Sunday, July 26, 2015

What I'm Working On

Obviously a work in progress, just the top. What could be simpler than a cherkerboard?  Oh, but sewing all those little two inch squares together?  Well, yes and no. I did sew them all together but not one by one. There's a quicker and easier method. I won't try to explain but lots of how-to books show you. 

Early this month I went to a garage sale of fabric (calling it a "yard" sale is a pun, really, there were many yards of fabric and many quarter yards and many pieces of various sizes). Lots of pieces had been crammed into gallon baggies. One of those contained many strips cut 2-1/2 inches wide and many. many of them were navy with small white print, some were white with navy prints.  Maybe Betty, whose sale it was, (she's moving and destashing) was going to make a quilt something like this. I don't know. I had to add some whites of my own and of course the red border. 

This has a backing (red, white and blue, of course) but it won't be finished until the weather turns cooler. Summer is a time, for me, for making tops not for dealing with three-layer quilts on my lap as I sew.  Given all the very fancy designs I see in the magazines, something about the simplicity of this checkerboard is very soothing to me. Should I call it a "modern" quilt?  It seems about as far from modern as possible but maybe it's simplicity would put it in that category.

Friday, July 10, 2015


I think the hanging plants on either side of my mini patio (mother's day gifts) are called dendronia. This photo was taken this morning after a very refreshing shower. Our weather has been so variable one doesn't know what to expect from day to day. Today is very lovely now.

I keep forgetting to take my camera. With a small group, I had tour through an historic house -- really three that have been amalgamated as one for a long time. One was started in 1690 and added to not long after. Another was brought over from Nantucket "on the ice" the owner said. That is mind boggling. Nantucket is a good 15 or 20 miles across open water. A third house was  build in 1750 and when it was moved from somewhere to become the back part of the extant house, I don't remember.  The outsides were original, the insides kept the fireplaces (in every room) and floors but much else was different, which is not to say it's all new. The house was surrounded by an informal and somewhat densely planted lawn -- so much so (and it was such a warm day) that the mosquitoes came out and attacked.

The wonderful thing is that Rte. 6A on the northside of the Cape is lined with houses or every vintage, all different from one another, some very grand (and they are mostly B&Bs or institutional, with art galleries.  But many modest houses, probably others this old too, most not so old, few are very new and new ones have been designed to fit in.  Strict zoning rules keeps commerical signage  away and means that some commercial buildings are actually hidden behind others -- which was true of "Jack's Outback" which is a breakfast and lunch place behind other commercial buildings that I didn't know existed until I was led there yesterday.  It's a very curvey two-lane road where floral plantings are always a delight and where all Christmas lights must be white.  I love it and drive it often.  There are still many, many surprises, I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One done, one to go

I've been working on this spiderweb selvage quilt about three months. I've quilted it heavily as well as having used up a good percentage of my selvages making it.  The colors aren't quite true, they are more vivid.  I was inspired by a quilt I saw on Karen Griska's website, The Sevage Blog (it's in the sidebar here)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Crafts on the Village Green

As usually the tourist season was kicked off with a craft fair on the village (Hyannis, MA) today and it was as wonderful day for it. The crafts were the usual, pottery, paintings, jewelry, glass work, etc. For anyone looking for a Cape Cod souvenir, it was the place to shop -- although all of Main Street offers wonderful, clever things.  The newbie in the show was a man from Panama with shoes made of the Panamanian craft called Mole, layered a fabric cut to reveal wonderful patterns. He had shoes and boots and some purses. They were colorful and wonderful. A tad pricey.

We didn't know we would run into Rachel's daughter, Cory, and her family --husband and all three of my great-grandchildren. The picture is of the youngest two, Stella and Cole, standing near a bench recently painted by a local artist who has been leaving her mark downtown on benches, sign posts, fire hydrants, in these colors but mostly with more intricate designs.

It was a nice long walk, topped off with gellato at a place that makes their own in amazing flavors. What a good way to welcome summer!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wonderful House and Garden

A two acre backyard is unusual in any suburban home but that's what a small group of friends were shown this week.  Nancy, who is pictured here, does all the gardening herself. The garden and house are her creative project. She has arranged many nooks and surprises in the garden, often a plaster or iron bunny will be found almost hidden in a shrub. Often there is a chair or bench inviting a visitor to  sit and contemplate the peaceful surrounding or take a book and read all afternoon. There is a lovely little koi pond. The picture shows Nancy with one of her two tiny terriers standing because a seahorse swing made entirely of old tires and purchased from Carly Simon's store in Martha's Vineyard.

We lunched under a  wide pergola covered with grape vines (and incipient grapes -but, no, she does not make her own wine). And we walked through what is really two houses, one a former stable now office for her husband, craft room (for jewelry making in the snowy weather), possible guest suite, and the main house, once, probably the caretaker's home on an estate now cut up by developers -- it had small rooms, low ceilings, steep stairs, many fireplaces and  was full of antique shop finds atop floors all  hand refinished by Nancy. The house and garden has been photographed for regional magazines. It is unique largely because of her consistent attention but also because one expects a grand house with many formal rooms on such a property, but this was a cozy pair of houses with small crowded but entirely inviting room --every chair and sofa  looked sat in! A place she and her husband obviously enjoyed living.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Spring moving toward Summer

We've had a week of unusually cool weather. The weatherman said "welcome to fall, we had our three weeks of summer," yesterday when he spoke of 40F at 6:00 a.m.  But of course it warmed -- when I got in my car to go to a meeting the inside was so toasty I opened the window  widely. 

As always I love driving Rte. 6A, the old carriage road that is two lanes and so curvy there is no place to pass in 10 miles  and the speed limit is mostly 35 mph. I have time to admire the flowers.  Many homes are at least 50 years old, some much older, others newer -- but not very, very new. They have had time for flowering trees to mature. There were huge rhododendrons and lilacs and smaler azeleas in bloom. The road is always a visual feast  as the colors change with the season.

My informal group of women writers meet at the seasonal restaruant, called The Chat House which has a room with a big table around which we sit on cool days. We are waiting impatiently for warmer mornings when we will sit on the patio under a pergola with trumpet vines covering it. Never in my earlier years would I have imagined I'd have mornings like yesterday, beauty, friends, much laughter, good coffee and cinnamon roll. When people do writing to group prompts (ours was "epiphany"), I think most especially if it's a group of women, lives and personalities are revealed in a way that doesn't happen in casual conversation. We each have looked into our past (and we're all over 60 so we have plenty of past to look into) and write about something meaningful.

This kind of in-depth personal understanding happens in my writing class and other writing classes and in the poetry class as well. There's a rule spoken sometimes, but mostly unspoken: what's said in this room stays in this room.  Sometimes and sometimes not - regard for others precludes any gossip but rarely is anything salatious revealed, instead it's usually depth of experience and learning that only mature people have accomplished and that most of us share in our own ways.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Incredible Quilter

This is one of many quilts I saw today as Sharon Schamber talked to the Bayberry Guild about her work.  She became fascinated by Crazy Horse and designed this quilt. She has several quilts with people but the majority of her quilts are "quilty" -- designed in the tradition we are used to seeing.  Lots of flowers and embellishments.

Sharon was a comfortable and fascinating speaker, she didn't hesitate to take questions and comments from the audience. She has won  Best of Show in Houston 3 times (more than anyone else) and has a host of other very important recognitions. She talked about her techniques for applique, piecing, embroidery and border finishing, and her "focused" (obsessive, one might say) work on her quilts, 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week unless traveling and teaching, I became convinced that she is probably the best, or certainly one of the very best, quilters in America ... as craftsperson.  Google blocks me from showing some of her more traditional quilts.  

She openly says she has a form of Aseprgers' diease which accounts for the "focus" and that she is badly dyslexic and, more amazing, she has an "essemtial tremor" which makes hand quilting and applique difficult. Her attitude is very positive and very certain but entirely without abrasiveness. I was extremely impressed. We do not often have speakers of this caliber ... but then there are very few quilters of her caliber either.  It was a pleasure to hear her.