Sunday, July 8, 2018

Works in Progress

I made a few blocks last week as part of my year-long "Low Volume at 70" project.  I'm making 6" blocks for each month.  Some are Moda's "Blockheads" blocks, and some are Pat Sloan's "Splendid Sampler" vols. 1 and 2 blocks.  Some will most likely be whatever I feel like making, and I'm using shirtings and other low volume backgrounds. 

It will be scrappy and I hope to quilt each month as I finish.  The big decision now is the color for the sashing - navy?   There's also a block to denote the month I made the other blocks.  It's from a set of machine embroidered dish towels I got from Yve long ago.  She thought they'd be fun in a quilt, and, now that she has passed on, I will remember her whenever I see them.

I've finished putting together 25 of the Ohio Star swap blocks I received in my local guild.  Only seven people participated, I think, and we were each to make 3 blocks.  But somehow I ended up with 26, due to someone's generosity.  I'm not sure why some people chose to make duplicates, but I have worked them in. 

I decided that the universal color for the cornerstones should be scrappy green, and I bought some more green to make a wide, pieced border.   You can see some of the border pieces stacked up near the top left.  I'm basing it on Deb Tucker's Oak Ridge Stars border, but because her blocks are 16" and mine are 12", I've had to make some adjustments.   The center now measures about 60" x 60", and the finished quilt should be about 80" x 80".   I just can't seem to make a rectangular quilt.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The heat wave has broken!

We had a lot of wind and some heavy downpours yesterday, and today is a gorgeous one, with low humidity and in the 70s.  What a relief after six days of heat and humidity.  We took some friends along for a walk up the Grand Lookout Trail by the town forest.  We wanted to check out a new sculpture in an abandoned quarry building.   The granite columns are older, but the bust of Vulcan was recently made to go along with the annual "Rockfire" event held last weekend.  It fits the site perfectly.
From the top of the Grand Lookout, one can see all of downtown and the mountains to the west and northeast.   We could also look down to where they are loading huge chunks of grout (waste granite) onto railroad cars.  During the week we've been hearing 5 or 6 trains a day coming down from the quarries and going through downtown.  Paul suggested that with climate change, municipalities are building higher, stronger breakwaters with the stone.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

We're melting!

This is day 4 of a heat wave, and we have all had it.  Generally, the weather people say we're having a heat wave when we have 3 days of over 90 degree temperatures.  This one is set to leave us some time Friday.  What a time for our refrigerator to misbehave!  The repair guy is scheduled for this afternoon, but the fridge has been acting strangely for about two weeks:  the freezer is working tell well, no matter what the setting, and the refrigerator is not working all that well.  We have been buying blocks of ice to keep things cool in the fridge.  But since it's been hot, we've been eating dinner out more, just to get cool for a while.  Today I hope we can actually eat at home, albeit using the grill.  Fingers crossed.

Last week, my mother and sister Jenny were here, and we had a very nice visit.  Mom turned 96 while here, so I invited friends and neighbors for an afternoon tea with cake.   Later, we had a family
dinner out at a nice restaurant.  On other days, we went shopping, out for soft ice cream (Vermonters call them "creemies" and maple is a favorite flavor), walked around the neighborhood, or just sat and talked.  I've been doing our genealogy, so I had questions about various ancestors that only Mom can answer.  We are always reminded, when with her, that she has an enormous cache of information and interesting stories to tell.  Jenny is looking into having a video interview made soon.

We are so glad they came and so glad they left before the heat wave hit.  While they were here, we had perfect weather with temperatures in the 60s and 70s and beautiful blue skies, with just a little rain.   Living in Colorado for so long, neither of them was used to the humidity, but it didn't really get serious until now.  I have air conditioning in my sewing room, so I've been making a few 6" blocks for a new quilt made up of "Blockheads 2" and "The Splendid Sampler 2" blocks.  I'm cutting up the "kitchen towel of the month" set that I got years ago from Yve into 6" blocks as well.  It will be a nice memento of her and of my 71st year.  All the backgrounds of this scrappy quilt will be low volume prints and shirtings, so I'm tentatively calling it "Low Volume at 70."

Friday, June 15, 2018

A few small projects

Yesterday I made some new curtains for the upstairs bathroom.  I've had the fabric for months, but just haven't gotten around to making them.  The cafĂ© curtains - bottom curtain and valance - took about an hour to sew!   The walls are painted a soft lavender, but the previous curtains were a small pink print on white.  So the lavender didn't stand out very well.  Now the room has a rosy glow, which is supposed to make people look good.

Next I made a new bathmat, using an old towel and some orphan quilt blocks.  A few years ago, I participated in a scrappy heart block swap, resulting in a nice-sized throw with multicolored hearts.  I saved out two purples ones exactly for this bathmat.  Well, it takes a visit from my mother to light a fire under me!

This took an afternoon because I used the "quilt as you go" method and then added a little more quilting to anchor the top.
It's basically a small quilt because there's a piece of batting between the top and the bath towel which I cut down to size.  The lavender border matches the curtains.

Mom and Jenny arrive a week from today.  I need to get the basement ready for Jenny to sleep in, and I'll try very hard not to mess up the guest/sewing room before Mom gets here.  I am really looking forward to their visit!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Forest walks begin

Last Tuesday was our first walk in the Town Forest for the season.  We'll be leading nature walks on the 25 miles of trails through September.  Mainly, the same people come every week, but every now and then a new person or two joins us.  I also try to attend the every-other-Sunday walks with my friend, a former science teacher and photography buff.

There are Sundays when I have other things to do, but I always feel better walking these trails which change every week.  Right now, there is new growth everywhere and not as many flowers in the understory.  Yet the birds are very active.  We saw a downy woodpecker and heard a warbler, among others.

It has been beautiful weather this week, and yesterday's outing was very nice, with two couples and a sweet dog joining us.  One couple had retired to our area after living in Boston for 30 years - quite a change, but they are enjoying the peace and quiet.  And I enjoyed meeting them.  That's one of the benefits of leading these walks.

We took a fairly easy route, stopping by the #6 Quarry and then going up to Lawson's Lookout, which, like so many of the lookouts, is a former grout (Scottish for "waste") pile that has overgrown.  One hundred years ago, what is now forest was once a tree-less quarry works owned by various companies.  The trails were made by workers and then, as the quarries were abandoned, kept up by walkers, hunters, and wildlife.  Here is what the group found atop Lawson's Lookout.  She stayed up there a long time, trying to figure out how to get down.  My friend walked up to check and snapped this photo before we continued on our way.

Hope you had a lovely Sunday, too.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Plans for June-July

I usually keep a mental list of quilting plans and, with my mother and sister Jenny coming in a couple of weeks, I have been cleaning up the quilting/guest room and thinking about what I'm going to do this summer.  On hot days, I stay right in the quilting room with the AC on.

I want to make new curtains for the bathroom and have had a nice soft purple cotton since before our May 1 guest arrived.  "Life" keeps getting in the way, but we really need to replace the rain-spotted curtains we have.  I also want to make a new bathmat and saved out two purple pieced heart blocks from the heart quilt I made just for this purpose.  I think these were swap blocks from Debbie in Indiana, and the swap was ages ago!  I have a fat quarter set aside to go between the blocks and will also use scraps from the curtains.

Next on my agenda should be putting together the Ohio Star blocks I received in a guild swap.  There are 21, in all different colors, and the best setting may well be on-point with a deeper beige between each block and along the outside.  I have a tough time with on-point settings, but maybe this time I will master the math of the outside triangles.  The blocks are now in a project box, just waiting for Jane's 3 blocks and the setting fabric.  Interestingly enough, Paula told me this setting is what she's thinking about, too.  She and I have very different tastes, so I'm curious to see what she does.

My 70th birthday is at the end of July, and I would like to make a 71st year quilt with one or two 6" blocks each week.  I hope they will say something about my life or even what I might have done that week.  I have a copy of Pat Sloan's The Splendid Sampler and am following her Splendid Sampler 2 online along with Moda Blockheads 2 for block ideas.   Another project box has shirtings for the backgrounds all ready for whenever I feel like starting.

Then there are two hand projects - sewing yoyos onto black or white squares for the state quilt guild and a wool appliqued vase of flowers.  Both are nice for cooler summer days on the back porch.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Antelope Canyon

My online quilting friend Linda showed a photo of a quilt she finished, and I loved it.  Linda said she'd never make it again so gave me the pattern, called Antelope Canyon, by Laurie Shiffrin.  Hoffman has a cutting diagram for a different colorway, and Shiffrin has two color ways on her blog.  I had bought some black fabric last summer at our local quilt shop where the owner gives a birthday discount of half our age.  That's a great deal when one is approaching 70!

My quilt, which I started last Saturday, has bright colors on the black background.  Of course, I didn't have enough of last summer's black, so I bought a few yards of another black last week.  And the bright colors come from two jelly rolls I bought on sale from Craftsy.  It's from the Lily and Loom One Farmers Market line.

The work was definitely in the cutting, and I had to keep the strips organized with sticky notes on each set.  Some are 2.5" wide and some are 1.5" inches wide, which makes the curves once put together.   I removed one print because it was a dull gray and substituted a couple of leftover scraps from the jelly rolls.

The sewing is fairly straight-forward once everything is cut and marked, but the last rounds involve fairly long seams.  I know this because I had to take one set of four seams out and move them around 90 degrees.  I knew if I didn't, it would bother me forever.  

The finished size is about 75" x 75".  There are only four huge blocks which, close to the end, are a little difficult to handle with the small design wall I have.  So I have stacked them on the bed as I attach each round.  Only two and a half rounds to go.    Hope to finish today or tomorrow - I have a lot to do before my mom and sister arrive in a couple of weeks.