Turkey Tracks: First Snow

Turkey Tracks:  November 26, 2013

First Snow

I woke this morning to our first snow.

I love the stillness that comes with the first flakes–and the white sky.

We didn’t get much–but I didn’t start off on my errands until the roads were plowed.  Linda McKinney was here early, and she said the roads were very slippery.

Together we got the house ready for Gina Caceci (Falls Church, VA, beloved neighbor) and Maryann Enright (beloved SIL), both of whom will arrive tomorrow–God willing and the creek don’t rise.  (We are expecting weather tomorrow, but also warmer temps.)

I bought a handmade Christmas wreath at Good Tern Coop in Rockland this morning.  The fresh-cut greenery made the car smell so lovely all the way home.

That’s a bow made from birch bark.

Christmas Wreath

But what drew me in addition was the Pretty Bush (purple) berries.  We had a Pretty Bush back in Virginia, and I have not seen one here in Maine.  But, they must grow here as these wreaths are made from local plants.

Christmas Wresth detail

I will tuck some Christmas Balls into the wreath when I get around to it.

I am a staunch defender of keeping Christmas confined to December.  But Thanksgiving is very late this year, so it’s gobbling up Thanksgiving in all kinds of ways–not to mention that Black Friday has now become Black Thursday and Friday.  But that’s what the market will do if you don’t beat it back into a place that’s good for all people–including the ones that have to work for stores to be open.

I finished the big Wheels of Mystery Block quilt–now named “Earth.”  It’s gorgeous.  I’ll put up pictures after it lands at its new home–which will be after our December Coastal Quilters’ meeting on the 14th.  But here’s a picture of part of the top–I made many of these blocks by hand and then discovered they sew quite well on the machine.  I love all the geometric shapes the block forms.

Earth block

I’ve gone quite mad in the quilt room and have five projects going–six if you count the little clam shell quilt I am hand quilting. Seven if you count the time I spent the other day making more of the fabric strips from small pieces of fabric in my discard bin.  Bonnie Hunter calls them “crumbs.”  I’m making 2 1/2 by 8 1/2 strips–and I showed some in an earlier post.  They will be a border to a quilt one of these days.

I’ve cut out the first kite-shaped fabrics for the first medallion–see earlier post on hand quilting projects.  It’s the quilt from Material Obsessions 2.  And, I’ve marked all the seam joins.  That took quite some time actually.

I am making myself sew together the quilt top of another Dancing Nine’s quilt top–as I’ve got a lot of really beautiful fabric left over from the Wheels of Mystery quilt.  Here’s one set of blocks:

Brown Dancing Nine

I nixed doing a border with half-square triangles–also from this batch of fabric.  It’s too busy and too narrow.  I’ll do the piano keys border again, with a narrow inner border to separate it from the quilt body.  (Bonnie Hunter has the best design eye it seems, and this is her pattern.  These blocks are a bit bigger than hers as I’d already cut 2 1/2 inch strips.)

Bonnie Hunter’s current leader/ender project is with 2 1/2-inch half-square triangles–so I seem to be doing that with these browns.  You can combine the light/dark blocks in at least 50 ways.  I’ve just put these four block together this way until I get more of them.  So stay tuned on this one as I have no idea what will happen with it.

Bonnie Hunter's LeaderEnder Project

I started a leader/ender project with leftover 3 1/2-inch light and dark green strips some time ago.  I now have at least 300 of those blocks.  So, here’s what’s happening–I chose a classic Contrary Wife traditional block with which to experiment–only I made the bigger block a four patch and am paying attention to the light/dark orientation of it so that the quilt will have long runs of light or dark little blocks–something I learned from Bonnie Hunter.

Red and Green 1

Here it is with two more blocks added yesterday:

Red and Green 2

It’s going to be gorgeous!  Everyone comes in says “wow!  I really like that red and green one.”

And I’m pulling from the 2-inch red and green strip bins from the cutting frenzy this summer.  It’s so EASY just to pull pre-cut strips from the bins and not have to wade through a ton of fabrics in the stash:

Red and Green bins

That purple stripe fabric is in the bin by mistake–from my pulling of fabrics for this “fish” project that seems also to be happening:


I bought a new coat from LLBean a few weeks ago–and none of my scarves go with it really.  I have a hat that’s the right blue, and it’s trimmed with a burnt orange yarn.  So I stopped by Over the Rainbow yarn shop in Rockland yesterday.  Here’s what I came home with–the coat color is the dark, smoky blue in the yarn:

Cowl Project 2

I’m going to make a cowl kind of scarf–and make it twice as long as this one, which has this very interesting textured pattern.  One uses a circular needle to make it, and it knits up REALLY fast–or so I was promised.

Cowl project

How fun is that???

So, now it’s time for me to leave for the monthly meeting of my Book Club.  We are discussing Steward O’Nan’s Wish You Were Here, which I enjoyed rather a lot as it is about a family where the father/grandfather/husband has died and where those left behind have to figure out how to move forward with their relationships–which have altered in the wake of the patriarch’s death.  Nothing will ever be the same again for those left behind, and they struggle in the short space of a week, to come to grips with the immensity of all that has changed.   The novel does not hit you over the head with this truth, though.  Rather, O’Nan patiently and calmly walks through each day and shows you with exquisite subtlety just how much everything has changed.

Turkey Tracks: Whoo Hoo!!!

Turkey Tracks: November 23, 2014

Whoo Hoo!

The Houston International Quilt Festival–October 20 to Noember 2, 2014.

It’s the biggest, baddest, best, most amazing…quilt show in the world.

It’s on my very short bucket list as I thought I was pretty much done traveling all over the place.


I’m really doing it.

And I’m staying all THREE days.  Maybe I’ll take a class or two.

I made reservations today at the FOUR SEASONS hotel–which has the most amazing rent charge for the festival–about half of its usual charge or what’s listed on line.  And it’s walking distance (across a park) to the quilt show.  WALKING DISTANCE.  Located among some nice shops and restaurants.

They’ve got rooms if you want to join me…

But call the hotel direct and tell them you are coming for the quilt festival.

Spa, pool, local food, did I mention walking distance, it’s the FOUR SEASONS.

FUN, FUN, FUN–it’s time for some fun in my life…

I’m going, going, going!

I’m also clearly delirious…

Whoo Hoo!

Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is www.healthy-eating-politics.com.  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Turkey Tracks: J&E Riggin Cruise

Turkey Tracks:  November 22, 2013

J&E Riggin Cruise

The J&E Riggin is a windjammer that sails out of Rockland, Maine.

She’s big and fast and is owned by two of my favorite people, Captains Jon Finger and Annie Mahle.

John and I went on her many times, and I have truly missed sailing on her in the summer.  Maine’s “water world” out in the bay is so gorgeous, fun, and interesting.  And Annie’s cooking is…sublime.  She uses local foods of all sorts.

So guess what arrived in my email box this morning?  A Thanksgiving special.  A 15% discount.  And only $100 down now.

I clicked on the 2014 sailing date and discovered a 6-day cruise with knitter Margaret Radcliffe (Blacksburg, Virginia, and author of three books with a new one coming out soon) running September 1-6.  September is beautiful sailing weather in Maine, and the bay has had all summer to warm up–so there may be swimming for me from the boat.

I called Elizabeth in the Riggin office to discuss possibilities immediately.  As a Riggin Relic (one who has made many cruises on the Riggin), I could go ahead and book.  So there you have it.

Are you up for a safe adventure?  Take a look.

Maine Sailing Schedule | Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin | Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin.

Turkey Tracks: Mystery Quilt–Celtic Solstice!

Turkey Tracks:  November 22, 2013

Mystery Quilt:  “Celtic Solstice”

Well, I seem to have backed into doing Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt–named this year “Celtic Solstice.”

Bonnie’s mystery quilts are gorgeous.  I’ve admired them–and all the variations that people have done–for some time now.  Among them are “Easy Street,” “Orca Bay,” and one I truly love, “Roll Cotton Boll.”  The latter is on my wish list to make.  So many quilts, so little time…

Doing a mystery quilt is so far out of my comfort zone that of course I have to stretch myself in this quilting way.  And, especially, since you may recall that John was 100 percent Irish.  And, our one trip to Ireland, so many years ago now, was a wonderful experience.

And it’s especially a stretch yet again when you see the initial color choices.  Only, remember that Bonnie will choose all kinds of colors in a, say, blue range, from her stash.  You can see that in her instructions.

Take a look?

Quiltville’s Quips & Snips!!: 2013 Mystery Time! Introducing Celtic Solstice!.

This is fun, too.  Take a look at the map of people who signed up for the Facebook page set up for this mystery.  You can see my pin there on Mid-Coast Maine:


I’ve been picking up some extra neutrals that are more on the white side–as they can’t fight with the yellows–which means I won’t want to use neutrals that are too far over to the paper-bag tan side.

Of course I needed some of each of the bright versions of the green, blue, orange, and yellow.

I will have color variations in my stash–which I cut into strips all last summer.  But I have to wait until the first clue comes out on the 29th to see what strip sizes Bonnie will be using.

Oh my…

An adventure…

Turkey Tracks: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt and The Handmade Doll

Turkey Tracks:  November 20, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt


The Handmade Doll

I have a granddaughter who will be three next week.

When Sister Susan and I visited Greenville in October, I bought this handmade doll from Gallery On The Lake, owned by Becky Morse.   I fell in love with it immediately.  I put her on the downstairs bed, and she has been good company since mid-October.  This love is amazing since I never played with dolls growing up–and I didn’t want to play with this one.  I just thought she was one of the cleverest fiber arts projects I’ve seen in a while.

Ailey's girl

I saw something recently that made me think that this kind of knitting/crocheting has a special name.  But now I don’t know where I saw the reference.  If any of you know, please let me know so I can put up more information about this kind of fiber art.

* * *

I bought the kit for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in Williamsburg, VA, with my Virginia quilting buddies at least three years ago.  We go for a week, stay in a time-share resort, and quilt our brains out for a week and attend the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show (Mancuso Brothers).

Talk about planning ahead…  But I’ve yet to see a child who does not love the hungry caterpillar book series.  And my granddaughter now has a baby sister who sleeps in the crib.  So, this quilt was meant to be for the moment when the oldest child moved into a “big bed.”  And, so we have arrived at that moment now.

Hungry Caterpillar

I realized with some horror that this kit HAS MITRED BORDERS!   But I sucked up my dread, and look how pretty they came out.  We should all do more mitered borders as they really are so pretty and are not all that hard once you get the hang of them–especially if you are working with border prints.

One trick is to sew all your borders together and put them on the quilt as a unit.  The other is to be sure to allow for enough length for the miters in the borders themselves–at least 8 or 9 extra inches on each side, depending on how wide the border unit is.  I’m sure there are formulas in some of the books I have…

Here are some closeups of a mitred corner–don’t look at the big stripes, look at the red  and green borders:

Hungry Caterpillar mitered border


Hungry Caterpillar mitered border 2

And of a star block:

Hungry Caterpillar block

And of the BIG sun block:

Hungry Caterpiller sun

And the BIG moon block:

Hungry Caterpiller moon

Here the quilt is ready to be quilted on “Lucy the Longarm”:

Hungry Caterpillar long arm

I quilted with the pantograph “Deb’s Swirls” in the medium size as I just wanted a general overall pattern that would not distract from the quilt.

Here’s the backing:

Hungry Caterpiller backing

The kit did not give me enough fabric to do two side-by-side panels of the blue–and the narrow panel would have required a lot of piecing, so I used some of the leftover border print to fill out what was needed.  Bah Humbug!

And I made a label from more of the border fabric–Bonnie Hunter style–an 8-inch piece folded diagonally and basted into the corner before sewing on the binding:

Hungry Caterpiller label and backing

(This is my 90th quilt.)

I know this kit is lovely.  And the ensuing quilt is, too.  BUT, I found myself to be quite agitated while making the quilt.  I didn’t dare wash the given fabrics as I might throw something off–and I hated working with the starchy fabrics.  And I was always afraid I’d cut something wrong and be in a pickle since these fabrics are gone, gone, gone.

Well, now this quilt is done, washed, dried, and gone, gone, gone…

PS:  I’m putting the binding on the winding ways/wheels of mystery quilt–now named “Earth.”  It’s gorgeous!

Interesting Information: No Such Thing as Organic Canola Oil

Interesting Information:  November 20, 2013

No Such Thing as Organic Canola Oil

Bruce Fife, N.D., writes in the July/August 2013 issue of Well Being Journal that there is no such thing as “organic” canola oil (16).

He writes

“All canola oil on the market was developed by seed-splitting, which is really a form of genetic engineering, and essentially all canola oil on the market contains some Roundup Ready genetically engineered canola.  So if it is labeled organic, it really isn’t.”

Seed-splitting “alters genes in plants,” but is “considered a high-tech form of hybridization”–so ensuing plants can be labeled organic.

That’s how the market works, folks.  It plays games with language to hide what has really happened.   And part of what has happened is that all commercial rapeseed (wow, how’s that for descriptive language as to exactly what happened) has led to contamination.  Thus, there is no longer any “pure” rapeseed commercial crop–and organic rapeseed is fast being contaminated.

There are many, many reasons not to eat or use canola oil–but that’s for another post.

Interesting Information: “Is it Really Coconut Water?”

Interesting Information:  November 18, 2013

“Is it Really Coconut Water?”

Bruce Fife, N.D., asks and answers this question in the July/August issue of Well Being Journal (13-16).

First, a definition:  coconut water is the water inside a coconut that pours out of the center when you open the coconut.

Secondly, real coconut water has amazing healing properties and is used in the tropics to fight dehydration and heat stroke.  Fife writes that “recent research suggests that it may also be useful in treating or preventing cancer, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart failure, stroke, glaucoma, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and Chron’s disease.”

Coconut water works at the cellular level to “extend the youth of cells.”  So,  yes, it might have some anti-aging properties.  And it works better to preserve transplant organs than the chemicals industry was using.

Thus, the market has picked up on coconut water and is presenting us with choices.

ONLY–and you know what’s coming now–most of what’s sold is NOT a product that will offer you anything but calories and sugars.

The GOOD NEWS is that there are some really good ones, and I’ll list those in a minute.  First, understand that the problem is that coconut water is harvested in the tropics and needs to come from young coconuts that haven’t aged unduly by long shipping times.  And, as Fife writes, “once the coconut is opened and the water extracted, it beings to ferment and the taste and smell rapidly changes.”  Thus, industry uses high-temperature/short-time pasteurization…which destroys some of the coconut water’s nutrients and much of its flavor.”  Additionally, some companies make a concentrate by boiling the coconut water down.  Of course that kills all the “good.”  And some companies attempt to dry the water into a powder that you reconstitute.

If the coconut water you’re looking at has been bottled or packaged somewhere where coconuts don’t grow, it’s reconstituted from a concentrate and likely has added sugars for flavor.  And the usual suspect preservatives.

Powdered coconut where you add the water is…useless.  Don’t even go there.


What you want to look for is coconut water that has been frozen on the spot and remains frozen until you thaw it or it’s put into a store’s refrigerated section.  Fife lists the best brand as HARMLESS HARVEST, sold at Whole Foods.  This product is completely raw and is not heat pasteurized.  (Guess where I’m stopping on my next trip to Portland, Maine.)

Exotic Superfoods (www.exoticsuperfoods.com) also freezes coconut water on the spot and can ship to you frozen.  I have no idea what it costs.

Any and Brian’s coconut water is listed by Fife as being solid.

Noelani Coconut Water and Beverage Company imports whole young coconuts from the Caribbean within two weeks, but they only service Connecticult, New York City, and northern New Jersey at the moment.

I hope this helps you discern how to buy this product and not to waste your money or spoil your health on a high-sugar highly-processed product.

Interesting Information: Can This Really Be True?

Interesting Information:  November 18, 2013

Can This Really Be True?

Health officials recommend giving new-born babies a hepatitis B vaccine, followed by two more shots before 18 months of age.

Why? Since hepatitis B is NOT a childhood disease and not a common threat to newborn babies?

I stumbled on an answer in the July/August 2013 issue of Well Being Journal (page 47).  The story is from a March 26, 2013, posting on the Mercola web site:  “Teens Susceptible to Hepatitis B Infection Despite Vaccination as Infants.

First, hepatitis B is a “primarily blood-transmitted adult disease associated with risky lifestyle choices such as unprotected sex with multiple partners and intravenous drug use involving sharing needles.”

IN FACT, this article states “according to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC):

`The primary reason that the CDC recommended hepatitis B vaccination for all newborns in the United States in 1991 is because public health officials and doctors could not persuade adults in high risk groups (primarily IV drug abusers and persons with multiple sexual partners) to get the vaccine.’

“But now,” the article continues, “new research has shown that by the time a child reaches his or her teenage years–the time when acquiring a hepatitis B infection may be more likely–the protection from the childhood vaccine may have long since waned.”

And that’s one of the dirty secrets about vaccines:  they don’t last.  So you’ll need to use more boosters along the way, with more junk injected into a body by its back door (a puncture wound).

So let’s be clear.  Our public health officials are choosing to put heavy metals and adjuvants like formaldehyde into newborn, fragile babies WHEN THEY KNOW THEY DON’T LAST.

No wonder 1 out 6 children today have neurological issues.

This practice is NOT about science or health–it’s about drug companies and self-interested doctors making more money.  And their vehicle is the “standards of care” that ensures that doctors have to suggest such a practice as this one or lose their licenses.

This is how industry works if it is not fettered to morals and ethics.

Vaccines are NOT safe for everyone.  They may not be safe for anyone, given their components.  But who know, since few are doing the science to justify them and the science that is showing they are not safe is being ignored.

A tiny newborn–not fully formed, needing adult protection and nourishment, struggling to get some purchase in this life…

Shame, shame, shame…

Do your research on this issue folks…

Turkey Tracks: Leah Day’s Video: Sewing Hexies

Turkey Tracks:  November 18, 2013

Leah Day’s Video

Hand Piecing Hexies

The post previous to this one discusses sewing hexies at some length–and gives some current texts.

But, Leah Day’s weekly post this week consisted of terrific videos on how to design and piece hexies.

And, you should be aware that the old whip-stitching method has been, thankfully, replaced by a better method.

The Free Motion Quilting Project: 73. English Paper Piecing Part 2: Turning Hexagon Edges.


PS:  If you are a quilter and have not signed up for Leah Day’s blog, you might seriously want to consider doing so.