Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Survivied the hurricane with only a wet basement, some branches and leaves in the backyard, and several dozen new gray hairs.

Saturday night was not a fun night. Things started picking up (figuratively and literally), early on in the evening, when hurricane bands started passing over us, with torrential rain and high winds. Conditions deteriorated through the night, with tornado warnings at 11 pm and again at 3 am. Stuffed the cats into their carriers, and headed to the basement with water, battery radio, and a lot of fear. Either the tornadoes never materialized, or they pooped out before they reached us, but I wasn't about to take a chance.

Our power lines are underground, and thankfully, we never lost power. I couldn't sleep at all, so spent most of the night watching TLC's "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", a good, trashy series about gypsy and traveler weddings and lifestyles in Britain. At least it kept my mind off the storm to a certain extent. I was also on facebook most of the night, keeping in touch with my sister and brothers, my sons who were not at home with me, and several coworkers who were also hunkered down in their homes. I never thought I would say that I was grateful for facebook, but here it is: I'm grateful I could keep in touch and see what was happening elsewhere, and that my extended family was safe.

The worst of it was actually on Sunday, when the flooding began. Downtown Hightstown was under water; the fire department was flooded out of their headquarters. In Princeton, 80% of the roads were impassable due to floods or downed trees. Getting to work on Sunday night proved to be an ordeal for those of us who need to report to work, hurricane or not. Roads were under 3-4 feet of water; other roads weren't even visible under the debris of downed trees and power lines. On Monday morning, my 20 minute trip home turned into 90 minutes, and that was pretty good compared to some of my coworkers. I'm happy I don't have to work again til the weekend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Insanity by momcat14c
Insanity, a photo by momcat14c on Flickr.

Needless to say, knitting and quilting have taken a back seat to hurricane preparation in the last few days. I've done what I can, but I have a nagging feeling I haven't done enough. Although the storm has been downgraded, it's a slow moving storm. We are expected to have 24 hours of tropical force winds. I fully expect to have considerable damage by the time this is over. I'm praying a tree doesn't fall on my car or my house. I'm feeling very frightened by this, and am hoping that the storm speeds up and heads out of here quickly.

Distinct possibility that we will lose our power; I'll be back sometime this week. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

News Of The Weird, August 23 Edition

Well. They say there's a first time for everything, and today was one of those days. We had an earthquake. A big one. A big one by East Coast standards, at least. I know that everyone out in California is snickering away at us, especially those who "found God" today, certain that they were going to be flattened by oh, say, a book or DVD falling off their shelves. There are plenty of faults around here (earthquake faults, that is) so we are no stranger to earthquakes. What we are a stranger to, is an earthquake you can Actually Feel. When I lived in Monmouth County, we had the Cheesequake Fault misbehaving occasionally, but usually nothing you could feel unless you were right on top of it. BTW, I love that name, don't you?

I worked last night and was sorta sleeping today when I felt my bed jiggling around. No problem. I thought it was my 16-pound pussycat, Mica, galloping around my bed with one of his catnip mice, as he will do. Hmmm. A minute later, my bedroom door pops open and my son Eric says "Mom, something just happened". Lord, you have no idea how much I hate those words. They are usually followed by "the basement flooded/the stove isn't working/the sink is making funny noises/the electric outlet is crackling/the cat threw up all over everything" or something along those lines. Amazing how this stuff always happens when I'm trying to sleep. Awake, nothing happens. Sleeping, all hell breaks loose. But, I digress. I crack open an eye and mutter "huh?", so he continues "I felt like I was moving, it made me feel a little dizzy, and I could feel the house move, and I could hear it creaking". Uh-oh. This sounds like a biggie. So, I mutter "earthquake", and close my eyes. He leaves the room, satisfied with that explanation. That, and the fact that the house is still standing. In the meantime, the meaning of my words (word?) finally sinks through the layers of my sleep-deprived brain, and I sit up thinking, "Holy s**t! That jiggling wasn't that fatso galloping around my bed! It was an honest-to-God earthquake!" Get up, wander out to the hallway, peek out the door, and all I see is some bitchy neighbor allowing her dog to take a dump on my lawn, even though I yell at her to take him elsewhere. Everything is still standing, so I head to the tv, and every station has the earthquake story on. Yikes. It's big news in Washington and New York. I can sort of see that, because I'm sure that quite a few people in those cities were wondering if this was going to be a repeat of 9/11, given that the 10th anniversary of that is only two weeks away. It's mostly an anti-climax, though, because there are no serious injuries; indeed, probably no injuries at all. Several stores in Virginia reported that groceries fell off their shelves, and a few buildings lost bricks or stoneworks, but thankfully, nothing major appears to have happened. We aren't earthquake-proofed out here, you know. Not like California, where buildings are reinforced to within an inch of their lives.

We've certainly had an interesting year here on the East Coast. If we didn't know better, we'd think someone was Mad At Us. A winter full of legendary blizzards, a summer full of biblical rain and flash floods, and earthquake, and if that wasn't enough, it appears we may have a hurricane poised to wipe us off the face of the earth this weekend. Damn!! I'm not sure we'll be able to go to Asbury Park for the Roller Girls bout. If the storm is bad enough, perhaps the Roller Girls and Asbury Park will come to us. Or perhaps I will finally have beachfront property, even though I am currently 30+ miles from the sea. Will my trees stay in the ground? Will we be flooded out? Will I run out of chocolate?

We will see what happens. Stay tuned to this space for furtrher developments.

Anyhow, no knitting or quilting today. Slept, caught up with all the news on the earthquake, head to Target to replenish groceries and paper goods, and vegetate.

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 22, 2011


Well, sort of. I haven't really blogged about anything because things are coming along, but no earth-shaking changes to make note of, and really, do you need to see every new row I knit on my Kate shawl or every new block I put on a quilt? I didn't think so.

I haven't really done too much knitting or quilting lately. Things caught up with me around the house, and I needed to catch up with them. You know - vacuuming, washing floors, cooking, laundry, all that kind of stuff that we don't blog about. Well, unless you're the Pioneer Woman, and I'm not even sure how much she blogs about vacuuming.

There has been a bit of stash enhancement going on, but I'll post pictures as soon as we get some decent light (sun? what's that?) It's actually sunny, sort of, today, but I work tonight, so slept late this morning, and missed the morning light.

I figured out that there are two quilt shops and a yarn shop all within 7 miles of each other, and it's just a 20-mile trip, so I did hit them earlier, and if I remember correctly, I blogged about that. Here's some shots I took that day, which was a rare nice one:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More "Record-Breaking..."

This time it was rain. in slightly more than 24 hours we had nearly 6 inches of rain. We were lucky, though, other parts of our state got 11 inches. Can you say "Noah and the Ark?"

Picture taking conditions have been less than ideal. Considering the fact that I have fairly small windows, and a lot of trees surrounding the house, which makes natural daylight a rare commodity around these parts even on the sunniest days, to get several days of dark, rainy days, really throws a wrench into the works. I've been trying to take a shot of my Kate shawl without flash. Heh. I wind up with pictures of a blue fuzzy blob. So, you're going to have to take my word for it that I really have been moving right along on it. I have 287 stitches on the needles so I'm almost at the end of the body. Honest. Scout's honor.

And, I have been quilting, too. I don't know why, but suddenly Sundays seem to be super-productive days for me lately. I got busy with housework, made dinner, watched tv for a while and knitted up a storm while I did, and then went and pieced for a while. I'm getting into a pattern while piecing these blocks, and they are going much quicker. Good thing, too. I still have 17 more to make.

I also made a visit to my new favorite store, Olde City Quilts in Burlington, along with a visit to a new-to-me store, Village Quilter in Mt. Holly, and oh, gosh, a not-so-quick stop at Woolbearers, also in Mt. Holly. Aren't I lucky? Two quilt stores and a wonderful, well-stocked yarn shop all within 7 miles of each other, and only a 20 mile trip from my house. Did I have fun or not?? I got some quilt fabrics at both stores, and some lovely Dream In Color Smooshy in a gorgeous red color. Red is not usually a color I use a lot, but I have a lot of brown, blue, black, green and purple in my wardrobe, so I like to mix things up a bit every now and then. Once again, no pictures yet, hopefully at the end of the week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blast From The Past

Enthused because I actually managed to finish one of my myriad projects (see previous post), I went searching around in my closet, and managed to unearth the quilt equivalent of Stonehenge - a Log Cabin quilt that I finished back in 1986 or so. I don't know if this quilt has ever made an appearance in this blog before - I doubt it because this used to be a knitting blog, and this quilt has been buried at the bottom of my closet, underneath various strata of yarn, fabric, wreath forms, and god knows what else.

I brought this quilt out today to give it a critical (!) look. Wow. The back looks like a shag rug because I never clipped threads while sewing, and the front looks nearly as bad.

I didn't trim the blocks to size, so some of them are, er, "puffy", to say the least. The colors are amazing - including chrome yellow, poison green, and red calico. I haven't seen these colors in quilt stores in quite a while! Oddly enough, while visiting another quilt store in Burlington, I saw new fabrics in these colors.

So, anyway, I got out my extra-large mat, ruler, and a rotary cutter and got to work "evening up" this behemoth. That took about an hour, mostly because the supervisor kept parking his 15 pound furry ass on the quilt, and took exception to being moved off (read: chomped my hand!). Finally finished without cutting off a paw or a finger, and it looks better, sort of.

I'm going to have to press the hell out of this thing. I don't know how it's going to quilt, but even if I have to utility quilt it, I'm not tossing it. Many of these fabrics are from my maternity clothes (well, I was pregnant in the 70's and 80's. The 70's were my hippie years. Give me a break.), and a lot of them have other memories attached. Plus, I just love it, flaws and all. I can remember sewing on this while my 5th son snoozed in his car seat in my sewing room while I sewed this, while taking breaks to work on Halloween costumes, including an award-winning Stegosaurus, for my other four sons.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 07, 2011


It's finished! 90" x 80", 3,400 pieces, 3100 which are 1 inch squares, and it's done!! At least, the piecing is. Right now, it's unpressed, unquilted and unbound, but I finished it! I thought this would go on forever. Everytime I thought I had enough squares to finish, I had to go cut more! Doing a happy dance. I'll try to get some outdoor shots of it during the week, if we ever get any sun again, and when I have a few tall people home to hold it up!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 04, 2011


I just finished three-days-in-a-row at work. All three were very busy nights. I feel like a slug today. The plan is to blog a bit, hang out on the computer catching up, watch The Big Bang Theory and knit on my Kate Shopping Shawl, and then maybe work on some piecing for a bit and then hit the sack. Exciting, no? I don't know how I keep up.

In relation to the title of this post, what surprised me is how productive I managed to be on Sunday. I finished piecing three blocks for the Civil War Stars. I really, really, really love these blocks. Although I have expanded my stash into batiks and modern fabrics, my true love is repro fabrics and traditional quilting though I don't do traditional hand piecing and hand quilting. I'm pretty certain that had our foremothers had electricity and a sewing machine, many of them would have opted to machine piece. And, I don't have any qualms about machine quilting a quilt. Unless I have to do it. The thought of stuffing a ginormous queen-sized quilt through my machine gives me the vapors. I don't have a problem with sending it out.

Looks like I'm off on a tangent again. Back to Sunday. So, I finished working on some partially pieced Civil War Stars, and I managed to knit a fair amount of my Kate Shopping Shawl while watching Food Network Star and Falling Skies. Love both of those shows, and thank God that Penny Davidi was given the heave-ho last week. What was with her? "Bring back sexy to the kitchen"? Ugh. Not working, So, "Stilettos in the Kitchen"? Then, "Middle Eastern Mama"? Yikes. First of all, I don't usually feel very sexy in the kitchen. I don't want to vamp it up while I'm sauteeing shrimp. One extra thought wanders across your mind, and damn, you have rubberized shrimp. Then, who the hell wants to cook while wearing stilettos? Didn't that go out with Donna Reed and the Beaver's mom? Third, she didn't come across as a Mama, unless it was Ma Barker (google her if you don't know the name). Penny always made me think of Phil Collin;s deep dark song "Mama". There was nothing warm and fuzzy about this crazy woman, I figured she was a goner the week she started meowing and hissing at Mary Beth at the end of the show in front of the judges panel. But no, she hung on a bit longer.

Geez, my mind is really wandering today isn't it? The really big surprise on Sunday was that I managed to finish piecing my 1930's repro fabric Spring quilt. I don't have any pictures yet because this quilt is huge, and I need a couple of tall people to hold it up for me to get a good shot of it. I still have to applique the vines in the large white triangles, but that shouldn't take too long, unless I decide not to do it, in which case it won't take any time at all. I decided not to do applique flowers - I did yo-yo flowers, and I think it was a good choice. I like the way they look - a bit fun, and not too serious. The light, bright colors of this quilt make me think of fun, and I think the yo-yo's are right in line with that. I have to get the binding together, but I can do that while this creation is out at the quilters.

Yay for progress!

Labels: , , , , , , ,