Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trails West (not End!), and a Rainbow

(OK, July 3, I edited my title, from Trails End (where did that come from?) to Trails West, the name of this newest quilt.)

This lovely view was a few days ago, after our usual late afternoon "heavy storms with hail and possible tornado" warnings, but nothing serious happened - just this lovely rainbow.
Tonight I finished the binding on my plaid "Trail's West". My husband loves it, I love it, but I have no idea what to do with it. It's about 64 x 76 inches. In my hurry to get it quilted, one corner still has some paper in it -- I heard it crinkling. LOL That's me! 8-)))

Monday, June 27, 2011

No more Nest Watching

Dang it - we watched that dove nest for weeks only to find a neighbor's cat hovering over the empty nest.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What are these things?

These things were given to me by a woman who may have used a treadle machine. She was over 95 a few years ago. The first item says 9-S. (My photo skills are D+.)

Can anyone tell me what they are? Are they usable for an old sewing machine? The two wood cylindrical boxes both say $2.75, and "Boyle". I also have several more containers with sewing machine needles in them - (flat on one side.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Buckeye Beauty, Masculine Quilting

Despite having more pressing issues, I couldn't resist quilting this scrappy Buckeye Beauty.  My thread is a quiet beige/tan, and this design is called Innies and Outies, from  If you want to learn some techniques for quilting on your domestic sewing machine, her DVDs are THE ticket!  I spent some time on YouTube today and she also has 3-4 free sample videos, each one over 6-7 minutes long.  Try it, you might like it. 

This pattern tends to look good on guy quilts - like a topographic maps.  This is similar to Dwirling, but smaller in scale, as I don't have a lot of room for hand movement on my machine.  It DOES use a lot of thread. 

The fabrics are from many shirts I've made over the past 20 years, current shirts for husband, shirts from brothers, maybe even my Dad who passed away in the '70s, and some Mission Shirts, ala Bonnie Hunter/ 

We are under yet another severe storm warning.  Usually every time it rains/storms, we get hail with it, and gardens take a beating!  I only have hostas, that have made it intact, so far anyway.  The floods are not affecting us in our town, but are a problem farther east and south of us near the Platte River.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Downside of paper piecing

The downside of paper piecing/foundation piecing is removing the paper. This is the border of my recent Buckeye Beauty, and I'm getting ready to baste it. BTW, I no longer need regular glasses, now that my eyes are all clear again, and only needed reading glasses from K-mart for about $12.99. Nice! Those are "readers" and I look over the top of them for anything other than close up. Now I understand why people (little old grannies) love them!

I DID manage to get it all off (telephone book pages) in about 2 1/2 hours, sitting there like a slug, trying to be entertained by TV -- ugh! DH sneaked up with the camera, trying to be cute! That's my corner, pile, nest, mess. 8-)

What was I thinking? I ordered not one, but TWO quilts for Kids (State level) and one is almost done, with a lot of quilted swirls. Instructions said to quilt it a LOT. Contrary to what one might think, free-form swirls on a DSM are not difficult -- they are easier than free-form straight lines! I was almost 3/4 finished in the center, in less than 2 hours. I decided to stop and stretch my bod.

Blog has still more surprises - I updated to a newer version and am starting all over again, wondering what some of these buttons are! Too lazy, too rushed, to figure it all out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's been over a week ...

Hey, when trying to comment, what's with the endless circle of entering my name and e-mail on Google, in order to leave a comment on MANY of the blogs! Irritating - I take time to comment, sign in under my Google profile, and it returns me to the Google sign in, and round and round. It's not me, I've checked! When I do a Preview, the comment box says I'm Anonymous, but since it never really "takes", no matter.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Buckeye Beauty String Border

Oh great - I updated Blogger and it took me 4 tries to get this photo to appear.

Anyway, here is my Buckeye Beauty/aka/Blue Ridge Beauty variation/ as well as various other names. I'm loving the border. One more side to sew on. Maybe I can get it sandwiched this weekend. 8-)))

My plaids and shirt plaids are still waaaay out of control!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Buckeye Beauty, String Border, Dove on the Nest

Finally, the scrappy top is done. Homespuns are thready, but this time my light fabric is quality, thicker and hopefully won't show the errant dark threads that insist on meandering under light fabrics. Next, ON TO A BORDER!

This is sometimes called Jewel Box, or a version of Jacob's Ladder, Railroad, or more, and uses the same units as Blue Ridge Beauty. My blocks finish at 6 inches.

Below is a border suggestion I loved when I saw it on another blog. However, these two fabrics are not doin' it! The sample I saw was shorter more squarish, in stronger colors, reds and blues with a consistant light, that looked like a ribbon, twisting back and forth. Great idea, but it's not working here, and I needed it to be 6 inches.

How about this scrappy string block? By gosh, I'm liking it! My numbers are not adding up correctly, so I'll have to do some trimming or fudging but they are going to work.
Have you ever noticed that quilts made of even amounts of very light and very dark kinda leave you somewhat unsettled? I found that when they are equally light and dark, somewhere along the construction, usually in the border, you might need to really make a lot of LIGHTs, or a lot of DARKS, unbalancing the "evenness", in order to decide which way it should appear, light or dark. I wanted this one to appear dark. That's my tip of the day. Anyone else agree or disagree?

Below is our dove's yearly effort at a nest, right off the deck - easy to watch. This makes for good photos, if the squirrel doesn't move in and destroy the eggs. I've never seen the eggs hatch.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Mesa Verde - The Ancient Ones, Ruins

After a day on the Durango-Silverton narrow guage rail ride, the second day of our "package" linked with Mesa Verde ruins. There was an option of riding a bus with no personal guide but I had smarts enough to plan a smaller group with our own archeologist, Denise. We were thrilled with her knowledge, suggestions, theories - an almost-private archeologist. There were only 3 other people on our tour. She even had a picnic lunch planned for us. I can't count the bottles of water we each consumed!!!

Mesa Verde is in the southwest corner of Colorado, almost into Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. Unless you looked closely at the canyons, you would not see these ruins.

The inhabitants left the area about 900-1000 A.D., for parts unknown -- still a big mystery. Theories are they lost water seeps, or they used up their wood, or drought, or collapse of the civilization due to too many people, or a cosmic event. It is estimated there were, at one time, 50,000 inhabitants in this 4-corner area.

This is a kiva, a living space, that would have had a roof over it. They had an excellent command of fire drafts, air flow, baffles built into the sides of the kiva, all to make their space comfortable. We heard wild turkeys in the scrub. Turkeys, beans, squash, corn were a staple in their diet, when they began farming.

I decided to walk down into one of these ruins, while DH and the archeologist stayed above, studying other areas. This was very strenuous for this ole gal, no handrails, uneven stones, some places, only ancient toe holds, and by the time I had to haul my sorry butt up the last two ladders, I thought I'd met my demise! There was no other way out, no backtracking, no elevator, no helicopter, and 30 people behind me (also huffing and puffing). My attention was on my feet and NOT going over the edge, so photos are few! I was the oldest and probably the tiredest! But I DID it. It took my legs 6 days to recover. The rest of our group later went on another walking tour, but I just could NOT go another step, so DH and I did the people-watching thing.

I will let the photos speak for themselves. Just LOOKING over the ledges is astonishing - you don't need to take the walking/climbing/gasping tour. The area is honeycombed with sites. If possible get a tour with an archeologist.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

NQR - Vacation: Durango-Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad

Over the long weekend, we took a spur-of-the-moment jaunt. For years, we've talked about finding a Narrow Guage train ride. The result of our Internet search was the Durango (Colorado)-Silverton narrow-guage railway, starting about 10 hours from home, in the southwest corner of Colorado. Our trip expanded to include a package (there are MANY optional packages) but this post is only about this portion of our trip. There is nothing 'quilt-y' about our trip -- just a really nice RR ride.

This is the view behind our motel - right next to the Animas River, where we spent time simply sitting and enjoying ourselves. That lovely walking/biking walkway you see, went on for miles. Kayakers and rafters, including dogs wearing life jackets who were joining their humans, were taking advantage of the swift river. Because this trip co-incided with the "Strong Man" bicycle trip, there was also a LOT of Spandex and buns of steel on that walkway!

This is the car (named "Alamosa Parlor Car") we were scheduled to board. We chose to ride the last car of the train, wanting to see the engine ahead during the winding trip. This car also included "Dave", a guide/waiter/attendant/barkeeper - he was a retired schoolteacher -- an unexpected bonus on this ride. I particularly enjoyed the morning's Rusty Spike, and the complementary cinnamon buns.

Above is one of numerous views of the Animas river, moving swiftly due to massive snow runoff.

Below is one of the views of the engine. The track curved so sharply, we could see it often, one of the benefits of our car. Of course, many of the mountain views were just plain spectacular!

Below -- can you see the guy in the red jacket in the tree? One of the options of this trip was taking advantage of numerous zip lines. That sounded pretty fun to me, but the activity was more geared to the macho/younger men. This guy did some acrobatics before he came to a stop in the tree. The zip line went from mountain to tree to mountain to tree. I think they had to "unhook" and then "rehook" along the way. The photo op went by too quickly.

Below is the inside of our car. We were free to change seats if space was available. And of course, that bar helped to calm nerves, when there appeared to be nothing holding up the train tracks.
I mentioned earlier that the "Strong Man" bicycle event was also in town. That crowd of bikes left Durango for Silverton 15 minutes before our train left Durango, a 54 mile trip, and when we were almost in Silverton, we looked waaaay up on the ledges/highway above us, and could see dots of bicycles coasting downhill, into the town.

When we got off the train and walked near the finish line, we saw one guy who "pedaled" his specially-made bike with his arms, as his legs didn't work. What a loud uproar there was when HE crossed the Finish Line. I still get goosebumps thinking of his determination.

And below is the front of the train, disappearing around the curve. One option of the trip was to take a bus back down the mountain, but we chose to ride both ways. Our guide "Dave" taught us about narrow guage railroads, mining, American history. Wildlife included deer, elk, and 2 bears/bares. The second "bare" was some guy who mooned us! LOL

We both felt this was an economical and educational trip for families. Each RR car was a slightly different fee, depending on it's purpose. We visited the RR Museum (no entry fee), a wealth of information. I believe our cost for the day was $169.00, although we paid extra for special drinks. "Regular" drinks and cinnamon bun were complimentary on our car. We purchased a simple lunch in Silverton, now, a small tourist town.
Above is a final view of the engine disappearing around the bend. This was an exceptionally pleasant, relaxing trip.

Our "leg" tomorrow will be Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, with a private archeologist leading our way.