Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Muddy and Murky

I cannot tell you what was in my mind when I made these blocks. Nor can I tell you what insight prompted me to put them away.  Half of them finish at 8" and the other half finish at 4".

They came to the surface this week, shortly after the dozen Bill Morris blocks which are now all together and just waiting for a border.

Now these are up on the wall.  There are a lot of partial FQs remaining, and some uncut FQs of this murky, muddy strain.

And, as I cannot tell you what started these blocks or what put them on hold, nor can I tell you what will become of them.  Perhaps you can tell me.  I wonder if they would do better in a straight rather than on-point set.  I wonder if they would like some breathing space in the form of lattice.  I wonder if there is any hope at all that they can turn into a nice project.

Ideas solicited.  Even if your idea is "throw them out."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweet William

It was one of those swaps where I sent out a piece of  my fabric to each participant and gave her the specifications for what I wanted.  In this case, I sent out pieces of various William Morris fabrics that were predominantly green.  I asked people to use a white or WOW background and, if they liked, another color to coordinate with the Morris.  I wanted 12.5" blocks.  I think I received two dozen back, and the first dozen were made into a quilt a long time ago.  I found this remaining dozen this weekend and decided to do something with them.  They seemed to want some nice white lattice and border and I thought that some stars in the cornerstones would be nice.

I finished setting the blocks tonight and have been looking at the piece of white fabric that I have left to determine whether there is enough to make 6" borders.  There might be just enough.  Or there might not.  I need to do the math again when I'm not tired!

If I need to get more white, that's not a problem.  I'll just add it to the shopping list for Friday when my visitor and I go out to Lancaster County.  I'd like to get the top all finished this weekend.  Because I found another set of blocks from another swap that could use some attention.

Three More Sleeps!

Guess who's coming to visit at the end of this week?

To sleep over for two nights?

To visit and play and meet some of my friends?

If you're guessing Shelby, you're not right but you're mighty close!

Three more sleeps!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene: The Morning After The Night Before

Well, the storm of the century decade news cycle* has come and gone, leaving our little section Near Philadelphia pretty much intact.

In no way minimizing those who had real damage or threat to life, I can write only of my experience.  It is still slightly windy and there is a very light rain still falling.  And there are some fallen branches.  We have perhaps a couple more hours of this.

Our basement is dry, thanks to a major investment we made several years ago, and no trees or wires are down as far as I can see.

Church, however, has been cancelled for today.  So it looks as though I face a brief period of pick-up sticks and then can return to Bernina!

Thanks to all who expressed concern for us.

*Timothy J. Wengert, FB posting, Sunday morning

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Morning Starshine!

The Alps quilt is a flimsy!  I spent a fair amount of today waiting for Hurricane Irene to come, finishing the last few blocks, and sewing them all together.  We've got rain and some breeze, but -- so far -- nothing like what had been predicted.

I thought I'd share a picture of this leader-ender project that has been in the works for ages and ages. When I don't have another leader-ender, I pull this one out to use.  Unlike most of the others, it has never demanded to be a primary project.

This picture shows half of the blocks that are made and there are the same number in a pile and the makings for twenty-eight more.  I'm thinking when it is all done of just putting the blocks together like this and not adding any kind of sashing.

The rain is getting a little heavier and the wind is supposed to pick up later on tonight.  We have a lot of large trees, so I'm going to take my car up to the high school parking lot where it won't be in any danger of having a tree fall on it.

I'll likely get back to these stars -- and perhaps a new project! -- tomorrow.  Thinking William Morris.  Which is what I'm often thinking.  As you know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Several Times

When I was growing up Near Philadelphia, there was a large (for the times) amusement park not very far away.  I remember riding past it, looking out the window from the back seat while my father drove.  It looked like an enchanting place.  I don't specifically remember going there with my family, but I must have.  I went plenty of times as a teenager and young adult.  My parents told me that at one time John Phillip Sousa and his band played there.

One of the rides was a roller coaster, the old-fashioned painted-white-wooden kind, and it featured an enormous mountain structure.  As a child I couldn't imagine having the courage to go on such a thing, but I was fascinated by it.  Because of the mountain structure and the up and down hills, the ride was called The Alps.  Eventually fascination won out over cowardice, and I rode The Alps.  Several times.

When I first saw the pattern, Roller Coaster, on Katy's blog just before it was published in Fat Quarterly, I thought it was a nifty quilt.  I didn't think much about the name of it; I just knew I wanted to make it.  Most likely several times.  I liked it that much.  I bought the issue as soon as it was available and as soon as some other odds and ends were cleared up, I started working on it.  The blocks are two-thirds made at this point and I still like it enormously.

It has to be called The Alps.

If you're still with me, here's something sort of related:  There's a wonderful semi-autobiographical novel by James Michener called The Fires of Spring.  It is totally different from his other tomes.  I read it for the first time when I was newly married and had moved Far From Philadelphia.  I loved it and was thrilled to identify landmarks near Philadelphia in its pages, especially the amusement park which had to be the same one that housed The Alps.  I've reread the book several times and have suggested it to friends.  And now I commend it to you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Quick Visit

Tom, Anastasia, and Nate were in town for a very quick visit.

In this family, curls start from the back . . .

. . . and then spread all over.

Tom and Nate.

Aunt Anastasia reads a story.

Two out of three happy.

Three out of three plus Magnolia happy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Quilt Day

Today was the semi-annual Quilt Day at church.  I love this event and only miss it because of being out of town or having bronchitis (that latter more likely in February).  Some of the participants are women I see all of the time and others are folks I run into only at these events.  There are always some new people.

Here's Kristina, who I see all of the time, but in the workplace setting mostly.  She was working on this very pretty and crisp looking creation.
Late in the morning I was talking with a couple of ladies near the ironing board when out of the corner of my eye I saw something amazing.  I interrupted myself mid-sentence to dash over to see this quilt (as though it might have disappeared if I'd loitered!).  Debbie, who was new to me, claimed to be a new quilter, and  must have been telling the truth because she had no idea what a masterpiece she was producing.

Debbie's quilt, of course, reminded me of the granny square afghan that Joe's grandmother made for our wedding gift.

As of last evening, I still didn't know what project I was going to take to Quilt Day. There were a lot of things on a lot of burners, in a manner of speaking.  This morning when I went downstairs to pack up, I realized that I just couldn't wait any longer to start my [first]  Roller Coaster quilt.  I had a French General jelly roll and some yardage of solid tobacco-or-coffee French General that I'd bought a few months ago with another project in mind.

And this is what I've accomplished.  I love it as much in reality as I did in the picture!  Won't take long to get this one finished . . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The summer reading for our administrative team this year has been A Quaker Book of Wisdom which is full of wisdom for Quakers and non-Quakers alike, IMNSHO.  Each chapter title has a black and white photograph of a quilt.  The book has nothing to do with quilts, but they certainly do make a pretty chapter title page!

The title photo for the "Simplicity" chapter was particularly appealing.  I tried without success to find out what color the original quilt was and how large it was.

Here is my "Simplicity," in browns and creams.  The finished size is 12" x 13.5".  It is hand quilted.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Have You Ever . . . Even Once?

I don't know when or how I first stumbled upon Murr's blog, but I'm awfully happy that I did.  She's got a wry (this may be the first time I've ever used that word [and it feels good]) tone that I thoroughly enjoy.  Most recently she wrote about giving blood and that made me thing about my years of blood donation.

I gave for a good long time, twice a year usually, from the time I first realized I was eligible.  I just thought it was an important thing to do.  Because I've always had low blood pressure and rolling veins, it wasn't always an easy thing to do.  But that didn't stop me.

Until one night in May.

I went down to the church and gave my blood and skimped a bit on the juice and pretzel table because I needed to get home.  It was the night of Sherry's junior prom and because we had excellent rhododendrons, the crowd was gathering at our place for pre-prom photos.  I sure wish I had a digital version of one of them because those kids did look good.  So I hurried home and we hurried about getting things ready and then standing around for this pose and that pose and kibitzing with the other parents who had come over for the photo op.  And it was warm.  At last they were all in their cars and off for a lovely evening.  The parents dispersed and Joe and I headed down to the pub for our dinner.

It was crowded and we couldn't get a table right away, so we were standing at the bar.  And it all caught up to me.  And I said, "I don't feel right."  And down I went.  I passed out.  In a bar.

And that's the last time I gave blood.

Hey -- go read Murr's post, won't you?  It's better than mine.  And give blood.  If you can.  And don't skimp on the pretzels and juice.  Trust me.

Nancy, NP

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby Boy Quilt

I took a break from my Schnibble project (which seems to go on and on and on) to make a baby quilt with left-overs from a previous project.  This was easy and went together quickly.  I'm not going to border it -- it is 40" square at present.  It needs to be backed, tied, and bound.

I may have mentioned earlier that a group of us has committed to having one child-size or baby-size quilt to donate to the local hospice by early September.  I had already made a quilt for an adult male and had a few ideas for a baby quilt and decided on this one.  I need to get the floss for tying and make the binding and am thinking the aqua rather than the brown.  Responsible opposing viewpoints will be entertained!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

NP's Peachy Day

On Thursday afternoon, we drove down to Cape May to have dinner and then return.  A lot of driving for a short spell.  But a delicious meal.  A silly thing to do.  Perhaps even sillier, we stopped at a farm stand and brought home an enormous box of peaches.  I had this hankering to make peach jam.

Friday evening we had company for dinner, so that afternoon I was busy getting ready for that.  By Saturday morning, the peaches were at a do-or-die stage.  I started out by making the cobbler featured in yesterday's post.  That took care of a dozen or so of them. Then I went out to the grocery store to buy Sure-Jell and sugar while Joe retrieved the water bath canner.

Except he didn't.  He looked for a long, long time, here, there, and everywhere, and it was not to be found.  Meanwhile, the peaches were getting riper and riper.  So I looked at the recipes in the pectin box and decided to make freezer jam.  Got out my jars and washed them and looked at the recipe again and it said to use plastic containers.  So out to the store again I went.

Plunged into scalding, peeling, slicing, and pulverizing, and after a long time (some of those skins just wouldn't  come off) I had two batches finished.  About sixteen cups.

And still had beaucoups peaches remaining.  Peaches that looked even less perky than they had in the morning.  So I continued to scald, peel, and slice, and mixed them in big bowls with a little sugar and lemon juice.  Near the end, Joe came in from his day of installing a new threshold and getting acquainted with a new storm door, and took pity on me.  He began to peel and I continued to slice and mix and at last we were finished.  The neighbors received a bowl full and there's another bowl ready for Carol, later today.

Guess what we had for breakfast this morning!  Golly, were they good.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dog Days of August

Someone -- who shall remain nameless but let the record show that she has no blog of her own -- has taken me to task for a week of no blogging!  I told her it's August, and everything slows down.  She didn't buy it.

This past week was the penultimate week of Summer Hours at school.  After next week, we return to our regularly scheduled 8-4:30.  So I've relished my afternoons this past week.  I  made more belts.  I worked on my Schnibble/Schnobble.  I finished a teensy weensy project (noticing that spell-check flags "teensy" but lets "weensy" slide), more about which later.

One afternoon after I came home, we drove down to Cape May, walked on the mall for a bit, had a scrumptious dinner at our favorite restaurant and drove back home.  It was a lot of driving.  But a memorable dinner and evening.

Been playing too much Scrabble on Facebook with a bunch of very intelligent people.  Tried a couple of new recipes.  Made old favorite peach cobbler this morning.  Recipe here for those so inclined.

It's August.  Last year I remember researching the origins of "dog days."  What I found wasn't impressive enough to remember.  But somehow, that seems perfectly fine..

Sunday, August 07, 2011

In Which I Resist a Clever Title

Spent yesterday morning cleaning up and organizing [most of] the sewing studio.  It's looking much better.  At least on the surface.

I found a whole bunch of 6" CW HSTs that I'd made earlier this summer.  Clearly with some project in mind that was so obvious that I didn't jot down any notes.  And now do you think I know what my intention was?  Oy.

So I moved into my new passion:  beltmaking!  A whitish one for me and one for Judy and one for my dear neighbor and a pink one for a little friend and then got started on the red . . . .   Oh, what fun!  And there are three more ready to be made as soon as I pick up some more thread.  They go quickly and are very satisfying to make.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Lovely Outing

I enjoyed a lovely outing this afternoon.  With summer hours ending in another couple of weeks, I took advantage of having a long afternoon to meet my dear relative Susan for our annual summer lunch.  She lives about two hours away from me and her life is crazy-busy with three children, a full-time teaching job, and a pastor husband, so we don't see nearly enough of each other.

We met today at The Diner Formerly Known As Zinns where we had a delicious lunch.  The portions are so generous and the prices so low and the menu so extensive; I swear I don't know how they manage to stay in business.  I then shared my Burkholder's coupons and we drove out there to see what was what.

For years, ever since they came out, I've been interested in a lazy susan cutting mat.  It just made so much sense.  But the price was off-putting.  Pat recently bought one and seems quite pleased with hers.  So with my 30% off coupon, today seemed the right time to indulge.  And so I did.  Susan said she hadn't bought fabric in so long that perhaps she had forgotten how.  She hadn't.

What a nice afternoon.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

More Chihuly and Some Odd Lads

"And through the open window, she hands Charlie a sandwich . . . "

Last Friday morning we drove north to do something we've wanted for many years.  Ever since we'd seen a PBS documentary on Dale Chihuly, Joe and I have hoped to visit one of his installations.  They've been in places like Seattle and Venice and Tennessee, all pretty much out of our reach.  Finally there was one in Boston!  Very driveable from here.  And our dear friend Sharon lives just a short train ride outside of the city, so we had a place to stay and good company for our visit!

On Saturday morning we hopped aboard the MTA, humming the old familiar tune and hoping not to embarrass ourselves by bursting forth into song, and traveled to the Boston Museum of the Fine Arts.  The following is a sampling of what we viewed there.  It was everything we'd dreamed it would be!