Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Walking in the forest

We haven't had as much rain lately, so for Tuesday morning's walk in the town forest, I proposed taking a trail we haven't used this year because it tends to be wet.  Going along the Mainline trail to look at the tree identification signs put up a few years ago, we ended up taking a slightly backwards route to the Empire Lookout.
This is a little dark, but we had nine people, including six from our neighborhood.  Nancy, Suzy, and Chris live elsewhere in the city or town, and we are a fairly congenial group which welcomes new people.  You can see that most of us wore jackets because the mornings have been in the 40's lately.  But the sun came out on the way back to the parking lot, and it got fairly warm.  We took a winding route back that climbed up past the Little John Quarry, and then walked along Pierre's field to a part of the VAST trail we rarely use. 

I will be sorry to see the walks end at the end of September and wonder where we can go to get such great conditions.   Even though we have to watch for tree roots and stones in the forest, the dirt trails are cushiony underfoot.  The mall is dull and its tile floor is hard;  downtown is OK except for the traffic; the neighborhood or the treadmill get old really fast.  

Next week, weather permitting, we'll try Rauli's Run, a new trail for beginning bikers.  Should be interesting.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Late summer company

My Wisconsin brother, Axel, was here for 9 days, and we've been keeping him busy most of the time.  Now that he's gone, he's keeping me busy with laundry and chores that didn't get done while he was here.  We visited a variety of museums and galleries, shopped for souvenirs a little, had some good meals, and walked in the town forest, albeit slowly since he uses a cane.
We watched his intake of food as he needs to lose quite a bit, so tonight we're treating ourselves to some peach-blueberry pie.

While Axel was here, he helped me figure out which pieces to include in a show at a Montpelier retirement community this November and December.  There are two walls, one 10' long and the other 19' long.  The shorter one has some furniture in front of it, so I plan to put only one quilt there.  I'll put three smaller quilts/wallhangings on the longer wall and then three mini pieces on the support part of the wall that juts out between the two walls.

Now that those decisions are made, I have to finish hand quilting my Atlantic Flyway wall hanging and put hanging sleeves on a couple of the quilts.  I also decided to enter two other small quilts in a different show, "The Fabric of Our Lives," in Waterbury Center Sept. 27 to Nov. 21.  One of those needs a sleeve, too.  And I'll have to inventory my collection of curtain rods and dowels.  Wow!

Thursday, August 17, 2017


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!