Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Americana Rose

In keeping with my fondness of starting projects before finishing the previous ones, here is what I began earlier in the week. It was waiting for me in a basket in my sewing room. Every time I glanced that direction, it whispered a little encouragement to me. I figured, what the heck, go ahead and cut it. Do at least that much. Then you can return to that Farmer's Wife quilt, or that Broken Dishes quilt, or that long list of UFOs residing in my sidebar.

This is from the June 2009 issue of BH&G American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.
You can see the checkmarks I made as I cut each fabric. I kept losing my place!

The finished quilt will meaure 50" square, and they sold a kit, so I just went ahead and ordered it. Hadn't ever done that before, but I knew I'd not find all those fabrics from that line on my own. The magazine did some photoshopping on its picture, as the blue in the fabric is not as vivid as the blue pictured. This was what drew me to it in the first place, so I was a bit disappointed. (I've gotten over it.)
Here are my teeny-tiny pieces. I've cut some corners off the small flying geese units there in the upper right; shows just how small these blocks will be!
Here are 2 of the 20 blue star blocks needed for the quilt. Pretty little things, aren't they? The star points are supposed to be randomly selected from 4 fabrics. The center square is consistent.

Rarely do I get started on a project so recently featured in a magazine. This project isn't yet a year old!! Since it isn't a full-size quilt, I think I will try to get it finished before summer - especially before the Fourth of July. It will be a pretty table topper for Independence Day festivities.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Farmer's Wife

Y'know, when a stash is so big, and the projects are so limitless, a quilter sometimes just doesn't know what to work on next.

She has books, magazines, kits, UFOs, patterns. She has layer cakes, charm packs, fat quarters, fabric by the parts of yards and multi-yards.

When one project is finished, there are 50 more waiting to be started. As she works on one thing, ideas work their way through her imagination of the myriad possibilities - which way will her imagination take her?

Last fall I purchased The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt by Laurie Hird. I am a farmer's daughter (and granddaughter, and great-granddaughter, etc.); there's a soft spot in my heart for farmers, and this book is an historical document! I loved reading it. I had absolutely no intense urgency, however, to make the blocks or the quilt. Sure, the blocks are gorgeous and some of them really would be fun to make, but I had other project plans.

With that bit of background, let me show you what I've worked on the last couple of days...

Block #2-Autumn Tints.
Block #16-Calico Puzzle.

Block #20-Churn Dash.

Block #44-Gentleman's Fancy.

Block #62-Old Windmill
Block #66-Periwinkle.
Block # 73- Rainbow Flowers.
Block #81-Snow Ball.
Block #102-Whirlpool.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm Still Doing It

Buying fabric, that is. All I can say is that I'm really glad my addiction isn't drugs or booze. Fabric addiction is far more fun than those could ever be, I'm sure.

The latest stash enhancement came today by way of FedEx. Hancock's of Paducah advertised drastic markdowns on some older Kaffe Fassett and Westminster fabrics. It was irresistable...
Don'tcha just love 'em? Euphoric!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

National Quilting Day

Can't let a banner day like National Quilting Day get past me without a post. Here are some things I've done to honor the day.

The Benartex samples (previous post) are 4"x4" squares. I had several helpful suggestions, one of which was to do a Civil War Bride quilt. Isn't that the one with all the applique? I don't think I would do it, but I would do a Dear Jane. So there's an idea. I also have the book Farmer's Wife, and I would do at least a part of those blocks. So I played in the 4" squares last night while watching NCAA March Madness.

Today, I put the final 2 seams in the blue and yellow quilt. It is now a finished top - but maybe not...I may add a dark blue border onto it. I asked my younger daughter to take a picture of it while I held it up, but it sagged, so I asked my older daughter to help me hold it. She's a goof, so here's her way of "helping."
After much giggling, we finally got a good photo. I'm calling this quilt Sorrento, after a beautiful sea-side city in southern Italy, where the yellow of the lemons and the blue of the Mediterranean are so predominate. Much of the pottery sold in this region is painted the most amazing hues of blue and yellow.
I made this pattern up as I went, so if anyone is examining it closely, you'll surely be wondering why I did some of the things I did. My first step on this quilt was to make the 9-patch blocks which make up the outer ring of blocks. I ran out of the blue I was using, so I made the 9-patch blocks in the center using a darker blue. As I used entirely from my stash, of course, the fabrics didn't work out perfectly, so there are 2 9-patch blocks in the outer ring with dark blue squares. I centered them in the middle of the top and bottom rows.

Then, my alternate blocks are the half-square triangle blocks, and I arranged them to create the blue-yellow-blue fields. Had I realized this would result in a yellow field on the outside, I would have treated it at a border, rather than setting in side triangles. (Did everyone follow all of that???)  That's the story of Sorrento.

Also, today is the first day of spring! Happy spring, everyone!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hidden in the Recesses

Many years ago, I signed up for sample packs from Benartex fabrics. I got them for about 2 years, and I suppose they came 3 or 4 times a year. In all those years up to the present, I have never done anything with any of those packs. I've had them stored on a shelf in the sewing room where they have basically been collecting dust.
Remember these oldies, but goodies? Keepsake by Nancy Johnson-Srebro. Harvest Melody. Nancy Kirk's Civil War Collections I and II. The Quiltmaker's Gift. Past and Present by Fons and Porter. Cherry Jubilee.

So what does one do with these? I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just for Fun: The ABCs of Me

Sinta over at Pink Pincushion did a fun post yesterday. Since I have done zero sewing or quilting the last 2 days, I figured it would be fun to do my version.

The ABC's of Me
A- Age: 53

B- Bed size: Queen

C- Chore you hate: Bathrooms

D- Dog's name: Steve

E- Essential food/item: Cheese

F- Favorite color: Honestly, I have the hardest time with this; I like just about all colors except I’ve never cared much for orange.

G- Gold or silver: Silver

H- Height: 5'9"

I- I am: going to beat this procrastination thing!!

J- Job: Retired high school English teacher; adjunct university instructor

K- Kids: 3: son, 27; daughter 24; daughter 17

L- Living arrangements: We live in a very rural area of south-central Ohio in a 17-yr.-old 2-story house that we had built; we have a pond, woods, and a very long driveway.

M-Mom's name: Jeannie – she is a sports fanatic and a ton of fun.

N- Nickname: When I taught, the kids called me Mrs. H. A few people call me Jaynie.

O- Overnight hospital stay: A week when I was in 6th grade (pneumonia and mono); 3 births; a 3-day gall bladder scare (false alarm, it turned out); and the most unusual: on a trip with students to Italy, one girl came down with appendicitis, and I spent the night in a Venice hospital with her!

P- Pet peeve: Loud, obnoxious people

Q- Quote from a movie: From Pride & Prejudice: “you have bewitched me, body and soul” (Darcy to Elizabeth); From The Count of Monte Cristo: “I don't believe in God.” “It doesn't matter. He believes in you.” (exchange between the priest and Edmond)

R- Right or left handed: Lefty

S- Siblings: 2 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters

T- Time you wake up: 6am on weekdays (I fix breakfast every morning for hubby and daughter!) Just whenever on weekends.

U- Unique thing about your car: Chrysler Town and Country van-a glittery Disney Mickey Mouse ears decorates my antenna.

V- Vegetable you hate: I think I like them all – even brussel sprouts and beets!

W- Ways you run late: I waste time on the computer.

X- X-rays you've had: Just at the dentist’s, I think!

Y- Yummy food you make: Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo. Quiche. “Chocolate Stuff.”

Z- Zoo favorite: I enjoy watching monkeys and gorillas.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Great Reading

Knowing how much I love Kaffe Fassett, my friend Kay lent me a book this week. Needless to say, I've got lots of quilty visions dancing through my head.
The saddest part of this story is that I will have to return the book to Kay. It is very likely that I will buy my own copy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Inventing As I Go

About a week ago, I was inspired by blogger-friend Nicole's progress on a pretty blue and yellow quilt. Since my stash is full of nearly every color combination known to man, I took off on a tangent and started a blue and yellow quilt of my own.

I wanted to do something that would be simple and fast. Those are key words: SIMPLE and FAST. My first impulse was to make the easiest block ever, a bunch of 9-patches.

 After I had about 30 of those, I had to figure out how to put them together. The obvious next step was to look through many quilt books and magazines for ideas, which I did. In the end, though, I simply ended up just creating out of my own head. (Incredibly scary thought, I know!)

I actually took out graph paper and colored pencils to draft out something I liked.

Simple and fast, remember? It made sense to just use plain connecting blocks. That's what's drawn on the top of the graph page (on the right). But I've always liked 9-patch blocks on point. Thus, the bottom drawing on the page (on the left). I made the connecting blocks out of yellow and blue half-square triangles. Easy, easy, easy!! Simple and fast has been accomplished!
Well, here is my progress so far:

The blocks are laid out across the guest bed. Looks pretty good, wouldn't you say? My current step is figuring out the side and corner triangles. This requires a certain amount of math. Not my area; I taught English for 30 years! Give me a bit of time, though; I'll get 'er figgered out! (This may be the non-simple and easy part of my project.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Mother Lode!

Winning things is not something I have a lot of experience with. Way back in 8th grade, I won 2nd or 3rd place in an essay contest, which resulted in little more than a photo op for the newspaper. How boring! Besides that, I can't really recall ever winning anything.

My luck changed when I submitted my Sunday Best Schnibbles to Sherri's blog for the Schnibbles Parade. I learned that I had been selected to win a layer cake from one of my favorite quilt gurus, Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilts. (Yes, she IS one of my favorites; even before this haul came in today's mail!!)

So today, I go to the post office (a whole different story: our mailbox was the casualty of an over-eager snowplow about 3 weeks ago) and I am not surprised to have a box handed to me. But I am surprised at how heavy it is - just how much does a layer cake weigh, anyway???

Well, goodness gracious, look at what all was in the box!
I'm just blown away at Carrie's generosity! According to the PO weight label, I got 8 lbs. of goodies!! Not one layer cake, but 2! Three charm packs, 2 Schnibbles, and a couple of Easter surprises - a bag of jelly beans and a really cool nesting egg; just wait till you see this:

Four eggs in graduated sizes, each fitted into the next larger one, beautifully painted.  Here they are opened up:
Carrie's generosity knows no bounds, I do believe. Look at all the quilting goodies!

And if all that weren't enough, look at this:

A honking-big bag of jelly beans, and the sweetest note from Carrie and Rosie. I am just beyond thrilled! Even the notecard is special. I don't know how Carrie knew that I am absolutely in love with Italy, but she did! Here's the front of her card:

What fun! I must get busy on some more Schnibbles! Maybe I will get Roundabout made for this month's parade!

Special note to Carrie: one of the Schnibbles you sent was Tagalong. Cool coincidence. I made the bed-size version, Tag Sale, about 5 years ago, and hand-quilted it!! It was a delight to make, and one of my favorites of all time! Thank you so, so much for the fun box of goodies!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quilting Day at My House!

Tomorrow (Tuesday), two very close friends and quilting buddies will be here to work on a surprise. It will involve these:
And since it is a surprise, I cannot say another word about it!!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Road Trip!

Years ago, the words road trip meant an entirely different thing, didn't it? For us quilters, road trip means either shopping, conventions, quilt shows, seminars, classes, or combinations of these. The little quilt group I belong to took off early yesterday morning to a quilt show in Lebanon, OH. It was held in the Warren County Historical Society Museum, and offered a unique opportunity to display some of the antique quilts in their collection. In addition, there was a special exhibit called "Inspired by Red and Green," which was interesting in that several top-name quilters in the industry reproduced an antique red and green applique quilt from a picture. The workmanship was extraordinary.

My one complaint about the show was its crowdedness. It made taking pictures impossible. I am sure the sponsors and vendors were thrilled with the attendance, but as one of those attendees, I was all too ready to get out of there because it was just too cramped to be comfortable.

My only pics are ones I took today of the stash enhancement I did with a few of the vendors at the quilt show. I wanted to buy more (I know, I've fallen off the wagon!), but the booths were just impossible in some cases to get into.

The top photo features all reproduction fabrics. The rolled set of 8 fat quarters is from the Sturbridge Village collection. The folded stack is an assortment of 1-yard cuts.

The set of 4 blues is called Ivana by Sentimental Studios of Moda. It was a total impulse purchase. I saw that intriguing combination of blue and green as a perfect group of fabrics for a bag I've been wanting to start. If I don't do that, I will make a quilt with large pieces, as these are telling me they'd look best this way. Their charm would be totally lost in small pieces.

No progress to report on any projects. I did however spend a good amount of time today straightening up my sewing room. A few bloggers I follow posted pics of their spiffy, newly-cleaned workspaces, and so I decided I needed to put mine in better order.

Happy stitching, all!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let's Just Call it a Random Tangent

Nicole over at the blog Sister's Choice Quilts found herself in a conundrum a few days ago. She'd started 4 or 5 quilts, like them all, and didn't have a really strong urge to work on any of them more than another. So, in a fun way to solve the problem, she asked her readers to vote on the one she should work on. The spring-y, cheerful blue and yellow ended up being the winner.

My vote was for a different project, but I do like blue and yellow quilts. I even commented to Nicole that I had just such a stash in my sewing room that was waiting for a project, and that maybe I'd just sew mine along with hers!

You know where this is going, right?

In a completely rash move, I just started cutting and sewing. I don't have a plan in mind; I don't have a pattern; I'm not sure how big it will be, nor what other fabrics I will use with it. So far I have 14 of these 9-patches and possibly enough fabric to make 3 more. Then I'll be forced to delve into the stash and (cross my fingers) hope I come up with something!!

Here is a sampling of the blue/yellow stash. I just pulled what was close by; trust me, there's more. :-)
It looks like an overload of yellow and white, but quite a few perfectly acceptable blues are in the stash, just waiting to be called to duty.

Thanks to Nicole for moving me into action! This will be fun!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shopping Anyone?

It has been my intent to use from my stash as much as possible, and resist buying more fabric, or at least seriously cut back new purchases.

And I'm not doing too bad, really. I buy waaaaayyy less fabric now than I did 5 or 10 years ago (and more). I truly have been working at stash reduction with my recent projects.

Now, with that said, let me show you what I bought last week on a shopping trip to Columbus with Terry.


The main point of shopping on this particular day was to find a 4th fabric to go with the 3 on the right, which were already in my stash. I'd auditioned everything I could find in my drawers and bins and tubs, but nothing seemed to work. This little green print suited me, so now I need a project to go with this grouping.

A sailing quilt made from these fabrics hung on display inside the door of the fabric store. My son is in the navy. Do I need any other reason?

Fat quarters. A quilter can never have enough, right? You'll note a wide variety in my new purchases: Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, reproduction prints. Indeed, my likes run the gamut. Also, having a nice variety provides good stuff for scrap quilts, which have great appeal to me. So there, I had a good reason to add to my already burgeoning fat quarter stash.

I bought several of these. I used 2 Civil War Homefront packs on my weekend Schnibbles project.

Finally, here are the newest Scnibbles to be added to my to-do list. The one I made over the weekend  is "Sunday Best."  You can see the finished Sunday Best in my post from Sunday.

Fabric shopping outings - always funfilled. Terry and I had a non-stop gabfest; she bought several "essentials" from the quilt shops; we ran some other errands while in Columbus; all-in-all, we had a great day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Who Is This Woman?

I don't know what's gotten into me! Honestly, I have for years been the poster child for procrastination. So I really cannot explain the sudden burst of productivity. Oh, well, I am so not going to complain about it and try to keep it going!! I love it!

Here is what I made this morning. It was totally spontaneous.
From this weekend's charm packs, I had several 5" squares of a variety of beiges. Plus, I had a third charm pack as yet untouched. While putting the Schnibbles together yesterday, I noticed that I really liked the combination of these beiges with the dusty, pale peachy-rosy-pink. Well, who says you have to do more than just sew a bunch of squares together?? I pulled out all that the extra charm pack had, added a few choice pieces from my stash, and voila! A nifty little wall hanging. I put a skinny brown border on it, and I am planning to add another wider border of a reddish hue - something close to most red block in the quilt.

This wall hanging currently measures about 24"x29".