Happy Holidays!

Things have been a little quiet around here—family matters have intervened. My mom was in the hospital for 11 days and I flew out to be with my folks when she was released. Fortunately, she is doing better, but we had quite a few days where once we got her clean, fed, and comfortable, she'd nap. I'd been planning to finish for her Christmas gift a table runner I'd pieced earlier in the year, and her naps gave me the perfect chance to do so.

I used her very snazzy Brother Ellismo machine to quilt it. We had some trouble getting the free motion functions to work (my mom uses the machine primarily for embroidery), so I ended up using the walking foot to do some straight stitching. I was a little intimidated by all its bells and whistles at first, but the wonderful extra work space, ease of threading, and amazing needle threader really won me over. It didn't take too long to figure it all out (except for the free motion aspect), which surprised me, too. I love the two machines I most often use—a Bernina 153QE and a Janome 6600. But I gotta say, this one was pretty pleasing.

So here are some shots of the final result. The pattern is so much fun—Lone Pine, made with X-blocks. My buddy Mel and I bought these rulers two summers ago when we met at a quilt shop in Manchester, Iowa, during the riding of RAGBRAI. Neither of us had ever used them and wasn't sure I would. But they were very fun—kind of like using my mom's sewing machine—they offered a new take on something you do regularly, in this case strip piecing. Yes, the binding is a bit wobbly, and I think a bit of free motion between the trees would have been great, but given the situation, I'm happy with it, as was my mom.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday, filled with time to read, sew, be with friends and family, and relax. Cheers!