Gaa Barge

It has been fun designing all the 32 pieces in the Gaa Barge series.  I have enough scraps taken from the wastebasket or swept off the floor to finish the remainder of my challenge.  I had originally planned to make one a week for a whole year, but gardening got in the way and the series wasn’t finished. Maybe, I can finish the series next winter when the snow flies.

IMG_0473The cat and dog pieces were made with purple and other dark fabrics for the background and tan fabrics for the animals.  The made fabric was made in the mile a minute method.  The patterns for the animals came from a child’s coloring book.  The cut out animals were fused down and then zig zaged around the edges with tan thread.  The lines of the drawing were zig zaged with black  thread.

IMG_0472Shortly after I made these two pieces, I taught a class on this procedure at a local quilt shop.  The pieces were my sample pieces.  They were at the shop when a photographer came to take a picture of the owners.  One of the pieces was grabbed and put under the needle of a sewing machine.  The colors went with a piece that was on the wall behind them.   I enjoy seeing my animal in the picture on the wall when I go to the quilt shop.

Have a great day and happy quilting,

It’s July

I finally arrived in Maine a few days ago. Our states now let us cross the border without quarantine. It is definitely different coming up two months late. The gardens in Maine are overgrown and impossible to clean up at this point. I’ll have to cut everything back when I can find time. I’ll be careful and leave the good stuff. I’m thankful for the gardens in New Hampshire. I was able to keep them up until I came up here. This year, I planted vegetable seeds and tomato plants among the flowers. Hopefully, they will still grow while I am gone. I’m going back for a few days at the end of July to check on them. We are having a much needed rain, The grass is crispy and brown. One of my grandsons had mowed the lawn until it turned brown. He did a great job of keeping the property tidy. I noticed lots of raspberries that will be ripe soon. The garlic scapes are ready to cut. They are so good in a stir fry. My neighbor’s peas are ready. I should buy my supply and freeze them for the winter. They are so much better than the frozen peas in the store. The farmer’s market is open on Saturday afternoon and I will get fresh vegetables there.

Some of my New Hampshire Flowers.

Yippee!!! I’ve just received notice that Crafsty/Blueprint has been acquired by TN Marketing, They have agreed to honor previous customer purchases for classes and subscriptions. Now, we just wait for instructions on how to do this.

I’ve only brought up a few projects this year. One project is Row C of Dear Jane, I have a few pieced and can quilt and bind them when I sit on the porch and do handwork.

The applique wall hanging is ready to baste. I want to hand quilt it so thread has been ordered from Superior Thread. It is supposed to come by Monday and the quilt will be basted by then. It’s not as if I don’t have enough thread. I didn’t have the right color and I wanted cones to make sure that I didn’t run out before finishing.

I’m taking an online 25 week machine quilting class with Lori Kennedy. The class is in the third week and I haven’t started yet. All the lessons have been saved to a file and I will start as soon as I get myself organized. Lori says that we are going to work hard and I believe her. There is a lot of information to learn and practice, practice, practice. My quilt sandwiches are made and my doodle pad is ready. Someone on her website told of a free app on an I pad that can be used to doodle. I’ll look it up and see if it is something that I can use.

The Comfort and blessings blocks are finished. I have the instructions for finishing the sashing and borders. I’m thinking of machine quilting each block and putting it together the lap quilting way. It would be easier than putting a big quilt under the bed of the machine.

I have a couple of other small projects to finish. It’s difficult to decide which project to work on. On rainy days, I like to sew in the house. On sunny days, it’s much nicer to hand sew on the porch. Hopefully, I can finish most of the projects while here.

The New Hampshire quilt guild has not met since March. The Maine Guild met last week for the first time since March. We sat outside and social distanced. It was so nice to be together again.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

MISS MOLLY

Many of the new followers don’t know who Miss Molly is and what important job she has in my quilting life. Miss Molly celebrated her 10th birthday last January. She is very smart and is well trained, but she has her own ideas on how things should go. She is always asking me “Why do you want me to do that?” and goes about her jolly way and does what she wants. The old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks is not true with her as she learned how to “high five” in the past two months.

Miss Molly has passed Level 1, level 2 and level 3 with flying colors. She had had sniff and search lessons, agility lessons, and dance lessons. Dancing for dogs is obedience to hand signals and music. We had a dance routine, but she kept inserting her favorite trick, just because she wanted to.

Miss Molly’s very important job is quality control inspector.

Miss Molly when she first came to live with us.

Miss Molly has finished her meal and is waiting in the bowl for Max to leave his bowl so she can have the leftovers.

Miss Molly loved to dig. Fortunately, this was her only hole so we let her have fun.

Max and Molly playing. Max was much older than Molly and she missed him when he was no longer with us.

Miss Molly, just before her first professional grooming.

She was no longer a puppy when she came back. She was a beautiful adult dog. Of course that was in looks, not actions.

Miss Molly’s graduation picture. She did not like wearing the hat. Doesn’t like sweaters when it’s cold. Never could keep boots on. I even tried a tutu when she danced, but she hated it. No scarfs for her. but if I take her collar off, she is very upset.

My daughter and I were sorting large bags of factory cotton fabric cut offs. Miss Molly climbed on top of the pile to see if the fabric was o.k. to use in a quilt.

Miss Molly inspecting the Canadian 150 quilt.

Miss Molly has a co worker. Rufus, also, is a quality control inspector. Here they are discussing their hard days work.

Rufus and Miss Molly at work.

Miss Molly does not like thunder storms or loud noises. Usually she goes under the bed, but this time she sat in a corner, facing the wall. If she doesn’t see the lightening, maybe it will go away.

It would be nice if all quilters had a unjudgmental quality control inspector like Miss Molly.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Random Thought

I’m still in N. H. The Governor said yesterday that he was coordinating with Maine and Mass, and the stay at home order might be lifted June 15th. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m enjoying working in my gardens, doing Spring cleaning, and some sewing and quilting. Friends keep in touch by phone, e-mail and chatting from the correct social distancing. One of my daughters made three masks for me. They are awesome. Thanks so much. I had made two, but they are not as nice as my new ones. My daughter made them with fabric showing three of my favorite things. Quilting, gardens and Miss Molly.

The flowers are beautiful this year. Usually, I’m in Maine and only see pictures of the Iris and Lupines.

Craftsy was sold a few year ago to NBC Universal. The new name is Blueprint. While it was still Craftsy, I bought several of the classes and also downloaded several free classes. The e-mail from Blueprint stated that they were closing the program. Two of the sentences gave me hope. It said “Please note that we will provide a way for those of you have purchased classes to receive a copy of the classes you purchased, For example, we’re working on a solution to give you an extended period to download your purchased classes.” I just have to be patient and wait for the next e-mail.

One of the classes that I purchased was a Lola Jenkins class. In the class, we were supposed to make a face called the Lady with the Pearl Earing. At that time, the Guild had a challenge to make a small wall hanging of ourselves. I decided to use Lola’s technique and make my head. It was fun to make. I haven’t used the technique since then. Maybe, when I can download the instructions, I can make another piece. Maybe flowers or something else.

Comfort and Blessings patterns are still coming every Monday morning in my e-mail. It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve finished piecing #24. I have changed some of the fabrics as they were not the right color. I want this quilt to be on the quiet side.

I’ve been appliquéing the flower wall hanging while watching TV in the evenings. I am on the bottom border. I had designed the bottom border and had the flowers all ready to applique, but as I applique the flowers onto the border, I’m changing their position and adding green leaves in places. When I finish the left side of the bottom border, I’ll use the light box to position the same flowers on the right side. When all the flowers are on the wall hanging, I’ll take pictures.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

UFOs Finished

IMG_3005It is a great feeling to finish ufos.  One has been sitting on the shelf for years.  It was half quilted.  This week, I decided to concentrate and finish it.  I had started walking foot quilting, so I finished it that way.  There was a lot of turning and twisting of the quilt while I quilted it.   It did take a long time for such a small quilt, but it was well worth it.  One more finished quilt. It’s a charity quilt size and will go into that pile of quilts and placemats that will go to the Guild when we can meet again.

IMG_3012It’s not March, but the quilt that I had wanted finished and hung on my wall in March is finally finished.  When I tried to photograph it, Miss Molly decided to do her job and inspect it.  She wouldn’t move and is still sitting on it by the slider.  As soon as she decides to move, I’ll pick it up and put it away.  It is ready for next March.

The back is pieced from the leftovers. IMG_3008

Every Monday morning, I find three new block patterns from the Comfort and Blessings quilt in my e-mail.  The patterns and instructions that I received this morning have been printed and I’m ready to piece the three blocks.  So far, I have pieced 15 blocks.  The designer’s color choices are great. It  is nice to have the fabric ready in baggies.  There is just the right amount of  fabric in the original cuts.  In the patterns is a diagram that shows how to cut the pieces. The instructions are complete and accurate.   With the nice weather, I’m spending more time outside in the gardens.  These blocks can be made in small increments of cutting and sewing times.IMG_3004

 

 

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Dear Jane is on vacation.  I’ve finished Row A and Row B.  All the blocks in those two rows are quilted and sewn together.  The back is just as pretty as the front.  The patterns and tips for Row C have been printed.  Each block pattern is in a baggie with the fabric to make the block.  Sometime, when I feel like it, Jane will come out and I’ll start making that row.IMG_3010

 

 

 

 

 

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I inherited a pinwheel quilt that was in three pieces. The original quilter intended that the three pieces be sewn together for a full size quilt.  As I looked at them, I thought that if I added a border, I could have three charity quilts.  The quilts would fit on my quilting frame.  I really needed to start using the frame.  As I was looking for backing  ,I found a few scrap quilt hanging, ready to quilt.  One was a jelly roll race top.  Another was made from cut out pieces that I won at a tea cup raffle.  They were perfect for the backs.  I found that I need a lot of practice to be a decent mid arm quilter.  I have the speed controlled.  The stitches are even. My problem is steering in the right direction.  By the time I finish the three quilts,  I will be a lot better. I’m learning.  Better finished than perfect is my mantra.

I’m still sewing 2 1/2″ squares as beginners and enders.  After sewing several together, and they were piling up, I thought of all the time that I would have to stand and press the seams.  It was a “what If” moment.  What if I pressed them along with the block pieces.  It wouldn’t take more than  a few seconds longer.  There is a small shelf under the ironing board.  I put a small bin on the shelf and threw the pressed two patches into the bin.  Every one was pressed to the dark side.  When I have a small stash of two patches, I can make them into four patches as beginners and enders.  Again, pressing as I press the quilt blocks.  It would be a free quilt.  Scraps leftover from other projects and sewn together as I’m making another quilt. In the meantime, maybe, I could finish some more ufos.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Dear Jane

I haven’t even looked at Dear Jane for a while and decided to make a few more blocks.  Row A is complete.  It has been quilted and sewn together.  When I first started making the Dear Jane blocks, I planned to start in the center and work out. That worked out for a while until I changed my mind and decided to make the blocks by rows.

I’ve been working on Row B for the last two weeks.  They are all pieced, quilted and bound,  I’ve started to sew them together in a row .  When that is finished, I will add them to Row A.

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The patterns and tips for Row C are printed. Sometime today, I will choose all the fabric for that row, place it in the baggies and continue on with Dear Jane when the mood strikes.  She probably will rest for a while while I go on to something else.

I’ve pieced last week’s Comfort and Blessing blocks.  I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a block of the week project as much as I have this one.  The instructions are the best that I’ve ever seen. Choosing the colors before beginning is a wonderful idea.  I have only had to change one red fabric.  It was too modern and bright for this quilt.  It has shown up in two blocks so far.  This week’s block patterns are here.  Making them will be a change from Dear Jane. I think that this will be a beautiful quilt.

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My sewing room is a mess again.  With the shelter in place order, no one will come to my house so I don’t pick up after a day’s work.   I’ve found a few other ufos to finish.  Also a big tote bag of something is in the corner.  Someday, I’ll pull it out and see what is in it.  It’s a mystery.

The weather has been beautiful.. It has been great to go outside and clean out the gardens.  The perennials are coming up.  There have been a few blooming bulbs, but not too many.  The best part of raking the front yard is talking to the people walking by on the road.  More people seem to be walking this year than in years past.  It is a different world.  I won’t be able to go to Maine for a while this year.  Maybe by June or July or whenever the shelter in place and quarantine is over.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my gardens and sewing room in New Hampshire.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

Comfort and Blessings

I’ve done it again after I said that I wouldn’t do this until I finished some of my ufos.  I’ve found the most wonderful blog with a blocks (three) of the week quilt.  The quilt is called Comfort and Blessings.  There are 32 pieced blocks.  They finish to 9″.  The quilt size is 87″ x 103″. The quilt instructions are on http://www.piecingthepastquilts.com.

There are several downloads before you start this quilt.  First, there is a picture of the finished quilt.  No guessing on what it will look like.  There is a diagram of the block placement.

In this quilt there are 6 different reds, 4 different oranges, 3 different golds, 5 different greens, 7 different blues, 5 different browns and 10 different neutrals.  The first chart tells how much of each fabric is needed.

There is a fabric key chart.  When the fabric is cut, a small piece of each color is pasted on the chart.  That way, you have a record of the fabrics that you used and their number.

Before you cut the fabric, you number quart baggies from 1 to 32.  A second cutting chart tells you what sizes to sub cut your pieces and what baggie to use for each sub cut.   This take a little bit of time, but it is well worth the effort.  At this point, all the decisions are done.

IMG_2967   Block #1   Nelson’s Victory

Last summer, there was a sale of Free Spirit fabric at Mardens. I bought several fat quarters.  The colors and patterns of the fabric was not what I usually buy, but it was a great sale.  That fabric is perfect for this quilt.  I just had to wait until the right pattern came along.  A few months ago I washed, starched, and ironed all my leftover white muslin.  I would use that for the neutral.

IMG_2966    Block #2   Whirlpool

I cut all of the colored fabric, cut and pasted a small square on the chart, and placed the fabric in the numbered baggies.  I didn’t sub cut the neutral. The pieces were small, so I decided to cut what I needed for each block as I pieced it.

IMG_2968    Block #3  Constellation

The instructions are awesome and complete.  With block #1, you take baggie #1 and use the fabric that is inside the baggie.   There is enough fabric to cut what you need, with a little left over.  So far, the blocks use squares, half square triangles, and flying geese.  The parts are a little oversized and are trimmed down to the correct size.  Pressing instructions are accurate so that seams can be nested.

IMG_2963     Block #4   Country Road

One of my red fabrics didn’t go with the other fabrics in the baggie.  It was too bright and too modern.  It was easy to replace it with another red.  When I come across it again in another baggie, I’ll do the same.

IMG_2965     Block #5  Dutchman’s Puzzle

When I was at Mardens, I also bought a large package of fat quarters of East Spirit fabric.  There are enough fat quarters to use as backing.   I can machine quilt each block, leaving enough fabric to flip and sew the sashing.  Then, when the blocks are all sewn, the quilt will be finished and I don’t have to put a large quilt under the arm of my machine.   Mardens has the best sales.

IMG_2964     Block #6  Double Sawtooth Star

Now that all the preliminary work is done, it doesn’t take much time to sew three blocks in a week.  Sewing a new quilt gives me a burst of energy.  It leaves enough time for the ufos.

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

still quilting

I’ve come to a standstill in emptying the bin of other people’s ufos.  Time to go on to other things.  There were several blocks in that bin that had no connection to other blocks, so I decided to make table mats for Meals On Wheels.  They workup quickly and will go in the bin for things to take to the Guild when we can have meetings.

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IMG_2954I had an unfinished Noah’s Ark wall hanging.  It had probably been in my unfinished pile for over 15 years.  Most of the instructions were missing,  I checked the Internet and couldn’t find another image that looked like this one so figured out the math and  sewed the blocks together.  The applique is fused.  It is finally finished.  I don’t remember which grandchild was to receive it, but I expect that he/she is grown up now.

During the week, I organized the sewing room, again.  This time, I pulled out all of the completed tops that are waiting to be quilted.  Some had the backings ready to go.  There is enough battings in the batting section to finish most of them. This project will be the next one to concentrate on.

Then, there is Dear Jane, the applique quilt and the oldest ufo ever.  Lots to think about as I clean out the gardens.  It’s too early to plant, but the gardens will be ready at the right time.

When I started quilting, I was self taught.  Through a chance meeting, I met someone who invited me to a quilting group.  I never knew that women  got together to quilt.  I was introduced to round robins, mystery quilts, challenge quilts and quilt shows.  Throughout the years, I did have many teachers and read many books.  My quilting journey is a mix of all the things that I learned throughout the years.

IMG_2943The Internet has been full of instructions on all types of quilting. Recently, I read Bonnie Hunter’s instructions about cutting the leftover scraps into units of 2 1/2″, 5 and other measurements.   Apparently, I have been doing this for a while as I found an overflowing  bin of 2 1/2″ squares.

IMG_2944One of the first books that I bought was Georgia Boonesteel’s Lap Quilting.  In her second book “More Lap Quilting”, Georgia writes about making a back door block.  With the back door approach, you do the piecing first and then the designing of the block.  Using both Bonnie’s and Georgia’s ideas, I’ll use the cut out 2 1/2″ squares to make four patches.  At some point, I’ll figure out how I want to use them.  It might be in a block or a border.  Who knows?

IMG_2945I also found a bin of leftover 1 1/2″ squares.  A huge bag of 1 1/2″ squares was given to me years ago. I used these small squares as beginners and enders and made the Confetti quilt.  There are enough left to make two more quilts.  If I ever finish the 2 1/2″ bin, I can move on to the 1 1/2″ bin and maybe make another Confetti quilt.

Times are so different now.  I am making a Round Robin with friends from the Guild.  There was an exchange today.  The blocks that I had made were sitting on the front steps of my house,.  A friend picked up the blocks and left the new ones.  We chatted.  She was wearing a mask and was at the bottom of the stairs and part way down the side walk. I was at the top of the stairs.  We had air hugs before she left.  I hope that the days of inviting someone in for coffee will return soon.  In the meantime ——

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

Staying at home

It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when one stays at home.  My “other quilters’ bin” is getting lower, although there is still a lot more to finish.  I’ve ordered a bolt of backing fabric and will start quilting these quilts as soon as it arrives.

Trying to figure out what the first quilter wanted to do with her fabric is interesting.  I do want them to be simple and quick.  At least the blocks are sewn,  or at least the pieces were cut out.

In one baggie, I found pieces to two blue quilts.

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I was able to make 9 blocks with one and 15 blocks with the other.  The nine block quilt top is finished.  I think that I can make two charity quilts out of the other 15 blocks.  

 

 

 

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In one baggie was strips of pieces.  Some of the pieces had several fabrics.  There was enough to make eight squares.  I added another leftover square and it seem to fit.  This is a real scrap quilt.

 

 

 

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This was supposed to be a table runner, but some of the pieces were missing.  It was like making a puzzle to find a space for everything to fit.

 

 

 

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One of the baggies had quarter square triangles.  It’s amazing how there were just the right number to make this quilt.

 

 

 

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This is a doll quilt.  There were only a few small four  patches.  It won’t take long to quilt.

 

 

 

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In the evenings, I work on the applique wall hanging.  The applique on the right swag is finished.  I laid it on the floor to check out the colors and Miss Molly decided to do her quality checking job.  She looks as if she approves.

 

 

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It’s April and the crocus are out.  These four are the only ones left from all the bulbs that I planted years ago.

 

 

I found this label on the back of the quilt that I hung over the sofa.  It says it all.  IMG_2940

Have a great day and happy quilting.

 

 

 

Still Sewing and Quilting

I cleaned out the closet in my office and found a treasure trove of UFOs on the top shelf. There were projects that I forgot that I had.  I found antique blocks that I bought at auction years ago and intended to finish.  I’m putting them aside for now, but know where they are in case I have the desire to finish them someday.

I decided to take each bin and finish whatever was on the top and work my way down.  Maybe, someday, I can finish most of the projects.

aaThe first bin that I chose was a large amount of squares that I had sewn in strips of three.  I started this last summer and I was supposed to make nine patches for Linus Quilts.  A friend had cut the squares and gave them to me to sew.  I sewed and sewed and sewed.  Finally, the bin was empty and  I had 126 nine patches ready for the quilts.

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aa3The second bin was parts of quilts that I obtained when I cleaned out other quilters’ sewing rooms.  I’m not sure what the quilters had in mind when they made these blocks or partial quilts.  Some of the quilts will be small and one or two will be bed size quilts. They are all individually packed in baggies.  In the first baggie, I found enough squares to make a charity quilt.  The quilter had specified that she wanted everything from her sewing room to go to charity..  I sewed the blocks together, then added white and black sashing and borders.  It came out very nice.  I’m sure that she would have been pleased.

aa6I had always wanted to make a Blockhead quilt and a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  Both are now finished.  The Blockhead has been quilted and the mystery quilt is ready to be quilted.  Now that I’ve completed both of those projects, except for quilting the mystery quilt, both are out of my system.  I don’t have the desire  to make them anymore.  I can go on to finishing the UFO’s.

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aa4My two little babies have arrived and are doing well.  Their quilts are finished, but I can’t mail them until I’m able to leave the house.  Both quilts are the same, but one border is red and the other is green.  I have a little time to quilt their names and birth date on the borders.

The green March quilt is on the basting frame.  I should start basting it today and finish it shortly.

I’ve been working on the appliqued wall hanging in the evenings.  I’m pleased with the flowers that I’ve been adding.  When I applique the flower for the right side, I also applique the same flower for the left side.  I applique all the pieces for each individual flower and then applique around the edge of the whole flower on the quilt.  When I get to the left side, all the preliminary work will be done and it will finish faster. That way, if the colors aren’t right, I can change them before adding the flower to the quilt.

I may be confined to my house, but I’m having a great day and doing happy quilting.

You do so also.

 

March

IMG_2906It’s the middle of March and I just changed the wall hangings today.  I really enjoyed the February wall hanging and didn’t mind it being on the wall longer than it should.  Hopefully, I won’t be as busy by the time that April arrives.

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I haven’t spent much time at the sewing machine during the last few weeks. When I was able to get there, I sewed on Bonnie Hunter’s Frolic Mystery quilt.  I am so glad to say that the center is finished, pressed and ready to trim. IMG_2905

 

I started to piece the border today.  Fortunately, Bonnie had us make lots of half square triangles and they are all ready to sew together.  The top should be finished soon.  Then, I can get on to other projects.

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One of my favorite little quilts is a St Patrick Day art quilt that I made many years ago.  It is such a fun quilt. IMG_2907

 

 

 

 

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I have finished one of the baby quilts and just have the binding to tack down on the second.  The babies have arrived.  Two little boys have been added to the family.  I’ll wait until they’re all home  before I mail the quilts.

This has been a mild winter.  The snow is gone, although more storms can come.  It’s time to think about going to the Guild retreat and the Vermont Quilt Festival.  I signed up for classes in Vermont today.  The new techniques sound interesting.  I’m still trying to decide what to do at the retreat.  I like to have everything cut and ready to sew.  Lots to think about.

Have a great day and happy quilting.