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.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bag Lady

Our daughter is coming to visit this week!  We are very excited.  She asked me if I could make her a holder for plastic grocery bags and I was only too happy to oblige.  I had made my own years ago, and it is purely purposeful, not pretty. (Sorry, but at times I really enjoy alliteration).  Instead of duplicating it, I went off hunting for some other ideas.  I found this idea page featuring 20 ways to make a bag holder.  I went with this one because I liked the open top.  I did look at the one by Moda Bakeshop, but I had yardage to use, not charm squares, but I'm going to keep it in mind, because as I mentioned, mine is merely mundane...

Our daughter is a cake decorator in a bakery and since cupcakes are really popular right now, not to mention cute and tasty, AND that she is decorating her kitchen with a cupcake theme, I decided to go with cupcake fabric.  I also had some scrap ric rac, so I used that to embellish as well.  Here is the result:
The only thing is this baby is huge!  It is going to hold tons of bags.  Here is a photo of the details at the top.
I really liked how the pattern used grommets on each side and a self made tie.  It is also open at the top to make it easier to stuff the bags inside.  The quilting makes it stiff enough to stay open. 

It was a fun project that took practically no time--maybe a hour.  I had to run to the store in the middle because (and I was shocked here) in all my room full of quilting/sewing stuff the only elastic I could come up with was really narrow or too fat.  Don't you hate when you think you are doing an easy project but something stymies you?  I do.  Of course, I spent another half hour looking through all my other drawers, even though I knew full well that my elastic was only in one place.  I just couldn't believe I didn't have any.  I actually thought I might have to make a trip for the grommets or else just sew the handle on the bag, but low and behold, while I was looking for elastic, I found grommets!

Let me tell you about the fabric shop.  Here in Hawaii we don't have a Joann's.  Or a Hancocks.  Or a Cloth World.  I suppose that the locals are glad that their fabric/craft options are still owned by locals, but you just cannot underestimate the value of a gigantic notions dept.  Our store has very few notions, especially thread, zippers, etc.  Now I only needed elastic, so I didn't have a problem, but one lady was looking for an 18" invisible black zipper and they were out.  I was trying to be helpful and suggest alternatives, but she was frustrated which made her downright hostile.  I felt bad for her because she was stuck.  Other than going across the island to another of the shops (there are 3) she was out of luck.    So, the next question is this:  Can a quilter/sewer go into a fabric shop and ONLY buy the hank of elastic that is required?  If you can, you have a lot more self-discipline than I do!  I found a really neat piece of ribbon that exactly matches a project I'm working on so I got some of that, and another hank of elastic, because I really couldn't believe I was down to so little, and one or two more things.

I got home again and before I finished the bag holder, I set the ribbon to soak in the sink, because it is some really rigid ribbon.  (Alliteration again.)


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm Back!

I know it has been forever since I last blogged.  I have been busy playing in my quilt room, but it is getting to be that time of year when things are being made for holiday gifts and I don't want anything secret to leak out!

The best thing that has happened since I last wrote was that my husband made it home from Afghanistan!!  And even a week early!!  That NEVER happens in Army life, so I wasn't getting too excited until he was on the final flight.  He has been home for almost 2 weeks now and we are having fun relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, etc.  It is a really nice time to be living in Hawaii.  All he has to do is be on leave and it's like we are on vacation!

I do have one project to share with you.  I'm the member of a non-profit organization that raises money for scholarships and financial contributions to local organizations that support the military.  One of our fund-raisers this year is to have a home tour of the historic homes on our army post.  The homes are situated on Palm Circle, the parade field which gets its name from the large, magnificent palm trees that line the perimeter.  At one of our board meetings, I got the idea to make a quilt and apply for permission to have it be an "opportunity" prize--what used to be referred to a raffle, but now is run a bit differently due to legal issues.

As I sorted through my piles of patterns and books, looking for inspiration, I didn't even have to dig very deep at all before I ran across this pattern:
 Cracked Pots by Miss Rosie.  I love house block quilts and it seemed like it would be very appropriate for a quilt representing a historic home tour.    In fact, the houses look like this:
so they are really pretty close to the house blocks in the quilt.  The only thing is that the color placement needed to be altered. 

Here is a photo of the homes from across the parade field:
I am really sorry about how washed-out these pictures are.  My Rebel must be on the wrong setting.  At any rate, you can see the magnificent palm trees and the green grass.  I wish the sky was blue as it usually is here, but it was raining and there was actually a pretty nice rainbow when I was taking these photos.  I really wanted to capture the greens of Hawaii and the blue of the sky, so I shopped for those colors.  Since the houses were white, I decided to make them white with a blue background.  Did you notice the pieced triangular border in the quilt?  If I made it green, it would really remind me of the mountains here on O'ahu.  If you've never been visited, this is what they look like.

The last detail that needed attending was the corner blocks that joined the house rows.  In the pattern they are stars, but my quilt is representing  Palm Circle, so I wanted them to be palm trees.  I searched on the internet and found a free palm tree block.  You can find it here.  The problem was that I needed the palm tree to be "on point" so that it created a circle effect.  I used the free pattern as my inspiration and drafted a block with the palm tree on point.  Here is the result:

The whole quilt came out looking just like I wanted it to.  Here is the whole thing:

The only problem I ran into was that I initially made the windows out of a creamy yellow, and they did not show up from across the room.  By the time I figured that out, I had finished the whole top, and the easiest way to fix the problem was to machine applique different windows on top of the originals.

Here is the corner detail again:

Do you see the thin strip of medium blue running around the bottom of the "mountain" border?  When I laid out the borders, I did not like how the tops of the palm trees were "bleeding" into the mountains, and my solution was to cut one-inch strips of the blue, fold them in half, and slip them in between the mountain border and house border like a piping.  I was really pleased with the definition it created without it creating any need to resize anything.

Now all that is needed is to get it quilted and seek approval to have an Opportunity Quilt.  If you think I took a big gamble by making it first, there are no worries.  More than one resident of Palm Circle has already asked if I can make any more.

One more thing.  I've been visiting everyone's blogs but am running into problems posting comments.  I'm getting the "you don't have permission to post" or whatever that error message is and I've seen the solution:  to completely log out of Blogger, but I haven't yet done that.  I'm hoping they fix the problem with an easier solution.