Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Long Winter

January is almost over; it has been a long cold month here on Quilt Island. We have lots of snow, but the days are getting longer. It is no longer pitch black when I arrive home after work. Yesterday we had a big storm so the Town Office closed at noon. I got to come home and I spent some time working on my latest projects.

This little rose applique piece is from Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past by Marie Henry. The finished blocks are six inch square. This rose block is the first one I tried and I am hooked. I took an applique class from Becky Goldsmith of Piece of Cake fame a few years back. I learned so many useful tricks from that class. (By the way, the purple towel is NOT part of the design!)

I like to copy the design with freezer paper. Next, cut out the shape and iron onto fabric. Use a chalk pencil to make a heavy line around the freezer paper. Cut out with a scant quarter inch seam allowance. Finger press all along the chalk line and pin in place using applique pins. The finger pressing really makes the applique easy to do.

The next block I sewed was a pineapple and the leaves were curved and so tiny. I did not like the way it turned out so I paced around the Island a bit and came up with an idea. I enlarged the designs using my DH's photocopier. I set the copier at 125% and made up the pineapple block again, using the same fabrics. Voila! Much nicer. The finished blocks will be 7 or 8 inches. I will do the rose again (and line up those stems!)

My friend Donna has the same book and had already made twenty of the patchwork blocks when I bought my book. Her project had become a UFO, so she was encouraged when I suggested we do the applique blocks together. We'll see how far our enthusiasm takes us.

With thoughts of spring, I chose this fabric for my new bag. I love it! It went together so quickly.

Here's a close-up of the pleats and D ring trim. The bag is big and roomy, probably too big for a handbag, but just the thing to carry my camera, sunscreen, book, and whatnot for a beach day.

Lastly, my warm shawl which I made last winter. The pattern came from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. I like to leave it on top of the sofa where I sit to watch tv, but I noticed Merlin, our big cat, kneading his claws on it earlier. Sigh. One of my DD's friends calls that "makin' biscuits." Indeed.

Keep warm, my friends!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Quilt Divas

I visited a dear friend and her mother in Rockland on Saturday. We went out to eat at the Boathouse Restaurant which has views on three sides of the harbor, the breakwater, and surrounding hills. A delicious meal, the best of friends, and a warm room on a bitterly cold January day in Maine. The only way to top that is to go to a quilt shop, which we did.

I bought these three pink fabrics for a bag we are going to make at my quilt group later in the month. The main part of the bag will be the fabric on the left. The lining will be the pink stripe and the handles and trim the deep pink. In keeping with the pink and magenta theme is the gorgeous variegated merino wool sock yarn. Quilt Divas sells yarn now. They also have a new room for classes which looks perfect. Apparently a needlepoint group meets there regularly, too.

When my DD and I went to Boston recently we stopped in a shop that sold needlepoint canvases and a small selection of knitting yarn and needles. I did not realize that needlepoint is alive and well. My mother used to do needlepoint, although she would freely admit that it wasn't a great passion. She had a group of friends who would get together every Friday morning. Some would knit, some would quilt, and some would do needlepoint. My mother really just wanted to be with everyone so she would carry along her needlepoint. Some women would work their way through two or three quilts before mama would finish one small project. She loved her friends and they loved her. Isn't it nice to have friends who don't care what you make or how long it takes to make something, they just enjoy being with you?

I will have to wait until I buy some new batteries to show you what I have been working on today. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's a new year

Does it seem to you that so many bloggers are giving up with the new year? Blogs and podcasts that have been around for a long time, relatively speaking, are ending. Change is in the air for all of us.

Here on Quilt Island life is changing, too. Let me introduce you to some new parts of the island. Of course, quilting is still dominant on the landscape, but there is a very pleasant cove just over here that contains some lovely yarn and lots of knitting.

Here is a handsome Quilt Islander wearing his new Cobblestone sweater. I knit it out of Cascade yarn. The color is a deep chocolate brown. You can look at the original sweater here, which shows all the detail much better than my photo. Really fun to knit, although the short row shaping in the back gave me some trouble.

I have jury duty starting next week. Fortunately my work will pay me while I am on jury duty, because I am scheduled for Jan. 12-27. The letter I got said it is okay to bring a book. I am bringing my knitting, too, probably socks or mittens. This week I learned that CMP is having a mitten campaign for Maine kids, so I might knit some for that. I've been a member of the Yahoo CIC (children in common) knitting group for a number of years.

I made these "Newfoundland" mitts for the last CIC challenge before Christmas. They went to a reservation in North Dakota. I knit a pair for myself, too, and I know they are warm!

If you are a knitter and are on Ravelry, I am chickadee24. Send me a message and say hi!

Well, that is all for our tour of Quilt Island for today. Stop by again, there's more to explore.

Happy Quilting and Knitting!