Friday, October 4, 2013

Bear Paw

Baby Bear Paw

The trip through the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks reminded me of the first bear quilt I did.  I think I'll make a new version with autumn leaf colors.  Nice to remember that scarlet and orange are "earthtones."

Autumn on the Road

Country Road in the Adirondacks

Timetable?  Schedule?  Not when there are mountain roads and pictures to take.  I may have to rethink the ratio of orange to green in my stash.

Trees, Bears, Fish, and Trees

My designated Driver and I set off from Utah to visit our grad students in New York last Thursday.   (Why do I need a designated driver?  It's tough to drive and quilt at the same time.  And there are a lot of new laws across the country, including New York state's new No Hand-Held Devices law....) (We support laws against distracted driving.  Some of the best highway signs on the interstate are in Ohio:  "It can wait. Next Text Stop, 5 miles.")

Anyhow, we found ourselves in a race.  Some of the sights we wanted to visit in New York and New Hampshire are National Park service sites.  We realized we needed to drive straight to New York instead of wandering through  Minnesota and Michigan on the way.  We were racing against Congress and their inability to pass a Continuing Resolution for funding. Funny. People usually get into a race for Congress, not a race against Congress.

We managed to get to the parks we didn't want to miss, and then spent a couple of days wandering  in Vermont and New York.  The fall colors are AWESOME (yes, I know I"m shouting, but there really aren't any quiet words for Autumn in the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains.

 I wandered into a terrific quilt shop in Inlet, New York, the Crazy Moose Quilt Shop  This isn't a huge shop, but it is the best collection of trees, bears, cabins, fish, and moose fabrics I've seen.  Sara the owner is welcoming and savvy, and even the other customers were fun.  I almost forgot poor Designated Driver, but there were chairs out front and they even have Wi-Fi for husbands of quilters.

And here I am, designer of a whole series of fish, bear, log  cabin and tree quilt patterns.
Still the  version of Bears on the Porch Log Cabin

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bears on the Porch Log Cabin 
Traditional blocks used: Log Cabin, Bear’s Paw, and Fir Tree.  
The quilt is 56 x 56, and the blocks are 8 x 8. 

I know this is only the equilt  version of the Bears on the Porch Log Cabin quilt.  The original is hanging in West Yellowstone in the Send-It-Home Shop.  When I finished the quilting, we hung it and started cutting kits to go with the pattern.

This is the quilt I will be teaching next week, on the 24th of August, in West Yellowstone, Montana. You can register on-line at  We'll make Bear Paw and  Fir Tree blocks in the morning, then do strip piecing of the log cabin blocks in the afternoon.  The classroom at the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce building is a wonderful space with great light and plenty of places to plug in extension cords.  We're also celebrating Christmas in August, so there will be some surprises.

Here's the short version of why I needed to make this quilt:  

History:  When my parents were in graduate school, they worked for several summers in Grand Teton National Park.  For two summers, we lived at the Spaulding Bay fire lookout tower, in a small cabin at the foot of the tower, high on a moraine overlooking Jackson Lake.  For adults standing in the top of the tower, sweeping views of the high peaks of the Teton range dominated the view.  For a toddler, fascinating things were much closer. One morning, my mother watched me with my hands and nose pressed against the inside glass of the cabin window, looking out at a bear cub whose nose and paws were pressed against the outside of the glass, looking in. My earliest memories include bears, tall pines and firs, and living in a cabin in the woods (and huckleberries, but that’s a different quilt).

Traditional Bear Paw block

The Bears on the Porch Log Cabin quilt was originally pieced in Forest colors of brown, green, and tan.  Look for a great bear fabric for the border!  

My venerable Viking with somewhere near 250,000 miles on it quit abruptly one afternoon at the beginning of quilting the White Grass Sampler, while Bears on the Porch was waiting for commercial quilting. (I hasten to say that my first and second Vikings are still "on the road," and serving two of my sisters.  Mine has served me well, and I took it to the shop, and learned that maybe I should just give it a good old Norse funeral and pass on the bobbins and specialized feet like  prizes in the funeral games.)  

I quilted Bears on the Porch  on borrowed machines, including finishing with a new Viking with no special features that did a splendid job of even tension quilting.  Next week I'll get a photo of the real quilt and post it here.  I have this sneaking suspicion that posting an equilt, even if it is a great design, is definitely cheating, and putting said equilt on the pattern cover is definitely bad form.  After all, I want to know that someone has actually made a quilt from a set of instructions before I buy that pattern! 

I worry (something I am really good at) about not getting the numbers right in the measurements for purchasing fabric, or in the cutting charts for my patterns.  Please, if you have one of my patterns and find an error, write to me so I can fix it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cabin Fever

Well.  I've fixed the aforesaid problem, so if you'd like to see the other half of the pictures we've been missing this summer, scroll down to take a look at past posts.  I need to go out and turn off the water on the baby Fuji apple tree, but I'm hoping someone else is feeling a little like branching out and will look at my equilt cabin project.  At least be willing to be amused!  This isn't the Cabin Fever that hits in Alaska or Montana in February.  This is my summer cabin fever.

So, here's why I'm making log cabins in the  late evening: When I was a small child, my family lived in Grand Teton National Park in the summer.  I grew up expecting that when the school year was over in late May or June, we would pack up and go to the mountains.

Even when my parents were finished with graduate school and we settled in one place, there were still aunts and cousins to visit who lived in the hills and plenty of trips to the mountains and lakes.  A few years after we moved back to Idaho to stay, my family bought a small place with a tiny cabin and built The Big House next door.  The ground floor of the house is 1200 square feet of log construction; beginning with an old house a friend wanted moved. My brothers numbered and lettered all the logs and took it apart.  Reassembled on a new foundation and basement, and with a full upper story added of recycled lumber and windows, my mother's house is a Big log cabin.  When I stay there, the nights are always cool, and it seems we can hear the river.  (The Henry's Fork of the Snake, which is about a quarter mile away.) It really isn't the river, but only irrigation water falling over the check in the canal, but between the sound of rushing water and the wind in the trees, it seems a lot like Heaven.

So, here are today's Log Cabin Quilt designs.  The complex one is queen size.  The critter under the tree in the upper left corner is a deer.  The single block is a 16" pillow.  Guess which one will be made tomorrow.

Can't decide if this is Escher slept here or Big Bear Big Bed Sampler Quilt.

Cut off?

I just discovered the problem with pictures and text not being fully displayed.  Will figure it out and fix it!.

High Mountains

High Mountains Strip from White Grass Sampler
August.  Who would have believed that July would burn past so fast?  This image is from my White grass Sampler block of the month (well, strip) quilt which is almost quilted.  It will be grand to have it done, since my brain is full of other quilts I want to make.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fishing for Compliments

 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout
 Yes, there are a few pins in the picture, and I still need to do the gill slits, but I am so excited I wanted to share the work-in-progress now.  The wedding season is winding down, and the new babies are nearly three months old.  Must be time to quilt like crazy, between trips outside to move the water and weed the flower beds and tomato pots.

 2# 18" Fish, Over the Limit pillow, and RGA designs Catch Me If You Can quilt
Renae Allen's RGA Designs fish quilt and patterns along with my fish pillow and small wall quilt, all together with Village Dry Goods racks of batiks for the Wasatch Shop Hop.  The overall theme was games, and Village Dry Goods was assigned "Go Fish."

My fish quilts will be in the shop in Brigham City along with the patterns for all three for at least a few more weeks.

Catch Me If You Can (RGA designs)

A better view of Renae's quilt.  

Grampa Says I''m a Keeper
My first fish quilt, definitely the most fun I've ever had with fish.  

I've been looking over old posts and discovered several comments I never responded too.  If you're still out there, I'm back in the swim of things and would love to chat.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Flax, dianthus, and Ohio field daisies

This doesn't do the flax flowers justice.  I'm trying to figure out a way to represent these flowers in applique. The long, strong, slender (but we knew that.  It's flax) stems droop slightly with the weight of the very light flowers.  I may have to settle for using the color but not the plant itself.  Otherwise I see a lot of stem stitch embroidery in my future. FYI, when pioneers of European descent came to my part of the West in the mid 19th century, there was wild flax growing in the meadows. Wild flax still grows on the hills and even along state highways.  The plants in my flower plot are domesticated; the smaller ones are seedlings.   

The flower applique project is part of a projected plants and animals quilt.  The sort of project which can spend years moseying around in the far reaches of my brain for months or even years.  Is there a web icon for "I'll keep you posted?"

Monday, June 3, 2013

"2 Pounds  18 Inches" 
The legend:  In 1915, AFW pulled a rainbow trout out of Huntington Lake in California.  He weighed and measured it, and laid it on a board and traced around it.  Later he took the board and hung it up in his cabin with a note on the back with the information.

This fish applique was created by tracing the fish outline from a raisin paper pattern taken from the original wooden fish, then back-basting and needle turn appliqueing.  We added the stream-bed mosaic of one inch squares and the random width stream bank panel.  The batting is wool, which gives great dimension to the quilting.  All of the piecing and quilting was done by hand, as was the binding.

You can see this quilt during the Utah Shop Hop in June.  It will be at Village Dry Goods in Brigham City.  After Shop Hop, all of my fish quilts will be in West Yellowstone for the summer at the Send-It-Home shop.  We'll be doing drop in classes at the shop in June and sign-up in advance classes later in the

Pinecone Playhouse has moved to the Mack's Inn Dinner Theater in Island Park for Summer 2013.  The Heritage Quilt Workshop will continue, with locations and classes to be announced.

Spring Gardens

Peonies in my garden
After a long winter of chipping ice and shoveling snow, it is wonderful to have Spring in full bloom.  I'm back, and I have no excuses.  Here's a little of what I've been doing.

During the winter, I had the pleasure of making lots of  soft flannel blankets, knitted caps, and tiny zippered sleepers in expectation of our new grandson.  Fox arrived a bit late, but he and his mom are doing well and his big brother is as happy as a kid can be.

One of my more recent projects was piecing the center of another Christmas Quilt for one of my mother's grandchildren.  The tradition she started with giving each grandchild a quilt block for Christmas each year has resulted in 14 finished quilts made as the grandchildren married.  Here's the center of Elise's quilt for her June wedding:
Elise Christmas quilt center

The outer borders and quilting I passed off to my mom and sisters in Idaho.  The variations in the finished quilts never cease to amaze me.   The concept is simple, just one block a year per child.  When the project was started, no one knew just how many blocks would be needed over the years.  When the per year count went over thirty, Mom decided that nine blocks was enough for a good quilt and since then she's only make blocks for the younger grandchildren.   The blocks are 16 inches square and are in mostly Christmas greens and reds with some blue and gold accents.