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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In Review

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone had a  wonderful Christmas!  Ours was full of family, which made it perfect for me.  For Christmas Eve, we had dinner here at our new house with my husband and I and 9 other family members.  As I sat at the table and looked around I was so happy that I got a bit misty-eyed.  Christmas dinner was also here and after that we spent the afternoon and evening playing games, playing with my baby nephew, and just visiting.  It was kind of old-fashioned and fun.

I have been wanting to assemble a post with all of my quilts that were finished this year.  I would prefer that they all be totally finished--quilted and bound, but there are a few tops that I'm showing too.  I'm sure I may have missed at least one or two, but considering I did very little quilting the second half of this year, it is still quite a lot of them.

I participated in the Schnibbles group off and on.  These are the ones I did this year.


 Jersey Girl

 Short Story


I also made another pattern by Carrie Nelson, Sample, out of French General scraps.

One of my most prominent projects was the Blogger Girls' Block of the Month.  It was so much fun to be asked by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts to be one of the featured bloggers, and I loved the fabric and the quilt.  Here it is, all finished, quilted, and bound.

Another huge project was Talkin' Turkey.  I got to take a class with Bonnie Hunter for this quilt and it was so much fun, that I finished it.  I love red!

Other projects include the following:

Early in the year, Moda was sharing free patterns for all of the letters of the alphabet.  It was fun getting them and thinking up projects to make with them.

My nephew's baby quilt.  I'm really going to miss all of the scenic locations where I photographed quilts in Virginia.  I'm going to have to search out some here in Indiana.

This is one of the unquilted tops I'm sharing.  I love this so much.  I really need to quilt it.  One of my plans was to quilt up all of my tops before the New Year (most of them are even pin-basted) but I just haven't gotten to it.

And this is another top.  I won these blocks at guild and they were quite challenging to fit together as they were all different sizes.  

I haven't shared these yet.  A few weeks ago Pam Buda had the free pattern for this pincushion on her blog.  I loved it so much that I made two.  

Here are the other small projects that I recently shared.

This heart quilt was a sew along back in Jan-Feb with the Temecula Quilt Company.  

 I put together all the blocks from my Virginia Bee into this Christmas sampler.  I hunted high and low to find cardinal fabric for it, since the state bird of Virginia is the cardinal.  I guess it is also Indiana's state bird!  

And lastly, I finally made a Twister quilt.  I couldn't start with anything simple, though.  It was lots of fun making this Uncle Sam.

I think that is all I can think of right now.  I'm onto deciding what to do for next year.  I know I'm itching to get into a Big Complicated quilt.  One with lots of pieces.  I happen to know exactly what I want to tackle and already begun the cutting for it.  I will share about it next year.  

Happy  New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hi Everyone,

I'm checking in to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  I'm sure I'll be back before New Year.  I saw this several weeks ago and wanted to share it with you--maybe you have seen it.  I know it is based on a true story.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wait! The Year is Almost Over?

Hi Everyone,

Oh my goodness!  It was so sweet to hear from so many of you that you missed me and are glad that I am back--it really warmed my heart and makes me wish I had gotten back to this much sooner.  I've missed all of you, too!

I simply cannot believe that there is only two weeks left in this year!  The time since our move seems to have flown by.  Looking back, we had our stuff packed up in July, so I feel as though I've lost 6 months--just "poof!"  Anyway, I'm not going to waste any more time dwelling on that fact.  I want to see what I can do with the rest of the time.

What with Christmas thrown in the mix, I'm not sure I will have time to get much done in the way of projects, so I want to spend my time planning a bit.  Usually at this time, I am looking back at the projects that I did this year.  I think I will see if I have enough to share in a post for later.

I say that I haven't done much, but in fact, I have started and completed two Christmas projects!  The thing about moving is that you find thing that you forget you have.

Last year, my good friend in Virginia, Linda, was making this candle mat from a kit.  I said I liked it, so she gave me the pattern and the leftover bits of wool.  I found it and decided I should actually make it.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much wool I have, and yet this is only the second project that I've made with it!  I loved this project as you just whip stitch the wool--no need to do the blanket stitch, which isn't my favorite.

In other stuff I came across another pattern that I'd bought a few years ago.  I decided to work on it next.  (The key to both of these projects is that it involves lots of hand work, and that is about all I've been doing lately--at my bee days.)

It took two Bee meetings to get the embroidery done.

(Ugh!  Sorry for the sideways picture!)

There are two snowflakes.

Then last Friday, I pieced it all together.  My husband was flying home from a trip to Canada and was delayed in Toronoto, which made him miss his flight from Detriot, so while I was waiting for his new flight to land, I got this together.  Monday I did some minimal machine quilting and added the binding so that I could take it on Tuesday and do the hand finishing on the binding at that Bee, so it took three weeks to do. 

I have no idea what I'll be taking to the next meeting:  If nothing else, my Sarah's Revival applique blocks.  Remember how I wanted to get a few blocks done while on hiatus?  Well, it didn't happen!

So I'm thinking forward to next year and considering the projects that I want to tackle.  I am in the mood to do a "major project." I know what it is and actually started cutting it before we moved.  How about you?  Do you have plans for next year?  I'd love to hear them.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jumping Back In

Hi Everyone!

I have been wanting to get back blogging for several weeks now, but the first post back seemed so daunting to write.  So much has happened, how can I possibly remember it all?  How do I get back to it?  Are just a couple of the hurdles that made it difficult to start again.  Compounding the problem is the fact that I was feeling so guilty for not posting, that I haven't been reading many other blogs.  I think if I had been, it would have inspired me to get back to it.

The past few days, I decided just to write a "normal" post--just "jump back into it."  Then this morning when I woke up, I had an email from Maggie in Vermont wondering where I was, so I decided that it had to be today.

The closing for our house went off without a hitch.  Well, at least once we got there.  Since my husband had the afternoon off, he decided to stop by the DMV on the way to the closing.  (The DMV is just a couple blocks from the closing.)  His goal was to get his new Indiana driver's license.  His previous license had expired, but that state allows it to remain valid if you are in the military.  This state has the same provision with theirs, so you would think that everything would go smoothly.  We allowed over 2 hours for the process and there wasn't a line, but still we nearly were late.  To make a long story short, it involved the clerk, the supervisor, and several phone calls down to the state office.  On top of all of that, the clerk didn't think that Alaska was a state(!)

 Here we are signing some of the papers.

That was the end of September.  The very next day I began painting some of the rooms.  They were all very lovely to begin with, however, most of them were green, and while I like green, it just doesn't go with my things.  So I tackled the kitchen, my new quilting room, the dining room, a guest room, the master bedroom and the entire basement rec room.  I finished it all on a Thursday and on Friday went on a day trip with my daughter to Ikea in Cincinnati.  While we were there, my husband called to say that our stuff was arriving on Sunday (as in the day after tomorrow!)  We weren't really expecting it until the following Tuesday, and so we just had Saturday to move out of our apartment.


The delivery went pretty smoothly.  If you have ever moved, you know that sometimes it can be heartbreaking when your things arrive damaged, etc.  Our stuff was mostly okay--a few dings here and there, but that is expected.  Nothing seems to be lost, either.  The weather was gorgeous--it had poured with rain the day before, so that was lucky too.

Once they left on Sunday afternoon, the work really got started.  We actually got most of the boxes emptied and out to recycling by the end of the next weekend.  I think I was motivated by it being the last time!  Also, I was leaving my quilting things to the end...

What went very slow for me (and always does) is the "dressing" of the house.  Where to sit things?  How to arrange things on the wall?  What should go in each room?  Over the course of our military life, my house became entirely red, white, and blue.  The advantage was that if some favorite thing didn't fit in the room it was supposed to, it could go in another.  The huge disadvantage has been deciding what room to put everything in!  It would have been much easier if I had, say, a blue and yellow bedroom.  I would put all of the blue and yellow stuff in there and arrange it so it works the best and be done.  Instead, nearly everything I have could go into any room, so that was all a bit daunting, too.  I finally got the main floor done, and the guest rooms upstairs.  I have a few things hanging in the basement, but all of the rest is leaning up against the walls down there.  I had all of the "sitting" decorations all over the dining room table.  Luckily, I had Thanksgiving to motivate me, and I got things arranged and the excess carried downstairs in time.

Amongst all of the tasks to get done, are heavy doses of these:

My nephew who is now 10 months old

My nine year old neices.  

Moving somewhere where there is family has been wonderful!  I adore these kids and love spending time with them.

I am still going to the local quilt shop for "sit and sew" on Tuesdays.  Today is our Christmas party.  I also joined a newely-formed bee and have been to one of the two meeting that we have had so far. 

Have I shared that this is Amish country?  Shipshewana is only a bit over an hour away.  There are several wonderful quilt shops there, but I haven't been to them yet since we moved here.  We did go to Shipshewana for an antique show, but I didn't want to go to the quilt shops with my husband tagging along.

I think that this is a good start for now.  I will try to be back in a day or two to share more things.   My plan is to show some of the rooms, but in small doses.  I've done a bit of stitching lately, but not too much.  Part of the problem was getting my room set up--it took a while.  It still isn't ready to show as I'm redoing my fabric.  I had folded it all around my 6" ruler and had it neatly stacked on shelves in Virginia.  I planned to do that here, but I have different shelves, and they are not as deep, so the fabrics hangs over the edge.  Now I'm in the process of winding it around the comic book inserts.  I had 300 and ran out and just got some more.  More about that, later!  (Incidently, the folded fabric was easy to move.  They just stacked it in boxes, and I took it right out and put it on the new shelf.)

Until then, here is a teaser picture from out of the window of my quilting room.  I have a great view of the pond.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Whit Beyond Measure is Life's Greatest Treasure"

Hi Everyone,

I'm still here!  As of right now, though, I've packed up most of my quilting things from my tiny apartment.  I've finished what I started and it is nearly time to get busy at our new house, doing painting and such.

One of the projects that I finished was this month's Schnibble.  In case you don't know, there is a group of quilters here online who like to make the same pattern each month, and it is often a Schnibble pattern by Carrie Nelson.  This month, the selection was one of her Little Bites patterns instead.  She uses 5" charm squares for her Schnibble quilts, but for Little Bites, she uses the 2.5" candy squares.  Anyone who is interested in making the "assigned" pattern can do so and then send a photo (and a link if you blog) to Sinta at the Pink Pincushion or Sherri at A Quilting Life.  They have parades on the first of the month featuring all the quilts as well as announcing the next project.

The pattern for this month is called "Whit."  It requires making tiny flying geese.  I love flying geese, and making them smaller wasn't any problem for me.  Once made, you could place the geese into three different arrangements.  "Whit" is a word describing a small amount--Carrie uses synonyms of tiny bits for all of her Little Bites projects.  I love that!

This is my completed "Whit" quilt.

 I used some charm squares from a Minick and Simpson line which I cut down from 5" into  2.5" squares.  Sometimes I find it tricky to decide on a background color  to go with my charm squares.  It was especially difficult with this line.  It seemed that nearly half of the fabrics in the collection were tan or cream, then there were navy, red, and a medium blue.  I decided to pull out the medium blues and then used a medium blue solid for the background of my geese units.

In Carrie's version of this same quilt, she used an Essex Linen for the large background areas (the navy blue in my quilt.)  I have seen several different quilts being made with this linen, and it intrigued me.  The fabric is a blend of linen and cotton.  When I found some in Virginia, I got some yardage of two colors, navy and a natural/tan.  It being linen, is more "beefy" than cotton, but not hugely so.  I was really afraid it would ravel much more than cotton, but actually, the Kona was worse.

Once I had the top all together, I quilted it.  I would have liked to have quilted straight lines, but I don't have my walking foot with me, so I just did a small meander.  First I tried using navy thread, but it looked terrible over the geese, so luckily I stopped before I had done too much, but it still meant a lot of ripping.   I ended up using a dark gray--it isn't as noticeable on the navy or the geese.

Once I had the quilting complete, I began trimming it.  And then I realized that I had forgotten to put the outer border strips on!!!  It should have had 2" navy strips all the way around.  Good Grief.  Luckily, I looked at it and decided it was okay "as is."

While working on this project, I kept trying to think of a clever name, playing on the word, "whit."  I briefly considered substituting the "W" for an "S," as that word may have slipped out when I needed to rip out quilting AND when I discovered the missing border, but that  wouldn't be nice.  While I was stitching down the binding, suddenly this phrase popped into my head:  "Wit beyond measure is life's greatest treasure."  If you are a fellow Harry Potter fan, you will recognize it as the engraving on Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem.  I thought it very appropriate for this quilt if I changed wit to whit.  I especially like the "beyond measure" as mine is not the same measurements as Carrie's, since it is missing the border.

Meanwhile, today is THE DAY when we finally close on our house, so I'm really excited!  Have a wonderful day!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

A "Mushroom" Quilt

Hi Everyone,

One of my favorite authors is Diana Gabaldon.  She is getting lots of attention as her first novel, Outlander, is being filmed and shown on Starz.  If you are a fan, we are all excitedly waiting for Saturday night when Claire and Jamie are getting married.  If you aren't a fan, you should try reading the books--they really are great.

Anyway, I mention Diana, not just to chat about Outlander, but because the woman is such a great writer that I would read her grocery list if she published it!  A few years back, she published "The Outlandish Companion" as a supplement to her books, and I think it was in that book that I first read her descriptions of character development.  She said that the characters that she creates for her books fit into three major characters:  One is the Hard Nut:  characters that are necessary, but that are difficult to "see."   Another is the Onion--a character who continues to develop over the course of the story--revealing themselves in layers, like an onion.  And finally there is the Mushroom:  characters that just pop up, fully developed, seemingly overnight.

I love these categories so much because I think they can also apply to quilts, and I've been doing that ever since I read Diana's thoughts.  We all have Tough Nut projects--they are the ones all the way in the back of our UFO shelf!  The Onion is that quilt that you aren't too sure about in the beginning, but just keeps getting better, and/or otherwise changes as you work on it.  (This is my favorite kind of project) and then there are Mushrooms.  These are quilts that I had no intention (or plan) to make, and yet suddenly there they are!"  The quilt I'm sharing today is just such a project.

I was at the weekly "Sit and Sew" a couple weeks ago at my LQS, working on my applique and visiting with the ladies.  One of them was cutting and folding panels that had arrived in the shop.  I was sitting in such a position that she (and the panels) were in front of the shelves of fabric.  As I looked at her, my eyes would drift behind her to the fabric, and it seemed like there was just the perfect fabric for the panel right there!  I had no intention of making a quilt like that, though.

It's not that I didn't like the panel--it was quite pretty, actually, but I just have other things to do.  But I kept looking at that bolt of fabric.  Finally, when she completed her task and went to do something else, she left one of the panels behind.  So I got up and took it over to that fabric that caught my eye, and yes, it was perfect!  Was there any more?  Before I knew it, I had a whole collection of fabrics piled up that went beautifully with it!  Before I knew it, I was taking home three of them and a panel.

I got home and the next day I began.  I cut the panel apart and made patchwork.  I had the entire top done in an afternoon.

The panel is made so that you could cut the rectangles apart and sew them together to form an entire, complete scene of a tree full of birds, but I wanted to keep the rectangles separate, framed with patchwork, so I did a nine-patch detail.

Here is the finished top taped to my living room wall.  I was really pleased with how it came out!  The border fabric was a bit of a risk, yet in my opinion, it really works.  The next week, I took it in to show, and now it is living at the shop.  I "unintentionally" created a shop sample!  It's pretty exciting!

How about you?  Have you ever done a "mushroom" quilt?  (By the way, if you are an Outlander fan, and you've never heard Diana's character description before, you can find it online here.)

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two Hundred Years Ago

Hi Everyone,

Today marks the 200th Anniversary of the events that inspired Frances Scott Key to write the poem that became the National Anthem of the United States of America!


On September 13, 1814 the British (these events were part of the War of 1812) the British began attacking Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.  The fired upon the fort all night long, sending as many as 1500-1800 round into the fort.  Onlookers and other ships in the area had no idea if the fort was being destroyed, so at dawn on September 14, the Commander, Major George Armistead had the smaller storm flag set aside, and instead, at dawn, raised the standard Garrison flag, which measured 42 by 30 feet.  The sight of the American flag still flying after such a determined attack "gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there!"

Last summer I read this blog post about Mimi Dietrich and the members of the Maryland Historical Society who recreated the flag.  I found it fascinating.  I wish I could have worked on it as well.  Even if you are not American, you may enjoy reading about such a huge sewing/applique project.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Sarah's Revival Update

Hi Everyone,

I've been quilting!  I have a few things to show, too!  For this post, I'm going to focus on the hand-applique.  I was just checking to see when I last had an update to my Sarah's Revival blocks, and I was surprised to see that the last one I posted was back in February when I was working away on blocks during the Winter Olympics.  Of course, I probably haven't had much more progress to share!

I have finished two blocks here in Indiana, though.  In case you are new to my blog and don't know much about this project, it is a pattern by Sue Garman.

It features 36 "paper cut" appliqued blocks.  "Paper cut" refers to the process when you fold paper/fabric as you would paper to cut a snowflake--and then cut the pattern out of the resulting folded triangle.

Recently, I completed my 26th block, so I only have 10 more to go!!  (And then the borders...)

Some of the remaining blocks are the most complex yet, so what I really need to do is work at them more consistently.  If I stitch for a few hours a day and then set it aside for a week or longer, it takes a bit to get going again with smooth results.  In Virginia, I was letting two weeks or longer pass between my efforts, as I mostly worked on it at Bee.  Here in our apartment, I'm getting a little station all set up so that I can work at it as I watch TV.   Hand applique gets better and easier the more I do it.  There are two weeks and a few more days until we close on the house, and I don't have much to do in that time but wait, so I'm challenging myself to get three blocks done!  Do you think I can do it?

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Parade of My Own Schnibble Quilts

Hi Everyone,

If you are a regular reader of my blog, maybe you noticed that I haven't posted any entries for Schnibbles quilt parades lately?  There are two reasons:  the first was that I missed doing/posting the last two entries and the second reason is that we took the summer off.  Sinta at the Pink Pincushion announced earlier last week that it will resume again on September First and the new round will be called:  Another Year of Schnibbles and a Little Bit More!  The last "round" was called Vintage Schnibbles.  In preparation for the next, Sinta invited us to post our own parade from Vintage Schnibbles, so here are mine!

The first Vintage Schnibbles parade was on May 1, 2013 and featured the pattern Hat Trick.

It is made from the leftovers of my very first Schnibble, and the fabric line is Urban Cowgirl.  That is still one of my most favorite lines of fabric that isn't RWB.

The June 1 parade featured Gentle Art.  The spool blocks were lots of fun to make and looked great in any fabric.  I chose the line, Fellowship, by Jan Patek.  This quilt has since gone to California to live at my sister's house.

On July 1, the chosen pattern was Dulcinea.  At that time, I was into my "39 Days of Patriotism" where I was only working on RWB (red, white, and blue) projects.   For my version, I used bits and pieces of my patriotic fabric stash.

The parade for August 1 was made of quilts using the pattern Lincoln.  The pattern's name of a President inspired me to use a piece of fabric that I had had for several years that featured reproductions of the old collectible cigar silks with the faces of the Presidents.  I made a larger version of the Lincoln pattern in order to use each President that was present on the fabric.

Here is a close up of one of the Presidents--Mr. Lincoln himself,
and below is the entire quilt.

September First was a parade of Canasta Schnibbles.  I made my version from French General scraps and yardage and as a fun alteration, I scalloped the border.  I think it is one of my top five favorite Schnibbles!  I renamed it Colonial Canasta after getting this awesome picture of it with members of a fife and drum corps.

During September, for the parade on October first, the pattern to make was Mercerie. For this one, I went back to using charm packs and yardage from one line:  Seascapes by Deb Strain.  With such an ocean feel to it, I took it to a beach for it's photo.

The November First parade was comprised of quilts made from the pattern Clover.  For a quilt made entirely of 2.5" squares, it should have been easy, but when a quilt is named after a seam ripper, it must be for a reason!  You can read all about my drama here.   I think this was the first parade where my quilt was entered but hadn't been quilted yet.  If you remember, when I decided to participate in this group, I made myself a promise that each entry would be entirely finished--quilted, and bound.  I didn't want unfinished tops to pile up.  Anyway, I did get Clover finished a few days later and it now lives in my parent's living room.

November was now upon us and I was getting into the holiday mood, so when the next pattern was announced, Morning Joe, I decided to make it using Primitive Gatherings "Snowman Gatherings" fabric (with a solid red background) and to also make some changes to make it more snowman-like.  Another difference between this Schnibble and others is that usually I just meander the quilting, but for this project, it felt right to do something more "custom."  I love when these moods come upon me as it gives me a chance to experiment and "grow" with my machine quilting.

Here is my version of  "Morning Joe, Sam, Bill, and Ed."

A closeup showing detail of the machine quilting and embellishments.
I was completely thrilled when Lisa Bongean (Queen Primitive Gatherings herself) made a comment on my blog post!!!!

Since the holidays were now in full swing, there was a break until January 1 when the next Schnibble was announced for a parade on February 1.  

That pattern was Jersey Girl.  Again I changed things up a bit.  I had been wanting/longing for, a "leaf block" Schnibble and so far, Carrie had not delivered!  However, with the addition of some stems, the Jersey Girl block made a perfect leaf.  

I used bits of Harvest Moon by Kansas Troubles.  For the background, I pulled out all sorts of bits and scraps of fabric from my stash that seemed to be the right shade--I loved the scrappiness of it.  I also added a great "piped" binding.

The March parade was "Quilter's Choice" meaning we could make any pattern we wished.  Since my spool block quilt, Gentle Art, went to my sister's house, I decided to make Short Story, which also makes a slightly different spool block.  For it, I used Minick and Simpson's Midwinter Reds with a blue solid background.

"Hook" was the pattern for the April parade.  I was crushing on Lori Holt's Bakesale line so that was the charms I used.  I struggled more to find a good background fabric.  I tried a few options before settling on a solid red.  This pattern was a little bit more technically challenging, too, since it was made of angled pieces.  It went together fine for me, although sewing the rows together required pressing things open, and there was quite a bit of bulk where all the points came together.

The next parade was to feature any pattern by Camille Roskelley at Thimbleblossoms.  By then I was really busy with other things and did not participate.  The final pattern was Carrie Nelson's once more:  X-Rated.
We could either make the version using 5" squares or 10" squares.  I didn't blog about mine, but I did use a layer cake and made a version.  The reason I didn't share is that I made it with Grant Park fabric and it was for the backing of my Blogger Girls BOM quilt.

Here it is.  It did make a great back for the quilt, too!  This pattern was fun and quick to make.

And...  that's it!  We've been "on break" ever since, and I'm really excited for the next phase!  I hope some of you play along.  If you are interested, you can get details here.

I hope all of you here in the US have a great and safe holiday weekend!