Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summer Highlights

I am just back from Maine, where we spent five weeks on Pond Island (Narraguagus Bay, near Milbridge) and 10 days at Alamoosook Lake in Orland.  Both of these places are dear to my heart.

Pond Island is truly rustic. We hire a lobsterman to get us there, as we have no boat. We bring as much dried and canned food with us as we can.
our "stuff" at arrival  - 90% food, the rest is clothing, quilting, tools,

We replenish the larder with a list given to relatives who have boats and are going into town, or by accepting left overs from departing groups, as many come to the Island for a long weekend bringing way more than they can consume.

We have a small cottage with no electricity, no plumbing,  an outhouse and outdoor shower. We carry drinking water from  a well and we catch rain water in a 100 gallon tank which serves for washing purposes.
The Barnacle.  Original house was the little building which is now the bedroom.

While we have propane to run a refrigerator and two gas lamps, we find we don't use the lamps.  We prefer to go to bed soon after sunset, when we can no longer see well enough to read.  It is great.  It is easy to get in 10 hour sleeps this way!   We get up when the lobster boats begin streaming out of the harbor to tend their traps, usually just after sunrise, but sometimes before.  Early in the morning, the sea is usually calm and the boats look like little dark bugs skimming along the water.  The lobster men refer to the lobsters they catch as "bugs", so I have begun calling their boats "bug boats".
Sunrises and sunsets are often spectacular....


Also there is the fog... which often is seen creeping onto the other islands around us while we have full sun.
Fog over Trafton Island

Sewing, in such a setting,  means 100% hand work.    Over the past 5 years or so, I have pieced together small quilts representing each of the 15 buildings on the island.  This year my goal was to quilt them all.  I've completed quilting 13 of the 15 and should have the last two done within the month.  I will show all of them when they are bound... (soon, I hope)  but here is a sneak peek of a one of them.

These blocks were all free pieced.  No templates nor paper piecing or patterns were used.  I learned liberated free piecing from Gwen Marston's book LIBERATED QUILTING, and then used the technique to create my blocks.  I worked from photographs and sketches, but often once I got going,  I did not refer much to these, either. The blocks were made independently, so they are all different sizes.  I found that making the windows first allowed me to keep the scale for that block.

I didn't do any quilting at Alamoosook.  We were there to catch up with our son and to close up the cottage for the winter.  But, I did squeeze in a quick trip to Marden's in Ellsworth and took a look at their fabric section. One must search carefully to find treasures there.  I didn't have the time for that, so a return trip for next year is on the list of things to do.  I did go to Fiddlehead Artisans Supply in Belfast and found a nice selection of FQ to bring home. (Of course, like the majority of us, I need more fabric like a hole in the head.)

I did have one wonderful quilt-related time, however.  I had the opportunity to contact and visit Lynne of Patchery Menagerie.  I had to drive my son from the Lake to Portsmouth, NH, and realized that I would be pretty near where Lynne lives.  

What a wonderful visit!  Lynne is a terrific host,  She was so excited to meet me, as I was her, that she did a happy dance in the parking lot.  I have never had a personal parking place, but she made sure I knew where to go!

 Lynne is a fantastic cook and treated me to an awesome pasta salad and chocolate cake and ice cream for supper.  Yum.  (We don't get cake and ice cream on Pond Island.)

Lynne is a wonderful quilter... her specialty is word quilts and they are fantastic.  She inserts subtle surprises in her work.  At first glance,  the words look like they are made from the same fabric... But, on a closer inspection, one discovers that while each word may be of a single color, the letters are made from different fabrics of that one color.   Such fun to look at.  And in many cases, the background she uses holds surprises too.  Take a look at the NO RULES FOR JULIE quilt on Lynne's blog  and see if you can find the "fun" hidden there.

  Lynne is currently working on an OUT OF THE BOX quilt and it was fun to see all of that set up.

We talked about quilts and the magic of quilts well into the night. The next morning we went to Quilted Threads, a wonderful shop in Henniker, NH.  If you are ever in the vicinity of Concord, NH, or even Manchester, NH  be sure to make a detour to Henniker.  You won't be disappointed.

 Here is Lynne giving scritches to her cat, Millie.  Millie tolerated me from a distance.  I am glad she didn't totally go into hiding.   Millie has her own blog... darlingmillie.blogspot.com.

(Lynne has featured me on her blog.  As she said, we are looking forward to repeating the experience next year.)

Thank you, Lynne.  Getting to meet you and know you was truly the highlight of the summer.


  1. Looks like a great place to spend part of the summer. Love island building and looking forward to seeing the others. Looks like a fun visit with Lynne.

  2. I really enjoyed your post. Welcome back to blogland! Can't wait to see your other little houses blocks.

  3. It was awesome to meet you and see your fabulous houses. I had a great time with you too!

  4. A summer spent in a cabin on an island off the coast of Maine sounds like the perfect vacation! Welcome back!
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  5. Your houses are FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!! Utterly fantastic!

    p.s. I'm going to meet Lynne next year when she is in St. Louis . . .

  6. oooh, looks fantastic!!!! I got a bit calmer just looking at your place... no electricity, or plumbing? LOVE that... My kind of escape!
    Glad your back!!! How fun to meet lynne too!

  7. Welcome back! Your summer place looks just like I pictured a summer cabin in Maine! How relaxing it must be there.

    I LOVE your houses! Your talent just awes me. Can't wait to see the rest of them.

    Thanks for the picture of Lynn with her "box" quilt - it gives me some idea of the scale of her piece. How fun that you got to meet her!

  8. your little house is gorgeous. oh the joy of the original Liberated Quiltmaking - an amazing book. hurray for getting to meet a fun quilter in person!!!


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