Turkey Tracks: Mt. Battie Modern Traveling Improv Quilts

Turkey Tracks:  April 28, 2017

Mt. Battie Modern Traveling Improv Quilts

Some of us started a “traveling” improv quilt that will “travel” to those of our members who want to “play” along–and the emphasis is on both “play” and taking time to learn something new.

We each created a theme, specified what we did and did not want in our quilts (colors, fabrics, etc.), and said whether or not we wanted blocks connected along the way.  Each project is contained in a box or bag and has a notebook that “travels” along where everyone who works on the quilt writes what and why they did what they did.  Each person also includes a label with their name, etc., that will go on the quilt’s back when it is finished.  Each person working on a quilt can do one or two “sides,” but not all four sides of a project.

We are forming a list of all the themes, but I do not have it yet, I will be a bit fuzzy on exact themes.

Last night we could see what the first person to get our quilts added.

Here’s what happened–the order below is just how the pictures uploaded into wordpress.

Nancy Wright started this quilt (Star theme) with the large star on the bottom right.  Tori Manzi found two “funky star” patterns to add.  The smaller one is a free pattern from Amy Friend on Craftsy.  The larger star is from Nido (a quilt shop in Burlington, VT).  I found the pattern on Nido’s web site; it’s part of a star quilt that people did monthly.  It’s free too.

My quilt (Love), with a very fun addition by Lynn Vermeulen.  The black really pops the colors, doesn’t it?

Joanne Moore (color/play) gave us two pieced pieces.  The one on the upper left and the one at the bottom of the flower, ending with the polka dot fabric.  Becca Babb-Brott added the flower (she wanted to play with making the curved pieces), the long strips on the left, and the stars and pinwheel strip at the bottom.

Vicki Fletcher (color, stars, play) gave us the star block on the right, and Joanne Moore added the colorful block on the left.

Becca Babb-Brott (the words are her theme) kept her blocks separate and asked that we work on any one piece however we want but not connect them.  Linda Satkowski made lots of blocks that Becca can add where she wants.  The block on the lower right has a “secret message”–in Morse Code.  These two have been discussing Morse Code quilts over the past year.

Megan Bruns (play?) gave us the block on the right, with its interesting fabric border.  Nancy Wright created the block on the left with the adorable fox.  She also included two more of these little animals in case anyone wants to use them.

Lynn Vermeulen started this quilt with the word “quilt.”  She wants a wall hanging size when the work is finished.  Margaret Elaine Jinno added the thread spools and the English Paper Piecing hexies–which is apropos because we have all gone quite mad with EPP projects.

Tori Manzi’s initial block is all about color, play, and her love of foundation piecing.  Tori loves Allison Glass’s bright sunprint fabrics, so Vicki Fletcher used some of those fabrics and added in a bright Kaffe Fasset red border that picks up a lot of the colors in Tori’s flying geese/Mariner’s Compass block.  She did not attach her block as she thought the next person might want to do so, depending on what is done next.

Linda Satkowski’s theme is “community.”  The three houses pictured below each have a special meaning for her as living in each marked a special time in her life.  Linda’s husband was in the Air Force, so they moved around just a bit.  I made the dividing line of black and white squares (like a floor in a house or a pathway) and I located my tree house outside the city that is pictured in the grey fabric in the middle.  The text print in the sky has works like “neighborhood.”  The tree houses are for people, not birds.  I foundation pieced them and faced them.  My present home is on a hill, so I often feel as if I am living among tree tops.  A tree can be home to many life forms that form a community.  And I treasure this time in my life when I live much more in nature but am close to town.  The tree needs some texture, and I found some variegated grey pearl cotton (size 8) that either Linda or I can use when the quilt is layered to provide tree texture.

We are missing Margaret Elaine Jinno’s quilt.  Megan Bruns is working on it, and I will post a picture of it early next week.

I am very excited about this project.  It’s one I’ve wanted to do for some time now.  And I think that everyone has outdone themselves with their work.  I can’t wait to see what happens next month!!


Turkey Tracks: Annie Rolfe Needle Case Project

Turkey Tracks:  april 27, 2017

Annie Rolfe Needle Case Project

Friend Becca Babb-Brott recently took a trip–and she wanted a needle case that would fit inside the small, travel-sized bag she had just made to hold her current English Paper Piecing Project.

Since I am constantly juggling needles–and often have more than one loaded with different colored threads–I thought I’d make one too.

I used Annie Rolfe’s tutorial, which you can see below.

It’s simple:  a fun project with a fun and practical outcome–assuming you have the ingredients on hand.  Be sure to sew the snap on BEFORE putting in the insides–per instructions.  I used some temtex I had around instead of cardboard.  The cutting directions are on the right sidebar of the tutorial I think.  She tells you in the intro.

Here’s mine–from a beloved fabric.

The inside is already filled with needles and pins.

I want to make another one that will just hold two or three needles and fit into a small bag when I don’t need my bigger one.

The tutorial:

Turkey Tracks: Mailbox Fun

Turkey Tracks:  April 27, 2017

Mailbox Fun

I have used decorative mailbox covers for our rural mailbox here in Maine.

I change them often during the year–to reflect the seasons.

My younger son recently redid their mailbox in South Carolina–as a gift for his wife.  He even put in a new mailbox stand (anchored by a hole filled with cement) that he painted.


He has three little girls who adore all things mermaid.

Matching sides:

But a windjammer end piece!

Here’s what my mailbox looks like right now.  My mailbox stand swings so it does not get broken off by the snow plow in the winter.

Turkey Tracks: Clean Pots and Pans

Turkey Tracks:  April 26, 2017

Clean Pots and Pans

Friend Linda McKinney found the most amazing cleaning product that she mixes up at home.  Something called “Spray Nine.”  I am not even going to ask what is in it because it cleans the black grease acquired over many cooking years from the bottom and sides of pots and pans.  Yes, it also takes a lot of elbow grease and a brillo pad and a rougher metal pad, but the job gets done.

I am trying to do at least two a week now.

Looky, looky.  Of course the small one needs cleaning too.  Both of these pans/pots are beloved by me.  The omelet pan was completely black on the sides and bottom.  It will need some more work, but…

I got at the smaller pot before it gets any worse.

Next bad pot, I’ll take before and after shots.  I promise.

But I have to tell you, I’m on a pot/pan cleaning roll.

Thanks Linda!

Turkey Tracks: Sunday Spring Sunshiny Walk

Turkey Tracks:  April 23, 2017

Sunday Spring Sunshiny Walk

I shared another Sunday walk as we coastal Mainers got a hint of spring.

Now, spring is here, in all its unfolding glory.  The grass has greened up and soon will need to be mowed.  Spring bulbs and forsythia are blooming.  Flowering trees are starting.  The woods are tinged red as the red maples bloom.  This week, the forest will begin to take on that special “spring” green that emerging leaves create.  We have shed heavy coats for the most part, though it is spring in Maine, and we do get temps that run up and down the scale of cool to warm.

No No Penny and I spent a head-clearing, liberating hour, plus, in one of our favorite places, savoring all the spring signs.  Pen and I both love the freedom she has on this property.  She loves to feel like she is “working” with me on “something,” so she hunts the woods alongside me and listens for any directions or praise she might get from me.

Here’s the spring version of a late winter shot I posted earlier this year.

Red maples blooming against a spring blue sky:

Water, from recent rains and snow melt, is pouring off the high places.  Temporary creeks are everywhere.

The small retention pond is full.  The white dot on the far side is No No Penny.

Here comes the Happy Dog, who thought I called her.

Here’s a temporary creek:

And here’s a more permanent creek:

As we came along one of the other ponds, a pair of geese objected strongly.  Geese can be formidable foes, actually.  The male followed us around the entire pond, warning us all the way along.  There is either a nest in process, or soon will be.

We visited the horses, who come out of the barn to see us.

The one on the right is very tall.  And, friendly.

From this point, we head back up the hill, retracing our way back to the car.

Now, there is a tired dog and a woman who is deeply happy for the past hour.

At home, the windchimes sing a welcome.

Turkey Tracks: April is Maine Quilting Shop Hop Month

Turkey Tracks:  April 20, 2017

April is Maine Quilting Shop Hop Month

For two years now, Mary Bishop and I have spent some pleasant days “shop hopping” Maine quilt shops.

Today we finished what we are going to do for this year, having acquired the ten necessary shops to send in our ticket for the drawing.  (Last year I won a prize.)

Today we went west to Mystic Maine Quilts in Chelsea (on the Kennebec River just south of Augusta) and to Whippersnappers in Hallowell, where we also had a marvelous lunch at Slate’s.

It’s fun to visit quilt shops because each one is totally different from any other, and it is fun to see their projects, their fabric collections, etc., to maybe get something needed/desired on sale, and to visit with owners/staffs for a bit.  We always learn something in the process.

Each shop makes a “Shop Hop” quilt from the same set of fabrics, and it is delightful to see all the creativity in these quilts.  It is hard to choose which one is the best when it comes time to vote.  This year was no exception.

Outside Mystic Maine Quilts, these quilt blocks were new:

I bought a cone of 50-wt. RA thread for piecing in “eggshell” color.  It’s 3000 yards!  Looking forward to trying it out.  The color has some grey in it, so it might be really versatile.  We were also gifted with the pattern for their Shop Hop Quilt, which we both loved.

My 5-inch bin of blocks is overflowing, so I came home with this little book, found at Whippersnappers, where the patterns are for 5-inch blocks.

What a pleasant day!


Turkey Tracks: Working With My Star Design Block

Turkey Tracks:  April 20, 2017

Working With My Star Design Block

OK, this block is better.  However, I need to make sure I have absolute contrast in the centers of all four quadrants before the center star will pop out cleanly.

This block finishes at 12 inches, from 6-inch quadrants.

Meanwhile, I figured out how to get two 8″ quadrants on one sheet of paper, got Staples to copy 60 of them, and will make one as soon as my current TWO projects are further underway than they are now.

The 8-inch block will showcase the Cotton+Steel neutrals a bit more I think.  Time will tell…

Turkey Tracks: The Millifiore Quilt

Turkey Tracks:

The Millifiore Quilt

Here’s where I am with the Katja Marek millifiore quilt:

I had worried about the left bottom corner being too blue, but the teal in the upper right is balancing the blue just fine.  I’m working on the center star at the moment.  It’s “funky” too.

This quilt feels really big, but it isn’t really.

The left side and upper border is done now.

I am going to use the EPP pieces to even the borders, but I’m not sure yet how–as in with what fabric I’ll use.

And I will not add a border to this quilt.

What a fun project!

Turkey Tracks: My Improv Paper Piecing Designs

Turkey Tracks:  April 13, 2017

My Improv Paper Piecing Designs

I can’t quite believe it, but I designed some quilt blocks–thanks to Amy Friend, author of IMPROV PAPER PIECING.  AND, it seems two quilts.

(See the post before this one.)

I drew and colored on EQ7–which is both fun and frustrating as I have a LONG way to go before getting some proficiency with this program.

Here’s one design–which I learned to “export” to my photos, but from which I forgot to remove the blank border feature.

Oh well…

“Dawn Winter Trees”

There are TWO blocks here, because if I set them without a sashing strip, the tree trunks would make one long line down the quilt.  So the second block’s trunks are off-set from the first.  And the stained glass background has all mixed up color–no set pattern there.

I have shot cottons for the pieces–all in soft “dawn” colors.

The first block I made is beautiful.

AFTER the workshop, I started thinking about a more modern setting.

I like both settings.  Which one will I make?  I will play around with the stained glass blocks before deciding.   But I am drawn to this second quilt.

It will be a wall hanging.

I can also see hand quilting with pearl cotton in curving lines across the horizontal–but NOT across the lavender trees.

I drew this star point block in the drawing part of our workshop.  When I got home, I drew it on EQ7 and learned how to rotate it to make all four pieces of the big FUNKY star.

I always saw it with a solid charcoal background and the low-volume Cotton+Steel fabrics.  I love the big dark whirl-a-gig that has formed.  And the partial diamonds of its fans.  And the suggestion of an octagon come undone around each star.  I love it so much I think I will keep the traditional grid setting.  It’s something like 60 by 72–so a nice lap size.  There will be no borders–and probably just a charcoal binding.  I’ll decide that later.  I don’t want anything to distract from how the quilt is just as it is now.

Here’s my block done at 6 inches–to make a 12-inch block.  I can see right away that the center whirling star needs to be more defined.  Imagine it in one of the darker low volumes.

AND, I’m now wondering about making it at 8 inches…  It would be bigger, more dramatic, and could show off more of the low-volume fabrics.

Big blocks have never drawn me much, but I seem to be changing a little…

There are a lot of cat fabrics in the Cotton+Steel fabrics have.  Hmmmm.  That could be dangerous.  A friend of mine here drew a black dog and one came into her life about a year later.  Cats are a whole different ball of wax from dogs though.  And I do not have a logical space for kitty litter in this house.  And they can scratch furniture…


As I said, my brain is spinning…

Turkey Tracks: Amy Friend Workshop

Turkey Tracks:  April 13, 2017

Amy Friend Workshop

You probably think I have deserted you since I have not posted recently.

But, I have been having Quilty Fun.

Amy Friend was just here for a workshop on Improv Paper Piecing.

Our brains are still spinning.  Mine is, anyway.

Here is Amy’s exciting new book.  She is such a good teacher.

We learned all about how to create our own improv blocks and all of us walked away with fresh design ideas that we are now making into quilts.  Our monthly all-day Sit and Sew at the Camden Lion’s Club was buzzing with Amy Friend projects in process.

First, Amy did a trunk show of quilts from the book–and some extras as well.  She used these quilts to illustrate the ideas in the book AND to show us what makes an improv, modern quilt.

So, I’m going to share those quilts with you.

The quilts are being held up by President Lynn Vermeulen and VP/Program Organizer Becca Babb Brott.  (Remember Becca has an Etsy store, Sew Me A Song, where you can find some really interesting modern fabrics, including the harder-to-find Japanese fabrics by Japanese designers.)

Note the jagged triangles–very modern.  This is an early Amy Friend quilt that is NOT in the book.  Amy used it to talk about destabilizing a traditional block, among other ideas.

I love this one–of course I do.  I’m a scrappy quilter.  These fabrics are all Cotton+Steel.  This one is a great scrap buster.

Funky stars done in a very modern black/white/green combo.

Simple is sometimes best.  That’s Amy on the left.  Here she talked about the use of negative space, an “open” block, and her color combos.

A modern hour glass.

Note that the dark blue does NOT evenly meet up with the light blue.

I LOVE this one:

Stained glass and the use of negative space with interesting quilting.


Modern objects–a road sign repeated.

Love this one too.

Mirror images.

These next quilts are not in the book, but were made along the way as Amy refined/defined what she wanted to share in the book.

My goodness!  I love this quilt.

And this one, seen some time ago now, probably from Amy’s blog, likely sparked my own design for the workshop.  It seemed like stained glass.

This one, “Twinkle,” is in a book named SCRAPS, INC. Vol. 1, compiled by Susanne Woods.  It generated one of my designs from the workshop (a separate blog post on those).  This quilt is probably my all-time Amy Friend favorites.  I think because it is scrappy.  I think I will make it one of these days.

Amy has her FIRST fabric line coming out any minute now.  She has designed “blenders” as she really likes to work with solid fabrics in her quilts.

Amy’s blog is http://www.duringquiettime.com.

So, more on my designs and plans next post.