My J.O.B.

Seriously, I have the best job ever. It wasn't always so. When I graduated from college and moved East, teaching positions were scarce so I started working for a bank in the marketing department. My friends reading this are dieing laughing– Terry! Numbers! — not possible. But I did spend several years running regression analysis and computing all sorts of statistics and making frantic phone calls to my husband, “How do I find that percentage thing again?” I was deliriously joyful at my exit interview, moving on to become a mother and homemaker.
When I bought my longarm machine, I never entertained the idea of quilting for others. But now I meet such interesting people and they let me quilt their beautiful creations. Tracy and Rich brought me a quilt they made together. Rich had a very specific plan for the quilting and actually mapped it out on paper– I suspect he's an engineer…
Tracy hand pieced all the 9 patch blocks together over years, intending to make a quilt for their bed. Sewing the blocks together by hand with sashing and borders was daunting, so Rich bought a sewing machine. And taught himself to sew! He's got to be an engineer… The top was really big and tested the very limits of my Gammill's 18 inches of quilting space.
That is a whole lot of hot pink backing.
Rich specified 16 petal daisies, radiating from a circle in the center, quilted in the blocks. I made a template out of cardboard.
I knew I couldn't just freehand the whole flower and have it look good. I used a plastic circle template and a straight ruler because Rich wanted the design to be uniform.


I did freehand the feathers but the borders and 4 patches got more ruler work. So, how do you figure out how to evenly space three quilt lines along 4 long borders? Resort to math and measuring? Noooooo! Marking a length of masking tape and moving it as I go works for me. I'm so not an engineer…
Tracy and Rich decided they really wanted their quilt “bed ready” so I squared the top, and bound the quilt for them. Those monster T squares are for carpet laying– sorta “borrowed” from Gary.
The solid pink fabric with the blue quilting thread really shows off the design on the back.
It was hard to get a good picture of this beautiful quilt. I miss all those bright colors in my studio.
Rich texted me in route to pick up the quilt. “Don't be alarmed–I'm coming on my Harley” I meet such interesting people! And quilt such lovely creations! Maybe I can't really call this a J.O.B.


Christmas Trees

Peggy made this beautiful quilt top. She and her husband own Don's Tree Farm in Greenwood, Delaware. Click on the link to read about all the events for the Holiday season, including Santa visits, and new this year–trains! It is a wonderful family experience and a great place to find your perfect Christmas tree. People come from miles around to collect the free ornament, gifted with each tree purchased. Peggy has a Christmas Shop filled with fresh wreaths, center pieces and decorations of all kinds.
She wants me to quilt the top to hang in her shop. Gulp!
I really wanted to do a good job for my friend and the top was on my design wall for quite a few days while I cogitated, (ok…fretted.) Peggy's direction for the quilting was, “Do whatever you want.” Big gulp! I took a photo and used the App, “Skitch” on my iPad to sketch out some ideas. I wanted to break up the space but not detract from the gorgeous trees.
I really love it when I can use a line of masking tape and not have to put any type of marking on the top.
This is serious fun! Freehand quilting swirling snow in drifts behind and around the stands of pine trees.
Snowflakes falling and snowballs flying amid the drifting snow.
It's so great to quilt for your friends, because you think about them as you work. Peggy loves Christmas and decorates her home so creatively. The wide green border got swags of holly and berries and some bows and feather bits, and I am smiling, remembering our Bee having Christmas lunches at Peggy's house.
Tucked under one of the evergreen boughs, I quilted a little snowman. I wish I had taken a picture of the backing fabric Peggy found for her quilt. Antique red pickup trucks, loaded with a Christmas tree, coming home with the family.
The finished quilt. Perfect for Christmas at Don's Tree Farm!


Fat or Skinny?


When my daughters were applying to prestigious ballet summer programs, they wanted to find the fat envelope, containing all the forms and information in the mailbox. Not the skinny, one page “We regret to inform you…” letter.

Well, I received the fat envelope, informing me that both my quilts, Silvan Refractions and Trillium Ridge have been accepted at the Jenkin's Arboretum exhibition. Woohoo!


I also received the fat envelope– or fat email in this case. I'll be teaching Quilting in Layers at MidAppalachian Quilt Conference again next summer. More on that later. Actually, I have so much to catch up on, starting with blogging. I have been crazy busy with all good things quilty, that I need to share. But I am rushing to toss sewing stuff in the car, because I am off to Bonnie Hunter Day at Andra's house. We're strippin' all day today! More on that later, too.


Connecticut Finished

Look at that bright blue sky. A cold front moved in, dropping temperatures overnight. I had on two long sleeve shirts and a light down jacket. I didn't want to stop long enough to put on my hat and gloves and we would be climbing soon, so I expected to warm up.
Less than a half mile hiking, we reached the top of Bear Mountain. The remaining six miles were a gentle meander down. We quickly crossed the Massachusetts, Conneticut state line. Years ago, Laura and I and two other friends, backpacked the trail through New York and Conneticut but I went home, leaving just a few miles to finish the state.
I spotted this harmless garter snake, sunning himself.
Lots of folks were hiking up to Lions Head. A great view is a wonderful reward.
Down in Salisbury another reward. Woohoo! I have completed Conneticut and started hiking in Massachusetts. I am looking forward to the hiking north into Vermont.
Mt. Washington Road to Guilder Pond 6.6 miles
Mt. Washington Road to Cobble Road 6.8 miles
Total section 29.6
Miles remaining 675.7


Fallen Leaves

Hiking down into Sage's Rivene was beautiful. The contrast between the green pines, tannin blackened water and red leaf carpet was striking.
The stream carved a sharp gorge and undercut the rocks.
The Trail guide mentions, “numerous swimming holes” and I tryed to picture how different, and inviting this spot would be on a hot summer day.
I love looking at the leaves beneath the waters surface.
I even made a quilt about leaves on the river bottom after a canoe trip on the Brandywine River, years ago.
Sage's Ravine was dark and mysterious, and that makes hiking up into the open forest a little magical. Laura and I were quiet and contemplative, enjoying the woods.
The hard work of the day was climbing Mt. Everett. These rock ledges on the mountain's shoulder go on for just about a half mile.
Laura does not like exposure and stays well back from the edge.
It was very overcast but the sun occasionally peaked through the clouds and gave us nice views of the fall colors across the valley below.
I really appreciate a sign that lets you know you have actually reached the top of the mountain. The state of Maine could take a note here.
Back down in Great Barrington, I had to snap a quick photo of this church. I guess a new foundation is the plan. Being a section hiker out on day hikes is so wonderful. I get to see the small towns all along the Appalachian Trail, adding another dimension to the journey. That, and a soft bed and MUCH better dinner!



The Berkshires

Laura called and said the weather was going to be great for a few days, “Let's hike!” I grabbed the day pack and jumped in the car. That James Taylor song “Sweet Baby James” was playing in my head driving up to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, “The Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting. With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go.”

There's no snow frosting the mountains, just fall colors and that wonderful autumn scent in the air. Laura found a Class A lunch spot. 1. Perfect bench-like seat 2. Interesting view 3. Destination mark on the map.
I'm surprised that there isn't more fall color, but New England has had a strange season– an early cold snap, then very warm temperatures has had an affect on the display.
Lots of leaves are already down, too, so I'm taking care on these rock stairs.
It wouldn't be New England without these beautiful rock walls.
Bittersweet is everywhere! And more chipmunks than I've seen in my lifetime.
This hike had a bit of everything, mountain climb, meadow walk,
And pine forest, carpeted with soft pine needles.
This marker recalls Shays Rebellion of 1787. Humm… I know that's after the Revolution but I'll have to look up the history. Maybe in the hotel room after dinner. I love slack packing!
Tuesday Housatonic River to Lake Buel Road 6.6 miles
Wednesday Guilder Pond to Housatonic River 9.3 miles


Fabric and Cake

I left a little early for my trip to the Annapolis Quilt Guild because I wanted to visit Cottoseed Glory Quilt Shop.
They carry a fantastic selection of Kaffe fabrics and batiks– and lots of other wonderful quilty things. Like Thangles, that I couldn't find at a single vendor at the Oaks quilt show.
I got seduced by the greens, as usual. And one lone orange fat quarter. I am really kicking myself for not buying a whole bunch more orange fabrics. Of course I remembered a project I need lots of orange colors for, after I got home.
The Annapolis Guild has a super room to hold workshops.
I had a really fun day with these talented ladies. Thank you for hosting my workshop!
Next week is Gary's birthday. He has a busy week so I decided we should start early with a cake.
This magazine is currently in the grocery store and that cover photo had me salivating in line, waiting to check out. The recipe didn't disappoint! Apple spice cake with Carmel apple topping.
There was more batter than could fit in my two cake pans so I made a bitty cake, too. I also wanted to test the Carmel sauce to see if it would “drizzle.” I know what you're thinking…and NO, I did not taste test the bitty cake. But man, did I ever want to!
A Bite of Italy restaurant in Kennett Square graciously allowed me to bring the cake for serving after dinner. Eleven friends can really demolish a big cake. And that's a good thing!


Ho Hum

The Sometimes We Do quilt bee is planning a Bonnie Hunter Day. The plan is to cut up our copious stash fabrics and create some useful, beautiful quilts. So I've been sorting fabrics to make a second twin size quilt for my two granddaughters. Good job for a rainy few days.
It has been pouring down rain for the past three days and I have been doing a bit of sewing but mostly reading. And eating brownies. I really enjoyed this book by Liane Moriarty. Definitely a page turner, we know someone gets murdered in the first chapter, but we don't find out WHO, until almost the last chapter.
I read this book, too. It was even better. The main characters are fictional but the story of children orphaned in New York, put on trains and relocated for adoption in the Midwest, is historically true. The author weaves together present day with the past. Interesting how some of our attitudes towards adoption have changed, and others, stayed the same.
The brownies have all been devoured and although it is windy, cold and gloomy, the rain has stopped. Thankfully Hurricane Joaquin has decided on heading out to sea. I'm releaved because today I am packing up for a trip to speak and teach a workshop for the Annapolis Quilt Guild. We had to cancel back in March when a late ice storm made the roads treacherous. I have already made a quilt called After the Ice Storm. I don't even want to think about making a quilt, After the Hurricane.


Braggin’ It Up

Did you think this was going to be about a quilt! No, but stay tuned on that… Moms get a free pass on bragging about their children, right? (Grandchildren, grand dogs and quilts, too). This is my daughter in Aunt Kira costume with my granddaughter, Mackenzie.
In her professional life, Kira is a model and just did a television commercial for Old Navy! I've seen it several times on ABC and NBC. She has done television spots before but this time, she has a speaking part. Every time Gary sees the ad, he says “What did she say?” And I say, “Distressed.” Clearly, he is not the target market for Old Navy jeans, but he loves watching his daughter. Me too!
Take a watch and have a listen!


Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza

PNQE quilt show in Oaks has special meaning for me. A whole lotta years ago, when the show was in Ft. Washington, I screwed up my courage and entered a quilt, for the first time. I still remember the shock and thrill I felt, seeing the Blue ribbon hanging next to Ravens Seize The Day.
I thought I'd show a few of my favorites from this year's show. Deborah S Hyde won Second Place in The Innovative category for Edna. Those pieces are 1 inch squares!
Deborah had another quilt in the show, Sam In Sunlight. This artist doesn't use any paint, dye or photography, not even a computer. Fabric selection alone, creates the values. Just piecing the more solid “quilt” pattern, with such tiny blocks, blows me away.
This quilt called Tram Route #10 by Sue de Vanny of Australia was in the World Quilt Exhibition.
It looks like the train station and trees are painted, with the tram pieced and appliquéd on top. I don't always like paint, or shiva paint sticks used on quilts but this image was so well done, I think I might like to try the technique.
This quilt ?, Maker shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons, got my What The Heck And Why Award.
I love quilts made by Karen Stone. I don't love making them because I don't deal well with paper piecing.
The precision is awesome. I think the circle appliqué and scalloped border really enhance this quilt.
This was my favorite quilt in the show. I've always liked quilts made by Laura Fogg and I usually recognize her style but this quilt is a bit different. Laura wove the fabric strips for the background and raw edge fused the crows and tree. I think I need to make some more ravens.
I took this photo for my friend Cheryl Lynch, who does workshops on creating pet portraits. Coco, by Neroli Henderson, is a Bichon Frise and reminds me of a pet quilt Cheryl made of her Best Bud, Bailey.
The dogs face had an incredible texture of tiny, sewn fabric bits and the background was quilted text, all about Coco.
And hey, I got an award too! Trillium Ridge won Second Place in Wall Quilts. Sure wish there was an App for “trim 10 pounds off” for photography. Or better yet, in real life.


Quilts On Wawaset

My friend, Susie Racabaldo, quilt Bee member and fantastic Longarm quilter is back in business.
Susie recently moved into a new house and has been renovating, updating and building a dream quilting and sewing studio.


Sometimes We Do Quilt Bee members were treated to a walk through of her new space. Also, blueberry scones, broccoli cheddar quiche and fruit salad. That quilt rack…be still my heart!
Susie didn't have a design wall before. That alone is reason to move. I don't think I could sew without one.
Isn't this ruler decoration cool. I really want one! Ok, I admit it…I'm lusting after the whole room. (But I could be satisfied with just that wonderful, big quilt rack!) Great entry for customers, good parking, light filled studio and an inspired and expert Longarm quilter. What more could you want? (Sorry, don't think she's handing out the blueberry scones…we're special.)
So bundle up those quilt tops you have stacked in the corner and drive on over. Susie's ready! Quilts On Wawaset.



Not hiking, hanging out waiting for a tire. Gary spent the whole morning calling tire distribution centers. “Porsche Cayenne? Is that some kind of foreign car?” Umm, yeah. Apparently they don’t buy foreign cars in Maine or tires that fit them. The four of us brainstormed numerous plots involving renting a car, driving somewhere, anywhere, to pick up and deliver the new tire — a complete impossibility. They don’t have car rentals in Maine. We tried getting a shuttle into the 100 Mile Wilderness, totally impossible. Unless we want to drive to Boston, tire fix is not happening today.
It’s really hard to imagine, in this day and age, just how stuck and out of options you can actually get. The nice owner of our motel drove us back to Greenville and Gary had the garage take the tire off and put the donut tire on. This involved taking all the crap out of the back and sitting with most of it in our laps because the big tire rim was in the back. But we needed transportation, to meals, for instance, since Kineoview is 15 miles from anything. So we drove 28 miles on the donut tire to Dexter, Maine. Well, that drive was almost as interesting as trying to get up a rock logging road.
Always Be Prepared. That’s my first rule and I was glad to have my appliqué blocks and a good book because we had to bide our time waiting for the tire. We stayed at The Brewster Inn, a gorgeous home originally built for Govenor Owen Brewster. Brewster was played by Alan Alda in the movie “The Aviator.” Gary and I actually slept in the room President Harry Truman stayed in.
Our Innkeeper suggested dinner at Pastimes Pub, a very cool restaurant a few miles away in Dover-Foxcroft. The building was a bank and still has the old vault and teller window. Farm to table cuisine and a pint or two shared with good friends ended the day we should have been climbing Whitcap Mountain.
Really, really tired of tires, we finely got on our way after noon, dropped Laura and Tim off at home in Newburyport, Massachusetts and drove straight on home to Pennsylvania. Gary got a few hours sleep and headed to the airport for a trip to Charleston. Which is why we couldn’t just stay and finish the hike.
We left Laura’s car at the trailhead near the AT so that she and Tim could drive their other car back to Maine and hike the 14 miles. They did that on Saturday and Sunday and Laura reported that the backpack over Whitecap and three other peaks was very difficult, wet with rain and no views because of dense fog.
I am so depressed to not have completed those 14 miles of the Wilderness. I can’t imagine how I would be able to get back there without extreme difficulty and expense. Not to mention that Gary said he is never going back. I am bitterly disappointed not to have been able to finish the last miles of Laura’s Appalachian Trail hike with her. I am jumping up and down, cheering and fist-pumping, deliriously happy for her amazing accomplishment. At least I helped her make it possible.
Miles hiked 17.3
Miles Remaining 705






What a Day

What is this? A camping yard sale?
We drove into the 100 Mile Wilderness, 20 miles on the Katahdin Iron Works Road and then 12 miles on unmarked “roads” finding our way by Laura reading mileage and Gary watching the odometer. We are trying to find the White Brook trail head at the base of Whitecap Mountain, that leads to the Appalachian Trail. Until… we heard a loud “pop” and ominous “hiss-ssss”.
Noooo! Or I should say yes, it is flat. Pan cake flat. Just one lousy rock has punched a hole in the tire side wall. No patching that, but we have a spare tire and two strapping old guys to change it out, right. This is where it gets bad.
We took all the backpacks and travel stuff out of the car to get to the spare tire. Gary noticed immediately that the special tool, an anti-theft device, needed to get the tire and rim off, IS MISSING. MISSING. As in totally not there. All four of us spent the next hour searching every nook, cranny, crevice and compartment for the damn, magic tire tool. Not to be found. Then Gary and Tim tried all kinds of crap to “McGiver” the tire off. Nothing doing. We are well and truly screwed.
It's not all bad, however. We have a tent, sleeping bags, plenty of peanuts and M&M's, even lawn chairs. Hey wait….WE HAVE A CELL PHONE SIGNAL! I do NOT believe it! I have hiked over 85 miles in the 100 Mile Wilderness and never gotten the tiniest signal. Anywhere. We are saved! Sort of….
It just happens to be Labor Day, in Maine, where the closest town within 150 mile radius has a population of about 17. We exhausted the batteries of all four cell phones, calling out, leaving messages on machines. Luckily, the car battery recharges the iPhone's. I finely got the grand idea of calling the Katahdin Iron Works Logging Company, where I got a human to give me the phone number of the check point (aka guard shack pirate) fee collector. We are saved! Not yet….
Every single tow truck driver in Maine is off grilling hot dogs or fishing. It is now about 3 hours after The Flat and we manage to get a call back. After Gary gives a lengthy explanation of where the car is located, the guy says, “You're in the 100 Mile Wilderness? You can't be. There aren't any roads in there.” (Now they tell me, huh.) Sorry, can't get to you.” The next tow service listens and then just hangs up. Just hangs up!
About 2pm we connect with Hank. It takes him 2 hours to drive to the check point, then Gary talks him through directions on the logging roads, since GPS won't work here. Laura and Tim walk down a mile and a half to a fork in the road to get him up the last part. Hank drives that big rig over the tiny, scary wood bridge, bumps over the rocks, slogs through the beaver damn wash out, scrapes trees on both sides, BACKING UP, the entire last mile and a half.
We are saved! Another two hours of driving, Hank drops the car off at a garage, closed of course, in Greenville, Maine. So, we are now on foot, at 6 pm, on Labor Day. Every accommodation in walking distance is booked– well, all two of them. What to do?
Laura and Tim strike off on some sort of reconesence mission. Gary finds the only open bar and a cold beer. I'm with Gary. The native Greenville, Maine bar tender, with authentic Maine accent, can't think of any way at all to solve our delima of a place to sleep tonight. I got the brilliant idea of calling the lovely people at Keneoview Motor Lodge, about 15 miles out of town, where we stayed 2 years ago, and asking, could they please come and pick us up.
Saved again! Tim opted for a cold beer while we waited for our ride. Laura is just so discouraged, 14 miles left to finish hiking her 11 year journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail. I don't have the heart to tell her, this part of the “adventure” isn't over yet.



Sweet Miles

After an amazing breakfast at the Young House bed and breakfast, we headed to Baxter State Park. Laura and I have tried to hike the 10 miles leading up to the base of Mt Katahdin twice before. Two years ago, after backpacking 40 miles of the 100 Mile Wilderness, Laura took a bad fall and broke her wrist. Last year, we decided to get the big job done first. Summit Katahdin, and the following day, do the easy 10 miles. What were we thinking? We did make it to the top, kissed the sign and got down safely at 8:30pm, so mentally and physically exhausted, hiking across a parking lot was out of the question, far less, 10 miles the next day.
So we returned to hike these 10 very beautiful and contemplative miles together. Again, Gary dropped us off and spent his day fishing and canoeing on Daicy pond.
The Trail meanders along the Nesowadnahunk Stream and tumbles down Little Niagra Falls.
Just a mile down river, Big Niagra Falls. It was a great day to take our time and enjoy the beauty. We passed at least 20 ThruHikers going North and I am awed at what it has taken to hike 2,180 miles from Georgia. I congratulated them on their accomplishment but they were quick to point out, they still face the challenge of climbing Mt Katahdin.
There were lots of folks that took the trail to the waterfalls. This man stayed in our B and B last night and was making pictures of the falls with a pin hole camera. I'd love to see those photographs.
Several times we got great views of Mt Katahdin. I can see the rocks from this distance– The Spur, the Tablelands, The Knife Edge, Baxter Peak. Knowing that I have already climbed that bad mountain makes this hike very sweet.
There are two river fords on this hike that can be treacherous in high water. No trouble at all for us and a great opportunity for a boots-off break and photos.
We finished the hike at the Abol Bridge, with Katahdin in the background, metaphorically and physically, and met Gary for Gifford's ice cream cones at the campground store. My very favorite end to a hike.
Katahdin Stream Campground to Abol Bridge
9.9 Miles Hiked


Maine Redux Number Two

It took us well over an hour to drive logging roads into the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine, so that we could use a side trail to access the Appalachian Trail. Laura and I have hiked hundreds of miles together and now she has just 31 miles left to complete her section hike of the entire AT. I started hiking at Amicolola Falls in Georgia with Laura 11 years ago and I want to hike these last few miles with her as she finishes. Gary snapped a quick photo and then will get back in the car to drive about 80 miles to pick us up.
It's a beautiful day but steamy hot, in the 80's. Where is that crisp, cool air?
Already I'm thinking about quilting! My quilt with pink trillium blossoms is headed to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza show, September 17-20.
I am grateful for the recent dry weather. It makes crossing the East branch of the Pleasent River a rock hop instead of a ford.
I have hiked past so many beaver dams and I have never seen a beaver. When do they do all this work, anyway? I have spotted beavers before, just never on the Appalachian Trail, which is probably a good thing because I'd want to stay and watch.
Driving the dirt logging roads is as extreme a challenge as hiking the mountains. You absolutely must have an SUV type of vehicle to negotiate rocks, washouts, “corduroy” log segments and high clearance to drive through streams and mud holes. Most importantly, you have to be able to decipher the maps where nothing at all is marked and be able to back up for miles when you hit a dead end with no turn around possibility. Thankfully, Gary excels in these skills and actually enjoys the “driving.” Leaving the 100 Mile Wilderness, you must stop at the check point and pay a fee of $12 per person to the Log Company PIRATES.

Driving out, this seems completely insane, right! But, we have hiked without having to haul a 30 pound backpack. Woo hoo!
We can eat dinner in a restaurant, take a shower and sleep in a comfy bed. Chocolate chip cookies!
And tomorrow morning, we will be served a bountiful breakfast at the lovely Young House B and B in Milliknockit.
Gary and I are in the A.T. room. Close enough for me!
Logan Brook Trail to Crawford Pond
7.4 Miles hiked.