December 1, 2022

The number for December is 4 – four.

The color for December is Black.

I do understand that it’s December and everybody is going to be busy with Christmas but try your best to eek out a little sewing time. Christmas can be stressful so a little time at your sewing machine will help.

Now – about the Christmas Sled #603. I FOUND IT! Misfiled which is why I didn’t find it the first time – ugh. I’m so sorry I created all this angst and worry. You can order it immediately for $5.00. Address found under our picture.

And now an explanation – when we retired and closed in 2014 it never once entered my mind that in 2022 I’d still be mailing out patterns. I was just so tired of having no privacy that we made the decision to close. I wish I had stuck it out because now quilt shops are few and far between. Quality fabric is scarce but we had over 5000 bolts. My little farm haven became a public space and not everybody who visited Country Threads liked my animals. They had to be locked up every day until 5:05. I hated that part.

Several asked about this red and white runner.

I have this pattern and it can be made available for $5.00. Oh, we designed hundreds of patterns – many Christmas projects, too many to show them all here.

This Santa pattern is called Winter from one of our early books. The pattern is several large sheets of templates increasing the cost to $10. You can order it now.

This pattern is in the Country Threads Quilt Shop Series book so if you have that book, you have this pattern already.

It’s very windy again today making it nearly impossible to take quilt pictures outside. I have two new dogs here for doggie daycare, Simka and Aviv. They belong to our neighbors, Tom and Cathy who sadly are dealing with daily radiation treatments for Tom’s Stage 4 brain cancer. Keeping their dogs in the quilt shop is what I can do to help them and I wish there was something else I could do. We all wish for that but he is terminal.

I’ve watched a couple good Netflix series – Inside Man and 1899. Anybody else have recommendations?

That’s it for today – remember Number 4 and Black.

61 thoughts on “December 1, 2022

  1. Jan Smith

    I’m sure your neighbors appreciate knowing that their pets are in such good hands. I’m praying for a fading away type of passing for Tom.
    For tv, I mainly watch sports, but really enjoyed a series called Traitors. It is about communist infiltration in upper levels of British government. Probably set in the late 40’s or early 50’s. There are just six episodes, and they are all from one year. I’m sure there will be another season.

  2. Bea knight

    Hi Mary

    So sorry to hear about your neighbors cancer.
    It’s so sad so many people have had it etc

    I’m grateful you are taking care of their dogs. You are a wonderful kind person! I love your blog and all the animals so so much!
    God bless you always Mary!!!❤️

  3. Judy - Michigan

    Thanks for another great post. My husband is looking for new series so he will take your review and look into watching them.
    Stay warm!

  4. martha mumaw

    How do I email you pics of my Fresh Start quilt? I have no email address to send to you.

  5. Vicki Ibarra

    One of the highlights of visits to my Dad and Mom was knowing Mom and I would often shop at Country Threads. Over the years, we made several shopping trips to your farm. It always amused me that she and I liked different color ways, but we each could walk out with fabric and plans for the next project. It was a hobby we both enjoyed. Thanks for providing a place for those wonderful memories.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Vicki – you should tell the readers how far we go back and what our connection is. I’ll bet they’d be interested.

      1. Vicki Ibarra

        Here goes:
        Mary and I go back a long ways….we attended the same school in Crystal Lake, Iowa. Mary was 3 or 4 years ahead of me. Her sister, Becky, was in my class. Becky and I had some sleepovers in their farm home. I remember their farm house well as not only did I play there as a youth, but Mary was my piano teacher for a few years and I had lessons in her home. I remember Mary’s patience as my teacher and how effortless her piano playing seemed. She was in high school when she was my teacher, so consider what it must have taken to be patient with a student then!

        We attended the same country church (yes, literally a church all by itself in the middle of farm land) sitting at the same services, including the Christmas eve service that the kids always sang/performed at. I moved away for college after high school graduation in 1971 and stayed in Iowa City for my career. That was close enough to visit my parents, and of course, Country Threads. Each time I saw Mary at her shop, she would smile and say “hi”, addressing me by name even after all the years apart. That amazed me. Lots of fond memories of the shop and the common threads of our childhood.

  6. Bridget

    Mary, you are doing something practical to help out your neighbor and that is the best thing to do. It takes off some of the stress. I have never forgotten the friends and neighbor who helped when we needed it.Thankfully I have your book with Santa. Need to get it out and get it made. I have made other patterns but this could be Santa’s year 😉 I always wanted to come to your store and would have loved the animals. Not understanding how someone would come to your shop of their own volition and then complain about the animals. People are puzzles.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bridget – I remember some of those visitors and the circumstances of the complaints. Hard to believe considering that was one of the things we were “famous” for- haha! I never could understand how they could complain …. but they did. And potential lawsuits scared the daylights out of me. A cat scratch became a major injury.

    2. Lorna

      I LOVE your last statement…..People are indeed Puzzles!!!
      Thank you! I’ll be using that from now on!

  7. Linda Schluchter from Saginaw

    Mary, bless you for taking care of the neighbors’ pups while they travel through that horrible journey. I hate cancer! It has taken to many friends, family and dear puppies. I give to cancer research just hoping that someday soon they will be able to comfortably treat it successfully. I feel so sorry for Tom’s wife, being a caregiver and having to watch all the stages of the horrible disease is heartbreaking and so very stressful. I will pray for as pain-free transition as he can have and her peace. Thank you Mary, you are a God send to animals.

  8. Sue in Oregon

    So sad to read about your neighbors, Mary. It’s so good that you keep their dogs while they are doctoring.
    Mary…Have you read West With Giraffes? I think you would really like it.
    Black??? Oh, my.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sue in Oregon – I made note of the book title. Yup – black – this be a real challenge for some. My black project is waiting for me in a box.

  9. Chris in Alaska

    Thank you, Mary, for the patterns and dog pictures ! I’m missing our dog, especially now since we adopted him 2 years ago over the holidays . We were sure hoping for more time with him . Quilts are beautiful as always !

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Chris in Alaska – I’ll bet you are missing him now. Wouldn’t this be an opportune time to adopt another dog? It would be the same season and would mark his Gotcha day 2 years ago. So sorry for your loss. Hoping to hear you tell me you got a new dog.

  10. Linda Schaefer

    Oh an added bonus when visiting your shop was the animals!! I was there when hazel the little goat was running around the shop and jumped on the furring table so I carried her around while I shopped! Best day ever!!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda S – I’m still hoping to get Susannah’s book published!

  11. Mrs. Goodneedle

    Oh, Mary, how sad to learn of Cathy and Tom’s situation. You are doing so much for them, those pups are loved and cared for, easing their burden. I’m sticking a check in the mail for both the sled and Christmas morning patterns. I visited your lovely shop in August of 1999. I’m frustrated to think of you having to keep your pets up and away because of running the business, anyone who knew of you and your shop would have expected to be greeted by your precious four legged family members. Yes, there are far too few good shops anymore. A sad sign of the current times.

  12. Rebecca

    I loved visiting your shop! I think I only made it twice from Oklahoma but both were memorable!
    I’m enjoying “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” on Netflix!
    Thank you for your posts! Tomorrow is suppose to be around 66° so I’m hoping to get the last of my bulbs planted. Wind is going to be gusting to 40 mph though! Ugh!

  13. Jill Klop

    I have my envelope easy to mail for the sled pattern. I am so sorry for your friend and the cancer. Such difficult times. I know that they appreciate that they don’t have to worry about their dogs. You are so good to help in this way. The black challenge comes at a perfect time…I was planning on starting an Advent sew along and I planned on using black for the HSTs.

  14. Connie R. in NE Wis.

    Thanks for searching out the sled pattern. I have my check and SASE ready to be mailed out tomorrow. So sorry for what Tom and Cathy are going through. I know from personal experience how hard it is to see see someone go through brain cancer . I’m sure you taking care of their dogs is a real comfort to them. I too wish your quilt shop was still open but, can certainly understand why you felt it was time to close. Must have been like company over every day. It’s sad that so many quilt shops have closed. Thanks for all you do to keep us quilters connected through your blog.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      I, too, watched From Scratch and loved it! I have friends going to Italy in February so I was very interested in scenery and food.

  15. Tina W in Oregon

    As soon as I post this, I’m writing a check for the sled pattern and will send it along with a sase.
    There was a question about fading which I guess is inevitable when it comes to displaying and enjoying our quilts. I have a different question for everyone: what do you do with the quilts that are no longer usable or way too faded? I wouldn’t want to donate any that I wouldn’t want to use myself. I know you can cut them up and make things with them. Dog beds are good I guess, but……any suggestions?

    1. Connie R.

      Tina W., How about making Christmas stockings from your old quilts. Even faded ones would look great.

      1. Kathy in western NY

        Tina – I recently bought a cute little stuffed kitty cat made from a worn blue and white quilt to put on my doll bed. I am sure crafters buy them at thrift stores for projects. I have a wall hanging my SIL made from a worn out quilt so we’d all have pieces of an old family quilt.

    2. Vicki Ibarra

      I have seen Christmas stockings and teddy bears. They were hot items in a store in New Orleans. I imagine even table runners would be a possibility. Faded seems to be in style for vintage items.

  16. Mary

    We watched 1899, it was really “ different “! Haven’t watched Inside Man. I watched Maid, it was good plus sad & stressful, but a good series. The trials and tribulations of a young single mother.

  17. Jo in Wyoming

    Mary, you are such a sweetheart. Your little farm has become an open book again.
    Bless you for all you do for so many. Even lending an ear is great comfort to those in need.

  18. Lynette in Orlando

    Love all the Christmassy quilts!!!! I’m still working on my decorating…… given myself until tomorrow and then be done. Need to enjoy the season vs making myself crazy trying to get the house “perfect” As far as Netflix, a friend just recommended “A Christmas Prince” movie. It’s on my list but haven’t had the time to watch as yet.

  19. Kim from TN

    I always loved coming to the shop, but I realize it is a lot of work and never-ending people on your home site, I still enjoy the blog and have lots of patterns and some of the older books. I need the sled pattern, its super cute for the winter months. I can recommend a new series for you on Netflix, it is called “From Scratch”.

  20. Elle

    I was a new quilter when you closed your shop and did not know about your patterns. I love that you are showing and selling them now. They are beautiful and absolutely timeless. You and Connie are so talented and creative. I have learned much from you and your followers. And I always love the quilt pictures from everyone. I am also benefiting from your UFO calendar. Right now, I have so many UFOs that I won’t start anything new.

    In Mobile, AL it is sunny and cool 65 degrees, but will be back in the 70s tomorrow. Since the wind is calmer here inland, the wind chill is much less.

    1. Janet of Minnesota

      Elle, I love that you used the words 65 degrees and ‘wind chill’ in the same paragraph. In the northern climates, we use it with lower temperatures. Thank you for the chuckle.

        1. Elle

          Janet & Mary,
          It is my absolute pleasure to provide you with some chuckles.
          I understand—we moved here (near where I grew up) from North Missouri. I miss the beautiful Midwest and the wonderful people, but not the cold and ice. I am forever thankful for our time there.
          By the way, I had to use the air conditioner in my car this afternoon while running errands.

  21. Kathy in western NY

    I feel bad your neighbors are dealing with such devastating news and radiation treatments. The dogs are beautiful. Knowing they are safe and being cared for at such a stressful time gives relief at such a difficult time. Thank you for your kindness. Will keep them close in prayer.

    I got my patterns so I appreciate your quick turn around time. I agree….maybe this is what you were meant to do. Be home, have your animals near you and can still reach out to your customers in this way. Life has a way of showing us there are other choices just as nice.

    Tonight we will watch the Dolly Parton movie on NBC as I love holiday shows and movies this time of year. Keeps the spirit of Christmas in my heart watching them. I got all teary eyed last night watching the Kelly Clarkson Christmas special award a woman in Houston for her efforts to teach art to children.

  22. Marcia Petree

    I miss your shop, too, but have many wonderful memories of shopping there, AND enjoying your animals.
    Once I brought a granddaughter who was learning to quilt and she was enjoying your goats through the fence when you appeared and told her more about them. She loved that! But retirement is good, so
    enjoy every minute.

  23. Sherrill

    I’m curious about your sled quilt hanging you do anything to maybe prevent fading? I’m thinking there’s not much to be done but thought I’d ask. I know what your friends are going through as my hubby died of a glio over 10 yrs ago. Very few survive that. 😢

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sherrill – I don’t think too much about fading – the way I see it is if it gets too faded there are always more in the closet or to make again. My theory is to enjoy them, not pack them away to keep them safe for all time.

  24. Lynn in Scottsdale, AZ

    Will put Cathy and Tom on our prayer list for comfort during this difficult time.

    Mary, you worked many years, and you, Connie and all the employees provided so much joy. I hope you were profitable and rewarded for your efforts. You are selling patterns and writing books so maybe this is what you were meant to do. I think you are happier now and have had time to take care of yourself, Rick, and family, and Connie was able to retire to her lake home. We miss the shop, but we are happy for you.

  25. Mary in Kansas

    Good work Mary! Pattern sleuthing and dog sitting. I recently watched “Mrs. Harris goes to Paris” on an overseas fight. It was very enjoyable.

  26. Becky S Williams

    I cannot remember now how I found your site but I am glad I did. I just ordered your book from Amazon, I hope you get some payment from that sale. I did not know you had a book till I read your post. Selfishly, I wish you still had the quilt shop too though it would have been too far for me to drive. The reason for me is not a lack of quilt shops, in my area we have them everywhere. But a dwindling supply of county style fabrics and patterns. Everything now has to be “modern” and that is just not me. Oh well, as long as you have a supply of patterns I a book still in print, I am hanging in there.

  27. Anne Thate

    I also wanted to express my empathy for Tom and Cathy! I have lost a few good friends to Cancer and my Mother-in-Law to Brain Cancer. It is such a mean disease. Thank you for helping them out in caring for their dogs. I am sure they appreciate it! I love all the Christmas quilts you shared.

  28. Anne Thate

    Hove you watched “Call of the Midwife”? Really good!
    and “Outlander” is really good, but a bit graphic.

  29. Bonnie

    Please convey my prayers to Cathy and Tom. Cancer is such a hideous disease. It’s very kind of you Mary to take care of their dogs. And very helpful so they don’t have to worry about them.

  30. Sue Hoover

    Guess I’d better finish up my #2 and move on to #4. YIKES! Hahaha! Poor little doggy daycare dogs. I’m sure they have no idea what’s going on. You are being so very helpful to the couple. You are such a caring, kind person.

  31. Jeanine from Iowa

    It’s crazy windy here today, too, in Oskaloosa. We have had a lot of wind the past few days, but we didn’t get any snow. We did get some rain, so that was good as we have been so dry here. I have been sewing 5″ squares cut from men’s shirts together for a charity quilt. I had a lot of them cut out already, so didn’t have to cut many more to make it the size I wanted it. It is scrappy… specific pattern. There is some black in it, so it may be my color quilt for the month. Will see. So good to hear from you again. I like all your patterns. I got my Christmas quilt out this week. I almost forgot I made it. It’s lap size so just have it on a chair in the living room. Have a great day.

  32. Deb in idaho

    I’m so sorry for Ton & Cathy. Radiation is so hard and it takes it out of you. I’ll say some prayers. So nice you can dog sit. It’s raining here with snow expected this afternoon. I love the red &white runner. Hope you have a great day.

  33. Coleen

    The picture of the sled quilt is shown on a wooden quilt hanger. I love the simplicity of it ! Does the cross
    Board hold the quilt – not sure how the quilt
    Is attached. Any idea on where to get one or how to make one? Thank you Mary for any input.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Coleen – the bar turns upwards and pins the quilt in. No plans available, none for sale, the carpenter who made them is in the care center – sorry but I can’t help this time.

      1. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

        If you have Amish in your area, you can take the Mary’s picture and describe it. They can make almost anything. My husband has made several for me. Mine have knobs on the front that I screw down to hold the quilt. I can send Mary some pictures if that would help.

        Mary, I am so sorry about your neighbor, Tom. Cancer is just awful. It is nice of you to help and I’m sure that is a big weight off their minds knowing their babies are safe. Bless you.

        I am sending my order in for patterns soon!

        COLD here today, but sunny.

        1. Coleen

          Thank you, Diane. I am keeping the picture to look for local woodworkers that could make something similar!

      2. Coleen

        Thank you for the reply We have no Amish near us but there are some creative wood workers so I will pursue it with them. Thanks again.

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