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.