Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hittin' the string basket

I keep a basket of "strings" going most of the time.  It includes strips left over from various projects, and every once in a while I dip in to make blocks, either on a 6" foundation or log cabin blocks.  I pile them up to use in scrappy quilts, and once in a while I paw through and throw away the bits too small to be used.

This weekend, I dipped in to make four 21" log cabin blocks for a different kind of block exchange.  Each person is to bring as many 21" log cabin blocks as s/he wants.  At the meeting, the blocks will be cut into four quarters, and everyone will go home with as many quarters as s/he brought.  (I say s/he because we actually have two men in our state guild - I am sure Bob will be bringing lots of these blocks)  Here is one of the four I made this weekend.  I noticed that by the end, the block was sort of wonky as we could make the "logs" and centers as big or small as we wished.  The resulting quilt should be quite fun, though.  Don't know if I'll make any more, but I do have until May if I want to do so.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

26 blocks so far

Here are the blocks I've made for the 365 Challenge so far - two more than I should have made, but that's OK.  There were a couple of booboos along the way.  All of these 3" made in dark/medium squares are intended for the inner border of the resulting quilt.  Who knows if I will make it to the end?  Probably not, but they will make a nice border on a medallion using blue and green scraps.  I have so many, I can't close the boxes, so this is a good ongoing project for me.

The outer border will also use 3" blocks but they will be lighter.  In between will be some regularly sized blocks.  I can't remember what the center looks like, but I am thinking about an appliqued center, maybe from the book by Jenifer Gaston I have been eyeing.

Another loaf of bread

My bread baking bowl arrived from King Arthur Flour a few days ago and I've been seasoning it by brushing it with vegetable oil ever since.  Yesterday, I decided to take it for its maiden voyage.  My sourdough starter, using Emeril's recipe, was bubbling away in the refrigerator, and I used bread flour this time.  It turned out pretty good!  I softened the crust just a little bit by dotting it with butter when it came out of the oven and covering it with foil while cooling.  Perfect and very tasty!

I spent yesterday finishing up flying geese to add to a border of Margaret's round robin.  It was all polka dotted fabrics - blues, limes, oranges, yellow, and white.  Paul thought it unattractive, but I think a child will really enjoy it.  I am going to pass it along to Marie, the next person in the rotation, this week so she will have it for the February exchange.  I'll pick up the next quilt to work on (Lynn's?) when I get back from our trip.

Today I'm going to work on one of my many UFOs.  Maybe catch up on the 365 challenge (I know - I said I wouldn't do another block of the day/month, but who can resist this??) or the black and white tumbler quilt I started ages ago.   It's sunny but quite chilly (6 degrees when I got up at 6 am), but we are all thanking our lucky stars that we didn't get "Snowzilla" as they did to our south.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A new laptop

It's the middle of a busy week, so I'm just plugging along, keeping up with life.  We are having "normal" winter weather all of a sudden, after the warmest December on record.  This means snow and cold although there isn't a whole lot of snow on the ground really.  It snow squalled all day Monday and after that got very cold - in the single digits. 

As is often the case, the next day was sunny despite the cold, so we went out looking for a tablet or small laptop for me to take on my travels.  Chris loaned me his small tablet for reading the newspaper but the screen is just too small and frustrating to navigate.  It's fine for games, but who has the time?  I ended up buying an Acer "Travelmate" which seems to work fine so far.  I realized that I can take it into the kitchen and use it on the counter as I cook which is also pretty nice.   I am waiting for my King Arthur bread baking bowl to arrive, so I put some sour dough starter together and tried a loaf yesterday.  It's almost gone!

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready for our trip south in early February by trying to tie up loose ends - library board minutes, follow up calls for the library auction, publicity for the banquet/auction, treasurers report for the state quilt guild, and various round robins.  I'm working on Margaret's round robin for the local guild now and hope to get it delivered to the quilt shop for Marie next week.  Flying geese are my contribution, but I love Margaret's fabric - all bright polka dots.  My Viking Rose is in the shop so it's slower-going with the 100. Accuracy is a little more difficult.  I have a couple of projects prepped for travel, too.   Hope to finish knitting those socks along the way.

Genealogy club today and, later, a meeting of the library personnel committee.  And, as always, what's for dinner? 

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Paths" and another finish

This year, the Green Mountain Quilters Guild, the state guild, is having a "word" challenge.  At the fall meeting, anyone who wanted to participate drew a word from a bag, and we need to make a quilt that's 24" square with that word as its theme.  The word I drew was "paths," and I immediately thought of the traditional Drunkard's Path.  I then thought of one of my favorite quotations, If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you."  I have long thought that it came from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, but when I tried to verify that, I found that it was actually Beatle George Harrison who had paraphrased it in a song on a posthumous album.

I've been thinking a lot about what to do since that November meeting, and Saturday I started cutting Drunkard's Path pieces out of "sky" and "earth" scraps.  My aim was to make something using stash, and I succeeded except for the fabric paint I had to buy for the quotation which is another take off of those two Brits words of wisdom.  I added a little fusible applique, and am going to machine quilt it with some paths here and there.  I have until May 21 to quilt it, so it will probably go into the closet with all the rest of the to-be-quilteds til the mood strikes me.

It's a really cold but sunny day, perfect conditions for working on the last bit of applique for the local guild round robin.  We had two months to complete this border, or I would not have tackled a hand appliqued round.  Paula's bag seemed to include an entire stash of earth tones which are not my favorite.  Because the center with Pat M.'s round seemed a bit dark, I used a lighter piece for the background and the brightest fabrics I could find.  The top and bottom borders are an inch wider than the sides because Paula would like to end up with a twin-sized quilt.  I think it's going to be quite nice with four more rounds to go.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Birds in the Air top finished

I put the final borders on today and made a binding.  Now to hunt down some nice backing or make some from stash!

A New Year's Goals

Every new year begins with promise, and I hope, for you, positivity continues all the way through the coming year.  At our house, we talk of losing weight - as we do every year - and finishing a few projects.  Paul wants to work on maintaining our garage door so it doesn't need replacing.  One of the cables broke a few weeks ago, and the repairman told him the wood is beginning to rot.  Even though I'd like him to turn his attention to cleaning out all the papers in the computer room, I think this outdoor project is more likely to get attention.  It's far less daunting than all the papers accumulated through writing four books and numerous articles over the last six years.

For me, as always, there are projects undone, but I have already begun sorting through fabric, notions, patterns, and books with an eye to streamlining the sewing room.  First of all, I am going to see if anyone in my guild wants my Q-snap quilting frame which has languished under a bed for the last 15 years.  I just don't use a frame or even a hoop when hand quilting these days since I do so little of it.  The "Atlantic Flyway" wallhanging I'm quilting is simply pin-basted and in a bag for easy portability.  I work on it at guild meetings and will take it south in February.  I'll go through my hoops, too, and perhaps divest myself of the one our late dog Max used to jump through to impress our B&B guests.

There are two baskets of fabric, etc., ready to take to the "free" table at the next guild meeting.  I have a couple more desk drawers to sort through, and then I will move some of the items from the top of my old desk into the drawers of the other.  In spring, I plan to buy a table which allows my Viking Rose to sit level with the top for easier quilting.  This will mean getting rid of my old one-drawer desk and using the other desk as a desk instead of as a sewing table.  I also want to get a 1/4" foot for the Rose because in certain light, despite additional light in the room, my seams seem to waver a bit.

Today, after I sew the final border on,  I hope to take a picture of the Birds in the Air quilt I've been putting together.   Then I'll make the binding before hanging them in the closet for quilting... manana.  I need to prepare a few backs and double-check my supply of thread so that I can do a little quilting on those snow-bound days that are sure to come.  My other next projects include getting 5" half-square triangles ready to mail for a swap, preparing pieces of a wool applique candlemat, and finishing up Paula's round robin appliqued border.  Guess the latter will have to have top priority in order to be ready in a few weeks.