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Treasures Discovered in my Fabric Stash

Yesterday I discovered treasures in my fabric stash: a collection of what I believe to be South African Shweshwe fabrics.

Many years ago, an art quilting mentor in Oregon had shared with me some of the bounty of fabrics she inherited from her friend’s aunt who had died, who was a world traveler, and had collected fabrics from all over the world during her travels (primarily small samples and pieces, rarely yardage/metres).

I was able to select a sampling of fabrics from the huge stash of fabrics and I was attracted to a collection of blue and white fabric fabrics, that had a lot of texture to them, that I thought were Japanese textiles.

I end up shoving this collection of blue and white fabrics away with my collection of Asian fabrics and I did use a some of them to make this simple blue and white quilt years ago, along with a large collection of Japanese blue and white fabrics I got from the inherited stash:

I was just trying to put to use a bunch of the awesome fabrics I got from the late aunt’s stash, little did I understand the treasures I was using up….

So, as I shared in the August 2021 post Awesome Surprise Treats in the Mail!, my South African based long time blogging friend Mariss (@fabrications) sent me some treats in the mail all the way from the other side of the world, which included these awesome Nelson Mandela fabric pieces:

At the time I received these fabrics (June 2021), I did not make the connection to the similar other fabric in my stash, which I had mistakenly labeled as “Japanese”.

But yesterday a light bulb went on in my head (oh how dim my brain has been sometimes) and when I came across that stash of blue and white fabrics again, I took a close look at the label most of them had on the back:

3 Leopards fabric by the Da Gama Textile Company in South Africa! A little further research and the fabrics appear (and please correct me if my brain bulb is being dim) to be South African Shweshwe fabrics.

From the Da Gama Textile company’s website, here is some background on Shweshwe fabrics if you are not familiar with Shweshwe:

Shweshwe has a history going back thousands of years, with the shweshwe we know and love today making its way to SA for the first time in the early 1840s. Today, we produce shweshwe by the traditional processes, using a weak acid solution to bleach out distinctive designs. This gives the fabric an authentic look and feel, as well as the distinctive smell that consumers know and love. Shweshwe is a unique Eastern Cape fabric and Da Gama Textiles is aptly referred to as the “home of the original shweshwe”. It is not uncommon to see patrons taste, smell and feel the fabric before committing to a sale, to ensure the cloth is authentic. Shweshwe is sold by folded bolt and not on a cardboard core in roll form, staying as close as possible to its roots of origin. All of these unique characteristics date back to the long sea voyages from the UK to South Africa, which formed the original transport route for this cloth. A strong starch is used to preserve the fabric, resulting in the hard handle and distinctive smell, which disappear after washing.

The Shweshwe fabrics I am lucky to have in my fabric stash are so beautiful and have an amazing texture and feel to them. Here is a sampling of some of the fabrics I have:

All the backs are marked with either a full or partial version of the Da Gama Textile Co. label.

And here is the whole pile including the Nelson Mandela fabric that Mariss sent me:

I revisited that blue and white quilt I made many years ago and winced to see fabrics such as this example below in the quilt:

I was thinking: “I should have saved that fabric for something really special.” But then I remembered that I look at/enjoy this quilt every day as it at the foot of my bed on my partner John’s grandmother’s antique chest. So the Shweshwe I’ve already used in my stash has gone to good use!

POSTSCRIPT

I found this awesome blog post from 2018 by Urbanstax called What is Shweshwe, that is worth a read:

urbanstax.com

Did you see that blue and white wedding dress photo in the blog post made from Shweshwe fabrics – WOW!

tierneycreates

The Memory Quilt is Complete and Given

The Memory quilt I made my friend whose mother passed, using her mother’s favorite clothes, is completed/quilted and I’ve given it to her.

This is a follow up/end of the story for the following previous posts about this quilt:

I decided to quilt is myself and did a combination of hand and machine quilting. I talk more about this (and share photos) on the previous post “Update on Memory Quilt “.

Slogging through machine quilting
Mike the mini schnauzer providing emotional support under the table while I quilt

I used a floral fabric with the colors in the quilt top as the back and the binding.

Here’s the completed quilt (which is of course a rectangle, it just looks triangular from the camera angle) in my studio:

A couple more photos:

And yes that is me at the bottom of the photo above awkwardly trying to take a photo of the quilt on my cutting table in my studio while trying to use my ring light.

Something I did not mention in the previous post on this quilt – before I quilted it, we met my friend and her husband for dinner while my sister was visiting a couple of weeks ago. I brought the quilt top (not quilted yet) with me to show her.

At the restaurant I pulled out the quilt top and handed it to her to look at before our food arrived.

She started crying. She was so touched and overwhelmed with seeing her mother’s favorite clothes made into a quilt top she could not contain her emotions. My eyes started to get moist too and I was touch.

She was very happy with the final product which was delivered to her on Saturday. She wants to hang the quilt on the wall but I strongly encouraged to cuddle under it and let it be a “hug from her Mom”.

Guest Blogger, Miniature Schnauzer Musings

Guest Blogger: Ladies Please Control Yourselves…

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer that lives with Tierney and John. I see that pesky Beastie has had like 4 guest blog posts recently; and it is time for me to have one. (Plus I am a REAL miniature schnauzer, I am tired of that allegedly cute little fake miniature schnauzer – Mikelet.)

Last time I did a guest blog post for Tierney, I wrote about how Tierney and John tried to scare me to death in the post Guest Blog Post: How to Completely Terrify Your Miniature Schnauzer. And before that I wrote about some of my adventures as Dog Camp: Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp.

In my Dog Camp post, I shared my challenges of being EXTREMELY popular at the Dog Camp I attend whenever my humans go out of town (though occasionally I stay with John’s Dad who refers to me as “his dog” even though he now has a miniature schnauzer puppy living with him).

The Dog Camp is only for smaller dogs and I am always surrounded by the little female dogs that attend camp for daily dog daycare or are boarders when their humans go out of town like mine.

Recently I spent a stint at Dog Camp when my humans went to Chicago and oh my goodness – from the minute I arrived the ladies went crazy!

The human that runs Dog Camp took this video and my human Tierney uploaded it to YouTube so you can see what happened the moment I arrived at Dog Camp!

Ladies, there is only one of me, calm down!

I am so glad to be back home and take a break from the ladies. I am neutered but it still does not matter, they all follow me around!

It is not all “Mike-stalking” by the female dogs at Dog Camp, I did also have time to play lots of ball with my buddies there:

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Chicago in Black and White

Early July we met my brother, his wife and son in Chicago for a long weekend.

I’ve been to Chicago, Illinois many times, and each time I visit it is like visiting for the first time as I have a different experience each time.

While visiting I took a bunch for B&W photos and this post is a photoessay of my visit.

STARBUCKS RESERVE CHICAGO ROASTERY

We went to our first Starbucks Reserve Roastery while in Chicago and it was so cool! I rarely go to Starbucks and would rather support a small independent coffee shop, but I would recommend if you come across on you should visit it at least once, it is quite an experience.

Here is a photo from first entering the roastery:

MILLENNIUM PARK

We spent a bit of time in Millennium Park which is a “mandatory” place to visit on first trip to Chicago.

DOWNTOWN CHICAGO

Here are some photos from wandering around downtown Chicago.

360 CHICAGO OBSERVATION DECK

On our last day in Chicago we went to the the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the top of the former John Hancock building. I’ll close the post with these photos from 1000ft above Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

Beastie Adventures, From the Woodshop, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: A Desk for Me!

I bet you are surprised to hear from me again so soon! This is the tierneycreates Beastie, and I am sneaking in for a post about my new desk that Tierney’s partner John built for me yesterday.

Tierney had a post planned today on Black & White photos she took in Chicago (my monster eyes are rolling) but I asked her to delay your boredom a day while I shared news about my new desk (which I am writing you from right now!):

Thanks to the suggestion by Catherine @Cedar51 in the comments sections of my post Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I, that John should build me a desk, John did it and now I have my very own wooden desk!

First John came up to Tierney’s studio (which is also the home of my dog Mikelet and me) to take my measurements for the desk:

He went down to his woodshop in the basement (where my partner John Beastie lives, yes we stay in separate sections of the house its a long story – but it best not to let two Beasties hang out continuously, trust me…).

An hour later John returned with my new desk:

Then Tierney and John did a photoshoot (and I am not sure why they were giggling so loudly during the photoshoot, it was quite rude) of me at my new desk:

We also discovered the desk is great for me to sew on my Beastnina, so I can help Tierney out with her backlog of UFOs (unfinished objects for the non-quilters reading):

My dog Mikelet was getting impatient during the photoshoot because it was time for his after dinner walk:

So I stop playing with my new desk, and took Mikelet out for his walk:

So that’s my new desk story. Now that I have a great place to write I might pop in more frequently with blog posts.

And don’t worry Tierney will be back tomorrow to bore you to tears with more of her B&W photography from her delusion that she is a photographer (but just keep playing along).

Oh and to close this post – here is a photo of me back in my area of Tierney’s studio, with all my accessories made by Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (crawcraftsbeasties.com):

A Crafter's Life, Studio, Sunflowers!

Update on Memory Quilt

Thought I would give a little update on the memory quilt I am making for a grieving friend who lost her mother, with her mother’s favorite clothes. Here is a link to the previous post if you’d like some additional background – Update on “The Challenge” .

Here is the quilt top completed that I shared in that previous post:

Originally I was thinking of sending it out for professional long-arm quilting and my friend was going to pay for the professional quilting. Then I got concerned with there being issues over the unusual fabrics I had used in the quilt (acrylic sweater, polyester scarf, velour robe, etc) with the long arm quilting machine.

I discussed it with my friend and she was good with me quilting it myself (though it would not be nearly as lovely quilting as a professional long-arm) and she would give me money for the cost of the batting, etc. She is not a quilter and does not have expectations of super high quality machine quilting on my part – whew!

Last week I was trying to figure out the logistics of domestic machine quilting and thought I better hand stitch some of the blocks that have special logos, embroidery, etc. to secure them instead of trying to machine quilt around the logos. I found some heavy embroidery thread from my stash of thread of Sashiko* stitching and did some lap quilting (in the middle of the hot summer):

(*but wait a minute Tierney: I’ve followed your blog a long time and I do not remember any posts about Sashiko stitching…Why yes, I have the supplies and started a piece like 10 – 12 years ago…but someday I am really going to pick the piece up again and then blog about it..)

It was fun and for a moment (yes only a wee moment), I actually considered hand quilting the entire quilt. But I came to my senses as that would not be very fun in the hot summer and I would like to get this quilt to my friend, who is facing some other life challenges right now, sooner than in 6 months to a year! (Exhibit A – “Seattle Scrappy” which took me over a year to hand quilt – Seattle Scrappy is Done!)

Speaking of hot summer, I recently got my first full sized tomato (as opposed to the grape or cherry tomatoes I have successfully grown) in my little container garden on my upper back deck and I was so happy!

As I joked on my @tierneycreates Instagram account, I wanted to frame it! As of this writing, I now have two full sized tomatoes. Right now both tomatoes are sitting as decoration on my kitchen counter and I better use them before they go bad!

I am also celebrating the appearance of the first sunflower in my garden. I love love love sunflowers and I’ve blogged about them several times in the past especially when I lived in my house in Oregon where I grew sunflowers every year.


Postscript

We are at that point in summer (August), where for me I am OVER summer and the heat, longing for Fall/Autumn.

I was so longing for Fall that I made one of my favorite colder weather dishes – chicken pot pie:

I made two because we help feed John’s recently widowed father (John’s stepmother suddenly passed at the end of 2021) who lives nearby and he loves my chicken pot pie!

Yes it was lovely (not) having the hot oven, in the heated up kitchen due to the hot oven, in the hot weather outside. Brilliant, eh?

Also just sitting around one evening with that memory quilt on my lap hand quilting it made me yearn for cooler weather.

But then I reminded myself that come early March, I am only dreaming of warm weather! I have to always remember to just embrace the current season I am in.

So back to relishing in my 2 full sized tomatoes and my sunflowers (smile).

Beastie Adventures, Quilt Retreats

Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part III

Hello Everybody, this is the tierneycreates Beastie returning for my 3rd and final installment about the quilt retreat I recently attended with Tierney and her quilting friends in Shelton, Washington at the Riptide Retreat.

If you are just joining us you can check out my other two posts: Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I and Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II; as well as a post I let Tierney slip in yesterday day – Riptide Retreat 2022 in Black and White (I let her slip this post in so she could pretend like she had actually returned to blogging…).

In this final post in the series of my posts (of filling in for Tierney who fell off the blogging bandwagon for awhile) I wanted to share what the quilters attending the quilt retreat worked on. But alas, as my paws are not really good with the camera phone, I had to rely on Tierney to take photos and she did not take a lot of photos of much beyond the LITTLE WALLETS they worked on. But I will get to those in a moment.

She did take photos of one quilter’s quilt they were working on – the Legendary quilt – pattern by Elizabeth Hartman – also known as the “Sasquatch Quilt”. Tierney has made one herself in the past after seeing a couple of her quilting friends make on (see post A “Legendary” Christmas Gift and “Quilt Photo-bombing”).

Here is her friend Dana’s Sasquatch in progress on the design wall at the retreat center:

Dana has made the quilt several times in flannel and is now making the quilt in quilting cotton for a charity raffle. This is the same quilt in progress you saw pieces of in my photo from a previous post in this series, where I am trying to gain access to Dana’s rotary cutter (unsuccessfully):

Dana is using a rain drop printed fabric as the background for the quilt.

The other quilters were working on very cool projects such as a Japanese fabric tote bag and a very colorful quilt, but Tierney did not bother taking photos. Actually she was goofing off most of the retreat and just visiting with her friends or hanging out on the back deck overlooking the water. She was very unproductive.

I thought I was going to have to whip out my Beastnina and get working on the projects she brought. Below is a picture from earlier in 2022 (when it was winter as I have on the lovely Aran sweater that Helen of Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties (crawcraftsbeasties.com) knitted for me):

(And who needs a $25,000 sewing machine like the one in my previous post, when they have a awesome wool Beastnina?)

LITTLE WALLET MADNESS

Speaking of Dana, she brought several packages of pearl snaps, some cool fabric such as Essex Linen (Dana had put together awesome fabric combinations from her fabric stash for the quilters to make into little wallerts), and a SnapSetter set to the retreat so the quilters could make Little Wallets.

image source: snapsource.com

Tierney has a long history with Little Wallets (see posts such as Little Wallet Madness and The “Madness” Returns) but she stopped using pearl snaps and switched to velcro from her little wallet closure after the “Great Pearl Snap Disaster” in which no matter what she did, she could not get the pearl snaps to set right with the SnapSetter.

Well Dana did a “SnapSetter Intervention” with Tierney and had her practice putting on pearl snaps with the SnapSetter and a rubber mallet until she got it right and got over her fear of snap-setting!

Dana, Kathy, Judy and Tierney all made little wallets with pearl snaps and here is a photo of most of their little wallets they made during the retreat:

Here are some close up of some of the little wallet sets they made:

Dana’s little wallets
Kathy’s little wallets
Tierney’s little wallets

They stayed up until late into the night one night of the retreat (or early into the morning), making little wallets. This was the same evening the also had a silly dance party (sorry no photos) as this is what happens when you mix quilters, wine, and 70s Disco Music – ha! (Tierney had brought a bluetooth speaker to the retreat and acted as DJ for the entire retreat).

So, and I am not sure Tierney wants me to reveal this, but it was a 4 1/4 day, 4 night retreat and all Tierney has to show for it is 10 little wallets!

I will close this series of posts with sharing a couple photos from the small quirky country convenience store we walked to during the retreat. Here I am checking out the snacks:

(in case you are wondering, there was some naughty food at the quilt retreat – one evening the attendees brought back to the retreat a sampling of 5 different delicious desserts from a diner they went to for dinner…oh wait – Tierney just told me to be quiet because “What happens at the quilt retreat, stays at the quilt retreat”…)

And here I am in front of a very strange poster on the door of the convenience store. We could not figure out exactly what activities would be occurring at this festival…

Either there is a lot of hugging going on, people will be taking mushrooms, there will be alien abductions, or a combination of all the above…


Postscript

Thanks to Catherine @Cedar51 for her suggestion in the comments sections of my post Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I, that Tierney’s partner John the Woodworker, make me my own Beastie wooden desk so I no longer need to use the (sad) makeshift desk Tierney made me to write:

Tierney and I spoke to John (she does have a little more influence than I do) and he has agreed to make me my own wooden desk! I cannot wait to show it off someday to you!

Life in B&W, Quilt Retreats, tierneytravels

Riptide Retreat 2022 in Black and White

Well thanks goodness the tierneycreates Beastie got my blog restarted with her two previous posts about the quilting retreat I recently attended in Shelton, Washington: Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I and Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II.

She’ll be back tomorrow with Part III to finish the story, but I am slipping in today and sharing ten (10) B&W photos I took during the quilt retreat. I’ve numbered them, let me know which one(s) you enjoyed the best.

From the upper back deck of the quilt retreat:

#1
#2

From the lower back deck of the quilt retreat:

#3

From the back of the quilt retreat on the beach level:

#4
#5
#6
#7

From my walk along the beach:

#8
#9
#10

Black and White photography makes even the most mundane interesting in my opinion. The tire on the beach was sad (the pollution of our oceans) but beautiful at the same time when photographed in B&W.

My favorites of these ten photos are #4, #5, #9, and #10. I do love also the creepy mystery of #8 – the beach house obscured by trees.

I guess if I had to just choose one then I would choose #9. The beach was covered with oyster shells.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am just briefly popping in on the story of this retreat, the tierneycreates Beastie will finish up the story of our adventures tomorrow.

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, Quilt Retreats, Quilt Shop Tours

Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II

This is tierneycreates Beastie and I am continuing my post from yesterday Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I about our adventures at the Riptide Retreat in Shelton, Washington.

So where I left off on yesterday’s post, one of the days of the retreat we headed out to  Annie’s Quilt Shoppe .

Here I am all buckled up in the back seat of the car headed to the quilt shop:

And here is a little video on Mikelet enjoying the fresh air on the car ride through some back country roads to get to the quilt shop:

Mikelet was safe during the car ride, we only let him hang out the window when the car was going slow and Tierney did hold onto his back legs so he would not fall out!

I did look out the car window a little myself, it was so relaxing in the backcountry:

Finally we arrived at the quilt shop:

Here are a montage of images from my visit to the quilt shop, and most of them featured ME – because isn’t a photo better with me in it??!?!

We saw a $25,000 sewing machine while at the quilt shop and I had to take a photo with it.

It seems like a sewing machine would have to do a LOT for you in order to be worth $25,000. I think you should be able to throw fabric at it and it turns it into a completed quilt in 10 seconds or something!

Tierney and I did find some fabric to buy while at the shop, including the Figo fabric she ran out of when making her drawstring bags for her Etsy shop Textiles & Smiles (see post Three Part “Harmony” and Experimenting with “Mass Production” ), which all sold out. Now she can make some more bags! (Tierney really needs to restock her Etsy shop, it is looking pretty empty right now…)

Tierney has agreed to post tomorrow some of the Black and White photos she took during the trip (you know she has this fantasy that she is a real photographer, just check out her series of posts – Life in B&W; yes she is quite delusional..) and then I will finish up with Part III of my series of guests posts about the quilt retreat with a little about what was made during the quilt retreat (yes sewing actually occured).

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, Quilt Retreats

Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I

Well I am tired of waiting around for Tierney to do a blog post, so once again I’ve had to take matters into my own paws and do a guest blog post (if you are new to this blog, my story is on this post –  I’m A Monster!!! and you can see all my posts at this link: Beastie Adventures).

Tierney was allegedly going to start writing blog posts again once she caught up on reading all her blogging buddies’ posts after her very busy summer (so far). But you haven’t seen a recent post from Tierney have you?

So I’ve pulled out my laptop and written a post to start to update you on our summer:

Pulling out my laptop and using my make shift desk since Tierney fell down on the job

A week or so ago (not sure at this point, the summer is a blur…) Tierney, Mikelet (my dog) and I attended a quilt retreat at the Riptide Retreat in Shelton, Washington with some long time quilting friends (including the lady who originally got Tierney into quilting).

Tierney wrote about this retreat (which has sort of been annual) in the past in a couple previous blog posts: The Fabric Incident, A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part I, and A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part II.

Sign inside the retreat center
On the back deck of the retreat on the water, beautiful weather every day!

Tierney’s quilting friends who live in Washington state and drove to the retreat, brought her a sewing machine to use during the retreat so she wouldn’t have to bring hers on the plane from Denver to Seattle. Here I am supervising the start of her sewing on this loaner machine:

At least it is a Bernina…

I am a little obsessed with rotary cutters since Tierney never let’s me play with them (see post Guest Blogger: October Quilt Retreat Part I), and I did try to get access to a rotary cutter one of the other quilters had lying around during the retreat but Tierney thwarted my efforts, sigh.

If I could just get a little closer…

Not everyone was sewing at the retreat, one person was learning to crochet and I had to check it out:

I think I would need a Beastie sized crochet hook to attempt that…

As I am a Knitted Person (knitted by Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties – crawcraftsbeasties.com), I am not sure how I feel about crochet…

We had delicious food during the retreat, the Washington based quilters at the retreat pre-prepared a couple meals for the attendees including this homemade lasagne with from scratch tomorrow sauce and handmade meatballs:

Trying to figure out how to dive into that pan of lasagne when no one is looking…

In addition to eating and sewing (and lounging around on the deck overlooking the water), several of the quilters went on daily walks. I accompanied them on walks and here are a couple of photos from my walks with either the quilters or when I took my dog Mikelet (who was very well behaved at the retreat) on walks:

It was cool to be back in the Pacific NW and take Mikelet for a walk in the majestic wooded areas in the neighborhood of the retreat center!

Huge trees everywhere!

As Tierney mentioned in her post A Drawstring-bagalicious Retreat, Part II about a previous visit to the Riptide Retreat, the owners of the Riptide Retreat also own Annie’s Quilt Shoppe a very reasonably priced quilt shop in Shelton, Washington.

So one day during the quilt retreat, we ventured for an outing to Annie’s Quilt Shop.

Tomorrow I will share photos from that adventure and more on the quilt retreat.

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

Update on “The Challenge”

I keep getting away from blogging as I seem to be having a very busy summer. We just returned from Chicago where we met up with my brother and his family for the weekend. Tomorrow my sister arrives and we go on a road trip to celebrate her birthday for a couple days and I show her a little of Colorado. Then the following week I head to a quilt retreat on the Washington coast.

I did in between traveling, get the quilt top done on the quilt I discussed in the post The Challenge… , of my friend’s late mother’s favorite clothes that she asked if I could turn into a quilt. As I shared in that post, here is what I started with:

The challenge laid out

The sweatshirt, T-shirt, jean jacket, jeans and shirts did not scare me. The sweaters, scarf and the velour robe did!

I bought woven interfacing (like 12 yards of it) and fused it to all the deconstructed clothing (my first step was to deconstruct the clothing).

Deconstructing the clothing

I was able to pull out the logos on the t-shirt and sweatshirts; and embroidery on the jean jacket. After fusing all the non denim fabrics to the woven interfacing, I was able to cut them into 5.5 inch x 5.5 inch blocks and create 10.5 inch by 10.5 inch 4-patch blocks.

What to do with these sweaters?

I did consult with my friend Wendy who suggested Solvy, a water soluble stabilizer. Wendy has a lot of experience with Solvy. Wendy did a little workshop for me at her house years ago and I made a little thread bowl with thread scraps like in her book Fast, Fun & Easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls: 2 Techniques-5 Projects-Unlimited Possibilities. I still had a sample of it that she gave me.

image credit – amazon.com

Solvy is a little on the messy side and I decided to just try using the woven interfacing on a section of one of the sweaters as a test. It worked, not perfectly, but good enough. I was able to cut some hearts out of one of the sweaters, and then fuse the heart to a 10.5 inch by 10.5 inch block and satin stitch it down:

Ta da – was able to use one of the sweaters

I did not use the other two sweaters, I am returning them to my friend.

So here is the completed quilt top which I will machine quilt myself to batting and backing fabric; and then figure out what to use for binding.

up on the design wall

It’s not my greatest work as the fabrics were very challenging to work with and I cannot believe I added a thin polyester scarf to a quilt, but I did it! Don’t even get me started on the velour robe – the deconstructed fabric shed everywhere and was a disaster when I tried to press the blocks with it in it. But I made it work also…

It does look better in person, you’ll just have to trust me (smile).

When I get it quilted and the binding sewn down, I will give you all the final photo as well as what ended up being the measurements on the quilt.

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: Getting Control of “Spicetopia”

My partner John and I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. As a result we have a large collection of spices in our kitchen. We call our collection of spices “Spicetopia”.

Lots of spices, however the “organization” (= none) of our spices was not working to find the spices we needed in an efficient manner (like under 10 minutes, ha!).

Exhibit A – the state of the cabinet where “Spicetopia” was stored:

Cabinet of Curiosities

John is a woodworker and figured he could come up with a simple solution to organizing the spices but every option we discussed still gave us a cluttered or semi-cluttered cabinet.

Then we thought: what about putting the spices in an entirely different area – in a drawer!

So a couple Fridays ago, we began with purging and consolidating our spices. Why organize stuff that is expired or that we never use?

Yes, we had cocktails while purging spices, it was our wild Friday night!

After seeing what was left to find a new home for in a drawer, we purged one of our kitchen drawers and consolidated our cooking utensils (sorry no photos of this exciting event, ha!).

Then John built drawer organizers which were a series of slopped risers for the spices, out of scrap wood:

Slightly raised and ready to hold some spices!

And here is our new “Spicetopia” drawer:

Oh look, I can now easily find/identify our spices in “Spicetopia”

We put the spices in alphabetical order for even more ease of use! We did get challenged with things like “Cayenne Pepper”, “Black Pepper” and “Red Pepper” – do you file them under “P” for Pepper or their first name?!?!? But we figured out these complex life decisions…

And here is the cabinet without all those spices cluttering it (we also did some purging and organization of the entire cabinet):

Much better!

John and I are weird, we find organizing our kitchen a fun thing to do on a Friday evening!

Studio, What's on the Design Wall

The Challenge…

My friend lost her Mom, who she was very close to, and she is having a difficult time with grief.

She’s kept some of her Mom’s favorite clothes and she asked if I would make a quilt out of them.

I agreed to making the quilt, without knowing what the clothes looked like as she planned to snuggle under the quilt and feel comforted by her Mom’s beloved clothing.

When she dropped off the clothing, I realized I had a challenge ahead:

I’ve made art quilts from recycled clothing; and when my Father passed, I made my brother and sister each a quilt from the T-shirts he used to wear, so I was comfortable with the idea of deconstructing clothing and turning them into fabric for a quilt.

However, I’ve never worked with knitted fabrics such as these in a quilt:

I think I can work the first two sweaters on the left into the design, but I might have to return the black and white sweater to my friend to just keep. I bought some special interfacing (and softer one, not the Pellon SF 101 I usually use that I think would be too stiff). I am sitting outside (lovely day) writing this blog post and sorry I do not feel like running upstairs and seeing exactly what interfacing it is – ha!

I also have this challenge – a scarf, but I think I can just use interfacing for it also and work it into the design:

I have found a pattern that I want to use (I think) that I will share in a future post. Right now I have deconstructed the clothing and sorted them.

I am looking forward to working her Mom’s favorite T-shirt and sweatshirts into the design, as well as her beloved velour robe:

And the embroidery from her Mom’s favorite jean jacket should be fun to incorporate also:

I’ve deconstructed the jean jacket, saving the embroidered flower separately and saving any salvageable denim as fabric for the quilt.

I’ll update you as I make progress on this challenge!

I welcome ANY THOUGHTS on how to best interface the sweaters to incorporate them into a quilt.

A Crafter Needs to Eat, Sampler Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

Quilt Top Assembled!

Whew, I fell seriously behind in blogging again. Let’s just say I’ve been distracted by curious things going on in the country I live in (and somedays I am thinking of moving to a different country, I might be over the United States…).

I know you might be tired of reading about this quilt, but I have this one more post on it before I send it off to the longarm quilter for professional quilting.

This is a follow up to the post – And then there were 100 (yay)! – I’ve sewing together all 100 blocks for the Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt:

I had looked at those blocks on my design wall so much my eyes were crossing, so I asked my partner John to come out with an initial design/layout. He likes symmetry and order and he created an initial layout and then I refined it a little.

He did it in “color rings”, where the outer ring (well square ring, ha!) is teals/blue-greens and greens with gray blocks as corner anchors. Then the next set of rings are yellows, browns and reds. The inner ring is purple with then blues in the center.

I know to some it looks like a “hot mess” but I love it!

Sewing together 100 blocks can be daunting so I sewed it together by breaking it into 4 – 25 block sections. I sewed 5 rows of 5 blocks together to make each section twice and sewed those two sections together. I repeated the process for the other side and then sewed the two halves together.

As there is so much piecing of small pieces to make each block, I stitched the entire edge of the quilt with a 1/8 inch seam to prevent unraveling during travel:

In case you are curious – the actual measurement of the quilt top came out to be 60.5 inches x 60.5 inches.

Currently I am piecing together the backing with a collection of teal/blue-green yardages I have:

And then off to the longarm quilter. You won’t see another post about this quilt (whew) until it returns to me quilted and I have put the binding on. Then I will show you the finished quilt!


Postscript

A little follow up to the post Potsticker Adventures.

We are continuing to experiment with meal prep and making meals out of the cookbook Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee.

Recently I made Skinny Gumbo (a lower fat version of Louisiana Creole gumbo) and I was able to have enough for dinner that night and 3 additional servings. John’s father is in his 80s and lives alone since his wife passed in late December 2021, so we bring him meals (he lives less than a mile away) and this new meal prep process is great to make up meals for him also!

Also, strawberries were on sale, and I made homemade vanilla sugar scones and we had strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream for dessert!

A Crafter Needs to Eat

Potsticker Adventures

My partner John and I love potstickers, we have them anytime we go to a restaurant with any sort of Asian cuisine. Recently we discovered a recipe for a vegetarian version of them in a new cookbook we are experimenting with (to try and make healthier food choices): Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee:

So during John’s lunch break (he works remotely) we took a stab at making the potstickers in the cookbook, which made enough to be able to also freeze a large batch for future use.

Neither of us have made potstickers from scratch before, and it was a fun adventure to work through the recipe together.

I didn’t take any photos of assembling the filling for the potstickers but here are a couple photos of John filling the wonton wrappers and then pan frying the potstickers (you pan fry, then steam, then cook off the liquid):

The cookbook did not include a dipping sauce but we found one on the web:

And finally we could sit down to a nice potsticker snack!

We froze the rest (though we wished we had cooked up more after tasting them – YUMMY!):

They will freeze on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet for 24 hours and then I can place them in a freezer bag to store them up to 3 months in the freezer. It will be nice to have homemade potstickers handy when we are in the mood for them!

I cannot for copyright reasons share the recipe published in the cookbook but the author did have a version of her potstickers made with pork (what is commonly used) that I found online:

And here is a garlic ginger chicken version by the same author I found on YouTube:

I think we will try this version next time we need to restock our potstickers stash!


Postscript

In case you are wondering, I have tried another recipe from this cookbook before we made the potstickers. The reason why we got this cookbook was to find a way to better prep for our lunches and dinner when we are not really in the mood to cook.

John and I love to cook but sometimes we are tired and sometimes we made “bad food” decisions when we do not feel like cooking. This cookbook has recipes to prepare meals that you put in individual containers that are ready to eat – breakfasts, lunches and dinners. You can cook on Sunday and have a week’s lunches all planned.

You can also make dishes to freeze for dinners. Or you can have things like potstickers on hand when you want some tasty like you would have at a restaurant but not spend restaurant money!

I’ve planned out two more dishes to make with the cookbook next – a shrimp gumbo and a dish that mirrors a tuna roll we have a favorite sushi place (but used canned tuna not fresh). 

The author did publish some of her meal prep recipes on her website and here is a link to some of them if you want to experiment with meal prep:

 

https://damndelicious.net/category/meal-prep/

damndelicious.net
Sampler Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

And then there were 100 (yay)!

Finally!

I finished the 100 blocks for the Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt:

I was able to stay focused and not get distracted (even if a friend sent me some delicious distractions, see post Quilter Distractions: Good Mail filled with “Taupe” ).

I’ve decided to sew the blocks together without any lattice or other design to separate the blocks; and to not add a border. As a result this will only be a lap size quilt (100 – 6.5 inch x 6.5 inch blocks, minus 1/4 inch seams to join the blocks…no sorry I do not want to do that math* but will let you know the final measurements when I sew the blocks together!).

Next time I post about this quilt, I will share the quilt blocks sewn together in their final layout – I still need to decide how I want to organize the 100 blocks…

Oh if you are just joining us and want to see the evolution of this quilt, I put all the posts on this quilt under a new category I created for my blog: Sampler Quilts. I am hoping to do more sampler quilts in the future to go under this category. Note if you click on the link for Sampler Quilts you will see this current post again also.

*Okay I did sort of do the math and I am guessing around 60 inches x 60 inches will be the final quilt size. But let me know if you disagree (I took 10 x 6.5 inches = 65 inches, minus 20 x .25 seam allowances which = 5 inches – for 65 inches – 5 inches = 60 inches…)

Knit and Crochet Away!

Update on Latest Granny Square Blanket

I was hoping to be further along, but at least I am progressing a little with crocheting together the 100 granny squares I made for my second granny square blanket.

Last time I updated you on my progress was on April 12, 2022 in the post Update on the Latest Granny Square Blanket, where Mike the Miniature Schnauzer was wearing one of the granny squares on his head:

Well now he can actually nap under the blanket as I’ve finished 4 of the 10 rows (and two additional squares – I am now 42% of the way done):

Here is the basket I use to house the rest of the squares for the remaining rows awaiting to be added; and the blanket in progress:

Here is my living room crafting area, where slowly I work on putting the blanket together (it is also where I am writing this blog post right now) while watching TV in the evening:

And to close this post, here is Mike napping under the partially completed blanket:

From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: Floating Top Hall Table

I haven’t posted any new pieces by my partner John, a self-taught hobbyist woodworker, as he has been super busy with his job.

Recently he found time to work on a new woodworking piece, and has recently finished a pine floating top table. The table was originally to be used as sofa table in our basement but it came out so cool, we decided to put it in the entryway.

Here is the piece in progress in his woodshop in our basement:

Here he is staining it in the garage after he finished building it:

And finally the finished piece, now in our entryway!

I put a bowl I found last year at a second hand store with a little pillow I made on the top of the table. There are bird illustrations on the wall behind the table, so I also placed a little bird dish my friend Kathy got me and two little birds that were a favorite of John’s late wife.

With this table complete, John is now planning his next project.

The Library Stack

Back to My Local Library Stack!

Well after sharing my visit to the Austin Central Library in the post Peaceful Oasis at the Austin Central Library; and a weekend spent in Fort Collins, CO with a visit to an incredible kitchen store with a wonderful collection of home decor books, I was in the mood for a library stack that I can have at my home!

And that stack would be filled with books from the 700s section!

So on the way back from Fort Collins on Monday, I reserved a couple books (and I use the word “couple” lightly…) that I saw at the kitchen store while we wandered around College Avenue in Fort Collins.

But I couldn’t wait and on Tuesday, I headed to my library to browse their new releases in the 700s and anything else I might find. Little did I know, and I only checked on a whim, a bunch of books that I had reserved were waiting in the “Holds” section for me.

So here was the stack I brought home on Tuesday (a combo of my Holds and my browsings):

And then on Wednesday I received an e-mail from the library that MORE books I had on hold had come in. I already needed to run errands in that area (with the crazy price of gas I’ve been grouping all my errands) so I stopped at the library and increased my stack!

Here is the stack with the additional books, minus one book I finished on Tuesday:

I set up a system to place books I am done with under a chair in my home library so I know what needs to be returned for whenever I am running errands near the library again:

I know, I know, it’s a very fancy system.

I am working my way through the stack with my tea each morning:

One of the books I’ve really enjoyed so far is British Designers at Home by Jenny Rose-Innes (2020):

I’ve read/browsed a lot of interior design/home decorating books, and many that feature the homes of interior designers, but this one was different. I am not sure if it is the British approach to decorating but the interiors actually looked like real people lived in them!

Yes there were some expensive antiques and I am sure some pricey paintings, etc. but many of the interiors looked like you just wanted to curl up in a corner with a good book and some tea. This is my kind of decorating!

Although I love all the Farmhouse, Scandinavian, Minimalistic, Arts and Crafts, Midcentury Modern, Rustic, Industrial, etc. interior design styles I see in a lot of home decor books I borrow, they do not always seem particularly cozy or real – like how do you get comfortable in those homes? I am just looking for somewhere to curl up with some books and my tea!

The best compliment/feedback I ever got on my personal random eclectic style of decorating was from my neighbor in Bend, Oregon’s 3 year old son who plopped onto some pillows on my floor and declared: “Tierney, your house is cozy!”

Another thing I really liked in the British Designers at Home was that nearly ever house had a library, or some room dedicated to their book collections (or just books everywhere)!

Besides the “people actually live here” vibe of many of the homes in the books, the thing I most enjoyed about the book was the brief interviews with the designers at their homes at the end of each section using standard questions.

The best question was:

If there was a fire, what would you grab?

I think that question can reveal a lot about a person and what they truly value.

(Another question I loved was “Fiction or non-fiction?” – it was an appropriate question as clearly these designers loved to read!)

Special Events, WCQN

Update on the Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet Quilt

This is a follow up to my November 2021 post Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West (upcoming exhibit).

The Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) show at the The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art does not open until September 2022 but the museum had a recent fundraising event for the exhibition and Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi the head of the WCQN attended and took photos.

Included in the photos she shared on her Facebook page was an image of my quilt Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet.

image credit: Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

Since the quilt has officially been shown to the public, plus it is the featured quilt on the museum’s website advertisement for the show (see thejamesmuseum.org/special-exhibitions/, and scroll down to “Upcoming”), I figure I can share a full image of the quilt and my Artist Statement:

LANGSTON HUGHES, PIONEER POET

 This quilt is part of the Women of Color Quilting Network’s Traveling Show – “Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West”

52″ W x 52″ L cotton, cotton flannel, image transfer fabric

THE STORY OF THIS PIECE:

Decades before the political rhetoric of “Make America Great Again”, American poet, novelist, activist and playwright Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) challenged us to “Let America Be America Again” in his poem named the same .

Langston Hughes was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s (Smithsonian.com) and his writings focused on the African American experience. He wrote the poem that inspired this quilt, Let America Be America Again, in 1935. It was first published by Esquire magazine in 1936 (classicesquire.com). Langston Hughes has a special significance to my family: he is the namesake of the first grandchild born into our family, Langston, named after his late grandmother Gina’s favorite poet.

This quilt shares the opening four lines of the poem’s first stanza which challenges “let America be the dream it used to be (for)…the pioneer”. These four lines are followed by a powerful statement in parenthesis: “(America was never America to me)”, summarizing the plight of African Americans historically not having access to the “American American .  The entire poem is powerful and worth a full reading (poem resource: Poets.org).

Using a B&W public archive image from the Smithsonian taken by photographer Carl Van Vechten in 1939, I recreated in cotton fabrics and image transfer fabric, a section of the scene from that photo, creatively reimagining his shirt to contain words representing he was a writer. In the backdrop of the image of Langston Hughes is the American Flag merged with African fabric to represent his African American heritage. The quilt is also bound with African fabric. Across the top of his hat I placed the word from the poem “pioneer” as I see Langston Hughes as a “Pioneer Poet”. He was the “pioneer on the plain” of writing relevant to the African American experience.

“Let America Be America Again” was written in 1935, however it remains quite relevant in 2021.

In addition to sharing on this blog post, I’ve also added the image of the quilt and the Artist Statement to my Portfolio page on my website, under the “Special Stories” section; as well as update to my News page (updates on my “textile art adventures”).

After the show Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West opens at The James Museum (show runs September 3, 2022 – January 8, 2023), it will begin a national tour through 2025.

According to Collections Manager at The James Museum, my piece Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet will travel with the show to the following locations:

Additional venues into 2025 are currently being explored.

If you’d like to read Langston Hughes’ poem that inspired this quilt – Let America Be America Again – you can read the entire poem at this website: poets.org/poem/let-america-be-america-again

Studio

Quilter Distractions: Good Mail filled with “Taupe”

My friend the quilt artist, quilt book author, and quilting teacher, Wendy Hill (@wendyquilter) was generous enough to send me a package of good mail the other week.

Inside the package were fabric scraps (small and large to very large) and completed blocks from when she was fascinated with making “Taupe” quilts.

She had an article in the July/August 2007 publication Quilters Newsletter Magazine which discussed Taupe quilts and featured her amazing Taupe quilt – Isotaupe.

Here is an image of it from her website (she now uses Instagram as her primary social media) Wendy Hill Quilt Artist:

image credit: wendyhill.net

This image does not do it justice, it is amazing in person; and I first saw either this quilt or another Taupe quilt of Wendy’s at an art quilting show when I lived in Central Oregon. It was before I knew Wendy as a friend, she was an amazing local artist and quilt book author.

I got to know Wendy through running in to her at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon. I believe it was at the annual Pajama Sale (see this old post of mine for information about the annual Stitchin’ Post Pajama Sale where you would get huge discounts on fabric if you showed up in the PJs before 8:00 am – Pajama Sale and Finished Pieces, a lot of great memories of attending that each year…), when I was working on my first Taupe quilt and Wendy consulted on fabrics and admired my blocks in progress (I cannot find a picture of that quilt which I gave as a gift to someone long time ago…)

So Wendy knew of my love for Taupe quilts and how much I was blown away with her Taupe quilts; and recently she was Spring Cleaning and sent me the lovely package of Taupe fabrics and blocks from quilts in progress that she decided not to complete.

Example of some of the blocks she sent:

Included in the package was also this pile of blocks:

I wasn’t sure of what pattern these blocks were supposed to be until I laid them out on my design wall:

Wow! The picture I took does not do these blocks justice as they are in a collection of amazing Taupe fabrics.

I knew I wanted to finish this quilt and I thought I could disassemble one of the blocks to create a pattern. Then I discovered from Wendy that this was a quilt she designed called SuperSymmetry and it was published in the October 2010 edition of The Quilt Life.

Here is a picture of the quilt SuperSymmetry from Wendy’s gallery page on her website wendyhill.net:

image credit: wendyhill.net

Isn’t it breathtaking?

I think I have enough Taupe scraps to finish the quilt as well as some Taupe in my collection such as these Japanese Taupe fabrics in my stash:

HOWEVER I am supposed to be focusing on working on my Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt (see post And then there were 88), but I’ve become very distracted by the contents of the package Wendy sent me!

I also came across this pattern recently, which would look wonderful with Taupe fabrics, in the January/February 2003 issue of Quilters Newsletter Magazine I picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents:

But I made myself put the contents of the package Wendy sent me away, so I can get back to finishing the quilt I am working on.

You know us creative types, we can be subject to easily distractible “squirrel’ moments like the dog Dug in the movie Up:

“I have just met you, and I love you” – one of my all-time favorite movies lines, as well as one of my all-time favorite animated movie!

I must focus on my current project.

I must focus on my current project.

I must focus on my current project.

SQUIRREL!


Postscript

If you would like to learn more about “Taupe” as a color/concept, here overview of Taupe, from Colorpsychology.org:

Taupe is considered to be intermediate shade between dark brown and gray, which shares similar attributes of both colors. However, taupe does not describe a single color, rather, it is used to describe a vast range of colors from dark tan to brownish gray. Taupe is a neutral hue — neutrals are created by combining complementary colors (colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel) which results in desaturated brownish colors or mutes — likewise, taupe hues are achieved by mixing together umber and white pigment.

The word, taupe, originates from the French word, taupe, and the Latin word, Talpa, which translates to “mole,” as it was primarily used to describe moleskin. Notably, variations of taupe have appeared on the Pantone Color Trend Reports over the years. Recently, ‘Warm Taupe’ was featured on the Fall 2016 color palette. Taupe provides the perfect backdrop to complement and offset brighter colors.

tierneycreates

Comfort Quilts Needed

My friend Chela let me know that the quilt group in Uvalde, Texas, called Quilts of Grace is looking for “comfort quilts“.

Here is the scrappy “postage stamp quilt” (but with 3.5 inch scrap squares used instead of the traditional 1.5 to 2 inch squares) that I packaged up this morning to send to the group:

I was ambitious on trying to save money to postage and tried to fit it into a smaller flat rate padded envelope…

Many different quilting folder strategies did not work, alas, and I had to put it in the larger flat rate envelope (which I should have done from the start):

I hope this quilt will comfort someone impacted by the devastating school shooting massacre.

Besides donating money to the victims fund and trying to make wise choices of who I vote for in elections, I’ve felt helpless in the face of so much devastation. This feels like something I can do to perhaps ease a tiny bit of suffering for those impacted. Hey even if someone give this quilt to their dog as a dog bed quilt, it will be something useful!

If you are a quilter interested in participating, here is the information that Chela sent me:

The Library Stack, tierneytravels

Peaceful Oasis at the Austin Central Library

I was in Austin, Texas the week of 05/23/2022, the same week of the School Shooting Massacre In Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday 05/24/2022. I was staying in downtown Austin, where my partner John was attending a multiple day work meeting with his leadership team.

Tuesday 05/24/2022 I was coming out of the hotel gym after a great workout, about to go back to my hotel room, shower and then spend the day exploring downtown Austin, when I passed by the hotel bar area where news of the shooting was being broadcast.

I stood there dumbfounded and in shock, surround by other hotel guests who were equally in shock. The school shooting occurred 10 days after another horrible mass shooting that shook me to my core – the Buffalo, NY Grocery Store Shooting.

John was in a work meeting and could not be disturbed so I was left to spend the rest of the day in distress, flipping from news channel to news channel to find out more and more disturbing details while sobbing.

That evening I went to dinner an evening boat tour to see the bats that live under one of the bridges on the river that runs through downtown Austin, with John and his colleagues. At dinner we kept the conversation as light as we could and several of his Austin based colleagues talked about the amazing Central Library in downtown Austin.

Library? An awesome library?!?! Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I am obsessed with public libraries. I’ve loved libraries since I was young (9 or 10?) and spent a summer at the public library nearly every day, riding my bike to the library every day and befriending the kind librarians who worked at the library and took me under their wing.

John’s colleagues mentioned that the Austin Central Library had a rooftop garden and amazing architecture.

Libraries to me are nearly sacred peaceful oases. I knew that Wednesday I needed to visit the Austin Central Library.

And I did. And it was a peaceful oasis and my spirit was centered and calmed for a couple blissful hours.

Here is the photo essay about that visit.

I walked a mile through the beautiful park (River Metro park?) along the Colorado River running through downtown Austin to the Central Library. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and in another post I will share photos from that walk as well as other photos of downtown Austin.

I entered the library on a lower level and I tingled with anticipation. Here are the stairs that greeted me that I could not wait to climb:

Before ascending the stairs, I noticed the library had an amazing high tech book return station:

After ascending the stairs, and being the library geek I am, I stopped at the information booth, informed the library team member who greeted me that it was my first visit to the library (and how excited I was to be there) and got a map to guide me through the library.

The library’s interior was amazing. The library has 6 levels, connecting with lofty ascending staircases. I explored all 6 levels!

The library has a huge clock that it can be viewed from any level and is as tall as a level or more:

This window, viewable from many levels, is just breathtaking:

I already heard about the rooftop deck and was planning on making that my last stop after exploring the other levels but then I discovered the library had a READING PORCH and I started on a mission to put together a “library stack” to take out to the reading porch.

I headed to my favorite section – Non Fiction – 700s to put together my stack!

I took my lovely “library stack” to the reading porch and spent a couple hours reading books as well as having a little picnic lunch I put together on the enclosed porch with views of downtown Austin:

It was so amazingly peaceful on the reading porch and I could only hear the bird song (there were trees filled with birds near the porch) and the sounds of traffic below. It was such a wonderful place to read my “library stack”(which I could only read/look through at the library since I was not a local resident).

After a couple hours in the reading porch and some reading of/flipping through the books in my stack, I returned them for re-shelving inside, and then wandered additional levels until I got to the rooftop deck.

A couple fun standouts on my way to the rooftop deck include the “Technology Petting Zoo” and the Board Game area – where you could grab a board game and play games with friends/family at the library!

I was not sure what to expect of a library’s rooftop deck but I was pleasantly surprised! It was huge, filled with people reading, visiting and lounging about. It had a garden area and amazing views of downtown Austin!

Here are some of the photos I took while on the rooftop deck:

I was craving something sweet and after the rooftop deck, I headed back to the ground floor of the library and had a cupcake at the library’s cafe called the Cookbook Bar & Cafe.

And guess what – the cafe was filled with used cookbooks! You could browse/flip through cookbooks while you ate (and I did) – it was glorious (and the cupcake I had was glorious!):

With my belly full of delicious cupcake and my spirit soothed by the energy of a public library, I headed back to my hotel, enjoying the scenery immediately outside of the library on my route back to my hotel.

I took a ridiculous amount of photos but I tried to select the photos that would give you a general idea of how awesome the Austin Central Library was to visit. Here is a little video tour if you are wanting more:

Oh and I thought this was pretty cool – I’ve never seen a library do this!

tierneytravels

Trip to San Diego October 2021

Well since I appear to have returned to blogging, I should finish up my story about my trip to San Diego in October 2021 and stay at at the Rancho Bernardo Inn/Resort when my partner John attended a conference (see post Rancho Bernardo in Black and White).

The Rancho Bernardo Inn is one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever stayed and their property is amazing. As their website proclaims, they have 265 acres to explore and I think I explored at least a quarter of those acres during the 4 days I was there, while John was attending conference sessions, etc.

In the previous post about this trip (Rancho Bernardo in Black and White) I shared some of the photos I took in B&W. Now I will share the photos in color so you can see the true beauty of this place.

Here is the photo I consider the “money shot” from the stairway down to the spa and pool area – it was just breathtaking:

We stayed in one of the rooms off the golf course (and John did get to play golf one afternoon) and here was the view when you stepped outside our room:

I spent several days wandering about the grounds of the resort and here are color photos from that wander:

The food at the resort was amazing, very “farm-to-table” style of cuisine. During my wandering I discovered they have a “Chef’s Garden” on site and I guess that is why the meals tasted so fantastic!

In addition to wandering/exploring the grounds while John was at his conference, I also found a cozy nook off the main lobby, in front of the fireplace (it was October and got a little nippy at times) to sit and work on the English Paper Piecing project I brought (I always bring hand work when I travel):

I’ve been working on this project for years, and I should do a blog post update some time.

Although I wish I’d had more time with John to do some sightseeing while in San Diego, as he was so busy with the conference, I did manage to keep myself entertained for a couple of days.

One thing John and I did do together was go to Eleanor Burns’ Quilt in a Day one afternoon. I’ll show you photos from that visit on the next post.

Fabric Scraps Obsession, Sampler Quilts, What's on the Design Wall

And then there were 88

Recently I’ve been hiding away in my sewing room to escape the world. I’ve been productive during my escape, and I’ve now completed 88 of the 100 blocks for Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt I’ve been working on.

This is not the final layout for the quilt, I’ll decide that after I finish the 12 remaining blocks. It seems a little overwhelming to decide the perfect layout for 100 blocks, but I am going to just try to make them look as random as possible (and try not to let the same color touch…we’ll see…).

If you are just joining us and are interested in the progression of this quilt, check out the previous post about it which also has links to the other blog posts on it – And then there were 70….

For the remaining 12 blocks, I decided to stop trying to find pieces long enough to make each block (a lot of the remaining blocks need fabrics of at least 6.5 inches) from this pile:

Instead I cleaned up my cutting table, putting fabric scraps away by color in my fabric scrap storage system:

And I am going to be very deliberate about color choices (based on what I have too much or too little of in my quilt so far) and shop for fabric scraps from my collection of fabric scraps organized by color in my wine crate storage unit:

I am going to try and use these remaining fabrics, from the initial pile, that I did not put away with the rest:

I want to try and repeat those fabrics.

I’ve decided on how to finish the quilt – I am going to sew the blocks all together in a 10 by 10 row with no lattice, and no borders. Just plain and simple, allowing the blocks to just shine through without any clutter.

I realize this will make it only a lap size quilt instead of a Queen or King size which you could get by using some of the layouts in the back of the book Tula Pink’s City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. Lap size works for me as I might actually just hang it on a wall and display it. I’ll decide after I get it back from the long-arm quilter.

Well back to hiding out in my sewing room and finishing up the 12 remaining blocks to get to 100 blocks, which at one point seemed so far away!


Postscript

I developed a sort of production system to sew so many blocks.

I would pre-cut a large amount (15 or more) of blocks; and then sit down and sew them, trying to use chain piecing as much as possible, even working on two or more blocks at the same time. 

Well my partner John took an old folding table and put a wooden table top on it for me to add to my existing work table to act as a “return” and give me space for ironing while piecing and any trimming needed.

This really added to my efficiency in block making!

And here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer hanging out under my sewing table while I am at work: