Saturday, July 23, 2016

There and Back Again

I don't know if I mentioned that we were going away, but we spent a lovely week on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's UP. About 15 of my family was there and we were able to stay in three cottages (and a couple tents) on the same property. My sister was firmly informed by the border guard (coming in from Canada) that they call them cabins up here. Ok, then...

Troy and I had about six hours of driving time and I was looking forward to some prime making time! Now that we have the GPS unit, I am off navigating duties and I can sew, knit and whatever to my heart's delight. Or til my hands give out.

First up was to finish these socks that have been neglected for far too long:
All I had to do was work in the ends. Done. Just last night I gave them a bath and they are now drying on my sock blockers. I made them smaller than usual because I'm tired of having my hand-knit socks be too loose. Of course, then I was worried they would be too tight and scrunch my toes. But they fit the sock blockers (which are just my size) very easily and I am relieved.

I then pulled out the Farm Girl Vintage block for the week and finished up some embroidery that the block needed:
I won't show you the whole block yet. Since I was getting together with Kim, we skipped Skype and revealed them to each other in person. We covered three weeks while we were there so I'll be posting those separately when I can get to it.

And then I also sewed on the binding of my Mt Robson landscape quilt.
Oh, did I not tell you that I finished all the quilting before we left? Yes, I did. And it felt great to get it done. I'm even pretty pleased with the results. I pushed myself so I could then sew on the binding with the machine and have it ready for the hand sewing when I knew I would have all this time available to do it. I also "unvented" a way to sew the binding that's even more invisible, but I'll get to that when I show you the whole quilt.

While I was at the cottage cabin, I continued to work on the Mt Robson quilt. I finished sewing the binding and I worked on burying all the ends.
There were a lot of them! I saw a great method for how to bury them without having to rethread the needle all the time on some quilting show or online video and was glad to put it to use! I couldn't find the original source, but this video on youtube shows the same thing, if you'd like to see. It works just as well on really short ends, which I needed because sometimes I didn't cut long tails as I moved from section to section.

Even with a really great method, it was still a lot of ends to work in! I didn't finish at the Lake but have since finished that task at home. Pushing through those multiple layers of the heavy double adhesive backing used for the applique was not a joy.

When I wanted more fun at the cottage, I worked on some of my red nine patches. Here are a couple sewn and one in progress:
I did not want to do a random layout so I matched nine squares together (sometimes all the same fabric, sometimes not) and then safety pinned them together. Now I have lots and lots and lots of blocks that I can sew together.

I did the math and I need 288 blocks--that's 2,592 individual squares to cut! I have pieces cut and matched up for about half that many blocks.

On the way home, I worked on one of my Farm Girl Vintage blocks. I had finished one more at the cottage and this was the last one I had with me to do.

That accounts for the block that was due the day before we got there, the day after we got back and today. So I'm on schedule and will start the next block next week if I can tear myself away from the nine patches!
Although I had less to stitch on the way home, I made up for it by stopping at three different quilt shops!

I'm intrigued by the Row by Row program that started a few years ago and takes place each summer. Participating quilt shops have a free pattern and a kit you can purchase for a row that is 36" long. The idea is that you can pick them up while you're traveling and assemble them into a quilt because of the uniform length. (They also have very active Facebook groups for each state/province and it's fun to see everyone's quilts.)

Suffice it to say, I mapped each quilt shop on the way and warned Troy to allow for extra time! :) I had planned to catch a few on the way up, but all of them were closed on Sunday. So the way home was it. I was happy to hit three and by then we were bumping up to closing time for most of them. I discovered new quilt shops and a very nice one (pictured above) is right on the route we take. Easy to hit next time!

I have a few Row by Row patterns now and I'm still not sure I'm going to do anything with them. There are a lot of applique designs and I'm not sure I'm up for it. But it was a fun way to collect some souvenirs of the trip.

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