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, July 25, 2015

Austin Bluebird is Finished!

Hi Everyone,

I hope your July has been a good month.  Summer has been slow to get underway here in Northern Indiana, but it has finally arrived with a few really hot, muggy days.  I've been staying inside and sewing.

I was really excited to finally finish my Austin Bluebird quilt!  I just began it back on National Quilt Day, March 21, so I think I made great progress on it.  I was determined not to let it languish and become a UFO that sits around for years (sort of like Sarah's Revival.)   I had the kit, but I ended up using lots of my other Minick and Simpson fabrics for a more "scrappy" look.

This is the quilt top finished as the directions state.  I have known for awhile that I wanted to border it.  I knew I wanted to "float" the center with more cream strips and then add some sort of sawtooth/dogtooth border around that.

I turned to one of my most favorite books ever:

I love this book--it is perfect for designing borders of all types and complexities.  It's by Judy Martin and Marsha McCloskey, in case you can't see the small print.

I decided on an appropriate border and that the units would finish at 4".  This means that my center needed to be divisible by 4.  I measured the center carefully, decided about how large I wanted it to be (divisible by 4) and then figured how wide to cut my floating cream border.  A little math, a little confidence, and it was easy enough.

I had already precut the units I would need for the border.  In fact, I took it with me to retreat in June and had them already made.

The look would be a shaded saw tooth border.  Once I attached the cream strips, I next began to assemble the sawtooth units.  Big Problem!  (I know--this seems to be the Summer of Mistakes for me, so I shouldn't have been surprised.)  I carefully made sure that I sewed the units exactly like the photo, so I wouldn't have any mistakes, but the mistake was that each border strip needs to be made up of half like these, and half a mirror image.

Luckily, I had plenty of fabric left, so I made a bunch more units in the reverse.  The next problem was that I now needed to relook my center with the cream strips.  I had made sure that it was divisible by 4, but now it needed to be an even amount--that is the measurement of the center, say 88 inches, divided by 4 would by 22.  That is an even number.  This is important because the sawtooth border has to be divided in half.  I had a 50% chance of it being right, but of course, this being the summer that it is, mine was an odd number.  I was in luck, though, that both the side-to-side and the top-to-bottom were "odd."  I needed another 4 inches all around the center.

At that frustrating point, I quit sewing.  We needed to go somewhere, I can't remember where right now, but as we were driving in the car, I was telling my husband about the mess I was currently in.  He asked if I could't just add more cream to the borders.  I had already cut the cream borders and sewn them on.  I had purchased 3 yards of extra cream fabric so I could cut the strips with the length of grain and not need to piece them, The leftover fabric, I had cut up to make the sawtooth units.  I had some left, but only short pieces.  I also didn't want the look of two long, cream strips sewn to each other--looking like a mistake.  I thought I may have to get three more yards of cream and start all over, but I didn't want to have to do that.

In thinking that over, I did realize that I just needed to add 2 inches all the way around the quilt, and that would give me the extra 4 that I needed for the sawtooth borders.  I finally got the idea to "frame" out the cream with a 1" finished navy stip, followed by a 1" finished cream strip.  Being narrow, I wouldn't mind if the 1" cream strips were pieced together, rather than cut from one, long piece.

Here is how it came out.  You can see the wider cream floater, then the navy 1" strip and the other cream 1" strip and then the sawtooth border.

When viewed with the entire quilt, I love how it looks.  I think the navy "framing" strip really brings a lot to the party and makes more of a statement than if I just had the sawtooth border.

I really love the space that the wide cream border created, too.  I'm so excited to be finished with this quilt!  Now I just need to get it quilted.

If you are interested, the cream fabric from the kit is Moda Bella Snow.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 3, 2015

July Fourth Home Tour

Hi Everyone,

You may guess that today is one of my favorite holidays!  What's not to love on the most Patriotic day of the year?  I thought I would celebrate by finally showing you pictures of our new house, since it is always decorated for the Fourth.

Here is the front.  We only have the bunting hanging on Patriotic holidays.  This was Memorial day, but we also hung it on Flag day, and now for the Fourth.  We are going to take down that tree that blocks the porch.  I hate to lose a tree on purpose, but it blocks so much light.

This is the entryway.  I knew the wall would be perfect for a church pew, so we shopped around on Craig's list and antique shops and finally found one the right length and price.  On it, are some pillows inside vintage pillowcases that we have collected from every military post that we have lived. (They were popular from WWI through the 60s as gift items)

Next up is the dining room.  When we bought the house, it was painted a wine/maroon color.  I have always wanted a red dining room, but it was just too dark (the window is covered by that tree out in front of the house.)  I painted it cream, and it is much brighter.

Here is the living room from upstairs.  

Across from the entertainment center is the fireplace.

The yellow walls came with the house.  I like it so far, but I suspect when it needs to be painted, it will become cream, as well.  It is not a "do it yourself" project with the vaulted ceiling!

There was nowhere to display my Uncle Sam collection, so I made this shelf and my husband helped me put it up.  Through the door is the kitchen.

The fireplace in the living room is a pass-through.  Here it is from the kitchen side.

The kitchen has a desk area, which I love and is where I keep my laptop and the household paperwork.  The quilt is one that I didn't make--my good friend Dorothy made it for me and I love it!

From the desk, you look out the slider across the eating area.

The kitchen itself.

The kitchen was two shade of green when we moved in.  I don't have anything against green, but it just doesn't go with my decor.  I did a lot of considering and decided on a medium blue.  I got the idea from Minick and Simpson's fabric lines.  They are patriotic--red, white, and blue, but they usually have a pretty, medium blue as well.  This color is "Americana" by Pittsburg Paint, which made it perfect, in my opinion.

Behind my desk area is the sunflower-themed powder room, which I shared here.  The laundry room is behind the kitchen. Behind the door in the kitchen is a pantry.

Off the living room is the master bedroom.  I decided that I wanted a main floor master since this house will be our "forever" home and in case there is any issue with either of us in the future and using stairs, I wanted to eliminate the need.  I was just looking for pictures of the master, but I can't find any.  I'm afraid this post won't be finished if I go take some, so I'll skip that for now.

Upstairs are three bedrooms--one of which is my quilt room and a bathroom.  The other two bedrooms are guest rooms.  The "front room" (facing the street) is still green.  It also has a vaulted ceiling, so I haven't painted it yet.  The green works, though, with some of my quilts.

The quilt on the bed is "Eldon" by Laundry Basket Quilts, made from Thimbleberries fabric.  There is an old, green ladder in the corner full of quilts, too.


The front room is bright and is where visiting girls usually stay.  

The other room was that of a teenage girl when we bought the house.  All walls were gray except the window wall was teal.  This room became our "Presidential Suite."  We started the long-standing joke about the name of this room years ago.  When you decorate Patriotically, there are sub-themes, such as Uncle Sam, etc.  I also collect vintage Presidential memorablia, so we display it in the guest room--hence the "Presidential Suite."  When I was looking at paint samples, I found one at Lowe's that was actually called "Presidential Suite!"  I took it, but I thought it may be too dark for a room.  I decided to try it out, though.

It is a dark blue, but it has a lot of red in it, making it more "royal," maybe, but not too bright.  When I first started painting, I panicked!  It looked really purple.  Here is is on the teal wall.

I knew, though, that paint dried darker and needs more than one coat.  In the end, I loved it!  Here are some pictures from around the room.   My nephew's crib is usually in the corner.  This is the room that the boys usually sleep in.

We also have a finished basement, but I'm not quite done decorating down there yet.  I've put all my "leftover" decorations down there and am having trouble pulling them together.  So, that's pretty much it for now.

 I hope you have a safe and Happy Independance Day!

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Hi Everyone,

I was gone a couple weeks ago to a quilt retreat.  I drove down to Tennessee to go with a group of quilters that my friend, Janice (from Virginia, now living in Tennessee) knows.  She; her identical twin sister, Jackie; Jackie's friend Susan (they both live in Florida) and I were going.  The plan was to meet up at Janice's cabin on a Sunday and then head to the retreat on Monday.  I procrasatinated the week prior to leaving.  Have you ever packed for a retreat?  It is complicated--you need your normal suitcase, etc. and then all of your sewing stuff, too.

I got my machine and basic supplies packed up and then decided what else to take.  I knew I wanted to take the bits and pieces from my complicated "BC" project that I'm working on this year.  You can read more about it here.  So, I packed all of that.  I also took a quilt that I've yet to start on, except for those 770 half square triangles I made last month when I only needed 600...  Because I didn't want to run out of things to do (like that ever happens at retreat) I also packed up what I needed for making the border that I wanted to add to my Austin Bluebird quilt.  And for good measure, a few small kits.

I knew that four of us would be going to the retreat in one vehicle, so I tried to keep it light.  This is the sewing stuff.  I also had a suitcase and snacks, etc.

I drove down to Tennessee on Sunday, leaving fairly early.  The trip was fine, except for an early detour, numerous road construction areas, and then in Kentucky and Tennessee, it was the campers/RVs on the road to deal with.  I arrived around 4 or so.  It was fun seeing the changes that Janice and her husband have made to the cabin as well as looking at their garden, flowers, etc.  I had met Jackie before, but Susan and I were meeting for the first time and I liked her right away!  I knew it was going to be fun.

Monday morning we got up and ready and began the ordeal of packing everything in the back of Jackie's truck.

Would it all fit?

With Jackie's great packing skills, we got it all in.  We had to unwrap a case of water and tuck the bottles in where we could, but we did take everything we wanted/planned.

Check in time at the retreat center wasn't until 3:30, but the plan was to meet up with everyone at a quilt shop and then visit 2-3 more and have lunch along the way.  The first shop was Pappy's in Maryville, TN.

It is inside an old gas station and doesn't look like much from the outside, but it was wonderful inside!  After that, we went to Sevierville and shopped at the Cherry Pit quilt shop, had lunch, and then went to the Red Barn and Iva's quilt shops.  Finally we headed for the retreat center, Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center.  The facility has a hotel, where we stayed.  We sewed in one of the meeting rooms near the lobby.  It also has a summer camp, and we were there along with 300 teenage campers.  They were elsewhere on the grounds in cabins, but we did share the dining hall with them.  We were allowed to eat first, though.  The food was great.  The best part was that we could sew all we wanted, and then go upstairs and eat--drop off the dishes, and go right back down to sew again.

There were 13 of us attending and it was a great group of diverse quilters.  Most of the fun of a retreat is seeing what everyone else is making.

Susan worked on this fun arrow quilt.

This is Janice's Kaffe Fasset strip quilt, all laid out.  She didn't get it sewn together, though.

Here she is with her hedgehog block.

One of the ladie's was making this wonderful giraffe quilt.  It is made up of perfectly cut-out flowers from Kaffe Fasset fabric and others.  That newsprint fabric behind it is perfect.  I guess she got the pattern at Paducah and everyone was in love with all the patterns, so the group put in an online order right there from retreat!

Here is Janice and one of her Tennessee friend, Donna.  

Donna's roomate and best friend, Delight, made this great curved log cabin quilt.

Jackie worked on this batik quilt after she finished her bag, below.

This is Susan working away.

And me?  I worked for two days making these:

Sashings for my BC quilt.  I think I needed 40.  They took forever!  After I finished them, I began working on border units, but I didn't get them done.  When I realized I wouldn't finish the border pieces, I decided to use the sashings to put the blocks together.  (I brought the blocks with--I'd finished them already.)

This is the center of the quilt.  It's going to be king-sized when the border is completed.  You can see the bits I did get finished up at the top.  

We sewed all week until Friday morning.  We had to check out at 10.  We went back to the Cherry Pit quilt shop and hit a JoAnn fabrics, had lunch, and went to yet another quilt shop on the way back to Janice's cabin.  

Saturday morning, it was time to leave.  Just as we were loading the cars, it began to rain.  The rain accompanied me most of the way home.  It poured through all of Kentucky, but I made it home safe.

Have a great day!