Tag Archives: carding vermont

What Has He Got in His Pocketses?

Placemat 1 for web Placemat 2 for web Placemat 3 for web Placemat 4 for web Placemat 5 for web Placemat 6 for web
Our son’s birthday was yesterday.

And since he’s the child of DIY parents, that always means there’s something handmade among his gifts.

A couple of months back, I heard his fiancé say that they could use some new placemats.

Now if you’re a beginning quilter, placemats are the very best place to start learning because they are, essentially, very small quilts.

These got started when I was inspired by a pattern in my guild’s newsletter called “Cheaper by the Dozen,” a scrappy quilt made from sets of six rectangles measuring 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.

I thought “Cheaper by the Dozen” was perfect for making Parkinson’s quilts so I took nearly all my fat quarters and largish scraps, cut them all to size, and now I have precuts to make easy tops any time I want.

I was laying out a single block (which measures 12 1/2 inches square unfinished) when I thought it would be fun to cut the two ends off and reverse them to make something a bit more interesting for a placemat.

So I did and liked the effect. But I obviously needed to add something more to make them long enough horizontally and that’s when I remembered that I had this stack of back pockets from old blue jeans just sitting around waiting their turn to be part of something.

Presto–placemats like no others.

The pockets are perfect for the inserting of napkins and silverware. Roll them up and take them on a picnic.

I even got to use up some of my 2 1/2 inch binding strips. I just love scrappy projects like that.

Roar Y’all

Goldie fits in the kitchen sink
Goldie fits in the kitchen sink
Goldie's fur gets all curly after a bath
Goldie’s fur gets all curly after a bath
The first haircut of spring takes time
The first haircut of spring takes time

Our cocker spaniel, Goldie, is the inspiration for Nearly Wolfe in the Carding, Vermont books.

We usually don’t let her fur (actually, cockers have hair like poodles so they don’t shed it once it gets to a certain length) get this long.

But it’s been such a cold winter, we haven’t wanted to give her a haircut.

In the last few days, the temps have  started crawling on their hands and knees above freezing, and she’s  sleeping further and further away from the wood stove which is a sure sign that her fur is making her too hot.

We begin with the ritual bath which she ritually endures.

Then we let her dry a bit. With her hair this long, she gets REALLY curly, and looks like a golden sheep.

And then Jay gives her a haircut.

Her hair is very fine and its length kept jamming the combs on the cutter. So Jay had to stop frequently to clean them. After an hour, which is about as long as Goldie can stand, her back end was sheared so we called a halt for the day.

We often do this because we find that the shock of losing her whole fur coat is not as intense.

And for a couple of days, she looks like a funny little lion. Jay calls it her “Simba cut.”

We’ll finish up in the next day or two but in the meantime “Roar y’all!”

Vernal Equinox?

Goldie covered with snow for web
You’d think we’d be used to it by now. Snowstorms on the first day of spring, that is. Nothing unusual about that in the mountains of Vermont.

But this winter has been exceptional—exceptionally cold, exceptionally deep, exceptionally hard on the wood pile. And now that EVERYONE is tired of wearing boots and heavy jackets, exceptionally snowy.

This is the first time in more than two decades that the redwing blackbirds that live along the river in summer have not showed up to “Scree” in the trees on the first day of spring.

They must have been listening to the weather guys at the Fairbanks Museum who do the daily Eye on the Sky reports for Vermont Public Radio.

A week ago, the knobby parts of the hillsides were baring themselves to the sun. We were all doffing winter coats in favor of lighter fare. Our cars were warm when we opened the doors.

Then we got 18 inches (more in some places) of snow. And then we got six inches more. We have run out of places to put the stuff.

We really need to move on to complaining about the heat!

A Good Hunkering Day

Icicles for web
You’ve heard about the lull before the storm?

Well, around here, we usually get at lull after a winter storm. As in the sky clears and the temperature goes up (which means high 20s), and everyone’s mood elevates with the additional light.

Today, we got one out of two of those. The snow stopped about mid-morning but honey, I want to tell you it it absolutely frigid here at Carding, Vermont’s world headquarters.

Heard from family down on Cape Cod where the wind is whipping up the high tide, and everyone is thankful that the lights and heat are still on.

So you hunker down, don’t go out unless it’s totally necessary, and stay close to the wood stove.

But this too shall pass.

Squeak, Squeak, Squeak

Snowshoes for web
It is wicked cold today.

Wicked as in so cold your nose can freeze shut if you stay outside too long.

And too long is about ten minutes.

It started snowing before the sun rose, and in this wicked cold that means fine crystals that swirl about in the air every time a vehicle passes the house.

Snow connoisseurs can tell you a lot about the quality of any measurable amount of falling flakes by their sound. When it’s wicked cold, the snow squeaks underfoot as you pad along because the air is so dry.

If it’s sunny and a bit warmer, it grunts as you step along.

And there’s the sloshing sound of slush when it all starts to melt.

Today’s a squeaky day.

The Disappearance of Color

Red Cardinal at the Bird Feeder in January by Sonja Hakala
Red Cardinal at the Bird Feeder in January by Sonja Hakala

Several members of the Northern Lights Quilt Guild—the most talented group of women you will ever meet—put together a smallish quilt show at the Aging Resource Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. It’s been on display since early October.

We covered the walls of the ample lobby, decorated a largish space over a computer bank and put color on the walls of a hallway with a large quilt at the end of it like the dot under an exclamation point.

This morning, we took it all down.
And it was a if you’d washed away the surface of a watercolor painting. The place suddenly seemed so drab.

The director of the center told us that the quilt show attracted more attention than any other exhibit they’d had there and how many comments (all positive) they received.

It’s sort of like how dark it feels in early January when all the Christmas lights disappear.

Which just means you gotta enjoy the beauty when it comes your way.

It’s Gotta Start Somewhere…

Goldie covered with snow for web
Winter, that is.

And by the looks of things outside, it’s starting today.

So far, the flakes are light and we haven’t seen a snowplow yet.

But the Eye on the Sky guys up in the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury (the best local weather reports in the area) are forecasting 4 to 5 inches by the time this crystallized precipitation moves on.

This stuff’s gonna stick! And Goldie will be happy because snowball chasing season is about to begin!