Walking in Washington

While I'm not a fan of motel rooms, this one hasn't been bad. It's located in a surprisingly quiet area...surprising because it's just off a big main drag and business district in the city of Vancouver. The location has made it possible for me to walk to most everything, and especially my favorite Oregon grocery, Fred Meyer. "Freddies" is owned by Kroger now, but Fred Meyer was once a real person back in the day when he was actually alive. It used to be advertised as your "one-stop shopping center" because, honestly, Freddies has everything.

Last night when I got back from class, I walked over there to get my dinner from the deli. I got a turkey pesto wrap that was quite tasty, and then I happened to wander by the bakery...not on my way, you understand...it just popped up out of nowhere. They had little packages of chocolate-dipped strawberries, four to a package. Of course, I thought that would make a lovely dessert to go with my wrap. And it's fruit, right? And dark chocolate! Could anything be healthier? Case closed.

Those aren't mine. I don't have any pictures of mine. You can probably guess why. In my defense, I'll say they actually made it back to the room before I devoured them. And in a moment of extreme self-restraint, I actually ate the wrap first.

So all of that to say that I've walked the same route, up the street and back down, which has consistently earned me about 4k steps. And on the way, as you might guess, I've taken pictures of every blooming thing and some that aren't blooming. Here's what Washington has to offer in the way of flowers. This, of course, is common red clover.


Pansies. My dear departed mother-in-law liked to say they look like little girls bending over showing off their panties. 

This is photinia. It grows into a huge hedge. If it isn't properly maintained it will get tall and leggy and fall over. Ask me how I know.

Here's another one of those naughty wild cucumbers growing up over a hedge where it shouldn't.

My nose has been suspicious that the wild grasses and weeds are beginning to bloom. It's true. I've been sneezing like crazy.


My Like That Garden app identified this as "bird vetch".

I've walked the same path all three days. The first day when I came to my turn-around point, I noticed a bridge off to the right. "Oh," I say to myself, "a lovely stream or river or creek of some kind. I'll just walk over there. It'll be charming!" Yes, if you like concrete.

The first two days I walked, the weather was cloudy, threatening, and a little chilly. I noticed these yellow guys trying to open. None were actually open so I couldn't get a look at them.

Their stem was too tall to be a common dandelion. Try not to notice the trash in this next image. (Honestly, people can be such swine.)

Today is lovely and the sun is shining. These were all open this morning. My app identifies them as "goat's beard." If you want to get all fancy, you can call them tragopogon dubius.

So I've probably killed all the time I can afford now. Time to pack up and clear out. One more day. 

As I've shared with some of you, I'm anxious to get my project home where I will...against all instructions...start sewing it together. Those loose little bits and pieces are making me weird, nervous, and thirsty. I have an urgent need to start sewing things together. Ann's way of working on these is to audition all of her fabrics first, not sewing anything together until she's certain she has the best mix. I just can't take my sewing that seriously, and so when it comes to fabric selection, I'm just not that hard core. Probably that dooms me to a life of mediocrity, but at least I'll be smiling while I'm sewing. And I'll be petting kitties too.

May Goals and Progress Report

April ended up being far sunnier and warmer than western Oregon has any right to expect. It felt like summer, even though we're barely into spring. It meant getting out for lots of walks and doing lots of gardening, and so it's a good thing I kept April's list relatively short. Let's see how I did.

1. Quilt and Bind the Sweet Tweet table runner, that was March's Let's Book It project. Complete!

2. Make a flimsy from the blocks for Cats of a Different Color. Complete!


3. Finish up four more blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. Complete!

4. Complete Block 3 of 12 blocks for the Chicken Buffet quilt. Complete!

These are the blocks I have so far.

My friend Sharon tells me I can keep using this as my Let's Book It project as well.

5. Complete the next section for the Wind in the Whiskers quilt. The next one I'll do is called Kitten Kaboodle. Complete!

Monthly Challenges

6. Complete the fourth block for the Wheel Estate quilt. Complete! This is my project for


7. Begin the challenge quilt for my guild.

Okay, well I had to petition the Monthly Goals Committee for an exception to this project. It's a large and very serious committee because these monthly goals are very serious business. You can see the Committee in session in the image below.

And let me just tell you that these folks say the Pledge of Allegiance and everything, so you know it's super official. Since I've decided not to return to my guild, I petitioned the Committee and requested a substitution of my quilt for Another Little Quilt Swap 10 for the guild challenge. 

Thank goodness, after hours of testimony, the committee approved my petition. I think they were impressed by my flow chart. And who wouldn't be?

My swap quilt is made from the scraps left from Cats of a Different Color. I called this little mini "Endless Pawsibilities," and it is Complete! 

If I can finish all of that, I'll start piecing together the blocks for the Mumm's the Word quilt. Since my goal was to "start", that makes this goal Complete!

With great thanks to the generosity and understanding of the Monthly Goals Committee I can say ...

That brings me to the merry, merry month of May. 

May is a busy month in our family. Mike, Mae, and I all have birthdays, and Mike and I will celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. That calls for plenty of party planning. Nevertheless, I'm thinking I'll be able to get some sewing done even with the many wild celebrations we have planned. So here goes with my goals for the month:

Quilting and Flimsies

1. Finish making a flimsy from Mumm's the Word (pictured above).

2. Quilt the Yard Art quilt.


3. Finish the final four blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. The final four will be pretty easy. Two are t-shirts, and one will be a block of an appropriate printed fabric. The last block is a surprise! More on that later.

4. Complete another five blocks for the "Hobo Quilt". 

5. Complete the next block for "It's Raining Cats and Dogs". I believe I'll be doing the block in the middle on the left side.

6. Complete the next section for "A Quiltmaker's Garden," which is a project I love to hate. It's going to be a great quilt, but it sure has been a pain in the neck to work on it. Prepare yourself for commensurate whining

Monthly Challenges

7. Make the next colored block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. 


These are the blocks I have for the "Wheel Estate" quilt so far:

8. For my Let's Book It project, 

I'll be working on the quilt I start while at my "Designs from Nature" class that started last week. Since I've had Ruth McDowell's books in my library for years, it's a good choice for Let's Book It. Here's the quilt I started in class, and I'll continue on with this and start sewing it together.

9. Depending on the selected block, I have a plan to make a block for

Join me on the Block Lotto Blog

I say "depending on the selected block" because I don't know what block will be on the agenda for May. Sometimes I opt out, which is always allowed in the Block Lotto.

And that's probably enough on my plate for the month of May. If I can finish all that, however, I have a project chosen for

If all goes well, I'll get a start on another "pet pawtrait". This time I'll be making a pawtrait of my friend Marei's dog, Scooter. Here's a picture Marei posted on Facebook, and I think it's detailed enough for my purposes.

Isn't she a pretty girl? I want to have it finished for when we visit Marei and her hubby Bill in September.

So that's my list. What goals do you have for the merry month of May?


Fun with Fabric

It was kind of exciting to wake up this morning and know I was going to be working with fabric at my class today. It's been quite a challenge to get this far. Don't you suppose I was feeling pretty smug setting up the little iron caddy in my motel room so that I could iron and sew strips this morning?

It worked great! Pfelicity was set up across the room on the desk, and I got to work sewing three strip sets of each of two fabrics.

Yesterday, Ann  was explaining to me how to do the slats in my Adirondack chairs, and I wasn't quite getting it. Last night, I suddenly had an epiphany about how this could work. The fabric in the center serves as the gap between the chair slats, and I'll show you how it went together below.

Here's how it will look for the red chair.

If you paid attention to the comments from yesterday's post, then you might have read my friend Kate's assessment that this technique is a little like making your own paper-piecing pattern. And I think she really hit the nail on the head. It isn't paper-pieced, but that's the reference point I was needing when I was struggling to understand how to label my pieces for sewing order. When in doubt, I can just ask myself how one would paper piece it, and then the answer will reveal itself.

So here's how my red chair started out this morning. I was working from right to left.

None of the pieces are sewn together yet, and they won't be until after I get the project home. For now, we're checking to see if our bright and bold fabrics will work together. When I'd taken it this far, Ann encouraged me to try out the fabrics for the green chair.

And my classmates and I agreed that all of this was working so far. I used a polka dot for the arm of the red chair, echoing the polka dots in the back of the green chair. For the green chair, I used a stripe, echoing the stripes of the red chair. There are also some different fabrics that serve as the edges of the arms, and I've used it for the legs of the red chair. It's a little hard to see in the image below, but I'm happy with all the fabrics I've selected. 

In order to work the design this way, sometimes little tiny pieces need to be cut off to be picked up later, and those are pinned inside a zip-lock bag behind the yellow sand fabric. I haven't selected my sand fabrics yet, but we're hanging those there to get some idea how they might work. Also, if you notice at the top left of the green chair, I've sewn a little piece of the rock fabric to the top of the left-most slat. In my mind, that's a better way to deal with those little pieces, but Ann wants us to wait and sew them on later. For now, I'm doing it her way. In my own sewing room, I think sewing the pieces together as I need to makes a lot more sense. We'll see...

So I thought you might enjoy seeing what my classmates are working on. This woman is doing a begonia (I think). The original image with vellum pattern is to the right of her quilt. 

Here's the grandfather and grandchild. I love the way she's putting the shirts together.

This woman is sharing a table with me, and she's doing one of her dog.

This design is by one of the women from Alaska. Hers is of starfish in a tide pool.

This is another of the women from Alaska. She's doing a sort of stylized cat. It's a statue she saw in a public park in Seattle.

Finally, this is another of Ann's quilts. She explained that this was made from an image of her husband when he was three years old. In Ruth McDowell style, the details have been left off the face. 

This one made me excited to try a picture of my brother that was taken when he was five. He was wearing overalls and holding a snake out in front of him. It's one of my favorite images of my brother, and since he passed away in 2004, it would be a nice memento of him. I would post the picture here, but I don't have it on my laptop. I'll try to remember to show you when I get home. That alone would make it worth it for me to take the class a second time.

When I left today, I took a few pictures of the quilt shop. This is the Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, Washington. Cheran, the owner, has been very hospitable to our group, as she was when I signed up for the class. She remembered to take down my Oregon driver's license information since, as an Oregon resident, I'm exempt from paying sales tax in Washington. There are two long arm machines located in the front of the store, and those have been going full time quilting quilts for other customers.

When you walk in the front door of the shop, this is what you see when you look to the right. I've drawn an arrow indicating where the double doors for the classroom are. You can see one of my classmates standing back there.

Look to the left, and this is what you see. Isn't that a pretty quilt?

It's a small space, but laid out well so that she has a good amount of fabric with good variety and plenty of room to stand back and admire. In the image below, you can see one of Ann's chicken quilts hanging on the wall. The chickens are available as a pattern, and she also teaches a two-day class to make them.

In this section of the store, she has a good supply of civil war prints to go along with the other brighter fabrics.

This is the back room of the store. I taped my design to the far window when I was transferring it to freezer paper. On the opposite side is a hallway that leads to the restroom and to the classroom, and there are also some sale fabrics back there. 

So now it's day's end. I ate a container of fruit that I picked up at the grocery store the other day. It staved off hunger, but it won't keep me from getting hungry later in the evening. There's still plenty of daylight left, and so I'm going to get out for a walk. I'm hoping to get my 10k steps today, something I've missed the last two days...too much sitting around, even when I try getting out more.

There's one more day of class tomorrow. We won't start until the shop opens at 11:00 a.m., and I'll probably leave early in the afternoon to head for home. I'll fill you in on the last day either tomorrow or the next day.