Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pinwheels


Another UFO got finished last week.  This is the pinwheels quilt I made using a couple of "Boundless" charm packs and some leftover white fabric.  I like the striped binding best of all, although the striped yellow flannel back is very nice, too.  I quilted it very simply and sturdily so that it can be washed frequently.  If I don't take it to the library to raffle off, I'll take it to the flower/craft shop downtown for sale.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Quilters' bus triip

Saturday, I was up and out the door before 6:30 am to meet Jan and Marilyn at the Park 'n' Ride.  I drove Jan's car to Lebanon, NH, where we met a group of other quilters bound for Massachusetts.  The trip was arranged by the Northern Lights Quilt Guild, and it left slightly early.  Guess we quilters are an eager bunch. 

Our first stop was the Quilted Crow in Bolton, MA, where we were greeted with coffee, lemonade, goodies, and a free fat quarter.  The rather large store offers a variety of styles, from Kaffe Fasset to Jo Morton, including a great selection of hand-dyed wool.  We were all like kids in a candy store, and the line to cash out was long but offered a nice opportunity to chat with some of the people we were traveling with.  I got some fat eighths and a scrap bag of wool before heading out onto the lawn to eat a sandwich.

Our driver ably navigated what looked like a very busy highway to get us to Lowell, MA, and  the New England Quilt Museum.  The town was the site of many textile mills and still retains some cobbled streets and abandoned brick factory buildings in its downtown.  The museum used to be a bank and has enlarged its exhibit space since I was there about 20 years ago.  Its two shows were fabulous. 

First was an exhibit of the best quilts from various guilds throughout New England.  Viewers were asked to vote on their favorite, and next year the winning guild will be invited to show there.  Most of the quilts were fairly traditional, so I loved them!  This New York Beauty features a lovely border design.  My favorite quilt was a sampler, mostly paper-pieced, of Cape Cod, but it was difficult to stand back far enough for a photo to do its justice.

The other exhibit was called Threads of Resistance and depicted some very creative, yet often angry scenes related to our country's current political situation.  One consisted of many colored squares with a hot pink pussy cat hat front and center.  Another showed an American flag with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, noting that patriotism means supporting the country but not necessarily the president.

After the museum (which has a great gift shop!), we wandered down to a couple of art galleries which had special quilt-related exhibits, including one with quilts on the theme of "the little black dress." 

The National Park Service Visitors Center offered an overview of the sites, which are all fairly walkable, including the artist Whistler's home, now a museum.  Jack Kerouac, who also grew up in Lowell, was featured on a panel, and I was pleased to see several familiar books about nearby Lawrence's Bread and Roses strike.  I would have enjoyed a full day in Lowell, but we had to board the bus at 3:30 to get us home before 7 pm.  All in all, it was a very fulfilling day, a true quilters' holiday.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Be My Neighbor" quilt

It's finished!  What follows isn't the best photo since I took it with my phone indoors. 
But I'm pleased with the way this swap quilt turned out.  Each person made two blocks, which were somewhat large so fairly easy to do.  Several of the 16 blocks have birds, others have simple flowers, and all have just a hint of yellow in them.   The pattern was a block of the week from Moda.

I used cream fabric between the rows and as borders and then used a yellow binding to tie all the other yellows together.  I need to measure it, but it is a good-sized throw, simply quilted, mostly in the ditch.  I did use some of my machine's fancy stitches here and there for fun.  I tried a couple of houses before settling on fabrics for swapping, so there are two extra blocks on the back with signature blocks of those participating in the swap in the windows.  I wrote the block numbers on the signature blocks so I have a key to look at later.  I love the fabrics everyone used.

My Moda Blockheads blocks of the week have piled up in the meantime, so this afternoon I made this week's block.  Tomorrow I'll try to catch up with the two or three others I have missed while working on Be My Neighbor.  It's so nice to finish something!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Birthday fun

I belong to an online group in which we swap fat quarters on our birthdays.  I received a package of FQs from Althea in Wyoming a few weeks ago, and I was happy to open it yesterday.  I had requested neutrals or shirtings, and the variety is just wonderful.  I will enjoy using them all for quilts projects, including cotton and wool applique backgrounds.

It was a fun day.  I made an easy coconut cake which turned out delicious:
  1.  Bake a white cake in the 13" x 9" pan.
  2.  When warm, poke holes in the cake with a fork.  Spread coconut cream (the kind you find in the bar section of the grocery store for pina coladas) over the top.
  3.  When cool, frost the cake with Cool Whip (I suppose whipped cream would be fine, too, although one of my guests has lactose issues).
  4.  Sprinkle sweetened shredded coconut over all.
  5.  Store in refrigerator.

Cindy, Sandy, and Chris joined Paul and me for a cookout later in the day.   There were some rumbles of thunder before they arrived, but the sky cleared right as Paul was about to go grill the burgers.   I made a Caprese salad and coleslaw (with grated apple and Craisins), Sandy brought her own delicious tabouli, and Cindy brought chips.  Delish!  and good company to boot.  Everyone was willing to take some cake home, too, which left us with a manageable amount.

I spent quite a bit of the day quilting my Be My Neighbor quilt and hope to put the two quilted sections together late today or tomorrow.   Quite a nice birthday!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another successful booksale

After we take the big tent down this morning, the annual Friends of the Library summer booksale will be but a memory... thank goodness!  It's a lot of work and, even though I've been trying to cut down on my involvement, it was an exhausting weekend.  Thursday we put up the donated tent on the library's side lawn with a crew of people.  Some worked on the big tent and others on the smaller ones until we were all needed to put the cover on the "skeleton."  We are hoping to rent a larger tent next year because the company will put it up and take it down for us.  Age is a factor for our Friends group, and we all agreed it would be worth it for us each to pay $10 toward this effort!

An army of volunteers put the books out later in the day so that they would be ready for an early start Friday.  Because I volunteer at the state historical society Friday mornings, I "only" worked at the booksale Friday afternoon.  But business was brisk as you can see.  I was good and only got four books this time, including one interesting quilt sampler book.
Saturday morning early (beginning at 6 am!) the library trustees helped with the Rotary Club's annual pancake breakfast, also on the library lawn, but around front.  I helped put table cloths and condiments on the tables before going home for a breather.  Paul and I headed back downtown late morning to help with the booksale, and we stayed "til the last dog was hung" (an old Vermont expression), helping with clean up after giving away books at the end.  We had thought about eating dinner downtown as many of the restaurants were offering ethnic specials and the street food is good, too.  But instead we went home and ordered a pizza.  My feet and brains were too tired to do much more. 

Today, refreshed, we'll go down and help take the tent down and wait for a report on how much we made.  The money goes toward library programs and books for all ages, so it's well worth the effort.  People look forward to it every year, and it's a great gathering place.  I saw several old friends there which is what Heritage Days is really all about.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Top is done



I've been building each block made in the guild round robin and blocks of the month into 12" sizes to set together.  It looks a little haphazard in the photos but I think it will make a very colorful quilt for our bed - 84" x 94" give or take.  I'm going to ask Marie if she'll quilt it for me, but I'm waiting for the gray floral backing fabric to arrive from Connecting Threads.

Now I'm onto my blue and yellow Dutch Sister's Choice top!  I have the plain squares that are going between each square all cut and laid out.  Today I hope to put them all together and ready to quilt.  I hope to machine quilt it myself, so wish me luck!  Once I have the center quilted, I'll machine applique and put the borders on and then quilt them.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Vermont Quilt Festival

It was weeks ago, but I am still studying the photos of some of the quilts I saw at VQF.  The festival website has not yet been updated, but it should have this year's winners and all the contest quilts up eventually.  Here are a few of my favorites.

 I was looking hard at border designs, especially appliqued ones, and I just love the red and white "infinite variety" quilt.   The setting was so unique!



Monday, July 10, 2017

Sharing a couple of photos

I have been working on the guild "block robin" blocks I received in June lately.  Last year, I got about 4 yards of a pink and purple batik.  Half went into the block robin bag along with some purple and hot pink scraps and fat quarters.  I kept the other half to make blocks of the month.  Now I have 30 blocks, for a 5' x 6' quilt, which is a little too small.  So I'm making 13 more blocks this week.  Hope to get them done by the weekend so I can put them together.  We'll see!

Meanwhile, my brother Rob was here over the weekend.  I cleaned my sewing room up so he could sleep in it.  We had a great time, hiking, roaming around downtown, and just catching up.  I had been waiting for another tall person to come and help Paul hold up the 365-challenge-inspired quilt I finished a while ago so that I could take a picture.   Every time Chris comes, I forget or it's raining.

This quilt is made using all blue and green scraps which I thought would deplete my stash.  Unfortunately, the bins are just as full as ever!  I like that large star block which came from a tutorial at the Missouri Star site.  It was easy to make - although of course Jenny Doan uses a jelly roll for hers.

I like quilting medallion quilts because you can anchor the rounds and then work on each round separately.  This fits a double bed, so it did take some time to finish quilting.  

I also had the guys hold up the crib-sized quilt I made using swapped heart blocks.   I enjoyed quilting this one, one block at a time.  The sashing is pieced using two mini charm packs and some additional 2.5" squares that I cut in pastel colors.  I plan to add both of these quilts to the etsy shop initially and then, if they don't sell, take the heart block to the hospital's children's department.

I'm not sure if I'll quilt the pink batik quilt myself or send it off for quilting.  Because it's a sampler, I think it will look good with an overall, edge-to-edge design.  If I do quilt it myself, I think it will be easier to do in sections.  Will have to wait until all the blocks are finished and I decide on a final layout.

I sent Rob home with my modern Tequilla Sunrise quilt for his office.  It is always nice to reduce my stash of quilts!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

The 4th of July


We really didn't think many people would join us on our usual Tuesday morning walk in the Town Forest on Independence Day, but we had ten plus a very nice dog, Max.  The weather was wonderful - sunny, low humidity, clear, breezy.  Because the trails are still a bit wet, I chose the Mainline because it has some gravel and usually doesn't get as muddy.  There were some wet spots, and we took a turn onto the Boulder Dash trail to get to Little John Road more quickly.  From there we walked over to the Empire Lookout where Lois can see her old house.  We took the Upper Mainline trail back, and then I suggested taking a short cut through disc golf tee #4 to get to the VAST trail down to the parking lot.  It's almost all rock, so dry.  Even though I was toward the end of the line, I beat everyone to the VAST trail because they took a different route and were beset by a few dogs along the way.  It was about a 3 mile walk and felt really good to be outdoors.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Meetings and lots of fun

It has been a week of meetings and special events.  Monday, I went to two library-related meetings, went to the chiropractor, and met three friends for our regular get-together.  Tuesday morning, we were so happy to see the sun and not have to cancel our usual forest walk. The usual six "regulars" were joined by two new people and their dog.  We walked up to the Grand Lookout to introduce the newbies to a spectacular view.  At the top, we found a former student of Suzy's sketching the view from the hammock she had set up between two trees.  What a brave and creative gal! 

In the afternoon, Paul and I skyped into Mom's 95th birthday party - such fun!  My sister had set the laptop up on a shelf in preparation for the surprise concert we had arranged.  When we tested the set up earlier in the day, she carried the laptop around the house to show me the set up, and I got to wish Mom (that's us in 2011 - she hasn't changed a lot - still very vital) a happy birthday when she returned home from the hairdressers. 

The party guests were asked to come in and sit in the living room where chairs had been set up theater-style.  Some glanced at the computer, apparently thinking it was just a slide show.  When Paul and I waved, they were surprised, but finally waved back.  It reminded me of the talking portraits in Harry Potter.

Mom sat up front, and when the soprano came in singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning, she was just floored!  Three arias followed, along with Happy Birthday, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  As Paul said, Mom really raised the bar for her friends' parties.

It was nice not to have anywhere to go on Wednesday except yoga.  I spent the day catching up on some sewing, including the Moda "Blockheads" blocks of the week and finishing the Sister's Choice blocks.  The latter are now set aside while I wait for the background fabric (yellow mini dots on white) and vine fabric (blue stripes) to arrive.  Because I want to add a machine appliqued border, I experimented with turned edge machine applique learned in my class last week.  Try as I might, I can't get comfortable with invisible nylon thread, so I tried Aurifil cotton, and it works fine.   The blocks I did machine applique turned out fairly well.  I just need to do a little more experimenting with stablizers since the tear-away kind is tedious (and a little scary) to remove.

Yesterday, I started quilting a small wool table topper, and I should be able to finish it later today.  Tomorrow we are going to a musical in Burlington and Sunday we're leading another forest walk, weather permitting.  I don't mind all the rain we're getting except when it rains on our walks!

Monday, June 26, 2017

VQF yesterday

I spent yesterday morning at the Vermont Quilt Festival and was impressed by the contest quilts.  I almost always go on Sunday each year because there are fewer people, so I can take pictures more easily.  I used my phone and was intent on getting photos of appliqued borders.   This year there seemed to be more hand appliqued quilts than in past years, so there was plenty of eye candy.

I still need to take a photo of the medallion quilt I made inspired by last year's 365 Challenge, but there were two at the show that followed the challenge closely.  Here's one in rather muted colors, and it won a first place ribbon.

I got some good ideas for borders but was disappointed not to find small yellow-dotted fabric at the vendors.  I was determined not to buy willy-nilly, so I just came home with some die cut letters to applique onto bags for my nieces. 

Knowing my local quilt shop doesn't have this exact fabric, I ordered what I needed (Riley Blake mini-dots) from Fabric.com this morning and was surprised to find that I could pay using my amazon.com account.  Amazon seems to be taking over the world!  My brother's company does deliveries for them in New York City, and he is incredibly busy these days.

Will post photos from the show when I get a chance...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sisters Choice

I've been working diligently on Sisters Choice blocks for a new quilt using a bundle of blue, white, and yellow fabrics I bought from Craftsy.  I love the way the 10" blocks are turning out, but I only have enough to make about 20 blocks.  I've only got two more to put together, having cut almost all of the pieces with my Go Baby die cutter.  This has worked really well, and I wonder why I don't use it more often.  The die I have gives me the pieces for half-square triangles and coordinating 2.5" squares.  My only problem has been counting since the blocks require three different fabrics, some with 4 pieces and some with 8. 

Some of my "tulips" have been yellow and some blue.  I guess you know why this block has always appealed to me, considering my Dutch roots.  I do love the yellow and blue combination, and when Chris stopped by the other day, he admired the blocks, too.

I've decided to set the blocks on point alternating with plain blocks, which I hope will be yellow dots on white.  I have a little set of swatches to take with me today to the Vermont Quilt Festival, where I will look through the vendors booths for that fabric.  There's one I always stop at that has lovely shirtings, and it's usually right down from my friends Franco and Wilma's thread booth.

Right now, I'm thinking of a thin yellow border (the color may be "goldenrod") followed by a wide appliqued vine border.  I've been looking at various quilts on Pinterest online for ideas for simple vines, similar to the quilt at left by Lori Smith.   There is a blue and white striped fabric in the fabric line that I could use for the vine and quilt binding.  Then I'll use scraps from the blocks for the leaves and dots.

I want to try using the a turned edge machine applique technique that I learned Thursday in David Taylor's class.  He uses invisible nylon thread, but I may opt for cotton.  Once again, this is an evolving project, but that's what makes quilting so much fun.  This project has no potential home as yet, so I'm taking my time.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

By cook or by crook

On hot days when I don't feel like moving, I read.  Of course, I read all the time - I'm a librarian (retired).  So far this year I've read about 35 books, give or take a few, and I'm always looking for a new series.  The library has books to download to my Kindle for free, and this has introduced me to quite a few new authors.  I'm devouring this first book by Maya Corrigan, set on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  It combines two themes I like - the Bay area and cooking.   I'm about halfway through this cozy, and can't wait to read the next one.   The "five ingredient" recipes sound perfect, too.  I've enjoyed quite a few series featuring cooks, including the ones by Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke, and Katherine Hall Page.  I especially like to try out the recipes they include.

This rainy spring/summer, I've read several good series, including the second book in the Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda James, all four books in the Peridale CafĂ© series by Agatha Frost (pen name for a man), and The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths, ninth in the series featuring archaeologist Ruth Galloway.  I especially like the latter series because it features a very human heroine who's a bit overweight and has some odd friends.  None of this reading is all that taxing which is just fine for sitting on the back porch or in the living room if the rain is streaming down.  The forecast is for more heat and humidity in the next few days, so you know what I'll be up to!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A summer walk

Yesterday was a busy day, but so nice because the sun was shining!  Friday afternoon (it threatened rain as usual), I baked chocolate chip cookies to take to the library's volunteer luncheon yesterday.  The staff holds it every year to thank the many volunteers who do things from gathering recycling to keeping the circulation desk running and more.  As a trustee, I am really grateful, and as a member of the Friends, I'm one of those helpers, too.  There were about 75 people there. 

I couldn't stay until the end because children's librarian Ian and I were heading up to the town forest for storytime.  Pam, a Friend and fellow retired librarian, helped, too, although her granddaughter didn't join us as we had hoped.  Just back from a couple of weeks vacation in Scotland, Ian piped us up to the story area in the forest, nicely marked out by Al, disc golfer extraordinaire, and his pug, Angie.  He wanted to make sure no one threw any stray discs our way.

Ian had taken some storytelling classes while on vacation and shared one about "Witch Wash-a-Dish" with the group.  It was a good one because the kids could get involved, naming potential suitors for the picky princess and serving as various trees.  He lead a fingerplay and then read a story about fairy houses before the grand finale - building fairy houses in the forest.  On an earlier walk I had spotted a fairy house from last year, a little worse for the wear, but still available for occupancy.  There were 18 kids and parents there, and a good time was had by all.

After a light dinner (considering the luncheon was pot luck and delicious), Paul and I went to the Opera House for a Hank Williams tribute.  We spotted his sister and her husband up in the balcony.  The musicians, especially the pedal steel/lead guitarist, were very good.  It was a fun day!



Monday, June 5, 2017

27 Days!

That's right - 27 days of rain in May, and rain every day so far in June.  Vermont is as green as it can be which is fine unless you want to do something outside.  Yesterday we did find a little morning sun to walk in the forest for a welcome change.   Most of the wildflowers have finished blooming but the ferns are still filling out, and we were pleased that the trails weren't as wet as they might have been.  Nearing the parking area, we heard the distinct sound of a woodpecker on metal.  There is very little metal in the forest, naturally, so we had to stop and find out what it was.  Samantha took a short video, but also this photo:
It was such a distinctive looking woodpecker that Samantha used her phone app to find out what type it was.  While she was looking, I jokingly said, "a yellow bellied sapsucker," and it really was!

It did rain later in the day, so I dove into the latest Elly Griffiths mystery, The Chalk Pit, her ninth featuring archaeologist Ruth Galloway.   Earlier, I finished putting together a bookshelf for the row-by-row robin I'll be participating in later this year.  It was easy - why haven't I made one of these quilts before?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A few finishes

Last week, I put pedal to the metal and finished two quilts!  First is Taquila Sunrise, made with part of a jelly roll and some black, using a pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company (Diamond Rail Fence).  I quilted this quite closely using a diamond pattern and echo quilting starting at the center.  It would make a nice wall hanging in a contemporary home or office.  It's a bit too stiff to use as a table topper.  I was going to take a photo of it on my neighbor's bistro table, but I realized it would not show well.

And next is the Scrappy Logs, using 2" logs from the rest of the Amy Butler fat quarter "Violetta" bundle.   It's crib-sized and quilted in waves going across.  I experimented with a "faux piping" binding and it turned out great.

Now on to the scrappy hearts top - all pin-basted and ready to quilt after a trip to Joann's for some wide muslin.  It really feels good to finish up a few things.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pinwheels

A few days ago, I started making pinwheels using a couple of charm packs I've had for at least a year.  They're 1930's prints by Boundless from Craftsy.   I like their solids more than Kona solids, but hadn't worked with any prints before.  I'm not wild about the "hand" of these prints.  They feel cheap to me, but the resulting quilt will be small anyway.   I have a bundle of fat quarters in a different line of Boundless prints and hope they feel a little more substantial. 

I used the quick and dirty method of making the half square triangles,  putting two squares face-to-face, sewing all the way around the four sides, and cutting diagonally both ways.  This results in lots of bias edges, but it's fast and when fabric isn't prewashed, it doesn't stretch too much... in theory.  I only hope the reds don't run in the wash.

Yesterday, we had a young man scraping our little back porch, using a sander much of the day.  At the same time, the lawns were being mowed, so the cacophony was overwhelming.   I usually read for a while after lunch, and sometimes I even take a little nap.  Not yesterday!   I spent most of the day sewing,  farthest from the "action."  I got a lot of blocks made and then started to sash them in an on-point setting.  I have a few charm squares left, but probably not enough for a pieced border.

The porch work continues today until it rains, possibly this afternoon.  So I'll work in the sewing room again and will probably finish the top.  That will make 3 waiting to be quilted, so it's time to tackle at least one before starting anything new.  I also need to put a binding on the little quilt I made last week.   This weekend looks relatively free, so I hope to make a little progress with UFOs.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

State guild meeting

Yesterday's state quilt was held just over the state line in New Hampshire.  The drive back and forth was gorgeous, and I was happy to be accompanied by Pat and Robin.  The time goes by so quickly that way.  Attendance was light, perhaps due to the nice weather, and there were only two vendors, so I only spent $5 on raffle tickets.   Here are a few of the show and tell items I liked - all were wall hangings, and the bottom two were only 12" square.  As usual, I came home with IDEAS...





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all!  We all had mothers, after all, and some of us are mothers.  I feel very lucky that my mom is still vital at age 94.  Still driving, attending classes, going swimming, and buzzing around.  I rarely call her because she's never home!   She uses a walker when she's out, just for stability, but it's hard to keep up with her nonetheless.  At right are Mom and Paul at a park near Denver last fall. 

It's raining here today (what else is new?), so we won't be grilling or gardening.  Yesterday I did do a little gardening and hope to do some planting during the week.  There are a few places in the yard that could use some new perennials.  I would like to plant dahlias and iris, too, near the house where the soil is less than optimal.  Last year I had tomatoes there, but I'm going to use pots for those this year.  I like to go to the garden stores during the week, so if I get a chance, I'll do that.  We don't plant vegetables until around Memorial Day here anyway, so even though I'd like to plant, it's good to wait.

Yesterday I finished appliqueing the wool piece and squared it off.  I'm setting it aside while I work on a small Rail Fence Diamond quilt using what's left of a jelly roll.  Everyone in one of my guilds received one from a rep of Quilting Treasures, and it's been fun to see what folks do with them.  I'm using a pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Co. (https://quiltingtutorials.com/tutorial/make-an-easy-fence-rail-diamond-quilt-quilting-quickly-with-jenny), with black diamonds.  My goal is to have a piece small enough to practice quilting in a spiral with my walking foot.

Chris helped me gather and load miscellaneous junk around the house to take to the town-wide bulk trash day yesterday, and he'll come over at noon to join Paul and me for lunch at the Chinese.  Eating Chinese food is a long-time family tradition.  Dad used to boast that he could feed our whole family of six for $10, so we used to go for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and any other special day.   For dessert we'll go home for a blueberry pastry I made yesterday with refrigerated puff pastry dough.  That was so easy that I'll be working with it again soon.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wool applique WIP

The sun was shining for the first time in many weeks, so I quickly took a picture of my wool work in progress.  Unfortunately, the pane threw a shadow on the photo, but you can get the idea of what's happening.   I'm using a light green cotton blender for the background.  There will be centers in each big flower, and I'm going to embellish a little with embroidery after everything is stitched down.  This has been fun!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

This n that

I seem to be sailing from one thing to another these days, mostly library related, with not a lot of sewing time.  I'll be glad for Sunday (Mother's Day) when I don't plan to live on anyone else's schedule! 

Last weekend was the library board's annual Spring Fling fundraiser.  Caterers and bartenders set up, along with a band and a magician.  We trustees do a lot of the physical labor, and there were about 150 people there for a great time.  I don't generally enjoy those kinds of events (stand around chatting, balancing food and drink), but it was indeed fun.  Some of the Friends and I sold raffle tickets which offered an opportunity to chat with people (while not needing to balance comestibles).  Profits were good.

Tuesday was the annual Town vote on the Town budget, library budget, high school budget, and more.  We had done quite a bit of politicking for the library budget and staffed the polls (actually a grassy knoll outside the polls) all day.  It was in the high 30's and raining most of the day, but we were successful by a wide margin, thank goodness.   Our board meeting the following morning was quite jovial.

Today I'm helping run some focus groups for library planning, at noon and at 6 pm.  Over sandwiches, people are telling us what they think library should focus on in the coming years.  It's been quite interesting and fun.  I'm the note taker, while a local minister is leading the discussions.  Good ideas are coming out.

In between all this activity, I've been working on a small (14" square) wool appliqued piece, a vase of flowers, my favorite theme.  I have all the pieces cut out and have been basting on a few at a time before using embroidery floss for stitching.   I even bought a project box to store woolens in - my paper shopping bag has outlived its usefulness.  Now to figure out how to store the floss.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Small projects


There's something to be said for making smaller pieces.  Because they get done quickly, there's a nice sense of accomplishment.  Yesterday, I finished two things - how often can I say that?!? 

First, there was a little wallhanging I made for Cindy to give Taylor, a new graduate of Cornell's School of Veterinary Medicine.  Taylor has a gray cat and loves horses, so I looked through my pattern books.  Couldn't find a paper pieced horse, but Janet Kime's It's Raining Cats and Dogs is always good for a cute cat or dog pattern. 

I had  a very nice Laurel Burch fat quarter that I used for the back, binding, and collars, and then I rummaged around for some gray.  I love the background fabric, and added the star just to give it a "wish upon a star" feeling.  Taylor really worked hard to get through a demanding curriculum. 

This was fun to do and only took a couple of hours.  Most of the time was spent changing out presser feet - sewing, walking foot, free motion foot, etc.  Gave me a chance to clean the machine in between, too.  I sewed two triangles to the upper corners so that it can be hung on a wall with thumb tacks.   And then there was the embroidery and beading - not my favorite thing to do, but done!

I was on a roll, so I made a little blue batik zippered bag for Polly's birthday tomorrow.  We're meeting her at Quechee Gorge for lunch May 8 and have a gift certificate to Keepsake Quilting for her.  The bag is just a cute way to wrap it.  I machine quilted the bag, which measures about 6" x 9". 

On tap today:  figure out how to set a bunch of  multi-colored 12" scrappy heart blocks.  Yes, another bigger project!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

swaps

I'm a sucker for swaps!  It's so much fun to get those little packages of blocks in the mail.  This year I'm participating in several:
  • Be My Neighbor - a Moda block of the week from 2016.  I think there are 16 blocks, so each of the 8 people participating made 2 blocks, which are fairly large.  Every block had to have a little yellow in it.  My two have gone to the hostess and she'll swap them out in June.
  • "Back to Our Roots" - my online swap group began as a group to swap blocks from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, by Jennifer Chiaverini.  We are to make sets of five of the same 6" block and mail them in by the end of August.  I'm the hostess, and so far I've made five sets.  Here's one of my Orange Peel blocks, using a charm pack of William Morris prints.  I keep thinking about making more, but I got side-tracked making some blocks in the Moda "Blockheads" block of the week program.   And as hostess, I keep thinking maybe I'll make a block for each person participating?  Not sure.
  • A "block robin" in one of my local guilds (I belong to two).  We pass a bag of fabric we've chosen around all year until the big reveal in June.  Each of us is making two blocks per person this year.  I told people I don't care what size the blocks are, as I plan to make a quilt with a variety of sizes.  I'll combine these with the guild blocks of the month and some others I've made.
  • A row robin with my online group.  Our first rows aren't due to the next person until fall, but I am not gathering fabrics and thinking a lot about the bookshelf quilt I'm planning.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"Dutch Treat" reboot

I started working on Dutch Treat earlier this year but found the white I had chosen raveled too much.  I hunted around for some off-white batik and got some blue, too.  The blocks are reverse appliqued, so the blue is behind the off-white.  My three earlier blocks were all sorts of colors which was nice, but I thought I might only do a small number of the blue blocks.  Here's what I finished this week.

There are 146 4" blocks in the quilt, much like Dear Jane.  Because each block takes at least two hours to do, I don't know how much time I'll devote.  I do have four more prepared for applique, and we'll see how I feel after those are done.  The batik is easier to needle turn, and I can make much smaller stitches.  Not all of the blocks in the book are Dutch-related, but I doubt if I'll have the patience to do them all anyway.

And what will happen to the earlier blocks?   I have put them in with the other orphans for projects along the way - potholders?  a table runner?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quilting, albeit slowly

Because my recent back problems seem to be finally getting better, I decided that I wouldn't overdo sandwiching the 365 Challenge-inspired quilt.  It's about 80" x 80" so took a little finagling as I pin-basted it on the double bed in my sewing room.  It takes a lot of care to do it in a way that avoids puckers on the back.  I started the process Sunday, taking breaks to read and work on hand appliqueing my "reboot" of the Dutch Treat blocks, this time with cream batik on the top and blue batik on the bottom.

It was all ready to quilt by Tuesday noon, so I started what will be several weeks of quilting.  (And I finished one DT block and started on a second one).  First, I went around the borders, and now I'm filling some in.  I often don't know what I'm going to do until I start handling the quilt.  So I begin with straight lines and think about further designs while quilting.  It often depends on how the quilt handles, although lately I having been using Quilters Dream Select which is very easy to maneuver.  I will probably stipple the center and crosshatch the outer border.  But what about the borders in between?  We'll have to wait and see! 

Yesterday I got no sewing done at all due to a library board meeting, grocery shopping, and a chiropractor appointment.  I spent a bit of time this morning before heading to an elderly neighbor's to pick up 9 boxes of books for the library booksale which Paul and I delivered after that.   It is nice to be able to take my time quilting when the mood strikes.  I have also revised my expectations of how many DT blocks I'll be able to do.  If I can get a nice wallhanging or table runner out of the blocks, I will be happy.  Each block takes enormous concentration and fairly bright light to work on.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunny days = photos!

On Saturday, it snowed, but on Sunday and Monday, it was warm and sunny.  Most of our snow is gone now, so we could finally get out and take some photos.  Here's the scrappy squares quilt I finished a week ago:
I love it, but I am still learning how to edit photos using our new photo program.  Could not get the granite step out of the finished photo.   Still, I took a closeup and a photo of the back in order to list it for sale at my etsy shop, Cobble Hill Quilts. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Blockheads

I've been working on the Moda "Blockheads" block of the week for the past few weeks.  They are all 6" blocks, but one week I cut out a 9" one by mistake.  This week's block had a lot of fussy little pieces, so I made it 9" also.  I figure I can put these blocks together with the ones from a swap I'm in for a bigger quilt.  So I may continue to make 9" blocks now and then and fit them all together with scraps.  It all depends on what the swap blocks look like.

My blockheads blocks are partly made with some historical reproduction fabrics from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.  I'm using shirtings and plain creams to go with the swap blocks.  So far, I like them:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Making progress

I've been quilting a scrappy throw (58" x 58") over the past week, and today I hope to do a few more rounds on the borders before binding it.  I usually machine stitch the binding of anything that I suspect will be machine washed.  Will post a photo when it's finished - it's incredibly colorful, representing a large number of 2.5" squares from my stash.

Next up is quilting a little wall hanging that I made with a panel Carol gave me and a bunch of orphan blocks.  I have some lime green thread I got in an auction that I am thinking of using with it.  Will I have the courage to use it?  And... to bind or to face?  We'll see!  

After that, I plan to work on the blue/green scrappy medallion quilt inspired by the 365 challenge last year.  I may need to use the table at the Old Labor Hall to sandwich it.  For smaller quilts, the double bed in the guest room works OK, yet the big table at the OLH is so much faster.  Not sure how I'll quilt it but I'll think about it as I sandwich.  I have the batt and am waiting for the back for it and one more top, another scrappy throw.  I'll quilt that eventually, in a quick, modern style (straight lines across).

All this is to make way for some swap blocks coming in the door - the scrappy heart blocks are already here, but I'm expecting guild block robin blocks in June, Be My Neighbor in June, and then some Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks at the end of the summer.  Phew!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"If you say so!"

The last couple of weeks have been particularly trying.  There was a long list of things I needed to catch up on, including following the shenanigans of the town budget committee when dealing with the library appropriation for the coming year; finalizing plans for the April guild meeting; creating a budget for and applying for tax exempt status reinstatement for the state quilt guild.  Oh, how I hate dealing with the IRS!  And why don't people return emails, for heaven's sake!?!

By Saturday night, I was just worn out.  Thank goodness for quilting - my therapy for tough (and not so tough) times.  Brunch with Pauline on Sunday helped, too.   I sold her a lovely quilt to send to her daughter in California, and afterwards, I engaged in a little fabric therapy at Jennine's quilt shop.  Perfect rewards for a difficult week.

But I do need to remind myself to chill out.  Last night's Friends of the Library meeting was one of those occasions.  One of our members, J-, has a drill sergeant way about her.  I think she's actually quite insecure, but she covers it up by issuing orders, even when it's not her place to do so.  We were going over the recent Friends auction and banquet (which I missed), suggesting ways to make it better next year before we forget.   J- had a long list of gripes, including some "very unprofessional" typos she claimed I had made on some of the posters.  I didn't think I had done this (only on some but not all???), but rather than argue as I usually do, I just smiled and said, "if you say so."  Everyone glared at J- who immediately stopped carping.  I went home feeling OK rather than mad.  That helps!

This week the cleaning ladies didn't come for some reason, so I did a little myself.  Later today I'll try yoga for the first time since I hurt my knee a couple of months ago.  Our instructor, bless her heart, has said that she will set aside a chair for me to use when everyone else is on the floor or on their knees.  I walked up and down several flights of steps at the library last night, without much pain, so I think I'm finally on the mend.  Things all seem to be looking up this week - if only the snow would melt!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sewjo-mojo

This morning I read a very timely item on the Moda blog:  http://blog.modafabrics.com/2017/03/sew-jo-mojo/#more-14860.  Before going to Alabama I had sort of lost my sewing mojo.    Maybe it was the weather.   I did a couple of smaller projects, including some wool applique.  Those were fun, and, when I finished, I found I wanted to sew again.  While away, I finished up some fairly easy appliqued swap blocks and hand quilted on my Atlantic Flyway wallhanging. 

Now that we're back, I've been reading a lot because of a couple of my favorite authors have just published new books.  But I've also spent a good bit of time cutting and sewing for the scrappy 2.5" block quilt I started before vacation.  I have made 5 out of 9 16" blocks so far.  I'm finding I need to cut a few more 2.5" squares, not because I've run out but because I need some brighter colors here and there.  A lot of my leftovers seem to be neutrals.  But I definitely have my mojo back.

I've been doing the Moda Blockheads 6" block of the week which I'm doing in the same fabric as I used for the swap blocks.  I hope that this will result in a larger quilt.  With only the 25 blocks I'll receive,  I really need a few more.  So far the Blockheads blocks have been nice.  Wednesday, I made a bunch of 9" blocks of the month for one of my guilds and then I went to a very frustrating meeting about the library budget.  Upon coming home, I  decided to make the Blockheads block to cool off.  That was great, but when I got finished I realized the block I'd made was 9" instead of 6".  So I made another one.  I did feel better after all that, but a little sheepish, too.  Don't know where I'll use that 9 incher - maybe I'll make a few more that size and mix them together.

Who knows?  I may even get back to Dutch Treat soon.  I still haven't found the white-ish batik that I'd like to use.  I had been using a sold white and it frays too much.  But Sunday I'll meet Pauline for lunch in Burlington and head over to Jennine's quilt shop to see if she has something I can use.  Hope so!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Home!


Time goes by so fast on vacation!  We already miss the flowers, green grass, and budding trees, as well as the opportunities to walk to events, restaurants, stores, and the beach.  Seeing new things and having new experiences is the point of vacation, and we did that.   We also relaxed (sewing and reading for me, doing research and planning a new book for Paul).

We aren't sure we'll go to Fairhope again next year.  It seems too old fogey-ish to go to the same place four years running, but who knows?  There's still a lot of the world to explore, and we also want to get to Colorado to visit my nearly 95 year old mom at least once a year. 

On our last days, it rained quite a bit, so we read and walked around town in between rain drops.  Sunday, we returned to the Gumbo Shack for dinner.  Tucked away from the traffic and a bit of a dive, it does serve some really good food.  They smoke their own meats right out front.  Monday, we ate everything left in the apartment for lunch and had dinner at the Lebanese restaurant, Sage, another favorite. 

We were on the road Tuesday by 7:30 am, trying a new route by Birmingham.  This kept us in Alabama and the Central time zone most of the day until we crossed into Georgia.  The change to daylight savings time made for a double whammy, but over the four days we did adjust.  The trip took us through Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York, with overnight stops in Chattanooga; Fairfield, VA (south of Staunton); and Montgomery, NY (near Newburgh).   A big snowstorm hit the eastern seaboard Tuesday, so we kept our eyes on the weather.  Wednesday morning found us crawling along the interstate over ice in Tennessee, but we didn't see much snow on the ground until we got to northern Virginia.  Then it started to pile up, with the most around Scranton (18" or so).   But the skies remained blue all the way, and the roads were clean and dry.  Good timing!

Besides the usual post-vacation grocery shopping and laundry, I have a long list of things to do, including picking up three quilts that were at the Wood Art Gallery show, working on a new budget for the state quilt guild, advocating for the library budget, and more.  Still, it's good to sleep in our own bed, make our own coffee, and just spread out a little more after living in a small apartment and the car for the last several weeks.  And... I'm looking forward to getting back behind my sewing machine! 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Just relaxing

We only have a few more days here in Fairhope, Alabama, before starting the four day trek back up north to Vermont.  How to best to "use" them?  Just by "chilling"!  I've been doing quite a bit of hand quilting on my Atlantic Flyway wallhanging.  I started hand quilting it on last year's visit, so it is time to get it finished.  I'm on the first side of the last border and doubt if it will be done by the time we get home.  But the closer I get to the end, the more motivated I'll be to finish.  Also, I'd like to get it all finished by April 8 when the guilds will be holding a Studio 180 class on that and another pattern.

But that's thinking ahead, and right now we live for today.  Friday was a lovely day, so we took a couple of walks, stopping at the Gumbo Shack for lunch.  The last time we were there, it was dark, so we didn't notice that they smoke their own meat.  My turkey sandwich was cut right from the bird - delicious.  We took some gumbo home for dinner, too.   I finished reading Fanny Flagg's latest novel (entertaining but a bit "meh") and started on letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart, a woman homesteader in Wyoming in 1909-1911.  Fascinating and on my bucket list for a long time.

Yesterday was gloomy and called for another trip to the movies, this time to see Verdi's opera La Traviata live from the Met via simulcast.  At home we'd need to travel an hour or so to get there, making it a bit iffy to plan in winter.  But it would be worth doing a few times a year for such a unique opportunity.  The production was wonderful, and we enjoyed the backstage bits as well.  My mother, who has seen this particular production, wasn't wild about the modern staging - minimal in black/white/red accents - but we thought it helped focus attention on the main characters and music.

We woke up to rain, but after it clears we'll be back walking.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Most definitely not in Vermont!

Seen on our morning walk,,,

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

By Mobile Bay

It's a beautiful day!

"La La Land" and Fannie Flagg

It was cloudy Sunday and threatened to rain, so after lunch we headed up the highway to Daphne and the 12-plex.  We do like to go to the movies when we travel because we rarely go to our 2-plex which features movies of interest to kids and teens.  We usually wait to see the good movies via Netflix, but some are best on the big screen.  La La Land is one of those.  The opening number is just great as everyone is singing and dancing on the congested freeway.  It's an old fashioned story with a realistic ending.  One friend didn't like it; others (who love musical theater) loved it.  We liked it - it was perfect for a gloomy day.  Not that any day in Fairhope or on vacation can be all that gloomy.

Before the movies, I finished off a couple more appliqued swap blocks and read a little.  Dinner was at a nearly deserted Italian bistro, and we brought home quite a bit of food for at least a couple of lunches.  Monday was partly cloudy, but warm enough for capris!  So glad I brought some.  We took a couple of walks, roamed around the pharmacy, wrote post cards to various people, and visited the bookstore.  I got a first edition, signed copy of Fannie Flagg's latest, The Whole Town's Talking.  She lives here - wish I'd been able to come to her book signing last fall.  After I read it, I'll put it in a raffle basket for the library along with other fun things for summer.

Tuesday featured a booktalk at the library about One Minute to Midnight, which detailed the Cuban Missile Crisis in you-are-there detail.  The reviewer, who is also the president of the library's Friends group, did a great job.  I don't usually read nonfiction, but she made me want to.  Afterwards, we had lunch at a French bakery, and my turkey sandwich with cranberry mayonnaise was delicious.  Because it was threatening to rain again, we headed up to Daphne to the movies again, this time seeing Hidden Figures.  Wow!  It was an inspirational, great story about black women who worked for NASA in Virginia where Jim Crow laws were still in place with separate rest rooms and even the office coffee pot the "way it was!"

We have discovered a very nice walking path along Mobile Bay, with park benches for lovely views and this sculpture by one of our favorite Vermont sculptors, Jim Sardonis.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Relaxing

It is one degree with snow at home, but today in Fairhope the high will be 66, and it's sunny.  We've been having a very low key time, walking around, visiting old favorites, and eating very well.  In between, we've been reading, sewing, and just plain goofing off.

Thursday, our first stop was the visitors center and then the library to pick up information about goings on in town.  We had delicious hamburgers at Panini Pete's and, in the evening, attended an historical talk about the arts in Fairhope.  Not at all what we expected, but very entertaining, the speaker was a raconteur with a great accent.  Walking home, we enjoyed the fairy lights strung on the trees which lend a certain peacefulness to downtown after dark.

Friday morning, we walked a few more blocks to the art center where they were still hanging the show that was to debut for the evening Art Walk.  We thought that event was just for the art center, but it turned out that it involved many art and antique shops downtown where there were musicians playing in a variety of styles.  Small crowds gathered here and there, and one short street was blocked off to traffic.  We were happy to join in and to enjoy a delicious Lebanese dinner at Sage, a place we discovered on the last night of last year's visit. 

Today's agenda includes a talk by a writer-in-residence at the library (AJB Johnson?), and I also want to visit the Page and Palette book store to check out their local authors' offerings.  One of my favorite books last year, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, was displayed there (even though the author isn't local at all).

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Welcome to Alabama

We left Barre Saturday, Feb. 25, arriving in Wilkes-Barre, PA, at around 3 pm.  The last 20 minutes of the drive were simply awful - thunder, lightning, heavy rain, and - worst of all - hail.  I had to pull off the highway twice, something I've never done before.  There was a lot of truck traffic, and even the truckers stopped.  There were emergency vehicles standing by, which was reassuring.

Sunday morning, we headed south amid much quieter conditions, stopping in Camp Hill to visit my college friend Madelyn and her husband, Jim.  After all these years in the north (45?), Jim still has a heavy Georgia accent.  I was happy to see Madelyn doing so well as she has stage 4 cancer and was using a walker most of the time the last time we saw her.  She was walking well and looking forward to hearing details of her latest MRI.  I'll call to get the scoop after we get home in a few weeks. 

After brunch, we heading on south, stopping overnight in Harrisonburg, VA, and near Chattanooga.  We made it to the Alabama line Tuesday morning and were greeted by this camellia bush at the Welcome Center.
From the Virginia line on down, we saw increasing signs of spring - daffodils, forsythia and cherries in bloom, buds forming on trees.  It seems to be an early spring for some, but in Alabama the daffodils have already gone by.  Jim wasn't going to be home until about 4:30, so we headed over to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts to see a special exhibit of Alabama quilts.  They had paired antiques with more modern quilts, many from the 1980's and 1990's.  I thought the contemporary ones were really uninteresting, but the antiques were beautiful.  Here's a sweet baby quilt which had some amazing quilting.
The sashing was a print that was fussy cut, and each block was about 4".  This is a very nice museum in a lovely park setting, complete with walking trails, picnic areas, a Shakespeare theater, and an Elizabethan garden which was planted with lots of herbs and pansies.  Azaleas are also blooming throughout Alabama.  Quite a sight for these northern eyes.

After a cozy evening with Jim, which included dinner at a Greek restaurant, we headed on our last leg of the trip, down to Fairhope by Mobile Bay.  It was muggy and cloudy, so I didn't take any pictures, but it sure was nice on the pier.  We had lunch there - gumbo for Paul and fried green tomatoes with shrimp for me.  Now for a few weeks of doing next to nothing - aaahhh!



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pre-vacation sewing

I told myself not to start anything new since we are leaving in a couple of days.  But when my pre-trip chores are done, my hands have to keep busy.   I usually do mindless sewing when this happens, so the other day I made a bunch of 6" selvage blocks to add to my stack.  Someday I'll have enough for a quilt, but not yet.  I did use up a lot of selvages, and I now have only very long (72" or so) strips left to use as ribbon for packages and such.   I've been gathering stuff for the month we'll be away - lots of it!  There are tote bags with extra linens, food, cooking supplies, books, electronics, sewing, etc. all over the house.  Saturday, we'll just load them up and head out.

Meanwhile, yesterday, since all my selvages were used up, I started on a new scrap quilt.  I didn't want to cut much, but just start sewing.   This one uses 2.5" squares which are all precut scraps from previous projects.  I keep a box of 2.5" squares as well as boxes of half-square triangles and 2" squares handy.   I saw this pattern in a blog recently, but mine has multicolored squares and black scrap strips.  I made three 16" blocks in just a few hours yesterday and aim to make a smaller charity quilt with 9 blocks.  It looks really nice so far.  My collection of 2.5" squares really hasn't diminished much - amazing how scraps tend to spread out as you use them.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Side-tracked

I had every intention of going to the LQS and getting some white-ish batik so I can continue with Dutch Treat.  But "life" got in the way.  First, Paul had a slight medical procedure requiring me to take him to the hospital in Burlington on Tuesday (what a way to spend Valentine's Day!).  We had to be there by 8:15 am, so we left home at 6:45.  I did a lot of waiting, but he came through just fine.  His roommate, once he landed, was a neighbor which was quite a nice and fun thing.  Paul spent the night in the hospital, and of course the weather report for Wednesday was simply dire, with lots of snow predicted. 

So I worried all night, and when I saw flakes coming down in the morning, I got in the car and drove back to Burlington.  They had said he probably wouldn't be released until noon, but I was taking no chance.  When I arrived, he had been discharged and was ready to leave, amid some big, sloppy snowflakes.  They let up on our way home, though, and all that worry was for nothing.  Paul is fine, just has to take it easy and then have cardiac rehab when we get back from Alabama in March.  We'll walk and take it easy down there, where it's in the 60's and 70's.  Can't wait!

Meanwhile, Dutch Treat.  Still haven't gotten the batik (I have a gift certificate burning a hole in my purse), so I've been making little wallhangings instead.  One is a vase of flowers with almost everything - stems, petals, vase - made of selvages.  It needs a little more work - outlining some of the flowers in black or green so they stand out better. 

But this one, done with wool and a vase made of selvages, is coming along really well.  I'm not great at embroidery, but I'm learning as I go along.  I need to add the leaves and a bluebird.  It's from a book by Wendy Williams - Wild Blooms & Colorful Creatures.  There are some really fun designs that I hope to use as inspiration.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Snow!

We are having a fairly serious snowstorm today.  This morning, we got out early to do a few errands - gas, milk, bagels, money machine.  Then we hunkered down, and the snow started right at 11:30 as the weatherman had predicted.  And it "poured."   By dinner time we had at least 6" and nothing was moving outside except the snowplows.


I spent the morning working on some 6" snail's trail blocks for a swap, and then I started working on another set - 6" orange peels.  The background is Craftsy's "boundless" cream and the "peels" use a set of William Morris charms I've had around for quite a while.  Love the subtle colors.   I'll square it up to size when they're all done. 

I still have some Grandmother's fan blocks to applique, and then the five sets I signed up for will be done.  Maybe I'll make another set or maybe I'll just make a few sets that no one else has signed up to do to fill out my quilt.  They aren't due til the end of September, so I have time to decide.

I had been thinking of doing a project with selvages today - maybe I'll work on them tomorrow if we're still snowed in...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Need a lift?

It's been an unusual winter in that the temperatures have been chilly and the skies gloomy.  It snows a tiny bit nearly every day.  Often January-February have been very cold - below zero - and sunny.  Occasionally we used to have big dumps of snow, including the still-famous Valentine's Day of 2007 when we had 21" in a matter of hours.  Our relative lack of sun had me worried that the amaryllis bulb Mom sent us for Christmas wouldn't bloom.  Two buds did make their way up, though, and yesterday it burst into bloom!

What's more, when I posted a photo of these flowers on Facebook, 27 people "liked" it!  Sure says a lot about social media.  You can't see it from the photo, but my plants are sitting on a lovely boot tray my cousin Jeannie sent for Christmas.  I had made her a quilt this summer, and this was her thank you - it's far too nice for boots.

I had a stomach bug over the weekend so did nothing but sleep, read, and watch some TV.  I discovered a new British detective I want to read more of - Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope, smart, unattractive, and of a "certain age."  I felt well enough yesterday to go downtown to pick up another gift certificate for the Friends of the Library winter banquet/auction.  While I was there, I got a big container of hot and sour soup - yum!  That can cure whatever ails.  

That old nuisance, snow-sleet-freezing rain-rain, is predicted for later today and into tomorrow.  After early morning errands (walk in the mall, shop for essential foods), I'll get back to cutting up 2" x 3.5" strips for a very scrappy quilt I'm making from The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts.  I need thousands, but I still have plenty from the Curved Log Cabin I showed a few days ago.  And when I need a break, I'll dip into The Little Paris Bookshop, completely different from Ann Cleeves but just as compelling.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Heading away...

I make quilts for people with Parkinsons Disease for the VT/NH Parkinsons Comfort Project, and a few have been piling up to be mailed soon.  I hope to get them on their way in the next few days.  First is the quilt from one of my local guilds' 2016 round robin.  I like the way I quilted it, with grids in most of the borders, some outlining in the center, and a bit of "borders made easy" on the plain border. It isn't really the prescribed size, but I imagine it will appeal to someone who is in need of a lift, mood-wise.

I had a quilt that was 60" x 60" that I really didn't like.  So I cut it down to the requested 40" x 60" size.  That is so that someone in a wheelchair can keep cozy, and I actually like it better in this new size.  The process of cutting the quilt down was surprisingly easy as I simply cut 10" off each side with my rotary cutter and added new bindings.  I hated to cut into it, but at the same time I am happy to make something that someone can use.

The third quilt is 40" x 60" and was the result of a swap of half-square triangle blocks in an online group.  I had a bunch of other sizes of HSTs also, and, as a matter of fact, still have a whole bunch more sitting in a box waiting to be used somehow.  I quilted this quilt fairly simply also, following the pattern of the lights and darks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Did I show this?


This is the curved log cabin that I finished in January.  The long arm quilter did a great job, offering flowers and curves, with just enough texture.  I used a soft yellow for the back.  I need to take a better photo - actually, a few - so I can list it on etsy.  Winter is a tough time for picture taking, though.  The weather is too gloomy for indoor pictures, or too cold to take them outside.  I have several waiting to be photographed and then I'll send them off to the Parkinsons Comfort Project.

I've been laid up with a bum knee for a week, and it sure is getting old.  I don't know what happened.  I just woke up last Tuesday in pain with swelling.  I've been putting arneca gel on it (at Mom's recommendation), taking turmeric pills (at Yve's recommendation), and taking Tylenol when it starts hurting.  I have been walking in the mall most days but not as fast or as long.  Have missed yoga twice, and hope to go next week since every day I feel a little better.  Sorry to whine!

Tonight I'm heading downtown for a community forum on livable wages and how we are training people for jobs in the 21st century.  I contacted two of the three panelists who sound terrific, and I hope we (the Greater Barre Democrats) get a good turnout.  Tomorrow I'm meeting with Louise and Guy to see how we can inject a little new life into the town Democratic committee.  The school consolidation vote went down for a second time yesterday, so we really need to get some new, energetic members.

In between quilting, reading, and political this-and-that, I have been picking up items for the Friends of the Library annual banquet/auction in March.  We will be away for that wonderful event, so I want to make sure I do my part before we go.  Saturday I picked up a 919 piece Lego firehouse from a toy store - it should be a hit in the live auction.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

365 Challenge

Last year, I started off following the 365 Challenge an Australian quilter was posting each day.   She had designed a quilt that used scraps, which I thought would be perfect for all of my blues and greens.  The bins they are in are overflowing.  The first batch used only dark values and were 3" (finished).  I made quite a few before going south for a month.  By the time I got back, the patterns had moved on to a center medallion which I attempted.  I hated the results so threw it away and made up my own.  As the spring went on, I wanted to work on other things, so I set it what had become a 24" x 24" medallion aside.  And it's been gnawing at me ever since.

This winter, I got it out again and decided it wasn't all that bad.  I surrounded the medallion with scrappy courthouse steps blocks, and I liked it again.  Then I started making "ribbon star" blocks from a Block magazine I had saved.
 Now I'm making another border, this time using the half-square triangles cut off the ribbon stars and sewn into pinwheels.  It will be 66" square.  Question is:  what to do now?  My bins are still overflowing.  It's as if I never made anything at all!