Turkey Tracks: Bamboo Silk Scarf and KJ’s Purse

aha!  Here’s the missing post on KJ’s purse–and the bamboo silk scarf.  Will post it and delete the newer post.  It was lurking in “drafts” which I don’t seem to be able to find…  Thought you could only have one at a time

Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2011

Bamboo Silk Scarf and KJ’s Purse

I’ve finished two projects in the past few days.

You might remember an earlier blog on 3 different yarns I had bought.  Here’s the finished scarf from the bamboo/silk yarn:

The pattern was daunting for me, but it came out nicely, don’t you think?  I had to keep track of different stitches and use a cable holder for all 30-something rows of the pattern.  But, about halfway along, it became much easier as I “got” it.  Nevertheless, such intricacy is slow.  I have new-found respect for people who knit those Aran sweaters with all those different patterns and cables.  The scarf is VERY long–enough to double so that the wearer can thread the ends through the middle loop–something Mainers do a lot–and still have generous tails falling down the front.

It’s going to a dear friend who has been so generous with her spirit, her knowledge, her time, and her love.

Karen’s Purse

So, Karen Johnson, the Community School student who graduated last year and who is now the intern at The C-School (GO KAREN!), has admired my versions of this purse off and on for as long as I’ve known her.  I’ve made about six or seven purses from this “Bow-Tie” purse pattern, and I think I myself ha’ve had two versions while I’ve known Karen.  (Bow Tucks Tote, #PS008, Penny Sturges)

Anyway, Karen’s birthday was Christmas week, so we went to Marge’s Maine-ly Quilting store in Nobleboro, and Karen picked out fabrics for her purse.  Karen, you might recall, made a quilt last year with me.  So, it was pretty amazing to see how much confidence she had in picking out her fabrics for her purse.  And, mercy me!!, is it cute or what?  I’m letting her choose the fabric for my next project for sure.

Karen loves pink, so that was the starting point for the bag.  She chose a soft black for the bottom, so it would not show dirt.  (This bag is washablel, however.)  And, she chose the stripe for contrast.

Inside, is a bright, lime green, which looks way too muted here.  And, you can’t see it well, but the stripes match perfectly on BOTH sides!  John made the hard bottom, and I covered it with fuzzy fleece and fabric and glued it to the back of the board John made.

These fabrics did not come all together; Karen hunted all over the store to put them together.

Here’s the end detail, with the small ties “gathering” up excess fabric under the “bow-tie tuck” of the purse’s name.

And, here’s the purse pocket detail up close.  Karen chose a different big closure button, but I began to see tiny white antique buttons for the pocket stripes–from a collection I inherited from my great aunt Margaret. (People used to cut the buttons off worn-out clothing before using it in other ways.)  There are 20 small buttons and, with the large button, 21 buttons total.  Karen is 20 and will be 21 next year, and I hope she will still be using her purse then.  All these buttons have been handled many times by many hands, so each touching sends along its own energy to Karen.

Here is Karen’s bag, ready to be delivered to her this Friday (Feb. 4th.) when we will have a visit.  Below, Karen’s purse is sitting alongside my bag and is atop the scarf, wrapped and ready to be mailed.

Karen was to have helped me cut out the bag (no sewing, I promise!) and do the ironing while I sewed, but she has been so busy with her work (at a local nursing home where she is getting training to be a Personal Care Assistant) and with her new internship responsibilities at The C-School, and as I am leaving Feb. 18th for 10 days or so (quilting in Williamsburg with my quilting friends, attending the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show, and visiting with family), I just went ahead and made the bag.  We will do another one down the road, I’m sure.

Turkey Tracks: Rosie’s Gift

Turkey Tracks:  December 15, 2010

Rosie’s Gift

Our monthly quilt meeting was Saturday, December 11th.  We have a potluck and Christmas party during our December meeting. 

I have, for some years now, volunteered to bring the December door prize.  I collect items for the Christmas door prize all year long.   And, people give me items to put into the box over the year as well.

Last February I made my annual trip to Virginia to be with my old quilting friends in Williamsburg.  We’ve been making this trip together for about 15 years now.  We spend a week in a timeshare that Rose Pilkerton organizes.  We catch up, quilt night and day, take turns cooking, and attend the Mid-Atlantic Quilting Show.  The week is full of sharing:   laughter, jokes, movies watched while quilting, and the work of quilting projects.  These friends help you “unsew” if you need to, sew on bindings, and lend you whatever you need.    

Rose Pilkerton gave me this treasure of a notebook holder she had made for the Coastal Quilters’ December door prize:

Here’s the inside:

She also gave me one for myself that used a red fabric featuring old sewing machines.  AND, a key chain made from the same fabric.  I carry them both everywhere, and I think of her everytime I use either of her gifts. 

Rose’s generosity-and Rose herself–are metaphors for what I love in my quilting friends, of what I aspire to be.

The Maine quilter who won the December gift box loved Rose’s contribution.

And I love Rose!

Turkey Tracks: Tami’s Placemats

Turkey Tracks:  December 13, 2010

Tami’s Placemats

Last summer, Tami told me she’d love to make some of the placemats I had made using a simple hand loom and fabric strips.  About two years ago, I took a class at Alewives Fabrics, Damariscotta, Maine, to learn this technique.  The book that contains directions for both the looms and how to weave the rugs is RUGS FROM RAGS, by Country Threads.  I think even I could make one of these looms. 

I have two looms, a placemat size and a rug size that is about 2 feet by 3 feet.  I got the rug-size loom first, and my first project was a rug for our kitchen door.  We had just painted the kitchen a color called “beeswax,” from Benjamin Moore paints.  It’s a warm, soft color in the orange family.  So, I wanted kitchen rugs to have warm colors. 


What I learned with this project is that my muslin inner fabric strips (warp?  woof?) should have been in the color palette, not the ususal off-white muslin suspect.  But, but, let me tell you that this rug washes frequently and gets popped right into the dryer.  It takes on mud, snow, and rain without a fuss, and I love it.  Ditto the 8 placemats and the upper side door rug I made after finishing this first rug.  The placemats and other rug are made from “on-sale” fabrics, and they are not batiks.  They ravel more, and it’s harder to weave them because you have to pay attention to keeping the outer, colored part of the fabric turned out so that the inner, bland side does not show.   

Here’s a picture of the upper side door rug so you can see how different it is.  That’s the door stopper Bryan and Corinne sent to us as a housewarming gift when we moved to Maine.

Here’s a picture of one of the placemats.  Each one is different.  And, I trim off unraveled threads every so often.  Again, they are wearing like iron and get popped into the washer and dryer without a backward glance.

Tami and I left the next morning to pick out fabric for her project.   John, upon hearing of her project, offered to make her a loom.  Meanwhile, after choosing batiks in soft creams and blues (beachy colors she said), she cut her fabric strips and started a placemat on my loom.

Tami and I always get into crafts toward the end of their month in Maine with us, so she did not have time to finish this first placemat and went home with both my loom and the one John made for her.  She did have time to master the technique and finished one of the placemats in short order.  Here it is:


I, meanwhile, made the six napkins with fabric she left with me and mailed them to her.

Tami and Mike, after looking for the kind of home they wanted to buy in Charleston, bought a home in August.  Thus, she was preoccupied with her third move in three years and with some changes to the new home throughout the fall.  (They bought a simple, beautiful home that works to keep them together as a family–along the lines of the “not so big” home idea.)  And now, both of my sons and their families live on Isle of Palms, a barrier island just north of Charleston’s harbor.  They live two blocks from each other and within two blocks of the beautiful Isle of Palms beach. 

Together over Thanksgiving, we finished three placemats, so now Tami has four completed.  She has materials for two more.

Here’s what the loom looks like, with a placemat in progress:

And, here are three placemats with their matching napkins:

Some time this winter I would like to start a rug using an old light green duvet color and some old sheets. 

I warn you:  this craft is addictive.

Turkey Tracks: Steve Melchiskey’s Earring Holder

Turkey Tracks:  December 13, 2010

Steve Melchiskey’s Earring Holder

I’m a member of Coastal Quilters, a chapter in the Maine State Pinetree Quilters’ Guild.  CQ is based in Camden, Maine, and it is a lovely group of women.  I treasure knowing each and every one of them.  They are generous to a fault, astonishingly talented, and devoted to this quilting group.  We learn a lot from each other.

Our spouses are no slouches either.  Many of them help us set up our meeting space at the Lion’s Club each month, which involves putting up lots of tables and placing chairs around them.  And, for our annual fundraising auction, one spouse–Steve Melchiskey–made several, very clever, pierced earring holders, using frames and window screen.  I had been searching for something to organize my earrings–especially since I have a new-found passion–making earrings with the help of the staff at Aboca Beads in Damariscotta, Maine, about 40 minutes down the road.

Here’s my terrific earring holder, and my heartfelt thanks to Steve Melchiskey for supporting Coastal Quilters:


Look at all those earrings, both VERY old and new!  The top three on the left are made from folding clay by the most amazing artist who displays at Alewives Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills.  How does she make such intricate pictures????  Some readers will recognize earrings they have given to me.  Some of the earrings I remade from old, outdated earrings, giving them new life.  One of the amber-like ones on the lower left got dropped and cracked.  John glued it for me, and I love it still. 

Turkey Tracks: New-Baby-Coming Projects

Turkey Tracks:   November 8, 2010

New-Baby-Coming Projects


We have a new granddaughter coming in early December.   We might even be in Charleston, SC, when she arrives.    

Anyway, when her mother Corinne and my son Bryan were here in the summer, Corinne and I took a day and picked out fabrics for some special projects.

We picked out fabrics for two soft blankets:


These blankets are flannel on one side and a cotton fabric on the other.  Corinne loved all the bright, lively children’s prints on the market now and chose these two.  These blankets wash and wear beautifully and get used in countless ways.  I gave our other daughter-in-law two for each new child (for a total of 8!), and Tami put them under a baby’s head in a crib to catch spit-up (saving washing the whole sheet), on the changing table, on the floor, over a sleeping baby, and so forth. 

I buy 1 1/4 yards of each fabric, rip the selvages and edges to get straight grains, lay the two layers together right sides together, and trim where needed (the flannel piece is often larger), and sew around the edges (1/2-inch seam) leaving a turning space.  I trim down the corners and push them out.  Then, turn the fabrics right side out, iron, sew down the edges, and fold them prettily to show both layers. 

Corinne also picked out an Amy Butler pattern for a diaper bag and fabrics to make it.  Here’s what the finished product looks like.  There are big pockets on both sides and lots of pockets inside, which I divided on one side for bottles: 

Here is an end view of the handle detail:

And, one of the interior:

And, Corinne picked out an adorable bug fabric for the baby’s quilt backing.   She left the rest to me, and here I am, beginning work on the quilt for my new granddaughter:

And here’s a hint of what’s going on:

Turkey Tracks: Hand Projects: Socks and a Rug

Turkey Tracks:  October 12, 2010

Hand Projects:  Socks and a Rug

I quilt mostly during the day.  I knit at night while watching movies.  It’s enormously relaxing.


I completed a pair of socks recently.  I used a light yarn with a bamboo component.  They came out really lovely, though the color is much more silvery than this picture shows.

The pattern comes from Charlene Schurch’s book SENSATIONAL KNITTED SOCKS:  http://knitting.about.com/od/reviews/fr/sesational-sock.htm.  This pattern is in her 4-stitch pattern section; it’s a “baby cable.”  I have had such success with her 4-knit patterns that I have not ventured into 5-stitch or upwards.  And, these socks fit beautifully as well.

The only trouble I did have was with the bamboo blend yarn.  It turns out that bamboo is heavier than wool, and there were enough grams in the ball to produce a pair of women’s socks.  These are a women’s size 8 or so.  But, there was not enough length of the yarn.  I was missing enough yarn for the two toes.   So, I had to buy another ball, and I was lucky to get the same dye lot.  I’ve written the sellers of the yarn, and, hopefully, they will do something about this problem since right now these socks are double the cost they should be.

One of my grandchildren will be happy, however, as I will have about enough left-over yarn to make one of them a pair of socks.


I’m also working on a knitted rug from the MASON-DIXON KNITTING book by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne.   These gals also have a terrific blog:   http://www.masondixonknitting.com/.

Here is a picture of one of these rugs I did a few years back.  It’s been washed numerous times, and it still looks great and still feels yummy great to the feet!  It was meant for the kitchen in front of the sink, but looked like it had been made for the lower bathroom, so there it went.

Here is a bigger, close-up picture–one that is (yikes!) showing it needs a trip to the washing machine:

The yarn is a double strand of a double worsted Peaches and Cream cotton.  (Yes, two cones are used at once.)  The fabric knitted/crocheted into the pattern is from my quilt stash, cut into strips.  I love this rug.  It has just the sort of rough, handmade look that I love in a project like this one.

Over a year ago, a friend asked me to help her cut down a king-size duvet cover, and I cut the leftovers into fabric strips.  I wound up with a fairly good-sized ball.  The colors of this fabric are brighter and clearer than this first rug.  I’ve been plotting another rug ever since.   I will confess I did have to add a few more fabrics than I had in my stash.  But, I have two panels done now, so the rug will be on the kitchen floor soon now.  I’ll take a picture when it’s done.


Turkey Tracks: Birthday Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  July 16, 2010

Birthday Quilt

I love my birthday.  It’s March 17th, and I look forward to it every year. 

This year, the grandchildren sent me a special present:  a paper quilt.

I loved it on sight.

And, I propped it on the wall in our craft/laundry room area, but didn’t get it hung until just before they came.

Here’s what it looks like:



You can see their names at the top.  I love the colors.  And, I think it’s the coolest quilt ever.