Saturday, June 30, 2012

Back To What Passes For Normal Around Here

Today is Saturday and we are back to hot muggy weather as I return to my regular routines. Going to Bonnie's workshop was that "good-kind" of stress. I was like a kid going to Disneyland the night before I went! So, of course, I started something new!

This is another of Mary Johnson's quilts called Stars and Pinwheels It is only two different blocks that are big pieces compared to Bonnie quilts. There is one brown star block and one pink pinwheel block, but what makes them dynamic is the cream colored unbleached muslin that forms a secondary pattern.
What I love about this is that it uses all large HST's, which I am making up from my pink and brown 5" nickle swap fabrics from a year ago. I draw the diagonal line on the muslin and stitch 1/4" down on either side and then cut on the line to make two matching HST's.

Can you see the secondary pattern starting to form just from this pair of 16" blocks?
The brown block on the left has a Civil War fabric that I thought was dark brown but now seems to be dark green. Never mind, it's staying!

I never showed you my block made at Boxy Stars workshop, did I? Well, I'm kinda ashamed of it because the French General Moda Jelly Roll didn't seem to have enough contrast for me to like. Additionally, my piecing was very haphazard. I was taking pictures, chatting with everybody, eating chocolate kisses, and acting like a big old butterfly. I had a ball! I was too excited to settle down and pay attention to detail. But, here it is, warts and all! LOL!
Now that I've unpacked it, it looks better to me but it could use a decent pressing, right?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Shameless Show-Off

Today, my Husband Wonderful, Felix, volunteered to do ALL the seven hours of driving (3 1/2 hours each way with quick pee breaks) to the Vermont Quilt Fest so that I would be arriving fresh and rested to be a student in Bonnie K. Hunter's Boxy Stars afternoon workshop. It was 336.6 miles round trip. He could not have given me a nicer gift! I kept offering to drive but he was enjoying himself in his Mercury Mountaineer.
 That yellow road sign just below reads one word; "MOOSE"! We didn't see a moose but did see a deer, in New Hampshire, a woodchuck who was much too near the road, and once we were in Vermont, several sitings of young eagles whose heads had not yet turned white (that happens around age 6 or 7 years).

We arrived ahead of time and ate our picnic lunch that I had brought with us. Here is what the classroom looked like, it was a lovely room!

I asked Bonnie's permission to show my rendition of her Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll quilt design to the group of 20 women in the class and was thrilled that she said yes! I hope it helped to sell more of her new book because it is included in String Fling. She had all her books available and I was tickled to get my signed copy!
Elaine Adaire, are you there?( ) Are you reading this? Do you see your stupendously wonderful quilted notebook organizer right there in front of "Scottie," my fabulous Scotland-made Featherweight in the picture above? My classmates were all jealous of this beautiful organizer.  I used it and loved it so I thank you so much for the gift of it!!!

So here I am showing off shamelessly!!!

Bonnie is a wonderful teacher and used various classmates machines to demonstrate how to do your very best at piecing. If you ever have the chance to take her classes, move Heaven and Earth to make it happen!!!
This is my sewing buddy, Marguerite, who was so wonderful to take my picture when I was holding up my quilt with Bonnie. Marguerite was dismayed that she had forgotten to bring her camera, so I'm emailing her this picture of her with Bonnie.
Thank you, Marguerite for getting down on your hands and knees under the table to plug my machine cords in and out. With a torn ligament in my ankle, I couldn't do it for myself very easily. You were an angel!
Here is the great picture Marguerite took of me with Bonnie:
Frankly, I don't really care very much right now about the one boxy star that I did in this workshop. I just wanted the opportunity to meet Bonnie, give her a hug, and thank her for changing my life from being a "Wanna-be-quilter"into being a real quiltmaker! Bonnie, you're the BEST!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Humble Pie"

Sewing little pieces of fabric together is my most fun! But piecing together blocks into rows, and then rows into quilt tops...well, not so much! I have at least three quilts that the blocks are all made but I have not sewn them together into tops. And I am equally bad at figuring out whatever to do about my backings. It's a plain miracle that any quilts get done and finished, EVER! LOL!
I'm still prewashing those 100 fat quarters that I bought at Keepsake's FQ sale in March, too!
You can see that Felix has had trouble keeping up with the mowing this summer, but I loved this picture so much that I made it my desktop photo for a while.

This next series for photos shows me spreading out my "Humble Pie" double four-patch center that I had gotten all the blocks sewn together on over the weekend.
This quilt is made from Mary Johnson's instructions and here is the link if you want to make one of your own:

 I'm naming it "Humble Pie" because of its unpretentious beginnings as dumb leftover 2 1/2" squares of just every kind of scraps!
 There are Civil War reproduction fabrics, florals, metalics, geez, I threw the kitchen sink in there!
 The squares became four-patches, which in turn became 16 patches.
 The 16-patch is alternated with a jumbo four-patch where I used all scrappy greens to help unify it. Now to make myself select borders and put them on!

On Monday, I worked all day on the borders. I decided that I wanted three; a narrow cream, a medium reddish brown floral, and a broad medium green outer border. Horsing all those long seams around made my shoulders ache, so Felix very nicely rubbed me down with Ben Gay. Boy, did I ever feel better after that!

Here is the top with all the borders.

I like it better now!
Now to figure out a backing! LOL! Sigh.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Guild Service Day

This heat wave has me wanting to spend all my time in my nicely air conditioned house, but yesterday I was committed to helping to sell tickets for the raffle quilt and donated new Janome sewing machine for the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild.

On the left is Mary Moreau, who was my selling teammate for our three hour shift in the airlock vestibule of Vista Foods in Laconia, New Hampshire. Mary is lots of fun so we had a great time and sold quite a few tickets! But you can see in the picture how PINK I look from the heat! LOL!

At almost 1:00pm, I was so very happy to be relieved by Shirley Mento, our wonderful guild President, and Jean Vaillancourt, our wonderful guild treasurer. Here they are after they took over from Mary and me.

It was a HOT drive home for 30 minutes, and then I was so happy to be in the AC to take my nap!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's Doing At "The Sew & Sews"

In Laconia, New Hampshire, there is a lovely and very prosperous assisted living complex called the Taylor Community. About 8 or so of our Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild do live there and the home allows our sit'n'sew group, "The Sew & Sews" to use their craft rooms as a place to gather.

Their only requirement is that we patronize their delicious in-house cafe for our lunches. Here I am with my newly tuned up Scotland-made Featherweight named "Scottie".
We had a ball sewing and chatting about all our quilty projects, but we wished that the AC was just a bit cooler on this torridly hot day!
Here is Jean, on the right, with her wonderful child's quilt of Noah's Ark, being helped with it by Sharon, on the left. Can you see the rainbow on the quilt? It is so cute!
And my other dear friend, Sally, has just become a new Grandmother to a precious baby girl! We all got to peek at the baby via Sally's smartphone pictures.
We had a great time!

After lunch, I escaped and drove home in my very hot car (AC doesn't work) and raced into my house. Our two window units at either end of the house and lots of fans keep it absolutely delightful, so I'm staying indoors!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The In-Between-The-Others Quilt top

Trying something new today on a calm cool cloudy day before the big heat wave comes raging into New England. I've been working on Mary Johnson's Easy Double Four Patch
as a leader/ender project while I was doing Evening Star Obsession. I finally got enough blocks put together to go 7 blocks by 9 blocks and lay them out on the driveway.
My quilt looks NOTHING like hers due to the all-scrappy nature of my four-patches, whereas hers was all in scrappy greens. But I kinda like mine too. It's like an ugly dog whose friendly; ya gotta love 'em!

Here's the side view of the same layout and the last picture is the whole thing piled up in order to ready to be sewn together:
My outdoor table is the hood of my 1989 Ford Mercury Marquis, and how about that classy tuna can pin tray? Hey, I do what works for me, LOL!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Border Patrol

I had to laugh at myself for making two more Evening Star blocks when I don't need any more. I just couldn't stop making them! 
The pieces were already cut because I had cut up way too many and when they were just hanging around beside my machine they called to me.

"Victoria, you know you want to make more Evening Stars!" Victoria, you know you don't really want to put on borders or bindings!" I love sewing little pieces together into pretty blocks and it's like potato chips, you can't eat just one! LOL!
The whole gambit really was avoidance of adding the borders onto "Recent Developments." But after I firmly put my foot down and placed all the extra Evening Star pieces into a clean paper bag and carefully labeled them on the outside, I started doing borders.

I love how borders make a quilt a little bigger, but most of all, I like the way they frame the central design and give the eyes a place to rest.
It seems to take me forever to do my borders. Today I completed the borders on "Recent Developments", my version of Happy Scrappy Houses by Bonnie K. Hunter.

Here is the quilt top after its final pressing with my starch recipe. It came out 63" X 74", which I think is a nice couch-potato size. Now to decide on a backing!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Second Annual Gilmanton Lobsterbake

Felix, Matthew, my sister, Suzanne, and I all had plenty to eat and a great time at Crystal Lake Park for the Second Annual Lobsterbake.

The weather was perfect in the filtered shade beside the lake but Suzanne was enjoying wearing her sweater. I was in short sleeves and loving the cool crisp air. We all ate our lobsters and steamers with sides of corn on the cob, potato salad, and cole slaw. It was great! Tickets were $20 in advance or $25 at the event and I really enjoyed this year as much as last year.

Keeping it quilty, I was able to finish all the prepping of my July blues swap of 2 1/2" strips, all ten sets of them.

I even got them to the Post Office before noon to get them out and underway. Don't they look sweet?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fabulous Flag Day!

We enjoyed a fabulous Flag Day here yesterday with sunny but mild air with a low dew point that keeps you comfortable.

I'm very proud of my lupines that I planted on the steep unmowable slope that drops down to Route 140! I've planted so many wildflowers here that have failed to grow, so the lupines are a big success.

I spent a lot of my day driving up to Laconia to visit Vacman & Bobbin where my two Singer Featherweights were being worked on by Joel, who is my "go-to" mechanic. I wanted to be sure that "Scottie", my favorite Featherweight, was in tip-top condition for the Boxy Stars workshop with Bonnie Hunter at the Vermont Quilt Fest.
Joel sat down with me as I tested the machines before I left the shop and we went over all the details of what he fixed. One thing that was good was that I learned that some of my loose tension problems were due to pilot error. I had not threaded the upper thread through the tension spring correctly! Embarrassing, but at least now I know what I was doing wrong.
I also finished the last block of the Evening Stars! I needed 41 stars and I got them all done in 10 days. That's like lightening for me! Just look at this stack. Whew!

Also, yesterday, I cut up 50 width of fabric 2 1/2" strips for the July Blues washed swap. They are due in by July 15th (
Now I just need to snip them in half to make 100 and deal them out into ten stacks of one of each different fabric. It's kinda like dealing cards. My back and shoulder muscles were so tired from cutting that Felix very nicely rubbed me down with extra strength Ben Gay liniment. I love the smell of the menthol/camphor/eucalyptus because I associate it with the soothing healing quality I get from it.

Raven disagrees and avoids me whenever I smell of Ben Gay.

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