Christmas is coming!

We are getting ready for Christmas but I do want to do something else before I start baking!

I am fully aware that I have not written a regular blog post since September. It just hasn’t been a regular sort of year. My blog has always served me well for keeping in touch with you all and also as a written record of my adventures. I don’t want to give up on that, but I have fallen short over the past quarter…

Well, I’m not about to give a blow by blow account of the past three months, but I have selected some pics from my photo library and will attempt a quick catch up!! ( I have my paper calendar at my side to guide me)

The Walking Foot Quilting Class with the Virginia Consortium of Quilters went well over Zoom. I love seeing what people have to share via the camera. (no picture )

These are the members of the Log Cabin Quilt Guild of Minooka.

They gave me a very warm welcome when I visited them on September 14th to take a Trip Around the World. We went to lunch at Culvers afterwards!

The Hill Country Quilt Guild of Kerrville, TX kept me busy the next week with my Lessons Learned lecture and two workshops.

We made buttons in the afternoon after the lecture and then spent the next day enjoying our walking feet. That was a pretty good square spiral, don’t you think?

Time to make a quick one night jaunt, down to Nashville, to make up for the trip that never was in July. We included a visit to the zoo. Flamingos, and other wild creatures!

I had booked a trip to England, for the first weekend of October, almost as soon as I got back in May. On the Sunday I got the news my dad was entering end of life care and nobody was sure what the next week would bring. I decided to keep my reservation and flew on the Thursday, arriving Friday. He was hanging on, well looked after at home with 24 hour care, but failing fast. I was able to visit every day and even made new memories with my siblings.

A make-over day at dream on in Eye with Bridget and Sue.

And a trip to the seaside in Felixstowe.

I said farewell to my dad on the Monday, knowing this was it.

My friend Gill drove me back to Heathrow and I came home… Yes, it was sad but I am so very pleased I went. I returned much more at peace and ready for what came next.

The phone call came eight days later. Dad died peacefully at home with my brother and sister at his side. Almost ninety-two after a full and productive life. The funeral was the next week. Julia and Joanne came down and we joined via Zoom. The coffin came in to music from Chariots of Fire and we said goodbye to Super Trouper from Abba. I think he would have liked that!

Meanwhile I had a very busy four weeks scheduled. I just got on with it, with a lot of support from Steve!

He came with me to Wauseau, Wisconsin for Quilt College 2023 with the Pine Tree Quilt Guild. Sixty five students, split into two classes with me and MJ Kinman as teachers. MJ taught one group over Zoom while I taught the other students in the morning, then we had lunch and switched rooms. It was such fun, and very well organized, with excellent tech support.

We called in on Joanne’s family on the way home to see them in their natural habitat.

If it’s the end of October it must be time for International Quilt Festival?

Just before we were set to fly we heard from Richard that he had been detained by Immigration on his way back to the US after a trip home…

The B-team sprang into action. Thanks to a LOT of help from the Spargo family we opened the booth on time

First came market. I did a book signing in the C&T booth. I hope the two guys at the front of the line are enjoying their copies of Butterfly Stitches!

Sheila joined us for the whole ten days for the first time ever. We enjoyed several dinners out.

Indian food with Yazzii and the Spargos!

Denise Burkitt was back in town with her new fabrics for Free Spirit and a solo exhibit of her original quilts. I couldn’t resist taking this picture! Her fabric is not just for quilts?

I started teaching on the Tuesday and had seven half day classes (all full) and four Open Studios.

I have to admit I was more tired than usual. I don’t think teaching at Houston less than two weeks after your father has died is to be recommended but I made him proud! The enthusiasm and excitement of the students kept me going all the way through until I flew home on the last Sunday evening.

No time to hang around. My bags were mostly packed for the next trip. Again Steve came with me for the almost 300 mile drive to Novi, Michigan for the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. A full schedule of almost all machine classes, just one embroidery class. (But first there was a Zoom lecture with the quilters of Pella, Iowa… oh the joys of modern technology!)

Marcia was back in the classroom with me in the Pfaff room. Her laugh is infectious and she kept our machines humming!

And home again. Just two days to repack the bags, get a no-chip manicure and head out to Golden, Colorado. I had signed a contract to record a new on demand workshop for Quilting Daily. Then life happened, and at one point I just didn’t know if I was going to get all the prep work done. The trip to England proved to be the key to clearing my mind. I arrived with everything ready to go.

I unpacked my suitcases on Tuesday afternoon. We taped for two whole days on Wednesday and Thursday and I flew home on Friday. The proof will be in the watching but my new class, Free-Motion quilting: Fillers, Feathers and Beyond is now ready for you. Registration at Quilting Daily!

I designed a trio of patterns for placemats, table runner and small quilt, finished with some of my favorite free motion designs. Yes, I do free motion quilt!

And that was almost my last professional booking for the year. One last Zoom lecture. This one was from the comfort of my home studio with the East Polk Quilt Guild in Iowa.

And then I was done.

Time for a trip back to England. We had decided it would be good to return and just sort a few things out, so off I went on Thanksgiving Eve for a long weekend. There really wasn’t a whole lot to do. Bridget and David are doing a great job of everything, but time together is never wasted. We reminisced over an early Christmas dinner.We took a few walks in the woods.

I came home with an extra 50 pound suitcase which contained “some mementos”, as I told the Immigration officer in Chicago. And a Christmas pudding…

As if I hadn’t been away enough… Steve and I took a trip to Miami the next weekend to meet up with our friends, Trevor and Elizabeth, from England. The weather co-operated and we had a super time. Good food,

ocean views,

and even some culture!

This is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Our Uber driver was very impressed by the entry way and thought his girlfriend might like to visit!

And that really is the last  trip of the year. Joanne and the children stayed the night last weekend, before they went to her friend’s one year old’s birthday party.

The children were very generous with their germs and I have been fighting a cold since Monday. It has kept me home and not fit for much but a week is long enough. I promised myself that I would write my blog post today and then the Christmas preparations will start in earnest. All the family are coming to town. There will be nineteen of us for Christmas lunch this year. We will have a traditional English roast turkey dinner with all the things. John has promised to carve! And there will be pudding for dessert.

I am planning on keeping the blog going. I have some exciting trips on the horizon but more of those another time. Thanks for your continued support and patience!

Always an adventure.



  1. Kim Graham said:

    I am so sorry to hear about your Dad Catherine. My mom passed last year, more in your neck of the woods, Evanston and didn’t get there. We had been there very recently and sadly she didn’t really know us due to dementia so we remembered her in her own way. Cherish the memories. Merry Christmas for your first as a citizen!

    December 17, 2023
  2. Sandra Weimer said:

    Hi, Catherine, it is good to hear from you and catch up on your travels. My sympathy to you at the loss of your Dad. I look forward to hearing about what you have planned in the new year!

    December 22, 2023

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