Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Monday!

Three lovely Spring days in a row have brought out my daffodils for this year and finally my header photo is not a blatant lie, LOL!
The Juanita variety, above, are the ones with the orange trumpets and seem a bit later than the Mount Hoods below.

Last year, Matthew helped me to plant a few King Alfreds in the rock garden for an early bright note.
During early Spring in New Hampshire, even the dandelions are welcome!
Not so welcome are the black flies that plague and bite all mammals, me included, ugh!

After finishing up the last few rounds of the 2" Cranston log cabin blocks, I laid them out on my made-up bed and decided on this pattern.
They are now all sewn together as a top. If you know a name for this arrangement, please do tell me!

Post script: Em has offered that this set is called Sunshine & Shadows . Thank you so very much, Em!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Quilt Show in Hudson, New Hampshire

Today's perfect Spring weather made the hour-long drive south to Hudson, New Hampshire, very enjoyable. The occasion was the Hannah Dustin Quilter's guild annual quilt show.
This show is just a tad smaller than my guild and it was  held at the Hudson Community Center.
This very large, 98.5" X 111.5 Civil War Tribute quilt was definitely a favorite of mine.
The colors were so mellow! Here is a detail:
Click on any photo for close ups.

I loved this little scrappy quilt! The different creams and tans in the background were scrappy, too.
Batiks with blacks were popular; here is a nice one:
The white fabric had a glittery iridescent finish and the quilting was done in a shimmery rainbow variegated thread.
These florals appealed to me greatly!
There were so many quilts that I liked! My passion for stars was indulged, too.
A second one, too!
I hope I have the right legend with the right quilt.
The fabrics were delicious!
Although I usually yawn during 1930's quilt reproductions, there were two that made me sit up and take notice.

Here is the second 1930's reproduction that I liked very much.
So many of the 1930's styles suffer from, "too-much-white-disease," yet these examples were nicely balanced and lively.
I also truly enjoyed a crazy quilt that had been foundation pieced, but I do not know if she meant paper foundations or muslin fabric. She said printed, so I suspect paper, don't you?
It had such a pleasant rhythm to the pattern and yet so much movement in its scrappiness.

The show had many more delightful quilts than I could possibly photograph and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Not the least important was meeting up with Cheryl Wentworth of the Seasoned Saltbox Quilt Shop, who is a friend and fabric vendor.

Ahhh, a fabric fix for my obsession. Yippee!
And some reds that are just more yummy than my camera would allow. And on the far left is the one piece of a very deep taupe that Cheryl gifted to me. I love it!
Thank you, Cheryl!

As I was about to leave the show, I stopped at a table where a Hannah Dustin Guild member was selling guild-made quilt blocks for $1.00 apiece. They were all friendship star blocks done with white-on-white or neutral backgrounds and would finish at 9".

What a delightful way to support this guild! I bought 12 blocks in a variety of colors and wondered all the way home how to set them to avoid that dreaded "too-much-white" look, LOL!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Drop And Give Me Twenty-four!

No, no, no, not twenty four push ups! Twenty four quicky log cabin blocks, LOL! I still haven't tired of them. In a weak moment late at night on Ebay, I bought some inexpensive vintage Cranston scraps and quickly sliced and diced them into 2" strips.
I have a definite problem with giving away quilt-shop-quality quilts to anonymous recipients in the various quilt drives for the needy. There are too many stories of the needy folks selling off those comfort quilts for drug money. I love my quilts! I have spent months making most of them and it is REALLY hard to part with them. I like to just gaze at all the different fabrics that are in the quilt and enjoy them all. Okay, I'm a quilt miser.
I started doing these 24 log cabin blocks as some relief from the rows-sewing and pressing of the churn dashes. I'll have to get back to them, too.
But right now I'm having fun strip piecing the log cabins with the hope that I might be able to donate it.
I like to trim the last strip's end edge, then place the block face down onto the next or ongoing strip, finger-pressing as I go.
I have 24 blocks in the chain cycle.
So far, they have 8 strips added onto the red chimney and I'm planning to do 12, so I have a bit more to go.
Here is my quilter's breakfast with a few slices of ripe brie cheese, scrambled eggs, and some new-to-me potato patties from the frozen foods section.

The brand of the patties is "Cavendish" and they are imported from Prince Edward Island, Canada. We gently fry them in a small bit of canola oil and, boy howdy, are they ever tasty! Sure beats toast!
Hey! I didn't think of it, but this happened to be a gluten-free breakfast! How about that?
Last night the skies were clear for the full moon that rose with great drama.
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mr. Bojangles

My sleep cycles have been a little out of kilter and are now just settling down and returning to normal. But when I was enjoying the sunny days of Sunday and most of Monday, I used the wonderful natural light in the living room to finish up the colonial blue binding on Mr. Bojangles.
If you look beyond me, to "Wanda's Friendship Quilt" hanging on the wall, you might be able to make out the Midnight Flight single block pinned onto it from where I was showing it to Felix and Matthew.
Mr. Bojangles is a Civil War reproduction quilt in the pattern of "Twisted Ribbons," or Snowball/ 9-Patch.

What I did differently on this was to make the "snowball" blocks the darker color, and to make all the 9-patches with lights in their corners; just the opposite of the traditional way of making this pattern. I love the secondary pattern that is perfectly visible in the photos but is elusive in person.
I wrestled mightily with quite how to extend the light pattern-play without making the main border all in the lights. Just how wide to make the light inner border stumped me for a month. Finally, I decided to take the finished measurement across the width of the light oblong space BETWEEN two of the snowballs.
That sort of diamond shaped piece was 3 inches wide, finished in the center of the top. Once I had made up my mind, I cut 3 1/2 inch scrappy strips of shirtings for the inner border and held my breath as I put them on, hoping that I would like it.
After I added the wide striped Judie Rothermel "Mill Girls" by Marcus in 6 1/2 inch swaths, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. I loved it! And I bothered to cut the extra fabric needed to match the stripes on the widths.
I did the quilting myself on Ellen Peters' rented longarm and this was only the second thing I'd ever done on it. At 84 inches square, it seemed HUGE!!! I quilted spirals in antique tan that kinda blends in. That's a good thing, too, for all my flaws in the quilting show less. I found it very challenging to stay rounded and not square off my spirals.
The backing was a wide cream and tan Florentine flannel that I was glad that I prewashed and shrunk in a big laundromat's dryer. It went from 108" down to 105".

All in all, I'm very pleased with Mr. Bojangles!
Happy sewing!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Well-Spent Saturday

When I came home from Bonnie Hunter's Midnight Flight workshop, my very dear husband, Felix, took one look at my smile and said, "Oh you've got a 'Bonnie glow' on!"  I was happy, excited, energized, and exhausted all at once.
It was the best time ever! Little "Scottie", my Scotland-made Singer Featherweight sewed perfectly and for once, my quarter inch seams were right on the mark. You can see that I had chain-pressed pieces at one of the many ironing boards that were set up and I was wearing them like flower leis, LOL!
This was a BIG workshop of 46 gals and almost all of us had attended Bonnie's wonderfully witty lecture two nights before. There were even a couple of other Featherweights humming.

Having had that lecture in common made it very quick to break the ice. We all sewed and chatted as if we were dear old friends. The camaraderie was phenomenal!
Kudos to the Amoskeag Quilters' Guild for their great set up and use of the space in the Fellowship Hall of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hooksett, New Hampshire. There was plenty of table space with separate cutting tables.
And a fabulous free snack bar with brewed coffee and hot tea water.
For those of us who had not brought our own lunch, they took orders for lunch from a local sandwich shop and brought it in on separate lunch tables away from the work area.
There was a flannel design board set up, too!

Bonnie taught non-stop!

She worked with us by dividing us into 3 work groups by the tables and delivered her knowledge to be shared, times three, so that we could all see and ask questions.
Then she circulated and gave help to individuals, too. She was a seemingly tireless ball of energy!
This was the quilt that she was teaching, Midnight Flight.
But Bonnie teaches techniques as she goes, so you get much more than just how to do a quilt block!
After lunch she allowed a short session of show & tell.
Most were Bonnie designs but a few were not.

I'm sorry I can't name them all!
Click on my pictures for a larger view.
I was thrilled by the applause that my Easy Street brought!
The gal who was sitting right beside me was Brenda (wearing light blue) who brought two quilts that I admired, this Christmasy one,
And also a drop-dead gorgeous Roll Roll Cotton Boll, too!
Way to go, quilters!!!!!
 I was very pleased to accomplish ONE block! I had to pick it out twice when I had things twisted the wrong way, but Bonnie helped me to correct it and get it perfect.
When the four quadrants of this one block are all put together, there are EIGHTY-EIGHT PIECES!!!
If you ever get the chance to go to a Bonnie Hunter workshop event, do it. It is soooooo worthwhile.
Thank you so much, Bonnie!!!!

Happy Sewing!

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