the 200 kits they made? I didn’t even ask for the pattern. Stopping here did give us the necessary break before heading home.

It was early enough as we approached the Bay Bridge that we decided to stop in Annapolis at Cottonseed Glory. I only go to this shop when I’m in Annapolis for another reason. I don’t care for it for reasons I won’t bore you with here. It’s small but has a lot packed into it. We were happy to see that Robbyn Robinson was working that day. Robbyn used to work with Patty at Seminole Sampler, my home away from home. When it closed, Robbyn began working part time at Cottonseed Glory. I think we were the only customers in the shop so we closed them down. We had a nice visit but Robbyn must have been tired because she didn’t even try to talk me into buying fabric I didn’t need.

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I got the pattern and license plate.

At this point it was shortly after 5 pm. I told Patty I thought Tomorrow’s Treasures in Crofton might be open late and did she want to go there on the way home. She did so I checked and discovered that yes, they’re open until 7 pm on Thursdays. I don’t care for this store but I don’t know why. It’s another one that I only go to when I’m in the area for other reasons.

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I got the kit and the license plate.

I’m happy to say that after this stop we went home. I dropped Patty off, picked up some dinner and crashed.

 

Row by Row: Southern Maryland, I-95 Virginia

July 2, 2016

Last Wednesday was a beautiful day for a drive here in the mid-Atlantic. Patty and I took a trip through southern Maryland and up the I-95 corridor in Virginia. Out of seven shops, we’d only been to two of them. The rest were new to us.

Our first stop was Calvert Quilt Shop in Prince Frederick, MD. We planned to get there when the shop opened. We actually beat the owner by a couple of minutes. The GPS in my car took us a little bit longer way than Google said to go but that was a good thing because I-95 was a parking lot. We had no traffic back-ups to deal with the way we went.

The shop is packed with fabric. To the left of the entrance is a model train shop – must be the husband’s shop. It’s possible there were other models, I only noticed the trains. Past that was more quilt shop: the classroom, thread, etc. I think we’d stop again if we were in the neighborhood but not make a special trip.

When we checked out, the owner put our purchases in these tote bags and told us to fill them up on our trip. I had no intention of doing so but it happened anyway.

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Shall we see what treasures I found along the way? I foolishly told people at guild that everything I bought was with a specific intention. I might have inadvertently lied.

Calvert Quilt Shop’s Row by Row display:

The houses in their row have barn quilts on each one. They included twice as many as needed so the maker can choose which ones they want.

I got their kit and license plate, a couple of patriotic prints, a patriotic panel and a print with barns with quilts. I’ve had a design of sorts in my head for many years for a patriotic quilt so any patriotic fabric can be acquired with the intention of using it in that quilt. My paternal grandparents had a farm and I’ve got a vague plan for a memory quilt of the farm so any print relating to the farm is allowed, right?

Our second stop took us to Hughesville, MD to Michelle’s Quilts. This shop is quite large with lots of great fabric but there’s junk everywhere. I needed to lay out one piece of fabric to figure out how much I needed but there wasn’t anywhere to put it. The cutting table was behind a sort of pony wall that separated the customers from the checkout area. There was no customer access to the cutting table and, besides, it was covered with crap. Michelle barely had any room to cut fabric for customers.

Michelle’s row was really nice. Maryland flag with crabs.

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The hexagon beachy looking fabric is all Patty’s fault! I’m going to use it for a small cheater cloth top. On the top left is a pretty oriental style blender print (stash enhancement, sigh). The cat border print stripe is going to be an experiment. I think it might make an interesting one fabric quilt using this technique. I picked up her kit and the license plates for 2015 and 2016.

Twenty minutes or so later we were in La Plata, MD for lunch at the Apple Spice Deli and Material Girls Quilt Boutique. Material Girls is a shop we’ve been to many times. I had my Bernina fixed here a few years back when the feed dogs quit working. Their row and license plate:

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I picked up their kit and last year’s license plate. I couldn’t remember if we’d been there last year for Row by Row. If I already have the plate, I can probably trade it with someone. I didn’t get this year’s license plate because I’m no longer a Bernina girl since I got my new Janome 9400 last week!

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We had an hour and change to drive to the next shop in Fredericksburg, VA. The road took us over the Harry Nice bridge. Last time we went this way the Nice bridge wasn’t so nice. There was a vehicle on fire or something at the top of the bridge and we sat in traffic for a couple of hours while that was dealt with. This time we sailed over with no delays. Fredericksburg had two shops on the same road, one new to us and one familiar shop.

The Quilt and Sewing Center was small but cute. It was hard to find. It’s behind some strip malls in an industrial park area, all the way at the end. You’d never just happen onto this shop unless you were very, very lost. This shop had two rows to choose from: a bird nesting on a branch and a door. Their license plates hadn’t arrived yet.

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I picked up the kit for this years row and for the 2014 row. We got the door pattern as our free pattern.

I’m really glad I don’t live near The Crazy Cousin because I would get in so much trouble here. The shop has doubled in size since we were there in November! It is a wonderful shop! Their Row by Row display included the rows from 2014 and 2015 as well as this year’s row.

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I got the kits for this year’s row and last year’s row as well as this year’s license plate. The butterfly fabric is also Patty’s fault! She loves butterflies. I think I’ll use this to inspire my color palette for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery this year, assuming she offers one this year. The butterfly print will probably serve as the border for the mystery quilt.

From here we headed north on I-95 to Bonny’s Sewing and Fabric in Stafford, VA. This is a small shop. The fabric bolts are neatly displayed, horizontally in racks that make it easy to remove a selected bolt. Not much to attract me here. Their row is uninspired.

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What was inspiring was this raffle quilt made by the Stafford guild.

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Wouldn’t it be great if I win it?

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I got the license plate and  a print of maracas on black background. I couldn’t remember the name of the instrument. How did we survive before Google and Wikipedia? Remember I said earlier that everything I bought was with an intent? Several years ago Patty made a great quilt with print prints on black background and bright colors. I’m collecting to make one like it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Back on I-95, heading north to Occoquan, VA to Attic Treasures and Sew Easy Sewing. Occoquan is a great place to spend a day, lots of interesting little shops and eateries. Be prepared for a lot of walking. We were lucky enough to find parking in the small lot in front of the shop. They have two versions of their row. Unfortunately, the afternoon sun was shining in the window so my pictures are terrible.

The row is pictures of antique sewing machines cut from panels. There were two different panels, so two versions of the kit.

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I’m currently working on a quilt for my friend, Becky and her husband. The back will reflect their interests: his is civil war and hers is books. I picked up a couple of civil war prints for that. The one in the middle is a map of the 3 days of battle at Gettysburg. The elegant eagle print on the right is for the patriotic quilt I mentioned earlier.

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I couldn’t decided which machine panel I wanted so got both but only one of the embroidered words. Patty picked up this fun black and white print so I had to get a fat quarter for my collection.

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They had these Row by Row charms reflecting the theme for each year as well as the car charm holder. The car reminds me of my old PT Cruiser. There were charms for many previous years before the Row by Row expanded across the country. I only got the charms for the last three years when I participated. I’ll probably pin this onto a row quilt when I’m not shop hopping. Of course, I have to make one first.

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How did I get a Roswell, New Mexico license plate at a shop in Virginia, you ask? The owner’s daughter lives in Roswell and she or they have a shop there as well as the one in Virginia. I wanted one of these license plates so bad last year but never got around to ordering it. I REALLY wanted the version with the alien on it but they’d sold out of them at the Virginia shop. I settled for this one but I don’t rule out a future order for the alien if it’s still available.

At this point it was around 4:15 or so which means we were headed home during DC area rush hour. Ugh. My GPS had some issues with Occoquan. I should have gone back to the highway the way we came but instead I followed the instructions from She Who Must Be Obeyed. We ended up at a dead-end facing a locked gate at a private marina. She wanted us to turn left in a quarter of a mile. That would have landed us in the drink because there was no road there.

After we turned around, she decided we should go a different way which was smart. Unfortunately, that required us to make a left turn onto the divided highway. The problem with that was that side of the road was bumper to bumper in all lanes. People around here don’t like to let people get in front of them. We turned the opposite way, intending to find somewhere to turn around and join the fray but she told us to keep going straight. Until she told us to turn right into what was now a dead end. We turned around again and she sent us back onto the road she just told us to leave. This time she sent us over to I-66 and then up to the Capital Beltway. We figured “what the heck”, at least we were moving and it might be better than I-95 and would cut off part of the beltway. To make a long story shorter, it was a very long trip home. We finally landed around 6:30 p.m. Wouldn’t you know, the new map DVD for my GPS arrived in the mailbox while we were shop hopping.

Patty showed up at guild the next morning with her completed row from the last shop. She mixed the two kits to make her row. That was her second row so far. Last year she won the prize from our local quilt shop. She’s hoping to be a winner again this year. I don’t aspire to that.

 

Row by Row begins

June 26, 2016

Tuesday I went down to Capital Quilts to get the tour of the new Janome 9400. I was very pleased with the service I’ve received. Annie, the machine area manager, spent 2.5 hours showing me the machine. I had no idea we’d been at it that long – the time went so quickly. Their machine order was on back order but expected to ship any day. While I was there, she called Janome to find out when their order would be shipped. Turns out it was that day or the next, expected by Thursday. They hadn’t all been sold yet so I reserved one. Then she called Horn to find out how long it would take for the insert to arrive. The Horn representative took the time to verify that my cabinet was big enough for the machine. Nice work, ladies. I picked up the machine on Saturday!

While at Capital Quilts I picked up the kit for their row. Somehow I missed even seeing their row last year so I bought the pattern for that one. You’d think with all the shops we went to last year that I’d manage to get all the ones within an hour’s drive of my house.

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The 2015 row is the cherry trees and the reflecting pool in the DC monument area. This year is the White House having a quilt show on the fence. The kit includes the outlines for the “quilts”, ready to color. They have a couple of license plates but I didn’t get any this time.

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I also picked up four patriotic fat quarters.

Tuesday was the day the horrific storm went through the DMV area. It started to rain just as I was leaving Gaithersburg. I have never seen raindrops so big. The splats on my window were 2-3 inches in diameter as the storm began. It rained hard all the way home but I managed to miss the tornado that touched down in part of my  county and the flash flooding. At one point the rain was so loud for so long I was wishing for a volume control.

Since I had to pass the Maple Lawn/Fulton area on my way home, I stopped at Prints Charming to pick up their row.

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Again, I got the kit because they had a bunch of buttons in it.

From there, my last stop before home was Spring Water Designs which is not far from my house.

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Their row is really cute. They have two kit options. One contains all the fabrics needed but you have to cut your own appliques. The other is just the applique pieces, die cut with fusible on the back. I have a whole houseful of fabric so finding the background fabrics shouldn’t be difficult. I got the pre-cut houses. The rain had stopped by the time I left the shop for the five minute drive home.

I had an appointment in Catonsville Friday morning so stopped at Sew-Vac on my way home. They apparently don’t feel the need to advertise their row so didn’t post any pictures. Patty had been and told me what it looked like. I tend not to go to shops if I don’t know what their row looks like. Frankly, some shops’ rows are uninspired and not worth the time and gas to pick up. This one was an iconic local scene although the store is no where near old town.

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Their kits didn’t include the embroidered piece which was being sold separately. Maybe they did it that way because they push embroidery machines. I don’t have one and don’t want one so I got the embroidered piece but not the kit. I’ll pull my own fabrics.

Although I collected patterns in 2014 and 2015, I didn’t make any of them. I’ve been seeing themes in the rows so I’m thinking of grouping some into several pieces. Nothing concrete yet. I’m thinking farms, local, patriotic. I’m not sure if local and patriotic are two different things given where we are. I don’t aspire to winning the fat quarters for being the first person in a shop with a finished quilt. It would be fun to win, I guess, but the fabric would be a burden, given how much I already have. Would you believe there are people who presented finished quilts the second day? They collect eight patterns the first day, then go home and sew all night.

It looks like this year is threatening to shape up as another row by row frenzy year. Patty and I already have three day trips planned. What amazes me is that most of the shops in these three trips are ones we’ve never been to. That was also the case last year. I don’t know if it is a blessing or a curse that there are so many shops within a couple of hours drive. Patty has already asked to do Lancaster County, PA, again this year – a fourth trip.

Waiting

June 19, 2016

When I last wrote I was unhappy with the stitches my Bernina 1230 was making and dealing with the pain caused by a stuck joint. I haven’t been doing much sewing despite what you’ll see in the pictures. The new Janome 9400 became available at the end of May. I’m planning to go down to Capitol Quilts on Tuesday to get the grand tour. Unless something unexpected occurs, I plan to buy one. Will they have stock or will I have to wait for one to come from Janome? I’ll also have to order a new insert for my Horn cabinet – that takes a few weeks. I expect the stop in the cabinet will need to be adjusted. I’ve tried to do it for the Bernina but I can’t budge the bolt. A friend has offered her son’s services for that task – I’m going to take her up on it once I get the new machine. It will be a while before the new machine will be properly set up.

I’ll disperse the photos of what I’ve sewn since the last post throughout this post.

I was so disgusted with the Bernina that I sank it into the cabinet and set up my Jem Gold for stitching the applique blocks for Mimi’s grad school project. More on that in a later post. I’m caught up on that project so put the Jem back in the car and brought the Bernina out.

I decided to finish going through the books in the huge box in the guest storage room. I started that a year ago. That led to other excavations in that room and rearrangement of things which allowed me to get some bins out of the sewing room. Even though I wasn’t sewing I was please with what I accomplished. No, I’m not about to show before or after photos of that mess. I loaded up the car and took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. That felt good.

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I feel like I haven’t had much time to sew, what with three chiropractic appointments a week which include physical therapy exercises and massage therapy once a week. The good news is that the pain is mostly gone and my joint mobility has improved but still not normal. I have three treatments again this week and then maybe go to two next week.

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The decorative piece above hangs in the massage therapy office. Doesn’t it remind you of a Cathedral Window quilt?

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One of the BOMs I want to make this year is Jinny Beyer’s Cosmos shown below. It is a free pattern but you can only get it if you get her monthly newsletter by email.

The picture above shows the two color ways of the kits available from Jinny’s store. I already had the same border print in a different color that is no longer available so I’m making it with my own fabrics. I cut the January and February blocks back in March but got sidetracked by other work and the broken sewing machine and forgot about the BOM until someone showed their blocks at the last JB Club meeting. I immediately sewed up the blocks I had cut. All the blocks use templates rather than rotary cutting so aren’t as quick to make. Do you think I’ll ever get caught up? The last 2 months are 8 applique blocks. The background is a very pale green which isn’t showing in the photo.

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I don’t expect to get much sewing done this week as I will be busy with events every day.

Are you a Row by Rower? I will stop and pick up a few Row by Row patterns in my travels this week. There are quite a few new to me stores in our area this year so I’m planning some all day trips. I enjoy seeing shops I’ve never been to before.

Lost and Found

May 20, 2016

Years ago when I didn’t have broadband internet access at home I bought a USB drive so to transport files between work, where we had a T1 line,  and home. That worked great until the day I couldn’t find the drive. I worried that it might have fallen out of my bag somewhere away from home – I had personal financial files on it that I wouldn’t want in other hands. I mostly thought it fell down into the loveseat which is a double recliner.

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When I change purses, some stuff always seems to get left behind in the old purse. The other day it was time to change purses again so I took my current purse and 3 prior ones and emptied everything out to decide what should go into the new purse. I know you’re already ahead of me – I found the USB drive tucked away in a small pocket in one of the purses. I KNOW I checked the pockets of that purse when I was actively looking for the drive and didn’t find it. I guess it tucked itself away in a lining fold and hid until now. What a relief!

At some point at work, they started encrypting files copied to removable media. Now, I need to find the paperwork I brought home with the password and instructions on how to access those encrypted files. I should be able to access the files added to the drive before the encryption began being used.

Wednesday I went to the library and then to the battery store to get a new battery for my cell phone. When I got to the battery store, my reading glasses were gone. I hang them on the neck of my shirt and the seat belt often flips them off. Did I leave them at home or did I lose them at the library? They aren’t my only pair so it wasn’t that big a deal. I figured if they flipped off and out of the car at the library, they would have been run over by now. I had to go back to the library today to pick up a hold book. Someone had turned in my glasses. Yeah!

The quilt shop in town decided to feature a guild every month starting with Faithful Circle Quilters. During the month of May we get a 15% discount instead of the 10% Monday guild discount. I took advantage of it and bought 9 yards of the row by row houses fabric for the back of That Town and Country Quilt that I am 5 months behind on.

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Perfect, right?

I followed that by a visit to JoAnn’s to get some solids for machine quilting practice. There was a display toward the front of the store with solids that were 30% off so I picked things from that shelf. After pulling several bolts down, I happened to notice the price – $14.99 a yard. What!? They were very nice but I’m not paying that kind of price at JoAnn’s. I looked a little more closely and discovered they were Cloud 9 brand, organic cotton, made in the USA. I put those back and pulled from the $7-8 range. After getting cut, I discovered cheap solids father back in the store.

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Each of these is 1/3 yard so 4 yards.

Today was a perfect spring day, weather-wise. That has been very rare this year. It has rained most days for the past month. So we had about 36 hours or so without rain. Of course, the rain and cold are returning tomorrow to mess up the Preakness weekend. We have hope that next week will be warm.

When I drove to Illinois last month I put something out of whack and my right leg has been bothering me ever since. This week I started having tingling and numbness down the leg. Patty and I were supposed to go to the York, PA quilt show today but we’re going tomorrow instead so I could go to the chiropractor today. I’ve never been to one before although I have considered going when I’ve had problems like this in the past. Would you believe that what prevented me from going was all the new patient paperwork? That’s finally behind me.

After I made the appointment yesterday afternoon, there’s been quite a bit of snap, crackle and popping which means things are moving around. I was sure that by the time I got to the appointment, whatever was wrong would have fixed itself, finally. It didn’t. This practice is owned by husband and wife who are both chiropractors and also offers physical therapy, massage and acupuncture. Everyone in the office was very friendly and things felt very peaceful. The wife was my doctor. I really like her. She explained things very well and I never felt she was in a hurry to get rid of me. She didn’t do any manipulations today, just evaluation. My right sacroiliac joint is stuck, not moving the way it is supposed to. When the doctor finished with me I was turned over to the physical therapist to learn some stretches to do. I go back Tuesday to discuss a treatment plan.

Baltimore Museum of Art

May 15, 2016

First I have to do the obligatory whining about all the rain. The Baltimore-Washington area just set a new record for the number of consecutive days of measurable rain at 15. But, the rainy, gloomy days have gone on even longer. It’s just that we got a little break here and there. Thursday didn’t have measurable rain but it poured again on Friday and Saturday. Today was sunny but cold. We’ve been running 15-20 degrees below normal for the last month. It’s supposed to rain again on Tuesday and Wednesday. The TV forecast actually has 3 days after that of no rain but the weather apps on my phone aren’t so positive. Sigh. As our family friend, Ruth Wolf, would say, “Enough with the whining, already.” Or, Barbara L would ask, “Do you want some cheese with that whine?”

Week before last 20 members of the Baltimore Applique Society met at the Baltimore Museum of Art for a tour of the current quilt exhibits. Anita Jones, the textile curator, spent about an hour and a half taking us around the various textile exhibits.

Some of the pictures are a little blurry. I forgot my camera so had to use the phone. It’s a little too light for me to hold steady sometimes.

The main event for the Baltimore die-hards was this Baltimore album quilt.

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I love crazy quilts. I’ve always deluded myself into believing that I want to make one but I don’t really enjoy embroidery that much. This quilt was supposed to be in the crazy quilt exhibit last fall but was withdrawn because it needed some conservation work.

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This isn’t a quilt but the designs are very quilt like.

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This sampler has very tiny stitches.

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Anita showed us some other items that didn’t interest me. Eventually we ended up at the exhibit of the newly acquired modern quilts.

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In the adjacent room I found this chair made from yellow school pencils.

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And this interesting cabinet made from scrap wood.

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After the tour we had lunch at Gertrude’s, the restaurant in the museum. The chef, John Shields, once had a cooking show on public TV and has written several cookbooks. Not the place to go if you’re on a budget. I was at the table with Anita Jones (on the left) and Mimi Dietrich (on the right).

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I ordered a sangria. I’ve forgotten what they called it. The fruit-looking things are frozen juice, mango I think.

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For the main course I had the seafood salad with shrimp, scallops and crab over field greens with roasted lemon vinaigrette. I forgot to take a picture of it. Two of us ordered desert. This is the Gertrude’s Candy Bar.20160504_134409.jpg

I had the triple Crème brûlée with flourless chocolate cake.

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Most expensive lunch I’ve ever had but I enjoyed every bite.

Procrastination report

May 8, 2016

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’ve successfully managed to procrastinate working on quilting the baby quilts. I dragged out the first set of twin quilts last week, fully intending to finish them. I managed to do the ditch quilting on the one that wasn’t pieced as quilt as you go. Then I started procrastinating because I didn’t want to do the quilting that shows. Here’s what I did instead of quilting the quilt.

More double 9-patch blocks:

Some leader/ender spools:

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My string piecing during the news is working out for the most part. I don’t manage every week day. Monday is guild night so I don’t see the evening news. Friday night I woke up from a little nap just about news time but was too tired to be messing about with dangerous machines. I added these blocks to the collection:

Once a month I get together with a group of people that started as a lunch time group at work. I decide it was easiest to do something mindless so I have a bin of random scraps that I’ve been working from for the past 2.5 years. This bin is dedicated to the once a month sew-in so it isn’t the same container I’m working from during the news. So far I think I’ve made the string pieces for 4 quilts. The bin still looks full, doesn’t it?

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Most recently I’ve been working on the pieces for a String X quilt – a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter. Monday I bought fabric for the background and border. The majority of the fabric in the strings came from Amy. There are a lot of turquoise and green so I thought these fabrics would work well.

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I need to update my stash accounting to add 3.5 yards.

I was able to borrow a die for the triangles from Patty. Cutting a lot of pieces from one fabric is where the die cutter definitely saves time. So, in my ongoing quest to not work on the baby quilts, I started assembling blocks for String X. Here are 4 of them to show the design. I still need to make 6 or 7 more string pieces to have enough for 12 blocks. I’ll decide on an inner border and binding after the body is finished.

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Yesterday, after finishing all the String X blocks that were ready, I decided it was time to get back to the baby quilts. I’m only doing walking foot quilting so how hard can it be? You’d be surprised. I started stitching and saw this:

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What the hell!? Look at those loose stitches! I had to rip it all out and come up with another plan. I reverted to straight stitching instead of the serpentine. I need to give it a close examination today to see if it is acceptable – I saw some stitches that looked a little loose. I may have to revert to quilting it on my Janome Jem Gold or wait until I have a new machine. I don’t want to have to use the Jem because it is a 3/4 size machine and doesn’t have any decorative stitches. I also hate to delay longer because the girls are already 2.5 years old. I want to use the alphabet on the Bernina to quilt the girls’ names into their quilts. I’m going to give it a try and hope it works better than the serpentine.

This is on a Bernina 1230 using the walking foot and the serpentine stitch. I didn’t notice any problem when I did the ditch stitching with the edge stitching foot. I did some test stitching on a practice piece and it was okay. Why is it okay on the practice piece but not on the quilt? I’m going to take a closer look at my piecing to see if there is a problem there. The machine had its maintenance and repair several weeks ago so it shouldn’t be misbehaving. Could it be a bad walking foot? People claim this is the best Bernina ever made but I never bonded with it the way many people do with their machines. In other words, I’m not in love with the Bernina brand.

I am so ready for a new machine. I put it off until after I retired so it would do more than sit unused in the cabinet. I retired 2 years ago so it’s time now. I do love my Jem so I’ve been holding out to get the latest and greatest Janome. The 8900 came out in 2012 so I figured maybe this was the year they’d introduce a new machine for quilters. I was right! Thanks to Linda for letting me know that a new model is coming at the end of the month. I can’t wait to see it. I’m hoping for a special introductory price although I’m a little leery about buying the 1.0 version of a new model.

Faithful Circle Quilters 2016 Show: Quilting with Friends

April 23, 2016

The Faithful Circle Quilters of Columbia, MD guild puts on one of the best guild shows in the DMV (DC-MD-VA). Our show is during the even numbered years. Milltown Quilters has their show in the odd years in the same location. A lot of people think it’s the same guild every year because it is in the same location.

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A couple of weeks ago one of our members had the idea to hang little quilts the size of a block around the railings at the entry to the church where we have our show. Members jumped in and we quickly had a multitude of little quilts to hang. They were so popular with visitors that there were traffic jams on the ramp caused by people taking time to look at all the little bits. There were enough to hang some out by the highway to attract passers-by. Fortunately, we had no inclement weather during the show.

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Our raffle quilt doesn’t photograph well. The light blue background always washes out for some reason. The flower blocks are machine embroidery made by deceased member, Joyce Schneider. Her husband donated the blocks and remaining background fabric to the guild. Margo Cramer designed the quilt and border and wrangled it to completion. Maria O’Haver did the quilting. I neglected to take a picture of the quilting. It was won by a guild member.

These are some of my favorite quilts from the show and, of course, my quilts. I hope the artist statements are readable.

This quilt won Viewer’s Choice for large quilts.

In My Garden is one of my quilts.

This was Viewer’s Choice for small quilts.

I love this hexagon heart quilt by Margaret Minton. Dawn’s quilting is gorgeous.

Farmer’s Market 20/20 is another of my quilts. It has another 20 fabrics on the back.

I love this Sunbonnet Sue doing all manner of quilting activities. In the row below, she buys the fabric in the first block, sews it in the second block, then wears the finished apron in the third block.

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Another one of my quilts. This one won Viewer’s Choice for medium size quilts! Detailed post for 2001: A Calendar Odyssey.

This one was made by my friend, Genie, for the Cuddly Critters Linus challenge. I just love it. It’s much prettier in person than in the photo. Every year or two, Stephanie bags up fabrics in brown bags and issues a challenge for Linus quilts. One year a member had to downsize and donated tons of flamingo fabrics for the Linus quilts. Our members rise to the challenge and make wonderful quilts. We had an entire room plus the hallway lined with the Cuddly Critter quilts.

Mother Goose and Friends is another of my quilts. It was a joy to make despite the half-inch sashing and cornerstones, the small sawtooth stars and the prairie points.

Joyce Ritter’s butterfly mobile won Viewer’s Choice in the Other category.

Some of the silent auction area. It’s hard to get photos because of the cramped space.

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Peddler’s table where guild members sell their excess items. This is an extremely popular area. On Thursday morning when the show opened, the first thing attendees wanted to know was “where are you selling the members’ stuff?” I heard there was a line of people waiting to get into the room. This picture was taken on Saturday afternoon after 2.5 days of selling.

One of the things our show is known for is the decorative vignettes scattered around the show. Member bring items in and Sandy McDonald and her team work their magic. Some, like this one, are themed to the quilts. These decorations add a special touch to the show.

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A popular section we added in our 2014 show is the $10 and under boutique. Members make items to be sold here. I scored 3 bibs for my mother so now I don’t have to make them. I was able to get one before the show and took it home to Illinois with me last week. It was a big hit in the dining room of the facility. I’ll have to draw off a pattern before sending the other two off. Now Dad wants one so Mom will have to share.

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Drawing winners for the raffle baskets and quilt. I neglected to take photos of the 7 baskets. There were 2 that each contained 200 fat quarters – that’s 50 yards each, folks. One woman bought some tickets and gave them to her granddaughter to disperse with the instruction, “Don’t put any in the ones with all the fabric!” Many of us felt that way. I didn’t win any of the raffles. In the upper right hand corner, the woman in the pink jacket is looking at a 2 week old kitten being cared for by a member. He wasn’t happy to be so popular.

It’s all over now until 2018 which will get here sooner than any of us are ready for.

2001: A Calendar Odyssey

April 23, 2016
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2001: A Calendar Odyssey

I thought we started this project in 2001 but Mimi says we started it in 2002. I had already named it so let’s believe it was started in 2001, OK? The picture above was taken when the quilt was hanging in the Quilter’s Hall of Fame exhibition for Mimi Dietrich’s installation in 2015.

This block of the month, Folk Art Fancies, was designed by Lisa DeBee Schiller. I can’t find any website for her.

Where possible I try to do something I’ve never done before on our grad school projects. For this one it was my first log cabin and first fused applique with hand buttonhole stitch.

Each block has a star in the background because of Lisa’s Texas background. One night at the Baltimore Applique Society meeting, Kathy Siuta, Anita (whose last name escapes me right now) and I were talking about the project. Kathy said, “I’m not from Texas. I don’t want stars in my blocks. I’m from Maryland – I’m going to put a crab on mine.” (I don’t think she actually did that.) I said, “I’m from Illinois. What would I put, Abe Lincoln’s head?” Anita said I should put a log cabin. She meant an appliqued, actual log cabin house because she does not piece. Her comment sparked the idea of a log cabin background. As soon as I got home, I started playing around with the graph paper. I attempted to echo the star idea with the placement of the light and dark of the log cabins. I think it would be more visible had I done the center blocks with all dark logs instead of the pinwheel. Hindsight is 20/20.

The logs are .5″ finished width. The applique is fused with hand buttonhole stitch. I don’t recommend doing this. I had trouble with the fusible sticking to the background over all the seams. Of course, it could be that some of the fusible was too old. I used whatever I had – Heat and Bond, Steam a Seam II, and who knows what else. Some of it was picked up at the guild freebie table so was of unknown vintage and brand.

I was too lazy to figure out all the log lengths so didn’t cut the logs to size. I just took a strip, sewed it on and cut it off at the end. DON’T DO THAT! You end up with bowed logs that make a not-square block. I wish it showed more in one of the pictures so you could see how bad it is to do that. I decided to consider it a design decision – just as the logs in a log cabin aren’t straight, neither are the logs in my log cabin blocks. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Maria O’Haver did the quilting. Thank heavens she takes whatever we throw at her in stride. I’m sure a lot of long-arm quilters would have refused to quilt this one because of all the layered fused applique and log cabin seams and the embellishment that I had to add before the quilting was done. Maria just shrugs and gets on with what needs to be done.

Last week the quilt was displayed in the Faithful Circle Quilters guild show. Our show hasn’t been judged since 1998 or 2000. We do have Viewer’s Choice awards. This quilt won Viewer’s Choice for medium size quilts. Quite unexpected and exciting. It never even crossed my mind that this quilt might be that popular because there are so many talented quilters in our guild. There is stiff competition in all categories.

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Margo Cramer has been making the Viewer’s Choice awards for many years. If I remember correctly, they are different every show and each is one-of-a-kind. The pansy is hand applique. Margo does stunning, museum quality applique. She matched the color of the pansy to the color of the details card for the category. Medium size was pink.

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My January. I switched the December and January blocks in the pattern because I thought they made more sense this way.

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February. I couldn’t resist using the 2 heart prints for the hearts.

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March. I fussy cut the fabric that says “Happy St. Patirck’s Day”.

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April showers bring May flowers

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May flowers with the Maypole

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June

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July

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August

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September. Many apples for the teachers.

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October. I don’t remember who came up with the idea of ruching the flowers on this block. The cat is made from a Mr. B’s Cats print from Benartex. I wish they’d do this print again in more colors.

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My December. Beth Rice gave me the ultra suede for the moose. I borrowed the idea of the light string around the antlers from Marylou McDonald. I had to put them on before it was quilted because they go under the applique but Maria was able to work around them. I found the little heart button for the nose at a shop in Lancaster, PA during the 2014 Row by Row Experience.

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The center wreath contains elements from the surrounding 12 blocks. I have a patriotic fabric with bears on it so I cut one out and added it to the wreath because it was so cute. Detail shots of the wreath are shown below.

Anita’s log cabin made it onto the label. The backing is a Jinny Beyer Y2K print.

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Mimi made labels for us to document our quilts hanging at the Quilters’ Hall of Fame celebration. I still need to sew this onto the quilt. It is in a safe place and I actually remember where it is! Oops, I just noticed that Mimi made a typo. I wonder if she knows? I’m sure not going to tell her. The pretty border is on the card that came with the label – the label has plain edges.

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