Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Late Winter Ramble

Today was The Farmer's Wife sewing circle down at The Evergreen Country Primitives Quilt Shop in Milton, New Hampshire, and I was happy to go! There on the right is our hostess, Camille, who had brought us sugar glazed oatmeal raisin cookies from the local Market Basket's bakery. Aahhh, soft and chewy, my favorite! Here is the link. to Evergreen.

Diane, on the left, kept us laughing with various tales of her pets, as we all chatted. I missed getting a photograph of Shirley and Judy, but here is a picture of Judy's block in progress. Mind you, these Farmer's Wife blocks finish at 6 inches, so the pieces are weensy!!! She is doing such a good job!

I was able to get one block that had been started, finished, and got a good start on the next one. Here I am holding up the one that is done.
A big "thank you" goes out to Shirley for teaching me to use a large square scrap of batting to layout the many pieces of my block. Then you are able to roll the whole thing up for travel when you want to stop. The batting holds everything in place for you!

My poor old car is very ill with a sick electrical system and I needed to borrow Felix's wheels. He stayed home to work on diagnosing the problem. After a very cold day of tinkering with it, he more specifically identified the culprit as an ignition module failure. Whew! I'm glad I wasn't far away from home when it failed. He hopes to repair it soon.

Our weather has spawned a new front of the Polar Vortex with very cold temperatures. Felix needed to borrow the big extension cord from the heated cat bed so he could plug in the battery charger overnight for my car. I was so glad when he found another cord and plugged the warming pad back in for the kitties. After he got that done, here is what it looked like:

Thank you to Ila!

My trusty clothesline is totally inaccessible to me due to deep snow, so I never did get what I consider properly lit photographs of my Churn Dash quilt finish. So you may have seen it before, but here it is again, but in daylight, LOL!

This giant is 84"x100" and although it went through an ugly duckling stage for me, now it has become a beautiful swan and I love it!

I quilted this at Ellen Peters' Cat's Whiskers Quilting Studio in Laconia, New Hampshire, and I'm proud to be able to say that I did it myself. It is loop de loops with ivy leaves that run the long way. If you click on the photo it will enlarge it for you to see the quilting better.

I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to Charlene Higgins of The Golden Gese Quilt Shop of Concord, New Hampshire for helping me to draft this pattern from her November 2012 workshop! You did great, Charlene!
I used the Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton batting that I got a full 25 yards by 90 inches wide roll of last fall from Joann's. It was a very good deal and I'm glad to have it in stock. In my very unscientific opinion, it is just a tad thinner, lighter, and "drapier," than Warm & Natural, which had been my "go-to" batting. So far, I have used about 10 or 12 yards of it this winter.

The Canadians won the gold in Men's curling! Congratulations to our neighbors to the north for taking the gold in both the men's and the women's curling!

Four more years until we get to see curling again! Oh well, that's what makes it special, I guess.

In between other tasks, I've kept making more of the "Dots & Dashes" swap blocks.

They must be a polka dot fabric with a striped fabric with good contrast in a 6" Shoo Fly block.

I have three of my four sets of six blocks done, but I hit a snag on the fourth set. My contrast was poor, so I have recut out more of a different stripe to be better. These are the ones that came out fine!

Three positive and three negative blocks used a wee bit less than the two paired fat quarters, so I'll have enough left over to make a couple to keep for myself. I wonder what I'll do with the 24 six inch finished blocks? I'll wait to see what comes in on the swap before I decide on a setting, LOL!

Hope your car and your furnace are working well! My furnace is just fine now that we finally were able to get a fuel oil delivery with all these storms. We were almost out so when they filled it we had to pay for a full tank instead of a partial tank. $702.00, YIKES!!!! Right now, oil is higher priced than the gasoline for our cars. But I'm glad to be warm.

Stay calm and quilt on!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wicked Good Time At The Busy Thimble

It's hard to believe that two days ago we were digging out twice from two storms that hit us on either end of the day on Wednesday.

Felix did a superb job of getting us plowed out but this is what he started with...

It is usually my task to sweep off the cars with a broom and I was very thankful for the cold temperatures that kept all the snow light and fluffy.

The kitties were unhappy about staying in the garage until I shoveled out a walkway onto the deck.

Raven and Emma-Lynn took it all in stride.

Then Thursday, yesterday, brought clear skies and the balmy temperatures of an incredible 46 degrees! As hoped and planned, I drove to South Portland, Maine to visit my dear friend, Grace. We wanted to go to our favorite reproduction quilt shop, The Busy Thimble.

This shop is located in rural Litchfield, Maine and is owned by Cyndi Black who has a passion for acquiring all the latest lines of Civil War reproduction fabrics.

The primitive pine plank walls are covered with Cyndi's wonderful quilts to inspire you!

There is fabric EVERYWHERE in all manner of glorious shapes and sizes; bolts, one yard cuts, half yard cuts, fat quarters and even "snippets" which are 14 rolled bits of 6"x10" fabric.

Grace and I both took advantage of the outdoor porch sale fabrics that were marked 30% off their prices with a one yard minimum.

We were in heaven, surrounded by quilty ideas and cloth!

Above is my stack, ready to bring in from the porch to be cut by Cyndi. I also picked out one drop-dead gorgeous red. It is by Moda from the Floral Gatherings line that you see her cutting for me here.

Grace was ogling the Paula Barnes cheddars.

Everywhere there were bolts of yardage.

I felt giddy on my fabric high, LOL!

Soon it was time to say goodbye and pay my bill, which was $75 for 9 yards and a $10.50 roll of Jo Morton snippets that was just too cute to pass up, LOL!

We had clear roads and sunny skies to drive the hour trip back to Grace's apartment where her Mom had graciously prepared a delicious dinner meal. I devoured fried haddock, oven roasted vegetables with fennel, some KFC cole slaw, and banana cream pie topped with whipped cream! Yummmy! Carolyn even let me take a piece of the pie home to Felix on his birthday. Thank you so very much!

Back to beautiful downtown Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire, and safely home before the freezing rain hit us last night and this morning. Now I love snow, but I hate freezing rain!

I chose to cancel The Sunshine Club at the Pearson Road Community Center this morning as the roads were terrible.

Later on, Felix and I'll be watching the final broadcast today of the Men's Curling on the Winter Olympics.

Go Canada! Go Great Britain! Who will win it?
Congratulations to Jennifer Jones and the Women's Canadian Curling Team for their gold Medal!

We wait four years to see curling and enjoy the suspense of every play.
So until next time, as Curling Announcer Fred Roggan says, "Sweep well!"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still Snowing!

Well, we are snowed in yet again! And yes, I STILL love the snow.
We had an unusual phenomenon with this storm that I do not ever remember before. It is called "snow thunder." It was just a very loud BANG as if a large truck had backfired, or maybe like when one of the Potter clan sets off a stick of dynamite near the Fourth of July. Country life is always amusing, isn't it?

I used the time to do more hand hemming on my reproduction churn dash. It was lovely to have a big quilt on my lap while watching the curling on TV. We only get to see curling during the winter Olympics, so it is treasured! I was able to get it finished, too.

I was unable to get to my clothesline for photographing it, but I'm loving this quilt! It went through a stage where I thought it was ugly, but not now. Here are two close up shots so you can see some of the fabrics:

It is 84" x 100", so it is a good big quilt.

I quilted this myself on Ellen Peters' rented longarm and I used an edge to edge ivy leaf and loop design. That busy sashing fabric doesn't show the quilting very much, sorry.

Miss Raven likes it! The binding was that plain paper bag colored solid that I had also used last year on the baby log cabin quilts.

I have not forgotten my 100 chevrons needed for Celtic Solstice and did another ten of those, too.

They take five seams per unit.

Pressing the center seam open is what Bonnie suggested and I'm doing that. I don't say that I'm very good at doing that, but I'm doing it, LOL!

One more gratuitous dog on the quilt picture for you, thank you, Miss Raven!

When all else fails, take a nice nap. That's Raven's advice and I take it to heart, LOL!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all my wonderful readers! My Felix gave me a big bouquet of flowers and a lovely card and he loved my card, too! It is such a treat to have fresh flowers in February, I just love them.

I spent most of the week binding and finished up a small quilt for my dear friend Debra in western Massachusetts. I had wanted her to receive it in time for Valentine's Day after her gorgeous Christmas gift of my tote bag shown here:

Alas! I was in such a hurry to get it mailed out to her on Wednesday, that I have no pictures of it for you!
N.B. Debra has posted pictures of my gifted quilt on her blog, called Feathers In My Nest. You can go to see it.

The big story today is Mother Nature's gift of 12" of fresh clean snow! This snow is fairly sticky and heavy so it was hard shoveling this morning and no Sunshine Club today.

During the night, it snowed and snowed and then there was a brief interval of freezing rain on top of the fluffy snow. Then it went back to a lighter snow until daybreak.

So that meant that Tipper was able to walk right on top of the snow, while Miss Emma Lynn was up to her tummy!

Here she is, bounding through the snow!

I have begun piecing some of the shoo fly blocks for an upcoming swap, too.

I need 4 sets of six blocks all in dots and dashes. I hadn't expected to participate due to a perceived lack of polka dot and striped fabric, but when I looked, I found some. It pays to shop the stash!

There was one day this week when I volunteered my time at an assisted living facility.

I had expected to be paid, but there was a misunderstanding about that. As a quilter, I warn you to get very specific and crass if you receive any invitation to do a presentation. Oh well, chalk it up to experience!

Stay calm and quilt on!

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