Unfinished Business

I am making my own memory quilt. I cut up all my old logo T-shirts, that were important to me, but no longer wear. The scraps became a rag rug. I  printed pictures of my favorite places onto fabric. Then assembled the whole shabang with my treadle sewing machine.




When I went to look for batting in my quilt box, to my surprise, I found a quilt I had pieced and sandwiched that was just waiting to be quilted. When? How? Hmmm. So while I waited for more fabric for my “memory” quilt, I finished a(another) quilt I had forgotten.


My sewing prowess continues. While I was looking at the courses Harrisville Designs is offering this year, I found me featured in a photo. Another 15 seconds. That’s me and my 1951 Husqvarna green machine a few years ago at Daryl Lancaster’s class.


On New Year’s Day, we attended a bonfire at a neighbor’s that is an annual event. In addition to burning scrap wood you are encouraged to burn bad memories, deeds, etc. I know now to wear my old barn coat because sparks fly.


We’re tucked in for a few days of snow – 12-18″ predicted. This is in contrast to last weekend when we spent a lovely day in Burlington.


Temperatures have been cold as expected in February. Here’s ice on the hot tub cover. I’m wearing spikes on my crocs to walk to the tub again. At least with a decent snow cover we can play outside. If I remember.



A quilt fit for a king

Sized bed.  I must be nuts. And I plan to machine quilt it with my little featherweight sewing machine. I’ll be wrestling it for a few days. 

I found the pattern online from Man Sewing. It’s rather bold but pieced together easily. It was hard to find enough floor space to layer it, while my kitten/cat thought it was great fun to dive under it. This will complete my goal of making at least  one quilt for each of our kids. 

Now it’s on to the grandkids and we just learned a granddaughter is expected to arrive in July. I like to be gender neutral but…

I’m back to running and have been musing about running during all seasons in the north country. I’m a bit lazy in the winter and can’t run from home but our town keeps a nice route of sidewalk cleared of snow. But it is always dark when I want to run. 

A couple of weeks ago, temperatures rose, snow and ice melted and the rivers were glowing strong. My town run crosses river and streams 3-4 times. 

In the summer, I take to a dirt road that leads to seasonal camps. Too icy and muddy to run in the Winter or Spring.  Fall is the easiest, all options are available. And of course when there’s lots of snow, we cross country ski. 

Here are some scenes from recent runs. 

Hat band is done and shipped. Now I’m off to quilt and knit baby things. 


And we’re off

I pulled two almost all-nighters and they had nothing to do with packing for our trip to Alaska. I accomplished that in three hours; one backpack for me and a carry-on bag for my projects – camera, quilt hoop and yarn. My hula hoop and jump rope fit in the backpack.


My foul weather gear takes up most of my clothing space. No fashion show here. We learned this week that 1) noone has been to the lighthouse yet this year (I hear, “expect dirt and critters”); 2) the “big” boat won’t be ready for our 60 mile trip along the inside passage so we’ll take the tender (hence the full foulies); 3) oh yes, and the ramp is out so we’ll dingy our stuff ashore (hence the need for rubber boots). Yet I’m psyched.

Tim found this great slide show to put me in the mood, put together by an artist in residence a few years ago. You can find it here.

I lost sleep due to self imposed deadlines. I had to weave several placemats to complete a set I made for my daughter and I did – in 24 hours! The first part of the set only contained three placemats due to warping mishaps. Now she has a complete set of eight and she will know how much I love her.

Then I had to finish a quilt to for my son since I will be away for his birthday. So I had to finish it six weeks early. I’m a crazy woman but I did it. 3072!! That’s the estimated number of stitches I sewed to finish the binding. The quilt is 96″ x 96″ so the circumference is 384″ with about 8 stitches per inch for a total of 3072 at the rate of about 500 stitches per hour or 8 stitches per minute. I must be slow and crazy.


Pièce de résistance is the quilt label. I used my phone to generate a QR Code, which I printed onto fabric and sewed to the back of the quilt.

It’s a private message so I’m only showing an unfocused photo. I wonder if there will still be QR scanners a hundred years from now.


He’ll have it for his birthday and know how much I love him.

Now to catch up on sleep so I can plan my food shopping for a month.

Machine quilting

Lawn mowing is machine quilting outdoors.
I realized it as I mowed yesterday before we receive another four inches of rain on top of an already soggy summer. Mowing is just like machine quilting where you seek a path, which covers the area, avoids obstacles and looks pleasing.

I didn’t understand this at first. During our first caretaker position on Seguin I remember Tim telling me to mow the lawn in U’s. Head out, make a turn and leave space between the first row which you then mow on the return trip. This sets up a pattern for alternating rows. The grass lies in stripes of opposite directions. I thought he was nuts. Five years later I get it.

My mind is filled with quilting and patterns as I machine quilt my son’s Long Trail quilt.
My little Singer Featherweight is humming along on this king size quilt. I only need to quilt the outer border and nine central motifs. I am following Leah Day’s advice for free motion quilting. I’ve modified a darning foot so it doesn’t hop up and down; my feeder dogs remain up; and my stitch length is the shortest possible. I’ve had the least tension problems I can remember.

I did however almost set the quilt on fire when the little tiny lightbulb scorched the backing. I’ll need to add a patch over it.

Back to mowing. Once I established a pleasing pattern, I was undecided if I wanted to finish the job or leave the pleasing patterns – knowing it will rain too hard the next several days to do anything about it. Tim would love it!




Betwixt and between

I feel a sense of urgency to finish (and start) a few projects. I’m leaving my loom and sewing machine when we head out to Alaska. Happily my knitting travels well and I already shipped a small quilt I intend to hand quilt. Just have to remember needles, thread, thimble and hoop.

I finished weaving a large throw blanket from a project in Weaver’s Craft. It’s made with Plymouth Encore, which is a machine washable wool acrylic blend. It works perfectly. It’s long enough and put the recipient right to sleep.

There was enough warp leftover to weave a small baby blanket.

Next on the loom are two rugs for the log cabin. 420 ends! The reed is sleyed (I love fiber’s archaic terms) and I’ll take my time dressing the loom.


My knitting consists of a sweet cotton skirt. First skirt adventure. It is knit in tiers with 40% increase in stitches with each tier. I’m on the fifth and final tier and don’t think my needles could hold much more. The pattern is Sea Glass Skirt from Yarn in the Farms. They have a number of cute patterns for the warmer months. I’m considering knitting a dress next.

My cats love quilts. It doesn’t matter what season it is, if I quilt it they will come. Here’s Loki atop my son’s quilt.
He sits contentedly WHILE I machine quilt and move the quilt all over the place. Go figure.

I hardly have time to use my new hula hoop.

Busy, busy, busy

On all fronts.  Despite nighttime temperatures in the 20’s f, Spring is definitely here.  Shoots are shooting, I see the grass but the wooly bear still hasn’t moved, even though  I sprinkled some sprigs of grass near him.

I have managed to layer four or five quilts and am getting ready to start quilting them; perhaps one or two by hand.

image image image

My new Icelandic sweater is finished.  I had to attend a forty hour course, which provided at least thirty hours of solid knitting time.  I was basically done when the course was over but ran out of yarn.  Rather than go back to the Icelandic source for Lopi, via Canada, I ordered Reynolds Lite Lopi and knit the button and neck bands.  They match perfectly.  This wasn’t the same lot, or even the same brand!  Go figure.


Four bracelets are in the works for a reunion with high school friends.  So are 12 placemats.


Now the loom has a blanket on it.  My widest project yet but by no means the hardest.  I’m using Plymouth Encore yarn, which is very smooshy and washable.


The kitchen has a batch of sourdough starter in the works.  I found a loose recipe on PBS’s site with Julia Child.  I took a pound of grapes, mashed them up a bit in cheesecloth and added flour and water.  The concoction has been bubbling away for about a week and will soon be ready to create a rustic loaf of bread.  And I will feed it more flour and water and perhaps it will last for years.  Will I want it to last for years?


We miss fresh greens in the winter and even would like more in the Spring.  I found a little hydroponic grower and have sprouted arugula, mustard greens and red lettuce.  We’ll see how this goes.


Now to get my butt off the couch and get outside and enjoy Spring!


Snow incentive

A winter storm warning is in effect (yeah!) and I have some unfinished business to take care of.

I finished piecing and layering this lovely quilt over the weekend.

Cool, right? Each block is basically a nine patch but stretched in various ways.

I am considering finishing a bunch of quilts (I’ve acquired several almost finished projects) and then quilt them all at the same time, or serially, to work on technique. That should keep me busy for a while.

My Harmonia Rings möbius cowl is complete. I may have to arm wrestle Shirley for it though.


Second time is a charm. I almost followed the directions to a tee, except my gauge was smaller and I added a few stitches. I even added beads for the first time. I think that’s why Shirley likes it so much.


So blue

Two projects completed, infinitely more to go. This will be classified as my blue period.

I tried this new technique, which is a woven quilt!

Both passions in one project. It’s from the book, Simply Stunning Woven Quilts.

I didn’t have the right fusing material on hand and tried using the zigzag attachment on my little ole’ Singer Featherweight but it was more than it could handle. There are some amazing 3-D patterns in this book.

The technique is simple. Fuse two pieces of fabric onto Thermaheat (double sided iron-on fusible material, which I didn’t have) cut into wavy strips and weave them together. I made it in case I couldn’t weave a few placemats in time for a trip to Washington, DC to visit my darling daughter.

But I did.


I didn’t use a thick enough yarn for the weft for the first placemat so it became a towel and I was left with an odd number of placemats. I will definitely try this again – but not before my trip.

Pay homage or rearrange

My quilting stash of someone else’s almost completed projects keeps growing. These are basically quilts that could be finished with a few seams.

My latest acquisition poses a dilemma. The quilter completed several blocks with stars comprised of two fabrics: light and dark.

There are enough additional, partially sewn blocks to create several more. I could follow the same process and sew two fabric stars or…

20130216-101305.jpg I could shake up the remaining pieces and make multi-colored stars.

20130216-101748.jpgThen if the corner blocks were dark, in shadow, it would create an entirely different effect. You may have to squint your eyes to see the difference but it surprised me. I think it’s an excellent first lesson in color theory for me.

So sometime in the future I will have to decide. Shake it up or not? Always a good question to ask yourself.

Unfinished business

It’s a sad day when you are invited to raid another crafter’s home. I didn’t know this woman but friends did and her widower kindly offered to give away her fabric stash and library.  I’m not an opportunist, but got more involved in weaving after I acquired equipment, I couldn’t even name, at an auction of another local crafter’s home (raddle and bobbin winder).

In both instances, the saddest items to see were the unfinished works in process.   Were they abandoned earlier or still active projects? The family had already gone through everything and this is what they didn’t want.

A baby quilt, which only needs a few seams, with Dresden plates I would probably never make myself.
Dresden Plate baby quilt


Or a larger version.

Unfinished business 008With a separate patch  quilt.     Unfinished business 003

Some patches and more Dresden Plates.

Unfinished business 005


And, what I thought was a reasonable amount of fabric.

Unfinished business 010This made it imperative to organize my fabric, which had been stuffed into shelves.  I try to make it seem as if I don’t have a lot because, not only do I have a store of fabric,  there is raw fiber for spinning; spun and purchased yarn for knitting; weaving cotton for weaving; and fabric for quilting.  It will be much harder to find my entire stash because  it is literally tucked away all over the house.  In what appear to be empty suitcases, in an old trunk, in various baskets.  I read about one woman who stored her yarn in the  “boot” of her car.

All of this made me think  of organizing at least my fabric, craft library and weaving cotton.

First, all the fabric went into piles with similar prints or colors.

Unfinished business 011


Then it went back on the shelves with more  order.  Now if only Tim would straighten out his stuff.

Unfinished business 012


Almost finished projects were kept together and I will piece them in a pinch.  In the meantime, I went back to working on my blue and white quilt with a clear head.