Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Stitching and listening

I spent the weekend stitching, cutting, and sewing some more.  I made strip sets, cut them into segments, sewed them into nine patches--550 of them.  Next I'm using them to make 110 double nine patch blocks.   I spent the time in my sewing room, but mostly, I was in Nazi Germany.  Papa played the accordian, there was a Jew hiding in the basement, bombs were dropping, and Death was collecting way too many souls.  Yep, I was listening to "The Book Thief," an audio book by Markus Zusac.  I had read it years ago, and decided to revisit it.  It is one of the best books I've ever read and to describe it, I would have to say that not all Germans in WWII were filthy Nazis.

Today the book ended and I was trying to sew nine patches with tears running down my face.  It took at least 5 kleenexes--maybe more.  It is one of those stories that stays with you and you wish it might not end.  When it does, it is almost like a small death itself.  I guess that is why I'm blogging about it.  I used to say I listened to audiobooks while I quilted.  Now it feels more like I quilt while I listen to audiobooks.  There is a difference!

Big news on the scrapbooking scene...  I haven't blogged much about scrapbooking lately because I've been too busy quilting, but I am on the design team at a local shop and was asked to be in the Iron Scrapper contest for National Scrapbooking Day on May 7.  I'm pretty excited.  Maybe I should do some cropping in the next few weeks to help prepare...


Friday, April 22, 2011

Back to quilting

Well, when last I wrote, I was busy working away layering some quilts.  I started quilting and then my Bernina was having some issues, so he needed to go to the shop.  It only took one week until he was back!  Meanwhile, I was using my new Jem for some piecing.  Remember how I was working on the 400 plus four-patch-in-a-square blocks?  I got them done!  Whew!
Now I'm working away on 500+ nine patches...

It seems like I have so many quilting things I want to do and not enought time to work on them.  On the other hand, I feel like I have more than a little "attention" problems.  I "play" in the sewing room for a while, and then drift out and do something else.  It is driving me nuts.  I think I'm blaming the internet--I go to check facebook and my blog list, oh, and email, in case I have one from my husband.  I love getting up first thing in the morning to see if I have one from him.  This morning there were two!

I've also started going to water aerobics five times a week (unless I committed elsewhere.)  It feels more like playing in a pool, than excercising, but believe me, it IS a workout.  I'm feeling so much more energetic.

The past two days I have been doing some hand-dyeing of fabric.  I'm wanting to make a nice, rich red.  The red dyes don't produce as dark of a red as I want, so I've been experimenting with all 4 of the shades of red that I have and adding both my shades of black in different amounts.  The first set didn't produce what I was looking for.  I used "Jet Black" for them and I think it dyes with a blue cast, turning the reds more purple.  They are very nice, but not what I wanted.  The current batch, which is washing as I type, were dyed with "better black" and I'm very excited to see how they turn out.  I'm always very excited to see the results of hand-dyeing and have been meaning to dye more, but it is just another one of those things on my list.

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fuzzy Feet

I tried to get in a quilty mood yesterday.  I was sort of between projects, so I cleaned my quilt room, putting away all the "pulled" potential fabrics for past projects, rulers, cutters, etc.  I am never surprised by how disorganized things get, but it is fairly easy to straighten back up again.  Then I looked through the pile of UnStarted Projects and a few that I have underway and am just taking a break from, but nothing could interest me?!  What?  I hate when that happens.  It seems I really need a sharp "hook" to get me into a project these days and sometimes, nothing is fishing and other times there is so much I want to do that I just spin around until I settle on something.  It is so strange, I've never been like this before.  

I finally decided to layer a quilt to get ready to machine quilt it.  I use Sullivan's basting spray and I do it in the garage.  We had a storm moving in so it was a bit cooler than usual.  So I backed my car out of the garage, swept and then mopped the floor.  I always wonder what my neighbors might think of me when they see me mopping my garage floor!  I'm sure they think I'm some sort of neat freak or something...
Once the floor was ready, I donned my husband's Craftsman knee pads (I wonder if my nephews considered this use when they gave them to him for Christmas one year?) and started taping the backing down.  I've done this process many times, so it didn't take too long.  Once fastened down, I spread the batting out on top--just how I want it to be.  Then I fold back half of the batting, revealing the backing, and lightly spray the backing with the Sullivan's (after shaking it as per the directions).  I let it get tacky for a few minutes, then pick up the batting and "unfold" it back into place, ensuring first that it is back where I wanted it, with no creases.  You have forgiveness if you need to peel it back up to move it into place.  Then I pat it down firmly all over.  Next I repeat with the other half of the batting.  I repeat the whole process with the top of the quilt--placing it on top of the batting and pulling back and spraying half of the quilt at a time.  I always spray the "lower layer", never the "folded back" layer.  The problem with this technique is that the larger edges of the backing and batting will be a bit sticky, but I fold the edges over onto themselves, so it doesn't bother me.  Then I let it dry flat for a few hours.  I'm not sure if that is required, but I like to make sure.

Even though it was a bit cooler, it was still pretty stuffy in the garage.  I had taken off my shoes to make crawling around easier, plus I step on the quilt in the process of layering it.  What I didn't realize is I must have stepped in some "overspray."  After layering the quilt, I had to go across the street for a meeting.  I got home and slipped off my shoes and my feet felt "funny."  I looked at the bottoms and goodness! they were fuzzy!!  I think there was almost a quarter inch of carpet fiber, hair, etc. on the bottoms of my feet, stuck to the adhesive!  That has never happened before!  I went to the bath tap to wash them off, but the glue didn't want to come off, so finally, I had to lotion them up to grease up the glue and break the adhesiveness. 

I have two more quilts to layer today, since the floor is still clean, so hopefully I won't have fuzzy feet tonight! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend in Review

I guess the title of the post should be "Weekends in Review" since I didn't post last week at all.  Here is what I did the previous weekend:
Yes, these are hundreds of four patches.  And they aren't done.  Each and every one needs a triangle sewn to each side to make them a "four patch in a square."  And then they need to be "squared up."  Yea, it is getting just a bit tedious.  I also competed over 400 half square triangles as well.

Yesterday, I went to Haleiwa on the North Shore and visited my favorite farmer's market.  Here are some of the things I got:
Yum, corn on the cob.  They were my dinner last night.  Yep, just the corn.  When I grew up in South Dakota during sweet corn season, quite often you just had corn for a meal--maybe with bread or sliced tomatoes or cucumbers, etc.  Whatever was ripe in the garden.

Check out this beauty:
I have big plans for this luscious tomato--they also include bacon and lettuce!  I can't think of a better idea, can you?

After the farmer's market, my friend Doreen, and I had breakfast and went browsing in some of the nice shops, had a shave ice (my favorite is tangerine, cherry, and lilikoi) and then we went to the beach to see if there were any turtles, and there was one out basking.  Here he is:
There were quite a few more in the water and as we were watching, wondering if any more would come onto the sand, a surfer came in to the beach and as he was standing about waist-deep, preparing to get out of the water (he was in an area where we were watching 3 turtles) one of the turtles "goosed" him and he jumped!  It was pretty funny to see.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day out and it had been several weeks since I had sand between my toes, so it was a lovely day.

When I got home in the afternoon, I did laundry.  Yep, as I mentioned to Doreen earlier in the day, "We may live in paradise, but we still have to do the laundry!"  (And the rest of "daily life.")