Monday, September 30, 2013

Gorgeous Colorado!

Despite the flooding and the threat of government shutdown, Paul and I headed to Colorado last Saturday.  We met my Dutch sister Jacqueline in the airport, went to rent a car, and then headed to my parents' in Golden.   Just about every day was sunny, with temperatures in the 70's.  Amazing!

The first day, Sunday, we browsed around downtown Golden and stopped at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.  The exhibit featured challenge quilts made with RMQM fabric (lovely) as well as an art quilt exhibit (so-so).  On the second day, being more acclimated to the high altitude, we headed up Lookout Mountain to Buffalo Bill's grave and museum.  On the way down, we hoped to see some buffaloes which often hang out by the interstate.  No luck, unfortunately!


 We visited Red Rocks Amphitheater and had a great lunch.  Tuesday, we visited the American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, had lunch at the Capital Grill (Jacqueline's first buffalo burger!), and did a little shopping.  Wednesday found us on the road for Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods.  Isn't it beautiful with Pike's Peak as a background?  Jacqueline (below right) was just amazed at the view, especially the snow.  

Thursday, we met my sister Jenny and her friend Mart for lunch at the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder.  Although Mart's apartment was a total loss and her car needs extreme cleaning, she was pretty chipper about the whole flooding experience.  Parts of  Boulder are fine; parts are devastated.  Much of the worst flooding is north of the city, so we walked down Pearl St. and enjoyed the buskers and sun.

Friday was a surprisingly rainy day, so we visited the Colorado History Museum in downtown Denver.   Many school groups cleared out at lunchtime, leaving a relatively peaceful set of exhibits to enjoy.   You could go into a simulation of a mine shaft, open a buffalo statue to see how body parts were used, learn about Native Americans in Colorado, and learn about the Japanese internment near Granada during World War II.  Having read quite a few books about the latter, that was my favorite exhibit. 
Saturday came all too soon, and it was time to say goodbye to my family.  Dad is looking more frail, but Mom is still very vital at age 91.  Jacqueline headed back to the Netherlands, and I hope a year doesn't pass before I see them all again.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Feeling productive!

I finished another set of swap blocks today, although I ran out of the fabric I was using and had to make myself a completely different looking tulip block.  Then I finished my round on Cindy's round robin, after 3 weeks of applique!

The next package to arrive should be Candy's.  After that, my little red schoolhouse will come home.  I'm dying to see what it looks like.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scrappy Stars

This looks fine now, but while I was quilting it, I called it "the quilt from Hell."   I sandwiched it on a very humid day and then ran a couple of lines of quilting up and down to anchor it.  I planned to do swirls all over.  It looked fine on the front, but on the back, it was all puckered.  With much groaning and squinting, I took the quilting out over two hot days.  Then I rolled the quilt up and set it aside until a "better" day (whatever I thought that was!).  Finally, one day last week, I unpinned the rest, starched the back like mad, and put it back together again.  Within a day, it was quilted on a grid and bound by machine, no problem.  It will be raffled off this fall as a benefit for the York Branch Library.  Hope a kid wins it since the back features Paddington Bear.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A "fiddly" block

This month's Block Lotto in one of my online groups features a "Buddhist pinwheel" block.  It is supposed to end up at 12" square and use dark, medium, medium-light, and light fabrics in quarter-square triangles arranged a particular way.  This makes a 9" square that has a 1.5" border all the way around.  I decided to make two blocks, keep the worst one and send the other to Tricia, this month's "winner."  My block will go into the sampler I'm making with a navy blue background.

Finishing these brought quite a good feeling of accomplishment because there seemed no shortcut method to arranging the colors.  Each segment had to be carefully laid out.  Still, it turned out quite good if I do say so myself!  But I can't imagine ever doing a whole quilt!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Reading and applique

Some months ago, I joined a round robin group.  Mine is red and off-white with a schoolhouse block in the center.  I posted a photo so won't do so again here - I'll wait til it comes home.  Right now, I have Cindy's lovely Christmas quilt and mine is the third border, so it's getting somewhat large.  The center is 15", and with the other two borders, it's about 35" square.  I decided to add an appliqued vine with poinsettias, holly leaves, and berries.  One of the fabrics frays quite a bit, making it quite difficult to handle.  Now that I'm nearing the end of this project, which has taken a couple of weeks, I find myself wishing I had just done something less fraught with anxiety.   I hope to finish this weekend and get it in the mail to Candy who will do the last border.  Then I hope I won't receive another one until October.  I have a few unfinished projects to work on before our first guild meetings this fall.

The Heart of Vermont Guild meets Sept. 17, and already planned are a block robin, a challenge, and a mystery quilt.  Will I participate in all of these?  Probably - for the cause, as they say!   On Wed. Paula and I went over to another quilter's house and helped her sort and weed out magazines going back about 25 years.  We selected 3 bags for the free table at guild.  We left a mountain of recycling!

The Calico County Quilters meets Sept. 14, and we usually do an ugly-pretty challenge, which is fun and pretty easy.  And the state quilt guild meets in October and in preparation, I'll try to participate in the pillowcase challenge and a block exchange.  So that's a lot of projects coming up. 

It was very humid last week, so instead of sewing, I turned my attention to Louise Penny's latest book, How the Light Gets In.  I love her careful writing, her very human and believable characters, and the setting just over the border in Quebec.  It's a long time between books, so I tried to savor every word.  Still, the plot moves along and in the end, it took me just three wonderful days.

Now I'm reading something lighter, Emilie Richards' Wedding Ring, for which I will be leading an online discussion beginning Sept. 16.  Having never done that, I am taking more time than I normally would, marking passages, jotting down issues and possible questions as I go.  It's quite an easy read with some interesting characters.  Part of this online activity will involve making something as we read, so I'm thinking about that possibilities as I go along, too.  Because the characters work on quilts to deal with tragedy in their lives, I may turn my attention to mending the quilt I made with my aunt was dying.  I use the quilt a lot, so it has some torn spots which will need to be appliqued over.  IF I can find the same or matching fabric deep down in my stash.  Quilting is a journey!