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.

11,664 Square Inches

11,664 Square Inches

The Ritzville quilt top is done. I don’t have a picture of the entire quilt because I do not have a good way to photograph a 9’ x 9’ square. I do have this picture of the center row of the quilt, though:


My upstairs hallway is so useful.

It felt like the last two or three long seams took forever. I had to pin them, first, and then sew them, and getting a 12’ seam through the machine takes a while if you want the pieces to line up properly. (Certainly you could race through the seam at breakneck speed, but it would look like you did exactly that when you were done.)

While I worked, I listened to this month’s Sewing With Threads podcast, produced by Threads Magazine. The guest this month was Daryl Lancaster—handweaver, sewist, and teacher—and the topic was Sewing for Competitions. I have no desire to sew for competitions, but having been a judge for spinning and knitting competitions myself, I appreciated hearing her perspective. There is also a Q&A session at the end of the podcast, and one of the questions was on topstitching. I was very pleased to hear Daryl say that she thinks the best topstitching is done on vintage, all-metal, straight-stitching machines.

I agree.

The latest Joann Fabrics flyer has arrived in people’s mailboxes, and it’s causing quite a dust-up on some of the vintage sewing machine lists. Joanns is encouraging people to bring in old machines—the ad features a woman holding a Singer 403—to trade in for a new machine. Those of us who collect and love vintage machines are understandably horrified, as we aren’t sure what Joanns plans to do with them once they have them. Some people said they were going to stand outside the store and offer to buy machines from customers who were bringing them in to trade.

[It’s at times like this that I remember the line from the movie The Book of Eli where one of the characters says, “We kill people now over stuff we used to throw away.”]

Vittorio, my Necchi BF, did a bang-up job making this quilt top and I think he has earned a well-deserved rest and spa day, although once the Ritzville quilt top was done, he did a few more sampler blocks just for fun:


I am aiming for 20 blocks with sashing and cornerstones. That will (finally!) use up most of my dark blue and white HSTs, although I will still have quite a few of the periwinkle and white HSTs—I am pretty sure I made them out of half-yard cuts of fabric instead of fat quarters and that’s why I have more of them. Those may go into my orphan blocks box to marinate for a while. I have whole lot of blue and white scraps and strings in the scrap bag, too. These fabrics will be making future quilt appearances, no doubt.

I am so proud of our neighbor, Elysian—she wanted to make her son some pajamas, so she asked me for help with a machine. I loaned her my Janome Hello Kitty machine to use until I can find and clean up a good vintage one for her. She went to Joanns, picked out fabric, and made her son several fleece PJs. They turned out great! (One of them was even a plaid!) I love her can-do attitude. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she researches and experiments until she figures it out.

I keep checking the thrift stores in town for more of those lower-end Janome machines. They are so good to take to classes and the Hello Kitty ones are easy to use.


Yesterday, an item from the news station in Spokane popped up in my Facebook feed; the reporter had written, “Me and my colleague, Jane Doe…” and I thought to myself, “How on earth did you graduate from high school, let alone a journalism program?!?!?!?”

The (male) news anchor who had been on the local evening news ever since we moved here retired last fall. He was replaced by two women anchors. I am sure I will be accused of some kind of -ism, but the evening newscast has deteriorated significantly since then. Being that we are a small market, the reporters are all wet-behind-the-ears graduates from MSU/UM who are marking time until they can move on to something bigger. As a result, the local evening news is starting to look like Romper Room. The lead story (the lead story!) on Tuesday evening was about a dog that fell through the ice on the Whitefish River and the subsequent rescue. Last night, the lead story (the lead story!) was about a cat whose owners found it outside encased in snow (the cat survived). I don’t mind a few human interest stories here and there, but it’s a NEWS PROGRAM and it should be broadcasting news.

It annoys me to no end when they say things like, “The show will return after this commercial break.” It’s not a “show.” It’s a news program. A “show” is designed to be entertaining. I don’t want to be entertained by the news. I want to be informed.

Also, this is Montana. We don’t need to belabor the point that it’s cold and snowy out there. It happens every winter and yet people act surprised about it. I went to town the other day when it was 6 degrees. I came out of the grocery store and thought to myself, “Hmmm, it is rather brisk out here,” but I was dressed properly for the weather in my flannel-lined jeans, wool socks, boots, scarf, gloves, and wool coat.

Get off my lawn.

I am off to quilting today at the church. Perhaps Elaine and I can get another MCC comforter finished and ready for binding.

More Adventures in Mending

More Adventures in Mending

Part of Something Larger

Part of Something Larger