Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pinwheels


Another UFO got finished last week.  This is the pinwheels quilt I made using a couple of "Boundless" charm packs and some leftover white fabric.  I like the striped binding best of all, although the striped yellow flannel back is very nice, too.  I quilted it very simply and sturdily so that it can be washed frequently.  If I don't take it to the library to raffle off, I'll take it to the flower/craft shop downtown for sale.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Quilters' bus triip

Saturday, I was up and out the door before 6:30 am to meet Jan and Marilyn at the Park 'n' Ride.  I drove Jan's car to Lebanon, NH, where we met a group of other quilters bound for Massachusetts.  The trip was arranged by the Northern Lights Quilt Guild, and it left slightly early.  Guess we quilters are an eager bunch. 

Our first stop was the Quilted Crow in Bolton, MA, where we were greeted with coffee, lemonade, goodies, and a free fat quarter.  The rather large store offers a variety of styles, from Kaffe Fasset to Jo Morton, including a great selection of hand-dyed wool.  We were all like kids in a candy store, and the line to cash out was long but offered a nice opportunity to chat with some of the people we were traveling with.  I got some fat eighths and a scrap bag of wool before heading out onto the lawn to eat a sandwich.

Our driver ably navigated what looked like a very busy highway to get us to Lowell, MA, and  the New England Quilt Museum.  The town was the site of many textile mills and still retains some cobbled streets and abandoned brick factory buildings in its downtown.  The museum used to be a bank and has enlarged its exhibit space since I was there about 20 years ago.  Its two shows were fabulous. 

First was an exhibit of the best quilts from various guilds throughout New England.  Viewers were asked to vote on their favorite, and next year the winning guild will be invited to show there.  Most of the quilts were fairly traditional, so I loved them!  This New York Beauty features a lovely border design.  My favorite quilt was a sampler, mostly paper-pieced, of Cape Cod, but it was difficult to stand back far enough for a photo to do its justice.

The other exhibit was called Threads of Resistance and depicted some very creative, yet often angry scenes related to our country's current political situation.  One consisted of many colored squares with a hot pink pussy cat hat front and center.  Another showed an American flag with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, noting that patriotism means supporting the country but not necessarily the president.

After the museum (which has a great gift shop!), we wandered down to a couple of art galleries which had special quilt-related exhibits, including one with quilts on the theme of "the little black dress." 

The National Park Service Visitors Center offered an overview of the sites, which are all fairly walkable, including the artist Whistler's home, now a museum.  Jack Kerouac, who also grew up in Lowell, was featured on a panel, and I was pleased to see several familiar books about nearby Lawrence's Bread and Roses strike.  I would have enjoyed a full day in Lowell, but we had to board the bus at 3:30 to get us home before 7 pm.  All in all, it was a very fulfilling day, a true quilters' holiday.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Be My Neighbor" quilt

It's finished!  What follows isn't the best photo since I took it with my phone indoors. 
But I'm pleased with the way this swap quilt turned out.  Each person made two blocks, which were somewhat large so fairly easy to do.  Several of the 16 blocks have birds, others have simple flowers, and all have just a hint of yellow in them.   The pattern was a block of the week from Moda.

I used cream fabric between the rows and as borders and then used a yellow binding to tie all the other yellows together.  I need to measure it, but it is a good-sized throw, simply quilted, mostly in the ditch.  I did use some of my machine's fancy stitches here and there for fun.  I tried a couple of houses before settling on fabrics for swapping, so there are two extra blocks on the back with signature blocks of those participating in the swap in the windows.  I wrote the block numbers on the signature blocks so I have a key to look at later.  I love the fabrics everyone used.

My Moda Blockheads blocks of the week have piled up in the meantime, so this afternoon I made this week's block.  Tomorrow I'll try to catch up with the two or three others I have missed while working on Be My Neighbor.  It's so nice to finish something!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Birthday fun

I belong to an online group in which we swap fat quarters on our birthdays.  I received a package of FQs from Althea in Wyoming a few weeks ago, and I was happy to open it yesterday.  I had requested neutrals or shirtings, and the variety is just wonderful.  I will enjoy using them all for quilts projects, including cotton and wool applique backgrounds.

It was a fun day.  I made an easy coconut cake which turned out delicious:
  1.  Bake a white cake in the 13" x 9" pan.
  2.  When warm, poke holes in the cake with a fork.  Spread coconut cream (the kind you find in the bar section of the grocery store for pina coladas) over the top.
  3.  When cool, frost the cake with Cool Whip (I suppose whipped cream would be fine, too, although one of my guests has lactose issues).
  4.  Sprinkle sweetened shredded coconut over all.
  5.  Store in refrigerator.

Cindy, Sandy, and Chris joined Paul and me for a cookout later in the day.   There were some rumbles of thunder before they arrived, but the sky cleared right as Paul was about to go grill the burgers.   I made a Caprese salad and coleslaw (with grated apple and Craisins), Sandy brought her own delicious tabouli, and Cindy brought chips.  Delish!  and good company to boot.  Everyone was willing to take some cake home, too, which left us with a manageable amount.

I spent quite a bit of the day quilting my Be My Neighbor quilt and hope to put the two quilted sections together late today or tomorrow.   Quite a nice birthday!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another successful booksale

After we take the big tent down this morning, the annual Friends of the Library summer booksale will be but a memory... thank goodness!  It's a lot of work and, even though I've been trying to cut down on my involvement, it was an exhausting weekend.  Thursday we put up the donated tent on the library's side lawn with a crew of people.  Some worked on the big tent and others on the smaller ones until we were all needed to put the cover on the "skeleton."  We are hoping to rent a larger tent next year because the company will put it up and take it down for us.  Age is a factor for our Friends group, and we all agreed it would be worth it for us each to pay $10 toward this effort!

An army of volunteers put the books out later in the day so that they would be ready for an early start Friday.  Because I volunteer at the state historical society Friday mornings, I "only" worked at the booksale Friday afternoon.  But business was brisk as you can see.  I was good and only got four books this time, including one interesting quilt sampler book.
Saturday morning early (beginning at 6 am!) the library trustees helped with the Rotary Club's annual pancake breakfast, also on the library lawn, but around front.  I helped put table cloths and condiments on the tables before going home for a breather.  Paul and I headed back downtown late morning to help with the booksale, and we stayed "til the last dog was hung" (an old Vermont expression), helping with clean up after giving away books at the end.  We had thought about eating dinner downtown as many of the restaurants were offering ethnic specials and the street food is good, too.  But instead we went home and ordered a pizza.  My feet and brains were too tired to do much more. 

Today, refreshed, we'll go down and help take the tent down and wait for a report on how much we made.  The money goes toward library programs and books for all ages, so it's well worth the effort.  People look forward to it every year, and it's a great gathering place.  I saw several old friends there which is what Heritage Days is really all about.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Top is done



I've been building each block made in the guild round robin and blocks of the month into 12" sizes to set together.  It looks a little haphazard in the photos but I think it will make a very colorful quilt for our bed - 84" x 94" give or take.  I'm going to ask Marie if she'll quilt it for me, but I'm waiting for the gray floral backing fabric to arrive from Connecting Threads.

Now I'm onto my blue and yellow Dutch Sister's Choice top!  I have the plain squares that are going between each square all cut and laid out.  Today I hope to put them all together and ready to quilt.  I hope to machine quilt it myself, so wish me luck!  Once I have the center quilted, I'll machine applique and put the borders on and then quilt them.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Vermont Quilt Festival

It was weeks ago, but I am still studying the photos of some of the quilts I saw at VQF.  The festival website has not yet been updated, but it should have this year's winners and all the contest quilts up eventually.  Here are a few of my favorites.

 I was looking hard at border designs, especially appliqued ones, and I just love the red and white "infinite variety" quilt.   The setting was so unique!