Friday, October 26, 2012

The Clothesline Diaries

Of course all those three quilt shows that I went to, I had to buy fabric! So in these fabulous Autumn days, with their gentle breezes and bright dry sunshine, I have been pre-washing my booty.
These are some of the fabrics for my Coral Floral.

Some of these came from bargain hunting on Quilter's Flea Market, a Yahoo Group.
But the true prizes are these historics.
The half-yard pieces to the left were only $2.95 each at the Cocheco Show.
Love that lively neutral above on the right!
That's the Jo Morton poison green on the right above.
I love the indigo printed on a tan background rather than a stark white.
I'm vacillating over just what colors to pull for the historic Shoo Fly quilt workshop that I'm taking on November 17th taught by Charlene Higgins at the Golden Gese Quilt Shop in Concord, New Hampshire. All I know so far is that I want the shoo fly blocks to be done in tea stained tans like the two above.
We are bracing for Hurricane Sandy coming in on late Monday and Tuesday. So I took my camera for a quick drive up onto Stage Road about a mile or two away to photograph my favorite beech grove's foliage.

All these leaves will be gone so soon!

It makes you feel like you are inside a golden cloud as the bright sunlight steams through the leaves and illuminates them. Wow!
I'm still sewing on the Coral Floral blocks, but no new progress to show you yet.

I need 36 of the large blocks and I'm up to 26 so far!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Who Cooks For You?"

I learned a little bit about Barred Owls this weekend. One of the police officers here in Gilmanton brought me an injured owl who had flown right into a pick up truck and had a broken wing. This owl seemed conscious and alert, able to stand and move its head to look at me, so I hope it has a good prognosis to recover completely.
The call of the Barred Owl is roughly, "Who cooks for you?" I watched over the bird for two nights until I was finally able to get it to the nearest licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator from the Fish & Game Department.
There is a window screen over the top of the plastic tuff box with an old woolen blanket in it that served as a safe temporary home in my garage.
Raven, my labrador, has to walk through the garage to get out to her dog yard. She spent a lot of time suspiciously sniffing the air there. But I monitored her every move and she politely just went along on her regular constitutionals. Raven knew that something was going on, but that I had impressed upon her that it was not to be her concern.

On a quilty note, I used the companion ruler to cut some more indigo Quarter Square Triangles and sewed and pressed them.
You rotate the ruler to its upside down position to get the next cut.
Although I haven't counted them, I pressed quite a stack.
Here you can see that I was using the indigo QST's as my leader/enders as I sewed four patches and sixteen patches for that Sashing Star quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Company. If you wish to see the tutorial the link is here:
Here is an example of the 16 patch. I need 36 of these and only have about 12 done so far.
I haven't come up with a good name for this quilt yet, so I've just been calling it my Coral Floral.

I chose a pale celadon and ivory background for the sashing with a very bright persimmon red for the corners. This will really make the stars pop!
The photo makes the pale green look very yellow, but it is more greenish and very delicate. It took two yards to make the 60 sashing blocks that are 4 1/2" by 8 1/2". Each corner gets a 2 1/2" square sewn to it and I AM bothering to make the bonus triangles, too. Four corners times sixty blocks is 240, so my progress is pretty slow.
I have about 16 done and pressed. It's fun to make them in sets of four.

Also, I had a weak moment and bought 3 yards of this Blue Hills Sarah Morgan watercolor floral on Ebay. I had been thinking it might work for this quilt but, NO! The blues are all wrong toned.
Oh well, it will work somewhere!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Enjoying My Butterfly Attention-Span

I know when I'm procrastinating.

Procrastinating gives me the creative push to start new things instead of finishing, or even working on, the stuff that I'm avoiding.
Just before the rains started, I got my 48 blocks that had already been completed for Sister's Choice Part II, and got them laid out on the driveway. I apologize for not having a proper picture of all 48 laid out for you to see. It was dusk. I was tired. By the time I realized that I hadn't snapped a photo, I had half of them labeled and stacked. So here is a picture of what that looked like.
I was just making sure that all the reds weren't all clumped together or something like that. It looked pretty good to me just as I dropped them.
So I did very little fiddling with the arrangement. Now they are all stacked and labeled and in their basket waiting for me to condescend to sew them into rows and then join up the rows. Sigh. That is what I am procrastinating over and avoiding!

The rain came down in buckets yesterday and I played with my new indigos that I had bought at the Cocheco Show in Rochester, New Hampshire last weekend.
This was a very pricey $13.50 mini roll of nine "snippets" that were 6"x 22" from Paula Barnes. It was sold to me by Cyndi Black of the Busy Thimble quilt shop in Litchfield, Maine. I was grateful to not need to pay Maine's sales tax because we were in New Hampshire, where there is none. The price still gave me an inner gasp!

I used them without prewashing which is unheard of for me. I was antsy to use them. Each snippet made three 2" strips. I decided to use them for some quarter square triangles and just began to sew them. At that point, I had no idea why or what for! Just having fun noodling around.
I used the Companion Angle ruler by EZ on the 2" strips. In the photo above, those red lines are just the gridded cover of the ironing board.
Yesterday I also sewed a bunch more of the coral floral four patches, too. I need 180 of those to do my Sashing Star quilt and now I'm up to 150 done. Yeay!!!
Then today, I was back at the indigo QST's that measure 3 1/2" unfinished. The three strips of one single color of a snippet produced 12 QST units. I wondered what I would use them for?

On a coffeebreak, I idly flipped through Bonnie Hunter's newest book, "String Fling," and I spotted the pattern for Pfeffernuesse. Ahhhah! Although it is all in reds, Pfeffernuesse uses this exact unit! Hmmm, maybe I'll make a blue Pfeffernuesse? Or I could space them out for a border around that UFO medallion quilt that is started but laying idle.
Since I'm not quite sure how I'll use them yet, I'm just stacking them up and not sewing them together into Pfeffernuesse quadrants.
One thing that I did learn as I pieced these, is to always stack the lighter 2" strip on the BOTTOM with the dark indigo 2" strip on TOP (with right sides facing each other). I stacked six strips ( three pairs) layered this way for cutting with the Companion ruler.
I chain pieced with the dark side on top and did all exactly the same, dark on top.
Where it makes a difference is when you go to sew the two halves together. If they are not all the same, you will have it bass-ackwards when you try to nest the seams and alternate the light/dark.
Ask me how I know!

Lastly, I was using those weensy Half Square Triangles as my leaders and enders and managed to squeak out one more Ocean Waves block! Wow, I think that I'm up to 10 or 12 of these now, wheee!
Can't wait to feast on Felix's homemade meatloaf tonight, yumm-o!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Real Independence Trails

Another glorious sun-drenched day where driving through the winding roads lined with golden maple leaves made you just want to burst into song. And as you round upwards and crest over the slopes, you are often rewarded by glimpses of distant periwinkle blue hills.
Today was a very special birthday for our family's matriarch, Phyllis Mae Levesque who is 90 years old. She enjoys reasonably good health, lives in her own apartment, and grumbles about needing to have help to do the laundry because the hill is too steep for her to trudge up to the washroom facility.
This is the gal that gives us a fine role model for keeping your independence and all your marbles! I was pleased to present her with the 1930's Star and Chain reproduction quilt that I named "Happy Days".
That is Phyllis' granddaughter, Michelle, my niece, admiring the quilt. If you had not seen it before, here it is opened up.
And I was such a very good girl...I was right there in Meredith and I did NOT go over into the next town of Center Harbor to Keepsake Quilting!!!

It damn near killed me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

63 Skiddoo

Today I am 63 years old and am very happily enjoying good health! This is my favorite recent picture of myself doing what I love to do; buying fabrics for quilts!
The wind and rains have stripped most of the trees naked of leaves, but I got a few pretty colors in the yard.

Last night, we got a big surprise when the whole house rumbled a shook for a few seconds at 7:15pm. The day had been very windy and we wondered if a tree limb had fallen on, or near the house. Felix ran downstairs to check on our furnace, too. We called Al & June, our next door neighbors, who had felt it too. They had been listening to the radio and thereby knew that it was an earthquake. A 4.6 earthquake in New England??? Wow! Now that is very rare.

The other adventure was that Felix borrowed my 1989 Mercury Marquis to go to the auto parts store for tail light bulbs. The joke was on him when he came out of the parts store and my car refused to start! Because he is our home mechanic, we don't use triple A and so we needed a tow job from Farmington. $125 dollars later, my car was safely home but unrepaired. Now I get to use his car to go to Sew & Sews today, ya think?
Here is the booty that I bought for my birthday presents!
Above is two Independence Trail blues by Moda with a Jo Morton poison green.
And this grouping is all half yard cuts by various designers, prairie moon by Kansas Troubles, A William Morris print, and a wonderfully rich indigo by Sturbridge Village Judie Rothermel of Marcus Brothers. What a fabric snob I have become!!! LOL!
Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cocheco Daydreams

Yesterday was the Cocheco Quilter's annual quilt show at the community center in Rochester, New Hampshire, not quite an hour's drive for me and well worth the trip!

 I apologize for just snapping pictures of what amused me without any attempt to get credit for the quilter's who worked so hard on their creations.

Pure eye-candy!

I was pleased to see so many Civil War reproduction themed quilts even though they were not in the majority.
My dear friend, Grace, from over in Maine, had met me there. She sure looks guilty at picking out new stuff from one of the vendors like a deer in the headlights!
We got to see an antique quilt from the 1840 to 1890's being appraised. It was so thin we thought it had no batting, but it had a little.
It was a lovely Courthouse Steps. Just look at those old fabrics!
There was a red poppy quilt on display, too.
I saw two Storm At Sea versions that were wonderful.
This one, with the red accents, was for sale for $500. I thought it was a good price because it was beautifully made.
Although I usually do not care for 1930's reproductions, the sheer scope of this next quilt impressed me!
And it looked great with no borders at all.
And all hand quilted in outlines of the muslin triangles. Whew!

I especially loved this period piece that was a Civil War crib quilt.
 It's colors looked so bright and had not been washed very much. I wondered if the terrible infant mortality that was so common then precluded the quilt's having seen much hard use. Or was it maybe saved for only special occasions?

The quilt that inspired me the most was this Jacob's Ladder in sweet blues and browns.
Love those indigos!

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