Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Catching up

 It's been awhile and I've fallen behind in both posting and reading your posts.  I will catch up!

Last week, a week ago today we went to our favorite place for our quilt retreat.  The first in close to 2 years.  We go once in fall and once in spring but you all know what happened.  We were invited to come during the summer when we could be outdoors a bit more and get back into the swing of things, both for us and the innkeepers who haven't had any activity in all that time, too.  We also made the temporary change to go during the week instead of a long weekend.   This worked very well for all but one of our group and we missed her. 

This is a bit blurry - I am still grappling with using my camera or my phone and the photos are paying the price.  But here we are, Friends Nancy, Marilyn, Joyce, Barb, Jan and Sally, who by the way turned a big page on her calendar while we were together.
We had a very prolific show and tell because what else does a quilter do when locked in the house for 18 months? 
I didn't bring my finished quilts because I posted my finishes on the blog.  I brought three flimsies.  Barb challenged all of us to use this basket and do something, anything from one block to a king sized quilt but use the basket and bring the result to our first back together.  I didn't finish quilting this yet because it's quite far down the que and now I'm not sure I like it. 
Yesterday PH and I picked 7.6 pounds of blueberries.  Not enough for the year but a good start.  It was a gorgeous day that turned to be hot but there was no humidity so it didn't bother us. 

We finished off the day by going down to the river park to watch Elizabeth at her crew practice.  She is the one in the middle.  I had a fabulous photo that turned out to be a total blur when I got it - finally - to load on the computer.  I'm struggling with this photo thing lately.  But a blurry photo just means we go back next week and try again.
They go quite a way down the river, all the way to the curve at the top of the photo.

And this morning, before I had to figure out a way to fix the brand new expensive bird feeder the raccoons tore apart last night, I made a peach pie.

So, nothing exciting, just catching up with a post.  I'm continuing to quilt the granny square quilt I took to retreat and planning what to take for a project when we go back in September. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Quilt Mistakes

 OK, I washed the old quilts in the bathtub because it finally stopped raining and the sun came out and I could dry them outside.  They are MUCH better but not perfect. A friend suggested Oxyclean and I'll do that in Round 2 but for now at least they can be in the room and one is even on a bed!  The smell is gone and I was thinking a stain is a stain is a stain where they persisted but I will give them a go with Oxyclean another time.

Here are the before and afters:

This is the one I put on the bed and the light in the room doesn't show how clean it did come. Not perfect but much better.

The light in the room doesn't do justice to this one, either.  It's quite good.


Here's why I don't send my quilts out to be machine quilted. While  hand quilting takes a lot of time and the pile of flimsies grows at least I know the mistakes are mine.

Remember this one?  I pieced it this winter and I liked it well enough.  In person the colors are much nicer.  It was a quick put together using stash

This is what I put on the back.  The back is almost prettier than the front!  This was a panel that I bought YARDAGE of so there was plenty to use.  I measured, cut strips, pieced them together, put a white border around and it was good.  But there are SO MANY flimsies waiting to be hand quilted I thought I would send this one out to be machine quilted by a lady who lives very near me.  I bit the bullet a couple of times and sent a couple of quilts to be machine quilted by a woman who lives an hour from me but I just didn't want to drive that far this time.  I've seen the quilts this lady has done in the past.  She contributes some to the quilt exhibit I do at church every year and I didn't think twice about giving this one to her.

Well, I should have but it was too late.  I didn't notice things till I was stitching the binding down.  She told me that she doesn't do designs anymore, she just meanders the stipple design and I was absolutely fine with that.  It's what I would have asked for.

  But then I noticed some open ended stitching.
And generally all the stitches were big enough to snag a toe nail.
There were a few places where the stitch didn't even stitch.

And many, many places where the stitch length varied inch by inch. 

I noticed these after the binding had been attached and I was stitching it down by hand.  You notice things when you are nose to needle.  But now I have a dilemma. 

 Do I:

1. hand stitch it in the worst places following her lead

2. Consider hers a basting and stitch something completely different (like stripes or cross hatch,) pulling hers out as I go. If I do that and then wash it her stitch path will disappear.

3. wash it and see if hers tightens up

My first inclination is to consider hers a basting and stitch a cross hatch and pull hers out as I go, my second choice is to follow hers and hand quilt in the worst places. Or vice versa

The thing is, I sent this one because I thought "yeah, it's nice but it will be a utility quilt" but really, with the  backing I did I DO really like it and want to save it.   One thing for sure, it will be a long, long time before I send something out to be machine quilted again and certainly not to this sweet lady.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

New and Old

 Don't you just love when school supplies show up in the stores?  I do. I always thought the first day of school was so exciting (the next most exciting was the last day.)  For us, everything was new - pencils were sharp, crayons were too, pens yet untried, packs of paper, too. Shoes still stiff,  even our underwear was new.  Don't you just love the smell of a box of new crayons? Crack the small seal, open the lid and inhale.  I always hated using the first new crayon because it meant they weren't new anymore but I did appreciate the possibilities in them. 

This morning in the store the center aisle was filled with bright mechanical pencils, packages of yellow no.2 pencils, markers, crayons, unopened bottles of glue and glue sticks, post-it notes, construction paper in packs of a thousand, pencil cases, locker mirrors, technical calculators, I just stood smiling and took it all in, loving it all and remembering the excitement when I had an excuse to buy some of all of it.  

I couldn't resist.  I had to buy a pack of new mechanical pencils.  They were so pretty. I use them to draw around applique templates so there's the excuse. 

All this new and sharp and shiny reminded me of yesterday when the museum held a day camp of learners experiencing Native American ways and I helped lead a group of campers in pictographs and feather painting. I explained what pictographs were, how they told a story without words because the Native Americans didn't have an alphabet.  The kids thought of a small story to demonstrate with pictographs and then drew it out.  There were examples of pictographs they could use or they could make up their own.

They were both challenged and excited about making their own thoughts come alive in a picture.  One little guy asked, "how do I draw 'was' ?  I said, "you don't."   One little guy was determined to do a story about Sonic the Hedgehog and I could see right away that no amount of explaining was going to change his mind, so we went with it.  It is his story, after all.
Feather painting was fun, too.  We saw examples, photos of quite intricate portraiture and they got to work.  We used acrylic paints and it was fun!  One little boy started to make a raccoon but it turned into a rabbit and then morphed into a rock.  But he was having fun explaining that to the rest of us. 

And this morning as I was standing in the aisle at the store drooling over all of the implements, colors, technology in front of me I couldn't help but think of yesterday.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Third Mrs. Galway

                                         The Third Mrs. Galway by Deirdre Sinnot


      Helen Galway was young, newly married to Augustin Galway, a widower. She was arm candy. Before arriving home from their honeymoon she was outfitted, instructed and expected to keep up his reputation in their home in Utica, New York. He was an important, commanding man and the important and commanding first wife’s portrait is right there at the top of the staircase greeting Helen each time she decends.

     On her first morning in her new home she finds her husband laid out with a severely broken leg from a fall from a horse and the unsavory Dr. McCooke insinuating himself into the home to oversee Augustin’s care and in the shed she finds a woman and her son, runaways and hiding, the woman near giving birth.  This on her first morning.  Helen finds herself at a whole new level of insecurity. 

     Maggie, the free formerly enslaved housekeeper/cook/general runner of the household is an anchor for Helen. Maggie has command of Augustin, takes no stuff from the snarky doctor and guides Helen in the ways of the household and her new husband.

     Utica at the time was a major stop on the Underground Railroad, a stop Harriet Tubman used to get people to Buffalo and Canada. It was the place of the New York Anti-Slavery Society’s first meeting, the home of the minister Orange Scott whose anti-slavery sermons culminated in the forming of an abolitionist group. Tensions were running high on the slavery question in Utica and Helen now finds herself trying to decide whether to help the people hiding in her shed or being a good wife and telling her husband.

     The tensions of the time rank high in this story of choices. Tensions between those running to freedom and those with the power to prevent a person becoming free. Tensions between communities North and South. Tension between those who own and those who don’t. Tensions between knowing what’s right and what isn’t. Very timely, indeed.