Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ten Reasons to Be Thankful for Fall

I have to admit, fall is NOT my favorite season.  I love summer.  Working in the garden, going barefoot, having the windows open, no need for jackets, summer.  So fall is kind of tough for me, being the definite end of summer and a scary glimpse into what's ahead--the full-on Wisconsin Winter.
Whenever things change, we have a choice.  We can moan and groan about what's gone, or we can deal with the change in a positive, thankful way.

So here are my 10 reasons to be thankful for fall.

1.  Pumpkins.  Because without them, we wouldn't have pumpkin pie.  Plus they're a really great orange color.

2.  Hoop quilting.  Hand quilting in a hoop is much more comfortable in the fall than in the summer.  This is a top pieced by my great-grandmother in 1969.  I have been working on it off and on for literally years.  Although I guess this is a good example of how long it takes to finish a quilt you're not working on.  So with cooler weather, I'm working on it again.

3.  Knitting. While it can be done anytime, it just seems more right when it starts to get cold in the mornings.  Here I'm making caps for soldiers:  (  Luckily I've got lots of yarn.

4.  Canning season is just about over.  Here are 19 quarts of apples, ready to make into pies this winter.  I canned these on Monday, and made apple butter on Friday.  I like canning, especially since it means I've got lots of good local food on hand even if we get snowed in.  (It usually saves money, too.)

5.  Quilt shows!  It's quilt show season!  Quilts, vendors, classes, oh and did I mention vendors?  And even if you can't get to all of them, some of them have great pictures online.  The photo above comes from Quilt Expo 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin.

6,  Wool quilts.  Don't miss the wonderful new exhibit at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts entitled "Sheared Delights".  The quilt in the photo above is hanging right as you enter the exhibit, and it is mesmerizing.  (See the web page at:  There is nothing like the deep rich colors of wool.  I might have to make another wool quilt myself.

7.  Antique shopping!  Flea market season is, sadly, over, but now antique mall season begins for my husband and me.  It's fun just to look.  You never know what you're going to find.

8.  Walks in the woods.   We had a great day yesterday, walking on a trail at Pike Lake with our dog Bella.  The leaves look brown here, but they were brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red as well as brown, and they crunched under our feet.

9.  Oven meals, or crock pot dinners.  I could call this one "West Bend Farmers Market Pot Roast".  The beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions all came from the market.  Yesterday was the last day for this year's market, but it will be back again in late May.
Crock pot meals are my favorite on weekend days.  I can get it ready in the morning, and it can cook all day while I sew.  Makes the house smell great, too.  I guess I could do this in the summer, but we just aren't in the mood for this kind of food until it starts getting cold.

10.  Time with family and friends.  We have several family birthdays in the fall (above is our daughter Connie's last September).  One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving, which for me really ends the fall season.  No commercialism, no hype, just a good home cooked meal to share, and all of us thankful for the past year and glad to be together.

Wishing you the joy of this season, and every season.
Happy quilting!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Falling into Fall

It has been an amazingly busy fall so far.  Today I finally pulled the last of the bean plants out of the ground, and brought in 3 remaining green tomatoes.  If we had any pumpkins, there would be frost on them.  The kale (above) is still going strong, at least for a little while longer.  There were even two raspberries this morning.

I've spent the past 3 Wednesdays documenting quilts at the Hawks Inn Museum in Delafield, Wisconsin.  An amazing group of volunteers from the Mukwonago Crazy Quilters came every week, and have now become pros.  They were a joy to work with, like everyone at this museum.

Here are just a few photos of the amazing quilts I got to see up close:
A signature quilt from Newfield, NY, dated 1853.

An amazing applique quilt.  Every block is slightly different.

A very unusual pattern.

We documented 35 quilts, and plan another date next fall to finish up.  We hope to be entering all of these into the Quilt Index this fall/winter.

You know the summer is over when the Flea Market season ends.  My husband and I went to the last Elkhorn Flea Market in late September, and the pile above is the loot I found.  I got lots of fabric, both vintage and recent, for an average of $3 per yard.  I will take that deal any day.
Here's a closeup of the baby quilt I bought.  It was a kit quilt from the 1930s or 1940s.  Very sweet.  A little worn, not too much.  Not bad for $10.00.

I dug the potatoes a few weeks ago, ahead of the frost.  This is our haul for the year, which isn't bad for two rows of a small garden.  Digging potatoes is like finding buried treasure.

Speaking of treasure, our quilt group had our silent auction at our meeting last week.  I got rid of a big box of rubber stamps and some books and rulers.  This is what I bid on and took home:
It doesn't really look like treasure, does it?  It was a huge bag full of batting scraps, plus a gallon zip lock bag stuffed full of narrow fabric strips.
Batting scraps are great for me, because I do a lot of quilt as you go.  I need squares for quilt blocks and strips for sashing.  
I separated the fabric strips into two piles.  The big pile is strips at least 1 in. wide.  I'll use those for string quilts.  The smaller pile is even narrower strips.  I'm using those to crochet a rug (pictures when done).  There was also a scrap of gray fabric often used to make ironing board covers.  I can use it to back a pot holder.
Here's the first block I made with the strips.  The new ones are the yellow with leaves and the dark green.  They go with the strips I already have pretty well.
The cost of this scrap pile bonanza?  One whole dollar.  And I'll bet the person who brought it is just as happy to be rid of it as I am to have it.

The tomatoes are canned, but there's a bushel of apples in the garage that needs to be put up so we can have apple pies and crisps all winter.  Plus the dog needs a walk, and I need to work up the bread and start the soup.  Not to mention making more quilt blocks!
I wish you the joy of fall this week. 
Happy Quilting!