Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blue scrappy orange peels

Every time I start a new scrap quilt, I think "this will really make the level of my [whatever color] box go down."  Wrong!  I've been appliqueing orange peels on and off since last spring when I taught a beginning applique class.  I'm using cream scraps for the 6" block backgrounds, too.  So far the piece measures 24" x 36" with several more blocks prepared for applique.
I like it a lot but am dithering about whether to keep making more or to stop.   A variety of blues, from dark turquoise through indigo is really fun to work with.  Orange peels are so easy to applique that I think I'll put what I have together, set it aside, and reassess after I tackle a few other projects. 

Over the past few days I've re-discovered how nice it is to sit and applique on a snowy day.  Saturday afternoon we went to an organ concert at the library (unusual and funny), and, when we got home, the weather took a turn for winter with snow and wind.   It has been snow showering off and on ever since.  Just a week ago we were grilling burgers and opening the doors.  That's fall in Vermont, a truly transitional time.   As the weather changes, we add layers of clothing, too.  Time to get those turtlenecks out!

Friday, October 21, 2016

In a holding pattern

I'm waiting for some backing fabric from Connecting Threads to arrive so I can package up the curved log cabin and mail it to the long arm quilter.  I probably won't see it for many months, but that will be OK.  I have the binding all made and ready to put on when it returns home.

My machine sewing has come to a bit of a standstill as my Elna is in the shop for a thorough cleaning.  I can get my old reliable Viking 100 out, but I have grown very attached to the quarter inch foot on the Elna for piecing.  And that's what I've been up to lately.  I'm making some scrappy 12" heart blocks for a swap.  Each block takes 36 2" squares, some of which are half-square triangles.  I got one put together and had the other seven in strips to be put together when my machine started making a high-pitched squeal.  I stopped and cleaned everything, checked the needle, and started sewing again.  It still didn't sound right, so I packed it up and took it to the shop.  Carl had told me when I bought it in the early summer that I should bring it in at the end of the summer.  So I guess this is the "end" of summer (ha!).

I have plenty of hand sewing to keep me busy while I wait for Elna to return.  Yesterday, I sewed the binding down on the little purple row robin (photo soon when the sun comes out).  There are a bunch of scrappy orange peel blocks ready to applique, and I should get back to hand quilting my Atlantic Flyway wallhanging.  It's the project I take to my occasional Saturday afternoon gathering of the Calico County Quilters.   And then there's that gray/pink lacy scarf I've been knitting for ages...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Waiting for fabric

The curved log cabin is nearly finished.  Yesterday I added a thin border (1.25") of black and white scraps around the whole thing.  When the floral fabric in this "Violette" line by Amy Butler arrives(ordered on, I will add about 4" all around to make it twin-sized, put the back together, and call it ready for quilting.  I'll use some of the border leftovers for binding.

When I look at the top on the bed, it doesn't look nearly as curvy as it does in the photo, but I'm happy with it.  I moved those blocks around plenty, and this was the most pleasing to my eye.

I still have plenty of scraps left from the fat quarter bundle I bought, initially for the "Bloom" wallhanging and this quilt.  I don't feel ready to disperse it by color into my stash, so I'm leaving it in a project box.  Maybe I'll make some mug rugs or zipper bags with it.  I can see now how some quilters end up having a recognizable look to their quilts.

While I wait, I'm working on some smaller projects including an apron made of Indonesian scraps for one of my sisters.  I have a bunch of swap blocks to start, too.   And I'm buried in the latest (#17)adventures of Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith - simple stories but very satisfying.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A new BOM

Balkan Puzzle is the first of nine Blocks of the Month planned in one of my local quilt guilds this year.  I love the pink batik background for its hints of purple that go with various purple fabrics I received for my birthday.  I plan to make each 12" block monthly along with some in other sizes through the year.

I also signed up for a "Block Robin" with the same guild and have asked each person to use the same pink background and some purples for 3", 6", or 9" blocks.    In this swap, we each gather a bag of fabric which will be passed from person to person each month to make one block. 

I have made a couple of these 3-6-9-12 quilts, filling in with the background to make the blocks appear to float.  They always turn out really nicely and are fun to put together.  Of course, the 3" blocks are pretty challenging, but make awfully cute fillers.  Here's to another project on the "slow go!"

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tote bag

I have been worrying about making a tote bag for an acquaintance, Barbara, who is in the Friends of the Library and the Genealogy Club with me.  She asked me months ago about making it, and then didn't say anything more until I asked.  I thought maybe she thought it was an imposition.

Anyway, she came over a few weeks ago with some fabric she had used to make a quilt for her daughter-in-law.  She wanted me to make a tote bag out of the rest.  I wasn't wild about the fabric, but worked with it anyway.  The quilt had basket blocks and somehow she wanted baskets incorporated into the tote bag, too.  Here's what I came up with yesterday.

The smaller basket block is a pocket while the other side just has the basket motif.  It took me five hours to make this tote bag which seemed a long time.  But perhaps I just never kept track before.  And perhaps it's because I usually do things piecemeal over a few days.  And I took my time quilting it, too.

At any rate, per Barbara's request, I put a zipper at the top, and I put more pockets on the inside.  I like the way the zipper turned out, and the handles seem just the right length.  Best of all, Barabara likes it and will be taking it to Raleigh in a few weeks to give her DIL an early birthday present!

Friday, October 7, 2016


It was a beautiful day in our neighborhood yesterday, and it looks like today will be a repeat!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Old friends

Paul and I headed south Thursday for my 50th high school reunion over the weekend.  The weather was less than ideal but the fall colors are more vibrant when it's gloomy.  Friday night was a "meet and greet" and Saturday was a dinner/dance, both in the hotel.  Paul and I drove around the area Saturday and took a walk along the C&O Canal Towpath near Great Falls.  The area has just exploded development-wise, but I managed to show him our high school and old house.   Driving around "civilization" always makes us happy to live in peaceful Vermont.  How do people there put up with all the traffic and chain stores?
It was good to connect with a few old friends.  Our class had over 600 people, so there were lots of nice people I never really got to know.  In those days, "tracking" kept kids pretty much together by test scores and abilities.  College prep people rarely shared classes with vocational students, etc.  Here are Betsy, Bruce, Eileen, and me (far left).  We have known each other since 8th grade.  Even though time has flown, we pretty much just picked up where we left off together.  That was really special.  I missed seeing Nancy and will send a note to see if she's OK.  I was also happy to see George who used to live in Vermont but returned "home" over 30 years ago. 

Sunday morning, we headed to the Harrisburg, PA, area to visit my college friend Madelyn, her husband Jim and their son Brian.   I only recently learned that Madelyn is very ill, so that made this an important visit.  I regret that we haven't spent a lot of time together over the years.  Both of us were busy with careers and family.   We did enjoy a couple of fun times more recently when we met at Weston Playhouse where Brian was performing.   Looking frail, Madelyn did perk up as we talked, and we headed home, glad we had come and hoping that the treatment will continue positively.  The ride home was nice as the fall colors began to pop over the last few days.