Wednesday, September 17, 2014

English Paper Piecing Class

Today I taught my first quilt class at Appalachian Piecework Antique and Textile Studio. I had only one student. If I was going to just have one student I'm glad it was Cyndy. I met her and her daughter at the Staunton Farmers Market. They sell fabulous grass-fed meats and eggs from happy hens. Cyndy has a blog Mountain Glen Farm Journal. We held our class out on the patio of the studio. A couple of times the wind picked up and we had to chase down hexies but other than that we couldn't have had a nicer day.

Appalachian Piecework is one of a few shops in the old train station here in Staunton. The train still runs on the track and went by a couple of times during class - just about a dozen feet behind us. We had to take a break and take some photos when the second train came by.

 Cyndy and me

Laurie, the proprietor of Appalachian Piecework, and me 

Rachel's Quilt Patch is next door and this caboose is part of that shop. The garden is Laurie's. She once told me what some of these plants are and now I can't remember. I know there were some that she uses to dye fabric and yarn. Laurie dabbles in several textile arts. Her works is beautiful so I should really say she is a master of several textile arts. She sells them at Appalachian Piecework as well as antique textiles and some very special silk scarves her talented daughter creates at Nellie Rose Textiles.

After class Cyndy and I browsed through the shop-

Can't you see yourself spending hours in this shop?

It was a very enjoyable afternoon and I can't wait until our next and final class in two weeks. I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of Cyndy's hexie flower and the applique piece that was her fabric inspiration. I'll take some photos next time. Luckily Cyndy picked up on the technique right away. We'll both be stitching on our hexies for the next class.

I took a few photos yesterday morning while I sat on my front porch drinking my morning beverage of ginger and green tea.

We've already had a couple of very chilly mornings. I'm hoping for a beautiful fall leaf display here in the Shenandoah Valley this year.

Monday, August 25, 2014


How did a month go by!?! I feel like this year has been a blur. We have finally contracted to have some much needed work done to the house. Our new master bath and laundry will start next week (fingers crossed) and we'll get a new roof and gutters this fall. It is such a relief to have these things scheduled. There are so many good things that have happened because of our move - a big vegetable garden, lots of animals, driving country roads, enjoying the sites and sounds outside my windows, and small town living in general. Still, the move has been a big adjustment. Little by little it is getting better - feeling more like home. A couple weeks after we moved I remember thinking - geez, every step I take is new. I'm a creature of habit and this really took it's toll on me. Those first weeks were spent unpacking and working outside. It was frustrating to me that little was happening inside. I know I just needed to be patient but that was easier said than done. It was during this time that my daughter told me Parks and Rec was looking for teachers and suggested I teach a quilt class. I thought about it briefly and said I didn't have the time. A few days later I visited Appalachian Piecework in town. I'd been wanting to stop by to meet the proprietor, Laurie, who is mother to a friend of my daughter's. What a shop! It is full of antique and vintage textiles and fiber creations by Laurie and other artists. While Laurie and I were chatting I mentioned teaching a quilt class and she offered to have the class in her shop. We started planning and before I knew it we were in the Parks and Recs fall brochure! I decided to offer the class on English Paper Piecing. I soon realized I really didn't have a finished EPP quilt! Well - this won't be a finished quilt but it will be close to a finished top. I'm looking forward to the class and hope someone signs up! It was good for me to get my mind off my new surroundings and all the demands I felt because of them. Quilting is such good therapy!

I made the star last winter - was it really that long ago! and pulled it out for a quick (really?) hexie border.

I've been snapping photos for over a week now. Here is a little of what's happening in our farm garden...
Galeux d'Eysines squash - a French heirloom - it gets a wonderful warty surface as it matures. I just read the name means "embroidered with warts".

Ruby Red Chard 

The Silver Appleyards have gotten very big. They are almost adults so we now know we have two males (drakes) and four females.

My daughter putting in the fall garden.

The barn garden - see those sunflowers in the background - they are easily 10 feet tall.

An okra blossom. I tried okra for the first time - very good just sautéed in a bit of pork fat.

The ducks love to forage under this big oak tree in the pasture and Duke is trying to find the groundhog.

This is the spring house. My understanding is that the water we don't use comes out here and goes into the spring that runs through our property.

Harvest - plus a crock of fermenting cabbage. Had a little of the kraut for lunch. It was so tasty. Very easy to do and it is so good for you.

Freda the momma cat. I'm afraid she is pregnant again. We are learning about cats the hard way...

Duke and the kittens are getting to know each other. Duke is realizing he can't take them in his mouth or momma cat gets pretty fierce. The kittens don't like it much either. The calico goes to her new owner later this week. We are keeping the grey and white and still looking for someone to take the tortoiseshell.

Little Smokey Roo - can't really explain how he got that name - has been seen rubbing up against Dukes legs. Duke received a lot of praise for quietly letting this happen.

Some jewelweed by the spring

I started making some curtains this afternoon. It was a beautiful day so I opened the two windows and got a nice breeze. I wasn't happy with the sheers in the stores so I ordered a linen cotton blend from to make my own. I'm loving my new Oliso pro iron. I'll need it if I make window treatments for all 27 windows. Yikes!

Hope it isn't so long between posts in the future. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stars and Stepping Stones

The center of this quilt was a Ways and Means for Burke QU many years ago - over 10 years ago I'm sure. I finished the center and played with the idea of an applique border but that really isn't my thing. I finally settled on the pinwheels - adding more at the top to cover the pillow. It sat on a shelf for another couple of years before I decided to quilt it by checkbook. Diane Henry did the quilting. I'm very happy with what she did.

Here is a peek at my sewing room. Was good to sit down at my machine and sew on the binding. I hand stitched it on in my sunroom. It was a bit warm in there but the light is wonderful any time of day. It will be nice to do some hand quilting in that room in the winter time.

I picked this up at a yard sale. Any ideas as to how to display it without completely enclosing it in a frame? Love the cover and also want to look inside from time to time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dear Jane Day

Here is one quilt from the Rockbridge County Fair. I'll share more another time. I've always admired Dear Jane quilts and thought about taking the challenge and put it off by telling myself I would give it a go if I could join a local Dear Jane group. Well, I stumbled on a local group! I checked out The Quiltery in Fairfield Virginia the other day and they are starting a monthly Dear Jane Day. So...any advice out there? What method do you suggest and why? I still need to buy the book. Can't really believe I'm going to do this and I feel excited about doing it at the same time! It will be a good way to meet some local quilters. Love this quilt - it got my vote for Viewers Choice.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Old Friends and New

This title reminds me of the Girl Scouting song - "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold".

The gals of McLean QU gave me this top at the May luncheon as a moving away gift.
Isn't it sweet! I can't wait to hand quilt it.

Many of the members signed it.
I will always cherish it as I do the friendships I made at Quilters Unlimited. I had already moved when they gave this quilt top to me but things were still in an upheaval so I put it in a safe place. A couple weeks later I went looking for it to take a photo for a blog post and I couldn't find it. I was so annoyed with myself. I have a feeling there are many things I will remember holding in this house but not remember where I put it. I was so glad when I uncovered it in a bag of quilts. For whatever reason I hadn't just put it in the bag, I'd tucked it under another quilt.

My cousin, Jan, who just moved from Oregon to Lexington invited me to the June meeting of the Rockbridge Pieceworkers Quilt Guild. There isn't a quilt guild in Staunton so my choices are to drive 40 minutes north to Harrisonburg or 40 minutes south to Lexington. No deliberation needed, I went south. My cousin saved me a seat next to her and when I looked at the woman on the other side of me I had a deja vu moment. I asked the woman if she used to live in Burke. She said yes and I couldn't believe it. I told her I sat next to her at my first visit to Quilters Unlimited almost 20 years ago. Isn't that wild!?! What are the chances that I would sit down next to her at the Rockbridge meeting so many years later and 150 miles away?!? The woman's name is Teri and I think this means I need to get to know her! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and am looking forward to the July meeting this Saturday morning. I took this quilt to the June meeting for Show and Tell -
and they asked me to put it in the quilt show at the county fair. How sweet! I plan to sew a hanging sleeve on it tonight since the fair is next week. I've only been to suburban county fairs so I'm really looking forward to a country county fair.

I'll close with some kitty photos. They are 8 weeks old.