Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

I Embroidered a Cactus

I Embroidered a Cactus

Squarespace 5 is just not playing nicely with the new computer for some reason. The formatting in this post is all wonky. I may be switching over to the new blog sooner than expected, but you'll find out here, first.

Slowly but surely, I am getting sewing stuff put away and rooms cleaned for houseguests. The husband and I have decided that if our renters ever move out—they are talking about buying a house—we are going to keep the rental house as a guest house for friends and relatives who come to visit. That way, I'll be able to devote one room upstairs to being my sewing room instead of having stuff spread out over three bedrooms. I need to finish up everything that requires the cutting table, because it is in DD#2's room and she is expecting to sleep in there. 

We have enjoyed having our current renters in our rental house, but it's hard to find good renters and even harder to kick bad ones out (we've been there). The husband wondered if I could just make the rental house my sewing studio. I'd prefer to keep my sewing stuff here, though. Sometimes I work on projects in the evening and I wouldn't want to have to hike through the snow to get over there only to be by myself. My kitchen needs an overhaul, too, and we've talked about moving over to the rental house while that's happening. We'll get it figured out. It's not an immediate issue. 

This is the current project list:

• The Ritzville quilt blocks. I had a marathon cutting session a few weeks ago and cut out probably 60 or 70 blue blocks and white/cream blocks. These got paired up and I have been working my way through the stack, sewing Magic 8 squares for half-square triangles. I have a nice supply now:


They just need to be trimmed to the proper size and then sewn into blocks. 

• A pillowcase that is going to be a Christmas present. Yes, nothing like waiting until the last minute. At least I am not making anyone's Christmas dresses. That way lies madness. 

• The cover for DD#'s vanity chair. 

• About two dozen canvas grocery bags. 

• The Sparkling Diamond quilt blocks. I have all those squares ready to make into four-patches. I pulled out a chunk of Kona Snow last night; I'll press that and cut it into 9" squares today. Those 9" white squares will get paired with a stack of 9" colored Kona squares that were in my orphan blocks bin, and I'll use the Magic 8 method to make them into HSTs, too. 

I am not allowing myself to start any other projects. That overnight bag project will have to wait until everyone leaves. And I have amassed good supply of things I can work on while spending time with the family. I can trim Ritzville HSTs or get out one of the handcranks (probably Jane, my favorite Singer 66) and make Sparkling Diamond blocks. I've knocked out four cotton dishcloths so far:


I have my ongoing embroidery project:


That dark green thing is supposed to be a tree, but it looks more like a cactus to me. 

[I am wondering if there is some kind of official psych diagnosis for people who are terrified of being stuck somewhere with nothing to do. I think I could be the poster child for that condition, followed closely by the husband, although he is better at sitting and watching TV than I am.]

Sewing will continue this week, albeit at a reduced pace. 


Bonnie Hunter, one of my favorite quilting professionals, has been having a hard time of it recently. She has a very demanding schedule. She recognized a while ago that she needs to pare back a bit, and one way she could do that is to have quilters come to her instead of doing all the traveling herself. She bought a beautiful old Victorian house and has been getting that ready to open as a retreat center. It will have space for 16 quilters at a time. Because she's booked out as a teacher sometimes five years in advance, she has to wait until 2020 for her schedule to clear up completely.  

She also had a new scrap quilting book published, called String Frenzy. It's available through quilt stores and Amazon, but she also sells it on her website (where she makes the most profit). Bonnie has come up with what I think is a very smart system: She only puts 500 copies at a time up for sale in her online store, fills those orders, and then puts another 500 copies up for sale, etc. That way, she's is not overwhelmed with orders. Even so, she has filled something like 3500 book orders in the past three weeks, all while also running her annual Mystery Quilt project that starts the day after Thankgiving. The design is inspired by a place she traveled in the past year or two. Each Friday, she releases a new set of "mystery clues" and quilters piece along. No one really knows what the finished quilt will look like until the end of the project. 

[Having run two knitalongs myself, I can assure you that there is a huge amount of behind-the-scenes work going on to make this quiltalong successful. I marvel at her ability to keep all these balls in the air.]

Sadly, Bonnie's brother died of a brain tumor in September, and now his widow has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. You would think that people would be able to show a bit of compassion under the circumstances, but it's truly amazing how badly people can behave. Bonnie has a blog where she talks about getting the retreat center ready. A lot of her fans have stepped forward with donations of period-appropriate furniture and decorations. However, that brought out the trolls who made comments along the lines of "Must be nice to be famous and have people just give you things." Why is it necessary to say something like that?

Then she had the customers who didn't think that she was filling book orders fast enough. (And don't forget that there was a weather event recently that slowed things down beyond her control.) She has had to deal with people placing orders using outdated e-mail addresses or addresses belonging to someone else and then wondering why they didn't get order confirmations or tracking numbers. She does the mystery quilt project out of the kindness of her very big heart, but that doesn't stop people from demanding clues ahead of time ("I am going to be traveling and I need this information to keep working on the quilt!") or making other unreasonable requests. 

She was advised by many of her fans to start her Christmas vacation early and not worry about getting book orders filled. I feel so bad for her. This overblown sense of entitlement that some people feel never ceases to amaze me. Apparently, once someone starts being a celebrity of any kind, they stop being human in some people's eyes. It's unfortunate. I hope that she is able to take some much-needed time off to rest and recoup before her schedule ramps up again in January. 

A Gross Miscalculation

A Gross Miscalculation

Christmas Presents Big and Small

Christmas Presents Big and Small