Friday, May 30, 2014

My Ocean Quilt in the making

This quilt is from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, April, 2014.  It's called "Stamp of Approval" because it uses postage stamp-sized blocks (1.5") to make 16 patches.  I adapted the blocks to use 2" squares which I accumulate in a plastic shoebox.   After making all those blocks, my box is now only about half full which is nice.  Some rainy day I'll cut little scraps into 2" and 2.5" squares.  They are very useful for all kinds of projects.

My Ocean Quilt's background uses a teal "fossil fern," and the center is about 60" square.  Now I'm working on the appliqued borders which will be a little airier than the original - bigger, too, since this quilt calls for 3" borders and mine are 6".  In the corners I have repeated the 16 patches.  It's coming together great - and I have only two more borders to applique.   Then there will be a big dilemma:  how to quilt it?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Making progress

"Piano keys" quilt borders are a great way to use up leftover fabric, but they sure are tedious to cut and sew together.  My Nearly Insane/Loyal Union Sampler is almost together, though, due to a little marathon sewing and cutting.  I have the top and bottom borders cut, too, and quilt blocks for the corners.  But now it's time to sit and enjoy the rest of the day.  This morning, I edged the front flower bed, planted some tomatoes and parsley (some in containers, two in the ground).  While I was working out front under the flowering crabapple tree (in full bloom!), the buzz of bees was amazing.  There appeared to be a bee on every blossom.  Spring has sprung!  Chris is coming over later for our first BBQ of the season.

Hope you're having a great weekend, too!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Just plain busy

Since we got back from Provincetown, we've been on the run most of the time.  I am falling behind in my Austen Family Album block of the week, and I decided to wrap up my Loyal Union Sampler  with just four blocks to fill in what I had.  I knew I would tire of this project, so early on I resolved to make a Nearly Insane block each week, too.  Now I have 48 blocks, set diagonally with solid gray fabric in between the blocks.  This makes them really show up.  Here's my final block, A House Divided:

I spent the last few days putting all the center blocks together, and finished today.  It took some concentration!  I put a 1.5" border around and am now working on "piano keys" for the outer border.  That takes some time and quite a bit of cutting.  I need to cut a little more tomorrow so that I might actually get one side on.  It's turning out quite nice - think I'll take it for long arming, though, since the plain blocks need something curvy.

I'll be teaching an applique class on vines, leaves, and circles next Saturday, so the rest of the week I'll need to spend a little time pulling things together.  It should be fun, and offers some motivation to work on the appliqued border for my "ocean" quilt.  I have three quilts waiting for borders.  That seems to be where UFOs are born in my studio these days!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An inspiring talk

Yesterday's spring meeting of the Green Mountain Quilters Guild featured a great speaker, Michele O'Neill Kincaid from New Hampshire.  She talked about how she evolved into an art quilter, beginning with a little patchwork doll quilt when she was 8.  She showed a quilt her grandmother made and, later, a reproduction she made of the same quilt.  My favorite in the vast array of pieces she showed was one of poppies.  The centers were heavily embellished with beads, and it was about 2' x 3'.  I would love to take a class with her and noticed she teaches something called "free form machine piecing."  Getting out of the usual linear quilting and doing more improvisational work would be fun and, I think, would appeal to members of our local guild. 

Besides the program and business meeting, we had a fabulous teacup auction.  My friend Carol who is moving to Pennsylvania had a vending table, and she very generously gave me a mountain of Christmassy batiks to go with ones I already have and some Indonesian fabrics.  I also bought half a bolt of lavendar print from her.  It will make a great back.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Cape

We took a little trip to Cape Cod early in the week - three nights.  I always worry about driving through Boston even though the route is straight.  There's a long tunnel under the city with four lanes of travel and exits going left and right.   Then there's just stop-and-go along the way.  Sunday was no picnic, but once over the bridge and onto the Cape things thinned out.  I guess everyone was going to the beach for Mother's Day since it was gorgeous weather.

We drove to the very tip and stayed in Provincetown for my first time on the Cape.  Our B&B was right in the heart of things, with restaurants, shops, wharves, and historic sites nearby.  Monday, we walked to the top of the Pilgrim Monument - quite a hike, but quite a view.  In the museum at the base, we learned that the Pilgrims first landed near Provincetown, choosing to head closer inland after discovering there was not enough potable water and land suitable for farming.  The town cemetery holds graves of many notables who summered or lived there year-round, including Norman Mailer and artist Robert Motherwell.  In the afternoon, we took a dune tour which was fantastic - the highlight of our stay.

Tuesday, we drove over to the National Seashore's visitors center and also visited a restored lifesaving station.  Men took turns staying there during the winter months to rescue sailors on ships that had run aground.  It was remote but very beautiful.  A walk through the east end of Provincetown turned up homes of some famous authors (e.g., Susan Glaspell) and dramatists (Eugene O'Neill), as well as a lovely little garden.  We had some very nice meals in local restaurants and just dipped into the shops along Commercial St. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Finally, spring!

The daffodils are finally blooming, but I don't have the heart to leave them outside for others to enjoy.  Had to pick a few to add to my Primo Maggio carnations!

A bunch of blocks

I guess I have sewed the whole day today, and I'm not complaining.  It's been fun on this gloomy day.   We've had a lot of gloomy weather lately - either rain or drizzle.  My daffodils are finally out in the front of the house, and the lilacs are beginning to get leaves.  Spring is slow but IS coming.

I made a bunch of fall-colored nine patch blocks this morning for a swap.  I have a few more to make, but I wanted something easy to wake me up.  Then I moved along to the Loyal Union Sampler block of the week, which was a bit difficult at 6" (finished size).  I made it at 12" for the Cornucopia of Thanks last year and remember it as a little tricky due to inset seams.
This week's Austen Family Album block was quite simple, but I made the center square a little more decorative.  Just because!

Now I'm going to sit down and start a new book.  Yesterday I finished Mansfield Park after about a month of slogging and got a batch of books from the library as a reward.  I don't remember ever finishing this Austen book before, and I have read all of her others at least two or three times each.  Don't know if I'll ever tackle it again!