Sunday, January 30, 2011

A lazy winter Sunday

Today Paul and I drove down to Mad River Quilting to pick up my Red Red Robin quilt which Lisa had quilted beautifully. Before leaving home, I checked and was relieved to see that I had already made binding for it. I was thinking of giving it away, but when we spread it out, Paul said it would be a shame to give away. That's the way it is - the new quilt is always the favorite. We'll see after I get the binding on. Maybe it will be our spring quilt since it is in purples and pinks, very scrappy. Lisa said it was no problem quilting through the scrappy back, too, which is good.

I bought a variety of smaller pieces while at Lisa's, some just 'cause, and some to make various upcoming projects with. I have very little tone-on-tone green for this year's Friendship Block swap, so I got some of that. The block we will be swapping: is called Prairie Flower, with signed cream centers, green corners, and florals. When finished, our quilts will be mini-gardens. I also picked up some fabric for kids' quilts, since Meg's little Jovianne Elise just arrived and caught me by surprise. I think Jovianne will get a little windowpane quilt that I can run up fairly quickly.

I'm hoping to have the binding on the Red Red Robin quilt ready to sew down to the back by Feb. 26 when the Heart of Vermont Quilt Guild will be having a retreat day. I hope a few more people will sign up because we need 20 for it to be a "go."

This afternoon, I'm going to work a little bit on borders for the appliqued quilt I've been putting together. I ran out of the dark green tonal I thought I could use around the edge, so I am piecing together a few things to make it work out. I wish I hadn't been "smart" and cut the binding strips before finishing the border. Oh well! I'm also planning to read the book group book, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, a little more (it drags terribly) and make some mushroom barley soup for dinner.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some winter photos

Everybody's doing it - throwing boiling water out into the cold. At 22 below, it turns immediately to steam, as Paul demonstrated this morning. We have about two feet of snow on the ground, and every house looks like Marilyn's next door - icicles abound!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I haven't left the house since Thursday when I went grocery shopping first thing in the morning, and to A Quilter's Garden and JoAnn Fabrics for supplies. It is just too cold. Tonight the temperature is predicted to go down to 30 below, and tomorrow the high is predicted to be zero. Poor Max wants to go out because the sun is shining, but when he gets out, he tries to walk on 3 feet at a time. He moves from room to room, trying to stay in the sun, and I don't blame him. Having been house-bound for so long, I thought very briefly about going out for brunch today, but made multi-grain waffles for lunch instead. I can't remember when I last made waffles, but whenever I do, I realize how easy they really are and pledge to make them more often. If Pauline and Bob come for their traditional Valentine's weekend, I will try to remember.

Today I'm appliqueing the last of nine 16" blocks, this one with a fall oak leaf motif. This morning I made a test block for the Friendship Block Swap beginning soon. It's called "Prairie Flower" from Quilters Cache and, while a little tricky, isn't too hard. I think the final result will be very nice since everyone participating will autograph the center. This test block will find a home in my black, white, and a hint of red quilt, a work in progress.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In the deep mid-winter

When we got up this morning at 5:30, the thermometer read -0.4 degrees, but now it is -3. I don't think it's going to warm up much today, either, and all the houses in the neighborhood have large icicles hanging from them. We must have about two feet of snow on the ground, which is less than "down country," but enough for anyone! I regularly shovel the garage out after the car has dripped globs of snow from its wheelwells. I've been making soups a lot recently - pea soup early in the week and French onion yesterday when I also made a loaf of oat/wheat bread.

This week, I've been working steadily on my 16" appliqued blocks. I have the last one all prepared to applique and am half-way through another. I started machine quilting the blocks, too, and am having fun doing each block a little differently. When I finish quilting the blocks, I'll put them together with dark green sashing, pieced cornerstones, and a pieced border. I also made two fabric Valentines for my nieces and a card for Lori, the departing treasurer of the library Friends. I will be sorry to see her go - she's done a great job. We will especially miss her as cashier of the Annual Winter Banquet/Auction. This year's dinner features a gourmet Northern Italian menu, but we make the bulk of our funds in the auction. It is a madhouse as people try to pay before leaving, and Lori has always been so calm.

I've also been keeping up with the Friendship group's Virtual Bee. This week's block was fun to do. The pink and brown combination is really pretty.

On Sunday, I started reading our book group book for the past month and finished right before Wednesday night's meeting. The True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley was an interesting look at 1850's Kansas Territory and the conflict between pro-slave settlers from Missouri and abolitionish settlers from the northeast. I should get busy on Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White for February and not leave it til the last minute, but I've been distracted by Jo-Ann Mapson's Bad Girl Creek. My stack of to-be-read keeps growing, too!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A busy week and birthdays

Whenever we have a good old fashioned snow storm, it feels busy, even if we spend a lot of time inside. Living here in the condo we don't have to plow or shovel, which is great. But Wed. we did drive downtown during the storm to help set up and cook lunch for the Rotary Club at the Old Labor Hall. They have been very supportive over the years, and we want them to continue. So Paul drove us down the hill, and he and Chris set up chairs and tables while I helped Karen in the kitchen. We thought only a few Rotarians would brave the elements, but we had about 20 there.

All told, I think we received about 10" of snow. I shoveled off a bit of snow that landed on the porch so the dog wouldn't track it in after going out. Chris finally got his all-weather tires put on yesterday because more snow is predicted. He ended up staying here for a few nights last week, and he may be here again tonight since it's his birthday. It is hard to believe that he is already 29. I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday, and he was surprised when I told him that we had an earthquake the day after. The hospital walls were shaking, and at first I just thought it was regular hospital busy-ness. Later I learned that I was just a bit out of it. Anyway, if he doesn't spend this evening with friends in Burlington, I'll make his favorite - macaroni and cheese.

Tomorrow is Paul's birthday and some friends are coming for dinner. I'll make a simple dinner of baked chicken, wild rice, and salad. I have cake in the freezer left over from Chris' graduation party, so we'll either have it both nights, or I'll make an apple tart tomorrow.

We had a bit of a scare with Dad a few nights ago. He received one of those letters telling him that he was a winner of a large amount of money. They enclosed a bogus check and asked him to deposit it and then immediately wire them the amount to cover the taxes. He did deposit the check but didn't get to Western Union, thank goodness. I urged him to look into it further and said I was worried that it wasn't legitimate. Mom said the same, but he wasn't listening. So I called my brother Rob who was more forceful. The next day Mom went to the community center and learned that the police had just given a program on this very scam. She brought a handout home. Poor Dad relented and said he wouldn't do anything more. He is still a little hopeful that the check will clear, but I very much doubt that it will. Another crisis averted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Block of the week

There are a large number of blocks-of-the-week/month available online and through quilt shops. Barbara Brackman has a nice Civil War one going on, and many of the people on various Yahoo! groups that I frequent are participating. Since my Heart of Vermont guild "square robin" uses Civil War reproductions, I decided not to participate in that BOW.

But I am trying to keep up with the "Virtual Bee" on the Yahoo! Friendship Block Swap group. For this block of the week, I chose pink and brown for my colorway. The new block patterns are posted on Mondays, and I did mine right away. It is fun to see how the colors mix. I offered to trade some larger pieces of fabric for pinks and browns with members of my Calico County quilt group, but we didn't meet last week due to snow. Still, I have plenty to see me through until we do get together in February (or later depending on the weather).

Yesterday, I finished appliqueing a Celtic knot for the 16" block sampler I'm making. I started on another block with odd little flowers and I also made a few Grandmother's Fan blocks for the black, white, and a hint of red swap I'm participating in. Those blocks aren't due to late June, so I have plenty of time. I got my green and white Irish chain blocks ready to mail the swap mom, too. We're supposed to get a bit of that wintry weather that's moving up the coast, so I have to run to the store early today. Snow days are great for quilting, so I really don't mind them at all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A new year, some new projects

I started working on some new quilt projects during the last week or so.

One is based on some in the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 2. This magazine has 12" blocks designed by various famous quilt designers so there's something for everyone. I particularly like the appliqued blocks, and made a very nice scrappy purple quilt last year with many of the blocks from Vol. 1.
I decided to applique all the blocks onto pieced 16" blocks and to quilt them as I go. So far, I've made three blocks.

When I quilt the blocks, I will add some details. The magazine called for some embroidery in between the hearts in the block above, but I will add some texture with quilting. The basket will have quilted flowers in it.
Right now I'm working on a block with a house covered in snow on a yellow background. I have another block ready for a Celtic knot. I envision nine blocks in all with a print border and sashing. I will have to take a trip to a quilt shop with Polly who has a good eye for such things.

My other project is a virtual block of the week with the Friendship Swappers. I decided on a pink and brown pallette for those blocks which are 6".

What we find when emptying the camera

While taking some photos of quilt blocks today, I came across some that were still in the camera. Paul must have taken them before Chris' graduation party Dec. 19. During the party, we were so busy socializing that we forgot to take any until after everyone left.

Here I am before the party, in the kitchen of the Old Labor Hall and getting the table ready. We had a lot of cake left, so I froze it when we got home. I think I'll get it out again for some birthdays coming up in January.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Projects for the new year

I copied this from Pat's blog and she from Anne Ida. I am encouraged to make a semi-resolution since I have several quilts going at once. I have the following going:

1. Candy Land wallhanging - finish quilting, bind

2. Irish chain - swap blocks are ready to swap

3. Black and white - large medallion has been made, waiting for block swap to begin (blocks due in June)

4. Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, vol. 2 appliqued quilt - one block finished, two prepped for applique, others chosen

5. Batik squares - make back, quilt and bind

6. Civil War - guild square robin due back to me in June

7. Blue knitted vest - finished back and am on the two sides

There are two fairly certain new projects coming up, both from the Friendship Swap group on Yahoo! - a row robin and a virtual block a week in pink and brown. To be very realistic, I don't think I'm going to knit the second pink striped sock since I hate the way the first heel turned out. It's too holey to wear! I think I will chalk it all up to experience and maybe start over with something else after I finish the vest.

I said I would do a demo on trapunto for the March guild meeting and made my samples last week. Finishing Candy Land would be nice for that demo, too.

Two other possible projects that are smaller include making a jacket out of the Classic Auto Exchange sweatshirt I received after buying a used car in December and designing a bookshelf quilt as an autobiography. The former will use some Australian fabric I have in my stash and the other will take some time to design. Both should be fun!