Sunday, September 20, 2009

Holding down the fort...


Good Morning!

It feels like a month has passed since my last newsletter, when in fact it's only been 2 weeks. We've been a lot of places, and accomplished quite a bit, and it's not over yet.

Wesley & Laurie-Ann are still in Huron today, vending at the "Quilting Through the Seasons" fall quilt show, put on by the South Dakota Quilters Guild. The show closes today at 3pm. Please stop by the Crossroads Event Center if you're in the area.

It worked out better for Matthew & I to stay home this weekend, so we've been "holding down the fort" at home and the store, trying to stay on top of things in Wesley's absence.

It serves as a good reminder to me about how much work he gets done. It's not easy to manage without him. But, we're getting along okay, and deal with the challenges as they come up... Keys locked in the car..."Ellen, can you give us a ride to town?"... Late to pick Matthew up at school... Whew! He didn't make it very far... Darn it, the cat puked, again!... "Wesley...where are you?"

I put one foot in front of the other. He'll be home soon.

Our "Girls Weekend" was wonderful as usual, and the Hill City quilt show went very well. Despite the rain, there was good attendance, and our booth was busy all day. Unfortunately, the guild couldn't set up the outdoor quilt show, but they filled the school gymnasium with a beautiful display of their handiwork.

Wesley & Laurie-Ann's reports from Huron sound great, and I'm sorry that I can't be there. The guild has worked very hard to organize & promote this event, and it has been a great success so far. We've been involved with the South Dakota Quilter's Guild since our shop opened, and have noticed increasing enthusiasm, larger membership, and better events with each passing season. Click <a href=">here</a> to visit their website.

As I expected, I took along way too many projects to our retreat, and only finished a small portion of them. But, I am especially happy with my hand-pieced miniature quilt, from the Mountain Patchwork "Log Cabin" pattern.

Two years ago at quilt market, I walked into the Mountain Patchwork booth with warmth in my heart. I fell in love with their designs, and wanted to learn more. I honestly can't remember what interrupted me, but for some reason I had to leave before I could really take it all in.

For a full year, I kept meaning to order some of their patterns for the shop. On vacation, Laurie-Ann visited their store in Superior, Montana, and came home with a couple of patterns for her own use. She reminded me that I should place an order for the patterns, accessories, and Osnaburg linen. But, I just didn't get it done.

This past spring, the Mountain Patchwork booth was at the top of my "must do" list at market, and we happily added a number of their patterns and their sweet little button packs to our shop inventory. We also purchased some completed & framed quilt art samples for the shop made by Kathleen & DeLoyce.


So, when I sat down at the B&B, opened the log cabin pattern, and assembled my fabric, it was a welcome reward after months of good intentions. As I hand-pieced the first miniature log cabin, using the primitive double stitch technique perfected by the designers, I was able to relax and enjoy the needle slipping through the pretty prints.

The technique is surprisingly easy, albeit time-consuming. And the result... simply beautiful!

I made a total of 9 little log cabin blocks, then added the borders and decorative stitching with button embellishment. I sat in the sunshine as I stitched, with a rock set upon my fabric strips so they wouldn't blow away in the breeze.

Every stitch was done by hand, although this wouldn't have been necessary (blocks could be assembled by machine, then top stitched by hand). Since I didn't have a thimble with me, my fingers were calloused from the needle pokes.

What a feeling of accomplishment!

And, after all of that hand-stitching, it was amazing to sit down at the sewing machine again, step on the foot pedal, and do a little "speed sewing". I had a whole new appreciation for how pioneer women must have felt when they first experienced the difference between hand and machine stitching!

I'm not going to give up my sewing machine... but I've already started hand-piecing the Mountain Braid quilt, and this time I'm using a thimble!