Turkey Tracks: First Mowing and No No Penny’s Turtle

Turkey Tracks:  May 19, 2017

First Mowing and No No Penny’s Turtle

I finally was able to mow the spring grass last Tuesday as it was dry enough.  It was slow going as my electric mower does not like long grass.  The back yard just off the rock wall still has standing water, but I went back with the weed whacker.

Now the white daffodils along the walk are blooming.  And you can see the garlic is well up.

No No Penny rolled in the newly cut grass until she was green all over.  Mercy!

A few days later I heard her barking and barking–the I’ve got something trapped bark.  I always fear an encounter with a porcupine so I checked.

A water turtle in the Bishop’s weed above the intermittent creek.  It has probably washed down in recent rain storms.   These guys can move pretty fast, so it will find its way to the wetland below the house and on into the big creek there.

If Penny leaves it alone.

These turtles have beautiful colors–bright reds and greens on the head, feet, and tail.

I put it back into the weeds three times and tried to distract Penny–who kept picking it up in her mouth and carrying it across the yard.

I finally gave up.  She is attracted by the movement and can’t get to the turtle itself.

She was still asking to go out to check on it hours and hours later.


PS:  It is Sunday already.  And I mowed today as we are getting rain tomorrow.  The black flies are still so bad.  Somehow they get inside your clothes.  Come on in, month of June!




Turkey Tracks: The Tula Pink city Sampler: 100 Modern City Block Quilts

Turkey Tracks:  May 18, 2017

The Tula Pink City Sampler: 100 Modern City Block Quilts

The Coastal Quilters’ and friends May 2017 retreat is in the previous blog entry.

Many members of both Coastal Quilters and Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild are making Tula Pink’s City Sampler:  100 Modern City Blocks.

Many people brought their blocks to the retreat.

Pictures were sometimes challenging as the light out in a hallway lined with design boards was “iffy” light, especially at dusk.  I probably brightened this picture too much.

Karen Martin has FINISHED all her blocks.  We spent some time arranging them–and now she will decide how to set them.  I love the limited palette Karen used.

Tori Manzi:

Another limited palette from Lynn Vermeulen–who also worked on and finished challenging black and white/bright color foundation paper pieced blocks:

Becca Babb Brott:

Linda Satkowski:


With this last picture, I am realizing I did not get pictures of Nancy Wright’s or Vicki Fletcher’s work.  I get pretty focused during a retreat, so missed getting up and taking pictures.  Sometimes though, people take down their work and start on other projects, so the opportunity to take a picture is lost.

I did not bring my Tula blocks to this retreat and need to do my May blocks.  I am also realizing I need to put them up on the design wall to see how they are playing together.

Next retreat:  October 2017.


Turkey Tracks: Coastal Quilters’ May Retreat

Turkey Tracks:  May 18, 2017

Coastal Quilters’ May Retreat…

…Mother’s Day weekend at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport, Maine.


Tori Manzi started this quilt at Pink Castle’s Glampstitchalot last year and worked on it at our last retreat.  She finished it at this retreat.  (Pink Castle has a great web site, sells fabric, and organizes the amazing Glampstitchalot each year, where high profile quilt teachers come and work with attendees.)  Each border of Tori’s quilt was designed and taught by a different teacher.  How fun is that!!

Here’s part of the group early evening Saturday night.  We came on Thursday night so by this picture we were all thoroughly punchy.

Margaret Elaine Jinno worked to put her Farmer’s Wife blocks together.   We are all going to show our quilts at our June meeting:

Deb Hazell was on the J&E Riggin’s “Slow Sewing at Sea” cruise with Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilt Shop last September.  Deb brought along Deb Torre (on the left) to our retreat.  We loved having them with us.

Deb Torre worked on Sarah Fielke’s “Down the Rabbit Hole.”  This kind of quilt lets a quilter learn a lot of new blocks and sewing methods.  Here’ the left side in process.  The blocks below are for a sampler Deb Hazell is making.

Here’s the right side in process, and the lower blocks are Deb Hazell’s sampler blocks.

By Sunday morning, Deb Torres had these blocks done.  I am tree quilt crazy at the moment, so loved these blocks–made from organic cotton:

New to our group also was Betsy Maislen, who started this amazing quilt behind Karen Martin.  Betsy had all the blocks done by the time Sunday rolled around.  We are looking forward to seeing the finished quilt top, borders and all.

Penny Rogers Camm returned to us for her second retreat and started her third quilt.  Look at her pretty fish blocks!  (There were requests for this Joan Ford pattern.  I made Joan’s version–you can see it here if you search for “fish quilts” and scroll down.)

Linda Satkowski and Karen Martin hard at work.

Penny and Vicki Fletcher at one of the cutting tables.

Lynn Vermeulen making a foundation piecing check.

Becca Babb-Brott and I brought our selvages.  Becca started this spider web quilt using a Bonnie Hunter pattern (free on her web site, quiltville.com).  Love the way the neutral circles are working in this quilt.

Jan Kelsey worked on a number of quilts which went up and down on the design walls.  I was sewing myself and missed getting pictures until I slowed down to get this Christmas funky log cabin.

Mac Saulnier worked on three baby quilts.  I love her colorful novelty fabrics.  The designated children will be so happy to get these cheerful quilts.

Tori Manzi worked on several projects as well.  Here are more.  This quilt came out of an online block exchange.  Check out Tori’s Instagram (Camden Maine Mom) to see more of her work.

And, blocks from a sampler challenge.

One of our quilters could not go with us, but she worked on this quilt while we were away:

I worked on this selvage project–a BIG star from Jen Baker, a free pattern which I loved at first sight.

I am going to put all the Tula Pink 100 city blocks in a separate post.

It was a good long weekend.  We are so glad we added the extra day.


Turkey Tracks: “Maine Milky Way” Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  May 16, 2017

“Maine Milky Way” Quilt

I made this handsome quilt for my grandson for his 12th birthday.  (The kiddos are all growing up way too fast.)

This is Bonnie Hunter’s Narragansett Blues, which can be found in MORE ADVENTURES IN LEADERS AND ENDERS.

Remember a few years back when I spent the summer emptying the 2-inch square bin by making 4-patch blocks?  This is the FIFTH quilt made from those blocks.  And I still have more.  The big rectangles come straight from the blue 3 1/2-inch strip bin and from the 3 1/2 block bin.  So this quilt has been made with no fabric purchases but the binding and backing.

I quilted with a marine blue Signature thread that blends right into the fabric–and used a pantograph called “Scrumptous” by Lorien Quilting.

Reviews: THE HANDMAID’S TALE Series, Hulu

Reviews:  May 3, 2017



Margaret Atwood published THE HANDMAID’S TALE in 1985.  I read it some time in the mid to late 1980s as part of a text-in-community program at George Mason University–where all the liberal arts classes read it as part of the core curriculum classes–each class exploring the novel from within its educational scope.  (I was so lucky to teach in this program of “linked” courses that explored the same chosen novel later in my own educational journey.)

The first reading of this novel was totally mind-blowing–as much of Margaret Atwood’s prescient work can be.  In the late 1980s too many Americans, me included, just did not know how bad things were for some people around the world.  Oh, we knew about the horrors of Nazi Germany.  I forget now how much we knew about the Taliban in Afghanistan.  But few of us thought about how absolute power could be used to control most everyone in a nation in extreme and disturbing ways because “that would never happen in America.”  That would only happen in places like Russia and China.  Everything that happens in HANDMAID’S was happening in real life when Atwood was writing, somewhere in the world of human beings.  But, again, back on the mid 1980s none of us would have ever thought that in the democratic United States of America the controls for managing a government showing total disregard for rules, the laws, precedents set for decades to protect our civil rights and environment, would be so weak against powerful forces seeking self interest.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE and Atwood’s newer trilogy are often classified as Sci-Fi literature.  I would not.  Yes, they picture a society in the future, but these novels are dystopias–or warning tales with quite a bit of actual grounding in the facts of what is going on in our culture.  Yes, most (not all) Sci-Fi is always also about our own present society in some critical way, but Atwood’s dystopian novels are functioning as cautionary tales writ large.  And we should–we must–pay attention to these dystopias because they show how fast things can change in ways that cannot be easily fixed–which is kind of exactly where we are right now in this country.  Our religious right elected someone who is ignorant and corrupt.   This choice of Trump by people who also advocate for their religion is about power, and in this case specifically white male power, and not religion.  It’s about choosing hatred and lies to benefit, supposedly, oneself.  I never would have thought that conservative GOP congressmen (you know, who used to believe in conserving things like values and ethics) would turn a blind eye to another nation attacking our election, to the smearing one of the candidates to favor the other, to the glaring and dangerous ignorance and hatefulness of their presidential choice, to the fact that he is using the presidency to make money, to…all of it that is deeply wrong.  But this power today is trumping truth, ethics, and values.
HANDMAID describes in detail this kind of society.  But it is not really a “feminist” novel because its victims number anyone who does not knuckle under to its power.  In these societies, good people go bad and do bad things that they know are wrong just to keep their heads above water.
I’ve watched the first three HANDMAID episodes now.  And it is much, much better than the movie that was made some years back.  Elisabeth Moss in the title role is an excellent choice as she is such a good actress.  Much of the internal writing of the novel gets carried on her face.  And the gift of the slow development–not possible in a movie–lets the changes the society experiences have a lot of weight.  The hopelessness sinks in as people realize that things are NOT going back to where they were, that in what they thought was a democracy, they are now totally powerless and totally at risk.
We are gifted today with the power of social media–something not as available in the mid 1980s.  But it is still alarming to see that in our democracy, we do not have quick levers to stop something like Trump and his rich white male robber baron companions from turning back decades of mostly positive changes in civil rights, protecting the climate, controlling the power of industry, etc.  Under the guise of stopping some government programs that go too far (like mandating vaccines when they are dangerous and the science does not support them), Trump’s government is making changes that benefit them and NOT the people Trump said he would help during his campaign.  Trump is a destroyer, not an improver.
I can’t say I am “enjoying” the series.  It’s too disturbing on a host of levels as it takes a good, long, hard look at the nature of power, what people will do to get it, how it gets wielded when it is acquired, who become scapegoats and suffer, etc.  Who would have thought that NOW we would have someone proposing building deportation camps in this country and trying to build an army to round up “aliens” living here??  Who would have thought the press would be under such fire?  Who would have thought we’d have the double-edged sword of social media in the form of fake news, of the invasion of secret communications published by another nation to rig an election, and of the celebration and defense of total ignorance?
In one place Moss/Offred says that they were all like pots in a slowly heating pot of water–until it was too late.  They were asleep.  So, yes, HANDMAID is a cautionary tale.  For sure.  It asks readers/watchers to wake up and see.
Atwood’s more recent trilogy has many of the same kind of prescient, warning hallmarks, but these novels show a society that is much further along a destructive path.  I have read one of those, the first, but just couldn’t read more as they were too depressing, and it was clear that her Cassandra powers were, again, right on target.  In these, we’ve wrecked the world with scientific meddling, like cloning, creating fake foods, allowing a much more confining class system, etc.  At my age now, there is little I can do to change what is occurring beyond writing about it and making sure I don’t participate as much as I possibly can.
But I can keep abreast of today’s realities.  I can think about them.  I can…watch.
Here is a link to Hulu’s informational page on the HANDMAID production.
Here’s a nice review:

Turkey Tracks: April’s Tula Pink Blocks

Turkey Tracks:  May 2, 2017

April’s Tula Pink Blocks

Here they are:  8 blocks (at least) from our Tula Pink’s 100 MODERN QUILT BLOCKS.

These are such fun to make.  Several of our members couldn’t stop and have either finished all the blocks or are close to it.  Believe me, I really get that quilty fun.

I’m using almost all Cotton+Steel fabrics, and they are such a delight.

I do not have a clue how I will set these blocks.  But I look forward to turning that project over in my mind.

On to May…

Turkey Tracks: A Saturday Walk in Camden Town

Turkey Tracks:  May 2, 2017

A Saturday Walk in Camden Town

Spring is here.

The woods are fringed with green.  The birds are singing their hearts out.  The big windjammers are being unwrapped in the harbor.


Here’s one of the schooners unwrapped, alongside one that isn’t unwrapped yet:

Our library grounds are beautiful, and today, an energetic croquet game is taking place in the amphitheater.

Since we’ve lived here, more of the stores or restaurants have created beautiful sitting areas overlooking the harbor–some of these jut out over the river.

And the river is full with spring rainwater:

I love this little row of houses that sit just above the library and that overlook the harbor.

And here’s a beautiful fruit tree alive with green spring leaves.

Penny and I walked just under two miles.  It was actually quite warm, despite the cloud layer.