Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Some Inspiration

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October 24, 2021

Some Inspiration

Here’s a poem and a picture a friend posted on Facebook. She got it from a site called “Midwives of the Soul.”

“In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

My grandmother once gave me a tip:

Do what you have to do, but little by little.

Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.

Wash the dishes.

Remove the dust.

Write a letter.

Make a soup.

You see?

You are advancing step by step.

Take a step and stop.

Rest a little.

Praise yourself.

Take another step.

Then another.

You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.

And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.”

– Elena Mikhalkova

(Image of Tasha Tudor, American Illustrator 1915-2008)

Written by louisaenright

October 24, 2021 at 8:40 am

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“Big Birds” Quilt

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October 18, 2021

“Big Birds” Quilt

I had such fun making this quilt.

The pattern is “Monkey Business” from Abbey Lane Quilts, and I saw a version in a recent Simply Modern magazine issue (no. 22). I made it using all Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics from my stash, so it is a kind of fabric ”sampler” quilt.

I had enough of this backing fabric, and isn’t it sweet?

I used a pale, pale, pale peach thread (Signature’s ”Linen”) and Deb’s Swirls for the pantograph.

This one is going to stay with me. It is replacing an older quilt that hung on the stairwell wall for MANY years and then was the lap quilt for this couch. That one is now getting a much deserved rest and lives with other of my stored quilts.

This quilt is the second one I’ve done on the new Innova longarm. It was my ”learning curve” on Innova tension—and I learned that the problem I was having was due to a bobbin that wasn’t correctly wound. That was a whole tension learning journey that is, I think, solved.

I wound up taking out the stitching I had done—about 1/3 of the quilt—and redoing it. And now I am happy. The stitch I have now is BEAUTIFUL. And I LOVE my Innova longarm.

“Liberated Wedding Ring” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: October 1, 2021

“Liberated Wedding Ring” Quilt

This is the first quilt on my new Innova longarm.

It is made from the “liberated” wedding ring block designed by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston in their book FREDDY AND GWEN COLLABORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS.

I used solid and print scraps to make the rings, but went to my grey solids for the backgrounds. As you know, greys can be blue grey, green grey, brown grey, etc. So I just mixed them all up for this scrappy look.

I bought this backing on sale some time back and I thought it would be fun to use it here. I like it.

The green grey binding blends with the teal on the backing and looks just fine on the front.

I quilted with an icy blue thread that blended well on both back and front. The pantograph provided lovely texture I think: Check and Chase by Lorien Quilting.

”Triangle Geometry” Quilt Finished

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Turkey Tracks: September 29, 2021

I finished this little wall hanging the other day. It is going to a friend where it is going to hang over an electrical utility box that for some reason is in his living room. So, I have set up the hanging system lengthwise, rather than widthwise. It will hang from a curtain rod that uses brackets to extend the quilt from the wall, and I put a dowel in the bottom to give the bottom some weight to keep it hanging straight.

This wall hanging is inspired by Maria Shell and her book IMPROV PATCHWORK—and from work done by Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table blog. Debbie took a class with Maria Shell at the last Quilt Con which resulted in her own version of this improv method using these triangles separated by stripes. And I have done earlier posts about this process. Maria Shell’s original design was her quilt ”Rattlesnake.”

The back is WILD, but no one sees the back with a wall hanging, and it was a piece from my stash that was big enough.

I hand quilted with Sulky 12-weight cotton thread and a Tulip Sashiko needle. I have LOTS of colors now from Red Rock Thread’s ”petite” spools that sell for $1.65 each.

This project was fun—and I’m not done yet. I will play with making the zig-zag ”Rattlesnake” Maria Shell designed where she offsets these triangles.

One of our local quilt groups—Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild—is planning a Zoom workshop with Maria Shell this winter, and I am looking forward to participating in that event.

First Quilt on Innova

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Turkey Tracks: September 22, 2021

First Quilt on Innova

What a joy the Innova is! It’s like moving a feather that is floating on an air current over the quilt—which is especially lovely when following pantograph lines.

Gradually I’m learning to let go of my death grip on the Innova handles as this machine is NOT going to jump away from the pantograph lines.

Here’s my first completed quilt—made from the ”funky” wedding ring block created by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston in their now-vintage book FREDDY AND GWEN COLLAGORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS. These two women pioneered many of the improv methods that are used today—some with little updating as Freddy and Gwen ”got” it from the get-go. What has moved along, I think, is how a block now gets ”set” in improv/modern quilting. One doesn’t see sashing all that often, for instance. AND, I trimmed the quilt on the table in the back of the machine for the first time. It’s ready to bind.

Look at this beautiful stitching:

The back is MOSTLY as pretty. After a while the tension there slipped a bit in places—so I do need to do more tension adjusting. It is all passable, but could be more consistently wonderful. The top thread is showing through in places—and as time went on, the bobbin thread was too flat. I’ll figure it out.

I’ll load in a quilt sandwich next and fiddle with the tension so it is 100%.

Here’s how the trimming on the back went. You can see that I can use my big square ruler as there is plenty of room. This method sure beats what I had been doing to trim a quilt.

On to the next!

Written by louisaenright

September 22, 2021 at 10:25 am

One of My Happy Spots

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Turkey Tracks: September 19, 2021

One of My Happy Spots

We have a local store that carries LOTS of organic produce and my raw dairy—among many other products.

It’s FRESH OFF THE FARM, which is located between Camden and Rockland.

The store makes good use of its outdoor space—which is filled with local outdoor furniture and plants of all kinds. The latter rotate with the seasons.

Right now, there is a veritable explosion of fall color.

There are bins along the front edge of the store that are filled with in-season delights—like all the different varities of onions. I truly love the ”sweet” onions and keep them on-hand. I use different onions for different cooking tasks. The sweet onions are best just sliced and eaten raw on a salad. The red ones are spicy and hot. The yellow onions are great in soups, stews, and roasted alongside meat or other vegetables.

Onions contain (or should contain) sulfur—which is really important for human health The destruction of soil in commercial agriculture has eroded sulfur levels. So that is another reason to buy organic products.

This time of year is when the fingerling potatoes come into the market. These potatoes are not great keepers, so it is best to enjoy them in their season. These are ”banana” fingerlings.

And the ones below are new to me. They are ”pinto” fingerlings.

They are all delicious. They cook quickly—and it is good to parboil them if you want to then add them to something roasting in the oven. Or just eat them when tender with some butter for dressing. Or cool some and add them to salads. I also like to slice them when cooked and heat them in a little fat in a frying pan before adding some eggs and scrambling the whole mixture. Ghee or a little butter or duck fat would be good choices for the fat in the pan.

Soon the local winter squashes will appear. And, local Brussel Sprouts. And there is always a large selection of greens (different varieties of kale and chard and collards in season or when available from elsewhere). Collards, by the way, when blanched quickly and cooled (and stem removed if needed) make great tortilla-type wraps. They are sturdy and delicious.

And sooner than many would like, we will have seasonal wreaths, stems of red berries, cranberries, and clementines and Meyer Lemons.

Written by louisaenright

September 19, 2021 at 9:53 am

Fun At the Dump

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Turkey Tracks: September 14, 2021

Fun At The Dump

The fancy name for our recycling center is the ”Transfer Station.” Info about it can also be found online at ”Mid-Coast Solid Waste. But most I know call this place ”the tip” or “the dump.”

Aside from how ”it” gets identified, I’ve always been interested in how it works. And it seems to me that it is recycling and waste management at its best. One can take most anything one wants to get rid of to this place. It has landfill sites for construction waste, old furniture, yard waste, metal—you name it. It has sites for old appliances. It has sites for old computers and other products produced by the technology industry. And in the main recycling bins, we can place various kinds of plastic items, glass items, bottles and cans with rebates, and all kinds of paper items. Newspaper, cardboard, boxboard/mail, and many kinds of plastic, for instance, all have their own bins.

The above bins handle dry trash, range in size, and are metal, with the largest of these being the shape of railroad cars, though not quite as large. I’ve seen how a lift moves these metal containers which are lined up at the beginning of the dump.

But the grand-daddy of the big metal bins are where we throw the yellow bags we can fill with whatever garbage we have, but also with odd items that don’t fit into the above dry bins, but do fit into the yellow bags. There is one bin dedicated to items that don’t fit into the yellow bags.

Items in these bins get compressed by a kind of hydraulic pressing machine that makes a lot of noise when operated.

But, how do all of these bins get moved to where they go when they leave the dump?

I got my answer this past week when I saw how one of the bins got put on a ”transfer” truck where the truck bed was obviously designed for this task.

I stopped the car (the road was blocked by the front of the truck anyway) and took these videos.

I took three videos that showed the whole process—so I could make the process shorter for you to see.

Then feeling really good about having a trash-free garage and learning something new, I went home, fired up the grill, and made this late lunch of grilled lamb chops and stir-fried veggies:

I often grill something for lunch. It’s quite easy to fire up the grill as it is right outside my kitchen door. And it’s easy to make a quick stir fry.

It was delicious!

Written by louisaenright

September 14, 2021 at 2:20 pm

My New Innova Longarm

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Turkey Tracks: September 13, 2021

My New Innova Longarm

She came Saturday!

I have not named her yet, but she’s a beauty!

The 10-foot size is such a good footprint for this room. And look how much SPACE I have visually now.

She has CASTERS that let her move easily before locking them down.

And she sews beautifully!

There are three sets of handles—big ones front and back and micro handles in the front. It’s so easy to move their positions around too.

So now I am playing, experimenting, and learning all about her. ALL is maybe too definitive a word as there is a big learning curve, for sure.

Judy and Rob Engime from Olde City Quilts, Burlington, NJ 08016 are the dealers, and they have both been wonderful.

So, today the adventure continues.

Written by louisaenright

September 13, 2021 at 8:54 am

I Lost My Mojo For This Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: September 12, 2021

I Lost My Mojo For This Quilt

I started this EPP project in 2018.

It’s the “36-Ring Circus” designed by Joanne Lewis. The pattern and template kit are at Paper Pieces.

I am using Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics for the centers, pastel solids for the rings, and darker solids for the rest.

I now have three rows done after three years—three more to go.

But it seems I put off working on it to do other handwork on a regular basis.

It is an elegant pattern, for sure.

But it is hard and in many ways, seems tedious to me. Sewing the rings to the centers is…hard. I’ve found taping from the front and using a flat stitch on the back helps.

I have all the solid pieces cut and glued, so I will finish it someday.

I hope it doesn’t take another three years—one for each row!!!

I did organize all the centers for the 4th row, so that’s something. The first center is done, but not the rings.

Meanwhile, I seem to be more than a little interested in wedding ring quilt versions.

Here’s the funky one whose top is now done: from Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston’s book FREDDY AND GWEN COLLABORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS.

And Tara Faughnan’s Wedding Ring Quilt:

I’m ready to start sewing together the last and final row.

Rain and More Rain

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Turkey Tracks: September 11, 2021

Rain and More Rain

Weather moves really fast here on the coast.

I took this little video several days ago, before we got another two days of rain. AC and I were over at the Snow Bowl so he could chase his ball. Listen to the wind whipping by as well as admiring the amazing clouds moving in fast.

This summer has been the wettest since we moved to Maine in June 2004—17 years ago now.

The lawns and gardens and fields are thriving—though harvesting hay has been a real challenge for the farmers this year.

And today, the sun is bright and shiny!

Written by louisaenright

September 11, 2021 at 9:51 am