Thursday, December 29, 2016

Snowing like crazy

Yve gave me a lovely scarf, dyed with flowers and plants, by a friend of hers.  I had Paul take a photo so I could send it to her.  You probably can't see the earrings Jenny gave me, but they have purple stones in them.   Just two of my great gifts.

As I write this, it is snowing heavily.  It started early this afternoon and is supposed to continue into tomorrow (Friday).  We may get 10" or more.  Wednesday, after mall walking, Paul and I went to the grocery store to stock up.  It was bustling, but I'm glad we went.  Today would have been crazy.  We were able to go walking this morning, but if the snow keeps up as it has today, we won't be going anywhere tomorrow, not even to volunteer at the VT Historical Society.

Yesterday afternoon I put bindings on two quilts.  One had come back from the long armer a week ago, and the other I just finished quilting myself.   I do bindings entirely by machine most of the time these days.  It takes me so long to hand stitch the bindings down, and I think this method makes them more durable/machine washable.

Today I made the guild block of the month and then started some 6" blocks from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler for a swap.  The blocks aren't due until
September, 2017, but I wanted to get the paper pieced "Amethyst" blocks over with.  Paper piecing is not my favorite technique, but it really is the best for this block.  I have made it with templates before and it always looked wonky.  My mom sent  the fabric from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum gift shop.  She said she had fun choosing it, just as I thought she would.
I especially love the double pinks she picked.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 draws to a close

Hope you all had a very nice Christmas.  We had a quiet day, which is as we like it.  I received some fun things in my stocking, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pez dispenser.  It took some putting together, and we discovered that the taste of Pez has not changed or improved.   My favorite gifts were a Supreme Slider which will be useful for machine quilting and a whole bunch of fat quarters from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum shop.  Can't wait to dig into those.  We also received quite a few books which will keep us busy this winter.

Chris came over to open gifts in the morning and for our usual brunch - a cheese omelet, bacon, and homemade toast this year.  I had made a lovely Italian loaf on Christmas eve,  and it makes great toast, especially with homemade jam.  Although it was about 27 degrees out, the sky was bright blue, so we all took a walk afterwards.  As usual, I gave Chris a bag of groceries as one of his gifts, so he went home laden. 

We talked with Paul's brother Jim, my brother Axel, and my sister Jenny during the day.  In the Netherlands, my sister Jacqueline posted a photo of her wearing her new apron made (by me) of Indonesian fabrics.  I think she likes it!  I'm going to make Jenny a similar table runner when I get a chance - she uses them as a mat by her keyboard in her office.

With "everything" done on Christmas Eve, I spent the day working on some small projects - four mug rugs, a pin cushion, and the wool owl from a kit I started over the weekend.  I also made a few more 6" blocks out of selvages.  My stash of those is growing, and one of these days I'll put them all together.  Today we're going to do a little mall walking as we've eaten a few too many cookies and chocolates!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A few quick projects


This was me, this morning.  I was making scarves out of old cashmere sweaters.  My friend has been buying used sweaters for years and giving me any she thinks I'd like.  Most are too small, and I've given a few to my sister and even to the Salvation Army.  A quilting friend showed some scarves she had made with her late father's cashmere sweaters as keepsakes for her siblings.  I was nervous about cutting into them, but she assured me they would hold up fine.  The other day I took a deep breath, got out my 6.5" square, and rotary cut a stack of squares out of four sweaters.

Today I sewed 10 squares each into four strips, alternating the colors, then sewed the strips together to end up with two really soft and warm scarves.  I'll keep one and send the other to my sister Jenny who's always cold and lives in Colorado.   I also traced my hand for a set of mittens which I may get to tomorrow or Saturday.  I'll attach the ribbing which I cut off the sleeves separately.   I still have most of the 8 sleeves left, but I set those aside for a "rainy day."

Image result for wool owl pincushion kit
I was on a roll today so I started on a wool pincushion project from a kit I got at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum on our last visit to Golden.  When I cut all the pieces out, I was a bit disappointed that the kit didn't include nearly enough fabric for the whole project.  I had to scrounge around in my very limited wool stash for under the wings and the "cap."  I did get those things doubled and blanket stitched, along with the beak.  

Now I'm ready to sew the body together and stuff it with some crushed walnuts.  Then I'll add all the other parts, including the button eyes.  It's nice to work on something and get it nearly done.  Quilts are such a long term commitment!

I have volunteered to handle the monthly UFO challenge for one online group I'm in this year, so I think I'll try to make some more pincushions using wool.  They won't be as fancy as this, but I'd like to do a little more work with wool, and pincushions seem perfect for a quick winter afternoon project.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Quilting another sampler

I finished putting the "Around the World" block swap quilt top together earlier in the week and started quilting it yesterday.  It's smallish - 48" x 58" or so - and will be fairly easy (or should I say "mindless"?) to quilt.  I need something like this at this time of year when there's so much hustle bustle.

Each person in the swap sent a block that represented her in some way.  My block, second from left at the top, is the block I designed for our guild logo - a variation on moon over the mountain with a heart in the middle of the peaks.  Our guild is the Heart of Vermont guild.  It was fun to incorporate Pat's flip flops, Carol's cardinal, Cindy's magnolia, and Linda's cowboy boot.  There are quite a few appliqued chick blocks and a couple of "blossom" blocks from a different swap with a different group, although the makers are also part of the "Around the World" group.  So I think I'll call it "Here a Chick, There a Chick"!

I went in the ditch between the blocks and am now working on each block individually, but simply.  The back fabric, while cotton, is a bit heavier than usual.  I think it's curtain or upholstery weight, which is OK because I'm not that fancy a quilter anyway.  It's purple, so I will have to go out and get some dark, dark blue for the binding.  This will keep me busy in between bouts of baking, laundry, reading, and just gazing at the snow pouring out of the sky!

A lovely mug rug


This beautiful mug rug arrived yesterday from Cathie and Dani in Australia.  It was handpieced and machine quilted by Dani, and sashed by her mother, Cathie.  It's so pretty that I hate to put anything on it.  Red wine will definitely not be used!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday time!

I seem to be a little less productive lately.  Maybe it's the cold.  It snows a little bit every day, but now the prediction is for wind chills well below zero, too.  Ugh!  Even going out with the garbage or collecting the mail takes some effort.  Maybe it's just the feeling that the holidays are for relaxing.  Nonetheless, I finished a quilt top yesterday - 48" x 58" so not gigantic - but it took some doing.  It is a sampler of very disparate blocks from a swap, so I decided that blue went with them all.  I chose a lighter blue and a dark one and surrounded alternate blocks with one or the other.  It looks really nice, and maybe tomorrow I'll sandwich it and start quilting.

I made two batches of Chex Mix all morning Monday, and that was an accomplishment, considering it needs to be stirred every 15 min. for an hour or so.  One of these days I'll start baking cookies.  Manana - when it gets too chilly to do anything else? 

Sunday we put up our tree, and Monday I set up the Christmas village.  We usually do those things the other way around, but we had to glue the table for the village back together first.  The "antiques" in this house are always in need of repair!  I posted this photo on Facebook and a friend immediately recognized it as Dept. 56's New England village.  She has some of the same buildings.  The one at the top right is a quilt shop that came from Joann Fabrics and not Dept. 56, but I love it anyway.  If I ever find a library building in the same scale, I'll get one, but that particular set has been discontinued.

I've been waiting for my last package and, after I wrap its contents, I will feel more like I'm "on top of" Christmas.  Cindy, Sandy and I are going for a holiday lunch Saturday and we've been invited to an open house on Sunday.   Hope your holiday preparations are going well!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Be My Neighbor blocks

It always helps to make a test block when one is making a bunch of blocks to swap.  I just finished making blocks for an online swap of "Be My Neighbor" blocks.  There are 16 blocks in the quilt, and each of the eight people swapping is making eight of two different blocks.

Moda had created the quilt as a block of the week, so I made the one on the left (Block #1) several weeks ago.  I made my tree with two too many branches, so the next seven swap blocks I made scrappier and with only five branches and the top.  For the next block (#12), I made the nine patches way too busy, so the next blocks I made the nine patches black and yellow.

These are fairly large, easy blocks.  #1 is 18" x 18" finished and #12 is 9" x 18" finished.  Other blocks have a cute bird appliqued, but the appliqued block choices went quickly.  We were to include a little yellow in each block and the background was to be cream.  I can't wait to see what the other people are doing, but the blocks aren't due til June, so I have a long time to wait.  Hope I can remember where I've stashed my blocks after I mail the rest out.  😊

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A new outlet

I have had an etsy shop for some time but have only sold two items, one to a friend privately and a table runner via the site.  I keep adding and subtracting this as I make them, but feel it's a bit futile.  Still, what else can I do with the growing pile of quilts that aren't suited for the Parkinsons Comfort Project or the hospital's children's center?  Etsy's charges are so low that I just keep at it.  I made a Facebook page to link to the shop also.


Thursday I went to a new flower and gift shop downtown and saw a baby quilt and some other crafts by local people for sale.  I asked the owner, Alexis, if she'd be interested in trying to sell a few of my quilts, and she encouraged me to bring them down.   She said Christmas is a good time.  This morning, I took these two baby quilts to her shop and am hoping they will sell.  Alexis takes a 25% commission, which seems reasonable to me.   I don't really care about the money, but it would be nice to have a little "mad money" to buy more fabric!  😊

Monday, November 28, 2016

November weather

It's cloudy.  Gray.  Chilly.  Every.  Single.  Day.  It's November.

We got a little spoiled earlier in the month, first by going to Colorado where it was sunny and 65 degrees every day.  After we got home, it was also warmish and sunny.  But for the last week or so, November has been it's old usual self.   I suspect December will be similar until later in the month when it will be very cold and sunny right through January.  That's "normal" for the north country.

Meanwhile, it's a good time to do indoor things.  Yesterday I did a mountain of laundry.  Paul had no clean socks left - highly unusual.   I read Seven Days newspaper and a little more of Jennifer Chiaverini's latest book Fates and Traitors, about John Wilkes Booth.  It appears the Quilters Book Club group has gone moribund because, although the selection for November/December was chosen ages ago, no one has mentioned reading it.  I have it downloaded to the Kindle, but haven't started it either.  I "retired" as moderator back in July after unsuccessfully trying to get people to participate more.  People seemed to want ideas for good reading but not to share their thoughts about what they were reading.   At any rate, I'm finding Fates and Traitors really fascinating.  Didn't know anything much about the Booth family.

Of course, I've been quilting.  I took a break from the orange peel quilt to make some quick coasters in Christmas fabric for Diane, my boss at the historical society.  I usually make her something for Christmas and have run through a variety of quilted items over the years.  I hope she likes these, made with six 5" squares each.   Diane is a peach of a "boss" for a volunteer.

The biggest news is that I finished the Orange Peel quilt yesterday!  The sun came out briefly today, so I managed to take some photos...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A busy day

I ran around doing "things" most of the day and didn't get to my sewing machine until 3 pm.  At that time, I put the last two borders onto the orange peel quilt, pieced a muslin back, and laid out the sandwich.  Tomorrow I'll pin baste and start quilting.

Today I shopped for groceries, did a load of laundry, hand washed a top (rayon feels nice but is a pain to own!), washed a few windows (the sun was streaming in so it was essential), vacuumed the car and installed new floor mats, made oatmeal chocolate chip bars, sifted through a stack of old magazines, covered the grill for the winter, and...!   It was a lovely day to get a few winterizing things done since tomorrow and Monday are supposed to be very snowy.  It doesn't seem possible considering how nice it was today. 

But I am looking forward to quilting over the next couple of days.  Will probably outline the orange peels first and then may echo quilt in the larger cream spaces.  I'll probably echo quilt inside the peels as well.  As for the borders, well, I'll decide when I get to them.   I like the way the 2" tumbler border turned out.   The quilt now measures 48" by 48", so it shouldn't take long to finish.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tumblers

I finished appliqueing blue scrappy orange peels a few days ago, and yesterday I put them together into a 36" x 36" square.   That was the easy part.  I added a plain  1.5" cream border, and then started cutting out tumblers using blue scraps from my box of 2.5" squares.  Sewing those together didn't take too long, but each border needs 27 tumblers.  I really love working with the tumbler shape.  While they're similar to squares, they add some zip to an otherwise dull border. 

In the corners, I'll add some 2.5" squares, and then I'll add another cream border, probably 3" wide.  I'll quilt that square and see how I like it.  I may add more borders that I'll quilt-as-you-go, or I may leave the quilt at that smaller size.  If I stop after the second cream border, it'll have a scrappy blue binding.  

I'm looking forward to quilting around the orange peels and then doing something in the middle - either echoes or a small grid.  It will just depend on my mood.  I'm itching to try out my new ruler foot and ruler, but think I'll do that on scrap pieces first.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Ordering for Christmas

My family lives in Colorado, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and the Netherlands, and Paul's family is spread over the U.S., too.  Because many of our Christmas gifts need to go into the mail fairly soon, I have started shopping, and much of what I buy is books.  We love to give books!  And many of our family and friends rely on us for recommendations.   I try to get things that I've enjoyed over the last year or so, and these include:

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr - absolutely the best thing I read this year
A Man Called Ove, by Frederik Backman - I hesitate to see the film since I liked this so much
Tannie Maria's Recipes for Love and Murder, by Sally Andrew - first in a mystery series set in South Africa
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, by Isabella Bird - an old favorite.  The illustrations by Bird are wonderful, so this is the edition to get
Nothing Daunted:  The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West, by Dorothy Wickenden - picked up in an airport and couldn't put it down
Be Frank with Me, by Julia Claiborne Johnson - a sweet family story
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin - unlikely romance between a curmudgeonly bookstore owner and publishers saleswoman

While I like to support my local bookstore and have a "frequent shopper" card, shopping online really does make sense for bulk buys at this time of year.  Some of my favorites are not yet out in paperback, so I will wait and get those for gifts next year.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A coupla pix

On our trip to the Denver area, we visited Daniel's Park near Castle Rock.  What a view!

And isn't my 94 year old Mom looking great!?!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A quick trip

We got back from visiting Mom and Jenny in Golden, Colorado, late Monday night, and spent yesterday getting back to "normal" - grocery shopping, post office, bank, voting.  Fell asleep early because waiting for election results appeared futile, but woke up early and couldn't sleep out of curiosity.  Let me simply say that I am worried about the national results but OK with the state/local ones.  Phil Scott seems like he will make an even-tempered, open-minded governor who can hold Vermont together whatever may lie ahead.

We had a very nice albeit brief vacation that was punctuated by wonderful weather - sunny and in the 60's almost the whole week - and good times.  Tuesday, we went with Mom to an opera luncheon featuring some young singers, one of whom sat next to Paul.  Mom had been taking an OLLI class on Denver's parks, and the final class featured a visit to Daniel's Park to the south of the city.  The view from up there was amazing!  We always enjoy going to the movies there because the neighborhood includes two multiplexes, so we went to see Sully, starring Tom Hanks and describing the aftermath of Captain Sullenburger's historic airplane landing on the East River in NYC, and Denial, about a lawsuit in England over the publication of a book about people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened.  Both were excellent.

Friday, we drove up to Longmont where Jenny met us for the Boulder County Handweavers annual fiber arts show and sale.  The pieces included quilts, knitted sculptures, weaving, and embroidery, but we weren't able to take any photos.  I wish I could have because there were some very interesting pieces.   Paul enjoyed watching the dog trials at the fairgrounds while we shopped. 

Saturday, we did a little more shopping at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum which has just opened its new gallery outside of downtown Golden.  They had a special exhibit of political quilts, including quilts featuring each of the presidents, from Washington to Obama.  My favorite political quilt was one with a circus theme including a big blue donkey and red elephant, but I couldn't take a picture of it because the place where it was hung didn't allow one to step back far enough.  Many of the other quilts made similarly wry statements about the political process, though.   I bought a couple of wool applique projects to work on this winter.

Sunday, we visited the Colorado Railroad Museum which was interesting, particularly for the huge display of HO scale mountain villages with trains wending their way through.  It took me back to when Chris was little and making villages with his HO scale trains.

Monday saw us traveling back home via planes, buses, and cars.  We were glad to get back to our routine but sorry to leave Mom, Jenny, and the warm weather.  Winter is fast approaching, and we're bracing ourselves for what that will bring.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blue scrappy orange peels

Every time I start a new scrap quilt, I think "this will really make the level of my [whatever color] box go down."  Wrong!  I've been appliqueing orange peels on and off since last spring when I taught a beginning applique class.  I'm using cream scraps for the 6" block backgrounds, too.  So far the piece measures 24" x 36" with several more blocks prepared for applique.
I like it a lot but am dithering about whether to keep making more or to stop.   A variety of blues, from dark turquoise through indigo is really fun to work with.  Orange peels are so easy to applique that I think I'll put what I have together, set it aside, and reassess after I tackle a few other projects. 

Over the past few days I've re-discovered how nice it is to sit and applique on a snowy day.  Saturday afternoon we went to an organ concert at the library (unusual and funny), and, when we got home, the weather took a turn for winter with snow and wind.   It has been snow showering off and on ever since.  Just a week ago we were grilling burgers and opening the doors.  That's fall in Vermont, a truly transitional time.   As the weather changes, we add layers of clothing, too.  Time to get those turtlenecks out!

Friday, October 21, 2016

In a holding pattern

I'm waiting for some backing fabric from Connecting Threads to arrive so I can package up the curved log cabin and mail it to the long arm quilter.  I probably won't see it for many months, but that will be OK.  I have the binding all made and ready to put on when it returns home.

My machine sewing has come to a bit of a standstill as my Elna is in the shop for a thorough cleaning.  I can get my old reliable Viking 100 out, but I have grown very attached to the quarter inch foot on the Elna for piecing.  And that's what I've been up to lately.  I'm making some scrappy 12" heart blocks for a swap.  Each block takes 36 2" squares, some of which are half-square triangles.  I got one put together and had the other seven in strips to be put together when my machine started making a high-pitched squeal.  I stopped and cleaned everything, checked the needle, and started sewing again.  It still didn't sound right, so I packed it up and took it to the shop.  Carl had told me when I bought it in the early summer that I should bring it in at the end of the summer.  So I guess this is the "end" of summer (ha!).

I have plenty of hand sewing to keep me busy while I wait for Elna to return.  Yesterday, I sewed the binding down on the little purple row robin (photo soon when the sun comes out).  There are a bunch of scrappy orange peel blocks ready to applique, and I should get back to hand quilting my Atlantic Flyway wallhanging.  It's the project I take to my occasional Saturday afternoon gathering of the Calico County Quilters.   And then there's that gray/pink lacy scarf I've been knitting for ages...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Waiting for fabric


The curved log cabin is nearly finished.  Yesterday I added a thin border (1.25") of black and white scraps around the whole thing.  When the floral fabric in this "Violette" line by Amy Butler arrives(ordered on etsy.com), I will add about 4" all around to make it twin-sized, put the back together, and call it ready for quilting.  I'll use some of the border leftovers for binding.

When I look at the top on the bed, it doesn't look nearly as curvy as it does in the photo, but I'm happy with it.  I moved those blocks around plenty, and this was the most pleasing to my eye.

I still have plenty of scraps left from the fat quarter bundle I bought, initially for the "Bloom" wallhanging and this quilt.  I don't feel ready to disperse it by color into my stash, so I'm leaving it in a project box.  Maybe I'll make some mug rugs or zipper bags with it.  I can see now how some quilters end up having a recognizable look to their quilts.

While I wait, I'm working on some smaller projects including an apron made of Indonesian scraps for one of my sisters.  I have a bunch of swap blocks to start, too.   And I'm buried in the latest (#17)adventures of Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith - simple stories but very satisfying.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A new BOM

Balkan Puzzle is the first of nine Blocks of the Month planned in one of my local quilt guilds this year.  I love the pink batik background for its hints of purple that go with various purple fabrics I received for my birthday.  I plan to make each 12" block monthly along with some in other sizes through the year.

I also signed up for a "Block Robin" with the same guild and have asked each person to use the same pink background and some purples for 3", 6", or 9" blocks.    In this swap, we each gather a bag of fabric which will be passed from person to person each month to make one block. 

I have made a couple of these 3-6-9-12 quilts, filling in with the background to make the blocks appear to float.  They always turn out really nicely and are fun to put together.  Of course, the 3" blocks are pretty challenging, but make awfully cute fillers.  Here's to another project on the "slow go!"

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tote bag

I have been worrying about making a tote bag for an acquaintance, Barbara, who is in the Friends of the Library and the Genealogy Club with me.  She asked me months ago about making it, and then didn't say anything more until I asked.  I thought maybe she thought it was an imposition.

Anyway, she came over a few weeks ago with some fabric she had used to make a quilt for her daughter-in-law.  She wanted me to make a tote bag out of the rest.  I wasn't wild about the fabric, but worked with it anyway.  The quilt had basket blocks and somehow she wanted baskets incorporated into the tote bag, too.  Here's what I came up with yesterday.

The smaller basket block is a pocket while the other side just has the basket motif.  It took me five hours to make this tote bag which seemed a long time.  But perhaps I just never kept track before.  And perhaps it's because I usually do things piecemeal over a few days.  And I took my time quilting it, too.

At any rate, per Barbara's request, I put a zipper at the top, and I put more pockets on the inside.  I like the way the zipper turned out, and the handles seem just the right length.  Best of all, Barabara likes it and will be taking it to Raleigh in a few weeks to give her DIL an early birthday present!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall

It was a beautiful day in our neighborhood yesterday, and it looks like today will be a repeat!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Old friends

Paul and I headed south Thursday for my 50th high school reunion over the weekend.  The weather was less than ideal but the fall colors are more vibrant when it's gloomy.  Friday night was a "meet and greet" and Saturday was a dinner/dance, both in the hotel.  Paul and I drove around the area Saturday and took a walk along the C&O Canal Towpath near Great Falls.  The area has just exploded development-wise, but I managed to show him our high school and old house.   Driving around "civilization" always makes us happy to live in peaceful Vermont.  How do people there put up with all the traffic and chain stores?
It was good to connect with a few old friends.  Our class had over 600 people, so there were lots of nice people I never really got to know.  In those days, "tracking" kept kids pretty much together by test scores and abilities.  College prep people rarely shared classes with vocational students, etc.  Here are Betsy, Bruce, Eileen, and me (far left).  We have known each other since 8th grade.  Even though time has flown, we pretty much just picked up where we left off together.  That was really special.  I missed seeing Nancy and will send a note to see if she's OK.  I was also happy to see George who used to live in Vermont but returned "home" over 30 years ago. 

Sunday morning, we headed to the Harrisburg, PA, area to visit my college friend Madelyn, her husband Jim and their son Brian.   I only recently learned that Madelyn is very ill, so that made this an important visit.  I regret that we haven't spent a lot of time together over the years.  Both of us were busy with careers and family.   We did enjoy a couple of fun times more recently when we met at Weston Playhouse where Brian was performing.   Looking frail, Madelyn did perk up as we talked, and we headed home, glad we had come and hoping that the treatment will continue positively.  The ride home was nice as the fall colors began to pop over the last few days.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Waiting...

...for my friend Yve to let me know if the quilt I'm making her to give as a gift will be twin or double bed sized.  I finished the curved log cabin quilt center a few days ago and it is still hanging on the railing upstairs.  I love the way it turned out, but it's too small to cover a double bed.  Yve's friends are trying to decide what size will fit in the little girl's room, but I hope they figure it out soon.  I want to finish with borders, get the back put together, and hand it off to the quilter when I see her at the state quilt guild meeting October 29.  I was on a roll, but now I'm getting involved in other things.

Today I finished the purple row by row quilt I did with an online group and sandwiched it for quilting.  The rows ended up not being in the order shown.  I put floral strips between the rows and set two of the rows horizontally, making it a big wider than the original 36".  That meant I had to add some odd scraps to get everything to fit.  It ended up at  45" x 55", so I managed to anchor the rows and start some detail on the blocks this afternoon. 

I'll keep quilting on it a little at a time, improvising as I go.  I love this sweet little quilt, but it really has turned out to be a baby girl quilt.   Will it sell on etsy?  Or should I give it to the library to raffle off?  Or should I put it in the auction at the library banquet?  We'll see! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Some gifts and a start

I've been working on mug rugs to give to the library staff at the Friends and trustees' staff appreciation dinner after Thanksgiving.  Usually I get little party favors - chocolates, funny socks, etc., and this year I wanted to make something. No fabric or batting was purchased, just scraps! Here are the 13 I made.

I also made a mug rug for a secret pal and will be mailing that eventually.  She asked for a winter one.  It's a swap, and I'll be getting one, too, in a winter theme.  I can't show a photo here but will take one to post in December.

Over the weekend, I also finished a quilt top using half square triangles that I received ages ago in a swap.  I have set it aside for the time being as I wanted to make some smaller things - instant gratification.  I'm not participating in the craft show I've been in the last two years, so I have more time to finish projects.

Of course, I had to start another one, a block of the week called "Be My Neighbor" by Moda. The blocks are 18" high and I'm planning to use stash for it.  Here are the first two blocks.  I have the pattern for the next block, but have set it aside for the time being.  It has a sweet little bird to applique, and I'm thinking of using wool for that.  Will have to see if I have any blue in my stash of wool.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Curved Log Cabin and more

I've been hard at work on a variety of projects lately, especially a curved log cabin using the same fabric as the "Bloom" appliqued quilt with a variety of black and whites.  It looks great!  I used a Fons & Porter pattern I found online that makes 9" blocks.   What makes is curvy is that the colored sized logs are 2" wide, while the b&w logs are 1 1/4" wide.  When you put them together, you can make shapes like circles and even seahorses.   However, mine are just being set on the diagonal, and it looks so pretty!  I'll try to take a photo when it looks more like a quilt.  Without much wallspace, I use a bed for my "design wall" when a quilt gets larger.

I'm at the stage where I've laid the blocks out on the bed and am sewing them together.  I often simply stack the blocks up in order, but I don't want to mess up the order so I'm being more careful to pin each block to the next in a row.  This quilt will be for a little girl in Canada as a favor to my friend Yvette.  She isn't sure if the bed's twin or double, so I will wait and see.  If it's twin, it won't need much of a border.  I'll make it scrappy and plain.  If it's full, I'll need to order a bit more fabric for a wider border of one of the prints from Amy Butler's "Violette" line.  Hope to hear soon.

I am meeting with Barbara this week to figure out what she would like in terms of a tote bag for her daughter's birthday in December.  Guess I'll track down some of the totes I've made myself and see what size handles, pockets, etc. she'd like.  She asked me back in the early spring and now December is fast approaching!  She has fabric, she says, so that's a plus.

I'm teaching an applique class October 8, so I started gathering materials for that yesterday.  I am planning to use some of my class samples for mug rugs this holiday season as I'd like to make each person on the library staff one.  There are at least 13 people.  Every year the Friends of the Library and the trustees have a staff appreciation dinner, and I usually buy little gifts - funny holiday socks, ornaments, chocolates - for the staff.  This year, since I'm in both organizations, I thought I'd make something they can all use.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I can get that done by the Friday after Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bloom is finished

I finished the little "Bloom" quilt this morning.  The blocks are hand appliqued using Lori Holt's block of the week "Bloom" pattern, but the fabric was so wild that I only made 12 blocks instead of 20.  Someone in my guild is using Holt's fabric and is it adorable. 

I have a lot of the bundle of Amy Butler's "Violette" fabric left, so now I'm working on a curved log cabin with those fabrics plus black and white prints.  Then, I hope I can go back to my comfort zone!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Busy!

Above is the Colorado row in my row by row experience quilt.  I have nothing to show but have accomplished a lot lately.  Sunday, I spent the whole day in my sewing room.  It was cool with the AC on, and I was on a roll.  I finished quilting the little "Bloom" quilt, based on Lori Holt's appliqued flowers pattern.  She sold a batch of plastic templates, which I bought because of some of the odd shapes - ovals, small wedges, etc.  I stitched in the ditch on the sashing, outlined the flowers, and stippled around the open areas of the blocks.  I had some trouble regulating the bottom tension, but I love the way it looks on the top.  It ill be a nice crib or wall quilt, so I need to devise a hanging sleeve before I bind it.
 
Wait til you see the binding which is a ripply stripe of the same "Violette" collection by Amy Butler.  It's all very outside my comfort zone, which is why, in between quilting sessions, I started cutting out the same fabric as I used in the "Bloom" quilt for a curved log cabin, using black and white prints for the "neutral" logs.  The wide logs are 2" while the smaller ones are 1 1/4".  I held off sewing anything together until I finished quilting "Bloom," and I'm thinking of binding this in the same ripply stripe.  It will, I hope, end up being throw-sized.  I like the way the blocks are looking so far. 

A neighbor, Denise, asked how I got so much done, and I guess it's that I work a little bit here and there a lot of days.  This morning I spent a half hour sewing the binding pieces together.  I probably won't do any more sewing today until later this afternoon, when I'll iron the binding.  There are a lot of days when I don't sew much, but I do a little every day, and then spent some days, like Sunday and Monday, doing almost nothing but sewing.  Denise thought I had a long arm machine - ha!  It took me almost a month to quilt the round robin quilt.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Two finishes

Yesterday was sunny so I set up my quilt rack and took some photos.  It turned out to be way too windy, so I had to take them indoors - OK, but not as light as I'd hoped.  Here's the round robin quilt that I'm going to send to my cousin Jeanne.   I hope she likes it!

I love the fabric called "Lady Slipper Lodge" but I have quite a bit left over, including a charm pack.  I may give it away sometime.  This round robin involved four other quilters who greatly enhanced the simple  "trefoil" block I made for the center.  I did the outer borders, beginning with the darker purple one, to get it to double bed size. 

I think it took about a month to quilt, very carefully on my home machine.  I used a lot of thread!  The back is simply muslin.  I bought several yards of 90" wide muslin for backs and still have enough for at least one more quilt. 

Next is the throw I made with rows and fabric from this year's Row by Row Experience, an international activity sponsored by quilt shops.  Each shop had a unique row and a fabric license plate.  I exchanged plates with some quilters in the US and Canada and incorporated some into the quilt.  I still have plates left over that might make a cute tote bag. 

I used a "quilt as you go" method on this one, quilting each row individually and then putting them together.  The center rows are all from Vermont shops, and I loved quilting Dorothy's yellow brick road.  The row on the left came from a shop in Colorado, but I adapted it a bit due to its very complicated pattern.  I needed one more row, so browsed online at shops in New England's rows.  One shop's row was simply four maple leaves, so I created my own.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but all the stems are made from the license plate fabric used at the top and bottom and as the binding. 

There are still three crib-sized quilt tops hanging in my closet waiting to be quilted.  I hope to start on one this weekend although I may work on something smaller today.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Maine

We took a minivacation to Wells, Maine this week.  Last year when we visited, it was really hot and muggy, but this time the temperatures and humidity were ideal and there were nice breezes.  Our friend Christine has a house a stone's throw from the ocean which is just great.  We enjoy having time to talk about all sorts of things with her since when we're all home we are busy with "life."  We arrived Tuesday and just hung out.  Christine loves watching the Red Sox games with Paul, and he likes having someone who actually cares to do it with.  I could really care less about sports on TV but do watch once in a while.

Wednesday, Paul and I drove to Ogunquit just down the road a bit and sat by the water watching the tide roll in.  The beach there is very nice, and there are nice benches and Adirondack chairs.  Later, we drove up to the Trolley Museum and took a ride on a restored trolley.   In all the years that Christine has been coming to Wells, she's never been there.  I am impressed that most of the staff are volunteers, some commuting from Boston to work on the old trolley cars and drive them.

Christine drove us through Cape Porpoise and Kennebunk where we had lunch at a brew pub overlooking the marina.  It is always fun to watch the boats come in and go out, and there were kayakers also wending their way through the traffic.  In the evening we attended Almost, Maine, a romantic comedy at the Hackmatack Theater.  All in all, a fun time!

And here's a picture of Christine's dog Molly who just wouldn't hold still for a portrait!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"My Back Pages"

My 50th high school reunion is in a month, and there have been  numerous posts and Friend requests on Facebook.  It all makes me a little nervous, but since we survived Paul's reunion earlier this summer, I'm sure we will weather mine, too.  I signed up for the get-together on Friday night and the dinner-dance Saturday, and we have booked two nights at the hotel.  On the Saturday, I thought maybe Paul and I could take a drive over to the C&O Canal and walk by the Potomac.  Other than that, we have not figured out how long we'll be gone or what we'll do.   There are some old friends I am looking forward to seeing, friends I've known since junior high and with whom I've kept in touch over the years.

The big questions in preparation have been what to wear and what song to request for the dinner?  They have been on my mind all summer.  What to wear is like a moving target - I change my mind daily, and of course the weather plays a part in that.  It can still be hot in Maryland in late September. 

The song is hard, too, though, as it says something about who we were, are, and, maybe, becoming.  Others have chosen things like "Sherry" or "My Girl."   One friend chose a Beatles song I like, "In My Life," which says a lot about the event.  But I was moving away from rock 'n' roll by the time high school ended and was more into folk music.  Finally, I chose Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" which has the wonderful refrain I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.  (The link is to a particularly nice version with Joan Osborne and Jackson Browne)  I was even happier with my choice when I asked Paul what he would choose for me and he suggested the same thing.  Now back to worrying about what to wear!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Off to Michelle

A few weeks ago, I finished a quilt made with bright Lovers Knot blocks that I received in a swap.  The day I sandwiched it and started quilting, Paul's middle sister Brenda was having what everyone thought was a routine operation.  As I quilt, I do a lot of thinking, almost meditating.  Do you?

I thought about Brenda all day that day, especially because I periodically received text messages from her daughter Michelle.  As the day went on, the reports got less and less positive.  While I was quilting, I thought I'd send the finished quilt to Brenda for her recuperation.  Unfortunately, she didn't make it, and we ended up attending her funeral soon thereafter. 


When we got home from the funeral in Michigan, I finished the quilt and thought I'd send it to Michelle who, being the only one of Brenda's children to live nearby, ended up making all the funeral arrangements, handling an estate sale, and now selling Brenda's house.   I hope this offers a little comfort in the coming months.  The finished size is 60" x 60".   Although it looks gray in the photo, the sashing is an adorable confetti fabric, and it is simply quilted (sorry you can't see how I did it), but I think it turned out really nice.  I haven't downloaded the photo we took with the camera yet, but here's one taken at quilt guild with someone's phone.   It felt good to get it in the mail yesterday.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

First row

It is very sticky, so I'm sequestered in my sewing room with the AC on.  I finished the first row which is part of the international Row by Row Experience.  It's a kit from Quilting with Color and employs two techniques I'm not wild about - fusible applique and paper piecing.  But it turned out quite cute so I shouldn't complain.

I'm thinking about quilting each row as I finish it so that I can quilt around the fusible applique.  I'm not sure what I'll put between the rows, so I have set it aside until I figure that out.  Now I'm working on Hen House Fabric's row, and it's more to my liking - a simple Log Cabin with embellishments (bird buttons).  This and the next one, from Yankee Pride, are patterns only, so I can pick my own fabrics and am using scraps.  I also have patterns from a couple of online shops and may add the fabric license plates I've collected through a swap here and there.


Traveling

We are still recovering from a marathon trip to Michigan for a family funeral last weekend, or maybe it's just the high humidity that's making us move a bit more slowly.  On Tuesday, August 2, Paul's middle sister Brenda was to have a fairly routine operation to replace a heart valve.  Unfortunately, it didn't go as planned, and she passed away that evening.  Everyone scrambled and made plans to travel - from California, Washington, Alabama, Connecticut, and Vermont, a typical American family.  Four of us left last Saturday morning on the two day drive, taking a route through Canada.  Luckily Paul's brother in law Jay did all the driving in his very comfortable, aging Cadillac.  I was relieved not to have to drive around Toronto and Detroit with their intimidating traffic.

We stopped for the night in or near Toronto both coming and going and arrived in Michigan Sunday night in time for the calling hours.   Brenda's three grown children, who had lost their father to cancer just a couple of years ago, were there with their families, and it was good to see them again, despite the sad and unexpected situation. It was hard to make small talk at the calling hours, especially with people we didn't know, but that is what people do at these times.  Monday morning's funeral was very nice, with Brenda's younger daughter giving the eulogy, supported by her brother and sister.  We left right after that, changed clothes quickly, and started back for Vermont.  We ate a lot of snacks in the back seat and were glad to cross the Vermont-Canadian border easily Tuesday afternoon.

Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of quilting done this week.  I did take my knitting to work on in the car and actually made good progress on a lacy cotton scarf with variegated yarn.  When I got home, I finished the throw I started quilting the day Brenda was being operated on.  It's made with blocks from the Lovers Knot block swap, and I finished it Thursday.   I'll send it to Brenda's Michigan daughter who bore the brunt of all the arrangements.  It's been hot and humid, so my sewing room is the place to be this weekend.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A day to relax

My Mom and sister Jenny sent me this lovely bouquet and fun balloon for my birthday today. and I feel so lucky!  68 feels just fine, too.  We had a successful booksale at the library over the last two days, and the Heritage Days celebration seems to have been quite a success.  We saw a lot of people we knew, including one guest from our B&B days.

Yesterday was the perfect summer day, and we ended up spending most of it downtown, first at the Vermont Historical Society, then at the ethnic music tent (Morris dancing and Tibetan music were great), and then at the booksale and its clean up at the end.  In the middle, we ate fair food:  pizza, cider donuts, apple pie.  Today we are back on "real" food - but there will be cake, a gift from Chris, tonight.

I'm still a bit footsore, but a day of normal activity should help.  This morning I went to the grocery store and then spent a little time sewing scrappy blocks. I found a lot of smaller strips while I was covering the bike.  They were too short for the bike but I hated to throw them away.   I pieced them every which way and then cut them down to 6".  Now my bin of "strings" just contains longer pieces which I'll use eventually for string blocks, either on muslin or paper foundations.  I will add the 6" scrappy blocks to the box of 6" blocks made of selvages, and eventually I'll have quite a quilt.

Now I'm going to sit down and a read for a while.  I just started Sonja Hakala's newest book, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and am looking forward to getting an update on the folks in Carding, Vermont!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Heritage Days are almost here!

The annual Friends of the Library book sale is a very integral part of our community's Heritage Days celebration.  Every year, we set up tents on the west lawn for the sale, and people arrive early on Friday for the best picks.  Little do they know how much preparation goes into it!  This morning, Paul, Chris, and I arrived before 8:30 am to help set up the tent.  I think there were about 10 of us there, but we were missing our captain who had to go to a funeral in Connecticut.

Luckily, a friend of his substituted, and it all worked out fine.  Our librarian had photocopied the directions for setting the tent up, and the "Oh Happy Day" tent went together fairly easily.

We had to drive back to the rental place (which kindly gives us the tent for free for the weekend) to pick up stakes and the cording to hold the whole thing together, but that was OK.  Everyone pitched in to put three "Easy Up" tents and the tables up, too.   We always put little chocks of wood under the legs because the weight of the books push the legs into the dirt otherwise.

This afternoon we had a little downpour, but it's over now, and I hope everything dries up by 5 pm when another crew brings all the books outside.  They'll cover them up with plastic and tie it down just in case we have more rain overnight.  We have been pretty lucky with weather over the years.  Let's hope that tradition continues.  I'll be back tomorrow and Saturday afternoon to mind the store, then help the cleanup crew Saturday, and finally take the tent down with another group Sunday afternoon.  In between we'll all eat street food, enjoy the bands, and meet up with friends, neighbors, and, in our case, former B&B guests.  Then we'll all collapse!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pea pods

The pattern was fairly easy after I figured out how to disassemble and reassemble the zippers.  But I don't think mine look at all like the pattern cover.  They look more like footballs!

There's a little flange that I may have made a little too large.   Hope the next couple look better, but I need to get a few more zippers and zipper pulls.  I also got a pattern for two little bags using the same one zipper technique.  Will see what I can create with that tomorrow (after I go to Motor Vehicles to renew my license!).

On a roll!

Yesterday, I finally finished quilting the Lady Slipper Lodge round robin - phew!!  It's 80" x 80" so took me quite a few weeks.  The outer border, about 6" all the way around was done in a 1" grid which looks great but seemed endless.   I used a stencil for the center and did some stippling there and in the last round.  Using a plate as a cutting guide, I rounded the corners off after quilting, and now I'm hand sewing the binding down to the back.  I may do a few little bits of hand quilting since some of the last round seems a bit baggy.  What a good feeling!

This morning I put the binding on an off-center log cabin that I finished quite a few weeks ago.  It looks great and is boxed along with the Tumbler quilt.  I will mail them as soon as I can to the Parkinsons Comfort Quilt Project.   As you can see, I quilted each log approximately in the middle, and with individual blocks not being even, I did a lot of stopping and starting.  So it is definitely well quilted because I back stitch on these.  They will be washed a lot.

Below shows the back of the quilt and its quilting.  The blocks started out at 16" and they were split in four and swapped at the state quilt guild meeting in May.  Bob from our local guild made a king-sized quilt with the blocks he swapped, but I ended up making four more blocks in order to get the size I wanted.  It was fun and easy - I think I put the blocks together in half an hour!

After putting in my obligatory hour hand sewing that binding, I made a couple of "pea pods" with one piece zippers.  I'll take a photo when I can, but I must say, mine look more like footballs than pea pods.  Maybe when there's something inside they'll look better.  I thought I'd make them for Christmas and add gift cards.  Anyway, I am happy to have a big project behind me so that I can do a few smaller ones now.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Product idea

I sent my mom a bunch of table runners I made for but did not sell at a holiday craft show last December.  She gave them to various people as gifts, and my sister took one to her office.  One side of her table runner has a Christmas theme and the other is patriotic.  The red, white and blue side was made using blocks I had received in a swap.

I never expected Jenny to use the table runner at work, but she thinks I should market them for that use.  She says it's always cold in her office and this keeps her hands and wrists warm.  Admittedly, almost no one else has such a clean desk (and with two monitors!), but it really does look more cozy and less institutional.  What do you think?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The bike

I finished wrapping the bicycle for Soft Bomb Barre with fabric scraps today - and I have enough scraps left to make a quilt or two.  I thought that would be the case.  Anyway, I have been spray painting it with clear coat which I hope will make it more weather-proof.   I'm waiting until next Monday to put it in the bike rack behind the library because I worry that, with rain and morning dew, it will just sag and look pathetic.

Driving through town, I've noticed some hanging sculptures and streamers here and there, and more is scheduled to come between now and Heritage Days (July 29-30).  The library will be having a fiber art exhibit with items knitted, crocheted, and quilted throughout the building.  I have two wall hangings just about ready to hang.  Just want to run a lint roller over one that's been on the wall for a while.

Next steps:  attach a quilted seat cover, hot glue on some crocheted flowers, devise some streamers for the handle bars, decide whether or not to have a basket on the front, and figure out how to "chain" it to the bike rack.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Forest walks

This is the fourth year that Suzy and I have been leading walks in the Town Forest on Tuesday mornings.  We have some great "regulars" and always a few newbies join us.  Yesterday we had 11 people, five of whom were nearly 80.  They were visiting our neighbor Lois and attending their 60th high school reunion.  Lois had said she wanted to take them to the Empire Lookout which has views of her old house.  Paul and Janice wanted to get home by 10:30, so I didn't tarry but led a brisk march through the woods.   I'm usually pretty slow, with Suzy taking the lead.  She had a sore throat and didn't come.  We were also missing Bill (biking?) and Lee (on vacation).


When we finally got to the lookout, about a mile from the start, one of the reunion ladies told me that she had had a stroke last year and that's why she was lagging.  I felt so bad!  I had originally planned a shorter walk in another area, but changed my plan in order to please Lois, a very nimble 78 year old.  So we left the reunion people sitting by the side of the road while Lois went back and got her car.  This incident put a pall on the walk for me although I was trying to accommodate everyone.  Sigh.  Still and all, it was a lovely day for a walk in the woods.  The Empire Lookout is one of my favorites because you approach over pine needles past a lovely quarry.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Row by Row Experience

This summer, I'm collecting license plates at local quilt shops through the international (US and Canada) Row by Row Experience.  I joined a swap which includes quilters from California, North Carolina, Georgia, and Ontario.  Each of us is gathering four different license plates for the others, and yesterday I received four plates from Carol in NC.

So far I've visited three shops and just have to visit one more before sending the folks their plates.  This may take some time since I have hit all the shops that are close (within 45 min.) to me.  I would love to visit Keepsake Quilting in New Hampshire this summer and get their plate.  I sent away for plates from the Missouri Star and Hancock's of Paducah online shops, and I have some saved up from last year.

Along with the license plates, each shop has developed a row pattern, so I'm picking one of those up, too.  I love the Colorado one which Mom sent me and I received yesterday.  It's from Harriet's Treadle Arts (Harriet Hargrave's shop) and shows the lovely Rocky Mountains along with traditional blocks.  And isn't the card Mom sent with it cute?  It reads, "Would you be the designated quilter this week?"  Cards like this would be fun to make with scraps.  Hmmmm...

I don't know when I'll get around to making anything with the plates or the row patterns I've collected, but I figure they may come in handy if I participate in another row robin, either locally or online.  I certainly don't plan to enter the contest each shop is sponsoring.  Too much pressure!

Friday, July 8, 2016

The bike

Here's a picture of the bike I'm covering with fabric scraps so far.

As you can see, I have woven fabric strips through the wheels - on both sides - and am beginning to wrap the various tubes with more strips.  I tied the ends of the strips onto the spokes of the wheels, but with the tubing, I'm using Elmer's glue to hold it in place.  I worry that the fabric on the wheels will sag in our humid weather, but my son suggested some clear coat spray.  It stiffens the fabric a bit which should be good.  Anyway, it's a work in progress, but a whole lot of fun!

Keeping cool by quilting

This is one of the 24" log cabin blocks I took to the state guild meeting in May.  Everyone's blocks were cut in four, and we each took home as many as we brought.  I put my 16 blocks together in half an hour one morning (when I was feeling super energetic!).  Then I used some scrap blocks to extend the quilt to a size useful for the Parkinsons Comfort Quilt Project.

Wednesday, I sandwiched the little quilt and started quilting it quite simply, just down the centers of the logs.  It's been hot and humid lately, so the sewing room with its AC has been the place to be.  I finished quilting yesterday and now need to find something for the binding.  I'll set it aside while I work on the Lady Slipper Lodge round robin quilt which I pin basted yesterday, using the big table at the Old Labor Hall.

Meanwhile, whenever it's cooler out, I've been in the garage, covering my rusty old bicycle with strips of fabric from my "string" bin.  Studio Place Arts is organizing a "Soft Bomb" event in conjunction with Heritage Days at the end of July.  I offered to put my bike in a little-used rack behind the library.  The rack has a red metal spiral between two granite ends shaped like a Jack-in-the-box.  It's so cute that no one uses it.  Maybe my installation will encourage people to begin doing so.  Advance publicity stated that there will be a "quilted bicycle," which isn't accurate,although I may use an orphan square to fashion a seat.  So far, it's looking good, but the process is slow.  I worry about the effect of rain or morning dew.  Will it hold up?  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

VQF

Mom, Jenny, and I went to the Vermont Quilt Festival Sunday, and it was great.  We arrived just in time for a gallery talk with Ruth McDowell, who is retiring from quilting (she says).   Because they're both non-quilters, Jenny and Mom really enjoyed hearing her talk about the process she used for her quilts, and I did, too, of course.  We looked at some of the contest quilts, then had lunch, and then looked at more contest quilts.  I also enjoyed seeing the antique quilts, some of which had hanging sleeves sewn by me.  Here's my favorite quilt:
It's really eight quilts showing a slightly different view of the same view.  Each could be a quilt in and of itself.  It won a third place ribbon, but I really enjoyed the slightly different techniques used in each panel, especially the sky.

We didn't have much time to visit vendors, which is fine since I have plenty of fabric.  I did get a couple of patterns for those little zippered bags - pea pods and another style - that use just one side of the zipper bent in half.  I also bought some aloe cream from a very persistent saleswoman.  If you see a "Hawaiian Moon" vendor at another show, run away fast!  It's very nice but I've got enough to last me a very long time.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Full on summer

We have had the best weather these last few days - bright blue skies, warm, breezy, not too hot (unless you're in the direct sun).  I have had to water flowers outside, but things are growing well.  Paul washed the house Friday while I vacuumed the basement, in anticipation of Mom and Jenny's visit.  They're arriving Tuesday for a week, and on Fri/Sat. Jermine and Christine arrive from Curacao and Nederland.  They'll be staying at Maplecroft.  We hope they'll enjoy being able to walk downtown and seeing our old house.

Yesterday I taught the second applique class which went very well.  One quilter had done more homework than assigned and had her floral block almost all prepped over the last two weeks.   The other had had some family emergencies so hadn't prepped much.  She cut some things out with her die cutter but they weren't quite what was needed.  That was OK since it gave us an opportunity to review freezer paper applique, making templates, etc.  I focused the session on vines, leaves, and circles, and we had a very nice time sewing together.   It was hard to get them to leave - always a good sign.

I had brought a few sample items, including two quilts.  Thinking back, one could have started with the heart-shaped applique but the other really needed the melon shape.  At the end, I showed my Hawaiian applique UFO and then demonstrated reverse applique.  Since both require needleturn, the two ladies said that would be on their bucket list after they feel more confident.  They both asked me to keep them informed about future Calico County Quilters meetings since they enjoyed the sewing time together.  A final bonus was the check I received for the two classes - really unnecessary except that it will most likely be spent at the quilt shop anyway!

Today we're off to the Vermont History Expo where I'll be volunteering in the bookstore for the morning.  There are always interesting exhibits and friends from around the state to check in with.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Getting my steps in

It was a rainy weekend, so a nice time to do a little hand sewing.  My small quilt group was "homeless" for its June meeting, so I invited them here.  Only two people came (it's a busy time of year with high school graduations and such), but we had a nice bee anyway.  I got a few Lafayette Orange Peels sewn and/or prepped.  Whatever this will end up being is coming together quite quickly.

At last week's applique class, one person asked if I could show how to finish the block I designed, so this week I hope to get it machine quilted, just to show how applique can be handled.  I think it will end up as a pillow anyway.  Yesterday I basted the parts of the same block which I will use for the next class, since this was their homework.  It wouldn't do for the instructor not to do the homework!

We did get in another forest walk in between raindrops yesterday.  Walking with Samantha is always interesting because she notices things I don't always see.  This time it was a variety of amazing fungi growing on trees.  The small group had a good time.  One of our newbies was the guy who owns the comic book/collectible card shop.  He was a favorite of Chris' when he was growing up.  These walks are a fun way of meeting new people and sharing our enthusiasm for the forest, the views, and the history of the abandoned quarries.  AND I got in almost 8,000 steps Sunday!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lots of distractions

We started our Tuesday morning walks in the Town Forest this week.  It rained a little early but more held off until later in the day.  There were plenty of wet spots after Sunday's day-long rain, but we took a route that I know to be dry.  We had three newcomers who seemed to enjoy themselves.  One was confused by the map and wanted to follow along.  I forget the names of the trails over the winter, so I had to refresh my memory.  I hope they don't think I don't know where I'm going.  This is the fourth year of our walks, so I do know the 355 acres pretty well.  It was great to see some of our walking friends again.

When we got home, our cleaning ladies were busy across the street so we knew they were imminent.  Paul hates to be here when they come - our house immediately seems tiny with three people vaccuuming, dusting, cleaning, etc.  So it was a good time to look for a new-to-us car since our Honda CRV needs extreme repair or replacement.  It has served us well.  We test drove a Toyota RAV4 and liked it, but we weren't ready to commit.  After lunch, we stayed home, and I appliqued a few more Lafayette's Orange Peel blocks.  They are a great ongoing pick up project, and I need to prepare a few more.

Wednesday morning, I had a library board meeting followed by yoga, so in the afternoon I sewed the binding onto the quilt that came back from the quilter's.  If it ever stops raining, I'll set up the quilt rack (it's bed-sized) and take some photos.  Love it!  We got back to car shopping yesterday and tried a few Hondas, both the new HRV and a used CRV.  Now to make a decision...