Category Archives: quilting

critter quilt

This is another charity quilt.  I’m calling it the critter quilt, and I needed to find a pattern to use that fabric with all the animals without chopping it up too small to tell what they were.  This is the result.  It’s a single block of the Burgoyne Surrounded pattern.

It’s the last of that batch of charity quilt tops.  I have two gift quilt tops layered and ready to be quilted, and I’ve started piecing more charity quilt tops.

48″ square, machine-pieced, hand quilted.

my mother’s quilt

Mother’s whole cloth quilt. 72 inches square, hand quilted.

I’ve been meaning to post a photo of this for a month or so now.

Back in 1998, I wanted to make my mother a quilt.  I “made the mistake” of asking her what kind she wanted, and she asked me for a whole cloth quilt (one made out of a single piece of fabric).  Well, back then I’d only been quilting for about ten years, and I had no real idea how to design or make one.  All I really knew was that I didn’t want it to be beige or white, as the only whole cloth quilts I’d ever seen by then were.

But I couldn’t find a pre-printed top in anything but beige or white, and I didn’t know where to buy a) fabric wide enough to make a bed-sized quilt out of a single piece of fabric, or b) a bed-sized stencil (I’m still not sure there is such a thing as a bed-sized quilt stencil [wry g]).  So I did the best I could with what I could find.

Technically, this is not a whole cloth quilt, because it’s pieced out of 42″ width fabric.  I bought a center feather wreath stencil and two border stencils, a lot of blue (her favorite color) fabric, and got to work.  I remember that I saw blue fabric in my sleep for weeks after I finished it.

I washed and dried it, and picked off what I thought was all the cat hair, then I took it with me when I made my annual visit that year (we lived 2000 miles apart).  The first thing she did after we spread it out on her bed was pick a cat hair off of it.  Well, no, that was the second thing.  The first thing she did was hug me and tell me how beautiful she thought it was.

My mother died in January of this year, at the age of 92.  That quilt decorated her bed for eighteen years, first in her home, and then in the assisted living facility where she spent her last two years.  It’s been washed many times, but it’s held up pretty well (the binding’s a bit worn, is all).

And now it’s mine again.  I miss her, but I’m so glad she loved this quilt.

the globe quilt

I was going to call it the globe fence quilt (the pattern is called rail fence, and the focus fabric has globes all over it), but given the current political climate, that didn’t seem quite right.

It’s the second to last of this batch of charity quilt tops.  Gotta make more tops!

And the color combination, which was riffed off of the colors in the globe fabric, seems kind of weird to me now.  I’m not sure what I was thinking when I pieced this last year, but oh, well. 40″x48″ (the blocks are 8″ square), hand quilted in the ditch.

Pinwheel quilt

I didn’t realize until I looked at the dates of my last few posts, how fast I’m quilting these little charity quilts.  The process does go a lot faster when I’ve got the tops already made.  Only two more to go till I run out of charity tops, though!

This one is named the pinwheel quilt, for obvious reasons.  It’s another misfit fabric quilt, with the robbing Peter to pay Paul effect (dark/light blocks alternating with light/dark blocks) I like so much.

This is my coping mechanism right now

Because writing just isn’t happening, much as I wish I could force it to.  For personal as well as political reasons.  So, meanwhile, enjoy the pretty.

This is the first monochrome scrappy quilt I’ve made.  Years and years ago I saw one at a quilt show, and it’s been at the back of my mind to make one ever since.  So last year I put the top together, and I pulled it out and quilted it over the last couple of weeks.

I’ve got three more charity tops waiting to be quilted, and I’m currently piecing a bigger quilt for a gift.  I have one more gift quilt to make, and then I’ll be back making charity quilts again.

36″x 48″, hand quilted in simple diagonal lines.

And another quilt bites the dust

Sorry about the subject header.  I was a teenager in the 1970s, what can I say?

Anyway, this is the blue and silver quilt (no duh).  The patterned fabric had a heavy silver metallic overlay (it came out of my stash — I have no idea why I would have bought something like that) and was a bear to quilt.  The navy blue and white fabrics are fairy frosts (a line of metallic quilt fabrics), and the easiest metallics to quilt I’ve ever worked with.

It’s 36″x48″, and hand quilted in a cross-hatch pattern.

Here’s a close-up of the fabrics:

baby quilt #N+1

I have long since lost count of how many baby quilts I’ve made.  Anyway, my best friend’s granddaughter had her second child in November.  Fortunately, the top for this quilt was in my stash, so all I had to do was layer it and quilt it, and cross-hatching goes pretty quickly, so here it is!

Baby Elliott’s quilt.
A close-up of the center panel in Elliott’s quilt.  I love this panel with all the funky animals, especially the ice cream eating iguana.

36″ square, hand quilted.

first quilt finish since I got back

It’s a charity quilt that was about 95% quilted before I packed it up and left town back in May, so there wasn’t much left to do but finish the quilting and put the binding on.  I’m calling this one the feather quilt, because of the focus fabric.  I’m not thrilled with the lack of contrast in my fabric choices, but oh, well.  The pattern is sometimes called Xs and Os.

The next one up is a baby quilt, another top I made before I left on my trip.  Fortuitously, as it turns out, since my best friend’s granddaughter just had her second child.

August 14: Quaint is the word, I believe

My Seahawks won their first pre-season game last night.  17-16, on a last-minute Hail Mary pass and a two-point conversion.  I can’t believe it’s football season already, but Go, ‘Hawks!  (no, I didn’t have the bandwidth at the campground to watch the game, but I did see and hear some highlights)

It was wet when I woke up this morning. Not raining hard, but the air was seriously saturated. I felt like I needed gills.

Along Highway 103 on the way to Halifax.
Along Highway 103 on the way to Halifax.

I drove north on the highway till I got to the turnoff for Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove is one of those iconic places you’ll recognize from the photos (I bet), supposedly the most-photographed lighthouse in Canada [g].

Along the road to Peggy’s Cove is a memorial to a plane crash in 1998, on a windswept bluff south of town. 229 people died in that crash, out in the Atlantic off of the coast here, and the memorial is lonesome and peaceful.

The view from the Swissair crash memorial, looking northish towards Peggy's Cove.
The view from the Swissair crash memorial, looking northish towards Peggy’s Cove.

Peggy’s Cove itself is tiny, with a visitor center (complete with composting toilets) that I suspect was built in self-defense. It’s also adorable, as is the lighthouse itself. The granite shield the town and lighthouse are built on is rather amazing, too. Anyway, it was very pretty, and very damp, and I enjoyed strolling around it very much.

Part of the Harbor at Peggy's Cove.
Part of the Harbor at Peggy’s Cove.
The lighthouse at Peggy's Cove.
The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove.
Granite field at Peggy's Cove.
Granite field at Peggy’s Cove.

I stopped at a farm stand somewhere between Peggy’s Cove and Halifax, and ate fish and chips from a food truck parked nearby. I bought blueberries and a cherry bar (a bar cookie) at the farm stand to round things out. Wow, those blueberries are good (I ate about a third of them, and put the rest in my cooler).

And so on to Halifax, where I’d called last night to make a reservation at the local hostel, so that I didn’t arrive there only to discover they were full up. It’s right downtown, within walking distance of everything I want to see in Halifax, which is great. I will be staying here two nights in order to see everything I want to see here.

The Old Burying Ground in Halifax, just down the street from the hostel.  They *stopped* burying people here in the 1840s.
The Old Burying Ground in Halifax, just down the street from the hostel. They *stopped* burying people here in the 1840s.
A statue of Winston Churchill in front of the Halifax Public Library, which I passed while walking to the public gardens.
A statue of Winston Churchill in front of the Halifax Public Library, which I passed while walking to the public gardens.

The first of which was the Public Gardens, which are about six blocks from the hostel. They’re supposedly the best example of Victorian show gardens in North America, and I’m willing to agree with that [g]. Lots of bright flowers in patterned plantings, a fancy gazebo where they sometimes have band concerts, several statues, and broad lawns dotted with huge trees. Fortunately, the air had quit being quite so soaking wet by the time I arrived in Halifax, so I didn’t get drowned wandering through them.

The entrance to the public gardens.
The entrance to the public gardens.
Gazebo/bandstand and flower beds at the public gardens.
Gazebo/bandstand and flower beds at the public gardens.
A statue of the Roman goddess Ceres at the public gardens.
A statue of the Roman goddess Ceres at the public gardens.
The facade of the municipal/court building in Halifax.
The facade of the municipal/court building in Halifax, taken on my way back to the hostel.

I haven’t been sleeping well for the last couple of nights, so I suspect I’ll be going to bed fairly early tonight. Wish me luck for a good night’s sleep!

August 3:  Farewell to the Cape, another president, a philosopher, and more history

Today I left Cape Cod.  It was a lovely couple of days, but time to move on.  Before I did, though, I stopped in Hyannis and went to the JFK museum, which wasn’t, as I’d thought, his presidential museum and library (which turns out to be in Boston), but is about his connection to the Cape – among other things, he signed the bill creating Cape Cod National Seashore (thank you very much, Mr. President!), and of course, his whole family has had homes here for generations (his father bought their first house here).

This used to be the post office in Hyannis.
This used to be the post office in Hyannis.

And so back over the Sagamore Bridge and north on I-495, which is a pleasant if monotonous drive (lots and lots of trees and gentle hills, but not much else).  There’s really no other efficient way to get around Boston, though, and that’s pretty much what I’d decided to do at this point (I have been to Boston before, honest).

This was sorta surreal to me, kind of the symbolic halfway point in the trip (probably not quite the actual halfway), because almost 3000 miles west on this interstate and I'd be at Snoqualmie Pass.
This was sorta surreal to me, kind of the symbolic halfway point in the trip (probably not quite the actual halfway), because almost 3000 miles west on this interstate and I’d be at Snoqualmie Pass.
What most of I-495 looked like.  In the over 8000 miles I've driven so far, I'd say about 800 of that has been on Interstate.
What most of I-495 looked like. In the over 8000 miles I’ve driven so far, I’d say about 800 of that has been on Interstate.

I did turn off the highway once, though, and that was to go to Concord, to see Walden Pond.  I’d been to Concord once before, and had gone to Louisa May Alcott’s house and the Minutemen Museum, but I’d somehow missed Walden.  Not that I’m a huge Thoreau fan or anything, but I just wanted to see it. Turns out Walden Pond is now a state park primarily used for its swimming beach, which I found rather amusing.  But there is a trail around the pond which leads to the appropriately-marked cabin site.  Most of the people visiting it seemed to be young Asian men, for some reason.  There was also a replica of the cabin next to the park’s parking lot.

Where Thoreau's cabin once stood.
Where Thoreau’s cabin once stood.
Walden Pond.
Walden Pond.
The replica cabin.
The replica cabin.

Back on the freeway, I was only a few miles from my destination for the night, the town of Lowell, Massachusetts.  Lowell was one of the places where the industrial revolution got started in the U.S., with the Merrimack River giving it water power for textile mills.  It has a very interesting multicultural history, and the visitor center downtown has its own free parking lot (a rarity in New England in my limited experience [wry g]).

A patent model of a loom in the visitor center at Lowell National Historic Park.
A patent model of a loom in the visitor center at Lowell National Historic Park.
A statue outside the visitor center.
A statue outside the visitor center.

And then there’s the New England Quilt Museum just down the street, which had some gorgeous quilts, as well as an exhibit of presidential wall hangings.

One of the presidential wallhangings, this one of Jefferson, of course.  There was one for each president, up through Obama.
One of the presidential wallhangings, this one of Jefferson, of course. There was one for each president, up through Obama.
The hand quilting on Grant's wallhanging was pretty amazing.
The hand quilting on Grant’s wallhanging was pretty amazing.
My favorite quilt in the New England Quilt Museum.  It's supposed to evoke the Maine coast and succeeds amazingly.
My favorite quilt in the New England Quilt Museum. It’s supposed to evoke the Maine coast and succeeds amazingly.

Unfortunately, the Textile History Museum had closed due to lack of funding, but the rest of the neighborhood was fascinating.

This evening I met Ann, another listee, and her husband Ben for dinner at a little place called the Eggroll Café in Lowell.  It wasn’t easy to find – Lowell does not appear to believe in street signs – but the food was good and the company was fun.  I enjoyed myself very much, and when it was time to go, Ann rode with me to my motel (no campgrounds nearby and I didn’t want to go searching for one in the dark) to help me get back out of Lowell, and Ben picked her up there.

Tomorrow I get to have lunch with my copy editor (who lives in Dover, New Hampshire), and then it’s on to Maine!