Monday, September 19, 2016

Curved Log Cabin and more

I've been hard at work on a variety of projects lately, especially a curved log cabin using the same fabric as the "Bloom" appliqued quilt with a variety of black and whites.  It looks great!  I used a Fons & Porter pattern I found online that makes 9" blocks.   What makes is curvy is that the colored sized logs are 2" wide, while the b&w logs are 1 1/4" wide.  When you put them together, you can make shapes like circles and even seahorses.   However, mine are just being set on the diagonal, and it looks so pretty!  I'll try to take a photo when it looks more like a quilt.  Without much wallspace, I use a bed for my "design wall" when a quilt gets larger.

I'm at the stage where I've laid the blocks out on the bed and am sewing them together.  I often simply stack the blocks up in order, but I don't want to mess up the order so I'm being more careful to pin each block to the next in a row.  This quilt will be for a little girl in Canada as a favor to my friend Yvette.  She isn't sure if the bed's twin or double, so I will wait and see.  If it's twin, it won't need much of a border.  I'll make it scrappy and plain.  If it's full, I'll need to order a bit more fabric for a wider border of one of the prints from Amy Butler's "Violette" line.  Hope to hear soon.

I am meeting with Barbara this week to figure out what she would like in terms of a tote bag for her daughter's birthday in December.  Guess I'll track down some of the totes I've made myself and see what size handles, pockets, etc. she'd like.  She asked me back in the early spring and now December is fast approaching!  She has fabric, she says, so that's a plus.

I'm teaching an applique class October 8, so I started gathering materials for that yesterday.  I am planning to use some of my class samples for mug rugs this holiday season as I'd like to make each person on the library staff one.  There are at least 13 people.  Every year the Friends of the Library and the trustees have a staff appreciation dinner, and I usually buy little gifts - funny holiday socks, ornaments, chocolates - for the staff.  This year, since I'm in both organizations, I thought I'd make something they can all use.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I can get that done by the Friday after Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bloom is finished

I finished the little "Bloom" quilt this morning.  The blocks are hand appliqued using Lori Holt's block of the week "Bloom" pattern, but the fabric was so wild that I only made 12 blocks instead of 20.  Someone in my guild is using Holt's fabric and is it adorable. 

I have a lot of the bundle of Amy Butler's "Violette" fabric left, so now I'm working on a curved log cabin with those fabrics plus black and white prints.  Then, I hope I can go back to my comfort zone!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Busy!

Above is the Colorado row in my row by row experience quilt.  I have nothing to show but have accomplished a lot lately.  Sunday, I spent the whole day in my sewing room.  It was cool with the AC on, and I was on a roll.  I finished quilting the little "Bloom" quilt, based on Lori Holt's appliqued flowers pattern.  She sold a batch of plastic templates, which I bought because of some of the odd shapes - ovals, small wedges, etc.  I stitched in the ditch on the sashing, outlined the flowers, and stippled around the open areas of the blocks.  I had some trouble regulating the bottom tension, but I love the way it looks on the top.  It ill be a nice crib or wall quilt, so I need to devise a hanging sleeve before I bind it.
 
Wait til you see the binding which is a ripply stripe of the same "Violette" collection by Amy Butler.  It's all very outside my comfort zone, which is why, in between quilting sessions, I started cutting out the same fabric as I used in the "Bloom" quilt for a curved log cabin, using black and white prints for the "neutral" logs.  The wide logs are 2" while the smaller ones are 1 1/4".  I held off sewing anything together until I finished quilting "Bloom," and I'm thinking of binding this in the same ripply stripe.  It will, I hope, end up being throw-sized.  I like the way the blocks are looking so far. 

A neighbor, Denise, asked how I got so much done, and I guess it's that I work a little bit here and there a lot of days.  This morning I spent a half hour sewing the binding pieces together.  I probably won't do any more sewing today until later this afternoon, when I'll iron the binding.  There are a lot of days when I don't sew much, but I do a little every day, and then spent some days, like Sunday and Monday, doing almost nothing but sewing.  Denise thought I had a long arm machine - ha!  It took me almost a month to quilt the round robin quilt.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Two finishes

Yesterday was sunny so I set up my quilt rack and took some photos.  It turned out to be way too windy, so I had to take them indoors - OK, but not as light as I'd hoped.  Here's the round robin quilt that I'm going to send to my cousin Jeanne.   I hope she likes it!

I love the fabric called "Lady Slipper Lodge" but I have quite a bit left over, including a charm pack.  I may give it away sometime.  This round robin involved four other quilters who greatly enhanced the simple  "trefoil" block I made for the center.  I did the outer borders, beginning with the darker purple one, to get it to double bed size. 

I think it took about a month to quilt, very carefully on my home machine.  I used a lot of thread!  The back is simply muslin.  I bought several yards of 90" wide muslin for backs and still have enough for at least one more quilt. 

Next is the throw I made with rows and fabric from this year's Row by Row Experience, an international activity sponsored by quilt shops.  Each shop had a unique row and a fabric license plate.  I exchanged plates with some quilters in the US and Canada and incorporated some into the quilt.  I still have plates left over that might make a cute tote bag. 

I used a "quilt as you go" method on this one, quilting each row individually and then putting them together.  The center rows are all from Vermont shops, and I loved quilting Dorothy's yellow brick road.  The row on the left came from a shop in Colorado, but I adapted it a bit due to its very complicated pattern.  I needed one more row, so browsed online at shops in New England's rows.  One shop's row was simply four maple leaves, so I created my own.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but all the stems are made from the license plate fabric used at the top and bottom and as the binding. 

There are still three crib-sized quilt tops hanging in my closet waiting to be quilted.  I hope to start on one this weekend although I may work on something smaller today.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Maine

We took a minivacation to Wells, Maine this week.  Last year when we visited, it was really hot and muggy, but this time the temperatures and humidity were ideal and there were nice breezes.  Our friend Christine has a house a stone's throw from the ocean which is just great.  We enjoy having time to talk about all sorts of things with her since when we're all home we are busy with "life."  We arrived Tuesday and just hung out.  Christine loves watching the Red Sox games with Paul, and he likes having someone who actually cares to do it with.  I could really care less about sports on TV but do watch once in a while.

Wednesday, Paul and I drove to Ogunquit just down the road a bit and sat by the water watching the tide roll in.  The beach there is very nice, and there are nice benches and Adirondack chairs.  Later, we drove up to the Trolley Museum and took a ride on a restored trolley.   In all the years that Christine has been coming to Wells, she's never been there.  I am impressed that most of the staff are volunteers, some commuting from Boston to work on the old trolley cars and drive them.

Christine drove us through Cape Porpoise and Kennebunk where we had lunch at a brew pub overlooking the marina.  It is always fun to watch the boats come in and go out, and there were kayakers also wending their way through the traffic.  In the evening we attended Almost, Maine, a romantic comedy at the Hackmatack Theater.  All in all, a fun time!

And here's a picture of Christine's dog Molly who just wouldn't hold still for a portrait!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"My Back Pages"

My 50th high school reunion is in a month, and there have been  numerous posts and Friend requests on Facebook.  It all makes me a little nervous, but since we survived Paul's reunion earlier this summer, I'm sure we will weather mine, too.  I signed up for the get-together on Friday night and the dinner-dance Saturday, and we have booked two nights at the hotel.  On the Saturday, I thought maybe Paul and I could take a drive over to the C&O Canal and walk by the Potomac.  Other than that, we have not figured out how long we'll be gone or what we'll do.   There are some old friends I am looking forward to seeing, friends I've known since junior high and with whom I've kept in touch over the years.

The big questions in preparation have been what to wear and what song to request for the dinner?  They have been on my mind all summer.  What to wear is like a moving target - I change my mind daily, and of course the weather plays a part in that.  It can still be hot in Maryland in late September. 

The song is hard, too, though, as it says something about who we were, are, and, maybe, becoming.  Others have chosen things like "Sherry" or "My Girl."   One friend chose a Beatles song I like, "In My Life," which says a lot about the event.  But I was moving away from rock 'n' roll by the time high school ended and was more into folk music.  Finally, I chose Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" which has the wonderful refrain I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.  (The link is to a particularly nice version with Joan Osborne and Jackson Browne)  I was even happier with my choice when I asked Paul what he would choose for me and he suggested the same thing.  Now back to worrying about what to wear!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Off to Michelle

A few weeks ago, I finished a quilt made with bright Lovers Knot blocks that I received in a swap.  The day I sandwiched it and started quilting, Paul's middle sister Brenda was having what everyone thought was a routine operation.  As I quilt, I do a lot of thinking, almost meditating.  Do you?

I thought about Brenda all day that day, especially because I periodically received text messages from her daughter Michelle.  As the day went on, the reports got less and less positive.  While I was quilting, I thought I'd send the finished quilt to Brenda for her recuperation.  Unfortunately, she didn't make it, and we ended up attending her funeral soon thereafter. 


When we got home from the funeral in Michigan, I finished the quilt and thought I'd send it to Michelle who, being the only one of Brenda's children to live nearby, ended up making all the funeral arrangements, handling an estate sale, and now selling Brenda's house.   I hope this offers a little comfort in the coming months.  The finished size is 60" x 60".   Although it looks gray in the photo, the sashing is an adorable confetti fabric, and it is simply quilted (sorry you can't see how I did it), but I think it turned out really nice.  I haven't downloaded the photo we took with the camera yet, but here's one taken at quilt guild with someone's phone.   It felt good to get it in the mail yesterday.