Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Visit to Kay's House

Last Wednesday I stopped in at Kay's for a bit of quilting with friends. Just a bit, for me, actually, as I could not stay long. I will save the quilting details for another day.

First, I would like to show you the wonderful quilts that I saw everywhere I looked. I'd not been to Kay's in quite awhile, so there was a feast for the eyes! Enjoy these beauties!!

This is Kay's current project - a kit that she says is 11 years old! She's working on the borders. Looks great!

This beauty was on Kay's guest bed. Blue and white 9-patches on point.
Quilting doesn't get much lovlier than this!
This quilt was hanging from the banister of Kay's staircase. It was found in the belongings of her in-laws.
No one knows the origin of it, as her mother-in-law was not a quilter.

This is a batik quilt that Kay made with her granddaughter.

Take a look at the incredible quilting done on it; the thread is variegated. Awesome.

The pattern was featured on the cover of American Patchwork and Quilting by BH&G.
June 2007.
I'll tell you about our quilting work in an upcoming post.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postage Stamp Quilt Update

Way, way back on April 30, 2010, I shared a long-term project that a friend of mine was undertaking. Take a look back, if you like.

I have recently heard from Amie and she has given me an update on her progress, as well as a picture.

Impressive, isn't it? She has 15 blocks completed and plans to make 48 more! She did the math and figures that she has 2,160 1-inch squares in these 15 blocks, all different fabrics! Awesome, I say! I must send her some more squishy packages, too!

I continue to work on September Stars using my French General fabric. Love working with it, and cannot wait to see this quilt top finished! It's going to be one that I really love. (Of course, I love them all, right?)

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Sewing Day with Sharon ~

For a while, anyway. Right after Labor Day, we both start our adjunct positions at Ohio University-Chillicothe. I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays; she teaches on Mondays and Wednesdays. That will not be very conducive to spending a day at the sewing machine, will it? So we had our swan song today at my house; we did look ahead at the calendar to see when the quarter will be over. We've penciled in a date for starting back up at the end of November. So a hiatus is upon is, that's all. We agreed today that this has been a wonderful weekly event that has kept us moving on our projects and has seen us finish off quite a few quilt tops! Sharon has even had a few of her quilted. So, we know we must continue when our schedules will allow.

Remember last week, when Sharon took a Pom Pom de Paris jelly roll and began a "race" quilt? Well, take a look at this beauty!

After we sewed last week, she said she was so motivated to continue working on this, that she just kept right on sewing and finished the quilt center. Then, on Saturday, after our tea party (see previous post) we made a stop in Waynesville at Fabric Shack. There, she found the fabrics she wanted for her borders and backing. Her only goal today was to get this top finished!!

An unassuming shop from the outside, Fabric Shack is packed full of fabrics.
 So, Sharon is in a good place to be putting sewing and quilting on the back burner for awhile; turning her focus to OUC classes must take center stage for a bit ~ and for me, too.

I, however, have a long way to go before I can call this quilt top complete. I've got a lot of triangles to press and stitch into hourglass blocks.

I did, though, go ahead and make a block. I just couldn't help myself. What do you think??

One block of September Stars.
I am actually glad I did make an early block because I know now that my measurements are slightly larger than what the pattern says they ought to be. I cut the center square according to the directions, and it was just a smidge too small. I used it anyway, but on all the others I cut, I am planning to add a quarter of an inch to compensate.

Happy Quilting Friends!
I must be off! I've got stuff to do!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What a Wonderful Day!

Sometimes, when planning a get-together with friends, it just seems the right time to go the extra mile. That's exactly what the Frienzies did today.

We arranged a special outing to Lucy and Ethel's Country Tea Room, located just outside of Wilmington, OH. Bobbie, the 'Lucy' of the business, was the greatest hostess, pampering us with gorgeous yet comfortable surroundings and an incredible multi-course meal with a variety of teas.

Just try to keep your mouth from watering as you get a glimpse of all these delicacies!

First course: Little short breads and wedges of blueberry scones. On the table was clotted cream and lemon curd.

The table was beautifully set; this is Noritake China; Camelot design.
A green tea with a hint of jasmine; blooming tea is fascinating ~ can  you see the pretty bloom on this?
Second course: Mild, delicious quiche with heirloom tomatoes. Check out that garnish! Scrumptious!
Third course: Soup. We had choices!! I selected the smokey cheese soup.

 A second soup choice was this warm tomato soup with a dollop of sour cream.  I had a taste - so, so good!
A third soup choice was this gazpacho. Since no one ordered this, she allowed us each to sample it. See the little container of tasting spoons?  We each took a spoon and passed the soup around ~ it was fantastic.
Fourth, fifth and sixth courses: top, middle and bottom tiers, respectively. Just look at how pretty it all is! Those gorgeous cosmos flowers in the center of the top two tiers along with the doilies just make it look so special!

Presentation is everything!
 Fourth course/top tier: Skewered fruit and a bite-size brie in a phyllo crust topped with blueberry and sauce.
How can I describe the taste of this brie topped with blueberry? I hope the picture does it for me!
Fifth course/middle tier: right, fruited chicken salad with a pita wedge; top, delicate cucumber sandwich; left, egg salad in bread, shaped and garnished to resemble a calla lily.
I must have been talking because I didn't get a close up picture of the sixth course. This is the best I can do. Desserts!! In the tiny demitasse cup, we had a spice cake with topping; in the ramekin, we had a most delectable creme brule; and in the cupcake paper, we had a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Oh my goodness! The flavors were incredible!
You probably think we are done, right?? We sure thought so. By this time, we were full and quite sufficiently satisfied! But no, no, no!!! Lucy had an extra-special treat to finish off our tea party.

Final course: Homemade lemon-vanilla ice with mint garnish. So light, so lemony. A perfect ending.
Now, I did not mention all the tea varieties that were offered. The teas served were Harney and Sons. Along with the green tea pictured above, we also had a black tea called Paris. I really liked its flavor. And the story behind it was so sweet. We were also offered the ever-popular Hot Cinnamon Spice. In addition, there was an iced tea, but I do not recall the flavor, unfortunately.

This was such a special day. We Frienzies have a long-standing tradition of getting together once each month, and I think I speak for everyone: we look forward to seeing each other! So every lunch or dinner is wonderful, but today's event was even more special because we were so magnificently pampered! We celebrated Pam's birthday. One of our group was unable to attend today, and she would have loved it. I don't think it'd be difficult to schedule a return trip to Lucy and Ethel's!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anyone Interested in a Charitable Project?

In between naps, I have been reading blogs (I just cannot keep my eyes open this afternoon!), and I happened across this project posted by Suzanne on At Home With the Farmer's Wife. I just love reading her blog; she shares insight with a subtle wit - just to my liking. Wish I had that knack!

Anyway, I digress. The charitable project is from Craft Hope. Their motto is "Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time."

Project 14 is asking for donations of Christmas stockings to be submitted for distributing in Joplin, Missouri, where they suffered such devastation a few months back with a tornado. Here is the website for the project. There are some requirements to consider, so be sure to read through the page before starting a stocking. The page also lists the address of where to send finished stockings.

(Google Image)

 Most quilters that I know are notoriously generous, and I just know that my few readers might be interested in contributing to something like this. When I think about Christmas, one very important part of the tradition is the stocking!! I have even framed the stocking that was mine all through my childhood. If it were to be lost in a tornado, why, I'd be heartsick about it! While this effort will certainly not replace cherished keepsakes, it will ease the pain of all the loss suffered by the Joplin folks.

(Google Image)

The deadline is September 23, so get cracking!!

I think I will make a few to send. How about you?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Meet Rose

Yesterday I went to Sharon's for our weekly sewing date. I got to meet the newest member of her family, Rose, a Boston terrier puppy. She's a sweet little thing.

She is learning to be trained and what is acceptable to chew and not chew. She seems very well-behaved; I think she'll be a wonderful companion for Sharon. It is apparent that grandson Reilly (you met him here) loves her. Rose sure is a tiny thing right now, but will have some size to her in adulthood.

So what did we work on? Well, Sharon finished off the piecing of her Blue Frothy. She thinks it was an awful lot of work for such a small quilt. However, it is beautiful, and will be such a cozy thing to wrap up in when cooler weather comes and she feels like snuggling in to read.

Reilly helped!

After she folded Blue Frothy and put it aside, Sharon brought out a jelly roll of beautiful Pom Pom de Paris and a pattern for making a "race" quilt. I've seen directions for this around the internet, and will most likely do one myself at some point. Well, Sharon started hers!

It looks like a lot of fun to make, and I have some random jelly rolls that I really have no plans for, so this seems like the perfect solution for using them.

I began a new project! On Sunday night, I brought out my project tub of Rounneries and a Thimbleberries pattern from about a decade ago and began cutting.

September Stars is in a Lynette Jensen book called September Morning. As seems to be my typical method, I am going to alter the pattern a bit; I will not use as many different fabrics as are called for in the pattern; instead I will use the Rouenneries and related French General fabrics already on hand. Stash reduction is what it's all about!!! And, in keeping with the title, I'd be very happy to have the quilt top done by September!

A pattern calling for this many Ohio Star blocks is going to require many, many triangles. I get rather antsy about slogging through so many, and I'm trying to change my attitude. There are a couple of bloggers who have had some good triangle advice lately. I think Ariane's tutorials are very well done. I tried to take the advice of another blogger (who I would link to if I could locate it; grrr!!)NOTE! I found her!! Bonnie at Quiltville's Quips and Snips!! I read over the weekend; she gets into a zen-like groove when doing so many triangles; I guess I got to that point yesterday. I did gobs and gobs of triangles.

I am excited most of all to be using this French General fabric. When it first came out, I was eager to accumulate a good bit of it and I did! The "right" project needed to come along, and I think this one is it! I hope I can report a fast finish!

As usual, Sharon had a spectacular lunch for us - today, a vegetable frittata was on the menu. OMG, it was delicious! And the house smelled fantastic. What a lovely day for stitching - the weather was cool and pleasant - we had the windows and patio door open - it was wonderful in every way.

Happy Quilting, Friends.  I need to get back to those triangles and finish them off.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Dub Thee 'Vincent'

Vincent - it was hugely fun to make, once I finally decided on a pattern. I spent more time trying to make that decision than I did making the quilt top. I first started pondering the possibilities for the Breath of Avignon fabric on July 26. I finally cut out the quilt last Saturday, August 13. And in a week's time, this top was finished!!!!

The red border print used in the columns has a very orangy-look, but it is red, not orange. When I showed it to my mother and sister yesterday, they said it looks like a picnic quilt. Then I showed it to my grandmother, and she agreed! So, once this gets quilted, there will be some picnicking on it, no doubt.

I mentioned that coming up with a pattern for this fabric was a long process. There were a number of factors I was considering: 1) I wanted to use the border print in a strip-quilt design, 2) I wanted the pieced blocks to look really scrappy, 3) I did not want to use any other fabric than what I had on hand in the Breath of Avignon bin, 4) I wanted the piecing to be simple and fast.

The piles of books and magazines around my very cluttered sewing room tell the story of my quest.

Books and magazines leaning against the dresser at the foot of my 'Thoughtful Spot" chair.
Magazines piled on the floor near the same spot.

And a huge stack of magazines leaning on top of the bookshelf.
Yes, I looked everywhere for inspiration. I didn't know what I wanted specifically, but I think I knew I'd see it and instantly know "voila!" that's it!! Well, it didn't happen exactly like that. I'd been giving a lot of thought to this quilt from Carrie Nelson's Schnibbles Times Two book:

It's hard to see, but the name of the quilt is Scratch.
What I liked about 'Scratch" is the 4-patch block on point. The drawback was that I didn't have the yardage necessary to make setting triangles. The way I solved this was to use her directions for the corner triangles of each strip all the way down the strip, and use my variety of fabrics to increase the scrappy effect I was going for. (following that???)

I pondered very seriously making Ohio Stars on point; the drawback: too much time planning and piecing. I really wanted to piece these blocks fast; 4-patches won out over Ohio Stars. I thought, too, that I'd use different colors in the border print strips. Turns out, the only border print I had enough of was the red. Sorta' dictated that decision, right?

Backing decisions are already made. I had this fabric in my stash, and while it's not Breath of Avignon, it does have the same feel and look. I think it will do nicely.

And, I have plenty, as evidenced here by the sales tag I found tucked inside it. I bought it on sale. What a bargain!! *big grin*

Six and a half yards for under $40 - happy, happy!

There is still quite a bit of Breath of Avignon left in the bin. I am tempted to cut it all into squares and just stitch it all up. But I will hold off. There are a couple of pieces that I didn't even touch - mostly blues, so maybe an idea will present itself. No rush. It can be tucked away in the closet for future endeavors.

Now I'm wondering what I will work on next. The OSU t-shirt quilt is waiting in the wings, as is Adam's t-shirt quilt. I really ought to get those done. But, you know, there's this tub of French General fabric upstairs, and I already have a pattern selected for it, and it's on the list of goals for 2011, and I really would like to cut into it, and it's begun "talking" to me...