Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quiltathon Wrap Up

I really wanted to make the most of the last couple days of my Quiltathon, so I didn't take the time to post. Monday morning I was up bright and early and printed out another 300 raffle tickets for our quilt to be raffled off at the quilt show. For anyone who may be local, our quilt group, Backroad Quilters, is hosting a small quilt show at the West Gardiner Fire Station on Saturday, May 3 from 10 to 5 and Sunday, May 4 from 10 to 3. Please stop by and visit us.

By noontime I was ready to start quilting the Scrappy Bargello on my Lizzie; but when I dug out the backing for it I discovered I had never finished sewing the strips together. After I got that done, then I realized I'd have to piece some batting together to get a large enough piece.

I've tried some different ways of piecing batting, all tedious and not with the most satisfactory results; so I tried something new this time. After squaring up the smaller pieces of batting, I cut 2-inch wide strips of lightweight fusible interfacing (which has the fusible dots on one side only), butted up the edges of the batting, then fused strips of interfacing to both sides of the batting. Fusible interfacing is not so expensive; and if you have a coupon for JoAnn Fabrics, you can get it for a pretty good price. Piecing the batting this way worked well--no ridges, no separation, and it was faster than any other method I've tried. In fact, I'd do it this way next time too.

By the time I got done just getting the quilt ready to be quilted, it was time for supper and my quilt meeting. By 8:00 pm I was finally ready to start loading the quilt onto the frame. I had a little trouble with advancing my practice quilt on the frame before, so this time I decided to float the batting and top.

I learned a lot working on this small top. I knew I had a pre-existing problem with my tension, and I spent forever trying to get it adjusted correctly. It didn't help much that I was turning that little set screw on the bobbin case in the wrong direction. I had a small quilt sandwich I was using to adjust the tension, and I lost track of how many times I forgot to lower that darn presser foot. Wow, it really makes a big mess on the bottom of the quilt when you do that. I had no idea you could create a thread nest so big! Then I basted all the way across the top of the quilt and down one side without lowering the presser foot. Well, it'll all be covered by the binding, so no problem there. When I finally started actually quilting on the quilt, I stitched about 5 inches, realized the presser foot was still up, ripped it all out--and that was the last time I forgot!

I banged into the side clamps with the machine and had to come up with a fix for that, and I banged into the belly bar and came up with a fix for that! Haven't figured out yet what to do when you run out of bobbin thread, which happened twice. That would probably be because I used up quite a bit of it in thread nests on the back! I just stitched over the last half inch or so of the existing stitching where the bobbin ran out and called it good. Anyone have any advice on this?

It took me four hours to quilt a large meander on the quilt. It was so much fun, and when I finally finished it was midnight. I took it off the frame right away, and I was overjoyed to see it still looked pretty square, and the borders were nice and straight and flat.

Next day when I trimmed it up, it really was square! I cut and pieced the binding and sewed that on; and now all that's left is to hand sew the binding to the back. I left a 10-inch gap in the binding, which I'll use to demonstrate securing the ends of the binding at our quilt show. This will be my sixth quilt finished for the year.

I'm already chomping at the bit to get another quilt on the frame. Pat over at Bell Creek Quilts has been creating strippy tops to practice on. Mary over at Making Quilts from Stash created the pattern for these, and it will be a lovely quick quilt to create with lots of space to practice some quilting on. On the way home from work today, I stopped by Staples with my longarm machine quilting book by Linda V. Taylor and had them cut off the binding. I removed all the pattern pages from the back of the book and then had them spiral bind the rest of the book. I should have done this a long time ago, but I procrastinate with just about everything. Now it's done, and I can use the patterns to create some pantographs to practice with. Trying to trace them out of the book would have been a pain in the neck.

My stitch regulator hasn't been working quite right since I got it, and the new part to correct that problem arrived in my mail today; so hopefully that will be fixed on the next quilt.

I worked on Step 2 of the Orange Crush mystery some more and have about 60 of those split 4-patch units completed. I'm still hoping to finish these by the end of Sunday. I already have some blue fabrics I'll be using in future steps, and today I bought a couple yards of orange for the quilt. I still need the red and black fabrics, and I'll be shopping around for those soon.

I am entering four quilts in our show, which are shown below, and must get sleeves and labels sewn on before Friday. Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute, is there? These are the Blooming Nine Patch, which you've seen before; Cabin at Patch Mountain; Leaf Season, one of my favorite quilts; and the little Prairie Braid quilt, which measures 14" x 20" and contains 150 different fabrics in the braids. It is based on the palette quilts Jinny Beyer creates, but I found the foundations in my sewing room one day while I was rummaging around for something else, and thought they'd be great for this little quilt.

Credit where credit is due:
Blooming Nine Patch from Tradition With a Twist by Blanche Young and Dalene Young Stone
Cabin at Patch Mountain quilt design by Koleen Painchaud, The Quilted Cardinal
Leaf Season quilt design by Judy Laquidara
Prairie Braid quilt is my design.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

It's short and sweet again this week. I added nothing to my stash this week, and I used another 3/4 yard for Step 2 in the Orange Crush mystery. I set lofty goals for myself every week, and I always think I'm going to get more done in a week's time than I actually do. This week I'd like to finish the 30s repros quilt top; quilt and bind the Scrappy Bargello, which never got done; finish Step 2 of Orange Crush; and get started on Step 3. That doesn't sound like so much, does it?

Quiltathon Day 2 - Orange Crush

10:00 am - This morning I want to finish cutting the pieces I need for Step 2. Going through the stacks I culled from my stash yesterday, I've certainly had a lot of those what-was-I-thinking moments. I remember buying this collection of stars years ago from Keepsake Quilting, but I haven't the foggiest idea what the plan was. I can get a 2-inch square out of the centers, so they're all going into the Orange Crush!

5:00 pm - I spent all day cutting strips and finally got them all done. I chose 20 0r 25 fabrics for the Orange Crush, cut one strip from each fabric, then cut the rest up of the fabric up and added it to the strip bins. They've swelled dramatically, which is good! I can really see the value of cutting strips and squares ahead of time, like Bonnie does in her ScrapUser's System, so they're all ready when you're ready to sit and sew. Preparation takes so much time!

At 5:00 I finally sat down to sew and got exactly one split four patch unit together when my husband called me for supper.

Oh! I just discovered Bonnie has posted Step 3. I'm still behind!

12:00 pm
- I finished about 20 split four patch units, and it's time to hit the hay. Tomorrow I'll be doing some things to get ready for our quilt show coming up next weekend, but I might get a little sewing time in.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Quiltathon Day 1 - Orange Crush

I am off work the next four days, woohoo! so I'm having my own Quiltathon. I have a few other things I'll have to do over the weekend as well, but mostly I'm sewing! Today is Day 1, and my focus is the Orange Crush mystery quilt. Step 2 has already been published, and I'm still on Step 1 so I'm behind, but I'll catch up today.

9:00 am - Last night I finished sewing together the rest of the required 150 four-patch units, and this morning I am pressing and squaring them up.

4:00 pm - The four patch units are finished! Step 1 is now complete, and I moved on to Step 2. I needed to cut more strips for the next step, so I spent a fun afternoon going through my stash. Since I was pulling more fabrics for the Orange Crush, I also decided to cull some other fabrics that I'm tired of or don't like. Later next week or whenever I have some time here and there, I'll cut them all up and add them to the strip drawers. I've needed to do this for a long time, and it freed up some space in my fabric closets.

10:45 pm - I've finished sorting through my stash, the fabrics I'm using for the Orange Crush are in the wash, and I've started cutting strips for the squares in Step 2.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Spirit of Mother Earth...

... a quilt by Sharon Schamber, has won The Best Longarm award at AQS in Paducah. If you would like to see some awe-inspiring machine quilting, visit this site:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

It's short and sweet this week! Nothing used, nothing gained. I worked all day today, so nothing's really changed since last night. My work schedule is a little more forgiving this week, and I'll have four days off in a row at the end of the week. Then I'll be having my own Quiltathon!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Very Pleasant Day

I was off yesterday and today; but before that, I worked 7 days in an 8-day stretch with one day off in the middle. I spent most of my free time this past week just trying to stay afloat with laundry, housekeeping chores and finishing the taxes, and I fit in a few minutes of sewing here and there where I could.

Consequently I didn't accomplish much sewing. My primary obligation right now is to finish the 30s repros quilt, and I am nearly finished with the center and will have just the outermost border to complete. I also got more of my four patches done for the Orange Crush mystery but am still behind. I knew Step 2 would be posted soon, and it finally went up the other day. I'll get caught up!

Yesterday my husband took me to MQX, the Machine Quilters Exposition in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was a gorgeous day, too pretty to be indoors, but it was a nice show. I spent a lot of time in the vendors' booths, looking at tools and gadgets for longarm quilters. I bought a small oil container, about the size of a fountain pen, that I thought would be quite handy for oiling the rotary hook on my Lizzie; lots of thread, one pantograph, one stencil, and some chalk and a dispenser for it.

I bought some videos not too long ago that I read about on one of the longarm lists; and the quilter placed her stencil on a quilt while it was loaded on the frame, rubbed a little chalk over the stencil, and then quilted the design. I thought it was a technique worth exploring.

The machine quilting on the quilts at MQX was very impressive. A lot of the quilts were very heavily quilted, and I can't really decide if I like that or not. Some of them looked very stiff. I think they must have put incredible amounts of time into these quilts. One of the things that was really amazing to me was how small and evenly they could stipple the background.

I was going to spend all day today sewing, so I sat down at the sewing machine early this morning, but I had trouble sitting still. It was another gorgeous day, temperatures in the 70s, blue skies; and my husband and son were out doing some much needed yardwork. I really wanted to be outside in the warmth and fresh air, so I finally said to heck with it and went out.

I worked outside for five or six hours, and I am going to be so sore tomorrow! I raked leaves left over from last fall, picked up all the branches that came down from snow and ice this winter, and pulled pricker bushes before they got a foothold. My husband and son cleaned up some of the mess from the woodpile and cut down five or six very tall, very overgrown lilac bushes and one enormous bush that continues to spread every year and seems to be just taking over. I was amazed how much that opened up the yard. I'll bet it added another 20 feet to the yard on the side of the house. The previous owners had some extensive gardens around the yard, but after five years we've grown very tired of all the growth, so we're getting rid of all of it and planting grass. When we get a handle on the lawn, which is in terrible shape right now, we'll start adding back a few plantings here and there as we have the time.

My son grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for supper, and we brought some of the wicker upstairs that was stored in the basement for winter, and had supper out on the porch. It was cool and quiet, the sun was setting, and it was so pleasant to just sit and chat for a change instead of watching television.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

Today was Quiltathon Sunday for me, and I spent all day cutting strips and sewing them together for the Orange Crush mystery. All 300 subunits are now done, and I have sewn 10 four patch units together. Only 140 more to go!

I worked on my 30s repros quilt some more this week. I had also hoped to get many more log cabin blocks done; but that didn't happen, so I'll be working on these three projects again this week. Ideally I'd like to have the 30s repro quilt and the four patches done by the end of the week, and I'd like to get some log cabin blocks made. I'd feel like I was making some headway if I could get 12 or 14 done by next Sunday. When I've finished 50 blocks, I'll calculate about how much yardage I've used for them.

This week I used 3 yards for the four patch units, so here's the Stash Report:

Fabric added this week: Zero!
Fabric added year to date: 113-1/8 yards
Fabric used this week: 3 yards
Fabric used year to date: 61-1/8 yards
Net used year to date: -52 yards

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Progress Report

The bird feeder in my back yard is always a source of entertainment, and since it's right outside my kitchen window, I have plenty of opportunity to look at it. The other day I noticed a little head popping up right above the window sill. I stood on my tiptoes to see what it was, and a large turkey was standing below the bird feeder picking at the seed on the ground. Of all the birds I thought I might see at our bird feeder, a turkey was just not one of them! I ran downstairs to grab the camera, but he was a skittish fellow and was halfway across my neighbor's yard through the woods before I could snap a photo.

So I thought I'd make a quick progress report on this week's activities. I haven't had as much time as I'd like at the sewing machine because of work and working on the taxes, which are due next week, yikes! But I've made another pile of half square triangle units for my 30s repros quilt. I also made a few more crazy log cabin blocks for JudyL's log cabin challenge. These blocks will finish to 6" square. I think I'd like to have a queen size quilt, which means I'll need to set them about 15 across and 15 down, so I have a lot of sewing left to do on this project!

I've also made about a third of the sub-units needed for the four patches for Bonnie's Orange Crush mystery. Brights are not my favorite fabrics, so I'd like to use up as many of those as I can. I also have lots of scraps that are muslin or white on whites, so I'm using those up too. I'm hoping I'll be able to get these finished before Bonnie gets back from Maryland and posts the next step! I'd love to watch everyone else's progress on the mystery--does anyone know of a link to other bloggers who are doing the mystery, or is everyone following along on the QuiltvilleChat list on yahoogroups?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday Stash Report

I am only truly happy when I am starting a new project, so I started a few new ones this past week. I mentioned that Koleen already had a new pattern ready for me to work on, the one with the 30s repro fabrics, so I got started on it earlier this week. All the pieces are cut, and I used 20 fat quarters plus 1-1/8 yards for the background, 3/4 yard for border and binding, and 2-1/2 yards of muslin for some foundation piecing. Lots of half square triangles units in this one.

Then there was the aforementioned stack-n-whack quilt from Saturday's workshop. Bethany's quilt called for 35 blocks, but I think I may only make 20, which means I have 13 more to make. Although I bought 7 yards for the quilt, I've only cut up about 3 yards so far and don't know how much more I'll use, so I'm reporting only the 3 yards right now.

I missed making Bonnie's last mystery quilt, which really turned out to be a beauty; so I'm going to try to make the next one, which is called Orange Crush. Although the first step is up on her website, I haven't actually started sewing any strips together yet, but the bins of light and dark strips are sitting on my sewing table beckoning me. I'm not reporting any yardage on that one just yet.

JudyL offered up a log cabin challenge on her website, so I thought I'd get in on that too. This started out as another block swap I participated in with the same group of ladies as the Lover's Knot block swap I hated. I actually like these crooked log cabins, which are foundation pieced, but they became a UFO. If you wait six or eight years before you work on a project again, it can be just as much fun as starting a brand new project. I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to report the yardage on this one yet, since I have about 40 blocks already made.

Right before I went to Lancaster, I loaded a small practice quilt on my Lizzie and have been playing around with it to get familiar with the machine. I rarely use solid colored fabric in my quilts but somehow managed to accumulate quite a lot of it, so I decided that would be just fine to practice machine quilting with. The practice quilt I loaded used almost 4 yards of fabric.

I missed making a stash report last Sunday because I had just gotten back from Lancaster, but you may recall that I bought about 50 yards of fabric, 49-5/8 yards to be exact, which dug the hole I'm already in much deeper. Luckily I was too busy to go out and buy any fabric this week, so here's the Sunday stash report.

Fabric added this week: Incredible as it may sound, zero
Fabric added year to date: Incredible as it may sound, 113-1/8 yards
Fabric used this week: Not so incredible, 7-3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: A pretty respectable 58-1/8 yards
Net used year to date: A nice round number, -55 yards

I might also add, this is the first week since February 18 that I haven't added any fabric to my stash. You can see I have very little willpower when it comes to fabric.

Saturday Workshop

Friday was our first meeting of the month at Kay's house. It was pouring down rain most of the day, and I didn't want to drag my sewing machine out in the weather; so I contented myself working on these small blocks. They will measure 1-1/4 inches finished, and I need a few more to complete my log cabin design. I'm handpiecing them using used dryer sheets as the foundation material. The dryer sheets were stamped with the pattern when they were given to me, but you can also print foundations on lightweight interfacing. I tried it by pressing the interfacing to a sheet of freezer paper and running it through the printer, and it worked just fine.

I got the handpiecing bug again when I went to Lancaster last week. I couldn't stand the thought of not sewing for a week, so I brought 26 of the border blocks from the Courtney quilt with me and worked on handpiecing those. I only got about four done during the week; but on the bus ride home to Maine, Priscilla wanted to help me work on them, and we finished piecing 21 blocks. Not only did it make the trip home go much faster, but it was a huge help getting the borders done. I finished the Courtney quilt a few days after we got back and got it all ready to go to the machine quilter, who now has the flu!

On Saturday my local quilt chapter set up a workshop with Bethany Reynolds of Stack-n-Whack fame. She is a local girl and came up to teach us a quilt from her upcoming book, which I believe she said will be published later this year. I don't often have the opportunity to take a workshop, so I really enjoyed it. Everyone brought a dish to share, and we had a fabulous lunch as well. I think quilters are the best cooks I know.

I tried a stack-n-whack quilt once a long time ago, and I enjoyed making it but never got back to making another. I made hexagons the last time, and yesterday we cut and pieced octagons. Bethany has really perfected the process over the years and taught us a few new tricks I hadn't seen before.

She also had a couple of nifty new tools. I bought her ruler since I couldn't imagine how I would measure to cut for the octagon shapes with anything I have at home. She also had a little tool called a Microstitch tool. Remember the tack guns that were on the market some years ago that you could use to tack the layers of your quilt together to get ready for quilting? It was designed to be a substitute for basting or pinning, but it used a large needle and put big holes in your quilt. The needle rusted after a while, and there was also this egg crate thing you were supposed to put under the quilt or something, which I never wanted and never bought. It was such a pain in the neck that I threw mine away. As far as I could see, it was just another useless notion I wasted money on.

The Microstitch tool is a hand held tool resembling that old tack gun but with a much finer needle, and it shoots a tiny tack about 1/8 inch wide through your layers. Bethany had some of these available for us to try at the workshop. After my experience with the big tack gun, I was doubtful; but it did work as advertised, and I was actually quite impressed with it. It was definitely faster, easier and more accurate when matching up eight layers of fabric than using pins. Worth looking into if you're a stack-n-whack fan, and you can read more about it on Bethany's website here.

I found this fabric in Lancaster for a very good price and bought seven yards of it just for the workshop. When I was pressing it, I began to wonder if I'd made a good choice. When I was admiring it at the store, I hadn't realized the design repeated at a fairly close interval both across the width and the length; but it worked out better than I expected. In fact, there were a lot of fabrics at the workshop that I never thought would be good candidates for a stack-n-whack; but by the end of the workshop, I was pretty well convinced that you can stack-n-whack darn near anything.

We had a few over-achievers in the workshop who managed to get a dozen or more blocks finished; but I only got seven finished, which was actually closer to the average of what most ladies accomplished. Some of the fabrics they used and the blocks they created are shown below.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Shopping in Lancaster

One of the best parts of our trip to Lancaster was the shopping. We must have visited half a dozen Amish quilt shops, and we preferred these over shopping at the quilt show because of the prices. I don't believe I saw a single bolt of fabric priced for more than $6.49 per yard, and there were multitudes of fabrics available at $3.50 per yard or less. I brought lists of things I was shopping for to try and eliminate most of the impulse buying, and most of the fabric I bought was for specific projects coming up.

This stack of fabric, plus the flannel quilt kit that goes with the "Under the Stars" pattern and the bundle of pinks and browns constitutes the sum total of the fabric I bought. Another 50, yes, that's right, 50 yards of fabric added to the stash. On the bus ride home, Anita, our host extraordinaire, gave out a prize for the highest number of yards purchased; and I wasn't even close.
I also bought half a dozen or so cones of thread for my longarm, some needles, an 18mm rotary cutter and blades, a surgical seam ripper, one other pattern, and one book.
Some impulse buying was probably inevitable, and I also bought a couple of these Quiltscapes by Rebecca Barker. I first discovered her about eight years ago when I ran across an advertisement for her paintings in a quilt magazine. Her acrylic paintings depict the titles of old time quilt patterns. Of course the quilt pattern depicted in this photo is Ocean Waves. It is signed by the artist. You can see more of her paintings here.
This is called pan dau art, made by the Hmong tribes of Laos. The man I spoke with in the booth, who I am presuming is from Laos, evidently lives and works in the U.S. He said it takes his wife two or three days to create a piece this size, which is just over 7" square. This is an example of reverse applique, and the channels are so tiny that I marveled how the maker could tuck those seam allowances under and make them lay so flat. I am guessing the maker may have used silk thread for the applique, as you can hardly see the stitches. I'm going to frame this piece.

Quilters Heritage Celebration

The quilt show encompassed three separate buildings, each containing both vendor booths and quilts on display. The majority of the quilts in this year's show were largely art quilts, which I'm sorry to say, don't really interest me. So I took photos of the traditional quilts that did interest me. I'm not quite sure what the protocol is for posting quilt show pictures, but I did want to share just a few quilts that I was especially impressed with.

One was this quilt depicting a fireplace scene. Even with closeups, I still couldn't quite figure out how the artist achieved some of the details. I looked through my show booklet to find the name of the quilt and its artist but was not able to locate it. The show booklet was rather confusing to me, the way it was laid out, and I couldn't find anything I wanted.

Both of these quilts were made by George Siciliano, who is quite the miniature enthusiast. He and his wife Virginia have a website with more miniature quilts here. The feathered stars may have been about 12" square. The other one is 11" square.

Here is one more miniature quilt that was also quite impressive.

Home Again

I came back from my Lancaster trip Sunday evening around 8. Everyone had a great time this past week, but it sure is good to be back home!

We left Auburn last Tuesday at 11:30pm, traveled all night, and arrived in Lancaster the next morning a little before 9:00. It was a really long night, and I doubt anyone got much rest; but after some breakfast, we were reinvigorated and ready to go for the day. We visited our first Amish quilt shop Wednesday afternoon, returned to the hotel for check-in and a nap, then had a fabulous supper at the Olde Greenfield Inn, a restaurant ranked as Lancaster's Best. We ate really well while we were in Lancaster--buffet breakfast every morning and a different place for supper every evening.

Thursday we spent the day touring the historic district of Lancaster and the countryside. It sure was nice to see green grass and daffodils instead of snow for a change. Fran was our guide for the day and was very knowledgeable about both the history of Lancaster county and the Amish.

One of our first stops was the Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum, which holds a collection of 19th and 20th century Amish quilts and includes a display of modern hooked rugs. I only took a few photos, but the hand quilting on these quilts is exquisite. Would you believe the stair runner, the butterflies, and the peacock are all hooked rugs? Amazing!

We visited Kitchen Kettle Village early afternoon, which is a favorite stop for tourists. I headed for the quilt shop, Zook's, and never saw another thing before it was time to get back on the bus. Next we drove through Amish farm lands, and Fran gave us a detailed accounting of what Amish life is like. I lived in southern Maryland for 14 years, and there were several Amish establishments in St. Mary's County, so I was familiar with much of what Fran shared.

I suspect most folks are familiar with the barn raising scene, the buggies, and the horse drawn plows in the fields; but I did see some unusual things I've never seen before on our tour. I'd never seen the inside of an Amish home, and that evening we were welcomed into the home of Mary Glick for a traditional family style Amish meal. We were treated to a feast of roast chicken, ham loaf, mashed potatoes, several vegetables and home canned peaches, fresh bread and a homemade peanut butter spread called schmeir, plus a variety of desserts.

Times have changed, and the Amish have had to change with the times. Farmland is no longer as readily available due to the encroachment of present day society, and the Amish have had to resort to buying single family homes and working in the community amongst the English, as outsiders are called, to sustain their existence. One of the ways in which the Amish have changed is that some of them have begun raising deer, and we saw enclosures with many deer along the roads, one of which contained two albino deer, a most unusual sight.

A day or so later, our bus pulled into a gift shop parking lot, and we saw a small buggy with four Amish children pulled by a small horse. Several of us tried to get a photo, but the buggy never stopped. I stayed on the bus while the others went into the gift shop; and when I saw the buggy come round into the parking lot again, I stepped off the bus and managed to snap this photo. Someone told me later that it's rare to see one of these buggies, so I felt fortunate to have gotten the shot.

Friday and Saturday morning were quilt show days, and I'll share a few photos in another post. Saturday afternoon, we did a little more touring, visited Sauder's, another quilt shop popular with the tourists, and had dinner at a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant. Sunday morning after breakfast we departed Lancaster. In the photo, several of us are standing next to boxes containing our purchases. That's me, in the green coat.

If you're interested, Margo has more photos of our trip on her blog; and Anita Davis, our host extraordinaire, has a detailed accounting of the days we spent in Lancaster on the Cote Brothers blog.