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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, October 31, 2013

If a Quilt Pattern is Named After a Seam Ripper...

Hi Everyone,

This is my post about this month's Schnibble.  Some of us in blogland work on an assigned Schnibble pattern by the hugely talented Carrie Nelson and then "enter" the quilts into the parade on the first of each month over at the wonderful blogs of Sinta and Sherri.  If you have a few minutes tomorrow, check it out.  It is always so much fun to see all the fabulous quilts that go on display.

Carrie has been busy lately writing new patterns.  At the end of last month, there were 4 new ones, but one stood out for me.

Clover!  All day while waiting for the parades to come up and the new pattern to be announced, I kept chanting:  Clo-ver, clo-ver, clo-ver!  I guess my mental telepathy worked because Clover was indeed the next pattern for the group!  Little did I know....

One of the reasons that I fell in love with this pattern immediately was because it looks like it is one that you can use nearly any fabric with.  The other main reason I wanted to make it was because it is downright gorgeous!  Having an immediate love-fest with a quilt can cause you to go to any lengths to make it. I once forced myself to learn needle-turn applique to make a quilt I had to have.  You are probably looking at this pattern and scoffing at me right now. "How hard can that be?" you may be saying.  Hmph....

About a year and a half ago, (or maybe longer), I was asked to make a quilt for my parent's living room.  They recently "freshened" up the room and repainted, etc.  They had a space on a wall that would be great for a wall-hanging quilt.  It just needed to "go with" the furnishings in the room to include their sofa and the new painting they had purchased.  I readily agreed and then spent a year looking for the perfect pattern, trying to get just the right thing.  As the months slipped by, it was often that I wished I could just do a Schnibble for them--but no Schnibble seemed to "feel" right for the room.  But Clover did!

I had some Bali Pop strips from a couple different packs that would match the room, so I proceeded to make my Clover with them.  The thing with Clover is that you need to cut all the small squares and lay the whole thing out on a design wall!  There are no blocks to assemble and include in a larger format. 

I will quote Carrie from the pattern instructions:  "This diagonally-set quilt is made entirely of plain squares and four-patches..."  So it sound easy, right?  You just piece a few (16) 4-patches and then sew them to plain squares--easy peasy!  Yea, don't overlook the "diagonally-set" factor here.  Carrie says she named this after her seam ripper because she wore it out as she changed her mind repeatedly about the design.  I wore mine out because it is diagonally-set and I don't know about you, but as soon as you turn something 45 degrees, I get totally confused!  So I messed up a few times on the piecing and would have to rip the entire row apart because I couldn't see where I made the mistake.  Eventually I worked out a system and finally got all the rows pieced and could start sewing the rows together. 

The only issue I had using 2.5" strips in the construction of this was that I didn't have charm squares to cut diagonally twice for the side triangles.  I considered piecing larger squares from the strips, but in the end, I wanted to use a blue fabric that matched my parent's sofa, so that worked well.  I incorporated the same blue fabric into the center 4 four-patches as well.


Now I know that you have not missed the pins that are on my Clover and the fact that it is not quilted!  I'm so upset by this.  When I decided to join in with the Schnibble group, I told myself that I was not just going to make a bunch of flimsies--if I was going to do this, I would present a finished quilt each month.  This is the first month that it hasn't happened!  I feel really bad, but my Bernina began skipping stitches as I was quilting, and that is the way "Bernie" tells me he needs his annual cleaning/adjustment.  Actually, it was nearly two years since the last, so he has been a trouper.  Anyway, my backup machine is a Janome Jem and it is small, so I couldn't quilt on it, so Clover is unfinished.

In Carrie's version, she made the center squares of each "block" out of the background fabric.  I decided to use a gray fabric in mine. 

I chose the gray to match the painting and also because I didn't have enough background fabric to cut any more squares!  I was really nervous that I wouldn't have enough of it, but by not using the center squares I had only one extra square!  Whew!

One last "issue" I had was that when I looked over the instructions, I somehow missed that Carrie said to cut all those squares 2 1/4 inches.  Since I was using a bali pop, I cut 2.5" squares.  When I realized my mistake, I had already cut all of them and arranged them all on my design wall.  Should I take them all down and trim them or make the 16 four-patch blocks a bit bigger?  Hah!  No contest there!  Since I had plenty of fabric, I made the four-patches larger.  This makes my "finished" size (since it isn't finished yet!) approximately five inches larger than the pattern!  Who would have thought a quarter inch difference could add up to 5 inches?



I hope you all have a great day!
JoAnne

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quilt Show "Challenges" and Results

Hi Everyone,

This is the final post about the quilt show.  I have lots of other things to discuss and share so it is time to move on, as sad as it is to have the show over. 

The "challenges" that I have for you concern a few quilts.  Have you ever entered a quilt in a show only to find other versions of it also in the show?  It is a little bit like seeing the same dress on a different woman that you are wearing, too.  (You always wonder if it looks better on her or you!)  As a spectator, however, I sort of like to see the two, to look at how they differ and what choices work better, etc.

I was one of those people with another quilt the same pattern as I made.  There was another version of Dresden Doilies hanging in the show.  Looking through my photos, I see that I didn't get a picture of it.  It was very similar to the version in the magazine, with yellowish/creamish plates on a mottled red background.  In this case, I thought my version was better--mostly because of the spectacular quilting that Valorie did--and also because of the motifs in the centers of my plates.  At any rate, neither won a ribbon.

The other quilts made of the same pattern have one version that won a ribbon and one that didn't.  I'm going to show you the pictures of both and let you guess at the one you think earned a ribbon.  I will put in lots of spaces so that after you decided, you can scroll on down and see the "answer." 

Before we start, it is important for you to know that the ribbons were awarded on a "viewer's choice" basis--not on workmanship.  The criteria is simply the favorite quilt in each category for the attendee.
With that said, are you ready for your first challenge?

First up is this adorable animal pattern.  I haven't seen it before and it was great to see two versions!  All the details (which you may not be able to see in the photos) are really fun--bow buttons on the giraffe's shoes, etc.  But I would like for you to look at both and decide which one you think won the ribbon.





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Did you decide?  The ribbon went to the bottom one.  In my opinion, I think it has to do with the border/sashing fabric choices.  I like the brightness and playfulness of the bottom one.  The bottom one also had more quilting.  Who knows, though!  Were you right?

Ready for the next set?  This one has even more of a story.  One of our members designed this pattern to use up scraps, etc.  She taught it to a group of other members and one of them finished it and entered her quilt, too. 

 


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Wow, they both look really similar, don't they?  The bottom one looks lighter, but only because of the camera angle.  So which one won?  The top one is the original, made by the woman who designed the pattern, and the bottom one is the quilt that won the ribbon!  The quilting on both was machine done and done well, although differently.  I can't for the life of me decide why people thought one is better than the other.  Is it that the lighting was better on the bottom one?  Or did one have more friends to vote for her quilt?  Do the quilts hanging on either side make a difference?  Also, the lady who won the ribbon had another quilt in the same category that I liked better and it didn't win.  I am truly stymied on this, but it fascinates me! 

Are you wondering how I did?  I entered two quilts in the bed category, one in the wall category, and one in the "other" category.  I was thrilled to find that I won a ribbon!



My whale bag set won second place in the "other" category!  I blogged about this bag when I made it.  If you are curious about any details, you can read about it here.

I'll see you tomorrow with pictures of my Schnibble!  It will be the last day of the month and I need to post about it if I'm going to be included in the big parade.

Have a great day,
JoAnne

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some Fun Quilts from the Show

Hi Everyone,

I'm back with another post about the quilt show.  Yesterday I put the house back together and did some cleaning and then the mail came with a VERY exciting package which I will share with you later this week.  Today I need to work on some holiday sewing--two nighties for my nieces to be exact.

Back to the show.  Today I want to share some pictures of some really neat quilts. 


This white-on-white was done on a long-arm machine.  See the dog in the middle?  The artist did this as a tribute to the rescue dogs of September 11.  The card says that the dogs who were there to search for people weren't finding any and the handlers worried that the dogs were disappointed, so volunteers hid in the rubble to give the dogs someone to find.  I'm not sure if this is true, but I'd like to think it is!
 

I have three or four books on making pictorial quilts, but I still haven't attempted it.  I love these birds!  It is such a bright and happy quilt.
 
This was one of the quilts from the crayon challenge that our guild sponsored.  It was made by the artist at the retreat I went to back in August.  It was fun watching her work on it.  The details are extraordinary.  The petals of the dogwood are dimensional and the centers are beaded.  There are lots of other beads all over the quilt.
 
Another pictorial quilt.  The card on this one said it was a pattern.  Nevertheless, the fabric choices were perfect.  It won a ribbon, too, third place for wall quilts.
 
More fun techniques in this dimensional applique piece.  The handle and trim for the basket is strips of braided fabric.  The large, round flowers are ruched.  I thought it was effective on the simple background, so no details got lost.
 
Finally there was this fun quilt.  It was from a challenge.  The challenge was to make a gold-colored quilt containing yo-yos and featuring a sport.  It looks sort of Celtic or something, right?  It is obviously gold and you can see a group of yo-yos in the center, but what is the sport?  Time to get closer:
 
It is easiest to see in the corners.  Ladies.  Synchronized Swimmers!  The center "circles" are also swimmers.
 
Isn't it wild and fun?!!  And the workmanship is exquisite! It should have won a ribbon, but I don't think most people read the card and "saw" the swimmers.  I didn't until the artist who made it came by while I was looking at the piece and she asked if I saw the ladies.
 
 
I'll be back tomorrow with one more post featuring some "challenges" for you. 
 
Have a great day!
JoAnne

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Quilt Show

Hi Everyone,

Our quilt show was such a success.  It looked beautiful and was well-attended.  More than that--it was fun!  Even though there was a whole lot of work involved, it was so worth it!  I've got quite a few photos to share, so I will do so today and tomorrow!  First up, just some overview snapshots.  Not only did we hang the quilts, but we also brought in all the neat, small items we could to set on the floor to keep people from tripping on the legs of the racks.  The resulting "decorating" of the show was extremely effective!  We received many, many positive comments on how it looked.






(this is my ladder)


 
I brought these fun pumpkins with the tall stems but someone else brought the stands.  They worked so well together!  
 
 
Next are some of the small quilt displays

This is quilts from our Crayola Crayon challenge

Some of the smaller wall hangings.
 
One of my favorite moments was getting to meet Judy from Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.  I recently noticed that she wrote that she was home in Williamsburg and so we were delighted to realize we weren't too far away.  She drove the short distance to attend our show and to meet!  It is always so fun to meet a blog friend!

I think I will have two other blog posts about the show.  One featuring some close-ups of some fun quilts and another with some challenges for you!  See you tomorrow!

Have a great day!
JoAnne

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Set Up

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday was lots of work!  I can't believe what a hard-working bunch of quilters are in my guild.  There were also several husbands helping, including mine(!) who took the day off work to help out.  We met around 1:30 in the afternoon at the guild's storage facility.  Four pickups were needed to load all the racks, tubs, boxes, etc. that were needed.  We were the last one in the convoy over to the school.  I took a picture because it was kind of funny.


Maybe you can see the white truck and the two in front of it absolutely stuffed full of wood, etc.
 
 
Since the show is in a middle school, we couldn't start until the students left--about 2:45.  Once that happened, it was a whirl of work.  Unloading, sorting, piling, decision making--all that had to be done.  We had never used this venue before so we had "plan A, plan B, plan C," and still we had to "wing it" a few times. 
 
I unloaded the door prizes, lugged tables,  decorated a few of the trees out front, climbed up the "folded in" bleachers and pinned sheets around pvc, etc.  Just before we broke for a pizza supper, all the racks were up and quilts were being hung!
 
 
I'm always fascinated to see the types/design of different guild's racks.  My poor husband had never done this before, but plunged in and learned on the fly--he was on the team that put all the racks up and together.
 
While we were eating, I thought about all we had left to do and figured we would be there until 11 pm.  However, we all redoubled our efforts and got to work.  We finished the hanging.  Then we had to "readjust" a bit, and there was an issue about one special display (we weren't able to do the PVC/sheet trick that I had worked on the other side of the gym) so it required some creative problem solving!  Luckily, quilters are creative people!  We also brought numerous "props" to use in decorating.  Old ironing boards, baby cradles, milk cans, etc.  Anyway, we finally finished just a little after 9!
 
I was never so glad that we have a whirlpool bathtub ever.  I'm still sore, as a matter of fact.  Today I go spend the whole day there, as well as Sunday afternoon.  Then it all has to come back down and back to the storage shed....    I don't want to think about that yet.  Here is a sneak peek of some of the quilts.  I will take plenty more to share!
 


Hmm, this was taken with my phone and I see that I got way too much floor in the photo!

Have a great day!
JoAnne

Friday, October 25, 2013

Can You Help?

Hi Everyone,

This is such an exciting day!  This afternoon we set up for the quilt show and hang all the quilts.  It opening tomorrow morning!  After all the work and meetings, I can't believe it is finally here.

Meanwhile, I have a question for all of you.  My sister bought the piece in the photo at a thrift store and discovered that it has a rotating door.  When rotated, it looks like this:



 
It clearly looks like a sewing cabinet to me.  The top "shelf" has the pegs for spools and the tray for needles, etc.  But how about the bottom "shelf?"  Do any of you know what those donut-shaped impressions are for?  Larger spools?  Crochet thread?  I'm racking my brain to picture vintage sewing notions and can't seem to come up with a match.  I would love your input!
 
Don't forget about the giveaway on my Postcard post!
 
Have a great day!
JoAnne

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Postcards and Other Fun Stuff

Hi Everyone,

I am back from vacation and shall fill you in about it in a later post.  Our quilt show is this weekend!  The days are going to fly by until set-up Friday afternoon and I still have stuff to do!  Yikes.  I'm going to try to get most things done today.

Meanwhile, I got the mail that had been held while we were gone and in it I found 3 treasures!

Two of them were postcards.  I haven't done any fabric postcards in a while.  I think they are gorgeous little works of art, but I struggle so much with the creative process when I make them AND I keenly feel the responsibility when I participate in a swap, but lately a few things came together so I made some.  For our quilt show we will have demonstrations on different techniques.  Someone signed up to do a demo on postcards but is unable to attend, so I agreed to fill in and do it.  Then, a while back, Raewyn at Love to Stitch mentioned and shared some postcards she had swapped.  I commented that I used to do that and we agreed that we would swap with each other, but no rush, as we were both a little swamped with other projects.  A little later, I saw where she had signed up for a swap at Sheila's blog, Sheila's Quilt World so I stopped by and signed up, too.  The theme for that swap was a fall/autumn card. 

I started searching for inspiration and ideas and first began fooling around making Indian corn, but that got to be too tedious, so I searched for another idea and settled on a pile of leaves.  This is the card that I made:

When I make postcards, the idea is the difficult thing for me, so when I have one I make several of the same card.  I immediately figured I could send the same card to Raewyn.  When Sheila assigned our partners, I learned that I would be swapping with Rachel.  Raewyn lives in New Zealand and Rachel lives in Australian, so it was going to be fun!  Also both of them are currently having Spring, not Fall.  Anyway, I received Raewyn's card before I left for vacation.

She did a card with the Kawhai tree which blooms in the spring there.  I love it! 

The evening before we left on our trip, I got an email from her.  Her nephew was visiting and she showed him some of the postcards that she had received and he became intrigued with sewing and working on some.  She asked if I would swap with him, and I said I would.  I was surprised to find his card in my mail as well.  I feel terrible because I haven't sent his, but I will this morning!

Here it is.  I think it is wonderful for a young man's first sewing project.  I really love the kiwis, too as it is from NZ.  Do you see both kinds of kiwi?  You can read Raewyn's post about her nephew here.  It is really sweet.

I also found the card from my swap partner, Rachel!  She says that it is her first card and it is gorgeous!

It is a lovely design AND very well executed!  I'm seriously impressed. 

Finally, there was also a package in my mail.  It was from Peggy.  I have gotten to know her through Instagram the past couple weeks that I have been on it.  I already love it as much as reading blogs!  Anyway, one day she posted a picture of a darling red button that hangs on the wall.  It is about 9 inches in diameter.  I fell in love and inquired where she found it.  It was at Hobby Lobby, of course!  I don't have one and bemoaned the fact and she promptly offered to purchase one for me. 

Isn't it adorable?  And what a sweet gesture!  I think the blog world is so full of wonderful, generous people! 

As I mentioned, I made several versions of my autumn postcard. 

All along I wanted to share one with you all.  If you would like a chance to win it, please leave a comment.  I would love to know if you have a nice story about a quilter you met through blogging.  (And possibly have never met in person.)  I will send it to anyone anywhere, as that is half the fun of postcards (receiving them from all over the world!)  Since I'm buried in the quilt show, you can comment up until Sunday night.  I will draw early Monday morning and let you know who is the winner! Good luck!

Have a great day,
JoAnne

PS:  If you are interested in a postcard swap, Sheila is doing another one--with Christmas as the theme.  You can sign up here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dresden Doilies Photo Shoot

Hi Everyone,

I have not been blogging as much as I would like.  Do you remember me telling you how busy this month is for me?  On top of everything, we are currently on a trip.  We are in Pennsylvania with the main destination being Gettysburg Battlefield.  Unfortunately, the government shutdown interfered, but more about that in another post.  This morning we went to the Hershey Gardens in Hershey, PA, and I took along Dresden Doilies and asked if it would be alright to photograph it in the garden and they said yes.  So, without any further ado, here are some of the results.  Warning:  lots of photos to follow.  I would love to know which one you like best!

Arched Fence
 
Flower Background
 
With some Daisies
 
Under a Tree
 
On a Stone Bridge
 
In Front of an Arbor
 
In the Giant Watering Can.  Doesn't it look miniature?
 
As a Fall Backdrop
 
With an Urn
 
 
Now for some close ups.  The quilting was done by Valorie, the Pumpkin Patch Quilter.  She did a beautiful job and was able to fit it in in time for our quilt show in less than two weeks, now!
 





 
She stitched the Dresden Plates in the ditch and McTavished the background.  The large and medium centers have a feather/flower quilted in them and the small centers are empty so they "puff."
 
 
It was a gorgeous day to be in the gardens, and the light was great.  It was cloudy, so there wasn't any harsh shadows from direct sunlight. 
 
I hope you all are having a great day, too!
JoAnne
 
PS:  I think my favorite is the one with the urn.  If you look at it closely, you can just make out my husbands legs on either side of the urn.