Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What to do when the power goes off

So glad I can hand sew! Unlike many of my neighbors I had something to keep me busy this morning while we fretted about when the heat and lights would come back on. I took the briefest of showers knowing that the water could turn cold at any minute.  We have a hot-water-on-demand system, so the storage tank isn't too big, and Paul had already had a shower.  The computer went totally silent, which could mean that the old thing had finally died, but luckily it meant everything was off.  Of course, my cell phone worked so I wasn't totally disconnected. 

I'm not sure why this happened since it rarely does.  But I did see a fire engine roar by and, about an hour later, go back the way it came.  Soon thereafter, the power came back on, and luckily, so did the furnace.  It's only six months old, so we aren't sure how reliable it will be.  Now we know!   Still, all the clocks in the kitchen were blinking - stove, microwave, coffee maker.  Ugh!  I went next door to Marilyn's to check on things, too, and ended up resetting her stove clock.  Lucky gal, she's in Florida til May 1.

In the meantime, I emptied the dishwasher, watered plants, decluttered my sewing room so Polly can sleep there tonight (she's moving tomorrow), and readied a label for a quilt I finished ages ago.  I have four hangers to finish sewing for VHS and one more hanging sleeve to sew on.  When the power came on, I hopped onto Facebook and Angela tempted me with the Improved Jack's Chain pattern.  Wouldn't it be pretty in scrappy colors?  Oh, PayPal, you are my downfall!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Acouple more blocks

I'm trying hard to do machine applique involving turning the seam allowance under.  I just don't like the look of fusible, raw-edge applique.  Here are Lancaster Rose and Hands All Around, this week's blocks for Sarah's Sampler.

With my Rose in the shop for cleaning, I've been using my old reliable Viking 100, which actually zigzags better anyway.  I'm rather pleased with the way the applique turned out, albeit a little wiggly.  Hands All Around is different in Chiaverini's pattern book, but I used an Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day pattern. 

My other sewing projects this week have included sewing hanging sleeves on two bed-sized quilts that will be entered in the Central Vermont Quilt Show and covering wooden hangers with batting and muslin for the VT Historical Society.  That latter involves very fiddly work but I think I have a system going now.  Made 4 today!

Friday, March 20, 2015


Happy spring!  We still have at least a foot of snow on the ground and big piles everywhere.  The weather isn't supposed to get above freezing for several more days.  Everyone is weary of winter.  I did make a little spring landscape for the quilt show challenge this year.  It wasn't supposed to be more than 50" in perimeter and was to fit the theme of Springtime in Vermont.

I used Karen Eckmeier's Accidental Landscapes technique, so it is machine sewn but hand quilted.  Lots of fun to make.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A bunch a blocks

This weekend, I got serious, making the ten rainbow scrap challenge and two Sarah's Sampler blocks for the month/week.  They turned out pretty good!

This month's color was "cyan" or teal or turquoise - whatever isn't quite green or quite blue.  I had to stack one on top of a friendship star for the photo, but there are really ten here.
 Most are fairly simple 9" finished blocks, but I must say that "darting birds" (top center) was a challenge since I am using my older machine.  The newer one (at least 10 years old!) is in for its annual cleaning and tune up.  When I delivered it last week, I mentioned that the bobbin case is loose again, and Carl said that might require a new part or so.  But then, he said, maybe not.  We'll see. 

Meanwhile, I'm using the old reliable Viking 100 which is fine but is a little slower.  No needle up/down, more possibilities for tangling when taking those first few stitches, smaller bobbin, etc.

Nonetheless, I managed to make Posies Round the Park and a version of the Little Red Schoolhouse, both 12" finished.  I am really enjoying the combination of grays and oranges.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Recent projects

This year's Heart of Vermont Guild challenge has been to make a quilt of any size using half-square triangles.   I've been looking at possible designs for months, but something came along unexpectedly while I was working on the guild mystery quilt.  All sorts of triangles were being cut and discarded from the edges of the blocks.  So I sewed them into squares and made a mini, which I then hand-quilted.  It measures about 8.5" x 11"

Going on vacation sure put a dent in my productivity and made me realize that this year I may have undertaken too many blocks of the month/week.  With the online book group, I'm working on two blocks a week for "Sarah's Sampler," an old saw but fun in orange and gray.  I'm also working on "Vacation Time" monthly with Pat Sloan.  There's the guild mystery quilt with clues early in the month, and the rainbow scrap challenge for which this month I need to make 10 blocks in bluish green/teal. 

And then there are the swaps!  This week I finished the second set of nine blocks in red, white and blue for the guild swap.  But the fat eighths for the Around the World swap are piling up, begging to be made into "Peace and Plenty" blocks, and I still have two sets of 6" churn dash blocks to make for another swap.   The weather warmed up and the thaw began a few days ago, but today it's chilly again - a good day to stay in and sew!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A somewhat long silence

We were away for two week and then spent the past week catching up on laundry, groceries, housework, blocks of the month/week.  We had a great time, drove through 9 states or about 3,000 miles, saw a lot, and escaped the frigid temperatures for a while.  It was around 30 below zero here while we were experiencing temperatures in the 40s in Alabama.  That was quite a break for us.

Our destination was the Gulf of Mexico, with stops in Montgomery, AL, to visit Paul's brother Jim; Euphaula, AL, which I had heard was very cute; and Monroeville, AL, home of Harper Lee.  We saw quite a bit of rural Alabama which was quite interesting.  I didn't realize timber and beef make up large parts of the economy.  The pecan groves we passed were beautiful, too, so orderly. Wish I could see those stately trees leafed out. 

We visited a wildlife refuge but luckily didn't see anything but a group of wild pigs and a beautiful red bird.  There were buzzards along the highway, and I don't think I'd ever seen one before.  And, of course, we were happy to see the grass greening up and early flowers - pansies, daffodils, even the occasional tulip -  blooming here and there.

We visited the Hank Williams Museum and the F. Scott/Zelda Fitzgerald house in Montgomery, and Jim gave us a true taste of southern life with stops at places known for their fried chicken and BBQ.  We were happy to visit him for a change; he is usually the one visiting us.  Although we were dsappointed that the old county courthouse museum in Monroeville is closed on Mondays, we did enjoy walking around the sweet little town.  We discovered a great local history museum in Fairhope, near the Gulf, on Mobile Bay.  They had a special exhibit about the ironclads' battle on the Bay during the Civil War, which helped explain a lot when we visited Fort Morgan at the entrance to the Bay.  We really like Fairhope - could it offer an escape for future winters?