Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for January 2021

AC is a Trip!

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Turkey Tracks: January 30, 2021

AC is a Trip!

AC Slater…chews…when things aren’t perfect for him. He is still a young dog with a LOT of energy and is not above chewing his dog bed when he thinks I need to pay him more attention. I have repaired this bed MANY times now—and much of the bottom is taped with that sturdy silver tape.

So, way back in mid December I saw a dog bed online that looked yummy and claimed it helped dogs to relax into it. Knowing that the customer claims about their dogs loving this bed could be total fabrications, in a weak moment I ordered one in a size recommended for my dog’s weight.

It came from China, of course. And it took weeks and weeks. And it came with all the air sucked out and in a plastic bag that fit into my mailbox. I could tell as soon as I got it out of the bag and air went back inside, that it was too small for my dog. Way too small. This “smallness” feature of many products from China, LOL, I’m thinking is due to the fact that the Chinese are smaller and thinner than we are. And, apparently, their dogs are smaller too!!

AC was intrigued with the fluffy nature of this bed. I think he thought it was an animal carcass of some sort. I put it inside his existing bed, thinking he would love the soft support there.

He would have absolutely NOTHING to do with this arrangement. He would not willingly put a foot on this bed.

As soon as I turned my back and started sewing, he dragged the new bed out of HIS bed and chewed a hole in it and spread the inside fluff all over the rug.

He was terribly ashamed of himself when I pointed out that this behavior was NOT ok. There were apologies and attempts to crawl into my lap. And I restuffed the bed and sewed up the hole.

The next day, he agreed to get into the bed to humor me…

And when I started sewing again, he chewed another hole in the bed, but did not drag it out of his bed.

So, I’m giving up.

He does not like the bed, and that’s that. And I think he thinks it is some sort of animal pelt—or a toy like his squeaky toys that he demolishes in short order.

I again repaired the hole.

It will go into storage until…

…I decide what to do with it.

AC Slater is a Trip!

Written by louisaenright

January 30, 2021 at 9:39 am

Longarm Basting

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Turkey Tracks: January 29, 2021

Longarm Basting

Wow!!

How could I NOT have tried to baste a quilt I want to either hand quilt or quilt on domestic machines?

Boy does this beat pinning a quilt on the longarm.

Thanks to encouragement from wendysquilting (she very kindly comments on this blog), I finally tried it.

I’ll never go back!

All done!

I’m putting on “Pips” to baste it next.

Written by louisaenright

January 29, 2021 at 2:09 pm

Sugaridoo QAL Rainbow Quilt is Bound

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Turkey Tracks: January 28, 2021

Sugaridoo QAL Rainbow Quilt is Bound

Yeah!!

Sugaridoo, as hosted by Bernina, ran this QAL for a year.

Each month Sugaridoo gave us a new row to make and supplied us with patterns and videos. So I now have 12 new patterns in my files to be used whenever I see fit—and they are all interesting and lively. Almost any of them would make a quilt all by themselves. For me, there were some learning curves as well, and that’s always good.

Somehow I made two rows each month—one in this solid rainbow version, and one in all Cotton+Steel. I sat on these finished tops for a bit as I thought about how to quilt them. I didn’t want any quilting that distracted from these very graphic blocks. And I like to make soft quilts that are functional, so I didn’t want heavy quilting—assuming I have the patience for that, which I clearly do not. I chose just simple wavy lines and am very pleased with the result. I will do that in the other quilt as well.

Trimming up the sides:

Admiring how the soft, traditional backing I chose works to soften the graphic nature of the top.

Putting on the binding. I used the same dark grey that Sugaridoo used for the accents in each row. I think it is working well.

So now I have some hand-sewing for night tv watching.

AND a solution for quilting the second Sugaridoo quilt that is all organized and ready to go.

Written by louisaenright

January 28, 2021 at 8:21 am

I Have Projects

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Turkey Tracks: January 27, 2021

I Have Projects

Yes I do!

And I can easily start more apparently.

First though, I am loving my Instant Pot. As I’ve said before, I have Histamine Intolerance and need to cook my food quickly as long cooking times increase histamine levels. My Instant Pot allowed me to cook a pot roast in 45 minutes, with a 15 minute stay in the pot with the steam, and about 15 minutes in the pot first to saute the meat, onions, and garlic. I could even remove all but the juice and use the saute function to thicken the sauce.

The result was a tender and very tasty pot roast that did not take hours in the oven and that has provided me with a lot of meals all ready to heat quickly and eat. Here’s one with some smashed potatoes that I cooked separately alongside. I did not put the carrots and asparagus in the pot either. They are easy enough to cook fast on the top of the stove.

My collection of the “other” selvages—the side without writing—had grown to a point where I needed to stop and knit them into the eighth and final placemat. They are funky and fun combined with bright colored, generous-sized cloth napkins—and I was without a sewing hand project for the last two nights anyway. The Sugaridoo quilt is back on the longarm, and I will finish it today and trim and bind it so there will be hand sewing tonight. Then I will try to baste “My Splice” on the longarm.

It started snowing last night—off and on. AC doggie went outside and came right back to get warm snuggled next to me on the couch.

Yes, he wallows when he wants to be loved up.

I love wedding ring quilts and am very drawn to this “funky” one that Debbie of A Quilter’s Table blog made recently. She got the pattern from the older book FRIENDS by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston, who pioneered the idea of creating a “parts department” of blocks to be used in improv quilts. They also created a whole series of “funky” blocks based on traditional blocks—like this wedding ring block. I am wondering about making the block with my solid stash. Or, maybe the Cotton+Steel stash. I do like the way the prints and solids are mixed in Debbie’s version here. And isn’t the wide binding with her fabric choice awesome? I have not tried a wide binding like this on e. She did further secure this binding with some bit-thread cross stitches done decoratively along each side. Thanks, Debbie!

This block is in this book, which I found online. And, I love it.

It will be a snow day for me today. I did all the household work, laundry, and errands yesterday, and I am looking forward to finishing Sugaridoo and then playing with some of the projects I have already started. I really need to spend some time with the leader/ender “Trees” quilt as it is taking over the design wall. I have some parts department “Pips” block to make to finish off that project. And I’ve started a Log Cabin quilt for a niece out in Wyoming as a house warming gift as they have just purchased their first home.

There are, of course, other projects to do. Always.

Written by louisaenright

January 27, 2021 at 9:14 am

“My Bars” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: January 26, 2021

“My Bars” Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for some time now. It was inspired by Tara Faughnan’s “Bars” quilt, which I fell in love with at first sight. But Timna Tarr and Maria Schell have also been making similar quilts in this vein, but with different organizational color theories—solid fabric quilts drenched with color.

Tara’s “Bars” quilt was highlighted—along with her color theory—on a recent episode of Alex Anderson’s The Quilt Show. And, Tara has online classes for her color theory, using this quilt.

I really like Tara’s color theory, and I think the use of it made this quilt “pop.” I quilted it with a variety of size 8 perle cotton colors I had on hand—with a Tulip Sashiko “thin” needle. I really like the Tulip needles for hand sewing—they don’t bend out of shape when going through quilt layers—and are good about sliding through the layers. I have ordered more in different sizes. I used interlocking big circles as I thought the straight lines in the quilt would benefit from curves.

Of course, this project has been a great way to use up some of the solid stash I have acquired via three years now of The Color Collective projects.

One of the really fun things that has happened during the current Covid isolation has been the digging through my stash to find backings. I’ve been trying to find a use for this Kaffe Fasset print for over 15 years now. And it is PERFECT for the backing on this quilt.

I hung “My Bars” in my quilt room yesterday morning after taking down a quilt and moving “Let There Be Light” to that spot.

My Sugaridoo (solid version) is drying out on the longarm as almost near the end of quilting it, I discovered A FOLD IN THE BATTING about 10 rows up!!! So, I had to take it off the long arm, pick out the rows, and spritz the quilting holes with water to close them up. I got it back on the longarm yesterday so will likely finish it today. I am hoping to get it trimmed and to install the binding so I have some hand-sewing for night tv watching.

This is NOT the first time this has happened, so I need to devise a better method to proceed for the future. I float the quilt top over the batting, which also floats, and I measure and sew down the sides as I go. Perhaps picking up the top and taking a look at the batting along the way would be wise. I was smoothing with my fingers and feeling along the way, but I did miss this fold as it developed. Ugh!!

Here’s a close-up.

And here’s a pic of my best buddy and boyfriend cuddling next to my legs last night:

“My Splice” Quilt Top is Finished

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Turkey Tracks: January 24, 2021

“My Splice” Quilt Top is Finished”

“Splice” is the third project in this year’s (season 3) online class designed by Tara Faughnan for The Color Collective at Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia.

I finished my “My Splice” top Saturday—which I kept narrow so it can be a wall hanging. I also reversed the planned order of the rows in order to create the diamond which forms in the middle of the central rows.

Isn’t this color palette that Tara sent us pretty—so soft. I’ll hand-quilt along the diagonals. and will bind in the deep pink color, called Geranium. These are all Kona solid cottons. The darkest color is not black, but a deep rich navy blue.

In this project we learned how to draft a template on freezer paper, cut it into workable smaller pieces, and then layer the master template over 3 layers of freezer paper cut to size—which get ironed together in a bundle before taken to the sewing machine where an unthreaded needle sews over the marking lines. Then one separates the templates gently. Voila! Three templates for each row side (they are mirror images) that get used as foundation paper piecing when constructing the rows (rather than just the freezer paper method), which keeps all these diagonal lines really stable.

And the above is why I keep taking this online class. I have had so much fun and learned so much I didn’t know.

Thank you Tara and Amy!!

Written by louisaenright

January 25, 2021 at 8:12 am

There is a Moment…

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Turkey Tracks: January 23, 2021

There is a Moment…

I have, for many years, tried to describe what it is like here in Mid-Coast Maine, when the ponds freeze so that they are as slick as a huge pane of glass.

It would not be uncommon in past years to see lots of people out on the ice enjoying the moment—but not now with the virus prohibiting this kind of gathering.

The other day, the ice on Hosmer pond, which sits below our local skiing place (called the Snow Bowl), froze as smooth as a skating rink.

There was a very kind gentleman enjoying the moment, and he agreed to let me video him skating so I could finally show my family.

I wish I had done longer videos, but I will show you the three short ones I did as each shows a different long view of the smooth, smooth pond.

And, of course, that night we got a little snow, which covered the smooth ice. And that is why it used to be that people would drop all other activities when the pond is smooth because it never lasts that way for long.

Note that the ice at the pond’s edge is very soft. The shallow water easily melts at the edge. This gentleman found a long board that helped him get out on to the ice.

Written by louisaenright

January 23, 2021 at 6:58 pm

“Happy Quilt”

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Turkey Tracks: January 16, 2021

“Happy Quilt”

I’ve been busy this week: cataract surgery on my left eye happened on Tuesday and a week of healing, eye drops, and check-ins with family and friends followed. The left eye was really bad with seriously impaired vision that was starting to affect both eyes. It is now AWESOME! I have light and clarity back now, and I am delirious about my renewed vision. The right eye will be done Feb. 2nd. It all feels like a miracle.

Plus, I was totally able to do the procedure without being put to sleep—which would have meant a risk for me with my mast cell disorder/histamine reactions and would have been maybe pushing the envelope too far alongside the drugs they used to prep the eye. The whole process was totally interesting, and afterwards, they only had to check my blood pressure a few times, and I could just go home. I could tell right away that my eye was seeing things it had not seen in some time—and that has gotten better and better every day.

BUT, I put the binding on this baby quilt for a local baby born on the 11th before I left for the cataract procedure, and during this week, I was able to sew down the binding. I called it “Happy Quilt,” and it is made from a collection of Riley Blake fabrics I had in my stash that really needed to be used.

I got into this project via friend Betsy Maislen who was also making baby quilts. She used the Bow-Tie block, and when I saw her growing quilt top, I got hooked—especially as I wanted to do something for this local baby. Here’s Betsy’s quilt top, so you can see what drew me into this project:

Betsy used a pink binding—and the quilt is back from the longarm quilter. She is now making another baby quilt from Bonnie Hunter’s “Winter Blues” pattern, which we both have purchased now.

Here’s “Happy Quilt.”

And now I am back to hand quilting my “stripes” solid scrappy quilt and working on the January project for The Color Collective.

Today is rainy and way too warm—all the snow is melting. But I am looking forward to a rainy day of sewing.

Written by louisaenright

January 16, 2021 at 10:19 am

“Pips” Top Finished

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Turkey Tracks: January 4, 2021

“Pips” Top Finished

The second project for this year’s The Color Collective is all about curves and how to create them using a glue stick pen.

“Pips” are apple seeds—and this color palette is as bright and shiny as our green and red apples are.

I have no idea how I’ll quilt it, but I’ve organized backing and batting for it. I’ll probably bind it with the “limelight” green or the softer lavender “thistle.” I’m leaning toward the limelight green. I bought the walking foot instruction book WALK, and that will likely offer a solution for how to quilt this quilt. My mind is wanting curved lines that track down—and around the “Pips.”

The new project (3) is here and I’ve downloaded the pattern and watched the videos. It will involve making a freezer paper template that gets used like paper foundation piecing. And part of making the template will involve using one’s threadless sewing machine needle to mark out the sewing lines.

I always learn so much with The Color Collective projects as each introduces a new skill—or refines an older one.

Written by louisaenright

January 4, 2021 at 9:07 am

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