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.

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!