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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

"I Pick You"

Hi Everyone,

So while I was on "hiatus" from blogging this past year, we had a major event.  My daughter and her boyfriend went to my parent's house for a weekend in late September.  They toured wineries and also went apple picking.  A fun time was had.  They went home and began unloading the car.  My daughter went to carry in a container of apples and found this.

Her boyfriend said, "I pick you!" (and some other romantic stuff.)  Anyway, he is now her fiance and we are in the middle of wedding planning!

The date is set

and it is coming up quickly!  We had a whirlwind of planning late last year.  They looked over options of venues and decided on the Children's Museum in their city.

They will have the ceremony in the atrium and then have the reception in the Dinosphere--so its going to have an elegant, (wait for it) dinosaur theme!  The colors are what I call "kiwi, cocoa, and khaki," acutally a moss green, medium brown, and biege --elegant earth tones.

We considered making her dress, perhaps including bits of my mother's dress (it was way too tiny for my sister and I or my daughter to wear) but when we went looking at patterns, we just couldn't find one that seemed right.  I must confess that I'm more than a little relieved to not have that project and all the stress it would create!  We went shopping instead.  I think it was amazing!  She tried on dress after dress and they were all beautiful; and then she tried on The Dress and that was just IT.  There was no question about any others.

She scoured Pinterest for dinosaur wedding ideas and came across a pair of shoes.  They were really expensive, so she made her own.

The heels are T-Rex dinosaurs!  She has been practicing walking around in them.  Her dress will cover them during the ceremony, but they will peek out during the reception.  She ordered the gold pumps and then purchased two dinosaurs the right size, carefully cut out a hole for the heel, and spray painted and glittered them.  They fit on so well, that they don't need to be glued, so they can be removed if desired.

Her dress is still here at our house for safe-keeping.  Today my project will be this:

Back nearly 30 years ago, when my older sister was getting married, I bought a card of three blue, heart-shaped buttons.  I sewed one on her dress.  A year or so later, I sewed this one on my dress.  I carried the third one around, kept safe in a a box in my cedar chest, for just about 15 years until my younger sister got married, when I sewed it on her dress.  Today I'm going to cut mine off my dress and put in on my daughter's.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016



This has not been a traditional year for me in that I didn't make up a list of quilts that I wanted to work on this year.  I think it's because 1) There doesn't seem to be any "must make" projects for me right now and 2) There doesn't seem to ever be a time when I'm at a loss on what to make next.  Of course, as I'm typing this, I do recall that one thing I would love to make this year (finally) is the Amy Butler Weekender Bag.  I have the pattern, my plan, the fabric and notions required--all sitting on a shelf where it's been for nearly a year.  I have even made the piping!  I guess that will be my one goal for this year.

Last year, I wanted to work on a big, complicated quilt.  I was referring to it as my "BC" poject.  It is a project from Judy Martin's book, Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts.  If you want to refresh yourself, you can read past entries about it here, here, here, and here.  The last link is my post about the retreat I attended last June.  During the retreat, I got the center of the quilt finished

 and began working on the border units. There are three types of units that are needed to complete the quilt:  a large unit, a smaller unit that is partially made up of a log cabin block, and the 4 corners.  I started on the large unit and got them half done.  By "half done" I mean that I need 20 total of these and I got all 20 of them half completed.

This is a picture of half the unit.  When I completed them and pressed them, I discovered, unpleasantly, that the tops and bottoms were wavy--that is, not a perfectly straight line.  (This isn't shown in the picture--I should have taken a photo of the "before" units. A quick check on strip piecing showed me my issue.  When you are sewing strip sets together, you need to always start from the same direction--either top to bottom, or bottom to top.  I was at a retreat and chatting and not really focusing on what I was doing.  The fix?  Ripping and starting again.  Or more cutting and starting again.  I put them away on the shelf and moved on.

Recently, though, I decided to get it back out.  I had two driving forces:  one being that it was a year ago that I said I wanted to do this project and two being that a friend was wondering how it turned out (and I had to say it was unfinished.)  Sunday evening I brought them out and began examining them and ripping off the stips that didn't match up.  A few needed to be entirely ripped apart--just into the six vertical stips in the photo above--I didn't have to rip the 4 pieces that make up each strip.  Some needed to be ripped apart three times, and some even fewer.  My husband was watching tv with me and offered to help. (He has ripped things for me before--such a sweetie.)  There are 20 sets and I was able to get them all apart (keeping them arranged in the right order) before bed.

Yesterday I sewed them back together.  I was careful to always start at the "top" and before I sewed, I matched the bottoms and pinned it. Yes, I pinned!  The time and care paid off, and now the tops and bottoms are nice and even and straight.  More important, the project has picked up momentum and now I'm eager to sew on it again.  In fact, I began the other half of these units after I finished fixing them.

I know I broke one of my cardinal rules when working on this.  I ALWAYS try to fix a major problem BEFORE I set a project aside.  Very often, if the project is fixed, it ends up getting finished and not set aside, which I one reason I think that I have few UFOs.  I nearly always realize that the problem is not as bad as I think.  This one really didn't take much time to fix at all.

Another thought that I had about these border units was that I wished I had cut the bottom red and white strips a bit longer, so I could trim them to be exactly the 15.5" I need.  But as I was thinking about that I began to wonder if I was relying too much on these sorts of "cheating" methods.  These days, I oversize both my half square triangles and my flying geese so that I can trim them to be perfect.  In doing so, am I risking my accuracy?  That was niggling around in my brain while I worked on these and so I was very happy that I could get them together perfectly.  I believe testing my accuracy was one of the reasons I wanted to attempt a Big, Complicated project, so I'm pleased.  Furthermore, I'm excited to get back to it, so I will leave off here and go sew!

Before I go, here is a picture of a quilt that is the same as I am making, only this one is a wall-hanging size, and I am doing a king-sized quilt.  This one has 4 white stars in the center, and mine has 25.  This was hanging in the Shipshewana Quilt Show last summer.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Allietare Finish

Happy New Year!

We babysat my nephew on New Year's Eve.  I tucked him into bed and picked up my phone and saw that Bonnie Hunter had posted her finish for the mystery quilt as it was the New Year in Italy.  I read through the directions and decided I could tip toe upstairs and do some of the cutting, as Matthew was sleeping in the next room.

We needed to cut 4.5" squares of "gold" (in my case, med. blue) and red, and also some setting triangles in different sizes from the red.  I was able to get quite a bit cut before going back downstairs to ring in the New Year with my husband.  We always stay up to watch the ball drop!

Having my nephew overnight is usually no trouble.  He is the only baby/toddler I've known that likes to sleep in!  We were up and already eating breakfast when we heard that he was awake.  It was 8:25!  I went and got him so he could eat, too.

Happy New Year!

I can't believe how fast he is growing up!  He is a smart little boy, and "all boy," loving to climb and jump and play ball.  He is a real pistol and always fun to have over.

We took him home a bit later in the morning and then my husband wanted to shop at Harbor Freight, so we stopped there.  On the way home, I was tapping my foot because I was so anxious to get started sewing!

There were 30 Allietare Star blocks to make.

This is how my version looks.  I only had an hour to sew as we had tickets to go to Star Wars in IMAX and 3-D.  That theater is way on the other side of town, so all-in-all, it took another 3+ hours out of my sewing time.  Grrr.  (In all fairness, it was my idea to go and I had bought the tickets, but before the final instructions came out--poor planning.)  The movie was even better in IMAX and we stopped for supper on the way home so I didn't have to cook and I had a few more hours of sewing that evening.

Saturday morning we were meeting our daughter, her boyfriend, and his parents for brunch down in Indianapolis.  It was the first time we met the parents, and they are great people.  Driving to Indy takes two hours each way, so we didn't get home until suppertime.  That left me with another small amount of time to sew.  Does it ever seem to you all that whenever you are so excited to work on something, it always seems like life interferes?  I loved what was going on, but was also frustrated that I couldn't sew more.  The only problem was that I couldn't spend this sewing time working on the mystery quilt.  I was signed up to do a technique table for guild (coming up on Tuesday) and I hadn't started preparing and making samples.  I would be demonstrating the making of flying geese, and I didn't just want to make a bunch of random geese that I may never use, so I found a pattern, chose and cut fabric, and prepared all the steps.  I will write a blog post later about it.

Sunday was church and then errand running.  My parents were making a quick trip to town to drop off my niece who had been staying with them for some of the holiday break, so we met them at my sister's house.  When we got home, I knew that although I wanted to sew, I needed to take down the Christmas decorations.  Luckily my husband was willing to help so we got it all done by evening.  No sewing at all!  (Can you sense my frustration?)

Monday morning!  For once, my day was free, except for needing to do two loads of laundry.  It began with me watching Downton Abbey, as I recorded it the night before.  Once it was over, I headed to the sewing room.  By now I had just a few of the 30 Allietare Star blocks to finish.  I did those and then I contemplated the 20 alternate blocks.  They were supposed to have a red center square, which had already been cut, but I had started wondering if there wasn't a fabric somewhere in my stash that I could fussy-cut or something.  I came upon a fabric with some large red stars on a cream background.  I cut one to try it out.

This is how the alternate block looks with the instructed center red square.

This is how it looks with the fussy-cut squares.

To tell you the truth, I liked both and had a really difficult time making up my mind which I liked best.  I didn't want to make all the blocks and then change my mind and have to rip them apart.  I decided to make a few with the stars.  I put them on the design wall and took a picture.

Then I covered the star squares with the red squares and took another picture.

I agonized over the decision but then decided to go with the stars.  I really liked the lightness that the extra cream brought to the feel of the quilt, along with the red stars.  My example photos are from when I had all the alternate blocks done and on the design wall.  I wanted to double-check my decision while the blocks were still not sewn together.

Do you ever agonize over a decision and second-guess yourself?  It doesn't happen often to me, so it really frustrates me when it happens.  I found that taking photos really helps.  I can look at both options.  I really like both in this quilt, but I did stay with the stars, mostly because it would make my version just a little more unique that all the rest.

I took a break from sewing for lunch and to get dressed!  I started a load of laundry and went back to sewing.  I stopped to make and eat supper with my husband, but he had a meeting, so I was able to sew some more.  By the time the day ended, I had it all together with the inner border on and the outer border cut and waiting.

Yesterday, (Tuesday) I got up and put the final border on.

I went to my usual Tuesday bee, then came home and loaded up for my guild meeting, went and demonstrated and enjoyed the program and came home.  Finally I have what feels like "free" quilting time.  I'm going to start by tidying up my sewing room!

Have a great day!

PS.  In a fun coincidence, I wrote about my last Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt finish three years ago today!  It was Easy Street.  I've done three now, with the third being Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll.