Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Just Keeping Busy
As usual, I am horribly suprised by how long it has been since last blogging here. I just live life in the slow lane. A little like my friend up above. Lately, really short, quick messages on Facebook is all I can muster up. But every once in awhile, it is nice to do a something that has a little more content and depth. Especially on the rare occasion my life has had any excitement.
I never really had much opportunity to go to the retreats my friends organized in Oklahoma. I was either working, moving or poor. Well, relatively on that last one. But when my on-line friend Debbie decided last year to organize a retreat for the Lizzies, I jumped at the chance to go. But alas, I did not make it to that one either. Again, that moving thing got in the way. But this year, I knew hell or high water would not keep me away. Ashville, NC was only a 6 hr drive and I have no more excuse of working.
So a week ago Monday, I packed up and headed out. All by myself. I drove the southern route, thru Chattanooga and then points east thru some really nice scenic miles. My 6 hrs turned into 10 cause I kept stopping to look at the leaves turning, the rivers running and even to see a dead black bear on the side of the road. Several antique stores drew me in and I even snagged a nice vintage quilt for a song right before I arrived at the retreat. More on that later.
The weather during the 4 days we were there was not the best. Tuesday was the only day it did not rain. I had to be the luckiest person there, to take my walk at just the right time to get these awesome shots. It was never this pretty again, and I began to think an umbrella and wet socks were pretty much a permanant part of my attire.
The cabins were really nice, with 2 twin beds per room, 4 rooms to a cabin. Ours overlooked the lake with rocking chairs out on the deck. We also had a fire in the fireplace every evening to keep us warm during our last glass of wine for the day.
The food was amazing. 4 star or better. Home made soup, grilled sandwichs, 3-4 salads at each meal, unique desserts, ect. All served by delightful staff members in a warm appealing dining hall.
The space we used for our sewing was a large meeting cabin with windows everywhere. There were tons of tables and floor space to spread out on. The girls who did not travel as far brought extra sewing machines, irons, and lights for those who had to fly in.
We ended up with 15 ladies that stayed the night and 1 who came in just for the day. I can not tell you how many projects got done but it was amazing to see everyone's nose to the grind stone so much of the time. I even stayed on task and got Maddie's little quilt top all hand quilted and Katie's basted, ready to quilt. I also did some knitting in the evenings.
2 ladies were gifted quilts that were made for them by the group. Debbie organized this retreat 2 years in a row so we made her a fall maple leaf quilt on a dark blue background to remind her of our gathering. Marylynn is one of the only ladies who has had a major health issue, who did not get a quilt from us during the worst of her treatment. But we put together a Greek Cross quilt in jewel tones that turned out stunning, thanks to some talented ladies in our group, who could combine blocks that were not quite the called for size and still made it work. Both ladies cried some very happy tears and I am sorry I did not manage to get pics of either gifting.
On the way home I decided to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and go home thru the Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park. Of course, as soon as I stopped at the first pulloff, the clouds quickly thickened and rolled in to keep me from seeing much of anything. But I took pics of the signs, by golly. Someday I do plan on going back thru and having the sun shine on the fabulous fall colors.
Now on to my latest knitting project. This is a slip stitch cardigan that I am not going to link to. Cause I think the pics that come with the pattern are not that flattering. If I had not seen this done up in other yarn colors I would have not wanted to do this pattern. But i was looking for a sweater to show off some recent natural dyed yarns. And this needed exactly what I had on hand. So to quickly fill you in, the background main color is sort of a mushroomy color. This was dyed in the exhaust of the red hibiscus that I used to get the darker brown. The red is cochineal. The yellow is from marigolds. The blue is the fresh indigo and the green is fresh indigo over goldenrod. The knitting is going well so far. My row gauge is not coming out exactly right so I may have to add a stitch pattern repeat to make it long enough in the body. But I love all the colors and stitches and it will be one incredibly warm sweater when finished.
The antique quilt I talked about above has not been photographed yet cause I washed it and it is still wet. I can date the quilt for sure at about 1900 by the fabrics. When I looked it over at the store I saw almost no flaws, although the quilting and batting were not all that great. After I got it home I decided to wash it, gently. Tons and tons of clay red dirt poured out of that thing. It is now much brighter but I did find one fabric in one block and one place in the border that shredded despite my tender loving care. That's alright. I will fold that in when I put it on display. It should probably never be washed again but I will keep it from ever getting that dirty again.
I think that is all that has been going on in my life. At least, what anyone would want to hear about, that is. My life is so quiet, that today, I was sitting here knitting and I could hear all 3 of my animals snoring. And they were all in different rooms in the house. Now, folks, that is quiet!!