Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2008 Fall Quilting Retreat

We really made lemonade out of lemons this year. Less than 48 hours before we were to arrive at the top of Beech Mountain and pick up our keys to the cabin, my phone rang. It was the real estate agent telling me that our cabin was not going to be available after all. The kitchen was being remodeled (we knew that in April) and would not be ready (after 6 months!!!) for us to occupy. AND he had no other cabins that large, so he was offering us a smaller cabin.

After a short time of deliberation, gnashing of teeth and pulling out hair, we decided we really had no other choice but to accept his offer and agreed to meet him at 9 a.m. as we had originally planned.

Elizabeth agreed to ride up the mountain with me, so we left her house about 6:30 on Saturday morning, 10/4, and had a pleasant and uneventful trip. The real estate agent met us and immediately put us in his car and drove us around Beech Mountain, the town, and showed us the recreation sites. He was most pleasant and accommodating. We finally agreed on the cabin he offered, thinking we could "make do" (isn't that what quilters are known for?) and "get by" with the limited space. He even offered to help us unload our cars and carry gear up all the stairs into the cabin! He brought us additional chairs from the fire station when we needed them and sent the plumbers when we developed a leaky shower.

We crammed 11 quilters (Carla, Eve, Sandy, Robbin, Nancy, Sandy, Ellen, Ronni, Sandy, Elizabeth, and me--all women, thankfully) into a cabin meant to sleep only 8, complete with tables, sewing machines, and ironing space. We cooked meals every day, sewed every day, stayed in our pajamas as much as possible, and had loads of fun. We read daily scripture selections, prayed together before meals, and shared intimate details about our lives. I can't imagine enjoying a week more than that one. The leaves changed as we watched them during the week, creating a palette of color that rivaled technicolor!

The hot tub was an unexpected pleasure for most of us, one that we requested for next year.

We played games, worked a jigsaw puzzle, made a couple of prayer quilts, worked on our own projects, and learned a few new things, too. We made time for knitting and playing with polymer clay, as well as learning new techniques for traditional patterns. We had one night scheduled just for "show and tell" to show off all our work from the week. The food was excellent and plentiful, the fellowship was friendly and meaningful, and the mountain was majestic. And even though my car wouldn't start when we were loaded up and ready to leave (and I had to buy a new battery on the way home), I am already looking forward to next year!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Look here for new things in the future!

So many new projects, so little time--and so much fun!

The third annual Lake Norman Piecemakers' Quilting Retreat starts Saturday, October 4. This year our one-week hideaway is at Beech Mountain in the beautiful and majestic Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. We have 11 quilters this year, a record number, and it's our first time in the mountains. We have rented a large 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom cabin that will sleep 13. Meals are planned, as well as kitchen detail, classes, shopping excursions, and lots of time for sewing, knitting, crafting, and relaxing. We are taking sewing machines, lamps, ironing boards (and irons), tables and chairs. It will be a "sweat shop without the sweat", and lots of laughs to go along.

Be sure to attend SAFF this year to see my Quilted Knitter's Tote Bag. It will first be released for sale in Sue Dial's booth, Clay Cat/Harvest Moon Handspun at SAFF on October 24.

I hope your fall is healthy and prosperous. With the gasoline shortage, banks failing, and stock market crashing life seems shaky at best these days. Let's remember to pray. And don't forget to vote in November!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Is Upon Us

It's that wonderful time of year--cool evenings and mornings with sunshine and warmth in the afternoon. The kind of days you want to spend outdoors every single minute. Open the windows, air out the stuffy house, pull out all that luscious wool and sort the sweater patterns. And, if you're like me, get to the quilting stage on that unfinished quilt top!

I managed to 'sandwich' 2 quilt tops last week that I intend to get quilted very soon. One of them I plan to take with me on my "Beech Mountain Quilting Retreat" the first week of October, the other is a gift for my youngest son that I hope to give him for Christmas.

I've also started a very special project that I've been mulling over for months: Knitters' Tote Bags. They are just starting in the production stage of the cycle, having been in the concept and design stages for far too long. You'll see them first at SAFF in Sue Dial's booth (look for Clay Cat/Harvest Moon Handspun booth) and hopefully after that at Baskets of Yarn in Charlotte and the Winter Knitting Retreat in Boone, NC, next March. For a better peak, click on the small photos and they'll pop up larger in a new window.

Soccer goes on, and on. Four games this week with no end in sight. I look forward to November for so many reasons: spending less $ on gasoline is just one of them. Cooler temperatures, knitting by the fireplace, cooking stews and soups for dinner, electing a new president, and spending Thanksgiving with my family are more reasons, and not necessarily in that order.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soccer Is My Life

Soccer, soccer, soccer, soccer and more soccer. Lucas plays for his school team, the Eagles, on Tuesdays and Thursdays and this weekend he begins his schedule with a club team. Weekend games are planned every single Saturday and Sunday until November. This is how Soccer Moms spend the fall of the year!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New School

Lucas was accepted into Lincoln Charter High School in Denver. He thought long and hard about it and finally decided that was the best place for him this year. He started on Monday, the 18th, a week earlier than his friends at Bandys. He's playing soccer for the school team and has his first game on Thursday. I've never seen him so excited about school! He's really enjoying his high school experience at Lincoln Charter. It was a good decision.

As for our plan to move to the Raleigh area, that has been put on hold. We will continue to try to sell our house, and when it sells we'll buy something in the Denver area and stay here until Lucas graduates from high school. I really hope it happens soon. I'm ready for civilization again!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Classes

It's almost fall; can you smell it in the air? Or is it just wishful thinking on my part? I'm so ready for cooler weather, color in the leaves, and brisk mornings that beg for warm, woolen sweaters. I yearn for my favorite sofa, a hot cup of tea, and needles in my hands knitting stitch upon stitch, creating something special for someone I love.

New knitting classes offered this summer at Baskets of Yarn include the A-line Jacket from Runway Knits (Karabella), Bettna Jacket by Noro, Dragon Melody Shawl and the Autumn Entrelac Shawl with that beautiful lacy edge by Jojoland, and Plymouth Yarn's Leaf Wrap made in the luxurious Royal Llama Silk yarn.
Yesterday's A-line Jacket class was fun. It was part one of a two-session class, to be followed up next Saturday afternoon. Susan, Cindy and Saundra were enthusiastic students and made great progress in the short time we had together. I expect lots of knitting this week so they'll be ready to assemble their sleeves next week!
Trish, the sock teacher, gave me a few minutes of her time to help me get started on another pair of toe-up socks. She knows a very special cast-on technique that is virtually invisible once it is mastered. She is definitely a 'sock diva' and the Queen of Socks in my opinion.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What have you been doing this summer?

My summer has been saturated with soccer. Soccer, and getting ready for the wedding of our grandson, Matthew, to his beautiful bride Elenie. By 'getting ready' I mean finishing my Stash Jacket, knitting the shell I wore under the jacket, finishing their wedding quilt and making sure Lucas was dressed appropriately. Oh, there was that pesky packing and traveling, too. And don't forget the airport snafus: late departure from Charlotte and a cancelled flight in Chicago to come back home, and finally a 3-hour delay on the flight we finally did manage to get to Charlotte. All in all, I can't say I'm glad we made the trip at all, but I sure am glad it's behind us.

Lucas was accepted into Lincoln Charter High School for this year. This, after he spent the entire summer in soccer practices for Bandys High School soccer team. He has been going twice a day for awhile and had been getting up at 5:00 a.m. for a week before we knew for sure he would get into LCHS. He had a huge decision to make about his future, and he very carefully weighed all aspects of his decision before finally selecting Lincoln Charter. He'll hopefully spend his 4 high school years there. He begins school on Monday, August 18. Thus, the carpool begins....

If we are able to sell our house on the lake we're hoping to find something in the Denver area that will be closer to his school (and nearly everything else we enjoy doing). Ahhh, to be close to shopping centers, grocery stores, gas stations, doctors offices, hospitals and schools again.... It truly does sound like a dream, it has been so long that we've lived in the boondocks. After listing our house with a popular realtor in the area for 6 months, we've only had 3 showings and none of those were productive. We're pulling our house off the market for now, making a few more improvements, and will list again later.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"Popular Girls" Retreat

Get your friends together that you really like to do things with--you know, the ones you like to "play" with; the ones who like to do the same things you do--the ones you can laugh with, sing with, cry with, pray with, get silly with, and be serious with. Get them together under one roof for a whole weekend and remove all other "distractions" for that period of time--like jobs, spouses, and children. Pick a name for that group of special friends and plan to have a "retreat" like no other. We tried to get 10 women together, but you know how that is. We ended up with 8, which was a good number. We also ended up with 4 dogs and 2 cats under the same roof. It was an exceptional group of women. We called ourselves the "Popular Girls"--mostly because none of us really felt very "popular" way back when we were in school, but we do feel like we're popular with each other! Of course we didn't have the luxury of being able to invite ALL of our friends -- there just wasn't room enough for all of our friends, and we didn't mean to exclude anyone from this group--you can be a Popular Girl, too, you know. It's just a label we adopted for ourselves to make us feel good--and to have something else to laugh about. It's not like we have "rules" or anything like that! Two of the Popular Girls adopted the names "Paris & Niki" for the weekend, which caused all kinds of behaviorial issues to come to mind--and most of us were of the age when "Paris" or "Niki" was easier to remember than their real names! (Isn't that sad?)
We started the festivities at Sue Dial's house in the mountains of western North Carolina on Friday night, May 23, and didn't stop until after we attended the "White Squirrel Festival" in Brevard on Sunday afternoon, May 25. We slept on couches, in bunk beds, on sleeping bags on a screened-in porch, someone even slept in a van. Truly, there wasn't much sleeping all weekend. We did very little cooking (ordered pizza one night), only a short shopping trip (to a bead store and the local yarn shop), brought most of our "provisions" with us, and stayed very busy. Normally after a weekend like that I would come home exhausted and have to rest and sleep for a couple of days (at least) to recover; but not this time. It was really refreshing, renewing, and oh so much fun. We knitted, dyed yarn, worked with polymer clay to make special beads, learned how to attach beads to an already-knitted garment, talked and talked and talked--and laughed.

I hope to post more pictures when we can get the time to "pool our resources" and share photos.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

As I promised, grandchildren...

There are so many things I can brag about when it comes to grandchildren, I could fill pages and pages. But I will restrain myself from boring those who do not have grandchildren yet and because of that wouldn't understand why it is so important to brag on them. I do have a few very important things to say about some of them, though, so bear with me:

Kate just graduated fromHollins University (Roanoke) with her Bachelor of Arts degree, Phi Beta Kappa, and Cum Laude. Her grades placed her in the top 10 students of her class. She plans to attend NYU graduate school later this summer, so she will be moving to New York.

Greg was just offered a job with the New York Mets in their security department, so he will be moving to New York next month.

Matthew, who will be married in August, flew to Montana for a job interview as a music teacher in a Christian school. The location is not far from Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, on the west side of the Rocky Mountains.

Jonathan performed over Mothers Day Weekend in a "Festival of Faith" concert at Wheaton College (Chicago) where he attends the Conservatory of Music. Fortunately, it was broadcast online so we were able to watch it on a laptop computer! Outstanding job!

Stephen graduates from high school in June and plans to attend (at this moment) Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mt. Vernon. Ohio.

Jesus Alfredo just finished an end-of-season baseball tournament in Orlando, where he plays several positions including Catcher.

Jessica still enjoys her year-round schedule for teaching 3rd graders in Wake County. She'll have a 3-week break starting in early June and plans to visit me for a few days. I'm looking forward to working together on some projects I've been saving for her the last several months.

Though there are several other grandchildren to brag about, I'll wait until another time to brag on them.

In the meantime, I'm taking Sonja to a weekend retreat in the mountains of Brevard tomorrow. We are so excited! We've started packing, making lists, checking lists, and packing some more. We'll be staying with my friend, Sue Dial, and she promises lots of fun things to do while we're there. I do hope your holiday weekend is fun, too!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!

My son, David, ordered this cake for me--said it was the best picture he could find on short notice! Ha! I think he inherited my sense of humor, don't you?

My Ravelry friends sent me well wishes with special postings--aren't they the greatest?

Sonja (you can read about her earlier on this blogsite) threw a big dinner party for me, pulling out all the stops--and all her energy--to make sure I had a good time. Isn't she the greatest? To update you on Sonja-she's finished with her chemotherapy and ready to start radiation next Thursday. BTW, in case you forgot, Sonja made the PJ's I'm wearing in the photo.

Quilting continues to take up huge blocks of my time these days. One for the grandson who graduates from high school this year is at the long-arm quilting machine now, one for the "unofficially adopted daughter" is also at the long-arm. The top for my very special "Mystery Quilt" is finished, and I'm contemplating quilting it myself. Now, besides those projects, the Lake Norman Piecemakers have finished 98 quilts for the Blackfeet Indians in Montana! We set a goal of 100 quilts, and we're going to make that plus some! I'm so grateful that God has blessed this mission. We had some help from the Lincolnton Quilters Guild, and every single Piecemaker has contributed to this project. All the quilts will be displayed in the sanctuary at DUMC on Sunday, June 15, for a special blessing before they are sent to Montana.

When my hands are not cutting, measuring, sewing or pressing pieces of fabric, they are knitting. I'm almost finished with the Bettna Jacket, which I'm teaching this month at Baskets of Yarn
and I'm making lots of progress on my Stash Jacket (Grandmother of the Groom Jacket) that I plan to wear in August in Chicago. Being the "process knitter" that I am, I couldn't wait to start 2 more projects, too--both of them are lace. I'll be posting pictures of those on my Ravelry pages soon.

My granddaughter, Jessica, tells me she reads my blog every day. Wow! That really makes me accountable for posting news here so she's not wasting her time. Jessica is my gem, and someone more special to me than she'll ever know. I treasure every minute I ever get to spend with her.

I'll write more about grandchildren tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Report from Paducah

Even with all the laughter and fun of being with good friends who share a common interest, Paducah proved to be a grand disappointment this year.

Maybe my expectations from former years' experiences were too high, maybe all the heartache and frustration of losing reservations (again) was too much to bear, but no a/c in the Convention Center and fighting too many people to get an "up close and personal" look at ANYTHING was just too much for me this year.

I won't be going back to Paducah for the AQS Show. We did find out that the show in Nashville this year will be moved to Knoxville in 2009. That's a much closer location for travel and will offer as much as I can stand in a quilt show, so that's probably where I'll be in August of 2009.

You can see all the winning quilts here.