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Knitting and the Tour de France

They just seem to go together … Hours spent watching the race would be wasted without accomplishing something so the race makes for good knitting time. Ravelry holds competitions during the race but I’ve got enough on my plate for the month without adding in knitting deadlines however I will take advantage of the broadcasts to work on my current knitting projects. 

We have no cable here at Big Canoe. It’s hard enough to pay for Internet when we’re not here all the time much less cable but I did some research and can stream the race to my iPad paying a $30 subscription fee to NCB sports and with an HDMI cable, can hook the TV up to my iPad and we can watch on the big screen. We got caught up on the first two stages tonight and I got in a couple of hours knitting. 


One of the things we love so much about being here is that it’s typically peaceful and quiet. Even with tons of people here for the holiday weekend, as long as you avoid the lake and pools – there’s quiet to be found. Another 5 mile hike today and a little time in the sewing room. Four more backings prepared and all my hangers are full now although there are more backings to be made. 

Tomorrow we go to Marietta to spend the 4th with the kids and I’ll be back to quilting on Tuesday. 

Use a tape measure

Chris and Becky have been wanting a king size quilt for a long time and I’ve been resisting because my longarm only handles 102 inches wide but today we put one of our queen size quilts on the king size bed and realized that 102 x 114 will work. I guess I’m going to start piecing it when I get home. We bought fabric for it before we left MN so it’s there in FL waiting to be used. I should have measured it a long time ago but in my mind the 102 was not going to be wide enough and it isn’t but it is long enough and if I load it lengthwise on the longarm, I can make it wide enough for their king bed. 

I got another photo in my email – from Vic – of a log cabin quilt inspired by mine. She added a couple borders and I think it’s gorgeous!!! Makes me want to make another one myself – Log cabin quilts are definitely favorites of mine.


Hiking in flip flops

They hadn’t planned on hiking but we went for a walk – 6.2 miles. Rae loves her Pop!

The creeks and the waterfall aren’t as full as usual. I thought that North Georgia had a wet spring but the water levels look low to me. 

Chris has a busy day tomorrow so they didn’t spend the night tonight but we’ll see them Monday for the 4th. 


You guys are great supporters. I’m always happy to hear the quilt instructions are useful and I love seeing quilts made from them. Patricia sent me a note of encouragement and included a photo of her RWB double 4 patch. Mine is on the list to be quilted this month but then I’m slow to finish my versions sometime. My quilt is also borderless but love how hers frame the quilt. 


I love walking by the bay at home but it’s not quite as hot here and it’s nice being back in the woods … The hills however are a little more challenging than the flatness in FL. The goal is to keep up with my walking while I’m here but it will be a bit of a challenge with everything else going on. 


I had a long list of goals back in March and April and finished them all and more. In May and June, I was a little more relaxed, I had a few things that I wanted to get done, a couple trips, and 3 weeks of feeling under the weather … Not a lot accomplished.

Goals for May-June 2016

✔️Pin baste simple pinwheel for quilting

Finish hand quilting pink/purple HST quilt — NOT finished

✔️Quilt RAinbow HS #3

✔️Bind Rainbow HS #3

✔️Piece scrappy Bargello 

✔️Quilt pink giraffe strippie

✔️Bound pink giraffe strippie

✔️Finished knitting feather and fan blanket

✔️Cast on Madison scarf – 3/4’s completed

✔️Piece small hourglass quilt

✔️Piece a set of Rainbow HeartStrings blocks

✔️Cast on Yowza scarf

So what are my goals for July in addition to spending time with family and keeping up with my walking?!

Goals July 2016

Quilt 15 tops 

Piece backings

Pull/cut fabric for Schoolhouse quilt 

Pull fabric for blue/green LeMoyne Star

Draft/pull fabric for pink quilt

Finish knitting Madison scarf

Make progress on Yowza scarf

Start crochet scarf 

Time permitting, kit up some additional scrappy projects to take back to FL

I’ve started working on the backings – I found the perfect backs for a couple of my donation quilts in the ones sent to me by Tish. Lucky me!
I found fabric in stash for a couple more and they’re ready to piece.

I also had a couple backs pieced for other tops that I hadn’t use and paired those up and look, the closet is already filling back up. It’s always easier if I can come downstairs and grab one off the hanger, load and quilt it!

Ready, Set, GO

So happy to be downstairs in the sewing room here at Big Canoe. The family time starts when the kids get here around dinner time and we’ll be busy through the 4th but I’m determined to get the first of 15 loaded and quilted. 

Most of my bobbins are being used so I picked a top that will use some of the ones that are already wound. 

Can you believe I have nothing that needs hot pink thread?!!! Guess I’ll have to kit something up to piece in FL or those bobbins won’t ever get used up. 

I can’t believe how far behind I am making backings … The closet is almost empty. If they have a backing made, they get hung up to wait for quilting and I try to stay on top of it but I’m failing miserably. 

All these need backings pieced although I have pulled backings for the ones in the middle and the ones on the right are Mom’s. They have backings too but I told her I’d piece them. 

First up, one of my HeartStrings tops. 

Unfortunately, it needs a backing pieced too – 20 minutes spent looking through bins finding one that worked – I miss my shelves although the bins are more practical (and protective) here. 

We arrived in GA safely

The car was completely packed yesterday and we got up and on the road at 5:30 am this morning. The drive was relatively uneventful and took us about 9 hours. It was nice to have Keith with me on the drive … He’s not always able to manage it with his schedule and I frequently drive it alone which of course means unpacking the car by myself. Not this time!

I’m planning on quilting 15 tops this month while I’m here so I needed some extra batting. Again, nice to have help unloading!

My website

Every now and then it seems like a good idea to remind people how my MaryQuilts site came about. I’d been blogging for about a year and a half and I’d get lots of questions about the patterns I’d used for the quilts I was sharing – in most cases, there weren’t patterns that I was working from. I would use traditional blocks and create them in a size and setting that suited me and rather than respond to multiple emails, I found it easier to post brief details about the quilt and direct people to that page. 

I never intended the site to be anything more than a supplement to my blog but unfortunately the links get shared and then the negativity shows up in my inbox. Why aren’t there fabric requirements listed? Why aren’t the directions more detailed? Resize the quilt to queen/king size and tell me the amount of fabric I’ll need…. No one reads the statements I include on the first page of the website.

This site is intended to provide brief instructions for my quilts and they assume you have a basic knowledge of quilting.

And this …

Because my quilts are scrappy and made from stash, fabric yardage calculations for most of my quilt instructions are not available and when included, they are estimates only – click here for more information. I am unable to resize quilts to meet individual needs, I get too many requests and I’m too busy quilting

And when I respond to requests or demands or complaints, they don’t read my response. Today I specifically responded to someone who complained that my ”pattern” didn’t contain detailed cutting instructions. I shared the above information and told if she was unfamiliar with how to piece log cabin quilts from strips … To google it AND I gave her a Quilt in a Day link showing her how to do it. She insisted that my  ”pattern” was the problem, not her lack of experience/knowledge. 

So, once again I’ll state – if the brief instructions I share on my site for FREE aren’t detailed enough for you, maybe you need to PURCHASE a pattern. I’m not in the business of writing and selling patterns.


I always underestimate how much time it takes me to get ready and pack for a trip and how much time it takes me to catch up when I get home. I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing this week!!

Ok, maybe not nothing – I needed to plan a couple knitting projects for the time at Big Canoe – my scarf isn’t done yet but I’ll finish it before I get back (I think). So first up, pulling yarn for a crochet scarf – this is the cotton yarn I’ve been stocking up on especially since moving to FL. I’ve outgrown the bin and my smaller skeins were getting separated from the larger skeins so I took time out to organize. 

Now it’s all in the bigger bin and I’ve updated my Ravelry stash so I can see what I have without digging through the bin. 

I also pulled yarn for a scarf and cast on … First one scarf, then another, neither working for me and I pulled them both out. In the meantime, I realized what I was doing wrong on the first one so I’m going to cast that one on again tonight.  I’ll have 3 projects with me but there’s more yarn in GA if I finish all 3 (won’t happen!). 

Normally Keith doesn’t pay attention to my yarn and fabric shopping but I explained to him that I probably already have more yarn and fabric than I could use up in my lifetime but I keep stocking up because I’m planning for retirement when $$$ will probably be tighter!!  Like other quilters and knitters, it’s my retirement savings plan. 

In case anyone was wondering about the yarn – it’s Wolle’s color changing cotton – an unplied fingering weight yarn. It takes a bit of experience to get used to the 4 strands of unplied yarn but I love it and it’s worth the effort! Elisabeth has a forum on Ravelry and does a preorder once a month – you’ve got to place your order before it’s gone so it’s not the easiest yarn to buy but as you can see from the size of my stash, it’s not too hard either. 


You win

I really, really wanted to use gray for sashing those rainbow string blocks even with the overwhelming choice being black – an easy choice with brights for sure but I was going to ignore your advice until Jackie voted for the black too. Since she’s sashing the blocks she tipped the scale in your favor! I’ll save the gray for another project. 

Chris got a good laugh when they FaceTimed me this afternoon. I was upstairs and Rae asked to speak to Pop. I told her we’d have to go down and see if he was still working. 

He’s been giving me a hard time about interrupting when he’s busy and said he was going to put a sign on the door since just closing the door didn’t seem to keep me out. He was actually joking and it’s not as bad here as it was in the apartment where his desk was in the middle of our open living space especially since my sewing room and the chair I knit in are upstairs and his office is downstairs. It really is nice to have our own separate spaces!


I thought I’d spend the afternoon in the sewing room but after meeting with the contractor to discuss the kitchen remodel, I had to go pick Keith up, we had a late lunch, and I’ve been canceling car related things for the last hour and a half. Who knew it was so much work to sell a car?!

We impulsively decide to sell the Avalon yesterday and Keith took it in this afternoon and walked out with a check. We’ve had some ongoing battery issues related to the car not being driven enough and we decided to go back to one car for now. We’re in an area where we can walk or bike to many places, Keith travels, and I’m a homebody when I’m not flying off somewhere.  We’ve had the car for 11 years so it has a lot of memories for us — including road trips with Chesty ….

and one of our favorite family vacations to South Dakota — it’s kind of sad to see it go. 


My Rainbow blocks are done so I pulled three possible sashing fabrics … Black, Purple, and Gray. Does any one stand out to you as the best choice?!! The black actually has some tone on tone dots that aren’t visible in the photos so it’s not quite as dark as it appears. I just realized that my turquoise blocks aren’t in the photo either … Not sure how I managed to exclude them! 


I know better than trying to walk in the middle of the day when it gets really hot here but I did it anyway. We did 6.2 miles Saturday in the heat but we stopped for a beverage halfway …

And we were lucky that a storm was brewing that brought the temps down a bit by the time we walked home. The sun stayed behind the clouds too – that was helpful. Tomorrow we’ll walk later in the day. 

I love string blocks

So easy to pick up and sew a few at a time. A few here, a few there, and a pile starts to build up. I need 35 blocks so looking at my bins of separated strings I decided I’d go with 5 each of turquoise, purple, green, blue, and pink, 3 orange, 4 red and 3 yellow. That equals 35 blocks and I’ll be done before I leave for Big Canoe and Jackie has already confirmed that she’s still willing to sash these at the September Maine sew-in. I have mentioned I hate sashing haven’t I?!  I think I’ll need to treat Jackie to a lobster roll when we’re in Maine. She’s as fond of them as I am. 

We had an HVAC guy scheduled to come tomorrow to put an A/C vent in the closet I’m going to use for fabric and to install two thermostats that can be programmed remotely — and he flaked out on us. We had several other scheduling challenges with him and so we’ve told him we’ll no longer be needing his services. That means the work won’t get done before we leave and I have to decide if we do the shuffling of fabric and furniture this weekend or just wait until we get back in August. I’m tempted to put it off and wait. 

Rainbow HeartStrings

I’ve made 3 quilts during our Rainbow strings project and since I just have a few working days before we head to Big Canoe, I’m going to make my last set of blocks. Jackie told me last year that she’d sash them … Hopefully she remembers telling me that because I’m going to bring the blocks and the sashing fabric with me to Maine and once she sashes and assembles the top, I’ll tie it and then, I’ll count on my binding buddy Rebecca to get the binding on and it can be donated in Maine. 

I worked up a quick drawing – the solid blocks will be string blocks but I didn’t take the time to draw each string. The 9 inch finished blocks will be set 5×7, the sashing will be cut 2.5 inches which will make a quilt that is 53 x 75. 

I’ve got all my foundations cut and am ready to start piecing blocks. 


The Babylock Jane came with a nice extension table but I prefer my machine sitting flat with my sewing cabinet. 

So, I’m very excited that the insert arrived yesterday!

Now if I can just get the a/c duct added to the closet I’m going to store my fabric in, move all that fabric from the bins, and get the daybed and trundle out of my sewing room I’ll be happy. Settling in is an ongoing process!


Not a single stitch sewn today but I did knit a little.

While we’re not going to start the actual kitchen remodel until October, we’re trying to finalize the layout before we leave for Big Canoe so the cabinets can be built. I spent a great deal of time today trying to rework the kitchen because we can’t find a fridge that fits in the current space. This is the old design and we’re looking at moving the fridge to where the pantry is (#24) and moving the pantry to where the fridge is in this drawing. You can’t really see it in the drawing but there’s a doorway between the two sections that dictates how big the fridge can be.

I’m still fight this crud although I’m anti-antibiotics as I told the Doctor yesterday during a routine appt. She made me promise I’d call if not well in another two weeks or if I start to get worse again. I’m ramping up my walking again but it’s hard with the heat and not feeling up to par. My goal is 11,500 steps per day which requires that I get a walk in that is about 4-5 miles as I don’t get many steps around the house. Earlier this week I did 3.5 miles as I started back on the daily walks and as a result didn’t hit goal. Overall, I’m not unhappy with the week’s results but that’s making an allowance for being sick.

We’re getting ready for Big Canoe so that means some shopping. It’s a fairly remote area with Walmart about 20 minutes away and Marietta, an Atlanta suburb about an hour’s drive. We needed a new vacuum, a set of sheets, a pitcher for sangria, some batting and thread, etc … It’s all in piles waiting to be packed in the car.

Rae attended her first ballet class today. She’s very excited and demonstrated some dancing for us but Keith thinks she might be more suited to gymnastics. She’s got a lot of energy and is not really a dainty kind of girl – just like her Gram! We can’t wait to see all the kids and are looking forward to being in GA a month and having multiple opportunities to spend time with them.

Macy’s is due to pick up the boxspring and deliver the lower profile ones on Thursday. It should drop the height of the bed 4 inches. I’m really looking forward to having this whole process done.

PS – I’m making progress assembling the hourglass top but at this rate I’ll drag it out all week!!

Are you competitive

I think some people think competition is a bad thing but it helps motivate me. On the site, I like to work my way up to the top of the lists – they’ll create a list of walkers both in front of you and behind and you can watch your progress in relationship to those “neighbors”. Every time I work my way to a top of the list, I add more neighbors … Right now, I’m smack in the middle of the new list I created yesterday but I plan to move up!!

That’s me at #15, MaryJ just in case you’re walking the same trail. My stats since I began in February are below – overall I average 5.2 miles a day but that’s a little lower right now because I’ve been sick for 2 weeks. I did manage to get out 4 days last week and walked 3.5 – 4 miles but I’m hoping to be done with this crud and back to my normal mileage soon. 

667.5 miles

1,519,996 steps