Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"B" Blocks Completed!

If it's Wednesday, it must be snowing! Yes, another all day snow that is still giving us more than 5 inches of wet sticky snow. Many warnings were on the local news to shovel roofs to prevent collapses. We are blessed with a very steeply pitched and strong roof. Here is the plow's curl that reaches so high that now the squirrels can walk onto my front yard birdfeeder. So much for squirrel-proof feeders! LOL!

I stayed in and worked on the mountain of laundry that Matthew had brought home from the dorm. His dorm does have a few machines downstairs, but they are pricey and you must wait for others to finish their loads. Much better for him to bring it here. But I don't trust him yet to properly load my machine and run it!
Best of all, I got back in the saddle on finishing up the piecing of the "B" blocks for Easy Street!
The photo above is definitely a visual oxymoron. But here are the B blocks!
And another one:
This is the very last one! I snapped the picture of it all laid out next to the sewing machine but after I sewed the whole thing together, I was too pooped to iron it with starch for a photo-opportunity. Trust me, it is really sewn!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Swapper's Fever

For the past three days, I've spent a lot of time on my feet opening packages and swapping out both positive and negative sets of Civil War Churn Dashes. I did them as if they were two completely different swaps, just one at a time, first all the positives, then all the negatives.

My cutting table, which is already almost completely buried in stacks of Civil War fabrics, was now spread out with all the stacks of blocks. I would deal them out like cards, placing one of each selection on a new pile. Thank goodness that almost everybody put an address label on each individual block! I tried really hard to not return any block to their original maker, and I was obsessive about my counting to avoid errors.

The blocks are just beautiful! There is so much variety in all the Civil War fabrics from all around the country. Here is the group on yahoo if you are interested in joining and possibly hostessing a swap or just swapping.

I learned from Linda, my also-a-quilter postmistress, that priority flat rate envelopes now DO include a tracking number at no additional charge since the rates went up. When I thought about how many collective hours went into making all those beautiful blocks, I refused to lose any! So for the four swappers who were sending a pre-paid parcel post, I chose to pay the $0.90 cents each to have a tracking number put on them.

We had 9 swappers plus I made ten. Most of the gals made 6 sets of six blocks each set. I tallied it up as 84 sets for a total of 324 total blocks swapped! Wheww! Boy, I'm glad to have this responsibility off my plate! I was worried that I'd goof it all up, but it seemed okay in the end. I just needed to take my time and not rush anything.
Before I could even get to the post office, I needed to give my hero, Felix, a chance to plow us out again after it snowed all day Sunday. It dropped another 12 inches on us!
Poor Matthew had to sweep the heavy snow off the cars so that I could take him in to his afternoon classes at New Hampshire Technical Institute.
Thank you so much, Matthew, and I'm sorry that I cut your head off in the next picture.
Since I needed to run Matthew in to Concord,New Hampshire to NHTI, and since the sun disappeared and left us with another grim grey day,

I decided to stop at The Golden Gese quilt shop in Concord. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but for $28.00 I found some sale fabrics, four fat eighths, and a lonely Moda 5" charm pack.
The brown print shown above was Jo Morton for $4.50/ yard so I bought one yard of that and a yard of the pale yellowish tan Renee Nanneman for Andover. The red and the blue were Kim Diel and I just got a half yard of each of those.
Those blue scraps were $0.25 cents each and there were 8 of them that I liked.
The Moda charm pack was $9.50, and since I was there in Concord anyway, I consider that free shipping!
As luck would have it, Nancy Gesen, the owner walked in just before I left. I was able to get her to agree to advertise in the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild program booklet for the September 28th & 29th quilt show. I was so happy because I'm in charge of the advertising for the booklet!

Here is Raven flopping around in the fresh snow.

 She just loves the snow! She'll get her wish for more on Wednesday, wheeeee!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Two-Year Project

Two years ago, to the day, I took this photograph of my first Sister's Choice blocks. These were made using Bonnie K. Hunter's free pattern from here.
Thank you, Bonnie, for your wonderful pattern instructions on traditional designs!

I told my sister, Suzanne,

that I was making her a quilt called Sister's Choice and that she would have no choice in the matter! LOL! She pleaded with me to make two smaller ones for twin beds rather than one queen-sized. I told her that I would do that, but that it would take two years to make them.
Now I'm pleased to report that I have finished the binding on Sister's Choice Part II.

It doesn't have a label yet but I'll work on that tomorrow.
What I learned is that a 5 X 6 block-set of 30 blocks just wasn't big enough.
I kept working and made more blocks to do a 6 X 8 block set and with the borders, it came out to about 74" by 92". That made them into generous twins that looked nicely proportioned.
Above is Sister's Choice Part II finished. I had wanted to photograph it in the winter sunlight out on the clothesline. Alas, it is still snowbound with over a foot of treacherous ice-coated snow that I felt was sure to twist my bad ankles if I tried to carry a big heavy quilt over there. So this is on the driveway. I flipped it over to show the pieced flannel backing.
I hadn't really planned nor intended that the back would evoke such strong Christian imagery, but it happened and I like it. I was just trying to piece symmetrically. The golden brown color is actually a pea soup green in a printed sort of paisley design and the grass green was an almost-new Goodwill queen sized flat flannel sheet for $2.00.
Here is a photo I took of it on my bed but the western window flooded sunlight in pools that washed out the foreground.
Linda Monasky of The Bear Paw Gallery did the quilting on her longarm and it looks wonderful! She made free swirls in the center over the blocks and an ivy vine with loops on the borders. Visit her website here.
Most of the fabrics in the 9-patch blocks are from a Civil War swap, so there is great variety.
I'm very pleased to have brought this very long-term project to completion. WHEEEEEEEE, I get to start something new!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Quick Post

Not too much to share today because I've been loafing, watching TV, and cruising the internet looking at blogs, bargains, quilt designs.
One thing that is going on is that I am hostessing a swap for sets of churn dashes which has already closed for the mailing deadline. As I have waited for that one last package to arrive in my mailbox for swapping, I looked at my own churn dashes. There was one set of six that I disliked due to poorly contrasting values in the fabrics. So given the extra time, I made this new set of six!
These please me and have great contrast!
Raven likes the new set too!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Fair Day's Haul

Night before last, I did get those log cabin blocks sewn together and pressed. I'm thrilled with how cheery they look on a dreary winter's afternoon! I love the wintery landscapes but they make me hunger for bright color. That's why quilting is such fun!
By the way, I'm leaving that little Christmas tree on the table because it makes such a great night light.
I was very happy that this morning's snow was just a dusting and the roads were clear and only wet. Today was the first day of the Keepsake Quilting shop's Fat Quarter sale and I promised myself I'd go! It's a little over an hour's drive but a very pretty trip up Route 11 right beside Lake Winnepesaukee.
This is a scenic overlook.
It always makes me think about taking up my oil paints again to see these views.
These rocks show why we are "The Granite State!" That grey line above is a guard rail buried in snow.
Here is "the Mothership" and you can see that it wasn't too crowded yet. I spent a lot of time picking out my favorite FQ's.
You can see that half of the cutting tables are spread out with columns of stacked FQ's. The table shown in front was all flannels, while at the back was regular wovens separate from the batiks. Twenty FQ's cost $20; twenty batik FQ's cost $25, but you must purchase in multiples of 20 or else the regular prices of $2.50 apply. (Not sure what the price of a batik FQ usually is).

My tee shirt reads, "Quilt Police" and it was a joke enjoyed by several shoppers who commented on it.
I concentrated on FQ's that were Civil War reproductions or looked like they should be CW. The decisions were critical as I made my final selections total 40 FQ's. When I got them home, I put them into one of my Trudy's Thrift Shop basket finds so I could admire them.
They are so fine, don't cha think?
Sometimes I just gotta gloat, no matter how rude it may be! LOL!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Ugly Quilt Contest

Last week, after the big storm dropped 26" on us, we had to do some serious hand shoveling just to get the cars out.
The plow can only get so close.
So, when I tell you that my driveway is back to normal after a few days of melting, you can see how happy we are that it's not an icy mess now.
Matthew even helped me out by climbing up onto the snowbank beside Easy Street to retrieve the empty bird feeder so that I could refill it. Happy chickadees!
Last night, I went to my very enjoyable Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild regular meeting. We had all received the group email pleading with us to bring in our ugliest quilt/s for the Ugly Quilt Contest. I brought in my unfinished baby quilt with the streaks of lightening in solid cheddar.
Everybody put their quilt on a table with a number pinned on it. After the business meeting, we all went over as a group and looked at all the 32 "ugly" quilts. Some of them were actually quite nice! The quilt could be unfinished or not, seams mis-matched, colors that fight each other, or are just too blah!
Each person voted once for the number that they thought was the ugliest quilt and put their vote slip into the basket. After the votes were counted, we claimed our own quilt and stood in front of the guild holding up our ugly quilt while the third-most ugly, second-most ugly, and finally the most ugly quilt results of the voting were announced. It was hysterically funny! Each of the three got a small prize and the big winner got a $60 gift certificate to Keepsake Quilting. Alas, mine was not ugly enough to score, LOL! I was proud to lose!
I have been stitching hand hemming my binding on Sister's Choice Part II, but very halfheartedly. Fact is, I still have reduced energy levels from having been sick, and only half the 120 member guild showed up for the meeting. 
While recovering from sore muscles from shoveling and that horrid norovirus, I have poked along on the next 16 log cabin blocks in scrappy Civil War reproductions. Today I trimmed them to a constant 10" square.
This group had some burnt orange and some very bright cheddar.
I learned to run the diagonal on the ruler right through the diagonally opposed corners of my red chimney squares in the center of each block.

I sure did need to trim off an awful lot!
Once I got them all trimmed, I was anxious to see them! I threw Raven off the futon and spread out my twin flannel sheet as my design wall.
I laid out the pattern of another barnraising.
What is different is that this one is a reversal of the values from the first one because this center is light. Here is the one that is stitched together already from last week; see, the center is dark?
Tomorrow maybe I can get the new one sewn. In the meantime, Raven stole Felix's favorite chair!
Last but not least, Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's All About The Storm

This "Nemo" blizzard that snowed and howled all day yesterday and all night and then most of today, is finally over. The official count in Concord was 24+ inches, the second highest for one storm. It was only beaten by a 27+ inch storm in 1888. Here in beautiful downtown Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire, I had a less official count of 26 inches. It was very hard to measure due to the drifts that the winds created.
I tried to pick a median flat area on the deck.
The above snapshot is seen from inside the garage looking out onto the deck. You can see the walkway that I shoveled for Raven.

Our front storm door was scraping the top off a snowdrift as I opened the door to take this picture.
Matthew helped a lot with the heavy shoveling in the front.
We were very lucky that the air was cold enough to keep the snow fluffy and light!
The plow truck even got stuck and our dear friends, Ron and Ralph helped get Felix out of this snowbank.
If you see it in the upper photo, a little to the right of Felix's truck, you can make out my mailbox and newspaper tube.
We aren't out of the woods yet. Felix got stuck one last time, dang it, right in front of our driving vehicles! He gave up and came in for cocoa because it was sundown, saying he and Matthew would tackle it in the morning.
I shoveled out the path to the two backyard birdfeeders, making narrow paths through 30" drifts. Boy, was I ever popular with my flock of blue chickens! Those are about half a dozen big Canadian blue jays who arrive after the squirrels leave and the mourning doves. Then the cardinals take their turn, followed by all the little titmice, sparrows, and various kinds of chickadees, who are the bravest to let me near.
I'm still catching up on the laundry. And I worked on the next 16 block batch of Civil War log cabins. I'm about halfway and very pleased!
I like to make them in one long chain and trim the ends as I reach for the next one coming off the chain. Then I flip it down onto a long strip of the correct value for the next log. You are always placing the side that has TWO seams down on the new strip.
Here is my happy basket of new strips.
I also finally found the doggie toenail clippers and trimmed Raven's long claws! She liked the cookie afterwards.

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