Tuesday, October 31, 2023

October in Review

It's the end of October and this is the first chance I've had to post this month!  Well that's because it's been a very busy month!!  It started off with our annual Fall vacation which included:

Click on the pictures to enlarge them for a better view.

A four day camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The park is bisected by the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina and part of that border is also part of the route of the Appalachian Trail.  

My DH and I stayed on the Tennessee side of the park in the Elkmont Campground.  We visited many of the major attractions including the panoramic views after hiking up to Clingman's Dome, the historic Appalachian community buildings in Cades Cove,  the turn of the century summer resort homes in Daisy Town and hiking the Alum Cave Trail.   As usual it was a good trip although GSMNP lived up to its reputation of being the most visited National Park in the country.  Our campground, the park roads and every location were pretty crowded.

This trip was the follow-up to last year's stay on the (North Carolina portion of) the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Back then, I thought the Parkway was part of the GSMNP but I learned on that trip it was not.  On our way out of the park this year, we made a stop back on the Parkway to visit the Ashville Folk Art Center that we didn't get to visit last year.  It did not disappoint and we saw some great craft demonstrations and exhibits there!

Prior to the trip, I had tried to get the "Over and Down Under" quilt I had pieced for "National Sew A Jelly Roll Day" quilted but only got some of it done.

Because of how the backing related to our destination and how cold it was forecast to be in the Smokies, I really wanted to get to use it while on the trip.  However, I was having issues with my new Juki and my choice to use monofilament thread on top to quilt it.  I have one more tip to try out that I hope will allow me to get this one finished up -- perhaps by the time of our next trip there?  Then I also had hoped to work on it at our next stop on this trip but was too busy there to try it out!

That next stop was our two week visit to my MIL's in Rocky Mount, NC.  She is also a quilter so for the two of us, a visit is also a mini quilt retreat!  During our time there, I went to her guild meeting for a class with modern quilter Charles Cameron for his "Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes" workshop.

Charles has ribboned at Quilt Con and already has two quilts juried into next year's show in Raleigh, NC.  We're planning to head back down for that so I look forward to seeing more of his work at the show.  I also got to go to a mini quilt group meeting where we were given a short workshop by one of the members.  She introduced us to doing "Decorative Big Stitch Binding" (the link is to one of the You Tube videos she recommended).

For the last three years, when we visit in September or October, that also means my MIL and I go shop hopping!

This year's All Carolinas Shop Hop Magazine and my "Passport"

We only did the region in her area this time but as you can see, we did get around!  We did two new stops this year:  one was that we finally got to go to the Quilt Lizzy store in Warrenton.  They were unexpectedly closed the day we went the first year we Hopped and we didn't Hop in that direction last year.  At one of the other locations, we learned they are transitioning this location to only being online.  As such there were huge discounts since we Hopped there during their last week as a "brick and mortar" store.  I mostly focused on stashing two things there:  Grunge and Fig Tree (the two stacks on the right in the picture)!

The darker Grunge pieces on the left were purchased at three other Hop stops and the rolled up ones were remnants.  

The other new Shop Hop stop we made this year was to Whatever's Quilted in Wake Forest.  Big news there, my MIL purchased a longarm!!

It's a floor model Handi Quilter Moxie with the Pro-Stitcher Lite attachment.  Unfortunately, the dealer was vending at a show right after we picked up the machine and frame so my MIL won't be going in for classes on how to use it until November.  We helped her clear out some of the furniture in the room where it was to go, managed to get it assembled and was able to load fabric onto it.  However, after that we were having trouble getting it to properly baste and to set up for the programmed stitch patterns.  I'm hoping that by the time we go back in February, she'll have a handle on how to use it and I can bring down a few tops to get quilted!

I took quite a few projects to work on while away but only got to a few of them.  First, I finally put the borders on Pat Sloan's Fall "Thankful" wall hanging I started back in October of last year:  

I had brought the batting and backing with me hoping to also quilt it while there but just didn't have enough time to get to that.  I also did the cutting for two Fabric Cafe "3 Yard Quilts" but only got one to a top while there.  The good news is I found the perfect backing for it on the sale rack at Bernina World of Sewing in Raleigh while on the Shop Hop.

The quilt is "Dominique" from the "Modern Views book".

For the other 3YQ I cut out,  I realized that I actually had a little more than two yards of the focus fabric (leftover from a prior project) so decided that I would make it twin size rather than the basic lap size Fabric Cafe designs their patterns in.  Using their instructions for enlarging their patterns meant I needed more of the other two fabrics I planned to use.  I was only able to get one while in NC so had to wait until I got home to pick up more of the other in order to finish it. The blocks for that top are now done so assembly of the top will continue as November rolls in.  

Finished blocks and backing fabric for "Heartland" from the "Pretty Darn Quick" book.

Good news is that its backing was also found on a sale rack on the Hop!  This time it was from the Quilt Lizzy store in Wake Forest.  While there and as I have done the previous two years, I also purchased another new 3 Yard kit that comes with a free pattern.   

To add to a future "African Fabrics" themed series of quilts.

I also brought my "Open Your Heart" cross stitch project on the trip.  Unlike on past trips, I didn't get any stitching in while sitting around the campfire (it was too cold!!), had no time to do any while at my MIL's so only got to it once we were on the drive back home.  It's an eight hour drive and between naps, the stops we made along the way and switching off to help with the driving, I didn't get much further on it.  

Not much got done on this trip!

Once back home, it was no less busy!  After putting most of our camping equipment back in storage, within two days of our return, I volunteered at the annual day our community garden hosts the fifth grade of the local middle school.  

Students from the local high school came in the day before to help set up the garden for the middle school garden day.  It also seems my garden bed had a late season growth explosion while we were away so now I also had a lot of harvesting to do as this season comes to a close!

It may have been a bit of a jungle but it yielded some good eats!

So needless to say, October has been uber-busy!  The sad part is that now with the holidays coming up, things are likely to get even busier!!


Mary said...

Wow, thank you for all of the links!

A Handiquilter in the family could be very motivating!

Vireya said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation!
Very exciting to have a long-arm in the family.