Friday, September 30, 2011

"You go, girl"

When a member of an online swap group I'm in began making some big changes in her life, several of us submitted blocks for a quilt. We signed with encouraging words, and Carol in the group put them together and quilted it. Mine is of course the one with the tulips (fourth row, 2nd from left). Quilters have to be the nicest people!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Busy quilting

There is definitely a touch of fall in the air. Mornings are foggy and, even though it has been warm, it's dark when I wake up and it gets dark earlier in the evenings. The trees know it's fall - they are beginning to turn and some are even losing their leaves. It is a great time of year - craft shows, chicken pie suppers, leaf peepers from all over the world, and more. And while we sometimes miss the variety of guests we used to have, we don't miss the frenetic energy of the B&B at this time of year.

I have been spending quite a bit of time quilting a largish throw in pinks and browns. The 6" blocks from the "virtual bee" block of the week in the Friendship Swap group alternate with Irish Chain blocks made with the last UFO of my Tante Wil's. She passed away in 2003, and I have been chipping away at her projects ever since. I love the pink and brown fabric she chose but have never been able to figure out what she intended with a few very meticulously pieced log cabin blocks.

I finished putting the top together Saturday, pieced the back out of scraps, and started quilting Sunday. By Tuesday, I had run out of pink variegated thread, so I had to make a run to the quilt shop. I crisscrossed the Irish Chains but am doing some free motion in the sampler blocks. Have to take frequent breaks because every free motioned block is different and I need to relax while working on them. I used to hate the process of tying off loose threads, but now I find it a nice time to reflect about what I'm going to do next.

This afternoon, I took a break by reading and going to the farmer's market. There weren't many vendors today but I ended up with lettuce, eggs, and some apple samosas for dessert. Yum!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hudson's quilt

I've heard these called "lasagna" quilts since strips are layered on top of each other. It probably isn't apparent from the photo but these are all flannels. A friend gave me a whole bunch of samples in varying sizes, and I cut them into 3.5" strips. My sewing desk is about 48" wide, so I just sewed the strips together at random and cut the result every time it got longer than the width of my desk. This went fast. I used the serpentine stitch on my machine to quilt it horizontally and vertically, and it was all done, including the binding, in two days. Very fun! It's going to Paul's new greatnephew, Hudson, born just a few days ago. He joins three little girls who are probably going to spoil him rotten!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holiday sewing - already!

Last week when I stopped in A Quilter's Garden for thread, Dee asked me if I would be willing to teach another class this fall. I thought her class schedule for fall was out already, but she said it was only for Sept. and October. Plenty of time for more, she said. So I said I would be happy to teach beginning applique again and, maybe this time, create something a little easier that people could actually finish in class.

I went home and started working on a holiday table runner which I finished today. It is very simple, and the applique features a simple vine, 8 leaves, a flower, and 3 circles in 2 sizes. I hope people will be able to finish most of the applique in three hours. I'm not sure anyone who took my class in winter 2010 finished their projects at all, and I hate to generate more UFOs in classes. During the class, I like to work along with everyone, so I am going to make another table runner in blues.

Our guild is offering a mystery quilt this year, so I decided to do it in holiday fabrics as well. I hope it will help me clean out my old scraps andmake room for a few new ones.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Civil War blocks

Those 8" Barbara Brackman Civil War blocks are really addictive. Although I have made one Civil War quilt already this year, I am steadily accumulating more blocks for a second quilt. Brackman has a great blog. Every Saturday, she posts a story about something that happened about that time 200 years ago along with a block of the week. The stories are really interesting.

I made the last two blocks over the weekend. The one on the left is called Star of the West, and the accompanying story was about Jessie Benton Fremont, wife of John, who tried to abolish slavery in Missouri. Lincoln said it was too soon for Missouri, but Jessie traveled to Washington to try to change his mind, to no avail. The Fremonts went back to California. Several years ago, a dual biography came out about the Fremonts. This reminded me to put it on my "someday" reading list.

The block on the right is Kentucky Crossroads. It was easy but, made over and over again in various prints, would make a nice, scrappy quilt.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Busy week

While we in Barre felt pretty lucky that Irene didn't damage us much, many people around the state have not been as lucky. State employees in Waterbury are all being re-located to other places, and many towns south of us are just barely getting out of isolation. Roads are washed out, bridges are gone, many homes are filled with mud. My heart goes out to them all. This week we plan to go to a play at Lost Nation Theater since part of the admission cost will go to flood relief. There's also a "stuff a truck" event Saturday that I'll have to gather stuff for.

Up here on the hill, it was pretty much business as usual. I finished quilting the row by row quilt, but mostly I buried myself in several good books, all of them the latest in their respective series. First was The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, the 12th installment of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. This book was a little more philosophical than previous ones, but now that I've seen the TV series, I can really picture Botswana as Mma Ramotswe drives into the country on her latest case.

Thursday, I finished An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor. This series involves a doctor, his assistant doctor, and all the people in a Northern Irish village, Ballybucklebo, in the early 1960's. Dr. O'Reilly has never really gotten over the death of his wife at a very early age, but he begins courting a nurse he dated before he met his wife. Kitty is patient, but not that patient. Young Dr. Laverty's girlfriend ditches him, and he wonders if he should leave general practice in the village and specialize in obstetrics. The many odd characters in the village are fun to check in with also, just as those in Mitford are.

Today, I finished Debbie Macomber's newest in the Cedar Cove series, 1105 Yakima St. This was the lightest by far of the books I've read, bordering on soap-operaish, but it was nice to find out what has happened to the many characters in the series. 1225 Christmas Tree Lane, coming out next month, will be the last in the series and, while I know I'll read it, I do feel it has run its course.

This evening, I started Louise Penny's latest mystery, A Trick of Light, which I have been waiting several months for. I am going to try to read it slowly because her books are so good and another one won't be out for a year. The action takes place mostly in a small Quebec village just over the border from Vermont. Both French- and English-speaking characters blend into the stories which are quite puzzling and feature the very human Inspector Gamache. Christine saw Louise Penny at a bookstore in Maine this week and said she was just delightful. We hope she can come to speak in Barre sometime soon. I'll be putting together a raffle basket featuring her latest book which Christine had autographed. Guess it will have a Halloween/fall theme?