Vermont Weekend

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ben & Jerry's Factory
The day after J broke his arm + shoulder (before we knew what he actually did), we headed up to Burlington, Vermont with my parents. We stopped at Palmer's Sugar House for Maple Open House Weekend - a very New England thing to do. Right when it starts to warm up a bit, the trees release their sap, and that's prime season for making maple syrup. The sugar houses turn on the boilers and invite people in for some seasonally-heated pancakes with maple syrup tastings. Syrup-on-snow, maple hot dogs, maple lemonade, and so on.

Afterward, we made a brief trip to view the Americana at the Shelburne Museum. It being the off season (i.e., late March) only a small portion of the museum's buildings were open, but it looked like a great place to walk around when it gets warmer. Somewhere in there we stopped at the Magic Hat Brewery! Lots of things to do in southern Vermont!
Palmer's Sugar Shack
Palmer's Sugar Shack
Shelburne Museum
Shelburne Museum
Shelburne Museum

After a night in Burlington, perusing its cute downtown and harbor (and eating way too many crepes), we headed to the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, Vermont. The highlight of the visit (aside from the free experimental ice cream on the tour) is the "Flavor Graveyard" where you can see silly epitaphs for all the retired flavors.
Downtown Burlington
Burlington Harbor
Burlington Harbor
Ben & Jerry's Factory
Ben & Jerry's Factory - Flavor Graveyard

This visit was followed by a trip to Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where you can watch (and taste!) freshly pressed apple cider, and then cozy over to the luncheonette for a flight of hard cider. And of course, there was a stop at the Cabot Farmers' store to pick up some everything bagel cheddar. All the cheese to taste you could ever want or need!
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Hard Cider Flight at Cold Hollow Cider Mill

It's just so pretty here.

Moving! Transporting the Cat By Air

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cat waiting
This post has been a long time coming. More on that later.

We've already tried a 5 day road trip with the cat. I don't recommend it. Every morning, find the cat's new hiding spot, shove a half-Xanax (vet prescribed) down her throat. Shove her in a bag. Drive until the sun goes down, then keep driving as long as you can withstand the nonstop meowing. Pay up to an extra $100 to a road side motel for the privilege of housing your cat alongside.

That was in October. We were not going to repeat this in the oven heat of late June when moving cross country to New England. So my parents flew out, spent a few days siteseeing Northern California, and then took the cat back with them a couple days before the movers arrived.

The general process is worth knowing, and here's what we did, but it's recommended you double-check all this:
  1. Confirm with airline prior to purchasing plane ticket, that they have space for an onboard cat.
  2. Purchase a plane ticket
  3. Call up airline and obtain separate reservation number for onboard cat.
  4. Take cat to the vet, acquire updated vaccines and a signed record of good health.
  5. Drug cat with a half Xanax and drive her to the airport in her soft carrying case.
  6. Hand cat over to parents. They check in at desk with cat and pay onboard cat fee ($120).
  7. Parents go through TSA security check.
  8. Dad takes cat to private screening room so TSA can remove cat from her bag and inspect the carrying case. Dad brought gloves, probably wasn't necessary.
  9. Board plane and put cat in carrying case under seat in front of you.
  10. Cat is too scared to make a peep for the entire 5 hour flight.
  11. Drive cat home and release her in "her" room while she waits for her owners to return after a 2 week road trip.

So that worked out fine for us. Still rather traumatic for the cat, but considerably less awful for our road trip.

Cat headed to the airport Cat being transported through airport
Cat at ticketing Cat going through TSA
Focused cat [unfocused]

Personalizing Quilts

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Personalizing a Quilt with Embroidery (or just hand quilting)
Oftentimes the quilts shown on this blog (particularly the throw quilts) are given as gifts. I've gifted 5 quilts to date, 3 of which were to commemorate a marriage, and so initials+date indicators were added to suit the event.

Now that the Triangle Xmas Tree Skirt is personalized, it makes quite the package with a matching green doily and Wedding Invitation Ornament.

Completed wedding invitation ornament

Adding Letters/Numbers to a Quilt

This is the general process I use to sew letters or numbers onto fabric. It can require a variety of erasable pens or pencils, depending on the darkness of the fabric. Thread choice is largely determined by fabric color and how busy the fabric is. Busy fabric needs thicker thread.
For lighter fabrics (not white), print in reverse and trace with iron-on transfer pencil.
A1. For light, non-red fabric, trace with iron-on transfer pencil
Cut into pieces for required layout.
A2. Cut into pieces for laying out
Iron according to instructions.
A4. Iron, according to iron-on transfer instructions
Remove paper and sew/embroider.
A5. Remove paper, hand-quilt or embroider the outline left
For medium-darkness (or white) fabric, use a dark erasable pen/pencil and trace the cut-out of the desired symbol.
B1. For medium-darkness (or bright white) fabrics, cut out entirety of letter/number, and trace using a dark erasable pen/pencil
For dark fabric, use a white erasable pen/pencil and trace the cut-out of the desired symbol.
C1. For dark fabrics, cut out entirey of letter/number and trace using a light-colored erasable pen/pencil

Embroidery Personalization

Sewing thread after quilt-sandwiching, embroidery floss before.
The above processes yield the following effect, if done after quilt sandwiching. I typically do this as part of the quilting phase, and this will show the stitches in reverse on the opposite side of the quilt. For hand-quilting with sewing thread (below) this is fine, but for the future I'd probably do embroidery thread personalizing before the quilt sandwiching, so that the reverse stitches do not appear on the other side. In this case, I had started with hand-quilting but because the fabric was varying in colors and had lots of pattern, it was near impossible to see some of the letters, while other letters stood out significantly. Embroidery thread had to be used, although I only used 2 strands (embroidery floss usually has 6).
Complete embroidery with a double running stitch (this is actually back stitch, double running preferred) Complete embroidery with a double running stitch (this is actually back stitch, double running preferred) - back
A double running stitch would be much cleaner on the back of the quilt, rather than back stitch!
Hand-Quilt (or Embroider) with a Running Stitch
Hand-Quilt (or Embroider) with a Running Stitch Hand-Quilt (or Embroider) with a Running Stitch - back
The typeface in this example is 'October Twilight.

Hand-Quilting Personalizations

I've done this approach with some other quilts, although just as part of the hand-quilting process. For example, the Double Wedding Ring Quilt in grays, peaches, teals, and yellows below had the couple's wedding date subtly quilting into one of the rings:
Completed Double Wedding Ring Quilt - front - washed
A more complex design can be reverse-printed from the computer, and then transferred with a heat transfer pencil
Complex design, hand-quilted
I don't have a photo of it, but the modern bear paw quilt received a similar hand-quilted personalization right in that 4-square grey block outlined by the colorful paws.
Modern Bear Paw Quilt: Done!

Applique Personalization

You can also add appliqué letters or numbers to a quilt back or top to personalize. I have not done this for characters, but I have added a complex paper-pieced police box to the back of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt. You could use a similar approach with other symbols. In this particular case, the appliqué was added to the back of the quilt, before quilt sandwiching, so the stitches used to attach the appliqué do not show through on the front of the quilt. A similar approach could be used for embroidering someone's name onto the corner of the quilt top, if you didn't want the letters to show up in the reverse on the other side, as in the Christmas tree skirt above.
Back of the Isosceles Triangle TARDIS Quilt
Step 5: Peel off paper Wonder Under backing
Step 6: Place a damp cloth on top and iron each segment for 10-15 seconds, overlapping where iron was placed.
Step 9: Using a ladder stitch, sew applique to your project

More Weddings, More Doilies

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Pinwheel Doily
When this green pinwheel doily is combined with the Triangle Christmas Tree Skirt Quilt and another Wedding Invitation Ornament, we have quite the old-time holiday gift for a new couple. When selectively safety-pinned into the center of the tree skirt, it can also help the tree skirt double as a table runner/centerpiece.

I'm a big fan of doilies in bold colors. 'Makes me think they're a little less old-fashioned, but that's probably just me.
Pinwheel Doily
Pinwheel Doily

The Perfect Shawl

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Uraidla Shawl
New England winters have me wanting to knit again, after a ~2 year hiatus!

I purchased yarn and downloaded a pattern at the Rhinebeck Yarn Festival this past autumn, and just recently put the finishing touches on this Uraidla Shawl in O-Wool O-Wash Fingering Weight Yarn in erdenheim, a subtle blue-gray color. The simplicity of the garter stitch balances the froofiness of the lace, and the pom-poms are just an added bonus of nonsense on top. I really like this pattern. It's fairly easy 2/3 of the way through (garter & lace), and then starts adding in tricky elements - a braid and one million knit baubles.

Next up, I have 3 skeins of some old Rowan 4ply Soft destined for another of these shawls. It's lots of fun, despite the numerous partial frogging I had to endure.

Uraidla Shawl - Blocked
Uraidla Shawl
Uraidla Shawl Uraidla Shawl
Uraidla Shawl
Uraidla Shawl

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