Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

It's been busy with visitors here, my neighbors, Alfred & Ilse, and a few quick dog calls of family strays who needed to be reunited with their worried owners, and my wonderful neighbor Al, who plowed us out of the two snowstorms. But despite all that, I'm keeping up with the mystery.

The two photos above are step 6.
Starting on step 7, ready to press.

All 64 of these goose steps done and pressed.

Now the four corner triangle assemblies.

I got these four assembled, pressed, and trimmed their dogears.

Then I looked though my whole basket of Easy Street clue parts trying to find the 3 1/2" green squares to no avail. I think that I forgot to cut them! LOL!

I'll do that in the morning when I'm fresh because I don't like to cut at night. Then I can work on the 12 triangle assemblies that use the green squares.

We are enjoying our tradition of staying home and off the roads on New Year's Eve with our glass of wine (Pink Muscato from Gallo) and homemade cheese fondue over chunks of Italian bread.
I am celebrating that I smoked my last cigarette four years ago tonight at five minutes of midnight. Four years! I am free of the slavery of nicotine and so grateful to the medicine called Chantix that helped me to quit.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yippee! Snow and More Snow!

I love winter! I love the snow! I love the cold weather! The air is so clean and crisp. I get to wear all my favorite cotton turtlenecks under tee shirts or tunics. I can snuggle my lady lab with a quilt or even watch her wriggle in the snow upside down for a snow bath.
Matthew had his boots on, so he got the mail from the mailbox.

We got about 10 inches on Thursday, had a day to shovel out, and now on Saturday night we are enjoying another storm of about 6 inches.
I'm only sorry that my dear friend Grace from Maine was unable to join me at the Keepsake Quilting End of the Year Sale. I drove in light snow, but I have an old heavy 1989 Mercury Marquis with new studded snow tires and had no problems.
Several months ago, I had won the doorprize raffle at my regular Belknap Mill Quilter's guild meeting. It was a fancy folded bundle of fat quarters in burgundy, dusty rose, and buttercreams. I wanted to add a little green to that mix but I knew that I'd need to bring the bundle to find greens and creams that would play nicely.
Here is the stack, looking more tan than sagey green, but not natural lighting. I'm thrilled with the haul! I think I know what pattern I'll use but I want to sleep on the idea.

In the meantime, I've enjoyed playing along with the Easy Street clue 6.
These strip sets have been cut into the 3 1/2" double brick blocks already. I have over 80 done and the last 50 are sewn.
Time for a nice hot cocoa!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day!

My dear friend Ilse took me out to lunch today!
I did not get quite as much done on my January swap preparations as I had hoped to do. It is for washed 2 1/2" light neutral strips. I cut enough to make 14 piles of ten strips each even though I'm only planning to swap ten piles.
Above are the width of fabric strips waiting to be cut in half and then dealt out like playing cards, one to each pile or stack.
This task is time-consuming and must be done while standing, so I like to take breaks and spread it out over two days. Right now I'm almost half done. I enjoy touching the fabrics and smoothing them into place, savoring each choice. If you are a Yahoo member, and you think you might like to join us, the link is  here. You may need to join quiltvillechat, too, I'm not sure. It is a lovely group and there are washed and unwashed fabrics sub-groups.

Yesterday was Christmas. While waiting for our stuffed turkey to finish driving us crazy with the delicious aromas, we exchanged small gifts. Matthew loves his newest National Football League red hoodie in our beloved Patriots' theme.

And Felix loved his Bill O'Reilly book, "Killing Kennedy" about JFK's assassination and the new software called "Dragon." Felix and I are such poor (two finger) typists that Felix thought this voice activated program would benefit us.

Do notice that my silly amateur chef husband is wearing his new stainless steel mixing bowl like a helmet to ward off alien voices. LOL!

And I am delighted with my "Quilts of the Civil War" by Barbara Brackman along with two 5 inch charm packs of Independence Trail by Moda.

It was a very happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday in the fine sunny weather, I took Matthew to visit his Dad, John, at the nursing home.

 We all went out for lunch at the local Wendy's where I used coupons from the Sunday newspaper to pay for a good feed reasonably. John was in fine spirits and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Felix was left behind at home to work on finishing up all the end of the year dog reports to the town for our Animal Control Officers' work.

After supper, we went to our neighbors, Alfred & Ilse, to bring them with us to the 7pm Christmas Eve service at the Gilmanton Community Church. We filled a pew and I insisted on sitting up front where I can hear everything. We sang so many Christmas carols! The service is lit by 1820's style lanterns and decorated with poinsettias, so beautiful. I enjoyed it so much it filled my soul. Although I have not taken pictures from last night, this is the church by daylight, a couple of years ago when we had more snow.

It is a real architectural treasure of a colonial New England meeting house.
The date over the doors reads 1826.

I hope that all of you are enjoying your Christmas as much as I am!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The World Continues...

What fun to find out that the dreary Mayan doomsday predictions that the world would end yesterday were all wrong. I've survived several "end-of-the-world" predictions now and the one that I remember best was when I was in high school and we all refused to study for our Algebra final due to it coinciding with the end of the world. Mr. Armstrong, our Algebra teacher, was not amused!

Thursday, Cindy, the leader of our sit'n'sew group, The Sew & Sews, hosted a cookie swap party at her lovely home. I had a great time and here is the loot that I brought home:

I also worked along here and there on my Step 5 of the Bonnie K. Hunter mystery quilt, Easy Street.
Her color aqua is my Civil War indigo and her color purple is my brown/cheddar. Here are bunches of pieces cut and ready to sew.

 Bonnie promised us no more flying geese to make, but then delivered the instructions for "Sitting Turkey's", which are just flying geese on a square base rather than a rectangular one. LOL!

Although I'm not quite finished with this step, I've got 40+ done of the 64 that I need. That's two thirds or so, and I'm pleased.

Yesterday, a fellow Sew & Sew named Margaret volunteered to take me with her when she went to The Attic Cat quilt shop over in Effingham, NH, near the Maine border. Wow! This was a truly remote location and I would never have found it on my own. It was a fun excursion and Margaret is wonderful company. Here is a picture of my indulgences:

Can you tell that I was ever mindful of my upcoming washed 2 1/2" strip swap in light neutrals? Now to get these prewashed if the weather will cooperate. If you are interested in joining the swap group, they are a Yahoo Group called Quiltvilleswap.  As I said to Margaret, if the world is going to end, I'd like to be visiting a new-to-me quilt shop with a dear friend when it happens!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pillowcases Galore Revisited

Today I got up early and finished off my Bonnie K. Hunter Step 4 for Easy Street!
Yippee, I so happy that I'm keeping up with it, in spite of Christmas errands and baking.
I also got the 145 squares of greens cut. It was more cutting than it sounded like because I tried for good variety.
I was very pleased to be cutting into one of the Civil War 10 Fat Quarter bundles from Whittle's sale on them earlier this month. Sometimes I buy them and hoard them, thinking that they are too precious to cut into. This time, I'm using them!

To those of you who wish to contribute, there is a pillow case drive on for the 600 survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre. Here is the address;

*****Pillowcases can be mailed to Becky at
Quilters Corner
312 Danbury Rd.
New Milford, CT. 06776

For: Children of Newtown

If you need a lil' help with how to make a nice pillowcase, my tutorial  called "Pillowcases Galore" is here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Step Four Units

Although I am not as speedy as some of my friends working on Bonnie K. Hunter's "Easy Street," Step 4, I'm making progress. The link is here, if you want to see it.
What worries me is that Bonnie's aqua blue is my indigo and her deep purple is my brown and cheddar. Mine has very little contrast and maybe will be too dark.
But then, that is what makes a mystery quilt fun, the not knowing every detail! Today I hope to finish up the flying geese units and get them sewn onto their lighter counterparts.
I also got the last two rows joined up of that Sister's Choice Part II, but I haven't pressed the back yet. I like to do that with my pressing solution that is scented this time with Attar of Roses, AHHHHHH, I love that!
I'm going to mail off these matching pillowcases to my kid sister (she's 52) in Connecticut. I have "quilter's guilt" in that I'm using up old dated cranston VIP prints for Christmas presents. Since she is not a quilter, I'm counting on her loving them anyway!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tragedy in Connecticut

We are so heart-broken for the families suffering in Connecticut, including the family of the severely mentally ill person who committed the terrible act.
We pray for better laws to protect us from people suffering from accute mental illness, and to protect them from themselves as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Waiting On Step Four

Today was a perfect late Fall or early Winter day! Light breezes streamed through the vivid sunshine and the chickadees waited their turn to get to the birdfeeders as the bully bluejays chowed down. I put ten prewashed Fat Quarters on the line to drip dry. I went out to sit in the sun two or three times, just soaking it up.

I'm so light-starved in the shorter days that it is hard to go down into the Quilt Cave and artificial light in spite of it being daylight-corrected bulbs. But down I did go! I had made up my mind to begin sewing the finished 48 blocks together for Sister's Choice Part II. Although I did not quite finish getting it all assembled, I got six of the eight rows made and joined to each other. Here you can see four rows joined and row 5 joined to row 6 lying beside each other.

Just two rows to go. Usually I'd say that I'll do those first thing in the morning, but when the next Easy Street clue is up, I'll want to do that right away!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Revelation on 12/12/12

One of the newer Christmas traditions that we celebrate here at Park Hill Farm is that around the first of December, I place my quilt, "Yankee Christmas" on our bed.

It is my version of Bonnie K. Hunter's, "Carolina Christmas", which was her 2009 mystery. If you love it and want to make it for yourself, the pattern appears in her third book called "Scraps and Shirttails Volume II.  The link to buy the book is here.
It is a gloriously sunny quilt and it always makes me happy to look at it.
So it seemed perfectly normal this morning, as I was making up the bed, to be looking down at it admiringly as I smoothed and tugged it into position. Then I did a double take. I could not believe my eyes as I checked the pattern. One of the 13 large green star blocks had been assembled all wrong! The four outer quadrants of the one block are all radiating inward instead of outward as they should have been.

The quilt has been done for almost 4 years and has been used for three Christmases. It was in my guild's two day quilt show. The picture above was taken when it was finished of binding. And no one has ever seen the error, including me. Unless everybody spotted it and were afraid to mention it to me.

I had quite a giggle, a rueful one, but a giggle! I showed it to Husband Wonderful and he was utterly amazed, too. He said I should call it a humility block in the spirit of some traditions that may fear to offend the Deity. But I'm owning my dumb mistake.

The above picture was taken January 16th, 2011, and shows a correct green star block, with the points all radiating outward.
Here is a picture taken this morning of the wrong block with the points turned inward. And yes, I'm calling it "wrong."
Wrong is an okay word with me because I make lots of mistakes and usually don't get upset by them.
Maybe I'm still shaking off my disbelief and I'm in denial. I can't believe I did it wrong. What is even harder to fathom is that I still didn't spot it for three Christmases! LOL! And it's on a corner, no less!

I still love the quilt. So does he. But we both had quite a chuckle!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Musings

This morning I was quick to eat some breakfast and have coffee and head right on down to my Quilt Cave. Looking forward to finishing up the sewing and pressing of the Step 3 units of the Bonnie K. Hunter mystery, I had a grand time. If you just joined me, here is the link: here.
The wing units seemed to fit with the HST's pretty well; sometimes the wings were a tad larger.
I sewed with the wings on top so that I could be ever mindful of staying to the right of the point in the middle so as not to cut it off with my line of stitching.
That plaid above is a chocolate brown, not black.
After I trimmed all the dog-ears,
I couldn't resist just playing with the blocks a little bit.

Fun! But I'm sure we'll be using more green than the four single triangles that we were supposed to cut. Maybe green squares in the corners of these blocks? LOL!
It's amusing to speculate, but I doubt that I have stumbled onto anything like a solution to the puzzle!
Bonnie, you still hold the keys to the mystery!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Shaded 4-Patches

Dreary cold wet freezing drizzle days are made much cheerier by sewing pretty fabrics down cellar in my Quilt Cave. I have many fluorescent light fixtures and the one over the cutting table has two daylight corrected tubes. It helps me to not miss the sunshine.

I worked yesterday and today on Bonnie K. Hunter's Easy Street, Step 3. Here is the link :

Although I'm not finished yet, I made great progress. I started on the wing units.

I like to do these in groups of ten, sewing ten right wings on, then sewing ten left wings on and just finger pressing in between.

I got all of the pieces cut and forty done yesterday.

Then this morning I had the other 24 done, too, for 64 wing units completed.

I'm going to show how I use the Omnigrid triangle ruler to cut my HST's out of indigo 3 1/2" WOF strips.
There is the strip.

Trim off the doubled fold at the far left end. You may click on the picture to enlarge it.

In the above photo, there is a dog-ear overhang at the top and the bottom line is right on the 3 inch mark. That's because the finished size will be 3" when it is sewn into the quilt.

Now turn the ruler around to make the next cut straight up. Then you go back to the first position and do it all over again. Here I'm cutting four thicknesses at once and it works fine!
Just make sure that the little tip hangs over the edge of the fabric!

They are coming out so neat! And that is indigo blue, not black! LOL!

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