Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reading quiz

I saw this today and thought it would be fun to include:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:   I try not to, but it happens.  Wine and cheese would be my favorite, but cookies are nice.

What is your favorite drink while reading?       Most definitely a cold glass of white wine.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?  I don’t like to see writing in books.  If I mark anything, it is with a sticky note.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?.  I have a drawer devoted to bookmarks and if one isn’t handy, I use a slip of paper until I can find one.  Paul leaves his books open flat which I am always amazed at.  But he knows what he’s doing (too).

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?  Fiction for sure although I’m trying to read more nonfiction lately.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?  I try to stop at the end of a chapter, or the end of a section.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? I don’t throw books anywhere!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? I try to figure it out from the context – or I ask Paul!

What are you currently reading?  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

What is the last book you bought?  The Grapes of Wrath.  I also just placed an advance order for the latest books by Louise Penny and Jennifer Chiaverini, coming out soon.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?  After I make dinner and before we eat, I do like to sit in the living room and read until dinnertime.  I can't get on an airplane without a book, either.

 Do you prefer series books or stand alones?   I don’t care, but it is fun to gulp up a good series.  I did that with the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear recently.

 Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?  Louise Penny, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver, and an old saw The Land of the Burnt Thigh, about women homesteading in North Dakota.

 How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)  I gather books by the same author together and also have some arranged by topic.  Paul and I have “his and hers” shelves.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My brain was overheated

It's going to be nearly 90 degrees today, and at 6 am it was already steamy.  I think I'll just stay in today and try to keep cool.  Even sewing will be a challenge!  I have almost all of the 68 log cabin blocks made except two sides of shirting on each.  They are looking good.  Paul says that by the sounds emanating from my machine, I'm being paid by the piece. 

I also have almost half of the circles appliqued onto the stems on the center medallion.   However!  I would like to clarify my previous post.   Re-reading, I neglected to say that the photo of the center medallion came from the book.  My center is still in progress, and of course, will look a little different.  I will have a plain border - not a sawtoothed one with more circle appliques.  56 floral + 3 center circles are enough for me!

Last night, we had our last Heart of Vermont guild meeting, and I'll be sorry not to attend for a few months.  We each revealed our finished (or nearly finished) mystery quilts - the Christmas quilt I'm not wild about.   We voted on a quilt block for a new guild logo, and mine won!  I forgot to take a photo, but it was a take off on the Moon Over the Mountains block, with three peaks, a large moon (or sun depending on your perspective), and a small heart appliqued on top of the mountains.  Simple but pretty.  Geri is going to scan it for use on our nametags next year and then decide what to do with it.  Meanwhile, I'll be spending my prize - a gift certificate to A Quilter's Garden!

This will come in handy since I need some Christmas fabric for a swap.  I used a lot of my stash for the mystery quilt, and last night I thought I'd replenished it by picking up a baggie of scraps from the free table.  However, when I got them home, I found they all included some glitz which I can't use in the swap.  :-(  I don't really like glitz anyway, so I guess I'll set the scraps aside and head down to the quilt shop soon. 

I'll also be looking for sashing at that time since my guild "square robin" came back to me.  I had asked for 12" blue and white blocks, and the blocks I received are just beautiful.  I have a pizza box of other blocks I've made over the year, including some from the Just Takes 2 project.   I'll be moving those blocks around a lot in the next few weeks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One of my older UFOs

Last July, I started appliqueing a 40" piece that I hope will be the center medallion of a quilt.  It's based on this wallhanging by Kim Diehl, called Bittersweet Briar.   Its size makes it a bit unwieldy to applique.  Today I finished the leaves and now "all" I have to do is applique the many little circles.  There are 14 about the size of a nickel on each stem, but I have about half of them ready to applique.
This has been one of those projects that I pick up and put down, but I am now anxious to get it finished.  It's silly to keep procrastinating on something so lovely. 

The other day I started working on some log cabin blocks that will serve as a border.  I thought this would spur me on to finish the applique, and it has.  The "chimney" is 3" and the "logs" are 1", before sewing.  They are based on a quilt I love that's owned by the Vermont Historical Society.  The background of the center medallion is various pieces of shirting, and so are the lighter logs.  So far the blocks are coming together nicely, but  I'm not yet sure how they'll be arranged for the border.  Quilting, for me, is very much a plan-as-I-go process!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just needs binding

Here's the red and white quilt I've been working on.  The binding has been sewn on and "just" needs to be handsewn to the back.  This always takes me a long time.  Because I hate to sit under something this big and warm in summer, I usually put it on the couch and sit next to it as I work.  This turned out fairly large - 6 12" blocks by 6 blocks, with 1.5" sashing.  I love the crisp look of red and white!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cash Mob!

Last Saturday afternoon, despite rather rainy weather, Paul and I joined the Cash Mob downtown in support of local businesses.  The idea is pretty simple.  We gather at City Hall Park, in this case the gazebo since it was raining, and then go en masse to an undisclosed location to spend about $20 each.  Because Main St. is under construction all summer, people have been avoiding the stores there.  This is a good way to get acquainted with stores we might not usually shop in, and we also meet new people.  

The first Cash Mob in April went to the new bookstore in town where we spent a total of about $2,000.  In May we visited Simply Delicious, a candy/gift shop where the men, especially, were introduced to the great wines and truffles they carry.  This time we went to Grackles, an antique shop where, ever the optimist, I bought a picnic basket.  Paul got a vintage bank and also stopped into Coins and Hobbies next door.  Even though it was raining, 30 people joined the fun.  We've met some nice people along the way and feel good giving local shop owners a boost. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Steadily quilting... a preview

Last week I sandwiched and quilted two sections of a red and white quilt made mostly with swap blocks. This week I worked on the last section. I always enjoy quilting in sections because I can do

free motion, stitch-in-the-ditch, and outline quilting a bit easier.  On a sampler, I can mix it all up.

My first quilt, started in 1974 and finished in 1985 (yes!), was red and white.  Since I started before rotary cutters, I made cardboard templates, traced around them, and cut the pieces out with scissors.  42 blocks got really boring, so I set the quilt aside many times.   I hand quilted the whole thing, which added another year.  I used a polyester blend fabric and polyester batting.  And I still have it.  I sometimes put it on in summer because it's light. 

This morning, I sewed the last section on and did a plain white border around two sizes (the top and bottom were already done.  Phew!  I don't have binding cut yet since I wasn't sure what I wanted.  I have lots of red fabrics and may just do a scrappy one.  I had initially thought a red with mini dots would be nice, but I haven't seen any in the stores.  Probably I'll see some after I finish!

This quilt was inspired by the "Infinite Variety" quilt show in New York last year, and some of the blocks were part of the Just Takes 2 project organized in part by Brenda Papdakis, "mother" of Dear Jane. I made a few of the blocks that are posted twice a month for this quilt, but also made some out of blue and white which will be my next quilt to put together.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some finishes

It was a nice morning, so we took a few pictures of projects I recently finished.  First is Whirling Triangles, made with leftovers from the Stack and Whack quilt I made about a month ago.  I quilted it myself, very simply going diagonally in the center and doing a variety of simple things with the walking foot in the borders.  I think that will be "it" for Stack and Whacks for me.  I am more of a sampler person.

Next are the front and back of On the Beach, made with fabric my mom sent me for Christmas.  When she said it was difficult to know what to get me, I suggested she just go to Harriet Hargrave's quilt shop fairly near her and pick a few pieces that appealed to her.  I had no idea she would go all out, buying fat eighths of all these batiks!

And here's the back which was made with scraps and a variety of orphan blocks.   I had this quilted by Mad River Quilting in a swirly overall pattern. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cornucopia of Thanks

I started a new project yesterday.  It's part of a quilt-along with one of the Yahoo! groups I belong to.  We decided to work on Cornucopia of Thanks, which is one of Jennifer's Chiaverini's patterns in her latest book Traditions from Elm Creek Quilts.   You can see the finished quilt here, and it was featured in Jennifer's book A Quilter's Holiday.

The original quilt suggests fall colors and Thanksgiving, but I have gone off the page with a brighter scrappy look, mixing batiks and prints.  Here are my first blocks:

The one on the left is this month's block, "Augusta," and on the right is an extra block because I'd like to make this quilt queen-sized.   It requires only 12 blocks, but there is wide sashing with cornerstones.  Below are a few of the cornerstones, and I'll be using the black multi-colored dots for the sashing.

I really like the background fabric which has red dots and flowers in yellow, red/pink, and purple, with bright green leaves.  So anything goes.  I think my next block, another extra one, will be a Dresden Plate to pull in a variety of colors.  When it's finished, I'll put it all away until the beginning of July when we'll receive another "assignment."  This is a rather painless way to end up with a very nice quilt over time.