Monday, October 31, 2022

(Last) Trip Recap: Mini Quilt Retreat and a Special Stop on the Way Home

As noted in previous posts, my DH and I traveled to North Carolina for his last vacation of the year.  For the first part we camped and for the second part we visited my MIL.  She and I shop hopped during the first few days of our stay with her.  The remainder of our time was to be a mini quilt retreat for she and I.  Well, for all the shop hopping we did, I must say I got a lot less actual sewing done!   

Although it was not like that's what I planned to do:  as usual I took my trusty Featherweight (in the red tote I made some years ago) and a bag full of projects to work on:

Our stay was shortened due to the camping trip, the three days we spent shop hopping (and visiting a relative) and the need to leave a day earlier than we normally would have.  All of that cut into the time in the quilt room!  Sigh!!   

The first thing I set up to work on were the scraps I had brought that I am using for the APQ Scrap Happy QAL.  I wanted to continue adding to the blocks I had started making before we left home:

I managed to get ten blocks done during the trip.  I had hoped that I'd make enough blocks to be able to finish the whole top but I guess I'll still be working on those.  To help augment my scraps, I went through a big Rubbermaid tub of scraps my MIL had been holding for me.  After sorting through all the goodies and cutting some for use in my project, I bagged up the rest to take home for further sorting through:

I also brought the materials to get a travel-related project done.  Two years ago I made the large version of an iron travel tote for a Sunbeam travel iron I had at the time.

That tote was also big enough to carry a full size iron.  Unfortunately, that travel iron burnt out early this year so I purchased another mini iron to use at my sewing table and when traveling.  Not long after getting it, Gay Bomer at Sentimental Stitches offered a pattern for a cute little mini tote.  I really loved the idea of having a scaled down version to carry the new iron.  Knowing we'd be going to my MIL's, I kitted it up with fabrics from my stash to work on while there.

I'm very happy that I did manage to get this finished!  I also helped my MIL make one for her own mini iron made from some Tula Pink fabrics she bought on the Hop.  She was finishing it up when we left.

I had brought last year's Shop Hop book with me on this trip as I planned to work on one of the projects offered in that book and that I had purchased fabric for last year.  I also wanted to make Annie Unrein's "Piecekeeper" bag which was offered in this year's book (but can also be picked up free on her website).  I'll be making that one from fabrics from this year's Hop.

Well, all I got done was the cutting for both projects. 

And this was a chance to use a fun new notion!

I cut and appliqued two fussy cut motifs from another print onto that border print.  

That red fabric is one designed for last year's Hop that I was still able to purchase on the Hop this year.  The fabrics designed for this year were all sort of busy, big and bold motif prints and I wanted some of the colorful small print and tone-on-tone coordinates they had offered last year to fill out this project.  

Now that we're back home, I'm going to work on getting both of those bags done.  This way I can bring them on the next trip down to hold purchases and projects!  I had two other projects I planned to make using the Shop Hop themed fabrics that I also didn't get to as well as two other non-Shop Hop projects brought along.  One of those is a Halloween themed project that it looks like will have to be pushed forward onto next year's "To Do" list.

A Very Special Stop

On the way home I was able to indulge in a special treat!  I watch Pat Sloan's daily videos and as a Virginia resident, she often promotes the Virginia Quilt Museum.  In fact, right now she has a quilt auction going on with them for some of her quilts.  I've long wanted to go to the museum but always thought it was too far west in Virginia to be able to veer off course on our travel route either down or back.  However, this time when I mapped out our return trip,  I realized that it was not that far off the return route the GPS had mapped out for us.  So on the drive back, we stopped in!

Located in a 19th century house with it's own extensive history,  I got to view the exhibits on display.  What was cool is that two of Pat's auction quilts are hanging there.  One of them, "Hometown Charm" is the one that influenced me to augment the Minick & Simpson Pear BOM that I've been receiving kits for.   

My plan is to change the coloring of this to be similar to this. 

So cool to see the inspiration quilt in person!

As we were making our plans for the trip home,  I also happened to read Lori DeJarnett's Humble Quilts blog and learned that she too had a quilt on exhibit at the museum!  There is a group exhibit of quilts replicating the Buhl Bushong Quilt in the museum's collection.  

The antique quilt

So I got to see Lori's and other reproductions of the original quilt too!

Reproductions by Nancy Swanwick (in Grunge), Antonio Munoz, Lori DeJarnatt and Ellen Malenfant (in Kaffe)

The museum also has a great vintage machine collection....

....and a current exhibit of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) juried art quilts.... well as an exhibit of 9/11 blocks.

Another surprise nod to my own project intentions:  in my last post, I talked about shop hopping for fabrics to make a red and white version of this quilt:

Needless to say I was thrilled at discovering a blue and white version on display here!  Oooh, don't tempt me....

Big reproduction fabrics fan that I am, I also purchased raffle tickets to try to win a reproduction of a sampler crib quilt in the museum's collection:  

The antique...

The raffle reproduction

I am SO glad I had a chance to visit!!  Now that we are back home and October is coming to a close, I am setting up my project plans for November and the end of the year. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Wow! Didn't See This Coming.....


This is a shock to me since I just posted back in September about the great deal I got on some Liberty of London fabric from them in the Summer.  To hear and read more about it, you can check out  these links:

Guess it's good I got that fabric when I did!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Trip Recap: All Carolinas Shop Hop 2022

As noted in a previous post, the first part of our trip to North Carolina we spent camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the western part of the state.  For the second part, we traveled east to visit my husband's mother as we have done annually since she and her (now deceased) husband retired down there.  

When I visited her in 2020 after her husband died (which because of pandemic travel restrictions, I was the only one in our household able to do the required post-trip quarantine),  I had learned that there was an annual "All Carolinas Shop Hop" spotlighting quilt shops in both North and South Carolina.  We made plans to do that when my husband and I could come down together in 2021.  We had a blast making the rounds to shops last year so of course a repeat of that activity was high on the visit agenda for this year!      

I actually brought last year's book with me on this trip as I planned to work on one of the projects offered in the book that I had purchased fabric for during last year's Hop.  

Yellow = 2021, Blue = 2022
There were some changes in how the the regions were organized this year:  The Keepsake Quilting/Pineapple Fabrics Outlet was part of the Central Region whereas last year they were part of the North Region that we shopped.  The North Region shops we had visited last year were grouped as the East Central shops this year.  Since my husband and I camped in the Western part of the state, I took advantage of going to a few of the shops in that area too.  

My MIL and I (with hubby doing all the driving) went back to most of the stores we had gone to last year.  There was only one we didn't get to and two that were on our list to visit last year but were not participating this year.  One of shops not participating had been closed the day we hopped last year so I had really hoped to get there this year.  

When I had visited my MIL in 2020, we had gone to the Keepsake/Pineapple Outlet which had been newly opened that year.  We loved it but didn't put it on our 2021 Hop list because it was a challenge to get to since it is a two hour drive away and I was doing most of the driving then.  However since we had chauffeur service, it was added to our Hop list for this year and we also took the opportunity to visit another store that was along the route back home.  

Needless to say, none of the stores disappointed and there were a lot of goodies purchased!  One of the highlights from the Western spur was that I stopped in a shop called "Dreaming of the Sea".  While I didn't buy all that much, I did have a great conversation about RVs while there!  For the rest of the Hop, I focused on getting things on the list I had brought with me and managed to get all but four of the things on it.  

My list had included:

  •  A Fall themed three yard quilt bundle (Quilt Lizzy-Wake Forest was in a new location this year and I also got a great 3 yd flannel kit there last year) 
  • I was looking for Minick and Simpson red fabrics for the idea I talked about in my May Summer Recap post about augmenting their "Pear BOM" kits that I've been receiving (fabrics found at  Bernina World of Sewing, Keepsake/Pineapple and Studio Stitch with more on that project later)
  • Black embroidery floss (not pictured) to continue my travel cross stitch project (thanks to Quilt N Code)
  • Strawberry red prints to provide some stash options for a Red & White version of the Fat Quarter Shop "Jelly Snowflake" quilt I want to make as part of this year's Christmas quilting (courtesy of Cary Quilting, Quilts Like Crazy & Embroidery and 5 Little Monkeys who also posts regularly on Facebook)
  • Fabric for the alternate squares to recreate Beth Dutton's Quilt from the "Yellowstone" TV show (a Keepsake/Pineapple "fabric by the pound" score)
  • Light batiks for backgrounds which is something I normally don't see often but had found plentiful on last year's hop too (this year I scored them at Bernina WOS again but also at 5 Little Monkeys, Keepsake/Pineapple and The Broken Needle). 

Another special find was the green Jason Yenter dragon panel called "Dragons - The Ancients" also in the "by the pound" cubes at Keepsake/Pineapple.  This was really special because buying it was inspired  by seeing  the red version of the original "Dragons" quilt on display at Quilt N Code, one of the Western area stops we made.

You can find information about the red colorway of the line here

This is not the one that hung in the shop -- my husband and I were so enthralled by that quilt that we forgot to take a picture of it!  The one in the store had been made by the owners fifteen year old (!) cousin who won the "Youth Award" and "Best In Show" at the State Fair when it was entered.  I asked them if he (!) was still quilting but they said he is a senior in high school now so was busy with all that entails.  

My husband couldn't stop looking at the quilt, particularly since we've been watching the Game of Thrones prequel "House of the Dragon" that just finished its first season Sunday.  Unfortunately, the shop didn't have any more of the fabric from the line so I was only too thrilled to find the green panel at Keepsake/Pineapple later.  

I've already ordered fabrics to make a smaller, simpler (aka more likely to get made) version from a free pattern on the eQuilter website (note: when it comes up onscreen, it may show it with the wrong border print but the pattern will download pictured in the fabrics from the line).

One of the orders is already in and another with the remaining fabrics needed will arrive soon.  All in all, it was another great Hop and I'll share other things purchased as the projects I use them in come up.  More details of the trip to follow!

Edited To Add:  You can see that finished top here.

Courtesy of Pineapple Peeps on Facebook

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Slow Sunday Stitching: Trip Recap - Cross stitch Portion

We are back home from our two week trip to North Carolina.  Prior to the trip I had this much done on my latest cross stitch project (it's the one on the left, the one on the right was my first fully finished project):

In my last post I noted I had gotten a little more work done on it during the ride down and while we camped on the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Unfortunately, I had not prepped enough of the black floss for the trip and hadn't brought the full skein with me so had to wait until I could get some more.  

Fortunately part of the plans for the trip was participating in the All Carolinas (quilt) Shop Hop (which finishes up this week if you were planning to take part in it).  I was able to pick up the floss along with more needles since (newbie cross stitcher that I am) I also hadn't brought enough of those to carry all the color changes in the design. So during the rest of our trip (a visit with my MIL) and on the drive home, I made even more progress:

 Things learned on this leg of the stitching:  this pattern has proved to be harder for me to follow than I expected.  I flubbed some of the color placement in the leaf and start of the flower at the top and the left "L" for the word "will".  And I wasn't even drinking wine while stitching this, LOL!!

I don't think the leaf and flower stuff will show so it will stay as is.  I'm going to finish the word "will" and then decide if I am willing to unpick the "L" and re-do it.  Hopefully the flub will add to the charm of it or maybe I should backstitch an arrow and the words "Not Here" on it!

So cross stitch lesson learned:  carefully count and pay a little more attention to stitch placement.  Good thing I'm learning this very, very important lesson before I try this future full coverage project:

Heading back over now to see what other crafters are stitching up over at Kathy's Quilts!  What needles are you threading today?

Thursday, October 13, 2022

My trip is well underway....

Just a quick update on my trip so far.  There's a travelogue for most of the post but I promise a little quilting and cross stitch at the end.

Our sojourn to North Carolina has once again astounded us with the natural beauty of the United States!  One correction to what I thought was our plans:  we booked a stay at a campground along the (North Carolina portion of the) Blue Ridge Parkway.  I was under the impression that the parkway was part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  Although the parkway is also administered  by the National Parks Service, it is in fact a National Scenic Parkway so functions as a separate entity from the very nearby National Park.  The good news is that there were many beautiful vistas to take in as well as attractions along the parkway itself.  

This was also another trip where every vista is a postcard!  What I learned at the BRP Visitors Center near Asheville is that during the construction of the parkway, this was very much by design:

I'd say they nailed it!

At the Black Mountain Overlook on the Parkway

I definitely worked the "panoramic" function of my cell phone's camera hard this trip!

If you're wondering why they call them "The Great Smokey Mountains", here's why:

At some elevations, our heads were literally "in the clouds"!  At others, you could see the clouds nestled down in the mountain valley.

That's not snow, it's clouds!!

Also along the Parkway you can visit the Minerals Museum.  I learned that North Carolina has a long and rich history of mining.   

From the early 1800s until the present day, North Carolina has been a central location for mining minerals for industrial use such as iron, mica, quartz, asbestos (of course, no longer), copper, feldspar soapstone and silica. Additionally, gemstones like ruby, amethyst, emeralds and gold have also come out of the NC mines.  

Did you know that NC is the only place in the country where Emerald, which is my birthstone, can be found?  I didn't!   

We also got to take in more of nature by hiking to the Crabtree Falls which is in the campground we stayed at.

There are even more attractions in the area to visit such as the Ashville Folk Art Center and the Mabry Mills.  There is also more hiking in the state parks in the area --- I really wanted to hike Mount Mitchell which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi --- but we didn't have time to get to do more.  What is great is that we're already planning a return trip to the area next year so we can fulfill the dream to actually visit in the National Park.  It's close enough that we'll be able to also plan to hit some of the attractions we didn't get to along the Parkway as well. 

Ok, travel briefing over!  So there was some time to do some craft-related things on this leg of the trip too.  I did get a little more cross stitching done during the drive and while sitting around the campfire:

Unfortunately for some silly reason, I had only prepped a little of the black floss which ran out before I could continue with the wording.  Then I started on some of the other color portions of the piece but with so many color changes needed, I didn't have enough needles to carry them all!  Yeesh!  

One of the other plans for this trip is to once again participate in the "All Carolinas Shop Hop" that has been running in both North and South Carolina since September and finishes up at the end of this month.  I realized that being in the Western part of the state meant I could hit some shops that my MIL and I wouldn't have normally been able to get to.  So I picked the ones within the immediate area of where we were staying and visited those.

Fortunately, I was able to score the black floss I needed along with other goodies in the process!  We are now at my MIL's so next week I should have more Shop Hop news and hopefully a few projects to share as well!