During the last two months of 2017, my daughter and I decided to work on a joint quilt project to present to a friend later in 2018. After tossing around several different designs, we finally zeroed in on a Stained Glass Quilt, a fitting choice since our friend worked with recycled glass.
Once the design was finalized it was time to head out to get some fabric. We threw some quilt layouts, sizes and fabric colors in our design software package so that we could at least get an idea about fabric requirements before agreeing to meet at a quilt shop located half way between us. We met at Mystic Maine Quilting in Chelsea and hoped that we could pull the whole thing together. Once inside I was amazed at how quickly my daughter selected 7 fabrics and a border for this project, especially since I have never seen her leave a quilt shop in less than an hour.
With fabric in hand, I returned home to assemble the quilt. First I entered the new fabrics in the software program in order to print out an accurate layout. To prevent confusion at the end I decided that I would sew the blocks row by row, constructing the row as I completed each block. As each row was completed I would attach it to the previous row. I soon discovered that this printout was essential for the construction of this project. Somehow the second row just refused to cooperate. I swear that every block in that row was taken apart at least once. First I would put the black strip in the wrong orientation so that the colored pieces of fabric were in the wrong place to each other. Then I would put the sashing piece on the wrong side of the block. After frequent use of my stitch ripper I finally got the row assembled. From that point on, I carefully referred to the layout diagram during the construction of each block and checked it off when the block was completed.
After a few days I attached the borders and my part of this joint endeavor was finished. I handed the quilt top over to my daughter to add a backing and complete the quilting process. I can’t wait to see the finished product.
January proved a bit erratic in the weather department; dropping several inches of snow one day followed by rising temperatures and an inch of rain another day. But one day towards the middle of the month, the temperatures were seasonable and with the ground covered with snow we decided to explore Ash Point Preserve in Owls Head.
Not knowing what to expect, we threw both the spikes and the snowshoes in the car and headed towards this new trail near the Owls Head Lighthouse. The trail at Ash Point was new, having only been opened sometime last summer. I was pleased to see that the preserve was clearly marked and the parking area had been cleared, saving us from parking along the road. Seeing that the trail was really packed down, we donned the spikes and headed on our way.
The first part of the trail ran along the property line of a private residence. Once we walked beyond the back of the house and through a gap in a stone wall we found ourselves in a winter wonderland. While admiring the snow covered woods, I discovered a tree bearing the biggest burl I have ever seen. We joked a bit about the line in the movie Kindergarten Cop about “it’s not a tumor” but then we followed it with “well, yeah it is” before continuing on towards the shore.
The trail curved and we meandered some distance along the coast. One of the problems with hiking through snowy terrain is that the white stuff on the ground tends to hide the obstacles underneath. Sure enough, I caught an almost ground level stump and found myself sprawled face down in the snow. (The beauty of snow is that when one falls, the landing is pretty soft). Once I righted myself I found that there were many opportunities to stop and really take in the icy views. On one side of the trail, I found icicles hanging from a nearby pine tree. Turning towards the water I had to study a white blanketed island in the distance.
Most of the coast line was below us but there were a few places where we could have headed towards the rocks for better views. Given the potential of ice underneath the white carpet, we decided to satisfy ourselves with glimpses of the water from the safe distance within the woods.
Eventually, the trail curved back away from the water. At one point, my husband grabbed the camera to try to get a picture of the snow-covered trees lining the path but once he was done with that he turned the camera towards me. Now, I hate having my pictures taken but he just kept shutting away, even catching me sticking my tongue out at him. It wasn’t until I picked up some snow and aimed it at him (he also captured that on camera) that he stopped. Once we continued on our way, it wasn’t long before we were back in the car heading towards another new trail a few miles up the road.
I have been making significant progress on my numerous 2017 quilt projects. The frenzied pace and stress of all these tasks going on simultaneously has given way to a calmer pace. That is not to say that the 2018 designs are not yet in progress but I have settled in to a more relaxed pace.
First I have completed my Friendship Twist quilt. I really like the way the backing compliments the front of this design. The wild colors of the back really matches my friend’s personality. All that is left is to slap a label on it before our next visit down to Long Island, sometime later this year.
The table mats are also completed. Two are sitting on the night tables in the guest bedrooms, protecting them from accidental water stains and other such catastrophes. The third is on a little display table that my husband made from a tree that went down in a yard years ago.
The quilt along project that I call Autumn Stars is assembled and I am currently hand quilting the blocks. I have decided to outline and echo the stars in one block and the squares in the other. This quilt is small enough that I have decided not to put it on the large quilt frame. It is the perfect size to put in a 12 inch hoop as I sit in my living room in front the warmth emanating from the fireplace.
Finally, there is the dinosaur donation quilt. The second yellow that I picked up goes well with the original yellow from my stash. It is completely assembled now but there are some issues. The flying geese units are constructed using the old fashioned method of cutting individual triangles and sewing them together. I prefer the waste method of using a rectangle and two squares sewn along the diagonal. For me, it is more accurate but since there is not enough of the yellow I have no room for waste. I also have noticed that the two yellows seem to be different weights, consequently there is some stretch in the units. No matter how hard I try to line the rows up, every other row seems to be misaligned. Fortunately, my quilting daughter claims that she only notices that one row is off. She also has a saying that I should adopt; “if you can’t see it while galloping past on a horse than no one else will notice.” So, I am going with it. Still, the title “Dinosaur Disaster” comes to mind as a name for this project.
I believe I have enough of the green to use as backing. I still need to decide whether to hand quilt it and what to use as binding. My daughter has offered her longarm quilting services. Since it is a donation quilt, the cost will be her needle and thread supplies. It is a good deal and might be the best option for Dinosaur Disaster. It will certainly brighten a child’s day sooner rather than later.
Although the hiking news has been quiet of late, we did get out for some short outings during the Christmas holidays. Christmas Eve we hiked the Erickson Field loop with our son-in-law before settling into a somewhat lazy week. Snow came Christmas Day and we all settled down to our respective projects, stopping occasionally to watch the snow. I did notice that nature’s paintbrush had been at work on a long abandoned spider web on the porch, dusting the remnants with strands of snow.
After Christmas the temperatures took a dramatic dive into single digits and negative numbers. There was at least one day, that the high never got above -2, certainly a day to stay indoors and work on those 4 quilt projects I had going. Even though it was bitterly cold, we did decide to bundle up mid-week and snowshoe around the Hodson Preserve with a friend. We returned to a warm fire, coffee, and scones, enjoying the time spent with a friend.
Later that week, we were supposed to attend a Christmas Tree Burning Party but with temps dropping to -12 that night, the party was postponed to the following week. It was still cold the next weekend, but off we went with our contribution to the fire to watch the last reminders of the holidays slowly return to the earth. After the last tree was gone we all headed inside for hot chocolate, dessert and conversations with new people.
As I waited for the temperatures to climb into a zone that is safer and more comfortable for exploring some new places, I reflected that the last few weeks were not wasted. We should never consider time shared with family and friends as having been wasted. It strengthens ties and reconnects us to each other. It is time well spent.
Just prior to the Christmas weekend, we received an invitation to visit friends in Georgetown. After their summer stint at one of the campgrounds in Acadia, they had lined up a new gig working on an estate near Reid State Park. Since there was a fresh few inches of snow on the ground, it seemed like the prefect day to explore a new place. And so, we headed an hour south towards Bath, and turned off towards the Georgetown peninsula just before the bridge. Soon, we were turning onto a snow covered road that led towards a wonderful little cottage.
After chatting a bit, we all bundled up, donned our spikes and took off to explore. One of the tasks that our friends were involved with is putting trails throughout the property. Our walk took us down towards the main house first, where the views of the Sasanoa River where spectacular. Near the edge of the water someone had erected a small cairn. I paused to admire the artwork before hurrying to catch up with the rest of the group.
There were a few places where the terrain was a bit icy underfoot, making the uphill and downhill portions somewhat tricky but we got by them with no mishaps. While maneuvering around these difficulties, I was still able to admire the artistic gifts of nature; the icicles hanging underneath the moss covering a rock, an odd shaped tree and the ever present views of the water. When the cold started to make us uncomfortable, we headed back to the cottage, where we chatted for a while before headed towards Bath for lunch.
After lunch, we wished each other a Happy Holiday and went our separate ways. I was a little envious of our friends’ new location. I could only imagine what it would be like to live on your own private preserve where there are spectacular views from your window and numerous places to explore every day.