Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Ends

The effort to go out and quilt while I was still sickly has cost me a relapse of my cold. I'm awaiting a phone call to see what the radiologist thinks of my chest X ray. Maybe I have the ammonia!

-later, No, I do not have it, but I was put on 200mg of doxycycline hyclate per day for a week. I was told that as soon as I have been on it for 24 hours that I am no longer contagious to others. -ed.

In the meantime, I'd love to show you this cute little lined pouch that I've been using to hold my cough drops and kleenexes and the checkbook.

It has a zipper that was cut to fit the pouch and the zipper was installed with little folded fabric tabs sewn over the zipper ends.

I used Jo Morton fabrics from Andover and a Fabric Traditions creamy print for the lining.

It just has straight line "Quilt-As-You-Go" quilting on the top with the fusible fleece batting by Pellon and the lining underneath it. The zipper went in quite easily when the right sides were together.

It has been very handy and I'm glad that I chose a very light color for the inside lining so that I can see inside there! I very much dislike designers who place dark fabrics inside their bags. Harumph!

As you can see from the couple of pins still stuck into it, my quilted pouch also made an emergency pincushion for me as I was quickly packing up from Sunshine Club back on Tuesday. Please do ignore the camera strap on the right side of the picture above. Sigh.

If you'd like to see Jenny Doan on the free Missouri Star Quilt Company video on Youtube, here is the  link so you can make your own!

Due to school vacations, Kayla (pronounced, k EYE lah), was able to join us again for our Sunshine Club meeting. Kayla is the now 11 year old daughter of Roney (pronounced, row NAY), who is the director of the Alton, New Hampshire, Senior Center where we meet to sew.

Pictured from left to right, are Kayla, Carol, and Sue.

Carol and Sue were there, too and Carol helped me by designing a new Scrappy Jacob's Ladder block. Sue laughed that I'm just trying to get Carol hooked onto quilting, and, of course, she's right!

This afternoon I was strong enough to press my Woven Plaid block from last week's "Stars In A Time Warp" sew-along. It is from Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog.  Although my regular readers saw this before, it looks so much better after a good pressing with starch.

As of yesterday, we are now on Week 16 with Paisley's, which I do love! I found this cheddar paisley and some nice things to go with it, too. You may click upon any picture to enlarge it.

Soon I had all my pieces cut out and ready to sew.

The center square is an anonymous scrap.  I think that it came from either Wendy or Charlene, thank you both for your Civil War reproduction scrap gifts to me! The ornate scrap has a definite Kashmir look to the motif, even though it is not in the classic tear-drop "botha or boteh" shape.

I got it all sewn together and even pressed, then it was naptime for me!

Stay well and happy quilting!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Piano Keys Log Cabin

Thank you to everybody who has left me such a nice bunch of well-wishes over this nasty cold! Yesterday I felt a wee bit better and did some catching up on dishes and laundry. Then, for my reward, I sewed this "Woven Plaid" block for the Barbara Brackman Civil War Quilts sew along. Here is the link to her blog post.

This is my block for Week 15 in that sew along and I was very grateful to Gwen for her inclusion of a nice big Ziploc bag of woven plaid scraps in her "Whatchagot Swap Box" sent to me. As seen above, the handsome red/black/tan woven plaid that is background for the star points is from you, Gwen!!! Thank you!

The gingham in the center is, of course, a printed plaid. I thought it was fun to use both in one block. After sewing it, I was too exhausted by the effort to press it, so it awaits me on the ironing board.

This morning was very special! I've had a booking all month long to quilt my Piano-Keyed Log Cabin top at Ellen Peters' Cat Whisker's Studio in Laconia, New Hampshire. I cleaned up with a shower, washed my filthy hair, put on clean clothes, found my bag of methol & eucalyptus sugar-free cough drops, and I went.

Above is pictured Ellen, as she just finished loading my quilt top on her longarm, on which I rent time. I was so afraid of infecting her and/or any other quilters who were also enjoying today's studio day. My solution was to borrow one of Miss Emma Lynne's clean bandanas to create a mask to wear. I know that I looked like the "Frito Bandito" as I quilted, but I hope that I kept my germs to myself!

I chose an antique tan top thread and a fairly deep red for the bobbin.

The quilt has a cozy red flannel 108" wide backing that I had prewashed and it had shrunk down to 105". That worked out perfectly for this 86" square top.

My quilting pattern was to use Freehand Baptist Fans, which I am very grateful to have learned from If you'd like to see her most excellent instructions, here is the link. Thank you, so much Mollie!

Another huge "Thank You" goes out to Ellen herself! She had to help me reposition the start point at the conclusion of every one of the 18 passes that it took for me to complete my quilting.

That meant that I was like a whiny toddler asking for her support each time. She has the patience of a saint! As I worked on the quilting, I must have told myself a dozen times to just, "Suck it up, Buttercup!", meaning my very sore muscles.

I really did smile for the camera, too, even though you cannot tell from my mask, LOL! Three hours went by so very quickly and it was done!

At the end, I was winded again but so very glad that I had toughed it out. I really like this quilt!

After driving home in the cool damp air with the windows gloriously open and my mask off, I rested. Soon I had a homemade iced coffee and felt energized. The predicted showers had not yet materialized, so I decided to tempt the fates and trim the quilt outdoors on my driveway.

I used scissors and a small kneeling pad that I made for this task and I just went at it. Soon it was trimmed in spite of a few gusty breezes that toyed with my progress. Doesn't it look neat?

The grey skies gave an even lighting that made it very difficult to photograph the quilting patterns. Here are some close ups to see the fabrics at least.

These are my beloved Civil War reproductions with the occasional Civil War "Wannabee" snuck in here and there, only because they were there in my scrap basket, LOL!

This setting of seven blocks into seven rows is done in the Field & Furrows pattern layout although I have also heard it called, "Streak of Lightening."

Above you can make out a little of the quilting in the lights of the lower right corner of the photograph.

Now here is my query to all of you; which orientation of the light streaks does your own eye prefer?

The pictures below are the same quilt taken from the different side than the photos seen before.

See? Now the light streaks go slanting upwards rather than downwards. Do you prefer it this way, or the previous way?

You can just say "First Way" or "Second Way" in your comments. Thanks so very much for your input! It will tell me where I'll put my label.

Stay well and happy quilting to you!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Whatchagot Box Swap

Wow, I'm still pretty sick with this coughing cold. I had so many body aches that it was making me weepy. Husband Wonderful gave me a fabulous backrub with Ben Gay liniment, and I took two aspirins. I laid down and rested. Later I felt well enough to try to catch up on dishes and laundry a wee bit.

My walk to the mailbox left me winded with the effort to climb back up the steep driveway to the house. At 48°, it was raw and windy, but I still took these pictures of my Mount Hood daffodils.

Due to frost advisories last night, I had covered up my pansy's with an old dog towel to protect them.

They seemed more wind-battered than they were frost-bitten so I hope that they will bounce back. These pansy's were the four plants that were in the pot that I won at the "Honoring Volunteers" celebration at the Senior Center in Alton, New Hampshire.

By the time I had undraped the pansy plants, I was too exhausted to sew. I feel as weak as a kitten. But I want you to know that I did pin a sashing row to a block row for Grand Illusion, so I'm all ready to sew it.

Yesterday, a big wonderful "Whatchagot Swap Box" arrived from my dear swap partner, Gwen, in Virginia. Wow! It was chuck-a-block full of goodies that she was ready to let go of and sent to me.

OMG, she took it into consideration that I love Civil War reproductions and the color red and sent lots of those scraps, wheeeee! Thank you, Gwen!!!

Mercy, I'm still hauling things out of the box with many squeals of delight. It was like Christmas when I found the plastic baggie, see above, filled with metal barette-style binding clips! I had wanted these but I wasn't going to spend the money on them. How perfect!

There was a big stack of Fat Quarters, too, and baggies of patterns and baggies of HST's. Whoohoo!

Pictured above are some blue polyester ginghams that I'll pass on only because I'm a cotton snob. But look at the baggie above that blue checked gingham. Ahhh, that's all cotton Woven Plaids, Yippee, skipppee, it's the fabric for this week's Civil War Quilts blog by Barbara Brackman.

I hope that you are all well and hale. Thank goodness for the internet where we can visit each other without sharing any germs!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Worn & Loved

I want it on my epitaph;  "I don't feel good!" (apologies to Luther Burbank).
Geez, even my Dr.'s office had no sympathy; with his nurse's stern phone lecture that I should push fluids and get bedrest. She also said that since it is viral, no antibiotics will touch it. Moan & groan.

In the absence of having anything that I've sewn to show you, I will remind you of the old adage, "Never say never!"
I swore to myself that I would never buy an antique quilt because I feared that if I bought one, then the floodgates would be open and that I would soon own a hundred of them.
My brother-in-law lives not far from the local "Antiques Alley" of Route 4 in Northwood, New Hampshire.

Before I caught this cold, I made the gross mistake of browsing in one of the shops there!

It was pure folly, of course, to tell myself that I was, "just looking." That's one of those lies that you tell yourself when you are very, very weak and vulnerable. Soon I was smitten by a circa 1880 log cabin, and then, just as quickly, I was about $300 lighter in my secret savings. This is what I bought:

The fabrics truly called to me. Many of Barbara Brackman's teachings on her Civil War Quilts blog have helped me to appreciate the riches within this anonymously pieced piece of American history.

There are about a dozen, "bad" or disintegrated brown madder fabrics.

But the blocks are beautiful! The shirtings are so varied. Click on any picture for a better look.

There is no discernible batting between the layers of this "summer quilt." The backing is a plain and now rather dirty muslin that was pieced.

It has a cinnamon double-pink narrow applied binding with slightly curved corners.

It was machine pieced and hand quilted. The hand quilting is visible from the back, but not on the front, and I cannot tell quite how that was accomplished.

The hand stitches are approximately 6 stitches per inch.

The whole quilt measures 86" square and the "logs" are about ¾" finished, with the center "chimney" being 1½" finished in the quilt.

Each of the 100 blocks is approximately 8" square. In the block pictured above, there is actually a printer's flaw that shows as a white streak in the red, black and grey print. She used it anyway! Over 100 years later, I still feel the same way about my scraps. They are all precious to me!

I hope that someday, 100 years or so from now, somebody will love what I did with my scraps, too. If not, I'll still have had my fun with them, LOL!

Lastly, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I'm glad to not be infecting you with this rotten cold, and I hope to feel up to sewing soon.

Stay calm and quilt on!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Persephone's Return

Yikes! I'm so very glad to be typing and not talking with this down-to-a-whisper case of laryngitis. Tea with lemon, raw honey, and St. Remy French Brandy for me!

But I had great fun yesterday with the Friday Quilter's at The Golden Gese quilt shop at 22 Liberty Street in Concord, New Hampshire. Claire and Jan greeted me with big smiles as I passed around the chocolates!

Jan (on the right in the above photo) was working on the cutest little flowerpot blocks in bright cheerful batiks that are pieced with a dresden ruler. If you are interested, they are on one of the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorials. Link is here.

Heidi, pictured below, was cutting out fabrics for her latest creation and look at those gorgeous colors!

Claire was busy, too, with the cutest machine applique batik turtles for her dear grandson's quilt.

Eleanor, below left, and Jan, below right, were admiring the pieced top that Claire had done to celebrate that Spring has finally arrived.

Claire told us that she had actually used the "brown paper bag" method for assuring random placements to the colors of blues and sunny yellows. This is proof that it really works!

As for me, I poked along on my Scrappy Jacob's Ladder blocks and got 3 more assembled and pressed. Here are two done, YEAY!!

Please DO notice the wonderful replacement kitchen clock with its new battery above my shoulder that Maureen brought in and hung up. Our old one had died. Thank you, Maureen!

Due to my dearth of ombre Civil War selections for this week's Block of the Week over at Barbara Brackman's sew along, I chose to make a purchase of a Penny Rose red stripe ombre from their "Civil War Times" line. It was also available in a bright Prussian blue, but I favored the red.

Of course, if you hafta write a check anyway, you might as well pick up some neutrals, too, right?

This morning showed only the faintest traces of snow in the woods and shadows, and glorious Spring has brought me my precious Mount Hood daffodils and little blue Pushkinias.

Persephone has returned from Hades!

Be inspired by the beauty of your day, it is its own gift!

Happy sewing!

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