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?