Saturday, September 28, 2013

Slow and Steady

I'm making some progress on the Scottish Band Sampler (Scarlett Letter).  The Hungarian flame stitch eats up a lot of thread and a lot of time.  I'm liking the secondary pattern that is emerging.  I'm hoping to finish this one entirely before I go to my sampler guild's retreat next weekend, but I would settle for a finish of the eyelets and flame stitch. 

Speaking of the sampler guilder, one of its members who shall remain nameless (she knows who she is) committed a tremendous act of enabling.  She brought in a needlepoint piece she had obtained through the Shining Needle Society, a Yahoo group.  Of course, I had to check it out and now I, too, am taking a class through the society.  Here's my progress on Inchies, a wonderful design by Kathy Rees of Needle Delights Originals.  I have self-imposed a limit of one "inchie" a day because these are like potato chips--you can't stitch just one!  And if you are interested in needlepoint, don't say I didn't warn you about the Shining Needle Society.  There are some seriously gorgeous projects there.

Terri has some terrific ideas.  She has created a Virtual Quilting Retreat and a group of us are "meeting" one weekend day per month.  Our first meetup was last weekend and I finished the top for the Designer Mystery Block of the Month.  I whisked it off to the longarmer before there was enough light to get a good picture of it.  Now I'm working on the LSU quilt and have been making good progress on it thanks to a sew day with friends this past week.  It's going with me today to my quilt guild's UFO workshop day.

In other news, my husband and I spent a lovely day at Longwood Gardens this week.  The weather was beautiful and the gardens were, of course, gorgeous.  We try (or rather he tries) to create beautiful beds around the house, but the plants often get gobbled up by the  deer that roam the wooded area behind our house.  The trip was capped off by a stop at The Strawberry Sampler to pick up some threads for a fall project and then lunch at Jimmy John's, a small restaurant on 202.  We had heard a lot about how great their hot dogs are and were not disappointed. 

I'm currently reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett who is one of my favorite authors.  This book is living up to my expectations, although I don't think many books can touch her Bel Canto.  I just bought a ticket to hear Ms. Patchett speak at the Free Library of Philadelphia in November.  On a week night--retirement is great!

Hope all is well in your world!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

This and That

Two friends came over on Thursday for a day of sewing.  I've learned to select projects that don't involve too much concentration when we get together so I worked on a few different things.

First, I made a few of these blocks.  I picked up the flannel prints in the center at a guild meeting to make into a charity quilt.  I've looked at the assortment and played around with a couple of different ways to make a block and finally came up with this to put into a rail fence pattern.
Then, I put together 23 half-square triangles that will go into a quilt for my son who is at Louisiana State University.  Although the colors in this picture look a little different, the HSTs are purple and gold.
I ended our time together by making flying geese units to put in the border of my Designer Mystery Block of the Month from 2009 (or was it 2010?).  I blogged about some of the blocks here and here.  Now I just have to sew one row of blocks to the center, add this border of blue and attach the outer border.  Can't wait to show it to you!

I have been enjoying my retirement quite a bit, and as so many people have said, I sometimes wonder how I had time to work.  I've decided to join a quilt group that meets during the day and a needlepoint group that meets in the evening.  Both hold their meetings in locations that are less than five miles from my house so they are certainly convenient, and it's always great to meet people with the same interests.  I've also attended a lecture at the library given by a local author who talked about his research on the diamond trade.  My husband and I went to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia last week to see the exhibit on espionage which was extensive and fascinating.  If you check out my page on Goodreads, you'll know that I'm also doing a lot of reading.  My current favorite is The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout..  Fall is off to a great start for me and I hope for you also!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Scottish Band Sampler

Progress continues on the Scottish Band Sampler (Scarlett Letter).  I had set a goal of finishing this by the end of August-ha!  As predicted in the instructions, the flame stitch is "quite challenging."  For me, it was not the actual execution of the stitch, but the placement.  What I have done follows the chart, but doesn't look like the picture of the finished piece.  After frogging and restitching twice, I'm going with what I have now.  I'm sure it will be OK and as long as I don't display the picture from the chart next to my completed sampler, no one will be the wiser. 

Since I last posted, we  made a trip to retrieve our daughter from her summer internship on the coast of Maine.  She stayed with her boyfriend's family who very graciously showed us around the area during the weekend we were there, and treated us to a fabulous meal of lobster.   Our daughter was home for three days and then we packed up the car and moved her into a house (occupied by six other students who share one bathroom!) in DC for her final year of college.  Our older son was home for Labor Day weekend and our middle son will be home next weekend as he is running a marathon in our area.  Just wish they could all be here at the same time!

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face when I realized that it is the first Tuesday in September and I am not going back to school.  That meant I could set my alarm for 6:30 instead of 5:30 and I can have a leisurely cup of coffee before I head to the gym.  Last Monday, during the inservice days at my former school district,  one of the speech therapists texted me about the boring meeting she was in.  I texted back about my plans to get my nails done and read a book the rest of the afternoon.  I have no doubt that retirement was the right decision and I am really enjoying this time!