Wednesday, January 30, 2019


It's been a busy time lately, thus the blog has been neglected.  We just got back from our annual trek to Daytona Beach, FL where we attend the Rolex 24 Hour Race.
 I normally spend more time reading my Kindle than watching the race....seriously these cars go so fast that when viewed from our normal spot right up against the fence in the Porsche actually can make a gal dizzy. It was so cold that even with 4 layers, hat and gloves I was miserable. I learned that the pages won't turn on a Kindle when wearing gloves! 

BUT...look....there are other things to amuse me.  A quilter will always recognize this name....however, it's not related to Pfaff sewing machine.  This is a Porsche  racing team from Canada.
 We've seen this event grow and grow over the years.  In my view, it's now like a trade show that happens to have cars racing too.  And what did I spot??  A screen printing set up that made me green with envy.  Four screens were placed around a central pole....almost like an upside down umbrella.  The operator would twirl and lower the one he wants onto his printing surface that is fitted with a t-shirt. He'd give a squirt of the colored plastic liquid, & squeegee it through the screen.  Lightening fast he'd remove the printed shirt and fold it with the design on top, then place it on a small conveyor belt to run it through a dryer!!!  
 The dude operating the silk screen magic was so fast I never did get a photo of the finished product.....but here's a shirt ready to get printed.
Printing another design....he had 4 different screens to choose from.
 When we arrived about noon on Friday there was barely space for a toothpick to fit in.  I've never seen it so crowded....this is the budget crowd, often arriving on Wed.  Many others are in major $$ motor homes.  I don't know how these tent camper's spots are selected (by them or assigned??) but these are right and I mean right next to the bathrooms.  There's no comment you can provide that wouldn't cover my thoughts about this!!
 We always get back to the track on Sat. (from our sensible hotel lodging) by 6:30 AM....very few of the garages are even open yet, for the 2:30 PM start of the race.  (Ya.....I know.....ridiculously early)  We cheer for the 911 and 912 cars.....of which the 912 came in 3rd in its class when the race was finally called, short of the 24 hours due to horrendous weather conditions.  
 By Saturday afternoon, the cold, windy weather worsened.....those clouds are just an indicator of what was to come.  
This view is daytime on Sunday.....looks like night doesn't it?  The rain was so intense the race was red flagged (stopped) twice...and run under a yellow (caution) for way too long.  Cars raced under the green (go) for less than 14 hours out of the 24 hours.  Exciting viewing for any spectators that managed to stay, but horribly dangerous for the drivers at speeds close to 200 mph without being able to see anything but water spouts and hydroplaning on the rivers that ran across the track.

Well...for us...another year in the book of attending this event.  I suggested we might have reached the end of this journey, but that wasn't well received by 'the husband'.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


 Actor R. Lee Ermey, former Marine Corp drill instructor and famous for his role in the movie Full Metal Jacket was laid to rest Jan. 18, 2019, with full military honors.  He passed away April 15, 2018 at age 74 from complications of pneumonia.
It's not often - well NEVER - that a famous actor takes the time to make a fan feel welcome.  He was in the Asheville area taping one of his television shows when we spotted him at 12 Bones Restaurant.  Of course we didn't want to intrude but I gave him a 'thumbs up' and he immediately said...'get over here' thing you know we were chatting away like old friends.  Fame never changed this American hero.

R. LEE ERMEY & MARY STORI @ 12 Bones - Asheville, NC  - June 2009

Thursday, January 17, 2019


The sun was barely up over our Eastern mountain ridge as we headed out for our daily 'forced march' (otherwise known as a walk).  Here, where no road is flat or's not your normal stroll!
 But, whatever you call can't escape the beauty of Western North Carolina....specifically our area of Upper Crabtree. 
The overnight moisture has left trees and bushes glistening....harder to see when it's not fully light yet....but stunning none the less.

By the time we got back sky was visible....and a bank of light fog started drifting up from the valley a sheer curtain closing.
This movement of fog happens from time to time and is fascintating to watch.
We weren't the only ones out taking neighbor snapped this shot of our house and the mountain ridge to the North and West.  No wonder folks choose to live here.....the fog will burn off quickly.  Our expected high temperature will be in the mid 50's today.  Bliss.......

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


I met Carole (an area quilter and blogger) last spring and have been following her always inspiring posts ever since.  This is one talented lady who has a big, giving heart.

She's involved with the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project whose mission is to create bed size quilts for the huge number of victims of "Florence" & "Michael on the North Carolina coast.  Please take the time to visit Carole's blog where all the info you need to help support this good cause can be found.

Though I no longer enjoy making traditional patchwork quilts, as you can see.....I decorate with them. 
So, the cutting begins for a full size Hurricane Project quilt.  Because bed size quilts are too much of a struggle for me to quilt on my standard home machine, I'm comforted by  knowing that generous long arm quilters have stepped up to quilt these donations!
 I've decided upon a scrappy blue string quilt.....a perfect project to tackle during the upcoming PTA (Professional Textile Artists) retreat. As is my habit, I pre-cut my fabrics at home.....allowing for carefree stitching during the distraction of fun antics in our sewing room.
My two test blocks.......hoping this will prove to be a handsome (more masculine) quilt by the use of the stripe focal fabric and narrow red sashing strips.  Consider donating a quilt, won't you??

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


There's no doubt, if you are an art quilter....the Asheville area is the place to be.  This is just  taste of the Show and Tell presented at the Mountain Art Quilters first meeting of the year.  Being a member of this talented, generous, inspiring offshoot of SAQA is such a privilege.

Though I'm still learning to get everyone's names correct.....I'll do my best to identify the makers....
 Susan Webb Lee has been having fun making one-of-a-kind table runners....her talent of mixing patterns and shapes is evident. (see below as well)

 Who wouldn't want to receive this quilt as a birthday present?  Lynn made it for her niece who lives in Portland......a PERFECT Oregon quilt!!
 Julie was working on finishing a vintage quilt for a customer whose desire was to have quilts from a family member completed.  Though you can't see it, she was patiently adding a binding to the zig-zag shape border.
 Got a floating frame? inspirated a colorful piece to display in it.
 Shirley did some improv piecing, mounted it on a canvas wrapped frame to fit  in her frame.
 I swooned over Agatha's quilt......she expertly combined numerous ethnic fabrics into such a lovely composition.
 I admire the restraint given to the machine quilting....just perfect!!
 Look what a treasure one can achieve with Dyna-flow and a silk scarf blank.  The touches of gold accenting the blues work beautifully.
 Fourth in her series of dawn/dust wall quilts is nearly the use of the earthy batiks with touches of reds/yellows in the lower section.
 Kathie challenged herself to piece a quilt top in one day.......using stash fabrics that she wondered why she purchased.  Well......if this is what she can do in such a short's no wonder she did so well creating the piece below.
 Here she made an abstract narrow wall quilt featuring a water fall with subtle trees and foliage in the background, all masked with organza to help provide a feeling of mystery.
I could have easily snatched these two pieces from her hands......I would NEVER had thought of adding those touches of orange to the blue free form patchwork....very successfully done!!

We will be having an exhibit of our work in the Asheville area in mid. March - April......more info to come in regard to location, exact dates and time.

Monday, January 14, 2019


Our Professional Textile Artists group (also known as PTA) started off the year with good weather & nearly everyone in attendance at Lynn's house in Flat Rock.
 Three busy members where knitting away as we did our show and tell.......see photo above and below.  We are all dedicated 'doers' so it's not surprising to see hands that aren't idle. 

 Show and Tell was so inspiring and full of plenty of laughs and problem solving. NOT all quilt related....there are at 5 of us with coping with spousal health issues.  We decided we will pool our resources and find a nice home for them together with a caretaker!!  You can imagine how this theme got embellished with so much good humor, but of course no serious thought of following through.

Georgia Bonesteel has begun her annual planning for a project her students will make at an annual retreat she does with Charlotte Warr Anderson in Montana. Photo less than understandable, however the plan is to replicate a nearby ranger station (right side which will be quilt's top) a fence below that with a patchwork vista.  Several of us in the group have been national instructors and it reminded us how much time & planning went into all the workshops we taught.
 Judy shared two applique pieces she made years ago that were sold.  The owner is downsizing and can't use them any more and generously sent them to Judy.  Isn't that thoughtful!?!  Sometimes it's wonderful to see ones' past work with fresh eyes.
 Connie wins the prize for the number of pieces she brought.  I 'think' this top was one of the kits our Asheville Quilt guild makes up for members to complete after which they are then turned over to a number of charities.

 Connie (on the left) is an AQS certified appraiser....who better to have stumbled across this top at a garage sale.  It's a vintage hand pieced elongated hexie pattern.
 She also found this antique beauty......aren't the color and pattern just smashing?!?

 Even with all the conversation, lunch, beverages, show and tell etc. we all took the time to admire the view from Lynn's large living room windows.  You can barely see a slice of her driveway....yes that's it....far down below.....thank goodness we car pooled.  I almost had to close my eyes as Cathy, our competent driver, got us up to Lynn's house via her very steep long driveway.
Certainly worth the trip!!

As usual, fun and inspiration was had by all......

Friday, January 11, 2019


After way too much decision making time, trying to formulate a straight line quilting motif.....I forged ahead.
Rather than vertical or horizontal lines, or even uniform diagonal grid quilting lines, I chose an uneven diagonal orientation. This approach took extra time because I used blue painters tape as my guide for each line.  Assuring they would remain straight as I stitched.  

After being a bit dubious at first, I warmed to the design as it helped to lead the eye around the quilt much better than I expected, yet keeping the general uncluttered theme of this Japanese/Asian style piece.

 ASIAN HARMONY -  39" x 39"
Cotton fabrics & machine stitching.

Visit these fine blogs to get inspired by other artists weekly accomplishments:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


January is moving right along, and with that thought in mind....our 11th annual PTA (Professional Textile Artists) retreat in early March is right around the corner.

It's not a sew-in where I can manage any project that is more than super mindless and even with that, I always cut all my patches ahead of time to control the mistakes!  Believe me with all the chatter, 'lookie' what others are doing, constant food and coffee breaks, impromptu dancing or exercising led by Georgia Bonesteel, it's a frolicking atmosphere.

At our very first retreat, Kate, Judy, and I decided to make i-spy quilts as baby gifts.  We pooled all our likely conversation fabrics to increase the variety for each maker.  It's now 11 years later and we still share that fabric box which is constantly being used and added to.  As years past, we chose other projects and shared fabrics but never to the point of a traveling fabric box!

In the last couple of years we each did our own thing, but many times the patterns were similar.  So....this year Kate suggested this simple layout....yeah....thought I - 4 strips per block.  I can do that!

Well....being the A type organized person I am....I decided to start preparing now.  I selected my fabrics (first mistake) and stitched a few sample blocks.  It was then that I realized the Japanese style 'directional' fabrics I selected would require way too much planning and thought under retreat conditions.  If using non-directional fabrics each block could be pieced identically with no regard to placement of the 'colored' fabrics because the orientation could easily be changed.

I hope you are following this explanation of my dilemma.  If not it will become clear as I continue this saga. I aborted the idea of making a big quilt for retreat.  Instead I set about making a smaller wall hanging....which allowed me to pre-cut and position every patch on my design wall.

There seems to be a theme of late in regard to how I construct patchwork quilts....its' a tad worrisome that I'm having such difficulties multi-tasking, but my work arounds help to avoid confusion for me. This is supposed to be fun, right?!?

Come back as I now struggle with how the heck to quilt this thing....I have lots of ideas that could be achieved hand quilting.....which isn't practical for a piece that will be sold.  AND since my skills are pretty much limited to straight line quilting on the far I'm stuck.  Part of the problem is that I'm not thrilled with the piece and simply want it!  Hoping in the end, it will still be of interest to a buyer.  Okay...see you soon.......

Saturday, January 5, 2019


Denny was our show and tell hero for the first meeting of 2019......making us wonder if she ever sleeps!?

 Denny made this handy travel iron caddy pad using a pattern by Sisters' Common Thread available at  Not only does it allow you to never get stuck trying to transport a hot iron, it does it in such a clever and stylish manner. 
 It's a great way to use up some of your experimental surface design fabric you've been wondering what to do with!
Place an iron in the center, fold in the sides, and secure with the aid of an elastic cord and large button.
 Of course we told Denny this would make really nice gifts as well!  Hint....
 This is the final roundup of Denny's marathon 2018 year of creating about a dozen (I think) large patchwork and appliqué quilts.  It's been said a thousand times when view photos of quilts....."it's so much better in person."  And of course each and every one is.  Do take a moment to enlarge the photos and you'll get a glimmer at how skillfully she created them.  Beautifully constructed with perfect pattern & color distribution.

This group never fails to inspire and encourage personal growth.