Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

“My Splice” Quilt Top is Finished

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Turkey Tracks: January 24, 2021

“My Splice” Quilt Top is Finished”

“Splice” is the third project in this year’s (season 3) online class designed by Tara Faughnan for The Color Collective at Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia.

I finished my “My Splice” top Saturday—which I kept narrow so it can be a wall hanging. I also reversed the planned order of the rows in order to create the diamond which forms in the middle of the central rows.

Isn’t this color palette that Tara sent us pretty—so soft. I’ll hand-quilt along the diagonals. and will bind in the deep pink color, called Geranium. These are all Kona solid cottons. The darkest color is not black, but a deep rich navy blue.

In this project we learned how to draft a template on freezer paper, cut it into workable smaller pieces, and then layer the master template over 3 layers of freezer paper cut to size—which get ironed together in a bundle before taken to the sewing machine where an unthreaded needle sews over the marking lines. Then one separates the templates gently. Voila! Three templates for each row side (they are mirror images) that get used as foundation paper piecing when constructing the rows (rather than just the freezer paper method), which keeps all these diagonal lines really stable.

And the above is why I keep taking this online class. I have had so much fun and learned so much I didn’t know.

Thank you Tara and Amy!!

Written by louisaenright

January 25, 2021 at 8:12 am

There is a Moment…

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Turkey Tracks: January 23, 2021

There is a Moment…

I have, for many years, tried to describe what it is like here in Mid-Coast Maine, when the ponds freeze so that they are as slick as a huge pane of glass.

It would not be uncommon in past years to see lots of people out on the ice enjoying the moment—but not now with the virus prohibiting this kind of gathering.

The other day, the ice on Hosmer pond, which sits below our local skiing place (called the Snow Bowl), froze as smooth as a skating rink.

There was a very kind gentleman enjoying the moment, and he agreed to let me video him skating so I could finally show my family.

I wish I had done longer videos, but I will show you the three short ones I did as each shows a different long view of the smooth, smooth pond.

And, of course, that night we got a little snow, which covered the smooth ice. And that is why it used to be that people would drop all other activities when the pond is smooth because it never lasts that way for long.

Note that the ice at the pond’s edge is very soft. The shallow water easily melts at the edge. This gentleman found a long board that helped him get out on to the ice.

Written by louisaenright

January 23, 2021 at 6:58 pm

“Happy Quilt”

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Turkey Tracks: January 16, 2021

“Happy Quilt”

I’ve been busy this week: cataract surgery on my left eye happened on Tuesday and a week of healing, eye drops, and check-ins with family and friends followed. The left eye was really bad with seriously impaired vision that was starting to affect both eyes. It is now AWESOME! I have light and clarity back now, and I am delirious about my renewed vision. The right eye will be done Feb. 2nd. It all feels like a miracle.

Plus, I was totally able to do the procedure without being put to sleep—which would have meant a risk for me with my mast cell disorder/histamine reactions and would have been maybe pushing the envelope too far alongside the drugs they used to prep the eye. The whole process was totally interesting, and afterwards, they only had to check my blood pressure a few times, and I could just go home. I could tell right away that my eye was seeing things it had not seen in some time—and that has gotten better and better every day.

BUT, I put the binding on this baby quilt for a local baby born on the 11th before I left for the cataract procedure, and during this week, I was able to sew down the binding. I called it “Happy Quilt,” and it is made from a collection of Riley Blake fabrics I had in my stash that really needed to be used.

I got into this project via friend Betsy Maislen who was also making baby quilts. She used the Bow-Tie block, and when I saw her growing quilt top, I got hooked—especially as I wanted to do something for this local baby. Here’s Betsy’s quilt top, so you can see what drew me into this project:

Betsy used a pink binding—and the quilt is back from the longarm quilter. She is now making another baby quilt from Bonnie Hunter’s “Winter Blues” pattern, which we both have purchased now.

Here’s “Happy Quilt.”

And now I am back to hand quilting my “stripes” solid scrappy quilt and working on the January project for The Color Collective.

Today is rainy and way too warm—all the snow is melting. But I am looking forward to a rainy day of sewing.

Written by louisaenright

January 16, 2021 at 10:19 am

“Pips” Top Finished

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Turkey Tracks: January 4, 2021

“Pips” Top Finished

The second project for this year’s The Color Collective is all about curves and how to create them using a glue stick pen.

“Pips” are apple seeds—and this color palette is as bright and shiny as our green and red apples are.

I have no idea how I’ll quilt it, but I’ve organized backing and batting for it. I’ll probably bind it with the “limelight” green or the softer lavender “thistle.” I’m leaning toward the limelight green. I bought the walking foot instruction book WALK, and that will likely offer a solution for how to quilt this quilt. My mind is wanting curved lines that track down—and around the “Pips.”

The new project (3) is here and I’ve downloaded the pattern and watched the videos. It will involve making a freezer paper template that gets used like paper foundation piecing. And part of making the template will involve using one’s threadless sewing machine needle to mark out the sewing lines.

I always learn so much with The Color Collective projects as each introduces a new skill—or refines an older one.

Written by louisaenright

January 4, 2021 at 9:07 am

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Project 3 of The Color Collective Arrives Tomorrow

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Turkey Tracks: December 31, 2020

Project 3 of The Color Collective Arrives Tomorrow

The fabrics are here and have been washed, but not yet ironed.

The dark one is a very rich navy dark blue.

Meanwhile, “Pips” is almost done. I have one more row. So pics of the top will follow soon.

And now we are living through the last day of 2020. Tomorrow we will be celebrating the start of a whole new year.

Written by louisaenright

December 31, 2020 at 9:08 am

A Quilter’s Table

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Turkey Tracks: December 28, 2020

A Quilter’s Table “Bee Sewcial” Quilts

I have a treat for you.

Debbie of A Quilter’s Table posted pictures in her blog of her #BeeSewcial quilts over the past years, and they are fun to see.

This group (#BeeSewcial, which you can see on Instagram) gives each other “prompts” that solicit improv blocks that will be made into an improv quilt. They work in solids only.

Our local modern quilt guild has been doing this “prompt” method started by the #beesewcial quilters as a challenge for those in the group interested for the past two years. We do not limit to solids. I occasionally put blocks I have made for each person’s blog on this blog.

Even if you are not a quilter, it is fun to see Debbie’s wonderful improv quilts. If you are a quilter, you might want to follow her blog.

https://aquilterstable.blogspot.com/2020/12/puzzling.html?showComment=1608726149138#c8519443474142047893

Written by louisaenright

December 28, 2020 at 9:13 am

An “Unintended” Wild Car Ride

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Turkey Tracks: December 23, 2020

An “Unintended” Wild Car Ride

Last Monday late afternoon, I had an “unintended” backwards wild ride in the Subaru. It lasted only 4 to 5 seconds, but I landed in a deep snowy ditch filled with water—and that was a blessing as the car didn’t hit something (people, another car, a tree) that would have been far worse.

I was backing out of a friend’s driveway on Start Road, and as I slowly backed out of the driveway to get to the place where I could see if anything was coming down the road, suddenly I was thrown backwards as the car went full bore speed backwards.  I didn’t know this car could go that fast in such a short time. Before I could take a breath and in about 4 to 5 seconds the car went runaway out over the road and into the ditch—engine still racing full bore until I got the car in park and turned it off.

I might have braked. I don’t know. It happened so fast and was the most surreal feeling. But braking would not have stopped the car in what is known as an “unintended acceleration” occurrence.

My friend came out of the garage where he was working to help me get out of the car—it was listing to the driver side into the ditch so I had to crawl out over the passenger seats and grab his helping hand.  AC doggie was with me with no winter coat as we were just going to drop off a check and have a little outing and it was still not crazy cold. I had to get his harness out of the far side of the car and get him into it and find his leash.

We called AAA, and my friend took me inside to stay warm and sat with me until the tow truck came—two hours later and in the now total dark.  AAA towed the car to Dan Foshay’s Cooper Tires in town, and my friend took me home.

In thinking about it, there was an incident with the engine racing a while back, maybe even a year ago, but I was stopped at the mailbox and facing up a steep hill, it somehow stopped without further incident.  I don’t remember what I did at the time to stop it. And there were at least 2 incidents when starting the car in the garage where the engine raced, but not as powerfully and the car was in park.

I tossed and turned all that night and at some point realized I would never get in that car again and that I had to take responsibility for getting it off the road—mixed with profound feelings of luck that no one had been hurt.

I wrote my two sons and DILs the next morning, and the older son wrote right back with research about these “unintended accelerations” in Subarus. I, too, started to research. Apparently there are two class-action suits now pending in courts over this issue. AND, there have been other cars with this kind of issue in past years—Toyota for one. Toyota was eventually fined a substantial amount of money.

It is a computer problem—with a sporadic glitch between the braking and acceleration systems. When it happens, the brake will not work to stop the car.

There are also videos out there on what to do if you have more time than 4 to 5 seconds to react. First, you do brake as hard as you can and you don’t remove your foot from the brake. Then you put the car into neutral—do not turn it off yet as you will lose steering and braking power which makes the car hard to handle manually. The car should coast to stop, and then you can turn it off.

After a lot of help from the people at Dan Foshay’s, for which I am very grateful, my car was towed on Wednesday to a used car dealer who agreed to use it for parts and who would give me a fair check for the car. This car was a one-owner car and though 10 years old was just below 60K miles. If the used car dealer is tempted to sell the car, that will be on them. I’ve done what I can.

In this holiday season, I am so grateful for luck, family, friends, and kind community people who helped me through this problem.

Written by louisaenright

December 27, 2020 at 9:05 am

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“Marrakesh” Quilt Done

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Turkey Tracks: December 26, 2020

“Marrakesh” Quilt Done

Marrakesh is such a bright, happy quilt.

It is the first project for Sewtopia’s and Tara Faughnan’s online class The Color Collective in season 3. This project was all about color combinations and how color can change the look of a block. I also learned some new techniques—one of which was a new way (for me) for making flying geese

The block on the middle left is a happy accident. I cut the wrong side of a unit which emphasized the navy blue rather than the orange. I left it as I liked it.

I matchstick quilted on my domestic with a pale blue-grey thread, but every now and then I ran in a gold, or a pale orange, or a coral. You don’t really notice them overall, but they do add some interest and complexity I think—though it makes for a lot of re-treading of the machine.

The backing is “Newsprint” by Carrie Bloomston, and I had enough of the pale orange to make bias binding.

I did put a hanging sleeve on this quilt, but I don’t have a hanging place right now. Well, there is one place, but I’m waiting to see what other projects we do in The Color Collective this year.

Written by louisaenright

December 26, 2020 at 12:40 pm

A Chipmunk Mystery

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Turkey Tracks: December 19, 2020

A Chipmunk Mystery

AC doggie is…fast!

AC and I were on the downstairs couch last night—I had a quilt over my lap, and he was on my lap.  SUDDENLY he leaped from my lap like something shot out of a cannon, ran around the back of the couch between all the legs of the sewing table I’ve set up to do a quilting job while I watch tv—an area he has avoided—and there was all sorts of frantic scuffling on the wooden floor beyond.  

By now I was trying to get out from under the quilt to see what on earth…  

In about 3 more seconds as I was finally on my feet, he appeared on the rug in front of me shaking a dying chipmunk.  What???  The whole event took less than 10 seconds.  My heavens that dog can move fast.  


Then I had to find something with which to pick it up and throw it out into the snow—which meant AC who was jumping around me had to follow.  And for the rest of the night, he wanted to go outside about every 30 minutes in the bitter cold to check on it. And I’m sure that happened first thing this morning.  


But how did it get in?  And when?  With this cold, the chipmunks would be hibernating. I am suspicious of the closet at the downstairs door.  AC has been telling me that chipmunks are under the porch just outside there.  Have they found a way inside? Could they get into the tv room by going under the closet door? 


It’s a mystery.    

PS: I wasn’t sure at first it WAS a chipmunk as the animal’s coat was very dark. But I googled it, and chipmunks lose their bright orange color in the winter in favor of a dark brown and black coat. Who knew as I never see them from the onslaught of cold weather until spring when they emerge to herald that spring is on the way.

Today will involve a thorough inspection of the suspect closet, which is full of coats, scarves, mittens, hats, and shoes.

Written by louisaenright

December 19, 2020 at 9:36 am

Yummy Lunch

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Turkey Tracks: December 18, 2020

Yummy Lunch

I’m the queen of cream—local, raw heavy cream, that is.

I’m off coffee right now, so I’ve been looking for other ways to use my weekly heavy cream.

Look at this yummy, warm lunch.

I sautéed some veggies and herbs in duck fat: zucchini, onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower until they began to color up. Then I added in some cubed roasted chicken from breasts I cooked the day before—just turned the meat in the veggies until it heated a bit. Add sea salt at some point.

Then the magic!

I poured cream over the whole mixture and stirred it until it heated and got bubbly. At that point it all needs to leave the frying pan and got into a dish that will hold the cream gravy.

Delicious!

I’ll be doing this method again with leftover meats.

Written by louisaenright

December 18, 2020 at 9:37 am