Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This and That

I spent the weekend quilting with friends at a local hotel. With my foot issues, this was my first time back since September. I finished this little piece. Among many other things, members of Crosstown Quilters make covers for isolettes and incubators at a Boston hospital. It was wonderful to see all the quilts, coverlets, preemie quilts, pillowcases, and comfort cushions that members donated during the show and tell portion of today's guild meeting. Quilters are a giving, generous group.

The rest of the weekend I worked on preparing pieces for the applique project I am going to attempt. (Heaven help me.)  I also attended my cousin's fifth birthday party. They are all growing up way too fast. :-)

Have you heard of knitting done with PVC pipe needles? I hadn't heard of this, but one of the ladies in my quilting group this weekend was working on this piece using five foot long 'needles' and a huge ball of fleece strips which had been sewn together. It was the darnedest thing I ever saw. Of course, I googled it, and there are many, many sites dedicated to this process.

You may recall seeing this little improv piece that I recently made. Lyric Kinard, a well-known art quilter, says that no matter how much time and effort you put into a little piece, some people will think it is a potholder. She suggests giving a small piece more presence by mounting it on a canvas, and so I did. First, I used acrylic paint in a coordinating color to cover the canvas. When it was done, I sewed the mini quilt to the canvas. It was easy to sew through the canvas, but next time I may try something else that I found online. Someone suggested using velcro with an adhesive back which can be purchased at hardware stores. You put a strip along the top and bottom of the canvas.  I'll also be mindful of the sizes of canvas mats available. I would have liked to have a bit wider borders, but the next size up would have been much too big.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Top of the Morning to You

It's school vacation week, so my godchild/cousin Kristin came with her two girls for "Ladies Lunch." Kristin's birthday was last week, so I presented her with this St. Patrick's Day quilted wall hanging. I thought I would be able to purchase the six rainbow shades of 'baby' rickrack, but unfortunately, it doesn't come in either blue or purple. So, the rainbow is made of chain stitch embroidery floss which took considerably longer than simply sewing down rickrack would have taken. I do, however, like the effect of the hand stitching.

Speaking of rainbows,  when the late afternoon shines through my kitchen window this colorful display appears on my wall. The betta fish tank on my kitchen table acts like a prism.

After lunch yesterday, we went looking for Miss T.'s First Communion dress. This sweet eight year old and her sister are fans of "Say Yes to the Dress" and have definite ideas about fashion. After trying and trying and in some cases retrying dresses, the perfect dress was found. To the girls' delight in the end, the extremely patient,  helpful saleslady asked, "Is this the one? Are you saying 'yes' to the dress?" YES! To reward ourselves, afterward we stopped at the ice cream stop down the street from the dress store.

I took this shot of out town hall this morning when I went to get Emma's dog license renewed.

FYI: The wall hanging pattern was "Lucky's Pot of Gold" from www.patchabilities.com

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Sampler

Yesterday, my friend Laurel came to quilt and after lunch we drove down to Norwell to Hornstra Farm. The sky was deep blue and I thought we might get some good images. We pulled into the parking lot, and I hopped out to grab a couple of photos. Actually, I didn't really 'hop out' as unfortunately, my reprieve from the big, black boot was short-lived.)

Besides quilting, I have been reading quite a few books: some good, some not so good. Don't count me as a fan of The Boys in the Boat. If ever there was a book in desperate need of a good editor, it was this one. Though many, many people have applauded this work, frankly, it just wore me out.  Perhaps if it had been pared down, I would have felt differently.

Have you heard of BookBub? It's a free site which offers access to inexpensive best sellers. What I like about it is that it suggests titles that I would never have come across on my own. Case in point, Gettysburg, 1913: The Complete Novel of the Great Reunion by Alan Simon. What a compelling read! I would recommend it to anyone, not just history buffs. My great grandfather fought in the Civil War but was discharged before his regiment, the Massachusetts 9th, fought at Gettysburg. The book offered interesting insights into the lasting impact those three bloody day in July 1863 had on the men from both sides who fought there and some of the reasons that over 50,000 old veterans aged sixty-one to 100 returned for the 50th three-day anniversary commemoration.  For many it proved to be a time of great healing.  I found it to be a wonderful read. After finishing it, I wanted to find out more about this Great Reunion. Since it was 1913, there is some film available. Simply search for "Gettysburg Reunion 1913." One clip I found showed a gathering of very old Confederate soldiers. One by one they slowly approached the microphone and then gave the rebel yell. One can only image the effect of those bloodcurdling screams had on the battlefield. It was a very well covered reunion and there are many photos and articles available.

Finally, a package arrived today which put a smile on my face :-) I had ordered a few things from Piece of Cake including a Lap App and a Yazzii Mini Organizer.

I'm excited to try the lap app. If you are not familiar with it, it's an ingenious little lap table for doing applique. Two large nobs allow the surface to be adjusted. It also comes with an ironing board cover and a sandpaper surface under the padded cover.

Here's the cute little Yazzii organizer which has six zippered compartments. It will hold all of my applique tools.

I have a birthday gift to finish and another project, and then I'll start my new applique project.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Plans for a New Applique Project

While aimlessly wandering through various quilt blogs and sites, I was stopped in my tracks by a quilt based on a project in Yoko Saito's Floral Bouquet Quilts  book. After ordering the book, I went with a friend to the Fabritique quilt shop in Hull, MA where the owner offers a rich array of fabrics from around the world. I already had some Japanese fabrics in my stash but wanted to add some background fabrics and some colors. Just look at this background fabric. This photo doesn't do it justice; it's perfectly gorgeous.

Another piece  to use as a background . . .

Here's a close up of a fat quarter with so many shades of purple. The owner was very obliging and cut fat quarters from a number of bolts. I intended to prepare the first block today during the blizzard, but I didn't get to it. Hopefully, I will do it tomorrow. My plan is to reduce the size of the blocks to create a large wall hanging rather than a full size quilt.

Speaking of the blizzard, my favorite clip from the wall to wall storm coverage on TV yesterday and today showed empty shelves in a number of supermarkets. The rallying cry is, "Get the milk! Get the bread! We're having a blizzard!!!" It happens every time a big storm approaches. One gentleman who was interviewed said that he always remembered his mom racing to the supermarket to make these pre-storm purchases, and he sheepishly remarked that he does the same thing today.  In fairness, it may harken back to the "Blizzard of 78" when New Englanders were snowed in for a week.

Finally,  here's Mr. Bear who belongs to the son of one of my friends. Having a child of his own, he wanted to pass on his childhood pal. Unfortunately, Mr. Bear had a large gash on the back of his head which had allowed much of his stuffing to escape. I was happy to take on the quick job of fixing this little guy and am happy to say that the gash is now 'barely' visible. :-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Patriots Celebration


Boston Police estimate that one million fans turned out for the New England Patriots duck boat victory parade this morning. Even Mother Nature joined the celebration with some of the largest snowflakes/confetti  that I have ever seen.

Those waiting along the parade route experienced snow, sleet, rain, and cold, but judging from the TV coverage no one seemed to mind. They were waiting for the team and in particular, Tom Brady.

Emma had an appointment at the groomers this afternoon hence the glued on jewels on her ear tips and the fancy red ribbon band with bling around her neck.

Tomorrow the temperature will be in the 50's, and on Thursday a Northeaster is expected to bring 8 to 12 inches of snow ; that's life in New England. We have great champions and some really interesting weather!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The GOAT - Joy in Patriots Nation! - Super Bowl LI

This isn't a very flattering photo of our handsome Tommy, but it does show the intensity of the moment.  My stomach was tied up in knots throughout the entire game.  At one point, we were down twenty-five points.   Through the years, we have learned to believe in Brady and Belichick, but even their most ardent fans were feeling despair.  With six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the score was 12 to 28 and then . . . repeat after me . . . "Never Ever Count Tom Brady Out."

 I have been a Patriots fan forever and have seen them come back many times, but this game was unbelievable. The game was so great that I watched it again tonight on the NFL network. (It was far more relaxing this time.)

(*In case you are not a football fan or are not familiar with the expression "The Goat," it refers to our quarterback Tom Brady, the "Greatest of All Time" with his fifth Super Bowl win. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Very Productive Week - Autumn Wool Stitchery

I finished this little wool autumn wall hanging the other day. The border was a bit darker than I would have liked. Why is that when you order a kit, you discover that they have substituted different fabric from that depicted in the original photo?  It will be fine though if I hang it in a bright area.

 A woman in our quilt guild coordinates efforts to bring quilts and pillowcases to the children of soldiers being deployed. The three on the right are made of a fun pirate treasure map fabric.

Here are four comfort pillows for breast cancer patients. While looking for something else in my sewing room the other day, I came across a bag of colorful, six inch batik blocks that I had worked on several years ago. Why I hadn't assembled them into a quilt back then, I don't know. Anyway, they are now up on my design wall, and I have begun sewing them together.

Best part of this week? Learning that I don't have to wear the big, black boot on either foot any longer and that I may start taking Emma for walks again!!!

Go Pats!!!!!!!!!!!!!