Turkey Tracks: Clue 5 and Quilty Play Time

Turkey Tracks:  December 28, 2017

Clue 5 and Quilty Play Time

I finished Clue 5 yesterday.

The pile of units is looking healthily large:

I will be interested to see how my colors will work in this mystery quilt, “On Ringo Lake,” by Bonnie Hunter.

Instead of working on the LAST THREE blocks of the big star quilt…based on my design from Amy Friend’s Improve workshop and her book IMPROV PAPER PIECING…

…I played.

I think it is really important to have play time with sewing.

And, like many quilters, I have the ongoing battle of using scraps so as not to waste too much fabric.  Plus, I like scrappy looks in a quilt.

I pulled out some old blocks–because I wanted to see how the very modern fabric I chose for their sashing would actually work with these blocks.  The blocks are a riff on Bonnie Hunter’s “Nine in the Middle,” from her ADVENTURES WITH LEADERS AND ENDERS.  Instead of the 9-patch middle, I am using “made fabric.”  The sashing fabric came from Rebecca Babb-Brott’s Etsy store, Sew Me A Song.

I like it.  I like, too, the neutral block.  I have A LOT of neutral scraps, so will kind of dot those around this quilt like polka dots.  I will use colored squares on most of the neutral centers.  The all-neutral one is a bit stark.

We learned in one of Bonnie’s mysteries, to use the Companion Angle ruler to cut the big triangle in the outer block.  With a 2-inch strip, one can line up on the 4-inch line so as to get the top of the triangle cropped off.  This technique would combine with the Easy Angle ruler for the outer triangles.  No waste that way.  You could also use the new corner cutting ruler and lay a 2-inch square over a rectangle and cut.  More waste, though.  And, of course, Bonnie always shows how to draw a line on a small square, lay it over the rectangle, and sew a scant seam.  So many ways to make a unit.

Friend Linda Satkowski is making these “made” fabric blocks by using the same colors, like all the reds, all the blues.  I think that’s very interesting too.

Right now I have TWO leader ender projects:  The above and this one:

Garlic Knots, from Bonnie’s QUILTMAKER magazine column:

I THINK Bonnie made this quilt, and I suspect it is in her upcoming new book.  Here’s a picture. If anyone knows where this quilt appeared, let me know so I can credit it??

I think I would NOT do a border…???  I seem to be in a borderless moment.

Finally, I played around with Amanda Jean Nyberg’s idea of making birch tree trunks from scraps.  She made a small block, starting with a 5-inch square and making thin tree trunks–for a pincushion.  I started with a 7 1/2-inch block and used 1-inch trunk columns.  It so does not work:  the block-size math isn’t right, it isn’t square, and I don’t like how the trunks lean.  Will continue to play around with this one though.  Clearly the beginning block size needs to be much bigger.  Meanwhile I’ll throw this block into the Parts Department box and will probably frame it somehow to make the math work with other blocks.

I had a fun afternoon and emerged relaxed and ready to enjoy dinner and, later, to watch tv and sew “Valse Brilliante” English Paper Piecing blocks (Willyene Hammerstein, MILLEFIORE QUILTS).  I have quite a lot of those blocks now, but that is a story for another day.

Turkey Tracks: Turkeys in Trees and Clue 5

Turkey Tracks:  December 26, 2017

Turkeys in Trees and Clue 5

It snowed all day yesterday.

I have about a foot on the ground up here on Howe Hill Road.  It’s pretty, very light, and very sparkly snow.

The plow/shovel guys came early, followed by Kelsey’s Appliance.  There is no way a van truck would be getting up my drive with a foot of unplowed snow on the ground.  The dishwasher is fixed–after a very nice conversation with the repair man.  Thank you Tom Jackson for sending the plow team.

The male turkeys spent most of the day in the trees out front yesterday–which is interesting because they usually roost in the big pines to the side of the house.  Why the bare trees, I wondered?  The tops of these trees were whipping around like crazy in the worst of the snow.  Are they safer than the big pines in a storm?  Or do the turkeys like the ride?  Who knows.

Four of the usual six that hang about here are in this picture–two on the left and two on the right.  One of the dark shapes on the left is a huge squirrel nest.

I spent some portion of the day working on Clue 5 of Bonnie Hunter’s 2017 mystery quilt, “On Ringo Lake.”

This clue wants flying geese units–in the dark fabric and neutrals.

I really love the new corner ruler Bonnie surfaced for this quilt.

The angle piece helps cut the side triangles, and the square side measures units. The ruler t is especially nice for cutting units from strips.  The orientation lines are wonderfully accurate for all the tasks..

Here’s a close-up:

I have not had to sliver trim one of the MANY flying geese units we have made now.  Of course, I fiddled with the needle position to get the needle sewing in the perfect place first–before chain piecing.


One does have to pay attention to WHERE one is making the angle cut though.  Or one gets this kind of unit.

Fortunately, as I’m working in piles of ten, I only did this ONCE.  I was too engrossed in my downloaded book I guess.  Or, it was time to STOP and WALK AWAY.



Turkey Tracks: White Christmas!

Turkey Tracks:  December 24, 2017

White Christmas!

The Camden Snowbowl opened for business this week.

There is snow all the way to the top of the mountain.  We have a good base AND we are expecting a foot of snow tonight and tomorrow.  All day tomorrow.  Cold temps will ensure it sticks.

It’s kind of odd, really, after such a long and warm fall.  Since I have lived in Maine–going on 14 years now–it is not usual to have this much snow in December.  We’ve had three or four storms now (I’ve lost count until the plow bill comes in-$$$$) this month alone.   What will the REAL winter bring?

I’ve had a band of six male turkeys for some weeks now–begging for food.  They whine until I throw some black-oiled sunflower seeds to them in the morning.  They practically follow me around when I go outside and have taken to coming up on the side porch and looking in the windows.  The hens showed up this morning–getting ready for the coming storm I imagine.  The males are already displaying to them.

Here are views from the house:  you’ve seen these views many times on this blog of course.  I never tire of them.  Here’s the side toward the woods.

The front and down the hill:

I love snow, and I love the peace of winter.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to One and All of you.

Turkey Tracks: Flannel Dress Finished

Turkey Tracks:  December 24, 2017

Flannel Dress Finished

100 Acts of Sewing, Dress No. 3

I chose a very subtle flannel for this dress.

It’s plain.  I like the flannel fabric a lot.  It has nice lines.  I like the open edges on the hem–will look nice over leggings.  It will be a comfy treat.

It can be layered for the winter, but looks best, I think, for fall or spring with maybe a lighter cotton sweater.  I can’t really wear a wool sweater next to my skin.  My cotton turtleneck t’s are a bit heavy for it, but will work.  Maybe it needs a very thin knit top underneath??  Will think about that possibility.  But would like one with a bit of a mock turtle neck.  I could also make it a bit shorter for a kind of long tunic look.  I thought about pockets, but decided not for this dress in this fabric.  I do love pockets though.  Seam pockets would be better, but I do not know how to do that.  Yet.

The neckline came out really well and was great practice for me.  I made my own bias strip:

I am having so much fun!

Turkey Tracks: Comfort Food: Pad Thai Noodle Soup

Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2017

Comfort Food:  Pad Thai Noodle Soup

Ah yes!

Comfort food on a cold night in Maine is…a treat.

Rice noodles are a special treat for me, and I keep various kinds on hand.  They are always good as a base for putting leftovers on top.

This QUICK soup uses Pad Thai noodles; skinless, boneless chicken breasts; and some veggies (celery, local carrots, thawed CSA Hope’s Edge greens blanched last summer, Hope’s Edge onions, yellow pepper, my garden garlic).  I also drizzled in some sesame oil as this soup is very low-fat, and I know it won’t hold me if I don’t add more fat to it.  Thus I also put a good amount of real cream in my dessert coffee.  Add salt to taste–or soy sauce, which you can eat and I cannot.  And grated ginger would be a nice addition as well, now that I think about it.

Dessert is thawed local organic wild blueberries sourced by Hope’s Edge and raspberries from my garden,  and a drizzle of local real maple syrup.  Just put berries in a bowl, drizzle over the maple syrup and let the bowl sit on the counter until thawed–about an hour.

It’s dead easy, this soup.  And as it cooks fast, I don’t have to worry about histamine levels.

First put the noodles in cold water in a large bowl to soften, which will take at least 20 minutes.  Read package directions, as some rice noodles soften in hot water.

Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces.  Put some water (about 3 inches deep) in a wide pan and start heating it.  You don’t want too much water as it will water down everything.

Throw in the chicken.  Throw in the veggies.  You might have to skim the top of the soup at this point.  Add salt or soy sauce.  Add any herbs you want.  When the veggies are close to soft, drain and noodles and add them to the broth.  Cook until the noodles are soft and white–about 3 to 5 minutes.

Scoop ingredients into a large bowl.  Tongs help with the noodles and a big ladle helps with the goodies and the broth.

Let the rest of the soup cool thoroughly and refrigerate.  Heat leftovers gently as the noodles will start breaking apart easily now.


Turkey Tracks: Sharp Knives

Turkey Tracks:  December

Sharp Knives

I love to keep my knives sharp.  I’m always sharpening one knife or another before I use them.

And over the years I’ve tried a lot of sharpeners, including a very expensive electric one that seems to have lost its ability to sharpen anything.

I have recently returned to a common sharpening stone like any good hardware store would have.  There are two sides:  one rough and one smoother.

Can I just say that sharpening on this tool is quick and very effective.  And works on all my knives.  I think I’ve found my answer to the best home sharpening tool.

Turkey Tracks: Knit Top

Turkey Tracks:  December 21, 2017

Knit Top

I finished this knit top Tuesday:  the Lark Tee by Grainline Studio.

The bias neckband I cut came out really well.  I am not going to sew a line of stitching on the outside as I think it would be messy looking on this knit.  The band stays flat just fine.

It’s the first knit thing I’ve ever made, and I’m really happy with it as it fits perfectly and looks really nice on.

This knit is thinner and very kind of slippery, so a great learning top.

I will make this top again in other knits–but later in the year as it is too light for winter in Maine.  And it is too fitted to layer over a cotton turtleneck.

I don’t do well with layering wool over a top like this one as the wool makes me itch.  That’s why I wear turtleneck tops a lot in the winter.

I’m very pleased…


Turkey Tracks: Solstice 2017: Yesterday and Today and Tomorrow

Turkey Tracks:  December 21, 2017

Solstice 2017:  Yesterday and Today and Tomorrow

Yesterday got away from me.

Instead of a “bad hair day,” I had a “bad broken things day.”

The new dishwasher has some “water intake” issue going on and is stopping mid-cycle and sending flashing messages.  I’ve tried everything I know.  The Kelsey repair folks will come next Tuesday to figure it out.

First thing in the morning, the Subaru wouldn’t start.  I had not left anything on in the car.  Bad battery?  It is the original one–so 7 years old.

I had errands to run before calling AAA roadside assistance, so headed to Rockland.  On the way, the low tire pressure light came on in the Toyota.  Thank you Eastern Tire folks for sorting out the tire pressure on the spot.

Back home, AAA came and confirmed the battery was a goner.  I had to run down to the Camden AAA site (Cooper Tires) without turning off the car, and those folks immediately installed a new battery.  It was too late in the day to take the car to Eastern Tire, and I couldn’t turn it off for the night as it would not start the next day.

I feel so lucky to have such good resources where I live.  The Cooper Tire folks were so nice.


Today is a whole different story.

For one thing, Penny and I had a long walk after a walking hiatus of nearly two weeks.   As it is Solstice and as we were walking finally, I had walking Haikus spinning in my head all along the way.  They tell a kind of story, so here goes:


December 21, 2017

Low Solstice sun makes

Long shadow fingers on land

Tomorrow, the shift



December 21, 2017

Painful bursitis

Traps me inside for days

Walking joy returns



December 21, 2017

Twenty degrees means

Wool hat with ear flaps needed

I have two of those


I also got all the ice off the hot tub cover–and made a path to the hot tub.  Letting ice form on the hot tub is a huge “no no” as it is so, so hard to get it off, and it is very heavy.  We are expecting more snow in the next few days, so it’s good my arm could do this work.  A mouse ran out of the snow bank behind the hot tub.  Penny went nuts.  The mice might like the warmth the hot tub generates.  Now if I will just find time to actually get in the thing.  I love the dark and the stars out there at night–but I also sew until I stop to eat starting late afternoon.  And I am so NOT a morning person.  I have no interest in getting into the hot tub in the morning.  I suppose I should try…  Perhaps this desire is a New Year’s resolution.  I could do with LESS news first thing in the morning.  That’s the time, though, that I connect with friends online.

Tomorrow the days begin to get longer again.

I love these long night days, but I also love the turning of the seasons as they cycle around us over and over.




Turkey Tracks: “On Ringo Lake” Clue 4

Turkey Tracks:  December 19, 2017

“On Ringo Lake” Clue 4

This week was “easy peasy.”

So happy, as we’ve had, as we always do, some intensive sewing.

I chain-pieced all 218 units–first one side and then the other–and finished by Tuesday.

Here are some units with the first triangle ironed and piles of triangles on the left that go on the other side.

Done!  And glad to see that I do have enough light grey to be lighter than the blacks.

I’m hoping upcoming clues have more neutrals…

Here’s a block for the parts department–made from the tiny “waste” triangles in earlier clues.  Once was enough with these tiny blocks.  Cute though…