Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for the ‘Turkey Tracks: My Life in Maine’ Category

AC Slater Loves His Red Rubber Ball

with one comment

Turkey Tracks: February 5, 2021

AC Slater Loves His Red Rubber Ball

It is Friday. And we are getting rain later today, so AC and I went out late morning to run food errands and to make some time for AC to chase his red rubber ball to run out his kinks.

What amazes me is that he knows where we are in the car, and if we are near any of the places where he can chase his ball, he begins to “talk” to tell me he’s so ready to go when we get there. It is a rare day when I don’t take him somewhere to run.

It’s hard to throw the ball and take videos, but here’s what I got this late morning at the Barrett’s Cove parking lot. Look at that happy face and wagging tail as he brings the ball back. If I can get the ball ahead of him, he’ll put on a burst of speed that is so fast. I’ve started wondering if he’s got some greyhound in him somewhere.

For some reason, when he brings back the ball, he rubs all over my legs, going around and around my body.

When he starts to out of breath, I’ll do a few “short” throws where I pound the ball against the surface so it goes high in the air. Most of the time he catches it on the fly, which is pretty darn awesome.

Here’s a picture of Barrett’s Cove. It is just one of my favorite spots winter and summer.

When we got home, it started to snow—not rain. And it is so pretty.

A warm lunch was in order:

I cooked some chicken breasts in 14 minutes in the Instant Pot last night! So I had delicious leftover tender and tasty chicken and a cream-based sauce made with onions sauteed in ghee and with some heavy raw cream, dried herbs, and a bit of mustard added. I added more chicken broth to the leftover sauce after I put away the groceries, and quick-cooked some fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in the sauce while I got the chicken off the bone. I added the chicken and poured the whole thing over the leftover rice from last night. I cooked a whole bag of sprouted brown rice in the Instant Pot some days back and froze the extra rice in individual portions.

And now I’m going to finish lunch and have some sewing time.

Written by louisaenright

February 5, 2021 at 1:42 pm

I LOVE the Tulip Hand-Sewing Needles

with one comment

Turkey Tracks: February 4, 2021

My love of the Tulip Sewing Needles started with the kind of “big stitch” hand quilting I often do that uses heavier threads. I prefer perle cotton size 8 and 12-weight cotton threads. The 12-weight is lighter than the size 8 cotton, but much heavier than a 50-weight thread such as I use with piecing. I prefer these threads to embroidery floss or the heavier perle cottons.

There are multiple manufacturers for these threads, so I am only limited by color availability. Red Rock Threads is a good place to start. Sulky’s 12-weight cotton threads also come in “mini” spools of 50 yards for $1.65 each, which allows one to collect an array of colors. And anyone reading this blog knows I love color in all forms.

I purchased the larger blue and ivory spools years ago—and I have a few of the blue and a lot of the ivory left. I have machine quilted quilt sandwhiches using either of these colors, but they lay down a strong line. I think they are best for grid quilting a quilt—and then decide if you want a strong quilting statement or not.

But, back to Tulip needles. My first ones were Sashiko needles. They are NOT cheap—they only come about 4 to a pack. BUT, they slide through fabric like a dream and they don’t bend. And I don’t have trouble threading them. In other words, these needles last. They are “polished” up and down to make them slide through the fabric easily. And they are available in many places online, including Amazon.

Here’s one of my Sashiko needles at work on my “My Splice” quilt with some 12-weight thread. The horizontal lines are from my longarm machine basting lines. I got a bit of a start on this project last night.

This quilt is going to look awesome when the hand quilting is done.

The Tulip needles come beautifully packaged.

Inside, one finds the actual container. This one contains 6 needles, two of each size.

This purchase of an assortment of straw needles was an experiment that I’m delighted to say is a happy one. Remember that the smaller the needle number, the bigger the needle. So, the size 8 is bigger than the other needles. I like all three of these needles. They are super sharp.

I lost one I was using to sew down the binding on Sugaridoo Rainbow a few days back. It fell out of the quilt sometime, likely, when I was finished for the night and folding it up. That led to vacuuming out the couch where I sit at night and then the whole carpet. And under the chair where I hang quilts I’m working on. But I’ve never found it. Lost needles have a funny way of appearing sometimes, so I am hoping this one does. And now I don’t leave the needle lose in my work—I clip it down with one of those little quilty clips we have all grown to love.

Sugaridoo Rainbow is now living on the stair bannister, and I’m enjoying seeing its happy face when I go up and down the stairs during the day. I will turn it about so I see different colors off and on.

My Tulip needle (a size 9 I think) did a great job with the Sugaridoo binding.

“Sugaridoo: Rainbow” is Done

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks: February 3, 2021

“Sugaridoo: Rainbow” is Done

This quilt is the result of the 2019-2020 Bernina Quilt-Along designed and managed by Sugaridoo. I’ve never done an online QAL, and this one was suggested by our leadership in Coastal Quilters (Maine) as a mechanism to learn some new techniques and patterns. We started in, if I remember, November 2019, and we got a new pattern for a new row once a month and the final assembly plan in the 13th month. Videos accompanied each month’s pattern and row release—so I now have these twelve patterns and some learned methods I didn’t know. And I did purchase the rainbow kit that Irene of Sugaridoo put together. I’ve never made a rainbow quilt. (Sugaridoo also included a color scheme that was not rainbow, and I’ve so enjoyed seeing what people who went that route and varied their colors produced.)

Here is another view—this quilt is 70 wide and about90 long. The pale grey background lent itself to using a pale grey thread for quilting. I wanted an extremely simple way to quilt this quilt as I do not do intensive quilting—I don’t have the skills or the patience—and I didn’t want to distract from the graphic nature of this quilt.

I saw many bright and wonderful backing fabrics as people begin to reveal their finished quilts. But I fell in love with this quiet backing fabric which holds the colors of the quilt more or less and just works to make the front brilliance a bit quieter.

I used the darker grey “highlight” (Kona Titanium), and I am happy with that choice.

I’m happy with how this quilt came out, and I enjoyed the year-long journey with Sugaridoo.

I made TWO of these quilts—as I’m always looking for fun ways to use my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics. The second one will go on the longarm pretty soon now. All the parts are ready, and I will again quilt it with these simple curvy lines.

Written by louisaenright

February 3, 2021 at 9:50 am

Snow Days Quilty Projects

with one comment

Turkey Tracks: February 1, 2021

Snow Days Quilty Projects

We’re getting our first BIG storm tonight—with a lot of accumulation overnight.

That meant I had to cancel my right eye cataract surgery for tomorrow early. The reschedule date will be March 2. There was no question that I had to cancel—once it starts to snow hard, it isn’t safe to drive down and up Howe Hill or my steep and curving driveway where deep ditches live alongside. The plow guys get to me soon enough, so I just stay put until they do.

So, it’s brrr cold too, and I will work on sewing projects. I need to get “Trees” off the design wall to make space for a planned large log cabin quilt.

This “trees” block, as you may recall from other posts, is based on/inspired by a block by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts. I’m planning 8 by 9 rows so will have a nice lap-size quilt. The tedious part of this quilt block is making the tree trunks. Piecing and trimming the block goes really fast actually.

I’ve often noted, as have other quilters I know, that it is so fun to start a project, but at some point, it becomes tedious to finish up the blocks. I’m sitting on my fingers now to finish this one before diving fully into the log cabin blue/grey project. And I’ve already started wondering about a log cabin with a black center chimney and light and dark greys. I’ve gone as far as cutting out the parts for one grey block to see how that looks. I’ve wanted to make an all grey quilt for some time.

Meanwhile, I have a BIG block of flying geese cut out to see how that looks—from a pattern in the “Simply Modern” magazine an issue back. More on this one later, of course. And then the 4th project from The Color Collective will be dropped today. The fabric is already here, and it is, as always, intriguing and pretty.

I’m taking a break from “Trees” (I finished the leftover parts of the “Pips” quilt yesterday) from time to time to iron/cut, iron/cut the blue grey fabrics for the log cabin.

The fabrics on the longarm bar are ironed and ready to cut into some strips. I’m almost done with the ironing and first cutting of strips. Meanwhile, all the fabrics I pulled from the stash or purchased (I was almost out of light grey fabrics and had no good medium dark blues), will be ironed and ready to cut when I need more strips. The ironed fabrics and strips are living on the long arm bed for the moment.

So now it is time to get dressed and get about this promising quilty day!

Written by louisaenright

February 1, 2021 at 10:32 am

AC is a Trip!

with 2 comments

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

with 2 comments

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

with 3 comments

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

with 2 comments

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

with 7 comments

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

with one comment

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