Friday, June 28, 2013

Flood watch... again

We have had a very wet spring, and the weather pattern just seems to continue.  Two days ago, the rain just poured straight down almost the whole day.  It cleared up in the evening, but what good is that??  I continue to blame it all on the new grill we bought and can't use.  Even if it's not a rainy day, it seems to start raining right around dinner time.  Today we have the all day pouring rain thing going on again.  I'll be at the Vermont Historical Society all morning and quilting and reading this afternoon.  I hope it all clears out by Sunday so the drive to the Vermont Quilt Festival won't be hampered. 

Meanwhile, we are hoping that our beloved Old Labor Hall will be flood-free.  Paul went down and helped put sand bags around crucial spots and helped install two sump pumps yesterday.  He'll keep checking all day, and when he isn't there, he'll be worrying.

I do see a bright spot on the weather map, and that is that there appears to be a little moisture over Colorado.  Usually it doesn't reach the ground there, but my mom says the mountains are now invisible due to the forest fires.  Hope the rain helps.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ready to quilt

Despite the heat and humidity, I managed to finish piecing the back and the batting for my Heart of Vermont 2013 Sampler.  This morning, with the fan blowing right on me, I pin basted, so now I'm ready to quilt. 

This sampler includes guild blocks of the month, as well as some from the "block robin."  The center is the guild logo, and the sashing is some Australian fabric.  I had initially meant to make a totally blue and green quilt, but my friends in the block robin had other ideas for my fabric, pulling in some of the Australian fabric's color.  How smart they are!  I like it better this way.

Underneath this quilt is the almost-finished nine patch quilt which "only" needs its binding sewn down on the back.  It's so warm these days that I am debating whether to machine stitch it instead.  I'm procrastinating by beginning work on the sampler instead.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A nice day

Summer has arrived in Vermont.  Hot and humid conditions are forecast for the week.  Yesterday morning's walk through the woods was soggy but fun, with 7 of us and a dog.   Samantha was taking it easy since her back was acting up, and we took an easy loop.  I left the group early to get back and change before Bob and Pauline joined us for lunch.  Salads were on the menu since it's too hot for much else. 

We got to the opera house a little early to see my quilts on display, and then really enjoyed Don GiovanniIt was truly the best we've had in the annual offering.  The orchestra was on the stage with the action happening in front, in the audience, and in the orchestra pit, with minimal props and modern dress.  This put the emphasis on the music, which was just fine.   Many of the musicians come from Montreal and beyond, and we noticed a tour bus with operagoers, probably from Montreal also. 

During the show, we heard rumbles of thunder and even rain on the roof, so we were glad to be indoors.  Apparently, there were power outages around the area so we were lucky the storm didn't affect the opera house.  Afterwards, we said goodbye to Bob and Pauline and headed to Montpelier where we joined Chet and Karen for dinner at the Royal Orchid Thai restaurant.  It was Chet's birthday, so we had a very festive evening, sharing all the dishes including three desserts.  The fried bananas with coconut ice cream were delicious! 

On the drive home, Paul said that it felt like we were on vacation - good friends, good times.   There was a bonus when we got home - Chris had fixed the storm door in the kitchen so it closes again.  Who could ask for more?!?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A rainy walk

Every Tuesday my intrepid friend Suzy leads hikes in our new town forest.  Last week, it was pouring so I called to say I wasn't joining her, but she went anyway - alone.  This morning, it was overcast, but 12 people, including 5 kids, joined us.  It was fun, especially with the kids and all their enthusiasm and energy.  One little boy even brought a notebook and pencil because he wanted to write down what we said about the geology of the area.  Unfortunately, we are more into ferns and flowers, but I suggested he come again on Sunday morning when our leader will be able to answer geology and animal questions.

Half-way through the walk, it started drizzling, and by the time we got back to the parking area, we were all pretty wet.  Here's a photo from Saturday's walk.  It did NOT look like this today!
The number of old quarries one encounters is just amazing, as are all the grout piles.  "Grout" is a Scottish word for waste, and that's exactly what the piles are - waste granite, since only 15% of what's quarried is of the quality needed to make statuary and gravestones.  

Over the month that I've been walking in the forest, I've noticed new and different plants every time.  Today there was a profusion of pale green moss along one trail, and all the forget-me-nots and violets are all bloomed out.  We heard a hermit thrush, though, which was quite unusual for a morning. 

I'm almost finished quilting that nine patch quilt.  It will be a cozy project for this afternoon.  Tonight is our last guild meeting until September - pizza and lots of show and tell are on tap.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's raining again :-)

Rainy weather is quilting weather, and it sure has been wet lately.  The other day I made three blocks for a "block lotto" in an online group.  These "Merry Go Rounds" are in 1930's prints and earned me three chances in the drawing at the end of the month.  If I "win," I'll be able to pick a quilt block and style to receive from the other five players.

Between downpours, I managed to get to the post office to mail them to Florida.

A couple of days ago, I put my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Christmas swap blocks together, using a technique called Circle of Nines.  It's based on a book and you basically arrange nine blocks with spacers.  I like the way this little table-topper-sized piece turned out.
I had been pondering how to set the nine patch blocks that we swapped in the Heart of Vermont guild since the March meeting, and I stumbled on a setting Bonnie Hunter was just developing.  She has so many free patterns on her website that I can't find it again.  Basically, the sashing is 1.5" unfinished and staggered.  I even used light blue as she did in her example.
I finished the top today and like the zigzag effect of the sashing.  I forgot I had the border fabric in my stash, and now it's 57" x 67", a good-sized throw and just about the maximum I can quilt comfortably on my Rose.

Sorry for the glare.  When it stops being a flimsy, I'll post a finished picture in better light.  Don't know if I'll get to it right away, but tomorrow I will start thinking about the back as well as how I might quilt it.  Then again, it may just end up in the closet on a hanger along with a few other flimsies!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quiltin' 'n' Hikin'

I finished a 60" x 60" throw on Monday.  It used many pieces of the purple fat quarters I received in a birthday swap last year.  I have plenty more!  The background is a piece I bought in the annual birthday sale at the LQS last year, too, so this is indeed a Dresden Plate birthday throw.

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, especially the stippling around the plates.  They really stand out.  It's now on sale at my etsy shop, and a friend nagged me until I made a Facebook page for Cobble Hill Quilts, too.  This same friend has proposed that we develop a line of note cards with my quilts and her sayings.  The prototype she showed me is lovely.

I've been quilting a baby quilt this week, and now all I need to do is sew down the binding.  I'm saving it for a fall raffle in the library's children's room.

Mostly, I've been hiking in the town forest.  I joined seven ladies yesterday morning, and Paul and I took another five people up today.  There are so many trails that every time we can see something new.  Some of the trails are more forest-like while others hover around the quarries.  Here's a photo I took of the Monday group coming down a skinny trail to a look out.

It was a gloomy, cool day, but we had fun.  My friend Suzy, who led the walk, really knows her ferns, and I had no idea there were so many different varieties.  Another person, a birdwatcher (complete with binoculars), pointed out the Oven Birds call.  She said one rarely sees them because they nest on the ground, but they are what we often hear.  This is fun, and I'm hoping it will lead to a slimmer me.  We can always hope!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A walk in the woods

We are having a heat wave - temperatures well into the 80's with high humidity.  Days like this make me think about cutting my hair, but luckily they don't last too long.  It's supposed to cool off tonight/tomorrow morning.  Yesterday Paul, Chris and I took a walk in the new town forest, and we found some cool spots along the trail to the Grand Lookout.

This is an abandoned quarry but so refreshing looking.  Many of the quarries are smaller and have fairly stagnant water, so the pollen and dust has settled on top.  The forest is really amazing in that you come upon the old quarries as you walk along.  The whole 350 acres is dotted with them.

There are many grout piles, some of which make tall overlooks that you can walk to.  Along the trail to the Grand Lookout with its nearly 360 degree view are some large piles of "waste" stone, called "grout" by the Scottish who first quarried.  Local sculptors have been making little carvings in the grout which are fun surprises as you walk along.

There are some owls, the head of a sentry, a funny face, the state seal, and these hands trying to get out from behind the stone.

The sculptors left the pneumatic drill machinery up on the trail, so I imagine they'll be putting finishing touches on their work this week.  We'll be back.