Monday, October 24, 2011


THIS is a bonfire!  We had the first annual Wachter family reunion Saturday at my niece, Jenna's house in Pennsylvania.  Jen is lucky enough to have a darling log cabin/stone spacious cottage on four level acres, so most of the Wachter clan that was descended from my father gathered there at her invitation.  The kids ran and played, we all ate too much, and the bonfire was a huge success.  Various menfolk tested their mettle dragging full size fir trees from a pile about 20 feet high across two acres to the bonfire to keep it crackling and going long into the night.  Those of us with more traditional tastes added chopped wood sections to the fire, and the warmth and glow from all of this was enchanting.

Meet the cast of characters.  This is youngest son, Jon, bringing folding chairs to the bonfire set up.

This is Jon's eldest, Jon Russ, dragging his own tree to the fire.

Jon's wife, Shary, is NOT texting!  She's taking a movie of the men dragging the trees and logs for the bonfire.

Jon and Shary's youngest son, Adrian, just "happened" to catch his stick for marshmallows on fire.

Sister Missy and progeny:  Lara in front and Jenna in back.

                                           Jen's daughter, Aubrey.

   Jen resting after all that cooking and cleaning and stockpiling wood.

Missy's youngest, Lara, above, and her fiance, Jeff, here.

Grandma Missy reading to Jeff and Lara's daughter, Gianna.

Brother Elm's eldest son, Joey. Elm couldn't attend since his race track was open that day (Mason-Dixon race track).  Joey and Jenna and Jon have a "special" way about them when they start cutting up together, and all political correctness is left waaayyyyy far behind.

Joey's son, Jakob.

Just a word about start-up reunions:  they're every bit as much fun as long standing ones, and one of the best things about them is that you actually KNOW the people involved, since fifteen generations haven't produced 400 people that you've never met. 

We have a Hake reunion every year.  Hake was my mother's mother's family name, and although I grew up with my cousins and aunts and uncles, I am now a member of the eldest generation represented there, so I know almost none of the great-great grandchildren. And it's hard enough to remember the names of my own contemporaries.  This makes that reunion more befuddling than befriending for me.

I think that's why my kids and their generation decided that having a family reunion with just my father's descendants would be such fun.  There aren't as many  of us to keep track of.  And my kids and my brother's used to go with us to Murder Mystery Weekend at Allenberry in Boiling Springs, PA some years.  It was an annual tradition for my sister, my brother and I to go to this event for 17 years, so we had at least one full weekend that afforded us time to catch up on each other's lives. I love that our children are now feeling the need to continue that weekend of visiting in a pastoral setting welcoming to all generations.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quilting by embroidery!

This pretty patchwork was created in the hoop of MY sewing/embroidery machine!  A week or so ago about eight of us from the quilt guild decided to get together with Sherry Newton, an extraordinary software teacher/embroiderer/longarm quilter who lives in the Lake Gaston area.  We wanted to learn how to do those amazing embroidered quilts that are on the web these days, but some of us hadn't even taken our embroidery hoops out of the boxes yet!  This was completely undaunting to Sherry.  We had at least three different kinds of embroidery machines, and Sherry was able to work with all of our formats and put us on the right path!

Each of us had her own table.  I don't know how you are, but when I am a little nervous about doing something I haven't tried before, I don't want to be crowded until I get my sea legs.  I've embroidered towels and such, but never an entire quilt. 

Here's Kay's block, coming together nicely. She looks like she really has the hang of this thing.  It's not just embroidery that we are doing in this class.  We are also learning how to applique small bits of fabric into the block cleanly and securely.  Even though this is all done with the machine, you have to decide what colors you want in each block and follow Sherry's careful directions as to how to applique them in the correct order.  Sherry also taught us about the various stabilizers and threads that we are using in this class.

Jan loves purple and green combinations, and these fabrics were just perfect for her pansy block.  Every one of us finished the first block in the series of 20, even though it took a full three hours to do so!  Hopefully, as we become more familiar with these techniques, it will go a little faster.  We're supposed to go ahead and do as many of the first five blocks as we can before the next class (monthly). 

It's nice to stretch one's wings now and then, isn't it?

Don't forget to check out my other blog:  where I show a bargello Christmas table runner in the making this week. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I have a second blogspot for my professional work as a quilter.  Sometimes I will post new discoveries in the quilting world.  Sometimes I will show my latest quilting commission.  There is less personal chat and more business conversation on this second blog:

Please visit it from time to time to catch up on my customers' work.  My latest quilt is a stunning New York Beauty effort by Kay McA.  Here's a picture of the entire quilt, below.

I will continue to share my own quilting adventures and personal journey with you on this blog, so stay tuned.