Monday, August 31, 2015

Row By Row H2o, Capital Quilts

There was no way I would be visiting Washingon DC, or any city for that matter, without checking out at least one quilt shop. Since I became interested in the Row by Row that was another incentive especially as Capital Quilts has such a great Row!
My time has been very limited due to reunion activities etc, so Thursday morning was my best opportunity, as long as I was back before 2pm. for the quilter's meeting, so I took the Redline all the way to Shady Grove then a taxi to the store. I was not disappointed, in fact I was delighted to discover Annie another Aussie lady working in the store, and a wonderful selection of fabulous Aussie fabrics. Of course some came home with me along with two new patterns and the Row by Row pattern.
Considering that I was in the store only an hour I think I did quite well, don't you?
"Aussie Shadow Box" pattern is by another Aussie, and  way to use my Aussie fabrics including what I have in stash, without cutting them up in tiny bits and losing the designs.
I am more than happy with my purchases and impressed with the store, their merchandise and helpful people, in fact they even gave me a ride back to the metro station and told me that if customers let them know when they will be arriving at the metro they may be able to pick them up, how is that for service?! Nothing I have ever encountered before!
I made it back to the hotel around 1:30pm in good time for our quilter's meeting and presentation of the QOV's. I was busy helping and did not get any pics, but some have agreed to share theirs and I will  post whenever they arrive.
Thursday evening we walked from the hotel down the hill to a row of restauarnts and settled on Italian because they could seat seven of us together. I had a lovely seafood salad, finishing off the day nicely.
All of these men served as helicopter pilots in Vietnam, then went on to fly other aircraft and after Army retirement enjoyed a second career in the civilian world. We can be proud of all these patriots who served their Country faithfully when called upon, they are some of the more fortunate. We lost more than 58,000 of their fellow Servicemen and countless more wounded still living with their wounds. Last year at the final banquet we sat at the same table as a Medal Of Honor soldier, a quiet, humble man, we were all honored to be in his presence.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


First item checked off my bucket list this trip, Gettysburg. For those who have been you know what we saw and for everyone else go if you ever have the chance, it is an amazing place filled with important historical artifacts and information.
As I remember I think there are 1300 separate monuments to units and individuals and 800 canons though there were more canons I think on site during that terrible three day battle.
First we visited the Cyclorama an amazing painting by Paul Dominique Philippoteaux depicting the final Confederate assault on July third 1863 and first exhibited in Boston in 1884.
It is 377ft. Long and 42 ft. High and weighs 12.5 tons.
It is very three dimensional and realistic with actual bushes etc in the foreground.
You can see all of this massive painting online under "Cyclorama of The Battle of Gettysburg" so I won't post all my pics  of it.
We walked up a trail to the National Soldiers Cemetery containing the graves of many Union soldiers and a few Confederates as well as some WW2 military.
Of the 1300 memorials I took a dozen or more photos
Here are just a few.
The famous speech of President Abraham Lincoln was given near this monument to him, DH thought I should have a picture with him since he is one of my great heroes.
The following photos are of the area where Pickett's Charge occurred, a turning point in this battle.
This memorial is to a 22 yr. old Lt. Cushing who gave up his life in a dramatic act of courage here.
There are likely thousands of untold heroic acts from that three days and we can read about only a few.
This portion of the Cyclorama shows Pickett's Charge.
This is one of several Civil War era farms still in existence today that were in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg, many sustaining considerable damage.
Anothe photo DH insisted on, with a man in CW Union Uniform!
I must admit I felt kind of embarrassed, don't I look it?!
One of the Curators recommended a book "AField Guide To Gettysburg" and so far I am finding it very helpful to fill in the gaps and help to understand the immensity and complexity of a three day battle involving I think around 200,000 men over a 4,000 acre area. 
The carnage was catastrophic, and the war raged on almost another two years but for the Union it was a major turning point in the war.
The damage to lives, families and the Nation was immense, over 700,000 lives lost and countless wounded, entire families gone. 
Especially I think as a naturalized citizen the cost and the debt owed those who paid so dearly is a heavy and sobering thought, but I know if not for the Civil War there would today be no United States of America. 
If you can visit you will not regret it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Finally Flowers!

This little quilt has been in process since my visit to Texas in April, first in line for the longarm and then awaiting the re-adjustment of said machine due to major tension issues- perhaps you know the kind where rat's nests of thread form on the back of the quilt! Nothing I did helped and I did everything,  until I observed the Single Stitch mechanism sort of hesitating and hanging up the thread. I speeded that up a little and tweaked the upper and lower tensions - again - and at long last got a good stitch! Whew what a relief. If you zoom in on the quilt you will see that I quilted in leaves etc to fill the background and anchor the applique. Butterflies, lady bugs and a frog add life to this otherwise "still life".
 At first it was quilted sans border, but after it came off the long arm it seemed to need a border so then came a process of figuring out how to make a border, attach it neatly and then quilt it. First time for everything, right?
It was complicated by the fact that I had used up almost all of the backing fabric [a left over from another project] so a search through the stash turned up a small piece of the green print to complete the top and bottom border backing. Don't you think if this quilt hangs around for a few decades that people will wonder at my patchy backing? To me, it's the back that hangs against a wall!
Then back to the long arm and that's when the tension issues surfaced, and finally the last hurdle, insufficient border fabric for binding requiring a second search of the stash for a complimentary red.
Now I am very happy to have it done in time to take to Washington DC for the VHPA Quilter's meeting and Show and Tell, I make very few small quilts so this one had to be finished!
The next project should be a breeze, a queen size quilt of BJ's that she needs quilted for a friend's wedding gift.
Linking up with Heather at Needlework Tuesday

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sewing On The Beach

We took sewing machines to the beach, two more family members wanting to learn how to sew to make quilts from Grandma's stash. The thirteen year old began work on these two blocks part of a BOM GM had purchased many years ago.
We plan to work on this again at Christmas when I am here to assist. I think neither the young girl or her mom have ever sewed, interesting isn't it how the mother can be a competent sewist and daughters never show any interest.
I know that I bugged/begged my Mum from preschool days to "let me sew too Mummy" until she gave me needle and thread and I sewed doll clothes until about eight years when I could reach the treadle to sew on the "big machine".
So I caught the passion too and my first major purchase after leaving home for higher education was a portable electric sewing machine, I seem to remember that I paid around £20 for it, a considerable sum to a student in that day! But it allowed me to sew most of my clothes, a dress for ten shillings worth of fabric, no pattern I had no money left for patterns! Ten shillings was half a pound, about a dollar.
Ah the days of student penury, LOL.
This is my Hummarock Beach row, the pattern is from a VA. QS, adapted for my vacation spot. 
Hummarock as you may guess from the name is a beach with lots of rock, interspersed with sandy areas. I wear beach shoes because the rocks hurt my feet but a lot of people do not.
My plan is to replace the palm trees with a lifeguard chair and flag as there is at Hummarock. 
The home you see on the left is where we stay.
So farewell to Hummarock for another year. That's Button dog you can see in the lower left corner of the photo.

The Beach

Another photo heavy post, there were too many great memories to choose from - and there are even more!
 We had a wonderful week living in the rhythm of the waves, visiting, and mostly relaxing. The weather held out apart from one storm that picked up one of the tents the kids had been using and took it a quarter mile down the beach and into the water! I was wondering where it might end up but the guys ran after it and rescued the runaway tent just a little the worse for its adventure and possibly repairable!
Friday nephew took us out in the boat for some whale watching and it turned out to be an amazing experience. We cruised around in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and found a pod of whales feeding and breaching and diving.
They often came right up to the boat and under it, niece said we were covered in "whale spit" as they blew out with a loud whoosh!
I just kept clicking away on my iPhone hoping I was getting useable photos and actually caught a few tails!
This whale looks as if it is missing half his tail likely in an encounter with a large marine vessel prop, but appears to be enjoying a good life none the less for lacking an intact tail.
On several occasions we had a whale or two headed right at the boat but they are too clever to collide.
Here you can see how close they came to our boat, that's great nephew hanging out on the bow.
Four whales in this pic, we saw a mom and calf a lot this may be them on the left.
It was so incredible, I had thought we might see "A" whale and instead were privileged to observe
a part of these huge animals lives for a couple of hours
This was the best pic of the day the quintessential whale tail with water streaming as it dives.
A great morning for all of us, including Button!
Ginger beer and ginger snaps and a beautiful day on the ocean what more could you ask for?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Boston Row by Row H2o

Yesterday we visited the Heart In Hands quilt shop in Weymouth MA, nice store, delicious fabrics and friendly ladies to assist you.,
  This is their Row by Row representing Boston Commons. DH and I were actually married 44 years ago in Weymouth at the now closed Naval Weapons Station.
The Swan Boats have been taking visitors on tours of the public gardens since 1877. These unique pontoons have rope steered rudders, are pedal operated, have tractor seats and weigh around three tons fully loaded.  The drivers must have very strong legs!
This is the Heart in Hands sale room, 25-40% off the bolt price a good selection of fabrics.
Then there is the New England Stash Exchange for $6/ yard, I restrained myself to only a couple of yards, don't want to pay for excess luggage on the way home!
I fell for this unique quilt design and upon enquiry was told that one of the store owners had made it several years ago. The store no longer has the book for this quilt pattern but they were kind enough to take the time to go search out the book so I was able to go online and order it!
It will be waiting for me when I get home and I am really looking forward to making this quilt.