Turkey Tracks:  December 30, 2015


Fellow quilter Becca Babb-Brott brought this book and project to the attention of the Coastal Quilters in early December.


The Farmer’s Wife was a magazine in the 1930s for…not just farmers’ wives.  Remember that America still had a largely rural population in the 1930s.

The book contains 99 classic quilt blocks from the 1930s–each with a name, like “Lola,”–and an excerpt from a farm wife letter to the magazine–often detailing life conditions in the 1930s.

We are going to try to make two blocks a week for 2016.  The book comes with a CD that has directions to all the blocks, including foundation piecing if desired.

There are at least four of us who are going to participate.

Want to see some of the blocks all made up?  Take a look at Katy Jones’s blog right now.  She’s been making the blocks and has pictures of them on her design wall.

Source: Quilt Monkey

Katy Jones is a popular British quilter, and the blog is colorful and fun.

Interesting Information: Blog, 2015 in Review

Interesting Information:  Blog, 2015 in Review

Every year, WordPress prepares an annual report for its bloggers.

Here is mine:  it’s kind of interesting…



The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Audio Delight: The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 22, 2015

Audio Delight:  The Tortilla Curtain

T. C. Boyle

Listening to T. C. Boyle read his The Tortilla Curtain was an audio delight.

I don’t know how I missed this incredible author when I was in school.

I really love the way he develops characters and lets them illustrate the complexity of the world, of our culture, of culture clashes, of life itself.

He’s entertaining, yes, but he also compels you to think deeper, to understand the differences people have and why they have them.  The complexity of people is terribly missing in much of today’s fiction.  We just get good guys and monsters, rather than people who are, as I said, complex and who act for definite reasons.

What a gift Boyle is.

Source: The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists


I also have a review of Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done on this blog.  Use the search button on the right sidebar to find that post.

Turkey Tracks: Solstice 2015

Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2015

Solstice 2015

December 21st is Solstice–the longest night of the year.

Friends Margaret Rauenhorst and Ronald VonHeeswijk host a Solstice bonfire most years.  This event is one of my most favorite events of the year.

Solstice marks the passage from darkness into light.  Solstice is a time of reflection and quiet.

This year, the sky was filled with clouds, so no stars or moon–though the moon will be full at Christmas.

Margaret and Ronald light a HUGE bonfire that warms all who stand about it.  This year, we are experiencing very warm weather on mid-coast Maine.  It will be 60ish tomorrow.  But the fire still warmed our hearts and provided moments of contemplation and companionship.


The paths in the yard are all lined with lumanaria that guide us down the drive to the house and fire.

See the sparks?  We have to watch for those as the wind shifts because they can and do burn holes in your clothes.


When the embers die down, we throw our past and future intentions into the fire:


Holly is for a future intention we want to adopt or experience; hemlock for the past and involves something we want to release/let go/stop.  We make little packets with our intentions written down and wrapped around the greenery.


The house is lit only by candles and the fire inside the hearth.



My camera flash illuminates the room for a moment only.

The sideboard is filled with bowls of nuts and fresh and dried fruit.


And Margaret makes us her dad’s special drink–a Tom and Jerry–which has eggwhites, spices, and whiskey as ingredients.  It is delicious!

Thanks, Margaret and Ronald, for once again bringing your friends together for this celebration you make for us.


Turkey Tracks: Christmas Decorations

Turkey Tracks:  December 21, 2015

Making Christmas Decorations

…and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…


The reindeer on the mantle were made by my daughter-in-law Tami Kelly and her two daughters–at our Thanksgiving retreat at Camp St. Christopher in Seabrook, SC.  (A very fun time was had by all–great family time.)  The fireplace is in their house in SC.

Here’s a close-up of these reindeer:


This project uses driftwood from SC palm trees…washed up on the riverfront beach of the Edisto River.

I thought about putting one in my suitcase, but thought it would not make it.

What a fun project!!


Turkey Tracks: Playing With Fabric “Crumbs”

Turkey Tracks:  December 21, 2015

Playing with Fabric “Crumbs”

What do you do with small pieces of quilting fabric that are too small to use in something like a strip or a square?

I learned from Bonnie Hunter to call them “crumbs,” and to use them.  Quilting fabric is now around $12 a yard and the width has shrunk from 44-45 inches to 40-42.  (How greed can kill an industry.)

Like Bonnie, I throw these pieces in a bag and when it gets full, I start a project that uses them.  I also throw in large trimmed pieces that have been already sewn together.

(At the very least, you could use these scraps to stuff a dog or cat bed…)

Here’s my ongoing “crumb” project:


Some of the pieces are larger, but would not cut into a 2-inch square.  I don’t cut into 1 1/2-inch squares because they would be too bias stretchy.  I use 1 1/2-inch strips to form small squares.

I played with making fabric from the crumbs–which was kind of interesting.  And you could cut squares out of a piece like this and use the remainders to form more blocks.  If you use those blocks as a center with sashings around–or as a center to a larger pieced block, you’d have an interesting quilt.


Right now, though, I’m interested in creating sashings.  So here’s my growing pile of sashings:


I cut my large piece of “made” fabric into diagonal strips measuring 2 2/1 inches wide.  I use a backing piece of paper to sew these sashings and then I trim them up on the cutting board.  I can sew strips together to get the length I want.

I’m thinking of using these with this block, which you’ve seen before:


Stay tuned…

So, I warn you…

This kind of “play” is addictive.

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Two Mystery Writers: Louise Penny and Jacqueline Winspear

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 21, 2015

Two Mystery Writers:  Louise Penny and Jacqueline Winspear

They couldn’t be more different, these two writers.

But both bring a decided femaleness to their work–and I really like reading how they approach and execute their mysteries.

I’m not sure that male readers would like Winspear.  They might find her gentleness and carefulness boring in this present day world of violent and voyeuristic entertainment.  I do think they would like Penny’s work.

Jacqueline Winspear was born and educated in England, but moved to the United States as an adult.  Her Maisie Dobbs mysteries are set in post World War I England.  These are wise and gentle novels, though they deal with war wounds of all kinds, insanity, murder, mayhem, class differences, and so forth.  I’ve downloaded from the Maine audio library two of these mysteries and am waiting for two more.

Louise Penny is Canadian, and her protagonist is Armand Gamache, the chief of homicide for Quebec in a present day time frame.  Her work is elegant to say the least.  And, interesting.

There is something so seductive about having someone read a novel to you while you work with your hands.



Books, Documentaries, Reviews: THE SNOW CHILD, Eowyn Ivey

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 8, 2015

The Snow Child

Eowyn Ivey

I really, really enjoyed this novel.


I got it at West Bank Books a few months back, after reading the enclosed book mark from a staff member and after getting high praise from the book while in the store.

This novel is Ivey’s first, but she is a seasoned writer.  The prose is lush and evocative of the Alaska she loves.

The story is set in the 1920s among Alaskan homesteaders and uses a Russian fairy tale of a snow child to weave an engrossing read.

Turkey Tracks: December 2015 Quilty Update

Turkey Tracks:  December 8, 2015

December 2015 Quilty Update

The hexie project I took with me to Charleston, SC, for Thanksgiving is coming along.

Truth to tell, I’m addicted to it.

The center is nearly ready to sew together:


I’m should have let the teal stripe NOT line up, as the little doll head looks disembodied in the middle of a sea of strips.

Will I go back and take out tiny, tiny seams and restitch.  As much as I am a perfectionist, no.

This project is scrappy and is using my 2 1/2-inch squares and strips.

The missing unit is greens and is now ready for the neutrals.  And the project gets quite a few neutrals around this center.  You can see pictures in an earlier post.  The design is from Edyta Sitar.

Once again, the Sewline fabric glue pen is to English Paper Piecing (EPP) as a rotary cutter is to quilting.  Holy Cow what a find!

One of the bright scrappy quilts is on Lucy the Longarm:


Love the bright coral backing:


I’m using a dusty rose thread.  And this is a Bonnie Hunter block, as you can see from earlier posts.

I’m caught up with Bonnie Hunter’s second clue, released last Friday, for the 2015 mystery quilt, Allietare.


I wonder if we will get the gold fabrics next Friday?

Love the neutrals in this quilt.  Many are from Cotton + Steel fabrics.   I have some lovely posts on that group of fabric-designing women here on the blog.  Such an interesting story.  Use the search button on the right sidebar to find that story.

I am also working on the other bright scrappy quilt–it’s on the design wall and getting some more borders.  More on that later.  It’s cute!