A Sunny Saturday

Turkey Tracks

It is a sunny, cold morning here in Maine. And I have been steadily working away this morning at organizing all the moving parts involved in my move to Charleston, SC, in mid-December. And, with catching up with emails and messages to friends. I am making great progress in crossing off items in my many “to do” lists.

In just a bit I’ll stop working here and make a stir-fry with a package of gifted deer meat that I’ve been hoarding. I love deer. And lamb. I find that one either does or does not like these stronger, gamier, meats.

I’ve been able to carve out a bit of sewing time in recent days. I now have made four rows of the Traverse Block-of-the Month project designed by Tara Faughnan and hosted by Sewtopia. I did not want to fall behind during the move, and I’ve taken four of Tara’s The Color Collective classes and made her astonishingly gorgeous wedding quilt pattern, so I did not have any trouble with making these rows–once I got over the exacting flying geese rows, which I seemed to have made much harder than they needed to be.

The green and yellowish row of little squares is surrounded by its two sashing rows as I had those fabrics on hand, and it will sit at the top of the quilt. (See the previous post for a picture of the whole quilt).

So now what? I opened the box of what’s left from my year(s) long Cotton+Steel projects. There are bags of 1 1/2 and 2-inch squares, some rectangles of two blocks, and the long strips cut for the Churn Dash blocks (only a few of those left now). Sewing the small squares into blocks is fairly mindless and soothing, so that’s what I did yesterday.

The 2-inch squares will make a good size lap quilt. The 1 1/2-inch block measures 8 inches finished–and I’m not sure where that one is going yet. And I will need a few more Churn Dash blocks to make a good lap size quilt, but not many.

It’s good to have this sewing time while I wait for the Due Diligence period of the contract to finish on December 5th. After that, I will do the last of the serious packing and cleaning.

Time is moving fast, even during this quieter period.

Another November Update

Hello friends.

The contract about which I last wrote fell through. But there is another one now, so I have a new closing date (December 28) and a new moving date (December 15). The due diligence time (8 days this time) started today and will end December 3rd. And a formal inspection will be done tomorrow. During due diligence buyers can back out of the contract if an issue is found that they feel makes buying the house not a good idea for them, for whatever reason.

The great news is that if this contract holds, I’ll be able to buy “my house” in Charleston after the December 28 closing here. I am trying not to get completely giddy over that possibility.

Both sons are coming on the 16th (we are meeting in Portland near the airport) to drive me to Charleston as I cannot fly and don’t feel like I could drive myself down the I95 East Coast urban corridor for 20+ hours. But what a gift to be with both sons at once in a car for 20 hours! My life in Maine has not included driving in urban traffic or for long periods of time, so at almost 78 I feel so grateful for all the family support I am getting to make this move not only happen, but to be a happy occasion.

During radon testing in the failed contract due diligence period, it emerged that there is an air/radon problem here, but that knowledge emerged only after the contract fell through for some other reason. Plans are now in place to mitigate that issue asap.

I have learned a lot about air radon and radon mitigation over recent weeks. It takes 48 hours for a machine to test for indoor radon, while doors stay shut except for going and coming. It’s winter, so all the windows are already shut. The mitigation will involves drilling down through the utility room slab to install a vent pipe (powered by a fan) that takes the radon air outside and over the roof–and that drilling is complicated by the radiant heat pipes in the lower floor. But there is a very nifty infrared camera that can show where the pipes are–but shows the pipes clearly after the heat is turned off overnight and restarted the next morning. Brrrrr!

Since I can’t do any more packing until the due diligence period is over, I got bored. I unpacked the Janome 6600 and its Sew-Ezi portable table–which positions the machine so it is flush to the table top–and set up a little sewing station in the quilt room that is now full of packed boxes and items that “will move” from other parts of the house.

I have four monthly fabric packets from Sewtopia for the Tara Faughnan designed block-of-the month Traverse quilt project. Each month’s fabrics makes one of the rows in the quilt–and some months have multiple rows of the same design that are repeated on the quilt. I am working on row 4 now, and it has 3 rows. It’s the row at the top of the quilt with the small green squares.

Here is a picture of Tara Faughnan’s sample quilt–done in the Windham Artisan “shot” cotton solids, which I chose. Other choices were Kona solid cottons in colors or neutrals or the Artisan cottons in neutrals. All of these quilts are beautiful, and the rows are fun to make, though the two flying geese rows were super challenging for me as each row needs to measure 72 1/2 inches.

Sooo…

I will be less anxious when the due diligence 8 days are over and the air/radon problem is mitigated, but I’m getting much better at just letting what I cannot manage go. All is just going to be what it is, and I am flexible with what life puts in my path for the most part–even when disappointment occurs.

I will miss Maine, for sure. But I miss my family much more. And I’m truly excited about living close to them again. The years since John died in January 2013 have been so good for me as I learned I can live on my own and that I can cope when life gets messy.

I suppose in that way I am choosing to be happy, no matter what. And I have so much for which to be happy.

PS: I learned this week that Jackpot has been adopted by a local family–after he visited them with his foster caregiver to see if JP and the family were happy with each other.

Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

Turkey Tracks: July 27, 2022

Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

The raspberries are coming in strong these days. I pick every day, and I get more and more berries every day. I have frozen some, eaten a lot, and given away a lot. Here’s what I picked late yesterday:

And here’s the beauty the flower garden provided yesterday:

One more row is needed on the ”Wyoming Stars” quilt. The secondary patterns are fascinating. It will be a good lap size: 60 by 60 inches. So far. I’ll see what is needed after I sew this part together.

Japanese beetles love raspberries and roses and will eat leaves until they are like lace. They emerge in the summer, about the time raspberries are starting to fruit.

What to do?

I think working with nature is the best answer—as there is a small grayish fly, the ”Winsome” fly—Istocheta aldrichi—that is a parasitoid and which emerges alongside the beetles. Winsome females lay eggs on the Japanese beetles back—on the thorax, which is just behind the head. You can see the little white dot which contains the eggs on the back of a beetle that Winsome has attacked. AND, these attacks occur BEFORE the JB lays its own eggs (40-60 eggs yearly). One larva hatches on the beetle and penetrates the beetle, which drops to the ground and tries to dig into the dirt as it is already sick. The Winsome’s larva eat the beetle, but stay with the carcass, and turn into a pupa, which emerges in the fly form next year, which seriously alters the beetles presence over time.

When I had my raspberries in the front garden, before I started over as the plants were too hard to harvest on the steep hill, I used to see a lot of the JBs with the white dots—and the number of beetles DID decrease over time.

The JBs mostly do not fly in from elsewhere, like other insects. They stay with their food source for the most part: raspberry bushes and roses. Control the numbers, and you control the problem.

I sweep a batch of beetles from a leaf into my hand and fist them. Then I release one at a time and check to see if I see the white dot. If so, that beetle goes free. If not, I kill that one with my thumbnail. I’m not squeamish about this murder, but if someone is, they could drop that beetle into a jar of soapy water and when they are done, cover the jar.

“Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt

Turkey Tracks: July 19, 2022

“Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt

“Wyoming Bear Paws” is the 9th quilt made from my winter project of using up the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabric stash. The 10th quilt is growing on the design wall: ”Wyoming Stars.” And it has astonishing secondary patterns happening, which is so fun.

I was able to make a scrappy backing, but I don’t think I’ll have enough big pieces of fabric to make a scrappy backing for ”Wyoming Stars.” Of course, Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society are still making delicious prints. And I might fall into that pit. BUT, I might also use up existing stash of other fabrics. To remind, though, all of the C+S/RS fabrics use the same dyes over the years, so the fabrics ”go together” well.

Many of these bigger pieces of fabrics in this backing were ones that didn’t cut into small quilting pieces well. They needed bigger blocks, and I tend to piece with smaller pieces. That’s not true for the tiger print though. I love that print and tend to hoard it. And it comes in lots of fun colors.

I used the ”Bayside” pantograph and a soft grey thread (Signature).

As I’ve said before, it takes a deep stash to get this kind of scrappy variety in a quilt. It’s been so much fun to work with these fabrics all winter. Hmmm…and now most of the summer.

There is an adorable little girl out in Wyoming who will also need a quilt from me.

I wonder what I’ll do. I’m turning over ideas.

Astonishing Secondary Patterns in ”Wyoming Stars” Blocks

Turkey Tracks: June 25, 2022

Astonishing Secondary Patterns in ”Wyoming Stars” Blocks

I totally didn’t foresee these astonishing secondary patterns forming in the ”Wyoming Stars” quilt blocks I’m now making from the leftover 3-inch strips I cut for the Churn Dash blocks—out of the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society stash I had. (This traditional block is just 1/2-square triangles and 3-inch squares at the corners—but I’m calling it ”Wyoming Stars” as this quilt is going eventually to a great-nephew who lives in Wyoming.)

I went back and forth with whether ot make the block’s center dark or light—and so it is very fun to see the larger star in the secondary patterns with a light center. And what about those dark strips that are forming? My goodness! I’m loving this project.

I’m out of pinks and oranges now, so I rooted in my regular stash to find some that will work with the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society color ranges—which have remained consistent over the years.

Son Bryan and family are coming tomorrow—so postings may be a bit light for the next two weeks.

I have not seen most of my two Charleston, SC, families in TWO YEARS! So I am very excited about tomorrow’s reunion.

The “Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt Top is Done

Turkey Tracks: June 20, 2022

The “Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt Top is Done

Yesterday was a rainy day. I diddled away the morning with this or that, ate the last of the chicken salad for lunch (and had enough to make my salad dinner which got topped also with a fried egg), had a nice coffee visit with Giovanna McCarthy, and then finished the pieced backing for ”Wyoming Bear Paws” and have begun the process of putting it on the longarm and basting it.

While I’ve made many quilts over the years using only Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star fabrics, this top is the 8th from this winter’s project of cutting up and using my apparently considerable stash of these fabrics. I will be able to get one more lap-size top for sure—“Wyoming Stars”—and maybe random Churn Dash blocks from the strips I cut for that purpose. All the big pieces that could be used for backings are now gone. There are, however, two big shoebox sized bins of cut 3 1/2 inch squares. Maybe more of the “Pot-Pourri” series? And I now have lots of smaller squares all cut to use in something (2 1/2, 2, and 1 1/2)—which is the way cutting quilting fabrics rolls.

You know, it takes a deep stash to have so many fabric offerings in one scrappy quilt.

While these scrappy quilts are going to family children, I’m keeping the last Churn Dash quilt for my grandchildren down the road. Right now it is living in the downstairs big room folded over a chair back.

“Eye Candy 4” is Done

Turkey Tracks: June 19, 2022

“Eye Candy 4” is Done

I have had such a good time with this Churn Dash series of quilts I made starting last winter. I love seeing these Churn Dash blocks butted up next to each other—as the secondary patterns that form are very pleasing I think. I used sashing between blocks on the first 3 quilts.

Again, all the fabrics are from the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics I had in my stash.

Here’s a close-up of the mostly ”fussy cut” block centers.

I quilted with a slightly darker grey and used the pantograph ”Bayside.” And I had enough of the clear red fabric to make this lively and perfect binding.

The back is pieced with some of the larger pieces from my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabric stash.

The larger pieces are seriously depleted now—but there are at least two more planned quilts to be made yet—and two bins of cut 3 1/2-inch blocks to be used for, maybe, the ”Pot-Pourri” quilt series. I can easily use other fabrics from my regular stash to piece backs.

Betsy Maislen’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

Turkey Tracks: June 12, 2022

Betsy Maislen’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

Betsy, too, was sewing in the last week’s rainy days. She was sewing down binding on her GORGEOUS “Love Letters” wedding present quilt.

She sent me this picture when she was done and before she mailed it off to the bride.

I love the cheerful ”heart red” binding. And the quilting pattern has hearts included.

Betsy used Carrie Bloomston’s 108-wide Windham “Newsprint” fabric—which is all about ”love.”

For pattern information, you can see an earlier post on this quilt: https://wordpress.com/post/louisaenright.com/15206

TWO Rainy Days!

Turkey Tracks: June 10, 2022

TWO Rainy Days!

Today, Friday, is bright and sunny after the past two rainy days.

And I’ll be walking with friend Jan Corson at 9:30. My legs are ready for a workout after treating myself to two days of enjoying the quiet peace of a good rainy day that allows lots of sewing.

In between some of the rain bands I replenished the inside flowers I’ve been cobbling together in the past few weeks—as the garden is not in full bloom yet. And yes, I got a bit sidetracked with pulling weeds as they practically jumped into my hands from the rain-soaked soil.

The orange rose is from the new landscape rose bush I planted a few weeks back. I LOVE the salmon color of it. And if it does well over the winter, I’ll plant a few more in garden holes around the house. These landscape roses are sturdy and colorful all summer.

The Bear Paw quilt top is growing on the design wall—it’s being made from the last of the 3-inch Cotton+Steel strips I cut for the Churn Dash quilt tops. Each block will be separated by cream 2-inch strips and attendant cornerstones. I have not decided about the edges yet—if I take the 2-inch strips around the edge it will be because I have enough of that fabric.

I’m thinking 4 rows, which will make a top that is about 65 inches—a good lap size for a little boy.

And for the second little boy, I’m playing with the rest of the 3-inch strips and the half-square triangles I’ve made to get variety for the Bear Paw block. Maybe a star block for a quilt I can call ”Wyoming Stars”?

One could also use more half-square triangles in that large center. I’d keep the 4 corners in solids though.

Or…make the square in the middle solid…

The playing continues…

Daffodils, White Violets, and Churn Dash Blocks

Turkey Tracks: May 14, 2022

Daffodils, White Violets, and Churn Dash Blocks

My daffodils have been awesome this year. And some are still blooming strongly. The cool of spring helps. We’ve had a few warm days (low 70s), but we have rain and cooler temps coming in, so maybe the daffs will hang out a bit longer.

The daffodils are the first of the garden plants to come inside each year. Here’s a bouquet on my dining table.

And a bouquet in the kitchen window—alongside some white violets that are blooming all over the place in the garden. Some of my daffs are so ”fluffy” they look like little peonies.

I finished the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society Churn Dash blocks for this very, very scrappy but fun quilt top. I’ve started sewing the rows together. I like the secondary patterns that emerge when one buts up the blocks together. I can re-iron one set of seams (the sides) between blocks, but not another set (top to bottom)—which means I’ll have to snip and bend those seams to get them flatter. This is the 8th quilt from this winter project.

I have a small pile of fabrics that might be big enough for a pieced backing—and a cheerful red I can use for the binding.

This whole project has decimated the C+S stash, but has also produced a lot of cut blocks in various sizes that also need to be made into quilt tops.

It is the nature of quilting, and it is all good.

Until, it isn’t.

One can go crazy with using up all the tiny scraps. I’m doing a better job of setting reasonable boundaries of where the crazy vs. sane boundaries are. For me, anyway.