Friday, June 14, 2019

Two quilts

The Splendid Sampler (above) - that I call Dear Yve in honor of a friend - is finished and has been slept under for a few nights.  I will get it outside and take a picture when I get a chance.  Meanwhile, I'm excited to have started My Small World, a wallhanging designed by Jen Kingwell whose Midnight at the Oasis I admire so much.  One can, and probably should, personalize it a bit, so I am going to add granite sheds and some pictures of local sculpture if I can figure out how.  

Following the pattern book, I'm working on filler blocks of all sizes from 4" to 2" finished.  Phew!  I am doing something I rarely do, and that is to make the blocks oversized and cut them down for accuracy.  I have a bunch of batiks from a bali pop, a couple of sets of grunge charm squares, Ricky Tims hand-dyes, and various other scraps to use.  So far, I am loving the process.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Jam time

It isn't quite strawberry season in Vermont, but their partner, rhubarb, is abundant.  I made a small strawberry-rhubarb pie last week, using California berries.  They tend to be a bit tasteless, but I suppose they travel well.   I like the way rhubarb cuts the sweetness just a little bit, so this week I made strawberry-rhubarb jam.  Aren't the jars pretty?  I love to look at them all lined up.  I have no more jam jars, so I'll have to buy another case if I want to make more jam later this summer.   I usually make at least two batches of jam a year to have enough to give as gifts and for Paul to put on his morning toast. 

I made a rhubarb cake yesterday to take a meeting this morning, and I still have a little more for a little pie if there's no cake left over.  If there is, I'll cut it up and put it in the freezer for another time.   

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Forest walk season begins

Today was our first Tuesday morning walk in the town forest, and it was a lovely, cool morning.  What's fun about the walks is that there are 25 miles of trails to explore, and the views change every week with the seasons.  There weren't too many spring wildflowers left, but we did see a few red trillium and Canada mayflowers. 

There was a group waiting when we arrived; they had driven about 45 min. to join us.  Our friend Fred had arranged it and requested that we go to the Grand Lookout.  I revised the route I'd planned, which is usually fine with me, and nine of us and one big black dog headed out.  Our first stop was the Capitol Quarry, which is rumored to have supplied some of the stone for the Vermont State House, but may actually be named for the granite company that worked it.  I'm not sure.

We passed the "pot truck," which continues to receive attention from graffiti artists.  I sometimes stop there for photos, but no one seemed so inclined.   The walk continued to the Grand Lookout with its amazing views of the quarries, the Southgate Steeplejacks building, and state forest land in the distance.  At the end of the trail is a view of downtown Barre and all of the major mountains in northern Vermont, and we can almost pick out our house on a good day.  Along the way there are some lovely quarry views and a couple of walls that have small carvings done by some of the area's best sculptors.  "Vulcan's Pavilion" (above) is an amazing surprise along this trail.

We walked about 2.5 miles today - not bad after a sedentary winter.  Glad we went this morning - it looks like rain again this afternoon!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Smaller quilts

I plan to sew the binding to the front of my Dear Yve quilt today and then start the hand sewing process this afternoon.  It is now queen-sized and quite heavy, so I took a day off from wrestling the quilt into the machine.  My shoulders and back were sore.   I have resolved to work on smaller quilts for the foreseeable future.

Instead, I cut out the fabrics I need for the curvy flying geese class I'll be taking at the Vermont Quilt Festival in a few weeks.  Here's a photo from the Sew Kind of Wonderful website.
"Are We There Yet?" is from a book, Mini Wonderful Curves, which has a number of other whimsical and interesting patterns in it.  I like the fact that, while we need to buy yet another tool to make the class project, we'll be able to use it for some other things afterwards.  Hope I don't forget how to use the tool as I have with the "Tucker Trimmer" I got a few years ago!

I am using scraps in fall colors - some hand dyed by Ricky Tims - for the geese and a brown/gray background.  Of course, I had to go to the quilt shop to get more background fabric for the geese, but the nice chat with Dee and Paula made it worthwhile.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Cholesterol and rhubarb

'Tis the season for desserts made of fruits.  I have a refrigerator with rhubarb, strawberries, and rhubarb just waiting for me to enjoy.  Today's plan is to make a small strawberry-rhubarb pie, but some bars are also a possibility.   Still, I will have to maintain some restraint.

Last fall, the physician's assistant at the Health Center told me that I needed to reduce my cholesterol OR take statins to do so.  I decided to go the non-chemical route and really worked hard for the next six months.  Success!  But the food on our 10 day cruise in the Netherlands was fabulous and did a bit of damage.   The ice cream was particularly delicious.  My pants are a little tighter than they were when I left.  We start the weekly forest walks on Tuesday, thank goodness!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Spring planting

We've always had a shady spot behind the lilac bush where grass didn't grow.  Right under a kitchen window, it doesn't get a lot of sun and is pretty bare except for some moss.  Chris offered to help me plant a little shade garden there, and today was the day.  It was cool out, just perfect for digging, and he and his friend Mared were done in no time.  The adjoining house is currently for sale, but I hope the new owners will let me extend the garden next year.  I'd like some more ferns and bleeding heart.  We'll see how this variety of plants does, especially after the winter.

I finished quilting the May section of my Dear Yve quilt and have just two more blocks to applique before I can put the June section together.  It's been a fun year-long project, but I'm ready to be finished.  By the time it's all together it should be a generous double or maybe even a queen-sized quilt.  I keep swearing I'll make smaller quilts in the future!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Splendid Sampler / Dear Yve

I have only two blocks left to applique for my year-long Dear Yve sampler quilt based on The Splendid Sampler books 1 and 2, by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.  It's been fun, but it is time to sash the last two months, quilt those sections, and put all 12 sections together with a border.  I'm hunting for a quote to quilt into the border along with Yve's name and dates.

There will be 144 6" blocks when it's finished, and this quilt incorporates some of the fabrics Yve gave me (she was my best customer, not that I have too many) along with lots and lots of scraps from my stash.   I used a lot of low volume backgrounds, too.  Yesterday I emptied the project box, returning larger background pieces to their respective color boxes and cutting the smaller scraps into 2" and 2.5" squares, a few triangles, and some strings.

I will be needing some of those pre-cut pieces for Jen Kingwell's My Small World which I have been gearing up for.  I don't plan to spend a year working on it - it's a wallhanging.  I have been looking at quite a few renditions of the pattern on Pinterest and see that it's another scrappy sampler.  I've cut some of the 500+ 1.5" sky squares already, and gathering some fabrics.  I will replace the factory buildings with granite sheds, I hope, and include a few other things to make it represent my world here and there.

Meanwhile, I'm anticipating receiving a variety of black and white charm squares, various 12" blocks, and some double churn dash blocks through swaps in the coming months.  I'll also be taking a class at the Vermont Quilt Festival.  More UFOs!