Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Golden Day

The sun came out and our time at The Friday Quilters at The Golden Gese at 22 Liberty Street in Concord, New Hampshire was great fun!

We had such a big happy group sharing the tiny parking lot that we had to park in stacks of cars, knowing that we'd be asked to move when blocking someone else. Nobody minded a bit!

That's Heidi holding up her tropical batiks project and begging me to wait until it was further along. It is coming out terrific, dontcha think?

We haven't seen very much of Beverly this winter for a very good reason. She has been training a new puppy!!!!! His name is Yoda and he was afraid to come out of his crate at first. Puppy Mom Bev was on her knees to reassure him.

Hi, Yoda!

Yoda is a Yorkshire terrier mixed with Shitzu, I think it was. He's adorable!

Beverly had a whole bunch of these blocks made up for a quilt that she's making for her grand daughter. She thought that she'd use red borders, but then decided to go with a perfect purple!

Allison has her pastels all sewn together as a top and it really looks wonderful!

She liked the first one well enough to try a red, black, and white version, too. You go, girl!!!

Debbie was working on a Tee shirt quilt for a Maine friend and she did a beautiful job of sandwiching it on the big tables, then pin basting the layers together.

As for me, I did a lot of boring old quilt top pressing, but then I had more fun sewing pieces using "Scottie," my Scotland-made Singer Featherweight.
Soon I was sewing without thread and we all started to laugh at that! I popped a new bobbin in and then we were off to the races again.

The Blockswappers group on Yahoo keeps me in a good supply of matching sized 4-Patches and HST's. I'm sewing them into blocks for yet another Scrappy Jacob's Ladder. Here are the first six blocks of the "Brights" version.

Now those, so far, have been kept apart from the blocks of the same pattern that I've been making at home in "Traditionals." Here are some examples of those Traditional fabrics:

I'm not sure if I'm going to mix them all together in one quilt, or keep going and make two quilts. As my dear old Dad used to say when he was alive, "Victoria, we'll see, and that's final!!"

While at home, I made another madder block for Barbara Brackman's sew along on her Civil War Quilts  blog.

Just for good measure, I did another Sunny Lanes block, too. That brings my total to 17 now.

For all these 12 inch blocks, I like to make 36 blocks to set them 6 by 6 and then add some nice borders. That's my general plan anyway, but as the piles of blocks grow in my Quilt Cave down cellar, I do constantly lose count of just how many are done. 
Some days, when my mojo is low, I do my impression of the miserly Scrooge McDuck (Donald Duck's rich uncle) counting and recounting his money, and I count all my finished and pressed blocks. Then I feel smug in my riches!

Count your blocks.
Count your quilty friends.
Count your blessings.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Madder And Madder

No, no, I'm not angry, LOL! This week is the discussion of the Civil War period dye stuffs known as "madder," by Barbara Brackman on her blog, Civil War Quilts.

My block from a previous week was chosen by Barbara Brackman to illustrate her teachings and I am very honored. Here it is, sporting two of her very own designs of fabrics in both the star points and the star point backgrounds.

I had always felt confused by the term "madder", but now I know why. There are three distinct color groups that are in the madder family; chocolate browns, peachy or pumpkin oranges, and plums. Gosh, they all sound delicious, now, don't they?

The plums seemed the easiest to pull from my stash, mostly because I could identify them.

On the above block, I was able to use a delightful chocolate scrap in the cornerstones that came from the giveaway box that I won from The Constant Quilter.  The center square is an orange from the same scrap box. Thanks, Wendy!!!

The star points, done in a Jo Morton, were what I would call an ochre yellow for its mustardy overtones, but I believe that the  stylized flowers are also representing madder dyes.

I tried a second block and was very pleased with the results.

Please recall that you may click on any picture to enlarge it.

Remember that stale coffee dye-pot of mine?

Well, one of the fabrics was a "too-white" shirting that I wanted to distress to look antique and here it is, all nice and primitively aged! Nice and muddy!

I used it as the star points in this block. Now you can see that it fits right in with the olde timey look!

The cocoa colored cornerstones were scraps from my 2½" squares "lucky box" and they seemed just right despite being quite anonymous. I had great fun making these three blocks. Thank you, Barbara Brackman!!


Yesterday, I was able to squeeze in another couple of hours on Ellen Peters' rented longarm. I went to quilt the Edyta Sitar's, "Snowbird" for Laundry Basket Quilts for Moda, jelly roll quilt top.

Geez, the above picture was taken way back in last July! Now that's an UnFinished Object.

It responded beautifully to my simple free-hand loops and hearts (or leaves) design but it was difficult to photograph to view the quilting.

The backing was a plain blue cozy flannel from a Joann's sale about 4 years ago. I guess that's ripened enough, eh? Time to move it along, LOL!

I like "girly-girl" quilts; does it show?

I hope that you are making the quilts that you love, too!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Trimming Up

If you recall my last post, it was about quilting on Pleasant Times, the top made of Clermont Farms charm packs by Moda, right?  It certainly made a pleasant Sunday morning activity!

Well, I'm working along on that one by getting it trimmed on the big table at The Alton, New Hampshire Senior Center.

This was during our Tuesday Sunshine Club time, but the Senior Center served me a lovely continental breakfast first, and then I flew off to the Farmer's Wife Group.

At the Farmer's Wife group, the cookies and the company were as good as the chocolate! From left to right are, Diane, Dawn,  and our hostess, Camille. Here is the block that Camille was struggling with because there were so many tiny pieces!

She did finish this block. Go Camille!!

Dawn brought in some blocks that were using navy blue or solid indigo for the neutrals.

They were striking!

As for  me, I sang several bars of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah to have completed this little Birds in the Air block, all by hand!!!! It took me four stinking months because I kept putting it off. but now it is DONE!

At home, I got busy preparing the binding for Pleasant Times.

I chose a medium blue that will go nicely against the red outer borders, but for the life of me, I do not know when or where I bought this blue and the selvedge isn't signed.

Now it is all ready to sew onto the quilt tomorrow morning.

Felix was cutting up a big rutabaga into chunks for boiling for supper. You can see above that he still had two big peeled hunks to go on the dicing into squares when this was taken.
Ahh, but at my wheedling, he saved the top of this fine waxed turnip which had sprouted. I planted it!!!! Here is my new houseplant:

That vibrant green growth is so cheery against our harsh winter landscape. My other foray into garbage gardening was to use more leftover stale coffee to dye some fabrics to a nice olde timey tan.

I presoaked the fabrics in a bit of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda for 20 minutes and then put them into the coffee bath to simmer for about half an hour. I had added some vinegar to the coffee, too, just a big splash in that large stockpot.
They say to never use "food" pots for dying, but since it's only coffee, who cares? The fabrics are all drip drying now in my shower stall because the trusty clothesline is quite snowed in.

There were some four patch festivals in my piecing moods over this past week, too.

I hope your quilting is going well and keeping you in a festive mood, too!

Happy sewing!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quilting At Last!

It seems like I've been waiting twenty forevers (due to storms) to get a crack at quilting on the rented longarm up at Ellen Peters' Cat's Whiskers Studio in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Ellen in her studio with her helper, "Denver"

I refused to let last night's fresh 6" of new snow slow me down this morning. I got up early to help shovel, sweep, and make bacon and eggs for my "Plow-Boy Husband Wonderful," Felix.
The very best alarm clock in the world is the scent of hickory-smoked bacon cooking!! It will bring the bear right out of his cave.
By ten this morning, I was snow free and Ellen was already loading my quilt, yippee!

We chose a pretty cocoa-colored tan for the top thread, and a burgundy shade of purple for the bobbin on the bottom thread.
If you look, you can see a bit of the sort of mulberry colored backing flannel in the corner below. The backing was a twin flannel sheet that was a lucky find at the Concord Goodwill store for $3.00. Ain't it grand?

It was a little short for the quilt, so I sewed on a strip of printed cherries flannel that was a scrap from some other quilt-backing. It worked well.

I decided to quilt it with the easiest-for-me-to-do design of big loose spirals and I was surprised to have it done and coming off the big machine in two hours time! Whoohoo!!! I smoked it!

In the above photo, you can see Ellen lifting off the red snapper plastic clamps that seat onto a cloth-covered flexible rod to hold things in place. They are very difficult to get seated because you must push really hard with your hands to get the c-shaped clamp piece over and securely onto the cotton canvas covered rod. But boy, they sure are fast!

This quilt was just a fun little project of sewing together four charm packs in the now out of print Clermont Farms line from Moda. It was never meant to be an heirloom quality show piece, but just a nice throw size quilt in homey tones. My wobbly spirals are perfect for it!

I think that I'm going to call it, "Pleasant Times" because the name Clermont Farms is meaningless to me and it would only raise constant questions about what it meant if I were to use it on the label.

Maybe I should name it, "Russian Roulette," after the chances that I took by never properly measuring and calculating that red "Tweet For Two" Faye Burgos border fabric.
This is a picture of what I had leftover after putting on the outer borders. Yikes, that was too close for comfort, LOL! Two 5"x10" rectangles, sheesh!

 If I can get it bound quickly, it might be a nice gift for my girlfriend, Frances' 99th birthday that is soon approaching on March 8th.

My quilts do get used!!! That plow-boy that did such a nice job on cleaning up all that fresh snow we had, you remember?

Well, here's what he looks like while he is taking his nice afternoon nap under my Scrappy Jacob's Ladder quilt!

And I wouldn't have it any other way, LOL! Sleep neat, Plow boy!

Happy quilting!

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