Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pre-vacation sewing

I told myself not to start anything new since we are leaving in a couple of days.  But when my pre-trip chores are done, my hands have to keep busy.   I usually do mindless sewing when this happens, so the other day I made a bunch of 6" selvage blocks to add to my stack.  Someday I'll have enough for a quilt, but not yet.  I did use up a lot of selvages, and I now have only very long (72" or so) strips left to use as ribbon for packages and such.   I've been gathering stuff for the month we'll be away - lots of it!  There are tote bags with extra linens, food, cooking supplies, books, electronics, sewing, etc. all over the house.  Saturday, we'll just load them up and head out.

Meanwhile, yesterday, since all my selvages were used up, I started on a new scrap quilt.  I didn't want to cut much, but just start sewing.   This one uses 2.5" squares which are all precut scraps from previous projects.  I keep a box of 2.5" squares as well as boxes of half-square triangles and 2" squares handy.   I saw this pattern in a blog recently, but mine has multicolored squares and black scrap strips.  I made three 16" blocks in just a few hours yesterday and aim to make a smaller charity quilt with 9 blocks.  It looks really nice so far.  My collection of 2.5" squares really hasn't diminished much - amazing how scraps tend to spread out as you use them.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Side-tracked

I had every intention of going to the LQS and getting some white-ish batik so I can continue with Dutch Treat.  But "life" got in the way.  First, Paul had a slight medical procedure requiring me to take him to the hospital in Burlington on Tuesday (what a way to spend Valentine's Day!).  We had to be there by 8:15 am, so we left home at 6:45.  I did a lot of waiting, but he came through just fine.  His roommate, once he landed, was a neighbor which was quite a nice and fun thing.  Paul spent the night in the hospital, and of course the weather report for Wednesday was simply dire, with lots of snow predicted. 

So I worried all night, and when I saw flakes coming down in the morning, I got in the car and drove back to Burlington.  They had said he probably wouldn't be released until noon, but I was taking no chance.  When I arrived, he had been discharged and was ready to leave, amid some big, sloppy snowflakes.  They let up on our way home, though, and all that worry was for nothing.  Paul is fine, just has to take it easy and then have cardiac rehab when we get back from Alabama in March.  We'll walk and take it easy down there, where it's in the 60's and 70's.  Can't wait!

Meanwhile, Dutch Treat.  Still haven't gotten the batik (I have a gift certificate burning a hole in my purse), so I've been making little wallhangings instead.  One is a vase of flowers with almost everything - stems, petals, vase - made of selvages.  It needs a little more work - outlining some of the flowers in black or green so they stand out better. 

But this one, done with wool and a vase made of selvages, is coming along really well.  I'm not great at embroidery, but I'm learning as I go along.  I need to add the leaves and a bluebird.  It's from a book by Wendy Williams - Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures.  There are some really fun designs that I hope to use as inspiration.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Snow!

We are having a fairly serious snowstorm today.  This morning, we got out early to do a few errands - gas, milk, bagels, money machine.  Then we hunkered down, and the snow started right at 11:30 as the weatherman had predicted.  And it "poured."   By dinner time we had at least 6" and nothing was moving outside except the snowplows.


I spent the morning working on some 6" snail's trail blocks for a swap, and then I started working on another set - 6" orange peels.  The background is Craftsy's "boundless" cream and the "peels" use a set of William Morris charms I've had around for quite a while.  Love the subtle colors.   I'll square it up to size when they're all done. 

I still have some Grandmother's fan blocks to applique, and then the five sets I signed up for will be done.  Maybe I'll make another set or maybe I'll just make a few sets that no one else has signed up to do to fill out my quilt.  They aren't due til the end of September, so I have time to decide.

I had been thinking of doing a project with selvages today - maybe I'll work on them tomorrow if we're still snowed in...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Need a lift?

It's been an unusual winter in that the temperatures have been chilly and the skies gloomy.  It snows a tiny bit nearly every day.  Often January-February have been very cold - below zero - and sunny.  Occasionally we used to have big dumps of snow, including the still-famous Valentine's Day of 2007 when we had 21" in a matter of hours.  Our relative lack of sun had me worried that the amaryllis bulb Mom sent us for Christmas wouldn't bloom.  Two buds did make their way up, though, and yesterday it burst into bloom!

What's more, when I posted a photo of these flowers on Facebook, 27 people "liked" it!  Sure says a lot about social media.  You can't see it from the photo, but my plants are sitting on a lovely boot tray my cousin Jeannie sent for Christmas.  I had made her a quilt this summer, and this was her thank you - it's far too nice for boots.

I had a stomach bug over the weekend so did nothing but sleep, read, and watch some TV.  I discovered a new British detective I want to read more of - Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope, smart, unattractive, and of a "certain age."  I felt well enough yesterday to go downtown to pick up another gift certificate for the Friends of the Library winter banquet/auction.  While I was there, I got a big container of hot and sour soup - yum!  That can cure whatever ails.  

That old nuisance, snow-sleet-freezing rain-rain, is predicted for later today and into tomorrow.  After early morning errands (walk in the mall, shop for essential foods), I'll get back to cutting up 2" x 3.5" strips for a very scrappy quilt I'm making from The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts.  I need thousands, but I still have plenty from the Curved Log Cabin I showed a few days ago.  And when I need a break, I'll dip into The Little Paris Bookshop, completely different from Ann Cleeves but just as compelling.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Heading away...

I make quilts for people with Parkinsons Disease for the VT/NH Parkinsons Comfort Project, and a few have been piling up to be mailed soon.  I hope to get them on their way in the next few days.  First is the quilt from one of my local guilds' 2016 round robin.  I like the way I quilted it, with grids in most of the borders, some outlining in the center, and a bit of "borders made easy" on the plain border. It isn't really the prescribed size, but I imagine it will appeal to someone who is in need of a lift, mood-wise.

I had a quilt that was 60" x 60" that I really didn't like.  So I cut it down to the requested 40" x 60" size.  That is so that someone in a wheelchair can keep cozy, and I actually like it better in this new size.  The process of cutting the quilt down was surprisingly easy as I simply cut 10" off each side with my rotary cutter and added new bindings.  I hated to cut into it, but at the same time I am happy to make something that someone can use.

The third quilt is 40" x 60" and was the result of a swap of half-square triangle blocks in an online group.  I had a bunch of other sizes of HSTs also, and, as a matter of fact, still have a whole bunch more sitting in a box waiting to be used somehow.  I quilted this quilt fairly simply also, following the pattern of the lights and darks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Did I show this?


This is the curved log cabin that I finished in January.  The long arm quilter did a great job, offering flowers and curves, with just enough texture.  I used a soft yellow for the back.  I need to take a better photo - actually, a few - so I can list it on etsy.  Winter is a tough time for picture taking, though.  The weather is too gloomy for indoor pictures, or too cold to take them outside.  I have several waiting to be photographed and then I'll send them off to the Parkinsons Comfort Project.

I've been laid up with a bum knee for a week, and it sure is getting old.  I don't know what happened.  I just woke up last Tuesday in pain with swelling.  I've been putting arneca gel on it (at Mom's recommendation), taking turmeric pills (at Yve's recommendation), and taking Tylenol when it starts hurting.  I have been walking in the mall most days but not as fast or as long.  Have missed yoga twice, and hope to go next week since every day I feel a little better.  Sorry to whine!

Tonight I'm heading downtown for a community forum on livable wages and how we are training people for jobs in the 21st century.  I contacted two of the three panelists who sound terrific, and I hope we (the Greater Barre Democrats) get a good turnout.  Tomorrow I'm meeting with Louise and Guy to see how we can inject a little new life into the town Democratic committee.  The school consolidation vote went down for a second time yesterday, so we really need to get some new, energetic members.

In between quilting, reading, and political this-and-that, I have been picking up items for the Friends of the Library annual banquet/auction in March.  We will be away for that wonderful event, so I want to make sure I do my part before we go.  Saturday I picked up a 919 piece Lego firehouse from a toy store - it should be a hit in the live auction.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

365 Challenge

Last year, I started off following the 365 Challenge an Australian quilter was posting each day.   She had designed a quilt that used scraps, which I thought would be perfect for all of my blues and greens.  The bins they are in are overflowing.  The first batch used only dark values and were 3" (finished).  I made quite a few before going south for a month.  By the time I got back, the patterns had moved on to a center medallion which I attempted.  I hated the results so threw it away and made up my own.  As the spring went on, I wanted to work on other things, so I set it what had become a 24" x 24" medallion aside.  And it's been gnawing at me ever since.

This winter, I got it out again and decided it wasn't all that bad.  I surrounded the medallion with scrappy courthouse steps blocks, and I liked it again.  Then I started making "ribbon star" blocks from a Block magazine I had saved.
 Now I'm making another border, this time using the half-square triangles cut off the ribbon stars and sewn into pinwheels.  It will be 66" square.  Question is:  what to do now?  My bins are still overflowing.  It's as if I never made anything at all!