Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vacation Mode

Not a whole lot of quilting going on here, but enough. Last spring, we planned a vacation trip "up North" during shoulder season--the time between summer and leaf peeping season. We love the time of year when the trees show just a hint of color and the morning air is crisp. It's perfect for biking on trails--no crowds and no sweat. Well this year? Ha! Temperatures were in the 90's. At the 45th parallel. At the end of September. The towns and beaches were crowded with visitors and locals soaking up bonus summer weather. We had a good time. It was just more summery than planned until the very end when the temperature plunged more than 30 degrees--ah, that was more like it.. I'll include a few pictures at the end of this post, but first I'll focus on what's been going on in my little quilting life.

I'm trying to remember where I was with projects before we left town. I think I shared a bit on Instagram about my Lake Michigan quilt. The top is all pieced now. 

My plan is to embroider some tall grass in the foreground where the crude paper patterns are and then some progressively smaller bunches to create depth. I was trying to decide whether to embroider the grass before or after quilting. I didn't want the stitches to show on the back, but I also didn't want to try to quilt around embroidery. I made a little mock-up to test embroidering after quilting, and it worked fine, so my next step is to make the sandwich and do the quilting. Here's the mock-up:

No show on the back from the embroidery:

Anybody recognize that backing fabric? Ancient! Good use for it, right? Now I can use the mock-up to practice the kinds of stitches and colors of thread I'll use on the quilt.

My other in-progress quilt is Hollyhocks. I took that quilt along for vacation hand work. I had done a bit of the flowers before I left.

This was my view on the balcony of our hotel. It was hot, hot, hot, but there was a breeze.

And under the cabana on the beach:

During our time away, we spent time at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. In the visitor's center there, the 2013 ArtPrize people's choice winning quilt by Ann Loveless is on display. So, of course, I had to take some pictures (not easy to do because of its size and the reflections in the protective glass).

Amazing! I'm glad I got to see it up close. There are other beautiful Sleeping Bear artworks in the gallery, but this was the one I just had to see,

I stopped in at four quilt shops Up North. One I had been to before, but the others were ones that just happened to be along our route. Here's what I bought:

The batting and powder blue Grunge are for the Lake Michigan quilt. Seems weird to use Grunge for a quilt back, but I didn't see anything else I liked as much, and it will be a nice memento. The tan Joel Dewberry is a possible binding for that quilt, and the coral, blue, and turquoise are potential parts in a donation quilt I'm contemplating. The yellow is an odd piece from a grab bag table. It's about 80 by 33 inches with some seams and a hem on one end. It's been washed so obviously had a previous life. Maybe the cuttings from a quilt back? 

I enjoyed three of the stores. Each had a distinctive personality. My favorite was in a couple of store fronts from the 1800's in a teeny, tiny town. The fourth store will not be on my list for future visits. It probably had the biggest inventory, and the woman who greeted me (the owner, I hope) was friendly as she explained where everything was, but I was treated with suspicion and rudeness by the cashier (I hope not the owner). It does take the shine off those fabrics. I probably should have walked away. I've deleted a whole paragraph about the experience. 

When we got home we had just enough time for dental appointments and laundry before taking off for a week of daycare with the Grands. Pure fun. A bit different now that our granddaughter is in all-day kindergarten. But we got to do some evening care, too, so we spent plenty of time with both kiddies. During naptime, I kept working on the Hollyhocks quilt. I finished quilting the flowers and outlined the leaves.
Then I started the veins in the leaves. I'm not happy with that quilting so I think I have some unquilting to do. I'll probably use simpler quilting and a different color thread

Now that I'm home, I've spent a little more time with puppy blocks. I'll save those for another post. 

Meanwhile, here are a few Up North photos. I've taken a lot of photos there in the past, so this year, I tried to focus on details or scenes I haven't taken before. 
Big Sable Lighthouse (Update: Oops, I meant Little Sable)

The sky at sunset on the Fall Equinox

Fall Equinox

Ludington North Pier Light

Cardinal Mountain Ash tree at one of our motels. The part of the building to the right of the door is the former lighthouse keeper's home.

Okay, I'll save a few more pictures for next time. I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. I hope your week is going well, whether or not you've been on vacation. Of course, quilting at any time is like a little vacation.


Patty said...

These quilts are amazing! I've been working on a seashore block for a Row by Row quilt and seeing the magic you created is giving me the courage to take on something bigger. They are simply stunning. Thank you!!

Lisa J. said...

I love your Holly Hocks quilt Janine. The hand stitching on it adds such nice definition to the petals . Thanks for sharing pictures of the Ann Loveless quilt it is amazing. Your other photos are wonderful as well. I am especially fond of the clouds.

Angela said...

Such beautiful landscapes!

Nancy Bekofske said...

I always enjoy seeing your photos of Michigan places. How wonderful to see the Lovelace quilt has a lovely home. It's fun seeing your Lake Michigan quilt progress.

Bernie Kringel said...

This has been a year for strange weather. I was surprised by the heat wave on your side of the world!! Today it was 34* on our deck when I got up this morning. Very chilly but now our maples are turning color so I am pleased.
Sad to hear about your negative quilt store experience. I cannot imagine you being treated suspiciously -- ridiculous and rude.

Vacations are great and then coming back to your routine at home sweet home, feels wonderful. Have a great day Janine!

Louise said...

Sounds like most of your trip was really enjoyable! (We'll purge that bad quilt shop from our minds.) The Hollyhocks are really coming along nicely. And I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the Lake Michigan quilt. I really love landscape quilts, but they feel beyond my skill set so I'll just oo and ah over yours :)

Preeti said...

Hand quilting that beauty is the perfect complement to the flower pattern. That Ann Loveless Quilt is breathtakingly beautiful - thank you for sharing.