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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Colonial Canasta and Cannons!

Hi Everyone,

Last night was the finale of the TRADOC band's summer concert series, Music Under the Stars.  The finale always features, as the last number, the 1812 Overture with the accent of real cannon fire from howitzers.  If you have never heard a performance of the Overture with cannons, I highly recommend it!

The park where the concerts are held is the place with the neat fence that I like to use in photographing my Schnibbles, so I brought along Canasta.  We have learned where to park that is close to a good, scenic spot, so I took some pictures and then we put it in the car, got out our chairs, bug spray, beverages, etc. and walked over to the concert area.

Once I got the center of the quilt done, I decided to use a print for the border.  I also knew right away that I wanted to scallop the border, so I cut the border wider than the directions, at 4 1/2 inches. 

While constructing the blocks, I had to decide if I wanted to leave the center background squares as background, or if I wanted to use something else.  I tried both and decided to use both.

I did keep all of them in the same dark red as the background.
This park really is a great place for pictures!
After the photo shoot, I put the quilt away in the car and we headed off to the concert.  The event was opening with a performance by the Fife and Drum Corps from Colonial Williamsburg.
I love the Fife and Drums!  When I saw them I had an idea so I ran back to the car for Canasta.
It now has a new name:  Colonial Canasta!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Update on my New Year's Resolution

Hi Everyone,

Are any of you still keeping your resolutions that were made way back at the beginning of the year?  I like to make resolutions that are fun to keep!  At the end of last year, I wrote this post which included my New Year's Resolution. 

Three cones of thread, each having 2500 yards.  That makes 7500 yards.  There are 1760 yards in a mile.  7500 divided by 1760 equals 4.26 miles of thread.  My resolution is to use it all this year!  Do you think I can?  I'm sure going to have fun trying!

Flash forward to yesterday.  It was August 28 and there are still 4 months left in the year. 

I watched as the end of  the thread from the third cone went through my machine.  I put on another cone and kept stitching as I still had two bobbins that were wound from one of these cones.  I used up the bobbins achieving my resolution! 

I'm fairly sure that I will be able to empty at least one more cone before the year ends.  Over 4 miles of thread and the year is only two thirds done! 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Playing Canasta

Hi Everyone,

Once I got home, and well, even before, I was starting to panic a bit because I hadn't started my Schnibble for the month.  In fact, I didn't even know what fabric I was going to use!  I had a few ideas, but no decision.

When we go on a trip, I am the big organizer and packer before we leave.  When we get home, the last thing I want to do is unpack, but that is my husband's strong suit--he can't unpack fast enough.  I help carry a few things in and then I just let him go.  Instead of feeling guilty, I can see the "whole picture" and know that I do my share before the trip and he does his share after.  So when we arrived, I carried a few things in and then went directly into my quilting room (really!) and started looking at my options.  (How quickly did I get in there?  If it was winter, I would probably be unzipping my coat on the way upstairs and taking it off as I was pulling out fabric.)

Although this year's Schnibble group is called "Vintage Schnibbles" this month we were in for a real treat!  This is a brand new pattern that we get to play with.  If you are interested in the pattern, you can find it here.
The hostesses for the Schnibble parades are Sinta and Sherri.  Each month we make our interpretation of the pattern and send along a photo and on the first day of the month we get to see all the versions.  Seriously, it is my favorite day of the month!
When the pattern was first announced at the beginning of the month, I had an immediate idea.  But then I went to my charm pack stash and looked through them and had a few other ideas--enough good ones that I couldn't make a decision.  When it got to "crunch time" as I was home from the trip, I decided to go for my first instinct. 
As you may know, I've been playing around with the French General in my Dresden quilt.  Since I had so many tan/gray prints and extra of the lovely dark red background, I decided to use leftovers from that project in my version of Canasta.  After all, aren't most baskets tan/grey? 
This is how my design wall looked yesterday morning.  I decided to make the smaller version for a few reasons. 
1.  I prefer square quilts
2.  I like my quilts a bit smaller than the average size of a Schnibble.
3.  TIME
I was stuck for a while trying to decide on sashing.  Did I want to use more plain red as the pattern suggested?  Or try a contrast?  Or how about use tiny fussy-cut corner squares in the sashing?  In the end, I realized that the inability to make a decision was slowing me down again, so I stuck with the pattern and used plain red. 
I should have more updates to show you next time!  By the way, when I decided to participate in this group, I promised myself that I would get the quilt finished each month--pieced, quilted, and bound.  The last thing I need is more unquilted tops in the pile, so I really need to push to get it done.  But I have inspiration!  If Wendy can do it, so can I, and I have more time that she did a few months ago!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fort Hamilton

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I left you with this picture of the Verrazano Bridge from Liberty Island.  The bridge spans the entrance to New York Harbor to connect Brooklyn with Staten Island.  When it was completed in 1964, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  It is known as the start of the New York City Marathon.  Maybe you are wondering why I have learned so much about one of the bridges in the area?
Well, maybe it will help to show you the view out of our hotel room's window.
Fort Hamilton, where we were staying, is right under the bridge!  The bridge is right outside our window.  Luckily our room was pretty much sound-proof so we didn't hear too much of the traffic going by all night. 

It was convenient to have the bridge as such a significant landmark to where we were located.  When we got out of the subway the first time, back in Brooklyn, it was really easy to see what direction we needed to start walking.  Another fun fact:  the bridge is also featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever, so quite often as I was walking around, I had Bee Gees songs running through my head.

I had expected to go to New York, see the city over the weekend, and when my husband completed his work on Monday, we would go home on Tuesday.  On Monday, however, the work he was doing "mushroomed" and ended up requiring the whole week.  I had brought my Kindle and spent the first two days reading, but then I got restless.  I found a food tour in the city and I also wanted to visit City Quilter in Chelsea.  But every time I decided I wanted to go, I didn't.  Either I was a bit intimidated to go by myself, or I really didn't want to go on my own.  At any rate, I contented myself with staying on post.  We couldn't even go out in the evening because my husband had to work on the computer.

I planned to visit the museum on post, but it is closed for renovations.  The post is quite historic.  Robert E Lee was there in the mid 1840s when he was a Captain in the Engineers, however it was built around the time of the Revolution.

I find a pleasing bit of symmetry in the fact that an army fort in New York was named for Alexander Hamilton who was the hero of the battle of Yorktown, right here where I live.  Did you know that?  When the Colonists and French surrounded the British at Yorktown and began the siege, the British had two large entrenchments called redoubts that needed to be captured.  French troops under the command of Lafayette took one and the Colonists, led by Alexander Hamilton took the other.  Alexander Hamilton is actually a really interesting founding father.  He became Washington's Secretary of the Treasury and is credited with the birth our country's banking system.  For that honor, and others, he is featured on our $20 bill.  His life ended when he dueled with Aaron Burr and was mortally wounded and died the next day.

At any rate, my husband was able to finish up things on Friday and we headed home on Saturday.
To get home, we had to cross the bridge.  It has two decks, so we went on the top one, so we could see things.  We actually crossed over it twice to visit the statue of Liberty.  When you leave Brooklyn it is a $15 toll! 

 I was really glad to be home because I had done no sewing whatsoever!  It is almost the end of the month and I hadn't even begun this month's Schnibble yet!  I am working on it now and should have something to show you tomorrow. 

Have a great day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm Back

Hi Everyone,

I had a really great trip to New York City!  I flew up on Friday evening.  Apparently, the only way to get to JFK airport from Richmond is through Charlottesville, NC?  I must say that Charlottesville's airport is very nice, though.

As we were landing, I glimpsed the Empire State Building out of the window of the plane. 

On Saturday, we got up early and took the subway into Manhattan.  I had booked us on a one-day tour of the city and I was sure glad !  We saw all the highlights, did a lot of walking, and went on two boats.  It was a long day.

The first thing that I did after I bought the plane ticket was to go online for Statue of Liberty tickets.  I booked them for Sunday.  In case you don't know, you can visit Liberty Island from either Battery Park (Manhattan) or Liberty State Park (New Jersey).  Either location means a ferry ride to Liberty Island.  Visiting the statue is free, however, the ferry costs $17 per person.  There are three different tickets:  Crown, Pedestal, or Island.  The Crown tickets (enabling one to go all the way up into the crown) were booked solid for months.  There were only Pedestal tickets available from New Jersey.  They let you climb up into the pedestal.  The Island tickets just let you get to the island and then you can walk around, but not go into the statue.  I wanted Crown tickets, but had to content myself with the Pedestal ones, instead, but that meant that we had to drive over to New Jersey, but it wasn't too bad.  We had Sunday morning tickets, so the traffic was light.  (It just cost us an additional $25 in tolls!)  If you ever go, the biggest tip I can give is to buy your tickets in advance, online.  The lines to buy tickets were really long!

Isn't she gorgeous!  I had the reaction that most people have when they first see her--that she is much smaller than they expect.  I think it has to do more with the fact that she is such a huge American symbol--so we expect her to be bigger than she is.  I also hoped for a pretty blue sky, however, this gray sky helped the torch show up nice and bright.

Liberty Island just reopened on the 4th of July since the visit from hurricane Sandy last fall.  Ellis Island is still closed.  You have to go through security to get onto the ferry, and then once more to go into the statue.

I'll be back tomorrow with more from the trip.  From the ferry, we had a good view of the Verrazano Bridge.  This will figure into tomorrow's post. 

For now, enjoy one more photo of Liberty Enlightening the World.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm Going!!!

 Hi Everyone,

My husband called yesterday afternoon to tell me the good news.  He has to stay until next week and wants me to fly there to join him!

Where?  Here is a hint:

File:Red Apple.jpg

In case you haven't figured it out:  that isn't an ordinary apple, it is a big apple!

If you have figured out my whirlwind destination, I'll give you precisely one guess at the attraction that is at the top of my list!

Have a great weekend.  I'm hopeful that mine will be very, er, "liberating?"


Thursday, August 15, 2013

I've Been Reading

.Hi Everyone,

In case you were wondering where I have been the past few days, I've been reading.  I should clarify that I have been reading with my eyes, not my ears.  While I quilt, I'm usually listening to audio books, but I've had a few books on my Kindle that I've been wanting to get to, and I started one over the weekend.  Just like I throw myself into quilting and work for hours, maybe spending enough time to do laundry and cook--maybe, I tend to loose myself in a book, too.  The book I began on the weekend was about one third read, so I finished it on Monday.

I love Emilie Richards.  Her Shenandoah Album series is fairly quilt-related and that is how I first discovered her, but since then I've read and kept up with most of her series.  I did miss this book from last summer though.  It was really good, but left me an emotional wreck.  I admire the talents of a writer who can draw me in so thoroughly that I'm sitting there sobbing, but goodness.  Whew!  I finished and was actually in mourning for a while!

On Tuesday I was busy.  I needed to do some housekeeping and then attend a back-to-school event (I was manning a table, not signing up anyone) and then I had to hurry home because I was getting guests!  Kristin LaFlamme, a very talented, and published art quilter who is about to have her very own show at a gallery in Charlottesville, VA, was coming to give a presentation for our night guild meeting.  I knew her in Hawaii and had recommended her to the guild, so she was going to stay with me.  She brought her two wonderful kids along, too, so that they could visit Colonial Williamsburg on Wednesday.  She arrived late Tuesday afternoon and we visited for about an hour and then went to dinner where we were joined by the night meeting's coordinator, and then went to the meeting.

 Her presentation was so great.  She selected quilts that chronicle her journey from traditional quilter to art quilter.  (She went to art school and comes from a very artistic family.)  Even as her style got more "free" you could still see elements of the traditional that she would still use.   I'm not sure about your guild, but ours can sort of be divided between traditional quilters and art quilters.  Kristin's presentation appealed to both.  I just wish I had been able to photograph some of it, but I was helping her by holding up the quilts, so while I got a great look at all the pieces, I wasn't able to take pictures.

We went back to my house for the night and the next morning I fixed breakfast and they set off to go to Colonial Williamsburg and then back home.  My husband had left Tuesday morning for a few days so I found myself with several days in front of me with no commitments and no one requiring anything from me!  So I began to read the next Emilie Richards book (the second in the series that the first book began.)

Luckily this one was every bit as good as the first, but not nearly as emotional.  Yes, I can give an accurate review because I read the entire thing yesterday!  This one even has some quilting in it.  I took one break to run to the library since they emailed me that one of the audiobooks I had requested was available, and then another break to talk to my husband.  He had interesting news:  there is a chance his army business won't be able to get finished by Friday so he will have to stay longer, giving him a free weekend where he is.  If that is the case, I'm going to fly there to join him.  The army sent him there in a government vehicle, so I can ride back with him.  I'm not sharing exactly where it is yet, however, it is on my top 5 places to visit list!  Please cross your fingers for me!  I'm trying to not get excited until I hear from him, but I'm afraid it isn't working.

That's all for now.  Since I have the new audiobook, I'm sure that I will spend most of the day in my quilt room, so I should have some quilting to share next time.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 9, 2013

National Book Lovers Day

Hi Everyone,

Just when I didn't think I had anything to blog about today, I saw where today is National Book Lover's Day and Moda is celebrating by asking what quilting book inspired you the most?  I was surprised to see that Sherri at A Quilting Life was inspired by the same book as me.

Little Quilts All Through the House was the one that began my "true" plunge into quilting.  Before it, I had made a couple things, including an Eleanor Burns quilt, Burgoyne Surrounded.  Did we all begin with Eleanor?  But I didn't have a stash, room, or was consumed before I had this book.
Let me set the stage.  It was January 1995.  I was living back home in South Dakota for a year because my husband was "lucky" enough to get a one year assignment in Korea, unaccompanied.  My daughter was 8 at the time and she and I moved to South Dakota.  I didn't live with my parents, but rented a house 60 miles away in the nearest "city."  (At the time, a "city" was defined by having a McDonalds, a Walmart, and traffic lights.  My hometown had none of these.)  I can't tell you the despair I was in facing that year.  I wasn't brand new to the Army life, either, and had already been "initiated" in my first 6 months with my husband going off to the first gulf war.  I think what got to me the most was that he left right after Christmas and I was consumed by looking at the 1995 calendar and knowing that he would be gone for the whole thing!  Maybe if he had left in May, or September, or July it would have seemed easier because I wouldn't "see" the whole thing.  I don't know.  All I do know is that I began the year in a poor frame of mind. 
Luckily the large town (it never was a city) I was living in had a fabric store.  It was just a chain shop--Northwest Fabrics.  I'm not sure if they still exist?  I would go there because I loved fabric, I sewed for my daughter, and I had made a couple quilted projects.  While on one visit, I saw this Little Quilts book.  I was smitten!  I loved the projects.  I wanted to make some like it.  I first thought I could make them without the book, because is was something like $22!  I didn't want to spend $22 on a book! (ha ha--the irony!)  This was not a craft/fabric store that had 40% off coupons every week, either.  I continued to visit and look at the book until finally the store was going to have 30% off any one item on the first weekend in March. 
The first weekend in March was also my daughter's birthday.  Family was coming, and that would be nice, but I wanted to get to the fabric store to buy my book!  I woke up on that Saturday morning to a blizzard.  Are you kidding me?  It eventually stopped snowing hard so I set out and plowed through the drifts and made it to the store and got that book!  I read it from cover to cover.  Next I began to get some fabric.  I remember looking at the pictures in the book and trying to get the same type of fabric so that I could "get the look" that I loved.  I began by getting quarter yards of fabric, or even eighths!  (No fat quarters yet!)  And I plunged in.  I made nearly every quilt in the book.

 I made both log cabin quilts in the book, but the other version I gave away.  Everything is hand-quilted except this one below.

See the quilting on this?  It was my first attempt at free motion.  The old machine I was sewing with didn't lower the feed dogs.  It didn't have a cover, either, so I just fought them.  I didn't have a free-motion foot, either, so I DIDN'T USE A FOOT AT ALL.  I don't advise that!!!  It is really dangerous.

Celebration Flag:  I had two of these screw-pinned to the backs of my chairs in the living room.

 Christmas Stars.  I love this one and it is out all year long.

Cinnamon Hearts.  I've made many of these.  Whenever I teach back-basting applique, I always have my students make a heart.  Since I make up samples showing different steps, I can make one of these when I finish all the samples.

I made this bowtie from the book.  It doesn't have any of the easy methods--you set in the seams.  I forgot to add the quarter inch to my template, so my first version was smaller then it should have been.  I made another, with the correct size template, but that is at my sister's house.

Harvest Stars 
A friend and I made the bearpaw sampler from the book together for another friend.  I made a Sun Bonnet Sue from the book, also for my sister.  I even made this:
which was shown in the book but didn't have the instructions.  The fabric in the alternate blocks is from a real feedsack that I found at an antique shop there.  The instructions for this quilt were published by Little Quilts in a later book.
I have remained a big Little Quilt's fan and have made many, many other of their quilts.  When they finally opened their shop in Marietta, Georgia, I was able to go while I lived in Augusta, and I'm afraid I acted like a bit of a groupie, getting my picture taken, etc.  I actually took a two-day class there, too and to this day it is my favorite class I've had.
I always date 1995 as the year that I truly began quilting and it was all because of this book.  Quilting made the separation bearable and ever since, when my husband is gone, quilting really comforts me.  I'm always quilting, but when he is away I get even more manic with it, even staying up all hours, etc.  In an aside, that same year I took a genealogy class and got immersed in that as well. 
What is the quilt book that inspired you the most?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Little Switcheroo

Hi Everyone,

Okay, this is the post where I make a confession.  If you having been following this blog for a while now, you may have already picked up on this:  I am a bit "anal" when it comes to quilt making.  I can also be a bit of a perfectionist.  I tend to blame it on being in 4-H during my formative years.  The quest for a purple ribbon is strong! 

Can you tell a difference between this:

And this?  (Other than the fact that the photo below is only a corner?)

Probably not.  Here is a closer comparison.  Look at the centers.
Yes, the bottom one is pinned, but it is also a tiny bit darker than the one on top.
  When they are side-by-side, you can see the difference.  Really.  It is much more noticeable in real life!
When I ordered the medallion print and it arrived, I was a bit surprised/dismayed to discover that the background was French General "faded red" because the FG solid I was using for the block background was a darker red .  I guessed I missed out on that fact in the description.  I decided to try it out and see if I liked it.  I used it on all the large plates and I found that I could live with it.  It wasn't too noticeable.  Then I added the small plates and their centers were the darker red.  The red color was a factor when I auditioned all my FG reds for the small centers, but the one I liked best was the darker one.  As I began to applique the small ones in place, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to live with the faded red medallions.  So I ordered a yard of medallions on the dark red.  That was the third reason that I didn't take this quilt to my retreat.  (I mentioned two reasons in yesterday's post.)  The package containing it actually arrived the evening after I left.  Here are some text messages that I exchanged with my husband that night:
Me:  Did I get a package today?
Him:  No, but you did.   From UPS.  Some Jolly woman or something like that
Me:  ???
I swear that I did not mistype that.  That is exactly what he said.  Maybe you can figure out that the package was from Kimberly Jolly at the Fat Quarter Shop.  I did, but I'm not sure about the whole "Did I/ No, you did" thing.  Probably he was taking advantage of my absence by drinking some beer or something.  Around the third day I got another text message that said:  "I hope you are having fun because I'm miserable."  Aaahhhh, it is nice to be appreciated, even if it is said in a guilt trip, ha ha.  Luckily the lawn mower broke Saturday afternoon so shopping for a new one kept him occupied for the rest of the weekend.  He actually went to Walmart on tax-free weekend!  He IS the brave one in this family. 
At any rate, the fabric arrived and so when I got home from the retreat I began doing this:
It wasn't too hard.  Remember how I told you that the machine applique takes a series of straight stitches and then takes a "bite" into the applique?  I just ran my seam ripper under and ripped the "bite" stitches.  That left the straight stitches, but they are so close together that I wasn't going to try to rip them out.  I just made my new centers a tiny bit larger so that it covered them up!  All the ripping and follow-up appliqueing of the new ones only took around 2 hours (I had already prepped the centers the day before when I was still so tired from the retreat that I spent most of the day sitting around watching TV.)  It was worth it.  I think it would have bugged me forever if I hadn't made the switch, and I like this quilt way too much for that!
This is where I'm at today.  I have attached the red borders and started laying out the rest of the dresdens.  I only have 6 of the medium plates done and need to make 10 more.  Once I have them done, I'll make sure I like the layout of everything and then start appliqueing them and the rest of the small ones. 

This is a close up of a medium one.

You can see that I used the medallion on it, too.  I can't tell if I prefer how this one "just fits" or if I like the extra red around it on the larger ones as shown below.  I really love them both.  I was glad that it worked for both sizes.
Anyway, that is it for today. 

I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I Worked On

Hi Everyone,

Hmmm, excuse the improper grammar in my title.  I was an English major way back at University, so I know that the correct version should read:  The Projects on Which I Worked, but that sounds a bit formal.  Anyway, you probably didn't come here for a grammar lesson, so let's get to the quilting!

I did not take my whole Dresden quilt to the retreat for a few reasons.  The first is that my concentration is not what it should be in a group, and the second is that I'm enjoying this project so much that I want to keep it to myself.  Saying that, I did take some of the blades to work on if I got a chance.  Sewing the top, clipping, turning, and pressing can get a bit boring, so I thought that would work, and I did do a bit of it on the last day.  For the majority of the time,  I wanted to take projects that were easy and sort of mundane. 

I know I said that I packed about 46 projects to take, and of course that was quite the exaggeration, but I did take a number of things so I wouldn't run out of anything to do.  Has anyone ever run out of projects at a retreat?  I think we all way over-prepare! 

The major quilt that I worked on I last blogged about in March.  Here is the post if you are interested in reading about it.  Here is a picture of how I left it:

It is fairly small here and I was unsure if I would border it or even what would happen to it.  I made it to use the lovely turquoise/ocean-y batiks I began collecting in Hawaii.  The pattern is sort of reversed.  In the original, the background is cream with colored stars, but I wanted the look of ocean and sand, so I made the background the "ocean" and the stars as the "sand." 
I showed this to my parents at some point and they fell in love with it and thought it would be perfect for the twin bed in their extra bedroom.  They wanted it to be like a bedspread, hanging all the way down to the floor--not as a comforter with a bedskirt.  It was much too small to cover any bed, so I needed to make it larger.  This is a pattern from one of Kim Brackett's Scrap-Basket books, in fact it is even in her brand new "compilation" book that is just coming out called "Scrap Quilting, Strip By Strip."  If you are interested, you can read about it here.  Her patterns use 2.5" strips, so it was easy to precut all the strips and then subcut them to the size I needed for the pattern, so I went with a bit of a "kit" enabling me to get right to the sewing.
My plan was to double it by making roughly another one and sewing them the "long" side together to make a new rectangle.  However, the pattern uses two blocks, one for the inside of the quilt and one for the edges, so I couldn't just make another and sew them together.  I had to rip one of the outer strips off and insert new strips that only had the outer blocks on the edges that I needed.  I ended up with this.  The outer blocks "stop" the star pattern by having more blue in them. 

I tried it on one of the twin beds at the retreat, and it is plenty long enough now, but needs to be a bit wider, so I'll make more blocks and rip it apart vertically and insert a couple rows to give it the extra width I need.  I have a small stack of extra blocks, but I used up all the fabric strips that I took along, so I had to stop here.  I did take it out on a couple of field trips to quilt shops (I think we went out almost every day) and found a perfect border fabric for it.  When I get it finished, I will share it AND I'll try to take a better photo.  Remember it poured most of yesterday, so I had to settle for distorted floor shots.

After I finished with that, I was in the mood for something smaller!  I had brought along some of my kits from the Temecula Quilt Co.  I get one each month for a year and they make a small quilt.  They are fun to make because they contain everything you need (except backing.)  I got two of them pieced.

They are small--about 10" x 12" or a bit larger.  I wasn't happy with the setting of the brown churn dash--the blocks were supposed to be arranged on point, but I preferred it this way.

I thought I would have gotten more done, but when you factor in the field trips, meals, visiting, helping others, sleeping, etc. the time really flies!

Anyway, speaking of my Dresden quilt, I've been dying to show you progress all week, but these other posts needed sharing too, so come back tomorrow for a peek at it! 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A "Little" Bit of Basket Fun

Hi Everyone,

Boy, did I hear from some of you about what it was I worked on at the retreat!  It was only then that I realized I didn't photograph my own stuff!  I couldn't believe it.  Today it is stormy and seriously gloomy and so not good for photography, but I will take some pictures later and share them with you.

One potential project I did take with me was my baggie of tiny cakestand blocks.

I'm sure you remember these from previous posts.  They were the product of a Sew Along over at the Temecula Quilt Co. blog.  We made one of these little blocks every day in July--so we had a pile of 31.  I got all 31 done along with a few spares.  I always try to make a few extras to be able to trade out if need be.  Anyway, I took them and some fabric along with me in case the blog posted the directions for the two settings.  It didn't during the retreat.
Yesterday the relevant post was published.  You can find it here.  There was a bit of a bonus as instead of just two settings, there was also a third. 
 The first version used 31 blocks,
 the second used 32,
and the third required 50.
  Guess which one I preferred?  Yes, the third one.  The thing that ticked me off, though, was that I had cut the pieces for plenty of extra blocks, but when I was packing for the retreat and organizing everything, I decided I didn't need them anymore and tossed them.  My husband empties all the trash each week, so they were long gone.  Ugh!  I considered getting things out and cutting more.  For about 5 minutes until I told myself to get real and just choose another setting!  I could do either of the other two.  In the end I decided on the first quilt.

Doing either of the first two meant not having to match any of those tiny basket points to each other, so that was a factor.  But the first one has that scalloped border, and scalloped border make my heart go pitty-pat!

I have the flimsy together now and hope to quilt it soon.  Then I can cut the scallop and bind it.  I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.  The only thing is that I followed the directions which said to cut the inner border at 1.5" and the outer border at 3."  When I got it together, I thought the inner border was way too fat, and I wish the outer border was a little wider.  I ripped things off and trimmed the inner border down so that the finished width is a half inch.  I couldn't recut the outer border as I was out of fabric.  But this looks a lot better.

With the rain it is a perfect day to sew, however we are out of milk, bread, and a few other essentials so I need a break so I can get some groceries!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

"So all you do all day long is sew?"

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from my four day retreat and it was wonderful!  As I was driving down to it I though that many people (those who don't quilt, etc.) would consider that four days of nothing but sewing just may be their idea of hell, but for all of us, we know it is paradise!

The retreat was across the water in Norfolk.  Some of you are familiar with this area, but for the rest of you--we have to cross a bridge to get down to Norfolk/Virginia Beach, and further like the Outer Banks, etc.  There are two major ones and the word "bridge" isn't quite correct.  They are in fact, bridge tunnels.  Part of the road is above the water, and then the road goes down into a tunnel so that ships can cross above you! 

Our retreat was at a church retreat center.  It was a two-story building--the downstairs consisted of a large, bright room with plenty of space for us to work and then a few large, round tables at the opposite end next to the kitchen.  Upstairs were 10 rooms with 2 twin beds and a bathroom in each.  There were 11 of us attending, so I shared with a friend, but it turned out that we all were there only one night, so I could move into an empty room the other two.  The best part of the center was that it was right on the water!

I took this picture right through the window (you can see the screen.)  Behind the tree is the water--a river that empties into Chesapeake Bay just beyond.  There was a bridge in view, too.
The window was in my "station."  All of this space was for me!  I was just hoping to have a whole table to myself. 
But I'm sure what you really want to see is all of the fun stuff that everyone was working on!  At least, that was my favorite part, aside from meeting and getting to know all the wonderful ladies who were doing the beautiful work!

One of the ladies was framing a panel to make a quilt for her beach house!  It screamed "Hawaii" to me.  I miss snorkeling...

Another one was working on baby quilts.  She gives one to every person at her husband's work who has a baby, plus family members as well.  She was thrilled that after the retreat, she would have an extra one not needed, so she would be ahead.  Then her phone rang and she found out there was another baby on the way.  Isn't that typical?

This is a quilt made from French fabrics.  The maker did the whole thing in the first day and a half!
Here is the corner so that you can see the border, too.

The creator of this block was making a whole sampler quilt in black and white and red.  I wish I had gotten more photos of the other blocks.  They were gorgeous and dynamic!

Another lady had layered fabric and cut Dresden blades from it--combining "Stack and Wack" and dresdens.  They were so neat.  And tempting...

Another person was "canning."  I love this!  I've seen the Bugs in the Jars quilts and wasn't too excited about them although the concept was neat.  This one is veggies and fruits in jars.  I like this version much better!

I thought I took more photos, but I see that I overlooked several fun projects.  I got too wrapped up in everything I guess.  I got home yesterday afternoon and am pretty tired.  I slept in this morning and need to get back into the swing of everyday life!

Have a great day!