Friday, November 30, 2012

November, Part 2

Just under the deadline, here's my Free Motion Challenge samples for November.  Our teacher was Sarah Vedeler whose lesson was making rows of spirals.   We started by tracing them on a pdf:

And then moved to the sewing machine.  I started with thread that was already in the machine (white #50) and did a little echo quilting between the rows.

I moved on to one of my favorite quilting threads, Superior's King Tut, did some rows of spirals and then did some freehand.   Obviously I need more practice, and I'm going to try something I learned from one of the other participants in the Challenge, Cheri of Under Quilted Covers, who wrote that each time she sat down to sew or changed thread in her machine, she quilted a row of spirals.  What a great way to fit in daily practice!

My pile of practice squares is growing.  This is a great way to use up some of my stash!

Two days before Thanksgiving, Emily announced she was attending a birthday party on Thanksgiving Saturday.

Whose birthday?  A friend's daughter who was turning two.

Did I have any quilts lying around?  Oh, yeah.  Several.  Ha.

But like the good quilter I am, I had a bunch of whirligig blocks left over from a previous baby gift.  So I added a few more, sewed them together, backed it with some starry fabric from my stash and used this opportunity to practice some free motion quilting. 

 I quilted loops and hearts with some King Tut variegated thread.

I used some of the striped binding I blogged about here.

Emily said it was a big hit!  One of the guests was another friend whose daughter is celebrating her first birthday next month.  Uh oh.

November: Part 1

We began the month of November in a darkened, cold house, thanks to Big Storm Sandy.  But the month got better, day by day.  Our power and heat returned after only 5 days and we felt so lucky that the only trees down on our property were nowhere near our house. 

I have 3 cousins with whom we have celebrated Thanksgiving for many years.  This year Linda hosted, and my assignment was dessert (read pies.)  I love making pies, and despite the fact that I was going to make an apple pie and a pumpkin pie, both of which I have made many many times, as usual, I started the process with a little research into recipes old and new. (You can take the librarian out of the library......) I have lot of baking books, so I consult them all as well as the bakers in cyberspace.


And, as usual, I end up combining and tweaking recipes I've used before: Nick Magieri's pastry, Richard Sax's pumpkin pie (the filling) and Susan Purdy's apple pie filling.

We brought home about a fifth of the pumpkin pie which was all that was left.  I guess they were a success!

My pies get transported in this beautiful basket that my Aunt Evelyn painted for my mother. 

My aunt also made one of these for each of her siblings.  This one hung in my mother's house.

We had a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  Emily was able to be with us, turning our duet back into a trio.

No sewing, you say?  That's coming in the next post!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Powerless Finish for October

Hurricane Sandy paid us a visit this week.  Here in Northern New Jersey many people have been without power, telephone and cell phone service since Monday when the storm landed in New Jersey near Atlantic City.  Although we have been powerless, we consider ourselves lucky.  Everyone in our family is fine.  We were especially worried about my sister and brother-in-law who live on their catamaran.  They have been moored in Annapolis which was right in the predicted path of the storm.  Fortunately, they are fine, their boat is fine, and all of their cruising friends are okay.   Our friends and neighbors are okay, too;  our house was not touched; and the only tree that came down was a pine in the back of our yard.  It flattened our swing set, but our daughter is 25, so she doesn't use it any more!

I had worked on October's Free Motion Challenge sporadically throughout the month, but I had put off posting pictures until this week.  But oops! No internet! No cell phone!  Our public library opened on Thursday and provided Wifi and power strips, but there were too many people on the network and I was unable to upload my photos.
Fortunately, our friend Marge got power back this morning (Friday) and called to invite us to spend some time at her house getting warm and charging our devices.  So here, finally, are my samples from October's Challenge.  Our teacher was Teri Lucas; our challenge was to quilt our names and use echo quilting and other motifs to fill a square. 

 I really liked this lesson.  Teri suggested we change threads for each different quilting motif.  I did that for one sample (upper right) and then decided to stick with my favorite quilting thread, Superior's King Tut.  Thank you, Teri! And thank you, SewCalGal for providing your readers with this wonderful challenge!