Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 3

Leaving Tennessee on a beautiful morning, the woods were so lush and moist they looked edible.  I drove narrow winding back roads to get to the highway leading to Missouri.  I wanted to get past St. Louis by the end of the day, about 300 miles.

I was listening to a really good audiobook mystery and must have zoned out.  I looked up and saw a sign for Paducah.  Wait a minute.  Paducah?  Hell, I didn’t even know I was in Kentucky.  Well, one of the most famous quilt stores in the country is in Paducah as well as the National Quilt Museum but I’ve already visited both so once I confirmed that I was indeed supposed to travel through a little tip of Kentucky to get to St. Louis, I decided to just keep driving. But then something very strange happened.

I must have gone into a fugue state because I regained consciousness standing at the check-out register at Hancock’s of Paducah with several yards of Kaffe Fassett fabric in my arms.  Hmmm.  How’d that happen?

Back on the road I continued listening to my mystery and wondering why I wasn’t hungry.  Driving a car probably doesn’t qualify as a high energy workout so I was grateful that I wasn’t junk food bingeing as I usually do when I’m driving.  Normally I convince myself that if I’m vacationing so are my fat cells and Doritos, BBQ Fritos, popcorn & beef jerky calories don’t count.

I jerked out of my food-related reverie when I noticed a sign telling me I was in Indiana. That can’t be right. By the time I found an exit to pull over to check with Siri on my GPS I was in Missouri. I began to believe that my car has an automatic pilot.  I also believe in guardian angels.

I was a little intimidated anticipating driving through St. Louis but it was a piece of cake. I stopped for coffee to figure out where I was going to spend the night.  I located Graham Cave State Park near Danville, MO and decided to camp there.  I actually drove down a dirt road to find the park and was getting a little spooked but finally found the ranger station.  This campground is on the honor system.  You pick up an envelope, locate a site you like, put your $$ in the envelope and drop it off when you leave.  It’s a very pretty little campground with confusing shower and bath facilities.  There are two separate rooms – one for the toilets and one for the showers.  Naturally I kept walking into the wrong one to meet my needs but met some really nice women in both   All in all, another comfortable night and I was packed up and ready to go by 6:15 a.m. because I wanted to check out the prehistoric cave before leaving the park.

The cave was occupied 8,000 – 10,000 years ago but do you think I could find it?  No.  At 6:30 in the morning there was no one around to ask.  I tried three times to follow the signs to the cave but the only trail I could locate was through the woods for 1/4 mile and I just didn’t feel comfortable trekking through the woods alone.  So exploring the cave will have to wait for another visit.

I’ll be in Nebraska tomorrow.



Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Quilting, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remember to Remove the Tea Bags from the Washing Machine

I had this bright idea to tea-dye some muslin to use as sashing in a vintage quilt project I’m designing.  I bought some wonderful original feedsack material, circa 1930-1940, that I want to make into a Disappearing Four Patch quilt and then try my hand at hand quilting.

I usually tea-dye in the bathtub but had a “Eureka!” moment and decided to use the washing machine.  I threw a couple yards of unbleached muslin in the machine, turned the water temp to hot and added eight tea bags.  Then I let it stew overnight.  All was well until I set the machine to rinse and forgot to take out the tea bags.

At first I couldn’t imagine what all the little dark specks were all over the fabric until a dessicated tea bag fell on my foot.  Jeez, I had a horrible flashback to the day I took my 3-year old’s jeans out of the washer and a very dead, but clean, frog fell out of the pocket.  That day the little specks were frog eyes and other disgusting particles.   Anyway, I rinsed the machine several times with cold water, shook out the muslin and dried it (changing the filter several times) and, voila!  My tea-dyed muslin has just the vintage look I wanted.

This DIY project turned out much better than earlier this week when I tried a Pinterest natural solution to clean my oven.  I made the paste of baking powder and water & smeared it all over the inside of the oven door, but then forgot and pre-heated the oven to 425 degrees for pizza.   I’ll let you know how the quilt turns out.


Categories: Family, Humor, Life, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

My Knuckles are Dragging From This Long-Arm Quilting Project


This is the largest quilt top I’ve ever loaded onto my Gammill long arm quilting machine.  My machine is self-guided, not electronic, which means that I guide the machine and walk it along the 14′ table as it’s stitching, using a laser to follow the pattern.

Largest Quilt

My customer worked on piecing this 10′ x 10′ quilt top for almost two years and then chose one of my more complicated patterns for the quilting. I’ll post a picture of the finished quilt in a few days.


A history of carpal tunnel in both wrists and rotator cuff surgery has slowed me down a bit, but this puppy is gonna be done by next week ’cause I’m heading to Atlanta then a road trip to my cottage in Michigan for some R & R!



Categories: Quilting | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Making a Quilt – Three Perfect Shots

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Three Perfect Shots. Take a subject you’re familiar with and imagine it as three photos in a sequence. Tackle the subject by describing those three shots.

How to make a quilt in three perfect shots … well, not exactly perfect shots. I used photos of three different quilts because each is in a different stage of development, but you’ll get the idea.

Cut up perfectly good fabric into little pieces to sew back together

Cut up perfectly good fabric into little pieces to sew back together

First you take several beautiful, very expensive, perfectly good, 100% cotton quilting fabrics and cut them  into little pieces.  Then you sew the pieces back together to form a pattern.  This is your quilt top.

Take a large piece of fabric for the back of your quilt, place batting on top of the backing fabric and place your quilt top on the batting.  This is your quilt “sandwich” that is now ready to quilt.  Quilting can be done by hand (think quilting bees), by a regular domestic sewing machine or by a long-arm machine.  I am fortunate to have a Gammill longarm machine. My Gammill is not electronic so, yes folks, I hand guide that large machine back and forth sewing a thread pattern into the quilt sandwich. This is what holds the three pieces of fabric together to form a quilt.

Make a quilt "sandwich". I quilt on my Gammill long-arm machine

Make a quilt “sandwich”. I quilt on my Gammill long-arm machine

After quilting, sew on the binding around the edges to finish the quilt.  There’s nothing like sleeping with a hand-made quilt … sweet dreams guaranteed.

Quilts are made with love. Sweet dreams guaranteed!

Quilts are made with love. Sweet dreams guaranteed!

Categories: Daily Prompt, Life, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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