Friday, February 19, 2016

Photos and A Few Thoughts From The Past Week

The snowfall tapered off on Monday leaving us with fog, ankle-deep slush, half frozen snow mess on roads and driveways.
The dooryard was skiddish underfoot as was our lane.
The main roads had been plowed or salted, so if one could get a vehicle down the driveway and out to the highway it was possible to travel--with caution.

Willis spent much of the snowy weather tucked up on the cushioned wicker seat on the porch or keeping a lookout from the top of the woodpile.
Several times I watched him pick a dainty way along the lane or across the back drive.

 This photo was taken from the front porch on Thursday morning.
I noted that there was an encouraging blue-tinted bit of sky emerging from the heavy fog cover. 

By mid-morning more blue sky appeared and the blessed sun shone for the first time in many days.

By noon the snow was melting off the graveled back drive.
The cats were over-joyed to be turned out. 
Nellie followed me when I hauled my load of wood from the barn.

Bobby Mac picks his way around mounds of soggy snow.

The lawn and the lane are looking more normal.

Pottering back from the mailbox, slow in my 'muck boots,' I couldn't have enough of the blue sky and the sunshine!

It hasn't been all drudgery during the winter doldrums.
Before the second snow storm I finished the layout of my paper-pieced New York Beauty quilt blocks.  My first intention was to use this quilt as a wall hanging.
There are a few areas where I could have done better work--it was a learning process--so I've decided this is a quilt to be used rather than a display piece.
I enjoyed this project and will eventually tackle something similar with better planning of color placement and utilizing the few helpful tricks I gained.

With several possible settings for the blocks I chose an arrangement that creates a center medallion.
The background fabrics which appear white are really prints with shades of cream, tan and soft gold.

I wanted a 6 inch block as border cornerstones but felt unequal to drafting one. [Not that I could find my protractor, compass or any useful tools for such an undertaking.]
The 6 inch block pattern found on the web and printed has six star points whereas the 12 inch blocks have five points so not perhaps artistically 'correct'--but it works for me!
Most of the fabrics are from coordinated lines by Kansas Troubles for Moda, acquired when I worked at Wyoming Quilts.
[As an employee I received a discount on fabric purchases, so....!]
The completed quilt top, the backing and packaged batting have languished in a pile at the end of the kitchen counter waiting opportunity to mail away for professional machine quilting.

A young couple at our church are expecting a baby girl next month.
I wanted to make a little quilt using fabrics on hand, keeping the design simple so I could finish quickly.  I rummaged through containers of scraps and remnants, gathering small prints and fabrics with 'girly' shades of pink or softened colors.
The pattern couldn't be simpler--alternating 3 inch squares of prints and off whites.

I had a scrap of cat-themed fabric and 'fussy cut' squares to feature the various felines.

I have placed the cat blocks in such a way that the eye will be drawn to them and move across the quilt taking in the other colors.

I don't do 'cutesy' juvenile fabrics [as they are referred to in the trade.]
When I create a quilt for a baby or young child I select a traditional block pattern and colorful fabrics hoping that the quilt will be used and cherished long past infancy.

I was so nearly done with this, only a few more rows to stitch.
I put it aside on Sunday evening--to go on what became a memorable excursion to feed our friend's dog--somehow I've not taken it up again this week.

Between sewing projects and animal care and the other rather monotonous duties attended to during the past three weeks, I finished reading the final three books in the Poldark series.
Masterpiece Theatre aired the original Poldark episodes when we were living in Massachusetts in 1977/1978. 
My daughter and I were enthralled.
The books became available shortly after in mass-market paperback editions with front covers depicting the actors and actresses who had featured in the films.

I have looked online at some of the promotional clips for the new series.
In this return to the books--new copies and with the additional books which Winston Graham wrote many years later--I can only think of Robin Ellis as Ross Poldark, Angharad Rees as Demelza. 
No doubt the new filming has taken advantage of better technology, and no doubt if the series is shown on American TV I will overcome my distaste for the medium and watch.
I will, however, watch with a critical eye and holding the new production to high standards.

It is seldom in a long running series that the quality of plot and character portrayal remains consistent.
I give Mr. Graham high marks in that regard.
The latter books deal with the Napoleonic Wars as a backdrop--not a period in history with which I am familiar.
Winston Graham dealt well with the emotions and personalities of his characters, with an unusual gift for bringing his female protagonists to life.
In reading a bit about him I learned that as he wrote he read aloud to his wife seeking her input on details of dress, home making, domestic scenes.
I feel certain this collaboration enhanced the great readability of these books.

Graham did not close each book or even the series with a happy resolution for each of his characters.
There were untimely deaths, quarrels, small mysteries, misdeeds never fully or happily laid to rest.
As in 'real life' Graham's people picked up the pieces and moved on.
After living with them all rather intensely for several months I shall miss the Poldarks, their loves and their sorrows and the sweeping intrigues of these people who existed only in the mind of a skillful author.
I can't think what I will read next--anything less may seem insipid!


  1. Our farm cats never seemed to care much for snow and the picture of Bobby Mac sums up their attitude entirely. Glad to see that people still make simple quilts to be used rather than displayed.

  2. I have to confess to still only being half way through my re-reading of the Poldark series and I never did read the last 3, and if I have to wait to be snowed in here to get the chance, it could be a long wait! They are a hard act to follow. By way of a total change, look out for any books by Robert Macfarlane. Not novels, but the most SUPERB writing very reminiscent of Edward Thomas (who he greatly admires).

    What a stunning quilt/hanging. When I go up to Dawn's again I will try some sharp points like these on the printer paper I have. She is very good at encouragement and has the most amazing pair of wooden craft cabins. Drool!

  3. You have been busy! I love the quilt for the baby, especially as you have put so much thought and love into choosing the pieces.

    Snow is beautiful at first, but you must have enjoyed seeing green grass emerge again after the thaw.

  4. Glad you are seeing blue sky, melting snow and feeling the warmth of the sun. I noticed some green grass too.

    Love the baby quilt with it's felines. That is so cute and will definitely be loved as the little one grows.

    Have a nice weekend ~ FlowerLady

  5. I'm just catching up on my blog reading as we were away during the period of 'weath'a'. Initially we were wondering why on earth we were leaving home and Vermont continued to be unseasonably mild. Mother Nature did not disappoint and dealt some brutal temperatures and wind chills. Fortunately our house and critter sitter is capable so the horses and dogs were fine and no pipes froze!! Spring will be here before you know it! Someone on my VT bird list reported snowdrops in Shaftsbury !!! Love your quilts; labors of love!

  6. Glad your snow is gone, but brr, it still looks cold. I think you're wrong, I think it is a display piece. Read the Poldark books years ago, didn't realize he'd written more in the series. We caught part of the new series when we were in England and didn't care much for it.

  7. I did enjoy seeing your quilts,your NY beauty quilt is gorgeous. I love the simple scrappy squares quilts and I'm sure this one will be loved by the new baby well into adulthood.

    Luckily, I suspect, I didnt see the original Poldark series, so I have nothing to compare the new one to. I have enjoyed seeing the wonderful Cornish scenery, as we holiday there every year and the beautiful horses used for filming.
    I hope you will be able to enjoy some more glorious blue skies as Spring approaches.