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.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Blogger Girls BOM Month Six

Hi Everyone,

Since it is the first of the month, it is time to write about the latest, and last of the blocks for the Blogger Girls BOM project.  I can't believe that this is nearly the end.  Next month, on July 1, we will have the big reveal of our finished quilts--I'm pretty excited about it.

I know that I have some new followers, so to fill you in, I was asked to participate in Monique Dillard's FREE block of the month program for this year.  Each of the participants was asked to choose a block pattern and then Monique designed a really stunning setting for the blocks.  The patterns are available here.  Each month, you make two versions of the same block pattern, but alter the value placement and/or tweak a few elements in order to produce two, very-different looking blocks.  It is really fun and it is amazing how the blocks look nothing like each other.

This month is also a two-fer.  A little birdie told me that Monique is also sharing the pattern for the alternate block.  You can find her blog post about it all here.

So without further delay, here are my two versions of the final block, which was selected by the wonderful Lissa at Moda Lissa:

You know that I can't resist some fussy-cutting, and did so again on the first block.

The second one was lots of fun, too.  

This is one of the alternate blocks needed to complete the quilt.  You will need to make 12 of these to set between the 13 other blocks.

  Did I say yet?  I have mine all together, ready to show next month and I Can't Wait to share it!  I thought that since I have so much going on with moving, etc. that I should get it all together as soon as possible.  I'm so excited about this quilt.

Feel free to check out the other participants at their blogs.  They are making some gorgeous versions of their own:

Sherri at A Quilting Life
Lissa at Moda Lissa
Denise at A Quilters Window
Jodi at Pleasant Home

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Let's Do the Twist

Hi Everyone,

I'm back, just as promised, to continue the saga of my Uncle Sam Twister quilt.  When I left off on my last post, I had made it to the point of having all of the squares sewn together.

(And the picture is still sideways...)

I heard from several of you that Sam looked really great "as is" and I agree!  He looked great and I did have a few qualms about starting to cut it again, but I plunged in anyway, hoping the new version would be at least as good.  I do to let you know that I altered the pattern a bit.  Did I say this yesterday?  I can't remember, but in case you didn't either, or I haven't said it yet, the pattern called said to cut 3.5" squares and then use the appropriate Twister template for those squares.  I only have the mini Twister, and it cuts from 2.5" squares, so that was the size that I used.  Just imagine how big this Sam would have been if all the squares were an inch larger!!!

In case you are new the the Twister templates, they look like this:

You align those black lines onto the seam allowances between your pieced squares and trim around the edges.  It is a good idea if you have a small rotary cutter when doing so, because you don't want to "overcut" too much, or you will ruin another piece.  The pattern tells you how to cut.  I had my largest Lori Holt design board out to place the newly cut squares on so they would stay in order.  (The design board is a piece of foam core covered in batting)  Another important bit to mention is that since the piece is "twisted," the newly cut edges are all bias.  In anticipation of this fact, I heavily starched my Sam quilt before I began to cut. In order to avoid any other issues, I only cut 10 rows of squares at a time.

Here you can see that I have the lines on the ruler aligned on the seam lines of my Sam.  I used the rotary cutter with the blade about the size of a quarter, and it worked brilliantly for this project.

As you cut out the pieces you need, you leave "waste" pieces behind.  This is the reason for the drastic shrinkage between the "before" and "after."  I suppose Bonnie Hunter, and maybe many of you, would keep these, but I just chucked them.  (Yes, I can hear your horrified gasps, ha ha!)

More cutting.

I sewed the first 10 rows together and ended up with this.

I put it above the rest of the Sam so I could see just how much it shrank.  Wow!

Before I began this project, I considered it, as I usually do about any new project.  I had decided that the "worst" part of the project would be all the cutting with the template, and boy was I right!  It was downright tedious!  The little template is small and even though it has little grippers on it, I used a lot of pressure to keep it in place--making my arms ache.  It was a good thing that I was working in batches of 10 rows, as I the break between cutting sessions was just what I needed.  So I cut and sewed, and cut and sewed, etc.  The sewing was really easy.

This is how it came out:

The original Sam measured about 25" x 70" and the twisted Sam measured 12" x 37!"  Quite a difference.  The little squares that I cut using the template finished at one inch!  The finished Twisted Sam is heavy and thick with all of the seam allowances.

Here is the back, so you can see it.

But not only do I have that "finished" picture for you, I have another.  I got it quilted!  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, since it was so thick.  I decided to put on the walking foot and just stitch in the ditch the grid lines between all of the squares.  I like how it came out.

Earlier today, I went to lunch with some of my good Bee friends, and after we browsed in some quaint shops.  There was one shop that was full of banner flags--the cute outdoor ones.  I've never seen so many in one place in my life.  They also had stands in many sizes to hold the flags.  I started picturing using the stands for quilts instead of the banner/flags.  Then I found one that would be perfect for this Uncle Sam quilt.  I wasn't going to get it, though, but my friends made me  encouraged me to get it.  I ended up being really happy with it.  Have a look:

See the stars on the pole and the base?  Perfect!  He isn't done yet, though.  I realized I still need to sew on a small button or else a french knot for an eye.  I will do that later.  I wanted to spend the rest of the evening blogging and sharing him with you.  By the way, even though the stand is for outdoor use, Sam will be staying inside!

One other thing, when I woke up on Sunday, my head was all back to normal--no more vertigo and no more sinus congestion, too.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Twisty, Snaky, Dizzy

Hi Everyone,

Wasn't it a great long weekend?  I hope if you live in the US that you had a great one.  If you don't, I hope you had a great regular weekend.  Ours was a four day weekend, as the Army thinks it is a great idea to give an extra day off whenever there is a three-day weekend--this is to make up for the long hours normally worked.

My husband and I discussed a few possibilities of things to do.  One of which was to go to Philadelphia, but frankly, I couldn't stomach battling all the traffic, especially around DC, etc., so we stayed at home.  The next plan was to possibly go somewhere nearby for a day trip.  I suggested going across the James River and travelling about an hour to visit some antique shops that I had seen over a year ago.  Vague?  Yes, but we were game.

Thursday night, I got a wild hair to start a new quilting project.  I had the pattern to make the Uncle Sam twister quilt.  I proceeded to do all of the cutting and laid out all of the squares that were needed.

You can see that he doesn't even fit on my design wall--I had to halve him to get the squares up.   I thought it would be fun to work on a patriotic project for the holiday weekend.

 Friday morning, I woke up and got started sewing them together.  My husband asked if we were going on our outing and I was torn.  This always happens--we sort of plan on doing something and then never do, for whatever reason.  So I decided to go ahead an go. The sewing could wait.

And so we set off.  Before too long, we were on a rural highway.  Rural highways in Virginia mostly seem to be fairly narrow--with no real shoulders, and they wind around in curves and over hills and other rolling terrain.  I had forgotten that my husband really doesn't like to drive on those kinds of roads.  I rather enjoy it myself, but then, I'm not the one driving the car.  He kept complaining, asking how much further.  I had vague directions.  He remarked that he didn't like "snaky" roads.  Finally, though, we arrived at the area I had remembered.  We found two antique shops.  The first one was horrible, and the second one wasn't much better.  The first was dark, with no air circulation, and full of junky stuff--and not the good kind of junk, either--just the picked-over leftovers or something.  The second one had mostly furniture--some pieces were nice to look at, but nothing I wanted enough to pay the shockingly high prices for at any rate.

We decided to cut our losses, and head back towards home.  I knew of a few more antique shops in Smithfield, and I'd visited them before and they are pretty nice, so it was time to travel back on the same road that we already driven on.  The curvy one.  My husband started up grumbling and wondering if there was another road to take, etc.  Then we went around a curve and there it was!  In the middle of our lane of the highway!  A giant snake!  It was coiled up a bit and had its head lifted off the road.  There was nothing we could do to avoid hitting it, and so with the sensation of running over a coiled garden hose, the car ran it over.  Yuck!!!  I sort of feel bad about it, but really there was nothing to do that wouldn't have caused an accident.  Eew!  As I was getting over the shivers of the whole experience, my husband quips, "I told you these roads are snaky--and I don't like snaky roads!"

We made it to Smithfield without encountering any more wildlife and had a nice lunch and more browsing.  Getting ready to move, etc. severely curtails my desire to buy much, but I did find a vintage, blue, souvenir plate from Jamestown that came home with us.

We got home again and I resumed sewing some more. When I went to bed, everything seemed fine and then I turned my head to turn off the bedside lamp and the world spun out of control.  I guess I had vertigo or something--it was unusual and had never happened before.  I didn't immediately pass, either.  I finally fell asleep and when I woke up, I wasn't too dizzy, but it felt like I had a hang-over for most of the day.  This wasn't good, as I had plans to go to Richmond with a friend in order to visit The Quilter's Corner--a very nice quilt shop that I'd only been to one other time.  Luckily she called and asked if I minded if she drove!  I felt much better about that.  I was beginning to suspect that the vertigo was being caused by some sinus issues, and it sort of felt like I had a brick in my head, so I took decongestant and it did help.

We got to the shop and it was just as nice as I remembered.  I didn't take many pictures, which is really a shame, but I'll blame that on the fact that I wasn't quite a hundred percent.  I did get this one of a mini that was hung outside the door.

Once we browsed for a bit, I began to visit a bit with the employees.  You see, one of them has been a blog follower for quite some time.  I didn't quite want to blurt anything out and sound weird, so I was trying to be subtle.  However, Vicki was already suspecting that it might be me, but she wasn't quite sure.  So anyway, we "met" and hugged and visited for a while.  It was fun.  I always love finally getting to meet "virtual" friends.  They never disappoint me.  I hope I don't let them down in any way.  Now at least, we can be "real" friends, too. Even though we already were.

I did find a few things to buy.  As you know, the last thing I need is any more fabric right now, but there were some red fat quarters and a few other pieces that I had to bring home with me.  Mostly it was just fun looking. The shop has a great variety of lots of different things and the selections are really nice.  While we were getting our things cut, we asked where to eat.  It will come as no surprise by any of you, I'm sure, to know that quilters always know the best places to eat!  We went to one of the suggested places, the Brick House Diner, and it was delicious!  We got home in early afternoon and I resumed sewing.  By Saturday evening, I had all of the squares sewn together.

Hmmm, for some reason the picture wants to be sideways!  Grr.  Sorry about that.  Can you see, though, that his legs hang off the bottom of my design wall?  At this point, it was about 25" x 70."

As this post is getting pretty long, I'm going to end it here.  The Sam is still not done, though, he needs to be twisted.  Stay tuned!

Have a great day,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grab Bag

Hi Everyone,

A while back, during my big spending spree, I saw a grab bag or "surprise package" on the Fat Quarter Shop's sale page.  They had several boxes of civil war reproduction fabrics for $99 each, and each was purported to contain 12 pounds, or at least 34 yards of fabric.  I thought that as a service for all of you, I would order one so we could all see what it contained.

I'll admit that it was a bit like Christmas when it arrived!  It was a big, heavy box.

Most of the pieces were at least a yard, some were longer, and several were 2/3-3/4 of a yard.  

These pieces were extra wide quilt backing.  I think they are each a yard.  I love extra wide backing to use as borders for large quilts, but they could also get used as part of a backing.  I love the floral one!  I've used the brown one on the right before.  I think it was the only fabric I got that I already had.

There were lots of blues!  I l really like the stripe in the photo below.

These are some lights.

I was please to get some CW purples as my selection was a bit skimpy.

This is the smallest piece I recieved.

More browns.

I was quite pleasantly surprised with all that I recieved.  It is a great selection of nice, usable fabric.  My only disappointment:  no red!

I  measured everything and totaled it up and this box did contain 34 or more yards!  That means it was a tad less than $3 a yard--not bad for today's prices.  Would I get one again?  Maybe, if they could guarantee that it would have a lot of red fabric!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Talkin Turkey Flimsy Finish!

Hi Everyone,

It was just over 6 weeks ago that I got to spend the day with Bonnie Hunter working on this project.  As you may recall, I took it to my retreat in April and did a whole bunch of work on it.  I was hoping to finish it there, but I didn't get all of the flying geese completed, and then I realized I had cut the scrappy sashing strips incorrectly (9" instead of 9.5")  I lost the momentum at retreat but when I got home, I put some of the finished blocks up on the design wall to relook the sashing.  I was going to cut more scrappy pieces, but as I was pulling out fabric, I came across a patriotic, star-studded piece that I really liked.  I thought it would add a patriotic touch to my Talkin Turkey.  I cut a few strips and put them up, but couldn't get a good enough look, so I cut even more.

See the strips with the stars and light red stripes?  

I started second-guessing the choice.  I thought the stars were a bit too "bossy"--that they took over too much.

This is with the scrappy sashings--the way Bonnie made hers.  I liked it fine, but I started thinking about putting my own stamp on the project--I could make it like Bonnie's and it would look nearly exactly like Bonnie's.  That would be okay, but it wouldn't be "mine."

So I was stuck in indecision, and I hate that.  Meanwhile, I got distracted working on my Blogger Girls BOM, etc.  Once I finished it, I got this back out.  I really wanted to finish it prior to moving, as I didn't want to lose any of the pieces.  I got it out and put it back up on the design wall to make a decision.  And my decision was just to finish it already!  Sometimes it is possible to think too much--I needed to sew.  

Actually, I had several more of the blocks to finish, and then I made the 200+ flying geese for the border and when it was time to start sewing everything together, I just went ahead and used the star sashing strips.  I reminded myself that they would be a half inch narrower, once the sew allowances were sewn, and that may help "minimize" the bossiness.  I think it did.

I finished it on Saturday.  I couldn't photograph it outside that day as we had contractors here installing a new door to the back deck.  On Sunday, it was too windy, so I finally got some pictures Monday.  Although it looked nice and still outside, once I took it out, sure enough--a breeze came up.  Doesn't that always happen?

Here's a closeup so that you can see the star sashing sewn in.

The middle went together very easily, but the borders took forever.  Have you ever noticed that?  You get a fairly complex quilt done and think the border will only take an hour or so and it takes an entire day.  Or two!

First was a completer border, comprised of the final row of the nine-patches with strips of three rectangles in between.  I made and sewed on all four sides of that.  Next was the first of the flying geese borders.  Some of them needed a spacer square in the middle, and some needed an HST at the ends, etc. so I really needed to pay attention to constructing the border strips and getting them attached correctly.  After that was the string-pieced border.  The directions said to sew them all together into one long, long strip, so I did.  Then I carefully measured through the middle of the quilt to get the correct measurements, and then I carefully measured out the correct lengths and cut them off.  I did two for the sides, and then two for the top and bottom.  In both cases, the first strip went on perfectly--the strip fit exactly.  In the second case for each strip, it didn't fit.  For the second side, the strip was a tad too short, and for the bottom, it was way too long.  I had no idea what was going on.  The only think that I can figure is that the string-piecing made for a really "springy" border.  Literally, it was almost like an accordion.  Although I was careful not to stretch it while measuring, I must have.  Anyway, I just added another string to lengthen the side, and I trimmed off the excess on the bottom border.  Finally, the end was near!  Just one more round of border--another flying geese one, again with spacers, and HSTs, and other squares on the ends of the sides.  I was a bit nervous, too, that it would fit okay with those two string borders being off, but they fit perfectly!  I was done!  Well, almost.  I quickly determined that I was going to need to stay-stitch all around the perimeter to help keep things from falling apart before it can get quilted and bound.

I love this quilt for several reasons:  First and most importantly because it represents my class with Bonnie Hunter.  Secondly, because I've always wanted a red/cream quilt.  And finally, I love the complexity of Bonnie's patterns and all of the pieces and kinds of fabric that went into it.

 I think that I listened to at least 3 Mitch Rapp books by Vince Flynn while working on it.  I like Mitch Rapp, but he's no Jack Reacher, or maybe I "kept my distance" from the series a bit since I know that Vince Flynn passed away last year, and there may not be any more books.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Patriotic Link Party

Hi Everyone,

I'm popping in on a Sunday to announce and share a link party with Diane at The Checkered Apple.  Two years ago, she had a Patriotic Link party, and she is back this year with another.  I love these!  It is so much fun to see all the fun patriotic projects (not just quilts) that people make.

It will be open until midnight on the Fourth of July and if you like patriotic projects, it is a  great place to visit. I know that I will be visiting often. I shared two projects that I did last summer.  The button is on my sidebar and anytime you click on it, you will be directed to the link party.  If you have any patriotic projects you have made, or plan to, it would be great if you could share, too.  Check out the details at Diane's blog.

I'll be back soon with a big finish to share!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hello, My Name is Cleopatra

Hi Everyone,

Cleopatra... as in Queen of Denial (the Nile.)

Yes we are moving this summer.  Yes my husband is retiring this summer.  No, we have no fixed plan yet.  Yikes!

Every time I start to worry about all of this, I just retreat to my haven--my sewing room--and work on something.  It has absolutely become my place of refuge, and I'm practically living in there.

It all got more real this week.  On Tuesday we had our appointment with Transportation--which in military life means when you go to schedule your move.  Since my husband is retiring, and no longer "important" we didn't have as many choices.  We could either do it the first two weeks of June (way too soon) or the last 2 weeks of July.  My husband is done working on the 5th of July, so our first plan was to pack up the end of June and leave the area in early July.  Now, though, we will keep the house a month longer and pack up the end of July.  The movers are actually scheduled to come on my birthday--what a great present! (sarcasm)  Actually, this new plan takes some pressure off and allows me to procrastinate longer.  Did you know that if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute?  Haha.  Yeah, sure.

As of right now, we are going to put most of our stuff into "Non Temporary Storage" which the Army will do for a year.  That will give us time to figure things out, buy a house, and get settled.  Finally.  I hope.  The biggest question is just how much of my stash can I get away with keeping out of storage?  In case we "camp out" for a bit in an apartment, I plan to have my Bernina, etc.  I have a few kits and I'll take my precuts, and maybe I can kit up a few major projects that I would like to work on.

So what have I been doing in my quilting room while avoiding life?  I'm trying to get some of my major projects finished.  Yesterday I spent the entire day making the 220 flying geese that I need for Talkin Turkey. Today I have had other things to do, but hopefully I can get back in there and start assembling the rows.

I had to photograph the huge pile of trimmings!  I also finished the flimsy of my Blogger Girl's BOM and I'm so excited about it.  I can't wait to show it to you next month!  Maybe I can get it quilted before then.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Bit of Catch Up

Hi Everyone,

I've had some things to catch up on the past few days.  The first one is the Blogger Girls BOM.  For May it is necessary to make three blocks, but I had only made 2, so I did the third one.

I also completed all the alternate blocks and then I arranged the monthly blocks and that left two missing for June's blocks.  I decided what color placement I wanted, and I made them, too.  Perhaps I will give you a sneak peek at some point soon.  I'm loving it!

The second thing I needed to catch up on was Pam Buda's new sew-along, Market Day.  I love Pam's projects and I've seen wonderful versions in reproductions and even batiks, etc.  This time Pam is doing 2 sizes:  one with 3.5" blocks and a mini version with 2" blocks.  When I heard that, you know that I wanted to do both!  I actually ordered her kit this time.  She has a new, gorgeous fabric line out with ruby reds, dark, medium blues, light golds, and creams.  Right up my alley!  For the mini version, I'm using my own fabrics in reds, greens, creams, and a bit of gold.   It should look Christmas-y.

If you are interested, all the details are here at her blog, Heartspun Quilts.  She releases a new step every Friday, and so far two are out.  The first was while I was on retreat, so I needed to catch up with both this weekend.  It was pretty easy and only took about an hour and a half to do both steps for both sizes.

The first week was just one square-in-a square block.

I put a quarter in there so you can see the scale of the blocks.

The second step was to make 4 quarter-square triangles.  Again, really easy.

Now I'm caught up!

Have a great day!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Outdoor Quilt Show and Sale

Hi Everyone!

On Saturday, 8 of the members of my bee met up and carpooled up to my favorite area quilt shop.  It is a bit over an hour's pretty drive to the "middle of nowhere" where the most quaint quiltshop ever is located.  I've blogged about Millstone Quilts before, but this past weekend was their annual outdoor quilt show, sale, and BBQ.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect--and considering we had tons of rain the week before, I'm sure Regina and her staff were nervous about it.

The shop is located inside an old mill that dates at least from the Civil War.  Isn't the porch charming full of flowers and displayed quilts?

Inside the door is the shop with their inventory of all of my favorite types of fabric!  Reproductions, Modas, and great traditional fabrics.  For the weekend, everything was 25% off!

 They stretch lines between the numerous trees on the property and then hang the quilts for the weekend.  It is an informal show in that there are no tags with any details, so I don't have any information on the pattern or maker of most of the quilts.

For some reason, I was attracted to the quilts with simple patterns.  These blue stars were great, and I loved what the spiral quilting was doing for it.

This quilt I did recognize as "Cracked Pots," a Miss Rosie pattern because I've made it!  I love this version--mine was made for Hawaii and looks quite different--you can read about it and see it here if you are interested.

Again, I loved the simplicity of this bear's paw quilt.  What a great way to showcase some pretty fabric.

Another blue and white.
This is Swoon, of course, by Thimbleblossoms.  I really like it in traditional fabrics, too. 
I say I was drawn to the simple looks, but who couldn't love this quilt?  This quilt is made up of lots and lots of tiny houses.  Each windows of the house was fussy-cut.
This was one of my favorites, of course!

Other than flags, there were people, animals, witches, babies, so many things.  It was fun to look at.
After we looked at the quilts, we finally went in to look at fabric. 

I got only 4 pieces of fabric, and they fit into this area--reds and creams.
When I was done shopping, I went back outside to enjoy the grounds.
The shop is adjacent to a stream, as it used to house a mill that needed water to turn the millstone.  Because of all of the rain, the creek was flowing nicely and making those lovely "babbling brook" noises. 

Once everyone was done with their shopping, we wandered over to the picnic area as they were provided a complimentary lunch of a BBQ sandwich, beans, slaw, and cookie.  We chatted, ate, enjoyed the sites, and kept the inchworms off each other.  The only unpleasant aspect of this show was that it seems to be the season for those worms to be all over--hanging from trees, eaves, tables, etc. 
I must confess that of all the times I visited this shop, I've never gone alone.  I've always been with friends.  I'm thinking that has much to do with why I love this shop so much! 
Have a great day!