Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Schlep Bag

This week I've done a lot of prewashing of lovely fabrics that are mostly all different shades of blues for my Blue Ridge Beauty, or Buckeye Beauty. I need 448 blue and neutral 4-patches and 448 blue and neutral Half Square Triangles. Whew! For me that's a tall order because I work like a snail, dawdling along, just enjoying myself. I've also poked along on the Cheddar Challenge and I'm up to 44 of those cute lil' bow tie blocks.

So today I jumped in and made the second in a pair of matching Schlep Bags. I did the first one yesterday and it took me all day to complete one. Then today, I made the next one in about an hour and a half. It was all cut out and all the instructions were nice and fresh in my mind, so it flew together!

In the picture, it looks like there is something growing out of the bottom of the bag. That is actually a nice 2 yard piece of indigo that is sitting on my design-wall chair. You can just make out the white selvedge on it. I hope to use that for the borders on my Blue Ridge Beauty if it's not too dark. Geez, it looks black here. hmm.

Anyway, I'm thrilled with the schlep bags and here is a close up of the fabrics that I used. These are not quilted bags, but they are lined and have a very strong, batting reinforced and quilted set of handles. The set will be a birthday present for my sister, Suzanne in September.

The focus fabric, the light one, is a teal and lavender floral on a very pale creamy yellow background by Sarah Morgan for Blue Hills fabrics. It is called, "Charlotte," and I just ordered it a few days ago from Thousands of But the other fabrics are all from WalMart and have been in my stash for months or maybe years!

Since this pattern uses four 8-inch squares of three fabrics and a couple of 8 1/2-inch squares of the top triangles and the handles fabric, it really moves out the stash! I used a pale yellow print tone-on-tone for the lining. I pieced the whole thing with a light warm gray Aurafil thread which looked great on the quilting of the handles and on the top-stitching on the upper edge.

The other boring thing that I did today, was to fill out all the paperwork to enter my FOUR (OMG, me? four?) large bed quilts in the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild show October 1st & 2nd. So I need to do labels and sleeves, too. everything takes me twice as long to DO as it does to think of it! LOL! I guess that just goes without sayin', right?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Quick Diversion

One fun thing that I do for myself almost every month is to participate in an internet nickel swap group. We swap five inch pairs of squares. My June swap for florals just came in a couple of weeks ago with awesome fabrics. I liked them so much that I decided to use them for the upcoming quilted patchwork totebag workshop on August 6th. When I sent in my check, I received back a materials list that had some instructions on it too. So I got antsy and worked ahead on it last night. I made two matching panels and two four patches (for the inner pockets). I liked the look of lights alternated with the darks, most of which are black backgrounds.
For the handles, I wanted to use something that would not show everyday wear and tear, or dirt, so I went with the black with the red flowers and golden dragonflies. I have been hoarding this fabric for over a year which was when I spotted it at Keepsake Quilting in their sale area. Now this is the perfect time to use it!!!
The instructions want you to use the same fabric for the lining as the handles. But I want a very light colored fabric for inside the bag so you can SEE what's in there at the bottom!! I chose an ancient calico from the 70's from my stash. Geez, I've been a fabric-aholic for a very long time!
The supply list called for Pellon 987F fusable fleece. I special ordered it from Joann's but got 3 yards instead of the 1 1/2 yards called for in the directions. And I'm afraid to cut into it before the workshop. I'd like to make two bags; one for myself and one for the guild table at the October 2nd guild show. That is, if they come out nicely!!! Let's not get too far ahead of myself here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bonnie's Cheddar Challenge

With three large projects finished, (Orange Sherbert, Cotton Candy, and Celtic Cottage) I felt comfortable to enjoy the thrill of beginning a new project. What fun to join Bonnie's Cheddar Challenge from her Sister's, Oregon trip! If you missed her post, here is the link:
Last Friday, when I was at Keepsake Quilting shop for their big Fat Quarter sale, I stumbled upon a brand new bolt of a delightful Civil War Cheddar. Mindful of the challenge and the fall swap of cheddars on my Nickelswap yahoo group, I bought three yards of it. It was full retail which damn near killed this penny-pinching yankee! Last night I got it prewashed by hand in Orvus in my bathroom sink and then out to the clothesline. I also cut out a few of the 1 1/2" tiny squares for the 2 1/2" squares that I already had ready.

This is from a collection known as "Railroad Ties" designed by Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers. To me it looks like chicken tracks up close, but from any distance, you are hardly aware of the black figure on it.
So I sat down and in about 30 minutes, I had 10 cutie bow tie blocks pressed on the ironing board!

Those dark blocks in the upper row are a very deep indigo, not black!
I also discovered that it pays to pay attention! I goofed up on the sky blue block; see it here?

 I had to open up one wrong seam and resew it to make it right:
So I learned to not rush and lay out the four pieces to double-check their placement! But I had great fun! They all look so bright and happy-scrappy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Flourish For Another Finish!

On May 1st of this year, I fell in love with the mood of the "Chain of Faith" quilt by Jo Kramer for the Moda Bakeshop. Jo used an Irish Chain variation that used all scrappy backgrounds from the two Moda "Collections for a Cause" jelly rolls. A big "THANK YOU to Jo Kramer for sharing her great interpretation of this traditional design!
I wanted to make the quilt right away to use all of the $1.00 apiece Fat Quarters from the Keepsake Quilting shop April sale. I had a ball! Here I am finishing up the hand-hemming on the binding:
As you can see, I have a lot of helpers! Raven and Luau (my party dog!) are always near to encourage me to take a break to cuddle with them on THEIR futon. By the way, my tee shirt reads, "I'd be a vegetarian if BACON grew on trees!"
I told Felix, my Husband Wonderful, that this quilt would NOT have gotten hemmed without the running of our two AC window units that kept things cool enough to bear having a Warm & Natural batted quilt on my lap for three days! There goes the power bill. I swear, I have a size fourteen carbon footprint! But I wouldn't have it any other way! I'd far rather we use clean coal than to live with rolling blackouts without power.

This quilt looks better in the photographs as far as being able to "read" the single Irish chain design and the many reds are a lil' more tomato soup colored than appears here. I took some close-ups of a few of the fabrics so that you could get a sense of the cottage roses and sagey greens. The quilt is not exclusively Civil War reproduction fabrics, but there are many of them in there if you know where to look.

The last close-up is the truest of the colors. They are very warm and earthy with just enough of the cooler burgundy red to balance the mix.
On the back is the pieced warm grey flannel with the red tartan that did not get centered on the back. It's not my favorite part of the quilt, but it's okay.

The longarmer did a medium-large stipple that has very circle-like curves in a thread color called, "Cranapple!" Tracy Szanto of did another outstanding job on the quilting! There are no puckers or gathers anywhere, despite the fact that I used two different weights of flannels on the backing. She is a real pro! Can you believe she charged me only $105? For a queen-sized 88 X 90 quilt? THANK YOU, Tracy, for keeping within my budget! I love this quilt so much that I plan on doing another one, just for fun!
Now, for those of you who think I must work fast with all these finishes, I tell you, "That's all, folks!" LOL!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fabric Buyer's High

Today was the home store of Keepsake Quilting's fat Quarter Sale! Regular FQ's were $1.00 each as long as you bought 25 of them. I went at about 10 am and drove the 45 minutes to Center Harbor, New Hampshire. I am so lucky to have this quilter's mecca right in my own backyard! I had an absolute field day shopping for fat quarters. I got quite a few that were Civil War selections. Batiks were $1.00 each for 20, but I am not ready to do my batik quilt right now, so I passed on those.
I took my almost-finished quilt, "Celtic Cottage," with me to audition fabrics for a binding. I shopped my stash first, of course, but nothing really looked quite right.
Celtic Cottage is turning out to be a comedy of errors! First, I cheaped-out by not purchasing 3 yards of a really good-looking burgundy red to make a consistant red in this single Irish Chain variation. The scrappy reds that I used instead are nice but lose definition in all the scrappy background. All the fabric came from the April Keepsake Quilter's FQ's sale. I'm really glad that I used it right away when it was "fresh!" I have been so happy with this quilt's shabby-chic cottage look. Lots of florals, lots of tomato soup-colored roses, lots of warm greens, and quite a few Civil War pinks and browns. Somehow, I love it!

But it came back from the longarmer's with a disappointment for me. I love the front of the quilt! I love the very simple curvy-linear circular stippling! I love the Warm & Natural batting! But I must have not made myself clear enough about wanting the pieced flannel backing centered down the middle of the quilt. So the backing is rather lop-sided looking with a wide medium gray flannel swath, then a wide red flannel Stuart tartan plaid swath, then a narrow swath of the gray flannel again. I have said nothing to the longarmer because what's done is done, and there is no such thing as a perfect quilt! LOL!
Now I have found a beautiful Civil War madder-toned print for the binding and I already have it prewashed and hanging on my clothesline. As soon as I get it on the quilt, I promise you more pictures!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hot Weather Fare

Middle Eastern Delight Pita-Pocket Sandwiches

Cut your pitas across the circle to make pockets and then spread the bottom inside layer generously with your favorite hummus. Next heap in a layer of taboule salad. Top it off by placing two folded slices of Lebanon Balogna inside. They are delicious, but wear a bib!

If you are choosing a vegetarian plan, just leave off the balogna. This sandwich was my own invention and we love it in hot weather!

My Husband Wonderful came up with this idea today for a hot weather luncheon salad:
One head of cooked & chilled cauliflower, one can of pitted black olives, one can of artichoke bottoms, about 1/4 of a pound of Genoa salami, julienned, all tossed with one packet of the made-up Good Seasons Italian dressing. Again, if you're vegan, just drop the salami. Enjoy it well chilled from an hour in the refrigerator to let the flavors marry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Orange Sherbert (Broken Dishes)

My unofficially adopted son, Matthew Abraham, is the one who finalized the design placement on my very bright broken dishes quilt. So it became HIS quilt! It just came back from the longarmer last week and I got it bound over the weekend. Isn't it amazing that when you are hand-hemming the binding on a quilt, it seems to grow a fifth side? You keep turning corners thinking that this must be the home stretch coming up, but no!

When Matthew picked out the border fabrics, he went with a REALLY BRIGHT orange to pick up on all the brights in the center of the top. It was quilted with a star motif. The backing is white flannel with multi-colored small stars printed on it. He didn't get it quite in time for his Pembroke Academy High School graduation, but almost!
He named the quilt, "Orange Sherbert," and so it is!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes, It's Done!!!!!

My "Cotton Candy" quilt (Roll, Roll, cotton Bowl) is done! I just finished hand hemming the binding last night!

I had a piece of the border left over, so I pieced a pretty panel into the back of the quilt with two floral calicos. Here is the back:

My longarmer, Tracy Szanto, of (, did a great job! She was very affordable, too, at under $150 for this swirling tendrils edge-to-edge quilting. I was very pleased with her work and would recommend her to anybody. Please tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Staying Cool

These rain-washed flowers do not show how hot and steamy the days are now! They are so beautiful, orange daylilies, white shasta daisies, blue wild sweet pea, and purple verbena and oh yes, not to forget the black-eyed susan's!
My sister, Suzanne, brought in a large bouquet that we both arranged while she was visiting here yesterday. I go out for a few moments and then race back into the air conditioning (two good sized window units at either end of the house). Then I get to look over at the vase of wild flowers while I sit and sip my tea as I hand hem the binding of "Cotton Candy," my version of Roll Roll, Cotton Bowl. It is almost done! I can't wait to show it to you. You can see a bit of the pieced backing here in this picture:
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