Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thank You Quilt

Back in November my friend Donna, on the left, invited me out for breakfast with the Tacoma Lakes quilters. She said they wanted to catch up with what I had been doing. I was their president from 2006 until 2008 when I left for my new full-time job.

We met at the Mill Stream Restaurant in Gardiner and had a delicious breakfast in our own private room. Good thing because quilters are a noisy enthusiastic group, you know! There were eleven of us who met that morning.

The group presented me with this beautiful quilt. Each person made a star and signed it with their name and some included a special message. I was so surprised and very pleased. It is beautiful and means so much to me that they made it for me.

Last year we made a sampler quilt, which I have written about before. Donna showed her completed quilt. She did a lovely job with the colors, the sashing, and the quilting, as always, I might add.

Her background fabric is a light green and the red garden path sashing really looks perfect with the blocks.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful quote I heard on a podcast that is no longer being produced, unfortunately.

Christmas–that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance–a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.
–Augusta E. Rundel

Nadine Ruggles who podcast Driven to Quilt, read Augusta E. Rundel's words and went on to say that quilts are a magic blanket that wrap themselves around us and weave their magic spell. They do indeed.

Thank you, my Tacoma friends, for making my magic blanket.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That's good. That's bad.

Greetings to all my friends. My computer finally got fixed, that's good. We lost all our files, that's bad. We took the computer to the Mac store at the Maine Mall and were given back a ruined hard drive and an essentially brand new computer. My daughter tells me we should get an external hard drive and back up all our files on that. Well, that does sound familiar, so I am sure the kids told me about that some time ago.

I am hoping my son will be able to retrieve some files from the old hard drive when he is home for Christmas. Meanwhile, no photos. I'm busy surfing the net looking for my favorite websites again. Feel free to send me your favorites!

p.s. to my email buddies, use my gmail address for now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cotton Warp Quilt

Two dolls I made in 2002. They have painted hair and features. They need shoes, don't they? Hardly ladylike to sit around barefoot.

One of my other interests is dolls and dollhouses. I received a dollhouse kit for my birthday last year and have been wanting to start building it. At first I wanted to furnish it as 1950's era home, but have decided against it. Now I am thinking of making it into Green Gables and am reading Anne of Green Gables again. Green Gables has been recreated in Prince Edward Island and you can visit it online. Oh, what fun!

From Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery...
'That's Barry's pond' said Matthew.
'Oh, I don't like that name, either. I shall call it-let me see-the Lake of Shining Waters. Yes, that is the right name for it. I know because of the thrill. When I hit on a name that suits exactly it gives me a thrill. Do things ever give you a thrill?'
'Well now, yes. It always kind of gives me a thrill to see them ugly white grubs that spade up in the cucumber beds. I hate the look of them.'
'Oh, I don't think that can be exactly the same kind of a thrill. Do you think it can? There doesn't seem to be much connexion between grubs and lakes and shining water, does there?...'

Well, quilts, dolls, and dollhouses give me a thrill. I'm sure Anne would come up with some romantic names for my dolls, too.

Not two pages into Anne of Green Gables Mrs. Rachel Lynde is reported to have knit sixteen "cotton warp quilts" while she sits by the window keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the community. Cotton warp quilts? What is that? Being a knitter and a quilter my interest was piqued! A search on the internet revealed only that other Anne readers are curious, too.

I wonder if I've found the answer. On the Anne of Green Gables Knit and Read-Along blog there is a link to antique knitting patterns. At that webpage I downloaded The Lady's Book of Knitting, 1886 as a pdf file. I browsed through the pages and found this:

For A Common Quilt
Cast on with cotton two stitches, use pins No. 14, and increase every row. Do 6 rows of plain and 6 of pearl, so as to make lengthwise ribs. When half a square is done decrease at the beginning of every row. When a sufficient number of squares are finished, join together with a square piece of calico between each knitted one. Thus: take a piece of calico, turn down the raw edges, double it to the size of the knitted square, and tack the two edges together. Then sew the knitting and the calico together, as if you were doing patchwork. The raw edges of the calico must, of course, be turned inward, meeting each other so as not to be seen even on the wrong side of the quilt. This is a quick and neat quilt, but is not so pretty as other patterns.

I can't quite picture it, but I am definitely going to try it. I have some dishcloth cotton, which is probably much coarser than Mrs. Rachel would use, but it will give me an idea of the technique. Knitting and quilting, could life get any better?

I'll leave you with this...
"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Checking in

Just checking is the Laurel Burch panel I am working on. Just wanted to show you someting quilty.

Are you glad the election is over? Me, too! My new job as assistant town clerk has given me a new perspective on elections. I worked many hours of overtime in preparation for the big day. Many, many people came in to absentee vote or pick up/drop off ballots.

On Tuesday I thought I would not come home until 2 in the morning, but was able to leave a bit after 11. I had not been able to keep up with any of the election coverage after the polls closed, so I was surprised to hear John McCain speaking on the radio when I got in the car. Then, it dawned on me that he was giving a concession speech. The results were in already!

As some of you may know, I am very pleased with the results!

I was just listening to a knitting podcast before getting online. The host mentioned supporting local yarn stores in these tough economic times, even if they may charge a bit more than online stores. I think the same goes for our local fabric stores. We want them to stay in business, don't we?

That is not to say that we should all go out and shop. Many quilters have a more than adequate stash to ride out any economic downturn. I know I am one of them. I think that is one thing I like about scrap quilts and the little five inch blocks I have been making. It is good to be frugal sometimes and I really enjoy scrappy quilts.

By the way, Sarah Ann Smith has offered to help me find the answer to my machine quilting woes. I have been thinking of buying a new seam ripper and ripping out all the quilting in Holiday Chorus and starting again. Thinking about it....
Here I am at Basin Pond on the way up the Chimney Pond trail at Baxter last fall. Mighty fine.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Thought I Had The Answer


On Oct. 13 I drove to Portland and dropped my computer off at the new Apple store for a repair. I went ten days without the internet before getting my iMac back. What a change in my routine that turned out to be! My usual habit is to read my emails and check out various blogs first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee.

For the past ten days instead, I enjoyed my cup of coffee and read Mason Dixon knitting, the first book, not their newest. What a pleasure that was and it turns out there is life without the internet, afterall! It seems life doesn't stop if I can not read my favorite blogs and keep up with the latest on CNN. It was somewhat surprising, though, how many times I thought, well, I'll just look that up on the internet (and couldn't).

I know a woman who gives the World Almanac to her family every Christmas. They like to have it to refer to when family arguments arise. Well, the internet is my World Almanac, and I use it for everything from downloading free hat patterns at 10pm to finding out what that bug in my garden is. And, of course, you know how much fun it is to shop for fabric online. Have you been to

But there is nothing on the internet that I have found to remedy my machine quilting woes. Everytime I have tried to machine quilt for the last few months has been disaster. I tried to machine quilt Holiday Chorus and it is a mess. It will stitch fine for awhile, then the thread frays and breaks. There will also be skipped stitches, something that has never happened before.

I've taken my machine to two different repair people, and I am now convinced it is not the machine. Last Saturday I attended a quilt workshop that Back Road Quilters put on with Sarah Ann Smith teaching Hawaiian machine applique, more about that in a bit. In the course of the day Sarah mentioned using topstitching needles for quilting and I thought, yes! that is the solution.

Sarah laid out her topstitching needle next to my needles and showed me that the larger eye of the topstitching needle is what I need, and that the smaller eye is causing the fraying of my thread. Well, I eagerly brought home some new needles today and, sadly, it made not a bit of difference. If anyone knows how to help, I am open for suggestions. I think it may be either straight line quilting for me or credit card quilting. (I don't think it is my technique, either)

On to happier topics!

This is the pineapple block I worked on at the Hawaiian applique workshop. I used a tone on tone blue reproduction fabric and white muslin for the background. The piece was fused to the white fabric, then satin stitched around. We had a choice of a small six inch block or a choice of several designs for the larger block. I have done enough fusible applique that I wanted to try the larger block.

What a difference putting this block on point makes, don't you think? Straight on, the leaves almost look like a spider, don't they? On point, the pineapples have more emphasis. Interesting.
I don't know which I like better. This will probably be a UFO, as I don't really know what to do with it. I really enjoyed the class and learned more about fusible webs. I used Wonder Under for this and it gunked up some. Sarah had some samples done with Misty Fuse and I really want to try that. It has a very light hand when applied. You can get it on, have not seen it locally.

It is always inspiring to see what everyone else is doing in class. A couple of people used batiks, which were gorgeous. I may not do any more Hawaiian applique, but the tips I learned about fusibles and auditioning different color threads for the satin stitch will come in handy.

I've been happily making these little 5 inch blocks after seeing Ricky Tims demonstrate them on The Quilt Show. What fun they are to make and a good stash buster. If you haven't tried them before, just cut a five inch foundation and lots of strips of fabric. I cut my strips about an inch and one half wide, but some were wider, some narrower. Lay one strip diagonally from one corner to another, face up. Lay another strip on top and sew the seam. Continue laying strips down, sew and flip until you get to the corner, then sew from the center to the opposite corner. I just finger pressed until the block was done.

As Ricky pointed out, the diagonal line allows you to make some interesting arrangements. I used the same center fabric for each set of four blocks. I think the black works particularly well.
The foundation piece is 5 inches square, but you cut the final block 5 and one half inches so you don't have the bulk of the foundation in the seam. I have not sewn any blocks togther yet. This may be a Christmas present for my brother. Flannel backing would be nice and I will use quilt batt, too. And straight machine quilting, for sure!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Salt Bay

Sunday was a beautiful fall day here in Maine. DH and I went for a hike in Newcastle/Damariscotta. We hiked on the Salt Bay heritage trail. Here is the description from the New England Trailhead website:

The Salt Bay Heritage Trail is a 3 mile pedestrian trail that passes through the Damariscotta River Associations Salt Bay Preserve. The preserve contains many varied habitats including a woods pond, freshwater and tidal wetlands, mixed mature and new growth forest, and the Salt Bay shoreline. It also contains an important archeological site - Glidden Point's ancient indian shell heaps.

The oyster shell heaps at Glidden Point are estimated to be 2,400 years old. They are the left over shells from Native American feasts over an estimated period of 1,500 years. There are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and are protected. It is unlawful to remove shells or disturb the heaps.
Around the bay and over the bridge and into the woods...
We saw quite a few horseshoe crab shells. The bay is very shallow and either the horseshoe crabs like that or it may be that because it is shallow they are visible. Aren't horeshoe crabs prehistoric? This one was in two pieces with its long tail missing.

Here I am among the moss hanging from the trees. The moss is very threadlike; what an organism! Lovely light green color.
We found a geocache under a boulder, quite by accident. It was filled with little trinkets. I wanted to take the little Strawberry Shortcake doll, but was good and left it in the ammo box. I wrote a message in the notebook. I've always wanted to do Letterboxing, which is a similar game without the GPS and uses homemade rubber stamps to log in.

The trail runs along the bay for a ways, then goes into the woods until you reach the sheep tunnel which goes right under Route 1! There was some water in the tunnel but there were stepping stones that helped keep the feet mostly dry.
The oyster midden is awesome. All the white in the photo above is crushed oyster shells left over from the days (starting around 450 BCE) when the Indians fished and ate oysters here. There are, of course, trees growing up from much of the mound, but along the shore you can see whole shells in the exposed area under the tree roots.

Oysters, anyone?

The trail down to the shore is all white oyster shells, too. I don't think there are any oysters left in the bay now, and there haven't been any for many, many years from what I gather.
So much for the traveloge! DH and I love going for hikes and being out in nature. I think that connection with the natural world is very important and it certainly washes away the stress of work and the news. Which is more real? To me, it is the natural world, but I have to live in the man-made world, too.

Lots of color inspiration on this hike: the pale green of the moss, the whites and grays of the shells, and the blue blue sky and red, yellow, and golden leaves.

Last weekend I got about half of Holiday Chorus machine quilted, but stopped because the thread kept fraying and breaking. Very frustrating, but I am beginning to wonder if it is my sewing technique not the machine. Will try again next weekend.

In the meantime, I have been sewing little five and one half inch blocks using the strip piecing method on a muslin foundation. Very easy and so satisfying!

I'm taking my iMac in for repairs today, so I will be out of touch for awhile. Two vertical lines have appeared on the monitor. Wish I could just wave my magic wand, but I seem to have misplaced it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sing Sing Sing

Presenting....Holiday Chorus! I sewed all the blocks together today and added the borders. This quilt is bigger than I expected. It is about 68 inches square. It will hang in my living room behind the sofa. I hope there is enough room!

There are six birds in the panel, so I left out the robin. The robin does not look like the robins around here, so I did not include it. This quilt has the tufted titmouse which is so sweet and a relative of the chickadee. My gmail name is chickadee24, so I had to keep her. Also, the black capped chickadee is the State of Maine bird. Cardinals and nuthatches frequently come to my birdfeeder, so those were easy choices. So, it really came down to the wren and the robin. Wren teaches us to sing and use our voices, so that seemed appropriate for this quilt.

Next I will need to buy backing fabric and quilt batt. Any suggestions for "quilt as desired"? I will be using my home sewing machine. I don't want to hand quilt it, but may handquilt the ring around the birds.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yipee! Rain!

After the rain we had this past summer, I suppose we have enough. However, we may get a deluge this weekend which will keep me inside and I intend to make up for lost time (AKA working full time at my new job) by sewing all weekend. I have all the blocks for Holiday Chorus done so I will be putting the top together.

In the meantime, take a look at the knitting I have been doing this past month.

I have one more white pair done,too. These are called Newfoundland Mitts and you can find the pattern here. Easy to knit, this is a slip stitch pattern. I used variegated yarn with long repeats of color. There is no gusset for the thumb, making them really easy to knit! I belong to a Yahoo group called CIC (children in common) which does charity knitting. We are having a mitten blitz and sending the mittens to the Cheyenne River Reservation the last week in September in time for cold weather.

DH and I went to the Common Ground Fair last Sunday. What a great fair and what a great day we had. DH was very patient while I looked at every skein of yarn(and there were
plenty), had him pat some cashmere yarn, and he even chatted with some quilt ladies from the Scrap Baggers in the Folk Life tent. Good thing the fair was last week; it would be a washout this weekend.

I realize this entry is a bit thin on quilting, but I have one more thing to add. Last Monday night I went to a Back Road quilt meeting. It was their second meeting this fall, but my first. Almost all my Tacoma friends were there, so that was fun. The ladies from Cotton Weeds had a beautiful table and trunk show. I signed up for a Hawaiian applique workshop with Sarah Ann Smith for later next month. Sarah gave a talk at one of our area meetings a couple of years ago and I was amazed at the quantity and quality of her quilts. I also sat at the "former librarian" table with Bonnie and Tina. We were convulsed with laughter when Nena, one of our co-leaders, told us about trying to get some quilting and baking done while her husband wanted her to go run an errand with him. To end the evening one of the members showed some crazy quilts and demonstrated several embroidery stitches. All in all a wonderful program with some very fine women.

Have a great weekend, dear readers!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Holiday Chorus update

Did you forget Holiday Chorus? Or did you think I had? Well, I sort of did. I forgot that this BOM was on a credit card that was breached, so the number was canceled, therefore Cotton Weeds could not mail my August installment. We got that straightened out and I received two months at once last week. Lucky me!

Now that my DD is off at university I set up my Jem Gold in her room, which is downstairs and very handy! I shut the door so the cats don't play with the pincushion. They don't like that too much as they love to lounge on her bed all day.

I used my little Jem last week because I sent my Pfaff out to the repair shop. Thread kept fraying and breaking. I think something must be rubbing against the thread inside the machine, but nothing like that was found. It seems to sew fine now, but you know how these intermittent problems can be. Right when you are in the middle of a project, BAM!, it does not work. Take it to the shop, all is well. I will see how it works this weekend. I plan to give it a workout.

I am having some trouble with this block. Four of these diagonal blocks are put together to make the whole block. The block should measure 10 1/2 inches and most of mine are 10 and 1/4. I've been sewing scant 1/4 seams and coming closer to the right size.

Can you see the little half square triangle blocks? I made those from the waste that is cut off when making the diagonal pieces. I have lots of these little tiny squares now. Don't know if I will ever use them, but it is the sort of thing I just like to have tucked in a drawer. I have lots of little odds and ends like that. They don't have to be useful, they just
look useful and are adorable for being so small. I like miniature things, don't you?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quick note

Just a quick note to remind my Maine quilting friends that the Pine Tree Quilter's Guild members' meeting is this Saturday. I knew it was coming up, but was surprised when I saw that it is this Saturday, September 6 starting at 9:30 a.m. at Jewett Hall in Augusta.

The guild has three members' meetings each year. We have a business meeting in the morning where those in the audience bring handwork and listen to various reports ranging from a long report on the Maine Quilts show to brief reports from the Area reps. It is all interesting and a good chance to see members from other chapters and catch up on their news, too. After lunch the guest speaker will be Jan Krueger from Wisconson. Jan will be giving a talk titled "I Love Log Cabins."

While looking at the guild website I saw information and photos of the winners and their quilts from the August show. In due time all the quilts will be up on the website, I'm sure.J104 "Pennsylvania Palette" by Wendy Caton Reed received an Exceptional Merit ribbon and was selected Judge's Choice (Dianne S. Hire) and Merchants' Choice.

Take a look and see if your favorite quilt won a ribbon! Isn't it nice to see the quilt maker beside their quilt?

P.S. Don't forget your lunch and camera on Saturday!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Not much sewing happening on Quilt Island this past week. On Monday my daughter and I caught the bus to Boston and visited the New England Aquarium. Mint green sea anemones, a weedy sea dragon of unbelievable beauty, and a 75 year old turtle were a few of the highlights of that adventure.
On Wednesday the library ladies gave me an afternoon to remember for a long time. It was my last day as librarian at Bowdoinham Public Library. There were fragrant lilies, iced teas, chocolate goodies, and many dear friends. It was a wonderful good bye to a job I have loved.

On Thursday I spent a busy morning training the new librarian and then home for a quick lunch before taking my son shopping and running errands for back to college.

On Friday my daughter and I drove to Portland for her back to college shopping. Friday night we had my son's birthday dinner. I made him scalloped potatoes with potatoes from the garden. I checked to see how they were doing after 50 minutes only to find the oven wasn't turned on! Good grief. Well, somehow they turned out just fine. For dessert we had chocolate cake with mocha frosting, at his request. That was my mother's favorite cake, too. We also had coffee ice cream. Wow! Bill's folks joined us and so it was a happy occasion for all.

On Saturday (this is sounding like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, isn't it?) I sat around watching tv knowing I DID NOT HAVE TO GO TO WORK!!! Highly enjoyable. Later, after supper we packed two cars and headed for Orono. The kids are back at college and ready for a new year of classes and fun.

On Sunday I rested. Just kidding. On Sunday we drove to Flagstaff Lake, the Bigelow Mountain Preserve campground. Flagstaff Lake was made in 1950 when the town was dismantled and the area flooded for a hydroelectric dam. You can still see some remains of the town. There is an old paved road running through the campground that ends at the lake.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yes, it is a gem

I had a really fun afternoon Sunday with my friend Donna. We went to Mainely Sewing in Nobleboro, Maine. What a fantastic quilt shop! I have been there a couple of times and am always impressed with their fabrics. Many really interesting fabrics I have never seen anywhere else. Lots of cool contemporary fabrics and a big line of Kaffe Fasset, too. Lots of kits and quilts made up that are so inspiring. Highly recommended!

I bought a Janome Little Gem at Mainely Sewing! It weighs eleven pounds and will be perfect for taking to classes. I've always taken my Pfaff with me, but it is heavy and I have been concerned that something will get damaged in transit. This Little Gem stitches very nicely. I bought the quarter inch foot so I am good to go.

I think I will set up this machine downstairs this winter so I can get some sewing time in during the evening. My other really big news is that I have a new job. I will be leaving the library where I have worked for almost ten years. My new job is assistant town clerk in Lisbon. I will be working full time instead of part time. I am sad to be leaving the library where I have met so many wonderful and interesting people over the years. But, I am also excited to begin this new career, this new chapter in my life.

One big change will be that I won't be able to be part of my Tacoma Lakes quilt group. We meet Wednesday mornings, so that is not an option. Do you think I should discuss that with my new boss? Well, a closes and a new one opens. I will join another chapter, either Back Road or Kaleidoscope. Both meet a fair distance from me and I feel a tug to join each group. Many of my Tacoma Lakes friends are also in Back Road, but I know people in Kaleidoscope, too and it is a bit closer.

I am really looking forward to having Saturdays free to take quilting classes, go on retreats, or go to guild meetings. I've worked Saturdays for years and now I will get to see what I have been missing.

I will leave you with a quote from John Muir and a photo from Baxter State Park......
Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving. . . . Wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and; tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.
Note: "Mountain Thoughts", written by Muir during the 1870s, were collected by Linnie Marsh Wolfe and published in John of the Mountains (1938).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So busy, busy

Pine Tree Quilt Guild has a blog! Take a look at what Tina started and leave her a comment.

I will leave you with this photo taken two weekends ago at Baxter State Park. We sure have had our fill of rain, haven't we?I will post more quilty news tomorrow.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sigh, Maine Quilts is over

Sigh, Maine Quilts is over for another year. Clap hands for Nancy Z. and all the people who put the show together. I know they work very hard all year to make the show a success. I volunteered Thursday afternoon and the main part of the show was completely done by then. I helped hang the Roy Pilgrim exhibit and the "Meet the Quilter" exhibit. The featured quilter this year was Lorraine Sweet, (and also her
husband who was not a PTQG member so could not be officially mentioned). So rewarding to be a part of the set-up. After a sandwich in my car for supper I called my husband to say hi. He said there was a tornado warning for the area until 7 p.m. Gulp! I could see dark clouds racing across the sky! Nothing happened except some rain for us, thank goodness.

The above quilt is by Wendy Caton Reed and was my favorite at the show. You can see she won some ribbons for it! Check out Margo's blog (see my blogroll) for more photos from the show. Margo did such a nice job on her blog that I won't try to duplicate it here.

When I got to the champagne preview on Thursday night I was looking for some of my quilting friends. I found Andrea at "Studio 55" where we bought a number of items last year, including Laurel Burch handbags. I saw this Laurel Burch horse panel made up into a hanging and just had to buy it. There is something intoxicating about all those quilts and all those vendors, isn't there? The vendor ha
d added a couple of borders in matching hand dyed fabric, which she graciously showed me and I graciously purchased. Later I bought some gold thread at another booth and machine embroidery needles at another. How convenient. I want to get going on this one right away for my living room.

These two fabrics were part of the collection featured in the vendor booth hop. Blue and yellow? Check. Birds? Check. Flowers? Check. No idea what I will do with these. A little stash enhancement. Needs to mellow.

On Sunday I took Roberta Horton's African American Quilts class. The quilt on the right is her first attempt at this style. The one on the left she considers a more successful attempt. Roberta started the class with a slide show and right away admitted that the term African American quilts is controversial, but said she would leave that to the academics. During her slide show she specifically searched out her notes to give us the names of the African American women in the photos. They have been anonymous too long not to have their names mentioned now, she said.

Imagine cutting fabric with scissors not a rotary cutter. Imagine cutting fabric by eye, not with a ruler. Imagine cutting pieces without a template because you can not afford cardboard. Imagine using even the selvedge edge because you need to make use of every available piece of fabric you have. Imagine working quickly because you do not have the time to work more slowly and carefully to make a warm covering for your loved ones. This is how we worked on Sunday and it was hard to put aside all my previous notions of quilting.

Am I going to make a quilt in this style? Probably not. Do I appreciate the work these women did? Yes, certainly more so now. I saw a Gees Bend quilt show in Halifax last summer and wish I could see it again. I may explore some more "liberated" quilting, such as done by Gwen Marsten and Ricky Tims, but then again, maybe not!

It is always interesting to be in a class and learn new things. There is always something to store away for future use. I'm so grateful to PTQG for the opportunity to take these classes.

Oh, and last of all.....I won the door prize for our class at the end of the day!

Five one yard pieces of coordinating fabrics from Mardens! And those of you who know Marden's know how generous their yards are! Any suggestions on how to use these would be appreciated. They are all baby blue with some pink and green. Aren't I lucky?

Monday, July 21, 2008

My style of beauty

My mother once told me that her mother, Ethel King from Orrington, Maine, used to say "that's not very becoming to your style of beauty." That always made me laugh. On the one hand, it is gently telling you that some dress or hat does not look good on you, on the other hand "your style of beauty" may be saying you are no beauty yourself. And believe me Ethel and her sisters were no beauties, at least not in their cloche hats and Mother Hubbard dresses in the photo I have of them!

As a quilter I am finding out what "my style of beauty" really is. One of the ways to find that voice is to try out different styles of quilting. I've done traditional quilts, miniature traditional quilts, traditional applique, free-form machine applique, paper-piecing, etc. I've dyed my own fabrics and made fabrics with rubber stamps and acrylic paints.

Kyra gently and rightly pointed out in the comments from my last post, that there is no "African-American" style of quilting, as the name of the quilting class I have signed up for suggests. I agree with her. I think this style of quilting might better be called a folk-style or primitive style, which can come from any culture. That said, I am feeling ambivalent about "copying" folk-art and just wanting to stretch myself by letting go of some of the so-called restrictions of my usual precise style of quilting. You see this contrast between Alex Anderson, a real traditionalist, and Ricky Tims and his "caveman" style of quilting. I like both, but while I have lots of experience with the traditional, I don't have much with the other.

Something to think about on a Monday morning. Any thoughts?

I made peach jam this morning while pondering all the above. I was telling my husband about it while preparing the jam and reading the recipe. Ooops. I added five cups of sugar instead of three. Recipe
makes five cups of jam and uses three cups of sugar. Does this dunce cap fit my style of beauty?

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Yesterday I worked on my sampler quilt. Throughout the fall and winter the Tacoma Lakes quilters worked on a sampler. Our homework for the summer is to finish the quilt for show and tell in September. I found the perfect fabric at Cottonweeds last Sunday.

I haven't pressed it yet and also need to trim the border on the right. I ripped the strips which worked quite well. I sewed shorter strips to the blocks, then added the long vertical strips. I had some trouble getting the blocks to line up horizontally. I had forgotten how annoying that can be!

For the second vertical strip and the outer border strip I got smart. I marked the spacing on the strips with chalk so I knew exactly where the blocks should be; that way I would know right away which block might be giving me trouble. Everything lined up very nicely after I did that.

Summertime in the garden! Here is the vegetable garden with a little bit of me in shadow. Onions, sugarsnap peas, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, three kinds of tomatoes, zucchini and cukes. Yummy! The "zucchini" seems to be summer squash, but that is fine with me.

I signed up for a quilt class on Sunday. I am going to take Roberta Horton's African-American quilt class at Maine Quilts. This is an all day class on Sunday July 27. Here is part of her description:
"African-American quilts offer a wonderful opportunity for the average quilter to break out of the traditional Euro-American quiltmaking mold and do some growing." Yes, indeed. I am looking forward to this class and meeting Roberta. Some of the classes for Maine Quilts are full, but others are not. Check out the website and sign up!

You may have noticed that I have reading list in the sidebar. I am a librarian, too. I have really been enjoying How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. It is about his growing up in Wales in a coal mining community and was written in 1941. I'm going to watch the movie soon, too. Here is a quote from the book...

A fine night it was, with the moon pulling silver skirts behind her to brush the top of the mountains, and the wind humble to have our voices and saying only a little bit himself to show he had one still, and the Valley waiting quietly for us to fill it with song.
Fill it we did, for hours, sitting in the street, with all the windows open and people leaning out to sing, and Ivor conducting from the top of a chair in the middle of the Hill. " Lovely.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves had its annual quilt show at a little church on Orr's Island this past weekend. As always, it was a treat. I went with my two quilting friends, Andrea and Donna.

This is the view as you enter the church. See, it is a small, intimate space for their show. The church is not really used anymore for regular services, only occasional weddings, I'm told.

This gorgeous blue star quilt was done by Nancy Hill. We oohed and aaahed over this one. The colors are clear and vivid. I really like how the sashing is just about the same color as the background, so the sashing doesn't overtake the blocks. The stars are made by strip piecing, I believe. Really special.

Nancy also had three of these mixed media "paintings." She uses fabrics, paints, embroidery, and machine quilting. I think it adds so much to have them framed so nicely. This picture of the red building, the sea, and land in the distance was especially nice. Click on the picture to really see the details. Nancy was there and denied that she is an artist, but I think she is. She said she has taken numerous photos at this location so I am sure she really studies her subject.

This stunning red quilt was a mystery quilt done at Mariner's Compass Quilt shop in Bath. I often don't like mystery quilts. I think it really helps to know what you are doing! But, this quilt really looks terrific, don't you agree?

After the quilt show we went out to eat then shopped at Cottonweeds in Freeport. I picked up the second packet for my Holiday Chorus BOM. Twelve blocks to make this time. I managed to pick up a few more fat quarters and sashing fabric for a sampler quilt we made at my quilt chapter last year.

I have a few more quilt show photos to share, but will wait for another day. Happy Quilting!