A Crafter's Life, Knit and Crochet Away!

The Hat from the Yarn from the Journey

I recently finished another knitted hat with the kind of story behind it like the one I shared in my 11/11/19 post The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat).

This hat is for my sister Rianna, who helped me more than I can ever put into words or thank her for during the most difficult time of my life in December 2018, after my husband suddenly died.

As I shared in the 12/23/18 post Stories from the Road, Part I, after my husband died I flew to the Eastern Coast of the U.S. (on a plane ticket my brother Raoul brought me) and my sister drove me across 4 Eastern states to see family and to attend a celebration of life for my husband with his family in Upstate New York. (My husband and I are originally from the East Coast of the U.S., both growing up in New York)

I was in a shocked daze but hanging out with my sister was a beautiful and bonding distraction. She drove me over 800 miles round-trip and on our way back from Upstate New York we stopped in a quaint town called Tarrytown, New York.

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wildkidswander.com

I knew at the time I needed to leave Central Oregon where I lived the past 14 years with my husband and start a new life somewhere, when I was ready, but moving to Colorado was not a fully formed idea yet. I was considering moving to New York to be closer to my siblings.

So we stopped in Tarrytown and wandered around for several hours as a break from being on the road.

While in Tarrytown we discovered the Flying Fingers Yarn Shop, and while browsing my sister brought a skein of yarn over to me and said: “Would you knit me a hat with this?”.

A little over 14 months later, I’ve finished the hat for my sister with the yarn she selected on the road trip:

2020-02-21_12-27-11_0362020-02-21_12-32-13_8482020-02-21_12-32-52_956I love variegated yarn and I think the pattern created by the variegations in the yarn is yummy!

My sister has curly hair (lots of it), so I made the hat a little bit wider and longer than I normally do. Here are some photos of me modeling the hat for my sister when I texted her images of the finished hat (I wanted to show her I added in extra length to the hat).

2020-02-21_12-29-42_8522020-02-21_12-25-08_665A handmade knitted hat is not enough to thank my sister for how much she was there for me during the most difficult time in my life but it is a little token of my appreciation.

When I write posts like this, though I try not to my make blog too “grief-y” these days, it reminds me how much love I have in my life from family and friends.


Postscript

“Snow Anxiety”

I’ve been struggling with anxiety this winter, especially when we have heavy snows in the Denver metropolitan area where I now live.

F7LeNnXLikely this is related to the worse winter of my life in early 2019 (after the worse Christmas season in my life when my husband died 12 days before Christmas).

There were constant major snowstorms in Central Oregon in January and February 2019 and I was constantly shoving feet of snow just to get out of my driveway.

Previously, my awesome husband always handled snow shoveling (occasionally I would help and we would “team shovel”) and suddenly after his death, I now had to constantly do it on my own (while sobbing uncontrollably in my grief).

This continued until I finally admitted to close friends my struggles and my wonderful friend Jason once he found out what I was doing, brought his snowblower over and told me no matter what, I was not to shovel snow anymore! He drove across town daily if needed to my house to take care of the snow removal (we had an endless dump of snow daily for a while in Central Oregon in winter 2019)!

I think when heavy snow hit the Denver area in January and February 2020 it brought back those awful grief memories and it manifested itself in “Snow Anxiety”.

No worries, I am working with my healthcare provider on this anxiety issue. Living at 5280+ feet above sea level, in the Rocky Mountains, there is going to be snow. So unless I am planning to move somewhere tropical I need to resolve my “Snow Anxiety” issue.

One thing that is helping with my anxiety is knitting and quilting projects!

This morning over breakfast I was reading an article in a crafting magazine discussing the mental health benefits of handwork and came across the most wonderful quote from Anne Lamott that I will close this post with:

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. – Anne Lamott

 

Quilt Shop Tours

California Quilting Sisters Adventures, Part III

If you are just joining us, you can check out these two previous posts:

This is the third post closing out the series on stories and photos about a visit with my Northern California based “Quilting Sisters”, Kathy and Lisa in April 2019.

This post is all about our Northern California QUILT SHOP HOPPING 🙂

The quilt/fabric shops we visited included one in Auburn, California:

And three in the San Francisco “Bay Area”:

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Image: Google maps

As you can see by the map image above there were move quilt shops in the Bay Area but we could only fit in so much in one day (smile) and still have a proper Quilting Sister visit (to include lunch, ice cream and wandering about window shopping at non-quilting shops!).

Leal’s Coop

The first quilt shop in our Northern California quilt shop hop adventure was Leal’s Coop in Auburn, CA which was both quilting fabric shop and home decor shop. Lisa had another commitment so Kathy and I began the shop hop adventure on our own.

2019-04-04_11-39-00_2952019-04-04_11-23-12_3822019-04-04_11-22-31_0262019-04-04_11-22-23_8792019-04-04_11-21-50_428The shop owner was delightful and she was working on gift boxes for customers with her monthly gift box subscription:

2019-04-04_11-22-04_8162019-04-04_11-25-22_007After a wonderful wander about this shop and delightful chat with the shop owner, we wandered around the other surrounding shops:

2019-04-04_10-18-34_5352019-04-04_11-03-30_4982019-04-04_11-04-19_964We stopped for a delicious lunch at a vegan restaurant:

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And I snuck in some Black & White photography time.

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New Pieces Quilt Store & Gallery

The next day, Lisa joined us and we drove to Berkeley to continue the quilt shop hop adventure beginning with New Pieces Quilt Store & Gallery.

This shop had an amazing and eclectic collection of fabrics and a wonderful and friendly staff. We spent a very long time in this shop!

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They also had an amazing collection of Japanese fabrics.

2019-04-05_13-17-05_402And here are some unusual patterned fat quarters I bought at the shop (who knows what I will make with them but I just loved them and I do not know why!)

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After an extensive amount of time we were ready for lunch and had a delicious lunch as well as dessert at The Public Market.

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Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics

Another amazing fabric shop we visited in Berkeley was Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics.

This shop immediately made me smile with this Rumi quote on the glass window in front as you enter the shop:

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This shop was not a quilt shop but a fabric and sewing notions shop. It was crammed full of fabrics for all types of sewing – home decor, apparel, quilting, etc.

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I ended up buying these amazing pieces of canvas fabric (yes, impulse buy!):

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Bay Quilts

The third fabric/quilt shop we visited in the Bay Area was Bay Quilts. This quilt shop also had an art galley inside with rotating exhibits by local fiber artists.

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Are you exhausted from all the virtual quilt/fabric shop hopping in this post (smile).

I had a wonderful day of quilt/fabric shop hopping with my California Quilting Sisters!

By the way my Quilting Sister Lisa was able to take her fabric purchases from the day back home to be sewn on with her newly custom painted Singer Featherweight:

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Postscript

While staying at Kathy’s house during my Northern CA trip, it was fun to revisit several of my fiber art pieces she owns which includes as batik rope basket I made her as a gift; and a table runner she bought from my tierneycreates Etsy shop* years ago.

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(*believe or not this blog began in 2013 as vehicle for my Etsy shop – the blog kept going but the Etsy shop did not!)

Oh and let’s close out this series of posts about my trip in April 2019 to Northern California, with one more image of the sweet (and insane) Chocolate Labrador puppy Riley that was one of the special treats during my visit.

Here she is taking a break from her very active puppy-ness!

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A Crafter's Life, Life in B&W, Outside Adventures!

California Quilting Sisters Adventures, Part II

This post is a continuation of my previous post California Quilting Sisters Adventures, Part I.

Northern California is a beautiful part of the U.S. While visiting my Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa in the Sacramento area in April 2019 I got to appreciate some of the beauty of Northern CA.

I stayed with my friend Kathy, her husband Matt and her awesome new Chocolate Labrador puppy, Riley. They have incredible wooded areas on their property and just hanging out at their home I got a taste of the beauty of Northern CA.

One morning, I watched three wild male turkeys trying to court a female turkey right off their back patio:

2019-04-04_19-16-17_9542019-04-04_19-17-27_3022019-04-04_19-18-18_696I put an arrow where the female turkey was and she did not seem very interested in any of them (she kept wandering away) while they took turns (or simultaneously) displaying their plumages!

Kathy took me on a day trip to South Yuma River State Park and it was amazing! I will let the rest of this post serve as a photo essay as I show you some of the images from our visit to this stunning state park.

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Postscript

I am also sneaking into this post a continuation on my series of posts Life in B&W, in which I pretend I am a photographer showing you the stark beauty of Black and White photography.

Here are a couple of the images I took during the day trip in B&W for your enjoyment (or you can roll your eyes, ha!).

2019-04-04_14-42-20_2142019-04-04_14-53-43_4282019-04-04_15-03-11_1232019-04-04_15-07-15_021Oh yes there we a lot more, but I figure four images is enough to expose you to 🙂

A Crafter's Life, Special Events

California Quilting Sisters Adventures, Part I

Currently I am on “holiday”, as my friends on the other side of the pond would call it. I am taking a lovely break from the snowstorms and biting cold of the Denver Metro area and relaxing in paradise. I’ll share a future post about my current adventures, however, as promised in a previous post, I want to catch up on some of my 2019 adventures I did not blog about.

For those of you just joining us, in December 2018 I suddenly and unexpectedly loss my best friend and husband of many years, Terry the Quilting Husband, and became a widow. So the 2018 holiday season and winter 2019 were a very dark and sad time in my life.

Thank goodness for my wonderful family and friends, who were an amazing support system during very dark days.

Also thank goodness for my (surprising to many) plans to leave Central Oregon and move to the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area (see series of posts Colorado Bound) as it gave me something else to focus on besides my all encompassing grief over the loss of my life parter.

One of the wonderful things my friends did to distract me from my loneliness and grief was to invite me to visit them and I shared the first fun trip I went on in 2019 in the post Fabric Fangirl Frenzy with my Quilting Sisters Judy and Dana (for the backstory on my Quilting Sisters see the posts Quilting Sisters I, and II).

The next trip I took was in March 2019 to visit my friend Michele and to tour apartment in the Denver metro area (see post An Awesome Way to Display Kid Art!).

In April I visited with my my Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa who live in the Sacramento, California area and this next several posts are about that wonderful visit!

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Snuggling with the Quilting Sisters Kathy and Lisa

It’s All About the Puppy

I stayed with my Quilting Sister Kathy and her husband Matt. They had just adopted a Chocolate Labrador puppy named Riley.

I love dogs, and I absolutely LOVE PUPPIES, and I fell in love quickly with Riley (so much so that by the end of trip the officially made me Riley’s “dog godmother”).

2019-04-04_18-37-59_1312019-04-04_21-33-14_990I spent a lot of the weekend cuddling with Riley (good therapy). She was a puppy of course and very active and crazy by nature but I set up a system of “Swaddling” her in a towel the evening to relax her and give us a break from her crazy puppy energy.

Kathy, Matt, Riley and I went to a local brewery and had a wonderful time with the pup! Here are some photos from our brewery time (and the brewery staff was very patient and accommodating when the pup had an “accident”).

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 More Pups and even a Cat

My Quilting Sister Lisa is a brilliant Veterinarian as well as the owner of Supreme Point Kennels – she shows and breeds Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

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Kathy took me over to Lisa’s home for a visit (and before we headed out on a Quilt Shop Hop Adventure which I will share in another post in this series) and I got to visit with the herd at her house which includes several gorgeous Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, a Giant Schnauzer, several rescued dogs and a cat.

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I was in furry creature heaven at Lisa’s home! There was a lot of petting and snuggling going on! I really got a kick out of the cat who just thought he was another one of the dogs and was very comfortable with the large dogs and being part of “the herd”.

Lisa was working on an awesome Griffon themed quilt from a class she took on portrait quilts:

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Human Snuggling

As I mentioned earlier in this post, during the most difficult time in my life, I was so supported (and still supported) by a wonderful network for family and friends.

During my visit to the Sacramento, CA area I got some time to be “loved on” and snuggled by my California Quilting Sisters which was very nurturing and healing.

Here we are snuggling on the sofa at Kathy’s house (I took a break from snuggling with Riley the pup to do human snuggling instead – ha!):

2019-04-03_20-55-24_350And here I am feeling all warm and cozy, sipping a Jameson Irish Whiskey that Kathy’s husband Matt poured for me, while knitting (working on the hat I discussed in this post The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat)), sitting under one of Kathy’s handmade quilts, and watching baseball with my Quilting Sisters.

2019-04-03_21-13-16_033And for a beautiful moment in the midst of my grief, I felt at peace and quite loved.

What's on the Design Wall

Seattle Scrappy (What’s on the Design Wall)

This is a follow up to my recent post What’s On the Design Wall.

I’ve decided to name the freeform log cabin scrappy quilt I’ve created from my friend Dana’s scraps (see post What’s on the…Design Carpet) – “Seattle Scrappy”.

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The name was inspired by the scraps coming from the Seattle area and that it is gray and in Winter it is fairly gray in the Seattle area.

Above you can see my current progress on the piece. I am nearly done with the top, I just need to frame the whole thing in rows of dark framed blocks.

This was my original concept – a center dark shape, created by freeform log cabin blocks with dark gray outside borders:

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Then I would add lighter gray bordered freeform log cabin blocks around these blocks to float the center shape. However, as the black and white image I took of the quilt, the concept got a little muddled:

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But you can still sort of see the concept and make out a darker shape floating in the lights blocks (I hope!)

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I am hoping adding in a border all around of dark gray framed blocks will help my center pop a little more. A quilting friend said the piece looks like an aerial view of a city – I hadn’t thought of that!

More to come on “Seattle Scrappy” and I am currently trying to decide when I finish it, whether to:

  • Have it professionally quilted (a.k.a. “quilting by check”)
  • Machine quilt it myself
  • Hand quilt it (how about some kantha stitching like @ marissthequilter/fabrications)
  • Tie the quilt (yes, “old school” quilting tying)

If I cannot figure it out, I might ask you all to vote on it (smile)!


Postscript

Additional follow up from the post What’s On the Design Wall.

Do you remember the free large table I got from a community for sale board? Well I put risers (to make it “counter height”) on it and turned it into a large cutting and project table in my temporary studio (until I move to the new house in progress of being built some time in April):

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I then snugged my sewing machine against the table to create a yummy temporary “Creation-Station” (patent pending? can I market that!??!):

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Now I can comfortably watch the telly (well Netflix, ha!) while I sew.

I also added some quilts about the house. As I mentioned in a previous post, the house became sort of minimalist (and kind of sterile) when we staged it for the real estate sale photos that a professional photography came and took for the future real estate listing.

Since have delayed putting the house on the market until mid/late March, I was getting weary of living in basically a “model home”.

So I pulled out some of the quilts I had stored away and put them up on the wall with Command Strips!

And I placed an old quilt at the end of the bed where Mike my dog hangs out in my temporary studio while I sew:

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A Crafter's Life

Musings on Self-Improvement

I have a whole category on my blog called Audiobooks and Podcasts. Many of these posts have to do with the latest “self-improvement” genre audiobook I’ve read. Most of these audiobooks I’ve borrowed from local libraries via their Overdrive or Hoopla apps.

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If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ve likely endured many reviews on various non-fiction “self-improvement” books I’ve listened to and occasionally read hardcover.

Recently another reserved “self-improvement” audiobook became available for download, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma, and in the midst of listening to the book, I turned it off and exclaimed: “Enough of this #$%&, I am tired of ‘self-improving’!”

As I was sharing in a recent conversation with my friends Michele H. and Anne T., I am completed burned out on listening/reading anything that has to do with “self-improvement”.

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I’ve read a jillion (this number is way bigger than the imaginary number a zillion, ha!) self-improvement books, gained plenty of insight and attempted to live the best life possible but that did not stop awful things happening like my spouse suddenly passing away in December 2018 (yes, yes I know that you cannot read self-improvement books to protect yourself from bad things happening, but I guess in the back of my delusional mind I thought I was safe from major disaster as I was always trying to be the best person possible..).

I admit that some of the “self-improvement” type genre books such as Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (see post New Library Stack and Option B) helped me tremendously on my grief journey.  And I am sure there are some other books out there that could help me, but I am just too burned out on the genre to read anymore right now (or anytime in the near future).

I am so done with “self improving” for now. 

Now it’s time to find some good yummy fiction to listen to or read!


Postscript

The irony of this recent decision is the moment I said “enough with the self-improvement” genre, every audiobook I had on reserve at my local library became available. So I actually have in my current online library account the following “self-improvement” books I can now borrow/download for 21 days:

  • The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
  • Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson (okay he did write a really awesome self help book I listened to a while ago: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, and it helped me “chill” on a lot of things)
  • Meta Human by Deepak Chopra
  • Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy Wood
  • The Third Door by Alex Banayan

It is sort of the like the “self-improvement” genre was having a major go at me as I was trying to give it up by sending me everything I had reserved at once.

Nope, returned them all!

(I wonder if now I will become a terrible and grouchy person since I’ve stopped “self-improving”…)

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What's on the Design Wall

What’s On the Design Wall

Yes I said “DESIGN WALL”, not design carpet (see post What’s on the…Design Carpet).

Since my post What’s on the…Design Carpet, there’s been some changes…

In case you are just joining us, let me recap:

  1. My partner and I were working on buying a house together and he is selling his house. So my quilting studio got packed up and my former studio became a staged bedroom for the realtor house listing photo shoot.
  2. Then I went to a mini quilt retreat a couple weeks ago and created freeform log cabin blocks from a friend’s scraps. Upon returning home I laid them out on the “design carpet” in my bedroom since I no longer had a design wall, much less a studio:

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So nearly two weeks ago, my partner and I decided to buy a new house, that is in the process of being built, and will not be ready until the end of April. So we cannot put his house on the market for a couple months – until we get closer to when our new house will close, otherwise we could end up between homes!

Since the house I currently live in was not going on the market for a couple of months, I negotiated that I set up a modified version of a studio that can be easily returned to a staged bedroom for house showing.

Around the same time of this decision, I discovered listed on our community website a free large table being offered.

With new large (free) table in hand, I have a makeshift studio:

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And to go with my makeshift  studio, I made a makeshift design wall:

2020-02-02_16-04-59_0142020-02-02_16-49-09_122On Superbowl Sunday (last Sunday), I had a “Stitching Bowl” and worked on getting the center of the piece sewn together:

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I am pretty happy with my makeshift studio and will share more photos of the piece as it evolves.

By the way, Mike my Miniature Schnauzer is enjoying hanging out on the bed (from the staging) in my makeshift studio while I sew!

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Outside Adventures!, Quilt Retreats

A Jaunt About Poulsbo, WA

This is a follow up to my previous post Mini Quilt Retreat, January 2020, on the the mini quilt retreat (just 4 quilters) I attended several weeks ago in Poulsbo, Washington.

As promised, here are some stories and photos from my adventures outside of the quilt retreat, in Poulsbo.

Ferry to Poulsbo

Wikipedia has a nice little write up about Poulsbo, Washington (Washington State in the Pacific Northwestern coast of the U.S. for my international blogging friends, not Washington D.C. which is on the Eastern coast of the the U.S.): Poulsbo, Washington.

As explained in the link above, Poulsbo is located in northern Kitsap County at at the north end of Liberty Bay, a sheltered arm of Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and one of the common ways to get there is by ferry.

Washington State has an extensive ferry system. I lived in Seattle, Washington for 8 years (1997 – 2005) and rode many ferries to the peninsulas and islands that are part of the Pacific Northwest.

It really is an exceptionally beautiful part of the U.S. with the Olympic Mountains in the background, except it rains all the time and can be very gray in the Winter (for example one winter a friend reported they went 60+ days without sunshine, this friend eventually moved to Denver, Colorado to get more sun in her life; I moved to Bend, Oregon in 2005 to get sun in my life).  

Living in Denver, Colorado, I am now “land locked” and I do miss the Pacific ocean. So it was very exciting to take a ferry ride to Poulsbo on my way to the retreat. Although it was chilly, I spent most of the ferry ride on the upstairs outer deck at the bow (or maybe it was the stern as the ferry just moves back and forth on its route) watching the water and the approaching land.

2020-01-09_10-21-32_3572020-01-09_10-21-51_3312020-01-09_10-24-04_3302020-01-09_10-21-16_043I spent a brief time inside the ferry passenger cabin, which is HUGE! There are plenty of commuters that take the ferry every day. It was outside commuting hours, so the inside the ferry was fairly empty (or most people were sitting in their cars, as it is also a car ferry).

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Inside the ferry they had wonderful topographical maps of the area and the ferry routes:

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Port Gamble

After a day of sewing at the mini quilt retreat, it was time to go out and explore the area so we spent an afternoon in Port Gamble, Washington on the northwestern shore of the Kitsap Peninsula.

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We had lunch at a lovely restaurant – Scratch Kitchen, a farmhouse restaurant which appeared to formerly be historic building as it had a Puget Mill Co. vault inside.

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Quilted Strait

After a delicious lunch, we wandered around historic Port Gamble:

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And ended up at the quilt shop right by the water, Quilted Strait.

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We had a wonderful wander about the quilt shop with its friendly staff and inviting atmosphere. During my wander I was tempted by the line of fabric (whose name I have now forgotten) that one of my fellow retreaters, Karen, used in her wonderful piece I shared in the previous post.

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A mysterious but wonderful fabric line…actually I think it is Northcott who also makes my beloved Stonehenge line
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Karen’s piece she worked on during the retreat

But I did not buy any as I am getting ready in the next couple of months to move (an update on that in a future post) and I need to control my fabric purchases! Perhaps as a housewarming (or new studio warming) gift to myself I will contact Karen and asking her what that awesome fabric line was…


Postscript

We did have several delightful indulgences during our mini quilt retreat time, and they came from a stop at Deliberate Chocolate.

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The chocolate was so good it was a mystical experience to eat it!

As we wandered about shops in Port Gamble, I came across this sign that made me smile:

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