Friday, October 30, 2015

A few things that bug me

Here's a list - you may not agree, but it's OK!  We all have our "fingernails scratching on blackboard" moments, and these are what trigger mine these days.

1.  Headline news on TV that has complete disregard for the journalistic standards of who-what-why-when-where-how.  This morning, TV news reported that a girl had caught the Bubonic Plague from a flea bite while camping.  Was this in Vermont?  Should I worry when walking in the town forest?   Then, last night, TV news (Fox) reported that an airplane caught fire at a Florida airport.  Paul's sister was flying back to Florida, so I listened closely.  What airport?  Hopefully not Fort Myers.  The plane was taking off, so I decided not to worry too much.   I was awfully glad to see Pat's photo upon landing, though.  Why aren't TV journalists more careful?

2.  The proliferation of poor punctuation, especially the use of the apostrophe s ('s) for the plural or possessive just about everywhere, even the newspaper which ought to know better.  They use style sheets (New York Times or Chicago), or so they tell us.  No, it's not "horse's for sale."  It's "horses for sale," unless, of course, they mean "horse is for sale" which they rarely do.  It's OK to use "it's" for the contraction of "it is" but that's the only time "it's" is appropriate.  Along with that goes the annoying habit of some to use "it's" when meaning a possessive.  Example: "it's children" means "it is children," but not "its children."  There is no apostrophe for the possessive of "it," people!

3.  The fascination with political polls at this stage of the game of electing a president.  Who cares if Trump is on top now and others are at the bottom of the pile today?  Tomorrow it will likely be something different.  And in November, 2016, it will be even different.  I don't pay a lot of attention right now, even though in neighboring New Hampshire, politicians are swarming the state.  (Note I did not say "politician's")

OK.  I'm going to crawl back under my rock for a while.  Actually, I'm going to do my volunteer shift at the VT Historical Society this morning, have lunch, shop for groceries, and sit down with a good book (with correct punctuation, of course!).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A new quilt in process

Can you imagine this quilt in purple, pink, and blue batiks?  It was on the cover of the October issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, and it's what I've been working on these days.  I'm calling it "Insane Squares" because there are a lot of 2" squares to be cut.  Even though some of it is strip pieced, those strips still need to be cut into 2" substrips.  It's turning out quite nice with a light fossil fern background.

The 16 blocks measure 16" and, believe it or not, there's sashing with cornerstones between them.  The result is that large expanse of white, perfect for showing quilting.  I don't have enough of any one fabric to make the solid border, but who knows?  I may just have to run out and get something.  Or maybe I'll use more of the fossil fern.  Some of the batiks came from a package of Tonga Treats and others came from another quilter in Australia in trade for postage in a swap.

As it grows, I'm thinking that perhaps I'll take it to a longarmer for quilting.  Hope that Lisa will be ready to take new quilts by the time it gets done.  It feels good to start and, hopefully, finish something in one stretch of time.  Many of my quilts are done in dribs and drabs over a year or so.  My Around the World blocks have been in a pizza box for months as they straggle in, and the fabric for the alternating snowball blocks also awaits.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Guild meeting

I went to my local guild meeting last night and, while everyone else was showing and telling big quilts, I brought a couple of the little zipper bags I've been working on.  The one on the left uses my latest favorite shape, the tumbler, and the one on the right shows one of the candy wrapper bags I've been struggling with.  I love the tumbler shape - it can be used in many different ways, is easy to cut, and goes together really nicely.  This bag uses little 2.5" charms in a minipack I got ages ago.  The fabric line, "Hubba Hubba," was so cute I couldn't resist.  I used them to make two little bags which I will try to sell at the fall craft show.

I saw the candy wrapper bag online somewhere, and there was a pattern in "Block" magazine.  Our family has been struggling (!!) with the high volume of M&Ms that have come into the house with this new endeavor.  I made two bags using the pattern in "Block" but I had to throw one away, because the stitching ripped as I was turning the finished product right side out.  The pattern said to quilt the laminated candy wrapper but I think it would be better to use fusible fleece on the lining and quilt that.  At least that's what I'm going to try next.  Yes - we are eating another round of M&Ms, both regular and dark chocolate.

The meeting also included demos of making flying geese two ways and using the Tucker Trimmer.  Having taken a class with Deb Tucker this summer, it was a good review.  I do love her laminated technique sheets, and my Atlantic Crossing wallhanging (waiting for me to hand quilt it) was started in her class.  Going to guild always energizes me which is bad since I get home at nearly 8 pm.  So I had a little wine to help me wind down, and this morning I'm ready to get back into the sewing room!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Beautiful fall weather

It took our foliage a while to peak, but when it did, WOW! Yesterday was so lovely - sunny, clear blue sky, temperatures in the upper 50's - that we just had to take a walk.  We ran into quite a few bikers on the trail along with a photographer who no doubt took some amazing shots.  He was headed to the Grand Lookout (at right) as we were coming down.

We are going to miss these walks in the forest.  Hunting season starts soon, it's going to get colder (we've had frost the last few mornings), and walking will grow increasingly iffy unless we're right downtown where the sidewalks are sanded and salted.  We did take a walk downtown earlier in the week on a rather gloomy day, and that was fun, too, since we stopped in various shops to look at and buy antiques (small), books, and bagels.

There is nothing like Vermont in fall, though.  We feel very lucky to live here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall foliage is here

Last Sunday we walked up to the Grand Lookout by the Town Forest to see how the foliage is developing.  Toward the east, it was looking quite nice with reds and golds, but closer to Barre, it was still fairly muddy.  It was a nice walk anyway, and we hope the foliage will be at peak this weekend.  Usually, the leaves are coming down by now but it was the warmest September on record.  We've had some frost lately, so the leaves are definitely turning.

Tomorrow I am hoping for a nice drive down to Lebanon, NH, when I take my friend Ben down to meet the bus to Logan Airport.  I'm looking forward to the hour's drive with Ben who is a booklover and lives in the San Francisco area.  And maybe we'll be able to take another foliage walk on Sunday for more color.

I have spent a productive week quilting.  I made two table runners in fall colors for the craft sale and a couple of little bags.  I discovered the joys of working with tumblers - how easily they go together, and how cute the results!  I swapped out a bunch of nine patch blocks for a swap and got those in the mail to their owners.  Those blocks are really nice, and I can't wait to use them.

I also worked on a row for a row robin I'm in.  The owner of the quilt was hoping we'd use some rows from the Row by Row Experience that quilt shops around the country participated in this summer.

I decided to make our local quilt shop's row which featured a pieced background over which there's applique.  The pieced background was fairly complex, but the applique was truly difficult.  Because there were so many pieces, I decided to use fusible web rather than applique them by hand.  And cursed all the way through, reminding myself constantly why I almost never use fusibles.  Well, it's done and I can relax.  It will be a long time before I make anything with fusible applique again.