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Archive for February 2012

Turkey Tracks: The O’Bryan Quilt–an old friend

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Turkey Tracks:  February 26, 2012

 The O’Bryan–An Old Friend

When we visited Charleston, SC, last Thanksgiving, we stayed with each of our sons for half of our visit.  At Bryan’s we slept under the 9th quilt I made:  “The O’Bryan.”  It was like visiting an old friend to see it again, never mind sleeping under it.

Here’s what it looks like now:

Bryan helped picking out the colors.  I used a King’s Crown block, machine pieced it, and hand quilted it–so I really had it in my hands for a long time.

Here’s a closeup of one of the blocks so you can see the hand quilting.

And, here’s a picture of some of the blocks:

I rarely hand quilt anymore.  I love to piece quilt tops too much I guess.   And I especially love my long-arm machine, which is allowing me to finish more quilt tops.  It seems knitting–and putting the binding on quilts–is supplying my need to do something with my hands at night.

It’s really fun to go into family or friends’ houses and to see one of my quilts being used and loved.  Or to get a picture from someone showing the quilt in their homes.

Written by louisaenright

February 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Turkey Tracks: Leftover Sock Yarn–Kelly’s Birthday Socks

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Turkey Tracks:  February 26, 2012

Leftover Sock Yarn–Kelly’s Birthday Socks

Here’s a pic of the first pair of socks out of the leftover sock yarn:

I bought three small sock-yarn skeins to coordinate with the mixture of leftover yarns:  navy, cream, and a fern green.

Here I used the navy for the cuffs, toes, and heels.

I had JUST enough of this one kind of yarn with the little color flecks to do the rest of both socks.

Mercy!  They’re cute, huh?

Kelly says they fit.  I talked to him this morning.  I sent the socks home with Mike, who was here last weekend for the Camden Conference.  He also got a bottle of Cheryl Wixson’s homemade ketchup into his suitcase.  Kelly LOVES ketchup.

The socks are on a bedspread that John’s mother crocheted for his sister, Maryann, for her 16th birthday.  It’s still going strong, and we love it.  It is on the bed in our guest bedroom.

Written by louisaenright

February 26, 2012 at 11:50 am

Turkey Tracks: String Symphony Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  February 24, 2012

String Symphony Quilt

One set of scraps I’ve saved for the past 10 years or more now are strips of fabrics that are at least 1 1/2 inches wide.  For the past two months, I’ve been making WONDERFUL! quilts with these pre-cut scraps–as you can see on this blog.

What to do with these strips though?

I had been thinking for years of a log cabin quilt, so I tried a traditional block, as I love those, but the initial block was tedious to make and dull.  I knew I’d go quite mad if I started down that road…   Besides, I wasn’t sure I had enough lights and darks to make a log cabin quilt work well.  Here’s that block:

What about a string block?  I cut 6 1/2 muslin blocks and started strip and flip sewing a few, which you can see untrimmed here.

Four blocks together looked interesting.  The mixed colors worked quite well together…

Now what?

Float the blocks in a print?  Maybe surround the block with a fabric that is solid or appears solid–much like Kaffee Fasset likes to do with a wild print?  Here’s a block surrounded with one of Kaffe Fasset’s fabrics.  I set in 9-patch squares along the sides and into the strip above the big blocks.  If I could change anything, it would be to use a bolder fabric to edge the blocks–one that blended more with the background fabrics.  A brighter block edging that also faded into the background print with the 9 patches.

Here’s the finished quilt, which I called “String Symphony” because the quilt plays music your heart can hear.  It “sings.”

Here’s the back (another fabulous Kaffe Fasset!) and the binding is an orange and pink polka dot fabric that works with both sides:

I love this quilt!  It’s a very happy quilt.  And, it’s my 74th quilt.

I used up most of the fabric strips and have already started saving more as I continue quilting.  And I have about 5 single blocks left over.   HMMMM….   I wonder if I could make placemats…

Written by louisaenright

February 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Turkey Tracks: Surprise in Tara’s Goat Pen

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Turkey Tracks:  February 24, 2012

Surprise in Tara’s Goat Pen

My friend Tara Derr Webb grew up with our sons.

Last fall, she and her husband Leighton moved to Accord, NY, to a rural house surrounded by lots of land.

Tara has two goats, two dogs, and a cat.  How she got the goats is a longer story.  She arrived in Accord with one (Georgia) and purchased another (Sugar) as Georgia needed other goat company.  All the animals follow her everywhere, pen or no pen, like puppies.

All last fall, she and Leighton worked to build a shelter and pen for the goats.

The  other morning, here’s what greeted them when they opened the shelter:

Sugar had a baby!

They had no idea she was pregnant.  I remember thinking not long ago after looking at one of Tara’s videos that Sugar was “thriving.”  Her belly was round and fat.

I still don’t know the gender or the name…

Written by louisaenright

February 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Interesting Information: BAD! Hershey

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Interesting Information:  February 24, 2012

BAD!  Hershey

The winter 2011 journal “Wise Traditions” reports that Hershey’s is buying up small high-end chocolate producers, like Scharffenberger and Joseph Schmidt, and changing their formulations.  One such change is to add corn syrup rather than using sugar.  Scharffenberger is pricey, but altogether great in recipes.  So, beware what is occurring and read labels.  If Hershey’s changes the formula, I for one will not be willing to pay the extra $$$$ for an unadulterated chocolate.

Also, Hershey’s has largely replaced cocoa butter in their Hershey brand candy bars with  PGPR, or polyglycerol polyricinoleate, which is a ” `yellowish, viscous liquid comprised of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil or soybean oil.’ ”  “Wise Traditions” calls this stuff “anti-freeze-like slime.”

I’m not buying any more Hershey chocolate.  Bet it’s in those “kisses” too.  Yuck!

I do buy Free Trade chocolate all the time.  So far, it’s not been subjected to the market’s self-destructive drive to destroy a perfectly good product by substituting cheap ingredients.

Buyer Beware!

Written by louisaenright

February 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

Turkey Tracks: Knitting Class, Carrying Yarn Color

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Turkey Tracks:   February 24, 2012

Knitting Class, Carrying Yarn Color

Once we got our yarn from Kelly Corbett’s Romney Ridge Farm, the next step in Giovanna’s and my “carrying color” project was to take Aloisia Pollack’s class and to buy her pattern.  So, she invited us to come to her home in Jefferson, Maine, which is located at the western top of Damariscotta Lake.  Off we went one fine morning a few weeks ago now.

Here’s the view from Aloisia’s front windows–her rental cabins (Sunset Cabins) lie in a string alongside the lake:

Here’s Aloisia with a sweater project that uses the “carrying color” technique.

To remind, here’s the sweater we’re trying to make, but using our own color choices:

As of Saturday, the 18th, here’s what Giovanna’s sweater looks like:

And, here’s mine.  I made the bottom bands one color and wider.  Since this band gets repeated at the top of the sleeves, I’m not sure I like the wider stripes…  Giovanna tells me that this kind of band is traditional in FairIsle sweaters.

And, Giovanna’s tension is looking better than mine.   Giovanna found a widget that fits over your forefinger that helps control the two yarns–in that it keeps them from tangling and twisting so much.  We got one for me in Belfast at Heavenly Socks, and it does help a lot.  You can see it dangling from my threads; it’s orange.

We both did wider ribbing than Aloisia’s pattern…  Perhaps my band will work with the longer ribbing…  And, I’m making a cardigan, not a pullover.

Giovanna and I are both still feeling like we have clumsy, slow fingers.  But, my knit row is now faster than my purl rows…   And, as we’re doing the sweater “in the round,” that slows down the process as well.

On the way home from Belfast, on Route 52 by Megunticook Lake, we saw an eagle in the middle of the road eating some road kill.  Giovanna stopped the car, and I got this picture after the eagle flew up into the trees.  Follow the two white birch’s up, and you’ll see him/her.

Written by louisaenright

February 24, 2012 at 11:30 am

Turkey Tracks: Maine Sea Salt

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Turkey Tracks:  February 24, 2012

Maine Sea Salt

I’ve been emailing with Stephen Cook of Maine Sea Salts, and he assures me that he does not heat his seawater in any way to make his salt.  The white color is because he is solar drying sea water that does not, itself, have coloring ingredients.   He told me that the colors in salt (grey, pink, black) come from the clay deposits where salt is harvested.

The url I saw that shows water being heated in large, wooden half-barrels dates back to the late 1990s.  He no longer uses that method.  He totally uses solar drying methods now.  Stephen is working toward getting that reference and picture removed from the internet.  I had a feeling that “old” internet entries was the problem, so I am happy to report that Maine Sea Salt will have all the many nutrients salt should have.

Go Stephen!

Written by louisaenright

February 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

Turkey Tracks: Giovanna Winding Yarn Into Balls

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Turkey Tracks:  February 18, 2012

Giovanna Winding Yarn Into Balls

Giovanna McCarthy is a master knitter.

She has knitting equipment I don’t have.

Giovanna, very sweetly, offered to wind my Romney Ridge yarn for me at her house.

Here’s Giovanna setting up a skein of yarn to be wound.

Here she is winding away–which was not as easy as she’s making it look as often, the yarn got tangled up and has to be sorted out.  It happens sometimes, she says.  See that red shawl back of her on the chair.  Boy is it spectacular!  She just finished making it.  I’ll do a separate entry for it.

Note the table back of Giovanna–what you can’t see clearly is the blocking pad she has where she can block a whole sweater.  There is a gorgeous Irish knit sweater drying over there.

Here’s my yarn, all wound into balls and ready to go.  The greyish (it’s really more brown) yarn on the bottom left is the natural color of one of Kelly’s sheep.

Here’s Giovanna’s yarn all wound into balls–she chose more variegated versions than I did, but we both got a skein of the natural sheep yarn.

Next step:  Going to Aloisia Pollack’s house down in Jefferson, on Damariscotta Lake, for our lesson how to carry two colors.

Written by louisaenright

February 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

Turkey Tracks: The Aurifil is Finally Gone

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Turkey Tracks:  February 18, 2012

The Aurifil is Finally Gone

Here it is:  the –finally–empty Aurifil spool:

I must be the only quilter in the world who does not like Aurifil.

And, I don’t like it.

Yes, it lasts FOREVER.  It’s like the Energizer Bunny of quilting threads.  And, it doesn’t produce much lint.

I feel like I’m sewing with spider silk, though.  And, it isn’t very strong.  And, it does not “stick” to the cotton fabric in the way the Mettler I mostly use does.  It has a tendency to unravel at the edges of seams as a result–which is a HUGE pain when piecing blocks as they start to come undone at the edges as you handle them.

I bought this light grey Aurifil years ago when everyone raved about it.  So, in this moment of using up and reorganizing in the quilt room, I used up the Aurifil.

Thank heavens it’s gone!

Written by louisaenright

February 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

Turkey Tracks: Raw Dog Food and Sojos

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Turkey Tracks:  February 18, 2012

Raw Dog Food and Sojos

When I was a child visiting in Reynolds, Georgia, the home of my grandparents, no one gave the many fine bird dogs dried dog food.

They didn’t because commercial dried dog food had not yet been developed.

The dogs ate table scraps.

And they lived long and healthy lives.

I fed our first dogs dried dog food.  That’s what everyone did by the time I was 30.  Our beautiful pair of Springer Spaniels had chronic ear problems, chronic itching skin problems, and when they got old, massive flea problems.  By the time they died, the poor things were skin and bones and miserable.

After the springers, I started reading about feeding dogs raw foods.  And, remembering back to what my family used to feed dogs before dried dog food made feeding dogs “easy.”

Our rat terriers have never had dried dog food since they crossed the threshold of our house.  At 9 and 10 this spring, they both still play like puppies, their coats glisten, and they don’t have any grey starting on their faces.  The only vet bills I have had are for rabies shots; the occasional teeth cleaning mostly for Miss Reynolds Georgia, since she isn’t as diligent about chewing bones as Penolope is; and the heartworm medicine I give them ONLY in the spring and summer.  And, I space that out to about 45 or 50 days.

The digestive tracks of dogs are most like that of humans.

Would you eat dried dog food if you had a choice?

How would it seem to you if you constantly smelled delicious food cooking, but you never got any?

And, like humans, too many grains, or any at all for dogs, put too much stress on dogs’ bodies.

And, dogs don’t fare any better on chemical brews than humans do.

Our dogs eat, mostly, raw meat.  I am so lucky because I can get whole chickens–skin, bones, organs, everything–ground up for $1.49 a pound.  But, for years, and sometimes now, the two dogs ate a half-pound each of raw hamburger a day.  They also like whole chicken necks, skin and all.  I supplement with table scraps, yogurt, and fresh eggs from time to time.  Miss Reynolds Georgia loves roast chicken better than I do.

Recently, friend Patricia Shea showed me Sojos, which is a bag of dehydrated veggies that one mixes into the meat  with a bit of added water to dehydrated the mixture.  It’s full of mostly good things:  veggies, fruit, garlic, and so forth.  And, it smells fresh and clean and very nice.  It isn’t organic though, so I only use it when I just don’t have any cooked veggies in the house to give the girlies.


Vets and people who raise dogs and sell them are horrified when one mentions table scraps.  My holistic vet, however, knows raw food is better and is a strong advocate for it.  Remember that mainstream vets are taught that real food is bad for dogs.   Bless their hearts, they don’t know any better.  And, most of them think what they “know” is right and that they are doing good things.

But, never forget that the power of industry to inculcate unscientific nonsense so it can sell more products is awesome.  And, cynically speaking, vets do benefit from treating chronically sick dogs and from giving them a bunch of shots and “protective” medicines dogs don’t need and which wreck their immune systems.

The same pattern is likely true for human docs too.

Those of us who “remember” are getting older now.  Soon, no one will know that there was another way to live and another way to feed people and dogs and chickens and cows and so forth so that they all had abundant health.

PS:  If you are thinking of switching a dog to raw food, proceed very VERY slowly, and with the help of a holistic vet if you have one in your area.  Dogs on dried dog food lose the enzymes that will process real food, so you need to help them redevelop those enzymes.  It’s easier to switch a puppy over than it is an older dog…  But, it can be done.

Written by louisaenright

February 18, 2012 at 10:27 am