Homespun Gathering

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mondo Bag

Today I packed my bags and headed to the quilt shop.  This month's Bag Ladies class taught the Mondo Bag.  My stitching speed was in the top 10% of the class before lunch, but after Sewing Fatigue set in, and I was drawing on my ability to put my nose to the grind stone and get each step completed.  In the south we say "getterdun", and I did.  Class was from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00, and I finished up around 5:30.  Some left without completing the bag, but our teacher told us she would stay until we had all gone.  God bless her!  There were a couple of other ladies still sewing away when I left, so I didn't feel so bad.
the lining with sneak peek of inner pocket

A closer look at the outside of the bag

All done. :-)

 My husband and I lived in Japan for three years.  We came home with an 8 month old and good friends I thought I may never see again.  I am happy to say after 16 years I was able to reunite with one of those friends, and this week she taught me how to make a beautiful Mondo Bag.  I can't tell you how blessed I feel to have that connection again.

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.



Thursday, August 11, 2016

First Birthday

It has been one year, this week, since I started this blog.  I've enjoyed getting to know you as I share my heart.  I've heard it said that some bloggers blog as a way to chronicle their personal life journeys.  I believe that is what this blog is for me, but I do enjoy sharing my life with those around the world who might also love the same things I do.  For all of you who have commented and become followers I want to say, "thank you".  I really do cherish you.

Before we update you on my quilting progress I do want to share some stitching progress.   The dressmaker has arrived and she's done fabulous work.  We decided the indigo dress was appropriate to the time period of the 1850s and matched the indigo jacket worn by Mr. Halland House.  Yes, this is a wedding sampler to retire the original stitched in 1999.
"Love Never Fails"
Last Saturday a friend and I went to our local Farmer's Market.  It was fun seeing friends in their booths and grabbing some produce.  The last time I was there I got some raw honey.  This time I got a sampler of local cave aged cheese.  I was blown away by the mildness of the jalapeno gouda.  The maker said the raw milk is left alone, but the jalapenos have to be boiled before adding to the cheese.  This reduces the heat significantly.  How significantly?  Her four year old can eat the cheese.  That's mild.  If you live in the States and have never had raw milk cheese this is a treat.  The closest I have ever tasted in complexity is Kerry Gold cheddar.  I think it comes from a similar grass fed diet.  I'm waiting to open these until I can bake some bread from a special recipe I have.  I know it will be heaven. 
After getting back from the market I talked my husband into taking me to our local quilt shop for the first time.  I was quite surprised by all the incredible farmland beauty on the second half of our trip.  We had been there a while before realizing there was no service for either one of us.  Our son now has the number to the quilt shop.  While there I signed up for a Mondo Bag class, got some fabric strips and other important bag items.  One of the shop ladies was the wife of our former Singles Minister at church.  He's been the senior pastor of a local church for nearly 20 years now, and I hadn't seen this sweet woman for almost the same length of time.  

I'm not afraid of asking for help and definitely needed some on the triangle sections of the border.  She graciously helped me.
OH, that's how I lay that out.
While I was in the quilt shop my husband shopped the Farmer's Market next door.  This is a tiny town and there was plenty of room in the open area next to the shop.  We couldn't help but browse through the antique shop across the street.  Tempting treasures included wooden shoes, firkins, a speculaas mold, a mule chest, and on and on.

All that antiquing made my husband hungry, so off to a barbecue (smoked meat) we went in that same block.  The food was good, and what's not to love about iced tea served in a canning jar.  It's a southern thing.

Wednesday I made it down to the quilt shop to prep my Mondo bag for the class on Saturday.  I need to iron the squares onto the glue dot fabric, but there will be four sections just like the one below. I can't wait to see this one through. 

As promised I want to update you on quilting progress.  Last week I dug back into the quilt knowing I would start school this week.  There is always a lot of preparation before the kiddos get there.  I was all set to cut out my last group of strip sets for the checkerboard blocks.  The iced coffee would keep my eyes open and my mind sharp.  I really love listening to the Alex Anderson podcast as I work on all things quilty.  
I wanted to sew through these quickly, so I piled the 5 square strips in order of sewing for the 25 patch blocks.
I think Abigail is less interested in being my quilt companion, but she will come in if she thinks there is a bug or blue tailed skink.  They've been really bad this year, but I can't help but think the woods behind us make things worse.
I'm really wanting to iron and square up the blocks, but I think I wait until I head to the quilt shop on Saturday and ask how I'm supposed to iron these seams before I make things hard on myself.  
I put the Audible app on my phone last week, and have been listening to my favorite quilting series--in order this time.  Jennifer Chiaverini is a very talented author, and I can highly recommend her books.

Second book in the story's chronological order 

I could no longer wait to see the quilt so I spread 49 of 80 navy and cream blocks on my bed.  This will be a huge accomplishment when complete.  I feel so blessed to have attempted something that stretches me and the determination to see it through. 

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Making Some Progress

Thank you for your comments on my last post.  I have heard how blogging is waning from where it was a few years ago, but I still love the blogging family out there, and wouldn't trade y'all for anything.

 I'm very happy to say this quilt is moving forward.  It continues to give me opportunity to push through adversity, but it's moving forward.  Wahoo!  Abigail continues to be my faithful quilting companion.  If she's not already in the dinning room, I find her joining me before I've cut or sewn very much.

It all began with lighting a wonderfully scented candle.
I found the thread stand, and it works extremely well.  I should have read the manual a long time ago.
Constant breaking thread meant I eventually wound the bobbin by hand.  It was definitely not the tension.  After the thread continued to break while sewing the seams I looked up my thread on an online quilting board.  Aurifil seems to have a personality.  Some machines love it, and some don't.  Mine loved it the day I pieced the chain blocks.  This day it didn't.

I thought I was awake when I started this quilt day.  I was wrong, so I joyfully scooped up some of my favorite ground coffee beans and brewed up a very tall glass of iced coffee.  Ah, that's better.
Having to sew the strip sets twice used up a lot of fabric.  This caused me to get creative on how I was going to get all my fabric out of what it left.  I might have to order more, but so far so good.
Strip Set A

Strip Set B

At this point in the project I realized I had measured wrong.  
What's a girl to do?  I decided to cut an extra 8" of fabric and strip piece it to the full length white strip.  Moving on.
I'm not worried at all.  I'll cut my 2" strips around the broken area.
Of course, as I'm coming closer to finishing this quilt top I'm thinking about the quilting portion more.  I ordered this stencil online.  I love the curved lines that will complement the straight lines of the pattern.  I love that the line is continuous.  No Tennessee walking needles here. :-)
Since I'm hand quilting this quilt I know it's going to be a while before I finish.  That being said I have given myself a reward.  I may add this fantastic reproduction sampler to my stash as soon as I finish.   The designer is part of our local stitching group, and this gave us an opportunity to to see it in person.  It's stunning.  I wanted to run right out and order it, but I need some incentive to finish this quilt.  You may order it here from 123Stitch.  I can promise you.  I'll be ordering Nancy's Sewing Necessaries also.
Nancy Alden 1795
My last box of GA peaches, and boy are they yummy.
Going into the Peach Party
 DH and I had not had a date in a while. We decided to attend the Peach Party happening locally at the same place I picked up our peaches.
Yummy Peach Beverages
 I realized many years ago that chicken tastes a lot better when you cook it on the bone.  I can't just throw out the bones, so stock gets made.  You can do it the hard way in a stock pot, or you can use a crock pot.  I choose the crock pot.  There is no baby sitting like there is with my electric stove.  I'm not quiet sure what I'll do with the stock, but no doubt it will be used soon in something delicious.  
This past week was busier than I expected.  I took the wood out to mom's.  I thought for sure that I'd have a full truck bed load.  It was enough to finish filling up the open area of her shed outside the back door.  She's covered it up with a tarp to keep the weather out, but I couldn't help but think how it was like tucking her wood into bed.  I just might be a little sentimental.
On the way back from Mom's I couldn't help but become completely distracted by the view, so  I stopped and took this picture.  I just love the 3D effect.  Don't you?
Saturday, my husband and I were out and about.  This time we were at a local wholesale store that sells everything from farm tools to . . . cute stuffed fish.  This one kept me company after while my husband bargain shopped.  I picked up a case of canning jars for the peaches, but the peach fishy had to stay at the store.  
DH and I also visited one of my favorite shops.  It is family owned and has been in business for nearly 30 years.  I have collected quite a few hardworking, beautiful pieces, but this week I was realizing my new passion, quilting, was going to need it's own space.  The photo below comes from the store's FB page.  I neglected to take one.  Let's just say we did not go home with this mule chest, but I'm still excited.  You're just going to have to wait until I have more to tell you.  
As a family we went to a jazz concert at a local cave on Saturday.  This cave is pretty famous for hosting jazz and other types of concerts since the 40s.  Because of the cool air coming from the entrance of the cave these events are called  "Cooling at the Cave".

DH and DS walking back from the concert.  Without readers I didn't know they were out of focus, but the photo still makes me smile.
The cave has a spring-fed man made lake.  A few years ago this lake had almost no greenery growing in it.  Some time back a crack developed in the damn resulting a slow drain of the lake.  This Christmas I noticed only a few puddles were there.  The geese were gone, and a weed patch of shrubbery had grown up.  There has been no money to fix the damn, so it has gone unrepaired.  We've had so much rain this summer that the pond has filled again, and the geese have returned.  We had so much rain that a couple of weeks ago the road to the right of the photo was under water for about a day.
I never knew what types of geese were at the pond, but after doing a little research I found they were Canada Geese.  These geese are the only ones that actually nest in TN.

A Canada Goose Close-Up
Well what would this post be without a little stitching.  You can see how far I got before I realized I had stitched the diamonds wrong.  It wouldn't have mattered but it effected the width, so I began pulling it out.
I have now finished restitching the diamonds and am nearly done with the border.

Until next time count your blessings--God's gift to you.