Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Fall From Grace

Okay, it's really not my fault that I put $28.97 worth of gorgeous fabrics on my credit card this morning at The Golden Gese quilt shop in Concord.

I needed to take Matthew in to his dorm at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.
 By the way, those are hops vines on the Andover below.

So actually, I was just saving gasoline by combining the 52 mile round trip, right?

And I must take advantage of their 20% off sale for all of January, which is nearly gone, now, don't I?

And if I hadn't gotten those two yards of Barbara Brackman Civil War reproductions, then I would not have qualified for the "1862 Battle Hymn" Brackman free pattern, right?

So, of course it wasn't my fault!
I'm so glad that I went and that you all agree with me!!!!! LOL!

Who said "denial?" Who? Who? That's it, no pie for you, then!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sniveling Idiots

My flu shot worked fine but when Felix kissed me, he shared his head cold, so I've been hugging my kleenex boxes. The poor dear made up for it by making me a huge vat of homemade chicken soup with fresh carrots, celery, and onions, that was awesome. It was very soothing and nourishing. I could not taste a thing, sigh!

My progress on the Civil War churn dashes has, therefore, been sporadic at best. I've poked along.

Over and over I have had to remind myself to choose CONTRAST over pretty color combinations. Now my churn dashes look good instead of having blurred lines where there should be well-defined edges.
I have now made enough sets, I think, to be able to give out a few "extras" of ones that turned out rather disappointingly. Some were too horrid to swap!

This last one (below) was made with Greystone in the red and a Jo Morton "Toasted" cream stripe which I think is thanks to my dear friend Grace from Maine. It is definitely my personal favorite one!

It just glows and has great contrast, too!

The other thing that I was able to accomplish in between full bedrest naps, was to prepare my Jo Morton Civil War green stripe binding for that Sister's Choice Part II. But I just did not have the oomph to haul a big twin sized quilt around to stitch it onto the front of the quilt by machine.

Today was only my second day without needing an antihistamine to be able to breathe, so maybe tomorrow I can get the binding sewn. These frigid but sunny days are lovely in my southern-facing living room. It will be very pleasant to get to the hand hemming of it.

Raven lets Matthew sleep on her futon. They are the only two that aren't sick!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Holding Patterns

Sometimes my piecing and bordering process is dependent upon, "this getting done before that can happen" issues.

I'm not finishing Easy Street block "B's" until I redo all the sitting turkey units,

so I started working on getting my six sets of 6 churn dashes all ready for swapping,

 which means that the decks are not cleared to make the binding strips for Sister's Choice Part II.

The little "Streak Of Lightening" baby quilt

is waiting to be sandwiched but I need my big table cleared for that and it is currently holding all the Easy Street fabric selections.

Whew! I feel like an air traffic controller with many airplanes "stacked" in a holding pattern waiting for final clearance to a runway. That's when I get all stressed out about it all. Now that's really stupid! This is a hobby. This is for fun.

When I get weird like this I veg out on mindless marathons of TV reruns of shows like True Stories of The E.R., Pawn Stars, or Hoarders. Or I sit at the computer all day surfing quilting blogs and fabric vendors on Ebay. You notice that I never seem to veg out on housework, do I? LOL!

It helps to have a sunny day with clean fresh snow to roll in, too, according to my stress-buster dog, Raven.

Sickly Turkeys

My progress on Block "B" has been slowed down by my gnat's attention span flitting off course to other things. But I did get a few of the blocks completed for you to see!

Although this above block is not sewn yet, it illustrates a color choice flaw that I'm experiencing with this block. Remember that when I chose to use Civil War browns in the place of Bonnie's purples? In this block, the cheddars that I sprinkled into the browns work very well against the indigo blues, but the browns just blend in too much.
Here is another example:

See how they just get lost? Now look at one that was made with all cheddar on the sitting turkeys.

I like it so much better!

Those brown points have GOT TO GO!!! So I'll be ripping and replacing on some stuff.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Welcoming Back Winter!

A soundless, windless snow fell all day and transformed our world.

My design board and layout area is temporarily back to being just a driveway.

And I'm perfectly happy with that because my Sister's Choice is all trimmed anyway, so I have all the time in the world to get bindings prepared for it.

This snow outlined every twig of my wisteria vine which always is a thrill to look at.

This turtledove rested after feasting on my generous supply of black oil sunflower seeds.

The whole flock flew off as I snapped the above photo that only captures two slowpokes.

For those of you who are craving something quilty, I did break my inertia and sew my first of the nine "B" blocks for Easy Street.

It is not pressed yet. I'm too busy nursing my mocha and gawking at the lovely snow. You'd think that after 63 New England winters that I'd be sick of it, but I'm not. It still fills me with wonder!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clean Driveway; Three Cheers!

Oh, hooray and hallelujah! This January thaw has finally taken away the very last of the ice and slush and even dried the asphalt pavement to make my layout area available. It is 52 degrees! That's bikini weather for New Hampshire.

I took a whole slew of pictures of the process of my trimming off the excess cotton batting and backing as I had it all spread out. Moan and Groan! I didn't know that the camera batteries were dying. Only one photo came out, so that's all, folks!

The above is Sister's Choice Part II, which is one of a pair that I made as a set to give to my sister, Suzannne. I told her that it was Sister's Choice and that she would have no choice at all on it, LOL!

These quilts measure 74"by 94" finished; the inner red border was cut 2 1/2" to finish at 2", and the green paisley outer border was cut 5 1/2" to finish at 5". Once again, Linda Monasky did a lovely job quilting them.

Here is a picture of Sister's Choice Part I. The combined pair has taken me almost two years to produce. I am so grateful to Bonnie K. Hunter and her website with free patterns. A link to her instructions for this is here. Bonnie, you're the best!!!!!

One was finished in summer, and after I get the binding put on and hand-hemmed down, the second will be finished in winter. The two quilts have all different scrappy blocks and backgrounds, but I used exactly the same borders and bindings. They do have very different pieced backings, but both backings are cotton flannel.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday At Trudy's Thrift Shop

One favorite haunt of mine is to go to Trudy's Thrift Shop in the next town over in Alton, New Hampshire. I go there to feel rich because I can afford so much neat stuff for twenty bucks! My dear friend, Ilse was right on the way, so I grabbed her and off we went bargain hunting.

I thought it prudent to look for a couple of large bath towels for when Matthew returns to his dorm room at New Hampshire Technical Institute and I found 3 of them for $2.00 each.

Ahhhh, but what my heart was craving was basketry! Just admire these beauties that escaped with me:
From left to right, they were $3.50, $5.50, and $2.50! And won't they be perfect for holding quilt blocks that are waiting to be assembled?

But I saved the best part of the tale for last. For $2.00, I got an all cotton twin flannel sheet that was clean and had no rips. When I got it home, I spread it out on the futon and used it as a temporary design wall for the 6" Cheddar Rail blocks. This will be a baby quilt but I needed to lay it out and my driveway is still a mess of slushy ice.

It worked terrific! But Raven was temporarily displaced. She was kinda confused about it all and decided to hang out in Puppy Dad's chair.

Friday, January 11, 2013

16 Tons And Whadaya Get?

Today is the first day that I felt up to par after getting my flu shot. I was not sick, but I felt as weak as a kitten. I had no energy to sew at all and took three naps a day. My goal was to have all sixteen of the "A" blocks done today. And I did it! All 16 are sewn and pressed. Wheeeee!

Here is a stack of all 16 blocks. I pressed them as I sewed them. The block is so complex that it takes five minutes to press it.

Now I am ready to start the nine alternate "B" blocks. My dear friend, Nann, has told me they go faster. I sure hope so!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January Thaw

My attention span is shorter than a Bonnie Hunter mystery. At this time during January, it is the most dangerous for my abandoning the project. I'm calling upon all my inner reserves of self-discipline to stay the course. Just two "A" blocks per day.

In between the clues, when I had completed the clue and had a few days left over, I started a giant scale log cabin with 2 1/2" strips. I got 24 blocks done for a 4 by 6 setting. The blocks will finish at 12", so that would be 60" by 90" for a nice twin.

Or so I thought! I was talking it over with Felix, and he thought it would be a much better idea to make the next twelve blocks, do a 6 by 6 block setting for a 90" by 90" queen. Since I had done these from Keepsake Quilting's sale strips, I needed a little more chocolate brown fabric.

Now, remember, if you are buying fabric to complete an ongoing project, it doesn't count against your "No-Buy" pledge. So when I was out running errands and getting my belated flu shot, I stopped at The Quilted Frog quilt shop. It was fun to pick out some nice rich browns that were NOT Civil War reproductions.

That one in the center of the clothesline is really beautifully patterned with cream and just a touch of red.
You can click on any picture to enlarge it.
So I'm steady on course making my two-a-day and now have 12 made and pressed.
But I'm hoping very much that this January thaw will melt off the thickly packed snow on my wonderful layout area, er, driveway, that is. LOL! My neighbor, Al, was kind enough to plow us when Felix's plow truck has been down, but Al's plow is set way higher than Felix's.

The above shot was taken from my doorway looking down towards the mailbox.

If the predicted rains come, it may turn it all to ice. UGH! I love snow, but I hate ice.

When things like this start to bother me, I consult my stress-relief professional, Raven.

Her advice is to take any problem and sleep on it; it will be better after your nap! LOL!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Eight Block "A's" Done

Several people in the group that are working on easy Street have commented on how long it takes to create one block. I have been working on the a block, doing two a day and now I have 8 done. That's halfway! They sure are wrinkled when I'm finished.

Here is the same block after I have starched and pressed it. What a difference!

Now you get to see the right side too!

When Felix first saw these blocks, he said, "Oh wow, those look medieval! They are beautiful!" He is my best fan! I am so glad that he liked them.

We had some roast chicken leftovers and Felix made chicken salad with dried cranberries. He stuffed the chicken salad on to a flax seed  roll up bread. Then he sliced off little rolls for our lunch. They were delicious!
I first saw these served at a guild luncheon and they were a big hit.

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