Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

My little shoveler, Austin, peeking in with delight!

I hope everyone had a holiday filled with love, family, and peace.  With the help of modern technology, I was able to follow family from one side of the country to the other, from Massachusetts to Alaska. Close proximity to my grandchildren made it possible to see the joy of innocence on these two faces, the best gift of all.

One of my goals for the New Year is to post more frequently and I'm beginning today, but cheating just a bit.  Moda's blog had an excellent post today about organizing the stash and everything that goes with that.  Check it out here and see if there is something in it for you! Moda... The Cutting Table

A gift from Ruby to Grandma - many tea parties in my future!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From Georgetown, to Concord MA, to Adelaide, Australia...It's a Small World After All

Forty-five year old sweater made by my mom and a hat memory in the making

Last week I reflected on the memories created by handmade goods and the part they play in my life.  My brother, pastor at Holy Family Parish in Concord, MA and an accomplished blogger (A Concord Pastor Comments) made a link to my post.  His post went automatically to his Tweet account where it was marked as a "favorite" by a columnist with the Adelaide Now section of the  Messenger in Australia, Matthew Abraham.  Suddenly, there were people in Australia reading "Keeping Me in Stitches!"

This morning, my brother sent me an email with a link to an article in the Messenger.  Mr. Abraham has his own connection to the story of handmade goods and an inspiring one it is.  So, originating with an  email from dear Ethel in Massachusetts, at least a few people around the world are thinking about handmade memories and the people who create them.  How about you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My mother's knitting needles and great-grandmother's doily

This morning I read an email from my dear friend and maid-of-honor, Ethel.  She wrote,

Today is my day off and I plan to KNIT KNIT KNIT.  This year I am doing it this way:

Knit the back of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the back of Grace's Sweater
Knit the front of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the front of Grace's Sweater
Knit the left sleeve of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the left sleeve of Grace's Sweater
Knit the right sleeve of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the right sleeve of Grace's Sweater
Finish and seam Zach's Sweater.
Finish and seam  Grace's Sweater.

That way, they will both get them at the same time.  Hopefully on Christmas Day.  But this time I am letting them watch me as I knit.  That way (1) they will appreciate the time and work, and (2) they will know what to expect when it is done. 

Sounds like a plan, Ethel!  And knowing you, there's one more thing your grandchildren will see beside the time and work: the love that goes into every stitch.

The email set me thinking about some handmade items around my house.  I have two bedspreads that were crocheted by my great-grandmother, ready for use on my guest beds when needed.  There are beautiful tablecloths embroidered by my grandmother, and others hand-woven by an aunt during the cold winter months at the mouth of the St. Lawrence in Quebec, Canada.  Doilies, potholders, aprons, and place mats, lovingly made by relatives, find a special place in every room of my house.  In my hope chest there's a sweater my mother knit for my younger brother, worn by my sons, and waiting until my grandson is the right size to enjoy its warmth.  I own three vests Mom knit that are hopelessly dated and I'll probably never wear them again, but there's no chance they'll leave my closet since just seeing them brings back a warm memory.

As I got dressed to come to the shop, I chose a sweater my mother made for me 50 years ago.  There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of stitches in it, each one knitted with love.  When I wear it, it's like being hugged by a woman I have missed everyday for over eighteen years.

This morning, I completed knitting a cap for my son to wear skiing.  I hope that he'll think of me and my love occasionally when he wears it, or at least before he tosses it into the washing machine and ruins it!

During the Colonial period and early days of our nation, women seldom inherited land, but rather received what was known as "moveable estate," more often than not, textiles.  It may not have been equitable, but I imagine it was well loved and valued.

What memories are you making this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Big Horn Sheep Festival

Courtesy of the Colorado Department of Wildlife

This Saturday, November 10, 2012, is the day for Georgetown's Bighorn Sheep Festival and it is no wonder that the sheep like to come down from the mountains and head toward town with all of the activities planned for the day.  Of course, there is also the fact that it's mating season and stepping out to town for a date is a time-honored tradition in so many cultures.  

To learn more about Georgetown's herd and the schedule of activities for the day, click here: Better yet, come to town and see them in person.  

Though I have a variety of wool at The Quilted Purl, none of it comes from the Bighorn Sheep.  However, you could celebrate the day by knitting!

Interested in learning more?  How about this?

Devil’s Gate History Club encourages you to attend the following special event:

“Alpine Wildlife”


Mary McCormac
of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

as part of the annual Bighorn Sheep Festival
Friday, November 9, 2012
at 7:00 p.m.
in the Georgetown Community Center
This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

To Market, to market to buy a fat...

I'm off to market tomorrow, but hopefully will be buying a fat quarter rather than a fat pig!  In fact, I hope to buy many, many fat quarters in addition to checking out the best and latest in the quilt world.  The International Quilt Market in Houston, I read today, is the largest in the world.  This will be my second trip to the market and if last year is any indication, it should be terrific.  Not only will I have the fun of the Market, but my sister-in-law Nancy will meet me in Houston and the two of us will spend the weekend with my cousin Rosemary and her husband Tom.  Family, fun, and quilts  - doesn't get much better than this!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sights Around Georgetown on a Wednesday Morning

My first thought was this day is too beautiful for a Wednesday, then the words of one of my favorite hymns came to mind, "This is the day the Lord has made." So, I believe it is as beautiful as it is supposed to be.  Enjoy the walk, and why not do what the sign says and STOP by sometime!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Termination or Anticipation?

Termination Dust - Alaska

On my recent travels in Alaska, I learned a new term, "termination dust."  As we made our way on the Yukon and White Pass Rail Road to the Yukon Territory in Canada, our guide announced that termination dust had fallen over night, the first of the season.  The mountains were capped with a light dusting of snow signaling the end of the summer season and the coming "termination" of summer employment for many.

This morning as I turned the corner on to 7th St., I saw our own termination dust on one of the many mountains surrounding our valley.  But with 2.5 inches of snow yesterday at the Loveland Ski Area just 10 miles up the road whetting appetites for ski season, perhaps we should call it anticipation dust!

Anticipation Dust - look closely !

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wonderful Sites and Sights

Now that's a cabbage!  Cole Slaw for the population of Alaska!

My husband and I recently returned from an Alaskan trip that included a cruise of the Inside Passage and a trip to Denali, finally ending in Fairbanks.  Since it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll let my camera do most of the talking.

Sunset at sea on the Inside Passage

At both the Saxman Native Village in Ketchikan and the Chena Native Village in Fairbanks, I was greatly impressed by the number of youth who were part of the tourist programs. These young people are in positions of trust and importance as they share their native cultures and languages with the folks who come to visit.  What an eye to the future the elders of these tribes have to entrust so much in their young people.

Saxman Native Village Dance 
Chena Village Athabascan Piecework!

In Ketchikan, we had fun watching the antics of young loggers at the Great Alaskan Lumberjacks show,

but not until I had stopped by the lovely Silver Thimble Quilt Shop just across the way to pick up a few batik fat quarters with an Alaskan theme.  If you're in town, I recommend all three stops!

Juneau was literally a washout as it poured all day and both our float plane trip over the glaciers and whale watch excursion were cancelled.  On to Skagway!

Along the White Horse and Yukon Route
From Skagway, we took a fantastic train ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route, seeing the 18 inch path that hopeful gold rushers took to find their fortune. This was followed by a stop at Liarsville, a camp set up by the journalists of the gold rush days where we enjoyed an outdoor salmon bake (best salmon I have ever had!), panning for gold, and a dramatic and humorous poetic recitation. My best find there was a rusted old Singer sewing machine in the combination laundry /fortune teller tent.  My fortunes connected with laundry are simply that it will all be dirty again in a couple of days!
Fortunes Told $1 - no mention of how much a quilt might cost!

At the Rushin' Tailor's quilt shop in Skagway, I found some brilliant material to go with a Matryoshka doll we picked up for our granddaughter's birthday.  Shhhhh!

Back on board, we prepared for our voyage through Glacier Bay where we were blessed with one of the clearest days ever seen, according to the National Park Rangers who came on board to help us appreciate what we were viewing ... but seeing a glacier calve speaks for itself!

Glacier Bay -  Margerie Glacier
We paid for that crystal clear day with cloudy days that followed obscuring our view of College Fjords and back on land, Denali.
According to our guide, Denali is in those clouds!
However, I did find a spot for some locally hand spun yarn by Subarctic Spinners,

and just across from our place at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, a fine shop called Northern Originals for gifts and fabric.  Be sure to stop by if you're in Denali!

Our Alaskan adventure ended with the best sight in all of Alaska - our younger son, Michael, who drove the seven hours from his cabin in Valdez to Fairbanks to join us for a day!

Even after such a wonderful trip, there still is truth in the words of Dorothy, 
"There is no place like home!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On the Road with Dean and Betty

Betty and Dean Barton of Missouri

Towards the end of my morning walk, this lovely couple stopped to ask, as Betty put it, "a dumb question," not knowing that for a teacher, even a retired one, there are no such things as dumb questions.  It was simply where the nearest Wal-Mart might be found and that was easy to answer.  That out of the way, I had a chance to chat with Dean and Betty Barton of Missouri who made my day with their story and positive outlook on life.  Seems this couple, both of whom had lost spouses to cancer, have been married only 18 years after having met in a Wal-Mart.  This is their first motorcycle and they're on a road trip heading west and apparently having a super time.  They told me that after Dean's son suffered not one, but two strokes this past year and their daughter-in-law a heart attack, they realized that if there are things you want to do, get on it - life is short and at best, uncertain.  A few more minutes of chatting about real estate (lower in Missouri than Colorado) and quilting (Betty does her own long-arm quilting) and they were on their way to Wal-Mart. An anniversary, perhaps?  I don't know.  But I do know that my morning was brighter for having met the Bartons of Missouri.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Falling Into Autumn

Fabric: Moda's Autumn Breeze by Sentimental Studios
Leaves: A beautiful gift from God!

I take a walk most mornings and generally follow the same route, heading first up to Main Street, which in Georgetown is a dirt road in the shadow of Saxon Mountain.  The last few mornings have been cool, bordering on chilly, until I hit the sunshine on Rose Street.  Though it's still August, there's definitely the feeling of fall in the early morning air.  Just the other day I came upon these harbingers of autumn and since it's my favorite season, I was delighted.  Nothing like a crisp fall day to make a person want to knit or quilt.  Right now, I'm working on a scarf knitted with Mountain Colors Twizzle in Blooming Gale and have plans to start on a quilted throw using Moda's Collection for a Cause: Warmth, designed by Howard Marcus.  A percentage of the proceeds from quilt shops' purchase of the Collection for a Cause fabric goes to charity. The current "cause" is Habitat for Humanity - how appropriate for Warmth! What do you have in mind for the coming season?

Hats Off!

Hats off to The Quilted Purl customer Rene for creating this fine hat, her very first! Rene came to the shop a couple of weeks ago and expressed a desire to knit a hat and we discussed what was holding her back. A self-taught knitter, Rene is obviously talented.  We spent a short time going over some basics of hat knitting, which probably took more time than it should since Rene knits in the Continental style, while I knit in the English style.  She chose a beautiful Lonesome Stone Alpaca in the natural colors of two alpacas and here is the result.  Thanks for coming back for a little "Show and Tell," Rene.  I'm anxious to see what you knit next!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fun Freebie

3.5 inch Mug Rug

There are a few magazine and newsletters that send me emails and every so often there is a free pattern or free ebook offer.  Quilting Daily had an excellent pattern  (click on "pattern") that you may be interested in for a quick and simple gift.  It is called a "Mug Rug" and I had such a good time with it I made a dozen of them to start and sold four that afternoon.  Though the pattern calls for 3.5 inch squares, I used the remnants of a jelly roll, so mine were made with 2.5 inch squares.  Then I branched out and tried using some left over Charm Pack squares of 5 inches.  That seems to be a good size for a teapot, sugar and creamer.  Matching mug rugs would complete the set.  Finally, today I made one of the called for dimensions.  This really is a better size, I think.  None of mine have the matching mug marker.  People I drink tea with have to be responsible to keep up with their mug on their own!  Let me know what you think of the pattern. Enjoy!

2.5 inch Mug Rug
5 inch Charm Rug - good for teapot, sugar, creamer?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ready, Set, Sew!

My work area is down by the cubbies which hold some of my stash.

Moda Bake Shop is setting up links to various shops and studios so folks can see where others sew.  I entered The Quilted Purl when invited to do so, then realized there are few pictures on this blog of the shop itself.  So, if you have been wondering where I have fun all day, take a gander!  Better still, stop by for a visit!

A good place to sit, visit,  knit, or do hand stitching.

The computer is for me, the extra sewing machine for students.

Good natural light is a plus!

The cutting and ironing area

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Going Back and Moving Forward

My beautiful Aunt Doris 

I recently spent six days in the Atlanta area.  Late July is not necessarily a time period I would recommend for a visit to the sunny (read hot and humid) south, but as I was able to spend that time with family and dear friends, it was a very pleasant break.  Having lived in that area from 1978-1998, I was familiar with the area, but not with the million changes in traffic patterns, roads, and development.  Fortunately, family and friends had not changed and were as comfortable as ever.

It is never easy for me to go back to a place and see change (remember, I was a history teacher and love the past) but what a treat it was to sit with my Aunt Doris, reminisce, and catch up on family.  At 88, she is a beautiful, remarkable woman and such fun to be with as you can see in the picture.  She and I had a delightful few days, shopping, chatting, enjoying a delicious lunch and visit with my best friend and her husband.  Even a traffic tie-up on I-285 didn't dampen her spirits.

One evening, we sat and looked at family pictures from over sixty years ago that I had on my iPad.  Once through wasn't enough, so we did it twice, remembering those now watching over us from heaven and the good times of the past.

Going back certainly has its plusses, but so does moving ahead.  When my young, (ten and seven year old) cousins returned from their short family vacation, they took me in hand and introduced me to "Face Time" on my iPad.  After I returned to Colorado, young Meghan contacted me on Face Time to help her solve a little knitting dilemma.  What fun to see her, talk to her, and help her with her knitting!  Then last night she and sister Maddy checked in on me while my grandchildren were visiting.  Within seconds these four cousins, who had never met, were chatting and Maddy and Ruby showing each other their favorite monkeys while Austin kept declaring "I love you, cousins!"  Me too!

Maddy and Meghan with their knitting

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Seeing Stars

This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and historian/quilter Barbara Brackman has an excellent blog1812 War and Piecing, to commemorate the anniversary through quilting.  Her newest post addresses various star blocks found in pieces of the time.  It is interesting to note how very little these have changed over the years, though with all the new technology they are certainly easier and quicker to produce than our quilting ancestors would have found them to be.

If you wish to follow Ms. Brackman's blog, simply sign up and email notices will be sent to you with a link every time a new post is created.

Here at The Quilted Purl, there has been some excellent work done with stars recently as the above picture shows.  Unfortunately, Marisol believes the beautiful pillow she made was probably destroyed in the fire last month, but she is already working on another!

Do you like to make four patches?  If so, follow this link to A Quilting Life, for a quick and easy way to do so that almost guarantees perfect points, and a free pattern to make the table topper below.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sewing Machines I Saw and Loved

There were many objects to catch my eye and bring my mind to sewing as we travelled about.  Enjoy!

At the Avoca Woolen Mills, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

A brochure table in a cafe in Brugge, Belgium

Part of the floor in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - I think a quilter had a hand in this!
This one needs some TLC, but I loved it in the courtyard of Carrygerry Country House,
Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland
By a bright window in a cottage at Bunratty Folk Park

Tucked in a corner of a cottage at Bunratty Folk Park

 Two more window sites - the perfect spot to sew in cottages at Bunratty

A bit of praying while sewing is an excellent thing!

Down a hall, but not out of sight!