Saturday, March 30, 2013

Springing Up

My little Good Friday diversion with the Independence Trail charm packs was great fun! I made up five rather large 13 1/4" blocks that pleased me no end because I'm such a sucker for a star pattern. Some Windham General's Wives by Nancy Gere had just arrived and, "Huzzah!" it was the same taupe toned background. Now, mind you, it had NOT been prewashed, but it dawned on me that neither had the charm pack squares. So I used it. There!
This piece is now a shade off 40" square and I'm not sure how I'm going to grow it. I suspect it will be with lots of flying geese and graph paper! LOL!
Today we were all delirious with the mild air temps of 52 degrees that keeps making the snowpack melt. I opened up the doors in both the living room and to the garage to air out the house with the fresh air. Marvelous!!!

Here beside the dirty patch of snow is the promise of what will be croci and daffodils. Wheeeee!
I go out to see their progress everyday. In New England, Spring is an event worth watching!
And I continue to sew the binding of the Cappuchino Log Cabin. Right now, I have turned the last corner and am coming down the fifth side, LOL!
Happy sewing to you!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sew Happy!

Before I forget it, there is a fascinating discussion of how to price your quilts for either sale or insurance purposes over here. Hunter's Design Studio is a blog that I've just discovered and I like it.

I spent a bit of time on my knees trimming the excess batting and backing off of that large scale log cabin that you saw me quilt last post.
You can see that we still have plenty of snowpack left!
Matthew snapped these pictures as the wind blew the corners up to show the turquoise/magenta/brown flannel backing.
It may be hard to see it, but I am kneeling on a small pillow!

Next stop was to apply the prepared brown plaid binding onto the front of the quilt with the sewing machine.
I am determined to not create yet another UFO!!!!
I got it all put on nicely and now have been hand-hemming down the binding on the back but I do not have a picture of that.
The other thing that I wanted to cheer about was this fabulous and huge basket that I scored for $4.99 at the big Goodwill store in Concord. Ain't it a beauty?
Now THAT is one Big Basket! I want to donate it to our guild's Penny Sale held during our October quilt show.

The guild will fill it with all kinds of goodies!
I also scored a fabulous King sized white flannel sheet for $3! Wow, what a great backing this will make.

And I gave myself permission to begin a new project using those sweet little charm packs that I've been buying lately. Wheeeeee!
I'm just putting on some "flippy corners" as Bonnie Hunter calls them, sewing diagonally across a 2 1/2 inch square on two adjacent corners to make some star points.
You can see in the above photo just to the right of my scissors is a stack of the bonus triangles where I sewed twice before clipping off the excess bulk. The fabric I chose for the star points is a Howard Marcus Collections For A Cause line by Moda.
I just cut a bunch of 2 1/2" squares and jumped in!
You can zoom in if you click on the pictures for a better view. Hope you are sew happy!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Studio Day At Cat Whiskers Quilts

I think that I've died and gone to heaven! Today was my first time ever trying quilting on a longarm. Wow was it ever fun!
My shirt reads, " I'd be a vegetarian if BACON grew on trees!"
Ellen Peters is both a quilting teacher and a public school teacher, too. About once a month, she schedules herself to host an open studio day at her home on a Saturday for quilter's to come and play. If you bring a machine or a project and work on it, Ellen is there to offer help and support without hovering. She asks $5 per person.
A couple of weeks ago, I had booked in advance to use the longarm. The longarm fee is $35 to load the machine, which Ellen mostly did for me as I'm learning, and then $6 per bobbin used (I used two).
Her studio is a beautiful playroom that is enhanced by two family dogs and cats! Yes, that is a cat sleeping in the middle of the work table, LOL!
Now, doesn't this picture lower your blood pressure just to look at it?
The project that I was quilting is a log cabin in coffee brown and cream using 2 1/2" strip set bought from Keepsake's summer sale. It has a brown and turquoise and magenta yarn-dyed plaid flannel backing. I chose a golden brown variegated top thread with a dark chocolate solid brown in the bobbin.
Ellen wisely counseled me against trying to do feathers on my first try, and I decided to do some basic swirling spirals. My eye knew where I wanted to go, but my hand would shake all around such that the spirals all came out sort of wonky. Nevermind, I LOVE them because I DID them. Wheeee!!!

It took me 2 1/2 hours to quilt this 58" X 87" twin allowing for one brief peppermint tea break made from Ellen's electric kettle.
One of my dear friends from the Sew & Sews, Cindy Brown, joined us, too. Cindy is in charge of all the 90 to 100 comfort quilts that the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild gives out each year to charities. She has a heart as big as her smile and gives the best hugs! Cindy is on the left, and Ellen is further back on the right.
Boy, oh boy, was I ever tired! Shoulders, middle back, feet and legs were all crying out to me, saying, "Victoria, you never exercise, why do you suddenly think that you can put all these demands on us???"  LOL!

We had such a great time laughing, talking, and quilting all together, why, the sun even came out! Thank you, Ellen, for the chocolates in the candy dishes, the peppermint tea, and your never-ending patience when helping me!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You Asked For It!

Yesterday, scheduling my chauffeur duties for Matthew made it work out that I would be in Concord from 1pm to 5pm. It seemed a shame to waste all that time, so I gathered up all my already-assembled blocks for Easy Street and headed to The Golden Gese quilt shop.

I packed "Scottie", my trusty 1951 Scotland-made Singer Featherweight and had the whole downstairs workroom to my self. It was just what I needed to layout Easy Street!
Several of my dear friends that follow this blog have awaited the big reveal of what my Civil War reproduction version would look like as you have all seen the blocks piece by piece. Here it is!
It sure is busy! The above photo is just laid out and not sewn yet. I worked steadily all afternoon assembling blocks into rows with their respective pieced setting triangles.
I was able to get all seven diagonal rows made up. I skipped lunch but Charlene, who works at the Golden Gese quilt shop, was nice enough to make a small pot of the most delightful Columbian coffee for me. She and I were joined by Kate, another friend and patron, and we all had a nice perk-up cup!
I sewed and laughed as my shoulders moaned and groaned! I had so hoped to get the top completed.
Quite a few of the regulars popped their heads in to see what was going on and they were quite impressed by Bonnie K. Hunter's design. I hope they will come to her lecture in Manchester, New Hampshire on April 18th as I put up a handbill for it.
Alas! I was not quite able to finish the last two very long seams of either side of the center panel. But it was time to pack everything up and go fetch Matthew from school and get us both home.
A big shout out "THANK YOU" to Kate, who so carefully folded up those two precious pieced pieces of quilt top for me while I picked up all the yellow-headed quilting pins that I had managed to spill onto the carpeting.

Another big shout out "THANK YOU" to the Golden Gese quilt shop and their staff member, Charlene, for their fine hospitality!

And the biggest shout out of all, "THANK YOU, BONNIE!!!!" for this amazing and complex pattern called Easy Street!

This is what it looked like this morning:
Hang in there, all you pretty croci buds under the snow! And let's all sign a petition to fire that groundhog! LOL!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you! I am celebrating it quietly by continuing to sew on the next batch of 16 scrappy log cabin blocks.I wanted to show you that Judie Rothermel Mill Girls stripe up close from my last post of Mr. Bojangles. Here it is;
Some of the shirtings looked like polka dots, but they really are more complex designs than just simple dots.

 Matthew took these pictures of me for the blog, doing the scrappy log cabins.

I am only finger pressing as I add a strip, and then trimming the ends before adding the next strip.
You can see my trimmings plastic waste basket, in the picture up above, is almost full!

When the whole block is done, I press it very well with the iron and my spray pressing solution to give it a really good flattening!
After that, I'll trim it to the 10 inch square size.

Yesterday, I celebrated a splendid International Quilting Day by going up to The Mothership, a.k.a. Keepsake Quilting, with three other gals from my sit'n'sew group called The Sew & Sews. We had fun shopping and then went out to lunch nearby at The Canoe, which is a nice restaurant there.
On the way home, We had to go right by The Quilted Frog, so we stopped in there too. Both quilt shops were having sales of 20% off at KQ and 30% off at the Frog, so there were bargains to be had!
Here's my loot from The Mothership:
I got 2 yards of the cheddar on top, by Renee Nanneman in Need a lil Love for Andover which I just love! The Civil War shirtings are a Judie Rothermel and two Paula Barnes' designs going from left to right.
The KQ remnants were good pickin's! I even scored a couple of Indigo Crossings because we went early in the day, whoohooo!
The remnants were an additional 20% off the already discounted prices and no shipping costs! Wheee! Click on the pictures to enlarge them. I think that the Civil War tan with the red figure was Brannock & Patek which might be Moda, not sure. When they are folded with the raffia ribbons it is almost impossible to read the signature selvedges.
Not least was the wonderful neutrals from the Frog and that one end cut of terracotta red. yummo!
When I stand at the ironing board down cellar in my Quilting Cave, if I look up, I often see and hear a lil lonely lady Labrador whining for me to join her for naps on the futon.
I talk to her out loud to reassure her that I'm just not quite done sewing...
She has enough arthritis to loathe going on the stairs even though she CAN do it. Then I go upstairs and find this!!!!
Raven, you are quite a character!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Raven,The Magnificent!

I had a marvelous time at my regular Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild meeting last night. The speaker, Janice Maroni, was talking about sewing attractive quilted coats and even offered to come back for workshops.
Although the coats were lovely, I have very mixed feelings about that. Quilted clothing becomes very dated very quickly, whereas quilted QUILTS are always classics! I wanna make the classic traditonal quilts.

Yesterday, before the meeting, I got inspired by the lovely sunny day and the clear driveway to put some borders on an old UFO. This quilt is "Mr. Bojangles", a Civil War reproduction. It had no pattern, I just started sewing up some 9-patches and snowballs. I wanted an old traditional pattern to work with the Civil War fabrics. This is also known as "Twisted Ribbons."
I wanted the ribbons of light colored fabric to float out onto the borders as well as I wanted the borders to make the quilt bigger. I auditioned several ways of doing this and here is the way I did it.

The scrappy light borders are 3" finished and the wide outer border is a 6" wonderful Marcus Brothers large scale stripe from their Mill Girls collection. You can see that the spring March breezes were wreaking havoc with the edges of the quilt top!
My "Husband Wonderful", Felix, helped me measure it across the centers and it is now a respectable 84 3/4" square. Hooray!
That medium colonial blue that you see sprinkled throughout the blocks of the center is a very good match to the blue in the border. I bought more of it and I'll use that for the binding. I think that I'd like to quilt this one with Baptist Fans to keep the old fashioned theme intact.

Thank you to everybody for you super-supportive comments yesterday when I was whining! If you have any low moments, I offer you this exuberant film star's advice of how to cheer yourself up:
"Raven," the magnificent!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Foggy Bottom Blues

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for being my often secret-from-me audience. I love telling you my little stories of quilting and what's doing in my life. It entertains me as it entertains you. I'm 63 years old and I'm the living proof that it's never too late to have a happy childhood!

When I was a kid, everybody in my family made snide remarks to me, like,

"If you ask Victoria what time it is, she'll tell you how to build a watch."

"Victoria, you never finish anything!"

"Victoria, that's another run-on sentence."

How hurtful. How devaluing. I tried so hard to clam up and shut up. But the quintessential part of me, being the real me, is that drifting, dreamy, dragonfly-attention-spanned storyteller. Here on this blog, I can blossom, thanks to you! Just knowing that you are reading this is very validating. Thanks!
By the way, I FINISHED these two churn dash blocks this morning! And that completes the 63 that I needed, WHEEEEE!!
I hope you will accept the inner parts of you that others may not value and find a way to feel successful.
Be happy in your self-praise!

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