Turkey Tracks: April 6, 2013
Spring is on the move, but we’ve had a chilly, if sunny, week.
One of my current projects is to practice taking more videos in order to learn what works and what doesn’t. I erased quite a few for various reasons. One reason is that it is very hard to hold the cameras steady. Here’s one of the Camden Harbor at low tide, with the spring-full river pouring into it. At high tide, the water would rise to a foot or two below the docks. The wind is high and the noise of it and of the river interferes a bit with what I’m saying.
It’s elver season, and people trap them at the mouths of rivers–as near as I can determine. Elvers are little eels that fetch the most astonishing prices per pound. These little guys are sold alive to the Japanese, mostly, who then raise them to be much bigger before eating them.
Have you ever eaten eel? It’s delicious actually. You could try it in a sushi restaurant. It’s cooked with a sweet sauce of some sort.
Anyway, here’s the video:
I’ve almost finished a pair of socks for my sister-in-law, Maryann Enright. She chose the yarn just before John died. We had a nice visit one day around early December to our newest yarn shop in Rockland, Maine, called Over The Rainbow. It’s a fabulous yarn shop, and we are so lucky to have it. I think these socks might be a bit wilder than Maryann imagined, but she will rise to the occasion with them. The yarn does not have black in it, but deep navy and dark plum and a tiny bit of dark brown.
I am working on an applique quilt made with big blocks of green turtles. I have not done any applique in some time and am very slow at it, so I refreshed my skills (ha! that’s a joke) with this little Easter Card for Maryann–in a class at Coastal Quilters taught by Barb Melchiskey, who is a master appliquer. If I were doing this card again, I’d chose either a colored card or a colored background. The two whites aren’t working so well together, and I don’t like the lines running away from the eggs. But the eggs! Ah, the eggs. Perfect for this very eggy household.
The turtle applique quilt will get a lot of quilting to bring out texture in the blocks–on the domestic machine. But, here’s one block ready to go. Now I need to do more. I have not decided whether to do 6 or 9 blocks…
What is really drawing me is the scrap quilt taking shape on the design wall. This one calls me from other rooms to work on it. I have fallen in love with Bonnie Hunter and ALL of her books: LEADERS AND ENDERS, SCRAPS AND SHIRTTAILS I AND II, and STRING FLING. She embodies the kind of work I love best to do–make functional quilts that people can curl up under or into and use as much of the stash fabrics as possible.
Bonnie’s motto is reuse, repurpose, recycle. She has a monthly column in QUILTMAKERS and her web site is awesome. There must be 50 free quilting patterns on that web site. She’s coming in May to our state guild, Pine Tree Quilting Guild, on May 5th, and I will be there to see her quilts and meet her, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
Bonnie Hunter also promotes Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s new book: 15 MINUTES OF PLAY , which is so much fun. Both Hunger and Wolfe are having way too much fun with their quilts, and both employ string piecing methods to great advantage and fun in their quilts.
Anyway, Hunter uses a method that I really like. She cuts any pieces of fabric in her stash smaller than a fat quarter, or at the biggest, a half yard, into strips: 3 1/2 inches, 2 1/2 inches, 2 inches, 1 1/2 inches. (I also cut 5 inches as I have rather a lot of those now and want to make a broken dishes block with them.) These measurements work well together. She divides these strips into light and dark piles. When she starts a project, she’s already done a lot of cutting. And she can cut the strips further down with rulers, like the Easy Angle ruler, into the shapes she wants. (She also likes the Tri Rec ruler set.) I’ve been using the Easy Angle ruler, and it makes PERFECT half square triangles, as long as you have an accurate 1/4 inch sewed seam.
This quilt started using Bonnie’s method described in LEADERS AND ENDERS, where you keep a basket next to your machine with some block parts in it–like two-inch squares. When you would need to cut thread on another project, instead, you just feed a light and dark set of squares through the machine and cut off the piece you wanted to free on the back side of the needle. In no time, you have a pile of sets of two squares sewn together. You can finger press those and sew them to another set for a four-square–and so on.
Here’s what happened in short order at my sewing machine–the idea came from Hunter’s LEADERS AND ENDERS. And it’s putting a real hurt on my green stash fabrics!!!! I’m no longer just piecing squares through the machine while working on another project. I’m making time to make as many blocks as I can.
Here’s the block: a form of a Jacob’s Ladder block, depending on where you locate the dark and light of the half-square triangles.
I iron the half-square triangle blocks along the way, but I don’t iron the whole block until I’ve finished it. I’ve had to trim up very, very few of them. All have been a bit too big–with stretching from ironing mostly I think. None have been too small. Most are perfect.
The squares quickly overflowed from the basket as I cut into my stash.
The basket got filled with half-square triangle pieces:
And I have a pile of strips all cut and ready to be cut further–and separated by value–so Bonnie is right that just a bit of cutting each day delivers a lot of sewing for days to come. She also says that she groups medium and dark values together and relies on the REALLY light fabrics to create contrast in a quilt like this one.
I finished and mailed a beautiful quilt for a beautiful bride, Ashley Malphrus, who will be married in Charleston later this month. I will put up pictures when I get home from Charleston, and the bride has seen the quilt. But I am delighted with it.
So, I will leave you with this picture: the last bouquet of flowers from our CSA, Hope’s Edge, last summer. Those days are coming around again. Look at all that green in the windows.