Sunday, November 11, 2018

Quilting after the election

I am so glad I had a big quilt to wrestle under my machine this week.  It offers time to reflect on the election and cool down after some annoying disappointments.  My friend, for whom I am again serving as campaign treasurer, lost his bid for Vermont House.   We weren't all that surprised since he was running against two incumbents.   I need to file his final campaign finance report later today, but it was a shoestring campaign, making it easy.  We took in and spent less than $1,000.  The good news is that two friends in the neighboring city won their elections.  Some other local election results were head-scratchers, though, so I'm glad to have other things to occupy my mind.

I've been working a little each day on the red, white and blue medallion quilt which is about 85" square.  After pin-basting on Sunday, it took a couple of days to anchor each border.  I did some straight stitching through a couple of the skinnier borders, and now I'm using my walking foot to echo some wavy lines I drew in the 18" center square.  It's looking good so far, but I take plenty of breaks to do things around the house or read.

Yesterday morning I went to my hand-sewing guild for a few hours and got some yoyos sewn onto charm squares for the state guild quilt.  Robin was cutting out more charms for the same project, and Bronwen was making nine patches and cutting fabric for a future project.  It is relaxing to sew and chat with these ladies.  After I got home, I continued knitting a dish cloth using "Scrubby" yarn.  I don't like the scratchy way it feels, so I'm not sure I will make any more.  I do like having an easy knitting project while watching TV.

We are heading to Washington, DC, for a few days Wednesday, just for a pre-winter getaway.  But Tuesday we're heading to Hanover, NH, for a consultation with a cardiologist for Paul, which means I need to get our stuff together for the trip Monday.  Today's chores will be laundry and some grocery shopping before I can get back to quilting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Affairs of the Heart

Some years ago, I saw a luscious quilt called Affairs of the Heart by Ale Rossman.   It was incredibly tempting.   When I finally read the fine print, I realized that the blocks are all 8" and involve hand applique and my nemesis - embroidery.  I picked one and used wool for the applique.  I love the feel of wool and soft colors.
Then I screwed up my courage and started on the embroidery, using gold thread.  What a mess!  It was far too glitzy, so I took it out and used some gold cotton.  Ah!  much better.  But I knew I'd never make another, so the block just got shuffled around until it landed in the back of the closet.  When one of my guilds announced a UFO program, I dug it out, and yesterday I added a cotton border and did a little machine quilting.  Today I added some hand quilting (black on black - tough to see) and stitched the facing to the back.  Voila!


Yesterday, I finished putting the last borders onto the red, white and blue medallion quilt I started working on last winter.  I had found an oversized "Goose in the Pond" block in red and white in my pizza box of leftover quilt blocks.  From there, I added borders, using fabric my Dutch sister sent me and some scraps in my stash.  At one point in the spring, I put it away because I knew it should be bigger but wasn't sure what to do next.  At the Vermont Quilt Festival this summer, I saw just the fabric I wanted for an appliqued border, and that's what I've been working on piecemeal ever since.  It has grown to about 84" x 84" and is ready to quilt.  That's what I hope to be doing over the next month or so.

But first!  I need to finish stitching a facing down on the back of an old wool appliqued UFO that also needs a little hand quilting.  It was an 8" square that I finished long ago.  I needed to do a little embroidery and, when I tried using gold metallic thread, it looked awful.  I took it all out and used plain gold cotton thread instead.  Much better.  A colorful border makes the final little hanging about 11".

My row robin bookshelf quilt returned home Saturday after a trip to Washington state, Australia (two stops there), London, North Carolina, and Florida.  These quilters did some amazing work!  I am anxious to put it together but will try to restrain myself until after I get the Goose in the Pond quilt done.  I did buy a tan "Quilters Linen" fabric (I love this Kaufmann line) for the outer shelving and sides of the bookcase.   It's going to be fun to look at.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Rain and gloom

This year's October weather seems much like past years' November that I hope we don't slip right into December weather after Halloween.  
We did manage to take a short walk in the forest with Suzanne this week when she came down to get her car serviced.  The sky was gloomy but what was left of the foliage was quite pretty.  We have had a little wet snow the last couple of days, too.  Rib-sticking meals have been the order of the day - chili, mashed potatoes, beets.

I've been chipping away at UFOs this week and have just one more border to finish appliqueing on the Goose in the Pond medallion I started last winter.  Actually, the center block is about 3 or 4 years old.  I cut all the strips for two plain outer borders as well as the binding, so I am looking forward to finishing soon.  

My bookshelf row-by-row quilt returned yesterday after having been worked on by six quilters in Australia, London, Washington state, North Carolina, and Florida.  It looks fabulous!   I am still considering setting the "shelves" in two ranges with a wall above for a mini quilt.  That will probably necessitate making another "shelf" or two of books.  Row-by-row quilts tend to be 36" wide, but I'm thinking 72" or so would be more practical.  I need to figure out what the outside of the "shelves" will be made of.  Perhaps a "grunge" fabric will mimic antiqued wood?  The quilt shops are having a Halloween shopping event, so I might run down later today.  Saturday is the state quilt guild meeting, always a source of interesting ideas, and sometimes a source of interesting fabric, too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

UFO night at guild

Our local quilt guild met last night, and the topic was UnFinishedObjects.  As "homework," we were to locate all of the UFOs we had and then bring one that we would like to finish, one that we won't finish, and our oldest one.  Most of mine need hand work of some kind so are mostly small.  The oldest one is a white-on-white piece that I started hand quilting in the early 1990s.   The group at guild urged me to finish, so I will try to get back to it this winter.

The one I don't think I'll ever finish is the one I made in David Taylor's machine applique class.  I just don't need another little wallhanging, and I really didn't like using nylon thread.   Maybe I'll try making a fancy "frame" for it using some glitzy thread I bought at Ricky Tims' class.  Anita Shackleford, from whom I took a hand applique class, said that class projects rarely get finished, but that's OK.  She suggested we keep them as samples to refer back to.  I didn't finish the project from her class either, and I can't even find it.  :-)

My list of UFOs (which I keep on my phone) keeps growing even though I pride myself on finishing things.  Those with an * begin in the new year, and I hereby resolve to tackle at least a few of the long-term ones in the coming year:
  • Red, white and blue medallion - working on applique for another border
  • Splendid Samper - combining SS 1 and 2 with Moda Blockheads weekly
  • Quilt guild block swap - make 32 12" blocks by May*
  • Guild mystery quilt - finish cutting and do the October clue
  • Double churn dash swap with online group - due 9/30/2019*
  • Missouri Star block swap - blocks to return to me this fall
  • Bookcase row by row with online group - to return to me this fall
  • Hawaiian appliqued turtle (started in 2016?)
  • Wool appliqued vase with flowers (started in 2017)
  • Affairs of the heart block - embroidery and finish
  • Selvage quilt - make a few more blocks and finish (an ongoing project)
  • Recent applique class project (problem created by teaching!)
  • Guild panel challenge*
  • Bonnie Hunter 2018-19 mystery with online group*
There are also a couple of things I'd really like to start, but I'll leave that list for another time.  I should mention that two days ago I made 20 key fobs to give to the library staff for Christmas, and I'm feeling very smug about it.  The staff appreciation dinner will be sometime in November, and I'm already ready!  I bought the kits on and cut scraps of fabric 2" x 10".  I ironed seam allowances and sewed them to the strips to the webbing using a jeans needle and my walking foot.  Then I hammered on the hardware.  Some of the hardware is a little crooked, but they looks great and only took a morning to make.  I enjoyed it so much, I might just order another set to work on before Christmas.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Just living

I rarely photograph my food even though I like to cook and to go out to eat.  Trying to lose weight, my restaurant food tends to be salad-based, and I haven't made an apple pie, loaf of bread, or anything else photo-worthy lately.  I did make a great turkey vegetable soup, roasted chicken, and chicken/biscuit dinner this week, though.  My jeans are a little loose - whoo hoo!  

It's been a quiet week here.  Chris and I drastically trimmed the lilac bush which had grown too tall to deadhead.  I also managed to deal with a mountain of laundry, taught an applique class to two students, ran some errands, and quilted the September Splendid Sampler 2 blocks.  Now I'm putting together the July, August, and September sections of the quilt which is a year-long project.   I do love making those 6" blocks.

Our quilt guild program Tuesday is going to be on tackling UFOs, so I've gathered a bunch of those to take along.  I noticed that almost all of them require some hand work or applique.  Maybe I should look into finishing some by machine?   I have a feeling there are more buried in the dresser in the guest room, too.

Before we left on our trip, I rearranged many of the quilts in storage by unfolding the newer ones and layering them on the guest bed.  I replaced the quilts on the rack in the living room with oldies that I ought to give away.  But to whom and how?   One in particular is only fit to be a dog bed, so maybe I'll cut it up and give the pieces to the Humane Society.  My Double Dutch sampler (appliqued, pieced, hand quilted, pre-2000) is hanging over the railing in the upstairs hall - "sick bay" - because it needs repair, a/k/a more hand work!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Teal mini swap

The best thing in our mail which was held at the P.O. during our vacation was a package from my Teal Mini Swap partner, Shelly in SC.  Each participant - and they came from the U.S. and Canada - received a small piece of fabric to incorporate into either a mug rug or mini quilt for a partner who was assigned.  Ten of the $15 we sent in went to ovarian cancer research, so it's a fun and useful swap.   It is amazing how well we are partnered, too.  I have a lot in common with both this year's and last year's partners who are so nice - but then, quilters are generally nice!

Here's the mini Shelly made me:
I love the puffin fabric she used as a border.   The fabric we both received is the teal print at the top left.  Both of us weren't enamored of it, but it ended up working fine in our minis.   It's clear we both love color.   How did she know that I have been trying to use more orange in my quilts lately?  Here's the string star mini I made Shelly:
Shelly's package also included several items she made herself:   some knitted dish cloths, a neat scrubby, and a tea caddy for my purse or travel.  This is a great way to meet quilters around the country as well as a way to contribute to a very good cause.  I hope to join in again next year.