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, January 23, 2015

Annie Get Your... ...Needle. And Thread. And Paint. And Coffee

Hi Everyone,

It seems I have gotten distracted again!  A bit over a week ago, I was looking on Instagram and saw the cutest rag dolls.  They are made by raggedyoldannies, who is really Nicole Campbell.  If you are not on Instagram, you can find her facebook page (raggedy old annies) or visit her website www.raggedyoldannies.com.  Alas, all the photos of completed dolls that she was selling were spoken for.  While visiting her website, though, I discovered that she sells patterns.  Two patterns screamed "me," so I ordered them.  Since they are PFDs, they came later in the day.  I got started.

Meanwhile, I was still drooling over her cute, cute dolls!  I finally broke down and have ordered one from her.  While waiting, though, making my own has been fun!

The first pattern I chose was "Miss America."  She featured a banner saying "Miss America" and a crown.  I decided to change the banner to read "The Patriotic Quilter" and left off the crown.

Instead, I made her a quilt!

I made it simply by fussy-cutting some flags out of a piece of fabric, using a glue stick to place them, and then just stitching around each one--raw edges and all.  I layered it with some batting and did a little simple quilting with my "hand quilting" machine stitch on my Bernina.  It isn't bound.  It all adds to the primitive look.

her dress is trimmed with rick rack--my favorite!  And her bloomers have a tiny crocheted lace edging.  Another change from the pattern directions was that I made her legs from striped fabric.  I did paint her shoes on, though.

Up next was "Sammy Annie."

She gets her name from Uncle Sam, of course.  She has an aged tag with his likeness.   I adore her big, big grin!

Her legs are totally painted--white with red stripes.  All the facial details are stitched.

Her bloomers are trimmed with a vintage red and white lace.  You can't see them, but they are white with tiny red stars.  

Once you get the dolls all complete and have the clothes stitched up, they get aged in a coffee bath.  I was a bit nervous as I thought everything looked great before, but I adore the "antiquing" that the coffee produced.  The most difficult part of the whole process was to be patient while everything dried!

They look so cute on a couple of my little red chairs.

You know who else likes loves my red chairs?

My nephew!  I can't believe that it was one year ago this weekend that I was at quilt retreat in Virginia when my sister had to have her baby early a she had developed preeclampsia.  

Despite being about 6 weeks early, my nephew was just fine and didn't have to be in the NICU.

And now on Sunday he is going to be one!  I will confess that since I finally got to meet him in July, he has securely wound me around his tiny finger and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snow Day

Hi Everyone,

It's another "snow day" here, although it is more of an "ice day."  This time, both of my nieces are over.  They did their online  schoolwork and now are doing "art."  It's always easy and fun to do art projects here at my house.  They wanted to sew, but are settling for construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, markers, etc.

Now that my computer is free, I can write this post!  If you remember last week I was mentioning that a new project interrupted my work on my big, complicated quilt.  As I explained, every member of our guild is asked to provide a kid's quilt,  They are taken to Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do, which is a camp for children who have been diagnosed with cancer or brain tumors.  Each camper is given a quilt to use and then take home.

While going through all of my fabric, I had already "assigned" some to this cause.  One group was all of my leftover moose and bear, etc. fabrics that I collected and used while in Alaska.  I haven't made an Alaskan theme quilt since.  (Did that stop me from buying a plethora of Hawaii themed fabric while in that state?  No, but I'm sensing future kid's quilts from that stash, too.)  One day I pulled them all out and looked over what I had.  I had a piece that had sort of preprinted squares, etc. on it.  You could use it as is, or cut it up.  I wanted to fussy-cut some of the motifs.  I had another piece which was a panel, only with long-ish rectangle pieces.  There was another with fussy-cutting possibilities, and then a bunch of fabrics with all-over moose and bear, woodsy prints, etc.    I gathered up a bunch of them and took them to the local shop to try to find a fabric to use with all of them.  This was not easy as some had neutral backgrounds, and there were golds, browns, dark greens, and reds in the mix.  I ended up choosing a light green fabric that played well with all of the others.  Luckily it didn't have flowers on it as I wanted to make a quilt for a boy.  (It's so easy to make girl quilts!)  I didn't have any idea what quilt I was going to make, but since there was only about 2 yards on the bolt, I bought it all.

At that point, I didn't have a plan, so I set everything aside.  I knew what I wanted:  a quilt with different size squares and rectangles, all sashed, that would fit together a bit like a puzzle.  At various times, I looked through my books and then one day I was on Pinterest, and I found just what I wanted.  I set out sketching the quilt.  I began with the larger squares finishing at 6", but that was too small of a scale.  I wanted to try something larger, but it was time to go to bed, so I had to leave it.  I hate leaving something when I'm in the middle!

The next morning, I leaped out of bed after the alarm went off at 5.  I went back to my graph paper and tried 9" squares next, and that was a bit too large,  8"  anded up being perfect so I drew it all out on paper.  I would need *' and 3.5" squares and other sizes inbetween  I began wondering if my panels and pieces would fit the size squares and rectangles for the pattern  so I took my sketch upstairs to my quilt room.  I grabbed the fabrics and YES!  they were going to work great.  I got right to cutting.  It was fun seeing what I could fussy-cut to the needed sizes.  I cut shapes from the all-over fabrics, too.  Pretty soon, I realized I needed to lay it all out so I could see if I was getting a good color-balance.  I cleared off my design wall and started laying it all out and cutting some more.  With a start, I realized I was an hour away from needing to be to my quilting group and I was still in my pajamas!  "Curses," I thought, "I have to leave my quilting to go to quilting!"  Haha.

So I got ready and went to my bee.  When I got home from that, I had about an hour before I had to run another errand, so I ran back upstairs and kept at it.  I was liking what I was doing!

Finally, the next day, I got all the pieces positioned and next it was just a matter of sewing it all together with the green sashing.  It went quick, since it was all easy sewing--nothing is really pieced, so everything fit together great.  The sashing strips were cut 1.5."  Once all the row elements were together, I joined the rows with more sashing in between and surrounded the finished piece with 2.5" strips.  The two yards of sashing fabric was enough, with just a little left over.

Here is the finished top.  I have the backing and batting ready.  I just need to layer them and I can machine quilt it.

This quilt was lots of fun to make and I'm really glad that it will be finished.  As I mentioned in my last post, these sort of projects are fun for me when I have a plan and get excited.  If I'm stumped and not in the mood, they seem more tedious.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Beauty and the Bissel

Hi All,

Its just after 8 AM here and I've been up for a few hours.  Do you ever have some of those chores that you put off but then the time comes when you can't deal with it and even if it is 6:30 AM, you simply have to steam clean the living room carpet?  Today was the day for me.  I'd been noticing that I needed to do it, and then last night my baby nephew came for a visit.  We usually move the coffee table out of the way and remove some other items that aren't child-safe, thus exposing much of the floor to view.  This morning, I had not yet put the items back and decided to tackle that job.  The good thing is that it is now over and I can get on with more fun things, AND most of the day is left.

I opened the drapes and found this lovely sunrise.

I love the effect of pretty light when there is snow on the ground.

It has been a busy week.  Yesterday I taught a class on back-basting applique at the local shop.  I had 4 students and they all did a marvelous job.  It had been a while since I've taught it and I think I did okay, but there are a few things I'm noting to change:  like to have more than one sample of each step, in case I need to repeat demonstrating it, and to use a much shorter length of thread in the examples so that I don't have to spend time untangling.

Project wise, I put together the courthouse steps and the flying geese from my big project into 26 blocks.

I need 25 for the quilt, but I made an extra in case I want a different choice when assembling.  Those blocks must be nearly half the quilt in size, but there is still plenty more work to be done to piece all of the sashing strips and border pieces.

I was at this point when another project interuppted me.  I'll share about it in my next post.  Our guild members are all asked to contribute one kid quilt each year.  There is a camp held nearby in the summer for kids who have been diagnosed with cancer or brain tumors and our guild donates enough quilts that each camper gets one to use and take home.  While I like to make charity items, it seems that I have to get in the right mood.  The right mood hit me on Tuesday morning, but as I said, I'll share that next time.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Hi Everyone,

It has been a fairly quiet week here.  The weather took a turn towards "cold," giving us below zero temps and lots of snow.  School delays and closing abounded, so it ended up that my niece spent the day with me yesterday when her school was called off.  It seems that the record amount of snow days that last year's terrible winter produced inspired the school to adapt e-learning, so instead of building a snow fort, baking cookies, etc., she spent most of the day on my laptop, doing school work.

I have made progress on my latest, Big, Complicated (BC) project.  So far, so good.  I needed 65 cream courthouse steps blocks.

I got them done easily enough.  I felt for a while like I was a modern quilter, making a "low volume" quilt.  

Also, while I was sorting out all of the pieces for this quilt, I had come across a pile of 3.5" navy squares.  My list of pieces didn't show any needed, so I thought I might have mixed up something and I set them aside.  It turned out that I did need them, so I got them back out.

I also made 104 of the flying geese from these pieces.

However, I realized I didn't get a picture of the completed geese.

As I work on a project, I like to make extra pieces along the way--just in case I miscounted, or I would like another option when laying out the final quilt.  What isn't used gets tucked away for later use.  It seems to me that I would much rather make a few more as I'm assembly sewing vs. wanting one later in the process and having to start all over.  Do you ever make extra?

On a completely different topic:   I'm afraid I have a bit of a rant to share.  Now that we have our own house, my husband decided that he would like to have a rain shower head for the shower in our bathroom.  I thought our current one was fine, but since I'm sure he thinks I have plenty of fabric but never says anything when I get more, I decided not to say anything and so we went shower head shopping.

We found one which proudly stated on the packaging that it would not only provide a rain shower experience with multiple settings, but also "boost" the water flow.  We took it home and my husband installed it.  Do any of you have one of these things?  The first issue is that having showered with a normal shower head that shoots the water at a slant for around 40 years, it is quite different to shower with water coming straight down from above.  The second issue is that there was NO WAY that it was "boosting" the water flow.  It seemed like just the opposite!

The result was that I became convinced that there is some sort of "regulatory" office somewhere in the depths of our beaurocracy and that this office gets heaps of money to determine the amount of water that should flow out of a shower head.  I'm sure that they are granted the money on the basis that it is noble to conserve water.  I'm equally sure that every member of that group is bald, or nearly so, and bitter about it, and so have conspired to find the exact rate of water flow that will rinse shampoo out of the normal head of hair, and then they lowered the shower head flow to just below that rate.  (Incidently, they are in the neighboring office of the regalatory goup who governs the temperature of all irons produced, and have determined that pressing fine fabrics is more important than pressing cotton, and have lowered the allowed temperture of irons so that they don't get "too hot.")

After my first shower with the new head (in which I froze because the hot water didn't seem to hit any part of me and I couldn't get the shampoo and conditioner out of my hair), I told my husband that it was going to take some getting used to.  After the second, (when I turned on the shower and had to let it run while I made the bed and sorted laundry--it took that long for the hot water to make it to the shower, thus conserving no water at all,)  I said I was having a difficult time determining which setting was the best.  After the third, I dropped all pretense of being a good sport, and begged him for the old one back.  Luckily, he wasn't enjoying it either, and was so willing to accomodate me, that he changed it right then.  My shower yesterday was bliss!  (Just in case you have had a similiar experience, he did check for the gizmo inside the shower head that could be removed to increase the rate of flow--and it didn't help at all.)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My New "BC" Project

Hi Everyone,

I felt that the New Year needed a New Project.  Lately, I have been wanting to work on a Big project.  Something a bit Complicated, hence my "BC" abbreviation.  I got a book a while ago, and it really has me drooling.  This is it:

I chose it as there is a particular project in it that I want to make.  However, on New Year's Eve we went to Shipshewana, and in one of the quilt shops, there was an awesome log cabin quilt hanging, and it was from this book, too.  There are some really cool quilts here, and they have a lot of pieces, but aren't that difficult--its just log cabin.  You may have to sew a few colors together to make a log, but it is all straight sewing!

This is the quilt that I want to make.  The red, white, and blue one (on the right) of course.  Do you see how there are 4 stars on the wall hanging version?  Can you see the bed-size version on the left has 16 stars?  Remember that I'm doing Big for this project, so I'm going to make a larger bed-size that will have 25 stars!

I began the cutting for this project while still in Virginia, but I just now got it out to go through everything.  Luckily I made good notes about the pieces I needed and how many.  I had placed them in the book, which was a miracle because I will often write up great notes and then lose them.

I think Judy Martin is a brilliant designer.  Does she teach?  Has anyone out there had a class with her?  I read the book and she has great tips about cutting.  She advised to organize the strips in silverware caddies, baggies, etc.  I looked around and decided on some of the craft holders with the removable dividers, as for beads or other small piece storage.

Here are the dark blues.  The container is perfect for 1 1/2" strips and I could position the dividers to the legnth I needed.  You may not be able to see it, but there is tape labeling the size of each strip.

Once I counted up what I already had, I started cutting the rest.

Cream strips with longer ones in a baggie.

The red strips.  There aren't nearly as many red as the other colors.

Squares all ready to make flying geese with the Fit To Be Geese ruler

And finally, other random pieces--2.5" squares for centers of blocks and a whole lot of small blue bits that didn't fit into the divided container. 

That's it!  It doesn't look like much, but there is a huge quilt hiding there.  There are hundreds of strips and I have lots of bobbins wound and ready to go.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year--New Project

Hi Everyone,

I usually love the holidays and I enjoyed them very much this year being close to family.  However, I also realized that I'm really glad they are over.  I want to get back to "normal."  As it's the New Year, I am considering any resolutions/goals/etc.  I'm thinking after such a year of change as 2014 was, I think I will just enjoy 2015 and whatever comes along.  In other words, I'm tired of planning the future!

One day last week while I was home alone, I tackled one of the last remaining projects needed in my new sewing room:  a design wall.  My normal answer is to wrap cardboard with batting and tack it up on the wall, however, this room is short on wall space, so I had to come up with a different solution.  Luckily, I enjoy scouring Pinterest for any and all ideas for sewing rooms, so I had an option in mind, and it is looking great so far.

The solution I came up with involves the closet doors.  They are quite nice, but really a bit of a wasted space.  My first idea was to upholster them.  I tested out taping some of the thin sheets of crafting foam core to the the doors, and they still opened and closed.  I thought I could apply the foam core and then add flannel on top.  But I just couldn't do it.  I felt like I might somehow damage the doors.  My husband said, "Who cares?  We OWN this house."  I must admit that that is still a bit of a strange notion to me--but I still didn't want to damage anything.  I decided to try more of a non-permanet solution first.

I'm afraid I can't quote a blog specifically, as I've seen this idea in a few places.  I purchased two sheets of foam insulation at a Home Improvement store.  They are 4 feet by 8 feet.  I was able to track down a brand that has tongue and grooves.  This way, two (or more) sheets can be hooked together.

Here is one sheet leaning against the trash cans in our garage.  Can you see the groove in the end?

And here is another picture showing the "tongue" on the right side of the sheet.

I had my husband measure the closet doors inside the casing and he trimmed the two sheets so that when hooked together, they would fit inside the casing.  This means that while I'm using my design wall, I can't access my closet, but as it is mostly storing things I seldom use/need, (such as my few UFOs! ha ha) it shouldn't be a problem.

Once the pieces were trimmed (I think he used a utility knife--the panels are just a dense styrofoam-like material) I used spray adhesive to attach flannel.

I decided to use flannel instead of batting on these as I thought that flannel would be more sturdy and hold up better than batting since the completed panels will be portable.  Normally, I would wrap the flannel around the sides and attach to the back, but I needed to allow for the tongue and groove,

First I ironed the flannel nice and flat, and then along one selvage, I used fusible tape to create a hem.

I placed this finished edge along the tongue on one sheet of insulation, and the groove of the other, so that when attached, there wouldn't be a raggedy selvage showing.

I hate using spray adhesive!  It gets everywhere and the overspray is no fun to clean up, so I took the foam sheets one at a time outside and did the spraying there.  (I made these from start to finish one at a time.)  I also worked on this project in the garage on a piece of plywood placed on top of sawhorses for a nice, big work surface.  (I didn't relish the idea of crawling all over the floor to do this, but it is an option if you need it.)

In this picture, you can see the white flannel finished hem running along the tongue edge of the foam board.

Once that hemmed edge was aligned along the foam board, I could continue to smooth, smooth, smooth the flannel onto the rest of it.  I had almost 6 inches of excess fabric on the other selvage side and an inch or two extra on the top and the bottom.  A good tip is to make sure that your spray adhesive has the ability to move things around for a bit.  Don't get one that immediately adheres anything that touches it!  I did have to peel the flannel back in a few places to get all the wrinkles out.

Once it was all nice and smooth, I gave it a few minutes to adhere nicely.

Next I flipped everything over.

I used duck tape to adhere the edges of the flannel to the back of the foam sheet, folding the excess at the corners.  It isn't very pretty, but no one is going to see the back, and if so, who cares?

It took around 2 hours, or a bit less, to do all of the pressing, spraying, and taping for both panels.  

Once finished and hooked together (via the tonge and groove) the two panels tuck perfectly into the casing of the closet.  When I need to get inside, I can just move the panels out of the way, or I can take the two panels apart and store them behind the door into the room.  You can see the thicker "hems" running down the middle where the two pieces come together.

And here it is in use, with some quilt blocks all arranged on it.

Meanwhile, I'm still getting all of my fabric wrapped around the comic book inserts and shelved.  I also have one more project to make for the room--a fabric-covered bulletin/inspiration board.  My holdup on that project is deciding what fabric to use!  After that, I will be able to share the entire room with you!

Have a great day!