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Mainely Tipping Points

Posts Tagged ‘Giovanna McCarthy

Turkey Tracks: “Sails Up & Flys Flying” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2014

Sails Up and Flags Flying Quilt

 

This little beauty got mailed last Tuesday and is now in its new home–with a beautiful and healthy baby boy–Giovanna McCarthy’s first grandchild!

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The parents wanted BRIGHT–and when I saw this bright boat sails fabric, I knew what I wanted to do with it.

And the parents didn’t want to know the sex, so I could not use pink in case the baby was a boy…

The neutral fabric with the flags begin to solidify the quilt in my mind.

Even though I grew up living land bound, we had sayings in the family about “flags flying”–to indicate excitement, anticipation, happiness…

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Here’s a close-up of the blocks:

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And, of the corner block–I like how this fabric is working in the quilt.

 

 

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Here you can see the pantograph pattern and the yellow thread a bit better.

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I was a bit stumped as to what color thread to use to quilt–and settled on this very nice yellow.  I might have been able to make pale blue work, but what if the baby were a girl??

The pantograph is Denise’s Spirals, and I ordered it from Urban Elementz, which has the most amazing selection of pantos.

(I love the binding on this quilt–it’s just perfect.)

I had originally thought to use this muted blue stripe as the binding, but it found its way to the quilt’s back instead–interspersed with the sails fabric as I didn’t have enough of the blue.  Again, the yellow thread is working just fine on the back of the quilt.

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I think the backing works nicely with the front:

 

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Finally, here’s where the quilt lived for the nights it took me to bind it.  You can see how BRIGHT it is in contrast to its surroundings.

 

 

 

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I had so much fun making this quilt, and you can expect to see more versions of it as it really lends itself to fun interpretations.

Indeed, I have two versions in mind already…

And it’s a good thing as I have THREE family babies coming into this world soon.

The idea for this kind of setting came, for me, from Bonnie Hunter’s first book, LEADERS AND ENDERS, and the first quilt in the book:   “Sisters’ Nine Patch.”  This setting is traditional, but it’s always good to be reminded how something will look.  Bonnie used cheddar orange blocks with red and neutral nine patches.

 

Turkey Tracks: Friendship Samplers Quilt Show, Belfast, Maine

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Turkey Tracks:  November 1, 2013

Friendship Samplers Quilt Show

Belfast, Maine

 

Friendship Samplers is the Pine Tree Quilting Guild chapter located to Camden’s north, in Belfast, Maine.

(We are the Coastal Quilters here in Camden.)

The Friendship Samplers quilters are strong, competent, wonderful quilters.  There is just so much talent in that group.

They do a quilt show every other year, and this year was the year.

And this year, their show was as wonderful as ever.

I did not begin to take pictures of everything–or even of some of the most amazing quilts–and there were many.  I took pictures of work that stimulated my own creativity.  And do remember that the quilts I love best are scrappy quilts that are functional.

First, my most favorite quilt was my friend Joan Herrick’s “Logs and Ladders”–where she has combined a log cabin block with a Jacob’s Ladder block–and took advantage of their strong directional orientations.  There’s one of these in my future!

Frienship S's, J. Herrick Logs and Ladders

I was intrigued by the quilting in this quilt–and later realized it’s called “McTavishing,” after Karen McTavish, who invented it.  You can see how to do it on Leah Day’s web site, along with at least 400 other free-motion quilting designs she has put onto utube videos.

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Don’t you love this modern “take” on the log cabin block?

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I love the work of Alice Parsons.  And she had a hand in this quilt below:

It’s stitched with bright orange thread in squiggly lines up and down the quilt.  And look at the use of purple for the sashing.  That purple is making the yellow leap out of the quilt!

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Look at how the center square is varied–and the use of the adorable funky bird–and the use of rows of the squares…

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I want to make a quilt with birds at the center of some kind of block.  And I love what these quilters have done here.  It’s just so much fun!

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Here’s another creative idea for making use of a central square with something (birds!) fussy cut inside it.  Surround the square with flying geese and corner blocks:

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The flying geese and their backgrounds can vary in color choice.  What’s uniting the quilt here is the sashing/border fabric–in this case black and white and the use of the center square with a border around it.

 

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The Friendship Samplers always have a “quilt alley” where you buy chances (25 for $2!!!) and put your chances in the can/s of the quilt/s number you like.

All these quilts were to be “won” on Friday.  Another set went up on Saturday.

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I found many little quilts I liked on this wall.  But this one was my favorite:

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Here’s a close-up of the blocks:

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The Friendship Samplers always have goodies to eat–and they COVER FOOD TABLES WITH QUILTS–which fascinated Giovann McCarthy–on her first outing to a Frienship Samplers Quilt Show:

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I really loved some of these “table cloth” quilts.  I cringed at using a quilt for a table cloth, but their use does remind one that quilts are made to be used and loved:

Here’s a close-up of a table cloth quilt.  I’ve never found a squared square form that I didn’t like:

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Here’s a close-up:

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I was most intrigued with this pattern as well:

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Here below you can see the two blocks that make the pattern together:  4 half-square triangles with the colors to the inside making a square AND a sixteen patch with four red blocks making the center.  I’d cut the block to combine two of the white squares into a rectangle though

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This quilt was HAND STITCHED!!!

 

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Imagine it made in any number of colors–as long as you keep the light and dark values:  blue, yellow, orange, brown, etc.

SO, our group really enjoyed the Friendship Samplers Quilt Show 2013 and look forward to attending in 2015!

Thanks Friendship Samplers!

After the show we had lunch at Chase’s Daily–which specializes in local foods mostly from (in season) their farm.  And we visited Nancy’s Quilt Shop on Route 3 just outside Belfast to pick up more of a fabric that two of our quilters wanted to buy more of than Nancy had at the show.

 

 

Turkey Tracks: Blackberry Jam

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Turkey Tracks:  August 21, 2013

Blackberry Jam

When I was growing up, we spent some of every summer with my maternal grandmother, Louisa Phillips Bryan, in Reynolds, Georgia.

I’m sure my grandfather, Sydney Hoke Bryan, was also involved–he was a quiet rock that held the family together.  And he was deeply involved in growing food and in preserving food.  He had a large vegetable and flower garden “out on the farm”–and in the summer he went out there early and returned with huge baskets filled with vegetables and flowers.  One of my vivid memories is the two of them putting up tomatoes in an outdoor kitchen they fashioned in the back yard under a shed.  And, I remember hams hanging in the smoke house too.

But it was my grandmother who made the blackberry jam in the summers.   And, later, my mother.  But mother’s blackberry making was always limited by having wild blackberries nearby to pick.  We were tasked with picking blackberries in the summers–though most of the berries we picked landed up in cobblers for “dinner”–which was in the middle of the day.  Local children used to bring the blackberries they had picked to the house for sale, and that’s when my grandmother made jelly.  I have memories of cheesecloth to drains off the seeds and of melting wax for the lids…  And of discussions about whether to seed the jam/jelly or not.

I have access to a blackberry patch here in Maine–and it has been the greatest joy to pick them and to make jam.  And I am so grateful for the wonderful family who allow me to pick their berries.  What a gift!

Some years are better blackberry years than others.  And, it takes a lot of blackberries to make a jam.  One year we had blackberries, but there had been no rain, and the berries just didn’t have enough moisture to make good jam.  And every three or four years it’s a good idea to mow the patch to retard the overgrowth of other plants trying, also, to grow there.  Eventually they will crowd out a blackberry patch.  So when I make a batch of jam, I never know how far I will have to stretch it so as not to completely run out.

This year is a GREAT blackberry year.  And last Sunday, I picked about two gallons alongside friends Giovanna McCarthy and Margaret Rauenhorst.  I came home and made the jam while the berries were fresh.  I was down to my last jar–and that was dated 2010.

Blackberries

The first thing you need to know is that when you are picking blackberries, be sure to pick about one not-so-ripe mostly red berry (not a hard red one) for about every 30 or so berries.  The red berries have pectin in them that will make the jam jell.

Also, you want to make any jam or jelly in SMALL BATCHES.  I made two separate batches with these berries.

The other thing you need to know is what the jelling point is for your geographic area–and that’s info you can determine from either an internet search or from a Ball Canning Book.  At my house here in Maine, it’s 216 degrees.  Down in town, it may be a bit different.  Obviously you’ll need a candy thermometer unless you have a knack for telling when the batch is ready.  I don’t.

I put all of the berries into a pan, add about a 1/2 cup of water so they don’t burn on the bottom, and heat them to render the juice.

Here’s the pan of berries starting to heat up–note how he berries start to turn red.  I like to use my heavy Creuset pan–the cast iron holds heat so beautifully and evenly.  Use a heavy bottomed pan–not a thin one.   I smash them with a potato smasher to help the juice-rendering process along

Blackberries cooking

When the berries have cooked about five minutes, you need to decide if you want seeds or not.  I put the berries through a mill and remove the seeds–though I always have a few escapees.  Do this process in the sink as there is some inevitable spattering and you don’t want blackberry juice staining surfaces in your kitchen.

Deseeding blackberry jam

Put the juice back into the cleaned pan and add sugar. .  For about 9 cups of berries, I add 6 cups of sugar.  The recipes call for more, but this ratio works fine for me.  Here the rendered juice is really booking along.  It’s RED, isn’t it?  I don’t attempt to skim any of the foam at the top.

Blackberries cooking 2

Watch your heat–you want a steady boil at pretty high heat, but you don’t want the pan to overflow or the batch to burn.  DON’T LEAVE THE KITCHEN.  You will want to start testing for the jell point any time now.  You don’t want tough jam.

While the batch cooks, put your clean jars and caps in HOT water in a bowl in your sink–and arrange a space on your counter where you can fill your jars.  I have a large ladle that I use to dip up the jam.

I LOVE my large canning funnel.  It fits all jar sizes and makes filling the jars easy.

Canning funnel

Fill the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch clear.  I used to top the jam with melted paraffin wax, but I don’t do that anymore.  The jam keeps just fine without it.

Screw on the lids really tight and with a protective towel (they are HOT), turn each one upside down–which creates a nice vacuum seal on each jar.  Watch to make sure you don’t have a leaky one where the threads were just not tight enough.  Be careful picking up a leaky jar–the jelly is HOT.

Blackberry jam, Aug. 2013

Label the tops–using a year date, too.  I also make blueberry jam, so sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between these two jams in the jars.

ENJOY!

Turkey Tracks: The Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour

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Turkey Tracks:  July 16, 2013

The Georges Valley Land Trust Garden Tour:

“Gardens in the Watershed”

Sunday was the GVLT annual garden tour.

The gardens are always along the St. George River valley–which covers a big area.

Giovanna McCarthy and I headed out at 10 a.m., dressed for walking, for heat (hats), and with water and our lunches iced down in a cooler.  It was a beautiful day to explore gardens.

We started just up Howe Hill, where two gardens were located:  the gardens of Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse and the gardens of Eilene and Leonard Ames.  I’m going to do the gardens as separate entries, starting with my “up the hill” neighbors Tina Marriner and Robert Pearse.

We had lunch at Fernwood gardens, a nursery specializing in shade plant.  What a treat to see Fernwood in its new location.  i really enjoyed all the whimsical touches in their gardens.  But more on that later.

Giovanna and I ended the day by stopping by John’s ice cream on Route 3, above the St. George Lake state park.  That’s Giovanna, now hot and tired and ready for an ice cream.

John's Ice Cream

I got peach, and Giovanna got coconut–and boy did that coconut ice cream look good.  John’s ice cream is all homemade.  We each took home two quarts in the cooler.   My son Mike is bringing my two grandsons tomorrow, and they will all be delighted to see John’s ice cream in the freezer:  rocky road and butter pecan!

Turkey Tracks: Giovanna’s Red Shawl

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Turkey Tracks:  March 17, 2012

Giovanna’s Red Shawl

A few weeks back, Giovanna McCarthy invited me to her workroom to wind my skeins of Romney Ridge yarn into balls.   Look what was hanging over her computer chair.

I didn’t get a good picture of it until she brought it to our last Coastal Quilters’ meeting.

Here’s a close-up of the work of some of the work of this spectacular knitter.

You can see a little in these pictures that what’s very nice about this shawl, other than the beautiful red color and the gorgeous pattern, is the large “u-shaped” neckline.  This shawl just “cozies” up to your body.

Beautiful!!!!

xxxx

Written by louisaenright

March 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm