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, April 29, 2012

Luau Luck


I'm still not quilting.  I still have company.  It will be three more days until I'm independant again, but we are having fun sightseeing.  Do you ever sightsee in your own community?  I know it is easy here in Hawaii, but I try to "explore" everywhere we live. 

Last night we went to a luau.  No, we don't go to them often.  In fact, in the nearly three years we have been here, we have only gone to 4.  This one was a new place for us.  We went to Paradise Cove.  I liked the setting, activities, and show better than the other one we go to, but the food wasn't as good.  But, you really don't go to a luau for the food...

Here is a factoid about me:  I was born and raised in the lovely state of South Dakota.  At the luau we started visiting with the charming couple across the table from us.  She is from South Dakota, too!!!  And not only that, everyone, but she is a quilter, too!  Wasn't it lucky?  They have also lived in Alaska, but they were there a year after we left.  We had lots to talk about.  Too bad the show started, LOL.

Today we visited the zoo and are hopefully going to catch sunset at the beach tonight.  The sunsets we have had lately have not been the best.  Hopefully we will have some color tonight.  And hopefully we will find some beach glass, too.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dolphin Leaps Bird

This isn't a quilting post, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.  You may remember that I have a visitor right now and so we are touring around this week.  My husband took leave since it is his mother and it is fun to have him along with--especially as he does the driving!  Today we went to the Sea Life Park.  It is a touristy place-sort of a small version of a Sea World.  It is a little shabby, but they are renovating two of the enclosures, so maybe that is improving.  We watched the shows and during the big dolphin show I was taking pictures with my camera on burst mode when this happened:

 1.  You can see the dolphin starting its jump and the booby (the bonafide name for that type of seabird--you can't make this stuff up) is flying in that direction.

 2.  The dolphin is nearing the crest of the leap and the bird is getting closer.

 3.  The booby is now under the dolphin.

 4.  The dolphin is heading down and the booby is just to the left of it.  It sort of looks like a fin there in front of the gate.

5.  The dolphin reenters the water and the bird flies away, probably oblivious.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hello Summer Day

This month's Schnibble pattern is Summer Day.  I love flying geese!  I love making them with Monique's Fit to be Geese ruler!  This quilt was so much fun to make.

For my fabric I chose Hello Luscious by Basic Grey.  I'm a scrapbooker, too, so Basic Grey and I go way back, but until I did Bibelot in Origins, I hadn't used much of their fabric.  I fell in love with the way Origins looked, so when Hello Luscious came out, I bought it right away.  The colors and patterns were perfect for this quilt.

Here it is on my outdoor bench on my lanai in Hawaii.  I love how the rhubarb shades of the fabric go with the red bench.

I'm combining the names of the pattern and fabric and calling this:  Hello Summer Day.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Guild Challenge

First of all, do you see what it says above this post?!!  I have 30 followers now!  I'm so excited.  Thank you all for reading this and commenting.  It is so much fun to make friends all over the world.  You all really make my day!

Second, thank you to all who wished my MIL well.  She arrived on Sunday, a bit tired but ready to see Hawaii and EXTREMELY happy to be outside of an airport.

We have been doing some sightseeing so no quilting is going on here.  Tonight, though, was the voting for our guild's challenge quilts.  Our show is coming up next month and we always have a challenge.  This year, we let the guild members vote on who will win.  The challenge quilts are always a big secret, but after the voting concluded, we were able to reveal who made which one.  All the quilts were incredible.  They were so varied, and it was very difficult to choose a favorite!  We were able to vote on three.  Of all the dumb days to forget my camera!  I did have my cell phone so the following pics are all from my phone.  Some are slightly blurry, please bear with me.  The parameters of the challenge were that you start with a 6" appliqued and embellished block and add three borders.  It could be no larger than a certain perimeter measurement, which I forgot.  Apparently everyone figured out that I made mine!  I don't understand why....   ha ha
This Patriotic one is mine.

This one was made in memory of last year's Japanese Tsunami, the artist, Margret, also has a quilt hanging in the show in Paducah.  She does beautiful work.

I love the creativity!  This one is a real working clock!

This one is made from a photo of three doves sitting on a branch.  Below is a closup of the birds.  They are made of countless beads.  

This dragonfly one was made by my friend, Rowena

Honu (Sea turtles) are really popular in quilts here.  Don't you love how she put her 6" block at a diagonal?  Again, so creative.

This one is by another of my friends, Kim.  I taught her back-basting applique.  Until then, she hadn't tried applique.  She is doing awesome!  And do you see the teeney, tiny half square triangles in the border?  Miniscule!

This one is by another friend, Maureen.  She is known to love blue and her husband was a bonafide Sea Captain!  They are really fun people to have dinner with.  I love her pictorial quilt.

I'm getting so excited for our show.  It opens in May, the Friday before Mother's Day.  Don't worry, I'll share lots of pictures then.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Busy Day

Today (Saturday for me--but by the time you all are reading this it will be Sunday) was a busy day.  So was yesterday.  On Friday I had three activities, all very enjoyable, but they took up most of my day.  The last was dinner at friends--and they cooked up halibut fish and chips.  We were neighbors a few years ago in Alaska, and now they are here, too.  I cannot began to tell you how good that halibut was.  Our friend had to travel to Alaska for work and he brought it home.  Yum!  I ate way too much and consequently I didn't sleep too well and woke up at 5 this morning.  Yikes!

I finally gave up trying to sleep some more and got up and did some early morning sewing.  I'm in the middle of a project and I would like to get it into a manageable/nearly finished state before I'm distracted from it for the next few days.  I managed to find the time to get all the blocks finished and now everything is up on the design wall until I can get back to it. 

Around 7:30 I headed out to the farmer's market.  The curse of Honolulu traffic is that even at 7:45 on a Saturday morning, there is traffic.  The traffic here is the number one thing I'm not going to miss!!  Yikes!  I loaded up with pineapple, mangos (they are in season!), papaya, rambutan, and local bananas.  I also got some gorgeous red tomatoes, heavenly basil, and a huge avacado.  If you remember, my mother-in-law is visiting us.  On the way home I stopped at a bakery and picked up some quiche for lunch.  Some quilting friends were getting together to try a new technique that another friend was teaching.  She moved away nearly a year ago, but is back on the island for a week.  Anyway, I signed up to bring a "lunch" item (not a salad) and I had planned to make something, but I just didn't have the time.

I got home and put everything away and started getting out my quilting stuff to take to our sew-a-thon.  I then checked on my MIL's flight.  It hadn't left!!!  She was an hour late leaving her local airport.  The flight was going to Denver and she only had an hour and twenty minutes there.  It wasn't looking good.
(My husband went scuba diving early in the morning and so he was unaware of all of the drama.)  By now, I was tired from lack of sleep, dealing with traffic, stress, and hauling all my sewing stuff downstairs.  I almost bailed on the sewing day, but my desire to see my visiting friend kept me going. 

It was lots of fun.  It was a free-form technique using scraps.  The technique was sort of like a log cabin, but you didn't measure anything, and just added chunks or strips until the patchwork piece was large enough to use a 6.5" ruler to trim down to a 6.5" block.  It was a real chance to just grab, sew, and play.  It was VERY conducive to chatting.  About the time we were eating, my husband was finally out of the water and heard from his mother that she missed the flight!  She has to sit in the Denver airport until 6 tomorrow morning!  The airline wouldn't give her a hotel room and it was their fault!  I'm pretty unhappy with them.

I got a few blocks done, gave all the rest of my scraps away, and packed up to come home around 3:30.  By then I was mentally tired as well as physically tired.  After I got home, I just sat for a while.  My MIL will finally get here (I hope) around 11:30 tomorrow morning.  My husband took leave for the week and so we will be out and around doing touristy Hawaii things.  I love it!  The ultimate staycation.  I really need some time at the beach, too.  I haven't been for ages.

I'll leave you with this picture of another Schnibble--Mon Ami.  I've been wanting to do it for ages.  I used the Moda Collections for a Cause--Friendship charm packs.  I love the mostly patriotic color scheme!

Please cross your fingers that my MIL gets here okay tomorrow!


PS.  Does anyone know the "Cause" for the Friendship collection?  I found a list of the past ones, but it didn't include this one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A New Crush

Last night we ventured out through traffic to go to the mall.  I wanted to look for sheets, but the store was out of the size I needed, then we had dinner, and finished with a browse in the book store.  I looked at quilting magazines.  I was browsing through the current (May/June) issue of McCalls when I turned the page and saw this!

Oh my!  I'm in love!!! I'm practically drooling right now.  I want to make this, and I want to start today!  It finishes 56"x56" and the star blocks are 6" but I am considering enlarging it to make a bed quilt.  We need a new quilt for our bed.  Our current one is 12 years old.  Would you like to see it?  You can at Judy Martin's website here -- it is looking much shabbier now.  I had to cut off the binding and apply another (and the first was bias cut, but still frayed.)  The problem is that I LOVE that quilt and haven't found another I loved as much.  Until last night.  I've actually considered remaking the original, but it is a square, and so it is a bit short on our queen-sized bed.  This new quilt I could make a rectangle.

My plan is to make the star blocks 8" and enlarge the border, too.  I already have the plan!  I have the fabric!  I have the excitement!  I don't have the time....    shoot.  My mother-in-law comes tomorrow night for 10 days.  Maybe after.  Of course, I have absolutely no business starting a major project right before moving.  But it has happened before.  Until then, I'm keeping the magazine with me, and stealing peaks as often as I want.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forward Thinking

I meant to post yesterday, but instead I took the few minutes of spare time that I had and used it starting another Schibble.  Boy they are sure addicting.

The big event for the day was our Transportation appointment.  When you are in the militray and you are going to PCS (move) that is the most important event.  You first have to estimate your weight based off of the most out-of-date, inaccurate checklist.  Sofas and beds are easy to estimate, but how about entertainment centers (not on the list), or...   fabric?  Yeah, it is a struggle.  I've always wondered why they cannot access your previous move, so you only have to change some of the items according to what has been acquired or disposed. (Insert all the new fabric here...)  Instead, you have to start from "scratch" each time.  I learned yesterday, though, that they have a new "system" which should keep track of all your moves--and eliminate this problem, but of course it came out after our last move, so we had to create everything again. 

Once you finish the inventory, you contact the transportation office for an appointment (usually about 2 weeks or so.)  So our appointment was yesterday and we scheduled our moving dates.  When you are overseas (Hawaii and Alaska are both considered overseas) you have the option of sending "Unaccompanied Baggage" also known as "Hold Baggage."  It used to be between 300-600 pounds of "neccessities" but not any furniture or large appliances.  So you can include some dishes and other kitchen items like pots and pans, clothing that won't fit in the suitcases, sheets and blankets, toys (if you have kids), etc.  They send the hold baggage at a faster speed so that you can get it and have such things as will make it able for you to function.    The balance of your stuff is called your "Household Goods (HHG)"  I should insert an explanation here that if you are not familiar with the military, be aware that they have an acronym for everything:  PCS (Permanent Change of Station)  HHG (Household Goods), TDY (Temporary Duty), PX (post exchange) QD (quilting dependant)--okay, I was just kidding about the last one, but I think you can get the idea.

So we scheduled the hold baggage to be picked up on the first of June, and the HHG will be packed and crated 4-7 June.  I cannot express how much the packing and loading represents my version of Hell.  I just hate the process and if my husband truly loved me, he would surely book me into a dayspa or on a short cruise or something.  Right???  Actually, I'm needed to help "keep an eye on things" (making sure no one steals anything) and having them point out every little dent and scratch on everything I own!!!  This frustrates the heck out of me because I really don't want to be reminded of how my stuff has been damaged in the past.  Oh, and I really like old, primitive, "paint peeling" stuff and they feel the need to write all of that down.  On that stuff, I really don't mind some more "distressing"  LOL.  So anyway, by the end of the first week of June, I will have nothing except what I'm taking in the suitcases (or mailing).  We will be "camping" in the house with borrowed furniture--it is called "Aloha furniture" here.  I will photograph it for you!  It isn't too bad--it beats sleeping on the floor.  And they give a washer and dryer, too! 

The appointment was up at Schofield Barracks, so we had a little bit of a drive.  By the time we got home, it was 3:30-4.  I didn't quite feel like quilting, but I was bored, and so I decided to tackle the guest bedroom.  I have been putting off going through it, because I thought I needed a Whole Day to do it.  Also I was procrastinating.  Anyways, yesterday afternoon seemed to be The Time, so I went in with a black trash bag.  It only took an hour and a half (and that was factoring in supper prep, too.)  I first tackled The Closet, and then Under the Bed, and finally, The Cabinet.  I now have such a nice pile to take to the thrift shop!  Best of all, it wasn't hard and now it is over so I have that "self righteous" feeling I get when I've finally done something unpleasant.  You know that feeling--like when you finally go to the dentist when you've put it off, or gotten that mamogram, etc.

I will leave you with a picture of a quilt.  This is one that I quilted last week.  It is also one of the two that I found under a pile.
I made it at our last house--the kitchen was painted blue and I made this to match.  I didn't really like it though.  I pulled it out to maybe use as the back of the other quilt, but decided against it, so I quilted them both individually.   I think it is a Jo Morton pattern, from one of her books.  Now that it is quilted, I'm liking it better.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Ugly Issue

I've been thinking for a while about blogging about that unseemly, ugly issue that seems so prevalent in the quilting world.  Theft.

I'm not talking about copyright issues, but out and out theft.  We have all seen photos and read blogs about quilts that seem to go missing at quilt shows.  I can sort of "get" that kind of stealing.  The quilts are works of art and quite valuable, but that isn't the only stealing that goes on in the quilting world.

Have you ever talked to a quilt shop owner?  Seen the cameras in the shops?  They are getting things stolen right and left.  I took a class years ago at Little Quilts in Atlanta.  The ladies there talked about it.  They had a fabulous, appliqued quilt top that was folded and sitting on the cutting table disappear right during business hours. 

This flabbergasts me.  No matter how much we kid around, quilting isn't one of the mainstays of life.  You won't die if you don't have that ruler/pattern/etc.  What really amazes me is that quilting used to be done to use up leftovers.  And quilters are so generous, they will usually share with anyone who asks.  I just don't understand it.

At Little Quilts, Alice (one of the Little Quilts owners) speculated that the person who took the completed top from the cutting table may have been the sort of person who had taken classes, bought lots of supplies, but hadn't finished anything and maybe her husband was wanting to see results from all the money being spent.  I guess I can maybe understand that, but who knows? 

My longarm pantograph quilter (I have been using her for over 12 years) has me send the quilt, she quilts it, mails it back with the bill and I send in a check.  Recently I was corresponding with a different long arm quilter who used to do that, but someone stiffed her.  Unbelievable. 

I have my own story to share.  Years ago I had a longarm quilter who did a fabulous job.  She quilted 3-4 quilts for me and I sent her a final quilt with a deposit.  I wasn't hearing from her, so I contacted her and she said things were going on in her life and she wasn't going to quilt anymore.  She was going to send me my quilt back with the deposit.  Long story short, it took months and I finally got the quilt back--without my deposit.  At that point, I was just happy to have the quilt top but that was over a hundred dollars she took. 

I would like to hear from you all on this topic.  Do you have any anecdotes to share?   Or do you have any insight into what motivates people to steal supplies for a hobby?  Maybe I'm just naive?


Monday, April 16, 2012

A Prize

Several weeks ago, Kim from Kim's Big Quilting Adventure was looking for new blogs to follow and asked for suggestions.  She would draw from the responses for a giveaway.  Much to my amazement, I won!  It was my first time winning a giveaway and I was thrilled.  A week later, there was a nice little package in my mailbox.  It was a Luna Notte charm pack and a pattern to make a little bag from charm squares.  I love the bag pattern and plan to make a few, but meanwhile, I've been on a bit of a Schnibbles-fest lately, so I decided to see if I could make up one of my patterns with the Luna Notte. 

I have to make a confession here:  I've never owned any Three Sisters fabric before.  There are many lines out there that aren't really me, however, I am totally enjoying playing with fabrics that are not the norm.  It is pushing me out of my comfort zone and I think it is good for me.  The Schnibbles made with charm packs are the perfect way to explore, and Luna Notte was a perfect candidate.  Looking around online, it seemed to be a bit of an older line, and not readily available.  I considered combining with another new line, like Etchings or something, but then I hit paydirt and found another Luna Notte charm pack and some yardage at The Stitching Post --it is a shop in Indiana and I've been ordering from them off and on for years.

Now with the fabric sorted out, I turned to my growing collection of Schnibbles patterns, and flipped through them.  I decided on Winter White.
When I read over the directions, I discovered that Carrie designed it using another Three Sisters fabric line, so I guess "great minds think alike" or somthing like that.  Once the fabric I ordered arrived, it was a breeze to put together.  Most of it is large squares, you just have to make 36 flying geese of two different  colors, for a total of 72.  With the mini Fit to be Geese ruler from Open Gate quilting, they were a breeze.  The one change I made to the pattern was to cut the border stips wider because I knew I wanted to do this again:

Make a scalloped border.  I tired it for the first time on my January Schnibble pattern and I loved how it turned out, so I was eager to play with it agin.  This quilt seemed the perfect opportunity.

Here is the finished quilt.  I love how it came out.  It was lots of fun to play with fabric I don't normally choose.  Another way that I pushed myself was to bind it in a lighter color.  I don't normally do that, I prefer a darker binding, but when the border is black there isn't much other choice.  I also had needed to order some pink yardage because the charm packs didn't have enough pink squares for this quilt, so that was what I used.  I really like the way it came out, too, so obviously I need to challenge myself to not always do something the obvious way.

Mahalo Nui Loa to Kim for the prize!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Progress: Planned and Unplanned

Friday morning I got up and went up to my quilt room determined to get the two quilts I did not do on Thursday quilted.  I had about half of one done, so I finished that one with no problems.  I was starting the second one when when I began thinking about binding for all of them.  For the Schnibbles, I had fabric just for the binding, but I had three others that needed some.  I got up from quilting and started poking around, looking for pieces of leftover binding.  Because, of course, I can be easily distracted when machine quilting!

Now I don't know about you, but I seem to think that the world will somehow end if I should by chance run out of binding while applying it to my quilt, so I tend to make waayyy too much, but I save the rest "in case I ever need it."  Well, I needed some leftovers, and I found two possibilities, of which one worked.  I was sure I had more extra binding tucked in.... somewhere.  I poked around a bit and then I reached THAT POINT.  Remember how earlier in the week I shifted some piles and found two more quilt tops?  Yeah.  It was time to deal with stuff. 

So I tackled the piles.  I made other piles of like things, so they could easily be put away.  Most of my stash is "filed away" on shelves, according to color.  But I have a stack of large plastic containers in the back of my closet.  The bottom one is for "misc. stuff," the next one up is Thimbleberries.  On top of that is my patriotic fabric, and then there is a slightly shorter one full of the batiks, and finally, at about my shoulder height, is the shortest one (sort of the "underbed" height) full of my hand-dyed fabric.  Since I needed to put things away in almost every bin, I carried them all out and had them spread out so I could put the correct things in each one.  When finished, I looked around very carefully to make sure I had everything.  I did, and so I humped them all back into the closet and stacked them up again.  Then I found a box of leftovers from my Aloha quilts.  I decided to pack them up together to give away but when I went through it all, I found other pieces I had pulled that would work with the Aloha fabric and now I needed to put them back--guess where?  The misc. bin at the bottom of the pile!  Needless to say, I wasn't happy and may have even uttered a naughty word or two.  So I humped them all out again, put away the misc. fabric, and put them back again.  Then I took a break to check Facebook and read blogs.  (because I can be easily distracted!)

The next task was to go through all the books and magazines.  I have scrapbooking stuff in the room, too, so it wasn't just quilting stuff.  I had some piles of papers I wanted to keep, color cards from Superior Threads, etc. that needed to be put in a binder, so I went though an old one and threw a bunch of that stuff away.  I had a big pile of giveaway stuff, as well.  After the shelves were empty, I wiped all the dust off, and filled them back up.  They look much better when they aren't stuffed full of piles! 

By the time I finished, I had two big containers of "giveaways" which I deposited out in the hall.  I only have a few things on the twin bed in there, and all the piles are gone.  Whew!  I can function again!  So I sat down and quilted the other quilt.  But I still needed some binding!  So I pulled some possibilities and auditioned until I found the "winners" and then I immediately put the others back so I wouldn't start any more piles. 

Today was a quilting bee that I attend when I can.  I loaded up all the giveaways and took them and I came home with nothing left of them!  Yeah!  By the way, in case you are wondering about the purge, I'm getting ready to move this summer and I surely do not want to deal with stuff I do not want!  Now, when I prepare for this bee, it looks like I'm going on an artic exploration or something with the amount of crap stuff that I pack up to take.  I wouldn't want to forget something, because it isn't like I only live two miles away or anything!  I took all the quilted tops and the binding and two other "bee projects" (these are things I only work on at bees, because I keep all the pieces, instructions, etc. packed up so that when I'm going to the bee, I only have to grab the package and I have everything I need.)  Of course, all I managed to do was get the binding sewn on. 

The Bee is so fantastic.  There were at least 16 or so others there and one has to walk around and see what everyone is working on.  Then there is lunch and today we celebrated a birthday so there was cake!  Three kinds, and brownies, and cheesecake....  yum.

So I got things done, and my room is clean, and I only have one more top to quilt, and...  Oh yeah, my MIL is arriving next weekend for a 10-day visit.  I guess I will be spending this week doing household chores!  (And hand-stitching all that binding down.)


Friday, April 13, 2012

Oh My Gosh, I am thrilled!

Today at The Quilted Pineapple Linda is blogging about my Omigosh quilt.  She has lots of photos and a great story about quilting the pineapple in the corners.  I loved it!  And then I read the comments and I was so totally amazed by the good things people were saying.  I was impressed when I saw Carrie Nelson's  blog last night and Linda had done a quilt for her, too--now that is truly Oh My Gosh!

I am a bit disappointed, but not surprised, that I only half finished one quilt yesterday.  The luncheon and prep occupied a big chunk of my time and last night I was glued to the tv.  Last night through Saturday night the Merry Monarch Festival is running over on the Big Island.  It is THE premeire hula competition.  Last night was the Miss Aloha Hula contest.  Twelve girls competed first doing a Kahiko hula (that is an ancient style) with an Oli (a chant) and then they did the Auana hula (a more modern hula danced to mele--songs--often sung by well-known Hawaiian musicians.)  I was glued to my television from 6-11:30 last night.  It is going to be some late nights!

Here is a photo of the winner, Rebecca Lilinoekekapahauomaunakea Sterling.  On the left is her Kumu Hula (the teacher and head of the Halau--the Hula dance company.)

Tonight the halaus perform Kahiko--the ancient dances.  Some groups are Kane (men) and some are Wahine (women). They all have wonderful performances.  At any rate, you all are probably getting tired of hearing about Hula.  If you are interested, you can easily find performances on Youtube by searching for Merrie Monarch.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two More

I was able to meet my goal of getting two more quilts quilted.  And I got two more sandwiched.  I'm not sure what I will get done today, though, as I have a lot going on.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two steps ahead, three back

Yesterday I wrote describing the pile of quilts that needed quilting.  My goal was to quilt the two that I had basted.  I'm happy to report that I did get them done!  I also did some volunteer business and got groceries, so all in all I was feeling really productive.  And then I shifted a "pile" on the bed in my quilt room and found three more unquilted tops!  Yikes!  How did I forget about them? 

More good news, though, I got one of them quilted as well!

After the quilting, I got busy with more prep.  I have all the batting cut.  Do you dislike that "simple" process as much as I do?  I unfolded the packaged batting on the floor (of course, the floor isn't quite large enough) and then placed the flimsies on, trying to get them to fit, but of course, there is always one piece that doesn't fit and requires one to piece two chunks of batting together.  I don't like that job.  Has anyone tried the iron-on tape to piece batting?  How is it?  Meanwhile, the batting picks up every thread or little bit of "whatever" that happens to be on the floor and missed by the vacuum or broom.

The three extra quilts required more backing and backing selection, but I got that done.  I even got two more basted, so that is my goal for today:  to get at least two more quilted.

Let's hope I don't shift any more piles and come up with more work!   Looking into my crystal ball, I see myself doing a lot of binding in the near future. 

Meanwhile, I've been ignoring my Sarah's Revival blocks, so last night I worked on prepping the patterns to transfer the applique pattern to the backing. 


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Addressing the Pile

I have been on a piecing frenzy.  How do I know this?  The pile of flimsies is getting high.  It is time to get out the batting, locate backings, and start quilting. 

I enjoy machine quilting, but why is it that I manage to put it off?  Okay, dealing with the batting and backings is always a bit tedious, but also the machine has to be prepared and thread selected.  Too many choices! 

Yesterday I began dealing with things.  I have two of  my four completed Schnibbles pin-basted.  I ran out of pins, so today I'm going to (hopefully) get those quilted so I can layer the other two.  When those are done, I can tackle the slightly-larger Aloha quilt.  I know, I could get more pins, but upon reflection, I don't think that would be such a good idea--it may encourage further procrastination.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Oh My Gosh, it's finished!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.  I have spent my weekend keeping busy finishing this quilt.  On Friday, the box arrived from Linda over at The Quilted Pineapple.  I started following her blog a year and half ago or so and have been wanting her to quilt one of my quilts ever since.  She does a wonderful job.  Anyway, I actually got to meet her in Shipshewana, IN to give her the top.  It was so much fun to meet a blogger friend in real life!

Once I opened the box and admired the awesome job, I knew I had to get to work.  Since this quilt will be entered into our show next month, I wanted to block the quilt.  Linda also advised blocking as sometimes dense quilting can skew things a bit.  So I plunged the whole thing (raw edges, backing, and batting hanging loose) into the washer on the gentle cycle.  Meanwhile, I mopped the garage floor, laid out a large, old quilt, and my husband found 3 fans.  By the way, if you want to get some weird looks from your neighbors, let them see you mopping the garage floor!   Once it had spun dry, I carefully took the quilt out of the washer, placed it in a clothes basket, and took it out to the garage and began the tedious process of laying it out, squaring it up as needed.  I had measured the diagonals prior to wetting it, and they were not off by too much, so it wasn't necessary to really "work" it.  One tool that really helps the process is a laser "square" level.  It shoots out two laser beams of light at 90 degrees, so you can place it at a corner and work down both sides. (And really, the best tool for this process is a good pair of kneepads, because I spent a long time crawling around on my knees and the garage floor is hard!)   There are some really good tutorials out there about the whole process.  Anyways, I just got it all "finished" and turned on the fans to start the drying process when it started to pour outside.  There was no danger of water coming in, but the humidity sure didn't help with the drying.  We left it overnight and I was quite relieved to find in the morning that no centipedes or other local "friends" meddled with the quilt.

But I'm rattling on and you haven't had a chance to see a picture yet!

I used the fence idea from the other day again.  I had to re-wipe it down.  We feed the birds and they sure could show their appreciation by not leaving their traces on the fence!

Linda decided to use this pineapple motif in the corners and I am thrilled!  It really makes that perfect Hawaiian touch!

An angle to show more of the quilting.  I love the large spirals over the tiny geometric piecing.

To get a sense of scale, I put a quarter on the quilt in the above photo.  The tiny squares finish at a half inch!

I really like the back, too!  If I had thought about it, I would have gotten a plain backing that would show off the quilting really well, but I found this bright, fun fabric on clearance and I thought it would be the perfect foil for the tiny front piecing.  I ordered the fabric and needed to piece it.  It worked out that the proper length I needed matched up with the repeat of the fabric.  In what was one of those serendipitous moments that you could never plan, I was able to perfectly match the backing.  Can you see the seam in the photo below?  If you look closely, you can see it running vertically down the middle.  I was thrilled with how it came out, and even Linda commented on the match.

I got the binding sewn on, as you may have noticed, and this evening I finished tacking down the hanging sleeve and attaching the label.  It is all ready for the show! 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Terrain Finished

I got the binding done.  Machine sewing it was so much quicker than doing it by hand--I may have to do that more often.

I washed it and while it was drying (and drying, and drying--my dryer didn't quite know what to do with a king-sized quilt and so would shut off when it panicked)  I contemplated how to photograph the quilt.  I already know from trying to photograph the flimsy that it didn't fit on my living room floor.  I considered having a few people hold it up--but even my 6'1" husband would have to stand on a ladder.

Finally I determined that a good solution would be to clamp it up on the top edge of the privacy fence that surrounds my yard.  On one side of the yard, the fence is up on a little rise, so the quilt would hang from the fence and then continue down on the ground down hill.  So I went out and wiped down the fence and got out some woodworking clamps and then hauled out the quilt.  It ended up working pretty good.

The whole thing in the photo above, and a detail shot below.

Now I just need to box it all up and send it off to Indiana where it will be living!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Whole Lot to Handle

I began yesterday with a vague plan that I would get into the guest room to go through things, searching for stuff that may no longer need to be kept.  Since I'm moving this summer, and into what will be a smaller house, I'm trying to weed out the obvious (and maybe the not-so-obvious.)  I was procrastinating, though, but doing other things and then around 2 or 3 in the afternoon the doorbell rang.  I had already gotten the mail, but there was the postman bearing a large box!

It was the Terrain quilt back from being long-armed!  How exciting!  I opened it and unfolded it, and unfolded more, and more.  That thing is huge!  It is a King-Size quilt--about 112" on each side.  I know it is the largest quilt I have ever made.  It is heavy, too.  Of course, I had never gotten around to prep the binding, so the first thing I did was go upstairs and locate the fabric. 

Uh oh.  I have one paltry yard for binding an enormous quilt!  This doesn't look good.  But, I did the math, and yes, I did indeed have enough.  I cut bias binding, which I prefer for a bed quilt.  I like to cut my binding in 2 1/4" strips, and fold it.  Doing that was easy.  The whole time I was working on it I kept thinking how I was going to deal with that huge, heavy quilt while sewing on the binding!

My answer was this:

I cleared off the dining room table, made sure all the leaves were in, got rid of the extra chairs, and brought down my Bernie.  I set him up down on the far end so that the whole rest of the table would be free to support the quilt.

My problem with sewing at a table is that the cords become problematic, but look at this!  I pulled the right-side leaf out a bit and fed the cords through the gap, gently closed it again, and voila!  No cord problems!

Here is is, all ready to start sewing.  The table was the perfect solution.  I got the binding sewn down.  Normally, I machine stitch the binding on and then hand sew the fold around to the back.  However, on this quilt,  I'm trying something new--I'm going to machine stitch the second seam.  My thoughts are that I do not want to have that huge, heavy monster on my lap long enough to do the handwork.  So today, I'm going to do the second stitching.  I waited until today because I did the first stitching last night while it was dark.  Can you see the window in the dining room?  I'm going to do the "finicky" stitching today while there is bright light coming through.

Since I'm talking "Terrain," I don't think that I share a photo of the pillows that I began a week or so ago.  I got the backing fabric and it took no time at all to finish them.
Here they are, laying on the quilt.  I think the whole thing is going to look so awesome!

My only regret is that I don't have a king-sized bed to dress with all the things--the quilt, the coordinating bedskirt, shams, and now these pillows.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Notes on Quilting's Evolution

Yes, there have been many issues and discussions about copyright and other legal issues in the quilting world lately.  I'm not going to delve into that, but while thinking it over I was curious as to why those kinds of issues are occuring at all or now.  So I have been thinking back over the course of my "quilting" life.  I'm going to share some of my observations here.  Please take them as just that:  my observations.

I first really started quilting in 1995.  I had done some before, but it didn't really take over my life until then.  My husband was sent to Korea for a year and I had a daughter who was in elementary school.  She and I moved to my home state of South Dakota, and I really started quilting then.  I have to add that whenever my husband has been gone--be it 6 weeks, 6 months, or a year--I fling myself into quilting and it comforts me.  But back to the beginning.

In 1995, in South Dakota, I had one choice for supplies:  our local chain fabric store.  It was there that I bought my first quilting book:  Little Quilts All Through the House.  I also bought all my fabric there as well.  The fabric I could choose from consisted of "calicos" and solids.  The store had their brands and then there was one area that had some Debbie Mumm--but it was almost $6 a yard--way too expensive.  (ha ha!)  I read the Little Quilts book, especially the part about their stash and how they bought/used fabric.  I ended up making nearly every small quilt in that book, and other "inspiriational" quilts from it.  It is still one of my favorite books and I would never part with it.
Above is one of my Little Quilts.  The alternating squares are from a vintage feedsack.

That summer, my Mom, Grandma, daughter, and myself went on a geneaology trip into Wisconsin and Iowa.  I had bought one of the early issues of Quilt Sampler and it featured a quilt by Country Threads.  We stopped there on our trip.  (Imagine--my very first real quilt shop and it was Country Threads--considered one, if not THE premiere shop in the whole country.)  Anyway, I could hardly believe all the fabric/books/patterns, etc.  The choices were incredible.

Back then, it was strictly "brick and mortar" shops.  There was no internet--shops, blogs, etc.  After my husband got back, we moved to Arizona, and there were several quilt shops that my friends and I would visit.  We all shopped strictly by color and pattern.  There were no "collections" aside from maybe Debbie Mumm, but those were all shelved with their respective colors.  The first time I noticed fabric kept separate, in collection form, was Thimbleberries.  I was a big fan, too.  In 1998-99 one of the Tucson shops had a Timbleberries Club, and I eagerly joined.  It was about the same time when "blocks of the month" started.  I remember thinking that I had a hard time spending $20 for a book--full of numerous patterns, and here was one pattern that would end up costing $60 for 12 months of $5! (another snicker here) 

There were now some shops on the internet--but I think I called to order.  I remember that the Main Street Cotton Shop had "buck bags" (or something like that) where you could order a fat eighth of an entire collection.  At that time, fabric was around $8 a yard, so it amounted to a piece for a dollar (hence the title).  I got one buck bag of a Thimbleberries collection.  I never bought another, because there just isn't a whole lot you can do with a fat eighth--at least back then--but to my knowledge, it was the first "precuts" I ever knew of.

I was still buying most of my fabric in the shop.  I would take in the fabrics I was using and match the fabric I needed to them. Or I would just get some of what I liked.  Well, do you remember what was happening in 1999?  Everyone was wanting to make a millenium quilt.  The idea was to make a charm quilt of 2000 different fabrics (no two the same.)  I think everyone was exchanging 4" squares.  Then the shops got involved, and as far as I know, the charm square concept was born, except now they are 5 inches.

In the 2000s, I was still getting most of the fabric in the shop, again adding to my stash as I wanted/needed.  The internet was making things easier, but I really tried to buy locally since I could match the fabric--the exception would be for fabrics like Thimbleberries or Kansas Troubles.  You always knew their colors and could count on them.  Do you see where I'm going?  Collections were becoming more prevalent.  Quilting was exploding and there were all sorts of "themes."  Country, Thirties, Civil War, batiks, just to name a few.  No shop could possibly carry it all.  If the shop in your area didn't have what you liked, the internet shops were there. 

Now it was becoming a war: the brick and mortar shops vs. the internet ones.  I feel that quilting had peaked about that time in popularity, too.  Most quilters now had a huge stash.  The economy wasn't doing so great.  People weren't buying that much and so business started declining.  The brick and mortar shops seemed particularly vulnerable and started losing business to online competitors (where one could find exactly what they wanted if the local shop did not have it.)  Online Shop Hops helped consumers find more shops.  Some "real" shops have thrived, but many couldn't stand the competition and closed.  Others found that having a mail-order business was more profitable, so they closed their doors.  The inherent problem with more online buying was that it is difficult to see true color and so it was hard to match things. 

By now the popularity of collections was growing.  Along with increasing amounts, it was easier than ever to "recognize" fabrics and patterns.  Think about Jinny Beyer quilts.  She designs incredible patterns to go with her gorgeous fabrics, and even is nice enough to include the number of the fabric right on the pattern.  I could (and did) make a quilt just like hers.  Thimbleberries Club was losing it's appeal to me, as well.  I went each month and got a kit of fabric to go with the pattern.  Just think, now everyone in the group could make the exact same quilt!  And it wasn't just recognizable fabric, it was also techniques.  Stack and Whack, Bargello, etc.  One person came up with a neat idea, but it was easily recognized.  But I didn't want the exact same quilt as hundreds of others.  About this time (2005?) I had a quilting slump.  I got a job and found that I had less time and creative energy to use quilting.  I also couldn't seem to find a project that really appealed to me.  Using the job as an excuse, I took a break. 

In 2009 we moved to Hawaii and I elected to not work.  I missed quilting and wanted to get back to it.  I used to get so excited with projects that I literally could not sleep.  I hadn't felt like that for years and I wanted it back.  I had Bonnie Hunter's first book and either in it or on her blog (one of the first I found--probably because of the book) I read how she sometimes just had to force herself to chain piece.  Running stuff through the machine.  Just do it.  Put in the "work."  Taking this advice, I did so, too, and gradually it started coming back.  I was always a huge scrapquilt fan.  I liked to make an entire quilt from my stash and think to myself, "look what I found hiding in my fabric."  Her quilts are also scrappy, so it was easy.

Meanwhile, I had found her blog.  Then I found others.  I had a list of favorites and I would read them daily.  It is so inspiring to read about other's quilting.  At the heart of quilting, I firmly believe, is socializing--teaching, sharing, working together, learning about each other while we stitch--and blogging fulfills all those requirements.  I took a class in hand-dying and started playing with that.  I got exposed to other styles.  Now I think I was struggling because I had gotten stagnant.  Now I get excited by other palettes.

Back to quilting and business:  some of the major manufacturers had an idea.  Similar to the concept of the "buck bags," they could provide fans with a taste of all the fabrics in a line.  But they could do so with "usable" pieces--different amounts for different price points.  It was genius.  Aren't all quilters with a stash, in fact, collectors?  Now we can get the whole collection--every bit.  (If you disagree with this, look in your stash and see if you have any fabric that you cannot cut up--you can't bear to part with it!)  Like I said, it was genius.  Well, with those cuts available, it didn't take the pattern designers long to come up with quilts easily made from those cuts.  I had never bought a precut in my life until recently.  I would read the blogs and someone would share a finished project and say "this is such and such a pattern and is made with such and such a fabric collection."  What?  I was amazed that someone would make an entire quilt from one line of fabric.  The finished quilts were always beatiful.  The fabrics all coordinated well, but I couldn't help thinking that it was all a little unoriginal.  Maybe too easy or something.

And then I remembered my slump--when I didn't have the creative energy to do something.  Recently, I've acutally made some quilts with charm packs, all featuring the same line.  Ordering online is now easy, because you do so by collection, not shade/color.  The struggle (and even choice) is no longer there.  The appeal is almost universal.  Beginners, or even experienced quilters who may have varying degrees of color/pattern confidence now have the decisions taken out of their hands.  The projects are fun and quick and we can't get enough of them.

But this change comes with a price.  Now if I make a certain pattern with a certain collection, it is very recognizable.  Either by the pattern or by the fabric or both.  Somewhere along the line, Business got involved and now fabric manufactures supply pattern designers with free fabric, hopefully so that their fabric will be showcased in the new patterns/magazines, etc.  So in my Bibelot Schnibble, which I posted yesterday, the pattern is a Miss Rosie and the fabric is Origins, by Basic Grey and Moda.  When she made the quilt, Carrie (the author of the Miss Rosied patterns) used Origins.  So how much of  my Bibelot is "me?"  The only decision that I made was the choice of the background fabric.  I did the contruction and quilting, and the quilt is here with me--but anyone familiar with Schnibble patterns would recognize it immediately as, well, a copy.

It used to be (years ago) I would make a traditional pattern, like a log cabin.  I would use a broad range of fabrics (whatever was in my stash--or whatever appealed to me.)  My friend might really like it and borrow my pattern and make her own.  Even if she used the same colors of fabric, it would look quite different.  Quilts were way more unique.  These days, mostly because of the direction quilting and quilt businesses had gone, unique quilts aren't always the norm.  Don't get me wrong, there are still lots of new ideas and  endless variety out there.  But there are more easily "recognizable" things out there.  And so the question of just whose quilt it really is, the fabric designer, the pattern designer, or the actual quilter, gets a bit murky.