Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I really debated on how to introduce the adventures of this fictional set of quilters. I finally decided that twice a month I would devote the entire post to them. After each post is published I will add it to a folder on the side panel under the 'We're Still Kicking Quilters'. None of these characters are real but all of them are based on folks that I have met in the past. 

We were all sitting around Martha Kerine's quilt frame tying the quilt that was stretched tautly over it. And, of course, we talked, or should I say gossiped, about the latest goings on in our little part of the world.

Martha Kerine's husband was one of those folks who could make things happen out of some nuts and bolts, a bit of string and maybe some chewing gun thrown in for good luck. You see, Martha Kerine loves to quilt but her house is very small and when she has the quilt stretched out over the quilt frame, there isn't much room.

So, what her husband did was to figure out a way to hang the frame from the ceiling. This way it could be kept out of the way when not in use and then lowered with a pulley system when it was needed. Not only that, it could be lowered to any height and it could be lowered so one side was high and the other side was low. Amazing.

Well, we were all sitting around. Oh, I'm sorry, I guess I need to introduce you to the other quilters. You know about Martha Kerine, of course. Her last name is Baxter. And this is her week to host the group. By the way, we get together twice a month taking turns to host.

Now, Anna Mae Johnson is sitting next to Martha Kerine. Anna Mae is the oldest in our group but you wouldn't know it by her schedule. She's also the busiest. I sometimes think that she's on some type of speed or something. Anna Mae has what my granny used to call a 'hot needle'. I guess the best way to describe that is that she's a fast sewer but not always the neatest, if you get my drift. But her stitches are always anchored well.

Across from Anna Mae is Elsie Jean Lundgren. Elsie Jean is probably our most bubbly member. She's always gushing about something or another. Like the coffee she hosted last week at her church. She thought it was just so much fun that she decided to do it more frequently! Or, take the last time she won the block of the month at our guild meeting. She couldn't help herself praising everyone's blocks. As a matter of fact, she already has them laid out for her next lap quilt.

Now, next to Elsie Jean is Wanda Kay Reynolds. Wanda Kay is just getting over a very bad case of the flu. She was bound and determined to come today because, as she put it, she's just dang tired of being cooped up for so long. We can all see that she's not quite recovered her strength but her color is looking much better and she's happy to be here chatting with all of us.

Ida Rose Carlton is sitting opposite of me. (We have two each on opposite sides and one each on the other sides.) Ida Rose loves to quilt, sew, crochet, knit, weave...anything to do with fiber and fabric. I don't think she has tried felting yet, but just wait. It's on her to-do list somewhere. Ida Rose loves to talk about her grandkids. By the way, we all have grandkids, I think her youngest is getting ready for a fall wedding. Ida Rose is bound and determined to have the quilt finished as a wedding present. We'll see.

Now, me, my name is Gertrude F. Samburg. You would not believe what the F stands for...but I'll save that for later. I think I am the only one in the group called by a single name instead of a double name like Elsie Jean. Most times I'm called Gertie but if someone wants to make a emphatic statement, they call me Gertrude. I don't really mind Gertie, but I'm not fond of Gertrude. Would you be? Anyway, I'm what they call a 'topper'. In other words, I love to make quilt tops. Quilting, tying, not so much. That's one of the reasons I enjoy this group...they not only help me with those things, they prod me into doing more.

“I think I'll start the coffee. By the way, I tried out a new recipe for some cardamom coffee cakes. I haven't tasted them yet but they sure smell good.” Martha Kerine stood up and walked into the kitchen urging her joints to work after sitting so long. (We're all in our seventies or eighties so that's a common complaint around here.)

Anyway, I think Martha Kerine can bake rings around all of us. But, her coffee...oh that's to die for. She makes the typical Scandinavian coffee with eggs and shells mixed in with the grounds. Her coffee is strong, actually very strong, but not bitter. She says it's from the eggs. Must be right because her coffee is really good.

“Are you making your Scandi coffee?” Anna Mae asked to which Martha Kerine replied that she always makes it for the group. “That's good, because I need a boost today. I have several errands to run after I leave here and I don't want to be dragging/”

“I have never seen you dragging, Anna Mae.” Wanda Kay said. “At least, not like I've been dragging these past couple of weeks.”

“O for Pete's sake, Wanda Kay, you've been sick with the flu. I just hope your not rushing things.” Elsie Jean said as she was shaking her head.

“I like your quilt, Martha Kerine, what are you going to do with it?” Wanda Kay asked.

Now, the quilt was very simple, but striking at the same time. It was made up of five inch blocks of all different types of fabric simply sewn together in rows...twelve rows widthwise and eighteen rows lengthwise. There's also a four inch border all around. Bigger than a normal full size quilt but not as big as a queen or king size.

“It's going to Walter, Henry's brother.” (Henry was Martha Kerine's husband.) “He's been a bit down now that his last son has found a job and moved across country. I had a lot of old clothes up in the attic, some from Walter and Henry when they were young. I decided to make a quilt out of what I could salvage.” Martha Kerine replied while she was waiting for the water to boil for the coffee.

“Ida Rose, I haven't heard two words from you today. What's wrong? Cat got your tongue?” I asked knowing full well that Ida Rose is a dog lover, not a cat lover.

“Well, I was thinking about the quilt I wanted to make as a wedding gift for Jenny. I have the fabric. It's really lovely. Pale purple and cream with deeper shades of purple as accents. I'm not sure about the block because Jenny wants an appliqued flower design running through the quilt.”

“Wow, that sounds like a lot of work, Ida Rose.” Wanda Kay sighed. “I'm tired just thinking about it. But then, I'm still not up to par.”

“What about a whole cloth quilt with the cream middle bordered with the different shade of purple? Then you could applique the flowers on the cream fabric...” Anna Mae asked

“Yeah, and then you could do some intricate quilting around the flowers to make them stand out.” Elsie Jean added.

I agreed with Anna Mae's suggestion thinking that intricate blocks and applique could detract from each other. “Sounds like a good idea, Ida Rose. That way you could begin planning the flower grid right away. And, we could help when you get it planned out.”

“I never thought about a whole cloth quilt. That really is a great idea, Anna Mae. I think I will work on a grid and see what I come up with. Then you all can tell me if it's a good idea at our next get together.” Ida Rose said, smiling for the first time. “I was worried because I just couldn't figure out what type of a quilt to make.”

“Coffee's ready.' Martha Kerine hollered, “Why don't you all put your needles down and join me in the kitchen. I'm dying to see what you think about my cardamon coffee cake.”

We all stuck our needles into the quilt, got up and slowly made our way into the kitchen as our stiff joints got used to walking. The smells of coffee mixed with cardamon promised a treat was in store for all of us.

“So has anyone seen the agenda for the next guild meeting?” Martha Kerine asked.

“Now that you mention it, I haven't seen one and the meeting's coming up pretty soon...next week if I'm right. Don't they usually send out the agenda a couple weeks in advance?” I asked.

“Yeah, now that you mention it, where is that agenda? Does anyone know who the guest speaker is?” Wanda Kay asked.

“Well, I think the speaker is a pretty good one but her name escapes me...I think she's doing a trunk show. But, what's bothering me is something that I heard at the meat market yesterday.” Martha Kerine replied.

“What did you hear?” several of us asked in unison.

“Well, it's about our annual quilt show. I think that there's a problem with the venue this year but no one seems to know what the problem is. Or, at least those who know aren't sharing with anyone else. I guess we'll have to wait until the meeting to find out.”

“That could be a real problem because I think all the publicity has been drawn up, including the brochures.” Elsie Jean said quietly.

“You're right. It's all ready to go to the printers.” Ida Rose added, “The publicity team met a couple days ago and we finalized everything. Wow. If the venue's changed, that means we have to start all over. Wonder if anyone knows what the problem is? No one's said a thing”

“But where else could we go?' I asked. “Securing a venue for our quilt show isn't going to be easy at this late date. It's not that we can put 450 quilts in a church basement...a cathedral, maybe, if there was one around..but not in any of the churches in this area.”

We all sat quietly, drinking our Scandi coffee and eating Martha Kerine's cardamon coffee cake and thinking about venue problems.

“This coffee cake is really good, Martha Kerine. Where did you get the recipe?” Wanda Kay asked.

“Well, there really is no recipe. I just took a little of this and a little of that and stuck it all together and this is what turned out.”

“If I could bake this well, Martha Kerine, I would open up a bakery!” Wanda Kay responded.

“Yeah, and then you'd work your buns off. No thanks. I enjoy baking for family and friends but that's my limit.” Martha Kerine laughed.

“You know what we could do?” I asked, “We could publish a cookbook and sell if at the quilt show.”

“This year?” Ida Rose exclaimed with saucer sized eyes.

“No, Ida Rose, next year or the year after. It was just a thought. Of course, most of the recipes would have to come from Martha Kerine. Unless burnt is a good thing, you know my baking isn't up to scratch.”

We finished our coffee cake and Scandi coffee quietly enjoying each morsel. Then we all tromped back into the living room to finish tying the quilt Martha Kerine made for Walter. When it was completely tied, we began to gather up our quilting supplies.

“I guess we'll find out about the quilt show at the next guild meeting.” Wanda Kay said to no one in particular. “Are all of you going?” She asked. The group replied in the affirmative. “Can I catch a ride with someone?”

“Sure, Wanda Kay, you can ride with me.” Anna Mae replied.

“Okay, I guess we'll see each other at the guild meeting.” Ida Rose said. “Our next meeting is at my house. Martha Kerine, you have set a high bar for me...think I'll stick to tea and crumpets.” She laughed on her way out the door.

We all said our good byes, reminded Ida Rose that she also needed to work on the flower grid for Jenny's quilt and took our leave as Martha Kerine thanked us for tying Walter's quilt.

Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning, two weeks from today...

8-9 cups water
1 whole egg
½ cup coffee grounds (more for stronger coffee)
1 cup cold water

Bring 8-9 cups of water to rolling boil. While water is heating, crack open egg and add to grounds, mixing well, also crush the egg shell and add to the coffee-egg mixture. When water is boiling, add the coffee-egg mixture to the water and continue boiling for three minutes. Take off heat and add the cup of cold water which should bring the coffee-egg mixture to the bottom. If desired, strain coffee through strainer but not through filter. You want to taste all the oils in the coffee.

Thanks for visiting...
Talk to you tomorrow...