Full Stop

Here's the thing: traveling is inconvenient. For as much fun as it is, there always seems to be some snafu that asserts itself as the fly in the ointment. Think canceled or delayed flights, lost luggage, bed bugs, mechanical difficulties. The list goes on. Apparently, traveling by quilt is no different. As I've explained the reasons for choosing certain fabrics for the Shop Hop quilt, you might have noticed that a lot of these shops were visited because of mechanical problems on either the RV or the truck. Now the quilt itself has caused mechanical difficulties. Sigh. Yesterday, I was happily quilting along, minding my own business, when the template I held with a death grip decided it wanted to test the waters under my needle. You can see where it hit, and it penetrated approximately 1/8th of an inch.

As you might imagine, the machine did not like this one bit. The electronic display gave me some sort of indecipherable message, and I turned the machine off and used the hand crank to raise the needle. Oh, woe is me.

This required about a half hour of messing around with the hopping foot, which seemed to have lowered itself in all of the excitement...possibly to have a better look...and then changing out the needle. The machine is sewing just fine, but I think the timing has been thrown off, and it's now making a clacking noise that wasn't present before. It seems ill-advised to continue, and the machine will have to go in for service. Bummer. I'm told they are about a month out on service, so this is a significant delay. Also, it's a righteously heavy machine, and so it takes some doing to get it off its Koala table and into the shop. The shop isn't open for customers, but they tell me they'll come to the car, help me unload it and carry it in themselves. And, I guess that'll be my last foray with these plastic templates. If it's that easy to mess up the machine while using them, I won't be using them. The rest of the quilt...when I can get back to it...will be done free-hand.

Okay, but let's just see where our travels took us before our flight was canceled. We were staying in Stone Mountain, Georgia, when I visited this shop in Decatur. Stone Mountain was simply one of the items I'd pulled from my Georgia folder, but it was also near Atlanta. We'd read in our tour book that Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium had a whale shark. As scuba divers, a whale shark is a sought-after experience. I'm afraid our scuba days have come to an end. Knowing we could see a whale shark was all we needed to know to plan our trip around the Georgia Aquarium. We had three or four days in the area, which included a trip to a sandwich shop in Decatur where we were told they had one of the best hamburgers in the USA. And as everyone knows, no side trip is complete without looking for the nearest quilt shop. The regional print was easy to choose in honor of the George Aquarium.

Also, you probably want to see the whale shark, don't you? Check it out right here.

While I was visiting the quilt shop in Decatur (which was a really good one), I'd seen some beautiful aboriginal prints. I was only just getting started on the visit and intended to go back and grab one...then I forgot completely. So when I visited this next shop in Orlando, I picked up this aboriginal print right away. I love the fabric, but mostly, I picked it for the alligator. It's Florida, right? But we had seen warnings about alligators all the way from North Carolina.

This next shop was another that several people urged me to visit. They weren't wrong. This was one of the best shops in the whole quilt. And South Carolina is the "palmetto state." This was another easy pick.

This next shop was our first stop in Texas. We were on our way to Austin to meet up with my cousin, but I wanted to stop off and see the Texas Quilt Museum in LaGrange along the way. Next door to the quilt museum was this really great quilt shop...not at all surprising. And since this was our first stop in Texas, I chose this "lone star state" fabric.

And wouldn't you know this next fabric, featuring The Beatitudes is the one that would, for the time being at least, bring an end to this quilt's quilting. Do you see that word right in the middle? "Persecuted." Yes, it should say something like "Blessed are the quilters because they are the persecuted." This was another stop in Lancaster County with my friend Robin. Lancaster County is Amish country. The Beatitudes seemed like a good choice.

So now the quilt is on hold until the machine is repaired. I've had it six years, and it's never been in for any kind of service. It's probably just as well. Before we move on, however, I want to mention that yesterday, my friend bcarlf asked this question:

And I'm sorry, bcarlf, you are no-reply, but I do want to answer your question. You can see the answer at this post right here where I talk about how I created the blocks for this quilt, and how the embroidery was done. I wish I could say it was rocket science, but it isn't. As for remembering the names, I simply pinned the receipt from the quilt shop to the piece of fabric so I could remember where I purchased it. For the fabrics I'd purchased before I decided to make the quilt, it took some time, but I reviewed old blog posts about quilt shops looking for them. I know I've missed some, but most of them are included in the quilt. Since starting this quilt, I've collected enough fabrics to start another one. I have a different design in mind for the new one, and so you'll have to stay tuned to see what I do with them.

Okay, so what did I do with the rest of my day? Well, the weather cleared off in the afternoon, and so I got out and planted about 2/3 of the little pots I have in the greenhouse. These pictures will no doubt thrill and excite you, and you'll see that what I've really planted is a stick farm. Wherever you see a little stick in this next series of photos, you'll find a little sunflower seedling. They are planted in the open areas of the culinary herb garden:

There are some in front of the house, near the bleeding heart.

There are a few planted between the rose and the lithodora.

There are some planted near the azaleas,

and near the rhododendrons. I really wanted to plant more in the area to the right and outside the frame. The soil there was so crappy, I could barely dig in it, let alone expect a sunflower to put down roots.

Farther to the right of the image above, there is an area where a tree died and was taken out. There, the soil was better, and so I planted quite a few there.

Also, I planted three zucchini plants in the vegetable garden. You might not be able to see the tiny zucchini seedlings, but you can probably see my footprints where I tramped through the mud.

And I planted the American Giant sunflowers along the fence there. These are the big guys that can grow like Jack's beanstalk. I figure if they need staking, we can always tie them to the fence.

But I wasn't finished with my planting yet. I also planted three little tufts of poppies in the whiskey barrel near the front door. I tried planting sunflowers here last year, but as I've noted, they were a dismal failure. I'm hoping the poppies will do better. I've had pretty good luck with them in the other two whiskey barrels.

By then, my knees were hurting from all the getting up and down. I took a little walk around to see how some of the other things are doing. Of course, I always check in on the peonies first. You'll probably be so sick of seeing this peony bud you won't even care when it blooms. Instead you'll be thankful that you won't have to look at it ever again.

In this next image, you can see the first little plum we've spotted on the plum tree.

Also...and this was the most thrilling thing I saw all day...the calla lily has come up!!!! We'd both given it up for dead, but there it is. So exciting.

The tomato starts were delivered yesterday. Usually, I buy starts at a local nursery or else at the farmer's market. With everything shut down, I ended up ordering these from Territorial Seed. They arrived in good shape yesterday.

It's the first time I've ordered living plants by mail. We ordered the blueberries from the same grower, and everything has arrived in good shape. These tomatoes are in eensy-weensy little pots, and so I'll spend part of today repotting them into 6-inch pots.

Yesterday ended the way it often does...with kitties sunbathing in the waning sunlight. They usually get too hot after they've been here a while, but for about a half hour each day, we fully expect to hear them say, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

As I've been writing this post, Mike has been moving things around and getting Eliza off her throne. I'm so sorry I hurt you, Eliza. I hope you enjoy your trip into the big city. Have a good vacay.

In the process, he uncovered an impressive amount of lint under the machine. Vacuuming up the lint and all the crap behind the table will be my first stop of the morning. 


Julierose said...

Oh so sorry to hear of your mishap with your machine..;;(((

I cleaned out my machine yesterday after those three long rows on SIL's quilt that really did my back in-- oof!! So now I am finishing it off by tying...a bit hard because of leaning over, but no way as difficult as "hauling it through Helga's harp"...(like that alliteration? Huh?)
It is actually warm here today...we sat out on our deck for a bit...
~ ~ ~ waving from warm-ish climes Julierose

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hi Barbara,
It's Maureen from the Endeavourers. Welcome to the group!
I am thoroughly impressed with your embroidery skills. Wow. What font is that? I like it a lot.
Poor Eliza! I hope she isn't too homesick while she is away at, uh, camp.
Waving at you from New Jersey!

Katie said...

Well, that's a lot for one post, but the first thing that stuck out to me was the stick garden you've planted. (Har har har!) My mom has such a green thumb, she might be capable of making those sticks actually grow and bloom. But my second thought was to giggle that you've played hide and seek with squirrel snacks! I do hope the sunflowers grow. They are such pretty flowers. And now I should go check my peonies. The "Mother's Day" variety was nearing blooming last weekend and is always early. The other two, one from each grandparent, are of the later variety, but should be starting to show some signs of life...

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Glad it was the template, and not your finger. Sorry for the unhappy machine. Hopefully it will be a simple fix.

gpc said...

Oh yes, such a tragedy. But I remember well when it WAS my finger as Cheryl's Teapots2 warned. I had been tempted by those plastic templates, just in case I ever quilt anything, but I know an evil omen when I see one, so no more. I was able to go outside yeseterday AND today without a coat. Not for long, of course, but still. Maybe I will be planting things, too, some day!

Kathy said...

I love Lititz, PA. Did you get a chance to visit the park with the spring? It's across the street from the Wilbur's Chocolate Store.
I'm sorry to hear that your machine bit off something it couldn't chew. That's never good for productivity.

Quilting Babcia said...

I'm sorry to hear about Miss Eliza's unfortunate encounter with the plastic rulers. I do hope the repairs aren't too extensive and it can return home quickly. I just got my Janome back from the shop, it had been skipping stitches badly when free motion quilting. It was supposedly gone over thoroughly, gears and everything adjusted and supposedly was working fine. Until I switched the throat plate for free motion and did a needle-down to bring up the bobbin thread and the needle crashed into the steel throat plate. Jammed the remaining half of the needle up into the needle bar so hard I couldn't remove it. Not sure but I'll be surprised if the machine ever works properly again. Back in the shop but I'm not too optimistic. Quite obviously the tech never had it in FMQ mode after making all its adjustments.

Beth said...

I've been thinking of ordering starts from Territorial Seed Co., too, and I have a question for you--did they bring the starts to your house via UPS/Fed Ex or were they delivered to the Post Office? We still aren't venturing out, and won't be for the foreseeable future, so unless a company is shipping via UPS or Fed Ex, we have to pass. So many things to think through these days; I'd hate to have an order languishing down at the P.O. and have to decide whether to break quarantine or tell them to toss it. (I'm sure we'd be the talk of the town, forever. We might make the weekly paper: Local Couple Displays Extreme Lack of Frugality.)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I tried the templates at a friends and just couldn't focus on holding and quilting at the same time. AND I alwys feared that run over the template or run over the fingers nightmare. My machine shop won't be curbside for another two weeks and I have both Jukis to send. About the only flurishing plants around here are dandelions.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Have you ever tried to re-time your machine yourself? It isn't too hard, although a bit tedious. But it would get you sewing again sooner and maybe save some money.

piecefulwendy said...

Oh man, bummer about the machine. I think my timing is off a bit on my domestic too.This whole quarantine thing sure messes stuff up. Hope it gets fixed quickly. I'm not tired of seeing the peony - I love them! Okay, dumb question - can you plant herbs in a flower garden, or should they be in a separate space?

bcarlf said...

I was so excited to see your answer to my question in your post today. I had no idea I was no respond. I will try to fix that. Any way, I can hardly believe that those labels, which are beautiful, are hand embroidery! I have no idea why I am surprised, due to all the beautiful embroidery you show all the time. But I just can't imagine how much time it took to do all that perfect lettering by hand. It just blows me away, and I am sure you can tell that I can't imagine myself doing such a thing ever and I am so in awe. Maybe that will inspire me to try. I just love the whole quilt, the whole idea of it, it' value to you and your family as a memory quilt, everything. I look forward to your posts every single day! Thank you!

SJSM said...

Hubby cleared out the vegetable garden area and put in the tomatoes yesterday. Today we have rain so they will get a nice soak. The plants are strong enough to take a decent rain. Your sunflowers surely will bloom and create quite a lovely summer garden. I do like the comment on squirrel food. That gave me a chuckle.

Oye veh, on the machine! Here one can do the curbside drop off and pick up for machines. Normal turnaround is a week. I’m not sure of today’s turnaround with so many taking up sewing. I’ve heard almost all low end and middle priced machines are out of stock due to people needing to stay occupied and choosing sewing as their method. I hope your machine comes back quick so you can continue. Isn’t it amazing how lint finds places to play?

bcarlf said...

I totally forgot to mention in my previous comment that I was thrilled to see that you visited the Decatur, Georgia quilt shop. I live in the Atlanta, Ga area myself and have done business with that very nice shop. I was also so glad you could visit the Aquarium while it was open to visitors. I hope we can visit again at some point.

CA Bobbie said...

I just finished reading the link about the titles, clever you! I have done the very bad thing of packing the fabrics in the suitcase,coming home and then having very little memory of the names of the shops. I sure do love the fabrics, though never being able to give proper credit to the shops. I love your method and your quilt.Thanks for my daily reading pleasure.

quiltzyx said...

When I saw the photo of the Calla Lily shoots coming up, I could hear Katherine Hepburn in my head:
"The Calla Lilies are in bloom...."

Still attempting to get caught up, so have been reading but not commenting.
All the bloomin' photos are fabulous & I thank you so much for sharing with us all!