29 July 2019

While I'm Waiting on Thread, Another Top Finished

I went back and forth with a thread delima on
my DS's quilt.  I have a med-gray but it was an
emergency-purchase thread to finish a previous project.
If ever a quilt is going to get a lot of wear and tear, it
will be this one so I'm just not comfortable using a generic
thread (I'm not really ever so why am I keeping it!?!?)
so I gave in and placed an order.  

While waiting on the thread to show up, I pulled out my
other current project, the 30's sampler/Irish chain quilt.

I decided to do the piano key border
(as a reader suggested--thank you)
to use up all of my little scrappy pieces.

And just like that, another quilt top done; in fact,
 the backing is pieced and it's completely ready to
load up...just as soon as DS's rolls off.

Here we are creeping up on August and I'm wondering:
 do I try to squeeze in that Dresden within the next
couple weeks before the overwhelming urge to
create some autumn in the sewing room hits?

Happy quilting!

24 July 2019

Quilt Top Reveal

We're getting an incredible reprieve from the triple-digit
temps right now.  Waking up to 60 degrees in the morning
is. awesome.  Makes me want fall.  Now.

As DS heads into the last half of BEAST I'm
working a little harder to get this quilt completed.
No last-minute cramming is my motto!

The borders are on, the backing made
 and it's being loaded onto the frame for quilting.
(What do you think?  Black thread?  Dark Gray?)

80 X 64

I'm thinking about labeling it with something like
"Slayed It--BEAST 2023" referring to the phrase
"Slay the BEAST" used to encourage the new cadets.
I know this quilt radiates out nicely but the symbolism
for DS works from the outside to the "goal" in the center.

The red border signifies reporting to the
Cadet in the Red Sash on R-Day--just the beginning
of the intensity.  The stars signify the various training
exercises and skills mastered like rifle qualification,
field navigation, hand grenades, chemical training
(including experiencing tear gas!),
casualty care, mountaineering and so on.

Around week 5 the new cadets spend a couple days
and nights hiking out to Camp Buckner where they stay
for more training.  This is shown by the log cabin blocks.

The finale to BEAST is the grueling 12-mile hike back,
 known as March Back, but this time it's all in one day,
and each is still carrying all his/her equipment 
and gear not to mention wearing heavy fatigues
in that summer heat.  It is reported that
they return completely exhausted, especially after
the odd sleeping (or lack thereof) conditions at camp.

But they also return with a great sense of triumph.
The BEAST has been slayed and they may now
be accepted fully into the academy on A-Day.
Thus the star in the middle.

Think I got enough meaning into this one?

Happy Quilting!

23 July 2019

Rearranging the Cabin, Ready for Borders

This post is really about the process a quilter
can go through when working out the design
of her quilt.  Fortunately, I was able to do most
on my EQ8 but now I found myself at the very
important center and wanted to see it all first-hand.

Up to this point in the militia quilt,
I had been just loving the diamond
design created by the log cabin blocks.

My original plan for the center was this but I decided
those red squares didn't really work with the gold
squares already in the quilt.

After trying out about 10 different ideas,
I ended up feeling this design would look best in here.

What I was not expecting was that stark square in
the center.  It looked....okay, but didn't seem to radiate
or blend so much as it contrasted or fought? the design.
So getting my sister on the phone we went through
many different ways to fix this.   Many.
I think I sent maybe 10 to 15 pics by text?
(This is quilting in the modern age!)

I started by cutting out some gray pieces to lay
over the black but I was still seeing that square.
Please ignore my feet in the pic!!

We tried lighter grays.  We tried changing the
inner star.  Mostly I just really didn't like the 
grays touching that gold but again, the 
square was always there.

Then my sister got the idea to play around with the
log cabins instead.  But...but...my diamond!!
Still, nothing else seemed to be working so I arranged
and rearranged and ended up with a pretty good solution.
And one that everyone unanimously voted on.
(I enlisted the help of my other 2 sisters, though
non-quilters, on the final decision process)

What stands out to me on this design, right after that
 center star, is the cross in the gray space around it.
A cross instead of the diamond.
Maybe there's some significance to that:  DS is choosing
the difficult life of a soldier over a simpler--likely easier--one?

Note in the picture it's already sewn up
and ready for borders today.

Happy quilting!

Linking up to:

20 July 2019

MSQC: Latest Additions to the Stash

In between the gardening, quilting and handing
progeny over to the USMA, I found a few things
that begged to be added to the sewing room.

Couldn't have designed pins better myself.

I'm still working on, ahem, inventory control
but when you're needing something specific
and have to go outside of your inventory
you end up seeing other fabrics and things.

Aye, there's the rub.

Once my daughter picked out colors and style for
the new baby's room, I searched online and came
up with the above fabric.

I took it with me to Missouri Star Quilt Company last week
and found these other fabrics.  At first I wasn't having much
luck so I picked out that lower left one even though I wasn't
feeling good about it.  But then came across all those across
the top there that are much more the style I'm after.
Just hoping I can find another coral and/or peach that is
more solid to round it out.  I don't have a particular pattern
in mind for this quilt yet but it will be fairly basic.

Oh, and what's an I-Spy quilt without dinosaurs??

This was a random purchase from the clearance rack.
I haven't mentioned this but I'm planning on doing
QOV soon.  I may just make quilts to donate but I'm
not ruling out joining the local group as well.
Meanwhile, I'm keeping my eyes out for appropriate
fabrics for these patriotic quilts.

I actually did very well while visiting.
But maybe that's because I'd already done
a little online damage?

Going completely against my own rules, I got this
layer cake--the Daily Deal--because I'm a sucker
for these colors and winter and because I was sitting
at the coffee shop with the hubs, perusing my email 
and the caffeine was flowing.

And you know how if you add just a few more things,
you can get free shipping...(oy)?
More QOV fabrics and then the science nerd in me can
never resist the periodic table of elements. 
That one has a whole line that I'm going to keep an eye on.

This whole week-long spree canNOT be repeated.
Shop Hop is in a few months and the stash must
be sufficiently decreased for a guilt-free experience.

On to the militia quilt:
I ended up with this design for the center. 

 It was not what I thought was the prettiest of my ideas
but it's the design that worked best with this quilt.

A quick print and I would be off and running...
well, sort of.
Turns out it wasn't as simple as all of that
but I'm saving that for my next post.

Kitchen update:

I've switched over to freezing carrots now.
I only need 6 or 7 bags of the large chunks but the
small pieces are for all kinds of soups and other
winter recipes.  I'd like about 30 bags of those;
after that and what I pull aside for cooking with
now, I'll probably share with the chickens.
For now, it's back to work.

Happy quilting!

18 July 2019

Latest Projects and R-Day

It's been a great run this season
but the brutal hot days have arrived. 

And soon all the green around here will turn brown. 

At least there is plenty of color coming from the garden.
We're getting the prettiest blackberries, and the most that
we've ever had.  Of course I'm freezing them for smoothies.

I made lavender panna cotta for the first time--
a super easy and light dessert.
And the season's first ratatouille.  Oh yum,
especially with a generous sprinkling of fresh
basil for garnish.  

Moving into the sewing room...
I'll share the result of my latest trip up to
Missouri Star Quilt Company in my next post
but today I want to show how far I've gotten
on DS's quilt.

I've been pondering the center large star and I think
I've gotten it all planned out.  Time will tell.

Which brings us to saying goodbye to DS on R-Day.
We arrived early--around 6:30--and hopped on the shuttle
to "Ike Hall" where we got in line for that final good-bye.
No contacts are allowed during the 6-weeks of BEAST so
DS was in his glasses, though in just a few hours would
be wearing government issued ones.

Everything DS would need is in that stuffed backpack,
and this he would be wearing for hours yet.
In some ways I think that would be great, that minimal living.
But then I remember my fabric and my machines...

DS needing a haircut.  Guess what's coming very soon??

So we moved along in the line for a while taking a selfie
here and there, supposedly to lighten the mood and
to pass the time but this mom really wanted those last pics.
 All this time there is an "elephant in the room" that none
of us are really addressing.  All of us in line know what is
coming and none of us wants to dwell on it so there's
nervous chatter, laughing...avoidance.
Eventually you come to realize that they keep it
to 60 seconds for a very good reason.

Finally we make it into the auditorium where they're taking
two seperate groups of about 25 or so to-be new cadets
and their families.   The door closes behind us and the
mood changes instantly.  The free-flowing chatter ceases.

The parents and families are first addressed with what will
be happening throughout the day.  Was I listening?
Not really.  I was totally focused on not losing it here
in a bit, especially reeling from that crazy day/night of
One of the cadre then steps up and loudly and firmly
addresses the appointees with a few words of guidance.
He ends by telling them they
"now have 60-seconds to say goodbye".

Super tight hugs and last words exchanged...
and off he went.  And that was it.
All throughout the events of that day,  it would
occur to me how an entire year of hard work--his but
with our help and always our stress--and excitement
were all leading up to this day.  And it was done.
Well, our part was.  His was just beginning.
Did I succeed in holding it together?
Amazingly, I did pretty well.  Let's just say it sure
could've been worse.  I attribute prayers there.

After the goodbyes, the new cadets go through what is
said to be their worst day in their 4 years there,
mostly due to the fact that they are being yelled at
all. day. long.
They receive their first uniform, get their hair cut, and
individually report to the Cadet in the Red Sash--
which must be memorized and delivered perfectly
while standing about 3 inches from the Cadet's
face before the appointee may go on.
They learn to march, are issued bedding and other 
articles needed and are shown to their barracks.
And so on.

By 6:30 that evening, the parents are gathered in the stands
to get a last glimpse--if possible--of their DS or DD as they
march in uniform in their companies onto the field
to deliver their oath to the US Army.  

This is where there Waldo hunting begins.
1,200 new cadets.
All those shaved heads and uniforms make it very difficult
to pick out even your own child--we were successful!
(If you're wondering, 23% of this class are females.
They must keep their hair pulled back and up.)

And there he is.
Yes, it is a super-proud moment!

With the oath ceremony concluded, they all march away.
The day is over, your kiddo is in and you will not see or
hear from him for approximately 3 weeks.

One of the few pics we have seen of DS.  There are rules
forbidding most pics from being shared outside of the groups.

Social media comes in super handy here--parents' groups
exist where all can share pics and help each other out,
especially those who live close enough for frequent visits
to the post, though they are allowed only in certain areas
and no contact is permitted.
I'm already thankful to these parents who happily snap
pics of all they can so that the rest of us can try to
catch a glimpse of our kiddo in action.
West Point also shares occasional photos to let us know
what is going on.  What a fantastic and supportive big family
we have joined!  

We knew how much he looked forward to this, how much he
wanted it but it was still hard not knowing how it was going.
I just wanted to know if he still felt that way, if he was happy
in his decision.  Making this harder is that stern military face.
How nice it would have been to just see a smile??
Several days in, pictures from "Chaplain Time" were posted
and there was DS, up in the choir loft where he'd volunteered
to be and with a smile on his face.  This made Mom's day.

We did receive a very quick phone call this past week
and all of his excitement is still there.  For now it's enough
to know he's happy and that it's going well but we're looking
forward to the promised longer phone call this coming weekend.

I think it has taken me these few weeks to stop reeling
from everything.  Other life events have been taking
place as well, including our daughter moving back
out and starting her career.  I'm really hoping that
next week might be a calm one--for once!
It's seems eons!

Today, after some house-cleaning and gardening,
 I'll be working on the center of the militia quilt.
I'm excited to see what I come up with and to see
how the whole project comes together.  Not nearly
as momentous as experiencing a year-long
lead-up to R-Day, of course, but I'm not really
sure I how I'd handle another go like that!

Happy quilting!

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