Thursday, November 29, 2012

Around the World swap

With an international online group, I'm going to be doing something Jennifer Chiaverini mentioned in her Cross Country Quilters book.  Each person chooses a particular fabric and mails a fat quarter to each other person participating in the swap.  Those people use the fabric to make blocks representing them.  Yesterday, I bought many yards of a lovely yellow fabric with colorful butterflies.  It's all washed and ready to be cut into fat quarters eventually.  I hope five yards was enough, but if not, I will send out some coordinating brights.

I chose to make the traditional Dutchman's Puzzle block for each person in the Around the World swap.
I'm calling it Dutchwoman's Puzzle, of course. This sample block is blue and green because I am making blue/green blocks each month for the Heart of Vermont guild's "block of the month."  I also packed up some blue/green fabrics for the guild's "square robin" this year.  That should all result in a very pretty quilt by the end of the school year.

Yesterday, I started a little quilt with my L'il Twister tool.  It involves sewing squares together and then cutting them all apart and sewing them together again in order.  I'm using my design wall quite a bit, and this last process is somewhat slow.  No pictures yet!

Today we're off to Burlington meet Bob and Pauline at the Fleming Museum at UVM.  They have a special John Singer Sargent exhibit which ends this weekend.  Lunch at the India House, we hope.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Karen's autograph quilt

I put the last stitches in the binding of the autograph quilt I've been making for Karen since early summer.  It was sunny this afternoon so we took some pictures before I wrap it up.  We'll give it to her for her birthday which we'll celebrate at a library staff appreciation dinner Friday night.
It started out as a memento of the library's weekly Authors at Aldrich programs during the summer, and I have signatures from almost all of the authors who spoke this summer, including Jeff Danziger (noted editorial cartoonist), Jack DuBrul (coauthor with Clive Cussler), and Chris Tebbets (coauthor with James Patterson).  I don't know if Karen noticed me asking the authors for their autographs.  She was certainly in the room a few times.  Then I got autographs from the staff and trustees while she was on vacation, and I managed to get most of the Friends of the Library, too, during the summer. 
The block is called "Ribbon Star" on, and I liked it as a variation of "Friendship Star."  In the borders, I quilted her name, the date, and our town, along with the words Dear Friend, Beloved Librarian.  I used a variety of fabrics, including some Asian prints, Civil War repros, and favorites from past quilts.   Some people signed their names, and others wrote some very touching tributes.  My favorite was from Cary who wrote Thank you, for being YOU.  That's how we feel about this very special person who Mark called Our most important citizen!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bento Box

I joined the "Strip Club" at A Quilter's Garden this year and received my first batch of strips for $10 around the first of the month.  There are about 2 yards of fabric in each batch, so it's a good deal, and someone has done all the cutting besides.   They're much more coordinated than I expected which is great.

After moving the strips around and sorting by color, I decided to try a Bento Box pattern with them.  Here's the first 12" block:
It's really easy which is good for this stressful time of year.  I have enough to make 12 blocks with a few singles for a border or two, which should make a nice little quilt.  Should be a nice practice piece for some free motion quilting... if I'm brave enough.  :-)

A Quick Gift

The day before Thanksgiving, I made up this little evening bag for my Mom for Christmas.  A few years ago, I made her one for summer with an old hankie and some cream fabrics.  Someone gave her a lovely Belgian linen hankie for her 90th birthday, so she requested a black bag for winter evenings.  Yes, she still goes out of an evening!  To the symphony gala, opera benefits, etc.  So for this "runaround" gal, I made another Lazy Girl Run Around Bag. 

It's hard to see from the picture, but I used a variety of black-on-black fabrics, including a Fairy Frost.  I had been concerned about the high contrast between black and white, but the F.F. helped with that since it has a sheen of its own.  The lining features a whimsical black and white fabric.  I handstitched the hanky on before putting the pieces together.  This is an easy pattern and I ought to make a few more.   I have lots of hankies left in my stash from Jay's late mother's collection.  A satisfying project for an afternoon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I tried to get out of cooking tomorrow, really.  I called all sorts of restaurants in the area, but only one is open and it's always booked solid.  So we are having the next best thing - pot luck, more or less.  Rob is coming from New Jersey, and Sandy and Cindy are coming from Montpelier with vegetables and pie.  The rest of the menu will include a boneless turkey which is currently thawing in the refrig., potatoes au gratin, zucchini bread (also defrosting), and a roasted squash with craisins and ginger.  I got some vanilla frozen yogurt and whipped cream to go with the pie, and of course some extras like black olives and cranberry sauce.  Easy peasy.  I have some turkey gravy and biscuits-in-a-can for Friday's leftovers. 

I am truly thankful to be healthy and happy, engaged in life in many ways, and with good friends and a loving family.  If I had to make a quilt block to put into the Cornucopia of Thanks this year, it would surely be "peace and plenty."   May your holiday be full of fun and surprises!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blocks of the Month

I finished quilting Karen's quilt and sewed the binding onto the front.  Hooray!  I can hand stitch the binding down while Jacqueline is here, if we're sitting in the living room just chatting.  She won't be here long, but then there's also the Thanksgiving holiday in case I don't get to it.  The party will be on the 30th so there is plenty of time.  I'll take a picture once it's done.

Before Jacqueline arrives, I need to clean my sewing room, but first I thought I'd catch up on various blocks of the month and week.  On Saturdays, I print out and try to start "Grandmother's Choice," Barbara Brackman's weekly blocks and stories about the women's suffrage movement.  I ended up doing this week's, Little Red Schoolhouse, today because of yesterday's state guild meeting.  But it's done.  These can be difficult because they are 8.5" unfinished, which can make for some interesting math when it's a nine-grid block.

Next, I did the Block Lotto block in black, white, and bright pink this month.  The winner takes all, and so far I haven't won even though I did three blocks last month in an attempt to win.  We can do up to four.  If I have some time later in the month, I'll try to do another.  It should make a great quilt.

Finally today, I made "Swamp Patch," this month's Cornucopia of Thanks block.  I noticed last month when I laid out all the blocks I'd made so far, that I really needed a few more green ones.  Hence, the lime green and bright pink (nearly red).  There are only three more blocks to make and then we put them all together.  Can't wait.   I do like the pace of blocks of the month except that I sometimes forget what fabric I used when I'm making a sampler.  For the guild block of the month (12" finished size) I'm using green and blue, and I'm using the same color scheme for the guild square robin in 6" (finished size) blocks.  I plan to make some 3" and 9" blocks to go with those later this winter, too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Sunny Election Day

Yesterday we had a snow squall in the morning.  Everyone groaned, but I noticed the city paving a street in the [brief] blizzard anyway.  It was windy and gloomy all day which made it seem even colder.  I went to WalMart and bought a head band so my ears stay warm when out walking.  I look dorky, but what the heck!  The snow melted almost as soon as it fell, but I resolved to shop for some pants warmer than jeans soon.

Today it's sunny which makes everything nicer, and the parking lot at the school was packed when we went to vote.  After nearly four years in the town (as opposed to the city), I am finally feeling a part of things as I know many of the people helping out at the polls.  I will be really happy when tomorrow comes, just so we won't have all those awful ads on TV and so our landscape will no longer be littered with signs.  Of course, I won't be happy if the "right" people don't win.

This afternoon I plan to attach the third and last section of the autograph quilt to the rest.  That's a little intense since parts already quilted need to match up well.  I sew the top sections together, cut the batting so I can use batting tape to put it together, and then sew the back seam by hand over the whole thing.  Then I quilt the parts that haven't been quilted yet.   I doubt if I'll finish this process by the end of the day, but after this is all done, I'll be able to add and quilt the side borders.  Hope to be done with all of this by Friday so I can attach a binding.

In between, I've been reading Jennifer Chiaverini's The Giving Quilt which I'm enjoying pretty much.  While I've never really enjoyed short stories, that's what many of her books are even though they are embedded in a common scenario.  In this case, the Elm Creek Quilters are holding a special retreat, and the book focuses on several of the campers.  The first few stories were interesting, but Chiaverini spends entirely too much time on one about a widowed teacher.  I skimmed a bit to get past it, and am looking forward to the final story.