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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Barn Quilts

Did any of you see the fun, fun tutorial over at Lori Holt's blog about the cute block she designed:  a barn with a quilt block in the side?  She used leftover Farmer's wife blocks and put her barns on the back of her competed Farmer's Wife quilt.  Now she is having a sew-along with them.  I couldn't wait to try one out.  Luckily when I sorted through my orphan block stash, I found a good 6" block that would work.

Here it is!  I guess I took the photo at an angle--it really is a square block and not tapered.  Isn't it fun!  Now you may be thinking that I was supposed to be writing more about Midatlantic, but in fact, I am.  I had planned to share some of the goodies that I found at the vendor booths.  My favorite purchase was this:

A Barn Quilt.  These metal signs are normally put outside.  Some barns in the country have even larger, painted blocks on them.  They are really fun to watch for as you are driving.   Anyway, I've been wanting one for quite some time, but a patriotic one, of course, and there was this one, in red, fitting the bill perfectly.  I have it hanging on the end of my cutting island for now, until we get our "forever" house after my husband retires.  I think it is so funny/odd that both of these barn quilts came into my life in the same week.
I got quite a lot of fabric, as well, but it is put away.  The other cool thing I got was this seam ripper with a hand-carved wood handle.

They had many types of wood, and as you handled them all, they all felt a bit different in your hand.  I felt them all until this one seemed to "fit" my hand just right.  I thought it all seemed a lot like when Harry Potter got his wand and he tried all the different ones until the right one "chose him" as they say.  I'm not sure what species of wood this ripper is, but I'm sure it isn't holly.  I've even had the occaision to use it, and it really works nicely.

I hope you have a great day.  I'm still suffering with this dumb cold (possible acquired from handling all those rippers?) Yesterday I rested all day and emptied out the contents of my DVR.  Today I'm going to spend some time sewing.  Thanks for all the well-wishes!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Midatlantic Quilt Fest Post 2

Hi Everyone,

This is going to be another post full of "eye-candy."  I could probably share photos until the cows come home, but we don't want to get too bored. 

First up, One of my very favorite quilts at the show.  Not a prize winner, but the winner of my heart.  It is called "Daddy's Home."

One of my favorite exhibits was the selected entries from an International Quilt Challenge commemorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.  The quilt size was similar to what the soldiers in the Civil War carried, too.  That is, a quilt about the width of a typical sleeping bag.  They are referred to as "Cot to Coffin" quilts, I imagine because they were used with or without cots for the soldiers and then used to wrap the soldier for burial? 

This one.  Oh my.  It is made of hundreds and hundreds of teeny hourglass blocks. 

Here is a closeup of them.
I loved this exhibit for the Patriotic motifs that many contained. 


I especially liked this one, although I didn't seem to get a complete picture of it.  It was made by another Army wife.  She dyed the fabrics with natural substances like black beans, etc.  It has her husband's name on it.
There were some really extraordinary pictorial quilts in the main show.  
This one was so brilliantly "accurate" that I found myself trying to peer around the corner in that canyon.  Check out the quilting on it.
Another pictorial quilt was all about walking a dog.

Here is a closeup of the dog's head.  It really looks furry.

It was a real treat to see a completed version of "A Bountiful Life."  Especially since the passing earlier this month of the book's author, Karen Mowery. 

My parent's love visiting lighthouses, so I was drawn to this next quilt.  When I read the paper about it, I discovered that they are all the lighthouses of Chesapeake Bay. 

Finally, there is this:
Isn't it incredible and detailed?  The thing is, it isn't a quilt.  It is a wool hand-hooked rug!!!

That's it for today.  It seems I acquired a little surprise at the show--a cold-bug.  I thought I may be lucky this winter and escape being sick, but it seems my luck ran out.

Have a great day everyone!  I'll be drinking lots of hot tea and chicken soup.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Midatlantic Quilt Fest Post 1

Hi Everyone,

As promised, I'm back to share some of the great experiences from Midatlantic.  Between the quilts, the shopping, the quilts, the shopping, a class, more quilts, a rather "intriguing" thing I did, and more shopping, there is lots to tell.  The show opened for an hour and a half preview on Wednesday night.  We mainly shopped on one half of the venue.  On Thursday we had to attend an unrelated luncheon, so we didn't get back to the show until 2.  We stayed until it closed at 6.  Friday we arrived at opening (10) and stayed until 5pm.  It was a totally exhausting day!  We finally got to all the vendors that day and saw the rest of the quilts.  Saturday we had an all-day class, but I managed to run to two vendors that I decided I needed to revisit.  Sunday morning, Dorothy went home and I was tempted to go back, but I had already exceeded my "comfort level" of spending so I stayed home.  I only regret it a little bit!

Today I'm going to show some quilt photos.  I did take picutes of some of my favorite quilts, but I also took a lot of photos of little "ideas" or techniques that I really liked and want to remember, so there are two different photo types.  Today I will feature the awesome quilts.

I loved this one.  The stitching is incredible.


The applique here is exquisite, but I LOVE the choice of background fabric.  The dots and circles give the quilt a certain "effervescence." 

While not a prize winner, who can't resist the sheer numbers of tiny baskets here? 

Let me state here that I did try to take photos of the names and information for these quilts, but the photos didn't always turn out "readable."

This next one was a big prize winner.  It is hard to see in the first photo, but there is a white outer border filled with stunning quilting.  The detail photo below shows a closeup.


The next "quilt" is actually several panels.  A quilt group took a photo, divided it vertically into 8 panels, and they each did a section and then hung them together.  What a fun idea, and an extremely talented group!

This art quilt is beautiful, as well.  I got a detail of the branches--all stitched.  I must say that in some of these quilts, the thread work, applique, and quilting were hard to discern from each other.  Amazing work!

The next one is quite a stunner.  The applique, again, is exquisite.  The quilting is jaw dropping.  I particularly love the branches stitched onto the plain squares.  You can't see them in the first photo, but you will further down.  The wool balls in the leaf clusters and the choice of those purple/pink berries is perfection!

I'll conclude today's post with this one.  It was one of the masterworks of the show.  It really required the help of a white-gloved volunteer, because as gorgeous as the front of this quilt it, the quilter used colored thread, thus making the back an equally spectacular "whole cloth" quilt.

Look here at the binding.  There is a line of "lace" or braid with ribbon running through it.  This show had lots of amazing binding techniques!

See what I mean about the quilting?!!!!!
As I mentioned yesterday, I have never been to a big, juried show before.  It was a really great experience.  My biggest problem was that no matter how many days we looked, there were just way too many incredible quilts--after 6 or 12 or 20, my brain just lost track.  I feel like I can't even remember some really stunning quilts!
Have a great day!  More tomorrow!

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm Back--Sort Of

Hi everyone!  I didn't blog last week because I had company and it was the big Midatlantic Quilt Fest here in Hampton, Virginia.   My good friend, Dorothy, came up from Northern Alabama and got here last Monday.  We had a fun few days up in my quilt room and then the show started.

I've never been to a major quilt show before.

I need to get my photos organized and then look up more superlatives and adjectives before I post more about it.  Holy Cow!  I've never seen quilts like those! 

And the shopping...

I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with LOTS to share.  For now I need to tackle laundry, and everything else that was ignored while I had fun and immersed myself in quilting.

Have a great day!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Big, Big Finish

Goodness, it has been nearly a year ago since I first saw this:

It was a wall-hanging sized quilt in McCalls from last year's May/June issue.  I fell immediately in love and knew it would be our next bed quilt.  In the meantime I had to move from Hawaii to Virginia and boy that was a long process that wasn't really complete until August and in the midst of it all, we got a new, king-sized bed, so I had to refigure everything. 

I began making star blocks.  A few weeks ago I had this stack of 84 or so.  I needed 100.

I got them all done but it was NO FUN sewing all those star blocks to each others.  The seam allowances were all pressed the same way.  It was sewing over hills and valleys.  Luckily, when I complained about it here, many of you wrote to say I could do it!  And so I perservered.

Then I began on the borders.  Around the big block of 100 stars went a cream border (cut at 2" finishing at 1.5") then a navy border (also cut 2") a gold border (cut 1" finishing at .5") and then another red border (cut 2.")  I was about to start the red borders when I realized my math was wrong and that I "grew" the quilt by nearly 2 inches.  UGH!  I had to rip off all the borders down to the cream one and begin again.

I got the inner borders all on and began with the double-sawtooth borders.  When I make half-square triangles, I cut a bit larger and then trim them down to the correct measurement so that they fit perfectly.  There was a lot of trimming to do, but Harry Potter on the audiobooks helped pass the time.  I think I've listened to all all those books at least 10 times, if not more.  They entertain me, but if I miss part of it, no big deal.

Anyway, Saturday morning was the big day!  I finished!!!!!  Next up, photography.  Only it rained or snowed most of the day.  Sunday morning it was sunny, but still a bit slushy, so we waited.  Finally, in the afternoon it was a bit breezy, but otherwise okay to take photos.

TA DA!!!

It finishes at 108" square.  King-sized!  I was really liking it all blue and white, but once I added the first red border, it really started singing to me!

Here is a detail of those pesky inner borders which I had to remove and redo.
Cream, navy, gold, and red. 
I almost didn't use the gold border, but I think that it brings a lot to the party.  That little jolt of difference really packs a punch.

  I love the variety of blues in the stars.  If we look at the whole thing again, notice how the different blues shimmer across the quilt.

It was a bit windy, but my darling husband managed the quilt on a ladder, clamped to a length of bamboo.

The original quilt was designed by Lynn Lister.  I enlarged the stars to finish at 8" and my large sawtooth border consisted of 6" half-square triangles and the smaller one is made of 3" half-square triangles.  Changing the sizes of the units helped keep my much-larger project more in scale to hers, but also allowed me to make far less stars than I would have needed if they were smaller. 

I am so tickled that this project is finally done--except for the long-arm quilting.  I'll be sending it off soon.

Maybe it will actually make it onto the bed before winter is technically over!

I hope you all have a great day!

Friday, February 15, 2013

There is Something Else I Like

Shhh.   Can you keep a secret?  I have another interest.  It may seem a little geeky but we feed the birds and I really get a kick out of watching them and seeing what types will come and visit.  We have several feeders for sunflower seed, safflower seed, suet, peanuts, thistle seed, bark butter, and even mealworms.  If you want a wide variety of species, you need to use a variety of food!

We get a lot of chickadees, nuthatches, and house finches, etc.  Here are some pictures of others:

A Titmouse

A pair of cardinals
A Downy woodpecker
A brief glimpse and bad photo of a very shy Red-bellied woodpecker
A very cute and quite spunky Pine Siskin (this was the one day we had snow.)
A Brown Thrasher
The Blue Jays are shy as well and don't like their picture taken
A Carolina Wren
It took them a while to find us, but the Gold Finches are here now. 
Another Goldfinch
And then on Wednesday, while I was laboring away ripping off those borders, I happened to glance out the window and could hardly believe my eyes!  For the first time ever at our feeder was this:

A male bluebird!!!!
He brought along his friend:
The female bluebird
I knew there were bluebirds around, but I wasn't sure if they were in our neighborhood.  They sort of like open country and can be a bit picky about where they go.  I was so excited to see them!  They came back the next day, too, so maybe they are nesting in the area and will be regular visitors.  
It's no wonder that I bought this book.  I doubt I'll make the quilt, but you never know!
Do you feed/watch the birds?  What visits your feeders?
Have a great weekend!