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Mainely Tipping Points

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Turkey Tracks: Salt Water Bays and Alewives

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Turkey Tracks:  June 10, 2016

Salt Water Bays and Alewives

I made a run down to Alewives Quilting in Damariscotta Mills, Maine, on Thursday.  Mary Sue Bishop went with me.

Mary had never been the back way into Damariscotta Mills that skirts around the edges of the salt water bay that rises up to meet Damariscotta Lake.  Here’s where folks built a fish ladder that now lets the alewives get into the lake to spawn.

It was a gorgeous day, and the fields were filled with flowers:  buttercups, white Marguerite Daisies, lupine in shades that range from purple to pinks to whites, are among spring’s offerings.

I stopped and took this little video.  Note how the wind is blowing the grass.  Truman Capote called this effect “the grass harp.”

Here are some still pics:

Mary riding shotgun.  We ran into each other in town on Wednesday, and we both had on spring green sweaters.  Today we both had on turquoise.  It’s funny the way friends can do this kind of thing.  We laughed over it.



I forget every spring how gorgeous the lupines are and how many of them are along the roadsides.


Written by louisaenright

June 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Turkey Tracks: April Update

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Turkey Tracks:  April 7, 2014

April Update


We are finally getting some warm weather, and near me, the Megunticook River is thawing out fast.  I was a little shocked when I went by Megunticook Lake Sunday on my way to see Rose Thomas as the Lake is still pretty frozen.  This view is from the top of Barrett Cove, looking north.  (This lake is 15 miles around and filled with interesting islands and “necks” that jut out into the water.)


The ice looks bluer towards the middle though, suggesting thinness.

Chickie Diva Queenie has been healed up for some time.  I have only been waiting for the night temps to get warm enough to risk her in the coop.  She can’t take any more frostbite probably ever in her life.

She did not seem unhappy in her kitchen box, but on a bright sunny day last week, I put her outside.  She prowled the yard, scratching and digging, but not getting near the other chickens, who did not seem to notice her.  That night, she came to the back door and when I opened it, she came right in, and hopped in her box.

The next day, I put her out again, and she wanted to come right back inside.  I had planned to clean out the coop, so I gathered up the buckets and the shovel and started to work.

What followed was shocking!

The chickens found her and immediately attacked her.  Even the rooster.  They weren’t trying to dominate her.  They were trying to kill her.

I rescued her from where she had wedged herself behind the sandbox and the house wall.  Her comb was torn again, and she had wounds on her feet again.  She was dazed and stunned and so happy to be put back into her box.

I consulted with the chicken whisperer Rose Thomas, and we formulated a plan to integrate her into Rose’s flock, which is larger and far less territorial.

So, on Sunday, I took her to Rose.

Rose’s chicken house is a lot bigger than my little coop, and there are MANY egg boxes.  Diva Queenie put herself into one and seemed quite happy.



Rose has three roosters at the moment–Guy, the father of my rooster Pumpkin; the brother of Pumpkin; and Merlin, a guina rooster who is ferocious.

Rose distracted her flock by throwing them some scratch feed to them while we put Queenie into the chicken house.




I called Rose this morning.  Queenie is just fine and is out in the yard with the rest of the flock.

* * *

Look at these–I have 12 out of 15 done and have another one half done now.


Here’s a close-up of one:


This large “hexie” is made from the kite shape you can see with the dark blue.  I first saw a quilt made with these medallions at Alewives, a quilt shop in Damariscotta Mills, Maine.  The hexies get linked by big diamonds, and the pattern comes from the book Material Obsession 2 by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  Other blog entries here show their TWO quilt versions using this block.  Rhea Butler made the quilt at Alewives.

I’ve finished the red/green quilt, which remains nameless so far.  It’s loaded on the long arm.  It’s pretty big–I used 7 yards of fabric for the backing–a Kaffe Fasset I bought on sale about a year ago.  And I had to piece a column of about 20 inches to get enough width for the long arm–which was fine as I used up a lot of orphan blocks.  I really draw the line at buying 9 yards of fabric for a quilt backing when I’m only missing ten or so inches.  With the long-arm, I need about 5 extra inches of width on the sides, but I could always put on a temporary outside border that would come off when the quilting was done as well.


I  am going down to Manchester, New Hampshire, with Gail Galloway Nicholson this week to the big MQX show (Machine Quilters Expo)–where we will both take some classes.  I am taking both pantograph and free-motion quilting classes for the long arm.  So…it seems to make sense to wait until I get home to quilt this quilt.  The pantograph class may change how I currently quilt with a pantograph.  Also I ordered a different green quilting thread as I did not like the color I thought I would use.  Funny how that happens…

So, here’s my current project:


I am sewing together colorful 5-inch blocks from my stash.  I will put a 3-inch border on this grid and use it to cut out “Lil Twister” blocks.  Here’s a clue of what I am talking about:


Lil Twister block images – Google Search.


Canton Village Quilt Works has a very nice tutorial on how to use the Lil Twister tool.


Turkey Tracks: Fifty-year Friendships

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Turkey Tracks:  August 27, 2013

Fifty-year Friendships

For an Air Force Brat whose family moved around a lot, old friendships go back to either my mother’s home town, Reynolds, Georgia, or to high school.

I went to about 14 different schools over the course of my education.  So I can’t remember who my teachers were or, in a lot of cases, who my friends were.  Something about that kind of transient life just whisked away memories other people hold very dear.

The closest I can come to these old memories is high school.  We were stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, home of Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters.  I think this posting was the longest we ever had–and I still went to three different schools.  I arrived at Bellevue High School in Bellevue, Nebraska, which was adjacent to Offutt Air Force Base, in my sophomore year.  (I went to Central HIgh School in Omaha my freshman year, and made a long bus ride to get there.  I didn’t know a single soul and could not break into cliques of students who had known each other from pre-school.

But a lot of Air Force Brats attended Bellevue High School–and I knew Becky Reavis (now Meyer) from Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana.  After Barksdale, we went to Tampa, Florida.  I don’t know where Becky went, if anywhere, before Bellevue.  But she was there, and she took me under her wing immediately.  She is a year older, class of 1962.

I had many friends in the class of 1962.  Among them is Carroll Risk Rhodes, who called me out of the blue the other day.  And guess what?  She’s a passionate quilter too and still makes a lot of her clothes.

Here are some pictures of her beautiful quilts:

Like me, she loves using squares.  This one is all batiks.  Isn’t it lovely?  It reminds me a bit of the “La La Log Cabin” quilt that Rhea from Alewives Quilting here in Damariscotta Mills taught local quilters to do.  There’s one of mine on this blog elsewhere called “Sun, Sea, Sand.”

Carroll Risk quilt

Here’s a stunning, contemporary “rail fence” idea.  I love Carroll’s use of color here.  Isn’t the border fabric wonderful?  I wonder if she chose the block colors using the border fabric or chose the border using the block fabrics?  This idea would be a fun way to use stash fabrics, too.

Carroll Risk quilt 7

Here’s another contemporary quilt, and again, I love the way Carroll uses  color.  This one hangs in her sewing room.

Carroll Risk quilt 6

And, finally, how fun is this quilt which Carroll has back of a grey couch.  Love the contemporary way she has used the bar form, and the piano key border with random widths is terrific.

Carroll Risk quilt 5

I’m trying to talk Carroll into coming to Maine to visit and quilt with me.  But she lives in Florida with a water view, so I know it’s going to be tough!

It would be so fun for our Coastal Quilters group to meet her and see her quilts.

Thanks for calling me, Carroll!

And, my own 1963 Bellevue High School class is having its 50th reunion this September in Omaha.  I have reconnected with so many of my classmates recently, and that has been wonderful, too.




Turkey Tracks: Rose’s New Purse

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Turkey Tracks:  April 8, 2012

Rose’s New Purse

Rose told me months ago that she’d love to make a purse like mine.

My purse is made from the Bow Tucks pattern that is so popular with quilters.  I love it, and when I wear one out; I make a new one immediately.

Rose is a VERY busy woman.  She bakes bread and pizzas for TWO farmers’ markets–in her wood-fired oven.  She bakes pizzas to order for pick-up on Tuesday and Friday nights–and boy are they delicious!  She also bakes cakes to order and cakes and cookies for the farmers’ markets.  She has a big flock of chickens who give her eggs to sell.  She raises all kinds of greens and veggies to sell at the markets and in her seasonal farm shop, The Vegetable Shed.  She also makes and sells all kinds of yummy things–like the wood-fired roasted plum tomatoes she gave me last summer.  Or, pickles.  Rose is always already inventive with preserving food.

Rose really only has Monday free.  So, one Monday recently we went down to Alewives Quilt Shop in Damariscotta Mills, because Rose had never been to see the Alewives fish ladders or that lovely little settlement.  Alewives Quilt Shop is also lovely and one of my favorite places to shop for quilting supplies.  And, on the next Monday, we made her purse together.  I cut and ironed, and soon it was done!

Here it is.  These magentas, purples, and spring greens are favorites of Rose’s.  She uses them on her business card as well.

Here’s what the inside looks like:

  And, here’s Rose with her purse:

Here’s a web site for this purse pattern.


There are, also now, web sites that claim they have the pattern for free.  My own feeling is that whoever designed this wonderful purse needs to get full value for that work.

NOTE:  The pattern we got for Rose had been updated.  In the new pattern, the front pocket is sewn on independently of the seams in the purse’s body.  I far prefer to anchor the bottom of the front pocket in the seam of the front’s upper and lower purse bodies–which is what my, older, pattern did.  You just center the pocket and insert its bottom into that seam and sew them together.  Then, you sew down the purse’s sides, anchoring the top of each side with some extra stitches.

Turkey Tracks: Alewives Visits Camden Quilters

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Turkey Tracks:  February 17, 2011

Alewives Visits Camden Quilters

Rhea Butler and her mother, Barbara Neeson, came from Alewives quilt shop in Damariscotta Mills, (http://www.alewivesfabrics.com) for our February 12th meeting.  Barbara owns Alewives, and Rhea is the resident quilt artist and designer. 


 Rhea’s on the left, Barbara is in the middle, and CQ member Barb Melchiskey is on the right. 

 Rhea taught us how to make her copyrighted “La La Log Cabin” block and quilt, which derives from a long history of improvisational quilting—which, for Rhea, includes such quilting as that of the Gee Bend quilters and Denise Schmidt of Bridgeport, CT.  This pattern is meant to be made from your stash fabrics, though you could certainly buy new fabrics as well.  Above, you see a soft blue/green version.

 Rhea loves color and starts her blocks with an overall sense of how she wants the finished quilt to look.  She wanted the big quilt she brought to demonstrate her La La Block to “glow,” and it did.  See?


Barb Melchiskey, Sylvia Lundevall, Eleanor Greenwood, and Patty Courtney.

Rhea used neutrals and added bits of red and green.  She tries to put interesting, clever, or meaningful fabrics into the center of her blocks.  She also loves to mix textures and to employ whimsical bits of cloth, such as the little colored dots on the edges of fabric selvages.  And she tears fabric into strips and roughly cuts centers with just sissors, which helps to give her blocks an interesting “off-center,” funky look.  Rhea used three harmonious fabrics in shades of yellow/gold for the backing, layered in from side to side in big swaths.  

 Rhea provided us with a free pattern for her block/quilt, which is typical of her and Barbara’s generosity.  We had a wonderful meeting with her, and I suspect many of our members will produce  La La Cabin quilts.  I know I will as I’m on a mission to use up more of my stash and will definitely make one.

 Rhea also keeps a lively, interesting blog:  http://alewivesgirl.blogspot.com.

Written by louisaenright

February 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Turkey Tracks: Tami’s Placemats

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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.

Written by louisaenright

December 14, 2010 at 12:42 am