Sunday, 9 August 2015

Class Time

Now to the whole reason for the travelling, classes with Bonnie and  Jo. There were two retreat centres. One in West Union and another in Oelwein. I was with the West Union group and we got Jo and her daughter Kelli as teachers first. They were fabulous instructors and great fun to be with.

JoKelli1

 You can catch a glimpse behind them of the kitchen area of the retreat with all the comforts of home, plus a generous size table for eating right behind them. And another table with the checked cloth to the right. Lots of room to spread out.

Of course I had to get a photo with both of them.jokelli2

Boy, do I ever feel short. This is from day two when they taught us.

The first night was the trunk show down in Oelwein at the high school auditorium.

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First Jo and Kelli told us how they became quilt designers and teachers. Then Bonnie explained her food chain of fabric, a rollicking talk that I highly recommend.

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 I didn’t try to take pictures of every quilt she showed. Instead I focused on listening and enjoying being there.

Even if you never get to have a class with her, listening to her explain how to use every bit of  fabric you have paid so much for is fascinating.

It hit home today as I picked up a FQ while shopping for licence plates, thinking it would be 3-4 dollars like I’ve been seeing all trip. Unfortunately I’m back in Canada and it was really $7 !!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

West Union, Iowa

 

This picture perfect little town was our home base for 5 nights and 4 days.  And was it every picture perfect, starting with the courthouse almost directly across the street from the retreat studio. Continuing down the street to buildings that looked like they’d just stepped out of the 1880’s

courthouse

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 I just loved the brickwork on this one, and the next one, and the next.

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Down the side streets was even more cuteness. Like this Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam swing.

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Hubby and I weren’t staying at the sewing studio so I have no pictures of the upstairs although the girls said it was very nice. We were several blocks away in a hotel. Which I have no pictures of either. Instead I took pictures of the drive-in next door. And some of the customers. We liked it there so much we went twice.

drivein

boysntractor

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally Bonnie and I in front of the studio/retreat centre on the very last day.

bonnie

Friday, 7 August 2015

Trip to Iowa part 2



On day two of our trip we didn’t get very far from Kalamazoo ( Coloma to be precise)  before seeing a sign for an antique mall. We pulled in and spent some time looking around.
sewingcabinets
 I found these two machines,a Kenmore and a Singer,  very reasonably priced but not something I was willing to lug around while we were traveling. 
And lots of quilts to look at but once again they stayed behind.

birdquilt


This was a nice, embroidered state birds that only had 9 blocks. Maybe after nine she had  had enough of either birds or embroidery?



These triangles really intrigued me. The fabrics look vintage but
almost too nice to be that old, maybe a reproduction? And the skinny binding really looked modern to me.
machine

 This was one of only a few portable machines we saw.  I have no idea of the make or model. It reminded me of a Singer #20 chain stitcher but once again, we chose to leave it behind.
Then,wandering an aisle, a card table caught my eye. It was loaded up with a cloth and nick-knacks, but I pulled back the cloth to take a peek. And bingo! it was there.
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The distinctive cut-out of a sewing machine inset. And the price? Holey Cow a whooping $192015-07-28 13.26.30 ! But wait, there was a sign on the booth stating everything was 75% off. That makes it less than $5. OMG
Start the car! We’ve got a steal here.

We contacted the checkout lady and completed the purchase, loaded it up and soon were back on the highway. Being the honest people we are, we did tell the lady what it was. (after paying for it). It wasn’t her booth so she wasn’t the one losing out but she was a quilter and now she’ll know what to look for. For some reason I thought this table was for a 301, mostly because it didn’t have the distinctive black edge that my Featherweight table has. It was in pretty bad shape, the top was warped and will need a fair bit of work. We spent the next couple of days telling everyone at the retreat that we had found a 301 table, ‘till Saturday night when we actually tried to fit my 301 into the opening. No go. It is a Featherweight table. 

Great, I already have one and mine is in better shape. I know hubby will not be keen to spend the time and effort refinishing this one just so I can have two tables for the same machine. Luckily, we tried this experiment in the retreat studio after class and one of my classmates has a multitude of Featherweights. She was more than happy to take it off my hands. for $5. Which I was more than happy to do. And promptly spent the money on fabric.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Trip to Iowa, part 1

I took my laptop with me on our trip with good intentions of blogging but then life happened. So I just focused on enjoying the experience and what an experience it was.

For starters, this was the first time I had been west through Michigan, Illinois, Iowa. So everywhere I looked were new sights to see. We even took a different route out of Canada which meant a new border crossing and a new bridge.
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Picture taking from car windows is chancy,(as you can see by the big girder  that got in the way)  so I didn’t do a lot of it but here we are crossing from Sarnia Ontario, into Port Huron Michigan.

We stopped the first night in Kalamazoo, MI. Mostly so I could say I’d been to Kalamazoo, isn’t that a wonderful name
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This looks like we’re at the airport, but actually we’re in the parking lot of a fabric store. Where Hubby found out about the Row by Row experience and the licence plates. I hadn’t mentioned it because I was ambivalent about doing a Row by Row project.  But I did want a licence plate. Bummer, they were all sold out. 

The clerk said they were taking addresses and would mail me one if I bought it. So I did. And when we arrived home last night, it was waiting for me. Great service, Fields Fabrics.
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Hubby then became an enthusiastic plate collector and even tracked some down on his own. More late when I get pictures of the haul.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Challenge finished

Well here we are in the motel in West Union , ready for the retreat to start tomorrow and TaDa. Sewed the last of the pieced border on Grand Illusion tonight.



















Hubby and I took a walk to see the retreat centre before supper. Standing in front of the building checking it out and some people started unloading a car. All of a sudden I heard a familiar voice. It was Bonnie ! Bringing supplies for the classes and meeting with her was Kellie, Jo's daughter.  
A happy meet and great. But even better, walked back to the motel and there checking in was ... Bonnie ! Such fun in small towns, everyone is right around the corner. 
And now to link up with JoJo

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Week One of Challenge

The first week of the challenge is over and I succeeded in assembling the body of the quilt. Wasn’t sure I would make it, but powered through and finished the last row on the 20th. While I was busy patting myself on the back, it dawned on me that the pieced outer border wasn’t pieced. Oh, all the blocks were made, they just weren’t assembled. And where in all the chaos of my sewing mess was the inner border fabric?
2015-07-21 20.17.022015-07-20 11.55.55 Finishing last row



                 My first attempt at doing the border was a fail. I didn’t bring the directions down from the sewing room to the living room where I was set up. Instead relied on my memory. Not completely my memory’s fault,  given the poor quality of the print out it’s a wonder I even figured it out at all.2015-07-21 20.17.43
How can you even tell what colours those are supposed to be? Well, I did figure it out and I ripped apart all of the wrong seams and re-sewed them.

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And I found the missing fabric in a bin pulled to make another Celtic Solstice. Luckily I  hadn’t started cutting that.  Not sure if I’ll be able to get any more than the borders on. We have company coming tomorrow. They aren’t staying here, my MIL is putting them up at her house but we did agree to chauffer them around for the three days they’ll be here because they are travelling by bus and won’t have their own car with them. So sewing will be hit and miss depending on the activities of the day. Plus I have a work day Thursday.
Oh and somewhere in all this, we have to get packed to leave Monday morning to drive to Iowa. I should be pulling my hair out. Instead I have been pulling weeds in an effort to get the outside of the house looking presentable. Turns out they are much more satisfactory to pull, you get to feel virtuous about it instead of like a 3 year old having a tantrum.
But now to see what everyone else has been doing over at Jo's

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Another Challenge ? Challenge Accepted !


Jo Kramer over at Jo’s Country Junction has issued a challenge. To Wit: finish a project before the Retreat she is hosting on July 29th.  Since I am signed up for this retreat it seemed perfectly logical to accept this challenge. I also wanted to bring something finished along with me for the show and tell preferably the last mystery quilt, Grand Illusion. When she threw down the gauntlet (can’t think of a suitable quilting substitute for gauntlet, thimble?) , my Grand Illusion was neatly stacked in bins all ready for the final assembly. Why was it still waiting? Well when the final clue was released I set them all aside to focus on the wedding quilt I was making as that had a higher priority and actual deadline. Since Monday I have webbed the columns together.
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As is fairly obvious, I ran out of room to work on it up in my sewing room. So today I’ve moved it downstairs to the living room and set up my modern Janome to finish sewing the rows together. The Janome has a setting for  a 1/4” seam but I have rarely used it for  piecing. It’s primary job is to do the quilting and binding. So I double checked the setting with my little guide and even put down a piece of masking tape to keep the edge in the right place. Now to get the pedal to the floor and get’er done.
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Thanks for the kick in the pants to get me started Jo. Linking up with the girls over at Jo's to see what everyone else has chosen to work on.